Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our progress with getting Chris into the correct program

This road of PDD-NOS has been already a bumpy one - not necessarily for Chris, but for us trying to get him the help he needs now.

We obviously have the diagnosis - and now have the actual report from the doctor. It was actually quite positive overall, with one or two things we don't agree with (but, we are not fighting it either because really, it was what he did at the time in the "sterile" setting). She feels that, with the right program now, he may very well not need any services by age 5. That was good to see in print - that we were not imagining she said it.

We also now have a speech and language evaluation - we had that done privately on 8/17. Overall, it too was a positive report. We know what we have to work on (expressive and receptive language, which spills over into his ability to carry on a conversation well) and have their recommendations for how many sessions a week would be appropriate (3 individual sessions in-school, 1 session in-school with another child for reinforcement, and 2 sessions with the speech center). He starts his sessions on 9/11 when we return from vacation, with the recommendation of continuing therapy for about a year (at which time they will reevaluate because they don't feel he will need more than that). Until then, the evaluator gave us some useful things to do at home with him, which we are ALL doing - and Chris is actually responding well to the changes.

Chris goes for a hearing test on 9/13 - his first one. Yipes!

We have inquired about private services with a disabilities center through the University I work for (have a phone conference with them on 9/11), with the Lovass Institute (we are setting up an in-home eval now), and another university near us - all centers provide home-based sessions for children, and parent training so we know what we are doing.

The nursery school teacher Chris had in the spring will be helping us as well in-class until we can get him into an appropriate program for the long term - we just have to provide her with a letter, signed by us, stating what she can and can't do (basically, allowing her to turn his chin toward her if he choses not to respond to her verbally). So, at least, until we get him into the right program, someone is willing to help on the "school level."

We have read so much, inquired so much through contacts of contacts - we have more to do, but feel we that, thus far, we are doing something. He is trying to say more, is visibly trying to stop himself from hand flapping a lot of the time already, and in the instances of certain toys that really provoke the behavior, those are now removed until we re-introduce them later to try again. He is trying to engage other kids at the playground now, instead of just watching them play, or him "inspecting" the playground.

So, all of the positives we were able to get done in two weeks now leads us to the school system...

....The severely fucked up school system....

Guess what????

Take a good guess????

...No, they didn't lose the paperwork we completed on July 9th. Thank goodness for that since we were never FURNISHED with that, after several requests for it (my bad for not asking in person - I always ask for stuff like that!).

...They forgot to enter him into the system!!!

You know what that means???

We could have had most if not all of the evaluation process done by now!

Hubby found that out yesterday when he called like a raving lunatic. The lady on the phone found the paperwork - and also found it was never entered, stated that she very well knows they are in violation of State law now (we should have been contacted within 20 calendar days of 7/9 to begin the eval's more like almost 60 now!), and is going to "expedite things."

Damn right, they are!

So, I faxed over this morning a 15-page fax with a three page cover letter stating all WE have done on our own so far (and what the child study team has not), what evaluations we had, what programs we have already looked at, a request for all forms to be faxed to us, for a list of all of the programs available be faxed to us for our review and a demand that his evaluation be done ASAP. We even said that we will come back from vacation to get these evaluations done and we wanted a very specific answer by tomorrow.

Hubby was going to call this afternoon to roll heads again (it does pay to be married to an attorney from time to time....especially when he can twist things to get a better response than I can), just to make sure his file is not collecting dust.

What a headache! I was already nervous about Chris being in this school system - now I am terrified. I can't believe that we have to hold their hands through this - when they do it all of the time.

To say we are disgusted already with the town's educational system is putting it mildly.

Keep your fingers crossed this part finally gets off the ground... I do not want to see him having to wait until January to get into a school-based, integrative program!

Just when we think we have all our ducks in a row...

....Everything shifts.

Yep, that was the quote for today's Women Who Do Too Much calendar.

....And, ain't it the truth in my world. Humphh.

Well, I'll post later today about where we stand with helping Chris work through and overcome his issues... We have found some very wonderful people to help us - and have also hit some major stalls in the process too (AKA - our school districted fucked up BIG TIME!!). It has been a bumpy ride already.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Seeing things with eyes wide open

So, I've come to a decision over this past weekend...and it has taken into account several things. It has been a decision that has come with much sorrow, many tears, and still some lingering doubts. But, it is a decision I should have probably made this time last year, when I didn't want to realize that my body probably just doesn't want to do this TTC/pregnancy thing anymore.

...I have decided to get rid of all of the baby stuff that has accumulated in our house over the past three years - clothes, toys, stuffies, bottles. All of the things that Chris doesn't use anymore or is just too big for now, and would only be used if there was another infant in the house.

Along with the baby stuff, I have also decided to get rid of all of my maternity clothing.

