What a long month this has been. This is Part 1 of my big long harsh exhale.
Stress at my new job: My boss pulled me into his office over a week ago and told me that there are some things he likes about me such as my letter writing and there are some things he doesn't like such as my missing details on leases.
I have been told I am not allowed to make decisions for any dollar amount over $50 because I committed us to addressing and HOA problem that we were going to have to fix. There is no winning against HOA's. I was told to never announce our intentions.
I have come to realize they do not want a property manager, they want an admin assistant. It is a fine line to walk. They want me to be a property manager, but they can't trust anyone to do the job like they would do. It is a bad fence to straddle.
I am used to working in a fast paced environment where when you find a mistake, such as while reading over the lease with a tenant, you correct it--on the fly and have everyone initial the correction. I didn't have a boss editing and reading every item I created. Not one of the hundreds of lease's that I put together ever had one tiny issue in court and I spent a lot of time sending my lease's to our lawyer. The only lease problems I ever had were when we couldn't find one lease. One missing lease, out of hundreds meant I had to back down from sending that tenant to collections for the carpet cleaning and cleaning of the apartment when they moved out. That sucked, but it was an error made in 2012. Scanning in all emails and lease's & security deposit letters became job #1 and someone was hired to manage the scanning and filing.
It is very frustrating to work for someone else after working on my own for so long. I understand their desire for me to slow down and be detail oriented, but my strengths are in people, communication, sales... Managing the office of a small business means moving non stop and not sweating the small stuff that isn't considered an error until you are past the point of correction. Ordering a wrong part and delaying a fix is an error. Missing that a tenant hadn't paid and got a free months stay is an error. Not updating 2015 to 2016 is a correctable acceptable error.
The daily, sometimes hourly notations of my errors or perceived errors is tedious, draining and soul sucking. I am blessed to get to hear at least once a day "I would have done this" or " what I wanted you to say or do was this." Then send me a template letter for every possible issue that will come up and I will just cut & paste the tenant's information into the blanks.
I feel I am/was more of a "well that isn't how I would have done that, but what you have done works for me" type of manager. This is your's now, so run with it and tell me if you need my help.
This endless parent/child role is unbearable. Every day I feel set up for the next failure.
Then we have the ever popular weekly pep talk that we are a team. We are supposed to help each other and work together. I am told each time that they appreciate questions and want me to have the clarity I need to get my job done. This part of the conversation is always stated with a head tilt and sincere facial expression and finished with the ever popular, "Okay? So we are all on the same page?"
We aren't even on the same planet most days. If I ask a question, the reply I get both via nasty emails which have caused me to shut off my phone during lunch in hope of not getting heart burn while trying to choke a meal down.
Every week I receive at least one email or comment stating I am "stupid" for not being able to read their minds or "this isn't rocket science"... I can do this job. I have managed far more properties than they have and had happy owners and mostly happy tenants, except the one's who can't or won't pay.
I didn't search for errors. My goal each day was to do my best for my owners and tenants and my family. When I found an error I fixed it. I didn't attach an emotional charge to it. I didn't turn each error into a sermon, a pseudo teaching moment, or a chance to turn an error into a reflection of who someone is.
After multiple smack down sessions two weeks ago, my boss was leaving my office and in a very condescending tone asked me if I knew how to find the paint colors for the interior of a house that needed to be made ready for a new tenant. I started to say, "yes I do, but what is your way?" However I had sat through one too many you are stupid and I know everything sermons that week so I just smile and said, "of course." He smiled and left. I exhaled and got back to work on a myriad of other items. This was my big mistake for that day. I should have said no. But there was a chance that stating that would have lead into the how can you be a property manager and not know how to figure out a paint color. There isn't a clear winning option most days.
I am a property manager and I know you can remove a light switch cover or outlet cover and chip off a piece of the previously painted drywall and take that to get it color matched. When that doesn't work, I have had to get the whole damn wall repainted in close match color. It is unbelievable how many shades of shitty dirty apartment white the hard ware store can make and then you have to decide if you get a paint that can be washed so that the grime and buggers just slide down the wall when the tenants move out or if you go with a flat you will have to repaint between each tenant paint.
