Wednesday, June 16, 2010

These Summer Days

How many times do I need to run up and down the stairs between the 7th floor and 9th floor of my office building today to work off the three chocolate chip cookies, one molasses cookie and one mini snickers bar that I ate today? I've been eating so poorly the last couple of weeks. I literally ate twizzlers and corn nuts for supper one night. I know that most of it is the stress of all that's going on at work right now combined with a hectic summer schedule, trying to fit in all of the fun things we want to do while the weather is nice.

I think that I ate nothing but cookies for a whole day last week. However, I think I also walked about 1,500 steps that day. I went up and down stairs at work, down and up, up and down. I try not to talk about work here, but it has sort of taken over life the last few weeks. You see, I work for a health care system in Minnesota and our contract with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) is up for negotiation. If you haven't been following along, the gist of the story is that there was no resolution and therefore, the MNA nurses participated in a one-day strike last week. So, what does this mean for me? I work in Human Resources, specifically in Leadership, Employee, and Organization Development and my department was responsible for a large part of the onboarding of the incoming temporary nurses. So, we onboarded 1200 nurses from all over the US last week. They flew in to Minneapolis from their hometowns, took buses from their hotels to our corporate office, and we welcomed them by the busload for three days. We provided general information on our organization, we processed paperwork, assigned them to specific departments at our hospitals, granted physical access to the buildings and units they'd be working in and granted software access to the computer systems they would be using. We provided clinical training, computer software training, and basic safety training to each and every one of them. We worked long days, some overnight. People planned for the possibility of this for months, even a year. In three days, we processed 1200 "new employees"... after they worked a 12 hour shift, they returned home and we quickly and efficiently wrapped up, although we are still slowly working to return to "normal"

Last night, it was announced that MNA is advertising a vote next Monday on another strike, this time not a one-day strike, but an open-ended strike. If there is an open-ended strike, my job and my husband's job will both likely be in jeopardy. Our organization will suffer, but we will work as hard as always to provide exceptional care to our patients and our community. Our organization will likely need to do everything we can, which may include reductions in hours and possibly layoffs. It's a stressful time. If you aren't informed about the situation and are interested, here are two articles from local papers this week.

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Twin Cities Nurses Strike
St. Paul Pioneer Press - Twin Cities Nurses Strike  

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the situation at work, we are attempting to plan some fun things this summer. It's a bit challenging to do when you don't know if you're going to be working 24 hour shifts at work implementing a contingency plan or if you're going to be laid off. It's all up in the air. We're pretty good at staying at ease, and going with the flow, but even our vacation plans are causing a bit of stress. Our daycare is closed two full weeks this summer as our provider rightfully takes some deserved vacation. Inconveniently, neither of these two weeks fall during times when we planned on taking vacation, so we still need to find childcare during those two weeks. What were the chances, anyway?

The one week that I look forward to each summer is a time when my entire family (parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews) go up north to a resort on a beautiful lake. We swim, fish, read, cook, play games, go boating, tubing, waterskiing, collecting pretty rocks, rollerblading, etc. Yes, all 25 or 30 of us squeeze into two duplex style timeshare units for a week. This year, it happens to be the same week as two events that Cliff's family is participating in and Cliff is trying to figure out how to be in three places at once.

This weekend, Gavin and I are going on a road trip to visit my sister Kristin in Kansas. Cliff will be home and has a full weekend planned himself!  I'm really looking forward to the trip, to the time with my sister, and my good girl friends, even to the excitement of taking Gavin along and experiencing it through his fresh eyes. After all, he is six months older than he was last time we were there! Along with the excitement about the trip however, there is also a little hesitation, a little anxiety about being sure I've packed everything I'll need, ensuring he will be content in the car for seven hours each way, and mostly ensuring that he feels safe, comfortable, and at ease while we're away from home.

Oh, and did I mention that I didn't realize this was Father's Day weekend when I planned the trip, so I'm also now attempting to pull off a meaningful Father's Day for Cliff while his only son and wife are seven hours away? That means running around this week after work (on the only day that I don't have to be home with Gavin) to pull together a great Father's Day gift. It means planning ahead (which I don't do well). It means having everything ready by Thursday for Cliff to open on Father's Day AND getting the car packed ahead of time so that I am prepared to leave town at 4am Friday with Gavin and can do so without disrupting Gavin's night of sleep too much.

I just talked to my Mom about some important dates coming up. As I looked at the calendar, I feel both excited and anxious at the same time. We have a lot of fun things coming up... but we don't have another free weekend day until August.

I am thankful that we have so many friends and family that they fill our days, our weekends, and our lives with love and fun events!

Happy Summer!

No comments: