Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Boston cont. / Happy Halloween

After Cheers, we walked part of the Freedom Trail and made our way to Faneuil Hall.  This was such a cute area with different vendors and shops.  I also loved the mix of centuries old buildings with modern construction.  After walking around for quite a while and even being serenaded by a rapper, we made our way back to the hotel.

The fabulous concierge recommended a few different Italian restaurants in the North End so I checked out menus and we made reservations.  We decided to walk, which was definitely the wrong choice.  Somehow, we took a wrong turn or missed a street – we were never really lost, it just took us a lot longer than it should have.  It was freezing and I was starting to feel terrible.  Thankfully, A found us a cab and we made it to the restaurant.  The restaurant was really cute – it was small, but had two floors.  We were seated on the second level.  I order the butternut squash ravioli and a glass of wine.  A ordered chicken marsala and a beer.  It was delicious!  One of the hotel staff had told me about Mike’s Pastry nearby.  He mentioned that the cannolis were famous and there was usually a line out the door.  We decided to check it out.  Holy cannoli!!  The bakery was busy, but not bad.  I bought 4 cannolis – the biggest cannolis I’ve ever seen.  I could barely finish half of one, but it was amazing.  I can see why this little bakery is so popular!  We took the subway back to the hotel where I climbed into bed with layers on, slippers, and multiple blankets.

Friday, I felt pretty awful, but it was our final day in Boston and I still wanted to see more of the city.  We decided to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum based on a friend’s recommendation.  This museum was really neat.  It housed a collection of several pieces of art/furniture/tapestries, which were all out in the open – like close enough to reach out and touch (I would never bring the boys here).  After checking out all of the items on display, we walked to a nearby restaurant for a lunch and then headed back to the hotel to gather our luggage and catch a cab to the airport.

Being in the middle airplane seat sandwiched between strangers when you have a cold might just be the worst thing ever (A and I had to book our tickets separately).  I was so happy to get off that airplane.  I missed the boys lots and couldn’t wait to see them.  So thankful to our parents for watching them so we could have a little break and explore a great city.

Saturday was uneventful.  It was A's and my 11th wedding anniversary! :)  One of these days, we'll go out to dinner to celebrate.  But on this day, we ordered Chinese food, ate more cannolis, and played inside – the weather was really gloomy.

Sunday was our town’s trick-or-treat.  Presenting our garbage truck and French fries!!  W got SO many compliments on his French fry costume.  The idea was all his and when he said he wanted to be a French fry, A and I were skeptical.  Pinterest to the rescue!!  We finished the day with out first fire (of the season) in the fireplace and mostaccioli for dinner.  Happy Halloween!! (And I'm STILL sick... womp womp)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


I’m still here – I didn’t mean to go MIA.  I traveled to Boston last Sunday for a conference so let’s start there…

My flight was delayed a bit so I didn’t make it to my hotel until Sunday night and by that time, I was starving.  I ordered room service and settled in.

Monday was the first day of my conference.  I managed to find the building the conference was being held at – I am terrible with directions so considering this a victory.  The conference exceeded my expectations – I found it really interesting and the instructor was great.  The first day wrapped up around 5 so I headed back to the hotel.  I was really tired and not feeling great, but just assumed it was from traveling the day before.  I ended up ordering room service again because I wasn’t sure where any nearby restaurants were (Google maps wasn’t much help).  I Facetimed with the boys and A and read my book – it was nice having some down time.  I should also mention that I was in downtown Boston and loved it!

Tuesday, it was clear to me that I was getting sick.  But I was also determined to get out of the hotel.  Unfortunately, when I left the conference around 5 again, it was beginning to rain.  I made it back to the hotel and my phone started to alert me that there were storm warnings in the area.  So much for getting out of the hotel.  It was probably for the best since I wasn’t feeling well and was freezing – no matter how many layers and blankets I put on, I could not get warm.  I Facetimed with the boys again – they were also sick and then went to bed early.

