The uplifting side to Botox…

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I know they say you are only as old as you feel.  True, maybe. However, I know I feel as though I’m 30, but look as though I’m mid 40’s!  I have always said that when it comes to aging, I will go down fighting…..

I first got Botox after turning 40 years old.  I could see definite lines in my forehead and the crows feet were glowing.  Other people may have not noticed, but I did….every single morning when looking in the mirror.  To me, if you look good, you feel good.  So…I chose Botox.  I’ve tried all the creams and facials, but nothing really, truly worked. Until now.

I’m no Dr. and cannot share a professional opinion.  I’m just your everyday mom, trying to fight the signs of aging.  What I can offer, is some helpful little tips…I personally chose a plastic surgeon in my area.  I mean, you don’t go to the hardware store for groceries right? I know there are cosmetologists and spa’s that provide Botox, but I’m going to stick with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon-when dealing with my face! I had a girlfriend who let an Emergency Room Dr. give her injections at a Botox party.  Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty….

I always call to find out when they are running a special, and I don’t book unless they are.  Sometimes (if you make that clear), they will offer you a special even if one is not being promoted.  I have never paid more than $11/unit.  I do not join any of their memberships, as I feel it defeats the purpose.  I know they will give in and give me the deal regardless.  I do, however, sign up for a program called Brilliant Distinctions. This is a great, free program that allows you to earn money back for your next Botox appointment.

Botox is strictly for the forehead and around the eye area.  If someone tells you otherwise, it is false.  Below the eyes are for fillers, not Botox. The girlfriend I spoke of above, allowed an E.R. Dr. to inject her around her lips.  She couldn’t use a straw for 4 months.  When she smiled, her eyes moved, but nothing else!  I concentrate on my forehead, and just a little bit around my crows feet.  I don’t want to eliminate all wrinkles, and I want to maintain a natural look. It’s quite painless, and only takes about 5 minutes.  I’ve left an appointment and gone to lunch with friends, there is no recovery! If it helps to gauge, I typically use 30 units during a visit.  So let’s do the math- 30 units @ $11/unit= $330. Then, I get to subrtract my Brilliant Distinctions credit of $25.  So my total is $303/per visit. I do this twice a year, and it’s worth every dime.  I feel like a kid on Christmas at those appointments.

In this busy life, we still need to do tiny things for ourselves.  We work hard, and earn the right to treat ourselves occasionally. This is the gift that keeps on giving 🙂  It may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely a highlight for me!

Let no one rain on your parade

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Recently upon finding out that my ex-husband lost his job and I am solely responsible for financially supporting my children, I began to browse the job market.  I work as a Buyer in the manufacturing industry.  Would I prefer to purchase shoes, accessories, jewelry, make-up? Certainly!  But being located in the midwest, limits me as to where I can work in the role of a Buyer.  I am now faced with the reality that I will have to compensate for what he has lost. I will have to carry health insurance on the 4 children that are still dependants.

I applied for a job as a Buyer at a mid-sized business that deals with heavy equipment and transportation.  I was called within 24 hours for an interview.  Being told I was the best candidate “on paper”, I went in feeling somewhat confident that this could be a good fit.  It was a substantial increase in pay, good benefits, and only a 30 minute commute from my home.  Sounds good right? Wrong….

The gentleman who was interviewing me had just gotten in the building when I arrived. He had to ask me my name twice on the way to his office (that he hadn’t even been to yet that morning). Red flag. I realized at that point, that he had not prepared for our meeting, and seemed less than interested in conducting an interview.  His office looked worse than my 22 year-old son’s baseball house that he lives in while in college. As I walked in, he told me he’d fire any employee that kept an office like his. Red flag. During our meeting he inquired about my previous roles in Purchasing and to what level of experience I had.  He was very, and I mean rapidly quick, to point out everything I didn’t know.  I found this strange being as though I had worked my way up through 3 promotions in 7 years for a Fortune 500 company, but okay….I’ll accept the criticism. After approximately 30 minutes of questions, he expressed that he didn’t feel I could do the job, due to lack of training in 2 different programs.  I replied that I understood his concerns, but just as with everything in life, I was willing to learn and do the necessary training that was needed.  Apparently, that was not satisfying enough.  Towards the end of the meeting, I asked him a little bit about himself.  How long had he been at the company, what kind of candidate was he looking for, what is his platform for setting goals, and most importantly, what job roles has he maintained while working for this company.

He answered all of my questions, and lastly, told me the job roles he’d acquired over his 40 years at the company.  His current (and final) role was Human Resources.  He then told me that he has no experience, education, or training in H.R. He then stated that he just had to learn the position and do his best. Red flag.  At that point I realized…it was okay for him to not be trained or educated for the role of H. R., but it was not okay for me.  What makes him the decision-maker as to if I could learn the tasks needed to do the job I applied for?

