1. False enthusiasm. When someone departs the workplace, it’s traditional to say a few kind words on the occasion. That’s easier in some cases than others. The sticking point is, I have a hard time saying things I don’t mean, so if you were a royal pain in the ass in the time we worked together, don’t expect that I’m going to have glowing commendations just because it’s time for you to move on. That level of false enthusiasm isn’t my style. Sometimes the only positive thing you can say about someone is “he’s gone.”
2. Pollen. I know trees have to fornicate. It’s part of the circle of life or whatever. I just wish science could come up with a way for them to do it without the whole ugly mess getting in my eyes, clogging my nose, and wrecking my throat two or three months out of each year.
3. Time. My relationship with time could generously be described as “well ordered.” Others might call it slightly bent towards fanaticism. Still, with clocks and lists, I aggressively manage my waking hours in an effort to cram as much into them as possible. That’s why it caught me off guard when someone asked me if I had scheduled any time off for the holiday. I was perplexed, right up to the point where they helpfully pointed out that Sunday is Easter. It had totally slipped my mind… but as a holiday that doesn’t isn’t of the extra-day-off variety, I think I can be forgiven. The more concerning bit is that it’s Easter already and the year has given no indications of slowing down at all.
I’ve been told on more than one occasion I “do days off wrong.” I’m probably guilty as charged. As evidence let me walk you through an example 8 day period…
Monday. Day 3 of a three-day weekend. Scheduled root canal surgery.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – Normal Work Days.
Friday. Day 1 of a 4-day weekend. Features an oil change for the Jeep and an eye exam with dilation.
Saturday, Sunday. Standard weekend procedures.
Monday. Day 4 of a 4-day weekend. Sit home and wait for HVAC service tech to show up.
Just now I’m filling my gullet with high test products from big pharma hoping against hope that I can stave off the aforementioned Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from turning into one or more days of mucking through life with whatever cold virus of the week is going around.
I miss the days when I took a day off to not do a damned thing instead of either a) hacking up a lung and feeling like ass or b) to be a productive and responsible adult homeowner.
Even with the afternoon and evening to go, I can feel Monday’s grinding maw approaching. One look at the list of things I was shooting to have finished by the time the curtain fell on the long weekend tells me there’s no path to get there from here. I hate that feeling. I also, just a little bit, hate that I care quite so much about it.
It wasn’t an exciting list, including such fun-filled activities as flushing the well filter, getting the mulch out of the front yard and back into the planting beds, wiping down baseboards, and giving the dog’s room a good scrub, and going on from there. Some of the things god crossed off. More of them will spill over onto next week’s already growing list.
It’s probably a character flaw, but I wish I could quiet down my head just a little and let more of the “small stuff” just be. I’m not wired like that. I thought briefly about trying to catch a movie this afternoon, before grudgingly admitting I wouldn’t get any joy from it as long as things were left undone or out of place on the homestead.
I do wonder sometimes if I might be a more sane person if I could somehow manage to learn acceptance – or at least come to an accommodation with whatever in my head urges me on to use every available hour to get one more thing off the list… Though with my own small mental quirks notwithstanding, I have to admit I’ve got this old house looking damned good. I wouldn’t eat off the floors or anything, but I’m pretty sure the casual observer would give the place passing marks. That’s something, right?
Now if it would just dry up enough outside that I could cut the grass and do some trimming we’d be all set.
Some days are good. Some days are bad. Most days are somewhere in the realm of average. That’s just the nature of a normal distribution. Days like today, though, they’re different. Their neither good, nor bad, nor average, they’re simply exhausting for no apparent reason. Days like today are probably the ones I hate most. The bad days make me angry. I know how to deal with anger. The good days, shockingly, make me happy. I know how to deal with that too. The average days just sort of plod along and leave me mostly indifferent to their passing. Days like today I just drag myself through the door wanting nothing so much as to collapse into a pile and sleep… but I know there’s still a long list of things to check off before the I find myself anywhere close to bed. It’s the days like today I find my self worn out for no good reason and leave me wondering how the hell anyone is expected to get anything done with the couple of spare hours they have left at the end of the day. Though I suppose maybe making sure we all schlep home exhausted is all part of the grand plan. Yep. It’s a conspiracy. That’s got to explain it.
