The Life and Times of a Busy Woman

Friday, December 30, 2011

Entitled 20-somethings ...

As I look at my schedule for next semester, I have the ridiculous urge to go do something destructive.  Frustration, yes, that's what I feel.  I am, yet again, reminded that I am in school with a bunch of 20-somethings that have an "It's ALLLLL About ME" attitude.  Let me explain ...

At the Nursing Program that I am currently a slave to, one might think that they pay to be a student, so they have a say in what happens in their schedule.  Um, NO.  We are given the illusion of choice when we give our preferences to our advisors each semester, but our schedules are ultimately drawn out of a hat.  "Oh, ok, we've drawn JSchmoe.  Their choices are :: ruffling through the sheets :: A, B, C, D.  They get their choices.  Next!  Ok, we have JBlow, their choices are :: ruffling through the sheets :: B, C, E, F.  Ok, that's good, but B and C are now full.  Next!"  Get the picture?  There are definitely more slots than just two, but to illustrate my point ... when it gets beyond the maximum amount of slots, the next student drawn no longer gets their choice(s), they get what they're assigned.  Now to the frustrating part ...

I have only ever received one schedule that was what I had preferred.  In case anyone didn't know, prior to being a nursing student, I am a mother, wife, ER Tech, and EMT ... so I'm a little busy.  My life is a balancing act that takes a lot of planning (a written day planner and a smartphone) to successfully make it to family gatherings, karate nights, school concerts, and orthodontist/dental appointments while also maintaining a decent GPA with exams and class work.  The first time that I was forcibly placed into a bad clinical schedule (kiddo got the short end), I pleaded with classmates to switch ... and they ignored me.  The second time I was forcibly, last-minute placed (I was scheduled to WORK on certain days), I begged, pleaded, and practically groveled ... oh, and I was ignored.  This third time, I appealed to the faculty in charge to NOT put the clinical night (that I was, yet again, forcibly placed into) on Thursday (karate night).  I'd rather lose every Friday night (and get about 4 hours sleep before work on Saturday), than mess with karate night.  Oh, wait ... I'm the minority, Thursday won.  So now, here I wait to begin this dreadful semester.  I've talked to classmates about schedules, and have received, "I'm so excited to have both day clinicals on T/Th [or whatever days, daytime].  It's so much easier to relax in the evenings knowing I have clinical done.  Not like losing my morning to prepping for evening clinical.  I feel bad for people who have to do evenings."  At that point, I just walked away.  I've begged and pleaded for daytime every semester due to family/work commitments, yet I'm ignored.  I'm sick of sounding like a broken record.  I feel bad for my classmates, and pray not to become their co-workers after graduation.  They have no sense of teamwork or give/take.  To them, it's all take ... and it's not gonna get them very far in the real world.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After

Yesterday was Christmas ... the long awaited day to be able to open presents and spend time with family.  Our family plans Christmas Eve crashed due to my daughter getting grounded Friday.  Trust me, it was not something that I wanted to do, but it was absolutely necessary.  If I wouldn't have gotten grief from everyone else (therefore having to divulge the ridiculous acts that my daughter did to get herself grounded THAT close to Christmas, just to defend myself), I would have cancelled Christmas.  Instead, we had an understanding prior to Christmas morning that anything 1) electronic; 2) could access the internet; or, 3) was an accessory to something that did either item number 1 or 2, would be confiscated until groundation ceases.  If I had my way, it would be when my daughter turns 18 ... but since that's unrealistic, it will probably be 1 week for items in the number 1 category, 2 weeks for both the 2 and 3 categories, plus many months on probation for category number 2.  There, have I lost you yet?

Otherwise, Christmas went well.  We opened presents at our home then went to my first in-laws' for presents there (divorced family).  Stopped by Grandparents' home on the way to the second in-laws' home, visiting for a bit at each stop.  We then went to my parent's home, which also contained my brother, his wife, and 2 children (2.5 y/o and 24 days old).  We stayed there for hours cuddling the new bambino and laughing at the antics of the older child.  She's adjusting well to being an older sister, but there's still some jealously.  Food was filling (never go hungry and my mom and dad's) and visiting was fun.  We finally got home at about what would have been dinner time (still full), so we lazed about and starting figuring out the aftermath of that morning.

