Just don’t know what to say…

I know that it’s oddly ironic that I haven’t blogged since I wrote the blog about whether or not I should continue blogging…

Fact is, I just don’t know what to say right now.

Sometimes I feel like I have too much to say and I’m able to put it all into words.  Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say.  And sometimes, like right now, I have so much to say that I just don’t know where to start.

A lot has happened since I last posted.

  • My 17th anniversary passed right on by.
  • The child we have been visiting with was officially placed with us… meaning: our new daughter moved in.
  • I had a major project at work partially approved…
  • The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “ObamaCare”.
  • I skipped a party last weekend that I had already agreed to attend, and I now feel horribly guilty about it.
  • I was confronted with just one more obstacle in my attempts to become a Guardian ad Litem.
  • Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise…  I generally don’t care about celebrity relationships, but this one involves Scientology!!
  • We bought a new freezer.

I just don’t know what to say about all that.  I have a lot to say, but at the same time I just don’t know what to say.  It’s a lot, and yet…  it’s rather insignificant.  In the grand scheme of things, at least.

Maybe I’ll start picking my way through that list and I’ll write about each one…  soon.

Just not tonight.

Categories: Adoption, All About Ellen Cabot, Government & Politics, Love ♥ Marriage | Leave a comment

Think before you speak.

I almost deleted my blog today.

I was sitting here last night, in my normal spot at the dining room table, with my oldest kid sitting right across from me, and I was considering the possibility of writing for a small local online news source.  They’re just starting up, they don’t have a lot of contributors, they are trying to keep things interesting and active on the site.  If I could manage to get on board as an approved contributor, well, I could use the extra money!  Plus, writing is something I enjoy doing.  Never hurts to make a bit of money off of something you enjoy doing as a hobby, right?  I got paid to write for a little while…  For families.com.  It lasted a few months, then I stopped.  I was expected to write all the time about specific topics, and I couldn’t keep it up.  So I gave up, I walked away from it.  But, if I got paid to write before it doesn’t seem too crazy to think that maybe I could get paid to write again…  right?

So I was trying to come  up with topics to write about, and I had a couple ideas, but the one I was focusing on late last night was one I decided I wouldn’t be able to keep up with.  I don’t want to get myself into the same situation I found myself in with families.com, feeling required to write about a specific topic and being unable to continue writing about that one topic and getting frustrated and giving up.  So I decided against that.

My wonderful child, whom I love with all my heart, actually says to me that I’m right…  that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, that I would do it for a few months and then quit…  like I did with the blogging…  like I’m, apparently, expected to do with this blogging too.

I appreciate honesty, but…

Since those words were spoken I’ve been thinking about them.  I’ve been thinking about things I have given up on vs. things I have followed through with.  It’s true that lately I have been giving up more than following through… I gave up on the paid blogging gig, healthy eating and my exercise routine (multiple times on that one, actually), promises to watch various TV shows and movies regularly with all of my kids… I gave up on running, biking, photography, starting my own neighborhood watch program…

Lately I do give up a lot.  It’s true.

But there have been quite a few things I have followed through with.  I finished school, I’ve consistently stuck with my career choice (for better or worse).  I ran an Internet debate forum for almost two years and when I finally left that group it was not my own decision to do so, I stuck with them until the very (nasty) end.  When I was 17 and pregnant, I stuck with two jobs long enough to pay my medical bills on my own.  When my marriage was in trouble, I stuck with my husband and endured much pain and heartache to keep my family together.

Lately I have been uncertain.  I’ve been feeling lost, and I’ve been in need of an outlet of some sort.  I’ve been in need of something to occupy my time and keep my focus.  I have been searching for that something, trying this and that, and, for now at least, I have chosen blogging.  And possibly writing for this local site.  And because of those few words, those few very inconsiderate and not well thought out words, I actually considered giving that up.

Because clearly, right now, I’m expected to fail.

So I have a few things to say about that…

  1. It’s normally not a good idea to make assumptions without having all the facts.
  2. Never assume you have all the facts.
  3. Stop believing that your narrow little view of the world, as seen through your limited experiences, defines the whole world and everyone in it.
  4. Always remember that while it is possible to over-think things, it’s also possible to under-think things.  Find a healthy balance between speaking your mind and pissing off or offending others.

I think I’m going to continue blogging.

No guarantees, though.

