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Thursday, May 29, 2014

28 Months

I'm no longer employed by Stanford University. That's weird. It's really hard to let go of all the stuff that's been in my head for so long. I still care about things getting done, but I'm not allowed to care about them anymore formally. I did manage to get things handed off mostly gracefully and I finished up several things effectively so that Jo-Ann never has to pick them up, so that's awesome. The one thing I put off too long was getting my items off AFS, so I don't have copies of a lot of the e-learning items I developed, some of which went back to creating PeopleSoft walkthroughs using Dreamweaver and anchor tags on images to simulate clicking through a procedure. These were created before there were tools like Capitvate or Viewlet Builder or Articulate Storyline. I don't miss those days, but I do wish I had a copy. I ran into a problem with the computers at work - my Mac being persnickety about tokens and my Windows machine having connectivity issues, so I decided to do it when I got home since I'd have til midnight, but it'd been a very long week and I dozed off after getting Athena to bed, then ran into problems using the computers here. We had it figured out by about 1 a.m., but that was too late. All of the systems did their job well and flushed me away promptly at midnight. Now I need to see if someone can sponsor me for a day to make a copy. Or, I can let it go.

Stanford threw me a lovely going away party. It's always nice to find out that the folks I value the most feel much the same about me. I'm just really going to miss the people I worked with. Stanford is chock full of people who are smart and get stuff done, both at work and outside of what they get paid for. They're my people through and through.

Anyway, I had a lovely week off where I had four days with Athena at school to take care of all the stuff that I can't usually get to. I cleaned out my closet, the hall closet, Athena's closet, the laundry room closet, did the four-month backlog of ironing, took clothes to the tailor for hems, took shoes to the shoe repair, and also managed to get a pedicure. I also confirmed that I really don't have time for this normally. There are still things I very much wanted to get done - cleaning out our back room, emptying the living room shelves and organizing them properly, cleaning out the pantry and bathroom closets, shopping for new hiking boots (since my current ones are too tight, post-pregnancy), and so on. But still, it felt really good to get a huge swath of stuff taken care of and to feel for just a moment that things were under control enough to go to work on Tuesday with confidence and security about how things were situated at home.

But then, I went to pick up Athena at daycare on Thursday while Erik picked up his car from the body shop and I got rear-ended. So now I have to deal with getting my car fixed.

And then, Athena went to school Tuesday morning and before I'd walked into my orientation for Tesla, her school called and said they suspected hand-foot-and-mouth disease and she needed to be picked up immediately and taken to the doctor. That's when I kind of lost it.

See, when I left Stanford, I had over 600 hours of sick leave on the books, plus 180 hours of vacation. The vacation I got paid out for, but the sick leave just goes poof! That alone was a huge limiter in deciding to take the job. I asked if perhaps I could have a few days leave on the books to start so that I could take care of just this sort of emergency. I'd heard that this was a reasonable thing to ask for in negotiations for a new job. The answer was that Tesla didn't do that and weren't going to start that precedent with me. Great. Okay, so, that leaves me hanging for the first several months (well, year really) til I have enough accrued that I could take a day here or there to take care of Athena. I figured if I could at least make it til summer, it'd be okay once Erik finished teaching as he has the summer off. Then maybe we could actually stand to go back east as planned for Christmas without destroying all of my leave (since Tesla offers 15 days PTO accrual per year, with no separation for sick leave versus vacation). Well, that didn't happen.

Instead, I walked in for my first day of work, said I had to go pick up my daughter, and left to make an appointment at Kaiser. She did indeed have HFM disease and would need to be out of school all week. I contacted my recruiter and told him I couldn't start til next Monday. So here I am, unpaid, not starting work when I planned, and looking up at that glass ceiling thinking that yes, motherhood and career truly are incompatible unless you're making enough to have 24/7 nanny care at your beck and call. (Hello Marissa Mayer. Must be nice.) We'll get through this, and I'll just file it under reason number #127 why I never wanted to have kids. It's a good thing she's so darned adorable. I love her to pieces, and I'm glad she's here, and I chose this path, but damn, it is a choice full of consequences. I sincerely hope that my manager (and his bosses) are as understanding as they sound in the emails they've exchanged this week and that I haven't just started off on the wrong foot entirely.

Also, my health insurance for Stanford runs out on Saturday night. My health coverage for Tesla starts Monday, June 2nd now. After the past week, I'm staying home on Sunday, not lifting anything heavy, and probably going to skip eating anything I might choke on. Let's not tempt fate, m'kay?