I am still learning how this company files things, how they store important information and where to look.
I did a quick check and couldn't find the information so I told our maintenance man to color match it at the hardware store if he couldn't find a can in the property. A week later, I got my ass chewed not once, but twice by Boss 1 and Boss 2. It is clear to them that I do not understand the system. All of the information I needed could have been attained by answering "no" to the question that previous week. Boss 1 would have turned to me and told me to look through the Move-In Sheet from the previous tenants where one of the past 6 property managers had noted the information or you can dig and search through the rehab files for a contractor agreement which most of the time holds the Scope of Work information that has the interior and exterior paint colors. Now but not using that information, I have again fucked up and have caused much chaos by adding random paint to the walls when it was all there for me to find.
My job feels a lot like my last marriage. I just try to stay off the radar and not rock the boat. Yes sir, thank you sir. I truly appreciate the bread crumbs of happiness you fling at me. Thank you for telling me I am a good letter writer and in the same breath telling me that you have made changes to reflect how you would say it. Please for the love of God, then just write the letter for me. Send me to mind reading school, get me a magic 8 ball, perform some voodoo ritual and attach the spirit of some long dead perfect property manager to me via a lock of his nose hair.
Walking into work is like entering some weird alternate universe. Down a side hallway is my old office where I did a really great job managing 200 properties and 80 different owners and new tenants, old tenants and prospective tenants. I made mistakes, but I fixed each mistake quickly and learned from the hard ones. Only once did I pay an owner for a mistake I made. I didn't move fast enough on an eviction and that owner asked me to pay them the rent that they had not received because I let the tenant live in their apartment for free. I wrote the check, gritted my teeth and never let people live for free again.
Opening the door to my new job, I am so micro managed that I can't manage a mere 80 properties and two owners.
Opening the door to my new job, I am spoken to like I am an idiot. Every correction is snarky and condescending. Please ask questions, we are a team and then the response to my question is "do you even read what you are writing?" or "do I really need to spell this out for you?" "Wow, the answers are right there, buried four folders down in a contractor bid." Or my favorite, "did you check in the Property Managers Manual?"
At the end of the conversation two weeks ago Boss 2 told me that he hoped things got better because this wasn't going to work for either of us if it continued the way it has been going.
WTF & Holy Shit. I am 43 and have never been fired or laid off. I left the office and went back to work for the few remaining minutes that day and then got in my car and cried. I have never failed to get great reviews and promotions and raises. I wonder if my current boss's think my last company failed because of me? My part of the company was smooth and fine tuned after three years. The systems and processes I put in place were the lesson's learned from trial and error.
Because this experience is so contrary to anything I have ever been through, I am trying to figure out the lesson. I am not enjoying the bitter taste of failure.
I am going to step away from the computer and go for a walk to shake this off.
I woke up thinking of the scent of lemons. I have no idea why, but I woke up and lemons were on my mind. So I made my bath with lemons & lavender. It was a wonderful smell to wake up to.
My Angel Card this morning was Life Purpose.
"Don't worry about how to make good money in a meaningful career. Don't concern yourself with quitting or starting jobs or professions. Instead, follow the path of your natural desires, talents and passion with the full intention of bringing joy to yourself and others."
It caught my eye this morning that bringing joy to "yourself" was listed before others. I know that it is true that when I am happy I have so much more to make other's happy with. Selfish is a word I stumble on daily. Today has been a very all about me kind of day. I can be selfish when my kids aren't home.
I love getting out of bed and sitting and having my first cup of coffee up out of bed. I love sitting in my kitchen or in my living room snuggled under a blanket and surveying this space that is my home. I feel very blessed to have this home.
I love starting my day with gratitude for the stability these four walls provide me and to the yard and wide tree lined streets that my children love. This is their city home!
Today I woke up and they aren't here. They are up with their dad in their mountain home. So I sat in the kitchen,drinking my coffee and smiled knowing their rooms are waiting for them to return. I hold space for them in our home.
The screen for covering the cast iron skillet was finally purchased and I am hoping this cuts down on the grease splatters all over the kitchen. My house smelled of bacon & lemon & lavender after breakfast.
