Thursday, August 18, 2016

Financial Progress

First, a response to a question many of you had about Bean's hospital visit: we don't know if it's asthma.  Probably.  The nurse practitioner said that technically, if it's only happened once, it can't be considered asthma.  However, given the family history of asthma (Monkey's, and my sister Traveler's) it is likely that that's what it is.  They just can't give it that name unless it happens again.  So far she's doing well, but we're headed back to the doctor today, and the allergist in 6 weeks.  I'll keep you all posted.

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I haven't been saying much about my financial situation recently.  For some reason, that seems to be one of the hardest things to open up about.  I guess the short version is - it's getting better.  Not overnight.  We're still behind on many things and have little spending money. But we're doing so much better at communicating, and I think we're both starting to see that the big picture is improving.  I've had two big milestones lately that I wanted to share.

Number One - as of last week, our credit card debt is now a 4-digit number.  Yes, I know that's a lot of debt.  But we've been paying a huge sum of money each month to our debt management program for the past four years to get to this point.  A number greater than what we pay Monkey's afterschool program each month.  Almost as much as we pay Bean's preschool.  Suffice it to say, we've paid off a ton of debt.  In fifteen months, we'll be done.  And that will be amazing.  But seeing that 4-digit number right now feels pretty awesome, too.

Number Two - there was a period of time when we had negative net worth.  I know that's common, especially among people who don't own homes.  But we do own a home. And  it felt horrible.  It felt like we had negative worth as human beings.  Part of the problem, in addition to student loans and credit cards, was that our home had lost so much value.  We were never upside-down, luckily, but I think at one point we had less than $4000 equity in our home.  And of course we'd sunk all our cash into it, so...

Over the past few years, our home value has gone back up until it's now slightly over what we paid for it.  Like maybe $20,000, for a home we've owned for 10 years.  We've also, of course, put money into our 401k's, made credit card payments and student loan payments.  Around when Bean was born, I calculated our net worth at around zero.  It felt good to be in the black again.

Sometimes, especially as our home value is going up, I like to calculate our net worth when I'm stressed about finances.  It reminds me that the goal isn't day-to-day purchases but long-term stability.  It makes me feel better when Monkey complains about all the things I don't buy him.

Recently, I was engaging in this exercise yet again.  I came up with what I thought was a respectable number.  Probably less than many of you, but probably more than the average American.  Most of that is home equity, though.

And then I realized something.  In about six months, as long as we keep paying our credit cards and student loans, and putting money into our 401k's, we will soon have assets that are greater than our debts, even without taking the house into account.  I'm sure there's an accounting term for this but I can't remember it.  Anyway, the sum of our 401k's (which let's face, are our only real savings, despite the few hundred dollars in the Togo fund) will be greater than the sum of our credit card debt plus student loans.  Which means in theory, we could actually pay them all off.  I would never do that, because that is terrible financial advice.  But I could.  And that feels so great.

I just wanted to share.  :)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hospital Visit

It's been a rough week around here.

This past weekend, my kids and I, along with my sister and a friend, attended a folk music festival in the Berkshires.  We go every year - this was my 18th time attending in the past 21 years.  It wasn't the best one ever, but it was fun as always.

Saturday, Bean had a runny  nose, but I didn't think much of it.  She's 3 1/2; she has a runny nose all the time.  Saturday night she was coughing all night.  I wasn't too worried because it seemed like a garden-variety cold.  Her preschool is closed this week, and the plan was for my mom to watch her on Monday and Tuesday.  I was pleased about the timing, since my mom is usually my backup for sick kids anyway.  I figured my mom could watch her while she recuperated.

As Sunday wore on, though, Bean became increasingly listless.  She wanted me to carry her everywhere, and she kept putting her head on my shoulder like she wanted to fall asleep.  But she never actually fell asleep.  I felt bad for her but kept thinking that a good nap would  help things.

Around 2 pm, when she started seeming worse, I took her to the first aid tent at the festival.  The tent is staffed by doctors, nurses and EMTs, who get to attend the festival for free in exchange for volunteering about 12 hours of their time over the 3 days.  She was seen by a couple of volunteers, who felt her belly, listened to her lungs, looked in her ears, and took her temperature.  They pronounced her constipated and dehydrated, with some kind of cold/virus.  They asked me to encourage fluids and keep her out of the sun.

