taking the leap

Three things. Well, two things, and a story.

First. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and insight on my job situation. You guys will probably not be disappointed to find out that my final decision was to go with Opportunity #1. After I read your comments, I talked it over with the beau. “It’s a no-brainer that you should go with the first option for your career advancement,” he told me. “But what about our future?” I asked. “Your career advancement is our future,” he replied sagely.

That’s when I collapsed on the floor and melted into the carpet. It’s official. He wins the “Best Husband I’ve Ever Had” award. I don’t just give those out to anyone, you know.

I’m kind of nervous. True, I’ll be making more money per hour at this new job, but I’ll be working fewer hours. The best I’m hoping for is that it evens out to what I’m making now, or slightly less. And it’s true that I can take on side jobs to help split the difference. Either that or I can simply take any hours I am not working each week and devote them to learning and training, which is kind of like paying myself with knowledge instead of cash. I think I’m going to just have figure it out as I go.

The beau, when we were camping up near Tahoe.

A lot of you asked about whether I could buy my own insurance or get on the beau’s. Well, when I first quit a corporate-drone job three years ago and lost my cushy company health benefits, I tried to purchase one of the most basic individual health insurance plans out there. I was denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. So I went for a long time without any medical coverage whatsoever, save for periodic trips to Planned Parenthood to take care of my “female” matters. Then after we got married the beau enrolled me in his company’s plan, but guess what? It turns out that it costs us $862 per month to cover a spouse. That’s over $10,000 per year.

It’s time for me to try the individual plans again, and see if I can actually convince someone to provide me medical coverage in exchange for my hard-earned money, but damn. Health care in this country is one hot brimming mess.

Anyway. I’m nervous, yes, but I’m happy. A smart person sent me an email this morning in which she said: “The thing I’ve found about having a job you love over the one that pays bank is that those of us who have the love but not the money use the love to make ourselves feel better about the money. And those that have the money use the money to make themselves feel better about having no love. I think it comes down to which one you feel more comfortable with.” This observation pretty much cracked me over the head with the screaming confirmation I needed that I am actually doing the right thing for myself, even though Opportunity #1 won’t ever win me any awards in Grownupland for having that important-sounding job at a big slick corporation with an enviable benefits package.

But that doesn’t matter. It’s the happiness that does. Right?

Second. I am taking the leap in another, wholly different way by quitting my Proactiv acne treatment system. I’d like to say that this decision came about due to a deliberate effort on my part to use more natural products on my body, but really I was just tired of having bleach spots on my towels and sheets. What was I supposed to do, start using only white towels and white sheets? This was seriously the thing that pushed me over the brink; the thought of a colorless bed and bathroom. Then I started doing research on skin care alternatives and fell down a rabbit hole of anti-paraben literature and before you know it, I was filling a virtual shopping cart with organic cleansers and moisturizers made from, like, olive oil and crushed flowers and holy water.

Just kidding about the holy water. I think.

I have been using Proactiv for six years now. I think the biggest challenge thus far has lain in grappling with the revolutionary idea that maybe I don’t need man-made chemicals in order to treat my acne. It seems like a very western-medicine sort of approach, right? Here is skin condition! Let us conquer it with SCIENCE. And now here I am, trying to conquer it with flowers. I dunno, man.

I have been using the new products exclusively for almost a week. Well, okay. I am still using the Proactiv toner, but that’s because I have three bottles of it left and what am I supposed to do? Throw it out? I’m a cheap bastard. Anyway, I figure I’ll need to try my new approach for at least a month before I know how well it’s really working.

We’ll see. We’ll see.

And now! A story.

I figure that after all those monotonous paragraphs about my personal life, I should now try to entertain you with a tale culled from my personal life. You’re welcome.

So the beau is gone this week for work. And in a drastic 180 from the independently-sleeping-alone single lady I used to be, I have a hard time making myself go to sleep when he’s not there. Once I am in bed everything’s fine, and I revel in the sacred occasion to lie in the center of the mattress and fling my limbs hither and yon without hitting someone. But in his absence the process of actually going to bed is a horrific chore, which means that last night I didn’t even start to try until about 12:45 a.m.

And of course, once I am ready I cannot get in the bed without first walking around the house in the dark looking out all the windows for bad people [SIDEBAR: I AM CRAZY]. So I did that. Except this time, I actually saw something rustling around in the shadows of the side yard from the bathroom window. Because it was moving erratically, I figured it must be an animal. Either that or an extraordinarily drunk midget. But I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what kind of animal it was. A raccoon, perhaps? But it wasn’t shaped like a raccoon! What? So I watched it for a very long time. And in the foggy brain-haze of someone who should have gone to bed several hours prior, I began to come up with increasingly ridiculous options. Stray dog? Fawn? WOLVERINE?

