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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.


  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.

Complete lack of focus

I’ve lost it completely.  I can’t concentrate on work because I want to work on packing and moving.  I can’t concentrate on moving and packing because I want to focus on last-minute things (like packing) for next week’s vacation.  I can’t focus on the vacation because then I feel guilty.  For one, John isn’t going (it’s just me and Min), so it doesn’t seem fair to think only about that.  Second, I feel guilty because I should be paying attention to house stuff and only house stuff.  And work.  But mostly house stuff.  The end result is that I can’t pay attention to anything.  I’m like a goldfish.  Or Dory.  Who are you again?  I’ll just keep swimming.

Friday couldn’t get here fast enough

Four-day weeks are the LONGEST weeks because you still have to do five days’ worth of work.  I think all I’ve done this week here is complain about work (why? see previous sentence), so maybe I won’t do that right now.

What will I do instead?



Hmph.  I guess I don’t have anything to talk about tonight.  Actually, I do have things to talk about (a thing, anyway), but I want to talk about it tomorrow.  It’s crowding out everything else in my brain, so I’m at a loss right now.

Okay, I’ll tell you.

We have a date!  A closing date!  A moving date!  And holy shit – it’s only five weeks away! !!!!!!!  Life just got very busy.  And stressful, but in a good way.  We made some lists tonight and sent a couple of emails, and now we’re going to beat the stress by having some tea (decaf – I’d like to sleep tonight) and cookies and watching TV.

More soon.


Losing my mind

Today has been nuts.  I haven’t focused on one thing for more than ten minutes at a time all day.  Someone just came over to ask me if I ever got an answer to a question I asked in an email I sent no more than 2 hours ago, and I had no idea what he was talking about.  He had to actually show me the email before I remembered it.

Yoga tonight.  Deep breathing.  Mind clearing.

I don’t want to fight

I just had a work conversation with a friend of mine that nearly turned into a fight.  Verbal, of course.  I’d never hit her.  (Hard.  I mean, at all.)  We were discussing an issue, and I told her people were looking into it, and then she started going on about how we were really going to have to tell our customers something because if we were going to do it this way, they need to know.  I agree with her, except that in this case, we’re most likely NOT going to keep doing that thing.  It’s not correct, and I’m sure the people who are looking into it are coming to that conclusion.  So we don’t NEED to tell our customers every time we do it because we’re going to STOP doing it.  I started to say we don’t need to warn our customers every time, but she interrupted me before I could say “because it’s a bug and we’re going to fix it” and got very heated about how it’s not okay NOT to tell them, and I couldn’t get her to stop long enough for me to finish my sentence.  Then she stopped to breathe, I was able to get a word in, and we’re fine.

Yeah, okay, it wasn’t anything close to a fight.  But it was annoying and unnecessary, and it’s a good thing she’s far away and this was a phone call.  Or maybe that made it harder…

I don’t like to fight with people I know.  I don’t really like to fight with anybody, but if you’re on my doorstep (or on the phone) and not listening when I tell you I’m not interested in what you’re selling, I will be direct and I will tell you to go away.  Are you supposed to be providing me a service and you’re doing it badly?  I will not roll over and let you (I am my father’s daughter).  It’s situational, of course.  How annoying is the problem?  How seriously does it affect me?  I usually don’t go all confrontational in restaurants out of worry that someone will do something to my food, and I don’t do it while driving out of fear that the nutjob tailgating me has a gun or something.  Just about anything else is fair game.  I work in customer service, so I try to be fair when I’m talking to someone else in customer service, but that also means that I know how it SHOULD work.  I will switch companies based on that alone (and I have – I’m looking at you, Bank), but I will also let supervisors know when I get really GOOD service.  I emailed United about the super-helpful ticket agent after their fiasco with the canceled flight to Orlando a few years ago, and Navy Federal and USAA provide consistently wonderful service.  Why can’t everyone?  I love ThinkGeek’s customer service, and I’ve heard wonderful things about Zappos (but I’ve never needed to deal with them).  It’s really not hard, people.  Is it telling that I started talking about fighting and moved on to customer service?  Calling customer service shouldn’t have to be a fight!

