15 November 2016

Grateful in Texas

What an eventful year this has been, so many changes for good and bad. The last time I wrote something I had been thinking about myself mostly, focusing on my future and my needs. A lot of "my" and "I" thinking but not very much of anything else. Mind you I feel that we are all entitled to a little bit of that thinking from time to time but sometimes it is difficult to not let it take over. However, today I will not share anything related to politics, groups affected by recent politics, or anything that can lead to negative thoughts. I need a break from the world and its very confusing environment, I will concentrate instead on the positive!

Well, the best news I can possibly share is this:

I HAVE A JOB!!!!!!!!

Wait it gets better! I have a job doing something I actually wanted to do! I know, I told you it only got better. Yes, I am working as a Research Administrator and although it is a steep learning curve - I LOVE IT! It is not the most exciting or glamorous job in the world but it is a change that I wanted and needed in my life. You could call me a glorified paper pusher but after years of dealing with bio-hazardous waste (literally & metaphorically), I'm enjoying wearing something other than bleach-stained jeans. I'm sure that not everyone is nice and that I am bound to have some run-ins with a few "characters" but on the whole I am happy of having an 8-to-5 job. Believe me it is not a small thing to have this type of job because let me tell you that the life of laboratory people is hard work and long hours. The work can be rewarding but the sacrifice made in the lab is no small feat and for me it was no longer one I wanted to continue. I think as great as all of that is, the best is that it is no longer grant funded. You have no idea the stability and comfort I now feel and how absolutely grateful I am for those two things.

As of my last post I had promised a post on the finished product in my bathroom but honestly I feel quite superficial writing about a silly bathroom when so much has happened. I still need to take the pictures, maybe I'll do that tonight being as I have free evenings and I leave work early.

16 September 2016

Re-Building Identities

Well hello, today I want to write something a little more positive and something that brings me great joy. I have spoken about this before - I process sadness or grief through hard manual labor. I always have, probably always will. I hadn't realized that I needed to mourn the loss of my job, the loss of love I felt for research, especially the loss of identity that came with the first loss. How did I work it out? Well first I focused on my garden and made several changes to my yard and second I focused on my guest bathroom. The garden I have kept everyone up-to-date on and you all know the bad luck pictures brought but the bathroom that was another thing!

Here we go with the bathroom. What you need to know is that my bathrooms had the most horrible wallpaper in the world! First of all it was an ugly pastel rendition of a southwestern pattern from the 80's that was then painted over with an uglier beige color. What it made it absolutely horrible was the fact that it wasn't installed correctly and you could see every single panel individually, where it either wasn't matched correctly or it overlapped panels. Yeah. Blah.

Okay so again I thought that I had before pictures but once more I have remembered half way through that I wanted pictures. Well to the left there you can see the old wallpaper but you can't see the raised texture or the old pattern, I only discovered that when we removed the bathroom mirror. The whole reason I decided to get this done was because that particular faucet started leaking and I was loosing a lot of water. A previous hack job on the faucet caused that leak and they had superglued that tile square around the faucets together and I actually had to break it apart with a hammer for the tile to come off. You'll see what I mean in a bit.

Below is the back wall of the shower, behind the faucets and you can see the water damage caused by the previous hack job and probably old leak, I also tore that out. On this wall you can also see all of the glue on the walls, that was so difficult to remove! I used a 50/50 mixture of water and Downy Softener, notice I was specific of the brand because towards the end I ran out of Downy and I figured dollar store brand would work the same. It didn't. I had to use a lot more of the dollar store brand for it to remove the glue from the walls versus Downy. Don't use the special scents, just the regular old type in the original blue bottle is what you need. The Downy mixture, a scraper, and a sponge to wipe of remaining residue/mixture is all you need, plus some elbow grease. I was able to remove that in a day.

Now after all this I had to tear out walls and put up sheet rock plus primer, compound on corners and edges, plus texturing of the walls, and then paint over the texture. Yes an extremely long process, or so it sounds it took me about 4 days total including prep time. I chose a white with a blue undertone that changes a lot with lighting. I still have to paint the cabinet, replace the sink faucet, and maybe replace the counter top but I'm not sure about the last one yet. Within the shower stall I ended up removing all of the brown area because it was ripped off by the tile. Once I added texturing to the new walls I also had to prime but I suggest using an oil based primer because it will seal any glue you may have missed. If you don't use an oil based primer the glue will absorb moisture from the air and start lifting the paint and anything else you put on the walls. My preferred primer is Zinsser primers, I have to say that they are the best, the oil based primer even works on laminate surfaces.

Next come the after images and although it's not completely done, you'll see why I say that the paint changes colors with the lighting. I don't mind it, I really like it but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, that will be for the next post because this has gotten out of hand!

The take away from this process is the following:

  1. Wallpaper glue removal involves a 50/50 Downy Softener and water mixture because it does a great job!
  2. Prime your walls with an oil based primer for the best results. My personal preference is Zinsser Primer, I do not receive any money or product for this endorsement. This is based on personal use and my personal opinion.
  3. I might suggest clean as you go. At the end of each day I would pick up items and sweep the floors and the day we put up the compound texturing I also mopped. This helped keep the mess localized and helped me feel more at ease with the whole process.

