Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We celebrate 19 years of marriage today

Rob and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary today.  We didn't go out for dinner, but instead stayed home and cooked a very expensive rib-eye steak on the grill and drank some rather expensive locally brewed beer that I brought home in a growler.  I haven't found a restaurant yet that can grill a steak better than we can and drinking tasty beer at home means we don't have to worry about who is staying sober enough to drive back out to the boonies where we now live. 

There's not any "traditional" gift designation for 19 years, but even if there had been, well, we probably wouldn't have followed that anyway. Rob briefly considered combining the 15 and 20 year gifts by getting me a crystal china-man, but didn't have much luck finding such a thing, at least not in our price range.  $3500 for a lamp?  Not gonna happen.  Instead, he got me a little diorama of a day-of-the-dead skeleton bride and groom.  And we were apparently in tune on the day of the day theme since I bought him a day of the day cookie cutter as well as a skull shot glass and some Lil' Devil Cinnamon Toothpicks.  Not exactly traditional gifts, but very personal and I think that beats the hell out of diamonds and what-not other things that advertising says you ought to buy for your sweetie. 

The anniversary card that Rob gave me pretty much says it all.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

One week is too short, too long and just about right

I was trying to decide if a week of vacation was too short or too long and I've come to the conclusion is that it's both. Today is day four so I'm over the half-way mark. I've managed to get some rest and also get some things done around the house. Although I haven't been at the office, work has never left my mind any more than it ever does. The only difference is that I'm not doing any work-related action. Four days is the same as having a long weekend and that feels about right for a break which makes a week of vacation seem too long.

That said, the fact that I've haven't really stopped "working" nor have I even begun to do any kind of vacation activity, well, that indicates to me that a week is too short. Too short, that is, if I was actually taking time to go off on a vacation. I'm guessing it would take me about a week to unplug from work and then I'd need another week to really have a vacation. 

In this case, where I'm taking time off just to prevent dropping dead from exhaustion, one week seems just about right. It took me four days to get to the point where I didn't wake up still tired in the morning, but I woke up at 5 AM this morning, after 8 hours of sleep (what luxury!) and for the first time in months, I didn't have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other. I got up extra early so I could have time for leisurely breakfast before mowing the front lawn at 8 AM.  That's a god-awful time to mow the lawn, but any later and it's too hot, plus I wanted to do it before the bees were all over the crepe myrtles.  Unfortunately the bees were already out in full force so I'm sure the neighbors were scratching their heads at my mowing technique while I tried to avoid any pissed off bees.

Even at 8 AM, I was hot and sweaty by the time I was done mowing the lawn and I figured I'd just collapse on the couch and be done for the day (other than picking Rob up at the airport tonight.) After all, just a week ago, mowing the lawn would have taken every bit of energy I could have summoned, but today, it was not a big deal and I happily discovered that I wasn't ready to just collapse on the couch.  In fact, I'll probably knock out a few more projects before I go pick up Rob at the airport later tonight.

Now that I've bounced back a bit, the next three days are going to seem like what used to be a normal long weekend, back in the old 8 hour M-F days.  I'm looking forward  to it!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Turns out "a couple of months" was overly optimistic

Things at work did not slow down at the end of March.  I am still working pretty much the same hours and to give you a hint of how crazy it's been, I took Saturday night off to attend a memorial service for a close friend, but still ended up having to take a call from work while I was there (fortunately I did not have to leave and drive to the office!) That said, the end might finally be in sight.  If I don't drop dead myself before then, I'll be taking an entire week off in mid-June, come hell or high water. No big plans.  I'll be hanging out at home and if I can find enough energy, I might get the garage in order.  Or not. The only plan is no plan.  And  no goals, no projects, no deadlines, no waking up to answer work emails or phone calls in the middle of the night, no eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at my computer while still working,  no grabbing only 5 or so hours of sleep each night.  I'm going to turn off the clocks and sleep as long as I want!  Maybe even the entire week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Avalanche of Work

The first full week of the year kicked off an avalanche of work at my job.  Projects that should have been started in September were finally begun and it's now a mad dash to get everything done before March 1st.  I've been working seven days a week, with many of those days lasting as long as 12 or 15 hours. I'm not being "forced" to work this much, although I would probably find myself out of a job in a hurry if I wasn't stepping up to the plate and taking on extra work.

The truth is that if I had sat around and waited for duties that fit my job description of "Technical Writer" since my transfer out of Customer Service, then I would have been hard pressed to have enough work for even a part-time position.  Mind you, there are plenty of things that need to be "documented", but this would involve other people giving me information and that would take their time away from far more urgent duties.  Documentation can always wait, that is, until the only person that knows how to do something is no longer around.  But as long as that person is still available, there are just too many other competing priorities which leaves me with very little to do in my official capacity.

However, I am not the kind of person who is happy sitting around with nothing to do so I managed to stay busy by scrounging around for projects and tasks.  This was not easily done at a company where projects aren't announced to the company as a whole and I would only hear about them on the grapevine, but I was able to find plenty of work to do thanks to a lot of groundwork on my part.  In fact, I actually invented several of them which meant I had to "sell" it to management.   I was, for all intents and purposes, a freelancer, albeit one with with a boss and a steady salary.

And so there I was towards the end of last year, still scrounging around for work and still waiting for my manager to give me more official duties when all of a sudden things got turned upside down.  I'm not going to go into details, but end result was that my manager resigned and a recently employed consultant ended up in charge of the department.  This consultant had already told me that there was going to be no room for me in the newly restructured Information Technology department so the fact that he was now my manager meant that I was under even more pressure to make a place for myself.  

I suppose that sounds like a somewhat reasonable explanation for the workload I'm currently experiencing, but it's not the whole story.  I could always say no, take a layoff and find another job.  And the company could easily replace me with a fresh-faced college student for much of what I'm currently doing (although they would have to pay them a higher salary and probably take a big hit on work ethics.)  Instead, I'm doing this because I love the challenge and it gives me the opportunity to update my IT skill set in an actual production environment.  And if that means working my ass off for a couple of month, then so be it.

That said, I'm still going to whine on occasion about what I know is ultimately a personal choice because at the end of a 15 hour day, sometimes it just feels damn good to whine and complain.   And if I do, there's no need to tell me that it's all my own fault; I'm already perfectly aware of that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hello 2013

I've not blogged much over the last three years, a time when while my life took quite a few unexpected twists and turns. If this had been a truly anonymous blog then I'm sure I would have posted a great deal, but since it was not, that left me with so many elephants in the room that I got to a point where I just couldn't seem to write a blog post that wouldn't somehow reveal information about things that were best left private.

I've always considered this blog to be a journal.  A chronicle of bit and pieces of daily life, perhaps boring and routine, but I find those are the posts I enjoy the most when looking back through them.  It's the same with my private journals, written from the age of six to my mid-thirties.  These private journals contain plenty of entries filled with emotional angst, but I've discovered that those are not the entries that hold my interest so many years later.  Instead, it is the entries about the routine, the mundane, those every day things that didn't seem important enough to mention or write down but occasionally would sneak their way in to my writing.

And while I'm quite happy that I didn't fill this blog with much of the emotional turmoil that has taken place recently, I do wish I had been able to see past the elephants and post more often. Even if it was just about the weather and what I cooked for dinner that night.  I'll try to remember that for 2013.