I’m sorry.  A small annoyance with a work friend turned into a mini-rant about customer service.  It’s IMPORTANT, damn it!

Fake snow is fake

We have a decorating contest at work every year.  I never participate (I don’t even decorate at home, most years), but some people go all out.  It’s amazing.  I share an office with one of the contest judges, and she likes to decorate (we can’t compete, but still), so I now work in a winter wonderland.  Sort of.  It’s like a winter-ish okay-land.  She put fake snow on a couple of shelves and on her desk, added some plush snowmen and a snow globe, and she hung little ornaments on my fake plant.  I think the fake snow looks like clouds, like we should have Care Bears instead of snowmen.



There’s a remarkable resemblance, right?

On my fake plant, the fake snow looks like fog.


My plant is hidden in the mist.  Very mysterious.

And then we have South Park snowmen frolicking on the window.


So festive.  (Such fun!)  Our office is NOTHING like the cubes belonging to the people who take this seriously.  One guy built a gingerbread house around his cube.  Roof, walls, and a door.  It looks great.  Another guy painted 12 pictures, all Christmas-themed but patterned after famous paintings, and turned his cube into an art gallery.  It’s incredible.  This guy goes all out every year (he recreated the Grinch Who Stole Christmas last year, complete with security video of the Grinch stealing Christmas), but I think this year is his best.  The paintings are REALLY good.

Wiped out

Today was a long day.  It wasn’t long in actual, objective time (it was normal), but it felt like it was going on forever.  It was nonstop, no  breaks, and the whole week is going to be like that.  It’s only Monday.  I’m home now, and I’m going to put on soft pants, sit on the couch, eat my dinner, and watch TV.  And go to bed early.  Grump grump grump.


I’m so not getting into the details, but let’s just say that I pointed out to a new-ish employee something that he didn’t do quite right the night before (nicely – I’m ALWAYS nice), I heard a tone in his response that was shrug-it-off/I-don’t-care/I-hear-you-but-I’m-not-going-to-do-that, I was a little sharp in my reply, and he didn’t like it. So off we went to a meeting where he told me he didn’t like being treated that way.


We discussed it, and it’s resolved, and we’re back to behaving normally, but what a way to ruin my day by 9am.  And to make me be extra-special careful around this one person and second-guess every interaction.  Ugh.

Going a little batty

I need to get my eyes checked.  Or maybe I just need a vacation from work.  Or maybe both.  I was logged in to a database at work, looking for which columns in which tables hold the data I need, and I saw a column called BATCHID.  No exaggeration – it took me a full 30 seconds to identify that column as “Batch ID”, not “bat child”.  I was sitting at my desk, almost scratching my head in confusion over why on EARTH we had a column to store data about bat children.  Was it a joke?  Did “BAT” stand for something and this is child data of some sort?  I’ve worked here for nearly five years – how could I have never heard of it?  Eventually, the light bulb came on, and now I feel stupid, but man – I was really puzzled for a bit there.

The update

Our house is still on the market.  Riley is still with us (he’s doing okay – still excited about going upstairs, eating (he’s eating pretty well – better than ever, actually), and walks).  We still have the same jobs (although I have finally updated my resume – progress!).  I get to puppy-sit for Emily this weekend, and John has to go to a bachelor party.  Emily is getting married in less than three weeks, and I haven’t taken my bridesmaid dress to get hemmed yet.  But I will tomorrow!  I ordered flats (I decided my sparkly peep-toe heels need to go back for the following reasons: 1) I’d take them off for dancing, anyway.  2) I don’t NEED to be the tallest bridesmaid (but I really really want to be the tallest bridesmaid).  3) No one needs to be peeping at my poor toe.), and they finally arrived today, so tomorrow I can take my dress and get it hemmed to the right length (to go with the shoes I’ll be wearing).  And not a moment too soon.