So we’re officially back in the mode of operation where it helps to just turn off the ol’ brain box and try not to dwell too much on any one thing. The first three days of the week have blurred into what feels like one very long day. I don’t see that changing between now and Friday. In fact my forecast is for it to get appreciably worse the closer we get to the weekend – just another in the long line of weekly reminders that Friday is no longer to be trusted as a bringer of good things.
I’ve gotten better than I care to admit at just grinding out the work. I’d like to say it doesn’t get under my skin, but it does. At it’s heart my job is fundamentally about compiling large amounts of information in insanely short amounts of time, facilitating the flow of that information vertically and laterally through the bureaucracy, and and trying to make sure the decision makers have the right information at the right time. Basically, I’m a problem solver who’s expected to either know how to do something or figure it our pretty damned quick.
At nearly every turn this week I’ve run into my mirror image – the ones who say, I don’t know how to do that, or I haven’t had any training, or it’s too hard. Once they proclaim something too hard too do, these bastards look at you blankly, like an infinitely patient and utterly stupid dairy cow waiting for you to offer to do their job for them.
I don’t know how I seem to always find the jobs in every organization that requires miracle working as a principle skill set, but next time I switch offices I’d damned sure like to land in one where it’s ok to walk through the day being only slightly more intelligent and productive than the three week old sandwich slowly molding in the break room fridge.
1. The occasional bout of insomnia. I usually sleep like a brick, but twice this week I had the opportunity to see 1AM, 2AM, 3AM and then the final alarm at 5AM. Much as I’d like to think I can get by on two hours of sleep a night, you’re safe in assuming that I can’t. It might be ok when it’s a one off, but when it happens back to back, by the second day I’m worse than useless. If there’s a redeeming quality it’s that I generally sleep well the following night. It’s still a hell of a price to pay for a good night’s sleep.
2. Runaways (and the people who let them). Speaking as a dog owner, sometimes they just get way from you. I got it. Once Maggie squeezed through the 1/4 open back window of the truck and bounced off the pavement at a gas station somewhere along the interstate in middle Tennessee. Fortunately, she didn’t make a dash for it. That’s the only time either one of these fuzzballs was ever really in danger of getting away. As it turns out the black lab who made himself in my yard last night belongs to a family two streets over. The lady who lives across the street saw him in the yard after I left this morning and returned him. She said that was the 5th time this summer. I’m not sure why you’d bother to have a dog if you’re not interested enough in them to make sure they don’t wander off in the first place. It seems the first or second time they were returned by someone else these people might get the message. One more example of why I like dogs more than people. It’s a pity such a good looking and sweet pup gets to spend his life with asshats.
3. Motivation. I’m not sure where it went this week – probably the same place my ability to sleep has disappeared to, but wherever it is, it needs to make its way back. I’ve got the proverbial laundry list of things I want to do this weekend and not so much as the first drop of will to get them accomplished. As much fun as a good weekend on the couch sounds, not having anything to show for it will just piss me off come Sunday night.
I came home from work last night with good intentions (and a list) of things I wanted to get done before calling a full stop for the day. Exactly none of those things happened, as I sat down after dinner and promptly fell asleep. That was not part of Friday night’s grand plan. Of course instead of jumping on those items this morning, I’m trying to ease into Saturday while nursing an unearned headache. I don’t mind an early morning headache when I’ve done something like spend Friday night drinking cheep booze, but when I spent it mostly sleeping and sending periodic texts, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything to earn the morning unpleasantness.
Now sure, I could sit here with the lights off and continue pouring coffee down my throat, but I still have good intentions towards the grand plan of getting through the things that need to be done this weekend. Now unfortunately I have a day and a half worth of “stuff” jammed into Saturday… and at the moment, instead of doing any of them, I’m sitting here taping on the keyboard and waiting on a fresh pot of coffee to finish dripping. I have a feeling that good intentions may not be enough to get me over the hump today… so this post basically services as documentation that despite my best efforts even I succumb to my inner slacker, but at least I have the decency to feel bad about it.