This morning, well ... that's another story.  Got 8 hours of sleep last night (amazing!) but still kinda dragging.  Must be since I'm on a sort of mini-vacation.  Doing laundry and dishes while my husband is at his friend's house finishing up some "guy work."  I do not work again at one job until Saturday.  I'm on call for 24 starting on Wednesday afternoon, but it will still be a lazy day until someone needs me.  School doesn't start again for me until the 9th of January, but my daughter starts back on the 3rd. 

Here's to hoping this New Year starts better than last year ... hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Rules

Apparently the rules apply to me, not everyone else.  I have to say that I'm sick of it.  Why do I bother? 
A place of employment has preceptor rules.  The newbie must "run as a third" until 20+ runs, then the preceptors vote to release them out onto their own.  Why is a newbie with no previous experience already running solo some days, then not the next?  The next issue would be getting cleared to drive.  There's a particular process to get cleared that I've been held to, and currently I'm still not cleared to drive.  This impacts who I can get scheduled with since if it's more than a BLS call, then ALS has to tech and I cannot drive the truck.  Then how does it move?  See, conundrum.  There are other BLS people that were licensed after me, released onto their own after me, and I can guarantee have not gone through the whole process for getting cleared to drive that are "cleared to drive" and constantly scheduled with ALS.  Hmmm?  Do I smell bad?  Did I offend someone?  How did this happen?  IDK ... I wish I did.

