Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Funky Bits and Pieces

The first day of my vacation this year was 12/22. The last day is 1/1. I am bored out of my mind, irritable, and generally gloomy. It's not that I want to be at work, because oh hell no, but I want to be somewhere that isn't here. Maybe it's just post-Christmas blues. I feel like I don't have anything to look forward to, now that the long-anticipated time off is here. I guess I can start looking forward to taking time off this summer, but it would be nice if there was something a little sooner.


I wish I had known before I married him that he considers travel a curse. We were somewhat broke when we first got together, so the idea of travel never really came up--we didn't have the money to go anywhere. Now we could afford a weekend getaway, at least, but he's not interested.  Dammit, I want to watch TV from the bed, shower in a marble lined enclosure, bathe in a Jacuzzi tub and sleep on 800 thread count sheets.  He wants to work on various home improvement things around the house, none of which will actually fix any of the things about the house that I hate, such as the worlds smallest galley kitchen and the single, tiny, bathroom.


I shouldn't be writing today; I'm not fit company.


I'm hoping to see Les Miserables this week. I've seen the stage show three times now, and participated in a couple of college/community theater versions of it. I know every line of female dialogue perfectly, and most of the male. Wake me from a sound sleep and cue me, I'll answer correctly. I've heard mixed reviews, from awesome to awful, so I'm a little worried I'll be disappointed. However, I tend to be easily entertained.  It'll probably thrill me, and launch me on a campaign to see the stage show again.


Christmas was nice, of course. It always is. The kids were with us for Christmas Eve. We did presents and pumpkin cheesecake and eggnog, before heading to my sister in law's for dinner. We had a spectacular meal, featuring the opening of yet more presents, and far too much bread pudding and sparkling wine was consumed. I didn't get the kids dropped off at their dad's until nearly midnight. Husband and I went home, put on A Christmas Story and opened our gifts. The highlights for me were two pounds of See's candies and a starship Enterprise pizza cutter. I was also ridiculously pleased by a tiny stuffed Cthulhu. A tiny stuffed winged Cthulhu.


I don't really do New Year's Resolutions; it's far too disappointing to fail at clearly stated goals. But I'm going to make an exception this year. I want to walk/run one thousand miles this year. This will exceed the 25 miles I managed last year. I also want to tweet at least once a day, and blog at least once a week. Along those lines, I also mean to comment at least once a week on each blog that I read. I feel a need for more human contact, even if it's mitigated by being electronic contact.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


There's really nothing else to talk about, but damned if I can impose any order onto my thoughts about the horrifying attack in Connecticut. I'm sickened, saddened, angered...and I'm as far from the tragedy as one can get, and still be on this continent. I can't begin to imagine what the families are going through, and when I think about it for more than a few minutes, I break down. I cried when I heard about Noah Pozner, whose twin sister was in another classroom. What happens to her, I wonder. What will it be like to carry the sadness of her lost twin forever? It's too much for me to carry, and I didn't even know the child Noah existed until a few days ago.  What kind of woman might Victoria Soto have grown to be, if she'd had a chance to become a 30 year old, a 40 year old, a wife and mother, if she chose that path? Her courage would have made her formidable, no matter what choices she made in life. How many children would she have touched as a teacher, how many lives could she have changed? In 26 houses there are Christmas trees, with gifts that won't be opened, Menorahs whose lights will be invisible to the broken souls staring through them.
I try very hard not to make this about me in any way, but that's a really difficult thing for a parent to do. My kids are much older than the victims of Sandy Hook, but I can close my eyes and see them as birdlike newborns, as sturdy toddlers with sly, sweet smiles, as kindergartners, scrubbed faces shining as they show off their brand-new backpacks-- "Like the big kids carry!!"-- and gleaming sneakers that will never be this white again.  I think about anything happening to them and I can't breathe. My mind keeps getting stuck on little things, like Christmas presents. For the last ten days or so, every day, I come home from work and there are packages. Presents, ordered a few days ago. I keep thinking, there must be Newtown parents who ordered presents last week, and now...jesus, what goes through your mind when you see a package that was ordered for a child who was a lively, raucous kindergartner last week, and
How on earth do we make anything good come of this? No matter what is changed, no matter what we do now, no matter how we as a society choose to move forward from this, we can't undo it. We can't be sure anything we do will stop this ever happening again. As long as someone out there doesn't care whether they die famous or infamous, as long as someone out there can look at another human being and see only a target for their rage and a ticket to hysterical headlines and their picture splashed over every paper, screen and monitor in the country. As long as there is evil, as long as there is sociopathy, there will be pain, and there will be someone willing to take that pain out on others, including the innocent. Especially the innocent.
My daughter is twelve. My son is seventeen. I can still see them, chubby cheeks and roly-poly thighs and bellies. I can still see them, at every stage of their lives so far. I can't imagine what it would be like to have only a few years to look back on, and to have nothing of theirs to look forward to. I can't imagine what it's like to be the parent of a Newtown victim-and that goes for the adult victims as well, their mothers can still call up their baby pictures in a second. My heart is with all of them tonight, and will be for a long time to come, and I wish, so much, so desperately, that I could do something to make it better. I wish there was something anyone could do.
I am so, so sorry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Moody, lucky