Since my iPhone wasn’t smart enough to know that I took the day off today, it went off right on schedule as the sky was just staring to turn grey. It wasn’t exactly the kick off I planned for the long weekend. At least I got to use the morning productively – which is something that almost never happens on a normal Friday. As per schedule, I loaded Retribution onto my Kindle and sat at the kitchen table reading it one last time word for word. I was tracking along on my laptop and making the final few edits as the story went along. It took three hours of wordsmithing, tinkering with format, fiddling with the dogs, refilling my coffee, and watching the morning fade away to do it, but what I ended up with today was a finished product. The very last thing to do is upload it to the retailers and cut it loose. That’s a big part of tomorrow’s plan of attack.
I’m a man of three parts this evening. The first wants to go out and get falling down drunk in celebration of a milestone. The second wants to crawl into bed and sleep for four days in an effort to make up for sacrificed sack time. The third, the one who’s the real glutton for punishment, he’s already casting around wondering what the next project is going to be. I’m trying to ignore that part right now… even if I do have a few ideas rattling around between my ears.
Since going out to celebrate means dealing with people, that’s not likely to happen. The sun is still too high in the sky for me to seriously contemplate bed. Finally, there’s as good a chance of my spontaneously combusting as there is of me writing anything more complicated than this post tonight, so it looks like I’m left with the 4th option – mixing myself a good strong drink and sticking my nose in someone else’s book for a few hours.
Now that I think on it, that option doesn’t really sound bad at all.
I consider myself lucky to rarely be afflicted with the trouble some people seem to have when it comes to making decisions. I might not always make the “right” decision, but I’ll make one on the fly if for no other reason than even a wrong decision feels more productive than dithering back and forth about what to do. I’m a great many things (some of them even good), but a ditherer I am not.
Under normal circumstances, I don’t see that as a weakness, but the problem comes when I find myself in a position of having too many moving parts demanding attention at once. That leads me to making reactionary decisions about everything. Jumping from one issue to the next with no real rhyme or reason behind it is not exactly the recipe for great decision making. It is, however, the recipe for making a metric shitload of otherwise easily avoidable mistakes. Easily avoidable mistakes make me sad.
I’m not asking for an endless buffet of free time, but a few minutes now and then to evaluate, plan, and analyze would go a long way towards letting me churn out a product that’s not halfway embarrassing. Absent the time to do the required leg work, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and get ready for a lot of checking off whatever box needs checked without giving any actual thought to how any of it relates to the bigger picture. Look, I’m fine playing it that way, as long as we’re all willing to concede that running half blind from reaction to reaction is a piss poor way of getting anything done. Really, I just want to make sure I’m on the record as having said that here in print.
So, I was sitting here fat, dumb, and happy marveling at the free time I’d managed to carve for myself this evening before the realization set in that what I hadn’t done yet was sit down and knock out tonight’s blog post. Usually I have the stub of an idea or at least a few hastily scratched notes before I bug out of the office for the day. Today? Not so much. I left there this afternoon at a dead run in fear of touching anything on my way out. You see, every single thing I touched today turned into a big steaming pile of shit in my hands. I’ve discussed this mysterious reverse Midas touch before, but I’m always just a little surprised and thrown out of sorts when it shows up. It’s arrival means the day is going to be chaos from start to finish. No exceptions. No easy outs. Just me, trying desperately not to brush up against anything I can avoid until it passes.
Today was most decidedly one of “those” days. In fact sitting down to write this at all caused great fear and consternation that whatever was plaguing me all day at the office might somehow have survived the trip home. Since you’re reading this, no doubt those fears have been somewhat put to rest. It means at least that I’ve got a few hours respite before I walk back into the hot mess that I left on my desk this afternoon. I hope those brief hours are enough to purge whatever bad juju settled on me today, because honestly two days in a row of everything ending in disaster is just too much to contemplate. If tomorrow wanted to top today in terms of sheer wastefulness of time and effort, well, my desk might actually have to burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp. Given my track record so far this week, I’ll just ask that you believe me when I say that doesn’t really sound like much of a stretch.