Violence is in my future, I can feel it

I have been forced out of my comfort zone, largely because I don’t HAVE a comfort zone right now, and it is a good and wonderful thing.  I got up this morning (early this morning) to get online before one of my big weekly meetings, and I found that I couldn’t get online on my work laptop. My personal laptop was fine, my phones were fine (I almost typed “phine”), John’s computer was fine.  My work laptop was good yesterday.  Why not today?  It has something to do with Comcast, and I’m going to have to call them, but I didn’t have time right then (meeting starting).  And because of the meeting, I couldn’t dash out to Starbucks for more reliable internet.

I got through the meeting, but I was SO frustrated and wound up.  And THEN we heard from the moving company, who said the truck will be here between 2 and 5pm on Tuesday, which is the latest time possible within the window they gave us.  I’m SO glad we rushed across the country.  That added anger to my frustration (and I sent them an email that hasn’t been replied to yet), and THEN I remembered my air card.  That’s the solution to my work internet problem, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner.  I still didn’t want to work another day in the house without furniture (First two days: sore butt from sitting on the floor.  Third day: sore legs from standing at the kitchen counter all day.) and it was still too early for the library to be open, so I packed up my air card and my laptop and headed to the 5th Street Public Market area, just a few blocks away.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, right around 60 degrees, the people at the breakfast place make a really good decaf Americano, and I’m sitting out in the courtyard looking down over a splashing fountain with a chicken on it.  I haven’t figured out the significance of the chicken yet.  I can work here, and I can breathe again.

But I really want my stuff!

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

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.

It’s my party. I can freak out if I want to.

Written this morning, approximately 10am:

There is no wrong answer.  There is a better answer, an easier answer, but any answer will have the same result.  So why am I so nervous?

I’m meeting with my boss in an hour, to tell her that we’re leaving the area by mid-August, but I’d like to keep my job and work remotely.  I have all kinds of supporting details about why and how and how this can work, but that’s the main point.  I figure there are four possible outcomes:

1. She says “Oh, how exciting!” and “Of course we can do that!”  Best outcome.

2. She’s less enthusiastic but willing to give it a try.  Good outcome.

3. She says “No, I’m sorry, but we can’t work that way.”  Not the best outcome.  I use the time to look for something that WILL let me do that while working here for the next five months.

4. She says no and fires me on the spot.  Highly unlikely, but possible.  Worst outcome.

No matter which of the four outcomes I get, we’re still leaving the area in 5 months.  This isn’t a negotiation.  We no longer have to carry a mortgage (whoopee!), so we can handle it if I end up unemployed for a few months.  I might even enjoy that.  For a little bit.  (John would totally be jealous.)  Mostly, I want to keep my salary and not have to look for a new job (because that sucks).  I’ll have to eventually, but I don’t want to now.

So…I’m nervous.  Logic has nothing to do with it.  It’s a hard conversation to have.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.


Post-Meeting Update:

My boss had the best possible reaction.  She didn’t exactly say “Oh, how exciting!”, but when I said we’re leaving the area in 5 months, and I would like to keep my job and just do it remotely, she said (very quickly and sounding somewhat relieved), “Let’s do that.”  No hesitation, no problems.  I am free.  We’re just not telling anyone until about a month out.  I feel SO much better.

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.

Then there will be no one to hear you scream

Why haven’t I learned this lesson yet?

It’s never a good idea to go to work on the day you’re going to travel.

I should get that tattooed on my arm.  This was not a normal Friday.  They’re usually pretty slow, pretty easy.  Today should have been typical – my schedule was wide open. I should have had plenty of time to do the things I needed to do before leaving.  Did that happen?  Of course not!  Today’s the day everyone needed something.  I did end up getting the big things done and postponing the rest, but I spent the morning in a frenzy of activity.  Not the good kind of frenzy.

Frenzy is SUCH a weird word.

Now let’s hope I can get the last-minute packing details done before the cab comes.  I hate it when the cab arrives before I’m ready.  Of course, I hate it more when the cab is late.

Happy New Year!