Then I had my second acupuncture treatment for stress, insomnia, neck & shoulder tension, and all of the other crap I have that this helps. I love community room treatment. I snuggle into a big recliner, cover myself up with a blanket and sink. They put the needle things in my neck, shoulders, forehead, jaw area, ears, arms, hands, legs, and feet and then I can lay there for an hour or so and relax. They have music playing and it is just peaceful. I fell asleep last time. This time I didn't sleep but I did my meditation for the day to the rhythmic snoring of a conked out lady lying two recliners over.
Springs Community Acupuncture
If you have been interested in acupuncture but found that the price was cost prohibitive, then please check to see if you have a community acupuncture in your area. This one has a sliding scale that you choose from for what you can afford. This fits my budget way better than the $70 a treatment I tried at a downtown acupuncturist.
I have run my errands and done some quick drive by's of properties I manage to see if they have mowed their grass or if they still have 3 foot tall weeds covering the front yard. This part of my job is easy & fun. Grab a sweet tea and the property list by zip codes and off I go windows down, music crankin'!
I stopped by ARC and found some great tank tops for my daughter and have been sitting here in the silence of my house listening to the birds chirp. I love their chirping in the afternoon. It drives me bat shit when they start chirping at 5:30 am.
I am thinking that my summer pool membership with the YMCA allows me to use their facilities and sitting in a hot tub for a bit tonight sounds like the perfect end to my day following my bliss.
While shuffling my Angel cards this morning, my thoughts were,
"Dear Angels & Dad, guide me, help me. I can't seem to make everything fit together right now. Nothing feels right & good." Some days my life becomes that damn simple. Guide me, help me.
The answer I was given was Listen.
You received this card because the Angels wish to get their message through to you. They ask that you talk less and listen more. Give your worries to the Angels and trust that they have heard your prayers.
I am having a difficult time (as always) getting quiet, being quiet, being still, letting go enough to allow listen. I worry that if I listen and hear that I am going to have to act. It is easier to just keep busy. But I long for more than getting by and making do.
But this feeling won't go away. It will ebb for a few days or weeks, but then it hits me so hard that I can think of nothing else but the feeling of not being right.
I know I am asking a great deal of my loved ones lately because I just keep pulling into myself. The noise, the feelings, the energy is so loud around me. I wish people could see the energy & vibrations they are surrounded with. It is so hard to explain how drained you feel just being with people, even people you enjoy spending time with.
I want to walk in the woods and find a rock to sit on and tip my face to the sunshine or drive for days with my windows down and good tunes turned up. Both are my idea of being silent and listening.
I did not sleep well due to the Sunday Night Blues!
I have a great deal to accomplish at work today. I am wasting brain power trying to figure out what I will have done to disappoint Boss #1 about over the weekend and what the message will be of today's stern lecture.
Money is extremely tight, as always and just never makes it to the last day of the month.
I have to choose my "one" week of non-paid summer vacation to tell my ex and my employers who don't give paid vacation until after 6 months. I tried to negotiate it in prior to employment and felt quite pleased with myself that I negotiated getting to take a week off without pay during the busy summer months.
My daughter was suspended from school on Friday. More to come on this later.
My Angel card today is Child.
"We can clear and open your heart and schedule so that you can give more time & energy to the children who need you."
"Your life purpose involves helping children."
While I did sleep, it was punctuated with bouts of waking up to revisit the events at court yesterday.
By the end of the night yesterday, it all felt like a dream.
After almost two years of being told by the state & my ex that there was nothing I could do to collect the alimony, the events yesterday still seem unreal.
I am trying to stay in this moment and be grateful and not wander into the what-if forest of how this all will work in reality. Damn that is really difficult to do.
I am trying to catch myself each time I TRY to figure out what the payment or retribution for this gift will be & for how long, to stop & exhale loudly. While this is obnoxious to have to hear all day, it is my go to surrender. Surrender is the word of the day.
My Angel Card this morning is Relationship.
"You are now out of the Forrest & entering an area filled with light & beauty."
Thank you & Amen!
Farting and crying and driving and driving and farting! Omg my stomach was so messed up.
I am grateful I was alone in the car, 'cause the exhale of stress did not leave my body in a pretty way-although I did not vomit!