A Blog Revisited

I found this on an old blog on my MySpace ... yes, you read correctly - MySpace.  It is from Aug 27, 2008 ... and reminds me why I:  a) detest US Airways; b) have hatred for one person on this Earth.
I do not recommend flying US Airways for various reasons, but my most recent encounter cemented the fact that I truly loathe their company…
August 10th began as a normal day.  my spouse, our dog, and I loaded into the truck and rather lazily headed south.  We left about 1230pm and my child's flight wasn't due in till 1026pm.  We made stops along the way, LL Bean Outlet, Petco, Cabela's, a picnic lunch in Freeport.  Traveled along Route 1 because we haven't done that in forever.  We really got to enjoy Maine.  We had dinner at Dunstan's Schoolhouse Restaurant in Saco and then headed towards the airport.  That's when I got the call from Grandma in WV … her child had called her collect from the airport.  "Are you sitting down?"  Of course I was, we were in the truck headed to the airport.  "Your child is not on the plane.  Apparently, the gate agent did not put them on the plane, closed it up, and sent it out 5 minutes early."
So, my initial reaction was, "They're turning around to go get them, right?!"  No, they didn't.  That's when it got interesting … a lovely, relaxing day all gone to hell in a handbasket.  I arrived at the Portland Airport (where I was supposed to them pick up) and went in to the ticket counter.  I had no contact with the other parent, their excuse to their mother is that their phone was dead.  They didn't realize that the child had a tracfone in their bag they could have used – they were just being immature and didn't want to have contact with me.  I waited in line, rather patiently – if I do say so myself, for an agent.  The woman who I ended up dealing with was an absolute bitch.  I politely said, "I would like to find my child that your airline did not put on the plane that's supposed to be arriving at 1026 pm, though they were checked in."  She was rather ignorant.  I asked if she could call Charlotte, NC and find out what the issue and what possible course of action they're going to take.  "No.  That's not possible."  "Excuse me, I would like to speak to your manager.  Who would that be?"  "Him (pointing at a guy named Michael) … why?"  "Because you're rude, ignorant, your airline has messed up my child's flight, I have no idea where they are, and you're unwilling to help."  This is when Michael stepped in. 
He immediately called Charlotte – which btw, they're a rather SLOW bunch of people … he had to repeat himself 10 times (I counted!) – to find out what was going on.  I had the ticket number and stuff so he could see it in the system, but nothing had changed on it yet.  The Unaccompanied Minor policy states that she must fly a direct flight from A to B … no pitstops.  The next direct flight was in the hour of 11amish the next day.  Excuse me?  Um, I just drove down here, I live 3 hours away, your airline is at fault here.  Can you at least get me a hotel room?  Michael checked with a regional manager somewhere then gave me the guy's name and Customer Service contact information when he denied me anything since I'm not the actual flyer.  He thought it was ridiculous also, since the policy states I must be there to pick her up … yet THEY messed up. 
My spouse and our dog were meanwhile manning the truck in free parking, or else it could get towed.  I was walking back and forth between the desk and the truck with updates.  Michael had my cell phone if he got any information in the meantime.  That's when I found out that my child did not have any baggage on the incoming flight that night since their parent and step-parent decided none of it fit, so they were going to keep it.  This provoked my first ever nasty voicemail to both of their voicemails – they didn't buy them, they don't give them away.  My spouse and I were trying to figure out the best thing to do.  Drive home or stay the night.  They still had to work Monday night, so if the flight didn't come in on time, they would miss work.  I called my mom to find out what she was doing on Tuesday.  She was taking my brother's dog back to him that she'd been dogsitting, meeting him at LL Bean about .  Mom said I could ride down with her, just meet at her house, we'd hand off the dog, pick up the kid at 130pmish and head back North.  Easier said than done.
I didn't leave the airport without confirmation that my child was booked on the next flight.  While I was waiting for the printout, a couple walked up – apparently thinking I worked there – and asked me for toiletries since their flight was cancelled.  I looked at them and said, "Soon as I get the guy back here with the printout of my child's flight tomorrow since they forgot them today, I'll see about some toiletries for you."  They realized I was a bit stressed … commended me for not breaking down … and waited patiently for Michael to return. 
Alright, Tuesday started out as planned … but along came the handbasket … still not getting direct calls from the other parent, I was getting indirect information from Grandma about an hour after the fact.  She called, "The flight took off, my child left the airport, they called them (apparently their phone magically charged itself without a charger) and told them to return to the airport cause the flight had to return to the gate due to mechanical difficulties (1 hour delay).  Mom and I went to eat lunch at On The Border since we had time.  My brother met us there … he was going to stay to meet my child … till I got another phone call – another 1 hour delay due to air traffic around New York.  He left, since we were looking at least 330pm before it would arrive.  We did what most people do with free time, we went shopping … I'd never been to a Christmas Tree Shop … it was pretty neat.  That is, till I got a phone call 45 minutes after the fact that the flight had been altogether cancelled.  This provoked my second ever nasty phone call.  "I don't know if you noticed, but I'M THE PARENT ON THE OTHER END OF THIS FLIGHT.  Don't be calling other freaking people to tell them the news, when you should be calling me direct.  Grow up, get your heads out of your asses and call me direct!"  (What can I say, I was rather pissed to get second hand information way after the fact.  Everyone else knew but me!)
Mom and I headed to the airport.  She was slowly figuring out that she was doomed to stay till the night flight arrived at 1026pm.  She had commitments the next day and needed to go home much earlier than that.  That's when I finally broke.  I started calling my friends … one was almost to Six Flags … one was working till 1130pm … one wasn't – and I started crying.  I was more than willing to pay plus gas money to come get me cause I was going to be stranded in Portland.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  My friends ended up working out a plan to come pick me up, if I had confirmation that my child's flight actually had her on it this time.  Then I fell asleep, completely passed out from exhaustion – mental and physical, in the passenger seat.  Mom started killing time by calling her friends.  She was trying to find a place for me to stay the night if I needed to if my child didn't come in the on the night flight.  When she talked to one, they said, "Gee, why don't you come home on the bus and leave your child your car?  They'll have a place to stay and a way to get home."  Why didn't WE think of that … oh yeah … exhaustion. 
At 555pm, we found out that the 759pm flight my child was booked for was already delayed an hour.  The next bus out of Portland to Bangor was at 615pm (thanks to mom's friend!) … we barely made it to the terminal.  An upside was, another one of Mom's friends was already on the bus from Boston to Portland – so she had a friend to chat with up the highway.  I was the proud temporary owner of a Dodge Intrepid … mom left me with, "The insurance information is in the glove compartment.  Don't come home till you have them."  I didn't leave the terminal till I knew that the bus had left - without mechanical difficulties.
I drove around downtown Portland a bit … went to Tim Horton's for supper, Big Apple for snacks/water … the cashier tried to be nice ("How are you this evening?") and I politely said I'd been much better than the last 24 hours of a nightmare that I'd rather not discuss.  Of course she had a quizzical look … so I simply said that when an airline forgets your child, cancels the next flight that they're booked on, and already delays the next flight they're booked on – you'd be living a nightmare, too.  She wished me luck and I went back to living at the airport free parking in mom's car.  I do not know what compelled me to bring the car charger that day, but it was a good thing so I could continue to use my phone.  I had sort of a mini command station with all my stuff spread out around me and my Bluetooth headset on my ear.  Luckily, I'd also brought some books that I'd gotten in advance for college, so I had stuff to read.  I called my friends, instead of coming to get me they went to my house in Charleston to let the dog out to go potty since my spouse was working. 
I had to pay to park to be able to go into the terminal to meet my child.  I went in 20 minutes early and cuddled with their Karate Bear that we had bought them for their return while watching the gymnastic Olympics on tv.  They finally got in at 1140pm.  No baggage meant we went right to the car to go home.  I called my spouse … called Grandma … and sent out a mass txt message that they were on the ground.  Tim Horton's in Waterville was a pitstop for coffee ... still didn't get back to mom's to get my truck till 230am (they woke up to the sound of me starting my truck ... Dad: "How do you know our child has our grandchild?"  Mom: "I told them not to come home till they had them.")  …  Drove home, 25 minutes … and crashed in bed at
Luckily my child was back … and life resumed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Morning After

