Sucker Punched

Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO
Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

I found out Monday morning that my best friend of 20 years killed himself last weekend. May 2nd. The day, coincidentally, that my little brother passed away from inoperable brain stem cancer. Just one fucking thing after another lately. Hearing about this, though, has caused a bad reaction in my brain.

I found out because my mother has Facebook and follows both of us. She saw some posts on his page from friends who did know, and asked me what they meant. I looked, saw “RIP” and thought..please let this be some sort of sick joke. I texted–him, and his wife. His wife answered..and told me what happened. I’m not putting the details here, but I am crushed. I can only imagine how absolutely shattered she must be. He left behind a wife, four children (3 biological, 1 adopted daughter) 2 dogs, friends, and family. It is so heartbreaking. I spoke with him two days before hand and nothing indicated anything wrong. Just stressed, he said, but we’re all stressed.

My husband removed me from work, because I pretty much turned into a sobbing wreck and couldn’t do anything else. I cried for almost two hours, and then it just..dried up. I am hollowed out and sad. Not processing well. Back at work today.


In addition to that, we’re dealing with:

-upcoming move, probably July

-another surgery for my hubs, tomorrow–then he’s out of work for a week, couchbound, only allowed up for brief walks.

-the Boy taking his GED, now that he’s been removed from school officially

-waiting to hear back from the juvenile courts about the charges pressed that got him removed from school

-my little one, adjusting to hamster death

-new puppy in the house as of Saturday

So things are busy. I had this conversation with my husband this morning:

im trying to gather everything in need for today and
 i dont even know what the fuck to wear
 its not fine..i suck {in reference to him having to donate me leave}
 i should be stronger, tougher than i am (mentlly)
 wow i cant type
Jennifer Brooks
Barrett Brooks
it’s true
you should
so we’ll work on it
 moving forwards
 B• 8:20 AM
 just like..with all the jason stuff, and worrying about surgery, and puppy training, and ivy adjusting, and then that…was like a horrendous sucker punch
Jennifer Brooks8:21 AM
Barrett Brooks
 it was and is a horrible thing
 B • 8:21 AM
 how do you build mental toughness, anyway?
Jennifer Brooks8:30 AM
Barrett Brooks
 by doing things you hate
 B• 8:49 AM
 Well then I ought to be fine. I’m always doing shit I hate
Jennifer Brooks

…and that about sums it up. I am grateful every day for my life; my family, my children, my job, my friends, both in person and online. If life throws one more sucker punch this year I don’t know what I’m going to do. As it is, I am spending the afternoon tomorrow after his surgery cleaning and puppy/Ivy maintaining and then Saturday doing the same. Refresh. Sorting through stuff so we can sell some things before we move in July.

No more punches, please. I can’t handle any more right now.

Sucker Punched

Fear of Success

So at work, I have acquired a mentor. She’s been my husband’s unofficial mentor since he started working in this building a year and a half ago. I had no idea what the hell a mentor is or does, so when he told me to ask her *based on a convo they had previously* to be my mentor officially, I was like…what for?

Here is what a mentor is: an experienced and trusted adviser.

This is what they do: What does a mentor do?
The following are among the mentor’s functions:

  • Teaches the mentoree about a specific issue
  • Coaches the mentoree on a particular skill
  • Facilitates the mentee’s growth by sharing resources and networks
  • Challenges the mentoree to move beyond his or her comfort zone
  • Creates a safe learning environment for taking risks
  • Focuses on the mentee’s total development

And so on and so forth. I’ve acquired one and we’ve had two official meetings, although I see her in the building all the time. She even came to our Day of the Dead party back in November. She is a cool lady, very professional, smart, capable, and a total fucking badass.

So session one she gave me some books to go over and I did, and asked about goals (I had none) and evals, which I gave her the whopping 3 I’ve had in my 4.5 yrs of employment here. Two are excellent. One is not so much. Not so much is during the year of my kid trying to cause as much hassle as possible and my Grandpa dying. The one this year should be much better.

Anyway, she asked yesterday about my educational background, since she didn’t know it. I laughed and said that’s because I don’t talk about it. Which is kind of odd, as I work in an educational environment. I mean, this is the Board of Education, ya know? Everyone here is rocking masters degrees unless they are a secretary of some kind.
“Some college” is the appropriate answer. I am 1 Math class and a repaid Pell Grant away from holding a piece of paper that says “Associates” with my name on it. I am about 40 credits past that towards my Bachelors degree. I will need to switch colleges; hopefully my credits all go with me. I need one that my work direct-pays tuition to, since a: I have never failed a college class. Even during one of the worst times of my life I only pulled a C and for gods sake that was in Business Law I, which is not really an interesting class.