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot, Children & Parenting | 5 Comments

Airport Security

TSA let me through security with a nail file once.  A metal nail file, no less.  I didn’t even notice it until I was actually on the plane, and I had to dig through  my purse for something and I happened upon the file.  And I remember sitting there looking at the file, totally baffled, thinking, “They let me through security with this?!”

Then I remembered that a few years back they stole my child’s safety scissors out of her school bag.  O.o

Go figure!

Categories: Travel | Leave a comment

Simple Living Manifesto: The List

I found this great article about simplifying your life.

My life is in need of serious simplification.  I’ve been so stressed and overwhelmed lately.  Too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all done.  Lately I have felt a need to get rid of the clutter, learn to be more organized, eliminate the unnecessary, and somehow find time in every single one of my ridiculously busy days to stop and smell the roses.

Nobody says, on their death bed, “I wish I had dusted more often…”

I want to make the most of my time and live the best life I can so that when it’s my time to go I can leave this world with no regrets.

To that end, I’m going to work my way through this list of “72 ideas to simplify your life”, and post about each of the steps I take.  My hope is that many of these efforts will become life-long habits and lead to a more efficient, more fulfilling life.  Every now and then I will come across an item that I can’t, or won’t, do… and I’ll post it with an explanation of why that item makes no sense for me.

Jumping right in:  It only seems logical to start at #1:

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.

Right now, the most important things in my life are:

  1. My Family. Spending time with them, going places and doing things with them, taking pictures to hold on to those memories.  I really only have a few more years with my children before they are all adults and off on their own, it’s important for me to enjoy this time and make an effort to continue to be a part of their lives even after they have left my home.
  2. Blogging.  Writing is my release.  It’s how I organize my thoughts, it’s how I vent, it’s how I de-stress.  Keeping up with my blog will have a positive effect on my overall mental health and attitude.
  3. Health & Fitness.  I am not a fitness fanatic, but I do like being in reasonably good shape.  I like being able to keep up with my kids when we go places and do things together.  I like feeling confident and comfortable in my clothes, and I get frustrated and, frankly, miserable when I don’t.  And I want for my family to be healthy as well.
  4. Finances.  I want to be able to buy a house in the near future, but with our credit the way it is it will take a lot of work.  I want to focus on cleaning up our old debt and building good credit so that we can get the credit we need to build a solid future for ourselves, even into retirement.
  5. Efficiency.  I want to learn to be more organized and efficient in how I take care of those things I have to do so that I can be free to enjoy as much free time as possible without feeling guilty.
Categories: All About Ellen Cabot | 1 Comment

Wishing for bankruptcy

I talked to a bankruptcy attorney tonight.

I was raised to believe that the right thing to do is to pay off your debts.  That it’s wrong to just declare bankruptcy.  But after 18 years of struggle, I’ve about had enough.

For the past 18 years I have done everything I am supposed to do.  I’ve done the *right* thing.  I’ve worked multiple jobs, I’ve gone to school for an education that I chose specifically because it paid well and had long-term career potential.  I used to carry school books around with me so that I could study any opportunity I found, on lunch breaks, while riding in a car… sitting in a doctor’s waiting room…

For about 15 of the past 18 years I have struggled.  I have had to choose between putting food on the table for my three children or paying the electric bill.  I have sat at home wondering when the utility company was going to show up to turn off my water, and have done everything possible to avoid the calls from creditors.  I have endured the harassment of constant phone calls and threats, while taking my children to Goodwill for clothes and refusing to sign them up for dance lessons when they asked.

When I found myself pregnant at 17 years old I decided I would not go on welfare.  I decided that I would make my own way.  For 15 years I always felt that the cards were stacked against me.  Every time I would find an opportunity that would help us out we would find that we didn’t qualify…  that we were just barely above their income threshold.

My favorite example of this is when we applied for Habitat for Humanity and we were told that we didn’t make enough money.  A short while later I was promoted and received a raise, and we contacted Habitat for Humanity again…  they said that with my new raise we suddenly made too much to qualify.  They said that with our income being that high we should qualify for a regular mortgage…  as if the sudden increase in pay magically erased all of our debt and added a down payment to our savings account.

We were making progress, yes…  but help, when we needed it, was always just barely out of reach.

