Friday, January 23, 2015

News & Notes, Unemployment Edition

So...we're 10 days into this alternate reality that we never imagined would be our real life.  Yesterday I met most of the day with a job coach who worked with me to go over my resume, update my LinkedIn, and prepare me for interviews.  It was mostly fun and I got a nice lunch out of it, but it was a little sobering, as well, because there's a lot of competition out there and interviewing is really one of my worst nightmares.  A necessary evil, for sure, but terrifying for me.  First impressions are just plain scary.  Still, the preparation was good and I've made progress.  The only bad news is that my resume is caught up with them right now, partly because the poor coach was still dealing with the lingering cough from bronchitis a few weeks back and ended up going for some treatment last night.  I'm stuck until I get that, but hopefully Monday.

I realized I'm a bit behind on pictures.  I'm actually pulling in a lot of pictures from my iPod today, probably because I use it more now that I'm home all day and can capture random moments.

Last Thursday Jacob and I went on a little "date" to a musical put on by a middle school in town.  We got discounted tickets to the dress rehearsal through Jacob's school, and we had a great time.  The show was Beauty and the Beast, and it was awesome.  From the sets to the costumes, everything looked great, and the actors were fantastic.  It was a little funny to see the range of kids at that age--the kids who haven't quite hit puberty full on yet compared to the kids who passed it a long time ago.  But the show was wonderful and aside from being a little too eager for snacks at the intermission, Jacob really seemed to enjoy it. 

Before the show...notice the lighted logo on the wall behind him...
Mama-Jacob of my favorites ever.
I took this picture the other morning when I noticed the frost on the branches lit up so perfectly by the rising sun.  Not bad considering it's through the window and zoomed.

Yesterday evening daycare put on a belated holiday show.  Usually they do a Christmas one in December, but for some reason they did a mostly Christmas one in January.  I'm not sure if they put it off due to staffing issues or too much illness or what.  It was strange, but oh, well.  I wasn't even sure until that morning that Carter was participating, so he wasn't dressed up cute or anything.  In addition, Jacob jumped in with the school agers at the last it was all sorts of hodgepodge.
Carter sat like a statue, pretty much like this, the whole time his group sang.  To be fair, he's one of the youngest ones, but I was a little bummed that he didn't even do the motions for Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, since he's usually so good at it.  Oh, year.

Jacob enjoyed himself...though nothing will compare to the year he stole the microphone.
The other day I poked my head into Carter's room during nap and discovered this interesting position:
It's hard to really see how high his leg is.  He just looked so funny.

The other day I looked out the front window while walking down the stairs and thought I saw something.  At first I thought it was a dog but quickly realized it was a deer.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple shots out the front window.  This one snacked on our evergreens, and as he walked I noticed another deer on the side of the house.  We don't see deer a lot, but they're definitely around.

I captured this shot of Carter watching Jacob play Wii.  What a big boy he's becoming.
I went upstairs to put away laundry for a couple minutes and came down to this...
He's at my spot at the table, complete with his play food.
What a character he's becoming.  As exhausting as he can be, this is a great time to be home with him.  He's hilarious.

So, we're just plugging along right now.  Things are fine and our new normal isn't half bad for the time being...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Life at Home

I've been doing the "at home" thing for just over a week now.  Carter goes to daycare twice a week, and spends the rest of the time with me.  I can tell he misses it, but I'm glad he gets a couple days to maintain some sense of normalcy.  So far, it's been fine...different, but fine.  Clearly this is not the way I'd want to spend time at home, and right now there's a false sense of stability since I'm technically pulling in a normal paycheck without having to do the work.  But one of my main goals for this time was to make the best of it.  So that's what I'm trying to do.

Being out of work stinks and I'm sort of dreading the process of finding a new job.  I always just find it intimidating to look at job descriptions and I worry about either overselling myself and not being able to do it, or being too humble and missing a prime opportunity to show what I'm capable of.  At the end of the day I know that I'm intelligent and am capable of learning a lot.  I taught myself so much of what I did in my old job, and I'm confident I can do it again.  But I always get nervous about getting in over my head.  I liken things like this to the first day of class in college, when you see the syllabus and freak out about all you'll have to do.  The thing is, though, that you don't have to do it all in one day, or even one week.  And I think getting a new job is along those lines too, but I still dread those first couple weeks of not knowing what I'm doing and trying to learn without looking like an idiot.  I always felt bad for new people at my old job, particularly when I'd ask them how they were settling in and I'd get a response like, "Oh, it's going okay, I'm getting there," and remembering that early awkwardness. I'm not looking forward to that part, but it is exciting to think of new opportunities. 

