Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sims

Familiar with the game "The Sims"? Basically, you are controlling fake little peoples lives - telling then when to eat, what job to have, when to sleep, when to pee, everything. Once of the most challenging times in the game is pregnancy. The pregnant Sim is very difficult to care for - if you are not careful she could "leave" (the equivalent of dying). The problem occurs if she gets home from work and exhausted and starving - you get stuck in this cycle where she desperately needs sleep, but is too hungry/has to pee to much to sleep more than 5 minutes, but when you send her to the fridge she falls asleep half way through making the meal, etc etc.

In short... this weekend has me feeling like a Sim!

It began with the football game...

Friday night, DH and I, as well as his work friend Eric that I am getting to know and like, left Columbus around 4pm and drove up to Cleveland to attend the Cleveland Browns vs Detroit Lions preseason NFL game. It was a ton of fun! We had great seats, a couple rows in on the South endzone. It was cool to be so close to the field and also made for some great pictures:

So, the result of the game was 30-28 Lions, which made Aaron and I happy, and did not upset Brown's fan Eric too much as it was preseason.

As planned, I drove home. We arrived home at 2:15am.

The problem being... I needed to work Overtime on Saturday. Preferably 8 hours. And the building was only open for overtime from 7am-4pm.

Why you ask? Because maternity leave in America sucks. Seriously. Makes me want to be in Europe more than any time before. In Austria, you get 16 weeks paid (as well as options for unpaid/partial paid). In Denmark, you get 52 weeks as a couple and can divide it between the father and mother. In America? You are at the mercy of your company, with your only guarentee being 12 weeks unpaid if you are somewhere FMLA applies.

The policy with my employer, the state of Ohio, is as follows:

Week 1-2 You are required to either wait through an unpaid waiting period, or use 2 weeks of your own leave.

Week 3-6 70% pay, can be supplemented by your leave if you want full pay.

Week 7-12 FMLA applies.

I was initially under the impression that when FMLA kicked in, I could just at my disgression go unpaid for those final 6 weeks (preserving a little sick and vacation time for when I came back to work with a 3 month old in daycare). However, it came to my attention that there is a clause in FMLA that makes it even more sucky - the employer is only requierd to give it to you if you have no leave of your own to take. In other words, if I want to stay home more than 6 weeks, then I have to use all of my leave up in week 7,8 etc until I am entirely out of sick, vacation, and personal time, and then and only then can I finish out 12 weeks off unpaid. *sigh*. This puts me in quite a bad spot.

Go back to work and drop a 6 week old off with a stranger/sitter (which for me personally seems impossible... so little) OR return to work after 12 weeks, with absolutely NO LEAVE- can't leave early because the baby is sick, can't schedule a Drs appt, can't get sick, have to scrape time together for upcoming family events like my Brother's wedding and sister's graduation that will be coming up. Both seem equally impossible.

There is the possability, the wisp, of hope. My pregnant coworker found a little policy somewhere in the handbook that implied there is ONE kind of leave you can save through FMLA - and that type is Compensatory Time. Paid time off you earn in liueu of pay when you work overtime. We have not yet confirmed this is true, but until we find out one way or the other, we have to assume it is, because overtime is not expected to last. When the Federal Fiscal year ends in October, we will no longer be allowed overtime, that means there are 6 Saturdays between this weekend and when October in which for me to earn comp time... 2 of which I am planning to be out of town. So I could not miss one.

I know. Way too much explanation. BUT that is why, after getting home at 2:15am on Saturday morning, I climbed out of bed at 6:30AM to go to work for 8 hrs. I still have not recovered. My body just doesn't want to sleep to catch up, despite me needing it, and the messed up sleeping schedule has me sick as well ("morning sick") and unable to find anything I want to eat.

I am a Sim. Sleep a little. Try to eat something, fail. And tomorrow is Monday.

DH asked me if the game was worth it, and it was. The real question is... will the overtime be worth it? I really hope that it will... cross your fingers

1 comment:

Allison said...

First of all, your leave policy sucks. Seriously sucks. I really, really hope all the overtime you've been putting in will work to build up some time that won't have to be exhausted before FMLA kicks in.

I did want to say, though, that you are ADORABLE. I haven't seen you or a picture of you since you've been pregnant and you are so stinking cute!!!