Blog entry wherein I am irrational, but it's ok to be that way sometimes!

This is a ramble, a meander, more like a stream of conscious than anything. But I need it today. If you came to my blog for funny, snarky thoughts on random shit, this entry isn't for you. I'm not going to go into everything that's been going on, and contributing to my impetus to write this-- but I know that you'll understand.

Thanks for reading! <3

I've had a shit couple of weeks-- close to 6 weeks, if I'm completely frank. I know everyone goes through tough times, so I've tried to keep my head up, my eyes open, and do what I have to do to get through it. You know how it is, it's not easy to put on your "helpful telephone voice" to deal with the same four questions over and over again*, when your stomach is in knots and you haven't had a good night's sleep since May.

But, if you're like me, you keep using that perfectly cultured telephone voice, sometimes in person with clients and people around you, and pushing through. It's got to end, got to come to a head, got to resolve, something...

My partner has worked for the same corporation for almost ten years. He's moved from different departments into the one he's in now, and works extensively with clientele in California. This is a good thing, as he loves the type of work he's in. What isn't good, is that he found out that his particular position was deleted from their hierarchy. Deleted is my word, they use restructured, or some corporate-speak. All of the people doing his particular job were given a generous severance package, told that a small handful of positions were available, and to apply for this new SP one if they wished. If they didn't get the SP, they were told, "Thanks, don't let the door hit you on the way out."

He went for the SP job, took it... it sucks. I mean, really sucks. But, this sort of thing happens in his industry, and he has made plans for how to turn this dead end into a Y in the road. I'm very proud of him for the way he handled this, and for the grace he showed everyone involved. He worked, as hard as he could, up until the day his position terminated, and then moved into the new one.

That's not to say he wasn't angry, or upset... he just knew the right way to handle those negative feelings-- and I feel that he validated himself, allowing himself to feel these, to experience them, and to learn from them. Sometimes we need to really feel the anger or sadness in order to know where to go next.

Our "next", is complicated, and so I won't be discussing it today. In the future, maybe a year, maybe five, I'll talk more about it. But we have to get there, first.

For myself, during this time, I worried, I counted pennies, I planned and I plotted. I worried about money, I worried about my partner's health, I worried about everything. And I didn't sleep. Career changes aren't easy, even when you want to make the change; something like a layoff, a job termination, they are ten times worse, because you haven't been able to plan for them-- in the way you can plan when you're choosing a job change.

I don't know if I've given myself room to feel about this whole thing. I don't think I have, because I was and have been, so busy giving him space to ponder aloud, to discuss, to postulate and to vent. I tried to remain calm, give Pros and Cons without emotion, to be the Devil's Advocate for each idea, each side, each avenue. I believe that you can't make an informed decision without looking at all the sides, after all, and my ability to see when, even when I disagree with them, is and always has been, one of my strong points.

I know I've been terrified. I know I've been angry, and I know I've felt that he was betrayed. I felt that this was an absolutely shitty way to treat people, and I've railed against the firings that took place in January in his department-- when entire teams are gutted, and then you punish the teams further by taking part of their leadership-- well, you get the idea.

I've never believed that the world was fair; in fact, I know it is not. I've taught my kids to expect it to be as unfair as they can imagine. But, and this is a huge but-- that means we, as humans, MUST work to make it as fair as we can. This means rewarding hard work, it means supporting those who are downtrodden, and working for a better future for everyone.

I don't feel that his company has done that-- even on a small, department level. And that bothers me. Yeah, yeah, corporations, unfair, business as usual, blah blah blah. These are my feelings, and I didn't censor them. I've just been trying to feel and acknowledge them. Then I can get past them, or at least, work within the new framework of my emotional state.

I need to work on validating my own feelings about it, in the same way I have validated my partner's. I'm not always good at that-- validating my own feelings. I am good at extending that to others, though. I'm working on it, and I do know it's something that I need to give myself.

Accepting your own emotions and feelings can be hard when you've been taught that only the feelings of others are important. I was taught that it was my job to make others feel better, because I had obviously done something to hurt them. Push down my own feelings on the matter, and smooth things over. It took a few years to realize that this was what I was doing in the first place; however, knowing is half the battle, as they say, so I can continue to work to protect and nurture my own feelings, to accept them, and to give them the space they need to be felt and experienced.

While this saga was going strong, my oldest cat went missing.
She's 14, grew up in Michigan and likes to go outside (and do her business) like a dog. She sneaked past me, and when I went out for her about 20 min later, she was no where to be found! We searched everywhere, in the washes, up and down the streets in our development, Everywhere!