I have a couple leads, but I can't really get started until at least tomorrow.  I have a resume done, but I have no idea if it meets current resume standards.  I don't know what of my college stuff still needs to be there--awards, honors, internships--or how much detail I really need to provide for previous positions.  Sometimes there are entire resume sections that go out of vogue, so I need to find out how mine stacks up to current trends.  I will be spending most of the day tomorrow with a job coach that was provided by my old company.  Ironically it's in the building next door to my old one (good news: I can use my parking), and I'm guessing we'll be working on my resume, going over my evaluation I filled out to pinpoint jobs/industries to focus on, and hopefully working on interview questions and answers.  They're buying me lunch, if nothing else, so I guess that's nice.  I'm just hoping to have a good resume ready by the end of the day, so I can start applying to jobs via one lead, and reconnecting with the same headhunter that I worked with nine years ago.  If none of those pan I out I will have to start digging deeper, but I think those are two good places to start.  Having a resume ready is a big help, though, as smaller leads pop up. 

In the meantime I'm doing what I can to enjoy the break.  Extra time with Carter is nice, even if I'm already tired of cleaning up the living room five times a day.  He's a pretty good little buddy and a good sport when we have to run errands.  I still look forward to naptime, but knowing that I have a lot of time on my hands over the next few weeks, I'm less panicked when he wakes up from nap than I usually am on weekends when those few hours are needed to get things done.  I'm trying to be more diligent around the house--doing more laundry, taking the time to clean things I normally don't, trying to plan meals better--and I've been handling most of the pick-up duties at the end of the day so Craig can maximize his time at work.  I really am trying to utilize this as a "try-out" in the event I ever have the chance to work part-time or something like that.

It definitely has its bright side--time with Carter, time to read a book, time to watch my favorite old 80s game shows on GSN in the morning, time to run errands when most of the world is working--but it's not all fun and games, either.  I still need to get up early to get Jacob's lunch packed everyday and get Carter ready on time to leave with Craig twice per week.  I have to worry about getting a job and taking care of anything associated with that.  There's more pressure now to ensure that I am available for all of the stuff I have no excuse to not do anymore.  I'm committing myself to going to the gym on the two days that Carter is at daycare.  Unfortunately my old gym closed and my new gym is not open in our town just yet, so I'm stuck going downtown to the gym I have a free membership at through Craig's work.  I like it there a lot, but it's a bit more of a drive than I'd like.  Yesterday it worked out well because I met my weekly lunch buddies for lunch afterward, and tomorrow I'll go after my job coaching.  I figure that if I can use this time to drop the extra five pounds I'm toting around, that would be helpful. 

It's still weird not having anywhere to go, but I'm keeping myself busy enough that it still feels a bit like a staycation or holiday time off.  It's a little ironic that the last time I had this much time off it was two years ago right around this same time of year (though one month later), for maternity leave.  I grew to love that time all holed up at home, but having a tiny baby made it easier to want to stay home, whereas now a break from the living room disaster area is welcomed.  I can't go out and spend money, however, but there are certain things I'm taking the time to look for (a new toaster oven to replace ours that doesn't toast or new dressy work clothes).  I've had a bunch of lunches out for various reasons, too, and I need to make a couple doctor's appointments before our insurance changes over. 

Long story short, this isn't quite some relaxing vacation, but it's a nice vacation from having to cram everything outside of work into a couple hours per night.  I'll get a little more crazy in another couple weeks, but for now I'm enjoying the chance to see what this kind of existence would be like, minus the financial hit.  The real work starts tomorrow, we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Game Plan