I won!!! The big win of not having to pay him anymore, the big win of him getting schooled by the very pissed off Judge and she made sure he will pay me all that he owes via garnishment of his wages.
Not that I believe for one minute I will ever see a dime of the back money owed, but she held him firm that he isn't above the law.
If he had opened his mouth one more time to argue with her, she would have thrown his ass in jail. He was not happy we got a new Judge, although I am certain the old Judge would have been just as mad at his lack of respect for the legal orders.
Today, for a while I will enjoy this huge success!
Just wanted to share the good news!
I made it here to the historic Cripple Creek Courthouse for my child support modification hearing.
My stomach is a mess. This is such a beautiful old building, but it holds lots of really bad memories. I walked up the same stairs where two years ago I ran into my former Mother-In-Law & several women who I had considered friends.
I am reminding myself that I am here today for nothing more than to get the courts okay to stop writing that child support check to him every month.
I am breathing in deeply & trying to remember to exhale. I want to change my feeling about this building and hope I will leave today not scared to defend my rights.
My ex just walked in, saw me and found an area around the corner to sit. 15 minutes until court begins.
Two months ago I finally found my courage to request that our child support plan be modified so I could stop paying my ex $25.59 a month child support since he stopped paying me my $2000 alimony back in August 2013.
I knew I was opening a big ass can of whoop ass, but it pisses me off to follow the Judges spiteful Final Divorce Orders and for my ex to choose not to for over 20 months and he has suffered no consequences.
I am always irritated when he explains that he is part of the working poor who live pay check to pay check on $8000 a month. He actually tries to explain to me how hard it is for him to cover all of "his" bills and feed our children. He says this while he knows I make about a quarter of what he does.
He never chose to ask the courts to modify or lower his spousal support payment. Nope, he just decided he couldn't afford to pay me anymore & stopped.
He did this to his first wife as well. His child support obligation was only $250 a month while he was making $60k to $100k. I don't know why she never took him back to court, but she didn't. So not judging her as I didn't either for 20 months. This is a terribly difficult decision to make because me doing what is right and legal will be twisted in it's presentation to our kids. He sent me a very sad email detailing why he can barely make ends meet with what he is paid.
I feel for him, until I write the check to him each month.
Tomorrow morning is my court date. My stomach is swirling like a tornado. I keep waking up in sweats and in a panic due to how outrageously court went the past two times I was in front of this small town judge.
I had to dig through all of my files to locate the papers I want to take with me and in doing so I had to touch and scan documents that are so terribly painful to relive. Tomorrow night when I get home, I will put the lids back on these boxes and haul them back to the basement where they can be out of sight and out of mind.
I have been reminded that best case scenario, I will finally get child support and maybe have the judge wag his finger at my ex's contempt of court attitude. Second best would be for me to not have to pay my ex support ever again. Worst case scenario, the numbers will magically morph in their excel spreadsheet and I won't get any child support and will have to continue to pay him $25.59 every month for the next 5 years.
Regardless, I am proud of myself for taking this step forward to showing him and the universe that I will stand up and firm for what I deserve and need. I will no longer reward his bad behavior with my silence. I will not have my silence be seen as compliance and acceptance of his manipulation and control.
I am pulling out all the stops to relax, breathe, listen to my guided meditation, be gentle with my food choices, and there will be a hot bath and sleeping pill tonight.
My daughter just told me that her dad won't be at Scouts tonight because he has to work on some stuff for tomorrow. I am very grateful I won't have to see him tonight or have him push to find out why I didn't accept his genuine and fair offer. I am terrified and terribly intrigued to see how he is going to present his poor me to try to get out of paying me child support. I have seen some cruel and unfair things happen in court rooms.
I will be calling on all of my friends to send up a prayer for peaceful fair resolution tomorrow. I will be asking that my angels to hover around me in the court room. I will be practicing envisioning a big white bubble of love and protection around me.
I am hoping the Judge keeps us on track and focused only on the facts, not the sad stories and excuses. Plug in the numbers, have an amount for support generated, set the date it is due and let me flee that damn building.
What a weird and fabulous day. Just feeling and settling into my skin. My dear friend Mary sent this to me today on Facebook. Then I heard the song "Wild Child" on the drive up to get my kids.