So I tried.  Getting her to drink was a challenge.  We got cold juice, thinking it would be more appealing than our lukewarm water bottles.  I'd have to hold it up to her face, and she'd take one sip, then turn her head away.  I probably got 2-2 1/2 cups of juice in her over a 4-hour period.  Meanwhile, she was getting more and more lethargic, and her breathing was starting to seem labored.

At 6 pm, I brought her back to the first aid tent.  The staff looked concerned and offered to let her rest in the shade until we were ready to leave.  I sent Monkey to find my sister and friend and let them know we'd meet them there.  The staff agreed that her breathing sounded labored, but they thought that putting her in an air-conditioned car and getting her to sleep would help.

It didn't, really.  She made grunting noises the whole way home, in what I now know is a sign of struggling to breathe.  When we stopped for dinner, she couldn't sit upright at the table but slumped over onto my chair.  Somehow I still thought it was a cold and she was just tired, although I was increasingly worried.

My friend was riding with me, and she was awesome with Bean.  This friend spent months nursing her dying mother this past winter, and it showed.  She was patient and nice and encouraging, and she managed to greatly improve the dehydration.

We dropped my friend off at her condo, and we finally got home at 11 pm.  I went to put Bean in her pj's, and I noticed when she took a breath her chest totally caved in.  I measured her respiratory rate and got 73.  A quick Google search told me normal range for her age was 20-30.

Now, I'd called Coffee earlier to tell him we were leaving the festival and tell him Bean was sick.  The call was dropped, though.  The rest of the way home, I must've called him 8 times, and he never picked up.  Even though he couldn't help from so far away, I wanted to talk to him.  When we got home and Bean was doing so poorly,  I had the idea to go to apple.com and log into Find My iPhone with his username, to see where he was.  The computer kept freezing, and finally I just decided to call the on-call pediatrician instead.  She told me to go to the emergency room.

I told Monkey we had to go.  He'd (correctly, it turns out) pointed out that she looked like he does when he's having an asthma attack, and he put his shoes on without complaint.  Around midnight, I loaded both kids into the car and prepared to head to the ER alone.

Just at that moment, Coffee's car pulled up.  He'd been at a party and had left his phone in the car.  I told him we were going to the ER and he should get in the car.  He got right in, without going inside the house first.

We went to the ER.  Having been there once for Monkey's asthma (not to mention numerous other child issues), I thought I knew what to expect. They'd give her some medication, watch her for a few hours, and then send us home.  To my surprise, that's not what happened.

They ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia.  Then they inserted an IV.  They gave her two rounds of albuterol via nebulizer, and I thought we were on the mend.  She was talking and laughing for a little while.  But then her breathing started to seem labored again.  There was talk of admitting her, and she was put on a continuous nebulizer.  We'd arrived at the hospital around 12:30 am, and by this time it was 3:30 am.  Once we knew Bean was going to get admitted, Coffee and Monkey went home to sleep.  I tried to sleep curled up on Bean's hospital bed.

At 5:30, the doctor woke me up to say there had been a change of plans.  They'd decided Bean would be best cared for at Children's Hospital of Boston, instead of our local hospital.  This added a whole new level of severity and scariness for me. I'm familiar with our local hospital.  I had both of my kids there.  We've taken them to the ER for falls and allergic reactions.  I had my gall bladder out there.  It's nearby and easy to visit.  Children's was a whole new ballgame.

We had to be transported by ambulance.  At around 6:00, the transport team came for us, and Bean was loaded onto a stretcher, with the nebulizer mask and all the monitors hooked up.  It was way scary.  I actually asked one of the transport nurses for an emesis bag, because I felt like I had to throw up.  (I did not end up using it, and now it's living in my car, for long car trips.  Bonus!)

Anyway, Bean was admitted to Children's Hospital very early Monday morning, and was released Wednesday after her nap.  It was long and exhausting for both of us (well, really, all 4 of us).  I stayed over the whole time, and while I had plenty of visits from Coffee, Monkey, my parents, my sister, my aunt and two friends, it was still challenging.  I could never leave Bean alone, especially toward the end as she was starting to recover.  The nurses monitored her vitals, of course, but they couldn't stay 24/7 to be sure she didn't climb out of bed or feed her saltines with peanut butter or restart her movie.  She was in the ICU, so it was one nurse per two patients, but they couldn't be there continuously.