I don’t really do resolutions, so I refuse to feel guilty about not going to zumba tonight.  Another day won’t kill me.  We didn’t have a party this year, but Chuck and Jess came over, we had dinner,  we played games (Cards Against Humanity is as fun as advertised, and I will absolutely NOT play it with my parents – sorry, Mom), missed the ball drop because the NY Times live feed froze, stayed up a while talking about Chuck’s job hunting plans, and then we all collapsed.  Speaking of Chuck’s job hunting plans, my one sorta kinda something like a resolution is to get my own hunt going.  There.  I guess I do have one.

Can you believe it’s almost October? What the hell is that about?

I took Riley with me on my run the other morning – huh.  Feels like several days ago, but it must have been just yesterday morning.  It’s only Tuesday.  Shoot me.  Anyway, a deer got really close to us.  I think he wanted to play.  It was cute, but Riley was a little freaked out.  The deer was following us down the trail, and Riley kept checking it out over his shoulder, ears pinned back.  It eventually ran ahead of us, and he calmed down, but it made for a very exciting morning.

We don’t get out much.  Actually, part of why I’ve been MIA is because I did get out over the weekend.  Went home to visit Mom and Dad and Corey and Mindy and Mark and Gaby and Candy.  Watched a gaggle of six-year-olds play soccer, found that I’m a natural at soccer myself (when one of those six-year-olds is the goalie), picnicked by the lake, played catch, flew a kite, got sunburned, went for a run – and that was all on Saturday.  It was a whirlwind weekend, but I got to see everyone (for not long enough, but it was better than not going).

And now it’s the work week, the last week of the fiscal year, when everyone freaks out, and I have to go to DC every day.  Here’s hoping next week is better.

Why did it have to end?

We’re home, and it was wonderful, and can I please please please go back?  The last couple of days at home were so peaceful and restful.  I avoided my work email and managed to wake up this morning still feeling somewhat serene and would you believe it?  A day at work with lots of catching up to do and one crisis (that I couldn’t get resolved today) did NOT get to me.  I still feel pretty good and not at all stressed.  Except for the headache.  It’ll go away.

Bicycles in Oxford - Everywhere I turned, there were people riding bikes. Some with robes flapping behind them, some in skirts, some in casual clothes. Then there was the one guy riding down the street on a unicycle, but I didn't get my camera out in time to catch him.

Here’s a video I took today of Roxy eating peanut butter. Because you’re worth it, and gosh darn it, I like you.

I did it

Kind of.  I had a work conversation that will have consequences.  Might be good or bad.  Let’s hope for good.  I think.

I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up on Fringe.  I was away too long and I missed two episodes, and at this point in the season, missing two episodes is kind of a problem.  Sure, I have Television Without Pity to catch me up, but I’d rather watch them.  Sadly, Hulu only carries the most recent five episodes (and it’s not a Hulu+ show), and it turns out I was seven episodes behind.  I read somewhere that Hulu is about to become even more limited, but I don’t remember where I found the link, and Google isn’t helping me right now.  But that will suck.

You know what won’t suck?  The Bloggess is coming to the DC area on her book tour! But wait – there is something that will suck about that.  I.  Can’t.  Go.  I can’t go and shower her with support because I will be out of town, and as happy as I am (and will be) to be on vacation, I can’t help but wish her visit wasn’t happening right then.  So you know what you local people can do?  I bet you can guess.  Go.  Go see her in Gaithersburg next Saturday (5/19) or in Annapolis next Sunday (5/20). Listen to her speak.  Get something (anything) signed.  Most importantly, tell her she’s wonderful and she can move in next door to me anytime.

I just re-read that paragraph and did a double-take.  Did I just write “shower with her support”?  Oh, wait, no.  I didn’t.

Overload

Stress.  Busy day.  Lots of work done, lots of work to do, not enough time to do it.  And then the realization that I have to take an exam for my data modeling class before Monday.  Almost didn’t go to classes tonight, but was sane enough to remember that one of the things that is stressing me out is my incapability (incapableness?  Lack of capability?  I don’t think any of those are words.) to eat right (I say as I take teeny bits from a piece of Dove chocolate), and I usually feel better after the gym.  So I went.  And I do feel  better.  A little.  But tomorrow is another crazy day (with a long commute with my boss) and it seems to have started already and – no.  Tomorrow is tomorrow.  Not here yet.  Even if I am mentally calculating how many hours of sleep I need before getting up early tomorrow.  (I’m coming up short.)

