Okay, so the biggest news that I’ve been choking on for the past month and a half is that the Mr. is finally his own boss! I don’t even know how to convey how terrifying and exciting and overwhelming this has all been. When I think about it, I well up with tears because of how proud I am of him, and how relieved I am that we are all a family again. He was a partner at his previous firm but with an hour each way commute. Obviously this means not seeing him in the morning at all and some days not seeing him until 8-9 PM. So the kids barely saw him at all, and by the time he got home he was physically and mentally drained. We knew this going in. We worked this out 8 years ago (OH MY GOD 8 YEARS WTF) because it didn’t make sense for me to work financially considering the cost of daycare and the expense my 1 hour commute put on us. So everyone sacrificed and everyone was miserable.
I have no desire to dredge up the past, but I’ve blogged very sparingly about any marital problems because there are some things I don’t want to tell the world. Poop? No problem. An argument? Fuck that. I swear we’re both stubborn as shit and never seem to change until we’ve both burned everything to the ground. After 15 years of marriage, I think we have finally built the house of bricks instead of straw if you know what I mean.
So enough of that, the good news! The Mr. now works from home! I have even more work to do now!
Wait, no. That last part sucks.
He left his position in April, and while we had discussed it, there was never a firm date. So when it happened, I went into full panic mode because things needed to get done. NOW. I’m not going to lie, I was annoyed. Put out, if you will. Because we have a home office. But the Mr. didn’t want the home office for his office. He wanted my classroom.
I get tense and annoyed when I think of this. I do. But contrary to popular belief, I am a rational, sane adult at least half of the time. As you can see by the AMAZING piece of artwork below, the classroom is in the quietest part of the house and is easier to close off when necessary. We have an open floor plan house which is great because I can scream my head off in the kitchen and everyone can hear. Very convenient. So the classroom that I took so much time and energy to set up had to be moved out, walls repaired, painted from ceiling to baseboard and then swap about 180,000 lbs. of books and furniture.
And, since he was still working, I was doing the majority of it on my own. I am moderately handy, and would be even more so if I wasn’t such a lazy asshole. It may shock you to hear, but I was very, very bitchy.
I wasn’t exactly mad, just complainy. Whiny. But I take pride in my work and feel bad when it’s not up to standard but I think I did a decent job on the office. The Mr. likes it, and while these are just work in progress pictures, I still think they look good. Looks even better now that it has all of the shelving in and work papers all about.
Honestly, I know this is all for the betterment of our family, and who the hell has money to pay anyone to do anything? All we have is sweat equity. For now at least. I don’t have any pictures of the new classroom mostly because I didn’t paint shit and I’ve busted a hundred and eleventy holes in the wall trying to hang up a giant white board. 6 x 4 is really, really huge but we got a good deal at Office Depot. It’s also magnetic! And it was on sale for $75. It’s white, it’s a board, it dry erases, and magnets stick to it. What more could you ask for? I did it and I was actually proud of my work for once.
By default, I am an employee, so had to do other work. Like build a website. Because yeah, sure, why not. I am sure I can write all the copy for an industry that I am only slightly acquainted with. Sure. Holy Fuck. If we had the money I would have gladly paid someone to build us a nice website but we don’t have thousands of dollars for that. What we do have is a few hundred dollars to use templates and then have me overhaul the whole thing for weeks until it’s presentable. I made so many mistakes. So many. But the biggest mistake came from the beginning by purchasing a WordPress template from TemplateMonster and no I’m not going to link it. FUCK THOSE RIP OFF ARTISTS OH MY FUCKING GOD. What a bunch of patronizing little shits they have working there. Here’s how it should have gone:
But no, that literally was not the way it went. First, after dicking around with it for hours, I finally get it uploaded. And this is what it looked like compared to what it was supposed to look like:
Their customer service said “it looks that way because you didn’t install it right. We can install it for you for an additional $50.” NO I work on it for a few more hours and I discover something amazing: the file that was sent was incomplete. How did I know it was incomplete? Because I followed their online tutorial and there was a whole step with this file that I did not have. So I get back with customer service. I need this file. “did you unzip the file?” Yes, the file in question isn’t there. “Are you sure?” Yes, I have two eyes that can see things. “Well, if you installed it correctly it wouldn’t look like that” FUCK THIS FUCKING SHIT.
So like an asshole, I pay for them to install it because by now I knew it was a fucking scam and I just needed to get shit done. Everything is uploaded and ready to go. All the text, code, pictures, etc were in the template purchase price. However, everything was still blurry like you see above. “Oh, if you want to use the pictures you’ll need to download a program to clear them up for an extra fee”
So long story short, don’t purchase through Template Monster. It was one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had and the only reason we paid them to install it was because they already had us by the balls. It is intentionally done, and every person I came in contact with had a different reason why this did’t work and why that didn’t work. It’s not better than paying thousands for a good site but it’s the best we could do for now.
I am not going to link the website here because it’s got enough personal information on it that I’m not comfortable with sharing but I do have to say I’m actually proud of the work that I put into it. I worked the majority of the copy and found as many royalty free pictures online that I could. I had it reviewed by a lot of different people in different fields and got some good feedback and constructive criticism which made the website even better. So from the paint on the walls to the design of the logo to deciding if I want the buttons to be square of a rounded off square, I put a lot into this. Ad yes, I am appreciated and that’s actually better than getting paid.
Besides, it’s not like I’m not spending all the money anyway. And I’m glad that I have some sort of useful skill other than napping.
At this point, the office thing is done and I only have to worry about social media advertising. Yeah, sure, no problem. The kids are lamenting the end of their almost two month school hiatus due to my complete and total preoccupation with all things business. Jut as an update, Robin started a new violin instructor this year and has learned more in 5 months than she had all of last year. We found a new (more expensive!!!) school for Josh and he’s on track to learn more in two weeks that he did one on one for four months with is previous teacher. So everyone else is doing pretty well. As for me?