But, speaking of adorable, Athena is adorable. She has picked up the phrase, "You have to wait." I think there is a lot of waiting to have a turn at school. I'm fairly certain that by 3, she'll be passing the marshmallow test with flying colors. Also, to our amazement, she likes stickers now. Like, really loves them. It developed over the past month. They went from being awful sticky things to being something she wanted on her hand, her shirt, her knee, etc. I think part of it may be from Clementine's injury where she had a band-aid on her face.

Okay, so that brings us to the single-biggest news-item of the month. Just ask Athena. She will tell you, "Clemmy fell down in the tan bark. She got an owie. I had to give her a hug. And a kiss. Her mommy came and got her. She got a band-aid. I got a cookie monster band-aid too." We have heard this story so many times over the past month that it's hard to believe it was just a month ago. Also, she's burying the headline. The owie was a splinter that was bigger than a toothpick jammed in Clemmy's cheek. Seriously. I dare not post pictures lest friends faint at their computers, but feel free to ask if you want to know. It's just amazing. Her mom posted a photo on Facebook at the doctor before they pulled it out and gave her a couple of stitches and a band-aid. The amazing part is that a week later, all that was left was a faint red mark. Gotta love those long telomeres of youth! Clemmy and Athena are back to running around like lunatics at school like nothing ever happened.

We went to Yosemite to visit John and Becky and Penelope. I got a hand-me-down pack from the Stanford Parent-Net list and Athena LOVED it. I wanted to test her out in it at home before we went hiking to be sure she'd fit and be comfortable and what not.
She loved it!
The next morning we almost couldn't get her out the door to school. She wanted to "go up high" right now. Suggestions that we'd do that once we got to Yosemite were not acceptable. But, we did go to Yosemite, and hiked around the valley, and she went up high and loved it. She also loved playing with Penelope in her pack as well.


For Erik's birthday, we used PNO at Action Day to let us have a games party with all the little fiddly pieces. Athena watched Frozen for the first time. She's now totally down with full-length movies.

The next day we headed to Penelope and Alexander's first birthday party in SF. It was a blustery day, but Athena was ready to rampage through the playground. Save for the moment of singing and cupcakes, one of us was on duty in the playground with her the rest of the time.

For Mother's Day, we shared dim sum with the Lendvays and Christyn and Brian, then headed out to the park to tire out the kids. It worked like a charm! They rampaged like maniacs for a couple of hours. Then we headed home and walked over to an open house on Layton. It was a gorgeous remodel at the end of a court. The realtor had roses for Mother's Day so she let Athena give me one. Then we headed home and she settled in for a nice long nap.
You're never too young to stop and smell the roses.


On the 17th, we had Clemmy over for the day while her moms went to a work event. We learned once and for all that two two-year-olds is more fun that one. They played til they were exhausted. Then Athena said, "Clemmy's tired. We should have a rest." And they did. Athena insisted that Clemmy use her crib, and they both crashed for nearly 3 hours. Then they got up and had yogurt together and just generally spent the whole darned day giggling. It was awesome.

The next day, we went with Brian and Christyn for a morning hike at Castle Rock. Athena crashed out cold at 2 p.m., allowing us to have a lovely, leisurely lunch of steak, cous cous spinach salad, and sugar snap peas tossed with olive oil and lemon pepper. Yum! We'd just climbed into the hot tub when Athena woke up, so she joined us and all was right in the world.

The following weekend, Kelly and Cole took Athena while I had my birthday party. They had a blast. Nicole sent us a couple of videos as evidence. She had her very first sleepover, and that seemed to go well til both girls woke up at 4 a.m. and started chattering. They split them up into two rooms and everyone got a bit more sleep. Unfortunately, Athena was likely already contagious with her HFM then, so we were unsurprised with Clemmy came down sick today.

Meanwhile, my party was delightful. We emptied the living room of furniture, throwing it all onto the patio, creating a swank and comfy social space lit with tiki torches and paper lanterns. Inside, Brian and Erik hooked up the stereo speakers and we tried out the room for dancing. The verdict is that it's the best space I've ever had for dancing at home. It's more than large enough for any kind of Irish, great for five or six couples doing swing, perfect for at least six couples waltzing, and could probably fit more easily, but we didn't have enough critical mass. Also, removing all the furniture took less than a half hour, and with five people on the task, took about 10 minutes to put back, so yes, we will do this again. Oh yes. Soon!