The Life and Times of a Busy Woman

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sitting Still is NOT my Forte

So Pinning happened, as did the night out afterward.  Alcohol, nachos, pizza, and billiards ... now that's a night.  Some friends had to work, but others who didn't have to joined in.  I also played a game of pool against my dad, and that hadn't happened since I was 15ish. 

As I've anxiously awaited my grades all week, I worked my last two days at my ER job.  Ironically, I have never trained anyone in my 52 months working there ... but I spent my last 2 days training a newbie.  I LIKE HER!  A LOT!  She'll make a great replacement. 

My (now former) Director acted like she'd never heard of such a thing as my last day.  "Oh, well I'll need your resignation then."  Um, guess what ... your intelligence (lack thereof) did not hire me as a Nurse, there are no more shifts available prior to my paperwork being official, DUH, I'm done.  I was so stunned with her attitude.  That's what I get for 52 months of never calling out, being late once (by 20 minutes), and rearranging my life for that department.  Plus, I worked the equivalent of a FT employee as a per diem.  Wow, awesome Director right there.  I wanted to give her my best wishes on retaining dedicated employees, but my mom taught me better than that.  Ha!  My mom!  Wow, what a woman.  On that subject, she brought me an arrangement of flowers on my last day.  Her sole purpose was to make me the center of attention (when everyone asks why the flowers, etc) because she's more than livid at that Director.  She made sure the card said my name and "NURSE GRADUATE" in BIG letters.  I don't particularly care for being the center of attention, but with the silent back story I didn't mind.  My mom .... ;)

One of my Doctor friends brought her son in so I could meet him, and brought me a bottle of wine as congrats.  Luckily, the wine was wrapped up, but as soon as I felt the bottle I was like, "I don't think I can have that in here.  Oh wait, I don't care!  Hahaha!"  I still hid it in my bag, just so the Director wouldn't raise a stink over it.

I got to have lunch with one of my best friends on my last day as well.  My friend happened to be filling in for his boss that day, so we got to sit down and have lunch like we used to when we worked Sundays together.  It was so nice.

I've now been spending more time on my house work.  I found parts of it, then it got cluttered again during Pinning weekend ... so now I start over.  I did multiple loads of laundry today.  I think tomorrow I will attack the dining room and kitchen (again).  I'm also weeding out crap that can go away (either paperwork trash or clothes that can go on to people that need them). 

It's weird being in limbo while I wait for the paperwork to process.  Granted, I'm pulling shifts on the fire department, but it's not like getting up and going to a hospital each day.  It's an adjustment, and hopefully won't last long.  Sitting still is NOT my forte (which is one reason I got hired by the new hospital ... my work ethic). 

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Light Has Arrived

You know ... that light at the end of the tunnel.  It's here in all its' glory ... yet, I don't know how to describe my feelings right now.  I realized the last time that I posted was November 8th.  That was a roller coaster day and the last weeks haven't found the end of that hellacious ride. 

I finished writing my last papers of my college career on November 17th.  What a relief!  It was a day of no calls again so I just got the last two papers done.  Then, I proceeded to pour a tall glass of wine (after I was officially off duty), drink the whole thing, and dance around my kitchen and dining room.  Hey, I never said I wasn't crazy.  I work in an ER and in EMS, we're certifiable. 

We got approved for the project I was feeling rushed about.  It went well, as good as can be expected with High School Seniors.  They reminded me why I never wanted A) any more children, and B) to be a teacher.

I finished up my Partnership hours ... and cried as I walked out.  My partner got me a gift that just pushed me over the edge.  It was supposed to be a good thing that hours were over, but I couldn't help missing the place and the people.

I had a job interview the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I kept getting bumped up in the interview process, all positive, and to this day I cannot get anyone to return my phone calls.  Not impressed.

Thanksgiving came and went uneventfully.  I was on duty that day, no calls and had lunch with my EMS family.  Had dessert with a friend and her family.  They live close by and were supposed to have dinner late, but of course that got moved around.

Mmmmm, pie

I contacted my Director to get it "straight from the horse's mouth" ... I will not be employed as an RN after I graduate.  "Go work on a telemetry floor for a year and come see me when you have experience."  The range of emotions right then and there was amazing.  I'd never felt so betrayed in my life.  With all my aforementioned departmental experience, and the history of hiring current employees when they "level-up" it seemed I would have a job.  Apparently, my loyalty for the past 52 months did not count for diddly-squat.  All the times I've "bailed them out" of staffing situations, rearranged my life for them.  It was more than a slap in the face.  Of course, I'm not burning that bridge outwardly ... but I've already torched it multiple times over in my mind.  I will not work for someone who cannot recognize loyalty and reciprocate.  I started saying my good byes to co-workers and their reactions have soothed some of my heartache of the situation.  There are many that are mad and that at least tells me I'll be a little missed.  Many Doctors offered me recommendations/to be references when they found out. 

A co-worker who became one of my best friends (and pretty much my work mom) over the last 52 months made me an afghan.  When I say made, I should say crocheted.  An intricate afghan that is almost as tall as I am (and I'm 5'8").  She's got some "skillz."  It's one of many different designs she has made.  I'm not quite an RN yet, Board test date to be determined, but I will be.  I won't be working with her anymore, but I'll still have her close by.

I worked my last shift with my favorite doctor of all time.  That.was.hard.  I walked out at the end with my dignity intact, but if he would have tried to hug me when he said good bye, I would have lost it right there.  I did, by the time I got to my car.  I immediately called a friend, a very dear friend, on my way home (UConnect Phone is great in my car).  I asked him how he was, how his new house was, etc.  He could tell something was wrong by my voice.  "I just worked my last shift with Dr. _______."  Him, in only the way he can say, "Oh.  OH!  So, yeah."  Then he proceeded to talk about anything and everything that came to mind, which ended up making me laugh and cured the tears.

A few days later, a classmate of mine ended up in the hospital.  No one knew what was wrong, Doctors couldn't find a source of her pain.  After emergent surgery and coding twice, she passed away.  They still haven't told us what actually happened, but the funeral will be on 12/12/12.  Coincidentally, that was also the date of our last final.  After much rearranging, they ended up offering the final in multiple different sections, but we still had to do our Senior Leadership Poster Presentation later that day after the funeral.  Lots of puffy eyes, but we made it through.  At 26 years old and after all that hard work, to pass away unexpectedly in the last week is more than tragic.  We'll be honoring her at our Pinning ceremony. 

I worked my last shift with the weekend crew this past Sunday.   I couldn't ask for a better work family.  My work mom bought me lunch, much to my surprise.  I had actually brought my lunch, but luckily it was in the freezer.  Besides, the pizza we ordered was amazing and partly tradition.  Her husband picked her up early from work, much to my objection.  I still had 45 minutes to harass her, but they carpool and he was out of work early and her relief had already showed up.  I went out to harass her husband, partly because I could, but the main reason was that I was trying not to cry.  Focusing on "being angry" at him was helping hold the dam.  Wow, I've been so emotional lately.  Luckily, again, she didn't try to hug me.  I would have lost it.  Instead, she climbed in on her side of the car and didn't see the tears I was trying unsuccessfully to hold back.  I'm going to miss her more than words can express.

Monday, I had another job interview.  Amid the snow and ice, I went.  The Director called and asked if I wanted to reschedule.  "If you're not planning on going home early, storms are a part of working in a hospital and I'll just start early and give myself plenty of time to get there."  Almost 7 years at one hospital plus working as a Mail Carrier earlier in life has taught me plenty about driving in snow/sleet/ice.  The interview began with, "I really want to hire you, but I had to meet with you and have you answer at least a couple questions before I could officially do so."  Wait, what?!  It lasted all of 20 minutes.  I walked out with a job, plus I can start as soon as I'm "paperwork-official" as a nurse graduate.  So I don't have to pass my boards to get my first paycheck.  What a RELIEF!  The Director had been a night Nursing Supervisor during my partnership there in their ER.  She knew how I worked and loved it.  She spoke with my Partner whom only had praise for me.  I AM EMPLOYED! 

Pinning is t-minus 23.5 hours away.  I should be bouncing off the walls.  Instead, my facebook newsfeed is filled with more tragedy.  Between CT and China, today is a yet another day that will go down in history.  Due to my work in the ER, Psych Nursing Clinical, and EMS, I know that there are some seriously ill people out there.  Today's proof is beyond tragic.  My thoughts go out to the families involved. 

In the midst of writing this, the UPS man came.  I was expecting some stuff, but not everything that was addressed to me was ordered by me.  My husband ordered me a Vermont Teddy Bear that's wearing scrubs and has a pin with my name, RN on it.  What a guy.  I sent him a pic to his cell saying, "I found this guy traveling via UPS and he was cold.  So I thought he needed warming up."  Well, I guess the bear should be a girl since it's supposed to be me ... hahaha.  I took off the scrub cap and the mask.  Vermont Teddy Bears make a RN version, but it's with a white dress and cap which we don't wear anymore.  After calling to thank him, my husband said he figured removing the cap and mask was better than the one with the white dress anyway, so that was his plan if he intercepted it before I got it.

15" Scrubs Bear
Oh so cute and snuggly!
Well, my 1.5 daughters have arrived home from school.  The "0.5" is the neighbor kid who gets off the bus everyday here since her dad works till 5pm.  She calls me mom (hers isn't involved in life).  Time for snacks, homework, games, and to surprise her with an early Christmas gift.  Found a set of drumsticks on Etsy that I had laser engraved with her name, in a flame font.  Hahahaha, what tom boy drummer wouldn't like those?  My daughter is going to her Grandparents for Christmas out of state and won't be here after the 19th, so she might as well open them early. 

Only 1.5 hours left until the end of my duty day.  I vacuumed, checked all the camera batteries, SD cards, and wrote this LONG synopsis.  Time to start making enchiladas, put together my outfit and other clothes for tomorrow, and hug my child (even tighter than I do already). 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bad Day

Wednesday was a roller coaster ride of a day ... and not a fun roller coaster either. 

First off, the second med-surg exam was at 9am.  This one was primarily endocrine and I found my weakness.  No matter how prepared I thought I was, my grade was not what it could have been.  I still walked away with at least a B- ... that could improve if she accepts 2 answers for certain questions, but we won't know until she has the analysis from the University testing center.  It's over and mathematically I can get a 53 on my final exam and still pass the course.  That makes me feel better since a 53 is unheard of in my testing history.  Graduation is so close, I can taste it.

Second, went to Senior seminar.  Our class of 38 is divided into smaller groups with multiple instructors for this class.  I ended up with the same instructor from med-surg.  She's crazy, we all know it, but she's likeable.  The next hour was a continuance of her craziness.

Third, lunch, would would normally be good except that my group was meeting to run through our Senior project.  Oh wait, the room in the Union we were going to use was locked.  We had no place to meet that was quiet and we could also eat lunch.  So we agreed to meet at our next classroom after people picked up food (since that room doesn't have anything in session).  Two people didn't show up till 10 minutes before our class was to begin.  WHAT?  Plus, the person that's supposed to have gotten our presentation approved by the Principal on Monday, "Decided I wanted to meet with him in person," so we still don't know if we're approved yet and she doesn't have an appointment with him yet.  Our presentation is November 19th ... I hate feeling rushed if we have to change anything.

Fourth, our afternoon class involved a presentation from our State Board of Nursing.  That's when my day really got worse.  "Although there's no law against it, we do not encourage employers to hire people as CNA's that have passed their RN boards and hold a license."  The reasoning is, if someone such as myself is providing patient care and something happens to a patient that my RN skills could have prevented (but I didn't use them since I'm not hired as an RN), the employer could be legally liable for a lawsuit.  Great.  I'm currently employed as a CNA with no job prospects, not even an interview.  That will be covered in the Sixth highlight of the day.

Fifth, I got a 97 on a paper I wrote for Community.  That was nice.  I'll actually miss that rotation when it's over.  It's been so much fun being a School Nurse one day each week.

Sixth, I checked my job application at my current employer for a "Transfer/Promotion" to RN.  Nope, they don't want me.  "Feel free to apply for other positions."  Hmmm, not even a phone call to discuss the fact that I've worked there 6 years, what could we do to keep me part of the hospital family.  Just, nope, you're not qualified.  I met all the minimum requirements to apply.  I just don't understand.  So, as soon as I pass my Boards, which will likely be January - whenever I can get a testing date - I'll be unemployed.  Fan-freaking-tastic.