We searched for days... weeks... it was during the hottest part of the Tucson summer, when high temps high 115 for several days in a row. I thought she was gone, that she'd died out there! I hoped, with a tiny sliver of hope, that she'd found a person who loved ornery, grumpy kitties and was safe and cared for.

This story has a happy ending, in that 6 full weeks after she walked out the back door, she walked into our neighbour's back door! We found out the next day, and my partner picked her up. She's a little skinnier, but otherwise her normal, obnoxious, torbie self. She walks around the house like she never left-- swatting the younger cats, mewing for tuna juice or anything I'm cooking, and nipping us when she wants attention and we're not snuggling her fast enough.

She's not allowed outside to go potty until we get a harness and walk her, though. And she's quite cross about it, let me tell you! I wonder if she got fed up with the foster kittens we were raising and went on a walk-about to avoid them... she never was around them, though, so I would have told her just hang out in my kid's room :)

I'm just thrilled she's home. I missed my angry old lady cat!

Work has been stressful, but that's the nature of my work. In the same way I rarely speak of my partner's job, I don't write about mine. I do this to respect the work we both do, as well as to protect the privacy of all of our coworkers. I will say that the renovation project is nearly done-- maybe another 3 months? I'll admit, I don't know a lot about construction time-lines. It's coming on, and I'm super excited about it, though, and went on a walk-through the other day, so I could see how far we've come. I will share photos when it's done, as not all of my readers live close enough to see it :)

We do have a new director ("Hi, K!"), so her first couple months have been filled with the usual catch-up on our inner-workings. What we all do, how we do it, what can be streamlined, what can't be. I've taken on a couple more of our programs, and I do like it, very much. With my new programs, I've gotten a title change-- which is so cool! If you've ever had a new boss you'll know what I've been going through-- it's not a bad thing, just a different thing.

One of the things that has been frustrating, and hilarious, and mostly hilariously frustrating, is how I've been working to streamline one of the programs. Have you ever written a "how to do this job"? So you jot down the steps, as you do them; then realize that it's confusing as fuck, because you're so used to doing it, but if another person reads it, they're lost! So you strip it down to the basic steps, and again, you're confusing your reader. I'm right there, now with one of them. Trying to get the steps down, so that I can teach other person, without forgetting something vitally important! This program is fairly important to our shelter, and has been around for a long time-- so I want people to be able to understand and handle it, not be confused.

I'll get there, but I'm frustrated with myself. I feel that I should be better able to do this, but I'll get there, and hope to be done with that bit, soon. I know that my head hasn't been in the game this week, and I'm about to get to that bit now.

I took in 3 kittens on the 15th (a week ago, yesterday). They came to us from a municipal shelter in another county, and were in really bad shape. These adorable little guys were just abut 4 weeks old, and weighed only 6 ounces! This is about 10 ounces short of where they should be at their age. I knew the littlest one, who I named Rathlin, was in bad shape, he was so very small. The other two weren't much better. But I knew I'd do the best I could, so I pulled up my proverbial belt, and set to work.

Unfortunately, little Rathlin crashed on Monday morning. When I found him, he was cold, and barely responding. He had been quiet Sunday, and spent the day snuggled into my shirt, getting cozy and snoozing between feedings. I ran him down to the shelter, where we stabilized him, and they sent my home with additional items for my "kitten emergency kit". He died, in my hands, at 0920, AZ time, Monday the 17th. He was exactly  4 weeks old.

Heartbroken, but determined, I doubled down on my efforts for Scatterly and Dunsy, the girl and boy who remained. I took them to work, fed them more often, snuggled them even more, and watched closer. I got up early Wednesday morning, roughly 2 to feed them, and things were ok. I had two quiet, but hungry kittens.

Wednesday morning Dunsy crashed, and died that morning at the shelter, surrounded by love and care. And my heart broke again. And now I had one...

I went to bed on Wednesday, setting my alarm to get up at 0230, to check on Scatterly. Knowing that her brothers dying from Fading Kitten Syndrome (which is what it's called), made her own chances much higher. So, I thought, fuck sleep-- I'll go the "bottle baby" route, rather than the "musher who needs a little extra care" route.

At 0230, I got up, went to check on her (Scatterly was sleeping in a large box next to my bed), and found her crashing. Oh no she didn't, I thought, and set about with my kitten emergency kit!

Dextrose and then a little karo syrup to perk her up; sub-cu fluids to hydrate, and food right down her gob. Heating pad, rubbing her to get the fluid distributed and her blood going, and all the time I was talking to her, "Come on, kiddo, fight with me!"

