Vision Perks

So last week’s post spoke of the rougher side of the new job. So I’m going to dedicate this week to talking about the benefits of working for an eye doctor.

First off, Thomas has made it clear since long before I got this job or even put thought into working for an eye doctor, that he wanted contacts. Which is something our Medicaid will not at all pay for. We get free regular exams, but they will not pay for contact fittings. We get free glasses, with limited selections, but contacts are out of pocket. I understand this, but this is horrible news to a 16yo boy who really wants contacts.

So he was really excited when I got this new job because maybe I could get him into contacts at a more affordable price. First off, I’d be paying for vision coverage that wasn’t Medicaid, since the company offers a super nice vision plan.

However, it turns out that I didn’t need to wait for vision to kick in. The doctor in office was willing to see Thomas for his contact fitting free of charge, since I work there. Which saved us a good 100$. Then to top it off, the opticians made it quite clear that we have a huge stash of trial lens, meant so a patient could try out a new script for free before sinking $$$ into contacts that might not even work out. This stash of trails, which is basically never ending, and could be used to keep Thomas in contacts for my entire duration of working there. In the off chance they couldn’t keep him in trials, like maybe they didn’t have his script in stock, if I timed my purchase right I could get his contacts at cost, and save a butt load of money.

The 16yo is over the moon.

The 16yo lost his right contact down the sink three days into having them and had a replacement lens ready for him at the end of that workday, with instructions that if he insisted on putting them on over the sink, to at least line it with a towel. And the assurance that he’s not the first to lose a contact down the sink.

The other perk is, once a year I get a 200$ prepade visa that can only be used in-store and can only be used on myself that is meant to encourage me to wear the merchandise. Merchandise I get at cost, exam free.

I got that card in the mail about a week ago and they were able to fit me in for an eye exam within a few days. (We’re not officially on the schedule because other patients come first, but when things slow down because of no shows, we’re allowed to take those spots.) I had all the fancy tests run and my script is updated. I wasn’t completely due for an exam, but it was close enough and I wasn’t going to spend money on new glasses using an old script.

Anyway, I picked out two really nice frames. I’m getting the super fancy lenses (I’m really blind averaging around a -10 between the two eyes so even polycarbonate ends up with super thick lenses, so my new ones will be a step beyond that even, in technology.) I’m getting blue light filtering because I’m always in front of a computer, and I’m also getting transition lenses. These glasses, plus exam would have totaled about $$$$ (I did not, for once, pick cheap frames. I picked the frames my heart told me to pick.) but all said and done my total is just shy of 350$. 200$ of which the prepaid card will cover, ~100$ of which will go on my care credit, and then the final little bit I’ll owe the store for 2 weeks until I get my next paycheck. A paycheck that is large enough I can put 50$ towards glasses and still see rent and bills paid. So I call this a win.

Of course, the catch to all this was that I was not allowed to make my purchase until most of the store had seen me in both frames and approved of them. Luckily, I know what looks good on me and lit immediately on frames that earned my coworker’s approval. I was looking at three, one got the thumbs down, but it was my third favorite anyway. So it all worked out.

Treading Water

Things at the new job are… going.

I love the job in general. I love what I’m doing. I’m fully on board to helping people get their eyes checked and into new glasses. I see it as a vital service. So that’s cool.

I really like 95% of my new coworkers. But…

See, my boss, the office manager, gives off the vibe of being the type of girl who bullied me in 6th grade. I got that vibe pretty much within the first few days. But I filed it away and ignored it because this isn’t middle school, surely she’s grown and matured. Right?

Well, one bright and sunny Thursday afternoon she pulled me into her office and ripped me a new one. For 15 minutes she just piled on complaint after complaint. Told me everything in my moral character, and a few job-related things, that were fundamentally in need of serious change.

And I don’t mean BPD stuff. Or even autism stuff.

My favorite example is my hair. I interviewed for the job in need of my hair being buzzed again. Not fully on purpose, but I only buzz it every 3-4 months anyway and was only just barely overdue. But I figured since I was job hunting, it could wait a bit. I mean, I got the bank job years ago with a freshly buzzed head, but you never know.

Anyway, I got the job and immediately read the employee handbook when it came to appearance and nothing at all was mentioned about hair. This is a handbook that forbid us from eating garlic with our lunch, that’s now meticulous it was, but not a word on hair.

To be safe, I went into work my first day, with hair an inch or two long, and asked her directly what the policy was. I explained I keep my hair super short, that what she was currently seeing was on the long end of the spectrum, and that if there was no official policy, I would be buzzing my head in the next few days. I did my best to get across how short it would be, but let’s face it, it was only an inch or so long at the time, so clearly we were talking short. She said she’d speak to the regional and get back to me. By the end of that first day, I had the official thumbs-up to buzz my hair.

So I did.

Now some 8 weeks later I’m learning that they had no idea how short I intended. What’s worse, a couple of patients have asked me if I have cancer. I have simply answered that my hair was a personal choice and steered conversation right back to their eye appointment at hand, all in a matter of 30 seconds. HOWEVER, those two patients asking me that means my hair is officially a workplace distraction and she feels she now has ground to dictate how I keep my hair. Mind you, if I passed as a man, this would not be an issue. We actually have a male optician with a similar cut.

While I took most of what she had to say to me to heart and will work on changing the things in the name of keeping my job, and some of them were 100% valid. I want to be upfront about that. Some of them were 100% valid things that I need to work on. I am not taking her word as the final word about my hair.

