CRYptic

My family will be going through some difficult changes in the upcoming weeks. To say that I’m feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. Plans seem to change daily, and I pray that the decisions being made will work out for the best. I know there are no easy answers. I know it will probably get worse before it gets better. I am grateful for a loving and supportive husband, a sweet and empathetic daughter, and all my other friends and family that have helped me through the past few weeks. I know I can get through this.

One of my favorite songs is “Why Georgia” by John Mayer. The lyric that always gets me is “I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life…am I living it right?”

Am I living it right?

Ch-ch-ch-changes….

In case you didn’t hear Taylor’s “leak” on Facebook earlier this week, the Bullock family is gearing up for another life change. We’ve been living in Michigan since January, and come January 2009 (or sooner!) we’ll be moving to Atlanta, GA. He’ll still be flying for the same company, but under new colors (which will coincidentally merge into one within the next few months.) His bid was originally approved for January 1, but he just got his October schedule, which shows him starting training October 12. That’s 3 weeks away.

“Why?” you may ask. Why would we be crazy enough to move to our fourth state in our nearly four-year marriage? We expect it to be an excellent career move. He’ll be upgrading to a nicer aircraft (from CRJ-200 to CRJ-900), and making a significant percentage more pay in his lowly F.O. pay. He’ll continue to have great schedules (sometimes up to 17 days off per month) and probably have less than 6 weeks on reserve. The wages in my industry are comparable, possibly more, and housing is affordable. We also have close friends in town, who have vowed to make it worth our while. We discussed having Taylor commute, but have decided we need to keep our family together. Atlanta was actually an option when we moved to Detroit, but at that time wages were the same, and he would have had to work 6 months in DTW before transitioning to ATL. The time is right, and we’re going with it.

Life in Michigan has been difficult for me. Four days after I arrived in the state, my dad was nearly killed in a car crash. I spent the majority of two months flying back and forth to SLC to keep things together for my family. I had a very unsuccessful semester of school that has truly shaken my confidence in ever finishing my bachelor degree. I’ve been sick over and over, and have gained a significant amount of weight. Our finances have been a wreck, and we’ve only survived through the generosity of family and church members. I took on an extremely challenging job that ends up keeping me continually stressed outside of work. The upcoming grayness and cold of another Michigan winter make me shudder. I only have a handful of friends here, but those I have become close to I will miss dearly.

The fact that we’ll be close to 76 locations of Chick-fil-a makes it a bit more tempting to move…

I’m actually okay…kinda


After posting that last post, I realized that 3 of the 4 prior posts were terribly negative. I’m really not that bad off. I still have $6.27 in my bank account, some groceries that haven’t expired, and a husband that’s coming home from a trip three-day trip tonight.

Over the last 5 months, I’ve gotten quite a few comments such as, “Wow, you’re keeping it together so well, ” or “You’re a superwoman for doing all you do.” I’ve dealt with a cross-country move, been unemployed and reemployed, watched my father teeter toward the brink of death and back, took a full-time course load at school, starting organizing my high school reunion, traveled over 30,000 miles, dealt with 5 weeks of illness, been a mom, wife, and a primary teacher. There’s uncertainty in my husband’s career due to the Delta/Northwest merger. I wonder if my life will ever be simple. I like having a busy life, having friends and social contacts and fun experiences, but it’s tiring too.

I have plans to go to Chris and Mary‘s wedding reception in California in 10 days. A two-day vacation may be my saving grace. I’ll try to get out the last flight to LAX Friday night and try my best to get back Sunday morning. I’ll soak up the Huntington with Lizzie, celebrate Norway with Brett, see my in-laws, eat some In-N-Out, and see the Pacific Ocean. All that will be worth the non-rev hassle. Just 10 days to go.

My spontaneously combusting mind

Over the last few days, I’ve had a zillion things spinning through my head. I’ve been super stressed and thinking about all the things I could blog about…but tonight is just going to be a ranty, complaining emotion blurt. Usually I blog about the good things in life, but tonight I really need to vent. Reader beware.

So far work is going okay. My surgeon has been fine to work with, my coworkers are helpful and I’m learning a lot about thoracic surgery. My complaints are the yucky parking situation, e-learning courses and the expensive employee cafeteria. The drive to Ann Arbor takes 25-40 minutes, depending on the day. Whether I take M-14, Plymouth Road, or Ford Road…it’s all about the same. The only parking lot I have been able to consistently find a spot at 7:30ish is the Glazier lot. It’s a 15 minute shuttle ride to the hospital, and the shuttles run pretty frequently. The downside is you have to make sure you always bring everything you could possibly need when you leave in the morning. If you forget your lunch or employee badge…it could take you an hour to shuttle to your car and back. Also, I have to complete this super boring set of 11 modules in order to get access to do financial transactions on behalf of the department. I’ve done non-P.O. vouchers and purchase requisitions before…so the training just feels tedious, and it’s hard to concentrate when I have people at my desk all the time. And the cafeteria…well, the food’s okay, but I sure don’t want to pay $6 for a food service sandwich. Meals are in the $5-$8 price range, but it’s nothing spectacular. I’ve been eating a lot of Lean Cuisines.