I am going to ask Hubby's aunt, who works at a major hospital in a very urban city five minutes away from us, about how to donate it all. I was going to try to sell it - but, eBay is jam packed with toys that won't sell, the second hand place near us wants you to sell items on consignment (and she doesn't always contact you when something sells - which means she makes all of the profit), and I am just not up for having a garage sale (I think I would end up crying too much through it at this point). So, I figure there are families out there who are really down on their luck, and who need these things now...especially the clothing. So, I might as well get rid of it that way.

I just want all of it out of my house now. They are reminders of what is probably never going to happen for us least not that I can see.

There are several reasons, very logical and probably, in the end, time saving as well.

First off, we have absolutely NO ROOM to move in our basement and attic. It is full of storage tubs of clothing, toys and other accumulated crap that belongs to neither Chris or I. We want to finish the attic when we return from vacation (it is so large, we can make two bedrooms out of it - we are going to opt for one bedroom and a half bath at this point). Finishing the attic will add value to the house, and help us organize our life a bit. How would we work with all of that stuff up there?

Secondly, moving to a town with a much better school system will probably be a must, so it is just easier to have the crap streamlined now. Hubby is the ultimate pack-rat - if I don't do this now, we will be moving it all in less than two years! So, if I can address it now, then there would be less to move - and less to pay to move. To his credit, Hubby has been selling stuff on eBay - like his wrestling figures, light sabers, hats, guitars he never plays, etc. ...the things that just sit there and do nothing but collect dust. So, some cash is coming in that we can nest away...but he has sooooo much more to go (like a basement and attic-full at his parent's house as well)! It is overwhelming to me.

Third, and probably most importantly, I just don't think my body can handle TTC and pregnancy now. I really, really don't. So why keep these reminders in the house? They are doing nothing but taking up space and collecting dust...and until I know they are gone, they are always there to remind me what I have lost and probably won't get to experience again.

My endocrinologist called and left me a message yesterday - my thyroid b/w from Friday is just perfect. So, how I have been feeling - tired, exhausted, achy, cold - is probably all stress...

...and anxiety.

Ah, the "A" word again... What I had hoped would be an easy fix with an upped dosage of Levoxyl is not. So, that of course means I am going to have to bite the bullet and transition back onto Lexapro. I can't live feeling like this...but being on Lexapro means no TTC. However, I need to be "with it" right now for Chris, and I am not. So I already called Dr. McC about going back on it. He should be calling tonight. I don't think I need the dose I was on previously - but something to help me get back to a semblance of normal.

I finally did get my period last Thursday - Spotting for one week, very light/kinda spotty on Wednesday, then heavy for two days on Thursday and Friday, then light for two days, now nothing. Not quite normal for me - which means either stress is to blame, or I might really have to worry about scarring since thyroid is not the issue. So, I will be calling Dr. D to discuss checking on that as well today. Not that I will be least not anytime soon. But, it would be nice not to have to deal with this as well.

I feel like such a quitter. But do I have a choice really? Every time we come close to starting a cycle, the door gets slammed in our faces...or really, MY face.

Hubby has been so supportive on this - and is willing to do what is best for me. His line of thinking is that, if I changed my mind later this year or a year or so down the line and want to try again, we can always borrow the things I want to give away or buy it new as a fresh start. I am not holding out my hopes for that, but at least there is a back-up plan.

I have been thinking back to two things I said around the time I was PG with Chris - and they really haunt me now...

When I was about 5-6 weeks PG with Chris, my nausea was kicking into super-high-gear - I couldn't move without feeling like I was going to puke (which, ironically, I only dry-heaved twice the entire time...). We were trying to get out of the house to spend a few days with my IL's at the shore, since they rented a very small place for the week. I remember sitting on the bed, afraid to move because I felt like I was going to get sick - and saying to Hubby "I don't think I could ever do this again..."

Then, when I was at my six-week check up after Chris was born, I remember joking to Dr. D that I never gave him a run for his money when I was PG - even Chris' birth was scheduled since I wasn't going into labor on my own. And now, if I were to actually get PG again, it would not be the "easy road" I had with Chris.

....Talk about two comments that were a foreshadowing of what we are going through now. I wish I could take those comments back...

Maybe it is too soon to make these decisions...but I can't help but believe that these are the best moves for right now and for the future.

We are leaving for vacation on I have a week to really think about this. But, I think there will be a major clean-out starting in our house when we return on the 8th. I just hope that whomever gets the items we are giving away really enjoys them as much as we did.

I am just so disappointed...and sad that I can't seem to give Chris a sibling to grow up with. I just don't see it happening now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Illusions of normalcy

Someone from a buddy group of mine sent me a really sweet e-mail over the weekend (besides the comments posted here - thank you all for your kind words) that really affected me - but not in the way I think she had hoped it would:
"I just wanted to say that I really admire the way you are handling the situation. I'm sure it's not easy, but so many parents fall apart or go into some sort of denial that their child has any sort of problem."
You see, I have a much better facade than most people think...

