Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's a sad day in Collin County...(but not that sad)

Friends, I'm sad. Maybe dissapointed is a better word. Yep. I think dissapointed works.

But most of you will think I'm crazy when I tell you why.

A couple weeks ago I received a jury summons. This is only the first I've received in the 4 years we've lived in Texas. I was so excited.

Yep, you got that right! Call me crazy but I was excited. I love the opportunity to be a juror. I have a job that allows me to go to jury duty. Yes, it's a hassle to have to catch up on work or do something "different" than I normally do on a Monday morning, but it doesn't hurt me at all. And furthermore I get to participate in the legal system which is understandably really boring sometimes but I feel honored that I get to do it.

Or, shall we say, that I used to get to do it. I don't any more.

I'm a disqualified juror.

*Sniff, Sniff*

I received a letter in the mail today telling me in one short line that I was disqualified from being a juror and my summons is canceled. I have a pouty face typing this.

I called to ask why and, as I suspected, it's because of the Narcolepsy. I'm not one to try and "get out" of jury duty by claiming I have a child to take care of (I do, but we do pay for daycare normally on Mondays) or by claiming I'm a full-time student (well, I am), but when it came to the question about whether or not I had a disability that could prevent me from being able to serve on a jury in order to be honest I had to mark yes if for no other reason than they have the right to know that I will have a difficult time, even with medication, sitting in a jury seat even for a few hours without falling asleep or nodding off. The disability check mark requires a doctor's note and an explanation. I wrote the explanation, but because I didn't particularly want to get out of jury duty and because I was too lazy to call and try to arrange a letter from the doctor I was still planning on going on Monday.

Until I got the letter today.

I'm kinda bummed. I don't think I'll ever be able to serve on a jury. I know I'm weird, but I feel like I'm missing the opportunity to be a part of one of the things that we as Americans have the right to do. I explained it to my hubby this way...what if they told you that you couldn't vote. You aren't allowed. And it's because of a medical condition you have no control over.

Don't get me wrong. I don't disagree with their decision. On one hand I'd love to have me on a jury (well educated, strong values, knowledgeable about the legal system, etc.) but at the same time if I were on either side of the case I'd definitely want someone who wouldn't have a legitimate problem staying awake.

This is just one of the things I get to face I guess. I tell people that I'm glad I was diagnosed officially in Texas, because if I were in California the neurologist would be required to report my condition to the DMV who would without amazing grace revoke my drivers license. And I wouldn't be allowed to drive. Again, not that I'd disagree with that decision necesarily, but no one likes to be told what they can and cannot do.

So, it looks like Monday I'll be at work as usual. Fellow citizens, when you get your jury summons, as much as you hate the thought of going, think twice for those of us who can't.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is a response I wrote to a friend who was telling of the struggle experienced during fasting. Since I couldn't get the comment thing to work, I figured I'd post it here since I know many of us are experiencing the same thing.

I have to admit that I too am struggling with what I've given, and yes, I wish I would have picked a different something to give up. I didn't realize how hard this would be. Not because I strongly desire to sit down and watch an episode of desperate housewives or Intervention, but because daily life is so different and I have to make a conscious effort to deny myself the "pleasure" I get from turning on the tv when I sit down on the couch regardless of whether I'm watching anything at all. How sad is that. Even I, a person who relatively watches little tv, am addicted. What's even sadder is that I'm not NEARLY as addicted to prayer, devotion, intentional worship. In fact, over the last week since this began I have still not picked up the Bible once to spend some quality time. And it doesn't bother me near as much as it did when I wanted to sit down Sunday afternoon and watch tv while my family was sleeping. I guess that's why I appreciate the weeding example so much. I feel like I'm pulling a tv tumor from my heart with roots that have dug themselves deep. And it hurts. I'm disgusted with myself.
So, as much as we hate it, I think this discipline of fasting that we have ignored in our church culture will cause us blisters, but will leave our soil open to much more beautiful things to come.
And, I admire you for giving up (what you've chosen)...reminds me of when Jesus forgave sins and lectured the Pharisees about their insistance that he make the man walk. Don't know why exactly. I guess giving up (what you've chosen) is like forgiving sins...hard to measure but eternally important(???) while giving up something like (candy, food type, soda, something tangible & easy) may have shown your obedience but not profited you much in the long run. I guess I'll have to go look up that passage in my tv void time tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apparently you don't have to be careful at ChuckECheese...