For three years we have been doing well.  We have a new car, we’re paying my student loans, I have a credit card (it’s secured, but it counts).  We can buy food without worrying about paying our rent on time.  We can sign our children up for violin and piano and voice and acting lessons.

Our credit scores are not improving.

I’ve finished school, I have a good job, we’re paying our bills on time.

Our past will not let us move on.

I had been paying on our old debt, hoping that it would improve our credit, but when I contacted a mortgage lender to ask what we needed to do to qualify she pulled our credit and actually told me that we shouldn’t pay that debt off.  She said that a negative mark on our credit is a negative mark, it doesn’t matter if it’s a settled account, or paid in full, or still delinquent…  it’s just a negative mark.

I did what she said I should do…  I got a secured credit card, we have made sure our utilities, car payment, credit card payments, student loan payments are all being paid on time…  our credit scores are still not budging.

So I contacted a bankruptcy attorney.  I thought we just need to get rid of this old debt, we need a fresh start, we’re doing all we can and we have struggled for 18 years, so we just need to start over…  isn’t this what the bankruptcy laws are for??

The attorney informed me that we make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7, which is the only type of bankruptcy that makes sense for us.

Again… we make just barely too much to qualify for help.

Sometimes I wish I had just gone on welfare.  I have struggled for too long.  And with the housing market the way that it is I so badly want to buy a home, and I’m in a good position to afford a home, and I am trying so hard, I’ve been trying so very hard for so many years… but I’m being reduced to a number…  a number that punishes you for living within your means and refusing to live on credit, a number that punishes you for asking a financial professional to give you advice by placing a negative mark on your record when that professional requests a copy of your credit report in order to give you said advice.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to a time when hard work and honesty actually got you somewhere.  A time when a promise and a handshake meant something.  When the local banker knew you and knew you were trustworthy and was willing to take a chance on you.

We’re worth taking a chance on.  Why doesn’t anyone see that?

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot | 2 Comments

OMG Make it STOP!

I was planning for today to be relatively relaxing.  We had to do some general cleaning (a couple loads of laundry and the usual daily stuff), we needed to go shopping but the hubby usually handles that, and that was about it.  Well, and the hour and a half of driving we had to do to get our *hopefully, if all goes well* adoptive daughter home.

Other than that, I planned to just take it easy.

It didn’t exactly work out that way.  Turns out my husband has bronchitis and I had to take him to urgent care… which blew a couple hours between waiting for service at a walk-in clinic and waiting for prescriptions to be filled.  After about an hour adventure at Sam’s Club (a store I hate with a passion), I needed to head to Aldi for our regular grocery shopping (which my husband typically takes care of).  I stopped by Taco Bell on the way home from Aldi and picked up dinner for the family, had everyone help me put the food away as quickly as possible so we could make the 45 minute drive to take our *hopefully* future adoptive daughter home.  Followed by the 45 minute drive back home, and then a stop at Walmart to finish the shopping.

The whole time I was at Walmart I was thinking, “I need this stuff… this will prevent further trips to the store…  I’ll be glad I did this later…”, all the while I was just wishing I could go home, pour myself a glass of wine and relax.

Right now I’m sitting in my dining room with my computer.  I’m thinking I’d like to write a blog, I’m worn out after a ridiculously busy day, I’m on my second (or third?!) glass of wine, and I can’t.seem.to.relax.

My dining room is in the middle of my house.  It’s the only place where I can sit with my laptop and use my mouse, an amazingly fabulous convenience.

In front of me and to the left is my living room, where the furniture has been destroyed, and covered with hair, by animals.  I am no longer comfortable in there, even though it was supposed to be *my* room… partly because I don’t want to use the furniture, but also because I can’t use my mouse.  Two strikes against the living room.

Directly behind me is the kitchen…  obviously not a good place to go with my computer.

Directly in front of me is an *office* area.  That’s where the desktop is, and where my youngest daughter is sitting watching YouTube videos, which I can hear loud and clear from where I sit.  Behind me and to the right is the family room, where my husband is watching Groundhog Day, which I can also hear loud and clear…  clashing with the audio from the YouTube videos.

Normally I would disappear into the bedroom, but my husband has been spending his time lately coating that room in icky germs.  Going in there is NOT an option for the time being.

I’m considering the family room as my bedroom until he gets better…  so he’s currently occupying my bedroom… watching TV in there… and getting it germy as well.