Well, now that I've officially been out of work for nearly five days, I've had some time to ponder this monumental shift in my existence.  You don't realize how integral to your identity your job can be, and having to reset my plans and expectations accordingly has been a challenge.  Everywhere I look there are reminders of how things were before.  From the frozen dinners stocked up in my freezer for work lunches to the clothes I had planned to wear to work later in the week, there were so many little things to remind me of what had happened.  On Thursday I stopped into my old building to grab lunch with my usual Friday lunch buddies (two guys I worked game nights with when I worked in sports--one works in the same building and the other a couple blocks away).  It hit me as I walked back from lunch and looked at the building that it's no longer "my" building.  I can no longer look at it with pride and talk about the great views.  In fact, losing those views was a sad realization for me, particularly as we finally had some spectacular sunsets this week after an otherwise blah winter sunset season.  I even had to scramble a little when I realized that my annual MLK Day lunch with some former sports co-workers was in jeopardy once I was out of work.  With Jacob off school and unable to eat at the restaurant we always go to, I almost wasn't able to go.  But I had promised to try to get him into daycare that day since he missed out on part of his time there over Christmas, and even though Carter won't be there (more on that in a minute) on Monday and I'm clearly available, he'll be at daycare.  That may be all he gets for a while, so I guess it's the least I can do.

It's just been a weird mental thing in general, realizing that all of the skills that I took such great pride in, all of the work I put my heart and soul into, all of the little victories I had right up until my last day...all mean nothing now.  As I mentioned, no one else knows how to do most of my work, so many of the projects and processes I worked countless hours on are now worthless.  It's sad, really.  Not that it impacts me anymore, but it sort of makes you wonder why you bothered all that time.  It definitely makes me realize how much more important family is than work.  Sometimes they seem like they have to be know, like when you have a major deadline and a sick kid and feel like it's OK for your kid to hang out with someone else but your project really needs you.  But at the end of the day your family is always going to be there waiting for you, whereas your job...well, maybe it won't be.  It's hard to have that perspective in the middle of it, but that is quite clear to me right now.

Speaking of family, we've decided that we're going to pull Carter out of daycare three days per week.  I figure that keeping him in for two days still saves us a lot of money but still keeps him in that groove to some degree.  We'll get some bonus time together, but I will still have set days where I can get things done, be it interviews or other appointments.  I'm leaving Jacob in the afterschool program for now, mostly because he's already paid through the month and it's a pain to set up bus service or pick him up at a specific time.  We could stop it for next month, but what if I get a job that starts in February?  Then we're stuck.  So I think he'll be sticking around.  It's not that expensive in the grand scheme of things, so it's worth the security for the next couple months of unknowns. 

As for the job hunt, I'm still working on my resume.  Initially I was having some computer formatting issues with my old resume and then I realized that I'm simply not sure what belongs in a "modern" resume.  It's been nearly 10 years since I had to update mine, and I know trends change.  I could update what's there and add my most recent job, but I'm really not sure if certain things still need to be there (college awards, internships), how much detail I need for jobs, and whether the current setup is sufficient.  I had to fill out a massive evaluation for the transitional job coach that I have the services of for a month (courtesy of my former employer), and it was pretty awful to have to regurgitate two jobs' worth of tasks, skills, and accomplishments in the immediate wake of this loss.  On Thursday I will spend the entire day meeting with the job coach, ironically in the building next door to my old one (at least I can use my parking pass!), hopefully to finalize the resume, work on talking points, and get a game plan.  I have a couple good leads through friends of mine and a couple other plans in mind (including the headhunter I used to get my last job), so I don't feel too worried yet.  If a couple of those don't plan out I might get a bit more panicky, but for now I'm keeping calm and taking things one step at a time. 

In the meantime, I'm making plans to rock my stay-at-home mom stint.  I've always dreamed of working part time and having at least a couple days at home each week, so I'm trying to look at this as my trial run.  Not that I could ever make it work financially, but I'm intrigued to see how it would go.  Of course, there's always the fear that I will totally suck at it.  I've already spent far too much time on the couch when I should be playing with the kids, but to be fair I think I'm getting a bit of a cold, judging by the runny nose and scratchy throat I'm dealing with right now.  But I am trying to be more engaged and intentional, and I'm making an effort to clean things that have been waiting and planning to work through my long-term to do list.  I have curtains to hang and a baby book to update, and if I don't get to those things now, I might never.  I don't want to get back to work and kick myself for not getting those things out of the way while I had this unprecedented amount of time off.  I need to get in a couple workouts each week and I need to finally get in to see a new doctor.  I have piles of magazines to read and 2T clothes to start integrating into Carter's wardrobe.  I went to the library and checked out a book so I have something constructive to do when I've had too much crappy TV.  I need to look up story hour times and find activities to get Carter and me out of the house once in a while.  I need to be more intentional about teaching him things I think he'd be learning at daycare.