Sorry for all the negativity.  My husband is away for work, like usual, so I just haven't had someone to really vent to.  He's worked away from home for the last 3 years because of me and college expenses/class load vs available working hours.  Now, I'm about to graduate and cannot even find a job.  It's terrifying.  I've been working since I was 15 years old, over half my life thus far.  Six of those years at one hospital, and they don't even want to retain me (with multiple openings posted).  Nursing is supposed to be in demand.  I'm confused.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's amazing to think that in only 6 weeks ... *6* WEEKS ... I will be a Nurse Graduate.  The ultimate end of 5.5 years in college.  It's amazingly terrifying.  I have confidence, yet I don't.  I have so much to learn and it will only be the beginning of my career.

First, I will have to find a job.  I had thought my current employer was game with transitioning me from CNA to NG to RN, but now I have my doubts.  My Nursing Director has been very evasive and vague with answers.  The Medical Director of my department, as well multiple Providers and Nurses, are expecting me to be hired, but unfortunately I don't have an answer for them.  I don't want to stir up controversy if they start asking my Director "WTF?" but I cannot control what they do.  I do have to say, that it would be nice if they rose to support me on their own.  They have been there to support me all the way through school and I would like to start in a place that I am comfortable while I take the leap from Student to RN.  We'll see.  One Nurse did offer to write me a letter of recommendation for my job search.  That will be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, I have sucked it up and started applying elsewhere.  It's been a week since I submitted an application to another hospital and I haven't gotten a phone call, so that makes me nervous as well.  I'm going to take the opportunity on lunch break between lectures today to call their HR Department.  It's been a long time since I've been in this position and it's more than a little nerveracking.  I've been at the same hospital for over 6 years, and like I said, I'm comfortable there.  I have built a great rapport with Medical, Nursing, and Ancillary staff that I would be greatly saddened to leave behind.  But, one thing at a time ... I just have a tendency to jump to the worst case scenario.  It's a hazard of working in EMS.

This week won't be all that eventful school-wise.  I have an exam 1 week from today and a paper due a few weeks from today.  The paper is almost done, it's a self assessment (and I DETEST those).  I have 6 shifts left with my Preceptor.  She's amazing and I have to say that I hope I make her proud as a Nurse.  She's very concerned with my progress and how I feel about my work.

On a side note - I've spent the last few days watching the pictures roll in from my EMS family regarding Sandy.  Here I am counting my next 6 weeks while NYC was flooded and burned (in places).  A fellow nursing student's family is on Long Island and their home is now condemned.  I never watched "Jersey Shore," but I cannot help but hurt for those affected.  All of this right before the holidays.  So as I sit here counting down, I'm also counting my blessings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adventures in Nursing

Just a quick blurb about Partnership progress.  I am now officially over halfway through my 16 shifts, I have 7 remaining.  I spent my first "stretch" there since it was the first time my partner worked the weekend in a few months.  I worked Saturday/Sunday/Monday nights ... and didn't we have fun!  Okay, that may sound sick since my job revolves around people not being well, but it's a fact of life.

Sunday night was the most interesting.  A patient wasn't doing well that was already admitted into the hospital.  The floor called the ER, my partner and I went up since we didn't have any patients, ended up taking over care of the patient, then turned over care to an ICU Nurse (and still assisted) ... all while still in a Med/Surg patient room.  The patient was then transferred to a higher level of care facility about an hour later since our ICU was full.

All the while, it was movie/song innuendo night.  I have dubbed my Nurse partner "the female version of Tony DiNozzo of NCIS."  During key times of the night, she would say a line from a movie or, at one point, even sing-song "it's getting hot in here."  That phrase abruptly gained a simultaneous response of booty shaking by both myself and the ICU Nurse (all without stopping what we were doing with the patient).  It will give you a better picture if I tell you the ICU Nurse in question was a man. 

By the end of the night, two phrases had been born:

1)  Welcome to the Med/Surg wing of the ICU.

2)  "It's Med/Surg.  No!  It's the ER!  NO!  It's I-C-U!!" (inflection of "it's a bird, it's a plane ...")

Wow, what a great Partnership.  I'm loving it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Score 1 for the Home Team

So many things have happened recently, I don't know where to start ...

I guess I'll start with the fact that I got a *90* on an exam that was primarily Neurological content. 


The Professor has prided herself that she gives difficult exams (she actually teaches a graduate course on how to write exam questions) and the typical class average grade is 75-80 on this particular exam.  Difficult exams, yes, in the manner that the students actually have to think about the content and apply their knowledge (like any good nurse).  I spent most of the summer working on Neuro content just because she gave us fair warning in the Spring - this is the second part of a two-part Senior class.

I do not test well ... at all ... so this exam gave me anxiety like never before.  Neuro is a tough subject no matter who you are.  The next exam will be over endocrine, liver, and pancreatic disorders along with the topic of burns.  The last exam will be cumulative, but primarily cover musculoskeletal disorders and care of HIV/AIDS patients with a particular focus on the elderly.  I am 2, count 'em, *2* exams away from graduation.  Sure, NCLEX-RN boards are after that ... but one hurdle at a time!

On the Partnership front ... I am 5 shifts into 16, and Monday night it all seemed to "click."  That's the only way I can describe it.  Granted, there were still a couple missing pieces of documentation, but I know seasoned nurses who leave holes.  That's why the staff nurses at my ER do chart audits monthly.  It's to help them learn and evolve their own charting.  They audit 2 of their own, and 2 of someone else (randomly).  So, the charting piece will evolve continually, but the care I was giving was nursing care - not just CNA care - and it all FLOWED.  I knew what was needed, I knew what I wanted to do next.  It also was a slow night, so I had every patient that came through the doors (since no one overlapped) from triage to discharge.  My Preceptor would introduce herself to patients, then leave to let me do "my thing."  She would check in with me when I came out of rooms to ask, "What's going on?" and "What's your plan?"  It. Was. Great.  The patients knew I was a student, but they gladly accepted me. 

All the pieces falling into place ...

The highlight of my night was a cardiac patient brought in via EMS.  I ran the "show" with only a couple questions to my preceptor.  Unbeknownst to me, the patient's wife works within the hospital organization.  Prior to discharge, she told my Preceptor that they "need to work on retaining [me], [I'll] make an excellent Nurse and asset to the department."  I always appreciate positive feedback, but I didn't realize how much it made me smile until I was telling my husband about it.  That's the response I'm looking for.  I work my butt off, and have worked for 6 years as a CNA with 5.5 of that while I've been in school.  It's nice to have my hard work appreciated and validated.

The rest of my school work is falling into place also.  I've been writing papers far ahead of their due dates since I love checking things off my to do list.  I have a few more to do, but I gave myself tonight off ... I'll start again tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

That Was September?

Wow ... time flew and stood still at the same time.  Is that possible?


It is now the last weekend in September and I honestly do not know where time went.  At the same time, I spent my days in "hurry up and wait" mode.  For example ........

I spent all of Labor Day Weekend on duty.  I had the open days due to no class and husband gone for work, so why not carry a pager and get paid to do housework?  My daughter and I did a deep scrubbing and reorganization of the kitchen.  The service I work for only got one call from Thursday evening through Monday.  In EMS, I'm known as a "White Cloud" since (as evidenced by Labor Day Weekend) I repel calls, "Black Clouds" would "rain calls."  That means everyone stays safe while I'm on duty, which is NOT a bad thing.  My house receives a lot more attention that way ...

Wednesday after Labor Day, the "fun" began ... 6 FULL HOURS OF LECTURES.  YEAH!  :: insert sarcastic sigh here ::  Every Wednesday through December 12th, that's where I will be ... except for the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving.


Every Thursday, I spend 7.5 hours as a School Nurse shadow.  My preceptor is great and it's at my daughter's school - BONUS.  I specifically asked for this assignment since we've lived at our home for 6 years now and I hardly know anyone in my daughter's "community."  We don't live in the town her school is in, it's 14 miles away, so we hardly get to after school community functions.  My preceptor is an alumnus of my nursing school, unbeknownst to me ahead of time, so that's been funny also.  We have a few scheduled meds to give, deal with the steady stream of aches and pains, plus do teacher education (i.e. epi-pens) and required student screenings for hearing and vision.  There's a lot more, but those are the highlights.  So, Thursday my daughter gets to sleep in, we get up and have fresh fruit smoothies with breakfast, ride to school (passing the bus in the process), jam out to oldies radio (BTO's Takin' Care of Business, most recently), and then she gets a ride home, too.  I didn't tell her about this school rotation until it was confirmed to actually happen.  Now, we're both enjoying it while it lasts.

The randomness of my clinical partnership is the hectic part of my schedule.  For now, I've been spending my Monday nights working in an ER with a Nurse Preceptor.  This is not the ER I work at, another one somewhat close to home.  I've had 3 shifts so far and I have to say that it's all coming together.  My first night was chaos (which I'm used to from working in an ER), my second night was less chaos but still not quite comfortable in my new "nursey-like" shoes, and the third was amazing.  It was like it all clicked.  I'm never going to know everything, AT ALL, but I felt my confidence growing.  I knew the questions before my patients asked them, and I already had looked up the answers (if needed).  My charting is still a work in progress.  My preceptor checks all my charts and has me add things.  "I saw you assess [that], but it's not charted."  Knowing WHERE to chart within this new-to-me program is the issue.  It will come with time, at least I'm doing what I need to be doing skill-wise.  I still have 15 more shifts to get even more comfortable. 

First Exam in Med Surg is a couple weeks into October.  It will be a big one, but it will be one closer to the end!!


Applying for and getting a job will be the next hurdle.  I can start applying now, but I want to have a few grades back first ... and some exams graded prior to applying.  Plus, budget years are up for approval, so the Directors I have talked to told me to call them in October to find out if they would have positions open. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The End of Summer

The End (and the beginning) are here.  The end of summer is upon us, the beginning of my last semester of nursing school is about to begin.  It is also the beginning of our daughter's 7th grade year.  It's going to be a chaotic 16 weeks.  Hmmmm, what have we been up to lately ....

I worked pretty much straight out in the beginning of August.  Between EMS and the ER, I've been on duty more than I've been anything else.  We did get a chance to go camping one more time before our daughter returned from Grandma's house out of state.  I spent a day on the road with a friend of mine to meet her return flight at the airport.  We went out to lunch, to a farmer's market, and the mall prior to meeting the flight.  It was a great day ... with a lot of driving.

A few days later, we went on a family camping trip to a private beach on a lake.  Private in the aspect it's a public camping spot, but first dibs gets the use of it and you have to get there by boat.  There are a lot of other beaches on the lake that are not private and a few other private ones.  We lucked out with weather and it was amazing.  No cell phone service either.  Did some fishing, some reading, and lots of swimming.  It was the first time my husband and daughter had been there, I had gone in high school.  We will definitely be making a return trip next year. 

Last night, I took our daughter to the county fair since my husband was working.  She had a bracelet for the rides and met up with some school friends.  They were IN-SANE.  They went on everything that I never went on even when I was younger.  Small county fair = small lines, even on a Friday night.  They got off the ride, and got right back in line.  She felt great and was having a blast ... till the adrenaline wore off on the way home and she started feeling SICK.  A warm shower and sips on some fluids made her feel better.  "I have no regrets, I just don't feel well right now."  She probably will jump at the chance to do it all over again ... next year.

School starts for her the last Wednesday of the month, 1 week ahead of me.  My first Partnership shift will be September 10th.  Some of the class materials have been posted, but not all of them.  So far, I have  couple short papers to write and 3 exams ahead of me.  "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

98 Years Young

On August 6th, my Great Grandmother passed away peacefully at a nursing home.  I have mixed emotions about this WHOLE situation. 

First, the last time I saw my Great Grandmother, dementia had set in and she did not recognize me.  I look a lot like my mother, so she tried ... but it was heartbreaking.  I had never been in the shoes of a person who has a relative with dementia/early Alzheimer's.  That day, I understood.

Second, she's been declining for a while.  She had been living in another state in an assisted apartment close to one of her grand daughters.  Unbeknownst to me, she went to the hospital months ago and was discharged to a long term care facility due to her lack of ability to care for herself.  Hmm, I would have liked to been told that.

Third, a text message that said, "The nursing home gave [Grammie] morphine tonight," while I was at work (and not having known the rest) was a shock to the system.  I immediately dialed my mother, hung up, called back when I got voicemail, and she called me at the same time to explain.  That's when I was filled in on recent events.

Fourth, apparently the long term care doctor initiated palliative care orders without discussing anything with the local family (any family, actually).  I'm grateful for the palliative care orders ... but I honestly didn't think initiating them that way was standard practice.