07 September 2016

Honey Dew Cantaloupe

Over a month and nothing much to report here.  I am still unemployed and starting to freak out in a bad way because lets be honest I'm a control freak. I like to set goals and reach them asap, checking off items on lists is a high that is unequaled by anything else I know. And no I have never done any drugs that have not been prescribed to me, there really isn't any comparison. Thus not being able to check off "New Job" off my list is annoying to say the least. Control issues, we've discussed this before.

Otherwise life has been okay, moving along a little slow but very quickly, especially when you don't work. You never know what day it is! If it weren't for my phone I would never know if it was Monday or Saturday, never realized how tied my concept of time was to work. Although it has been nice to have vacation time, it is also nice to have that humdrum existence of 8 to 5. I am looking forward to returning to a more structured existence. The only thing that has kept me semi-sane has been my garden and the fruits of my labor can be seen to the right. It weighed in at a little over 30 lbs! It's not as sweet as I thought it would be but the heart is very sweet, as you move towards the rind its not that great. However there are about 5 more of that variety above and a different variety which I planted last year but have no idea what it is because it spontaneously popped up. Yeah I didn't collect it all last year and those that decomposed in the yard came back. I also have cantaloupe that came up the same way as my surprise watermelon. That was weird because it should have been orange on the inside but instead it was green but super sweet, like honey dew melon! Looks like regular cantaloupe but its honey dew on the inside. Still scratching my head on that one, although it feels like my life at the moment. I planted a life I thought I wanted, then ended up with something completely different and next thing I know I have to start the garden all over again. Life and real garden. If I find a job elsewhere I'm going to have to give up gardening probably or just focus on pots.

I think I will bid everyone adieu because if I keep on focusing on the similarities between my garden and my life I am going to have another quarterlife crisis. How do you break those down if you've had more than one? Hope everyone has a good week!

05 August 2016

Feelin' Good

Well hello everyone! How is everyone out there? Me well I'm OK, sort of I guess. I am still unemployed but not unhappy or even completely freaked out. I am well, actually pretty happy. Is that strange? I know had started to freak out because I have officially been unemployed for 2 months but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Let me describe it a little.

#1 - I have enjoyed the time off, I have worked every month of the past 22 years of my life and this "break" has been a godsend. I really needed to just clear my head and truly find some peace, which I think I achieved for the most part. I'm still sort of freaking out but I've tried to not focus too much on that. Something that helped was that I had an interview 2 weeks ago and it seemed promising. It would be an amazing opportunity for me and has a lot more room for growth in the future, besides the great salary! The best part of it involves a lot of admin work but it is still in my field! I finished the interview and they did say it would take them 2 to 3 weeks to reach a decision and I'm assuming that's because they had others to interview. They may have gone in order of how the applications were received, if that was the case I may have been the first interviewee. I literally submitted my application the same day that job was posted. Yeah I was that excited.
~2 days old.

#2 - I now have a new nephew and let me tell you that those cute bundles are a great stress reliever, especially if you are not it's main source of nourishment. I feel for my sister, that is a difficult thing to do. He is a cutie pie and I love him to bits! I have not forgotten the oldest cutie pie either, I have actually made a greater effort to do things with him on a daily basis. This past weekend and most of this week I spent it helping out my sister and doing lots of babysitting. My mother had been here for the past month or so but she took a break too. I mean come on, a new baby plus a spoiled grandson? Abuelitas can only take so much. Yeah I got my fill of poopy diapers and hungry crying but I loved it too.

#3 - This is pretty important, at least I think so. I realized how sad and unhappy I was at my last job. Perhaps the situation wasn't the worst but I have to admit that it wasn't that okay either. Not even going to say close to best, because it only managed to make the OK list. It was partly the situation and partly the work itself. I think that's why #1 is still alright with me. I was decent at my work but honestly when it came down to it I just didn't see myself pipetting bacteria for the rest of my life. Not just that but I didn't have the desire or drive to continue that work. Some people are happy doing that day-in and day-out but not this Mexican. I needed something that I'm good at and that at the end of the day it ends. Yup, I really want an 8 to 5 scenario, never thought I would say that but there you go :)

Oh yeah and the garden is well, although I've stopped instagraming my photos because they were bad luck! Every single watermelon that I took a picture of or other plant for that matter - DIED!!!!! Yeah I stopped doing that and I now have 2 surviving cantaloupe plants, plus 3 large watermelons that will be ready in a few days. I hope. The front yard needs to be harvested for flower seeds and the grass is good. My "new" bathroom is also almost ready :) Oh yeah I redid the guest bath 2 weeks ago with my Dad! Pictures coming eventually.

Have a good weekend everyone!

