Some of the best Fridays are when I get to have lunch with a friend and then take off to go see hubs right after work.

This day I had lunch at Hop Tung with Ne.va.

Yes. I am still consuming carbs. Don’t judge me!

I’ve always wanted to attend a huge Dia de los Muertos shindig since it’s one of my favorite things. It was a last minute event that we saw on Facebook, but the family decided we were totally going to do it that weekend.

I finally thought ahead and packed for my trip the night before so I’d be ready to go right after work the next day. But of course I would see that some boots I wanted were 40% off so I did that right after work first, which set me back around 1 hour.

The drive is always long, but talking to the kids and singing loudly to my music while sipping on some iced coffee or ice cream (yes, I packed it and left it in the freezer at work) always helps the trip go faster.

I really don’t mind it. (It’s the trip back that feels like it takes an eternity!) Seeing the hubs after an extended time is always a relief and he always promises me food as soon as I arrive! This time, it would be Pineapple Ninjas!

We ran into Jerry, the owner of the food truck, as soon as we arrived at The Block food truck park. The park was everything I wished I could have turned McAllen Food Park into when I still worked at the Chamber. It was a chilly night, but there were heaters where the picnic tables were under the bar area, so we were comfy. Jerry brought us some awesome Arizona teas and the food was to die for! Nothing beats fresh, healthy eats!

Ironically, I went all the way to San Antonio to try out Pineapple Ninjas for the first time! I’d never tried them when they were at South Padre Island or at the events in McAllen.

We chatted with Jerry till 1am, so by the time we got back to the hotel it was 2am. That was the latest I’ve stayed up in a LONG time.

We slept in the next morning, obviously. Well, I did–Jorge got up earlier than I did to run to the bank and to get us some breakfast from Bill Miller’s. It was a nice surprise, having breakfast in bed 🙂 .

We got ready and went to see one of Jorge’s projects. I was dressed and ready, and pretty excited, to help him with this project. It was a total trash heap, but the few days of work he’d already accomplished made the place look so much better. He walked me through as he checked off what else needed to be done. He fed me Reese’s and sour candies (even after I told him I was done with sugar! It’s screwing up my face, bad!) and then he did a few things here and there as I watched. Oh well, maybe I’ll help next time!

He took a good nap when we returned to the hotel and then we got ready to have dinner with my in-law’s in Austin. We stopped by Bucee’s to get some snacks (I had the best candied cashews and pecans) and then we proceeded to get stuck in traffic several times. It felt like forever before we finally made it to the apartment!

We chilled out a bit and Mia told us about how happy she was to receive Alf from us for her birthday. Briana told us she had a newfound love for Alf after she introduced her to the series and she had her eye on one at Minnie’s Hidden Treasures. I told her not to worry, I still had my old Alf in the garage! I’d been meaning to put him on eBay since I don’t collect Alf items, but it was truly meant to be that we keep him because he belonged with Mia.

Briana had this awesome cake made for her, too!

We went to Chuy’s for dinner, which was great because we were starving after skipping lunch.

I got my usual fajita plate (was attempting to be Keto-ish) but then had this amazing drink which was sugary (but delicious) AF.

We ate and then went to an outdoor’s 1800’s type haunted house that Briana had heard about.

We weren’t sure what to expect, but I was excited. Poor Mia was nervous and asked Jorge to carry her, since we were advised that phone light nor flashlights were allowed. All that was allowed were the red “ring” lights they gave us at the entrance.

It was dark except for some fairy light-edged arrows pointing us in the direction we needed to go. We can hear people screaming as we reach the more “mature” side of the haunted houses/trails. As soon as we walk in a little girl in white pops out from behind a door and scares the shit out of us. It’s so dark you can’t see when someone slowly creeps up behind you and is breathing behind your neck to “watch out”.