Yoga’s great for calming me down while I’m in class, but that feeling doesn’t last long enough.

Of course, I’m very rarely anywhere NEAR Kristen Bell’s meltdown level.  This is funny, kinda cute sometimes, and so very weird.

Let’s watch a dog diving through a pile of leaves instead

These last two days have gotten completely away from me.  Too much work, not enough play.  Or homework.  And a cold.  Poor, poor me.  Let’s all be sad.

Actually, I felt much better today than yesterday.  I’m crossing my fingers that this trend continues.  Especially since I have to go downtown tomorrow and I REALLY don’t want to be miserable that far from home.

Of course, if I end up feeling miserable tomorrow, I can make myself feel much better by watching this video (via The Daily What) again.

That was hilariously adorable.  This one is just scary.

I am easily amused. It helps to be absentminded. Seriously, you can tell me the same joke over and over again and I will find it hilarious every time. Ask anybody.

You know how it feels when you find something unexpected?  Something good.  Like last year’s $10 in your winter coat pocket.  (That one in particular hasn’t happened to me, but you know what I mean.)  It doesn’t have to be big.  It just has to be nice.  A couple of weeks ago I was writing test scripts for work, and I needed a fake name to fill in a particular field.  I picked a fairly innocuous name, familiar to me and many of you, but not to most people.  I moved on.  Today, I was helping out on that project again, setting up the test data and tweaking some of the scripts.  I got to that field and asked the guy who took it over from me what name to use (having completely forgotten what I’d chosen weeks ago).  He told me, and I laughed, thrilled with myself for setting it up that way so I could have a private little geeky giggle.  Yay me!  The name?  Harriet Jones.  (No room in the application for a title, sadly.)

It went a long way towards making my 4:15 wake-up call (to get to Baltimore today) bearable.  Not all the way bearable, but closer.

Not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Naturally.

What I should do: study for my calculus midterm.  What I’m going to do: play on the internet and possibly watch TV.  Then?  Bed.  I have to go to Baltimore again for work tomorrow.  On the one hand, the work I’m doing in Baltimore is the best thing about my job.  On the other hand, I have to go to Baltimore.  It’s far.

I need more sleep.  Roxy was due for a seizure over the weekend, but she never had one.  This is good news (seizures are bad), but it means I’ve been watching her like a hawk when I’m home and I keep waking up at every random sound in the night, convinced it’s her.  I’m tired.  But she just licked my elbow and wagged her tail, so everything must be fine.

Update: I jinxed it.  She just had a seizure.  But at least it was before we went to bed.  (She’s fine.  Walking it off.)  I’ve been playing phone tag with the vet since yesterday.  She wants to talk about changing her medication.  (Roxy’s, not the vet’s, just so we’re clear.)  I’m all ears.

Dread

It’s going to be okay, right?  I mean, just because my boss decided that we’re going to commute downtown together three days a week starting next week for I don’t even know how long and that commute (plus some extra work travel) caused me to almost quit a year and a half ago and NO it’s not better having a commute buddy when that buddy is your BOSS –

That sentence got away from me.  Let’s just say I’m not looking forward to it.  Besides, she changes her plans for me on this project every other day (sometimes every day), so it’s possible that it a) won’t happen at all or 2) won’t last long.  So I’m putting the frenzy away, locking it in a closet, and instead I’ll work on getting all those #%^# songs out of my head.  Because THAT is a good use of my time.

Lunch is the answer to everything

This particular Tuesday has a weird vibe.  It’s just after 10:30am.  I’ve been to the gym and joined two conference calls (a daily occurrence now – who the hell wants to start every day with two conference calls?).  Neither of those things are out of the ordinary.  I had some coffee.  Haven’t eaten anything yet, which may be contributing to the feeling (I can hear a croissant whispering my name), but what else?