It's still a lot to process, and I can't do it all in one day, but I'm trying to stay positive and take advantage of this opportunity while I have it.  It's not every day that you get the chance to improve your place in life and enjoy some time off work in the process.  We'll just have to see how it goes...

Friday, January 16, 2015


Tuesday morning started out like any other day.  Well, that's not entirely the middle of my morning routine I read my friends' CaringBridge post that their cancer-stricken daughter had declined considerably and might be in the last stages.  That was jarring, but the good news is, three days later she's still hanging in there, and the bonus time has allowed them to add some good memories to their collection.  But otherwise, it was a normal morning.  I went to work, settled in at my desk, ate breakfast, and started digging into my computer.  A couple minutes later, I was surprised to see my big boss peeking around the cubicle wall.  He doesn't come into town much, so it was interesting that he was there.  He very quickly asked me to come with him.  He wasn't very chatty on the walk across the office, and right about that moment I figured out what was happening.  I couldn't quite believe it, but it became extra clear upon arrival in the conference room.  I sat in calm disbelief as it was explained that my position was being eliminated and as of that day, it was done.  DONE.  As in, no more job.  Nine years, and it all ended in an instant. 

I tried to keep calm and rational, but inside I sort of wanted to exclaim to them that they were out of their minds, for reasons I'll explain later.  I had to sit through a few minutes with the HR person, then get passed along to a transitional job coach for a half hour to hear their game plan for helping me through this process.  And then it was time to be escorted to my desk, so they could watch me pack up nine years' worth of stuff and prevent me from touching my computer.  I had a few minutes to say goodbye to my department mates, and that was it.  They were devastated, not just because we were a great team, but because we were overwhelmed as it was with three of us, and most of what I did they don't know how to do.  It was just sudden and awful and as perplexing as it was shocking. 

I was home before 11am, with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  So, of course, I jumped on Facebook, despite the fact that all of the paperwork from the transition folks urges you not to do that.  But this is real life and I'm not about to keep this one to myself, not when the rest of my life is so out there.  Easier to get it over with than to systematically have to run into people and have them awkwardly, unknowingly embarrass themselves when they say something and I have to break the news.  I'm not going to say anything I might regret anyway.  Of course I got an outpouring of support in the comments and plenty of private messages, many with possible leads and offers of help.  It was nice to get those on an otherwise crappy day.  I found out later that morning that three of my office mates had been let go as well, all with as much or more time with the company, so after that I felt less bad about my situation, at least. 

Still, this has clearly been a jarring, surreal experience.  I never in a million years expected to be here.  I don't say that arrogantly, I say that as a person who was the only one doing what I was doing, and someone doing a lot of work that is requested directly by clients and the people working directly with the clients.  And the stuff I was doing was not simple work that anyone can just pick up and move on with.  One facet of it involves significant outside training and lots of practice.  The other involves a bunch of very complex files (some of which even I had trouble with after years of working with them) and the brain to be able to conceptualize what's happening within the files.  Not everyone has that--believe me, we've tried.  Some of what I did directly impacted the major client we brought in last year, and this turn of events strikes me as strange since I was always taught that this client's tasks take priority...and yet now that I'm not there, their stuff is simply not going to get done.  I just don't know how you let someone go without some sort of plan to continue their work.  Trust me, what I did was valuable (ask any of the people banging down my digital door every day), and that they felt it wasn't necessary any longer...well, it still blows my mind.  I'd think that even if it wasn't my job.  Like I said, my two department mates were very upset and obviously they realize the gravity of what just happened, but we'll see when the powers that be realize it. 

I trained my one co-worker on some elements of these tasks when I went out on maternity leave two years ago, but most of that was just to keep things moving while I was out.  It was not for long-term maintenance.  That got too complex.  They were in dire straits during those seven weeks simply being down a body.  As my one co-worker said, "Tears were shed."  There was so much work.  And now that situation is permanent.  My boss admitted when I talked to her yesterday that she's pretty sure she's still in denial.  They're just not sure how they're going to get it all done. 

