Friday, September 3, 2010

August in Review

I realized today that it has been almost exactly a month since that last time I updated. August sure was a busy month around here. Most of it has been work related, as Dan and I are both working 2 jobs at the moment.

We are still trying to catch up on all of our bills and the higher-than-expected costs we incurred during the move back in June. It was tough right when we moved because Dan was still working for the company he did in Tucson. Which was fine, at least it was a job, however it was a 75 minute drive one way over to west Phoenix, costing about $15 in gas per day, and he was not given the "cost of living" raise he was expecting since it costs more to live here than in Tucson. So, not only was he not making anymore, but he was spending about 20-25% of his paycheck on gas. This was not conducive to our catching up.

Dan started a new job at a small bank based out of ND that is located in east Gilbert. This cut his commute time from 75 min. down to 30 min. which is about average for just about everyone who lives out where we do. He loves his job and the people he works with. It is a very laid back environment, which took him a few weeks to get used to, but makes for a much happier Dan when he gets home. This has been key for me. So often at his old job he would come home beyond frustrated and at his wits end. Naturally, he would need to vent it off to someone, which I didn't mind until it became almost a daily occurance. I can't express how much better this new job has been. Not to mention the fact that he's making about $3 more an hour and there will hopefully be room for advancement eventually.

He also started a part time job with the Town of Queen Creek Parks and Rec during mid-July. He has been refereeing/site supervising 6 & 7 year old basketball for the past 6 weeks or so, and has thoroughly enjoyed it. It's good exercise for him, and it's an easy job working with kids, which he loves. He's looking forward to the fall league of adult co-ed softball that will be starting in the next week or two. He's even making more at this job than he was at the job in west Phoenix...It has been a nice supplement.

At the beginning of August, I was hired for a part-time position at a brand-new Baskin Robbins store that was opening in Queen Creek. The store was not yet open when I was hired, and we actually just opened about 2 weeks ago. It is just a small part-time thing that has been a good way for me to get out of the house and earn a little extra money for baby stuff/black Friday shopping/Christmas. It has definitely been hard for me to tell people that I work at Baskin Robbins, when I have 2 college degrees and am a Registered Dental Hygienist. I am the oldest employee at the store, and I am 98% sure I am in for a promotion/raise in the next few weeks. However, at the same time it is hard to fathom that all my hard work and dedication to school has gotten me to Baskin Robbins, making minimum wage.
Let me explain my thought process behind getting this job for those wondering, and partially to help remind myself also. Right after hygiene school, I waited for my license to come and then immediately began putting out resumes to just about every hygienist position I could find. I submitted probably 10-15 resumes within a week or 2 and had 1 office call for an interview. I went to the interview, but was not so hyped on the office or it's practices. They never called back. I wasn't too sad about it...The day after that interview, I found out I was pregnant. I immediately knew that any small chance I had in finding a job as a hygienist would be pretty much out the door as soon as they found out I was going to need 6 months of maternity leave in less than a year. The office manager of the office I interviewed at said she had over 150 resumes that came in for the hygiene position. People who were willing to move from out of state for the job. Somehow I made it to the top 3 who got interviews, but I knew that if that was the case in her office, there was a very good chance that's how it was everywhere. She said her temp agency contact told her she has hundreds of hygienists call everyday looking for work. Then, when I was pregnant, I knew I needed to and felt good about just giving up on the search for a job as a hygienist right now. Not only would an office not want to hire me when I was pregnant, but I didn't know that I wanted to start a new job in a new office when I would only be working there 6 months at the most before going on leave. As much as the salary of a hygienist would be SO incredibly helpful right now, and as worried as I am that I will lose the skills that I worked for 2 long years to build, I felt good about that choice.
But I knew I needed something. I knew I couldn't just sit around the house all day, everyday for the next 9 months waiting for the baby to come. That's when I found the job at BR. It was just what I wanted. Easy, fun, close, flexible, and somewhere that I wouldn't feel bad leaving in 8 months or so if I needed to. So yes, I am making minimum wage, working with mainly high school students in their "entry level" job, but it's enough of a supplement for our needs and frankly is exactly the type of position I needed. I will soon be promoted to a shift leader, which will come with a pay increase as well as more of a managerial role than just a general employee who does dishes and scoops ice cream all day. It's tough. It's tough to tell people, and it's tough to hear our customers say "oh yeah, I worked at a Baskin Robbins years ago when I was in high school". But I just have to remember why I'm there and what I want out of it.

I also was hired by a company called Rise Services, which is a company my mom works with to get respite and habilitation services for my 9 year old Down Syndrome sister, Annie. Now that we live back in town, and hopefully by the end of the year will be moving even closer, I wanted to become qualified and certified to provide these services for Annie. For the past 9 years, my mom has taken Annie to other people's homes where they have provided respite (essentially babysat her) for a few hours a day. It was a great arrangement, until a few years ago when the girl my mom had been taking Annie to for years got married and didn't want to do it anymore. Since then she's gone around to different providers here and there, but it's gotten even more difficult as Annie gets older and harder to manage. My mom never felt comfortable having other people/strangers come into her home to watch Annie, even though it would have been much more convenient for her and much easier on Annie. But now that can be the case. Now, I can go to my moms and watch Annie while my mom runs errands, takes a shower, and does whatever other motherly things she needs to do around the house. I have been doing this for Annie's whole life really, but have just done it as a sisterly/daughterly duty and have never been paid. But now, I get paid by the state to watch Annie. The best part for my mom is they could even go somewhere overnight if they needed to, because Dan and I can just go stay at my mom's and Annie still sleeps in her own bed, etc. It's been a great arrangement, it's just a little difficult to do often right now because I still live 45 minutes from my mom. But soon, hopefully we will take advantage of it even more.

Essentially, this has been our August in a nut shell. A lot of working with a few small things here and there.

I had my monthly OB appointment yesterday and finally met the Dr. herself. It was a very short visit, but she did ask if I was interested in having the NTS testing done. I told her I had thought about it, but still hadn't made a decision. She explained the procedure to me and what it looks for, and told me I had until my next appointment to decide. So, this is the big question in my mind at the moment. I'm not sure if my insurance covers it. But if so, I'm leaning towards having it done. Being my first pregnancy, I want to know all I can about the baby that's growing inside of me. If there is something that isn't right, I'd like to know about it now so I can prepare for it for when they get here. I think of my mom having an Amnio done and finding out Annie had Downs. Those were some very dark days for probably a good month, followed by intensive reading and research to find out all she could about it and be as ready as she could be to care for it. I couldn't imagine if they wouldn't have known and had to try to cope with it and research the condition and everything after she was already here.

What do you think? Did you have the NTS done? Were you glad you did? Would you do it again?


tiffandalex said...

I totally understand your frustration about a job. I only have 1 degree, but I'm not using it either. Sometimes I think about doing something else, but I am grateful for my job and it's flexibility that allows me to basically be a stay at home mom and it is so worth it!
I didn't have any prenatal tests done with ben and I don't plan to with this one either. I, however, don't have birth defects in my family so I might feel differently otherwise. I would think that in some ways it would be nice to know ahead of time if something was wrong, but it may also stress me out unnecessarily. I say pray about it and do what is right for you!

Joan said...

Hey Jill,
I was just thinking about you guys last night and now a new post from you today. I had then tests done for the same reasons that you mentioned, wanting to know about the baby and to get myself ready if there were any problems.
Working at BR sounds like it would be a nice break from all the hard work that you have been doing these past few years.