Part 1: The windows are open.  It’s August.  It’s supposed to be hot and sticky and grossly muggy.  I’m not complaining – I’m thrilled to hear the breeze in the trees and the summer insects buzzing or droning or cricketing or whatever is they do, thrilled to have turned the A/C off for the first time in months.  It’s just weird.  Makes it feel like early fall and I’m not quite ready for early fall.

Part 2: I’ve already talked to Mom and Dad.  Before breakfast!  It’s throwing my whole schedule off.

Part 3: I have gotten things DONE already.  Left messages, rescheduled appointments, refilled prescriptions…I’m on a roll.

[Several hours later]

I was on a roll.  A few hours ago, the sunlight was mid-morning fresh, the birds were chirping, and the breeze was breezing.  Since then, I’ve gotten bogged down in the things I’m supposed to be doing (I was doing them before, but everything was light! and cheerful! and oh, what a beautiful morning!), the cool fresh air that was tickling my elbows turned hot, and the sunlight turned stale.

I can still turn this around.  There’s time.  The solution?  Lunch!  A turkey sandwich with cucumber slices on toast.  Seriously.  I don’t think I’m asking too much of one sandwich.  I get cranky when I’m hungry.  Lunch will save the day.

If you were a dog

If you were a dog, would you want to be an outside dog or an inside dog?  A big dog or a little dog?  A dog with responsibilities or a pet without a care in the world?  I’m watching our two sleep the day away, and I’m just a teensy bit jealous.  Only a teensy bit.  I think they’re sleeping because they’re bored.  I’m not entertaining them.  (I’m working.  Clearly.)  I’m not sure I’d want to be a dog if it meant (as it must) giving up reading.  And talking.  Somebody asked me the other day if all this working from home is isolating.  I don’t feel particularly isolated.  I’m not talking as much as I would if I were in the office, but I don’t think I’m making up for it when John gets home.  (John may disagree.)  I don’t feel starved for human contact.  I talk to the dogs (although not as much as you might think), and I spend plenty of time emailing and calling work people for work stuff.  In fact, I think I spend too much time on that and not enough time on what I wanted to get done in the quiet of home.  Hey, if I turn into a dog, I won’t have to work. Unless I’m a working dog.  But working dogs always seem to enjoy their jobs, so maybe that would be okay.

I could fall down flat on my face and not notice

I cannot begin to describe how worn out I am.  We were up way late (for us – like 1am) last night and slept in as late as we could before work today.  Not long enough.  So we were dragging when we woke up.  I worked from home today, and while the morning was fine, the afternoon was frustrating and what little energy I had from my morning tea wore off pretty quickly.  I went to the gym this evening for my strength class, and the instructor tried to kill us.  She had us jumping from exercise to exercise, targeting two muscle groups at once, no breaks.  Our heart rates were up and I was STILL yawning.  It’s almost 7:30.  If I’m not in bed by nine, I might not make it through tomorrow.

Even with all that, I don’t regret last night.  We had dinner with friends we see less than once a year, friends who were just passing through on their way south, and if it means a day like today, well, okay.  Worth it.

Bonfire

There’s probably an HOA regulation against it (or a county ordinance or an actual law or something), but sometimes I think it would be kinda convenient if we could lug everything out of the basement and burn it in the backyard.  Except the washer and dryer.  And the dog crates.  And the drum sets, amps, guitars, studio equipment, and other musical paraphernalia.  And the books.  Everything else, though – who needs it?  It’s not stuff we use often, if ever, and we’ve already combed through it looking for stuff to donate, so why are we still holding on to it?  Some it is paper – things that should be filed and held onto for a while.  I started that project over a year ago; I’d like to finish it some day.  We have an exercise bike I don’t use – I could easily get rid of that.  John has a weight bench, but he uses that sometimes.  What else?  I really don’t know.  But there’s a lot of crap down there.

In other news, I have no news because I still haven’t gotten my midterm grade and I decided not to bug my professor because why?  I don’t know.  I just decided not to bug him.  It hasn’t even been a week since I took the test.  I can be patient.  For a couple more days.