My partner ran to heat the water bag for her, while I grabbed the karo, and anything else I needed, he grabbed for me. We're not morning people, and don't wake up well, but when there's an emergency, we can pull our shit together. We stabilized her and she slept soundly about 0330.

So I woke up two hours later and every two hours after that, to feed her. Her mushy food (a mixture of a/d kitten food and kitten replacement milk [KMR is kitten formula]), via syringe; it's messy and smells funny, but it's worth it. Her feedings have spaced out now, to about 4 hours. And she's getting mouthy, yelling at me when she's hungry, and trying to explore the whoooooole house (3 square feet at a time!).

Scatterly isn't out of the woods yet-- kittens aren't until after they are altered, but she's on the mend, and I am hoping with all of my heart, that we can get her through this. Her photo is above-- she was sitting on my shoulder at work, "helping"!

I work hard to raise every kitten I foster; I know I'm their mummy, and I want to give them the best start I can. I also hold myself responsible if they get sick, or in the very rare instance that they die. I know, rationally, what the statistics are for orphaned kittens. I know, rationally, that all I can do is the best I can, and that they have to do the rest. I know it rationally.

But, emotionally, and quite irrationally, I blame myself if kittens die. So I second guess myself, and replay everything I've done-- maybe I could do this better, maybe I could do that better. I want to beat the odds, every single time. I want every single kitten who comes into my home and my heart, to find a loving, adoptive home with a fabulous family who will adore them forever! That's why I keep doing it, and will keep fostering kittens until there aren't any more orphans in need of a human mummy... I'll foster until I'm 957 years old, and just can't do it any more, because my caretaker is just fed the fuck up with my shit. I'll foster until I die.

In the midst of the everything that has been going on, I've had beautiful moments of happiness. Even when I was worried about my partner's job, about what we were going to do, I celebrated my youngest son's decision, and by his choice we were in court on June 16th, and the judge changed his name with a flourish of her pen, making him so happy! Voila! His surname matches mine, and (more importantly I think, in his mind) matches that of his beloved stepdad-- or, well his Dad... he doesn't see my partner as his step-anything, but as his Dad!

Then again, on July 20th, my oldest son went to court for an adult adoption. Again, a name change, and again step- turns into Dad!

Two** judges in Tucson, with two pens, on two different days, wiped away a past name, took away a past hurt, removed a past bio-father who doesn't care, and instituted a current Dad who does. With a little judicial magic, the past is all gone, and instead of that person who doesn't and didn't care, they have a person who does! Their Dad, their DAD is all theirs, and the courts recognize him as such.

The guys are pretty thrilled, all three of them!

This does mean some time spent running down new paperwork, applying for birth certificate amendments and new social security cards. I'll have to take paperwork down to the middle school tomorrow for my youngest, to change his name in the system before school starts. His legal name is different now, after all, and we want everything to be done as soon as we can. I'm sure we're going to forget something (for instance, I just thought about the insurance!) but we'll get it fixed up, and the newest Messrs. Crawford will have their legal stuff taken care of :)

Like I said, I've had beautiful days, and OMFG Stressful days. I've had days where I wanted to shoot myself, and days where I wanted to cry and not get out of bed. I'll continue to have good days and bad, and I know it.

I also know, that getting it down, admitting that I need to give myself a break, to allow myself to feel upset or angry, to mourn or to scream, really is ok. I need to stop trying to figure out why I feel this way or that, and just feel it for a moment. Damn me and my clinical brains, just feel!

I won't go into why I do this to myself, and I won't try to figure it out. I won't even try to think about that bit at all.

Right now, I'm going to feel. And I have to let that be good enough.



*Yes, we have a telephone tree, and yes, my line has nothing to do with the general question line, but anyone who works at a small company knows that eleventy billion percent of callers just call every single extension until someone picks up... so I get questions about procedures for adoptions, when the next volunteer event is, and asked if we can take in their cat-- none of which is my department. It's not bad, usually, but you know how it is, when the phones are ringing off the hook, and you get the "what's your website address?" or "what are your hours of operations?" (both of which are in the phone tree's intro!)... ugh!

**My daughter has not opted to go to court for either a name-change or a step-parent adoption at this time. Because it's so important to us that this is the choice of our kids, and something they truly want, we will leave the option open for her, but won't file paperwork until, and unless, she lets us know this is something she wants. If this changes in the future, I'll be sure to share the happy news. And if it doesn't change, that's her choice, and I support it fully :)

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