If I only had a crystal ball

The way I see it, life is really about making a few good decisions at the right time.    For me I will say my job change was a very important decision made. I took a significant pay cut and loss of title in doing so. I was mocked by many around me.    I was even counter offered but in my heart I felt what I was doing was right.  In the end, I achieved so much more, a higher title and worlds more money.  It  allowed me to live the professional life I always thought I wanted.  It also allowed me to open my mind up to other aspects of my life, the possibility of having a family.

Changing course in my life and having the girls was a huge decision for me which may be the greatest one I have ever or will ever make.  My girls are my world!  There is no title available that could fill my life as much as seeing my girls grow and learn.

I had to go to the dentist the other day.  It was the first place where I have had to announce my recent surgery.  As I sat down, the hygienist asked cheerfully, “any medical changes since last visit?” Oh sure!

She had just turned 40.  I know that because the rest of the appointment we talked about boobs.  She was very interested in my story . What I found interesting is the fact that she also had a friend with breast cancer and a script for a mammogram yet had not made an appointment.  She told me that her doctor had ordered it as a baseline when she had her appointment a few months ago and had just not gotten around to making the mammo appointment. Did I think it was really that important?  My eyes must have done something because she sat back allowing me to sit up  to answer.  I had my first mammo  in my early 20’s.  Do I think it is important…ugh hell yes!

Decisions, what to eat, wear, is getting a mammogram today really that important?

Having a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy I am sure will turn out to be at the top of my good decisions list.  With the pathology results, I don’t even need to list why.

I almost want to call my dentist office to see if she has made her appointment yet.  Had my mother gone earlier?  But you can’t go back you can only look at all of the information at hand and make what you hope will be the right decision, one that 20 years down the road makes that list, the list of the few great decisions I made in my life.

Life changing experiences


So I ended my last post with the following question: Could there be room in the Bailey clan for more little ones?  What a buzz that started! :-).  In hindsight could have worded it better, it is not any type of breaking news.  Was intended to only be a lead in to the next piece of the story.

After growing up swearing I would never have children, I am so happy that my mind was changed.  I love being mommy.  It took a little while to get used to the fact that I did not leave my house to go to work. I state it that way because as a stay at home mom, it is work.  It is amazing how some people do not feel that to be true.  How many times over the years I have been asked when I was going to get a “real job” or go “back to work”.  I am blessed to be in a financial position to be able to stay home with my children.  Things could of course be easier if I were also bringing in a pay check but this is a decision that my husband and I made together for the best of our family.  It is not a decision that is right for everyone nor would I ever judge another for the decisions made for their family.  I guess that is why is angers me so when that judgement is made about me.

Late in 2009 we decided to add to the clan.  The world needed another Bailey!  I was about 8 weeks pregnant when I went to the OB for the first visit.  I was sent for an ultrasound a few days later.  During the ultrasound visit the tech informed me that my dates must be wrong.  According to measurements the baby  was only 5 weeks.  I was very sure about the dates!  I was moved to another room to meet with a doctor.  They put me on progesterone in an attempt to prevent a miscarriage.  I was to return in 2 days for blood work.

I returned and had a small, very small improvement in the blood counts.  Within a day I started to have cramping and some bleeding.  I called the doctor and got an immediate appointment.  Before I could even get there , I had a miscarriage.  To make it worse, my Madison was with me, scared, crying.  My heart was broken but the baby in front of me had to take priority.  I calmed her and we went to the doctor.  All they could do was offer support, a shoulder to cry on.  Over the next roughly 10 days I had to return every 2 days for blood work.  Of course my body could not complete the job and I had to be scheduled for a D&C.

Sad does not fully cover the feeling.  Life goes on, I had two beautiful girls who needed me. I never fully grieved, that is not who I am.  I was very sad, but it was my responsibility to get up and move on.  Once a little time passed we figured we would try again.  I really always believed we would have another child that is until June 2011.

For those who have followed the blog a while, you know that was when it all began.  I found a lump in March 2011 and by June had received the news that although not cancer, an “Irregularity” and the 50-50 breast cancer chance.  Decisions, life is full of decisions.  I so wanted another child, but what I want more was to live to see the 2 that I had grow and thrive.  I had the Mastectomy 7/2/2012.

Could I have a child now?  Sure physically I could.  In a few weeks I will be 41 years old, my husband is 43.  My body is not fully recovered from the mastectomy, DIEP surgery, and  breast reconstruction. Do I want to be 60 packing my child up for college?  And after everything I have been through to put my body through that?

I just don’t have it in me.  I have two beautiful, smart and thankfully healthy girls that I love with all of my heart.  Things happen for a reason I am told.  I love my family!


A growing family

Once Frank and I decided we are going to expand our family,  my head was full, so many thoughts, will we be good parents?  Will our children sit on some couch in 30 years talking about how we screwed up their lives? But in we dove.  The decision was the easiest part.