All of my college, minus the first semester, has been done with online courses. Not University of Phoenix, which I don’t think is a real university at all. The classes I’ve taken have been difficult; they require effort and time management and when I pass them I am fucking proud of myself. Generally I have a full time job, and I’ve had Ivy and Jason since I moved to MD (prior to that: 9 credits), so maintaining an A average is pretty damned good.

When she heard that was all that was in my way, she “strongly encouraged” me to find that money somehow and pay them for the Grant, then finish the Math, enroll in a direct pay school and get moving on finishing. I guess you have more value with a Bachelors. Although–> in my place of employment you get the same flat bonus per year whether you have 12 college credits or more until you get to the PHd. YEAH.

I was doing Cybersecurity Policy with a minor in Communications. Working in tech for 4.5 years has somewhat burned me out on the idea of completing the Cybersecurity. I am interested in it; but I am bored with fixing hardware and software, meh. I think I’d prefer to learn more of the actual security aspects of it. Which I imagine come further in to the degree, which is where I am about a class away from.

When I think of having an Associates, my head spins. Nobody else in my family has a degree. They could, but my bro got kicked out of college and hasn’t bounced back, and my Dad never bothered to take the few courses to offset 24+yrs of military XP to get his Bachelors either. My in laws–both have Masters Degrees. Sister in law–working on her masters. Her husband is working on his as well. Husband? 4 yr degree. So yeah..I am smart enough, and finally willing to admit that, but then, there isn’t anything to stop me from leaving here and doing something really challenging.

I mean, don’t get me wrong it’s prob going to take me 3-4 yrs to finish the Bachelors because we get a limited amount of tuition reimbursement I really worth it? The mentor thinks so; she says it is an investment into myself because what if something happened to the husband? Which I did think of, back during the almost-divorce. Having a bachelors in a field where it is useful along with years of XP and a certification or two would definitely boost marketability and self-sufficiency.

I am afraid to try; afraid to fail; afraid to succeed.

If I get the degrees, and the certification, and it leads to better jobs, more opportunities…what if I totally blow them? If my family is right and I am really not that smart, not worthy?

Then what?

Fear of Success

Ranting ranting ranting

So today can best be summed up, thus far, by this photo:


Yeah. I am. Most times, I let things slide and don’t let them get under my skin. However, today everything is under my skin and I am not sure why but man it’s effective. It’s tempting to go stalk around outside in the 30 degree weather just to calm the fuck down. Dealing with my ex department gives me a migraine. My mom, who I was venting to the other day, says I should refer to them as my former department because ex sounds like a breakup. I was like, it IS like a breakup. It’s like trying to get your stuff back from that asshole ex who is too immature to deal with and just keeps throwing tantrums, making excuses, claiming things are lost or they can’t find them. Just..UGH.

It is well known in the county that the department I was assigned to is a joke. It’s part of why I was so damned grateful to get transferred out of there. However, I still have to talk to them since I am still responsible for all of the technology in this building, along with my new job responsibilities. There is plenty to do, as there hasn’t been an only-a-tech in this building in over a year now. My husband was doing dual duty as a tech and his new job, and now that has passed to me. Only I get the new opportunities with the same job title and same pay. Fun! I honestly could care less—just getting the fuck away from that nightmare was enough.

The frustration comes when having to communicate with them for one thing or another. I mean, really, get over yourselves. They are unable to be professional for anything! It drives me up the fucking wall. Don’t try to micromanage me from where you are, especially since I am no longer yours to micromanage! The secretary is the worst at this. She takes great pleasure in nit-picking people’s login and logout times, and tracking how every person is not doing their job. She isn’t a boss. The best part is even though she has been here for like, literally forty three years, she is the exact same job title and rank as I am. I know this because they put out a spreadsheet that said so at the last meeting I had to attend. So seriously, lady, kiss off. This is the same bitch who would get all up in arms when people weren’t wearing their ugly ass uniform polo’s and khakis, yet comes to work every day in one of those Walmart smock tops and slouchy pants. Not that I’ve got anything against Walmart tops—I’ve got a few long sleeve ones myself that I wear as layering pieces. But you don’t just show up in a t-shirt for work, and then rag on everybody else in the damn place.

So lately, she has decided I am on her active dislike list. I cycle through this fairly often, because I am not afraid to confront people or call them on their bullshit, and I work really hard to make sure I get my job done to the best of my ability, and if that means digging up answers to get things fixed, well..that’s what I do. She is a knowledge-hoarder and a complete and total jerk.

