The End of The Year as We Know It

December 14, 2017 at 10:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Hey look! I broke another record for how long it’s been since I posted on my blog! I’d say my New’s Year’s Resolution will be to post more often but that’s not exactly true as I’m really just happy to be posting today. And I’m kind of sick of the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, so there’s that.

Anyway, here we are at nearing the end of yet another year. I don’t know about you but 2017 has felt like the longest four years of my life. A lot has happened, both good and bad, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t post a general recap. This is not only for my loyal blog readers who have been eagerly anticipating my return (read: my mom) but also to document this year before we get into a nuclear war with North Korea or Trump has such a tantrum that he just hits that red “Destroy the World” button by mistake and everything online (and offline, for that matter) is lost forever. So here we go.

A little over a year ago there was a stretch of less than a week that changed my world (and the world in general) forever. It began with the Cubs winning the World Series, which was crazy and momentous and exciting and unbelievable all rolled into one. That was a Wednesday night. Thursday Scott and I drove to Indiana and Friday we had our wedding rehearsal. Saturday we got freaking married! And everything was wonderful and happy and joyous and seemed right in the world. Then that following Tuesday, Donald Trump won a rigged election to become President of the United States and the happy emotions of the last few days shifted pretty damn quickly.

That was November. December was a blur of shock and disbelief as we went into and through the holidays. The beginning of 2017 saw Scott and I take our honeymoon to Thailand and I’m not going to lie, it was hard to come back to America knowing what we were walking into. Then the inauguration happened and crowd size sparked the first of many stupid lies. Then I rode almost thirty hours on a bus over a weekend to march with about a million other women in D.C. and ignited a movement.

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Truth.

And that’s how this year began – a roller coaster of emotions and new realities that I may or not have been ready for, not that it mattered. The new year also brought a completely new challenge for my sister and I as we realized our father was suffering through early onset dementia and his living situation was no longer sustainable. I spent months researching and navigating the red tape of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, senior healthcare in general, assisted and independent living homes, the transfer of assets and any other bureaucratically bullshit that was thrown our way. I obtained all kinds of medical records and hired attorneys and my sister and I became Power of Attorney for our father while also taking over his finances and just about everything else. We moved him across the country over Easter weekend into his new home and then a few months later moved him to his final resting place (don’t worry, he’s not dead yet – just in a different apartment). So that’s been…interesting…especially since our history with our father isn’t exactly full of sunshine and rainbows. I then spent May moving my own damn apartment to a new place essentially next door and then June and July were full of coordinating my office move of about 1100 people into a brand new building. Oh yeah, then I sprained both my ankles at the beginning of July and was on crutches for a few weeks. That didn’t suck or anything.

Scott and I were able to take another small trip to Colorado in August and then in October I flew to Louisiana to help pack up my dad’s parent’s house as they were moving into an assisted living home too (just hundreds of miles away from dad…we should’ve thought about lumping them together to get a family discount but hindsight is 20/20). I also spent October interviewing for a promotion at my company while essentially working the new position and my old position at the same time. Then I was made an offer for what is essentially the job of my dreams! No pressure, right? I started that in November and haven’t really stopped since (because clearly every part of 2017 up until then was quiet and relaxing).

All of this has taken place with the Trump Presidency looming darkly in the background. This means that on top of everything else, my fellow citizens and I have had to worry about things like our healthcare being ripped away by politicians, our safety being threatened by wars with other countries we don’t support, our rights being squashed by those who are ignorant and fearful, our environment being damaged and climate change being ignored, our freedom of speech and internet being taken away and our democracy being threatened by our own damn President. I’ve been appalled, horrified and embarrassed by what’s been coming out of the White House more than I ever thought possible and so much has happened that I feel like I have PTSD from news alerts coming through on my phone. That said, I’m still calling my senators and writing emails and marching and fighting in the little ways I know how. Because as crazy as this year has been, I will nevertheless persist. Things like the current wave of outrage at sexual harassment in various industries and this week’s Democratic election results in Alabama are giving me hope. This year hasn’t been easy but we’re all still here and I feel like I’m more resilient than ever.

Hit me with your best shot, 2018. I’ve taken some self defense classes this year and I’m ready to hit back.

 

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Summer Recap

October 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I began posting, way back in the day. I’m sure you’ve missed me and I’ve missed posting too but I’ve just been so damn busy. And I know how lame that sounds because everyone is always busy, all the time, so I need to just get back in habit of writing. Well the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that jazz but at least I’m posting today, right?

