Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick Li'l Update...

...because, aside from the shiny, new job, there's not much going on. The shiny new job is going well, though, for which I am grateful. I started Tuesday rather than Monday because there was a bit of chaos going on, but the extra day off suited me just fine. I love my shift, I get to sleep in and I'm still done at a reasonable hour. The lovely HR lady took me on a whirlwind tour of the facilities (the warehouse has rolls of bubble wrap bigger than me! i was considering removing one) and to meet everyone, whose names I promptly forgot.

Yesterday I got the basic training for the computer programs, and today I was listening to calls. I think they could tell I was getting a bit antsy, though, because I ended up taking calls for the second half of today. Normally, new hires listen in on phone calls without participating for at least two or three days before they go live on the phones. My regular supervisor and my night supervisor (i get two because my shift falls right between theirs. they're both pretty decent dudes, near as i can tell) both told me I did a good job, so perhaps there's hope for me. Maybe all those years of crappy customer service jobs were good for something, after all.

You know, I'm actually looking forward to work tomorrow. I know that the happy shiny feeling will wear off soon. But I also know that I can be as happy here as I can be doing customer service. The company is good, the people are awesome (i laughed more at work today than i had in the last week), and the products are things I can sell with a clear conscience. Really, it's a good setup. I hope that the last couple of days of your week go by smoothly, and that you get to laugh with your boss a couple of times in there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So Close, no Matter How Far...

... couldn't be much more from the heart/forever trusting who we are/and nothing else matters" --Metallica (this is as close as jim and i get to having a song)

This post has been kicking around in my head for a while now, and I think it's time to let it out. In two weeks or so, Jim and I will have been dating for four years. In the space of these four years, we've been through more than some people go through in decades.

I don't talk about the very beginning of our relationship much, because it's complicated. I started dating Jim pretty quickly after I broke up with another guy that I'd been seeing for a few years. In all honesty, I started dating him for all the wrong reasons. I needed comfort, and Jim offered it. In the back of my mind, I had no idea that this would last very long, but it felt safe and good at the time.

So imagine my surprise, and my happiness, when this young man who I had simply liked, turned out to be a man that I could love, and a partner that I could count on. I've mentioned coming back to my parents' house from Reading, and the depression, the failures I dealt with. I'm not good at letting other people see me hurt, or letting other people in. But Jim wouldn't be pushed away, he refused to be left out. And that determination and unwavering support are a large part of the reason I am as whole and sane and balanced as I am today.

Jim is stubborn, and strong, and kind. He has a smile just for me that is so full of tenderness and love that I am carried away by it. Jim's mom raised him right, he's a gentleman. He can take anything with an engine apart, figure out what was keeping it from working, and put it all back together again without diagrams. He's a devious bastard when you play Scrabble against him, and he'll talk about his blue-collar upbringing til you think his family is a pile of hillbillies. He just doesn't want you to realize that he's got an amazingly analytical mind hiding under all that curly hair. Jim is the rock, the support that so many of his friends and family lean on. In an emergency, or even when there's a minor problem, Jim is the first person to get a call. He's cool and rational, and he surely doesn't want you to know that he's got a depth of feeling that would put poets to shame. He lives to fix things. He will go miles out of his way to pick up co-workers who need a ride, or to follow friends that might break down on the way home. He's funny, and vulgar, and has the gentlest hands. Jim's the friend that will be there to help change your tire, or to help you move in the city in August when he's only got one day off a week. He's got a soft spot for animals, and for kids in rough situations. He's learning to be social and to make small talk, and he's actually enjoying his efforts. Jim is--first, foremost, and above all--loyal. He won't hear someone speak ill of you, he won't ever betray you or let you down. And though Jim wouldn't like me to tell you this, he's forgiving, too. Not right away, and not before you have a good argument about something, but grudges are not for him.