And I’m surrounded by the sounds from the TV, the computer, and the normal family conversations…  “Mom, look at this… Mom can I??? Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…”  and I just want it all to go away and let me relax.

Does that make me a bad mom?  Or a bad wife?  I’m legitimately asking because I just don’t know and right now I so badly want to tell everyone to go away and it makes me feel so… selfish.

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot, Children & Parenting, Love ♥ Marriage | 2 Comments

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I emailed the Guardian ad Litem program this morning to let them know that I was no longer interested in volunteering with their program.  I was disappointed in a way, but relieved at the same time.

A Guardian ad Litem, in case you didn’t already know, is a volunteer who works with children in foster care.  They are assigned to the child, hopefully from the moment they enter the system, and they are involved with that child through everything.  They aim to be a consistent figure in the child’s life, sticking with them through multiple placements if necessary, and they act as that child’s voice in the court system, always keeping in mind what is best for the child above all else.

But to really understand how I’m feeling at the moment, I need to start a little further back…

I can actually remember wondering about adoption all the way back in elementary school.  I used to say that I would never have my own children because there were so many children already who needed homes.  I always thought that if I ever wanted to be a mom I could just adopt instead.  Helping children is something I have wanted to do even when I was still a child myself.

Three biological children later, I have decided that I still wish to adopt.  So we started the process.  During this process I have learned a lot about how the system works, and I decided that I wanted to get more involved.  What better way to get involved with helping kids than to become a Guardian ad Litem?

So I filled out and submitted the application for the program.  The application asked whether or not I have ever been involved in a DCF investigation.

I’m honest.  I had to answer “Yes”.  And I had to fill out the explanation section.

See, a few years ago there was a misunderstanding. My oldest child wrote a story depicting an abusive situation and shared it with a friend, who then showed it to someone else, and that someone else showed a teacher.

And the investigation begins…

And the investigation was quickly closed showing no indication of any abuse.

The Guardian ad Litem program has this rule that states that if an applicant has been involved in such an investigation then they must do their own investigation into the facts of that case before they can consider approving that application.  They have to have a copy of the closed report, it can only be closed with a status showing there was no indication of abuse.  But, even that isn’t enough…  they also have to have a written statement from the applicant explaining the situation, they have to speak with the investigator who handled the investigation, and they ask if you can provide them with any additional information, documentation, references, etc. that will back up your story.

So this morning I withdrew my application.  I don’t wish to go through that all over again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past week or so.  I’m not sure I agree with the concept of “Mandatory Reporters.”  Or, at the very least, I think the system needs to be tweaked a bit.

This investigation was the result of a complete and total misunderstanding.  My child wrote a story and showed it to a friend, who showed a friend, who told a teacher.  The teacher is REQUIRED to report ANY suspicion of abuse to DCF.  If a report is submitted, DCF is required to investigate it.  Once we have been investigated, those records stay on file at DCF, with no way (that I can find anyway) to have them sealed, deleted, expunged (whatever word you want to use), and any time I want to do anything that involves working with children I have to defend myself and subject myself to an investigation all over again.

We are not perfect parents.  We make mistakes, just like everyone else does.  However, we have a safe and happy home, free from abuses of all kinds.  And it makes me so angry that four years later, with an approved adoptive home study in my hands showing that the state is willing to trust us to adopt a child from foster care, I am still being asked to defend myself against these false allegations.

If a family is investigated and absolutely no indication is found of abuse, that family should not be forced to reveal that to anyone.  If DCF wants to keep it on file to show that they have, in fact, been called to that house in the past, fine.  But other agencies should not have access to that data, and I should not be required to mention it.

I understand the need to protect the children, but we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in this country.  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that if someone is falsely accused of a crime that doesn’t have to do with children they are NOT required to tell anyone and continually defend themselves against those allegations.

So, why do I have to?

Categories: Adoption, All About Ellen Cabot, Children & Parenting, Government & Politics | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Me… A Programmer??

I read very few tech blogs.  I just don’t like to read tech stuff.  I know that probably seems strange coming from a computer programmer… but it’s true.  I’m possibly the least technical *technical* person you’ll ever meet.

I read a blog today asking readers to share their story of how they wound up working in software development.  And since over the past few days I have been reading blogs (and especially comments on said blogs) that made me question my worth in the programming world and wonder if I learned to code for the right reasons, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain exactly how and why I ended up where I did.

