Knock, Knock, Knock

Many of you know Todd is a hospital pharmacist who works evening shift. For the past couple of years he has worked 7 long days on/7 off. During his 7 off, he usually did some overtime. He has worked every other weekend for the last two years. It’s a lot.  

Our family was feeling the strain of this schedule. Having him gone for 7 days in a row was okay at first, but with home schooling it means 7 days of me and Riley, 24/7. 

Besides the too much togetherness factor, his 7 on, every other week, kind of isolates me. I can’t take a class, or join a weekly group, etc. because we have no coverage during the weeks he works. Plus it takes me a day or two to get used to him each time he comes off his shift. For us, it is a disjointed way to live and we were feeling disconnected. The week off sounded nice, but since he never really took it, well…you know.   

So while the kids were at camp this summer and we had some time to think, and talk about what is best for our family and our marriage, we decided it might be better if he worked regular hours, like everyone else in his dept. Mostly days, and then each pharmacist has to rotate through evenings once in a while. Where he had been working every other weekend, it would be stretched out to one weekend a month. That seemed more manageable. It’s what he’d been doing before he volunteered for the evening shift.   

He approached his young boss about changing back and was smacked down.

Todd has an impeccable work ethic and an impeccable record. While most hospital pharmacists have a significant error rate, his is practically non-existent. He is a workhorse. He puts in hundreds more orders a day than most of the other pharmacists who are happy to let him pick up the slack. He catches many, many more mistakes than his colleagues do. He is really, really good at what he does. He’s never called in sick once. And since he has management experience, (he left an Assistant Director’s job in order to be home more when Riley was three) his young boss often comes to him with questions, asking for advice on how to run the department.

But this young boss told Todd “no.”

No can do.  

And Todd said he would have to leave.

And the short sighted young boss did not make the slightest effort to keep him.

And my husband, who tries to keep it all together for us at home, and who works circles around everyone else in his department, is opening up and asking himself some questions.

Namely, “Why am I busting my tail for a department that could not care less about me?”

“Why am I living in a house, when I am not handy, and the maintenance overwhelms me and makes me miserable?” 

“What else could we be doing with our lives?”

“How else could we be living?”

And I look at this man whom I love, and I LOVE it. I love his questions. I love that he is thinking outside the box. I love that he is valuing himself, even if his boss doesn’t. I would trade being a homeowner any day for a spouse who had to work less, and who was happy. 

And I don’t know what we’re going to do.

We moved to Cleveland for a school for Riley. We found one that worked well for a couple of years, until it didn’t. We were mostly sticking around here for Todd’s job. Luckily, in his line of work, it’s pretty easy to find another one. We don’t take that for granted, especially when so many people are out of work, but do we want to stay in Cleveland? Maybe. There is a lot about Cleveland to love and appreciate. But maybe not.

We’re looking around. Exploring the possibilities. Exploring alternate ways of living. We’re even looking at traveling pharmacist positions. Who knows? Seth wants to be home schooled too. If we could do it in Hawaii, why not? Everyone work, work, works, in order to save up some vacation to travel. What if we took a year or two and did just that?  

Maybe I’ll be a travel nurse, and he can work part-time? The possibilities are endless.

We already hear the outside voices whispering in our ears as they have in the past, “You two think you can just run away. You’re never happy anywhere.” Voices that would say just suck it up, at least he has a job. Voices that would call me a complainer for daring to say out loud what I need. Voices that would rather play it safe, under all circumstances. Of course those voices are just mirrors of our own fears. 

When listen to the still small voice within, there is no fear. No limits.  

I don’t know how it is all going to unfold. We might stay put. He might just find another job here in Cleveland.

As Todd told me the news from his boss, there was a glimmer in his eye. As much as it hurt him to feel unappreciated, (and it really did) there was freedom in it too. It was good information to have.

Jerri sent me a quote recently by novelist Margaret Drabble,

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

Opportunity knocks.

If you could live anyplace, where would it be, and why?

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27 Responses to Knock, Knock, Knock

  1. pixiemama says:

    Oooh! I love that HT didn’t let that rotten boss get to him. I looooove that you, as a family, refuse to take “no” for an answer. Bet nurses and pharmacists are needed wherever you may want to land.