Wednesday, the conference wrapped up around 2.  I had to check out of my hotel and into another hotel.  A bit of a long story, but I initially booked the hotel for the conference and later tried to extend my stay.  When I called to extend, the receptionist told me she’d have her supervisor extend the room for me.  And then the line disconnected.  I tried calling back, not sure if my stay had actually been extended, and was disconnected again.  I was calling from a land line so assumed something was happening on their end.  I called again the next day and explained what happened.  The receptionist this time was incredibly rude and told me she didn’t know why anyone would tell me I could extend my stay because the hotel was completely booked.  Well, I didn’t know either, but a simple apology would’ve been sufficient.  So I found a new hotel – the Hyatt in downtown Boston, which was within walking distance of the old hotel and SO MUCH better.  The hotel was beautiful and the staff was amazing and helpful.  So anyway, I trekked through downtown, dragging my suitcase with me and eventually found the new hotel.  I did get a little lost, but managed to find my way.  The weather was a bit strange – one minute it was sunny and the next it was cold, rainy, and windy (reminded me of Chicago!).  After checking in, I decided it was about time that I explored the city.  I walked through downtown and Boston Common, got rained on, and decided to head back to the hotel and wait for A to arrive.  I wasn’t feeling great, I was still freezing, but I wasn’t completely miserable.  A’s flight was delayed about an hour, but he eventually made it to the hotel some time after 9.

Thursday, not feeling well, but I was determined to power through.  I had a busy day planned for us and a stupid cold wasn’t going to stop me.  We started with a tour of Fenway.  The hotel staff suggested the best route to get there and we found it without issue.  We had so much fun checking out the park!!  The Red Sox were in the World Series, which made it that much more exciting.  We even got to see the World Series trophies from 2004, 2007, and 2013.  We struck up a conversation with one of the workers and A got to try on his World Series ring!  Such a great morning!

We headed back to our hotel, grabbed more Kleenex and cough drops for me, and made our way out again.  We walked around the Public Garden, which was beautiful and had lunch at the Cheers bar.  I remember watching this show as a kid/teen.  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…

To be continued…

Monday, October 15, 2018

Weekend Recap

Well, well, we actually got our family photos in without having to reschedule this year!  I think the past two years, it’s rained on our picture day and we had to squeeze them in another day.  I can’t say it wasn’t without drama.  I’m always stressed on picture day and I don’t even know why, but I think my stress carries over to everyone else.  This year, I scheduled haircuts and then thought we could grab lunch afterwards.  Both boys were in a bad mood.  S was crying randomly about every little thing.  I think both boys were just hungry and a bit tired because they both like to wake at some crazy early time (ahem 5:30am) on weekends.  So haircuts were ok.  S cried at lunch because we wouldn’t give him the entire cup of ranch dressing, but after getting food in their bellies, all was well (or at least better).  I even asked A to make a stop after lunch so I could grab a pumpkin milkshake.  You know, after I had just eaten French Onion soup and cheese curds… because I was obviously all about eating healthy.  So I ordered my small milkshake and was given this giant thing with whipped cream and rolled cookie toppings and it was amazing.  But not at all what I was expecting for a small milkshake. 

We decided to drive through the forest preserve where we were going to take photos and look for scenic spots.  It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed the little drive.  On our way home, S asked for a tissue.  Sure, no problem.  As I turned to hand it to him, I realized he was covered in blood.  He had a bloody nose and it was just gushing.  I know that’s gross, but I feel the need to describe the horror scene that was my back seat.  Apologies to the squeamish.  Thankfully, I knew better than to dress the boys in their photo attire too early.  So I told S he needed to hold the tissue on his nose and I got a “Noooo!’.  I told him again that he was getting blood everywhere – clothes, car seat, his face, etc.  And he told me no.  So then I yelled at him like a crazy person.  I’m not proud, but it did get his attention.  And then he asked if we were taking him to the hospital.  Sigh.  Straight to the bathtub he went as soon as we got home.  Seriously, never a dull moment on picture day.  On the bright side, pictures went well, despite the wind blowing my hair all over my face and the rest of the evening was without incident.  Here’s a little preview (these are just screen shots so not the best quality)…

Sunday morning was our usual routine.  We had plans to try to watch some of the Bears game and work on W’s Halloween costume.  I’m not even sure how to describe the afternoon except to say I was questioning my mothering abilities.  S asked the same questions over and over – could he go to the park that we’d have to drive to, could he watch videos, could we take him to any place he could possibly come up with, could I build a race track, etc. etc.  And normally, I don’t mind doing some of these things, but we really needed to work on W’s costume.  And each time, S heard no, he’d have a fit.  And W wasn’t much better.   He’d poured himself juice and spilled it everywhere, got window crayon all over the windows, himself, the floor, his clothes, chased his brother and they tripped over the cord to the hot glue gun sending that flying, dumped out lego bins, made messes in every room of the house, climbed onto the roof of his play house.  It was just one thing after another.  I hardly watched any of the game (yes, parenting comes first, but I had hoped for just a little reprieve) and the costume took forever because we had to keep stopping (and it still isn’t done).  Finally, around 3:45, A took the boys to the park across the street and I worked on dinner.  Quiet is so soothing for me and it was just what I needed.  After some homemade mac and cheese, barbecue chicken and ranch quesadillas, and apple slices, we were all in a much better mood.  I played hide and seek with the boys, we worked on puzzles together, and we read books – it was just what I needed and a great way to end a hectic day.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Thoughts