We’re halfway through (I think) when we’re walking down this trail that has dark dips in the ground. We continue to walk and slow down when we see a huge dark puddle–only it isn’t a puddle, it’s a girl, flat as ever, slowly sitting up to grab and hiss at us. We don’t even notice that Briana has run off with Mia, so Jorge, Dinah and I run to catch up. I scream, “Oh no, there’s another one!” as I see another dark spot on the ground…only to realize it’s Briana and Mia who’ve tripped on a branch and fell into a dip in the trail! Poor things! Briana ended up hurting her ribs!

And also…you know you’re getting old when someone literally scares the piss out of you and it takes all your energy not to let it flow!! THEY. WERE. SCARY!!

We were going to the Dia de los Muertos Festival at La Villita in San Antonio the next day. We didn’t really have a game plan but we did want to dress up and paint our faces. The only bad thing was both Jorge and I forgot about his black jacket, but it was too hot to wear it anyway.

We gathered our things to be ready for check-out and had a late breakfast at IHOP, where we had the sweetest waitress named Sharon. She was well-known by everyone in New Braunfels, because she spoke to everyone and hugged everyone as if they were family. Either that, or she was just that sweet.

And I think she was, because when she came up to us she said I was beautiful and told Jorge to “take care of me” and called me Babygirl the entire time. She was just too sweet. Jorge joked that she was trying to get a good tip. I said, “Well, then SHE GOT IT.”

I gave her a huge hug when we were getting ready to go. Jorge left to pay and she waved a hand over me to the next table and asked the bearded gentlemen, “Isn’t she so pretty?” Jorge said he was going to take her tip away for that one 😆 .

We had another good drive to go so we took selfies while we drove. Or, I should say that Jorge drove and I took selfies:

I brought minimal makeup for our face painting: an ELF liquid eyeliner, normal black eye liner and some hotpink rhinestones. I forgot my eyelashes, earrings and the base paint. So our first stop was Party City, where we got Jorge some face tattoos and some white paint and new rhinestones. Then we stopped at Dollar Tree where we got some eyelashes.

We found a parking space downtown near La Villita and then took about 30 minutes to put on our makeup. I quickly dabbed on white paint and drew on my swirls with eyeliner and stuck on my rhinestones. Then I helped Jorge stick on his face tattoos and fixed the ones that cracked with the liquid eyeliner. All-in-all, I think we did pretty good for 30 minutes!

We met up with everyone and admired the ofrendas.

Then we all decided we were hungry so we went to a nearby restaurant. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was nicely decorated…(and very expensive for the type and quality of the food LOL.)

Still, it was nice spending time with the family. Poor Briana was feeling sore from her fall the night before, so she was taking it easy.

The Procession began while we were still eating but Jorge, Mia and I ran out anyway.

It was quick, but the costumes were pretty cool.

We looked around a bit more and were total tourists taking photos wherever we could.

Then it was time to say our goodbyes :(. Not before Briana gave me a gift! I love them!!

Jorge walked me to the car while everyone else waited in Dinah’s. They’d be dropping him off in New Braunfels 🙁 . We kissed goodbye and then again when I dropped him off at the car on the way back out of the garage.

Of course I would take the wrong turn, but once I was safely on the road began my car concert all the way home. That ride…felt like it took forever.

I sucked it up and got ready for work the next day. If I remember correctly, it was a low-key Monday.

The girls finally told me what they wanted to be for Halloween: 3 days before. Emily wanted to be Agnes from Despicable Me and Alaethia a character from The Purge with a very specific mask. So of course we would spend the evening scrambling. First stop: THE DREADED MALL.

First, we scooped up Aly’s friend Jaylinn. Then we made our way to the mall.

Emily wasn’t feeling well and I thought it was so cute that Alaethia took this pic.

Emily needed overalls so they looked around at H&M and Tilly’s. She ended up with some overalls and a tee from Tilly’s and Alaethia ended up falling in love with everything at H&M. That one’s a shopaholic like her mother 😆 .

We got them some Starbucks and we took a little break.

It’s about darn time they make a Starbucks inside the mall!

The girls wanted to meet their other bestie at the Disney store, so we trekked that way. After a selfie sesh we continued our search for the mask…but all the possible stores were sold out since the day before. OUR LUCK.

