Bob has been gently nudging me to return to blogging. I should. It was something that I truly enjoyed.
2016 was a year old long hours at work. I worked 56 hours a week, every week for months at a company that dangled the promise of a full time job (I was only a part time employee. I did not have benefits. As a part time employee, that meant that I worked all holidays, since the full timers were given those days off as part of their employment/benefit package). Since I loved the job, I accepted thing, and waited for the promises to be honored. They were not. Despite being short 6 full time positions, they decided after months, to replace only two of them...and that the employees who wanted them would have to compete with each other to convince the company who deserved the positions the most. I left that job, and I still miss it, but the company policies were unbearably unfair.
Tim was also being laid off, and so we needed those benefits. He's spent most of the year working on a house. He claims that I helped design it, which I don't think that I had such a great hand in that. After a year of working on that house, it was put on the market. Like the previous house that he'd done, it sold the very first week. Turns out the people live right down the street from us and are familiar with Tim's work. They'd been waiting for the house to go on the market. It was a cash offer for the full asking amount.
Ironic side note: My former employer tried to buy the house as another home for more clients. Call me petty, but I sent them a letter through the realtor that briefly stated that due to their unfair business practices that were not good for the employees or the clients they serve, we decided not to accept their offer. We also hoped that they'd use the experience to reconsider how they run their business. Petty? Perhaps. But it was a fine moment for me, and my former co-workers were thrilled. Most of them have left as well, with the the same mixed emotions at leaving our clients.
I'm working at a job that I don't love, but one that provides me with benefits and some very generous vacation. The company likes me just fine, and have been very kind to me. 2016 brought some heartbreak. Dylan and Brittani had a baby boy who died shortly after birth. A grandchild was born, and gone before I ever got a chance to hold him. It was a heartbreaking time, but with one phone call, I was enroute, given a week of bereavement to be with my children. The general manager came out to tell me how sorry he was after my return.
We worked some awful overtime during our 'peak season' right before the holidays - 6 weeks of 66 hour/7 days weeks, mandatory - but at the end of it, Cara was home for her annual Christmas break. Vacation had been closed - our allotted personnel had already scheduled their Christmas off long before I even began the job, but once again, the company stepped up and gave me my week due to the circumstances and told me that if I wanted more time, I needed only to call and it would be approved. I was grateful for their kindness once again.
It's not an easy company to work for. They expect performance, and you are required to meet efficiencies. I'm able to do that, but many are not. It is hard to see people coming and going at such a rate. I try to pay back their kindness to me by being a flexible employee. That means volunteering to train in other departments and helping out when needed. I like mixing it up a bit and not doing the same thing every day. I'm also finding that I'm at a stage of life where a five day work week/with weekends off (when it is not peak season) appeals to me very much.
So that's the job.
We bought our retirement home, a small cabin just across the road from my sister and her husband's property, so the neighbors are fine. Tim wanted property for hunting. Now he has it. He took an 8 point buck there. The land has it's own oil well (free heat), and the deer are very attracted to the brine well, which is like a giant salt lick. It needs some extensive repairs. I like the little house, but Tim is not sure if it is worth fixing. It is old, and we've found some very neat things. Tim bought a tractor. He wants to put in a food plot, and we need to keep it brush hogged. I am excited to have a garden this year. Despite my best efforts, a garden in town did not work out. Our yard is shaded by two huge old maple trees.
In the meantime, we still live in our big home in town. I still love that house. We've spent a lot of time this year buying antique furniture. Two antique bedroom sets, one massive set with a marble topped dresser from the 1800s, the other only about 100 years old. We've got some cool guest bedrooms! It's been a fun time doing the estate sales, and we've found some great things.
William is the light of our hearts. He will be six very shortly and he is beginning to read, which is very exciting. We've begun the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and he loves to hear those stories, one chapter at a time, There is nothing more soul satisfying to me than one freshly bathed little boy curled up with his head on my shoulder as we read.
There's more. So much more. It's been a big year for us. But I need to get back to bed. The recent elections have shocked me mightily. I marched locally, and found the experience very moving. I've become a lot more openly political. I call my my representatives regularly. My column has become more political as well, and despite the fact that our newspaper backed our president, they've not tried to stop me. It's opened the door to some new friendships.
Tim and I continue to plod along. There will be pictures later, but for right now...I just wanted to post something because Bob missed me. You all should head on over to Bob's right now. He's just discovered that he's going to be a grandpa. Congratulate him, and tell him Debby sent you!