I rarely fall apart in public. Or, to family and friends. Or, to the Hubby. Although, as my boss has mentioned to me, my body language is usually what rats me out eventually...

I choose to suffer in private most of the time - which is what probably triggered the anxiety issues of the past. I don't like to cast my sorrows, fears, anxieties onto anyone else...although I am not afraid to have anyone cast theirs on me.

Guess I have learned martyrdom or stoic-ness well.

I know, logically, Chris' prognosis with PDD-NOS will be good. He is very smart, very affectionate, very willing to interact with others and be a normal little boy. He just needs some help to stop the behaviors that make him "different" and to help him to verbally express himself (which will, in turn, also help him to stop the behaviors that make him "different"). The doctor herself feels that, with the right services now, he will do extremely well.

...And, I know that we have a great support system. Everyone wants to learn what will be his new routines (although someone in particular in that mix needs a blow to the head every once and a while as a reminder that she doesn't know it all). Everyone wants to help beat the challenges he faces.

...And, I also know that eventually he will have the right services to address his needs. I just need the right combination of persistence and patience.

But, the problem is for me right now, besides getting Chris into the programs that he needs to be in, is the impact this diagnosis is going to make on the things that I WANTED for my life.

Very selfish...isn't it??

But, you see, from when I was a little girl, all I ever, EVER wanted out of my life - more than my education, more than my health, more than the things I could acquire in my lifetime - was to have a great marriage, a loving family, to have to two or three children to make my family "complete" and to be able to stay at home with those children and raise them myself.

I do have a great marriage - to a kind man who is willing to put up with my moods and irrational moments, and to support me when I need it most. I can even forgive the pigsty he would have no problem living in, if I weren't on his butt to clean up all of the time.

And, I do have a loving family - especially a son who means more than everything to me. Chris is the best thing in my life - which is driving me so much to get him in the right place, with the right services.



I have already had to sacrifice not being home with Chris. I had to work because of the second mortgage we have hanging over our heads - AKA, Hubby's law school loans (for a career that, quite frankly, he never wanted - it was his, his mother's...prodding for that). And, I had to work because Hubby just wasn't making enough to cover our expenses (i.e., credit card bills he accumulated in said law school that he hated). And, we needed the insurance coverage - of course, now more than ever.



Now I am getting hit with the fact that, in addition to being cheated out of my time home with Chris - MY chance to be the full time mother, caregiver, educator, boo-boo healer - I probably will never have another living child nor will I get the time at home with any child.

That really, really hurts.

With the real prospect of having to move to a better town with a much better school district vs. the original plan to put Chris in catholic school and stay where we are for a while (until we could save to move), that just about kills any idea of another child... I just don't see how we can afford another child now.

Besides, my chances are not that good as it is, with all of the medical crap I have going on.

And, Chris' health has to be our first priority.

I am trying not to host a pity-party - that won't help Chris in any way. But, the thought of him being an only AND me never having had the time with him at home except for the 2 months of maternity leave when he was a new born just burns a huge, gaping hole in my heart.

I am so, so glad that my mom and my MIL have had time with Chris - that is time they can always cherish, and build a great relationship on as Chris gets older. But, I just feel like I am a part-time parent. I get visitation rights on evenings, weekends and holidays. And, when I have him, there are other things that have to get done too - cook, clean, upkeep the house that we have to upkeep more to try to sell.

...All the while, Chris asks me to "Sit right here!"

That request to play and be happy with him rings in my ears every day. I don't always just get to sit and play. I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, floors to vacuum....things that I could be doing as he naps during the week days when I could have been home.

I know there are women who thrive on the challenge of it all - being a full time mom and a full time professional. I am glad that they can balance it all - and be happy. But, I can't. I don't. I would much rather be neck-deep in sand with Chris or vacuuming while he naps than having to arrange things for people who are going to bitch no matter how well you do it.

You know, I just feel like my God - the one I CHOSE to follow when I was 16 years old, back when I thought things were "hard" with my parents not getting along and school being challenging - really, really let me down. I have prayed so hard - not for monetary things, but for health, for another child, for time with Chris, for Chris' happiness and health, for a good marriage, for patience to let things come to us when they should and in God's time - so hard until my knees were red and numb.

Did he answer? No, not that I can really see that well right now.

Maybe I am expecting too much. Or, my prayers are misdirected in some way. Or, I just lost my faith completely now...thinking it was back when the Gods of Lexapro were in the house.

But, when I took my marriage vows almost nine years ago, I promised so many things - including and especially accepting children from God. Did I do something wrong? I am here, waiting - hands waving high enough, clenched so hard they are turning red - for those children God asked us to accept into our hearts to come.