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Wave Goodbye

So what’s been keeping me so busy? Life, basically. I thought things would calm down this year after the whole planning-a-wedding-thing last year but boy was I wrong about that. And just because I love my lists, I’m going to rehash some of the stuff that’s kept me the absolute busiest this year:

  • My dad – I haven’t written much about this here but in January, my sister and I began the process of becoming Power of Attorney for our father and we moved him from Louisiana, where he’d been living with his parents, to Indiana, where he now lives in an assisted living facility. Dad has been having some health issues for a while and can’t exactly live on his own so this was decided to be the best thing for him, because if he moved in with my sister or I we would likely end up killing him and that’s just messy for everyone involved. Anyway, I spent the first few months of the year hiring lawyers, drafting documents and learning everything there is to know about Medicare, Medicaid and “retirement communities”. I also got to dig through dad’s financial and medical records, which was an absolute blast. We eventually found a place for him and moved him in April – he’s settled in fairly well and hasn’t tried to escape yet so I guess that’s all working out for the time being.
  • Speaking of moving, Scott and I moved into a new apartment (which I chronicled in a different post so won’t belabor here). Suffice to say, it kind of sucked.
  • Then I sprained both my ankles, also chronicled in a different post. That also sucked, twice as bad.
  • While I was dealing with the sprains, I was part of a crew at my office helping to move over 1,000 employees into a brand new building. We pulled it off and the new space is great but it wasn’t easy and I’m super glad it’s over.
  • And speaking of work, it’s been keeping me busy in its own right. Right after our office move, I began working for the head of our department as his admin is out on maternity leave. He’s kind of a big deal at the company and she did a lot of other things besides supporting him so I’ve been maintaining her workload and trying not to let things slip through the cracks. Her job alone is a full-time gig but since I’m a crazy person, I’ve also been doing the following:
    • Co-created our newest business resource group, called Pride Alliance. It’s to support the LGBTQ+ employees and allies in our firm and also enhance our recruiting and retention efforts, employee culture and community engagement initiatives. We officially launched with a big Open House in August and have our next event this week, for National Coming Out Day. It’s been extremely rewarding to be a part of all this but also just a little time-consuming.
    • Along with the Pride Alliance, I’m also now on the Board for our business resource groups and have attended trainings, seminars, and most recently a photo shoot (insert eye roll here) to help promote and inform about what we’re doing for the firm.
    • I also organized and led five different offsite volunteering events for employees at local Chicago Public Library branches this summer and we helped give out hundreds of thousands of free books to thousands of Chicagoland kids – this was seriously one of the highlights of my summer, even though it kept me seriously busy.
  • In a very exciting turn of events, everything I’ve been involved with at work led to a promotion! I feel like I’ve been working almost two jobs for a while now and while I won’t begin my new position at the firm until the beginning of November, I’m very excited to be moving into community engagement full time. The hours will be longer but the work will be more gratifying and while I’m a little nervous and intimidated to begin the position, I’m also pretty pumped!
  • Travel:
    • Now that Dad is living closer to my sister and my mom, there are more people for me to visit everyone when I travel back to Indiana, which I’ve done a few times this summer and will be doing again this weekend for a family wedding. Not going to lie – it’s challenging to see everyone I want to see and spend time with all my loved ones and it’s also pretty awkward taking dad along to family functions full of his ex-in-laws, but it’s better than nothing. I guess. My mom and her entire side of the family have been great with all of this and for that I’m really thankful – it’s all been hard enough without having family drama making things worse.
    • Scott and I did manage to take a long weekend trip to Colorado and it was rejuvenating, invigorating and just what the doctor ordered. Of course, it feels like eons ago now but we had a great time and would love to go back.
    • I’ve also hosted some people at our new place this summer – my two best high school girlfriends came to town, as did my mom and my best college friends – thankfully, not all at the same time.
    • I went to Louisiana last weekend to help go through and pack up my grandparent’s house, as they just moved into an assisted living facility as well. Looks like Thanksgiving will be pretty different this year.
  • In addition to everything I’ve mentioned, I’m still doing my volunteer thing at the pantry and the Field Museum (where I’m currently writing a public tour), Scott’s sister had a baby so I’m an Aunt again, Scott got accepted to and started the food science and nutrition program at UIC that he’s been working to get into for years, and we adopted a kitten named Scout (because we don’t have enough going on). The Dude and Scout seem to get along for the most part but I’ve decided that if having kids is anything like having a kitten, it’ll be a long while before I procreate.
  • Lastly, I’ve been dealing with everything above with the horror of a Trump presidency looming over every single thing in my life. Seriously, the administration is a shit-show and I’m surprised and saddened that it’s lasted this long. I’m still making my calls, sending my emails and raging my rage but it’s hard not to feel exhausted when we’re constantly having to demand that our rights be kept safe. Also the threat of nuclear war within reach of a small-handed, small-minded, racist bigot is just a little concerning. Honestly, some days I feel lucky to just get out of bed.

Ok, I think that’s a good summary of what’s been going on with me over the last few months. This has been written with the intention of not going another two months before writing again! But again, remember what I said about good intentions…

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