Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's your gut telling you?

So life being the proverbial roller coaster that it is...has now found me back at the bottom.  I've been here before.  Lots of times.  It's familiar territory.  The other part that is familiar is the beating my stomach takes when things are going NOT so well.  I'm an internalizer.  I smile on the outside.  Making jokes, writing funny blogs and generally trying to be light hearted when in truth my stomach is an acid volcano of stress and upset emotions.  It's a downright miracle that the ulcer that was discovered a few years ago has not grown large enough to suck the rest of my body into it's vast hole.  Although at times I wonder if my doctor just lied in order to keep feeding me medications because he gets a kick back from the drug companies.  It's all a conspiracy when it comes to the health care industry. 

But back to me...and my gut.  On top of being a rumbly, achy, keeping me in the bathroom more than any one normal human being should be in has also begun to expand.  It seems my gut doesn't want my butt to feel lonely.  Isn't that nice of it?  Umm.  Yeah.  NOT. 

Tonight as Jon coaxed me out of my pity filled mock hibernation to attend a local fast food joints participation at helping our youngest daughter school raise money for the PTA, I was hit with just how out of control it's growth has become.  A cute Halloween t-shirt that has seen me through the past 3 years of trick-o-treating now bears a striking resemblence to me attempting to suck my gut into a childs shirt.  As if the realization that "Job, Take #2" is as failed as it was the first time around (details to follow once the investigation is does sound as bad as that word "investigation" would lead you to believe) wasn't enough to stress me out, now I've got to worry about my mid section trying to take over the whole of my body.  What next CANKLES?  Dear Lord....why must you hate me so?

Ok...maybe it's not God.  Maybe it's the fact that running my fingers longingly over the swipe card for my gym membership hasn't made me lose even an ounce of weight.  Maybe, just maybe I should run my ass up to the gym and then I wouldn't be worrying about my gut so much.  It sure would make for a lovely distraction from all the other shit that is going on in the world that is me.

But since I am one to procrastinate beyond any amount of reason...I think I will just ponder on this realization while I wallow in the stress of my current situation.  And with gut wins!  For now.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The view through my one good eye.....

Life just keeps getting.....harder to see through both eyes.  As if I don't have enough to contend with in the areas of job, love, I have to deal with an incessent problem of over active my eyes!  What the shit?

Last week it was a persistent issue of teary eyes that was clouding my view and now it's my left eye that seems to want to swell up at the most inconvenient of moments.  Then as soon as I hit it with some eye drops I am able to buy myself a good hour or so of relief and a two eyed view on how crappy things seem to be going right now.

Funny how the view through only one eye doesn't cut down the troubles to a more manageable number.  Maybe if they both swell shut then at least I can pretend to be invisible and hopefully all the bad stuff will disappear as well. 

Until that becomes a reality, at least the bad stuff disappearing part, I will just have to shut both my eyes...for the night at least and hope that the view of life in my dreams is a lot happier than the reality!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New job....take 2!

If only everything in life had a "do over" button that accompanied it.  I know for a God's honest truth that I'd be using that button ALOT!  I can think of about a dozen things I would be using it for at this exact second as I sit here typing this blog.  But this entry is about my job.  For those devout'll know that what I thought was going to be a wonderful change back in September turned into an utter nightmare in just 72 hours of employment.  What a difference 2 1/2 weeks can make. 

I originally left this job feeling that there could be a definite possibility that the insurance commissioner would come knocking on my door but now after being's been over a decade since ANYONE employer or otherwise has pursued me...I've not only taken a different perspective on this job but on my self worth.  Maybe I've still got some spunk left in me. 

The confidence that I thought had long been lost, surpressed or rather depressed out of me has risen up and made me take note in not only a career sense but in a personal sense as well.  The way that my bosses were talking to me and then asking my honest input gave me pause.  Was this really happening? Was I being "Punk'd" again??  It's not that I don't think I have merit to back up the resume I carry, but behind this funny face is a very LOW self esteem.

I've been handed more false promises in the last several months than I care to list.  I've put all in on jobs in the past and I've found myself drained to the point of severe illness.  I've been handed more lip service and words with no action behind them that I was beginning to feel like a school girl searching for her first love.  Giving all and getting nothing in return.

Then to come in a few days later to resume my job title and see that they were actually taking heed to these points lit a fire in me that while I had realized had gone out, I had not realized would flame up so big in such a short period of time.  But it hasn't been ALL seriousness with no fun.  I mean really, would it be my life if there were NO humor filled rants? wouldn't.

