Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Office Manager

So it seems that by default and kind of against my will I'll be the new office manager. Without my prior knowledge, I had been referred to as the acting office manager. Glad everyone is on the same page. So my pay bump for taking on supervising a staff of 3, all financial duties (client invoicing, vendor billing, petty cash, handling all fee earner time and other tasks) and other office manager type jobs is a 5% pay 3 months possibly!

Apparently I negotiated a little too well in my initial job offer and I'm already making about the same as the trainee lawyers, other office managers in the country, and the former quasi-manager. I know I've been saying this for a while, but at this point knowing that there isn't much more of a financial ladder to climb I'm ready to jump ship for a job that pays as much and even less than I make now. I know with the jobs I'm applying for there would be some serious position/financial movement in a couple of years.

I figured I might as well take the title, so I can put it on my resume and make my applications stronger. The consensus with one of the partners was that even if I didn't officially take the job I would end up doing all of this stuff anyway because I'm the "most senior administrator". I have been there 5 months, the other two have been there for 10 months and 5 years!

There are 3 active applications out there, plus the position I turned down earlier in the summer because it would have been impossible to accomplish in the time frame given, which will be coming back up in a couple of months. I'm just hoping something good comes along before the end of September/probationary period when I only need to give 2 weeks notice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm still alive

We got back 2 weeks ago and things have been full throttle since then. The big developments are:

  1. Girls are over jetlag.
  2. Girls are sharing a room, both sleeping all night and not waking up until 7 or 7:30AM. There is a god!
    • Boo will wake in the night, drink a bottle we have sitting on the nightstand and put herself back to bed!!
  3. I have applied for 5 jobs since getting back and need to get out!
    • No longer Supervisor has now had essentially all of the duties she would think she should be doing heaped on my team. No-Longer-Supervisor will now be "managing more higher level tasks" - So I get to do her job and not get paid anymore for it...
    • I have some leads and am letting everyone in my network know I'm looking
  4. Liam has been moved off his HUGE project to 2 smaller projects
    • Kind of sucks because we don't know what the hours will be once Ramadan is over
    • Even more reason for me to get a job where I have been looking because his new job is right by my job and on the other side of town from the girls nursery
  5. It's really f*cking hot (115-120 with 90% humidity)! Nursery is closed, so the girls are cooped up inside all day with Melody and that definitely sucks
  6. I'm still combatting guilt about taking the girls away from my fam, especially when Z cries that she wants to go to Grandmom's house and misses cousin X, Y, Z, L, M, N, O, P

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

11pm bedtime

That's been pretty standard for the whole family since arriving in the US. If Liam's family was hands off, man has my family been hands on. We were at my aunt-in-laws parents house for dinner last night that they try and invite us to every time we're back. It was delicious as usual and gave the kids yet another chance to play. There are 10 little cousins 10 years old and under, which means that Z and Boo are having a fabulous time. Z has learned everyone's names and how to tear up when they are about to leave the house close to 10pm and squeeze a bit more time out of them.

We've been to the local zoo, aquarium, 2 children's museum an OUTLETS!!! I've gotten a new work wardrobe for under $200, Liam has gotten new work shirts and pants, we've purchased clothes/shoes that should get Z well into late 2014 and gotten a few pieces for Boo to supplement her Z provided wardrobe. The only things we need to buy now are bits and pieces for the house and my vanilla extract!

One thing I'll say about this trip, beside being seriously draining in a great way, is that it's making us both feel really guilty that we don't live here. Our trips anywhere are with at least 2 minivans and sometimes 3. Between my grandparent's anniversary party, which required me to do the big ask for lunch to my grandfather because the fam was sure he would miss his own surprise party with another case of the "I don't want to go outs." The family from near and far was there and it gave us a chance to dress up the girls and watch them climb under tables, roll all over the floor and bust a move on the dance floor. We also had Boo baptised in the church basement where they had to hold service because the sanctuary's newly refinished floors weren't ready yet. And we still have a lot more to cram in, especially since we probably won't be back until maybe Christmas 2014.

 Z's language is already great, but it's been growing by leaps and bounds around all of the family. She's also playing so well with her little cousin just a couple of days older, Maggie. I mean they are like two peas in a pod and just running around everywhere and the bigger kids are great at watching over them and taking care of them. We had a BBQ for the 4th and while all the grownups were inside getting things ready to go on the grill all of the kids were in the back yard on their own ranging in age from 12-1 just playing and having fun. They were checking out turtles, frogs and ants, sword fighting with sticks and playing tag. It was all of the things I remembered loving about growing up with a big family. It's going to be super sad when we leave and I definitely think that Z might freak out a little.

