Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hit the "Pause" Button

Life has been placed on "pause" the past several weeks.

We received word that my mother-in-law was desperately ill, which led to my husband and I setting up rotating shifts of ten days each to go live with her during that period and provide for her 24 hour care (in her home), with hospice nurses and nursing assistants popping in an out.  She passed away as I was about to board the plane to take my first shift (hubby went first and took the first - and only - shift).

Then a whirlwind of activity at her house in another state getting utility bills, credit cards and other such things handled, clothes to the Salvation Army, and of course a memorial service for her friends there.  This followed by a drive home rather than a flight as we then took over the care of her dog who has come home with us to live.

No sooner did we walk in the door and my sweet golden retriever began bleed profusely.  An emergency run to the vet and the diagnosis of leukemia quickly followed.  I held her and patted her and told her that she was the "bestest dog ever" and how much I loved her as the vet put her down.

In a few weeks we will have the larger memorial for my mother-in-law here in our home state for family and life-long friends.  We need a little time to pull it all together.

The past several weeks have been a struggle to say the least.  So many emotions and so many tears.  I know this is a part of life, but this part stinks.  I also know that this feeling will pass and we will learn to adjust somehow to the "new normal", but right now I am walking around with a profound sense of sadness and loss.

I'm not very good company at the moment as it's taking all I've got to get through this period and to try to be a support to my husband.  Just thought I would pop in and update lest anyone wonder what happened to me.

I'm not gone.  Just on "pause" for now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Please pass me my cane, bifocals and hearing aid...

Apparently I am a very elderly senior citizen who is facing many challenges - or at least according to the chief medical assistant I had an interview with today.

The practice itself was impressive.  The office was gorgeous, the equipment all new and top-of-the-line,  convenient freeway access.  The works.

But then as I sat in the waiting room biding my time until they called me back for my interview I noticed something that struck me as odd.  By that time I had seen approximately 5-6 employees, several at the front desk, then several MAs coming into the waiting room to bring patients back.  ALL of them were extremely beautiful and extremely young.  By young I mean that there is no way any of them had seen their 30th birthday yet.

Enter the chief MA to call me back for me interview.  Yep.  The same, as was the office manager who accompanied her.  Gorgeous youthful perfection.  I noted each of them sizing me up briefly, looking me up and down.  Their expressions were not ones of delight, even though I was dressed in a classy business suit, looking sharp, brief case containing extra copies of my resume and my personal and professional references in hand.

I was escorted into an exam room (I have found that interviews conducted in exam rooms generally do not go well for me - curious that).  They pulled up three chairs, motioned for me to sit in the center, and we began.  Unflattering florescent lighting beaming down on my face and grey streaked hair from above, they proceeded to pepper me with questions, and unusual number of them containing the word "old".

Example:  "I'm assuming Dr. So-and-So was older.  I think you will find it challenging, therefore, to keep up with our fast-paced office."

EXCUSE ME?!  There is NOTHING in my resume indicating the age of the doctor in question, and the doctor actually demanded that I work at lightening speed, multi-tasking all day.  And the doctor was well please with my performance, in fact, she said that I was the best MA she had ever had.

No.  It was ASSUMED that the doctor was older because I am older.  And it was assumed I wouldn't be able to keep up, because of course, I am old and decrepit.

It was also mentioned that they had concerns about me catching on to the computers.  Seriously?  I'm extremely tech-savvy.  I own and operate  (or did own) several online communities, personal websites as well as those I've created for my church, for special functions, for real estate...  I am not only trained in EMR and the major computer programs, I have successfully worked on them.  They wondered if I could "keep up" on an iPad.  Good gravy.  I had to inform them that I do indeed know how to operate computers of all types as well as have mastery of many programs.  They looked incredulous when I informed them that my personal computer at home is a MacBook, that I also have an Android-based tablet, that I often use my iPhone to scan QRS codes, can convert a paper document into a PDF file simply by taking a photo of it, and that I have not only frequently used my husband's iPad in business, but I used an iPad exclusively at a previous medical office for all of my charting via EMR.  Their expression told me they thought I was lying.

Meanwhile I could feel their eyes almost burning into me (or was it my cheeks that were burning?) as they seemed unable to stop looking at my hairline and the emerging grey.  Meanwhile, I had to fight not to stare at the too-perfectly-full pouty lips on the office manager.  It seemed like she had a bit of trouble forming some words, as though she were still getting used to the size of her new lips.  Nonetheless, they, and she looked perfect and flawless.

