Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Passing Familiarity with "Bittersweet"

This has been a strange few weeks, with some absolutely awesome things happening, and some terrifically hidious things happening, all kind of rolled up in some oh-my-word-I-am-so-effin-TIRED.

So. Not very long ago a friend in the business asked if I was still interested in moving back home to New England. I replied in the affirmative, and explained the various places I've been looking for work.

He had an Inside Scoop, and passed his contact to me. Who I promptly called and e-mailed. She forwarded my info to the hiring person, who seemed shall we say less than interested in the wonder that is me.

I know! Right? What was she thinking?!?!

Anywho, I advised I'd be in the area on vacation and quite happy to come in for an interview. No response.

In the meantime, colleagues, unbeknownst to me, were giving an earful as to the wonder that is me (thought I was just kidding about that, didn't you?). So then it was on. Can I just say "YAY!" right here?


I fly back home Friday night, and my SIL picks me up at the airport. On the drive we get a phone call: my 99 year old Nam, my last surviving grandparent, had passed. The Absolute Suckage.

Two days later, 80-plus loved ones got together for an all day celebration of Mom's and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary. It. Was. Spectacular. I was worried that Dad would have a really hard time of it but, as Aunt Sue pointed out: the family was all together. What a perfect time to have such concrete evidence of the love and support of everyone.

Three days after that I go on the interview. It. Was. Awesome. I wanted that job so much I could smell it. And I was offered it on the spot, with the official letter to come in two days.

Yeah, that day arrives (Friday before the long holiday weekend) and no offer letter. Nooooo! Now I have to sit all (long) weekend and wait for it! Will it be enough money? Will there be relocation? Temporary housing? What? What!!

On the 4th we have our annual reunion on the island, with 44 attendees this year. So fun!! Then I fly back West to work Tuesday morning. Still no offer, and no explanation as to the delay.

That's what bothered me the most: being left in the dark.

So, I get home from my 10 day vacation around 7pm Tuesday night, only to find my 15 year old cat Maddie gravely ill. I tell you I lost it, right then and there. My poor girl obviously hadn't eaten the entire time I was gone, and her entire body was encrusted with some kind of skin rash.

She crept out from under the bed on unsteady legs and collapsed on the floor next to me. She couldn't get up on the bed; could barely stand, actually, and had crusty scabs over 80% of her body.  The 20% without scabs was because she had no fur at all and the skin was clammy and fire-engine red. WTF? I pulled out a jar of baby food, and she devoured a spoonful. I waited an hour to see if she'd sick-up and, when she didn't, gave her another spoonful.

She ate half the jar (which is tiny) and collapsed in exhaustion. She kept waking up all night and snuggling into my shoulder like she was amazed I was really there. I fed her 1/4 of a can of cat food the next morning and ran her up to the vet (the Awesome Doctor Laura) who decided on the spot to keep her overnight.

I don't get it; I've been going back home twice a year for the past 10 years and she's never had a problem. I thought this was stress, but a week later she's back at the vet, dehydrated and with a 10% weight loss while on steroids. Makes no sense, as steroids make pets ravenously hungry and thirsty.

Anyway, while I've been going through Maddie concerns in the week I've been back here in Misery (she's up all night, vocalizing, which means yours truly is also waking up, all night, listening ... last night I actually slept in the spare bedroom so I could sleep through the night), I've also been going crazy over the (possible) new job.

I finally called hiring manager Wednesday to ask after the offer letter, which I had by the end of the day. For much less than I expected. Way less. As in, effectively a cut in pay less. But an awesome relo package.

But too little to actually live on, seeing as there's a 20% delta in cost-of-living.

So I crafted, with the tremendous help of Dad, my counteroffer and shot it off Thursday. And waited for a response.

And waited.

And waited.  Until Monday. Which was supposed to have been my start date.

So I called hiring manager, who was headed into a meeting and asked if she could call me back in an hour. Which didn't happen.

So I called back yesterday, we hammered out the pay issue, and she sent a revised offer letter.

But wait. Someone in the upper echelons has to confirm my years of service (this is a sister company) and health benefits will transfer with no breaks. Well, my HR thinks so, but can't be held to it; refer to hiring manager, who thinks so, but can't be held to it; refer to hiring HR, who thinks so, but has only been on the job three weeks so needs to investigate.

Needless to say, I stipulated to the bridge-in-service in my acceptance letter.

And now, it looks like tomorrow morning on the way into work I will be stopping at the veterinarian's to cuddle my dear sweet Mads as Awesome Doc administers the drug (they just cannot get a handle on what is wrong with her or why, and she's not reacting as expected to antibiotics or steroids; her eyes are now slits due to crust and light sensitivity and she's got even more encrustations all over that aren't clearing up). Sigh. This f'n sucks.

So: Nam passed, wonderful 50th anniversary, job interview, wait for job offer, wonderful 4th of July, wait for job offer, discover very sick cat, wait for job offer, get low-ball job offer, submit counter-offer, wait for response, cat gets worse, get revised job offer, very sick cat, wait for HR info, stressed out/no sleep.

Now have to get actual start date, temporarily farm out (surviving) cats and dogs, sell house, pack belongings, store belongings, buy house, ship belongings, transport pets, etc. I'm exhausted, but am pretty sure I'm bordering on happy in there somewhere. Just can't feel it right now. Have I mentioned I'm exhausted? Poor Mom picked up the phone this morning and was ambushed by me bawling over Mads (thanks Mom, and sorry Mom!).

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