Posted by: knitapeace | December 24, 2009

Sheepish

That’s my blog title and it’s not even about knitting. It’s about feeling a teeny bit guilty for dogging on my employer when afterward he really did make a very sincere apology and tried to make things right with me. I went to HR once again on Tuesday to let her know that my salary situation was still unsettled after two months. She was very surprised, and promised to talk to Bossman about it. He came by shortly after and told me the exact same things he told me two months ago: it’s entirely his fault it’s not done, the raise will be retroactive and they’ll pay out my back wages, he’s sorry it’s taking so long, he’ll get to it soon. He seemed a little annoyed that I had brought it up again. I just looked at him. He told me that if he could sit down with the numbers the next day he would figure it out and let me know by the following week. I looked at him pointedly and said, “That would be great” although since the next day was the office party and the day before our holiday break, I doubted it was going to happen. Never mind that he seemed to think it was only about the money. He didn’t “get” that I was humiliated to be given a job but never told how much I would be making at it. It was as if they were saying to me, “You’ll get what we decide you get and you’ll like it.” No compromise, no negotiation.

Well, evidently after I left that day my (very sweet) supervisor reminded him that my husband had been out of work for 11 months and we really needed the money. He called me to his office the very next morning and offered me a kind and sincere apology. He offered me what I think is actually a very generous raise, and he paid out about 2/3 of my back pay that very day. I still contend that I was treated shabbily, and this does happen quite often in this office (another friend waited over two months to get her yearly increase), but I am so grateful that what I was offered was fair. So I’ll be going back to work on Monday with a much better attitude.

Oh, and I’m going out and buying the kids each a DSi after the Christmas rush is over.πŸ˜‰

Posted by: knitapeace | December 19, 2009

Overdue

Thank goodness my blog isn’t a library book, or I’d be in debt with my overdue fines. I’ve mostly been keeping people updated using Facebook these days. I like the brevity of it, and being able to see everyone’s updates all together. Sometimes I think we share way too much online, and Facebook helps me to keep it short and not-too-specific. I stay out of trouble that way.

But I do still like to write, and as my college professors can tell you I can go on and on (my kids would agree), so sometimes I guess I’ll come back to the blog.

The continuing saga of Dan’s employment status is always at the forefront of my mind. He sort of avoided looking for a job all summer, because he wanted to be home with the kids, but the result was that when fall came around he had to pretty much start from scratch looking for work. He spends a good majority of his days looking, and up until now there wasn’t even a phone call or email with any interest. Fortunately, he does have an interesting prospect on the horizon now. The company is very close to home, and they need someone with his exact skills. Fingers crossed that there will be a meeting before the end of the year, or shortly after the beginning of the new year.

My job is going well. I was promoted (sort of) to label coordinator, which is a much more interesting and demanding job. My supervisor is very pleased with my work and is relying on me more and more to take on extra responsibilities. I was crystal clear when I asked for the move: this could not be a lateral move as far as pay. I need more money, because I’m the sole breadwinner now and if it weren’t for Dan’s unemployment we would be below the poverty line. I was assured that I would get a raise. They moved me into my new position, and no one mentioned money. I asked again. I was told it would be handled by the boss. I waited. I went to HR after a couple of weeks and asked there. The boss pulled me aside and said he would be sure to take care of it. I waited. My immediate supervisor assured me that she had talked to the boss again. I’m still waiting. I began this new position on October 22nd and I still have no idea what my pay is. I’m working twice as hard, still on my tiny little proofreader salary, and I’m pissed about it. I’ve never known a company to behave this way. It’s so unprofessional. In this economy I certainly can’t quit in frustration, but when things turn around I don’t know what I’ll do. It’s just unconscionable to expect someone to do a job and not know how much they’re getting paid for it.

The kids are doing well in school, although Ben still struggles with making friends and fitting into the “mold” that teachers expect. We discovered at the beginning of the year that he is starting exhibit tics, so we feel safe in assuming he has mild Tourette’s just like his sister. Spaciness, poor handwriting, and easy frustration and anger seem to be the other symptoms he’s exhibiting. He’s pretty darn brilliant at math though, and he loves to read. He just gets very upset with the other children and is finding it hard to make friends because of it. Luckily he has a few girls in his class who seem to understand him and like him no matter what, and I’m so grateful for them. Rebecca’s tics remain fairly mild, lately it’s just some repetitive, quiet throat clearing, and they don’t seem to interfere with her studies or her friendships. She’s trying out for a part in the class play and is very excited to see that start coming together.

We had a lovely Hanukkah, and because it’s been a lean year the children showed remarkable appreciation for their gifts. They were so sweet. Just now we’re battening down the hatches for a possible 10 to 15 inches of snow that’s heading our way. Better go bring in more firewood! Until the next update, which I hope will have lots of positive news and not be six months down the road, lol…

Posted by: knitapeace | July 7, 2009

Summer, for real

There for a while I wasn’t sure we were going to get a summer at all. Too much rain, no opportunity to plant any flowers or veggies, and a lonely-looking pool. The July 4th weekend changed all that, thankfully, and we were able to get a LOT of swimming and grilling done. Dan made the best barbecued ribs I ever put in my MOUTH. And the dog is finally learning to love swimming…well, nearly. He’ll voluntarily get on the first or second step if you tell him “Go swimmin!” but he’ll only get out into the water if Dan or I are already out there.