She takes great pleasure in finding out the gossip about everyone and then spreading it behind their backs, to the entire office and then some. I was on her good side, until things with my kid fell apart and my grandfather got terminally ill. Then my boss gave me “special scheduling” to accommodate it and she lost her damned mind, despite the fact that the males in the department work flex hours and overtime all the time to no complaint from her. Maybe it’s just that she hates other women. I’ve discovered many women like that, much to my dismay. Really, we all ought to be looking out for each other instead of stabbing each other in the back as often as possible.

Anyway—her most recent trick is to email people and try to make me look bad. “Oh, I noticed this ticket wasn’t done yet—“ Yes, that is correct. It IS NOT done yet, because the people involved with it and I discussed the fact that it isn’t a priority at this time and I have a more urgent deadline I am handling. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, BITCH. “Oh, XYZ person, Sera can totally do that for you. Sera, make sure you log in here and do this”…only you CAN’T login and do that from the admin account, and she knows it. It’s something she’s responsible for and has decided she doesn’t want to do anymore. Which fucks me over because I do not have the administrative rights to do anything. I can go into our AD and move computers around and input who has them and that is about it. Unlocking people? Changing their PW? That’s this secretary. It’s her job. And I don’t care if they want me to do it for this building—that’s fine, but assign me the rights and let me know about it before you start making email promises on my behalf, you fucker. She can nitpick the tickets all she wants—my boss knows exactly what I am working on, and when, and if he has an issue with it, he will tell me. She is nothing, but it still gets under my skin.

Another person in that dept is actually trying to make another one of the staff here look bad also—blocking bandwidth access, locking down Wifi, and changing passwords at a moment’s notice. It’s almost like every single person in that department is still a high school girl. Like in that movie Mean Girls? Regina George and Gretchen whatever her name is? That’s this entire department. There is one chick in there who is an ally, and one manager, but the manager is iffy. Shifty. Just…BLAH!

So I ask for supplies, via email, put in a ticket. They don’t come. I put in requests for work assistance with salvage, no responses. I get transferred here and they send a guy to my old site—and suddenly, all the supplies that were previously unavailable are right there! Fixed! Isn’t that something? Getting a response for supplies in this building is slightly easier; cc the Superintendent and suddenly everything makes sense and you get exactly what you need. My boss is the Assistant Superintendent as of last week, and then the Super himself. That’s it, nobody else gets to tell me what to do. Nobody else’s opinion really matters but since I go out of my way to be neutral to everyone in this building everyone so far is pleased with my work and response time. My first project here went off without a hitch, and one of the higher ups, who I look to as a professional role model although she doesn’t know that!, said “I think it looks better than it has in years and I wouldn’t change a thing at this point.

Hats off to Sera!”

That’s high praise, since none of the administrators in this building go in for hand holding or for false compliments. I also get to work with the new Assistant Superintendent Secretary to shift through the share drives, get them renamed, reorganized, and uploaded to Google Drive with the correct sharing permissions. Then we get to train the remaining secretaries on how to use Drive. And send out the Office Skills Assessment, so we can develop training courses to teach them how to do their jobs properly, since right now they actually tell their bosses “I don’t know how to do that” and the bosses are totally okay with that! What the fuck! Google exists for a reason! Then we get to shift them over to paperless office work! YEAH! No moar paper!

These women also get paid a lot more than I do, which of course, I am bitter about, because hello, who doesn’t need more money? You don’t get to slack on my watch, dude! No way. I am psyched about it because just hearing about this Skills survey sent 3 people into early retirement. HA! I know I should not be so gleeful, but I am pretty sure the Superintdent has plans to weed out all the non-workers and not replace them so we only have the staff we need. No more bloat. Which is, essentially, what you have when there are Admin Secretaries who don’t do anything all day long.

That sort of shit just drives me up the wall. If you’re at work, work. There is always SOMETHING to do. And if for whatever reason you catch upàthere’s a training course program we get for free, take a goddamn class and learn a new skill. SERIOUSLY.

So over bullshit. Stop making excuses and take some goddamn responsibility for yourself. And keep it fucking professional, you goddamn assholes.


Ranting ranting ranting

Grieving in waves

So as I am sure I mentioned on one of the blogs I’ve had over the past four years with WordPress, (the majority of which have been deleted) when I was 8 years old my younger brother died from a brain stem tumor. It was not treatable, although my parents did the chemotherapy thing. It was incurable and in an inoperable spot–this was back in 1988. They probably could operate on it now, and remove it, and he would be alive. However, that’s not how it played out.


