Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bill's job saga the last 2 months

I have mentioned here recently that there has been a lot of stress in our home, especially concerning my husband's job. He was employed by our local newspaper as their sports editor. He held the job for over 8 years. Over the last year or so, his immediate boss has been making his life extremely difficult... accusing him of things he didn't do, hiding cameras and saying that Bill never turned them back in, searching through his computer when he wasn't there, etc. We both felt that she was trying to find anything in order to fire him. There was extreme lack of communication, etc. It got to the point, where there was workplace bullying going on and it was causing Bill to have mental and emotional stress. He was also being forced to work close to 70-75 hours a week on a small salary. (If he didn't cover something he would get written up, or told that this could cause him to be let go, etc.) This let to physical fatigue as well. 

All of this led to Bill having a breakdown a few months ago, where he ended up in the ER with heart racing episode and it was determined that it was not his heart but rather extreme stress and anxiety and fatigue. He was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to go along with his anti-depressant that he was already on. His doctor also encouraged him to maybe look for a different job (he has been looking for a different media job for over a year; there is just nothing available that would be an increase in salary or would be a step up from his level). His doctor also wanted him to work less than 40 hours a week, however knowing the business Bill told his boss that he could work the agreed upon 45-50 hours. They also changed around his work schedule to where he was working at nights putting the paper together instead of in the morning when everyone else was working. 

Sounds like it should have worked out for everyone, right? Wrong. Instead, his boss started forcing him to come in during the morning at least 2 times a week for "meetings." Meaning he would work until 3AM, only to have to turn back around to be back in around 10AM for a meeting. He would also get texts at 6, 7, 8 in the morning with questions or ideas for stories, while he was supposed to be sleeping. If he didn't respond right away he would get lectured when he went into work that night for lack of communication, etc. 

The situation came to a head after a particularly bad night when he was yelled at for something completely out of his control (he hadn't covered a certain school's game and a parent was mad-- he had to cover another school's game at that same time and he was the only sports person available). He sent an email to his doctor telling her that if he had a gun, then he would end his life. At 7AM the next morning, I got a restricted phone call on my phone but didn't answer it. I instead got up and took my shower as normal. As I was getting out of the shower, Jacob was pounding on the bathroom door saying he had to go potty. I told him to go downstairs to the bathroom down there, and he responded that he couldn't because there was police in the living room and Daddy said to stay upstairs. I quickly dressed and went downstairs where I learned about the email to Bill's doctor and that she had tried to call and when she couldn't get a hold of us, she asked the local cops to do a well check. That was when I also learned he had thought about ending his life. 

That day, we spent time at his doctor's office and in the Emergency Room in their crisis room. He was evaluated and deemed okay to come home and not be admitted. They did decide to wean him off the anxiety meds that he was on. They also made him appointments to be evaluated a couple of weeks later. 

When Bill returned to work, nothing had changed. In fact, things got worse. Another co-worker came up to Bill one night and asked him if he was okay and that he didn't want to bother him but his boss had said that "Bill had serious mental health issues that didn't allow him to work during the day and also Bill was anti-social and didn't want to be around anyone". His boss also told Bill that any communication needed to be done through the publishers and not to her. 

At this point, I told Bill he could get jobs at McDonalds and I wouldn't care as long as it meant I would get my husband back. We would make whatever work. Around this same time, Bill reached out to a friend from church who has opened 2 restaurants in our town in the last few months. He asked him if there was any openings in his stores and he explained everything that had happened recently. This man graciously offered Bill a job in his new sub shop after talking to him that afternoon. It is out of the media business and is not quite the same money he was making at the paper but it would get him out of that toxic environment. So Bill put in his two week notice into the paper on a Friday. 

On the following Monday night, Bill went and covered a baseball game like normal and then went to the paper to put the sports pages together and write his story. While there, his boss came in and after an hour didn't appear to be doing anything. It was highly unusual for her to be in after 8pm. Bill texted me that a co-worker was getting ready to leave and he didn't want to be alone with her. I told him to come home if he was uncomfortable. So he decided to come home. When he got home, he said that he got a text from her saying that she needed him to come back because she wanted his keys.  When he got back, his boss told him that they were releasing him from his 2 week obligation due to the atmosphere and that they would still pay him for the 2 weeks and his accrued vacation time (3 weeks). So Bill handed over his keys and left, ending his career at the newspaper. 

So what now? Well, now Bill is working at the sub shop. He also will soon be working part-time at Kroger (he had orientation there last week). He is dealing with the loss of a salaried job and taking on an hourly job. He has his moments of being extremely down and his moments of thinking he has made a huge mistake. I will be honest and say that this has been an extremely hard transition. We are just in the beginnings of the transition and so hopefully we have hit the rock bottom and are climbing up.   


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Jacob's First Holy Communion

Last Sunday was a very special day in our family....Jacob made his first Holy Communion at our church. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside and was just perfect.

He was excited but nervous. He had a reading part in Mass, as he had to read one of the Prayers of the Faithful Petitions. He did a great job! 

The church was decorated with banners that the kids had decorated in advance of receiving the sacrament. 

Mass was also extra special as Rebecca was one of the altar-servers as well. It was also special because Bill was able to get to church just in time to see him make his First Communion. He had been at work and was able to leave just in time after we had thought he would miss the whole thing. 

After his First Communion, Jacob was all smiles and we posed for some pictures outside. 

He was smiles with his Aunt Mary, who almost missed his First Communion, due to encountering a car accident as she was driving down from Cleveland, but got there just before Bill did.

Jacob and my parents...

Jacob and I...