See, my hair ties into my disability. I can not have hair that is long enough to touch my face, neck, or ears. I have sensory issues.

So I have very politely went over her head to HR to ask what the official policy is on hair length if there even is one. I gave her the full story and I did mention that me buzzing my hair ties into a disability, which makes me a protected class. I did not name the disability. I said I elected not to as it did not otherwise affect my ability to perform my job. If pushed, I’ll fess up to sensory issues. I’ll blame the fibromyalgia (nerves misfiring), not the autism. I will not ever disclose I’m autistic.

We’ll see where this goes.

That particular Thursday was a really rough day and while I held my shit together to finish out the day, I did cry myself to sleep that night. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she’d mentioned even a couple of the bits of my job I’m doing well in. Because I know I’m overall really good at my job.

I know this because she was not at work the next day and my coworkers who knew something was up and got bits and pieces out of me have all rallied around me and told me I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m likable, and that boss lady is like that with everyone.

So anyway, I’m going to hang in there. I’ll keep my head low. Do my absolute best. Change the few behaviors that I recognize need to be changed. (Such as they are patients, not customers. I get that right 80% of the time, but I need to fix that other 20%.)

I think this job is going to work out. I really do. I can survive a boss who doesn’t like me, and doesn’t hide that fact, when in general I like everything else about the job.

Oh, and I do have some awesome job perks to report. I’ll talk about those in the next post. This post deserves some happy news, but it’s already getting long.

I’m 35, Almost 36 Years Old

I feel like for the first time in a real real long time (if not ever) I know who I am.

I have well-defined interests that I understand. For the first time maybe ever, I’ve figured out what exactly my taste in music is. I have a favorite artist even. Who I’m going to see in concert (my first concert) later this fall. I still read everything in sight, but I have favorite authors. I even know how I prefer to present myself appearance-wise.

I’m comfortable and confident in my queerness. I’m still evolving and working to define my sexuality, but I’m comfortable in that process. I understand my gender, which is that I don’t have one.

I know what I want in a friendship. I’m seeking out individuals that I want to know better. I’m taking an online acquaintance who is sort of local to the concert this fall even, in a bid to get to know them better.

In general, I have a life full of friendship. People who love me as I am. People I love back with all my heart. I’m opening my home to one of them, who is more like a child of my heart to me, and not just a friend. My eldest child comes home to me this winter.

I’ve defined and become comfortable in my spirituality. I have found comfort in the old gods. They help me to define my place in this world and give me strength in my hours of need.

I have found comfort in witchcraft. I have taken my fate into my own hands and project my desires into the world helping them to manifest.

I have taken my fate into my own hands and accomplished one of three degrees I will need to pursue my dreams. I will accomplish the other two degrees then I will go into practice as a psychologist diagnosing, especially those who are afab, with autism and ADHD. I will research and strive to correct the problem of this subset of the population being severely under-diagnosed. I will be the change I want to see in the world.

I finally understand my own neuro divergence. I have ADHD. That is officially diagnosed. I am autistic. That is unofficially diagnosed with therapist support. Suddenly life makes sense. All of it.

Gods. There is so much more. So much I’m forgetting. I could go on for paragraphs more. But I think my point is made.

But let me say this. If you are reading this and young and lost and floundering in your identity, please no that there is no deadline in figuring out who you are. Life is trial and error. It’s an imperfect process. I’m 35 years old and only just now finding my identity. And I’d be foolish to assume I’ve learned all there is to know about who I am.

So many of you are delayed in self-discovery due to things like abuse and mental health issues and general neuro divergence. And that’s ok. I understand the frustrations. I understand feeling lost. But please know it will come. When? I can’t answer that for you. But it will come.

Continue to grow at your own pace. Continue to explore who you are and your interests and gender and sexuality and just your identity in general.

And it will come.

We Bought A Box

We gave the box to Sammy and she’s built herself quite the little fort. Only it’s not so little because said fort can hold all three of my children with room to spare.

Said box fort happened to come with a brand new washing machine (first brand new one we’ve ever had in 16 years of marriage) and the washing machine came with a drier friend.

And actually my parents bought them. Even though I have a new job and our finances are improving, we just could not afford new appliances when, once again, we found ourselves in dire need. My mom, who has been adding in the procuring of used sets every few years over the last 16 is apparently sick of the process and decided that at this point, we really do need brand new with warranty. Luckily my dad was happy to chip in. So with their combined budget in mind, they shopped around and bought us they could find in their budget. It was a decent budget and they bought amazing, beautiful, high capacity machines. And yes, they bought the extended warranties.

Because even though these machines are brand new and have no history of abuse, the simple fact that they will be doing laundry for 5, and soon enough 6, means we will wear them out faster than most machines have to worry about. They will be well-loved and cared for, but they will be used. Oh, will they be used.

I am super excited about my new appliances. However, I’m also super excited that we (it was actually 100% Pat in the best daddy move he’s made this year) talked the delivery guys into leaving a box (the company gets paid to recycle them) because the box they left makes quite the fort. It’s so big it doesn’t even fit in Sammy’s room. She immediately took the new art kit that my friend Marissa bought her for her birthday to the walls and is having a blast decorating it. I just can’t get over how small Sammy is compared to that box. In reality, she’s getting so big, but that box dwarfs her.