For some reason, I am passed over. And, as I an passed over, Chris gets whacked with challenges he now has to face at such a young and innocent age, and three other children got called back too soon...were not given a chance to be here with us.

Is it too much to ask for one more child to love? To care for? To want to do anything for?

I mean, I knew friends in college who went home with a guy - every weekend after a party, and not necessarily the same guy. They didn't care about their grades. Didn't care about themselves, their dignity or self-worth. They partied hardy, and lived life on the edge. But, they now have at least two children - no problems getting pregnant, no problems staying pregnant. I knew people who got into all kinds of trouble - alcohol, whatever - and they had no problems having children, even down to the ones that the "didn't want." Even my own sister and brother have 6 children among them - and they were the ones who got into all of the trouble when we were young. Did I not whore around enough? Do I not have enough garbage in my background to now teach my children by example now? Do I not have enough lessons to teach?

Or, is it the other end of the spectrum? Was I not virtuous enough like the Dugger's to be able to give birth like bunnies and have a pack of children? Should I have not used curse words at all? Should I have not had a beer in college? Should I have not given the finger to the guy who almost took the front of my car off with Chris in the car? Should I have given more to the Salvation Army collection at Christmas time?

Yes, I am angry. And frustrated. And disappointed. This is NOT where I wanted my life to be - or Chris' life either - right here and right now.

What did I do wrong?

At the very least, God could have answered one prayer and left Chris alone - kept him perfectly happy and healthy. Why does he have to face these challenges now?

Why couldn't God have allowed me to protect the one precious, living child I was able to have?

It just doesn't seem fair.

Maybe, as Chris gets into the appropriate services, and he begins to improve, I will feel a little bit better about things. Come back to reality a bit more. Think a little more clearly and logically. There are so many things left unanswered right now because we are still waiting for the township's child study team to start their evaluation...all of my worries and upsets and anxieties are based on the things we don't know yet.

But, for right now, I am bitter and angry - not just because of the things that I feel robbed of, but because I couldn't shield Chris from this. I feel like I let him down. I couldn't protect the only living child I have from something that could affect his entire lifetime.

I feel like I have failed terribly at my vocation in this life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Re-evaluating current priorities (Updated)

Well, I am going to have to re-evaluate my current priorities on TTC... I think at this point, Chris needs my undivided attention now more than ever. This means, of course, that I am probably going to have to put off TTC again (and, no, I have not heard back from Dr. D's office yet **UPDATED BELOW** - I am aggravated, but it is not high on my check-list today).

First off, I can honestly say our pediatrician really, REALLY let us down, and we are very unhappy. Hubby and I are very much in agreement that we will be finding a new one soon (certainly before he needs to go for his next check up at 4 years old). We have for the past year been concerned about his speech (not being able to express himself clearly) and some behaviors he has been displaying (hand-flapping or jumping when excited, not always responding when he is addressed) - every time we brought it up with the pediatrician, we were told to wait - it was probably nothing and he would catch up. They (it is a practice of two) assured us it was not Autism or autism-like disorder since he was very affectionate and was not regressing in speech (just a little behind).

So, we waited - we enrolled him in that nursery school program in February - he improved, but not to the point at what he should be doing verbally for 3 years old.

We went against their recommendations of waiting again in May at his 3 year check up and scheduled the neurological evaluation (we at least got the referral for a neurological eval back in May!). His appointment was this morning - which was a loooong time from May, but the earliest appointment we could get.

Chris was officially diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified this morning. It is an Autism Spectrum disorder, but the doctor told us it is not Autism or Asperger's specific.

The doctor was very positive about his potential - his gross/fine motor skills are very age-appropriate, he has not regressed in any way verbally, he is affectionate, smart, curious, funny, knows his shapes/letters/numbers/colors, happy. We just have to work on getting his speech in line with his age and teach him the appropriate venues for expressing himself. She feels that if we can really work on addressing this now and fast, that he may very well fall out of the diagnosis by the time he his 5 years old.

We are glad, so GLAD, someone has finally listened to us - and given us the path to helping him and helping him now. It is very frustrating when you know your child is a smart, good child but there is something holding him back and no one is willing to help.

So, when I got in to work today, my afternoon has been spent setting up his hearing test (for 9/10 - and, no, our pediatrician NEVER told us he should have one by age 3 anyway!), trying to see if the Child Study Team in our town's Board of Education could move along his eval (we registered him in early July and of course, they can't move up his eval, so we have to wait until mid-September for that - which delays us in getting him in to any specialized program), calling other centers suggested by the neurologist to at least address his speech until we can get him through the district, calling in personal favors (i.e., my boss' wife who knows the director of a particular speech center at another local university) to help fast track other avenues of help, and research the ABA recommendations so we can at the very least work with him on our own better than how we have been this past year.