We got some Auntie Annie’s pizza and cinnamon pretzels and we made our way to the Spirit Halloween Store…where they and the other stores sold out. Finally Alaethia decided she’d be a baseball player (random!) so she found a men’s shirt and socks at Target. I would figure out the letters and number she wanted on the shirt later. I was EXHAUSTED.

Another easy day at work on Tuesday. I got lunch from Lei Lai, which I instantly regretted because I wanted all the noodles…but ended up chomping on rice anyway 🙄 .

Ne.va was in the office and we got to talking about the girls’ costumes and I told her I still needed to head to Walmart after work for felt to sew on Alaethia’s baseball number. She rolled her eyes at me and said that wouldn’t do–we should go over in the evening and she would screen print the shirt for us. She’s the best! Of course the girls would fall more in love with her lol.

Emmos dressed up for school the next day; Alaethia didn’t in case she would be “dress-coded”.

I wish I’d had time to fix her hair up like the real Agnes!

Work was another low-key one, heh. My biggest stressor is determining where I’m going to eat. My life lately is constantly thinking about what I’m going to eat next–because I’m kind of tired of eating 😆 It sounds crazy, but I’m sort of tired of always nit-picking if there are carbs present just to screw up and eat the carbs anyway 🙄

But I had fish that day, so that was good.

I had to mentally prepare myself for the evening. Sally and I were taking the kiddos to watch “Thriller” and Trick-or-treat Downtown. The plan was to also go to the library but I would take too long getting myself ready 🙁 . Sally was able to get out an hour early–I got out at 5:15 and had to rush home, grr. Still, I think I did ok for getting completey ready in 30 minutes. The eyelashes take long enough!

Once we were all ready, we took off and found some parking after circling the area several times.

Alaethia wanted to go trick-or-treating with her friends, so naturally, my whiny tween was whiny. There was lots of eye-rolling, sighing and teeth-sucking going on 🙄 (Help me, Jesus!)

But they still watched the show and did a teensy bit of trick-or-treating. (We were late for that, too, since we watched the Thriller Dance Mob first!)

On the way to the car we *had* to stop by for a photo shoot at the mural wall! Finally, finally had a chance to stop by.

We noticed the time and rushed into the car because once again, we were running late. We tried meeting up with Alaethia’s friend and her sister in the neighborhood we typically go to for trick-or-treating, except we couldn’t find them OR a parking spot and my anxiety was shooting through the roof. I even snapped at Alaethia to get on the phone instead of Snapchat to get the details of their location better. We finally get somewhere and park at the park I usually run at…which meant a lot of walking. in wedges. FML and choice of footwear.

We meet up with the girls and have to keep up. I can tell poor Sally and the little girls are getting tired, so I leave Alaethia with her friend and older sister and they would drop her off. What a relief. We still however, had to make the trek across the park to the car. Sweet. Jesus. But we still took a photo op!

We got to the house and I dropped Sally off at her car, then Emmos and I rushed to pick up McDonald’s. It was already late, so this mama was not cooking! All-in-all, it was a great day!

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I’m sort of glad it’s taken me a while to write about this; I don’t think my heart could take it had I attempted to write sooner. There’s been a lot going on the past few months (Gramma passing away in November, Mabbers passing away in January, etc.) and I’ve just felt like my heart is constantly grieving these days, so I couldn’t write about it as it was going on.

On January 31st, I left my job–my home and my Work Family for the last 7.4 years. It was such a tough decision to make, but I felt that it needed to be done 🙁 .

I had so much guilt; not only did we have events coming up (the Health Fair, Taste McAllen, a reception etc.), but I felt like I was going to let our boss, the CEO, down.

I remember what a relief it was back when I was hired on September 9, 2010. I was right smack in the middle of my divorce and I was desperately trying to get on my feet since I was starting all over, from scratch. Work was my distraction from the heart-wrenching custody battle over the kids. A distraction from the drama that followed after Jorge and I got together. All the tasks and new projects kept my mind busy.