I've left the crazies of the dental world like the man who once called me to ask if it was "really bad that he used rubber cement to fix his denture" or the woman who threw a check at me because I stamped PAST DUE on her bill that had been unpaid for 6 months.  My all time favorite would have to be the man that had a past co-worker and I high tailing it out of the office in a sheer fit of terror when he threatened to come back and get even with us for "that woman making him cry" (as he makes a tear motion down his face from his eye to his chin and talking about himself in the 3rd person). 

But don't cry for me dental world.  I am now thoroughly entertained by this new facet of patient care.  It's not every day that you get a client that calls and cancels not one but two appointments because her cat seems "a little under the weather" and "really shouldn't be left alone".  Really?  REALLY??  I mean...I am a pet lover.  You know this about me.  You see the way I fawn on my Penny and the other dogs of the house.  Hell...I write more about my 4 legged children then I do about my 2 legged kids!  I've never cancelled a doctors appointment to care for my slightly under the weather pet.  And "if" I have....I would never admit it.  Because then ladies and gentleman...I truly would have achieved the last layer of crazy.  And I was really hoping that I could avoid achieving that until I was like, oh...I don't know...80!

I can't be the crazy cat lady in my 30' will leave me nothing to aspire to!  God...I gotta have goals people.  But the crazy cat caller hasn't been my only entertainment.  There is the client who had the last appointment of the day and was 10 minutes late.  I called to check and see if she was on her way because our office is located on a road that is under endless construction, as so many of the roads in Louisiana are, and we've had many a client delayed because they are behind a cement truck or a pavement roller.  At about 15 minutes after her appointment start time I called to check on her.  She answers and tells me that she is "on the road" and "will be there in just a few minutes".  I've learned that A) you never take their word and B) it's best to ask on which road they happen to be on and about how long do they estimate before they arrive.  This puts the ball in their court and usually will get them to pinpoint whether they will truly be able to make it in a reasonable amount of time so that we may see them or if we need to reschedule because it will leave no time for proper treatment. 

This client however was having no part of committing to anything other than entertaining me.  I asked if she was on the road that leads to our office.  No response...other than a giggle.  I didn't know that this was a joke...but whatever.  I ask about how long before she thinks she will be at the office. immediate response and then instead of a time I get...and these are the EXACT words..."don'tcha worry babe I will be there in plenty of time for them to put their hands all over me".

Ummmmmm.....long pause of extreme unwillingness to respond to that statement. I swear to you I don't work in a brothel or one of those skeezy massage parlors. 

After uncomfortable pause I manage to compose this professional yet slightly stuttered response "well it's already close to 20 minutes into your appointment time and the office closes at 5p so we will need to reschedule you to a later date".  She sounded dejected and I think it had a lot to do with her deflation at not being able to have "their hands all over her"....ahhhh puked in my mouth a bit....but she took the next appointment on the book.

After I got off the phone.  I got up...walked away...and burst into laughter.  Seriously...I never heard that in dentistry! I mean maybe when they were on nitrous...but never when I was confirming or following up on a scheduled appointment.

So now 48 hours into "new job...take #2" I am finding my groove and learning that there is crazy no matter where you go and hey...I can fit into crazy.  I'm pretty sure I can be their leader...ya know, like if this job doesn't work out.  Seriously I was lucky enough for take #2...there certainly can't be a 3rd, right?? 


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patriotism afloat upon the Mississippi River....

In true me fashion I slept through a once in a lifetime event.  Way to keep the loser streak rolling Jessica!

But I am happy to report that Jon and Hannah were able to go and partake in viewing the USS New York voyage down the Mississippi River from Northrop Grumman's Avondale shipyard.  The amphibious transport dock ship which is an impressive 684 feet long and whose bow stem was constructed using 7 1/2 tons of steel from the World Trade Center that was salvaged after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack was making it's trip from the shipyard to the Gulf of Mexico.  It will continue on to New York where it will commisioned on November 7th and then finally set sail to it's homeport in Norfolk, Va. 

Jon and Hannah crawled out of bed in the wee hours of morning...leaving me peacefully slumbering after a night of debauchery with my girl friends....and headed to the Riverwalk in New Orleans.  Gathered with others in the foggy morning they awaited a view of the ship.  Along the way to their spot they encountered a dinosaur....

.....only in New Orleans.

You couldn't help but notice the World Trade Center in New Orleans barely visible behind the foggy morning.

Hannah while too young when 9/11 occured to remember why it is that Jon was so moved to partake in this moment was just as eager to see the ship.  We may not have gotten a son but it's so true when people call Hannah "Little Jon" because she is definitely her fathers daughter.