The hospital didn't provide food for me, so I struggled to figure out how I could eat 3 meals a day without breaking the bank.  Breakfast was tea, raisin bread and peanut butter from the family waiting room.  Coffee brought lunch one day.  A friend bought me dinner one day.  I also ate in the cafeteria.  But I had no snacks, and leaving the building was hard, so basically I was never quite sure when I'd be eating next.

Also, while the nurses monitored Bean's vitals during the night, as time wore on and I learned more about what was going on, I was frequently watching the monitors for small changes.  A warning alarm would sound if her oxygen dropped below 91%, but if I caught it at 92% and I re-positioned her, I could prevent it from dropping.  The first night I slept well because I was exhausted, but the second night I kept waking up and worrying.  There were also incidences of things like me jumping out of the shower when I heard the alarm bell go off, even though I knew the nurse would come.

Tuesday and Wednesday there was a lot of back and forth about whether she'd be discharged or not, but in the end they let us go Wednesday after naptime.  Even in the middle of the nap, there was a moment when her oxygen dipped and they almost had to give her a nasal cannula.  If that happened, an hour before we'd planned on going home, we would've had to stay another night.  But it didn't.

So, now we're home.  I am so appreciative of having my family all together again.  It was really hard on Monkey having us away.  I am also appreciative of being able to go get food whenever I want.  Coffee did a decent job caring for Monkey in my absence, and he made a mad dash to clean up the house before we got home.  But it wasn't the same for any of us, and we're glad to be back in our routine.

I am, however, exhausted.  Our second day home, I'm now starting to really believe that Bean is healthy.  Although I don't own a pulse oximeter, yesterday I was obsessively measuring her respiratory rate and heart rate.  Both were normal every time, and she's certainly back to herself.  But it's really hard for me to think about other stuff (dishes, laundry, work, my upcoming birthday).  So if I haven't commented on your blogs, I'm sorry.

I could go on and on, but this post is getting long.  Hopefully things will continue to improve, though, and I'll get my mind back.

Friday, August 5, 2016

When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

I've noticed lately that I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again.  It's not that I don't realize I'm making them, or that they're mistakes.  I just keep doing these things.  I don't exactly know why it's happening, and that's what I'm hoping to figure out.

I'm not talking about major things.  At least I don't think I am.  It's things like knowing that traffic is always awful on Thursdays, and yet failing to leave work the 5-10 minutes early I need to pick up the kids on time.  Knowing that when I go camping, my stuff always gets wet, and yet failing to come up with a way to keep everything in a dry place.  Or, to pick a super minor example, using the wrong size jamberry sticker on my big toe, and then not checking which size I used last time before applying them again, or finding a more careful way of measuring.

So I end up rushing and being 5 minutes late again, or wearing damp clothes, or having the wrong size toenail designs.  Again and again and again.  Why?

It's forgetting my water bottle every single day.  Or not having enough tampons in my purse.  Or writing things on stickies all over the place instead of a planner where I can keep track.  Or forgetting to look at my planner and notice I have a whole free weekend coming up, so I can make plans instead of being bored and cranky.  Or not proofreading a document and sending it out with typos, even though I was under no deadline and not in a hurry.  The list goes on and on...

There's diet stuff, too, but that's a whole different story.  Every time I know I shouldn't eat something but do it anyway.  And budgeting (which I'm getting better at). But it's not just big things - here I'm thinking more about the minor things.

Why??  Why?  It's just not that hard to leave work 5-10 minutes early, or take a few seconds to measure the jamberries more carefully, or keep backup tampons in my desk or purse!

It's not that I can't.  It's just that I don't.  Sometimes I'll even make changes, and see that they're working, and then I'll decide to go back to doing things the old way.  Why?

I'm sure there's some psychological reason for this.  It could be a big, serious one like fear of success.  Maybe being well-prepared conflicts with my self-identity.  Or it could be something simpler like laziness.  Or lack of attention to detail (I don't think that's it, because I know what will happen).

These are the kinds of things I had hoped to discover about myself in therapy, to understand my behavior better.  Unfortunately, that devolved into us just sitting around chatting about our husbands and kids, which was a waste of time.  I do want to go back to therapy eventually, but not to that therapist.  I suppose at some point I'll need to tell my old therapist I'm not coming back instead of just "taking a break."  No rush, though.

