Friday afternoons are the greatest, especially when it’s actually Thursday

Beware, all who cross my path: my weekend has begun.  Nothing will get in the way of ultimate relaxation – NOTHING!  Except for a planned work interruption Sunday morning.  Damn.  NOTHING ELSE!

Nothing.  Shhh.

Useful! And productive!

I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON ME FING…palms.  The tops of my palms, right under the fingers.  Does that part of your hand have a name?  Doesn’t have the same ring to it, regardless.  I tried the rowing machine today.  Only 15 minutes, but I’ve got four blisters that hurt like hell.  I won’t be doing that again.

Today was a Thursday that felt like a Friday.  Disappointing to find it wasn’t, but at least tomorrow really is Friday and we have a three-day weekend!  Are we doing anything for the 4th of July?  Who knows?  It’s enough not to have to go to work.

Speaking of work, I actually did work that felt useful today.  Most days are all meetings and crisis management, and I never feel like I’m getting anywhere (which is why it’s so stressful).  Today, though, EVERYTHING was down.  All the websites we host, all of our test websites, our ticket tracking system, our phone system, our network – EVERYTHING – was down.  Everyone in the office was sent home because the office didn’t even have internet.  It came back up around 1pm, and everyone came back to work (and I went back to putting out fires), but in the hours between 10 and 1 (eastern) today, I researched and started to create a new writing test we’re going to use on job applicants.  I’m completely over the TERRIBLE grammar three-fifths of my team displays, and I won’t hire anyone else with bad writing skills slide because we weren’t on the lookout for it during the interview.  Everything my team does, all of our communication with our customers, is written.  It HAS to be good.

So anyway, it felt great to actually work on something that can be completed and put to use.  We’ll start with applicants for my team, but I think (because I think highly of myself) that HR will adopt it for the company hiring process.

Let the sun shine

It’s 7:15am*, I’ve been awake for an hour (I slept in today!), working for 45 minutes, and it’s bearable because the view out my window is all green trees against blue sky.

I woke up just before 4am, to a train I might not have heard if I weren’t waking up from a disconcertingly realistic dream about having to sing the national anthem by myself, with a sore throat, as part of a class.  (Even in my dream, I didn’t start it in a low enough key.  The national anthem is hard.)  I went last, and when I was done, the classroom was empty.  I decided not to be insulted.  When I checked other classrooms for people, doors were slammed in my face because the people inside were all Navy people doing highly classified work.

I’m pretty sure the Navy part is what jolted me awake.  If the Navy shows up, I’m in for anxiety dreams.  Usually, though, I find myself back in the Navy after years away, with no idea what I’m supposed to do or how to do it.  Glad I woke up before it got rolling.

Maybe I should have been anxious about singing “The Star Spangled Banner” by myself.

*Well, it was 7:15.  Now it’s 9:20, work has happened, a meeting was scheduled, and I don’t get to have lunch with Christina.  BOO WORK.  We were going to have Indian.  Or Thai.  Something spicy, anyway.

Chewbacca Mom cheers me up

Today was a long day.  Work was not great, after not enough sleep last night, and then I got rained on during my bike ride. So I watched this video again, and it made me happy.  This woman is fantastic.  You’ve probably already seen it, but you should watch it again.

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.