I’ll start by saying that I like coding alright.  I don’t dread going to work, I enjoy working with the people I work with, I get really excited when I solve a particularly difficult or frustrating problem, and I ♥ the feeling of satisfaction that I get when I make users happy by making their work day just a tad bit easier.

I don’t love writing code.

Unlike so many programmers, I didn’t grow up writing code.  I did not find at a young age that I was fascinated by how the computer worked, I never cared to take things apart and put them back together, and I have never EVER written code for fun.  It’s not a hobby for me, it’s a job.

I never wanted to be a programmer.

So how did it happen? Let me explain…

I had my first child when I was 18, and I had my second at 19.  When I found myself, at 21 years old, trying to support two young children while working at a Walmart snack bar, struggling to put food on the table, wondering where the rent money was going to come from and living in fear of when the electric company would show up to shut off our power, I realized I had to do something.  Never one to just resign myself to the idea that “this is just how it is”, I opted to fix the problem instead.  I guess you could say this was my first real attempt at problem solving, a skill that actually comes in really handy in the world of software development!

I picked up a catalog for the local community college and attempted to choose a career path.  I narrowed it down to three.

  1. Psychology – I have always been fascinated with people and how they think, so anything to do with psychology or sociology = perfect.  Plus I have always had a desire to help others, so a career in counseling or social services would have been a fabulous fit.
  2. Accounting – Loved it in high school (but realized after one college level class that it sucked, so it’s a good thing I didn’t pick this one!).
  3. Computers – Because it paid well with minimal education and it appeared to be where the future was at.

Yes, you read that right.  I selected computers NOT because I was so enthralled with my families first home computer that I spent hours writing my own games in BASIC (I only vaguely remember my families first home computer, and I had little to no interest in writing code back then),  but because it paid well with minimal education and seemed like it had solid long-term potential.

You also have to keep in mind that my goal in going to school was to be able to support my family.  That’s it.  It’s what I needed, and I chose the best course of action based on the end goal.  When you have young children to care for, and you want to ensure that the lights always turn on when they flip the switch and water comes out when they turn on the faucet, what you WANT becomes rather insignificant!

You have got to admit, it’s a logical decision.  Programmers are logical people.

Even at this point I had NOT chosen programming.  I was planning on getting into networking, or desktop work, help desk maybe.  Programming was not even a possibility.  But one of the classes I had to take was an introductory class in my first semester that included two weeks of programming at the end of the course.  When week one was done… I HATED IT!  I crabbed and complained and fought against it tooth and nail.  I informed the instructor that I had no intention of being a programmer and there was NO REASON for me to learn this crap!

Honestly, I didn’t understand it.  It made no sense.  Absolutely no sense at all.  I was lost, confused, frustrated, and getting angry.

Then the instructor said to me: “The computer is never going to do anything that you don’t explicitly tell it to do.”

And it clicked.

I can’t even explain why that worked, but it was like she had flipped a switch and suddenly there was understanding.  I just got it.  It miraculously made sense.

Ever since then I just understand code I read code like almost I’m reading English.  I can’t explain why, I just do, it seems simple to me.  I’ve moved easily from one language to another with little to no training and zero time spent coding at home.  I have been successful as a programmer for about 15 years now, and I have never worked a job where users, co-workers, and bosses weren’t extremely happy with the work that I have done.  I have never received a bad review.  I’ve never lost a job because I sucked at it, and I was with my last company for over seven years.

Those of you who are “real programmers”, who question why someone who can’t answer basic technical questions or whip out a few simple lines of code in an interview would even bother applying for a programming job…

I can’t answer the technical questions in interviews.  Not because I can’t write code, but because I don’t have to know what something is called in order to do it.  I can’t typically whip out a few lines of code in an interview, but it’s not because I’m not a good programmer, it’s because I tend to be nervous in interviews and I am always wondering if there is a trick in there somewhere…  especially if the request is super simple.

For a number of years I have questioned my own ability as a programmer, and it was primarily because I find myself surrounded by people who talk the talk, and who trip me up with terminology.  People who have certifications, and in some cases, an unhealthy amount of arrogance to go along with it.  I have encountered those who seem to thoroughly enjoy throwing their knowledge around and trying to make themselves seem superior.  And in the past it has always succeeded in making me feel…  small.