To start with I gained over 70 pounds when pregnant with Megan.  There were many reason for this I assume. I was a smoker and quit as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  I am sure I was a real hormonal piece of work  to be around while going through nicotine withdrawal.  I also decided that Megan liked Lemon water ice and mini chocolate donuts.  She NEEDED to have them!

At some point the pregnancy was deemed “high risk”.  I had placenta previa.  I would have to take a few days off from work each time and lay flat and not move.  I was sent for a “high risk”  ultrasound, which was code for way too long.   They  counted every limb, finger and even toe.  They searched for each organ and after almost 2 hours they determined that Megan was just fine.

I grew larger and larger, my due date came and went, I walked and grew and then walked some more.  I thought if I kept moving she would eventually drop out.  Once I was over 2 1/2 weeks late they finally induced labor and my giant 9 lb 6 oz baby girl arrived.  They quickly swept her away from me after determining that she was not breathing properly.  She stayed the next few days in the NICU. In the end, thankfully she was fine.

I loved being a mom.  We decided the Bailey clan needed another member.  My pregnancy with Madison was pretty uneventful.  Other than being huge massive and extremely uncomfortable, it went pretty smoothly.  Once Madison was born, my Megan seemed to be taken over by a very unhappy little person that I did not know.  There were some complications during delivery with Madison so they converted to an emergency C-section.  I ended up in the hospital for several days.  During visits Megan would not talk to me or sit with me and she wanted nothing to do with her sister!

Things are so much easier with the second child.  By the time I left the hospital, the nurses had already had Madi on a decent schedule.  She was such a pleasant baby.  Good eater, good sleeper and for the most part little fuss.  It did not take long for Megan to warm up to her sister.

Watching them together was and is wonderful.  They get along beautifully.  Of course they argue at times but they are the best of friends and think of each other always.  If either is away from the other and offered anything, they ask for one for the other.  They are my world.

Could there be room in the Bailey clan for more little ones?

Can’t believe it has been 11 years

I remember as a child anytime someone would speak of President Kennedy they would always add that they remembered where they were and what they were doing when he was assassinated.  As a young person, those statements had no real meaning.

September 11, 2001 brought meaning to those words.  I was at the Best Buy in  Albany NY.  My Operations partner Sara and I had flown in Sunday morning for the physical Inventory Sunday night.  We woke up early Monday morning and headed to the store to help begin the reconciliation process.    I had been in the warehouse unaware of anything happening until I walked into the employee break room where I found a few employees watching television. They told me that there had been an accident and a plane had hit the World Trade Center tower.  As I stood there, the second plane hit.  I still recall the chill I felt, the shock, the looks we shared because we all knew that this had been no accident.

The next few hours become more blurred.  Employees who had family member in NY city.  Changing all of the televisions to live news and setting up chairs for customers to sit. My mother finally getting a hold of me, in tears.  I remember telling her I was sorry I had not called but I was not in NYC.

We were due to fly home later in the day which of course could not happen since air travel was shut down.  We ended up in a dumpy motel in a not so nice nearby city.  We shared a room and took shifts throughout the night watching the television hoping survivors would be found.  This was not intentional it kind of just happened. The next morning we drove our rental car home.  Driving into the silent airport is another feeling I will never forget.

We would like to pound our chest and say that the cowards who attacked civilians going to work did not change us, but that is not true.  We have cameras on every corners watching our every move.  We are molested while trying to board an airplane.  We hand over our personal belongings for search as we enter any large public venue.

Interviews are done with people who always say similar things about they do not mind a little inconvenience if it makes them safer.  But is it any safer really?  As people were taking off their shoes in the Philly airport in March, a drunk out of control man drove his car right through security fences onto the runway of the airport.  Last week the current boyfriend of a woman mad about the actions of an ex called in a fake bomb threat to a plane the ex was on.  The plane full of people  traveling to Texas had to be turned around and searched.  Millions of dollars spent on cameras that no one watches or do not work.  A study done over the summer showed half of the cameras in a Philadelphia  did not function properly.

The buildings at ground zero are still not completed due to labor and political issues and the museum still not open due to political and religious disagreement .  And we still refer to it as “Ground Zero”.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Benjamin Franklin

Will this fill the void? (an ongoing story)

I was hired at Best Buy as a media supervisor due to my experience at good ole Sam Goody.  I was in charge of the giant area in the center of the store, and in those days it was giant.  We still had VHS and cassette tapes boxed computer software and of course DVD’s.  My department did well and at the first chance I had to apply for a promotion I jumped on it!

I was promoted to a management position in merchandising.  I was not the greatest at that, to put it mildly.  Best Buy in the early years made a decision that to compete it needed to grow quickly.  They would blast a market with multi-store same day openings.  IT would cause great hoopla and a lot of press.  People would line up for great deal.