It’s been weird for everybody, our little “upside down” family with Daddy staying home and Mommy working. The kids are certainly enjoying having more Daddy time, but they often glom onto me when I walk in the door. My own private time has become very rare, which is hard for me. I like to be left alone a good amount of time. But I try to remember that the time will be here all too soon when they will prefer the company of friends to me, and then I’ll miss these days. So I will appreciate it while I can (and sneak in some alone time whenever I can do it without feeling guilty).

Work is going well, although I have to say that some of the “personality” issues I’ve had from the beginning are wearing on me harder every day. My closest coworker and friend is just back to work after being a stay-home mom for years, just like me, but she only works three days a week. Because of being there less often, I think she didn’t see some of the issues that I was describing to her until recently. We work in a very small room with another proofreading team, and let’s just say that not everything is rosy in our little world. Everything from the preferred temperature to the amount of sniping about other coworkers behind their backs gets right up my left nostril despite all my mantras and deep breathing exercises. The thing is, and this is common with me, no one is aware that I’m slowly going insane except my friend. I keep a nice, peaceful face on all day and try not to make waves. When everyone leaves the room, I pretend to commit hari-kiri with my office scissors.

However, for reasons I don’t want to get into too deeply because I don’t want to jinx them, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please keep your fingers crossed for me for an opportunity that is in my sights. I know there will be issues no matter what I do, but I feel confident that no matter where I end up I’ll be able to re-embrace positivity by saying, “Hey, at least I’m not proofreading anymore!”

Posted by: knitapeace | June 14, 2009

Mini update

So I guess I kind of disappeared there, post-haircut.πŸ˜€ As usual, there’s not much going on here to tell.

Dan finally received an email back from Albany giving him instructions on how toΒ  complete his “application” to reinstate his status as a NY State certified teacher. I thought they were going to give him a list of courses he needed to take and stuff he had to do, but basically they just gave him a username and password to some website where he had to upload his transcripts, resume, and letters of recommendation. I don’t know if that means he’s good to go or not. I do know that the more I hear about the perks that teachers receive, the happier I am to see him pursue this direction. I guess that’s why we pay such high taxes. Still nothing on the job front, but he’s putting his name out as a consultant in hopes of getting something part time or non-permanent while we wait out this stinking economy. We’re still doing very well pinching pennies and making his severance last, so please don’t worry about us and our financial situation. My paycheck and his unemployment payments are helping too.

I still hate my job. And that’s all I have to say about that. <–in my best Forrest Gump voice

The kids are well. Rebecca took a year off from soccer to try karate and advanced two belts, but has decided she’d rather go back to soccer in the fall. Thursday the local soccer league held tryouts for the A and B travel teams, but she didn’t make the cut for either one. Fortunately they still have an interleague team that does some traveling and plays just for the joy of it, so she’s gung-ho about doing that. Her previous coach is the coach of the interleague team, and he’s just great. So I feel good about that. I also feel good about the fact that interleague is less expensive and has a smaller time (read: weekend) commitment. Ben is flourishing in karate and will continue with it for as long as he wants to. I just love seeing him out on the floor, looking so graceful doing his katas. He’s just one stripe away from an orange belt.

Dan and Rebecca are leaving in a moment to attend her fiddle workshop, where she plays old Irish and country dance music with other kids. If you’ve ever been to a contra dance, that’s the kind of music they play. She pretends she doesn’t like it, but for the first time since she’s four she will just pick up her violin and start playing stuff from the workshop, just for pleasure. That’s a ringing endorsement! I still have some laundry going and want to work a bit more on my vest. Thanks for checking in on me!

Posted by: knitapeace | May 24, 2009

New haircut!

I never have the time or inclination to blow out my hair straight, so it’s always a treat to let the stylist do it when I have my hair cut. Tomorrow it’ll be back to curly again.πŸ˜€

Photo 23

Please ignore the “weekend” face without makeup.

Posted by: knitapeace | April 25, 2009

New sweater

I’ve decided that knitting sweaters in pieces and sewing them up is a pain. I’ve done seamless sweaters before, and I liked it, but this time I started literally from scratch by taking measurements, swatching, and doing a lot of math. Thanks to the book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, I am making a top-down, seamless shrug for Rebecca. Here it is in progress:

shrug1

Because it’s a shrug, it only comes down to about the bottom of her ribcage. I made super short cap sleeves, and it’s knit from a cotton/acrylic blend that will work through spring/summer/fall. It’s sort of my guinea pig knit, making sure I know what I’m doing with the new sleeve construction before I make a sweater from the book for myself.

Things at work are going okay. We got a new type of document scanner–it’s actually a camera–so the work does go a little quicker now. We were caught up, then we lost two days to the installation and training for the new machine, but now we’re almost caught up again. When I left work on Friday there were only six projects in my inbox. Compare that to over 70 at one point!

Dan had an interview with a local company last week. They do something with green mass transit and bus stops…I’m not sure exactly but I’m sure I’ll find out if it works out. He didn’t get to meet with the COO because they ran out of time on interview day and then the guy left for two weeks in Aruba. Must be nice. He’s supposed to call Dan for a phone interview while he’s away. We’ll see what happens. I’m happy to say that Dan’s severance check finally arrived, and Motorola did the RIGHT thing and paid out all the bonuses from 2008. So we have enough to get by for a while longer, as long as we keep stretching our pennies.

Off to throw the bathroom rugs into the dryer and have a shower so we can go to the Cherry Blossom Festival at Stony Brook later.

Posted by: knitapeace | April 16, 2009

I can’t figure out why, but…

Somebody out there seems to want me to update my blog. I’m not kidding, Laura, my life is BO-RING. Seriously. But if you want to know what I’m doing, I’ll try to make it as exciting as possible.

So first off, they fired our proofreading night shift. There were two day shift (Toni and me) and two night shift girls doing the kind of proofreading that I do. Now there are half as many of us. At the same time, the people who generate the work for us have increased productivity somehow and we are getting more than twice as many projects to proofread that we did before. Some nights I go home and there are more than 70 projects in my to-do bin, and when Toni, who is part time, is there we can get about 30 done if we really crack the whip and don’t chat or take our morning break. Without Toni I can maybe get out 23 or 24 if most of them are labels, which go faster. I’ve nearly cried twice. I’ve stayed late every day this week, and I have to go in on Saturday.

And then the zombies nearly broke through our barricade, but the monkey military forces held them back with Pez dispensers and potato guns!

(That was me trying to make it more exciting.)

Oh, there is one exciting thing. My brother and his family came to NY to visit us for the FIRST TIME EVER and we had a great time despite gale force winds and miserable rain. And on Easter Sunday we saw Seal with his son on his shoulders in Central Park, and we saw Heidi Klum from a distance as they got into their SUV in front of Tavern on the Green. (We were at the awesome concrete playground just above the restaurant.)

Other than that? Dan’s still hunting for work and the kids are still doing the normal kid stuff like forgetting their homework and learning karate. Dan and I took the dryer apart, found the parts we needed to make it stop banging every time we dried a load, and put it back together again. We have veggie and flower sprouts, grown from seed, ready to plant outside as soon as we’re relatively sure of no more frost. Dan is being a great house husband but I’d be very happy if he could find a job. And that’s pretty much it.

Except for when the Queen came to visit! And ate my homemade banana bread and played our Pinball Wizard machine from 1973 in our basement!

(Was that exciting?)

Posted by: knitapeace | March 19, 2009

Boring updates

Thank you Pam and Laura for the nice compliments! I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need that white sweater in every color. It’s so cute and fits so well, for once.

So Pam asked for updates. Dan is still home and looking for work. It’s like searching for water in the desert. I’m still working at the pharmaceutical company, and it’s a soul-draining experience. Suffice to say that the work isn’t particularly challenging or interesting, and the “environment” leaves much to be desired. But in this economic climate I’m just happy to have work.

The kids are doing pretty well. Ben’s behavior in class has improved dramatically, but he still has a tendency to drift away when he’s supposed to be writing or drawing something. Give him a math sheet or a science experiment and he’s all over it, but he really hates to write. Rebecca has been showing some signs of mild Tourette’s. I know that might sound kind of drastic, but the fact is she just has a few twitches that don’t interfere with her friend-making or school work, so we aren’t making a big deal out of it. We’re keeping an eye on it, and the pediatrician is aware. They’re both enjoying karate and doing well in shule (Jewish school). And they both want to get back on their bikes soon!

There’s really nothing else interesting to tell! Sorry my life is so blah!πŸ˜€

Posted by: knitapeace | March 17, 2009

More FOs

A few more completed projects! The beret was about 3/4 done when I hit a counting snag and gave it a time out. I only had to rip back about four rows to find the errors (two missed yarnovers) and fix them, and then zoomzoom to the end. Rebecca loves it.

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And a nice cotton sweater for me, to wear over my multitude of solid tees to make them work-friendly.

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That’s all from here for now!

Posted by: knitapeace | March 9, 2009

Quickie UFO post

Hey all, I’ve joined a group on Ravelry that encourages you to spend one day a week working on UFOs (unfinished objects) in order to have more finished projects and less guilt. For March, though, they’ve issued a challenge to finish as many UFOs as you can before the 15th. I obliged by finally getting the pieces of my Twisted sweater off the top of the knitting cabinet and sewing them up. I knew the sleeves were going to be too big, and you can see in the photos how much I had to cuff them to make them work. It’s a shame too, because the design of the sleeves is so pretty and it gets lost when you roll them up. Anyway, presenting my newest FO:

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