Jacob and our family friends, the Auchards… 

Jacob and his siblings...

Then we headed home for a simple party complete with food and cake! 

It was such a special day for Jacob and is another step in his Catholic faith! 

Nature Scenes for May 27, 2018

Happy Sunday! I can't believe May is almost over. This has been a long month with a ton of stress in my life...including Bill starting new job, crazy end of the school year schedules, having some sickness go through the house and just lots of anxiety and stressful situations all around (did I mention our van broke down yesterday and had to be towed!). I have been trying to spend a lot of time outside when I can since it is soothing to me. This week was no exception as I got in a couple 5 mile walks and I spent a day with my mom and sister exploring some areas near us. The walks/time outside was beautiful this week as the wildflowers have sprouted and there is so much green. It is so soothing. I hope you enjoy this week's nature photos..... 
Photos from May 21, 2018--- Kokosing Gap Trail

May 22, 2018 ---Ariel Foundation Park
As many times as I have walked in this park, I have never seen the train come through. Well, this was my lucky day as I got to see it come through! 

May 23, 2018--- Kokosing Gap Trail at Kenyon College

May 24, 2018-- Honey Run Waterfall
I spent the day going to different places around Knox County with my mom and sister. Honey Run was one of the places we spent some time. 

For more nature scenes you can check out my other nature posts: 

I hope everyone is having a good Sunday and if you get a chance check out the nature scenes around you! 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Quick trip to Cleveland for my sister's graduation

After the football awards night, I had to come home and pack for a quick trip to Cleveland the next day as I was taking the kids up to see my sister Mary graduate from college that Friday night. 

I picked the kids up early from school (at 1) and I also picked up our brother Josh and his girlfriend Kacie, to drive up to Cleveland for graduation. The drive up wasn't bad. We met up with my parents, Mary, and her girlfriend Maddie, at the hotel that my parents had made reservations at. 

Then we all headed to downtown Cleveland to the Wolstein Center to watch Mary walk across the stage as an Ursuline College graduate. I am very thankful that Mary's girlfriend offered to drive the kids and I as I am terrified of driving the freeway in the city and it being rush-hour, etc. I was just glad that she drove! 

Once there, we found seats and sat for about 45 minutes before graduation started. My mom got the kids some popcorn and water to keep them happy. Honestly, though they did a great job sitting and patiently waiting on graduation to start.

I will admit that I teared up during the playing of "Pomp and Circumstance." That song gets me every time. Overall, the ceremony took about 2 hours including the speakers. 

 My sister received her Bachelor's degrees in art therapy and psychology.

After the ceremony was over, we headed outside for LOTS of pictures!

First up...Mary the graduate (sans shoes, as she had on really high heels that came off when everything was done. LOL) 

Mary with the kids....

Mary and Ben... these 2 have such a tight bond with each other, that it isn't even funny...

Me and Mary...

Mary and Jacob...

Rebecca and Mary...

Mary and our parents...

Mary and her girlfriend Maddie...

Our brother Josh (who graduates from high school tomorrow), Mary, and Josh's girlfriend Kacie....

Then it was time to head back to the hotel, where my mom ordered lots of overpriced room service food (it was 11PM and we were all starving). I finally got the kids to bed around 1 AM, knowing that my alarm was going to be ringing just a few short hours later, as we had to be back in our town by 9AM Saturday morning for a mandatory First Communion practice for Jacob. 

Even though it was a very short, whirlwind trip, I am so glad that I was able to attend her graduation and that my kids were able to attend! We are so proud of her!  

FBC Flag Football Award Ceremony

It feels like every time I finally have a moment to sit down and write a blog post, I have to start it by apologizing for not blogging in a few days...that is just the nature of life right now-- with end of the school year, end of sports season, beginning of Summer, Bill changing jobs and fighting some depression episodes, graduations, etc. it has been CRAZY around here! I am hoping to get some writing done today as it is really hot and humid outside, Bill is at work, and the kids are cleaning their bedrooms and playing. 

The last time I blogged, I wrote about the end of the year celebration for Rebecca's American Heritage Girls Troop. That was not the only end of the season celebration that we had to attend that week. On Thursday, we attended the end of the FBC (Faith Baptist Church) Flag Football awards ceremony.

This was their first year in existence and it did show in some respects, but none-the-less the kids had a blast playing and it made for some good memories. I like the fact that it was flag football, so very low risk of injury. Also it was a Christian-based league so it was very positive and encouraging (unlike some other leagues that we have been a part of). If you have ever participated in Upwards sports, this church is loosely basing it's sports on that philosophy while trying to keep the costs down for parents. 

Anyhow, the kids had a blast playing and last Thursday they held an awards night to recognize the kids for their playing ability. 

Rebecca received 2 awards: One for MVP and one of for being the Best Leader on her team! 

Jacob won the award for most Christ-like on his team.

Benjamin won the award for being the best center.

The kids were so proud of their medals. I am proud of their ability to be good teammates and to have fun in trying new experiences. They have all 3 said that they will probably want to play again next Spring. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rebecca's End of the Year AHG ceremony

Last Tuesday night, we went to celebrate Rebecca's American Heritage Girls scouting season. Her troop held their awards' ceremony. Rebecca earned 3 badges, a service star (for doing 10 hours of service) and several patches. 

The troop coordinator even presented me with an award for bravery since I touched the snake at the zoo overnight. 

Overall, it was a nice evening and am proud of Rebecca for all her hard work in her American Heritage Girls troop. 

Playing in the rain, cooking and an uneventful week

This past week has been kind of uneventful. We really haven't had a lot going on, which has been good since school starts back next week...