Riding Keeps Me Sane

So much has happened in the last month it’s crazy to even try to type it out.

A quick & dirty review:


I went on the first camping trip of the season, over to Sisters and rode three times in two days, all on Ray. By the end of the trip, I was riding Ray bareback three miles while Cyrus chugged along behind.


I left my state job, after a bare six months (fresh out of trial service in good standing meant I was permanent with the state, so leaving was a big jump!)

I got freakin’ married! Three weeks in and we still don’t have our rings due to ordering them so late; I haven’t changed my name on anything official yet due to our upcoming trip to Canada; and yet, things feel subtly different but we’re still…us.

I started a new job at which my name proceeded me. I left my state job to work for an old manager at a different company, and everyone here has mentioned how well my boss has spoken of me and how excited he is to have me on board. It’s temp to hire so not ideal, but the pay is so much higher, the career path so much easier to see, and I get to kick ass doing what I do best; assisting a safety group to be the best, most efficient and well organized team in the biz. That I can now carpool with my new husband since we work for the same company is just another added bonus.


But, with change comes stress, and I’ve never been accused of managing change in the most mature way possible. For the month of April I lost almost 10 pounds due to basically not eating or sleeping overmuch. I’m not kidding! We went out with a big bunch of friends to Fuddrucker’s and I ate maybe a quarter of my meal.  I only ate one piece of pizza at a friend’s house, yo. When has anyone known me to eat less than two pieces, no matter how sucky the pizza? I mean, pizza, c’mon.


The trip to Sisters and then my next ride on Ray, a solo jaunt to our normal stomping grounds that we can access straight from the barn has worked wonders for keeping my head screwed on straight. I went 7 miles with Cyrus trailing along, almost on a loose rein the entire way. Ray did try to pull a few wimpy “Can I go back to the barn” half turns, but sticking to him at Sisters gave me the calmer confidence I needed to deal with these without getting worked up over them, and we had a fantastic ride. I’d ask him to trot or canter at the speed I asked for, then we’d stop, eat and wait for Cyrus to catch up. I was once again alone in the woods with a very good horse, a very happy muddy dog and sunshine.


My new job is ten times the amount of responsibility and people I effect, but I don’t have to listen for Code Greens or wonder if a friendly hello will tip off a patient. I can put my headphones on and chug through my day, hip deep in some of the things I nerd out over. My friends are coming down this weekend to pick up Ray & I so I can play tour guide at one of the best spots for conditioning and trail rides nearby, and I can’t wait for the heat wave and miles under sturdy hooves (please don’t lose any shoes between now & Sunday Raymond!)

IMG_6313.jpgAny of these automatically become the best view in the world!


When other people say it’s been a crazy month, it’s a highly subjective thing. When I say it’s been a crazy month, I mean Tom’s still in Cali (coming home for goodish tomorrow!), we’ve moved to a new house & a new town (well, new to me & the kid if not Tom, seeing as it’s his hometown), Kade started kindergarten, I haven’t talked to my dad at all though I bumped into my mom once, & I finally, after months of searching, multiple resumes & interviews, started a new job! So if my blogging has been worse than usual lately, & my writing just as bad, at least I have a handy multitude of excuses right?
It’s the middle of my fourth week, & yet I can’t stop grinning. I had lunch with a friend who is also now an ex-coworker, & she could see how stupid with happy I am right now. The learning curve has been like hauling myself up Everest, but at risk of sounding like a cliché, this place is much more my speed.

Even though I work in what feels like a basement & I’m usually cold (although that’s better since a new coworker leant me her little desk heater!) & my commute is always over an hour now, my to do list is miles long & intricate & technically I’m a temp for now….those don’t stack up to what I’m doing, or the level of responsibility I’m finally at, or my awesome new coworkers!

Not even a month & I’ve already attended one happy hour, supported the Research Safety Fair, attended one training with three more at bat, collected access to everyone’s calendars, run all over campus, sampled the various eateries, set up a weekly check in meeting with my manager, seen the sunrise each day from the Tram, & my bribes of introducing the candy bowl & daily quotes have been fully accepted. That list isn’t even complete!

