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Monday, March 16, 2015

Important Legislation Passed/General Update

In this third post of the day, I wanted to focus on something the Church has spoken out about and then give a general update of all that has happened since my last general update two weeks ago.

The Utah Senate recently passed Bill 296. It is a bill that is meant to provide a careful balance between rights for the LGBT community and religious freedom. The Church issued the following statement in response to the passage of the bill:

"We are pleased that the Utah Legislature has passed Senate Bill 296. It reflects the very best of collaboration and statesmanship from groups and individuals who may not always agree on all things but who have passed landmark legislation that balances religious freedom and antidiscrimination. While other states may find a different solution, we hope this fair, balanced approach shows that fairness for all is possible. The Church applauds the efforts of the Utah Legislature and other members of the community for this historic accomplishment."

The Church also provided an excellent explanation in layman's terms about what the bill accomplished and the Church's position on it. That explanation can be found here.  I was glad to see that this bill was supported not only by people of various religious beliefs and faiths but also by many of the LGBT community as well. I believe this legislation to be balanced and fair to all concerned. I hope this will serve to bridge the gap and promote greater understanding between LGBT people and supports and those who desire to be free to live their religion as they choose to do so.

That being said, it's time to update you on all that has happened since I last posted. Work has continued. I have been super stressed lately. Because of this, I have not been sleeping well. As a result, last week, I fell asleep on the job twice in one day, the second time while I was actually on the phone with a customer, so that was not good. Both times I was called in for a meeting with my team leader Trent and our manager Nick. The first time they had me fill out paperwork that basically said I had been given a verbal warning about it. The second time, they were more insistent with me that this shouldn't be happening again. The next time could result in a write up, if not a termination of employment. But that being said, the way they approached it was very well and tactfully done. They made it clear that their primary motive was concern for me. They asked if there was anything they could do to help. While they couldn't excuse or overlook my behavior, they wanted to let me know that they were worried about me. They told me that if there was anything they could do to help me overcome this problem, all I needed to do was ask. When I got off of work that day, I was uncertain about whether or not to burden Amy with what had happened. But I finally broke down and told her. I had a good cry about it. She was very sweet and understanding regarding the whole situation, but she said we needed to do more to get me to bed at a reasonable time. So we are working on that.

I had the opportunity to twice review my progress with Trent. I am getting my productivity up, but it's still not quite where it needs to be. He said I am doing well as an agent and if I can get my productivity up and especially remember to get my notes on each account done while I have each member on the phone, that will help immensely as well. We also consulted about cutting down the amount of time I was in the "Break" auxiliary and determined that one solution would be for me to take my breaks when I take my pills. So instead of having 2 15 minute breaks, I am having 3 10 minute breaks. While it does mean less time to get things done during my breaks, it means it should boost my productivity, so that's excellent. I also got high praise this week from Breck Hildreth, another supervisor at ROI, who said he appreciated how hard I tried to be a good agent and how well I was doing in meeting the members' needs.

On Friday, we had a team meeting. There we learned that because there were more employees available now, ROI would be redoing the way it designated worker's shifts. During the next week, Nick will be meeting with every employee in order of their ranking, which is determined by their productivity. He will let each worker in that order pick their preferred shift. I have looked at the available shifts, and I hope with all my heart that I can retain the same shift I'm currently on. However, my productivity is still not where it should be, and I have had disciplinary action taken against me on this job several times, so I'm not sure where I fall in rank-wise. My greatest fear is that by the time Nick gets to me, I will get stuck with an evening shift (which will not work because of pills I need to take) or having to work one or both weekend days. I have already made up my mind that I will never work on a Sunday, so I hope it doesn't come to that. I would also prefer to keep my Saturdays free for errands and Physical Therapy. I suppose if I still had the Monday-Friday shift but started an hour or two later it wouldn't be a problem. I am not able to start any earlier, though, so I also hope it doesn't come to that. Otherwise I might have to quit and look elsewhere.