Truth is, I’ve come to find out, I’m a damn good programmer.  It took me 15 years to reach this level of confidence and be able to explain this to people without fear that they would judge me as incompetent.  I know that I’m not incompetent now; In the past I wouldn’t even have been able to write this blog.

And I don’t believe for a second that I’m all that unique; I’m sure there are actually a lot of us who don’t quite fit the mold.  I just wish I knew where they are! 

Hello?  Am I right??  Are you out there somewhere??

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot, Geeky Me O.o | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Should volunteering really be this difficult?

I went back and edited my original post regarding the inefficiencies of government, where I included a bullet point list of the things I have been struggling to accomplish lately, and I combined two of my goals.  Helping out local crime watch and volunteering at the sheriff’s office are close enough to be considered one, I think.  They both have to do with my desire to give back to my community as well as put a stop to crime.

We have, unfortunately, had a number of run-ins with local criminals.

Two years ago our house was broken into, while my children were at home, and my laptop and external hard drive were stolen off of my dining room table.  My daughter happened to walk out of her bedroom and find the thief half in/half out our back door.  She actually spoke to him; he claimed to be looking for a friend.  She later identified him for the police, and he is currently serving time for a string of break-ins in our town.  And, yes, I got my stuff back.

Back in September, my bicycle was stolen right out of my driveway.  This wasn’t just any bike.  I purchased that bike instead of a car.  It was my primary form of transportation.  I rode it to work, I rode it to the grocery store, I rode it for exercise, and I rode on the bike trail with friends for fun and as a social outlet.  I put a couple hundred miles on that bike per month, and for that reason I actually spent quite a bit of money on it; I wanted, and needed, a nice, comfortable, easy to ride bike. I never did get that one back, and have only recently accepted that I never will.

In addition, we have noticed certain things have come up missing from our garage (which we used to be in the habit of leaving open for brief periods of time in the past… though that does NOT happen anymore), like the grill set that my sister had given to us for Christmas a couple years back.  It had never been used, and was just sitting in the garage near the grill waiting for summertime…  *Poof*… Gone.

One day, in the middle of the night, a car drove up onto our lawn, the driver jumped out and ran between the houses to disappear into the *woods* behind our house (the woods being maybe 100 feet of trees and a retention pond).  The windshield of the car was cracked.  No, not just cracked, seriously broken.  We called the police and we were informed that someone had run down a motorcyclist right around the corner.  The windshield of the car was broken where the motorcyclist had hit it.  The driver of the car had taken off, and apparently thought our front yard was a good place to dump the vehicle (which was, obviously, stolen).

I started to get mad.  I considered moving.  Then one day I realized that you can’t run away from crime.  Unless you live in a really dangerous neighborhood, which we don’t.  The criminal activity we were noticing was the sort of criminal activity you find anywhere and everywhere.  If you try and run from it you will ALWAYS be running.

So instead of running I decided to fight back.  I thought that maybe if I become closely involved in local law enforcement, got to know the local sheriff’s deputies, became more familiar with the area, and with what to watch out for, that I would be less likely to be a victim.  I researched what it would take to start my own neighborhood watch program, and how to build an effective one.  I searched out crime watch groups already established in the area.  I signed up for, and completed, the “Citizen’s Academy”, a program our local Sheriff’s office offers to give citizens an inside look into how the local police operate.  I filled out a volunteer application for the Sheriff’s office, and I also found a local crime patrol that was in need of volunteers and I filled out an application to work with them as well.

Turns out the crime patrol and the sheriff’s office require you get fingerprinted and background checks must be completed before you can work with them.  In addition, the Sheriff’s office has a volunteer orientation that you have to attend.

These aren’t really unreasonable requirements.  Until you find out that they only do fingerprinting during regular Mon-Fri business hours, and they only offer the orientation from 1pm – 4pm.

I have a job.  I work during those hours.

So I asked, “Can’t I get fingerprinted at the police station near my work?  Then I could go at lunch.”

Nope… you have to come here, and it has to be during those hours.  😦

We have an approved adoptive home study!  We’ve been approved to adopt a child from foster care!  Can you just trust their background checks?!?

No! You have to come here, and it has to be during those hours!

I can’t, and won’t, take time off of work to attend orientation or get fingerprinted so that I can volunteer.  I am already taking time off of work and altering my schedule on occasion for the adoption.  My employer is absolutely understanding when I have to take time off for meetings with social workers, but a person’s employer can only be expected to be understanding for so much…  My job has to take priority.

