Dienstag, 30. November 2010

End of Hurricane Season

The last day of November officially marks the end of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. Although we had one of the busiest storms seasons in history, the USA were very lucky this year to not have been hit along its shorelines. Only Tropical Storm Bonnie made a small landfall in South Florida, but that was really nothing to be concerned about.

Thank you Hurricane Season 2010! May the next one treat us just as nice!

Now it's up to some cooler temperatures in SoFla. We might get down to 8-10 C in the next couple of nights. During the day time they still expect more than 20 C though, so all is good. Looking at a lot of snow pictures on Facebook from friends in the UK and Germany, I really wonder if we'll get such a winter as the last one as well down here. Let's see! At least my winter clothes will fit again by then or actually be a little loose, since I'll be smaller than pre-pregnancy :).

Now off to work! Wishing you all a great December!!!

Der letzte Tag im November beschreitet das Ende der Hurrikan Saison im Atlantik. Obwohl wir eine der stuermischten Saisons in der Geschichte hatten, waren die USA dieses Jahr sehr gut dran und ihre Kuesten wurden komplett verschont. Nur der tropische Sturm Bonnie traf hier in Sued-Florida im Sommer mal kurz auf Land, aber das war nicht wirklich erwaehnenswert.

Vielen Dank Hurrikan Saison 2010. Moege die naechste genauso nett zu uns sein!

Nun sind wieder ein paar kuehlere Temperaturen dran hier in SoFla. Es kann in den kommenden Naechten bis auf 8-10 C abkuehlen. Tagsueber werden aber immer noch Temperaturen um die 20 C erwartet, also ist alles gut. Nachdem ich mir etliche Schneebilder von Freunden aus den UK und Deutschland auf Facebook angeschaut habe, frage ich mich echt, was wir wohl dieses Jahr fuer einen Winter bekommen und ob er so kalt wird wie der letzte. Wir werden sehen! Zumindest passen mir bis dahin meine Wintersachen wieder oder sie werden sogar ein wenig zu gross sein, da ich "kleiner" aus der Schwangerschaft kommen werde, als ich vorher war :).

Nun wieder auf zur Arbeit! Wuensche euch allein einen schoenen Dezember!!!

Sonntag, 21. November 2010

Bump Pics & Celebration

I never had the desire to show off my belly to the world, but pregnancy changes everything, so ya'll just have to look at it or GET OFF MY BLOG!!! :)

This is the bump at 36 weeks + 1 day. Still quite "tiny", but measuring spot on.

Today I'm also "celebrating" 21 months in the States by the way. On 21. February 2009 this journey began. It's been an interesting time, I took the roller coaster once again and I know what I want to change in the next year. So it will definitely stay interesting. One thing I can say for sure: Can't wait for 2011. 2010 was absolutely not my best year, but what doesn't kill you...... ;)

Maternity.... WHAT!???

"Maternity Leave??? Paid??? How long??? Government-paid child benefit??? Parenting benefit??? Now why again did you move over here!?"

Yes, I know... it's been a while again... almost a month, to be exact, that I've been quiet, but as you can imagine things are different over in the USA and so I'm not sitting on the couch with my feet up, enjoying my last couple of weeks of pregnancy, but still working full-time and listening to the above questions almost daily.

Yes, in Germany, by law, as an employee you must be given maternity leave with 34 weeks, 6 weeks prior to your due date and you will be paid during this time off and also for another 8 weeks postpartum. Yes, after the child is born, the government will pay you a monthly child benefit up until the child finishes some form of education that will get him into a profession and yes, there's also the option to stay home longer and get paid a parenting benefit of I believe now 67% of your last salary (with minimums and maximums) for a maximum of 14 months after giving birth.

Here in the States that's all significantly different. First of, every state has it's own laws in regards to maternity leave and I guess with Florida, I chose to be in one of the States with the least "benefits" in this regard. Want a child? Have a child! But do it yourself!

So while in Germany, I would be relaxing right now, getting ready for Baby E, here I'm still on my feet working full time at 37 weeks and 1 day. My due date is 20 days away. With all the (physical) working, I don't know if I'll make it that far and I'd be quite happy for her to come out now as she is considered full term, but I sure know that I better not go overdue! Really, who wants to still be working past their due date??????? Since I haven't been with my employer for at least 12 months, I don't get any form of maternity leave. Not paid, not unpaid, not under "short-term disability" like my pregnant manager who's one week ahead of me, not under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)... All I can take is up to 4 weeks of personal leave through my employee benefits. Sounds great, doesn't it!? Dropping my 4 week old baby off somewhere, so I can go back to work is not really something I want to think about, but that is the reality over here for my situation and I do understand why people ask me why I moved over here or why I didn't move back to Germany, where I would have had way better prospects. Well, one answer to the latter is: I have a Greencard. If my baby is born in Germany, my baby will not have a Greencard and things will be rather complicated to get her legal resident status for the USA. Plus, I would have to start over again. Indeed, I'll have to start over here again soon as well, but it's less of a new start than it would be in Germany. At least I have a car, some furniture, a job...

Although the news from the job and the last month make me want to move on once again: management is not really considerate. Past 34 weeks pregnancy (while I would already be off work in Germany), I had to work a 17 (!!!) hour shift and several 12+ hour shifts. Only this week it looks like I'll be able to "relax" a little more.

I also had another "nice" incident at work. While fellow greencard-winners bicycles in Miami were stolen, I was stolen from at work... by a coworker! I had helped out another coworker and for the first time in this business & the 1 3/4 years, put my server book out of my hand. It only took 2 minutes to realize I had left it at one of the computer stations in the back of the house (10 feet away from a manager expediting food), but when I came back, it was already gone... and with it $400.-, as of course Murphy's Law has always been my "friend" and on the one day, that I put my server book down, all but one table had paid in cash (usually everybody pays with credit cards) and a thief is around. Needless to say, pregnancy hormones took over and I was in quite a state and cried for an hour while management tried to find evidence and pinpoint suspects. At the end of the night, after sorting out all the paperwork with a manager for 1 1/2 hours, it was clear that $300.- of that money were my employers and I would have to pay that back over time. AWESOME!!!!!!!! Management "knows" you took it (and so does everybody else), but unfortunately the ultimate proof was missing, so that person is still working with me. Talking about uncomfortable... try working with someone that you believe stole from you, knowing your story of being pregnant and single and all... It's definitely not a great feeling!

Besides work, I really haven't done anything. Still lots of stuff to prepare for when Baby gets here, but unfortunately my days don't have 48 hours in them and I'm not having the energy to solely work on my "To-Do-List" on my days off.

I am however very excited now and can't wait for my baby to get here... one reason might also be that I'll finally get to stay home for a little longer than one day at a time... :)

Wish me luck with everything!!! :)