06 July 2016

Progress Report

Well hello there, how have all of you been out there? Me busy with a brand new nephew! I've thrown in some gardening and cleaning but mainly the nephew thing. He has been a part of this world now for a week and he has an attitude issue already. I have also been spending a lot of time wishing for rain and a drop in temperature, yeah this week we are triple digits - ALL WEEK LONG. Yesterday's high was 101F (38C) and we expect a high of 105F (40C). I know it's trite to talk about weather but for goodness sake! I also feel kind of sorry for the new member of our family, as his first week is really hot.

Of course I have been family-centric this past week and am quite obsessed with the family addition. My mother arrived about 3 weeks ago and those days before the nephew were rocky for me as my mother was living with me until he was born. Now my mother is happily ensconced at my sisters house and doting upon her older grandson and newer grandson. I love my mother, and I repeat that often to myself but after having lived away from her for so long sharing living quarters is not the easiest thing for me. It also brought my father and my youngest sister to my home and that added some stress to the living situation. You see I am an old cat lady sans cats, entrenched in her ways and loving of her privacy. I repeated to myself that I love them too - often. I think that the biggest issue with these visits isn't them but more the memories of the past and that my family can't always move forward or stop negative behavior. My father for example has never liked my house, he also never misses a chance to remind me. My sister still doesn't understand that I am not a maid and messes just follow her. As for my mother, well nothing is ever enough, I know she cares and thinks she's helping but honestly all I can hear is negative criticism and poof! - I'm 10 years old again. I guess letting go of past hurts is difficult for all but one thing that has helped is therapy and knowing that just because they say it, it doesn't make it true. That last bit has been on repeat for 3 weeks now but I've learned to deal a little better by doing the following:
  • It is temporary. Nothing lasts forever and a few well-meaning mean remarks are not the end of the world, despite being hurtful.
  • Forgiveness is healing. Yes parents can be very hurtful but not always on purpose, yes things pass but if you don't forgive they fester. I've always heard that forgiveness is divine, not to me. That phrase to me alienates me from it's purpose to not only forgive but to heal
  • Speak up when needed and remain quiet when needed. I have learned to speak up when I really can't take it anymore but I also learned to pick my battles. No I will never agree with either of my parents on everything but unless it truly compromises my principles or my safety I do not need to pick a fight over every little thing.
  • Remember what is important. At the end of the day whether they like my clothing, weight, hair, or anything else that is superficial doesn't matter because I know that they do love me and when I've needed help they have been there for me. Every generation is different and how we express that love is also different, just because I love a certain way doesn't mean they have to love the same way.

Other than that I am officially beginning to freak out about the work situation but I have hope I will find something that is the right fit for me soon. I don't want to just settle but it is hard to tell myself to not jump at the first offer. I have to admit that I took June easy, however I have been working since I was 15 years old - a break was due. This month I hope to get a job and I will continue to work towards a better future. Speaking of working, I have continued my garden and although it is not perfect and weeds abound it has not diminished the joy I've taken in my bounty. I have beautiful watermelon, the cantaloupe is finally taking off, my Jujube tree is full of fruit, and although the pomegranate will not provide fruit this year, I know it will next year. I guess seeing that progress has also helped me stay positive, knowing that I can nurture food into this world helps me correlate to my abilities in other areas of life.

24 June 2016

Grateful Friday

Well hello there everyone, as news goes there's not much to share, I am still working on my yard -front and back - and still looking for work. Life has moved on and I am definitely in a better place emotionally. I am still visiting my therapist and it's been helpful because I had a few bumps when I left the lab. Lets just say that letting go of the negative has never been my strong suit and she's really helped me. I know I haven't done a Grateful Friday in a while but honestly it's not for lack of gratefulness, more like I have just been busy and happy. There have been some freak out days and sad days but for the most part I've been positive.

Yesterday was a sad day because I of course lamented my situation and everything that has been going on. I was not very positive and all I could do was think what am I going to do? I am going to starve, lose my house, and end up a vagabond. Then I reminded myself, a) you are to OCD to be a vagabond, b) you have money to survive for 3 months comfortably, c) your family would help if need be, finally d) you will find a job and you will succeed. Of course that didn't come until the end of the day but I made it through and I guess once in a while taking a mental health day is needed, even if you aren't working at the tim. Yeah I've never been good at the positive stuff, my mind has always been a worst scenario kind of person and that's a habit that isn't easy to give up.

Gratefully this Friday here is my list:

Wildflower garden.
  • I am grateful for enough strength to be able to do the work I have been doing for my home and family.
  • The days are longer and sweeter of late, I am definitely a helionist.
  • Very grateful for the little one that will arrive next week! Not me, my sister I would have shared a sonogram if it were me.
  • I am very grateful that I am out of the toxic environment I was in previously.
  • I am hopeful for the future, although this is not "gratefulness" per se, it is something to be happy for because hopeful was not a word I would have used to describe myself 2 months ago.
  • I am grateful for the friends that have stood by me and their support.
  • For the people that I know that are helpful and kind towards me.
  • Even for those that have not been kind to me or helpful because through it all they taught me valuable lessons.
  • Extremely grateful that this month has been so kind because I needed it.
Well what else is there to say? Nothing much more for this week but only that I hope that all are well and that everyone has a great weekend!