This trip has pushed us to replicate this feeling back home as much as possible. We've been trying, but by seeing how much fun she's having we know we need to try harder. The biggest thing for next visit is that I don't think we're going to be able to stay at my grandparent's house like we are this time. The room we are in is fine, but the rest of the house is approaching hoarder territory, which is bad considering how much better it is according to everyone in preparation for our visit. There is just so much stuff! A lot of it is from my aunt who passed away unexpectedly at 34 about 10 years ago. My grandmother doesn't want to get rid of things because she thinks she's holding onto it for my aunt's sons, but they have already said they don't want it. I think part of it is she doesn't want them to come to her in a few years and ask for the stuff if they change their minds and she just really can't let go of it. Our dream would be to hire a huge dumpster and some dudes and just have them help clean everything out. I think that Liam and I are probably the only people she would do it for. Maybe next winter we'll be able to save enough to make it happen.

All in all a great trip so far, we have 3 full days left and leave on Saturday evening for the glorious 22 hour trip back home. We've stocked up at Target on $1 toys for the trip and I'm definitely not as nervous as I was before. It's a night flight so they should be good to go and sleep well.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Suggestions on ways you celebrate holidays

My previous post on raising kids in another culture noted that creating those connections is something that's important for me. Now that the girls are getting older and more aware I think Liam and I are much more alert about the fact that we need to start creating these traditions for them. It's not something that they will pick up in the couse of things, if we don't make an effort. It's weird trying to think back to the things that I enjoyed as a child mainly because it's not until someone reminds me or there is a trigger that I go, oh yeah that was so much fun. We are determined to celebrate all of the holidays we can in a more meaningful fashion. Reading books about the holidays, singing songs, coloring pictures, all of that will be part of things going forward. Any suggestions on what you do for the holidays(any of them)?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dublin Out!

So we're wrapping up the Dublin leg of our journey. The girls have had so much fun. Z calls her Granddad's back garden and best garden, which is totally cute and his little dog is definitely a fan favorite.

The flight over actually went surprisingly well. Boo had a minor crying spell before passing out on my lap about 45 minutes into the flight. Z decided she wanted to be up and about, so she had a bigger meltdown followed by passing out. All in all it was much better than my expectations and other than being so cold that I thought I might lose a toe, it was a good uneventful flight. We definitely know that for the trip back the essentials are our own small trash bag, short sleeve, long sleeve, hoodie layering for all of us as well as more of those blended food pouches for Boo.

 We were stuck at security for 30 minutes because of freaking liquids! They went through everything only to find a bottle of hand sanitizer or kids toothpaste. I was so ready to just say "LEAVE IT, we'll buy new stuff." We barely made our flight and had to double up the kids in the one umbrella stroller we had, which would have been cute if we weren't sprinting through the airport.

Once we arrived we realized how freaking cold 60 degrees feels when you're used to 115. So cold, so so cold. I'm thinking the US will be a much better in between temperature wise. Although the girls have been having fun, this trip has definitely highlighted the differences between Liam's family and my family when it comes to our visits. Liam's sister was here last weekend for a wedding, but tickets were too expensive for her to come this weekend. His oldest brother decided to go on a trip to Greece the week we are here and only came back to drop off some things for about 20 minutes before heading back out to the airport for his move to Singapore. We saw his twin brother, wife and their two kids that are the same age as our kids yesterday for dinner for 3 hours that's it. Also his father went off for a golf day with friends saying he would be able to pick us up from Liam's friend's house and left us stranded to the point that the friend had to give us a lift back to the house at about 9:30pm, we were supposed to be picked up at 8. His dad didn't get back to the house until 12am. I don't really mind people give us our space and letting us do things, but I mean really? We're here for a week and we see his brother once? We've seen Liam's good friend 3 times since we've been here are thinking of doing a holiday with them sometime in the near future.

Meanwhile my family will be arriving to the airport in 2 vans full of people and we will probably see about 20 family members in the first 24 hours. My mom is taking off the whole week of work to take us around everywhere and spend time with us. I think this is just the dynamics of my family and what I'm used to. If I went home and only saw 2 family members that weren't staying in the same house for a total 3 hours, I would be pissed and feel like wtf, why did I even come on this trip? Liam seems fine with it and again the girls are having a blast, I think it's just comparison-itis because we'll be visiting my family next and I think I'm processing this time as taking away from time I could be spending with my family. I think next week when my family is driving me crazy and we just want a few moments of quiet without 10 family members in the room I'll look back on this time more fondly.

Now the great shopping expedition begins and since apparently Amazon is now charging SALES TAX in my state I'm going to have to do some serious price comparisons between Target, Walmart and Amazon to determine what we will be buying where and what will go on the Dream Shopping/Shipping List. The seasonal stuff for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are making their way to the top of the list as well as a lot of kids books, which are impossible to find over there. We'll also be heading to the beach, aquarium, two zoos, two children's museums and just general running around. It's going to be crazy and the vacation after this vacation will be most welcome!