From the day I found out about the alien spine baby, Jim was there to hold my hand. He would let me get all the fear and the worry out of my system, and calmly remind me that we would be okay. He went to every doctor's appointment and procedure with me, and he paid attention and asked the questions that I forgot to ask. He gave me my medications and fed me juice and soup, and was willing to leave me to wallow for just long enough before he made me get up and keep on going. When I needed a normal day, he made sure that's what we had. If I wanted an adventure, he hopped in the car with me. Jim's strength gave me courage. Even when we were discussing radiation therapy, it was a question of how we would handle it, not how I would deal with the situation. He consistently refused to admit that we couldn't handle whatever the outcome was. Jim actually went into a new job in the competitive market we're dealing with and told them he needed his third day of work off. The idea that he wouldn't wait through my surgery never even occurred to him. He drove for hours to see me while I was in the hospital, even though I was so drugged up I hardly knew he was there some nights.

Jim, you are not just a friend or a lover, or even some paltry boyfriend. You are my partner, my equal, my love. We're not two halves of one whole, but two complete people in our own right. Together, we're on hell of a pair. I am sure there will be fights, I know there will be more hard times, and I'll bet that we never get to be rich or famous. But I also know that we'll get past the fights and that we can handle the hard times. And I imagine we can get along just fine without ending up rich or famous. I am proud of us. I feel like we've grown up into some pretty decent people together, and that we're each better together than we would've been apart. We temper each other, and we play off our different strengths. And I couldn't replace you if I wanted to. Who else is this prepared for the zombie invasion?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whew...

...putting in two full eight-hour shifts in a row after eight weeks of not doing very much of anything is exhausting! I'm actually glad my boss gave me today off, I get a day to recover and rest a little bit before I go back into the fray. I'm trying to take it a little easy on myself, and I spent yesterday cheating and sitting on a filing cabinet at some points. I'm also more vocal about needing a break. The hour spent sitting recharging is pretty important these days. I put my notice in on Saturday, and my boss was surprised but not at all upset. On the one hand, it's good, because the next eight days of work will be relatively peaceful. On the other hand, I had a whole speech saved up about how I don't owe her or the company anything and how terrible they've been to me. And, in all honesty, a small part of me was sort of hoping that there would be a confrontation and I would get to be all dramatic and leave and not serve out said two weeks (yup, i am a terrible, horrible person).

I meant to have a picture to put here for you guys, since I went to Atlantic City (trashiest boardwalk in america, i love it!) with one of my Jersey Girls. Sadly, though, my camera has decided that this life is not good enough for it. Whenever I turn it on, the lens comes out, whirls around and makes unhappy 'eeeehhhhhhhhhhh" noises and goes back into the camera, which then gives me a pretty white screen that tells me there is a lens error. I'm pretty unhappy because I have taken better care of that camera than pretty much anything else I own. I've had it since December, and there is not a scratch on it, it's been treated with love and respect and cherished. And the silly thing decided to turn around and break on me. Thankfully, Momolla has the receipt (it was a christmas gift) and I'm going to see about returning it or getting it fixed for free.

Yesterday was one of those days where things start going wrong and you think, 'well, it can't get a whole lot worse' and then things turn around and they do get worse. The details are long and ranting, and we'll just say that the day included a broken dryer, a little more throwing up, a pile of wet, stinking clothes, dealing with my mean boss, my car randomly leaking in the torrential downpours, attitude from Mike, angry customers, and staying late at work, all in no particular order. Since the discovery of Laslow-Mitford, I have tried very hard to embrace a philosphy of not sweating the small stuff, of not being bothered by things I can't control. Yesterday, my philosophy was put to the test rather hard. Mostly, I passed. By the end of the day, I just wanted a hug and a big piece of chocolate. But I wasn't as stressed and angry as I used to be when I came home, which is a very good thing.