After this brief but insulting 15 minute interview, the office manager informed me very quickly as to what the benefits would be IF I was selected for the position.  The benefits she began listing were AWESOME.  Even free scrubs!  One thing was missing, however, that had been mentioned in the ad:  Retirement benefits.  Ohhhh!   How very telling that was!  Then she told me of a benefit that was NOT in the ad:  Discounted pricing on all first-time cosmetic procedures such as Botox, facial fillers, fat reduction through cooling the fat cells (snake oil anyone?), collagen lip injections, etc., because "ALL EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO LOOK AND SELL 'THE BRAND'"!

I was then thanked and rushed out the door.

It is very obvious that they consider me too old for their office.  They are not a medically-based practice, but are rather cosmetic-based.  I would far rather be in a medically-based office of course.  Helping people get well is why I got into medicine in the first place.  If I'm to work as an MA again, I  would prefer to be in an office where I was assisting in surgical procedures again, comforting and educating patients, dressing wounds, etc., etc.  I wouldn't have minded the cosmetic aspects as I've done that before, but well...I guess I'm feeling a bit rejected today.  If it had been because they felt I lacked the experience or skills that would be one thing.  But I was rejected the minute they met me, just because I am not in my 20s, beautiful with long swinging hair, skin plumped and polished in all the right places to dazzling perfection.

I feel like an old and ugly slug.  The pity party begin at 7:00 p.m.  BYOB.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Potential Job Change

Not exactly a pithy title for today's entry, but definitely to the point.

For some reason I'm just not getting much action in my current business this year (even though hubby is doing just fine, although a little slower than last year), and I NEED to make a better income.

I've been putting all kinds of feelers out, and have an interview next Wednesday for an MA position.  IF they offer me a position and IF I accepted it, it would be full time with medical, optical, dental, 401K  (which I don't care much about at my age), paid holidays, sick days and paid vacation - VERY rare in medical offices.   I have very ambivalent feelings about this one.  I'd love the money and benefits, and must admit that we need them, but the idea of 40+ hours on my feet, running around like mad, the stress, etc., exhausts me before I even begin.  Of course, if I stick with it long enough it will stop being as stressful since I would learn their routine and stop being so darned nervous and insecure about myself.

The cart is before the horse here though, because I haven't even had the interview, let alone received an offer.  I just have this feeling. . .

Because I've been letting my hair grow out (as in growing out the indigo so I have dark brown hair with white roots - yuck!), I decided to stop by Sally's Beauty Supply today and pick up a temporary color to try to blend the roots a bit so it's not so severe looking and will look a bit more professional for interviewing.  While there I noticed that they had a help wanted sign, so long story short, I have a Sally's application in a folder in my car to fill out and drop off this weekend.   You see, I've decided to apply lots of different places and see what offers (if any) come in.

I'm going to take what feels right to me at the time.  I'm not limiting my options.

In the meantime, I'm definitely keeping my real estate license and my finger in that as I will likely always at least assist my husband in it in some manner.  Also, we feel we will probably never be able to fully retire and have discussed selling real estate together part time into our 70s.  Many people we know that age are quite active in the field, and it's something we think we would enjoy doing together.

So, if I end up taking an MA job, it's my HOPE that if real estate doesn't pick up for me that I could continue working as an MA for about another 6 years, then retire and go back into real estate part time. Of course, Social Security needs to still be around then, and who knows what will happen with that.

This post is really quite pointless, LOL.  Here I am making all kinds of plans when I haven't even gone on a single interview.  That's me!  Always worrying ahead!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

EUREKA! Lost Blog Found!

I can't believe it!

While cleaning out an old drawer (okay, the drawer wasn't old; rather it was a drawer filled with old junk), I discovered a small notebook with the password to this blog.  :)

I am deleting the replacement blog I started and am returning to this one so that I can still retain my old posts.

Posts will be made judiciously for a bit as I've had a bit of eye strain from staring at a computer screen all day long.  If I'm not on a computer, I'm on a tablet, iPhone, etc.  The old eyes are rebelling so I have the brightness on all my devices turned down and look at them as little as possible.  Though as it's required for my work.