Fifth, again I'm grateful the nursing staff followed the orders and made Grammie comfortable.  Some nurses are afraid to give narcotic medications in end of life care.  Narcotics cause respiratory depression (slowed breathing) which some nurses feel is what essentially "kills" the patient instead of letting them go naturally.  In this situation, though, the nursing staff dosed her THEN called family saying she won't make it through the night.  Hmm, calling prior to would have given at least a little more time for family to wrap their minds around the concept and get there

Sixth, not even an hour later, my text message said, "She passed away."  Just like that.  Granted, text messages are convenient for when I'm working ... but I just sat there and stared at my phone.  I had felt it vibrate in my pocket and I walked away from my desk to look at it. 

I deal with death and dying practically every day.  Heck, just on Sunday 20 minutes prior to the end of my shift, we were coding (CPR, IV drugs, etc) a person.  Fifteen minutes after it had begun, his family was wracked with sobs in the hallway when time of death was declared.  On the evening Grammie passed away, a couple hours after that last text message, we were emergently treating and transferring a patient with a STEMI (heart attack) to a heart center hospital in our same town.  The transfer and treatment they received at that facility could stop the damage to the person's heart and possibly "save" them from dying.  I have completed post mortem care on numerable patients throughout my career as a CNA, all with dignity and respect.  There is a level of detachment that makes it possible to complete such tasks.  Yet, on August 6th, I sat there and stared at my phone.  I hadn't seen her prior to dementia for at least 3 years.  Yet, I sat there and stared at my phone. 

I was kind of glad for work after that.  It gave me a distraction.  One of my best friends was working, though, and he automatically asked me what was wrong.  I was "not being myself."  I made him choke when I said, "I was fine until my great grandmother just died."  His face just contorted and he stared at me for a moment.  He ended up staying an extra hour and a half, off the clock, kind of lingering - finding reasons to continue to chat with myself or others near me.  I suspected his delay in leaving was because of me, but I wasn't sure until he confirmed it later on.  He said simply, "I was worried about you."  He was supposed to work tonight, but his schedule was changed last minute.  It would have been nice to have him to talk with. 

After it all, I know that Grammie is in a better place.  She is now comfortable and no longer in pain.  It's just the overwhelming feeling of loss that no previously ingrained ability to detach myself will help heal.  I can only look back on the memories of many lunches spent at The Chicken Coop restaurant, her love of Reuben sandwiches, and her "best" china on display in my china cabinet.  Someday, I'll actually have to host a dinner with that china.  She always wanted it to be used, but she never had the occasion (always used her "everyday" china) and I haven't yet.  Maybe it's time to remedy that. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward To After Graduation

Everyone seems to be making lists lately.  I have a list going in my head ... so now I'm going to try and organize it.  I have been in college since the summer of 2007 and I'm looking forward to the freaking END of it.  So official Graduation is in December and I've been asked, "What are you going to do when you actually have free time and no classes to complain about?"  Plus, the statement has been made, "You're not going to know what to do with yourself when you don't HAVE to run ragged anymore."  Hmmm ... here are my thoughts - in list form - about life beyond graduation.

1.  Graduating from Nursing School traditionally involves a Pinning Ceremony.  I'm looking forward to that and I'll probably cry when I see my parents in the audience.  I screwed up my teenage years [long story, hence why I didn't start college until I was 25] and it will be more than emotional that I will have actually earned my Bachelor's Degree in Science - Nursing.

Mine will have my school on it ... but you get the gist.

2.  A whole NEW role.  Currently, I am a highly trained CNA/Paper Pusher.  We joke in my department that I am "trained to every except diagnose and give meds."  I have been a CNA since 2006, before that I worked in home health as a PCA.  I have been doing the dirty work of nursing for 9 years now.  I now do a lot of desk work as a Unit Coordinator and fill roles as necessary due to call outs.  I have learned a lot and I value my time as a CNA/UC ... but I am B-O-R-E-D and ready to move on.  I spend most of my work days working on NCLEX-RN questions to prep for my boards in December/January (whenever I can land a date). 

I already have one of these

3.  Giving an answer to a nursing question and not hearing, "You're a CNA, I better look that up."  Recently, a nurse openly asked a question about a drug.  She'd never heard of it.  We had used it A LOT in my Maternity rotation.  I said, "Oh, it's a pain drug.  Safe for pregnancy [patient was pregnant].  Dilute it in a 10 [ml syringe of saline], and push it over at least 2 minutes, but less than 5."  The answer I got [above] and her look was incredible.  If I'd been an RN, she wouldn't have given it any thought whatsoever and would have just done what I gave her for an answer.  Back to my desk.

Funny Workplace Ecard: I may not be an RN yet .... but I'm not stupid.

4.  A job.  Granted, I love where I work now, but as a New Grad I really won't be able to be picky.  I'd love an ER job while I'm young and can physically handle it, but I'll have to take what I can get.  Everyone asks me where I want to work.  My preferable criteria:  ER or ICU; benefits; reasonable drive from home; and, loan reimbursement.  Some hospitals that are Critical Access [small, rural] offer student loan repayment for each year a New Grad contracts with them.  That would be substantial since I'll have an estimated $400/monthly payment come June 2013. 

5.  Making double the hourly wage I am making now.  I value my CNA experience ... heck, that's how I made it through the cardiac section in both Pharmacology AND Med/Surg ... but CNAs aren't paid what they should be.  Granted, CNAs don't push medications ... but the grunt work we do is amazing.  I don't plan on being the grouchy nurse who's attitude is, "That's CNA work, have them do it," but it will be nice to get paid more.  Nursing scope of practice is everything a CNA can do, and more.  Just because there's an RN after someone's name does not make them better than a CNA, it just gives them more legal responsibility.

Funny Workplace Ecard: The best RN's worked as CNA's *first.*.

6.  Vacation.   My graduation present from my husband ... to all of us ... is a well-earned vacation.  Since the 3 of us have been through (and still have 1 more semester of) a hellish schedule, all 3 of us are going on a Disney Cruise.  One week in the Caribbean in January ... yeah, I'll take that!  When I'm interviewing for jobs, I'll just have to mention it.  It will be without pay since I won't have worked anywhere long enough ... but that's ok with me.  The relaxation, partying, and excursions will all be worth it.