W’s first Kindergarten field trip is today and of course it’s the coldest day we’ve had since April.  He’s headed to a farm and I think he’ll still have a great time despite the chilly temperatures.  I can’t believe how quickly he’s growing and learning – he’s started to read, continues to improve on his writing, and excels at math.  I love all the projects he comes home with and I especially love hearing about his day.

I’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran nonstop since we attended his concert last week – I just love him!!  Can’t get enough.  I already want to attend another concert!

Speaking of, last week A and I attended a concert and a gala.  My mom watched the boys both nights and upon realizing this, her next door neighbor commented that A and I lead quite an exciting life.  BAHAHAHA... BAHAHAHA.  It was the first concert we attended in a year and the first gala we attended EVER – they just happened to be days apart.  I wish our lives were that exciting – I could definitely get used to more concerts and fancy galas!

I’m heading to Boston next week for a conference and I’ll be gone for 5.5 days – it will be the longest I’ve been away from the boys in over a year and I’m really nervous about leaving them.  I’ll miss them like crazy.  Not to mention, I lay out the school clothes, prepare the lunches, pack up backpacks, and do the school drop offs.  A can definitely do these things – I just feel bad adding to his tasks.  I’ve already told them they need to call me every night (am I becoming a helicopter parent??).  On the bright side, A will be joining me for the final 2 days and I’m excited to explore the city with him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Work Woes

May 2017, my group underwent a massive reorganization.  At the time, my career path had been moving to focus on regulatory.  I enjoyed that type of work and was learning strategy, writing NDA sections, and asking to be involved with more products so that I could learn the regulatory aspects of the different product types.  Overall, I was happy with my job.  My bosses had also told me that they planned on promoting me.  That all came to a screeching halt when the reorg was announced.  My group split in two and I returned to a quality role – a role I had previously left behind to pursue regulatory.  When I pointed out that I had actually taken a step backwards, the new management told me they didn’t realize that I’d previously held the title I’d now have.  How does management not know the background of their own employees?  They also told me they didn’t think my job had changed much since I’d still be responsible for the same products.  In my mind, it was a drastic change and a career altering move.

Even though I saw this as a huge step backwards, I decided to try to make the most of my new position.  I was happy to be reporting to a boss I had previously reported to.  We got along incredibly well and I knew he’d keep my career interests in mind.  He always wanted the best for me and I’ve learned a great deal from him over the years.  I took on a new responsibility – logging product quality complaints.  While I was initially looking forward to learning a new process, I quickly realized this was a very tedious responsibility in that my product had more complaints than any of the other products combined.  I rapidly learned the process, never missed logging a complaint (which sometimes involved working after the boys went to bed), and worked on a team to identify the cause of the defect that was generating so many complaints.  I wrote risk assessments and worked with a manufacturer to reduce the number of investigations they’d have to perform.  And while I continued in this “new role”, I continually looked for opportunities to move back to regulatory because I still felt that it was the best area for me and I missed the work.

In late 2017, early 2018, I was asked about my role and I was honest.  I explained that it wasn’t fulfilling, I wasn’t at all challenged.  I missed the work I had previously done.  I missed regulatory writing.  I also asked if there was anything I should work on, anything I needed to improve upon.  I was told “nothing”.  Around this time, my boss also mentioned that he requested a promotion for me.  Fast forward a bit, I was asked to move to yet another boss, another role. One that should be more challenging and hopefully more fulfilling.  For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I was passed over for a promotion.  I was told that in the new role, I’d learn a lot, I’d have writing opportunities, and come next round of promotions in October, I’d be happy I made the switch.  I was in tears.  I didn’t know what to do.  While I did want to be challenged and I was ready for different responsibilities, I wasn’t convinced that this was the type of work I wanted.  And I loved my current boss - I really didn’t want to report to anyone else.  But I also knew that responsibility for my products was being transferred to Dublin and I felt like my only choice was to make the switch. 

So in February 2018, I now had my third boss and third role in less than a year.  All without any promotions or recognition.  A month or so later, the VP of the regulatory department approached the VP of my department and mentioned she’d heard I was interested in regulatory and wanted to transfer.  He told her I was happy now and that they had found a better position for me.  A complete lie.  I would have moved in a heartbeat.  I felt like there was nothing I could do.  I was stuck.  And if I spoke up, I thought I risked being fired.  

