The 1994-2014 experience

We closed on our previous house on January 31, 2020, spent the next few weeks in a rental, and spent our first night in our new house February 15. That’s all good, but it has meant a lot of moving.

We had gone through a great deal of our belongings more than a year ago when we first put our house up for sale (yes, it took forever to sell, but it went to the perfect family). Thank goodness, because the process has still been intense and decision-laden as we tried to minimize our amount of belongings while not pitching the things that have enough emotional importance to hang around.

Here’s a piece of paper that made the cut, and even made a box that ended up in our new house first (most of the things we didn’t absolutely need are in a pod still).

It’s one of the many thoughtful gifts my coworkers gave me when I left Healthy Kids in 2014 after working there for almost 20 years.

What changed, what stayed the same since 1994-2014?

Thinking about what has changed and what has stayed the same

Here are the things that have changed. Frankly, one of the big motivators for me to write this is to celebrate some of the things I don’t do anymore.

Coffee I don’t drink coffee anymore! I stopped during the Ration Challenge last year and never picked it back up again. This is so much better for my health.

Altoid Abuser During a multi-year phase of my time at Healthy Kids, I always took Altoids with me to meetings to stay awake. It was definitely a crutch. That ended in 2010.

Habitual Gum Chewer I kept this crutch for quite a while after I left Healthy Kids. I eventually stopped that too, for the same reasons I stopped Altoids in 2010.

Runner Not anymore, unfortunately. My exercise-induced tachycardia (which tolerates other kinds of exercise, fortunately, but not running) finally won out. Maybe there will be a medical advance someday that will make it happen again.

This was like being put into a time machine

I don’t know where she went — something about her water breaking This is my favorite story from my time at Healthy Kids. We were an extremely small group back in 1996. We had a student working for us named Juan. My close coworker, Jennifer, who was also a personal friend, was at lunch when I told Juan that I was leaving for the hospital because my water had broken (I would give birth to Tenley later that night). When Jenn came back from lunch, Juan said, “I don’t know exactly — something about her water breaking.” He thought it was a plumbing situation, apparently. Maybe I should have been more explicit in my explanation to a 20-year-old guy.

There was a rodent in the kitchen One of our buildings was an older building with a rodent problem. Y’all, it was BAD. I could probably write a whole blog about the Healthy Kids rodent situation. The final straw (for me) was the day one ran over my foot when I was in the kitchen making coffee (I’m surprised I didn’t give up coffee that day!).

Fingerprint reader Goodness I’m glad the statute of limitations is over on this and we’ve all moved on. Back when biometric identification on office machines was a newer technology, it was (to put it mildly) a frustration to try to get the machine to recognize our fingerprints. The blog and accompanying video I did to demonstrate this was funnier to me than it was to my employer.

Bowels We were sharing our office with the state agency responsible for Medicaid eligibility (because children had to be ineligible for Medicaid to get Healthy Kids at the time). There were some *interesting* interactions between our staff and the agency’s staff. One woman tried to make her point about how everyone should clean their own dishes in the kitchen. She did it by placing a sign on the kitchen door that said, “Clean your own bowels before leaving.” I couldn’t stop laughing.

This is still true

My Friday Read I still participate in Friday Reads on Facebook and Twitter every Friday. I’ve also started incorporating it into the SBLeaders Twitter account, which I help manage. Here’s an example, and I’d love for you to become a follower!

Love my cat There are two cats now, and they have frustrated us to no end throughout the home-selling process, but yes they are family.

Director of Ooperations, You vs Your I still hate typos. This is a good thing, since I now edit for a living.

Blogger, Optimism Light, Perspicacious Still blogging after all those years! The Optimism Light is still around (on Facebook and Twitter). I changed the blog years ago to “Big Green Pen” and moved the perspicacious part to a less prominent spot, but I still aim for perspicacity.

Mom, Tenley, Wayne Kevin My children (and husband) are my biggest priority, still.

Now that I’ve moved on

I didn’t know what was going to come next when I decided to leave Healthy Kids in May 2014. I thought I would find a way to earn a living that lit a different fire within me and helped me be happier.

Since my father-in-law moved in three weeks later and essentially needed supervision (along with trips to the doctor, trips to radiation and more), life took an abrupt turn once he was with us.

The beautiful thing is that I *did* find a job that lights a different fire within me and has helped me be happier. It wasn’t right away, but the sequence of events had to happen the way they did for everything to fall into place, I think.

But reading over this collection of “things about Paula,” I’m grateful for that 20 years. There won’t be another 20 years where I am physically with my coworkers 100% of the time. (I’m a virtual worker now (which I love!) and our world in general is moving to more virtual teams.)

I have the opportunity to make new memories with my current coworkers, and I’m enjoying that so much. I keep reflecting, though, on the different “me” I bring to these new relationships.

One thing’s for sure: It’s a biological impossibility that I will ever have to leave work at lunch because I need to give birth.

I am linking up with Five Minute Friday for the prompt “experience” (even though this took longer than five minutes to put together!).

I am also linking up with Kat Bouska’s blog for the prompt, “Share something that made you think this week.”

8 thoughts on “The 1994-2014 experience

  1. What an exciting time for you! Exhausting and frustrating no doubt, but still wonderful. I moved quite a bit growing up, and have changed jobs a few times, and your co-workers gift to you could not be more wonderful.
    Enjoy your new journey!

    • Thanks Laura! I guess I’ve changed jobs less than many people — and certainly for people younger than us, I guess it’s possible fewer of them will ever have the “20 years” experience. I’m so glad I did — it definitely influenced my approach to the “new” world of virtual team life. 🙂

  2. Well congrats on kicking some bad habits and a new house! What is it about altoids that just gets people hooked? I have friend who goes through packs every week! Super fun to go back in time and see how things have evolved.

    • I truly don’t know (re: the Altoids)! I guess there could be worse addictions, but those few calories at a time add up when you eat hundreds a day LOL!

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