Even though I spent three years of my life at another company (I know, hear the millennial talk as if that’s a long time!), other than seeing my friend every day, I haven’t missed it one iota. Nope, no more listening to vicious gossips, no more fighting with the stupid jamming printer, no more clueless (if sweet) boss, no more “We don’t need you for that {basically anything more than paper-pushing}”, no more vastly unpredictable traffic.

The biggest thing I miss is my commute buddy. Kade’s preschool was five minutes from work, half an hour or more from the old apartment, so I had him with me for the majority of my commute, chatting, watching the iPad, cursing at traffic, the whole bit. Now he’s either sleeping on his aunt’s couch (mornings) or tearing around the neighborhood with the other kids (afternoon) as I drive up to Milwaukee, catch the MAX train, walk to the Aerial Tram, catch the sunrise, & finally start making coffee in my office & hunting up a nice daily quote to write on the community white board.

It’s hard in some ways, as much as I love my new job, but we’re both hugely looking forward to having Tom home for good!

Dig for options

Back in college, we used to play many a game to fill the long, winter dark, New England howling snow blizzard nights, willingly trapped in the middle of beautiful Nowhere, Vermont. One of our favorites was the zombie game, which took on many permutations and made up rules and scaring me witless in some dark, utterly creepy basement.
At the time I was newly Wilderness First Responder certified and creepy zombies in dark basements withstanding, thought I could handle anything tolerably well emergency wise. I was, after all, at a college that grew a good chunk of our own food, with the emphasis on infrastructure which could withstand petty things like power outages, of which we had our fair share on the worst days. We milked cows with our hands, broke iced over troughs with sledge hammers, kept our axes sharp and useful, pulled firewood out of the woodlot with draft horses and oxen. My WFR class covered the bare basics of everything from scene safety to stabilizing an impaled patient for a five mile evac over rough terrain. Bring it on, world.
Today I’m a bottom of the rung office peon struggling to loose weight and get fit for two main reasons, tackle the laundry monster, and keep the daily tally of self-inflicted injuries on my five year old to a minimum (this was a rough weekend, walls run into, a nice bee sting, a new tooth coming in which hurts to tears, copious amounts of pool water swallowed, plus a Nerf gun to the eye).
Who would you turn to when the world goes to shit? Who would you expect to know what to do, where to start in the event of being evacuated for a flood, wildfire, respond to a car accident? When my son’s school does a unit on work and the kid’s response is “All my mommy does is shuffle paperwork and use the computer all day!”, what the hell kind of answer is that?
A few years ago, I had enough encouragement, help, and wild hope to go back to school. I bombed the community college placement test in math so badly, I was relegated to Math 65, the college equivalent of “You know nothin’, Jon Snow!” Through a combination of self defeatism and floundering, I squeaked a miserable D out of that class.
To even apply for the paramedic program at PCC requires passing Math 95 with a C or better. That’s not to mention being able to figure out ratios of drugs to give to different patients under pressure, among everything else. So I gave up on that and moved on with other things.
Now I’m three years into office life and gaining steam on the mid-life, loosing my marbles crisis that I’d hoped to hold off, oh, until Kade graduated high school. It’s not enough for me, despite years of trying, to just bring home a paycheck, to keep the two areas of my life separated. I need work that matters, in some form or another, beyond the almighty dollar. When your own parents accuse you of being selfish, it tends to drive you either to bitter acceptance or overcompensation. But it’s hard to wiggle in decent volunteering time between said job, commute, bills, laundry, and trying desperately not to miss the best years of Kade’s life to said rat race.
For the straw that started panicking this poor camel of my life, my child care costs are going to double this fall when Kade’s in kindergarten. Oh, school is ‘free’, but it’s only 815-230 every day. Minus 28 days off of school for various things, plus, oh, summer! The plain fact is, I can’t afford good care for my son at my current salary, so something has to give.
Now it’s time to dip my toes into the possibility of more school, for something along the lines of paramedic or vet tech or something overall useful. I just have to fight with the math, not just to pass a test but to really grasp it, which I haven’t been doing since about middle school.
Or I could go be a hermit. That sounds fun to. I bet they don’t have to worry about intermediate algebra…