Behind the scenes it caused issues.  Low stock levels and awful shrink problems due to large amounts of employees hired in small periods of time, trianed by other short term employees.  This opportunity allowed for me to use my strength.  Identify and attack the issue.  Most of the stores in our market had massive shrink issues, (loss, theft etc).   I was moved to inventory control in one store and within a few months we had either retrained, relocated or arrested all who needed.  By Inventory time the store was under budget and did even better the next time.  Due to the companies continued massive growth, it did not take too long before I got my shot to take over my own district where we did the same.  Massive retraining, lots of meetings with employees to gain buy-in, a few arrests here and there and success for the mission of shrink control.

Life was good!  For many years I had fun at work.  But like everything it had to change.  That type of growth could not continue forever.

Somewhere around 2002ish they started the “re-structuring” .  A politically correct way of saying downsizing and piling of work on another.  I would assume other roles with little to no additional pay.  Lots of headaches.  And it hit me…I was making great money, had lots of toys but hated getting up in the morning hated everything around me.

I had achieved everything I wanted, power, money success so what was my problem?  Frank and I had been talking about children but after the way I grew up I was so afraid that we would be terrible parents.

We were married six years before having Megan.  I made the decision early in my pregnancy that I would resign my position after having the baby.  My market won a holiday contest sending myself and several other of my team to LA for a few days.  I was about 4 months pregnant at the time of the trip.  I think this trip was part of helping to make the decision.  I did a good amount of traveling with work, late nights and early mornings.  This would not be good for my soon to be growing family. I did not tell anyone at the company this until after Megan was born, they would probably never have believed me anyway.

Megan was born In August 2004, I resigned in October, at the end of my leave.  Once I looked at that adorable little face I knew I could not go back to work.  I was given the opportunity my mother never had, the opportunity to be home for every fall, every tear, every smile, every everything and I jumped on it!

I was going to be a millionaire at Sam Goody?

I remember when I was young.  I was going to be the CEO of some large Corporation, make lots of money never get married and definitely never have children!

My mother was divorced before I was 2. I did not have much contact with my father, (and that is a generous statement). After the divorce she lost her house.  We bought our sneakers right before school at Sears, I wore my brother’s hand me downs and we ate pancakes and meatloaf once a week for dinner to make things stretch. I shared a room with my sister until we were teenagers and 1 bathroom with 4 of us. We were raised to be strong!  We did not need a man to make us whole.

I was taught some important lessons growing up, hard work and determination!  No one was going to do it for you, no one else would pay your bills, no one else was responsible for my actions. And whining about it would get you nowhere!

Even through college I believed I would be a single woman.   By then I  think I had given up the CEO idea but there were still no children in my future.  I worked hard not to ever let anyone get too close.

OF course we all know how these things go, a few years, pass things change.After college I took the first job I was offered because I had loans to pay back.  My four years in college landed me a job at Sam Goody Music making $15,500 a year!  I lived with my mother for several years paying her a small rent and saved as much as I could.

I will not say that when I met Frank he was the man of my dreams, quite the opposite actually.  We worked together and to put it mildly, we did not get along.Over time we both moved up in the company and no longer worked in the same store.  I guess he missed me because one day I got a call asking me on a date.  I thought it was a joke but went anyway.  One thing lead to another and 17 years later , (14 years married)  here we are.

It was not easy of course.  Friends laugh still shaking heads as to how we manged to make it through the dating period.  Frank was never smooth, he did not have any money but what he had was a simple ability to make me laugh.  Life is a struggle, laughter does not always come easy.  I remember going out one time and having to be lifted through the passenger window of the car because the doors would not open.  Not even sure if it was safe to be driving around in that car.  It was like something out of Dukes of Hazard.  It was always unpredictable and always interesting.

When we got married we lived in the house that Frank had grown up in.  He had lost his parents years earlier. It was a real fixer upper but it was our little piece of the American Dream.  We lived check to check and struggled.  We both worked very hard.  So hard that sometimes we forgot the laughter that brought us together in the first place.  We had issues, who doesn’t.  Over the years we both moved up in our careers and with that came more money.  We moved to a bigger house, bought more toys and worked even harder.

I had been lucky to join Best Buy as they were growing.  They were about to open the first 5 stores in our area, I took a pay cut to join a growing company.  I remember the job offer, $9.75 and hour and oh by the way you need to pass a drug test.  I took it  and worked even harder.  7 days a week often before the store was opened.Hard work brought great reward, with in a year I received my first promotion followed by several moves in the next few years.  I did very well with BBY staying with them for a little over 10 years.  We no longer worried about paying the bills, we had lots of “stuff” and had a few dollars in the bank.

Something was missing