Taking a Leap of Faith

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!

“C’mon Mabbers, It’s Time”

(Finished typing this up 1 month later…it was too heartbreaking to relive so soon, so it took me a while.)

Yesterday was one of the hardest experiences of my adult life; the heartache is right up there along with losing my dad and Gramma Elia and fighting for my kids during my divorce. My Little Old Lady, my kitty Mabbers, passed away around 11:30pm.

She was with us for about 4 years. We “rescued” her when she was 8-years-old from Briana’s friend, Mercy. She was the sweetest, softest, cuddliest kitty.

Her “Got You” Day

She was our “couch kitty”. We have Ruffles and Kika, too, but neither is the cuddly type. They’re the “fine, pet me for 1 minute and then I’ll go destroy my cat scratcher because I’m taking out my frustrations of being touched” type of kitties.

What I looked forward to all day (especially when work was stressful and hectic) was sitting on the couch, with Mabs and Jorge, covered in my blanket and watching a show, after a full day of work, running errands, making dinner and putting the girls to bed. As soon as 9pm came around I’d plop myself on the sofa and pat the seat next to me and yell, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. From wherever she was, Mabs would pop her little head around the corner and slowly trot towards the couch. She’d pause and stare at me and again I’d say, “C’mon Mabbers, it’s time, come sit with Mama!” And she’d jump on the ottoman, then leap on the couch, usually between me and Jorge, or between me and one of the girls, and she’d do a little circle about 3 times before she found the perfect spot to sit. And then the kneading would start. Oh, how I loved that. The kneading and the purring. It was my favorite. She would relax me so much I would immediately fall asleep, much to Jorge’s chagrin because it was usually during a show LOL.

It sucks that we still don’t know what the culprit was: cancer, an infection, old age, an obstruction? And that’s what’s the most frustrating and makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. Add to that, that I feel like I should have done MORE, QUICKER, but Jorge says I did so much. It just doesn’t feel like it because now she isn’t here 🙁 .

I messaged my wonderful friend, Juan V., on December 28th to get some advice about her condition: she wasn’t eating very well and had lost lots of weight in a short period of time. It was shocking to notice what seemed like from one day to the next that she was bonier than usual. And she was still urinating on surfaces. From searching Google for her symptoms, it seemed she had a UTI or a lodged hairball. Juan suggested we take her in to the vet, so we went the next morning on December 29th. Thank goodness I was out on vacation. She was such a good girl; so well behaved and just curiously taking everything in.

Lab work came back: she had an infection, but urinalysis came back normal. Her platelets (or something like that) was just slightly high, which would mean cancer or that she had a parasite, but it wasn’t so high that there was cause for concern. I asked about the possibility of a lodged hairball and the vet said we’d see how the antibiotic worked; to give it to her for 2 weeks.

In the next week she still wasn’t eating too much more so we switched her to soft food (Sheba) and she ate it all! So we went out to get more. I also went to Juan’s work, where we caught up briefly and he gave me tons of kitty food and treats and I bought a HomeoPet liquid to make Mabby get rid of her lodged hairball (I was convinced that’s what it was).

Juan’s been one of my best friends since kinder or 1st grade, until he left me after 6th grade lol. Later I found him on MySpace 😆 .

Anyway, a few days later she finally pooped! A tiny dollop, but it was something, thank goodness. I still got another hairball relief tube by Hertz, but she’d turn her nose at it.

I spent everyday stressed out thinking about her health. I had this feeling of dread all the time. We made it a point to sit with her every evening, no longer needing to say, “It’s time, Mabbers!” because she was already laying there. The show we were watching was “This is Us”–and I’m sure that didn’t help with my melancholy feelings.

We ended up having to put puppy training pads on all the couch surfaces–she wasn’t bothering going to the litter box anymore, so we accommodated her. I keep going back to that week in my head. That’s when I should have taken her back to the vet and told them the antibiotics weren’t working!

We had an insane and stressful week last week. I worked half a day on Monday because the girls and I had dentist appointments. Alaethia was getting sealants on her molars, Emily had a re-filling and a new filling and I had a re-filling and a new filling. I felt miserable afterwards but I still needed to get an oil change in the truck so we rushed, only to get lost in Mission. When we finally get there it doesn’t take long, but they used a different oil than the one I bought the Groupon for. Great. Had to get an exchange that took forever. Finally, we’re done and the girls want Taco Bell. Better for me.

They eat (I only have a diet Pepsi cause there’s nothing I can think of that’s Keto to eat) and we chat.

They hurry and we get home and spend time with Mabby. She just looks gloomy and barely eats. Not even tuna.

I ran errands late on Tuesday after work, and by the time dinner was ready and we all ate it was time to shower and go to bed. I only got to pet Mabbers a little bit while she laid on the bathmat in the hall bathroom. She never laid in there and we couldn’t think of an idea as to why it suddenly seemed like a more comfortable spot than her usual on the sofa. I walked away that evening feeling hollow and afraid for her.

The girls text me the next afternoon when they got home from school. Alaethia is concerned for Mabbers, because she seems “off”: her balance, her eyes; she just doesn’t look like herself. Then she sends me a panicked video, showing me how she can hardly hold her head up. This is around the time that I’m kicking myself in the ass for not hurrying and taking her in to the vet again the week before, or even the DAY before. I feel guilty and upset and rush home. We put a pee pad in her pet carrier and Emily grabs her red blanket and we’re off to the vet as quickly as possible.