The alarm goes off at 4:45. For a split second, my brain whispers “Shh, shh. It’s only a dream. Go back to sleep.” Then my higher brain asserts itself: “Um, sorry, but no. You actually must get up.  You must get up and you must go to work.”  (In case anyone is wondering, my higher brain has a lovely, posh British accent—weirdly enough, it’s a British man.)(Possibly a Gay British man.) Thus prodded, I swing my legs out of bed and put my feet on the floor. I sit there for several minutes, trying to remember what it is I do next. Right, clothes. Throw on sweats and a t-shirt and stumble to the hall. My big Golden, Amber, follows me, wagging her whole butt in her happiness at being awake. If you are a naturally cranky person, a Golden Retriever is either the very best or the very worst dog you can have. They are unnaturally cheerful animals.

I make coffee and take my vitamins, then head to the shower. I feel sluggish and disconnected from myself, and so very tired. Did I sleep poorly last night?  I don’t recall any periods of wakefulness, and I know I fell asleep quickly.  Still, I don’t feel like someone who had a full night’s sleep. I’m starting to wonder if I should be worried about this constant state of exhaustion I’m operating in. I feel tired all the time now, and there’s really no reason for it. I think about a friend of mine with a seven month old and a four year old, neither of whom sleep through the night. I wonder if she would smack me if I told her I was tired. I decide she probably would—we’re not as close as we once were, so it wouldn’t be like smacking a real friend.

I’m caught in two vicious circles. I get up way too early, so I’m tired. But because I’m tired, I move slowly in the morning, so I have to get up earlier than a quicker person would. Also, I’m tired because I’m not getting enough exercise; I don’t exercise enough because I’m too tired most nights.  I try to get to bed between 9 and 10, to support the 4:45 wake-up. I don’t get home until 6 most nights, and fitting in a dog walk, dinner, socializing with my daughter, and exercise is nearly impossible. It’s better in the summer, when dog-walking and exercising can be combined, but at this time of year it’s too dark, wet, and cold to even consider being out there longer than is strictly necessary.

I rummage through the fridge, looking for lunch stuff. We are out of apples, and nearly out of peanut butter, two items that are necessary for life in this house. I’m annoyed, realizing this means a mid-week stop at the grocery store, at the busiest possible time of day. Also, this adds another item to the after work to-do list, and almost guarantees that I will skip exercise again. My higher brain butts in to point out that I could still exercise, if I dash into the store, grab apples and peanut butter and dash out again, but subsides, feelings hurt, as my low brain snorts derisively. The store that’s on the way home is not my regular store—it will take more time to find what I need, plus Husband will be with me, and will think of at least two items he needs, which will have to be hunted down as well. I can feel myself getting crankier by the second, and force myself to take a deep breath, and give Amber, who as usual is positioned directly behind my right heel, a few scritches, knowing that her excitement will make me smile. It does.

Rain is pouring down when I take Amber out for her walk, and I feel my mood souring again. My umbrella leaks, and Amber stepped on my foot with her heavy-ass paws and brushed against me at the same time, so now my shoe and one pant leg are wet.  Amber is taking her time this morning, because OF COURSE SHE IS, why would she hurry up and crap when it’s raining?  I tip my head back for a moment, trying to ease the tension in my neck, and let out my breath with an irritated sigh. I open my eyes, and see that the clouds to the east have parted slightly, just enough for me to glimpse Venus, gleaming so gorgeously that my breath catches in surprise at this unexpected stroke of luck. Amber’s bowels choose this moment to cooperate, so we are finally on our way home.

