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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Boundaries are extremely painful

Does anyone remember on Pee Wee's playhouse when there was a "word of the day" and every time someone used that word every character would explode with excitement and scream? In our house, I feel like we have a word of the day but the screams are not so much exciting as much as excruciating and that word is BOUNDARIES. Anthony and I are notoriously bad at boundaries. Granted, we have both grown a lot in the last couple of years what with me attending therapy every time the sun shines and with him being with me in Graduate School and using the word like it was printed in the Bible. We have also been attending Premarital therapy for about a year and that has helped us both to learn this word and use it on a regular basis. Yesterday I had an extremely difficult experience with boundaries and I thought I could share it on here in order to get it out of my own head.

I have been working for the same "family" for 4 years as their nanny. I came when Chris (boy I nanny for) was 11 years old. I work for a single father which is why the word family was in quotes. Chris' mother sometimes has him on weekends, however, lately it has been more his father having him all of the time. When I started, it was with the knowledge that I would be responsible for getting Chris to where he needed to go, help him with his homework, and fix dinner 4 nights a week for he and his father. These things seemed reasonable for the pay and it provided me a home, food, utilities, and cable and internet as well. I also knew it meant doing dishes and folding laundry occasionally for the two of them.

It did not take long before the tables turned and not in my favor. I still received the same pay and amenities however I soon became responsible for errands involving the house like picking up groceries, getting home repairs completed, cleaning and filing in the office, picking up the father's dry cleaning, picking up the father's prescriptions, doing the father's Christmas shopping entirely, wrapping said presents, buying major things for the house like appliances and having those repaired when needed, researching private schools for Chris and doing all the application materials, and the list continues for pages and pages. Again, there was no increase in pay, only in work.

In 2006, I decided to start graduate school while I was a nanny to save myself having to pay rent while in school. I also met Anthony that year and knew that he was pretty much the beginning of my continued future. I started to resent that my entire job description was now changed and I had grad school and a boyfriend to think about and no more pay. I went to my boss and explained how I felt and he stated that he always "wanted to get me where I was doing all of these things." I wonder why that wasn't mentioned in the initial interview. He gave in and ended up giving a $1.00 raise and then eventually another $1.00 raise in 6 months. This did not really do what I wished but again, boundaries are not my strong suit.

Things went on as always and Chris' father knew that I had plans to leave at the end of Chris' freshman year of high school and that Anthony and I would be moving on with our lives elsewhere. When I told him my leave date, he started looking for another nanny for Chris. Yes, he is too old for a nanny in my opinion as well. That being said, Anthony and I started looking for apartments. Towards the beginning of April we became serious about finding a apartment. This same time frame is when Anthony was in a car accident on the job and it caused a lot of difficulty in those plans but we forged on. We found a place and had signed a lease by April 18th. Chris' father knew that meant I was moving out. I was talking with him about the current stresses in my life with finding a new home, a new job, and then finishing grad school and he offered to let me have the job for another year.

You can imagine what I said since my boundaries are so ..we'll call them...wiggly. I already hated my job at this point due to the extreme increase in job responsibility so it was lurking over me like the plague. I went to Anthony and told him how I was offered the position for another year. I already mentioned that my boyfriend's boundaries aren't much better than mine. He thought about our current worries with his job and me having something for certain sounded better than the tightrope we were currently walking. We agreed as a couple that staying on as the nanny was the "best" thing for all involved.

Right after I made this decision, Chris started going to the torture chamber lovingly called Drake Institute. I don't have anything against this place per say except that they expect a kid who is already diagnosed with ADD inattentive type to come to their clinic 5 days a week for 2-3 hours a day and be able to go home afterward and do his homework. Are you kidding me? This added a whole new ugly dimension to my job. I was not able to get Chris done with his homework any night for his bedtime but regularly was getting to my apartment by 11:00 or midnight just to get up the next morning and drive an hour in traffic to pick him up for school the next day. I had to get downright miserable before making a boundary here. I was driving to Newport Beach every morning from Anaheim and literally nodding off on the freeway with a steaming hot cup of boyfriend coffee in my hand. Side note, my boyfriend makes such good coffee I hardly go to starbucks anymore!

So I finally set a boundary with Chris' father that I would not be able to take him to school if I was out the night before with him doing homework. His father willingly obliged to "help me out" and take his own son to school in the mornings when Drake kept us up. How kind of him! So that went on for a week before something in me snapped yesterday. I went to my supervision for my practicum and I realized that NOTHING gets the best of me anymore. My boyfriend gets the last of me at the end of a busy day. My practicum site gets me when I am not exhausted from working the night before. My therapy gets me if I can get out of bed to get there. My diabetes gets me if I have time before running out the door to make the Drake appointment. My leisure gets me if I don't fall asleep watching television or reading a book. I miss scrapbooking, working out, reading for fun, enjoying school, having a clean house, etc... I am lost.