Then the thing started slowly moving into the middle of the yard, where there was more light. And at this point, I was so close to the damn window that it was getting fogged up. But still. I couldn’t make it out! It was too tall for a normal animal! It must be a demon spirit! Augh! I was on pins and needles, muttering WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK. Finally it turned, and I could see its profile, and…

And it was a skunk. A skunk with its tail hoisted high in the air, so from the front it had looked like some towering, lumbering, skinny thing.

I finally went to bed.

In summary, urban skunks! We apparently have them. Come to Santa Barbara, ya’ll!

34 Responses to “taking the leap”

  1. “An extraordinarily drunk midget.”

    Hahaha! This reminded me of a great skunk story that I have, which I will have to write up separately so as not to highjack your fantastic news (Yay! A decision and a new job!) and your hilarious story.

  2. Huzzah! Congratulations! That was a very wise email you received this morning. I hope the insurance thing works out reasonably well… that pricetag for spousal coverage is INSANE. I am very, very happy for you. When do you begin?

    Good luck with the new skincare regimen as well. Your skin now may not be as problematic as it once was all these years later. Those bleach spots are really damn annoying, I agree.

    I also tend to go to bed in the wee hours when my husband is away, but that’s because I’m a ridiculous night owl. If no one is around to make me feel guilty for not being in bed yet, I just stay up until I’m crosseyed tired. 🙂 Urban skunks! I have a cat and pup to protect me from such beasts, fortunately.

  3. Congratulations! I really feel you made the best decision for you. And yay for having such a supportive partner. We are lucky ladies to have guys like that backing up our decisions.

    Also, please update us on how the new acne treatments work. I’m in a major “must clear face” hunt. Nothing is seeming to work yet — the science or the flowers. Let us know if you stumble upon magic face clearing flowers.

    And lastly, I love being in the apartment alone but hate it when it comes to bedtime. I’m terribly paranoid about evil people lurking outside the windows. Glad I live up on the third floor currently.

  4. Yay! congrats! I wish you the best of luck in the new job. And I won’t even get started on the ridiculousness of paying more than 10,000 to be on a SPOUSAL PLAN? whaaaa?? I’m so glad I live in canada.

    On the skin care thing – totally agreed on the super annoying bleaching. My towels and pillowcases are all white for this reason. HOWEVER, don’t totally write off ‘man-made chemicals’ as being bad. The flowers are chemicals too and they are not necessarily any better for you. Some of the most toxic shit comes from plants. But I agree, most of those creams probably won’t bleach your sheets so you can bring color back in your life!

    And skunks, we have them. Many, many of them. In the summer at our old apartment we would smell them almost nightly. One time it sprayed so close that we literally had to leave the apartment for a couple of hours to let it tone down to a bearable level. Wish yours had been an extraordinarily drunk midget instead.

    • Good point about man-made stuff. I don’t believe that everything synthetic is bad for you, but it’s been a good exercise for me to actually take time to consider what I’m putting on my body. Overall, I value education about all methods over blind adherence to any one method.

      • Have you looked at this site with your products? http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/
        It shows you what is in the products and how bad (or not) it is for you. I assume you have already found this site though.

        I fell down that non-toxic/bio/whatever skin care and makeup rabbit hole last summer and now love what I am doing. The face cleanser was the hardest for me to switch. The first thing I tried did not work, but I switched to something else and it seems to be working as well as my original product. And I don’t have a waterproof mascara yet, so I have gone back to my old stuff after walking in snow with my organic mascara and ending up with it all under my eyes.

        Good luck with your flowery cleanser stuff. 🙂

    • CANADA IS AWESOME. I don’t miss living in the States one little bit!

      10k/year? *faints*

  5. You know, right now I am choosing love over money, but I think in the end I would be much better at trying to buy happiness.

  6. I gave up on Proactiv when I got serious about finances. And I found something that works for me, with lots of trial and error. But the biggest thing for skin happiness has been a move away from beauty-product chemicals and to using fewer personal care products in the first place. Here’s my skin plan now:

    Cetaphil as facewash and makeup remover: yes, it has a long list of chemicals. But it gets really high ratings on Goodguide for low-chemical impact.

    Oil of Olay Lotion with sunscreen for sensitive skin: yeah, I could do a lot better here. Oh well, it has SPF and doesn’t make me break out

    Toner: none. Seriously, you don’t need it

    Makeup: Light. I use Benefit products – not the fancy ones, just the foundation stick and a powder. I haven’t been able to track down a ton of info on their chemicals, but they don’t bother my skin. No breakouts. Yay.