But here I am, back again.
Bad pennies and all that!

God Winks

Originally posted:  April 28, 2014

As I thought about how I wanted to begin this blog (a reincarnation of my previous one - but that's a story for another day), I tried to come up with something Important (with a capital I). 

After many false starts, I realized that sometimes the important things in life are really the small things.  This lead me to recall a book I heard about from a friend and an experience I had while out browsing at the local garden shop on Saturday.

My friend had recently been telling me about a book she read by SQuire Rushnell, "When God Winks".  I haven't read it myself, but from her synopsis, I gather that the author suggests that the little coincidences in life aren't coincidence at all, but are rather a "God wink", as in God giving you a little sign that He's with you and thinking of you.  Just kind of a way to make His presence known in a very personal way.  A bit like how my father still gives my shoulder a little squeeze when I pass him in the hall and says "Hey Kiddo!" just as he has for the past 50+ years.  It's a lovely idea this "wink" business, and I do believe that it can definitely be true...sometimes.  I also believe in coincidence, however.  That is until I experienced a "God wink" on Saturday, and now I'm reconsidering.

I have been particularly stressed of late and Saturday afternoon I needed a break - any break - to just regroup for a bit.

About a mile from my house is a little garden center that I have always enjoyed visiting.  Outside are various bushes, flowers and trees on display, but inside the little dumpy-looking wooden building (glorified potting shed?) a magical wonderland awaits!  Tiny rooms and enclaves are waiting to be discovered, each decorated from floor to ceiling in a whimsical holiday theme.  Christmas dominates here, but there are also cubby holes filled with branches, autumn leaves, pumpkin-scented candles.  A bit of Halloween in this corner.  Spring flowers with gazing balls and fairy gardens in that corner.  And everywhere...magic! 

The old wooden floor creaks and groans with each step.  The air seems to be permanently scented with a mixture of vanilla, pine, ancient wood and cinnamon.  And everywhere, in every little room packed with holiday delights, it sparkles.  It gleams!  A bit of glitter...twinkly lights...shining glass...candle light.   There are so many treasures to discover hidden among tree branches, under a flower petal, tucked behind a candle. 

Typically it is somewhere I only go at Christmastime, a tradition that began when my adult son was just a little boy.  Behind the little cottage, Santa and his reindeer were always waiting each December to grant a small boy's dreams. 

As I walked through the door on Saturday and began the process of decompressing and leaving the "real" world behind and allowing myself to enter into this wonderland for just a little while, I noticed music playing in the background.  Not unusual, really.  They typically play Christmas music.  As I moved further away from the outside door and deeper into this mystical realm, I began to be able to relax, forget the dirty house and stack of unpaid bills at home, and as I did, I was able to focus in on the music. 


They were playing Camelot with Richard Harris, one of my absolute all time favorite plays.  I've seen it more times than I can count, seen the movie dozens of times and have the musical score all but memorized.  I was utterly enraptured!  The perfect musical accompaniment as a stressed and weary middle-aged woman shrugged off the outside world for a bit and entered, well...Camelot.

The place was devoid of customers as it usually is inside at this time of year.  The shop staff probably thought I was quite mad as I sang along with the soundtrack OUT LOUD, not caring who heard me, eyes glittering with joy and wonderment as I allowed myself to get lost in their beautiful fantasy world.

After going through each room at least twice and inspecting every nook and cranny with childlike glee,  I knew it was time to gather myself together, let the spell lift, and leave.  As I did, it suddenly occurred to me...GOD WINKED!  He DID!  He looked at his daughter, knowing she needed a mental escape, and arranged for her favorite escapist music to begin playing at the very beginning of the soundtrack when she walked through the door of the shop.  Yes.  I know in my heart of hearts that He thought of me.  How long did He have this planned?  Did He put the idea in someone's head to purchase that CD for the shop just so that I could hear it on the day I needed it?  No, I'm not full of self importance.  I simply know what a magnificent Father I have and that He showers me with Grace and Mercy.  He makes certain that I don't get what I deserve, but rather that I receive wonders that I have not earned and never could.

Sigh.  I received a God wink.  And I'm still smiling from it.

"I wonder what the King is doing tonight?
What merriment is the King pursing tonight?
The candles at the court, they never burned as bright.
I wonder what the King is up to tonight?"

Yes, indeed.  I wonder.  ;)