So, yesterday after wise counsel and a stubborn streak a mile long, I did what I knew had to be done. I quit! Now, I gave him plenty of notice so he can find another 5 people to do the job I have been doing. I am staying through the school year like originally planned and will leave at the end of my summer. I will go back to grad school with time to actually read my assignments, get the topics at hand and pay attention to being a therapist. I want so much for my life but more than anything I want to be a woman who cares for herself. I am proud of what I did yesterday and although I am scared at what this means for my finances, my ability to manage, and my neuroses......I know I did the right thing and God will bless it and hopefully teach Chris and his father some valuable lessons from this loss. God pushes me everytime and he is always right.

Thanks for reading about my wiggly boundaries. Feel free to comment. I welcome the input!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

Today I have a few moments online to just jot down a little bit about what is going on in our lives. On May 20th, I found out that I passed advance and I am not a total dunce. We went away the weekend before I found out to my secret get away aptly named "Rancho Relaxo." It was there that I decided that whatever happened with Advance, I would trust that God had a plan and a hand in it. I truly was able to relax and let go and just allow God to make me a good therapist, not a perfect one. We got back and all of the sudden our jobs decided that we seriously needed to work all of the time. Anthony started working every day the equivelant of two shifts and I was out every night until 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. doing 9th grade homework because Drake Institute is a unique source of torture in my opinion. We went to premarital therapy to discuss the distance that was occuring with all of this work and got a refresher course on boundaries. Don't we all love boundaries!?

Anthony and I have been exercising our much out of shape boundaries and things are looking up in our work lives. Yesterday we took a few hours and just sat at borders drinking caffeine laden drinks and looking through a book on birthdays and personality. We laughed, drank, and realized why we were in love with each other. Things in the romantic department are getting back to the amazing we always had. We are only a few weeks away (June 25th) to having our 2 year anniversary and it is such a precious celebration for us. I got Anthony a diamond watch from Dolce and Gabanna and I made him a digital scrapbook and had it printed of pictures from our first two years. It is precious!

Things are going wonderfully as we prepare for our awesome summer. My little sister is coming, Ericapalooza is on its way and we are heading to Vegas for my birthday weekend. There is tons to look forward to. Right now, all I can look forward to is clocking out tonight before midnight. We are pretty tired but hoping that once Drake is over for Chris, things might actually be somewhat normal again. I have added a few pictures of our apartment as promised and we hope you enjoy it!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

1/2 advanced and so much more calm.

Good Morning everyone! So, advancement was interesting to say the least. My first part was due about 3 weeks ago and I heard about it on Tuesday. I had a meeting with my advisor where she tells me what she thought of my therapy and tells me if I am ready to continue or need further development on this part. My meeting went wonderfully and it turns out I am at an appropriate level of training for my position in the program. Translated, this means I passed part one of advancement. I went out of that meeting grinning from ear to ear and feeling one hundred pounds lighter. That sure would be nice! The second part of advancement was later that day and we had to watch a video of a "case" and do a treatment plan and case conceptualization based on that "client." It ended up being on Rosie O'Donnell so we had plenty to work with. I got done with mine in 1.5 hours and we had 2 hours so it went relatively well. We then had 24 hours to go home and do a case report on the same client and type up our treatment plan and case conceptualization. I ended up turning mine in at about 22 hours. It was a lot of work and I did my best in my opinion so we'll see how that turns out. I don't find out about part two until May 20th. That is fine with me because I needed a few weeks to just disengage from school altogether.

In other news, I ordered the plane ticket for my sister to come out in August. I am thrilled as I miss her so much. My little sister Brittany is my best friend in the world and I love spending time with her. Usually, I get to go home to Indiana one to two times a year but this year might not happen so I am glad for her to get to come out. She will be here from August 4-18 which is amazing. That is during my birthday too so we are planning to go out of town for the weekend to Vegas and enjoy my birthday together now that she is 21 and can actually enjoy Vegas. Britt just got her first real job and just finished her first year of college so I am uber proud of her and I am looking forward to celebrating those things with her. She is excited to come out too so we are both just counting the days.

Anthony and I haven't been able to work too much on the house lately just due to our grueling work schedules. I am off today so I plan to make a dent in some of this nonsense that is sitting around in boxes. How do people accumulate so much stuff? I still need a couple of pieces of furniture, namely a bookcase and filing cabinet so that is a lot of the clutter that is laying around; books and papers. We are so happy here and really enjoy coming home at the end of our day. Last night we decided since we were both home at a decent hour that we would have a romantic dinner at our dining room table...imagine that?! I made broiled steaks, baked potatoes, rolls, and Anthony bought some wine. We ate by candlelight and listened to soft music coming from the I-pod with the occasional Bible chapter that I have on there. *laugh* We then moved to the living room and had cookie dough ice cream and watched a netflix movie. Pretty good night if you ask me!