In April, I won a pro-active award for extending the shelf life of one of our products.  I was supposed to be recognized at a group dinner, but the presenter couldn’t make it.  So instead, they just called me over to an office on a random work day and presented the award in front of anyone who was at their desks.  While I appreciated the recognition, it was all a little anticlimactic and felt like I was slighted.

Just a few weeks later, I’d be in tears again as my former bosses along with several others were let go from the company.  I was completely crushed.  These were people who taught me so much, people who always kept my best interests in mind and thought highly of me.  They had helped me develop professionally.  And with the lay offs went any chance I had of moving back to regulatory.  I tried to make the most of my new role, but I wasn’t happy and I’m still not.  I’ve had no opportunities to do the technical writing I was promised.

After that, my boss had a position open at the same level.  The plan was to hire someone who would hold the same title as me and do similar type of work.  A candidate was identified.  When that person was hired, the position was hastily moved under a different hiring manager.  And all of a sudden, the candidate was hired at a higher level than the job description indicated and the responsibilities had changed.  I was never given the chance to pursue the position because it was never listed as it was filled.  So incredibly deceptive.

My brother passed away in June and would you believe the current VPs never said a single word to me.  Not even an email.  Not a welcome back when I returned to work.  Nothing.  My former bosses and VP all came to the visitation and funeral.  Even if everything else hadn’t happened, this speaks volumes and was a clear indication of the people I work for.

In July, I interviewed at another company.  The position was two levels above my current position.  The interview went really well and I felt like it would be a great fit for me.  Ultimately, another candidate was offered the job.  It came down to our specific experiences – I excelled in the analytical aspects and with electronic systems, while her strengths were in a manufacturing plant.  The hiring manager had previously worked with the other candidate and determined her experiences were more beneficial for the state of the company at the time.  I was told that my resume was impressive and I interviewed well.  There was nothing I could have done differently.   In talking with me for a couple hours and reviewing my resume, this company saw more potential in me than my current company.

Promotions were announced last week.  Management made a point that only those who had taken on significant new responsibilities and went above and beyond their role would be considered.  I thought I had a shot.  For one, my previous boss told me I’d be promoted next round.  And for two, my role was completely different.  I had won the pro-active award (isn’t that the epitome of making an effort to go above and beyond??).  I was told the award was created for me – it was my namesake.  Eye roll.  I was on a team that initiated a clinical study in record time.  While I was transitioning to my new role, I held two roles simultaneously and managed several products/clinical studies concurrently.  I had discussed promotions with my new boss and made it clear that I felt I was deserving.  He told me he understood and heard me. 

Imagine my disappointment when I was passed over.  AGAIN.  I wasn’t at all surprised, but I was disappointed nonetheless.  All this time, I kept telling myself maybe the struggle would be worth it.  I’d been so flexible, willing to take on new responsibilities and tasks, working for different managers.  Maybe they’d realize my value.  Maybe, maybe, maybe… MAYBE NOT.  And best of all, those who were promoted all received the stupid pro-active award AFTER me.

If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s now abundantly clear – I have no future here.  My accomplishments will never be worthy of a promotion and I’ll never progress.  I need to get out.

In a heartbreaking year, I could have really used some good news.  But once again, I’m left with disappointment. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weekend Recap

So last week, I found out I was passed over for a promotion.  Again.  I have an entire post written about this – mainly for me because I needed to write down everything that has happened.  Suffices to say I was extremely disappointed.

Wednesday, I got a text from my friend, Lauren, inviting us to a gala.  She and her husband had been gifted a table at the event and it supported a local domestic violence shelter.  I think my text back to her was something like, “you’re saying a night without kids, I get to be fancy and drink cocktails, and it’s for a good cause?!?  I’m there.  But let me double check with the husband.”  And then I texted A something like “can we go pretty please??  I want to be fancy!”.  He obliged, but we needed to find a baby-sitter.  A said he’d ask Jane the following day.

Thursday, I decided to head to the new Nordstrom Rack on my lunch break to see if I could find a dress.  The only appropriate fancy dress I had was one I had worn to a wedding - the last “fancy” event I attended.  And as silly as it sounds, I didn’t want to wear the same dress two times in a row – though I’d be in the company of a completely different group of people.  I found exactly one dress, but I couldn’t zip it.  I sent a photo to my most fashionable coworker asking if I should get it.  She liked it and when I told her it was $30 she said I had to get it.  Later that afternoon, A let me know that Jane wasn’t available.