I was offered the job, but with contingecies and doubt.  I declined.

I know my value. I know my self-worth. Trust your gut, and watch for the red flags. Don’t let anyone rain down on your accomplishments, goals, or parade……

Kids say the darndest things…

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Like most, I am a Facebook user.  I am particular about who I “friend”, as I am always posting in reference to my kids.  I avoid the drama, and if it’s on my feed, I hide it (and the person posting) permanently.  I use Facebook to keep in touch with distant relatives/friends.  I love that I can keep up with what they are doing, and see their families growing up.  It’s so nice to share events and stories about our kids.  It helps make the distance between us a little more tolerable.

One of my favorite features on Facebook is the memories they post on your timeline.  Little flashbacks of (for me anyway) happy times.  The picture above popped up on my timeline the other day, and I giggled just remembering that morning 6 years ago…

I had been divorced a couple years at this point, and was working 4 day work weeks.  My youngest, Charlie, was just 7 years old.  Charlie is the baby of 5.  He has always had an abundance of attention, partly because he is so fun to be around.  Charlie could usually be found attached to my hip at any given moment.  That being said, he hated it that I was off on Friday’s every week, and he had to go to school.  He tried every Friday to come up with an excuse to stay home, but I always said no.  School was important, and we have the entire weekend to spend together.  One of these Friday’s, as I was dropping him off to school, he looked back and said, ” I left you a note on your bed”.  As I got back home and settled in with my morning routine, I went to retrieve the note.  I laughed as I read it.  He was so bent out of shape, he was ready to give up his family immediately….

A few hours later, I received a call from the school nurse.  Charlie had a tummy ache and was requesting to go home.  As I pulled up to the school to get him, he came out with a little grin.  We spoke no words, except-“hey, wanna go get some breakfast and hang out?”  We had a fun day together playing hooky, and Charlie never tried to play the “sick” card again…..

 

Why can’t we see ourselves the way others do?

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Being a single mom has never been easy.  Divorce isn’t easy either, and there isn’t just one plan that suits all.  Divorce can be ugly, and sometimes you compromise, simply to get it over with. The day my divorce was final, my attorney looked at me on the sidewalk outside of the courthouse and said, “well this won’t go down as my best case ever”. He told me for months I deserved better, I deserved more.  I did not see it. He hugged me and walked away.  He was upset that I didn’t try to get more.  I declined alimony, I took a reduction in child support, and split everything 50/50 which was fair. I wanted it all to be over so desperately, that I settled.  I didn’t want to take more than what was fair, I wasn’t raised that way.  In the end, my ex-husband would pay a reduced child support, carry the kids’ health insurance, and pay 1/2 of all medical and extra-curricular expenses.

He did carry medical insurance(with an outrageous deductible), yet never contributed a dime to medical bills, RX’s, orthodontics, and certainly not to extra-curriculars.  Eight years later, I had never taken him back to court-not once.  I never asked for an increase in support, and I never fought to get paid for all expenses he owed.

This week I got the call.  He was terminated from his job after 25 years.  I have just lost medical benefits for my children and child support. I am completely responsible for “my people” as I like to call them :).  Angry and scared, all at the same time, I reached out to someone to share what was happening.  I’m panicking.  Can I do this? Can I take on even more?  In a text message, she wrote back to me these exact words….

“You are going to be better than ever, ok? You are. You are the closest thing to a cat besides being a cat. You always land on your feet. It’s amazing. Me? I’d be flatter than a pancake. You? you look amazing and will be fabulous.  God wanted you to be completely seperate from him, and God is going to provide for you Amy.”

I am going to be okay, I will provide and take care of my kids.  I still can’t look in the mirror and tell myself that I am amazing or fabulous….but it’s nice to know that one person on this Earth believes that I am.

If only we could see ourselves the way others do….

 

The Aha Moment

The Aha Moment is defined as a sudden insight or discovery.  Sudden realization, inspiration, recognition, or comprehension.  We’ve all had them.  Trying to remember the name of someone you once knew, the name of favorite song you used to sing, or maybe even when you realized what you wanted to achieve in life. My Aha Moment came in late August 2011…..

I had been married for 17 years with 5 beautiful children.  Ages;17,15,12,8 and 5.  They were my entire life-still are.  I had not been happy in my marriage for several years.  I talked to my husband about this.  I asked that we go to counseling in which he refused.  I then asked if we could start making an effort to spend time together, go on dates, and try to reconnect.  As difficult as the conversation was, and it took me several years to gain the courage to have it, I explained to him that although I care for him, I no longer loved him, and did not feel about him the way a wife should feel about her husband.  These conversations and requests fell on deaf ears.