Wow, what a morning.  After a particularly long day at work, I came home and thought nothing about downing some "Captain and Coke."  My spouse had already started in, which is unusual since they don't drink very often, so I just helped them finish the glass sooner ... and the refill ... and that refill.  I have not drank that much in a long time, apparently I'm still a lightweight.  It was to the point that I could hardly walk up the 12 stairs to the bedroom ... the couch looked inviting to sleep on, but I knew I would regret it.  The bed seemed to rock like I was relaxing on a float in a lake ... we do not have a water bed.

My question is, why is there not a "Plan B" for alcohol like there is for unprotected sex?  It would be very nice for science to find a drug that could rid all alcohol from the human body.  Sort of like Narcan for opiates, but without the "hacking up a lung" effect.  Seriously, if you've never seen Narcan administered to a person strung out on opiates, it would be a deterrent to drug use.  There should be a video made of this process ... I've seen it in person and I can honestly say it was the best education I ever received - so much more eyeopening than the DARE school program.  If I could have seen a video of that when I was younger, I'm certain my thought process would have included:  "If that's what they're going to do to me in the ER (when I'm found passed out from my high), it's NOT worth it." 

So back to alcohol ... it was not bad this morning, but still in shock that I drank that much on a school night.  Coffee and breakfast helped (along with a lot of water), but I'm still sleepy and looking forward to seeing my bed this afternoon for a nap.  Today is the last full lecture of this semester, Wednesday is a guest speaker about DKA and Jeopardy game.  Finals are on Monday and Wednesday next week, then it's a few weeks off from class ... working a ridiculous amount of hours ... and resuming class on January 9th.  I officially become a Senior in 9 days.  A party night out on the 17th will be well deserved.  I'm pretty sure science won't have invented "Plan B" for alcohol by then ... and I'll be sleeping it off like every other bar-hopper.