She’s lucid, but quiet. I’m fearing the worst, but the girls seem like they’re okay. We get to the vet’s office and it’s a long wait, as everyone that was already present with their pets when we arrived are still sitting around, waiting. Then Mabs takes a turn for the worse and her breathing seems terribly labored. I panic and jump up asking the receptionists to please do something, she needs oxygen, ANYTHING, just please help. So they take her to the back and put her in an oxygen chamber. By then I’m a bawling mess, even though the girls are calm. It’s about another 30 minutes that they take us to the back and the doctor says, “Kitty doesn’t look good.” At this point, the girls chime in with the tears. He says that they aren’t ruling out cancer, since this was a rather quick progression. He asks if we want to keep her at the hospital, but says that no matter what the treatment he can’t guarantee that she’ll “make it.” I ask them to give me an estimate of what they think she needs, and to run all the tests they need to. So they bring me 2 quotes; both incredibly expensive. Again, I’m kicking myself in the ass, asking myself why the HELL I didn’t ask them to give her an X-ray or MRI or whatever she would have needed to help her the first time we took her in. I tell them to go ahead with the 2-day hospital stay with all the labs, etc. They say ok. We want to see her before we leave and they tell us to wait, but then the nurse comes back and says there’s a surgery going on and that the back is packed with animals at the moment. We’d have to come back at 10pm. I say aloud, “The girls will be in bed by then…” and Emily almost loses it and says, “You HAVE to bring us! What if she dies and we don’t get to see her!” I tell them ok, we’ll see what happens. It’s at this time that I sign a form giving them permission to perform CPR on her just in case she needs it.

We cry all the way home. We pick up Taco Bell, because it’s the nearest thing the girls are okay with eating. We get home and eat quietly, and then we give each other kisses before they head over to the bathroom to brush their teeth and get in bed. Both girls say they aren’t going to be able to sleep, but I tell them they have to try, just in case they call us from the hospital, they have to get SOME rest.

It’s 10:15pm when they call to let me know that she had crashed and they did CPR on her like we asked, but her labs are bad. The infection she had has gotten so much worse, and she’s going into liver failure. I ask if I can go in and see her right then, and they say yes. Jorge had just gotten home from work, so I wasn’t going to force him to go and I stand there not knowing what to do, and contemplated leaving without the girls, but they would hate me if something happens to Mabs and they aren’t there. So I wake them up and they get dressed quickly.

Alaethia is positive, saying, “Mabs is a fighter, she’s strong! She’s got this!” and I burst into tears again, quietly. I don’t want to tell them that she isn’t doing good, but I do. I tell them, “Girls, the reason they called is because she isn’t doing very well. She’s very sick. We’re going right now just in case she doesn’t make it.”

Cue the tears. I can’t believe this is happening and I feel like I’m the worst person for not taking her in sooner. And now it’s too late.

They let us see her about 15 minutes after we arrive. She doesn’t even look like herself at this point. We’re keeping the boys updated on our group chat about her. It seems now like it all happened so quickly, but we were there for about an hour, standing with her, letting her see us as she’s got all these tubes sticking out of her. She looks jaundiced and although she’s warm from the heating pad they’ve wrapped her with in a towel, her little paw pads are cold. At this point I just want to take her home. The nurse tells me that if we take her home, then she’ll surely die and we won’t give her a chance, but I’m looking at her and she’s suffering. The nurse even says that the reason she’s alive is probably because of the medication they gave her when they did CPR, because even me, not being a veterinarian, could see that she wasn’t really there anymore 🙁 . I call Jorge and ask him what to do. I don’t know. I feel guilty leaving her there, suffering, I don’t want to take her home if she’s going to be suffering, but I feel guilty if I ask them to euthanize her as well. We finally, after what seems like forever, talk with the girls and decide to euthanize. The girls didn’t object at all, since they could clearly see that she was suffering. They take us to a room to be with her and we carry her and speak to her and tell her how much we love her and are going to miss her. We can’t help but smooth out her little foot tufts that we love so much.

The doctor on duty takes forever, since she’s in another surgery. We can feel Mabby slowly leaving us and she hardly has a pulse. The doctor finally comes in, addresses the girls about how happy Mabs must be that we were with her and injects her line. Not 2 seconds later, she’s left us.

I sign the form to bring her home, and the receptionist tells the girls and I we all look so much alike. It makes us crack a smile and we say ‘thank you’. I make our payment and start our last drive home with Mabbers. We’re sad and crying silently; the girls holding Mabbers safely in her box.

Emily started bawling as soon as the alarm went off the next morning and was too distraught to go to school, so we let her stay home.

Alaethia had a test, so she said she’d be strong and go, but I texted her teacher to let her know she’d be an hour late. She held up pretty well, thank goodness.

I had texted my boss that I would be in late due to my girls not sleeping much because our kitty died. He sent his condolences and even let me skip a photo shoot when I did arrive at work to mourn, and probably because my face was puffy. Everyone I told saw me bawl my eyes out–so embarrassing. But I was so devastated 😥 .

We wait till the boys are home the next evening, and when Jorge gets home from work we give her her proper burial.

I’m not even sure where the kids found that metal thing, but it works. We have plans to add a little fence and flowers, of course.

I’ll miss patting the couch and yelling, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. I’ll miss having those big beautiful eyes looking softly at me, right before she would knead on my tummy. I’ll miss her so much. We all will. But it was actually Mabbers’ time, this time 😥 .

Queen Mab

“Fairy God-Mabby,” When Eenan Got His Wisdom-Teeth Out
“Who-hands and Pillow Paws”

Always So Patient With Us