I continued being a stay at home mom, enjoying my 5 kids and keeping busy with all of their games, practices, doctor/dentist appointments, school field trips and so on…  I took care of the home, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work.  I paid the bills, did all grocery shopping, and all home maintenance.  We appeared to be perfect.  Living happily ever after.  We were not.

That day in late August 2011 started like any other day. My husband left for work without so much as a good-bye.  I fixed the kids breakfast, checked bags, and drove them to school.  I came home, tidied up the house, and went to our community high school where I spent a few hours each day working with special education children.  I came home that day, started dinner, and laundry, and grabbed the kids from school.  I fed them, and got them dropped off to their practices.

I didn’t see it coming.  I hadn’t planned it, honestly, I think I had become numb to my marriage or lack thereof.  My husband came home from work that day and came into the bedroom to change.  I was putting away laundry.  We barely spoke.  Then the Aha Moment occurred.  In that very moment, I decided I no longer was going to live like this. That if I wasn’t worth the effort, why continue on this path?  Out of nowhere, I told him to get his suitcase, pack, and leave.  He was stunned, and angry.  I was calm as a cucumber.  The moment had happened. I had no doubts, I was done with this marriage, this way of life.

He left that day, and I will surely blog in the future about the journey that followed, but for now I will say that that Aha Moment saved me.  I do not, and may not ever know why it took years to come to the realization or accept my Aha Moment, but I am so thankful it happened.  It was as if I had a head full of knowledge, and an abundance of self confidence all in one bestowed on me that very moment. I never looked back…..

Nothing to lose…

Sitting at work this morning, a sales rep peeked around the doorway to my office.  I thought I had scheduled a meeting with him next Tuesday, but apparently I was wrong.  I invited him in, as we needed to discuss some different inventory management options, and how he can make MY life easier.  When discussing inventory, and tracking, he inquired as to the people that work in the foundry part of the business.  “What is our turnover like, and where do we find our employees?” I explained that turnover is high, we can’t seem to find, or keep employees.  I read, see, and hear that people are desperate for work, yet apparently beggars can be choosers….  I explained that our company works with a local organization that places people who have fallen on hard times.  These people can be recovering addicts who’ve lost everything, to people who have spent time in prison.  This organization helps to train them, provides them transportation, and some guidance and counseling about re-entering society.  All in all, I admire this organization, and I am proud to work for a company who lends a helping hand, rather than to judge and deny.

I work in the office side of the business.  It is rare that I am in direct contact with some of these employees, but when I am, they are extremely friendly and courteous.  I stated that to this sales rep.  He then told me that before taking his current position he ran a staffing agency, similar to the one we use.  He cared about people and helping them, but he also had a young family, and his wife worried all of the time about some of the people he would encounter and sometimes have to “let go”.  He had to be on-call a lot, and deal with altercations between employees/supervisors.  It became a heavy burden, and he made the decision to leave his role, to pursue something “safer”.  That’s when he said something that caught me off guard…

He told me to be careful, always be aware.  “Some of these people have nothing to lose”.

That thought went through my head 100 times the rest of the day.  In my darkest days, through struggles, depression, anger, and sometimes a sense of hopelessness, I NEVER felt like I had nothing to lose.  I wondered what that feels like? I never worried about losing my home, job, materialistic things.  All of that is simply replaceable.  For me, my entire world has been about my kids.  Nothing can happen to me until they are grown.  Who would raise them? Who would teach them what they need taught?  They still need guidance and a moral compass.  I have always said I am afraid of death, but once they are grown, I can accept death.  So to feel as though you have nothing to lose, is a feeling so foreign to me.  With nothing to lose, do you live carefree, or very alone?

My question would be, do you sympathize, or envy those who have nothing to lose?

I sympathize…..

 

Never underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life..

I think we’ve all had that one person right? I mean I know I have, and only hope that someday I can be that person to someone…

Never underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life..

In January 2011 I interviewed with a man named Jeff, for a job at CAT. I was a newly divorced single mom. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years, with no degree, and no work experience. I was not qualified. There were several candidates he was interviewing for this role. Jeff chose me. On my first day of work, I asked him why on Earth he chose me. He told me he was raised by a single mom. He told me he knew Id show up every day and work hard, because I had to, my kids depended on me. Jeff spent every single day for 12 weeks with me, sharing a cubicle and teaching me every system CAT used, and gave me all the tools to do my job. He had the patience of a Saint. I was lucky enough to meet his amazing wife Mary, and we quickly became luncheon girlfriends. Jeff and Mary would come to my son’s games, and share in my children’s lives. Jeff believed in me always, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I would tell him he was like my guardian angel…now he truly is. He passed away recently. I can only hope he realizes what an impact he has on my life.