Okay, so I didn’t meet-meet him, but I did make an awesome discovery that I hope will bring as much joy to someone else as it did for me. The person I “met” was Dr. Modestino Criscitiello. He told me his story from World War II that I just had to share with the world. My adventure started out in a used bookstore called Books by the Pound. Why yes, they do sell books by the literal weight. There were scales throughout the store, much like in the produce section of the grocery store. It has an antiquarian section with some incredibly old books; some from the early 1900’s. I wanted to buy all of them. BUY ALL THE BOOKS! But, old books tend to be heavy and hence, more expensive when buying by the pound. What I ended up finding was a very simple, albeit large, nondescript book.
When I opened it, it was filled with original photographs and documents. I didn’t look at it closely, but I really had to have it. Here is a weird little fact about me: I’ve always been strangely interested in WWII. As a young child, I read everything that I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction. I think that as a general rule, 7 year old little girls aren’t super into WWII. Or at least I never met one. Regardless of the reason, while I’m terrible at history and dates and such, I am a bit obsessed with it. So no matter what was in this book, I HAD to have it.
My initial thought was that it was maybe a variety of communication or just a gathered type scrapbook. When I finally got it home and sat down with it, I was amazed to find that it was the personal account of Dr. Criscitiello’s years of service during the war. Dr. Modestino Criscitiello was a surgeon that practiced in Pittsfield, MA. He had what most would consider a comfortable life with his wife and children when World War II erupted.
I detest war and I abhor violence in any form. The decision to volunteer my services during World War II came about only after long and agonizing consideration of the following factors:
|1. Leaving a comfortable home at the age of 49 and exposure to rugged army life with possibility of loss of life or limb.||1. As a member of Draft Board 123 and later as medical examiner of board I was involved in decisions as to who was to be drafted and sent to war, while I remained home in comfort and safety.|
|2. Acceptance of army regimentation with loss of personal freedom.||2. Sense of duty to country as a United States citizen.|
|3. Loss of income from medical practice at peak of my earning capacity.||3. Set up adequate insurance program so that in any event family could live comfortably and without jeopardizing children’s education.|
|4. Obligation to various community medical and non-medical organizations.
Obligation to my wife, children, and old mother.
|4. Paying the United States a debt of gratitude for having afforded my family the opportunity to develop our potential and enjoy a better life.|
Looking back, the decision to volunteer was justified. OUr entire family became an active part of the war effort and thus came face to face with the disruption of home life. We were all made more aware of the anxieties of war. Personally, during my three year term of service, I was fortunate to have had an active part. Among other duties, my assignment as Chief of the Surgical Service of the 117th General Hospital, situated near Bristol, England, brought me to the European theatre of war. This was a large, 1000 bed hospital usually filled beyond capacity with war casualties presenting cases with severe, multiple injuries. Though the work was strenuous physically and emotionally the results were gratifying. Among other accomplishments, the neurosurgical section of our staff made important contributions of the care of nerve injuries and the plastic surgery department made advances in the technic of pedicle grafts. We also did some pioneer work in angiography and electroencephalography. Above all, we provided mental and physical comfort to the American soldiers entrusted to our care. I like to feel that we saved a few lives and helped heal many wounds. Mission accomplished! I am thankful that I had the opportunity to serve my adopted country when in need.
Okay, how inspiring is this!? Dr. Criscitiello was (I believe) an Italian immigrant and is listed in U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 along with his wife, Assunta. Maybe as a child of immigrants, I’ve always had the sense of how important your adopted country is. This is my home country, but that’s not the point. Both of my parents worked with the government before they came to the US; my brother served in the National Guard for years.
I…pay my taxes. I vote. I know all the words to the songs and pledges and was even a Girl Scout for one year. I thought about joining but I am not made for the military. I’m a patriot by not enlisting. Trust me on this one.
Dr. Cristiciello entered into the Army as a Captain and was subsequently promoted twice: to Major and then Lieutenant Colonel. It’s easy to romanticize war stories because that’s a lot of what movies and TV do. I want to see it that way, as well, in a sort of M*A*S*H colored glasses way. I then try to think about the situation in a more realistic and empathetic way–how would I feel if The Mr. (who is now in his 40’s) voluntarily put himself into an ongoing conflict/war? Leaving me and our children alone? For three years? The thought seriously upsets me. I would be completely against it. The Mr. is totally against this imaginary scenario, too.
There were So. Many. Pictures. I wanted to include them all, but no. Here are some of my favorites:
Fau Tau Players Oath
I solemnly swear that I will not bitch, gripe, curse at, or bring false accusation against my fellow players.
If anyone knows if this says Fau Tau or what it means, please let me know. Tau is Greek, so maybe a fraternity or club of some kind? No clue. Still neat.
So his son was a doctor that studied at Harvard, his daughter was a nurse that studied at Yale and they were both in the military as well. The interesting thing is, when researching I found so many instances of “Doctor”. So many family members, even today!
Once I realized what I had in my hands, I began researching to find his family. I have no idea how his personal scrapbook ended up in a second hand bookstore in Georgia. If it was my family member, I would definitely want it back. I finally got a break through Facebook and connected with a Criscitiello in Texas who is indeed related and is a molecular biologist researching immunity and evolution. I corresponded with him and have sent him the book. If I had not found anyone I would have found a museum to donate it to. It is a really incredible collection of information and should be in the family first and shared with the world second. If you believe in these kinds of things, maybe it was fate that I found that book? Maybe it wanted to go home? Either way, this was a wonderful adventure from start to finish. I’m glad I got to play a small part.