Open House #2

Lots happened last week, everyone.  We had our open house last Sunday (from noon to 5), and we had a whopping TWO people come by the whole time.  We were a little disappointed, but the second person stayed for a while, asked a ton of questions, and seemed fairly serious about it.  (Also, I kind of know her through the gym.)  That night we got a call from her realtor – boom.  An offer.  Her realtor was god-awful and terribly rude to us (we’re doing a FSBO for a reason – we’re willing to give 1% to the buyer’s agent, not 3), but the offer came in anyway.  It was a little low, but dude!  An offer!  So we panicked.  Kind of.  We were SO not prepared for that.  We had planned on using a real estate attorney to help us with closing, but we hadn’t even begun to find one.  Also, the buyer only gave us 18 hours to respond (the offer came in at 9pm Sunday – she gave us until 3pm Monday), so we spent Monday morning frantically trying to a) find a lawyer and/or b) figure out how we should counter.  Because we wanted to counter.  It was a reasonable, very fair counter.  Anyway, I found a real estate lawyer (through my gym again) who gave us great advice, and then at 2:45 (because that’s when I heard back from our new lawyer) I printed out the offer, made our changes, initialled and signed everything, scanned in the signed copy, emailed it to John, who printed, initialled and signed, scanned it in, and emailed the whole thing back to the agent.  At 2:50, I emailed her to let her know it was coming.  She got it by 3:15.  We gave them until 5pm Tuesday (a whole 26 hours) to get back to us.

Silence.  Just nothing.  No response.  Wednesday morning, I emailed the agent to confirm that their lack of response meant they weren’t interested in countering or accepting.  She replied quickly to tell me that was correct, and that was the end of that.  Except that we plan to email the buyer directly (because we have her information and I kind of know her) just to check in and be friendly.  There’s really no reason we haven’t done it yet.  Anyway, even though it didn’t pan out, it was exciting, and we feel good about it.  We do NOT regret not taking her initial offer.

Tuesday night we showed the house to a guy who seemed positive but is in no hurry whatsoever.  We made a deal with an agent we really like (he’s given us all kinds of advice on how to sell on our own, how to deal with buyer’s agents and the whole commission thing, and lots of other things) to have him list our house on the MLS for a flat fee, so we’re out there for agents to find us.  We’re having an open house right now (and clearly so overrun with people that I don’t have any time to write….oh, wait a minute), from noon to 3, with a showing between 3 and 3:30 and a guy who’s going to come by around 1.

It’s been busy.  We’re still homeowners, Riley is in a slow decline (his x-rays Monday morning were not positive), work sucks and is about to get suckier, and it’s the one-year anniversary of Roxy’s death, but hey – I had a milkshake for dinner last night and the weather is beautiful.  It’s not all bad.


I’m not afraid of my boss.  She and I see eye to eye on most things, we get along well, I know I’m a valued employee, blah blah blah.  But some days, when she sends me an email asking me if I have a few minutes, or if I can come by her office to talk, I get nervous.  Like I’m being called to the principal’s office.  Like I’m in trouble.  Have I done anything?  Not that I’m aware of, but I’ll start to get paranoid about something small, something that no one would get in trouble for, but maybe it’s something I thought twice about doing.  Not once have I ever gone to her office and found that I AM in trouble, that I HAVE done something wrong.  Will I ever grow out of that?

McDonald’s saved the day

Friday morning at work, I was havingaday.  Like, a DAY.  It was nuts, and not in a fun way.  So lunch was french fries and one of those little hot fudge sundaes from McDonald’s.  It helped.  John hates those commercials for chocolates that show a woman taking a break and savoring tiny bites as she gazes out a window onto a beautiful view and so do I, but I have to admit I took a moment for myself when I ate that first bit of ice cream and hot fudge.  Commercials don’t lie!