    Paraben-free shampoo and conditioner (this gets on your skin, so it matters). I use Giovanni when I feel rich (ha) and Trader Joes the rest of the time. I also wash my hair less frequently than before. It took my hair a month to adjust to every other day and now I’m fine. I also supplement shampoo with baking soda scrub (real baking soda, yes) and washed out with apple cider vinegar. It’s great.

    Jojoba Oil – instead of lotion, I let this sink it for 5 minutes. You can buy it at Trader Joes.

    My skin has never been better. Except when I won a free three month supply of luvalla organic skincare. Because that was amazing. But I can’t afford it, so oh well.

    • I used Cetaphil to cleanse my face for the last 5 or 6 years, but recently switched away from it and tried a new thing that didn’t work. Then I tried out Aveeno bar soap, which- surprisingly- is working well for me, and the big plus is that I now use this as my body soap too. I am not a beauty product minimalist, so this step is just nice when I think about future travelling. Plus it is not a liquid and so less carry-on issues. 🙂

  7. I actually squealed out loud at Opportunity #1.

    And also: THANK YOU about the going to bed thing. I have managed to not only freak myself out thinking there’s someone in my house, but am ALSO terrified that my house will suddenly be filled with demons a la Paranormal Activity 2. That’s right, I am STILL afraid of a bad movie six months after seeing it.

  8. Congrats on your decision! I really hope it works out for you Lyn, I’m sure it will.

  9. Yay! I was secretly hoping you’d take Opportunity 1. You’ll let us know how it goes, y/y???

    I had terrible skin in college, right when everyone I knew was leaving acne-ridden teenager-hood behind and every product I tried seemed to make it worse. Turns out I actually have really really sensitive skin and I was really pissing it off by chemical-bombing it. I now use a really gentle face wash (Aveeno or Cetaphil), followed by Lush’s Tea Tree Toner at night. Warm water only in the morning plus moisturizer. And my skin is super happy. (Though I also suspect not eating terrible college cafeteria food, sleeping regular hours, and going on birth control pills also helped. Oh skin, such a mystery!)

  10. 1. So happy you chose option 1.. and I’m hoping that you will be, too! It’s very rare to find a job that you’re passionate about that also has all the money and benefits (unless you want to be a lawyer.. ehhh too much work). I’m betting you’ll be happier over all that, even if things are hard financially for a while, at least you’re doing something you love, you know?

    2. I’m a big anti-paraben organic natrual nut. Huzah for trying something new!

    Story: I get the same way when the fiancé leaves. It’s annoying that I need to search the apartment 20 times just to make sure no crazy robber/killer/zombie is hiding out somewhere.

  11. So…you don’t know me, but I really enjoy your blog. And I felt like I had to speak up about the insurance thing in case you don’t know about all the options. Please, please get yourself some health insurance.

    It’s worth reapplying for individual coverage to see if you can get something you can afford. If you are denied because of your preexisting condition, or you get an offer of coverage but the benefits exclude services for that condition, or you get an offer and the premiums are higher than $450-$570/month (I’m not actually sure how old you are–you’d need to double check this), you can apply for the California pre-existing condition insurance plan. More info here: http://www.pcip.ca.gov. The premiums are $180-$288/month in Santa Barbara (again not really sure of your age) and there are definitely some hoops to jump through. I mean, the plan is intended for folks with crazy expensive preexisting conditions like HIV or history of cancer or multiple chronic conditions that require lots of prescription drugs and office visits. I’m guessing since you’re now uninsured and pretty okay with that, you wouldn’t ever come close to the annual deductible. But, you might make good use of the free preventive screenings (including annual “women’s health” visit), $5 co-pay for generic prescription drugs, and $25 co-pay for doctor office visit benefits. (Annual deductible doesn’t apply to those kinds of standard services/benefits.) The PCIP also covers pregnancy/maternity services, which you totally may not need at all but just as a warning the vast, vast majority of plans on the individual market will NOT cover any pregnancy/maternity services. And if something catastrophic were to happen, you would be a lot better protected against medical bankruptcy.

    Also, if you enroll and get a wellness screening within 3 months, you get $50 off your next monthly premium! Hooray! I promise I do not work for the California PCIP even though I sound a little like a pusher.

    You might be able to find good coverage on your own. But if not, it’s something to consider–and apparently lots cheaper than going on your husband’s plan as a spouse.

    • Thanks, Steph. This is exactly the kind of start I needed in looking for health care options. Thank you so, so much for passing this along.

  12. I know how you feel about not wanting to go to bed without your chap. It’s the same for me – except I get OCD about checking all the windows are locked and the plugs turned off. If I heard a rustling noise I just wouldn’t sleep either. It’s the worst thing when you lie in bed and every creak freaks you out.