7.  Days off.  Granted, I will need to work at least 3 days a week ... maybe pick up a per diem slot for another day in the week ... but it won't be a 7-day/week schedule like it is now.  It would be nice to be able to say to my daughter, "Yeah, we can do that," instead of, "I'm sorry, but I have class."  Sure, I'll have my shifts, but I'll have a bigger pool of people to possibly trade with, too, if something comes up last minute.

8.  Ambulance Shifts.  My volunteer job that is just down the street [that I am keeping] is rewarding.  More experience is great.  Prehospital care is a realm that I love and want to learn more about.  Plus, I can be home while I'm on call.  Amazing how clean the house is getting/staying with me being home on duty this summer!

9.  "Leveling-up."  I cannot believe I'm writing this, but I will have to go back to college to get my Intermediate EMT license.  I'm going to wait for a bit, though ... give myself a break from studying.  EMT-I will be easier with my RN experience and my last 2 years [thus far] as a Basic.  I plan on staying at EMT-I for a while.  I like my Basic instructor's idea, "Stay at a level for a while and get comfortable with your skills before you pursue the next step.  Good BLS [Basic Life Support] saves lives prior to ALS [Advanced Life Support] even showing up."  She always preached that ALS providers needed to remember their BLS skills if they were going to be effective at all.

10. Traveling ... I love to travel.  I used to do a lot of trips with my mom as a kid and the recent trip I just took reignited the fire.  It was the first time that I'd gotten on an airplane since 2002.  I'm ready to go again.  I'd like to take my daughter to meet her family on the West Coast.  I'd like to do the tourist stuff in NYC [again, for me].  My husband isn't quite the traveler, but I'm sure he'd go on a few trips with us.  I want to go to the Grand Canyon.  Hmmm, maybe I should make a list of travel destinations.

I'm sure with more thought, I could add plenty to this list ... but 10 seems to be a good amount right now.  I hate to wish away time [and this summer weather], but September brings the start of my last semester ... and I could definitely get going right now.

Senior Partnership

Found this ... it describes a Nursing Senior Partnership perfectly ...

We hope you've had a great experience at this internship where you basically did our jobs for free.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaack ...

Well, I've been back since the 17th ... I've just had to work my behind off since I took so much time off unpaid.  Bills suck.

The trip was amazing.  Daylight 20.5 hours of the day, dusk for the other 3.5 hours ... guess where I went.  :)  I will definitely be going back, just FYI. 

A lovely time-lapsed shot
The wonderment after it all was ... I came back to the same crappy attitudes that I left.  I have a few different employers, but one at this point in time takes the cake.  Wow.  I mean, I've encountered pettiness and backstabbing [really, who hasn't?], but this is quite the debacle.  At this employer, we submit our availability within the last week of the prior month and the schedule is made.  I didn't have any availability in July due to my trip and my two other jobs, so I didn't work [this was communicated ahead of time].  I submitted my availability for August, knowing full-well when *extra* people were going to be needed ... and "none of the shifts [I] requested are open."  Really?  I know the size of the roster.  I know how many people are needed/when ... yet, I couldn't get even one of those slots?  On top of that, double the original minimal availability is now required.  I begin back to school on the Wednesday after Labor Day.  With nighttime Partnership schedule, daytime class schedule, family, and my 2 other jobs ... do they really think that I'm going to have time? 


This isn't the first time that I've had scheduling issues.  My availability is limited, but they put others in slots that I could have filled - those others have much greater availability [and a ton of shifts].  As much as it pains me, I'm going to turn in my stuff and official resignation this week.  I've worked there for almost 2 years, but it's not worth the hassle and heartburn of wondering if I can make the minimum.

I don't know who I unknowingly crossed, but it would have been better [and much more professional] if they would have approached me about it - rather than squeezing me out of the schedule.  At least, that's my theory as to why I'm unable to get shifts.  I just wish I knew who to confront about it ... we are adults, after all ... or at least I am. 

Onto happier things, I had a good day at my other job [that I'm keeping].  It was busier than it ever has been with me on duty... and I've definitely had enough to sirens for today [and maybe tomorrow] ... but it was a good day with a good partner.  My Chief is really cool, too.  I'm working again tomorrow ... so maybe I ought to get some sleep tonight ... and take some Advil.  My partner tomorrow has been quite the magnet lately.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Wow!  It's finally here! 

Pretty sure I looked like this multiple times throughout the day ...
This chica is finally on vacation.  Do you know how long it's been since I've been on a true vacation?  I don't ...  I know it was before I started school in 2007, but I'm unable to pin down a time frame. 

I began partying at 0545 at work this morning.  Just the thought of being able to LEAVE at 1800 and NOT WORK AGAIN until July 21st made me do jigs allllllll day.  Well, that's when I was not answering the phone and getting yelled at (more about that in a bit).  I'm thinking a good chunk of physician office staff in our area know I'm going to vacation (they wouldn't know me if I saw them on the street, but still).  Every time I placed a call or received a return page, I used my trademark phrase of "Happy [day of the week]!"  Then we'd get into a banter and it would turn into, "It's actually MY FRIDAY [that's when you know someone works in healthcare] and I'm on vacation in T-minus [however long]!"  I do really enjoy making people laugh and I definitely made these other office staff chuckle. 

About getting yelled at ... it's NOT appreciated.  I do not particularly enjoy when people call me [well, my workplace] and expect me to fix their issues.  Especially when it had nothing to do with my department or even my facility in the first place.  Some people need to vent, I understand, but my phone has pretty much unlimited lines (digital network phone) and I've seen up to about 8 "lines" ringing the department all at once ... with no one around to help me answer since they're doing their primary jobs.  I ride home in silence most days, which says a lot since I spent over an hour loading music onto the hard drive in my car since I refuse to go anywhere without access to tunes.  After days like today ... Silence is golden, brought to you by silver.

Some days, I wish I kept a roll of this in my desk.
Duct tape would also come in handy for psych patients whom are a danger to themselves or others, but think they can outrun security.  Too bad that would be illegal.  Oh, did I mention it's full moon?  That would be why we have been overrun with psych patients lately.  If you think I'm FOS [full of shit], work in healthcare ... I dare you.

Today ended on a chaotic note, but a successful one.  I finally got transfer transport for two psych patients.  It's the day before a holiday, the rigs are all skeleton crews [pretty much 911 only] ... it took almost 3 hours to get one transport, and I happen to stumble upon another available one in the process.  THANK GOODNESS!!  They handed me the 2nd acceptance paper after it took hours for the first one and I looked at the Counselor and asked her if she was nuts.  I've never come so close to coming up empty with transport.  That bummed me out for a while during the scavenger hunt.   I love a challenge, but not on my Friday.