All the drama, court dates, the time that the ex-mother-in-law stole Alaethia from the school–my bosses were so understanding. Any time off I needed; any time I needed to just run off because the kids were sick, they were incredibly understanding.

I was comfortable. I only had to worry about going in at 8:00am sharp on Monday for our Monday Morning Meeting. Our Boss was so lenient with our time. I would sashay into the office around 8:15am every day, sometimes 8:20am depending on the traffic after dropping off the girls or dropping off the boys 1 hour away.

Then there was the time that my bosses and co-workers all banded together to help me when Dad passed away and I was broke and doing the arrangements completely on my own. This was a huge one for me. I didn’t know how to repay them, or if I’ll ever be able to. They became even closer family to me that year, in 2013.

But then, just half a year ago, came the under-appreciation. I know most administrative assistants feel unappreciated, but that’s just something I wasn’t okay with anymore. I worked my butt off. I allowed way more than was humanly possible to be placed on my plate and I excelled with flying colors. I was stressed out 24/7. Just to be thanked with sub-par evaluations at the end of the year? And although they say it’s not all about the money when you love your job and I DID love my job: I realized that I was severely under-paid for the amount of work and the type of work I did.

The first time I really felt upset and walked-all-over was after Taste McAllen 2017. I wrote about how upset I was and I just couldn’t get over the anger and resentment. I felt depressed. I dreaded waking up and having to go into work, and it wasn’t the first time that happened. It would happen every-so-often when a certain someone made me the subject of her drama, or others’ drama and made me feel like people didn’t like me, or someone was out to get me and it was always bullshit (trust me, I asked). But this had nothing to do with that. This had to do with me valuing my work ethic and dedication, even if nobody else was going to. So shortly after, I updated my resume after 7 years of not touching it, made an account on Indeed.com and started looking for other jobs. I started off with 2 applications. Then I got 2 “We regret to inform you…” letters and that lit a fire under me to submit more applications. Out of all the ones I filled out since April 2017, I had one interview by October (with the fire department), and that was it. And shortly after I received yet another pity letter that the position had been filled and so I stopped filling out applications.

Then in early November, a friend/co-worker tips me off about a job. It’s at an agency I had already applied to once before recently, but I wasn’t called for that position and never heard anything about it. So I nervously apply and cross my fingers.

Work had gotten crazy again, what with the Health Fair going on, and the holidays werent helping with the tardiness of trying to fill up booths. And I was once again comfortable. Something about the holidays and our Christmas party just filled me with renewed affection for my Work Family and I couldn’t bare leaving them. Yet somehow, as I sat with Sandra, Sarah and Bob and we laughed the night away, deep down, I had this feeling that it would be the last Christmas Party I would take a group photo with the crew 🙁 .

I don’t hear anything from the last agency I applied to for about 2 months, and then suddenly, they call and I have an interview. Only 3 friends at my office knew I had one.

The day comes around, January 10th, and I arrive to the office I’m interviewing at. I’m a nervous wreck as I’m signing in. They lead me into a room with green carpeting and a desk with a desktop computer. My first tasks are writing a letter and creating an elaborate Excel document. I get through the letter quickly, but because I can’t remember how the hell to match descriptions to the sections on my pie chart :roll:, I take an eternity. I was so nervous, I felt a lump form in my throat from the nerves. I couldn’t believe this was happening!! I even re-do the entire pie chart from scratch and I still can’t remember! At least I got the formulas correct?!

Next is the interview. I’m once again interviewed by 3 people (the only other time I was interviewed in my life by more than 1 person was when I was interviewed by the firefighters a few months before). They ask all these questions and I try to answer to the best of my ability. I feel like I could have answered some better, but I know I excelled at others. When I’m done, I thank everyone for their time. For the next few days I feel like my stomach drops every time I think about it. I keep thinking, “What if they call me?” And then–even worse–, “But what if they don’t??” I’d be devastated! But then I’d be sad to leave my Work Fam! And would I be able to drop the girls off on time at school to make it to work by 7:50a.m.?? EVERY DAY?? It was such a battle in my head every. single. day.