Anyway, what I do know is that for some reason, I feel less stressed when I'm making these silly mistakes, not more stressed.  It's like instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, I've already dropped it, so now I can relax.  I don't have to worry that I'm masquerading as some organized, on-top-of-things person, when I just don't feel that way inside.  But I know that nobody does.  Everyone's just faking it until they make it.  Why can't I do that?  It wouldn't even be faking it!  I really do know what I need to do, whether it's planning my time better or packing a bag for a trip.  Why don't I just do it??  I really don't know.

Maybe I should do a trial period.  Like, instead of vowing to stop making all these mistakes forever and ever, I try to be on top of things for a month and see how I feel.  Maybe it'll exhaust me and stress me out, but maybe I'll find it's not that bad.  I don't know.

I'm going camping this weekend, and I'm starting by double-checking my packing list and putting my stuff in the car at the slightest chance of rain.  I already scored myself points by remembering to check whether the motor for the air mattress needed new batteries.  I'll report back to you.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Playing Favorites

On Friday, both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home from my parents' house.  I moved them both into bed and they stayed asleep.  Around 10 or 11, Monkey woke up and stumbled into the kitchen, where I was talking to Coffee.  I made a comment to Coffee like "look at this nice boy!  He thinks I don't love him, that I love Bean more.  I wish he knew that I love him so much!"  Monkey rubbed his eyes and went back to bed.

Coffee said to me "I think it's the opposite."  I said "what?" not quite sure where he was going but thinking I knew.  "You think I love Monkey more?"

"Yes," he said.  "I know that you love both of them, but I think Monkey is your favorite."

I was stunned.  Sometimes my husband is so oblivious, but sometimes he's so perceptive.  "I didn't want anyone to know," I answered quietly.  "It's true.  I love them both, but I have a connection with Monkey."

He said "I know you love them both."  But still, if he picked up on this, who else might have??

Now, Bean is much, much easier than Monkey.  She's three-and-a-half, the age I was dreading ever since she was born.  With Monkey it was awful!  I remember every morning carrying him to the car screaming and hitting me.  I'd hold him face out so he couldn't hit me, and then he'd scream because my arms were digging into his stomach.  Every morning.  I remember the tantrums being constant and going on forever.

With Bean, none of that.  Occasionally she'll scream, but it never lasts long.  More often, she'll say ridiculous things like "I am NOT going to bed until I have ice cream!" and we all just try not to laugh.  I can ignore the request, put on her pajamas, and put her to bed.

Monkey, on the other hand, still throws tantrums at least once a week, screaming and crying.  "Nobody loves me in this house!  I want a different family!  You're the worst mommy ever! You're so mean!"  It's exhausting.  Plus he never stops talking.

There's no denying, though, that despite his higher needs, I feel more of a connection with Monkey.

It may be oversimplifying, but I often say that Monkey has my temperament and Coffee's interests, while Bean has Coffee's temperament and my interests.

I love the conversations Monkey and I have.  He is a sensitive guy, an old soul.  This is the reason for the tantrums, I think - he thinks about things deeply and feels them deeply.  We have conversations about everything, many things that most 7-year-olds don't think about, and he seems to understand everything.  He may love sports and superheroes and video games, but when we're talking about racism or where clouds come from or mental illness or why we should eat fiber or transracial adoption, it's like he's my real friend.  I love having these conversations with him.  He's also shy, with a low sense of authority.  He'll get upset with me about things (everything!) because he has a strong sense that I'm in charge.  I'm this larger-than-life figure he has to fight against to be his own person.  I have no doubt that he adores me, and I picture him growing up to be one of those men who idolizes his mother forever.

Bean, in many ways, is the polar opposite.  The best way to describe her is sunny.  She's cheerful, upbeat, and everyone is a friend she hasn't met yet.  She's very confident.  She doesn't feel the same need to fight against me - she just does what she wants.  She is generally kind and nice, but it doesn't come from the same place of sensitivity that Monkey's compassion does.  It's more from a sense of herself as a caretaker.  She loves baby dolls and can entertain herself for hours.

I know I treat them differently.  Bean is little.  Maybe it's because she's the second child, or maybe it's just her personality, but I'm constantly saying that: "She's little!"  I don't get annoyed with her as much, because she doesn't know any better.  But I also don't take the time to explain things to her and teach her things, because I think she won't understand.  Whereas with Monkey I expect more and also give more.  And I think, even when he was 3, I expected more and gave more than I do of Bean now.

I try hard to be fair.  It's hard to say what's equal, when they have different needs. If we walk to Monkey's activity because he wants to take a walk, but then I spend half the time carrying Bean, was that fair?  If we go to her swimming lesson but afterward he gets to play in the gym, was that fair?

