Thus far, 2016 is off to a better start than the last quarter of 2015.
October was good- we moved into the new house and though we are still figuring things out we got mostly settled. I had another successful haunt season. I have a new costume this year and was made the "host" of the haunt. It was very exciting and fun and I am grateful for the trust they put in me to do so. We had some wonderful new kids this season who did a great job. I hope they all come back next season. I also had visits from my son and best friend. Josh came out to help us move- which was terrific of him- and Karyn made her annual trip out. Josh not only got to haunt with me- he was even featured in our professional photos! Karyn got to haunt again too. I loving bringing my family to meet my haunt family.
There's one of my pro photos
And Josh being "tortured"
Karyn and I prepping for the night
Selfie in character
November, on the other hand, was very rough. We lost Miss Harley on the first. Over the course of Halloween weekend she started vomiting and progressively got so sick that by Sunday morning she couldn't lift her head and we rushed her to the vet. Our vet said that her white-blood cell count was through the roof and her liver and kidneys were shutting down. It just broke my heart to have to say goodbye to her. She was about 11 years old and had been with us since we adopted her 7 years ago. Quiet unless she was bossing her brother around and incredibly sweet, she still has a huge piece of my heart. Since we lost her, Auggie has become much less animated. It's been two months and he still looks for her. I understand that because when I am cutting my fruits and veggies in the morning or making my lunch for work, I still expect her to sidle up for a sliver. In the morning, Auggie and I get up and he goes outside then comes back in and waits on the mat for his treat. He then takes the first one in to "her" bed and leaves it there for later and comes back for another which he takes into he living room and eats in my chair. He's starting to perk up a little but will "disappear" into her bed to nap. We left it at the bottom of the bed because our new bed is SO tall that sometimes he just doesn't want to be up there all night so he will move down to the bed and sleep there. They used to cuddle up there together and it seems to comfort him. We had her body cremated and she's still here with us. A dear friend (Thank you a million time Danelle Garner!) surprised us with this lovely tribute on the right which sits on the shelf next to her ashes. We found the little saying at an antique store/flea market in Tennessee and it seemed perfect for the spot. Jim thinks we should get another pup. I am just not ready.
I also lost my valued assistant manager to another career in November. She was young, energetic and super organized. Pretty much everything that I was before my illnesses set in. She was a great complement to me but- she wanted to stay in the area and she wanted more, which I understand. Unfortunately, unless she was willing to wait for me or one of my local colleagues to retire there was no place for her to go. So, she left to go to work for Cnet.com. I wish her all the luck in the world but it's been a struggle without her. Her last day was the 13th of November and we still have not found a good replacement solution. My full-time employee is up for the position but we fear that if she gets it, they won't let us replace the full-time slot. There's another candidate but she won't be available until the second week in February if she gets the position so either way, we are going through this rush short handed. I went on my annual Thanksgiving week vacation with my parents (which was amazing) and since returning I have had exactly 5 days off. I have been running myself ragged and don't know how much longer I can do it (burn out is rapidly approaching) but the show must go on. Students need their books, no matter what our staffing situation. So- we soldier on.
Adding to the stress, in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the husband lost his job. Having a new house, new bills that I have never had to pay before (Mortgage, insurance, water, trash) and having the husband lose his job did not make life easier. Oh- and his truck broke down. I was ready to scrap the damned thing but he needs it to job hunt so we had no choice but to pay major repairs again. Within two months my stress level rose to Threat-Con Delta. Fortunately I am back to traveling to Tennessee for plasma draws for research so we had the money to cover all of our needs AND fortunately I had already taken care of Christmas, but it was tight. Needless to say, I was very glad to see the year end and close the book on this chapter of our lives.
So now the new year. I ended/started the year following all of my usual superstitions for the new year: money on the window sills by midnight, black-eyed peas and something green to eat on the first, burning a list of the things I want to leave behind on NY Eve- I just have to burn the things I want for the year and send it off into the Universe. I plan on doing that tonight. I was going to do it Friday but I thought of a few things to add to the list.
Last Friday, we surprised my husband in a big way. Jim will be 50 on Monday and his brother, who we haven't seen since their dad passed in 2014, drove down from MA to spend the weekend with him. It was an amazing surprise for him. Drew is going through some stuff too so a little "brother time" is something they both needed. I am hoping that they were able to have some "manly conversation" and both will be set on the right path. That was a bright spot to begin the new year.
This Wednesday my sorta-boss is coming down to interview both my FT employee and the candidate from the other store. That means a decision about an assistant for me is imminent, and no matter which way it goes we will have an answer and be able to plan.
Now we just have to find him a job and all will be right in my world again. In the meantime- I am trying to find time for "me time". I am taking Auggie to work with me today so I can spend time with him while I process online orders. I think after I work today I will drop him at home and then go have a manicure done. It's a little thing but it feels good to pamper myself. I also have to find the time now to use the gym membership I bought in December before everything spiraled out of control. Both should help me find my center so I can get back on my own track.
Now though- it's time to go to work and be productive so I wish you a lovely day.