On-call

As part of my assignment, I take call twice a month. This week, my call was during the day—which is great, because if I get called in I can still rest at night. Also, not so great because this means I have to drive in a day early. I decided to make the most of it and plan my day as an adventure and sight seeing around town with my scrubs/shoes and backpack in the car “just-in-case”.

Here’s my day in pictures.

Spring is springing here in Florida. I miss the azaleas in Tallahassee and this walk gifted me with many—-both pink and white and in all their glory!
A quite little neighborhood right on the edge of campus. Hardly any traffic which is great since there were plenty of puddles and mud on the side from recent rain (reminding me it’s not just the university, but the state that is “The Swamp”
Interesting yard art
Devil’s Millhopper. A geological sink that has multiple waterfalls feeding it. The sink itself is brown and gross, but interesting. And a whole. Lot of steps down…..which sadly meant a whole lot of steps back up.
The first time I’ve paid less than $4/gal in two weeks and somehow this feels like a bargain??? Sigh…..back to more exciting stuff….
Paynes Prairie—closed on 441, but was able to stop and grab a few pics
No gators this visit but it could not have been a more spectacular day
Local cattle stomping through flooded prairie
Observation tower overlooking the prairie
Wild horses—you’ll have to trust me
View from the “uncrowded” 2nd level of the deck. Too muddy to hike in my flip flops, so I settled for this. Not too shabby

Glad I went with my gut and “killed time” exploring Gainesville this beautiful day instead of waiting in my apartment for a call that never came!

A few of my favorite things

Not that I don’t really want to work weekends forever—in fact, my next assignment I have weekends OFF!—but weekdays off have their merit! It’s a little like how I imagine retirement to be-HAHA, but truly, it hasn’t been terrible and here are a few things I’ve enjoyed as a result of this weekend assignment:

5. Target is EMPTY. Cashiers wait at the end of their row to beckon you over to check out—like Publix, but it is TARGET! It is glorious, I tell you! Aldi is another story—-quite busy, but it’s Aldi. You can get in and out pretty easy regardless of the people. Almost makes grocery shopping fun! almost…..

4. Crossing the main street on my walks is easy–peasy! Very little traffic on the main road during the day, makes for a peaceful walk! Also, very few people walking/running/biking so I don’t have to share the sidewalk very often. Petty, I know. Just being honest here.

3. I have the beach to myself—-ok, who am I kidding? We are a tourist destination, so it’s never REALLY to myself and our “spot” is pretty quiet even on the weekends, but getting on the beach and driving to my destination with sparse traffic, makes my favorite place even better!

2. Daytime with my hubby. We get to enjoy quick walks during the day. Intermittent conversation and just being near each other with no hustle and bustle. Going through the day together. Work, lunch, dinner prep, exercise. It’s very peaceful hanging out all day. I didn’t expect that, honestly. I thought he’d be very focused on work (he is laser focused, type A), but we actually have many moments during the day to chat, grab a hug, walk, make plans, etc. In person. Not via text or phone. In person. That’s the best part. This also bodes well for our empty-nest adventure!!

1. Daily Mass. Since I am working on Sundays for this assignment, I miss Sunday Mass. My shift is 7a-7p so there are no Masses available and so I attend during the week. Fortunately, this is a temporary situation but it is not lost on me that this period of time falls during Lent with my first available Sunday Mass being EASTER!!! Perhaps it is missing Sunday Mass which makes me appreciate Daily Mass so much, but the time is more reverent, focused and beautiful to me and it is time I wholly look forward to throughout the week.

Not that you asked….but there’s a few (5) little silver linings I’m enjoying while working weekends.

Peace! T

Living la vida

I’m halfway through my assignment and receiving a lot of communication from recruiters looking to place me for my next assignment. It’s interesting to look at different areas of the state and throw my hat in the ring for the open positions and see what comes back. A little overwhelming at times to remember which agency is tied to a specific assignment to make sure I don’t have two agencies submitting for the same job and then interviewing and W.A.I.T.I.N.G. It really is the hardest part. Tom Petty wasn’t wrong.

Yesterday I was contacted for a job that wasn’t even on my radar and I had an initial discussion today, next steps formal interview (or two). Interesting. Very interesting! We shall see what God has in store for the future…..in the meantime…..I wait. UGH

It’s been an enjoyable week at home, productive and relaxing as well as enjoying our parish’s Lenten mission this week with Monsignor Liam Bergin from Boston College.

Tomorrow I head back and pray the traffic is kind to me to and fro. Last week I ran into a fatal wreck that re-routed me home, turning a 2 hour trip into a 4-hour trip. I did my best to try and keep perspective and remember that someone WASN’T making it home, but man. My body was TIRED!!

Happy to report that I am refreshed from some beach time, LONG OVERDUE friend time and self care. Hope to hit a repeat again this week!!

Blessings and enjoy my “bird themed” pics this week!

Beach time
Winter time=lots of birds chillin’ on the beach
This guy’s “hair”. I can’t. He was the coolest.
3 of the many New Smyrna roosters—these guys started following me—I picked up the pace!!
A Lenten quote I loved this week.