I don't know.  What's most important, I think, is that I love them both.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized my little sister (Traveler) was my mom's favorite.  It's obvious now, and my twin sister (Librarian) agrees with me.  But honestly, it doesn't bother me that much.  I know she loves us all.  She watched a sick Bean for 3 days last week, with no notice.  She came over with snacks that are easy on your stomach (Bean was throwing up) and fed us dinner.  She's watching my kids again tomorrow and offered to sew my pants with the broken clasp while she's there.  So if Traveler is her favorite, so what?  She's still an awesome mom.

Is that the best I can hope for?  My kids won't realize I feel closer to Monkey, and if they do, at least they'll know I love them both?  Or am I actually really crappy for feeling this way?  I don't think so, but it's important to ask the question.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Blah

Have you ever just woken up feeling blah?  Like totally devoid of anything to make you happy or really, feel anything at all?

I woke up that way today, and I just can't shake it.

It was pretty sudden, too.  Yesterday I felt fine.  I felt the normal mix of things that were worrying me or stressing me out and things I was pleased about.  I was overall pretty happy and had a nice day.  We had family night at Monkey's camp and ran into some friends I was really glad to see.

And then today, when I woke up, I just felt empty.  Like somebody reading from a script in a monotone, instead of acting it out with emotions.  I got everybody out of the house on time, I got myself to work, I'm half-heartedly doing my job.  But... nothing.

I can't figure it out.  I don't particularly feel sad or stressed about anything.  Just un-excited.  Like today has happened a million times already, and I don't feel like doing it again.

It's possible I actually am sad or stressed, and I just haven't correctly identified what's bothering me yet.  It's also quite possible that I'm just really tired.  Or it's somehow just hormonal and all I can do is wait for it to pass.

I'm sure it'll pass.  Anything that came on so suddenly has got to go away suddenly, too.  Maybe when I get home from work I'll be excited about the food in my fridge (I have a lot of cool stuff) or about being home or seeing my kids.  Maybe I'll feel a sense of satisfaction that my flexible spending account was reloaded and I paid a bunch of bills.  Maybe I'll contact a friend to make plans, and that will make me happy.  All of these things usually keep me going.

But not today.

Blah.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How It Went

I am so nervous!  I can't stop thinking about it!  Seriously, it's been a long time since I've been that nervous at an interview.  I used to get that way when I was younger, every time.  But now, I've been on the other side of the table so many times, it's taken some of the mystery out of interviews.  Most of the time, I can walk in and be myself and put my best foot forward.

This time, though, despite my best preparations, my stomach was in knots all morning.  My heart was pounding and I was having trouble staying calm.  And I'm afraid it showed.

I shouldn't have been so nervous.  There was a friendly face in the group, a woman I'd met before.  Also, the supervisor attended the same graduate program I did, a year ahead of me.  Most of all, I felt like I  knew the job inside and out.  There wasn't a thing on the list of requirements that I hadn't done at least to some extent.  But I was.

Maybe it's because I want the job so badly.  Maybe because it's been so long now since I've switched jobs.  Or maybe because more than any other job I've interviewed for, this is one I thought I might actually get.

There's also the issue that Bean was sick the day before, and the day of my interview itself.  I took the day off to be home with her, but I was worried even about leaving her with Coffee during my interview.  We thought she might need to see the doctor right away.  She was congested, among other things, and Monkey's asthma has made us sensitive to any breathing difficulties.  So there was my worry about whether I was even doing the right thing by going to the interview.  Although she was fine and much better by the time I got home.

Anyway, while I know I gave the right information during the interview, there were a few signs that made me feel it wasn't going well.

1. The supervisor was distant and formal.  Every interview I've had where I ended up getting the job, I felt like we built some kind of rapport during the interview and were pretty comfortable together by the end.  I got the sense that was just her personality, but it's still not a good sign.

2. The interview also took less than an hour.  Again, most interviews that have gone well tend to run longer.  The interview for my current job was pretty quick, but it was also clear to me that they'd already made up their mind.  I didn't feel I needed to perform in any way.  That wasn't the case here.  It felt formulaic, like they had a list of questions, they ran through them, and then they were done.