  2. You need to do what is right for YOUR family. just like I can’t fake being typical to fit in you can’t do what’s right for someone elses family. well you can but you shouldn’t have to.

  3. Kristen says:

    You are so right about this opening up so many possibilities. Donny and I know exactly how you feel. While he was working 9-4 then 5-10 shifts and I was working 9-5 shifts we barely saw each other and Donny would work every day. We’d see each other when we both got up in the mornings and when we were heading to bed. We did that for a whole year. And when Target was only giving Donny 20-29 hours a week, it got really bad. I had been submitting his resume all over the place for at least a year. No one wanted to hire him. He’s work ethic is fantastic and he barely made any errors. He was seeing his co-workers who had been there for a short amount of time have 40 hours a week when they were still living with their parents, not having to pay the bills. He was seeing them get promoted to Team Lead- while the team leaders and LOD’s were asking him leadership questions, because they didn’t know what to do.
    Maybe Todd can come join Ann, Tim and Donny at Duke Raleigh 🙂
    I would love to be closer to my husband-to-be’s side of the family.

  4. Courtney says:

    Maybe the San Francisco Bay Area … love the Drabble quote!

  5. Jenny R says:

    Yay! I’m so excited to see where this takes you and your family!

  6. Jess says:

    Lots of similar box busting conversations here lately. Chapel Hill, NC.

  7. Jerri says:

    My local Jimmy John’s has a sign on the wall that tells a story about an MBA on vacation in Mexico. He sees a fisherman coming in with a few fish in his boat. The MBA asks the fisherman why he doesn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman says this is all he needs to take care of his family.

    The American then asks what the fisherman does with the rest of his time.

    The fisherman replies that he sleeps late, plays with his children, take siesta with his wife, and plays guitar with his friends.

    The American outlines a plan for the fisherman to catch more fish, buy more boats, create distributorships and so forth. He says it will take 15 to 20 years to accomplish the whole plan.

    The fisherman asks what would happen then.

    The American tells him he could then retire: sleep late, play with his kids, take siesta with his
    wife, and play guitar with his friends.

    The gap between “more” and “enough” never changes, Michelle. You and HT understand “enough.” Does it matter what anyone else says?

    Oh, and tell HT he’s extremely appreciated here in MO.

  8. amber says:

    WELL, if I were *you*, I would want to live as close to *me* (yeah, ME) as you could. So, Sacramento or (fine! i’ll drive a little) even the Tahoe area would look nice… 😉

    But really, EFF YEAH, it opens your doors! Screw the voices of fear. Why COULDN’T you do it in Hawaii, if you had the chance?! Why not Key West? Why NOT Tahoe? Most people do just end up where they end up, with no thought about it. If his job gives you guys the chance to experience somewhere cool– which most people can not– why the hell not?! Goooooo for eeet.

    I would want to live in the Somnoma or Napa area for a bit. So beautiful. *sigh*


  9. graceonline says:

    Wow. From the sounds of things, painful as getting shot down can be, I wonder if Todd will one day thank his shortsighted, insecure boss for letting him go without a whimper to better and better opportunities. Lucky new boss. So many possibilities! I pray for the best possible solution for all concerned, one that is better than your wildest dreams.

    Where would I live if I could live anywhere in the world? In a village much like the Village of Ordinary, one of a string of such villages, nestled in the hills surrounding the Santa Clara Valley. No big cities. No constant noise. Peaceful, sustainable living in communities just large enough to support the people who live there and close enough to other communities for ease of sharing and caring. That’s where I’d live.

  10. I once did just what Todd has done when confronted with an abusive work situation. I still wonder sometimes whether I should have tried to stick it out, whether some rough times that came after would maybe not have happened. However, even though the journey through the rough times has been a several-year trial, our family’s life together is also on the verge of something wonderful and new. And the rough times — while I’ll NEVER say they were “for the best” — are at least yielding strength and perspective for us, which will serve us well in the chaotic times to come….

    Blessings on you all, and I’m one of the multitudes who are cheering for you!

    — Laura

    PS Where would I live? I’d spend six months a year in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the other six months travelling EVERYWHERE I HAD NEVER BEEN.