Bittersweet Blessings

Once upon a season, the idea of working weekends would have been detrimental to our home life. Time spent together as a family after a week of school, work, extracurricular and all that goes along with life with a family of 4 growing kiddos warranted some time for breathing and reconnecting for all of us and weekends were sacred. This season, however, is a different season altogether and finds us in a place of kids who are now young adults, spreading their wings and leaving us with an emptier nest by the day. At this point, working weekends isn’t so bad since it leaves plenty of time during the week that the hubs and I are home together, providing opportunities to take walks throughout the day, chit chat, lunch, daily Mass and usually a date thrown in somewhere.

This season is a slower pace of life. During the first few weeks of my current assignment with copious free time during the week, my grandmother (my dad’s mom) experienced some health problems that sent her into a physical decline and she was placed on hospice care at home with my aunt and uncle.

My grandparents were married for 44 years and when my grandfather passed away, I was 20 and entering radiology school. I moved in with my grandmother to keep her company and transition to a new life as a widow and maintained my freedom as a college student (living her best life with her grandmother). It was a mutually beneficial relationship and we got along wonderfully. She taught me to rotate my linens, folding towels in thirds, how to iron my uniforms (even though she did it for me most of the time), I mowed her lawn—occasionally decapitating sprinkler heads, we hung linens to dry on the clothesline (a smell I still love to this day), tended to her rose garden and various other plants in her immaculate yard and we had morning coffee and cake before I left for school. Our two years passed quickly and when I graduated, Gram sold her house and moved in with my aunt and uncle.

Life does not stop when illness enters the picture, and my aunt and uncle had various appointments they needed to attend so I was grateful for the opportunity to provide some respite care for them and selfishly, some special time with my grandmother catching up on life and grasping these last days. Physically, my grandmother was weak, slept a lot and didn’t eat or drink much, however, she was still very alert mentally. The evenings brought about “sundowning” but our daytime visits presented very little of this.

These visits with Gram were precious. She slept much but always woke up for our visits. This time, shared intermittently with other family members was borrowed time and we all cherished these moments. We caught Gram up on our lives, our kid’s lives, home projects in the works, discussed my aunt’s orchids, the garden and a few nostalgic stories for giggles. She was tired but present, sassy, laughing and holding hands with us and Mr. Wiggles, her (15-Year- old!!!!) poodle ever present at her side.

During what would be my last visit with Gram, she didn’t wake up. We spent this time in prayer. Holding her hand, I prayed with the Laudate app the prayers for the dying, the elderly, the Our Father, Hail Mary as well as my own words. I knew these prayers were walking her to Heaven and while I was so sad to let her go, I was so honored to walk with her. That evening she passed from this earthly life to the her heavenly home. What a gift.

Requiescat in pace, Gram.

Gram

Gram and Grampa
Gram with Dad and Aunt Liz
Gram (in black dress) with her parents and unknown gal

When it all falls in place

Back to the epic tale of Tracy.

There are times in my life when I have KNOWN without the shadow of a doubt that God is working and I am merely following His lead. I recognize it (not always right away—-which would be soooooo much easier) when my life seems to take an unexpected turn and wild ideas pop into my head WITH SOLUTIONS to the unexpected turns. My/our current job change is one of those times. And it is still in progress, so it is absolutely terrifying and fascinating to experience.

Once I recognized that my job wasn’t mine to keep and that we were being called to New England (it appears—remember, this is still in progress, we aren’t there yet!) I remembered that a former co-worker/friend and his wife had traveled years ago as X-ray techs and that seemed to be an interesting idea to pursue as well as a great way to figure out where we want to live and work—a kind of “try before we buy”. I talked with my friend who gave me good insight on travel life and I found a couple of helpful Facebook groups which had a ton of information and with that combination of guidance and direction everything snowballed very quickly. Much faster than the original thought of “two years from now”.

After narrowing down travel companies and figuring out a start date for a my first travel assignment (with a very generous resignation timeframe from my job), I resigned from my position and vaulted into the travel world. I was able to stay on PRN with my company since I have quite a wide range of abilities within the company, so it worked out well for them and I keep a foot in the door and pick up extra shifts when convenient. Win-win.

Ironically enough, since I had been out of clinical for the last 3 years and had no travel experience, I was not the hot commodity I thought I should be. Apparently 30 years of experience means nothing. Enter humble pie. Somehow though, I ended up with an interview and offer for a job 2 hours away with the hospital I worked at straight out of X-ray school—-it seems they would be my “first” again. Side note: Conveniently, this job is located in the same town our youngest son attends college. Bonus!!

The next step was to find housing since it’s not practical to make a 4 hour commute daily. After reviewing a few options of a “room for rent in a house”, I was able to find a studio apartment for a reasonable rate and super convenient location. It provides exactly what I need: bed, shower, coffee pot and a mostly quiet neighborhood and most importantly—-NOT in someone’s house. I sleep “ok”—not great, not horrible, but it’s fine. As soon as I finish my last shift each week, I drive home. It usually takes me a couple of hours to wind down after each shift, so it’s nice to do that in the car and be back in my own bed that night.

The actual job is busy. No surprise. It is a fast-paced 12 hours, but the ER team is great to work with and time flies. 13 weeks will be up before I know it. In fact, I am already at the point where I am reviewing positions for my next assignment which is wild to me!

The downside of the job is the shifts are on the weekend. The upside is I am home all week. My weekdays are finding a new rhythm and this new freedom has provided an enormous blessing…..to be continued