Next weekend, Anthony and I are going to Vista, California and renting a house up in the hills that has several bedrooms, a pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, basketball court, pool table room, sound system, and a pool house all to ourselves. It is our way of celebrating advancement being over and relaxing the girlfriend! :) Life is pretty good here in Erica & Anthony Land.

In other news, tomorrow is Mothers Day. That is always an iffy day for me. My relationship with my mom is a bit out of sorts and I never really know what to do with her while also respecting my own boundaries. Also, this year is the first mother's day since my nephew and step-mom were killed in the car accident so it is a hard one. I feel so badly for my little sister anyway that she had to lose her mother and her son in the same day but to celebrate mother's day and have to think about those things is unbearable. Well, last night, it got worse. Her grandmother (Jane's mom) died of Pneumonia. Sometimes I wonder how Tasha is still standing after all of this tragedy. I think sometimes our own insanity saves us.

Last week I had the pleasure of dealing with an internet stalker/hacker. I still have a Myspace account even though I think I am a bit old for it. I use it to keep in touch with my Indiana friends and family and also just to be up on things I guess a bit in terms of new bands. I still love music so much. Anyway, last week someone hacked into my account and sent my top 5 people awful personal comments. This person would have to have known me as the information that was left was all very personal to me and my family. The people affected were Anthony and my three sisters for the most part. The cruelty that was displayed is something I would refer to as "evil." I wonder how people sleep at night when they are hurting others for their own pleasure. Now, I should note, I don't have any enemies to speak of. I can think of about 4 people I have really not "made up" with in my life and those people are relatively obsolete in the sense that they would not be up on current events in my life either. That saddens me that someone who knows me well would hurt me and my family so badly. I am trying not to give it any energy but I have to be honest in saying that it hurt and angered me deeply.

I guess that is all I have to share today. I have not gotten my grades for the semester yet but when I do, you'll be the first to know! :) I hope everyone is doing well and as soon as some of the mess clears, there will be pics on here of the apartment and various other things. Keep checking back in and keep me posted on your life as well. Have a lovely weekend


Monday, May 5, 2008

Advancing to the finish line!

Hey everyone. I have just spent about an hour going through some advancement stuff for the hundredth time and I feel like maybe I just need to chill and do what I need to do. Anthony and I have finished our bedroom, bathroom, and living room and could not be happier with the outcome. As soon as I find everything that goes with the digital camera I will upload some pics of the apartment. I am listening to this awesome website called Pandora and it plays a radio station based on an artist you picked or a song you picked. I can listen to this thing for hours. If you are interested, it's

We got all of our furniture in last week and it's just gorgeous. The whole house is in classic cherry as the wood. We went to Pier 1 on Saturday and really did a great job picking accent pieces for the living room. I am beginning to really love my home in terms of decorating. Last night we had our first guest at our house even though we aren't in any shape to have guests just yet. We let Chris come and see our place after I picked him up in Corona. He loved the rooms we had finished and said our apartment felt like a home. I felt good that it was the feeling he got. That is exactly what Anthony and I want to portray.

Anthony and I spent Sunday going through our budget and figuring out finances. It was not a happy topic and usually causes a lot of friction but once we were done we found that we are actually doing pretty well and can take care of things, God willing. We chose a place that we could afford by ourselves so that if anything happens with our jobs, we are ready to pay our rent either way. We are trying to be these foreign things that people speak of...adults or something. So, I got one of my grades back for the semester and I did much better than anticipated so I am very happy and focused on success right now. That's a good place to be with advancement tomorrow. Advancement scares me but I am going to use it for what it was designed for, to get feedback and make progress.

Yesterday was a special day in our house as we reframed my Grandpa's photo and hung it on the wall, our first piece of art on the walls. He is so special to me and probably made me into the woman I am to be able to have this relationship, this home, this career, this education, etc... I was so happy to see his smiling face on my wall this morning as I got up for work. It's nice to know that he is always here. That may sound really corny but I truly believe that his love is always going to be with me, driving me to be better.

So, as of Wednesday @ 3:00, I will have completed 2 years of graduate school out of the three I have. I am 2/3 done and I can't believe it. It seems to have flown by some days and then other days it feels like I have been there an eternity. I am really ready to be done with school but another part of me knows that once I am out, I will truly miss it. I have been in school for years! School has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and it will be odd not doing it. I will probably be teaching in no time. *Laugh*

Anyway, I should have some lunch and head to work. I have a busy night ahead with work and preparing further for advancement. Keep us in your prayers and be excited as pictures should be on here soon of the new place. Have a lovely week