    I still can’t get over US health insurance. And they want to repeal the bill to reform this sh1t? What the holy hell are they thinking?

  13. Hey congrats! One thing about being grown up: I’m in my mid thirties and I’ve watched my friends grapple with the what makes me a grown up? issue. Oh yeah, and I’ve grappled with it a lot myself. When someone asks about what you do for a living, when you gush about all you’re learning about writing and designing (?) for the web, you will sound way more grown up and interesting than if you answered “I’m a corporate drone. *sigh* I hate my job.”

  14. *high five* I hope your new job kicks ass.

    And once we had a drunk midget break into our house, eat our guacamole, sleep on our couch, only to come back 3 days later to apologize. Turns out he was the Littlest Groom. From the 2004 reality TV miniseries on Fox.

  15. We have a skunk that hangs around our neighborhood too, and Tabitha has decided that it is the best friend we’ve never allowed her to have. I think she spends 95% of her day pining over that thing, which means we are bound to have some dog-on-skunk action one of these days which will probably end up being a not-so-awesome day. However, I’ve *heard* that a skunk is a good thing to have around because they keep worse (?) vermin away.

    Also, I think you are onto something with that holy water. Have you ever seen a picture of Jesus with acne?

    • NO, I haven’t, now that you mention it. His skin is always fresh and dewy! He doesn’t look a day over 23 years old, let alone 2,000.

  16. So happy for you. No, I don’t know you, but that doesn’t matter.

    Anti-paraben is good stuff, although the search for products that you like and that work for you can definitely be a pain in the hole. They don’t all have to be expensive though, so don’t let that discourage you.

    Re: insurance . . . I was temping for a year and didn’t have health insurance. I made too much money to qualify for the Healthy New York program (which would’ve been almost affordable per month), and I didn’t make enough money where $800 per month was feasible. I ended up getting insurance for one month and crammed as many doctor’s appointments in as I needed, but spent the rest of the year hoping I didn’t get hit by a cab. Not the best plan, I know. But I honestly felt stuck. Hopefully Steph’s suggestion will help you find something that works.

    Himself works most nights, so I have a pre-bed ritual. While I’m in the bathroom getting ready for bed, I pull back the shower curtain and make sure no one’s standing in the bathtub. When I’m finished in there, I double check that the front door is locked. Then I go upstairs, where our room is to the right and the spare room is to the left. I head into the spare room while looking into the mirror there so I can confirm that no one is going to come at me from behind from our room. Then I look under the spare room futon and in the spare room closet. Then I go across the way into our bedroom, where I look a) under the bed 2) in our closets and 3) out of the sliding doors onto the back deck. Then I can sleep. Oh, and I keep my cell phone under my pillow until he gets home.

    No, it’s not crazy . . . it’s conscientious.

  17. haha your urban skunk would’ve creeped the shit out of me too. glad you went with opportunity #1, i really think that’s the best way to go, lady, for your sanity. i had to quit proactiv for the SAME reason. i use this stuff from the drug store – acnefree – and it worked AWESOME for the longest time…but it’s drying out my face in the winter to the point of pain.

    i’m just starting to drink a TON of water and eat at least 2 salads everyday and hummus and veggies for snacks and what not…no more food from bags and it seems to be maintaining the work of the medicine without the medicine.

  18. congrats! so happy you picked number one! also, love love love the skunk story. I loved that you thought it was a wolverine, I always jump to the craziest animals when I see something in the darkness too! I probably would have been lie ‘gremlin? critter? CHUDS???’

  19. Soo late catching up on blogs but: YAY for a decision! And that line from Beau just killed me.

    I am so angry inside about the ridiculous cost of health insurance that I can’t comment on it here other than to say good luck. 🙂

    I reached a similar EFF IT point with my skin and I am going to the naturopath this month in order to get some non-medical medical help because I’m sick of stains/bleaching/pain/embarrassment. I hope it goes well!

  20. I just wanted to say congrats and I wish you all the best with your new chosen job opportunity! 🙂 It sounds exciting and full of possibility.

    And I also have a hard time going to sleep when S is away. I usually end up staying up til the wee hours of the morning and then going to bed when I can’t stay awake any longer. Thankfully our cat is particularly sweet with me when S is away. He’ll sleep beside me on my pillow, and it’s reassuring to have him there. Though when I hear a weird noise and then I look at Booboo and he is all alert and looking towards the direction of the noise, it is even scarier because I know it was an actual noise and not a figment of my imagination.

  21. I was hoping for job one!!!!
    And I am another independent woman who looks for bad guys under the bed when Eric’s not around.


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