In a wholehearted attempt to be less, well, my usual self, I’m going to be focusing on things that are awesome. Will it make you want to puke? Perhaps. If so, remember the neurotic me is still here, but I am trying to balance her with a little bit of bright side.
Yes, that’s a McDonald’s slogan. Yes, I just ate McDonald’s. And I loved it. See, the secret to McDonald’s success is their sauces. Even their ketchup is extraordinarily good. A plain hamburger is yucky, but a plain burger with extra ketchup is so good. And yes, I eat fast food with more regularity than bloggers tend to admit. Decaf from McD’s every morning; a kid’s meal for lunch every couple of days; a quick-and-easy (and surprisingly stomach-pleasing) lunch on a busy weekend day. It’s consistent and it likes me, unlike the really good but ultimately really bad Mediterranean food we had for dinner (I’ll spare you the details).
I have a pretty cool job. My direct employees are fantastic, so much so that I periodically have to fight off feelings of inadequacy because they’re so danged good they don’t really need me. Except they do, because I play Bad Cop really well and fight battles so they don’t have to and stand up for the right thing even when it’s not popular. And because I’m Knoxville-based working with a Seattle team, my mornings don’t really start until 11:00 am (though I do emails before then) and I still get to claim “EST!” when logging off around 6:00 or 7:00 pm. Plus, my boss and all of my nerd-techy male peers are fathers, many to very young children, all with very capable, successful, strong and smart wives. The leadership teams set a great example for balancing home and work; my male boss tends to be the parent who takes off of work when his toddler son is sick, for example. Women have not only succeeded after maternity leave, they’ve been promoted just before, during, or after. I’m in a great place to be a new mom, I think.
Goodness, this feels like bragging or teasing the gods of workplaces into smiting me with a lay-off or regime-change or something horrible. Oh, webcams, I dread the day! I will continue, though.
My husband is a really good man. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but he tries really hard. He’s in school full-time, working a bit to help out his old employer, and keeping things functioning around here… all while finding his study skills mojo and really kicking *ss in some tough classes. And he thanks me for helping him go back to school full-time (while not having to work full-time)! I feel like he’s giving me — us, really — a gift by getting into a line of work that’s more lucrative and better suited to his personality! He’s working on our other house right now without a negative comment while I lay in bed easing into my day after a really horrible night. Oh, and although he’s not a touchy-feely kind of person — something I do complain about — when prompted, he’s the best snuggler.
We got lucky with this pregnancy. As much as I complain about the discomfort, please don’t doubt that I know how lucky we are. We got pregnant relatively easily (more easily than I expected, frankly) and have had a really healthy pregnancy. (Nuchal translucency screening came back great! 1/5000 chance of downs or tri-18/13 versus my age-related risk of 1/400ish.) I feel gaggy and icky, but I’m not literally ensconced in the bathroom from morning ’til night. My weight gain freaks me out but isn’t actually unusual in any way and our families could not be more excited about this baby. Budgets can suck, but ours can accommodate an addition, and one of the reasons I work for a corporation is the solid benefits package. Our house has plenty of room, even if some of it is creepy (still!) and with a little (lot) work, we can have a pretty inviting guest suite for all of our visitors. (Eek, the first is coming in March!)
And the baby-related options! So many options! So many they’re overwhelming, frankly, but let it be known I know to be grateful to have so many options I’m overwhelmed. (Cloth diaper options alone – oy.)
Yay for not owing taxes! Last year was bad. Between our joint incomes bumping us up a tax bracket and my husband’s employer not deducting taxes appropriately, we owed so much we happily paid H&R Block more than $400 to optimize the situation. ‘Twas not good. I frantically upped my withholding to the greatest possible amount and spent the next year wondering why my higher salary felt like so much less in each paycheck. Because it was! With eyes squinting in fear, I started our taxes two weeks ago with some estimates for my husband’s info and things looked pretty good. Two days ago he brought his W-2, and Oh, Happy Day!… we’re getting money back. Yay for education credits. Yay for upped withholding. Yay for extra houses and their net losses (the only time a sane person will say this is at tax time). As an unexpected bonus, that refund check will get us really darned close to topping out our emergency fund, as I’d not counted on any refund when we worked this year’s budget. Yay for unknowingly saving more in 2010 than we planned!
I know a big tax refund is not financially smart, but neither is owing a sizable amount. Next year we’ll come closer to even since we can better estimate our total bill now that my husband doesn’t work for the employer who doesn’t withhold correctly (he withheld less than 5% last year – wtf?). Plus, yay for kids. I’m amazed at the idea behind the government essentially offering money to people when they have kids, but hey, not gonna fight it.
Okay, my superstitious self can’t handle any more of this. Please don’t hate me for the rainbows and butterflies post. If you’re really up for it, post your bright side stuff in the comments!