As much as this situation stinks for me, most of the time I feel worse for them.  After all, over the years most people that have left the company seem to find something even better for them.  I have a chance to start over, to find something great.  I'm sort of getting off easy, since I don't have to train anyone to replace me or worry about all of the stuff that I spent the last nine years worrying about.  Meanwhile, they're stuck with all of their work plus mine (much of which they can't do) and figuring out how to move forward like that.  It's completely unfair to all of us, I guess.

Of course, I have no small task ahead of me.  Sure, I have a bit of a severance and I don't have to get up and go anywhere in the morning for a while.  But I need to get a job.  I decided this feels a little bit like graduating from college.  There's a bit of relief when the classes and the studying are done...but then reality sets in that you need to find a job as soon as possible.  Granted, nowadays I have a husband, two kids, and a house, so the stakes are even higher.  But I have 15 years of working experience and a few connections to explore.  Not a terrible place to start, at least.  But it's definitely not what I was expecting, and things are thrown a bit off track at the moment. 

I have a lot more thoughts to share on this, but that's the main part of the story for now.  That it took me this long to blog about it proves that being off work can be just as busy as working.  It's been an eventful few days, to say the least.  It's not every day that your life's entire trajectory changes, and getting used to a new route is quite the process.  At least it will provide a break from me complaining about all of the sickness around here (though did I mention I woke up early Wednesday morning and realized my pinkeye was back?  Yeah.  That was fun.).

So, here goes nothing...stay tuned.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Photo Week(s) in Review

Because we've been in the muck of sickness and being tired from sickness, I've been extra lazy about getting my camera out and pulling off pictures.  So, here's a review of pics from the weekend after New Year's, immediately following my stomach bug but before the current round of sickness.

Jacob's lacrosse team was doing the pregame tunnel and playing at halftime of the Knighthawks' season opener, hence the urgency to get there despite my illness.  Thankfully I felt so much better on Saturday so we could make Jacob's regular game in the afternoon and then head off to the Knighthawks game that night.  It was time for yet another banner raising...third in a row (and judging by the start of this season, probably the last for a while)...

The team got to be on the field to welcome the players out to the turf.  You can't really see them, but Jacob's team is in white to the right of the dancers (in black and teal).  The girls team was across the way in orange.

Here's Jacob ready to go out at halftime.  He was excited, of course!

They did a bit of a free-for-all out there like they did last year, so he ran in to take shots and actually was mixing it up with his teammates a bit.  Boys...any chance for a battle.  They were fine, just silly rolling around on the turf.  Here he is taking a shot...

Meanwhile, Carter was snacking away and smiling at the people above us in the stands.  Everyone loved his tiny jersey, which is getting ever closer to really fitting him.  It is pretty darn cute.

Finally, I had been meaning to take a picture like this since early December, and I finally remembered last week.  This is a view of the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester from my office.  Every year at Christmas they put lights on the cables attached to this piece of artwork, and it really does look pretty.  One of these years I'm actually going to get down there and take pictures from the base.  My boss actually did an awesome Christmas card this year with her abstract photo of it.  I just liked the look of the photo at twilight.  Not bad from 16 stories up, a couple blocks away, and through a window!

In other news...last night was another rough one, with Jacob up in the middle of the night again.  I think the virus must have shifted south...either that or his medicine is wreaking havoc on his system.  Luckily Craig was there so it wasn't just me, but it was yet another night awake for an extended period of time and I am really exhausted today.  This whole couple months of illness has been really draining.  From rough nights to work-related stress (for what I'm not there to be working on) to general stress about the kids' health to worrying about the next thing (which I only started doing recently, given this crazy series of illnesses we've had), it's all been pretty exhausting.  Add in the holidays and the end-of-year/new year stuff at work, and it's been one heck of a challenge.  I'm just ready for some smooth sailing, you know?  Seems like it's been far too long since that was the case, but in the grand scheme of things we're still pretty blessed.  Tired and germ-filled, but blessed.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

More Medical Madness

Sorry to do this again, but this stuff keeps writing itself.  Here's the latest on our ridiculous medical drama. 