I got paid last Friday. It was close to a $700 check. Lately, with staying behind to make up time, I have been clocking in many 8 hour days. My paycheck will love that, even though Amy and I aren't too crazy about it. It was good to get that check. Then, as part of Amy's inheritance, Amy's dad gave us some money to pay off Amy's student loan. Oddly enough, I also received an SSI check for the full monthly amount of $721. I still don't know why that check came, especially after they have been so difficult about giving us enough to go on. The combined amounts of the two checks did give us enough to pay off our dentist bill before I got the four fillings. So that was good.

I saw the dentist last week and got my four worst fillings done. Surprisingly, they were a lot less complicated than I thought they would be. I had to wait several hours for the Novocaine to wear off, but it was worth it. Now we just need to wait until I can get my other four fillings done on June 1. I also finally saw someone about the swelling in my feet. My PCP, Dr. Sean Doyle, wasn't available, so I saw Dr. Thad Barkdull instead. He ordered some blood work and a CAT scan. I still need to get the results of the blood work. I was originally scheduled to have the CAT scan done yesterday (Saturday), but then was informed that AF Hospital didn't do CAT scans on Saturday. So I will be getting it done on Amy's birthday, which is a week from tomorrow (on March 23).

I went to Physical Therapy both last Saturday and the Saturday before. When I saw Buck on Saturday, he again commented on the fact that he was pleased with my progress. The week before, they had changed the order in which my treatment was done to see if it would work better, but it didn't, so we're back to the normal routine now. Two Saturdays ago was the monthly family gathering. It was good but also bittersweet as it was the second-to-last time Joanna's family will be at our monthly dinners for a few years.

Last Sunday, I was asked to teach the lesson in Elders' Quorum. It was good to have the opportunity to do so. I stayed up far too late the night before and so I was very tired the next day. It was a miracle I made it through the lesson. But I must have done all right because many of the Elders said it was the best lesson they'd ever had. Today (Sunday) was Ward Conference. Amy didn't come because she wasn't feeling well. It was good to sustain our leaders. Two interesting things of note happened during that conference. The First Presidency has apparently determined that people don't need to stand up when they are being sustained. So all those sustained remained seated while they were being sustained. Then in Elder's Quorum, instead of getting a lesson from a member of the Stake Presidency, we had a member of the Stake High Council teach. It was a very good lesson about agency, but since I was up late again last night (Saturday night), I was tired and may have zoned out through it. 

One more thing bears mentioning. We have been trying to buy that house that we like some much. We talked to Amy's dad again, and he agreed to increase the amount he would give us from $50,00 to $75,000, but he said that's as high as he could go and that after doing so, he couldn't help us anymore. We went to the bank and tried to get a loan. The bank mentioned that because I had only worked four months, we didn't qualify for the size of the loan we were asking for without a cosigner. So we attempted to find one. We asked Amy's dad, but he had too many assets to be considered a viable option. So we asked my parents. But they aren't in a position to help us either. So we settled on asking for a lesser loan and seeing if we would qualify that way. But it didn't work. And while the bank was hemming and hawing over whether or not to give us a loan, the house we like was sold again. We had hoped the sale would fall through again, but haven't seen that happen. So we are trying to find something else. No luck yet, but we keep hoping. And we trust that when the time is right, the right solution to our problem will come along. And so we will move forward.

Amy and I counseled together last night and determined that I needed to reconfigure the way I take my medication so that I wasn't taking it so frequently. So I readjusted my schedule so I am taking more of it less frequently. And with this schedule, I take my final set of pills at midnight rather than 3 am. I started on the new schedule today (Sunday).

This next week the dress code is business formal all this week. I will, as mentioned above, have the opportunity to meet with Nick and hopefully wind up with the same or else a similar shift. I will be hopefully getting to bed at a more reasonable time all this week since my pill schedule is better. I will hopefully have many opportunities to exercise. And I hope I will have lots of time to spend with Amy and be less tired as a result of getting a better night's sleep. Also, I will be attempting to find and get an appointment with a new neurosurgeon. I will keep you all updated on developments as they happen. Until I write again, all the best!