So, I think it may be in Chris' best interest if we wait again to TTC for now - just a couple more months, until we get him in the right programs to help him on his way. We are setting up so many appointments now for him anyway, I am just not sure there is time to even TRY the monitoring for an IUI. Hubby and I still have to talk about that tonight...there wasn't time this morning since we both had to get in to work.

I will call Dr. D, though, tomorrow - today is surgery day (he is rarely in on surgery Tuesday) and since I got no phone call back yesterday, it is pretty clear Liz did NOT talk to him yet. So, I will call around 10 am tomorrow morning (when Lee, the good nurse, usually is the only one answering phones) and see what I can get.

I am not sure I can justify TTC right now with Chris just starting out on his path to a better future...


UPDATE: Lee (the nice nurse) called me back a few minutes ago. Dr. D had suggested just starting Clomid and doing an u/s in a week to see where things were. I told her that I really wasn't comfortable with that plan - I would personally like to see a new cycle start and try to verify that no scarring has developed from the d&e/d&c's done. She mentioned that sometimes he does let patients go about a month past the last Provera pill to see if something will start - but, she said to call in a week (and ask for her - yeah!) if I still don't have my period. We will then go from there.

I am okay with that, for now, since Chris has to be our first priority right now - and I told her that. So, it is an update and a temporary answer...we'll see if anything happens over the next week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Waiting on what to do

Waiting again...

*tapping foot*

I am 12 days past my last Provera pill... Still no period.

This is not right - at least for me, anyway.

*tapping foot*

Took another HPT, and the striking white of the test area is pretty clear that there is no pregnancy to speak of.

...of course, you kinda need the ovulation for that, and the lack of a strong test line proved pretty clear too that there was no ovulation on my own this cycle.

** tapping foot fast**

So, I called Dr. D's office this morning - of course, I got Liz (my not-so-favorite nurse) on the phone and told her what was going on: No PG, no ovulation, no period 12 days out of Provera (although I did have 2 days of very light spotting last week). I also mentioned that my periods over all the last few cycles have been lighter for me. Hell, my last period started with two days of not-quite-spotting but not-quite-period-bleeding!


Liz's response was: Wasn't I supposed to come in for a TTC consult with Dr. D since we hadn't met since November 2006?

Apparently, she's working on a way-outdated newspaper... When I spoke to Lee (the faboo nurse and the one I trust since she has been there since I started going to Dr. D many years ago) in June, Dr. D's message was that when AF came, we would just start the Clomid/IUI cycle. So, I politely brought her up to speed on that one.

So, she took everything down (rather annoyed in tone, may I add - I am NOT happy about that one...then again, I am working on what should be my period hormones...) and told me she would call me back after she spoke to Dr. D today.

I know I am going to get the "you shouldn't have taken the Provera without my approval" speech - but, who knew I wouldn't get my period? Besides, I tested several times anyway to make sure I wasn't PG before I started it - I took the appropriate precautions there that I would have been told to do anyway.

So, where is my period?

I have a theory (thanks, Dr. Google for this one) - actually, I have a few. But, the most I am worried about (other than the current stress I am trying to swim through, or the possibility that my thyroid may be acting up again, or the possibility that maybe I stored the Provera wrong in the first place and it just wasn't as effective as it should be) is that I may have developed Asherman's Syndrome.

I really, really love Dr. Google for allaying my fears and anxiety...

Honestly, I have put my uterus through a work-out over the past three years: one live birth, one natural early m/c, one d&e for a m/c that wouldn't start followed up by one d&c less than 6 months later because I couldn't live with waiting for another m/c to start. And, the fact that I have cramping often (even without a period pending), that my periods seem to be lighter than they have been in the past, and my period has not shown up after Provera (which has NEVER happened), I am starting to really worry...

So, I am waiting to see what Dr. D has to say.

...and my cell phone will be glued to me until I hear back from him...

I have not had an HSG since 6/03 - maybe it is time to take a look in there and see what the heck is going on.

I am so tired of thinking in terms of worst-case-scenario... But, that seems to be how life has been the past 18 months of TTC again.

Murphy's law strikes again.

Damn it...all I want is one more child. Why do I keep hitting these roadblocks? Every time I feel like things are in place to try again, another detour pops up without warning.

...Maybe I should just start taking the hint and call this journey over.

Damn it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So freakin frustrated...

Where the hell is my period??? It has been 8 - count it EIGHT - days since I finished the Provera, and I had two whopping days of minimal spotting.


I have never, EVER had this happen? What the heck am I supposed to do now? I have taken a few HPT's just to make sure I didn't make a huge mistake - all of them were negative. So, I know I am not PG. Kinda need to ovulate for that, which didn't happen.