The fog was holding on and when the estimated arrival of 7:45am came and went with no ship the text messages began to come through about whether or not they would actually be able to stay around long enough to actually see the ship make it's way down the river.  When we had talked about going down to the river to see ship we had assumed that with the original estimated time of sailing that we would have the kids back in school just about an hour late.  Weather apparently has no concept of childrens school schedule and Jon told me that the ship didn't pass until around 10am.

View across the Mississippi River

Harbour Police signaling that the ship is on it's way

Bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" and "Anchor's Aweigh" (the sound of this made Jon VERY emotional)


The first sign of the USS New York (sorry it's not a good pic...was VERY foggy)


Ship passing just in front of them.  Service men are standing on the ship, but it's hard to see due to the fog.


USS New York making it's way past New Orleans.

Thankfully they were able to hang on long enough to see it.  In the waiting they were interviewed by the Times Picayune.  A video and a clip of the article are posted on

Here's the part of the article that featured Jon and Hannah:

Jon Pettus, 33, and his 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, woke up at 4 a.m. to drive about 30 miles from their Slidell home to the French Quarter's Woldenberg Park to wave small American flags at the 260 Navy sailors aboard the ship as they passed.  Hannah was just 2 years old when the World Trade Center's twin towers fell, Pettus said. Though she risked receiving an unexcused tardy day at school, he brought her with him to honor the lives taken by terrorists.

"If we don't remind ourselves, we become complacent, (and) it's just a bunch of lives lost for nothing, " Pettus said. He said the twin towers' steel carried in the ship's frame is " a piece of history".

I am glad that Jon got to be there to see this moment in history and that Hannah was by his side.  This last picture is at Jon's request.....


Saturday, October 10, 2009

In search of new....

Just recently my husband and I "celebrated" 12 years of being together as a couple.  And by "celebrate" I mean that we had it pointed out to us by a friend of ours that it just so happened to be that day and so we kissed and toasted with the drinks we had been sipping on for the past two hours.  This is what our relationship has come to.  We are reduced to having our milestones pointed out to us by others.  It's really pathetic if you ask me.

Another occurance was when I was driving my oldest daughter home from theater practice and she was dancing in the car to the mixed cd that she had made me in an attempt to prove that I "truly have lame taste in music".  I stated how I really, really, REALLY am in need of a night out dancing.  She looked sideways at me and said..."yeah, me too".  I laughed and said non chalantly how in just over 3 years I can take her to 18 & up clubs and we can go dancing.  She gave me that look of sheer terror and death of embarassment that would ensue if I was to truly attempt this most heinous of ideas.

Before I could even elaborate on this topic she said the most hurtful thing outside of telling me that I shouldn't be wearing these pants because YES they do truly make your ass look HUGE!  She said..."in 3'll be like....ya know....O-L-D!"  I tried hard not to slam on the brakes or slam her head into the dashboard.  I proceeded to ask her how old she actually thought I was.  She did that long hard pause that kids that fear they may never see a penny of allowance or be told yes they can do or have something that they want ever, ever....EVER again if they answer this question wrong. 3 years I will only be 35!  What the shit?!?  I am NOT old.  I am NOT OLD!  Jesus...most people are just now getting started on their childbearing years and me.  I mean, us.  Jon and I...we are at the half way point.  This time in 10 years we will be the proud parents of two full fledge adults.  This time in 10 years I will only be take that and suck on it!

But these two events coupled with some other things that have occured over the past few days, weeks, months....year...have made me realize that it's time to go in search of the newness again.  I've begun to make a list.  Jon teases me about these list.  Mainly because I write them and then when I mess up I rewrite them.  But I tend to keep the messy one just in case I forget to carry over some items and then I end up with two list.  Two lists that usually never end up finished.  I get accused of that a lot and rightfully so because I am SO not a start to finish kind of girl.  I'm more of a get really excited about the start and lose all interest in the finish part.  About the only things that I stay COMPLETELY interested in from start to finish are FarmVille, this season of Fringe and having sex with my husband.  Not necessarily in that particular order.  Although I have said the words "just let me check my crops" when Jon has given me that look of "let's get it on"!

Again...perfect example why it is time to find the new again.  It's time to get back in tune with my body and to actually locate that body underneath all the layers of baby fat from the last baby (10 years ago) and those pints of Hagaan Daaz that have found their way maliciously into my mouth at 2am when I am depressed as all hell about the state of my life and the unhappiness that I have found myself in.  It's just time. 