After an uneventful day yesterday, bedtime foreshadowed what would become a tough night.  I noticed at bedtime that Carter's low-grade fever was back.  In addition, Jacob didn't seem quite as comfortable at bedtime as he seemed for the rest of the day.  Still, both went down well and I stupidly stayed up later than I should have just because I wanted to get all of the ornaments off the Christmas tree.  I really wanted to get the tree down this weekend, and once I started the ornaments, I really needed to finish them because they're such a mess of boxes, tissue paper, and fragile items.  I probably didn't fall asleep until close to 1am, and almost immediately I was woken up by Carter's frequent whines and whimpers in the night.  Lately he's had a really hard time sleeping--naps have been interrupted, and his nights have been full of pathetic-sounding noises every little bit.  I'm not sure if that's just all of his congestion, or if the underlying cause of the head/ear issues that prompted last week's doctor visit are to blame, or if his molars are torturing him even though they're not even close to coming through yet.  It's a little worrisome, to be honest, but he's back at the doctor in a month anyway so I can nag them then if it's still an issue.  I'm keeping an eye on his coordination and things like that in the meantime, because him complaining about his head scares me.  I guess it's one of the downfalls of having friends whose little girl is in the end stages of brain cancer. :(

Anyway, Carter was constantly making noises, and I was finally able to block them out enough to sleep....only to realize at one point around 2:30am, I think, that Jacob was calling me.  I went down to his room, already exhausted from the previous night on the couch where I barely slept, and encountered a very unhappy little boy.  He was complaining that he was uncomfortable sleeping on his floor (as is our setup when he's sick).  I told him that he'd been fine for a long time, so if he wanted to sleep in his bed, he was probably safe to do so.  But he wasn't comfortable with that and we spent at least an hour with him writhing around on his floor, miserable.  He complained about his stomach and then back pain.  He thought he was going to be sick, but he was OK...and eventually he calmed down and went back to sleep.  It was still a rough rest of the night and I decided to turn off my alarm set for church, assuming that between Carter's fever and Jacob's mess, we wouldn't be making it.

Jacob woke up around 7-7:30, and although he called for me, he kept himself occupied and didn't really bother me.  Carter woke up a bit before 9am, and I finally dragged myself out of bed at 9.  As I was in the bathroom taking my morning pills, Jacob came in.  And immediately I noticed that his face was pink.  And then I looked at the rest of him...and realized he was full of raised pink hives.  HIVES.  Oh sh**.  Pardon the language, but after everything else....that was all I could think.  I immediately freaked out (calmly) and called the doctor.  They wanted us in right away, so I had to get two kids ready alone and rush over. 

The hives were scary, bright pink from his face down to the tops of his thighs.  It hurt to look at him.  I knew it wasn't an allergy thing because he hadn't had anything new recently, so I figured it had to be a virus (sort of like the roseola he had as a baby) and probably was related to the stomach bug.  The nurse said a few other rashes had already come in this morning, so perhaps this is going around! 

This is sort of a weird picture because I took it quickly at the doctor's office with Jacob protesting.  He was on all fours with his head ducked down and his back arched.  It's looking up his back, with his skinny shoulder blades sticking way out and the back of his neck is hiding in the space between them.  This is just a taste of what he had.

The tops of his thighs were solid pink.  His stomach was covered.  He was very itchy.  The doctor wanted to give him a shot of adrenaline and follow up with prednisone and Benadryl.  The shot worked faster than anything oral, so we went that route.  And Jacob promptly got sick.  Poor kid.  But he recovered from that quickly and we waited a while to make sure things were getting better.  It started to fade and we stopped at Wegmans for the rest of the medicine before heading home.  Shortly after lunch he realized it was getting worse again, and while I figured it was just the adrenaline wearing off before the rest of the stuff kicked in, I called the doctor again anyway.  It was normal, and despite the itching (most of the rash came back in spots where it wasn't previously), Jacob took a nap.  When he woke up, all of the hives were gone!  What a relief! 

He'll be on the drugs for a bit yet and we're still on the fence about school tomorrow, but I'm glad the worst appears to be over.  For this round, anyway.  Still feeling cautious about the rest of us avoiding it, and still mildly concerned about Carter's sleep misery, but I keep hoping that one of these illnesses will be the last for a while.  Fingers crossed this is it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

No, Seriously, SO SICK of This...

We are once again the sick house.  I don't know what the heck is going on here, but I'm starting to lose it.  It's not like we're just recycling the same germs, as every illness is different and too much time passes between the vaguely similar ones, but one way or another, those germs just don't want to get out of here. 