I am so bloated out the wazzuu, I am crampy, I am moody... And, nothing.


If I don't have anything by Monday, I am going to call Dr. D. This is just ridiculous.

All I want to do is get this cycle STARTED, and here I am sitting, waiting, again.

This is really pissing me off.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Uh, like I need this BS right now!

...Be prepared! This is a LOOOOOONG post!

So, I have mentioned a few times now how my work load has been off the charts, and how I can't keep up at work and that it is trickling down into my personal life because I am just exhausted when I get home (which translates into early bedtime for me and minimal communication with the people I care about).

Remember my magic wand???

...Apparently it is malfunctioning - BIG TIME!

Okay, okay... Let me start from the beginning...

I have been having a hard time at work lately (nothing new really since the more work I do here, the more work I get to do, and so on and so on.). It's been visible to a few people. How could it not? But, up until Thursday, no one really asked me to talk about it - which is fine, because I usually don't talk until I am ready. My Director (we'll call him "F" for now since he is references in the e-mails I am about to post) knows that, my Center Administrator knows that.

CrazyS (which is what I will call our new Associate Director - she started on June 1st with a less than stellar response from all of us on our staff here...I'll explain more in a bit) does not know that...and has now blown this current situation - and other things completely unrelated to me (which makes me feel a bit better - at least I know it is NOT me with the issue) - out of proportion and out of proportion via e-mail no less.

Real, real classy!

Let me back-track to the issues that started coming up... In a nut-shell:
  • She wants everything spoon-fed to her instead of being resourceful and attempting to find things on her own. Not really going to work around here since ALL of us are overloaded. We all are able to find most things on our own on other people's machines - that is why Microsoft created FILESHARING!'
  • She keeps asking for things that have been sent to her already - several times. And, then, she tries to make it look like YOU were the one who dropped the ball. It's as if she only reads e-mails that are "important" to her. And, I don't think she pays attention to the fact that I CC myself on EVERYTHING as a back-up! I KNOW when I sent something, damn it!
  • Her e-mails about what she wants are in no way clear, nor are they kind most of the time (probably demanding is a better word). For example, here are some things she has sent me (hopefully you can see what I mean after extracting snippets of various e-mails):
"Here is the Epi Report with F's changes. Some formatting needs to be done again. It's almost done. Please print a copy for me and I will read it one last time for typos and then you can enter it."
**Notice NO reference to exactly WHAT formatting needs to be changed - or even if I am the one who needs to do it? And, the report cannot be entered until F sees it one more time - she can't make that decision to just enter it.

"I will make a directory on my computer called NSF-BioMath as soon as I
get in. We can still use Brenda's former directory system as a
repository, but I would prefer to work in my shared directory."
** Not going to work since my director wants all of the reports in one place - so that it is easier for me to work on them with 3 different associate directors. She agreed already in person with myself and the other 2 associate directors that she would not work from her machine - she would work from the main report repository.

"I'll take that document and discuss it with F briefly and only
then let's make the email lists and send out messages and all that."
** Say what? ONLY THEN?? That's a little rude.
  • She spent more time this week bitching that the hotel vans were late (uh, hello? Did you realize there is RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC) than worrying about our main speaker almost passing out during his talks from low bloodsugar because he chose not to eat breakfast.
  • She opted NOT to work on a report that was due 7/31 until the weekend before - even though I had it ready for her as she ASKED by the end of June. So, it then became an emergency for ME to get in at the last second so the NSF didn't slap us on the wrist for being late.
There is more to the's ever growing.

She spent the bulk of the day Thursday telling me that the program was running "perfectly." It was a "huge success." PUHLEEEEZZE! It has been running just fine - I know that - I've run the freakin program for NINE YEARS now. I don't need her "reassuring" me like I am 2 years old. I know when things are going right or wrong. I just need her out of my office this week so I could somehow catch up on some of the work that has been piling up on my desk. She just wouldn't get the casual hints.

So, she took it upon herself after to talk to my Director Thursday because "I looked upset"...and then came into my office and closed the door so we could "talk." Quite frankly, I have been in such a bad mood for a couple of weeks now - so many deadlines to meet, not enough time to do them, too many stupid questions from people who should be smarter (book-wise anyway) than me - that I have been on the verge of either lashing out at someone (which I didn't want to do - I am better than that) or cry myself into a puddle of blubber. So, I said to her that I needed to talk to our Director, which I would do eventually when there was time, and I would talk to her later - saying in passing that I have a lot of work to do, needed to talk to him about how to prioritize things, and that there were some things at home bothering me, and I just didn't feel up to talking.

i.e. There is some personal things that she is just NOT privy to! I am NOT going to tell her that we are TTC again after three miscarriages. I am not going to tell her we are concerned with Chris' speech and his upcoming evaluation. These are things that are overlapping with the workload that only F and my Center Admin are privy to!