I’ve been thinking over the past few days. My daughter turned eight earlier this month. She’s just a few months younger than I was when my brother died. The entire year and a half before he died was spent with sickness, diagnosis, treatment, moving back from overseas, the whole thing. At seven I highly doubt I understood much of the permanence of the situation. I mean, yeah, my parents sat me down with a big fat blue medical book and showed me photos of the brain stem and explained where it was and that it was a tumor and my brother was going to eventually die. You get that part. What you don’t get, I think, is that time is short. Death is forever. You can’t comprehend death at that age. My daughter knows that you get old, you get sick, you die. It’s sad, but you’ve lived a life. She knows pets get old, or have accidents, or get sick, and die. She gets it. I try to imagine her (and I would never wish this on anyone) with a terminally ill younger sibling. She would understand, to a certain point, but not the same way an adult or a parent understands. There is no way.

I read online, “Grief may come and go in waves, throughout your life.” So it does. I don’t talk about this. I don’t bring it up in conversation, even when other people are talking about people they have lost. My family (and all the shrinks and probation officers) loved to blame my behavior on my brother’s death. Thinking it over as an adult, I could see it maybe being a factor. Not the factor, but definitely a contribution. I was writing earlier, in my own notebook, and I said– “I don’t really remember him now. It has been 26 years this May.”

That’s a really long time.

Right after that though, I wrote down these two things, on post its. I think I will seal them in an envelope and staple them in, but it’s not something I want just anyone reading. (She says, as she posts it on the internet)


Something I do remember

being at the dinner table

in ——–

JR had left the table, sick

Dad went with him

and I was pissed because

I had to stay at the table

and eat my peas.

Why didn’t he have to?

Nobody would explain.


being told

over and over again

by my dad

that when the last few months came

and he was stuck inside

couch bound because

the tumor affected the part

of your brain that controls walking

instead of being kind

staying in to play

i would say no

run out the door to play with my own friends

at seven

you do not realize

you’re missing the last chances

to spend time together

at seven

all you know for sure is

everything changed

moved back to the states. new schools. hospitals.

hair loss, no walking

slurred speech? i can’t remember for sure.

but all i wanted was to be treated

like a normal girl.

As a parent

I realize how incredibly selfish that was

but at age seven? no idea

i do however

still hold firm that

the constant reminders afterwards, over the years

contributed to my

completely fucked

emotional “well being”

thank the goddess for the drugs

that enable me to function

and not despise my parents

for all their horrific attempts

at parenting after he died.


I remember coming home from school

one afternoon, when the sun was shining

and telling my Mom, who opened the screen door

“I didn’t think about J at all today”

..not realizing 1-bringing it up meant I must have been, subconsciously

2-how awful that must have been for her to hear.

As a parent..I can see how awful my parents were. And at the same time, I am struck by an unwilling sympathy for them. I understand why they were so awful. Add in their own awful backstories, then throw in a death of their child. My dad is my step dad. He hates my biological father. They all grew up together. My brother was my dad and my mom’s “real” kid. My stepfather, who has been decent to me for the most part, puts a heavy emphasis on “blood children”. Not sure why, since none of his have turned out so well. He has 2 sons with his previous wife. Losers. Then he married my mom when I was 3. They had my brother. He died at age 4. They had my living brother when I was 12, so four years later. He isn’t doing great. Whether I want to or not, I can see how losing your child breaks you.

You can’t be a parent after that. How can you? The loss is just staggering. Even on my sons absolute worst days, I would never wish he was dead. Far away, perhaps, but not to die. I wish that back then there had been better options available than just the group my parents latched onto “the compassionate friends”. They did the whole vigils, camps, etc. They try to cram feelings on you that you don’t get when you’re a kid. I’ve seen my daughter cry with the same amount of emotion over the loss of my Grandfather (because she’s very empathetic) that she gives to not wanting to go to bed or a particularly bad nightmare. Feelings when you are young are overwhelming. They have no measurement, and you don’t know how to deal with them. Maybe you can’t deal with them. Fuck if I know.

All I know is I went from being overly empathetic to shutting off completely, to being absolutely hell bent on my own destruction by age 12. I figured, I would never make it to 18. So why not. The only thing that saved me is my kid. And even then, I worried. Watched. Just in case he got cancer, too, or died. With my daughter, even with the non-sleeping, I worried, and watched. Just in case. I know that there is no magic age where you’re safe from cancer, but when each of them made it past age 4, I was relieved.