For the past few days I've felt this overwhelming antsy feeling.  This urge to just throw on my shoes and run.  Run hard.  Run fast.  Run far.  Probably wouldn't be a great idea if I actually allowed it to come to fruition.  I'm pretty sure that I would make it to the end of my street and my family would find me dead or at least unconscious on the ground beneath the stop sign.  Since running...and I must admit that every time I say, think or type that word...running...all I can think of is Forrest Gump saying it.  "And I started running." 

Anyways...since running is out of the question at this particular juncture I decided to have a little conversation with my inner self.  At a little after midnight when all the house was quiet I pulled myself into first position (rockin the ballet), closed my eyes and just calmly explained that it's time to take back my life and ALL the things that I used to be so passionate about. 

It's gonna be a tall order...a slow process...but a challenge that I must take on.  For my sanity.  For my self.  I will not let another milestone go by uncelebrated or at least unremembered and I certainly will not allow my teenager or tweenager make me feel old.  It's up to me to preserve the new.  Game on on!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Penny's Thought of the Day....

Being back at home after just a few days back out in the work place has been both a blessing and blow to my confidence.  I've relinguished my Crackberry to Penny's capable hands....ergh, I mean paws.  Most of my calls are from Jon, since I haven't gotten any responses on the millions (okay 5) resumes I've turned loose in the employment world.  I don't want Jon to think I'm slipping back into my depressive ways so I rely on Penny to give him other reasons as to why I won't answer my phone.  I think she's doing a pretty good job so far..... she doesn't follow direction well, but at least she didn't tell him I was sleeping...or working my FarmVille farm on Facebook.  But there is just one problem...she seems to have just one go to phrase for where I am or what I am doing....

....hmmmm, guess i gotta work on some other answers for her to give him because I'm getting REALLY tired of him coming home with Imodium and Cranberry in an attempt to "help with my bathroom issues".

My goal of mediocrity has not gone unfulfilled.....

I think I've reached a new record of being a quitter.  While I tried very hard not to be OVERLY excited about the job that I had found (after 3 months of looking) and started last week....even I floored myself when after just a few minutes I found myself in the VERY familiar territory of wanting to RUN LIKE HELL from the building. 

The owners were nice.  Major plus.  Which, I must say after my last employer was a complete change of emotions.  Perfect example on my first day they asked how Hannah's birthday party went.  I thought that was sweet, but it wasn't enough to make me want to stay there.  I was trying to get a lay of the office when the first red flag came up. 

They had instructions on how to handle checking in and confirming the schedule.  Simple enough.  When I began to look at the manual in comparisson to the real time schedule of the practice management software I was floored by the fact that I couldn't follow the instructions.  At first I thought it was my inability to follow directions.  I'm a smart girl, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd been tripped up by directions (crunchy manicotti circa 2003 comes to mind....and a blog for another day).  I turned to one of the techs that I was managing for answers to my ever mounting questions, since the owners were with patients, the answer that came out of her mouth took me aback. 

It seems that they weren't staying current on paperwork which wasn't allowing them to check out patients when they left which was then not allowing them to check in the same patients when they returned.  If this was dentistry it would have been bad but manageable since you don't see most patients more than 2 times a year.  If it took you an additional day or two to catch up on paperwork in order to submit the insurance claims you could still be okay.  But being physical therapy you see 90% of your patients every other day.  There were weeks of clinical notes not done. 

Having a strong insurance background the next red flag came from the fact that reports were coming over the fax of claims being processed for patients and dates that I could see clearly in the system had not be notated or charted.  By lunch time I was sick with the thought that there was a pretty apparent situation of unsettling insurance practices going on.

Upon taking a moment to speak with the owner about how it was that the claims were getting paid even though the charting that is required by worker's comp or Medicare in order to be paid I was given a blank stare and a blanket answer of, "in the event of another audit we have up to 48 hours to provide evaluation and prognosis reports to back up treatment".

Oh god...did they just say "another"....that would imply a first...or worse...gulp...others!

I wanted so badly to shut off my conscience to just stay in a place where it truly seemed that family was a priority over the stress of a workday.  A place where they smiled...genuinely...and encouraged friendly banter and socialization.  Ugh...this place could be so good....but prison, for insurance fraud...yeah, that could be hell on earth! I am being WAY dramatic, but still.

I made it to day 3 and that little Jimminy Cricket within me was screaming..."you look horrible in orange"...."run away R - U - N  A - W - A - Y".  All I could see in my minds eye was a horrendous insurance audit that would cripple a small practice such as this and me out of a job once again.  It was time to cut and run.