Taylor had another incident with his car in the employee parking lot. First his car was sideswiped, now this week the back bumper was brutally scraped and dented. It’s frustrating that this is happening in a lot that is “SECURE” and requires SIDA identification to enter. Oh, how I miss the honesty of people on the west coast who leave a note… Neither damage is bad enough that we NEED to repair it, but it’s upsetting that his 6 week old car had no body damage when we bought it…and now has two major exterior flaws.

School is driving me nuts. Actually, it’s driving me to tears. Going to school online can be useful, because you can study on your own timetable. Unfortunately, you are sometimes bombarded with additional study aids, and not given clear instructions of how to complete your courses. I’ve been enrolled in a 9-credit algebra and statistics survey since January. I haven’t really put major time into it until this month (due to family situation in Utah, moving cross country, being sick, traveling, etc…) and until this last week I found out that I was following the wrong course of study. I tried to submit my first (of 13) assignments, and spent 2 hours on the first two questions! I’m so out of practice in math, and all of the review work that I’ve been focusing on the last 20 study hours has not prepared me for my homework. I’m almost done with the critical thinking and writing survey though…I should be totally done with that in a week or two. I am contemplating a leave of absence from school after my finals in May. As much as I want to get my degree, my family and sanity is more important at this point.

Our finances are a total wreck, thanks to the airline’s 3 day direct deposit delay. Bank of America got Taylor’s paycheck funded on a Tuesday, and he was supposed to get it the previous Friday. We didn’t realize the error until Taylor’s debit card was declined. Over the course of 3 days, we got hit with $455 of overdraft charges (mostly on transactions less than $10). There are no BofA branches in Michigan, so we had to get a family member to bail us out $250 to bring our account out of the hole. Unfortunately, that deposit didn’t post till the next day, so we got hit with another $150 of charges, and the account was still below zero. It took several customer dis-service phone calls to BofA to figure out the error. We finally got $220 of the charges written off, but we were still left with only $150 in the account, and no student loan payments have been made yet this month. My first paycheck came, but it was only for a few days work. It was enough to pay my credit card, buy gas, and get groceries. We’re going to have creditors hounding us for the first time ever. It’s a terrible feeling.

We’re also feeling the uncertainty of the airline industry. Just knowing what’s been in the news with ATA, Skybus, Aloha, and Champion airlines has been worrisome. Now the word is that Delta and Northwest will announce their merger in the next day or two. It could be shaky ground for us. Hopefully, Taylor’s airline won’t have any problems keeping their contract, but the pilot contract is really shaky. There will be some picketing at the Memphis headquarters on May Day. Hopefully our pilots will get the raise they so desperately need and deserve. No professional pilot should be making an income that qualifies a family of three for food stamps.

I’m feeling lonely in Michigan. I have very few friends. I have quite a few acquaintances, but still nobody that I can just stop and their house and crash on their couch with no notice. I did finally meet up with Umeka and Brandon last night. It was the first time we actually got together. I found her on Myspace around the time we decided to move to Detroit. We went to Detroit Greektown, ate dinner at Pizza Papalis, walked around Ford Field and Comerica Park, and other downtown treasures. It was a rainy night, but it was a safe and interesting part of town. I wish they lived closer so we could see them more often.

I’m still feeling sick. Most of my physical symptoms are better, but my ear still hurts like crazy, and my teeth are almost always throbbing like crazy. I need to find a dentist and primary care doctor in Ann Arbor. Now that I’m double covered, out of pocket expenses should be minimal; however, my insurance plan is an HMO that requires a referral to see a specialist. I’ve got an Otolaryngology clinic one floor down from my office. Maybe I can sweet talk my current PCP into a referral without the drive to Westland. As for my teeth…who knows? I’m already paying $180 a month to pay off all the dental work I had done in December. Could I really have more that needs to be done after 3 months? I sure hope not. And we just won’t talk about the weight I’ve gained since being sick….

I’ve got an extra ticket to see Ben Folds on Wednesday night, and Taylor’s stuck on a high-speed that night. Anyone want to come? Only $15!

Still Undecided

Yesterday I looked on the Trader Joe’s website and found out that there are a couple TJ’s in the Detroit metro area. Could moving there really be that bad if I can get my Pirate Booty, smart water, organic sliced mushrooms and Promax bars???