I love blogging because it gives me a way to share stories with everyone out least I feel like I can write something down and share with whoever is interested. In this episode of Mie's Tales I get to share with you the brilliant nugget of wisdom I learned Friday night while playing with my son at my niece's birthday party. I certainly want to share this news with you all in case you too visit the mouse on occasion and sometimes bring your children with you. Please, don't fall over in shock. Maybe you need to sit down.

Apparently, as one mother so eloquently and gracefully told me, you don't have to be careful at Chuck E Cheese. Either that or her kids don't have to be careful and everyone else does. In my shock and awe in hearing this strange new concept on the first time, I failed to ask which of those two statements applied. Nevertheless, from the horses mouth, being careful is not what we should expect from our kids as they run through the play area, weaving around equipment, climbing down (or up) slides, and over smaller kids.

Logan loves to play with the big kids and for the most part he's pretty good at it. And by good I mean he's able to hold his own without being knocked over and unless he's genuinely hurt he just gets back up and plays some more. On this enlightening Friday night he was waiting for his cousins to take him up into the climby tube thing that floats near the ceiling. He's not quite tall enough to get up the steps on his own and they had fun helping him. As he was waiting two kids about 9 or 10 yrs old come flying down the steps. Mind you, these are the steps to go up...there is a slide to come down. One comes down first with the other chasing him. As the first gets to the bottom step his foot comes in contact with Logan's face. I yell..."hey, hey, hey"...and the boys continue to horse around in this tube, hitting and punching each other and stepping on Logan. After they didn't respond to the universal "hey", I said "knock it off. You guys have to be careful there are little kids around here". That, I promise, was in a very sweet tone knowing that they were playing and didn't mean to kick Logan, at least not the first time. They looked at me a little funny then left the area and Logan kept playing.

A few minutes later bigger feet started to make their way down from above us. This time it was definitely a mom. I told Logan "come on baby, let's let her out", and moved him so she could get out". This is where the epiphany happened. As she climbed out she looked at me and said " kids don't have to be careful".

I wish I would have had a tape of my face. I was so dumbfounded. I responded that they were kicking him in the face and they did have to be careful for smaller children. She said it was a play place and her kids could play all they wanted to. I said that the play thing went up (clearly where her and her kids just came down from) and down (pointing to the slide). At this point I'm still dumbfounded. As she walked away she said "maybe your kid is too small to play here".

Apparently she doesn't know Logan, who probably also could have explained to her a lesson in manners himself in paragraph form.

I stood there for a minute really, really upset and more than anything trying to figure out how any mother would really take that stance. They don't have to be careful? It's not like I was telling them to sit in time out or something...just be careful. Something we are all expected to do living in society with each other. I didn't touch them, and only said what I said above, verbatim, and with the exception of the "knock it off" part all of it was in a patient tone. I'm still in shock. And, I definitely wouldn't have expected it from her. She was a well put together woman in her late 30's. She spoke intelligently, of course, with the exception of what she was actually saying. That one really threw me through a loop.

A few minutes later her kids ran by us full-speed, through the designated little kids area, jumped on TOP of the tables in there, and proceeded to climb from table top to table top across that row of tables. I'm not sure if at that point the woman realized how ridiculously out of control her kids were and got embarassed or if she was still irritated that someone asked her kids to be careful, but after they were done standing on the tables (to which i wanted to smugly say..."I suppose they don't have to get off the tables either?"...I didn't by the way...), she quickly shooed them out of the joint. Not before one of them pounded his fists on the glass of one of the games as he walked by it.

Clearly I was out of line.

I'm glad I was in such shock that I didn't say more than I did. The feelings inside me raced too quickly for me to put thoughts together. I know I can have a way of expressing myself in a "righteous anger" sometimes and not only did I consciously not want to do that in front of all the children there, I wanted to make sure I wasn't stooping to her level. But, since I've had the time to think about it I'd thought I'd share some of the things I've thought of to say to her if I were in the situation again:
  • I could tell them to be careful or file assault charges...which would you like?
  • They don't have to be careful? Which police officer would you like me to ask? My husband (not present at the time), my brother-in-law, or their neighbor (both just a few steps away in the birthday party area).
  • Let me go see what our friend Brian, the manager, has to say about it.
  • Ok...sounds good...I'm happy to NOT be careful around your kids. Next time they kick my son in the face I'll just throw them to the ground. (or kick them back, or fill in the blank...)
  • I'm sorry lady, but someone needs to teach kids who have irresponsible parents about common courtesy.
Again, thankfully I'm not going to get the chance to go back in time and say any of these things. I fully expect that if I said one more thing she would have probably hit me. I understand that she didn't want someone else to tell her kids what to do, I get it, I do. But still.

