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Wrong people are wrong

Whoever told me that Oregonions Oregonians no, i’m keeping Oregonions never use umbrellas didn’t know what he was talking about.  I was out in the rain today (mostly not on purpose), and I saw four people using umbrellas to keep dry.  The other twenty people were probably just trying to impress somebody.  Or they took the same chance I did and bet wrong.  It was a little bit invigorating to speed along the empty trail with rain pouring down and my favorite songs playing.  I got plenty dirty (bikes kick up a lot of mud in the rain), but I’d do it again.

Then I came home, cleaned up, made scrambled eggs (ALMOST as good as Mel’s), and watched TV.  It was an okay Sunday.  I barely spent any time dreading work tomorrow.  That’s an improvement.

Give me a head with hair

Outside looks like a pretty place today.  Too bad I haven’t seen any of it yet.  The work day didn’t work out that way, unfortunately.  I’ll get out after five for a little bit, though, and the sun will still be shining.  I have a haircut scheduled!  Today is just a trim, a consultation, a get-to-know-the-new-hair-stylist kind of appointment.  If all goes well….perhaps actually cutting of length will occur.  I measured my hair today – I could lose 12 inches of hair and still have it fall near or just under my chin.  This is a possibility.  Just not for today’s appointment.  Baby steps.

It’s been TWO YEARS since I last cut my hair.  On the one hand, ridiculous.  On the other hand, meh.  Who cares?  It’s hair, and when it’s long anyway…  Maybe I shouldn’t say that to my new hair stylist.

Back into the swing of work

John had to go back to work Wednesday, so I decided to start slowly and try to catch up on email before anyone really expected me to do any real work.  Once Outlook stopped refreshing, I had over 3200 emails.  Most of them (around 2300) were emails from our ticket system.  Usually, I read them all, but that’s day by day, as they come in, and even then it’s not always manageable.  I decided to ignore ALL 2300 of them and start fresh on Thursday, so I deleted them all.  That left about 900 emails from real people, so I spent about 7 hours today going through those and trying to get a sense of what’s been happening.  What’s been happening?  Both a lot and not that much.  It’s probably the same for any job when you disappear for a week and a half.  The biggest news is that I have a new boss (I totally dreamed that Tuesday night, too.  Weird, right?).  My old boss left abruptly 3 (maybe 4?) weeks ago, and my new boss started this Monday.  I didn’t expect them to hire someone so quickly (I don’t think anyone did), but hopefully it’s a good thing.

No one asked too much of me on Wednesday, so it wasn’t too stressful except on my butt.  We stayed in the house all day (except for lunch), and I can say from experience now that working in a house with no furniture sucks A LOT.  Where is our furniture?  I wish the moving van had a tracking number like packages do.

Grand Central Station

There are too many ways for people to get in touch with me, and too often, all are in use at the same time.  Work people can (and do) reach me via my work email address, my office phone, my work cell, my personal cell, Skype for business, Google Chat/Hangouts, and text (on both cell phones).  It’s part of my job to be available (during the work day – I do set boundaries, usually), so I don’t really mind, but sometimes it’s a bit much.

And it can be a bit much on its own, but then I add in non-work stuff that happens during the day (texts, chats, emails, calls), and it gets crazy.

Thursday, for instance, I went for a run at lunch (to clear my head because some customers at work that morning….well, I needed to clear my head), and while I was stretching, after having been back in the apartment for all of three minutes, my work cell rang.  Sure, I could have ignored it, but I saw who it was and picked up because her stuff is usually important.  It was, I answered her question, and went back to stretching.  Thirty seconds later (still stretching), my personal cell rang with a call from our landlady.  She’s got utility people in the basement and backyard, and am I home?  Oh, good, can I unlock the back door so they can get to the electrical panel?  Sure I can.

Shortly after that, I sat back down at my desk to find two chat windows flashing at me and lots of emails waiting.  I did just clear my head, right?

Big sigh of relief

Our moving documents are signed (we officially have movers coming to pack up and move our stuff), with a date and everything AND our lease is signed.  We officially have a place to live!

[Break for happy dance.]

AND it’s a beautiful day AND it was 55 degrees at lunchtime AND I ran outside for the first time in a couple weeks WITHOUT A JACKET and life is good.

BIG exception: I logged in to TurboTax to continue the taxes I started a month ago, and it got all crazy.  And what I mean by “all crazy” is really “why on earth does TurboTax think we owe almost $9000 in federal taxes and over $12,000 in MD taxes?!?”

I logged out of TurboTax and looked for local personal tax accountants.  Found one.  We’re meeting her on Friday.

