Building New Beginnings

It’s been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been busy hustling and networking and interviewing and finally after a loooong week of waiting, I got word that I was offered a new position! To be honest I’ve been pretty unhappy with my work for a long time, healthcare reform has changed things and hospitals are struggling to make money, keep patients happy and healthy, and retain good nurses. Hence, my exit… byyyeeeeeeeeee!

My average work day looked something like this: Leave house before husband and children wake up, commute 30 minutes, arrive at work 30 minutes early (unpaid) to get to know my patients by reviewing their charts, meet and greet said patients, rush to give them their am meds- do my assessments- chart frantically- see which are being discharged and arrange plans for home- begin to receive new patients from the operating room, medicate more people, more assessments, more toilet trips and linen changes and baths and pain control, finally around 3 or 4pm get 30 minute break for lunch, continue to count down the hours till night shift arrives, at 7pm give report off to a poor night nurse who will be short staffed and overworked, drive 30 minutes home just in time to kiss my baby boy and girl and lay them down for bed. I shower and get into my jammies and eat my dinner around 8:30 or 9pm and within an hour I’m fast asleep. I was lucky to only work part time but I loathed nearly each and every day. It just didn’t seem like nursing anymore, nursing is about medicine but it’s also about connecting with people, which at my job was very difficult to do given the pace of the workload. Sometimes while commuting to work in the morning I would fantasize about getting in a minor car accident, not one that really prevented me from caring for my kids but one that would definitely get me out of work for a while. How horrible is that?

So after multiple applications and interviews I finally scored something new. I haven’t exactly started yet, currently I’m in the pre-employment transition of orientation and testing and all of that, but in my mind this job is my dream-unicorn nursing job. My new commute will be just 8 minutes; my hours will be 8-5pm like the rest of the world, no holidays and no weekends, and no toileting or medicating patients. I’ll be working in a pre-op area where healthy people come in and I conduct their health history interviews. I officially start next week and I can’t wait!

In the meanwhile we were hustling here at home too. A while back my husband suggested we get the kids a play structure. I wasn’t super stoked on the idea because we have a very small amount of grass in the yard and I didn’t want it covered with a giant (maybe never used) swing set. What we do have plenty of is a jungle of a slope along the back wall with crazy vines and overgrown bushes and that is where we proposed a playground be built. When we bought this house there were concrete steps leading up the hill, we called these the stairs to nowhere as we never understood how or why you’d venture off into these dense weeds. Initially I thought maybe we’d hire some one to come clear these trees but when my husband arrived home with a machete and I knew my hopes of hiring-out vanished.

After a day we had a clear slope but a yard full of tree branches. We contacted our local garbage service and found out as long as the twigs were wrapped with twine in 4 foot long bundles we could set them out on the curb on garbage day for free pick up, saving us a costly trip to the dump. It went surprisingly fast, as the kids played in the newly cleared slope we bundled and bundled twigs and tree branches until our arms were fully covered in scratches the entire side of the house was full. We set the slide up on the dirt while we finalized the design and the kids had so much fun climbing the stairs to nowhere and sliding down the double slide that I knew we had made the right choice. My husband, the Engineer, of course takes my design esthetic and runs with it. As per usual, this playhouse is built to withstand a full fledged San Andreas Fault earthquake.

We hoped to work much while the kids napped, but, as many best laid plans go, they were awake and “helping” during much of the construction. Surprisingly the kids came away injury free and the time reminded me of when my own parents and their friends built our family cabin back in Alaska while us kids roamed free in the woods. How no children died or lost arms around the power tools is a mystery but like my parents, we now have an awesome finished project and intact children.

We scored the green double slide off Craigslist for free, just an awkward drive home on the freeway was all it cost. The rock wall hand-holds also were a free Craigslist deal which saved us a few more bucks. Don’t get me wrong, the playhouse wasn’t cheap, but it’s totally custom and was still cheaper than buying a pre-fab piece that would interfere with our precious green space.

After a week with the new playhouse we realized that it was missing some crucial interactive entertainment inside, so back to the Home Depot we went for some chalkboard. We installed two different chalkboards and one metal board for magnets and dry eraser markers to encourage Leo to color ON the boards and not ON the beautiful wood. I used small metal buckets and mounted them to the walls to hold chalk and erasers, etc. The kids now have art space as well as energy burning stairs and rock wall and slide. Leo was so excited he even took a shit in it. That’s my boy.IMG_8099

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