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk working away, and my phone rang.  I saw daycare's number flash on the caller ID and I immediately panicked.  Sure enough, Carter had a fever.  His fever was over 103, just like Jacob's was right before Christmas.  He was a little on the sad side, but other than a runny nose, he didn't seem too bad.  In fact, for a while I couldn't even get a fever on the thermometer, but it did come back later.  He had to stay home today because he got sent home with a high fever, so Craig and I split the day.  He took the morning shift and I took over when he had to leave for this weekend's Knighthawks' road trip. 

Carter napped for the first couple hours I was home, but he was coughing himself awake and looking awfully pathetic when I'd go in to rub his back and help him back to sleep.  I managed to de-Christmas most of the house in the meantime, getting down all but the tree.  It felt good to get it done, even though it's always a little depressing to lose some of the color and pizazz around here.  As I was finishing up, the phone rang.  It was the afterschool program, calling to say that Jacob was very upset because his stomach was hurting him.  Now, his stomach tends to hurt a lot--between his Celiac disease, minor constipation, and nerves, sometimes it's hard to tell how serious things are.  He probably has panicky nauseous episodes once a month on average, I'd guess, but very few of them turn into anything.  So...I wrapped up a couple things at home and headed over sometime after 4:30. 

When I got to the school, he looked miserable and was freaking out about how sick he felt.  I rushed him into his boots and coat, and we headed out.  Two steps out the door and he puked on the sidewalk.  Well, at least it wasn't inside, right?  And even more, it wasn't in my car!  I raced home and we had a few nervous moments near the end of the drive, but he made it out of the car and into the house without a problem.  We hung out in the bathroom for a while, but eventually he seemed OK and wanted to go lay down in the living room.  I pulled out the bucket and the comforter so he could take his spot on the floor, as is our custom.  He watched Scooby Doo and drank water for a couple hours and seemed fine.  I gave him some Gatorade mixed with water early in the evening, and just as I was getting Carter ready for bed, he came upstairs in a panic.  I assured him that I was going to get Carter in bed and be in to help him, but he got more frantic while I was reading books, so I had to rush through the end of bedtime and get into the bathroom. 

By then he'd had some diarrhea and looked upset again so I quickly grabbed the garbage can and handed it to him, just in time, in fact.  He had quite the episode and seemed to get out most of whatever was left in his belly.  Poor kid.  Still, once he finished up he was downright giddy, probably because he felt so much better.  We headed back downstairs and he fell asleep almost immediately.  That made me a little nervous, as did the shakes he got shortly afterward in his sleep, but for now he's sleeping soundly.  I'll probably have to get him some water overnight at some point, but he's always tough to wake up so I'm hoping he'll rouse himself a bit later.

In the meantime, I'm sitting on the couch with one ear on the monitor listening to Carter's noises...congested snores, lots of tossing and turning, and some coughs and cries.  Part of me is nervous he'll get this bug, even though he just had one.  Same goes for me.  Craig is on the road until Sunday, so I'm understandably nervous about how all of this might go down.  I'm figuring that I might just let Jacob sleep on the floor in the living room tonight and I'll sleep on the couch nearby.  Easier and less germy than me sleeping on his bed, I suppose.  Hopefully he will feel better tomorrow, but something tells me it will be a low-key day close to home no matter what.  We'll be playing the waiting game, too, to see if anyone else gets anything (including, God forbid, Craig somewhere in Connecticut).  I'm short on backups this time around, too, so I really need to stay healthy.  I've already used one-fifth of my sick days one week into the new year, so I really need all of us to get healthy ASAP and stay healthy.  We've had every sort of virus running through here in the past two months, and we really just need to not be sick anymore.  I'm tired of missing work and it's getting depressing to assume someone else is going to get sick and be right.  I don't know how to up our immunity.  Carter is starting vitamins as soon as I can get to the store (his doc didn't really recommend them and I was waiting until he was two to start chewables, but I think we're going to start a few weeks early), but the rest of us take them and we're doing what we can diet-wise.  I'm just at a loss.  This would be laughable at this point if it wasn't so darn miserable.  I don't mind taking care of my kids, but this has just gotten ridiculous.  I am SO over it.

Please pray.  Please.