Any time I would start to get bummed out related to the transports ... I would remember what my most favorite geek told me this morning:  a person that I cannot stand, who continues to be a major PITA, insult me no matter my professionalism, and be THE laziest co-worker I've ever had .... their contract is up for renewal and is being ..... [drumroll]  DENIED!!!!!!!  They'll be gone soon!!   I'm not the only person who has had issues, which is apparent, and it's unfortunate for someone to lose their job ... but this person brings down the morale of the whole team.  Their track record with a lot of other things sucks, too.  They'll find another job with their field, that's a guarantee ... I just hope their sense of duty improves so they can keep the new one and not torture other people like they have done to us.

And do your work for you, too?
I am so excited for the next few weeks of fun ... and today may have been chaotic and taxing, but it was my Friday ...

And I don't think that I've ever been so grateful for a Tuesday ...


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bring on the Sunshine!!

Even if it is only for a little while, the sun feels great. The Hubs and I are running errands today and it feels wonderful to not have to carry an umbrella or wear a rain jacket.

Preparation for my upcoming trip continues. I've always prided myself in packing light, but being confined to only a carry on and backpack is quite the challenge. I have to keep reminding myself we can always do laundry somewhere. I'm pretty sure this will be an amazing trip ... spontaneity at its' finest.

Off to enjoy the day!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rainy Day

Today, I do not believe that the rain has let up for more than a couple minutes.  It's nice because it's a warm, soaking rain ... it's bad because there is a lake that somewhat resembles Moosehead forming in my driveway.  We are fortunate, though, since our roads are intact and we have not had any transportation difficulties.  A town not too far from here had a road wash out that caused a fatality. 

I've spent the last 5 days working, at one place or another.  I have been able to FaceTime chat with my daughter.  I showed her the trophy her softball coach dropped off.  He had them each made with the players' name on them.  We also discussed her report card and summer worksheets that I emailed to her for her to complete.  She may be a grade ahead in math, but it doesn't hurt to do a worksheet once a month to keep the material fresh.  Grandma has instituted a couple more chores this summer since she's getting older.  She's also paying her an allowance for the help, so that's a definite incentive.  My daughter LOVES her iPod touch and buys games/songs when she has money to put into the iTunes account. 

I've been doing laundry and puttering, but the rain just makes me wanna go to sleep.  I need to change the sheets and I may take a shower and do just that.  It's supposed to rain for the next couple days, too.  So I'm hoping our luck holds pertaining to the integrity of the roads.  Here's a sunshine ... maybe it will help. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today is the Day

No, not really ... but I'm going to be optimistic. I'm going to hope that how today started is not how it's going to end.
Today, I may not do anything noteworthy. Still, that's not going to stop me from viewing the glass as half full versus half empty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

View From Pigeon Hill


Cutler Naval Radar


Ocean View

Pink granite with New Brunswick in the distance.



Wanna Swim?

It was 90-something today ...

Rest Break

Maine by Motorcycle

Today has been spent on the back of a VTX 1800 ... That's a motorcycle. We've made quite the loop, but now we're staying overnight at a hotel before returning home tomorrow. There is nothing like seeing Maine with the wind blowing through your hair, headphones in, jamming to DMB live at Wrigley Field. I have other music of course, but that was my mood today. We saw a lot of interesting sites, history, and a Bald Eagle so close I could have almost touched it. Granted, I never would have done that, but we were winding along the road and startled it from its' road kill meal. It took off and the wing span was IMPRESSIVE. We were startled, too! I wasn't quick enough with my camera or else I woulda tried to get a snapshot. Tomorrow, we will return home and get ready for yet another work week. I've also got to get ready for another trip I'm headed on in a couple of weeks. No motorcycle that time, really big planes instead.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today is an on duty day.  I set my alarm prior to my shift, though I can stay at home until called,  to get somewhat more ready just in case.  Honestly, the most important factor of this readiness is going pee in the morning so as not to have a full bladder while completely asleep and the pager goes off.  It tends to help with response time ...   Now that I'm done with that TMI ..........

We took our primary truck up to the garage today to have it serviced and are running a back-up truck from the main base of this EMS service.  She's an old truck, but wow has she got some power.  I'm kinda thinking I like this one better, but I'm not going to tell our primary that.  Don't want jealousy or anything. 

We returned to the station and I sat down for a grueling time period of reading PowerPoint slides ... 187 of them to be exact.  Oi!  But at least I didn't have to sit through a lecture of all 187 ... I'd have been asleep quicker than a jackrabbit.  My Chief then took me out driving to road test me ... cones and all.  We did a country loop that had me negotiating R/L turns, S-curves, and switchbacks.  The cones were at the end in a parking lot to make sure that I didn't run into anything while backing, etc.  Always have a backing partner!

So now I spend the rest of the day waiting.  I do need to put away that laundry that is now dry on the rack, but that's it.  

We do have training tonight, but that's much later.  My husband doesn't come home till late night tonight/early Wednesday morning.  Then we're off on a motorcycle road trip since it's supposed to be gorgeous.  Remember to check your mirrors twice before you change lanes!  Cycles easily hide in blind spots.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Life in General

The last few days have been pretty rough.  With my daughter gone and my husband working, I haven't known what to do with myself.  My friend told me, "You're always so busy, you have no idea what time to yourself feels like."  True.  Then she went on to say, "You could make some whoopie pies and deliver them to me at work ..."  So, I'm wondering if she was just angling for some free snacks.

Mmmm, whoopie pies
I have been on duty for the local ambulance, but we haven't had any calls.  Granted, that's a good thing, but still doesn't give me anything to keep my mind busy.  So I've slept ... a lot.  I think I've kind of surfaced out of my funk that I was in for those few days, but the house is still rather empty.

Today, I slept in (only because I worked an overnight shift Sunday), but did get my butt out of bed finally.  I mostly contribute that to my friend whom is in the Master's of Nursing program at my same University and needed some help.  I'm constantly editing her papers and giving her suggestions on how to build them.  1)  I should have my MSN before I have my BSN; 2)  I'll be quite content with my BSN and will NOT, repeat NOT, be going to Grad school.  Ewwwww ...