Apparently my hint didn't work... She marched right back into my director's office and met with him again.

So, I get this e-mail early yesterday morning:
"Hi T (me),

Hope you are feeling better after your discussion with F yesterday.

This morning I made the mistake of checking my email before leaving and there were so many emails, some disturbing, I couldn't get out on time. I'm afraid I won't get there in time to open the conference. I'll do my best, but most likely you'll have to do the honors. I hope you don't mind. I have an extremely tight schedule and I really try to avoid getting distracted, but sometimes it just happens.

So, I responded to her saying it was no big deal if she was late - I could handle it, which I did. No problems.

But, I did not respond to the "Hope you are feeling better after your discussion with F yesterday" comment. That is NOT professional to say in an e-mail unless you were out sick the day before.

Then, I received THIS second e-mail yesterday morning from her, around 11:30 am (and, no, she was not here yet):

I'm sending you the message F sent me. I'm deeply dissapointed that you didn't share this with me before complaining to F. I've done everything possible to make things easier for you. I'm working hard just like you. Whenever you cannot or will not do something I simply say "okay." We've never exchanged one cross word. When you are upset I try to reassure you that everything is going well.

I'm sending you brief emails with itemized lists because you asked me to do that. You didn't want me coming to your office and trying to discuss things with you. There's only so much you can communicate over emails.

You never said a word to me and then to turn around and complain about me to the boss, just isn't right. I never would have complained about you to anyone without letting you know first and giving you a chance to fix things.

You and F are having a problem with your workload - you said this to me many times. It's not right to involve me in your conflict like this.

If F misunderstood then it is up to you to explain that to him. If I don't hear from F that he misunderstood the email I sent you, then I'll assume you complained about me behind my back.


**Thanks for sending me a copy of the email you sent T. I think that part of the problem is the tone of the email. Of course, you sent it before you and I talked this afternoon. We have an atmosphere at DIMACS in which we treat all of the staff as professionals and as equals. Somehow, the wording in your email seemed like it was simply telling T what to do rather than discussing it with her. It would have been better to have your ideas come as suggestions as to how you might prefer to have things work or how T or anyone else might make changes in procedures. Also, since we all share jobs and exchange pieces of jobs, it is sometimes necessary to do things in a way that is better for others, even if it is more work. That may be the case with the report system. I do think that this will eventually iterate to a good solution that everyone is happy with. It just means we all have to work on it."
WTF?? How old are we? And, how exactly DID you get a PhD with this kind of "etiquette"?? This was rather immature and shitty of her to send. I chose not to respond - I gave it to my director to handle.

First off, there has never been a time I "did not want to do something." Asking for food to show up magically at 11:45 when IT IS 11:45 is just freaking IMPOSSIBLE!!! Unless, of course, my magic wand is working...or the food comes out of my ass.

I wanted e-mails of what she wants for MY protection - so, sending me e-mails instead of face-to-face conversations is true on her end. BUT, her e-mails are unclear or twisted, and I can't figure out what the hell she wants most of the time - or, they are just completely wrong. If I try to clarify, the answers are just as twisted. It's a no-win situation there. But, my plan of e-mails is working for MY protection now, thank goodness!

Yes, I did go to my boss about my issues first - mainly because the last time I tried to handle an office conflict on my own, it blew up in my face because the person did not like hearing what was REALLY going on...and I suspect the same would have happened here. As much as I am frustrated with F right now, he is a great, great person and has been there for me more times than I can count. We are very similar in work ethics - to a fault really since we both cannot say no to things and we want to make sure things go right on something we have done - and sometimes that will cause minor friction between us. In times like this current situation, I wanted to sound off what I was feeling about S before I spoke to her (I didn't want things misconstrued, which they are anyway and probably would have been had I tried to talk to her on her own) - and he thinks that was the appropriate channel to go through. I was planning on talking to her about everything yesterday - until that second e-mail came in. It is apparent she would not be reasonable about anything.

Oh, F and I HAVE no conflict! No deep-seeded issues! We get along very, very well - and we are in no way putting her in the middle. He and I get into not-so-eye-to-eye talks sometimes, but they always work out. F and my Center Admin get into the same situations at times too. It is the nature of the amount of work we are expected to get done. She can't figure that out because she just hasn't been here long enough to see how we all work together. But, she is insisting this is the heart of the issue - that F and I are just not getting along. That is not the case AT ALL.

And, what the HELL is she sending me a personal e-mail like that from F at the end?!?! F trusted her to use it wisely, she did not. She twisted it yet again...

...Although, I must say that my Director is a CLASS ACT! He was very diplomatic in that section of e-mail...which she could not see.