In confirmation of my decision to keep Jim around for a good long while, he managed to figure out what the dryer needed to stop being broken. He also ordered the part, because there is not a single store in our area that carries belts for dryer motors. So by Friday, I should have a dryer again. As Momolla says, a man who can fix things is a gem. He even made dinner last night because I was tired. It was boxed mac and cheese, but that was exactly what I wanted. If I had asked for steak, he would have driven to the store to get that for me. I am a lucky woman, to have a man who takes such good care of me and who indulges me whenever he can.

There's not a lot of other news to report to you, guys. Since I'm just starting to get back on my feet and out of the house, there's not a lot going on yet, and I can only put so many navel-gazing posts up. Here's hoping that your week goes smoothly and easily, and that you don't have any major electronic or appliance issues.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Easy Part...

...I'm starting to suspect there isn't one. But then, when is there ever? Still, I'm finally through the withdrawal and am feeling as close to normal as I have in a very long time. Thank you all for the concern about the drug issues. I didn't do my research before trying to stop taking the narcotics (turns out they're addictive. who knew?) and my doctor's office didn't give me a lot of information about weaning myself off of them (i suspect that they didn't think i'd really be off the drugs so quickly. ha!) and I pretty much just cut my doses down too far too fast. By the time I realized how bad it was, I spoke to my doctor and was told to just keep on keepin' on, that the only thing to really do was to finish getting the drug out of my system. And then, I ran out of pills (for narcotics, you have to have a paper prescription and the post office brough mine a few days too late). Let me just tell you, mostly cold turkey is not the way to go. Hopefully you'll never need to know that, though. One thing this taught me is that there's a world of difference between physical dependence and mental addiction. I didn't crave the pills, and didn't mentally notice their absence. But my, oh my, the body surely did. I will never again judge a person who's trying to break an addiction. Turns out, it's not just a matter of willpower. (eta for the people at americanmuscle.com: i had chest surgery in june, the narcotics that i was coming off of were prescription painkillers that were given to me by a doctor. i had a tough time coming off of them because i have never had to take anything so strong before, and i was on them for over a month.)

For the first time since February (and gods, that feels like a lifetime ago already), I feel more like me. I'm Emily, not just a person with a huge tumor, not a recovering patient. Just me, plain and simple. I still get tired more easily than I like, and I run out of breath faster than pleases me, but I look in the mirror and the only person looking back is me. I'm starting to feel restless, like I need to get out of the house and do things and see people and have adventures and start to live again... Just in time to go back to work in a week.

On the bright side, though, I will only be with the Pep Boys for two weeks. *drums roll, trumpets blare, and angels sing happily* As of August 24, 2009, I am an employee of americanmuscle.com, the same company that employs Jim. I'll work 10:30-7 M-F. No weekends, no holidays, no crazy early mornings. As far as jobs go, it's practically perfect. I can wear jeans and t-shirts and flip-flops to work. I get a regular, scheduled break every day. My schedule won't change at a moment's notice. The customers are, by and large, happy and easy to deal with (jim's biggest gripe is that his canadian customers are too nice. i feel for him). I'm so happy, I could dance and sing and giggle. Which, actually, has already been done in profusion.

For the first time in half a year, things feel like they're starting to fall into place. Unbelievably, we've made it. Through the uncertainty and fear and worry and heartache and frustration, I have never been alone. There is not one step of this journey that I've had to take by myself; you've been standing behind me, cheering me on and picking me up and dusting me off when I needed it. Looking back through old blog entries, I realized that I wrapped up just about every blog by mentioning how amazing you guys, my blog friends, are. I can't really say I made it, because this isn't something I would have been able to handle with any grace or steadiness by myself. I'm used to being the rock, the foundation. I'm not so used to leaning on others, using someone else as a touchstone. And I thank all the powers that be that, when I finally needed some good, strong pillars of my own, I had so very many to lean on. The worst is finally over, and I'm a little dented and scuffed around the edges. The remarkable thing, though, is that I am not broken. So, from the bottom of my little heart, thank you. For the love, support, laughter, care packages, unflagging positivity, and the continual comfort. You're fabulous, and I couldn't have made it through this insane year without you ladies.