3. At the end, the supervisor told me a) that they were just starting the interview process and I might not hear for a while, and b) to contact HR if I had questions.  The first one could be a good sign, a way to tell me not to worry if I don't get any news.  But when I'm on that side of the table, it's usually what I say when I don't like someone.  I know I may not contact them until it's time to say "sorry, the position has been filled", and I don't want them calling for constant updates.  If I like them, I reassure them that I'll be in touch.  Same with contacting HR - if I like the person, I make sure they have my business card.  That's been the case with most jobs I've gotten, too.  If they want to make sure they don't lose me, they give me their card and say to call with any questions.  Not to contact the HR recruiter.

So anyway, I'm trying to tell myself that maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought.  Maybe I'm still in the running.  And really it's hard to imagine someone whose resume is a better fit.  The worst part, though, is that my gut is telling me it's not going to work out.  Sometimes, you just know.  You go on an interview and can picture these people being your coworkers.  Or you can't.  The two people at my level who were part of the interview team, I totally felt that way about.  I liked them and could see myself working with them.  But the supervisor, no.  My gut is just saying no.

I don't know how long to wait to follow up with HR.  A week, I think.  And maybe if this doesn't work out, I need to contact someone for more resume help or interview practice.  There have to be other jobs out there, even if it feels like one this perfect will never come along again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Job Interview

I have an interview next Monday.  For what seriously sounds like a perfect job for me.  I'm not terribly surprised I was called, because I feel like my background is a really good fit, and also I did an informational interview with the person in the position currently, so I know she put in a word.  And I do believe I'm 100% qualified, and I think I'd fit in well with the rest of the team, and it would be a great next step for me.

I got a promotion last year, which basically means now I spend about 10% of my time doing higher-level work and the other 90% doing just what I did before the promotion.  This new job would involve doing only the higher-level stuff, which I love.  So it's a great combination of having the necessary experience but also taking a step up.

But I am SO nervous.  I spent 18 minutes on the phone with the HR recruiter this morning, and I could almost feel myself sabotaging my chances.  I know what to say, know I need to show enthusiasm.  But I found myself saying things like "yeah, I guess that could work".  I'm so afraid I'm going to do this in the interview as  well and screw up this perfect opportunity.

I KNOW I can do this job.  Moreover, I know I am tired of my current job and need a change.  I'm ready to move up.  So, why would I sabotage myself?

I guess I'm scared.  I've been at my current job 4 1/2 years.  It's longer than I've ever worked anywhere.  I'm comfortable here.  There are people I like, and there is talk of promotional opportunities (they'll happen.  but who knows when?).  In contrast, most of the times in my life when I've been job searching, I was unemployed.  I had plenty of time to focus on the interviews, and clearly I knew I needed to find something.  But that's not the case now.  Now, if I screw up this interview, the worst that could happen is that I stay where I am.  That's not the end of the world.  It's a lot less incentive to try.

I understand the impulse to self-sabotage, intellectually.  It's easier to acknowledge that I screwed up than it is to say, I did my best, and they still didn't give me the job.  Or what if I do my best, get the job, and then screw up at the job itself?  The more time I spend preparing, the more I have invested in the outcome.  Sometimes it seems easier to stay put.

And yet, there are so many reasons to want to move on.  There's the commute, for one.  The amount of time I spend stuck in traffic is making me crazy.  The new position has a commute 1/3 shorter than my current one.

There's the office politics.  I know that happens everywhere, but after 4 1/2 years some things are just getting old.

There's the opportunity for growth.  This open position, I really feel, is a place where I could use the experience I've gained in my current role, and in previous human service roles, and be able to help others by developing systems for service delivery, disseminating information, and being a resource to staff.  It incorporates the parts I like most about my current job with some new challenges that are very much the direction I want to grow in.  Moreover, jobs like this one don't open up very often.  If this doesn't work out, I feel like I'm stuck waiting for that mythical promotion where I am now.

There are other considerations.  This job I'm interviewing for is full-time.  This makes me nervous too.  My current job is 32 hours a week.  Yes, it would be tough to adjust to working full-time again, but a shorter commute would help even things out.  Plus I'd get more time off than I have now.  So it wouldn't really mean adding an extra 8 hours a week of work into my already-packed schedule.  And of course, more hours would mean more money.  But there's no doubt I'd miss those times when I get out of work at 1:30 and really have the whole afternoon to myself.

I know what I need to do.  Prepare as much as I can.  Get myself to believe I am the right one for the job and I can do it.  Banish that nervousness when I go for my interview  Change is okay.  Sometimes it needs to happen.

But it's hard.