I’m considering cutting out caffeine.  Cutting back certainly.  Possibly cutting it out altogether.  I’ve been drinking too much of the stuff lately.  Today alone: 1 cup of tea with breakfast at home, 1 cup of coffee mid-morning at work, and another cup mid-afternoon.   TOO MUCH.  I don’t know if I can start tomorrow, though.  I’ve got an 8am meeting downtown, so I’ll need something or I’ll fall asleep on the way in.  And Thursday I’ll be exhausted from Wednesday’s very late night….I’ll start Friday.  You believe me, right?  How is it that I got through four years in the Navy without a coffee habit only to be beaten by a regular 9-5 job?  Hm.  The answer may be in the question.

Things I’m anxious about today

I woke up this morning a little crazy with anxiety.  The worst thing about it is that I woke up with a list of all the things I should be doing on a loop in my head, and then I froze.  I could have gotten up right then to get started on the list, but did I?  No, I stayed in bed.  Because I could put off all the hard things.  I do that all the time (procrastinate).   Of course, that gives me less time overall to get everything done, so all it really does is ratchet up the anxiety a little more.  Not exactly helpful behavior.

Instead, let’s a play a game (courtesy of Mom) called “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Anxiety Causing Thing #1: Quiz #4 for vector calculus and the midterm I have to take on Thursday

What’s the worst that could happen?  Well, I could get all the answers wrong on my quiz, but that doesn’t affect my grade (just makes my professor think I’m an idiot), so there isn’t anything to worry about there.  Of course, my performance on my quizzes is an indicator of my performance on the midterm, so if I don’t do well on my quizzes, I may not do well on my midterm.  And I could fail my midterm.  So what if I do?  I won’t have a very good grade in my calculus class.  That would be a blow to my ego (something I could survive), and it may put me on the road to failing this class.  What if I fail the class?  I’m taking it online at a community college because I need the prereq for grad school.  If I fail it, I’m out approximately $350.  If I fail it, I can retake it later.  Will I fail it?  Probably not.  I may not get an A.  I may not even get a B.  But I probably won’t fail.  I submitted my quiz this morning (confident that I got three out of four right), so that’s out of my hands, and I still have today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and part of Thursday to study for the midterm.  Breathe deep.

Anxiety Causing Thing #2: Work

What’s the worst that could happen?  I could get fired.  Or laid off.  Or whatever.  That could happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it (and there’s no immediate indication that it’s coming), so that’s not what’s making me edgy.  There’s nothing specific about work that’s bothering me.  No major deadlines, no one is asking me to do anything I’m not capable of, I don’t have any issues with any coworkers.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t want to come here every day.  (I know, whine whine whine, most people don’t actually like going to work.)  I want to do something with flexible hours where I can work from home and have more time for me.  The math that’s stressing me out is the first step in that direction, so this is more of a low-level, back-burner, always-bugging-me sort of thing that every once in a while jumps up and says, “Hey!  Loser!  Worry about me!”

Anxiety Causing Thing #3: Army Ten-Miler

Did I tell you about this?  A few weeks ago, John registered to run in the Army Ten-Miler this October, and I caved to the very mild peer pressure and registered with him.  So what’s the worst that could happen?  I’ll be so slow that the bus that picks up the slowpokes who aren’t going to finish in the required time will pick me up.  Humiliating.  I have 17 weeks to train for it.  I had more, but I didn’t use them.  I can’t procrastinate on this one, so every day I don’t start this training plan gets under my skin, and I didn’t run today.  Well, I kinda did.  I sprinted around the block (up the hills) a couple of times with the dogs this morning.  My math anxiety trumped my race anxiety this morning – I spent the extra time on my quiz.  (SuzRocks sent me a link to a half-marathon training plan.  I figure if I’m capable of running a half-marathon by the time I finish training, ten miles should seem easy.  Ish.  I just need to start the &^$* training plan.)

There are other things that bug me (there are always other things), but those are the three I woke up with this morning.  Peace, serenity, lots of gym time tonight, some studying…I’ve got it under control.

Happy thoughts!