  11. Chloes Mom Mary says:

    This sounds very exciting indeed! I really do believe that you need to do what is best for your family. What others want is really not so important – imo, anyways. As you said in a previous post, the energy in your household is changing.

    Many, many blessings

  12. Wanda says:

    Reading this, I got so excited for you all. Oh, the possibilities!

    Where would I live? In Portland…or Hawaii.

  13. Amanda says:

    I was where you are now about 6 years ago. Possibly the scariest yet most exciting time of our lives. We now have a way better quality of life which is just emphasized every time we visit friends and family we left behind. Be fearless. Grab hold and go for it.

  14. Heather says:

    I believe I hear doors opening…

    As for where I would live…wherever my heart takes me. My heart tells me where I am now is home…for now, not forever. When the time is right it will tell me where to go next. I Don’t question it…I go with it.

    And those voices I hear when my heart craves change? They must be talking to someone else because they can’t possibly know what is best for me and my family. I suspect the don’t know what’s best for you and yours either.:)

  15. kario says:

    Kudos to HT for standing up for himself and asking the tough questions and to you for not being threatened by the questions. I suspect that you will be led in the right direction, either by something inside you both or by some signal from the Universe that makes it clear.

    I love that you are willing to overcome the fears and just see what happens. Best of luck!

  16. drama mama says:


    Just sayin’.

  17. Carrie Link says:

    When nothing is sure, everything is possible! WOWOWOWWO! LOVE THAT!


    Just sayin’.

  18. -e- says:

    Funny that you anticipated voices preaching caution and all I see here is a chorus of enthusiasm. I have 2 friends faced with similar moments who decided to live on a boat and sail around the world for 2 years (one of these families has 3 kids ages 6 to 10 with one of them on the spectrum!) Of course, that plan requires a love of the sea, expertise in sailing, and more patience than I can imagine, but hey, THEY imagined it and have not regretted a moment. I think the key is letting go of the fiction of having it all… Jerri hit the nail on the head with the tale of the fisherman.

    Oh, and I love Portland. Moved here from NYC 14 years ago. Plenty of people who value quality of life over quantity of stuff.

    And just gotta say… PLEASE keep blogging your way through this… PLEASE! I couldn’t bear to loose the thread of this unfolding now!

  19. Amanda says:

    How abut a change of pace and country? Experience a different way of living completely? Scotland is the best small country in the world… 😀

    and I’m with -e-, keep in touch!

  20. rhemashope says:

    beantown, baby!

    i’m excited for you and know that you will find and do what’s best for your precious family.

  21. Betty says:

    Glad Todd is looking at this with an open mind. Unfortunately, when you work for a company or someone else, they tend to make you feel unappreciated. Maybe Todd can open his own pharmacy!

  22. Susan Hendrickson says:

    When one door closes another door opens. How about moving to TX?

  23. I feel so inspired by this! You are both amazing and I can’t wait to see what you decide!

  24. Meg says:

    The possibilities are endless….excited for you and sad to think you’d be leaving us.

  25. amy Hobbs-Smith says:

    the PNW….I have lived all over this fine country-currently in Boulder, Co. but oh the wonderful NW….I pine for Portland. The coast…..the water…the beauty. It is raw and healing and progressive and the end all be all to me.

  26. Kathee says:

    Michelle I love this post for so many reasons. I am glad your husband found out sooner rather than later. We are considering some of the same questions – especailly the part about maintaining a house! It used to feel like the right thing to do for our family – because it seemed like the logical next step… But we are a bit overwhelmed and honestly – just tired of putting so much money into home ownership/maintenance. The thought of putting it on the market even translates to more spending – apparently eveyone needs granite countertops and matching stainless steel appliances! Best to you.

  27. Lo says:

    Everything happens for a reason…..gosh, I never like to be anywhere too long although this is the longest i’ve ever lived anywhere…beach, sand, sound of ocean is where I would love to be all the time. A shack on the beach!!! Good luck and gosh darn, read this post after your latest one and now don’t want you to stop bloggin ’cause i want to know what happens and share in your adventure (stomps feet, arms crossed) 🙂

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