When I sat down with the owners to discuss my worries they seemed to understand.  They seemed to understand a little too much.  Which made me feel more unsettled about the job and even more sure of my decision to quit.  At the end of our discussion they asked me to take 24 hours to really think about it.  I did so and then told them that I was sorry to have to leave the position.  They seemed genuinely sad that I was leaving. 

In this economy and with our financial state in such a precarious state I feel like such an immense loser for walking away from a paycheck.  I had, once upon a time, believed that my last job would be just last job.  Then when I took this last job, I had thought this would be my last job...well, at least until I finished school.  I beginning to wonder if I will ever find that one place where I fit.  The place where I feel like what I can bring to the table is as valued as I am. 

I think those last two statements are symbolistic of more than just my search for a job...they are words that describe how I feel about my life in general.

Maybe my dishearted feelings towards my career status is just a distraction of a bigger issue.  My disillusionment over my general.

I guess my status of mediocrity remains firmly intact.  Good to know where one stands.  Right in the middle.


Monday, October 5, 2009

My subconcious is screaming......

I am supposed to be sleeping.  Actually in approximately 26 minutes I am supposed to be getting a text message from some friends that will prompt me to throw on gym clothes and shimmy my fat and tired ass on down to the gym for some cardio.  Unfortunately for them and my ass...I will not be in attendance.  Judging by the sound of the torrential rain outside I am beginning to think that they may not be there either.  But back to the real reason why I am writing this.  For the past week I have been having this completely realistic and unbelievably horrifying dream that I am drowning.  Here's the hitch...there's no water.  None.  Not one single solitary drop.  Also for the last week I have been back to work. 


Yeah...I think not.

I don't get it.  I wanted to go back to work.  I needed to go back to work.  My sanity needed me to go back to work.  My bank account REALLY needed me to go back to work.  I went back to work and BOOM dreams of drowning in no friggin water.

I had weathered horrible interviews and kiss off emails.  No dreams of drowning then. 

I get two simultaneous interviews for two seemingly great companies and it's like a battle ensues for who will be lucky enough to be my employer, if there is such a thing and NOW I'm having nightmares about drowning.  Where were the goddamn nightmares when I had no job.  Not even a prospect of a job. 

Or where were the nightmares back when I had the job that lumped the biggest weight of stress I've had put on me since Jon and I seperated.  Where o where were the nightmares then?  Oh, wait...I remember...I silenced those nightmares with mass amounts of sleeping medication.  Nevermind.

Ugh.  I cannot believe that this is happening.  I mean I CAN believe that this is happening because this is SO the kind of THING that happens to me on a continual basis. 

I tried to talk to Jon when this one hit tonight.  It was by far the worse of the 7 that I have now had.  After patting my arm and muttering, "it a dream" I began to hear his steady snore again and realized he had figured that he'd done enough to soothe my fears and he was going back to sleep. 

That was an hour ago.

I laid in the bed for another 30 minutes sobbing until I felt the need for a tissue because I was getting grossed out by Penny trying to be the doggie version.  I'm all for giving my dog a kiss or letting her lick my face.  But I have to draw the line at her trying to slurp boogers from my nose.  That just crosses some kind of line. 

My subconcious and my gut are telling me that this job is not the place for me.  I keep trying to convince myself it is because A) it's been almost 3 months since I was cleared to go back to working full time B) I really miss having some kind of job and C) I'm pretty sure Jon is gonna either drop dead or kill me if I don't start working on a regular basis to ease up the financial stress.  I've always listened to that voice inside me.  Not just the ones inside my head that say, "eat chocolate" or "go ahead have another glass of wine"...I'm talking about the ones that say, "this doesn't feel right"...the ones deep in my gut and my subconcious.  The ones that seem to guide me towards the things I need to be doing and away from the things that I shouldn't be doing. 

I've been trying to shush them these last few years.  I shushed them when my marriage fell apart and they told me to run the other way and don't ever look back.  I shushed them when I insisted on returning to my last job even when my body and my doctor were saying NOT a good idea.  And now I think I've got them good and pissed because for the last week they have been getting increasingly louder in regards to this job. 

More and more I find myself shying away from what seems like the right choice and going for the one that makes others happy.  Sometimes I wonder when will it be my turn to make choices for the betterment of myself again and not for everyone else. 

Maybe it's the exhaustion...or the sound of the rain....or the quieting of the voices that seem pacified for being listened to for the moment...but I am suddenly very sleepy and hoping that I will get a bit of rest.  Rest without the feeling of drowning.  Rest so that I can hopefully think more clearly.  Rest that will most likely allow me to make a decision to sink or to swim.