I come to find out after this second e-mail that she sent some VERY disturbing e-mails to F and our Center Administrator around the same time this e-mail came in to me. Things in no way related to me - but related to others in the office, like "someone wouldn't give her a copy code" (she never asked) and "someone didn't want to give her a parking permit (because it is her responsibility to GO GET A STAFF PERMIT FROM PARKING instead of doing an end-run to not have to shell out the cash for the staff permit!!). It was so bad, F called my Center Admin in to the office on her day off to call University Relations about what to do. I am not sure what was in those e-mails - and I don't care to know. All I know is the issue is WELL beyond just me.

F talked to her again yesterday for almost an hour - she stormed out of his office (which is across from mine) afterwards. He confronted her with a lot of the crap she had been slinging - and also suggested that she talk to me to straighten things out. She does not want to talk to me - she is too "upset" about it.

Pish-pash. She got caught in her own crap.

So, she sent this at 3:59 pm yesterday:
"It would be very difficult for me to handle tomorrow's events. Is it possible to get someone else to do it? I feel quite bad about not being there to see people off after getting to know them over the week, but I have my limits. I've worked every weekend for some time now and put in such long hours this week, I'm exhausted. So I would greatly appreciate if you found a replacement."
Uh, and what am I in the working the weekends department?? Chopped liver??? So glad she acts responsibly for the position of Associate Director.

When F saw that, he told me we would use the speaker to moderate today - and that he would give her the chance to change her mind and have her show up. BUT, when I checked my e-mail last night, I saw this response instead:
"I am sorry that this week has been so exhausting for you. These one-week programs are intensive and everyone works hard at them.

I have to say that telling me at 3:59 PM on a Friday afternoon that you felt you couldn't come in for the planned Saturday morning session of the Reconnect program was not acceptable. However, luckily, I have arranged for coverage so there is no need for you to come in tomorrow."
For F, them's fightin' words! F is the calmest person I know - I have only heard him yell at one person in the 9+ years I have worked here. It looks like she will be #2 soon enough.

I am not sure what is going to happen at this point - all I know is F and my Center Admin trust me and my work and my judgment. They feel I took the right steps to rectify this (especially NOT having talked to her on my own because it would have gotten twisted anyway), and she twisted and turned it to attempt to work in her favor - which it has not. My Center Admin thinks she just an outright cookoo clock and wants to see her go. F is a little more cautious because we DO work for a University and it is hard to fire someone without justification (although she is still in the 90 day trial period of employment - he can terminate without cause right now).

I think the heart of the matter here is she likes to do research, not administrative stuff. Writing reports and moderating programs is probably NOT what she expected out of this job - and she's not happy. She wants to write her papers...but that is not what the job is!

Which is not OUR problem, now is it?

She is still commuting from New York to get here - and she has less than 3 weeks to find a new place around here before she looses her lease on the current house. I think she has been stalling finding a new place (which would require finding a good school district for her 3 children) because she doesn't like her duties here - and was trying to find a way out.

She may have found that out - but not on her terms.

Well, at least the programs are over as of today...I am slowly beginning to dig out of my piles and come back to civilization and learning the Bass Guitar.

I am not sure what is going to happen with her... If she ends up staying, I hope we can come to some sort of workable truce... If she goes, then my workload will get heavier again until a replacement can be found.

I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The dangling carrot (** Edited at end **)

This time next week (give or take a few hours - the appointment IS in the afternoon), I will be getting this done with Zia:
Spa Pedicure:

Enjoy a relaxing whirlpool bath with a light salt glow massage for feet and legs. Sea Serum is used to soften the roughest of areas, which are buffed until smooth. Each foot is brushed with a marine masque and wrapped. This treatment ends with an aromatic oil massage for both feet and legs.
Ahhh.... One hour of total, mind-erasing luxury....after several hours of shopping and dining.

That's my dangling carrot for the week, since my magic wand will probably be broken by then.


Oh, can I mention how much my hubby ROCKS!! See what he sent me at work this morning, just because he knew I was having a hard time here:

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All I wanted to do was cry this morning when I received them.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Me and my Magic Wand

See this?

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This is my Magic Wand.

I can do ANYTHING with this magic wand.


No, REALLY, I can!

I can...

...make a catered lunch appear out my ass about 45 minutes before it is supposed to show up from the caterers...just because the main speaker is hungry and forgot to eat breakfast. someone from South Africa back to the US under $200...after the guy screws up and leaves the US to attend a workshop there - violating his visa status and of course is not allowed back into the US (did I mention I can get him the new visa too?).

...reinvent the e-mail program we use for mailing list...just so our Director can just browse all of the e-mail addresses without looking at anything else that would waste time.

...summon my I can come up with an international banking code for my Director's bank account for a payment from Ireland.

Funny, my magic wand seems to only work here at work... It seems to malfunction everywhere else - like, where I REALLY could use it.

....I think I need a new job...

I have just about had it working here.