Don't worry anonymous lady at CEC...I promise to insist on "being careful" your kids and others. In fact, when my husband comes in contact with your kids in a few years while on-the-job, I promise to ask him to be careful with them too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bittersweet Praise

I had a great week this week, looking back. It started off with a wonderful unexpected surprise and ended with one of the best birthday's I've had in a long time. In between was a big mess, but nothing different than any other time recently.

I haven't seen my boss in two weeks due to both of our schedules and her traveling. I wasn't set to see her this week even though we were both technically in the same building. At some point she emailed me and asked where I was...she needed to tell me something. I told her, and she told me she would come and get me so we could talk for a few minutes. I told her that was ok, as long as she didn't come to fire me. I was half-kidding. Knowing the economy right now and how things are in the world I figured she was coming to tell me something bad. Anytime I don't know what is happening I tend to expect the worst and then be surprised if something changes. Although I didn't expect her to tell me that I was going to lose my job, I expected that she was going to tell me something bad about someone else. She's really good about determining when to tell something in person and when an email will be fine...this was something she felt she had to tell me in person. So I waited in the meeting I was in, looking secretly at the door every couple minutes trying to prepare myself for what she might want to say.

When she did come I stepped two steps out the door, the door closed, and she told me. She finally was able to get me a (roughly) 7.5% raise. HUH??? That was certainly not what I expected for so many reasons. The biggest shock was that this isn't the time of year for raises...that is usually in the spring. I didn't expect it at all. The economy is bad and when many companies are considering RIF's if not actually having lay-offs, I certainly didn't expect a raise. Not to mention that in the last year I already received a roughly 2% raise and a 10% raise before that. So, in the last year I received about 20% raise over the what I was making. This is unheard of especially considering that average annual cost-of-living raises are about 3%.

I was honored, and it didn't come one minute too soon. Not because I need the money for anything, nor because I feel I deserve it, nor because I actually do deserve it, but because I've been so stressed about not doing enough in my job, my family, my school, that it was nice to be recognized for not only my efforts but for my accomplishments. I know how much it took for her to get that passed through those who approve such things, and to be able to convince the powers that be that I 'deserved it', especially after what I've already received in the last year, is amazing. I'm extremely grateful to my boss who is an excellent leader.

That being said it was a bit hard to accept. I am not one who insists that I deserve more. I'm grateful for what I've been given. I know that due to my age and relative experience in the world and our industry I am underpaid compared to my peers. In fact, the person who works for me earns 10K more than I do. I suppose they know this too...that I could go to another company and make a significant amount more. But I don't do what I do for money. I mean, I guess I do...the whole reason I work is to provide an income to our family. The truth is though that who I am at work is not for a salary but to make a difference in the lives of those I work with and for and to put whatever God has given me to use for His glory. I hope to shine for him more than anythin else. Additionally, I know there are so many people in this world losing their jobs or struggling. I'm not, and in this specific time in the world its hard to accept an increase in pay when I'm already doing fine and I know there are others who need help. I also believe though, that God for now has provided me an income as He has not for my sake but to pass it along to others. I'm not attached to "my" money. Also, it was a bit hard, because if I had my way I would quit work in a heartbeat and become a stay at home mom and full-time student. We can't afford for us to do that yet and as my husband is in the public sector it may be a while before his income can come close to making up for losing mine. It's just the way it is. Now that I earn more, the discussion of giving up my income involves even more income. And, of course, there is the indebtedness one feels to their organization for taking care of their finances as they have so far.

In any case, I'm extremely grateful for being blessed as I have. It's amazing to see how God continues to grow in my life and although I can never give enough to Him to make up for it, I hope that I can please Him in everything I do.

Then, my birthday came and I was completely blessed both at work and by my family. It was a great day. I'll post on that another time (because I only have about an hour or so to work on my homework before the booga wakes up and even with a raise I can't afford to waste that precious time!!!).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Our First Bed as a Married Couple...

This story has two parts...first, to tell you about our first bed as a married couple, then, to tell you about our first bed as a married couple.

Let me explain.