I noticed on the Sheriff’s office volunteer application, where they ask you what areas you would be interested in volunteering for, fingerprinting was one of the options.

I hereby volunteer to assist with fingerprinting and coordinate volunteer orientation sessions in the evenings, after 6pm.  When I, and the rest of the working world, can make it to the office to get it done.

Categories: Government & Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Googling an old friend

I wasn’t feeling well for most of the day today.  So when I arrived home from work, I made myself a quick sandwich and headed straight for bed.

I read for a few minutes, then I fell asleep.

Woke up and read for a few minutes more, and fell asleep again…

Then I woke up again… and grabbed my laptop.

I did all my normal laptopy stuff, checked my email, checked my Facebook, commented on a few things, had a quick chat with my kid (yes, I Facebook chat with my kid from the next room)… then I just sat here in bed, still groggy and tired, feeling icky, and realized I just didn’t know what to do next.

Didn’t feel like checking the news.  Didn’t feel like blogging (at least at THAT moment I didn’t).

What to do… what to do…

So I looked up an old friend.  I don’t know what prompted me to do this, it was sort of a spur of the moment decision.  The friendship didn’t end well at all, she was particularly nasty to me, leaving me feeling used and abused, worthless, small.  And as much as I would like to be able to say that I am strong enough to just move on and not let it bother me, the truth is that it really does still bother me.

So I Googled her, and I found her blog.  And I read a few entries.  And what I found was what appeared to be a happy, confident, amazingly intelligent (to the point of being obviously somewhat arrogant), self-assured person with big dreams.

And as much as I would like to be able to say that I’m thrilled to find, through her online presence, that she is happy and doing well, that she is engaged and has had another child, that she is still in school and working on a graduate degree… the truth is, I’m ashamed to admit… part of me was hoping I would find a miserable wretch.

Why would I want that?  It’s a horrible thing to wish on another human being.  And I don’t really wish that, but in a way it would be nice.  Maybe I wish others had as hard of a time letting go of friendships as I do.  Maybe, just maybe, I was hoping that I would find some indication, however small, of the tiniest bit of guilt over what she did to me, even though I realize, of course, that if any such guilt exists, and it probably doesn’t, it would not be evident on her blog, especially not a few years later. Maybe I had hoped that her ability to so easily and cruelly dump on a supposed friend was a character flaw that would come back to haunt her down the road.

Actually, I think that’s it.  After she was so horrible to me I think I was hoping Karma would have bitten her in the behind.  There is a little voice in my head telling me that someone like that doesn’t deserve to be that happy, that successful.

So now I sit here, still not feeling well, still sleepy and in need of massive amounts of rest, but instead of sleeping I’m thinking of her.  I’m wishing ill on her while simultaneously kicking myself for thinking such horrible thoughts about a person who, despite how badly she may have treated me, deserves every bit of happiness and success she can find in this life.

I admire her for her strength and for her perseverance through the difficulties life has thrown at her.  Through young motherhood and a failed marriage, the adversity she faces in her communities for being an atheist in the bible belt, the stresses of trying to earn a graduate degree while caring for young children…  she is still plugging away and looking at the bright side of life.  She still has these big dreams and she’s going for it; I have a feeling she will let nothing get in her way.

Yet I am also very much aware that a quick Google search of a person isn’t going to give me the full story, and a person who seems, in their blog, to be happy, successful, driven, and optimistic, may actually be watching his or her life fall apart around them in reality.  Most people aren’t quite as honest online as I am.  So my looking to her blog for insight into her life is really quite ridiculous, and I am fully cognizant of that, so why do I let it bother me so?

I think I need to admit that I have identified in myself a character flaw.  Something that I need to work on.  An inability to move on when someone has treated me badly, an expectation that those who have hurt me so terribly will suffer themselves at some point for the pain they have inflicted, and a tendency to obsess over the past, to keep thinking back to those people and situations that have hurt me, and to try and make sense of them, make them *right* in some way, or find a way to feel vindicated.

We all have people in our past who have hurt us; I tend to have more than most, unfortunately.  Sometimes I think I would like to reach out to these people, see if a connection can be reestablished, heal those old wounds.  But I’m always met with fear that those wounds will be torn open again, rather than healed, and I’m not sure I can handle that.

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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