A and I were attending the Ed Sheeran concert that night.  I left work a little early and it took me over an hour to get home.  Ugh.  S was sick all of a sudden.  I arrived with the dress in hand and my mom asked what was going on.  I explained that we had been invited to a gala, but the dress would be going back because we didn’t have a baby-sitter and S was sick anyway.  She offered to watch the boys even though she was already watching them that night while we attended the concert and even though S was a coughing mess.  She’s a lifesaver and I owe her big time.

It took us 3!!! hours to get to the concert.  Traffic was just awful, there were accidents on the way.  We missed the opening acts, which I wasn’t too disappointed about.  It just seemed like one setback after another all day.  BUT.  We made it in time for Ed and he was amazing.  I think it was the best concert I’ve ever attended.  I really love going to concerts with A and I’m already thinking about our next one.  So after a rough day (which also included the promotion announcement that I was not on), I was thankful for a fun night. 

Friday, I took the day off because I knew we would be home really late Thursday night (or Friday) morning.  S didn’t have school and it was rainy so we stayed in and watched too much tv, read books, etc.  It was W’s last day of being the Star Student of the Week and as such, he got to choose a special reader to come in to school.  He chose my mom and she happily accepted – she LOVES reading books aloud.  When I picked them both up from school, my mom said she had the best time and W was quite popular with the girls.  I guess they had all given him a hug when he left for the day.  Bahaha.

Saturday, the boys were crazy and it was clear they needed to get out of the house.  It was rainy yet again, but I decided to take them to the farm just down the street.  We wore our rain boots and enjoyed feeding the animals and going on a hay ride.

Soon enough, it was time to head to the gala.  I ended up knowing 3 of the 4 other couples at the table and we had such a great time.  Cocktails, a yummy dinner, a raffle, and great company – all for an amazing cause.  So thankful Lauren invited us.

Sunday was our usual.  It rained AGAIN so we stayed in.  Hoping for a better week ahead. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Weekend Recap

Oh this weekend – I feel like we had the best of intentions and things just backfired.

Let’s start with Friday.  We had planned to take the boys to the amusement park, but it was chilly and sprinkling.  Instead we headed to my mom’s house and ordered pizza.  Susana was able to join us and it was great to catch up with her.

Saturday, I had gotten free tickets to a children’s play.  The boys like the Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie books and the play centered around the Elephant and Piggie characters.  We left early for the play, but the tickets listed a different theater than where the show was.  I think the correct theater was actually listed in an email, but I only printed off the email with the ticket info.  So we went to the wrong place first and ended up being late to the play.  Once we got there, W was interested in the play, but S was not.  Instead, S searched the diaper bag and found toy cars, which he dropped about 27 times, kept telling me he was hungry and asking for food, found his cup and dropped that at least twice, continually hopped off his seat making it spring back up.  On our way out, S bumped into a sign and knocked if over and then started crying in the parking lot because I wouldn’t take him to the bathroom even though he is not potty trained and A had offered to take him to the bathroom.  SO that was tons of fun. 

We decided to grab lunch afterwards.  Naturally, the boys wanted to go to different restaurants and proceeded to argue and fight in the car.  At this point, I was ready to just go home.  We finally made our way to Red Robin where I had a free appetizer coupon.  Yay.  Lunch was ok from what I remember. 

We then decided to head to the amusement park.  We changed S before entering the park, walked through the parking lot, and got in line to enter.  While in line, S announced he had to poop.  Great.  I told him to hold it for a couple minutes and we’d find a bathroom.  2 seconds later, he announced “too late!”.  Then W had to go to the bathroom.  A took S all the way back to the car since we didn’t bring the diaper bag with us – because you know we had literally just changed him.  W and I found a ride and then he had to go to the bathroom again.  What. The. Heck?  S and A made it back into the park.  We all went on the carousel and the boys went on a couple kids' rides.  After that, S announced he pooped.  Again.  We went on one more ride.  The boys couldn’t leave each other alone and proceeded to grab and push each other in line.  I don’t know what was with them, but I was so done.  We grabbed popcorn and a pretzel for W and quickly left.  Ugh.

Sunday was our usual.  We stopped at the grocery store and S asked if he could buy flowers for grandma.  I couldn't say no.  My mom and Susana came over for the football game.  We had chicken wings and chili so at least those were yummy.

We definitely had some fun moments throughout the weekend, but there were plenty of challenging moments as well.