When J and I got married we weren't rich. Not that we are now or anything, but at that time I had been working a "real job" for about 6 months...J had been working as a private investigator not making much money either. In any case, we bought a mobile home a few doors down from my sister in a nice park (seriously...never would have EVER thought I'd EVER say it was, it was a nice place to live AND we sold it for a nice profit when we moved into a single family home two years later...certainly more than we could have said if we had been in an apartment). savings, lots of debt, lots of stuff to buy as a married couple. Jason moved in a few weeks before the wedding, straight from living in a home provided by my in-laws. A few days before the wedding I started moving my stuff out of my parents' home. We had an old futon Jason brought into the marriage...queen sized...but as we didn't have any other furniture we decided to use it as a couch in the living room. So, we lacked a bed...and most other furniture. Through conversations and people getting rid of stuff we managed to find a dining room table (at least 3rd generation...), a couch, two love seats, and two overstuffed leather chairs. So, we had enough seating. We had a few pieces of office furniture, two entertainment centers, and two TV's, all leftover from our childhoods or donated somehow. But we still had no bed. So, we did what did with all other things...we took what we had and made it work.

That meant that a day before the wedding or so my dad caught me carrying two twin mattresses out of my bedroom at his house. He asked where I was going with his furniture (and rightly so...) and I explained that we needed something to sleep on. Mind you, I was just taking the box bed frame...two twin mattresses. At that point he told me to get my stuff and go shopping with him...right then and there. Knowing my dad he probably would have sprung for a mattress set, but I didn't have any money and for a few reasons told him I couldn't go. What I instisted was that I didn't have any money...we couldn't afford to buy one. But I knew he'd probably buy one for us or at least split it with us, and although I didn't say anything to the point I didn't really want to burden him with our starting out. I was a really motivated barely 21 year old. It wasn't "right" for me to expect someone else to pay for my home. (side note...I almost got away with buying the house without anyone knowing...I had this grand plan of bringing everyone to my sister's house and then walking to our home and surprising them that it was didn't work out because the only fax I had access to was the one at my parents' house and they figured it out).

So, when we got back from our honeymoon we slept on two mattresses on the floor, pushed together, with a plush mattress cover holding them together. Shortly after my sister got rid of her then mattress and we were able to inherit box springs. They were box springs for a king...believe it was eastern king. In case you aren't aware a king bed is about 18 inches or so longer than twin mattresses. This left an 18-inch gap or so from the top of our bed to the wall. We filled it with body pillows and used the king-sized mattress cover and fitted sheet to kind of hold the mattresses together. Of course that didn't work too well, but it worked enough. Every night when our dog did laps through the house he'd jump on our bed in a way that it would knock one of the mattresses off the box almost every night we had to push our bed back together before going to bed. Those were the days when we went to bed together almost every night.

When we moved to Dallas almost two years later we still had the box springs with the twin mattresses on the floor. At some point we discussed purchasing a new mattress, but we were/are diligently paying off debt, so we didn't want to spend the money. And, J set his mind on buying a tempurpedic mattress, which was expensive. And our mattresses worked.

Only a short time later J built a bed frame that picked our box springs up off the floor. So now we were about another 12 inches off the floor but everything else was the same, including the body pillows filling up the space between the top of the twin mattresses and the wall.

It has been another four years since then. That is right. We've been married for 6 years next month and have always slept on two twin mattresses pushed together. It was our deal. We kind of adopted it. When we went to stay somewhere else we had a problem sleeping on those beds because they didn't have the inevitable crack in the middle. Our First Bed was charming.

But, it was time, I suppose, to finally purchase our own bed. Labor Day weekend we decided to go shopping for a mattress, looking at what was out there. J was still sold on a tempurpedic after all these years. We still visited many stores and tried out many more mattresses. I just couldn't justify spending the money on that type of purchase...our twins worked fine. After a few days we finally agreed to purchase the Tempurpedic Deluxe mattress...afterall we had saved up a little and it was on clearance and it was comfortable.

It took two weeks for us to receive our mattress but we had the pillows right away to get used to. They were different. But, after a few days we loved them. When our new First Bed arrived...the First Bed we purchased together...the First Bed that actually consisted of only ONE mattress and one, matching box spring arrived, we fell in love instantly. It has been heaven ever since. They say it can take up to 30 days to get used to...not for us. We got used to it right away.

Now, the question is, what to do with 4 body pillows that have never actually been used for anything other than space filler.