I want to embody this gypsy freedom following the wind and sun where it takes me.
For my entire life I have believed that I had to stand still to have love, to be loved.
Stand still, keep everything on the down low and under the wire of acceptable.
I don't want to have to figure out how to take everyone just so I get to go. I don't want to have to stay to be loved.
I just want to wake up everyday and be me and do all of the little things that makes me feel happy and brings me joy.
Coffee with sweet creamer, watching my kids be themselves, singing with my kids while I drive, talking with my girlfriends & sharing secrets, hugs & hearty laughs shared over a glass of wine, eating tasty food, walking & zoning out and hot baths perfumed with essential oils.
How absolutely freeing it is to wake up & realize that I have wanted to create a family for myself since I was a young girl. That family represented safety, consistency, unconditional love, and a place where I could relax and just be myself. I kept trying to fit all of this in a husband/wife, own your house, retirement plan, one vacation a year, type of cookie cutter.
I am settling into the fact that I have never liked that path of having a husband. That relationship didn't fill the gaping holes in my soul.
I wanted the 2 children and a dog, and tons of mini-vacations and get together's with friends and reading groups and wine tastings and nights snuggled up in my kids blankets reading books and watching History Channel.
The most wonderful part of the whole equation is I have the kids. I am a mom. It was never a family I wanted, I just wanted to be a mom. I wanted to open my heart to my children. I wanted to live and laugh and love with my babies! I wanted to teach my children and fill their heads with books and movies and history and music. I have been doing that for 14.5 years, interlaced with ENDLESS grown-up boy drama as I tried to be a wife or girlfriend.
I have limited my life up to this point, trying to figure out how to keep a partner in my life while living the life I dream of.
I am stepping back and letting that part of my life fall into place, or not.
The boy has never been a major part of the equation, just a nice bonus, when they weren't creating havoc and chaos and distracting me.
This is the thought that I haven't been able give birth to, until today. I couldn't nail down what I wanted. I have been asked that question for decades by the men in my life.
What do you want?
What will make you happy?
What do you want from me?
I just want to be me, Melissa, unrestrained and unapologetic.
I created a Pinterst board this summer for how to wrap my hair up when I have the top off of my dream wrangler so that my hair isn't 500 snarles of tangled knots several times a day as I drive around town.
Today I am sitting in my Cherokee Ms. Sophie dreaming of giving her to my son in a couple of years while I drive my Jeep Wrangler with the doors off.
As I wait for my children to get out of school, I decided to practice hair tie downs with my scarf!
I love the school pick up line!!
2.58 miles walked today in the shade of the clouds. I love the sights and sounds. I love these two water features on my walk.
I had a wonderful walk this morning. I joined the Hay House 2015 Summit (it is free again!!) and listened to one of the 5 free pre-interviews.
I started with Deepak Chopra's interview.
"If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can't just wait to see what kind of day you'll have. You have to decide what kind of day you'll have."
That is what I did this morning. I woke up and chose happiness. I chose it and asked myself, "What can I do today to bring more happiness & peace into my day?" The answer was get outside and walk and be present.
Now that it is mid day, I need to ask myself the same question again. I am hungry so the answer is go out and find some food!!
I still have a large part of my day to fill with things that make me happy.
What are you doing today to fill your day with happiness?
This is the first time I have bailed on a race. I always go and just trudge through. With my recent neck & shoulder pain and shelling out money to the acupuncturist, I opted to not run the Spartan obstacle race today. Instead I took a walk this morning. 3.2 miles in 52 minutes. I love walking my neighborhood.
No need to hunt down leprechauns, next week on the west side of Colorado Springs, there is yard after yard of wishes!!! I will be sneaking into peoples yards to lie in the field of dreams.
Made my first wish of the day.
So many fields of wishes!
While these look magical, I will not eat them.
You received this card as a gentle confrontation because the Angels know you have been hiding from your true feelings.
You've probably been afraid that if you admitted how you honestly felt that you'd be overwhelmed with feelings and faced with making some necessary changes that you feel unprepared for.
Trust your own feelings even if others don't agree.
Avoid getting caught up in the illusion that "this is the way it is."