Even with that hanging over us, we’re still getting things done and that is good.  I’m certain the tax thing will get figured out.  THAT is not what I’m going to worry about.

I’m home!!!

My time in Virginia this week did not go like I thought it would.  The work days were crazy, but I probably should have assumed they would be.  It’s the evenings, the hotel stay, that were so different from my expectations.  My vision of those evenings included lots of quiet time to myself, time to read, go to bed early, sleep well – miss John, certainly, but enjoy my alone time anyway.  That is decidedly NOT how those two nights went.  I did it to myself, of course.

Tuesday night, I went straight from work to happy hour with some coworkers (as I mentioned the other day, in a post fueled by wine and cookies), and I stayed out much later than I had planned.  It’s fine – I was having a good time – but it was 9:30 when I got in, after 10:30 before I got out of the bathtub, and around 11 when I went to bed, with an alarm set for 5:30 so I could get up and exercise.  I read a little (tub time!), but not much, and I slept terribly.  Not a relaxing night.

Wednesday, I worked late and went directly to a restaurant to have dinner with Susan (from boxing) and Molly.  Back in the hotel by 9:30 again, but this time with Molly, who was staying with me so she could avoid the commute from DC the next morning (and, presumably, to hang out with me).  We stayed up until midnight (slumber party!) and woke up at 6am.  She got up to exercise.  I had another terrible night’s sleep (nightmares about packing suitcases in a hotel room with a wasp, a puppy, and about a dozen people hanging around), so I stayed in bed until about 6:45.

So now I’m home, and we have a weekend without plans.  I think.  I hope.  I would like to read.

Edible

My team sent me an Edible Arrangements bouquet for my birthday!  IMG_20160216_205506

Fresh fruit, some it chocolate-covered – SO good.  And somehow, they managed to time the delivery with our weekly conference call.  Probably dumb luck, but it was a very nice surprise.  They’re very sweet.  I may not like my job, but I sure do like my team.

Lots of reasons

I need to relax more.  I don’t mean to say that I’m rushing around like a crazy person (I’m not), but I’m starting to feel stressed again.  Deep breathing isn’t always working for me (I don’t feel like I can breathe deeply enough, which is bad enough on its own, but then adds to the stress), and my brain is racing.  It’s not about the move (although I’m sure the fact that it’s creeping closer and we have a lot to do isn’t helping, but really – that feels under control), and it’s not just about work.  It’s probably a lot about work, but there’s no quick fix for that (not any that don’t involve their own kinds of stress).  Regardless, I just want to handle it better.

This afternoon, John went off to fly, and I turned on the Yoga Radio station on Pandora.  My plan was to listen to it for a while during the end of my work day and then DO some yoga.  I managed half of that…I didn’t make it to the actual yoga part.  But it’s a start!

I think I’m going to drink less coffee, too.  Once I’m out of the creamer I have.  (No reason to let that go bad.)  I drank the last glass of a bottle of wine last night, and I’m thinking about not opening the next bottle for a while.  Part of the reason (for both coffee and wine) is the stress thing.  The rest of it is just that they’re empty calories.  I don’t need them.

And maybe this whole stress thing is coming on right now because I haven’t been exercising regularly this week.  I didn’t feel like this last week, and last week I ran five days in a row.  Then we had a massive snow storm, and I only ran once (Tuesday), and it wasn’t much of a run since I had to keep doubling back when the sidewalks ended in unshoveled snow and I kept stopping to pick my way across slush and ice.  I haven’t been to the gym, and I certainly haven’t done any exercising at home (because lazy).  Instead, I’ve eaten cookies and blueberry muffins and nachos.  Tonight’s dinner is chili, so I’m not really helping myself out there.  Make better choices!  I will.  Soon.

Outlet

Our permanent someday home might need a heavy punching bag installed in the basement.  I could sure use one to beat up on right now.  I’ve been dealing with Mr. Smug Patronizer Who Thinks He’s More Important Than Everyone Else all day, and I need to let off some steam.  Counting to ten and taking deep breaths isn’t working.  I can’t go for a run (not a very satisfying one, anyway) because the sidewalks are treacherous, and the gym is just too far away.  I guess I’ll have to get over this by eating cookies.  Mmm.  Cookies.

I’m not that important

Surprise!  Going to the office stresses me out.  It did today, at least.  I got in early (ten to 7), assumed I wouldn’t do much of the work I’d hoped to do (because that’s what happens when I’m in the office), tried to leave at 3pm, found myself swamped with things I’d be leaving half-done, and put my laptop to sleep at 3:45 hoping that all of the things I had open would still be there when I got home.