The kids would be with the other parents the weekend following my interview–the weekend of Jorge’s birthday–so we took a weekend trip to the beach together. He felt overworked, too, and he most definitely deserved a break (that’s an understatement). We both did. It was just the thing I needed to stop stressing about work events, to soothe the sting of missing Mabbers (yes, that was still affecting me) and to stop wondering about the interview and if I got the job. On the final day of our trip, I get a call that I’m being considered. I felt like I was going to throw up from the nerves!!

I went about my week, waiting on pins and needles and they finally called on the 24th from HR that I was chosen! I GOT THE JOB!!!

Now came the hard, gut-wrenching job of telling my bosses 😥 . That was so hard to do. And the cherry on top of my guilt sundae was that I wasn’t even giving a 2-week notice! I was only able to give 1 week!

I couldn’t even tell our Boss Boss the actual reasons for my decision to move on from the organization when he asked as I sat across from him. I wanted to spew it all out; the reasons whizzing around in my head like an airplane banner the moment he asked why, but all I could muster was, “I…just needed a change…” And then I got emotional and cried and gave him a hug. Blanca said I should have gotten it all out, but I told her, even after everything, I couldn’t say anything ill about anyone. Still, she was super happy for me. Her future husband is now my new boss 😀 !

I told Gerry and Jorge, who were in the office next door, and I bawled like a baby. Sobs and everything. But they both said they were happy for me. I was going to miss them so much 😥 .

My Boss was in shock, to say the least lol. When I walked in to his office and said, “Heyyy, ” he turned slowly, looked at me strangely and said, “What do you want?!” 😆 He already had a feeling. I didn’t mention anything about my hurt feelings from months before, but I did hint about my evaluations. He said it was the opposite, that I went above and beyond, which made me raise an eyebrow but I left it alone. I just wish he’d said so on paper 🙄 . But after our long talk, he congratulated me.

I went around telling everyone in the next few days, each time bawling my eyes out. (So embarrassing.)

Nancy said, “You were a bright light around here. The Chamber will be darker without you.” Cue the waterworks. We hugged and I thanked her for taking a chance on me 7.4 years ago; she was my first supervisor, the one who hired me as a temp back then.

Even Tom, who was one of the newest employees was so kind and said, “You’ve made it a joy to come to work every day.”

Michelle and I had a good cry on my last day. She was my first true, good friend there when I started in 2010. We went everywhere together those first couple of years.

Jan and I kept sharing our future plans and how we’d miss each other. We were both kinda over being walked all over, to be honest.

Bob yelled, “Don’t goooo, ” from his office as I walked down the hall on my last day lol.

Leading up to my departure I took photos of paintings, the hallways, my desk area…because I’m a sentimental weirdo and I was going to miss my 2nd home 😥 .

You can see my post-its from the girls and Eenan and Jaylen when they would visit. I had so much stuff to pack it required 2 boxes lol.

Beto suggested we all have lunch together before I leave. Maritza and Blanca sent out the email for everyone to RSVP. I tell you, they are all too good to me.

Gerry and Blanca treated me, and Maritza picked up the most awesome Italian Cream cake. We all chit-chatted and then my boss clinked his fork on his water glass and made a speech. I didn’t hear half of it because I was bawling but he said I was great at everything I did and I was the spirit of the Chamber ?. I couldn’t even say the speech I had planned because I was crying. Hence the reason my face was nice and rosy in the next photo.

My Boss suggested a group photo and I’m glad he did. Love these people!

I felt like the day just went by so fast. Sarah is the interim assistant taking my place and I literally had 2 hours to “train” her! So I told her to text me for whatever. I went around saying bye to everyone, and bawling in the process, but lots of people had already left 🙁 . I had an appointment to cut my hair at Curl Up and Dye, so I had to rush out, too. I’d be starting at the new place the next day–no break at all–and as broken as my heart was, I was as ready as I was going to be!

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