My mother has admitted exactly once in my life that they handled everything wrong. That they made every mistake possible and were not good parents. We put up a good show now, and I do love them because they are my parents. But there is always going to be a part of me that remembers all of it. I don’t believe in blaming your parents for your behavior. I don’t believe you can use that shit as an excuse. But I stand by the statement that they were not great parents, they were wrapped up in their own grief and their own issues, and I was just sort of..there.

And on that note, I think I’ll wrap this up. Can’t get too sad at work, after all.

I found a good article here on sibling loss, which made a lot of sense to me. Especially #4.

Grieving in waves


Some days, I start off alright and then it feels like the lonely, empty sadness is going to just erode my soul.

I know: depression lies. Things are good.

Tell it to my brain, alright? That bastard is serving up all kinds of sadness today and I don’t have TIME for it, I have a million updates to do on this work document.

That being said..anyone who wants to chat should leave me their gmail–I’ll add you and we can Gchat!

**I changed the settings on this one so commenting with your email is safe, I am the only one who will see it.**


Monday!! Fuck you!


I’m about four hours into a rainy, grey Monday and the next person who gives me attitude is going to get punched in the hoohah (since oddly enough, no males have given me attitude this morning).

  • Woke up at 6:45. Normally we meet the MIL for drop off of daughter at 7. So there went that. Now we have to drop her at school.
  • Husband: We can’t leave, I have to take a 40minute shower! (exaggerate)
  • Eldest kid: stumbles to his door in boxers, breathes his terrible breath on me, and insists the pot he made Mac n Cheese in is in HIS mini fridge so “calm down jesus”. I shut the door in his face, after turning on his lights to hopefully blind his ass.
  • Husband backing out of the driveway: almost gets smashed into by some dickwad driving 30mph down our 15mph road. FUN.
  • After the near miss, I declare McDonalds caffeine better be coming up, since we’re late anyway. Caffeine, yes. Ice cream sundae husband wanted, “machine out of order” {ie: we haven’t turned it on yet because it’s 730 a.m.}
  • Drop off kiddo. While driving to her school, one of my meds falls out of my hands and is immediately eaten by the car. As in, it isn’t in there anymore, and it’s not in my clothes, or under the seat, or in my bag. Just..vanished. well that’s going to make an interesting day! I wonder if it’s the one that handles attitude or the one that handles anxiety? Welp, we’re gonna find out!
  • Second person who checks in this morning is a homeschool Mom. Apparently they’re doing the homeschool reviews until the 13th of this month. I have got no issues with these chicks. Homeschooling is cool. This lady was a super cunt. I hate that word, but it’s about the only one I can think of hostile enough to sum her up. The interaction went like so:

She walks up to our counter (my desk is behind it) and bangs on the monitor with her finger hard enough to rattle it backwards. The webcam almost falls off the top. Across the top of this monitor is a strip of white masking tape that says: “HI! Sorry, not a touchscreen! Use the keyboard”. I say, after watching this bitchy expression cross her face “It’s not a touchscreen.”

She glares over at me, and while snatching the mouse snaps “This is such a backward county!”…Former ITS chick, who still has to maintain the technology in THIS building thinks: You shut your whore mouth! What I actually say is –in the most neutral tone possible– “Well, ma’am, we only have the technology that we can afford.” She snatches her label from our label printer, and then asks where the elevator is. There’s one on my left, but she needs the one about..200 ft away? I should count the steps. It’s not far. I say, you go right through the doorway behind you and it’s on the right. SHE says “HOW FAR IS IT?”…Again, neutral tone. Pretty sure my eyebrows went up this time. I point with my pen. “Well…you walk right through that doorway, right there–and it’s on the right. So not far.”

“Well, MY BAG IS HEAVY.” At this point I have returned to looking busy (really I was just sealing my pen pal envelopes, but she doesn’t know that) and I say nothing. She mutters some remark about this not being the right foot to get off on with her and I snicker inside my head. Take your attitude and your heavy bag up the elevator, BITCH. The person you don’t want to get on the wrong side of is me–I’ll make sure your technology breaks. YEAH.

So then, completely aggravated, I have made a new sign! Which conveniently blocks me from view, also, until you are at the check in machine. It looks like this:

2015-02-02 08.59.27You would think the keyboard and mouse are a dead giveaway, but apparently not.


Today better get better from here. OR someone is going to get it.

Also, I DGAF about the Superbowl. WHO CARES?!!!

/rant over

Monday!! Fuck you!