It has been a long, arduous 6 months around here. I have done very little other than gain some unwanted weight from mindless, unhealthy stress eating. I belong to the Minnesota Nurses Association, a professional union that represents over 12,000 nurses at 6 hospital systems in the Twin Cities. Every three years we negotiate our contract. In my tenure at Children's Hospital I have gone through probably 10 negotiations, most of them were unremarkable in nature. Oh there was a close call in 2001 and one hospital system did in fact go out on strike but for the most part we have worked through these negotiations fairly, professionally and ethically. This year was different, this year our employers chose a road of union busting tactics that were scary, hurtful and have forever changed the relationship with the 12,000 nurses in the Twin Cities. I was very close to the negotiations, I had a front row seat and witnessed some really difficult exchanges. I watched my employer lie. I watched the media spin a story that simply didn't reflect the facts. I was interviewed on several occasions by members of the media and failed to learn exactly how they distort words. I went out on a one day strike, I was emotionally and financially prepared for a four month strike. I was consumed and preoccupied for 6 months. I don't want to belabor this issue, it is behind me, not without some serious scars but I want to move forward. I want my summer to start, I want to spend time at the bee yard, I want to enjoy my early morning walks and I want to stop eating potato chips.
Fortunately for me our annual summer trip to Naples, Florida was schedule a week after we settled our contract so I had an opportunity for a transition, a week physically away from here and a week to clear my mind. It was just the tonic I needed, the perfect reset button. Every summer we invite our nieces to spend the week with us at the Naples, Ritz. I Can't say enough about off season travel which is the only reason we can afford this week. Only Katie was able to join us this year and we had a blast. We gave Katie scuba certification for a Christmas gift so she would be able to go scuba diving with Tina. The two of them spent a day in Key Largo diving, even saw a nurse shark, a highlight for Tina. They also went parasaling together, more shark sightings. We even spent an afternoon at the new Naples water park. I think it was the slides at the water park that finally knocked the negotiation stuff out of my head, making room for my summer to start!
So here it is almost August and it finally feels like summer has started. I am hoping to make the most of the dog days left. My bees are good, maybe without a queen but I am hoping to manage that issue later today with my gracious mentor who is helping me. We are having company for dinner on Monday so I am planning a fun, gluten free menu that includes passion fruit smoothies. The MN State Fair is less than a month away which means gluten free french fries. And of course canning season is almost here. Tina is headed to my brothers cabin for the weekend, leaving me behind to work, unless of course I decide to call in sick and join her. A year ago I would not have been capable of that but sadly, my work ethic was certainly a casualty of these negotiations, something that will take more than a week to restore and recover.