Luckily, they are all still there, but so are emails from people I can’t ignore.  So here it is, over 11 hours after I got to the actual office this morning, back on my work laptop feeling all anxious that I didn’t do some things.  I’m working on letting it go.  I replied to the people I can’t ignore.  Everything else that’s clamoring for my attention can be done first thing tomorrow.

I know this.  It’s not that important.  I’M not that important.  Nothing that needs to be done is a matter of life or death.

I’m repeating this.

I want to be able to relax tonight.

Ommmmmmmm…..

How am I supposed to answer that?

Work is getting to me (and yes, I’m working on the solution to that).  Actual question I got from someone today:

Do you have the issue [specific customer] wanted fixed by next week?

Do I have it?  I don’t know what that means.  Do I have a ticket for it?  Maybe.  What’s the issue?  That customer has a lot of open tickets.  Which one are you referring to?  Or maybe you mean, do I have it for action by me personally?  Maybe, but I can’t answer that until I know which one you’re referring to.  I don’t know of any issues that have to be fixed by next week.  (And that’s not how we operate, and you know that.)  They had two issues last week that had my attention.  One got resolved (it was a problem they caused and could resolve), and the other has a workaround and isn’t that urgent.  Was it one of those?

Protect me from vague questions.

Single-minded and annoyed to boot

You know how when one thing in your life is acting up (it’s usually work), you can’t think about anything else?  It’s this constant irritation (and it’s usually work), and much as you’d like to think about other things, more pleasant things, this ONE THING (usually work) takes up all available brain space.

Oh, you’re telling me a funny story?  I’m sorry – I was distracted by thoughts of the big annoying thing that isn’t going the way it should (work, most likely).  We’re going to watch TV?  Let’s choose something I don’t have to pay much attention to because my mind will be going in circles about how to solve a problem like Maria (except no singing, no dancing, no love story because it’s almost certainly work).

Actually, The Sound of Music might help.  “How you solve a problem like Maria” might not solve my problem (with, let’s face it, work), but it might be the most effective distraction.  If only it weren’t raining and I had a handy hilltop or convent to spin around in…

Feeling feisty

I’m in all-out fight mode today, but I’m pretty sure no one has noticed (at work – John knows).  This is a good thing; the person in charge of customer service should never start fights, fight back, or even appear to be anything other than angelic.  Not exactly, of course, but I never lose my cool in front of my customers.  Never.

Repeat after me:

I am at peace. I am as one with the world!  I want to help everyone, even if one person just threw me under the bus.  Oops, I mean this person clearly needs my help and just didn’t know how to ask for it.  Let’s help him out!

Deep breaths.  Smile?  Yes, smile.  My friendly voice is back, and…into the fray I go!

(This is a good reason to continue the boxing workouts.)

I’m a loser, baby

Who knew that fake gambling could be fun?  I don’t like real gambling.  It’s too stressful.  You know you’re going to lose money, and even if you’ve set aside money you’re okay with losing, who wants to lose it?  Not fun.  But gambling with fake money is much more fun.  No stress, no stakes.  If you’re winning, hooray, and if you’re not, who cares?

This was for last night’s mandatory fun event for work, and I’m happy to say I actually had fun.  The dealers were super nice, answered all of my questions and taught me how to play various games (it won’t stick, but it was nice of them), I think they enjoyed themselves, too.  A couple of them told me it’s a relief to work an event with fake money because no one takes it seriously, no one’s losing real money, everyone has fun, and that means they can relax and have fun, too.  Yay for everyone having fun!

Now, I’m at work, and I have a headache, so I’m going to take something and try not to be super-annoyed with this one super-annoying client.

Missed it by one

We managed to do every single thing on our list for the weekend except one.  I still need a pedicure.  But I can probably get that done after work some night.  Clearly not tonight – I had to work late, and now that I’m home, I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me so I can do some more work.  Boo. But everything else, we did this weekend, including a trip to my favorite store.  I am the proud new owner of two new pairs of running capris and two new pairs of running shorts.  I will be happy to weed out some of my older workout clothes.  I love that place.  It wasn’t busy, so I had three sales people helping me.  I needed all three of them; I must have tried on half the clothes in the store.  Too bad I couldn’t buy them all.  Ooh, maybe that’s my new life goal.  Redo my wardrobe so it comes 100% from Athleta and Ann Taylor.  And then gets updated regularly.

