1. The time of the year. There’s a popular perception that people’s moods tend to improve has we head into the Christmas season. Maybe that’s the case for some, but not so much for me. By this time of year I’m just about worn down to the nub from relentless repeats of leaving home in the dark and returning there many hours later again in the dark. I loath and despise this time of year for the simple reason that for all practical purposes it means living like a mole for two months. If I manage to leave work on time and if it’s not cloudy, I do manage to catch the last few rays of watery sunshine on an occasional weekday. On a good day at mid-winter that lasts for somewhere between 5-15 minutes. So while everyone else is preparing their celebration of the birth of the Christian’s nailed God, I’ll be over here quietly awaiting the solstice and celebrating Sol Invictus.
2. Thirty minutes. That’s how long it takes my work computer to boot up from a cold start on the average day in the office. Look, I can dick around for the first 30 minutes of the day with the best of them, but it doesn’t feel like a particularly great use of time. But hey, whatever. I can only use the tools and resources I’ve been assigned… Which is why I keep a stack of magazines on my desk.
3. Bulldogs. I love my bulldog. He’s almost eleven now. He’s got a permanent limp, only hears when he wants to hear, and seems happy enough to pass the time between feeding and being let outside lounging comfortably in one of his beds. He’s an old man and I don’t begrudge him any of that. For the last two months, though, we’ve been trying to get on top of what’s become a particularly aggressive skin issue. After two month of antibiotics and medicated baths we don’t seem to be any closer to a solution than we were at the back in late October. The condition itself isn’t something unusual – we’ve been working with bad skin for years – but the amount of time it’s taking to knock this one back is far more than history suggests should be necessary… and don’t get me started on $80 bottles of pills that don’t seem to do a damned thing. I love my bulldog, but if you find yourself ever thinking you want to fall in love with their wrinkly little faces, my advice for you is to take a hard pass. I’d never deny this one anything, but get yourself a dog instead of an eating, breathing, ongoing medical disaster… unless you have a sick desire to take lots of time off for vet visits and would rather not have to worry about disposable income. Then, by all means, bring home that adorable, smushed faced little pup.
Over the last couple of months I’d rather gotten use to Monday being my transition day between weekend and work week. Finding myself spun directly back into the office this week has been something of a shock to the system. Even with the extra day off tagged on to the front end, I wasn’t prepared for the arrival of an unwelcome weekday. I don’t suppose anyone ever is, of course, except maybe those happy few who seem to have been born to do whatever It is they find themselves doing. Then again, I’ve long been of the opinion those people are inherently dangerous and not to be trusted.
There is, however, a long weekend on the horizon… which is important because just now I’m not sure I’m of a mind to have the goal posts set much further away than the next weekend. If I can hit the small targets, the big ones should generally take care of themselves. That’s the theory I’m operating under at any rate if only because they’ll have to tend to themselves until I’ve managed to gin up enough energy to do something else with them.
I’m never quite sure if it’s some general funk in the air or if it’s just me slipping into a periodic low energy mode. In any case these moments rarely make for the best of times as they usually further sour a mood that’s usually less than sunny even on my very best days. That old ebb and flow can be a real bitch sometimes, but after all these years of living inside my own head I know the malaise never lasts long. In a few days at most something will come along to catch my interest and reset the “introspection” switch to neutral. Until then it’s just a matter of selecting the rabbit holes I choose to fall through a bit more selectively than usual.
I went on a bit of a tirade today. It wasn’t the career dissipating type, mercifully. Surprisingly enough it had absolutely nothing to do with the office. It didn’t come flying out of my mouth until I was safely ensconced at the house, settling in with a hot meal, and relying on the glowing box to give me a 45 minute break from really needing to think about anything.
That’s not how it played out, of course. What really happened was I sat down, attempted to flick on iTunes, discovered that Apple TV couldn’t communicate with my computer and then spent the next 30 minutes doctoring my Mac Mini out of a startup loop with my temper rising more with each passing minute and failure of the damned dirty contraption to “just work” as advertised.
By the time I coaxed the whole set up back to life, iTunes found my external hard drive, and I was again ready to sit down with a hot dinner, the meal had gone stone cold, I could feel the blood racing through my temples, and I’d apparently been shouting loud enough to frighten both the dogs to the other side of the house and the tortoise under a log.
It clearly wasn’t my finest hour and my mood is still most foul. It doesn’t bode well for the balance of the week.
I generally make a point to avoid using this as a venue to talk about work. For one thing, it’s just bad form to grouse too much about the people who sign your check. For another, work is hard enough without everyone looking around wondering what embarrassing story you’re going to tell next. Finally, work is usually the last thing I want to talk about when I’m not, you know, at work, so most of those stories never get written, let alone see the light of day.
This post isn’t going to break that mold in any meaningful way, but I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that other the last week and a half has been a real mother. It’s been seriously busy. And I mean busier in the last ten days than any other tend day stretch in the last 17 months. It’s not that the work is any harder, just that there seems to be more of it… and between flu, random sickness, planned time off, meetings, uncertainty about the budget, impending sequestration, no raise for 3 years, and a host of other things, I think it’s safe to say the whole place is just in a mood.
I don’t know what the remedy is, but for the time being the best course of action is probably just keeping my head down and doing my best not to draw unnecessary fire. I’m not wishing my life away, but 4:00 Friday afternoon can’t get here fast enough.
I wish I could attribute it to the weather or some other factor, but there’s nothing that I can put my finger on that completely explains my particularly bad mood for the last three days. Bad mood doesn’t really even come close to getting at it. I’m downright angry… hostile even. I’ve been doing my best to hold it in check but there were times today that I wanted to… Well, it’s probably best not to describe those particular ideas. While it probably wouldn’t be considered felonious, it would have definitely been assault. It’s been all I can do to avoid flying off the handle, let alone try to be productive. Then, of course, that annoys me too and the cycle continues. There’s a root cause to this and I know I’ll sus it out in time, but patience is not one of my virtues at the best of times and it becomes even less so when I’m feeling peevish.
This morning I was awake at 5:30 for no apparent reason. Snarky Facebook status messages aside, I actually do like being up early on the weekends. It’s just a hot mug of coffee, warm slippers, and the dogs curled up at my feet. Maybe more important is those early hours catch me in the best mood of the day before the asshats and idiots have had a chance to agitate the hell out of me. The day is still fresh with the possible. Most of that nice relaxed feeling will evaporate the minute my garage door rolls up and I have to deal with the rest of the world, but for now I’m enjoying it.
There really is absolutely nothing new going at the moment. I’m starting to plan the transition from my current job to my new one and the corresponding move down the hall. Winston is doing well (15 pounds at the vet this past Monday). I’m enjoying a terribly good cup of local coffee and the weather this weekend should be nice enough to starting getting the yard in shape or putting down some fresh mulch.
Don’t worrky, I’ll let you know when some asshat comes along later today and shoots my good mood all to hell.