Cute animals are the cure

Had a rough week (or two)?  I did.  This should make you feel better.  It’s working for me.

From reddit.


I don’t care.  Leave me alone.

That’s what I wanted to say all day at work today.  Nothing bad happened – it was mostly a normal day, but I didn’t really feel like engaging with anyone.  Go away, everyone, I don’t care.  Leave me alone.  I just want some quiet time.

Luckily there’s a weekend in my immediate future.  :)  And an outing!

Goes with the territory

I don’t want to do the whole cliché “I hate Mondays” thing, like Garfield or that song by that one guy where the girl kills herself (I almost typed “where the girl girls herself” – I have no idea what that could mean), and NO, I don’t have a case of the Mondays, but ugh.  Mondays, you know?  (I really mean this, but I’m finding it hard not to smile at the ridiculousness of writing about it – ooh, solution!)  They wouldn’t be so bad if we had a day off in the middle of every week.  No work on Wednesdays!  That’s my battle-cry.  Or it will be.  My focus is entirely on lunch right now – more specifically, putting off lunch.  I’m hungry NOW, but I’m going grocery shopping after work today, which means dinner will be later, which means I’ll be hungry while I shop, which is bad.  So.  Eat lunch a little later, make it through grocery shopping without buying everything in sight because I’m the hungry hungry caterpillar.  I can do it.  I can make it to 1pm.  I can.

While I’m watching the clock, let’s talk about something completely different: it is fundamentally funny to overhear developers having serious conversations about clobs and blobs.  Yes, I work in IT, and yes, I know what they are (in the most general way – for the curious, they refer to different methods of storing data in a database.  Those of you who know better: how wrong am I?  No, wait – you don’t have to tell me), but that doesn’t make the words less silly.  The visuals are fun, though.  Maybe the world on the other side of my cube’s wall is animated.  It’s a childishly-drawn cartoon where clobs and blobs have faces and personalities and need to be readily identified by others.  You know, maybe.

Birthday Shenanigans

I’ve been trying really hard to be a caring manager and a good boss, create a fun working environment, all that sort of thing, but I keep almost screwing up birthdays. (Hey, celebrating team birthdays is fun.)  I have everyone’s birthday on my work calendar, so I know when they’re coming up.

Incident #1: My calendar showed one for a new team member for last Tuesday (the 21st) and another one for last Friday (the 24th), so Tuesday morning, I went to Wegmans and picked up some balloons (we know how to party around here) and another coworker picked up cupcakes.  Well, Tuesday was the day the snow started midmorning and we all headed home early.  Coworker #1 (whose birthday it was) checked in with me because she wanted to avoid the commute altogether and work from home.  Whoops.  So much for her birthday stuff.  I emailed her back and wished her a happy birthday.  She responded with confusion.  Turns out her birthday was the following Monday – I was just completely wrong.  Nice.  The rest of us couldn’t let the cupcakes go to waste (or wait overnight), so we divvied them up and took them home.  J  She doesn’t know that.  And since Coworker #2’s birthday still really was Friday and he wasn’t coming in at all that day (Tuesday) because of the snow (so he wouldn’t know) AND he was going to be out on the actual day of his birthday, I moved the balloons over to his desk.  Recycling.  We had cake for him on Thursday.

Incident #2: The following Monday, Coworker #1’s ACTUAL birthday, I had planned to pick up a cookie cake and balloons on my way in.  TOTALLY forgot.  Thankfully, I get in almost an hour before she does, so I went racing back out to the store.  Back no more than a minute before she got in, but it totally counts.  She doesn’t have to know that, either.

I think I’ve wandered from the point.  What is my point?  Oh.  I’m trying really hard, guys, and still can barely get birthdays right.  It’s a wonder I ever get the real work right.