I made some coffee and drove to her house versus sitting with my laptop and editing it like I usually do.  I needed out of the house.  I stopped by the fire station on my way home and confirmed plans to work on EVOC training tomorrow.  EVOC is an Emergency Vehicle Operating Course which I need to continue to work for the ambulances and now fire department.  I currently have been driving one of these (minus the push rack, though that would be a nice addition):

No, I do not live in Dallas
EVOC will also train me to drive these:

Me?  The driver of an ENGINE?  HELL YEAH!!!
I told the Chief when I applied to work there, "Do not get the notion that I will EVER go into a burning building."  Now, I'm working my way towards the Engine and Pumps.  My friend who is a Nurse and also a full time Firefighter/Paramedic remarked, "Just wait till you go to training and start smashing out windows and destroying stuff.  You'll be hooked."  I just cannot picture me "packing up" with a SCBA and going into a place that could very likely collapse on me.  Nah, I'll hang out a nice distance away ....

I made the full circle back to my house and started puttering.  Well, cleaning up the dining table (dumping spot) led to, "Hmmm, maybe I should Windex it since it's pretty dusty."  Then, I looked up at the window sills and the panes.  Hmmm, that's a lot of dust and ickiness, too.   So, armed with Windex, I just kept finding more things to clean.  The dishwasher needed loaded, laundry needed switched over, "hmm, that bathroom sink/vanity could use a scrubbing," oh that can go in the trash ... it was a feast to my ADD delight.  I swear I have Attention Deficit Disorder.  I am so distractable and get started on 8 things, before I get done one of them.  Puttering to clean my house is the perfect task for my ADD since it all gets done eventually, but when I'm sick of Windex, I can do something else for a bit.

I'm happy to report that all laundry is done, folded and put away even.  Still have a few items on the drying rack, but they'll be ready to go away tomorrow.  I'm on duty, working on EVOC, and hopefully doing more productive things.  It will be weird for my husband to come home to a cleaned, dusted, and organized house.  He might wonder who abducted his real wife!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Menagerie

Chaos ... that does not begin to describe my life ... but at least it's more of an "organized chaos."  Yes, I'm aware that's an oxymoron.

I heard back from the other Scholarships that I applied to.  Sadly, I did not receive them, but I am happy to say the amount I did receive covered what I would have had to take out as a Private Education Loan (at a substantially higher interest rate).  Therefore, I'm very grateful for the two I did receive.

For a couple months, I have felt like this guy:

"Bueller ... Bueller ... Bueller ..."

My nursing school was supposed to place us all by mid May.  Arrive mid June, and I'm still saying "Partnership?  Partnership?  Partnership?"  I had applied to two at what would be referred to by locals as the "Miracle Center."  I had excellent references, resume, and clinical performance - what I needed was someone to grant me an interview so I could pitch myself (which I HATE doing).  That did not happen, so then I waited a fretful week for my instructor to return from the West Coast and make a phone call to a community hospital to attempt to place me there.  The community hospitals are not as stuck up as the MC and do not require job board applications, but they sometimes require interviews and slots were quickly filling since I'd waited so long for a reply from my first two applications.  My instructor did not call like she said she would when she returned.  That's when I took matters into my own hands.

Tuesday, I was partnered on the local ambulance with a Medic who is a longstanding employee of that Community Hospital (they run their own EMS service).  He had even been Chief of Service for a decade prior to returning to "just being a Medic."  I vented my frustration at not having a Partnership yet and my instructor's lack of follow through.  "I think I know just who to talk to ..."  Yep, he did.  We went to the Nursing Education office in person and found the TWO correct people to talk to.  I was only expecting to get an interview, but the lady with the list gave me my choice of whatever was open (which I was correct that slots were filling fast).  "When your school gets around to calling me, I'll tell them you're all set."  I did the best to contain myself prior to leaving the building ... but when we left, I'm not ashamed to say that I looked something like this:

Well, sans the pink ... I was in EMS field gear at that point in time.  I also hugged my partner and squealed like a school girl - prior to composing myself and climbing back in our truck.  I got the area I wanted, at a hospital local to me which also happens to be a critical access hospital.  Translation:  they see A LOT of patients with "interesting" cases and coordinate transfer to bigger hospitals or treat and discharge home.
I can't shake the feeling that the Partnership was handed to me due to who I was standing next to.  I'm not above using my connections to land an interview, but having things handed to me due to who I know just doesn't sit well with my conscience.  All I can say is that I'm going to prove that I would have earned it on my own.  Maybe I'll even earn a job there after the Partnership and Graduation.  

Oh yeah, Graduation.  I'm an odd graduate ... I officially graduate in December, but I was able to walk in May in the big Commencement ceremony the University holds each year.  I'm almost 30 and wanted to walk with my Class of 2012.  Unfortunately, the pictures of me in a cap and gown have made everyone think that I've graduated already.  They keep asking when I'm going to take my Boards and start working.  It sucks to have to keep telling them I only walked.  Then they saw the Partnership announcement on my fb page and thought I was leaving them (I currently work in a hospital as an ER Tech) for another hospital.   It will be nice when I only have a couple work titles (RN and EMT) versus CNA, Tech, Secretary, Greeter, Registration, and EMT.  

Tomorrow, our daughter boards a plane to visit her Grandparents for 8 weeks.  It happens every summer, but it doesn't get any easier.  Luckily, Grandma keeps her busy with horse camp, girls' camp, and other adventures.  This year may even include Busch Gardens.  

I can also say this is the first time in my memory that I've been truly grateful for my brother.  Coincidentally, his work booked him on the same flight our daughter is taking.  He even coordinated seat assignments so they'll be sitting next to each other.  It makes me feel so much better that she'll have her uncle (who's 6'9" and somewhat burly) to accompany her. 

The best part of tomorrow is that my Grandmother is riding with us to the airport.  It's nice to spend time with her catching up on family stuff.  This is a Grandmother that tells it like it is.  "Well, I only have a few useful grandkids, the rest are useless.  If only they'd get off their butts instead of wasting oxygen lazying around then maybe they'd contribute to society."  Plus, we're going to go and see my niece and nephew (her great-grandkids).  My brother may be flying, but my sister-in-law is the better half anyway.  :)  And I haven't seen my niece and nephew since Christmas.  So ... of course I'm bringing toys.  I strive to be the "cool aunt," though of course I'm my brother's only sibling and the other aunts live out of state.  So, I'm already a few notches up.  Hahaha!