I am still feeling undecided about my future plans. I’m not feeling very settled at work lately…each day a feel twinges of job insecurity that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m happy that Taylor’s time in Memphis is drawing short, and I’ll probably see him this weekend for our anniversary. But I won’t be able to see him for very long…and it troubles me. In my prayers and soul searching, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a clear answer for what is the best course for my family. When I give people the 2 minute version of the decisions that I’m facing…the usual response is “Your family needs to be together, even if it means Detroit.” But the 2 minute version of the decisions I’m facing isn’t adequate to tell others of the full weight of the decision.

October will consist of a lot of researching, job-hunting, soul-searching and figuring out the best course for the Bullock family. Hooray for tough life decisions!

Family = Friends ??

This blog has been a long time coming in my head. It all started around March when I found out that my cousin in Oregon was getting married. I moved from Oregon when I was 13, and after this move I lost contact with most of the members of this particular family. They were the family I grew up thinking was the coolest….cool house, cool cars, cool clothes, etc… They were fun to be around and spend holidays with. Even though I had other cousins that were lovely and fun to be around, and accepted me unconditionally…I wanted these cousins to LIKE me. When I moved away, and as the children in that family grew up, my bond with this family dimmed somewhat. I didn’t visit often enough to keep close ties, and it was before everyone was email saavy and cell phone-toting. There’s been a part of me for the last decade or so that felt like I missed out on some great years with this family. The last time I’ve seen any of them was at my Grandpa Watson’s funeral in 2002.

Last year, on a whim, I decided to look for these cousins on Myspace. I was happy to find three of them, and quickly added them as friends. One lives in LA, and I was hoping that I would get to meet up with him since we were living in the same metropolitan area. I started leaving comments and inviting him to get together for dinner. Most comments went unanswered, or had a very non-committal reply. I figured it would take some kind of family occasion to finally see them again. When I found out the youngest was getting married, I was thrilled at the thought of an excuse to head up to Portland, renew some old bonds, and reminisce of the good ‘ol days.

I sent this cousin an email, full of congratulations. I asked her when the big day was. She gave a very curt reply, stating that I was not invited…no cousins were invited. They didn’t have enough money to invited everyone related. This was a shock to me. For both my weddings, I made it a priority to think of every single person I was related to, and make sure they were invited. Even though some family members are not “close” relatives, I can’t think of excluding any that were happy to be a part of my celebration. If any family was overlooked, it was a sincere mistake.

Last weekend was the wedding. I got the play by play from my grandma. She said that there were a lot of family member that were not invited. It brought back some of the feelings that I felt growing up…maybe I only get to spend time with these cool people because we have the same bloodline. Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or whatever enough to catch their eye to spend time with? I know I’m a pretty likeable person. I typically make friends quickly, even in the most bizarre situations. But for a family member to not think I’m worth spending time with? I have a really, really hard time with it.

So as I’ve been mulling over this situation this week, I’ve been planning this trip to St. George. Friday night was planned to spend with Taylor’s cousin and his wife. I had asked a few weeks ago if it was okay to stay with them, and they said they were happy to have Rosie and I come. A few days ago, I called to confirm that we were fine to stay. She said that a few more family members were coming into town, but there should be plenty of room. So tonight around 10:30, as I’m packing up my trip-things, I get a call from this cousin. She says that they have too many people staying at their house, and they just don’t have room for us. A huge wave of this, “Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough, etc…” sentiment is rushing through my head. Logically, I understand that the immediate family is more of a priority, and a house can get overcrowded with guests. But this family member is married to Taylor’s cousin…who is part of the family HE grew up thinking, “Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough…” and “Am I only spending time with them because we have the same bloodline?”

I’m just not coping with these feelings well tonight. I’m feeling lonely, and vulnerable, and disappointed, and stressed. I had been planning to go to Memphis to see Taylor for the holiday weekend, but decided that airline tickets were too expensive. I wanted to go to SLC to see some close friends and my family, but it’s not practical to travel that far in my circumstance. I’ve already gotten the time off work to head to St. George on Friday. But is it worth a $75 hotel room for me to go up early? Do I want to take the pity offer of “You can stay on the floor if you can’t make other arrangements?”

And how do I overcome these self-justified feelings of rejection that may not even be true or valid in the eyes of my extended family? Have I alienated any family members, having them worry if they were “fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough…” for me to like them?? Is is ridiculous for me to assume that family = friends? It makes me envy the people that ARE friends with their family.

These are the life questions that I fear may keep my brain on overdrive tonight. And I don’t need a sleepless night if I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow….

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