I would like to stop having such long days

It appears to be Crisis Week at work.  I spent hours on conference calls with one client yesterday, and hours on conference calls with a different client today.  Also, I went in early to help wrap up yesterday’s problems, but couldn’t do that (someone else did) because of the new crisis, AND I worked until 8pm because we’re short-staffed and I didn’t want to screw anyone on my team by making them work the late shift more than once this week, so I just finished an 11-hour day.  Half of it was productive, much of it was annoying.  But it’s over now.  John just watched Atari: Game Over (which appears to be an episode (the only one?) in a series called Signal to Noise that maybe failed, based on the IMDB results), and the music over the end credits was happy enough to make those couple of minutes the best part of my day so far.  Of course, Google is failing me – I can’t find the song.  Don’t ruin this for me, Google!

But hey – I feel much better than I did, and it was super-duper nice to work the afternoon from home.  My twice-monthly meetings with my boss start next week, so I plan to make this a regular thing and let everyone get used to the idea.  I want to talk to her about it before I do it, but it’s going to happen.

Reading is next, and bed, and tomorrow is Thursday, and you know what?  I really like Thursdays.

Not from concentrate

Today was not a good day for getting anything complicated done.  Or anything easy, if it took more than 30 seconds.  I’m sure it would have been different if anything had been interesting or on my list of things I want to do.  The music from Pirates of the Caribbean (the film score, not “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”) was going through my brain (just that one snippet – dum dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum), and I think that was part of the problem.  Maybe if it were longer, I could have focused for longer on one thing.  Instead, I’d get to the end of that one bar, decide I must be done with whatever I was doing, and move on to the next thing.  Except I WASN’T done, and then I didn’t get through the next thing, either, and wouldn’t it be nice if I could just go home and read my book?  I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have had trouble focusing on my book.

On the other hand, I had plenty of bite-size tasks, and today was the perfect day to get those done.

I guess I’m not in control of my own destiny

Remember how yesterday I was going to leave work early and enjoy some sunshine?  Yeah…I shouldn’t have said it out loud.  The universe didn’t take it well.

“Oh, you want to leave early?  You’re a little frustrated with work?  Looking forward to some nice spring weather?  Need a break?  Oh, ha ha ha.  That’s so cute.  Tee hee.  That you should have such aspirations – oh, it’s too much.  Really.  Pardon me while I wipe away tears of hilarity.  Oh, ha.  Hum.  Hee.  YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.”

A three hour conference call began at 3pm.  I left work at 6:30.  I might need to placate the universe somehow.  I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to offend!

Update: It JUST occurred to me that yesterday was April Fool’s Day.  Was this a cosmic joke?

Where’s my list?

I used to be organized.  I think.  Or at least I felt organized.  This is mostly about work, not home stuff, but I could do better about the home stuff, too.  Work has been nothing but crisis management for me for weeks.  Months, maybe.  It’s getting old, but I could handle that if I could stop feeling like I’m dropping everything else.  And I don’t know what “everything else” is anymore.

This is manageable. I can fix this.  I just need to put everything back in order.

I’m not sure how I’m going to do that.

Maybe it’s an excuse to buy office supplies!  That might make me feel better, but I don’t think it’ll solve my problems.  A better to-do list might actually help.  A better idea of what should be ON my to-do list would help a lot.

I can DO this!

I have no idea what I have to do

I need a better to-do list for work.  I’ve tried a rolling spreadsheet (I had a macro that would create a new tab with the current date and include all of the items from the previous tab – then I could just delete completed items), I’ve tried random text documents (I lose them or forget about them), and then I moved on to using my Outlook calendar.  That worked for a while. I either add an appointment early in the day with a reminder, or I mark something as an all day task, with or without a reminder.  Every time I look at my calendar (which is a lot – I have a lot of meetings), I’m reminded of the things I have to do.  If I don’t finish a task, I can move those from day to day, or if they have reminders, leave them (as long as I don’t dismiss the reminders) and they’ll continue to appear in front of my face when the reminder thing pops up.

Problems:

  1. I start ignoring the popups.  I get so used to seeing the same tasks (because I have to keep putting off the low priority ones in favor of the crisis of the hour), and the list keeps growing, and it keeps growing with low priority issues…so I just ignore the popup reminder.
  2. If I ignore the popup because I don’t want to look at the long list of tasks I’m being reminded to do (because I don’t have time to do them because crisis of the hour has my attention), I miss ACTUAL reminders of ACTUAL meetings.  Today, for instance, I was 20 minutes late to a meeting because I paid no attention to the Outlook reminder thingy.

So this isn’t working anymore.  Maybe I’ll try the Excel thing again.  I’ve never actually tried Outlook’s task list – maybe I’ll try that first.  I just know that what I have is failing me.  Or I’m failing it.