Traffic is surprisingly light, given how hard it’s raining. Husband and I chat about our Christmas shopping, and how totally lost I am this year.  I not only have no idea what to get anyone, there’s nothing that I want, so I can’t give the people who shop for me any ideas. He is reassuring, pointing out that we already took care of toughest people on our list. He reminds me that the kids were already given the gift of life, and therefore wouldn't dare show ingratitude of any kind in the matter of extra gifts. This has the desired effect of making me laugh, and we spend the rest of the ride to his workplace bouncing ideas off each other.

I kiss him goodbye, and for a moment, I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to go about our separate days. I want to run off with him, hide out in a bookstore until lunchtime, then find a dark and quiet pub, where we can eat burgers and chicken wings and drink beers and read books until we’re ready to go home. But I step out of the warm circle of his hug, wish him a good day and drive away.  It hits me then, that this is perhaps the saddest thing about life: It’s so short, and we spend so much of it not doing what we want to do. I want to turn around and insist that he skip out of work and go barhopping with me, and in a movie, that’s what I would do, but this is real life, so I turn the corner and merge into traffic, heading to my workplace. I will work, and I will pick him up tonight, and we will shop, and I WILL walk on that damn treadmill for at least 20 minutes, and when this weekend comes, I will insist on the bookstore and pub lunch, and I will be glad I had a job to go to today, and that we can afford to do fun things together without worrying about the rent. I will remember that I really am a very lucky woman, and this thought, this little glimpse into my immediate future, buoys my mood, and I pull into the parking lot at work with a cheerful mien, and vow that I will not let people make me cranky today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FIRST! (Featuring TMI and Bad Language.)

I'm home sick today. This is noteworthy only because of my husband. You see, my husband does not believe in calling in sick. If you call in sick, you are weak, you are a liability to your coworkers, you are bad, and you should feel bad. Also, it is not fair that he always goes to work, no matter what, thus generating a paycheck, while certain other persons think that a little 105 degree fever, or non-stop diarrhea that makes sleeping on the bathroom floor seem convenient, makes it ok to take days off work willy-nilly, thus losing a day's pay. You should understand here that "willy-nilly" can be taken to mean "two, MAYBE three days a year." I suppose that if one has worked for nearly seven years at a place and never called in sick, never even been late, one can see two or three call-ins a year as shamelessly indulgent.  However, one would also have to see himself as batshit insane, because seriously.

So yeah, my husband is not quite on-kilter when it comes to these things. This is a man who (according to him) "sprained his ankle" one day at work. In actuality, he broke something. Somewhere in his foot/ankular region, there is a small bone or tendon that bears the scars of being snapped in two. I have no proof of this, though,  as he refused to go to a doctor, because he would have to miss work to do so. Given the fact that his lower leg and foot swelled to a size never before nor since seen in a human appendage, and turned colors that would have freaked out Van Gogh, I'm sticking with my theory. He walked on this foot, fortheloveof, despite all that, not that he was cheerful about it. That was a long three weeks, my god.

I, however, am normal and healthy, at least when it comes to just how dedicated I can be to the concept of perfect attendance. What is not normal and healthy is my fear of bowel movements in public restrooms, and given that I am afraid of being more than six running steps from the bathroom today, and given that I had approximately one hour last night wherein I was actually in my bed, and given that my office is about one hundred feet from the bathroom and the bathroom has two stalls, VERY CLOSE TOGETHER, and is therefore NOT PRIVATE, I decided that I was not going. Also, my tolerance for stupid questions dips to non-measurable levels when I am tired, and a regular workday for me generally contains at least six stupid questions. I had a burst of productivity on Friday and got ahead of several projects, and my officemate can handle anything that comes in, assuming it can't wait til tomorrow, which, anything that comes in today can wait for tomorrow, so she'll be alright. Over the last two years,  "A" (I'll come up with a real pseudonym for her later) and I have trained most of our clients to believe that Monday is the very worst day to give us something, and since that message got out, Mondays have gone much smoother for us, and clients are accustomed to Monday work drops not being ready until mid-day Tuesday.

Also, my boss calls in about once a month, so glass houses and all of that.

I like to gripe about it, but I do kind of see where he comes from. He owned his own business for several years, pre-me, and when you are the boss and the employee, you have to be there. In his current job, he runs a crew of  nine guys and seven trucks and knows who is rolling which truck, on which route, with which partner, and with which product/parts/tools, for several days in advance. When a guy calls in, it screws everything up. And a guy calls in almost every week. And customers do not give a single fuck about you being shorthanded the day they wanted to get their widget delivered/installed/fixed, and will refuse to allow said service to be rescheduled. So I get that he has a deep-seated hatred of the person who can't suck it up and screws over his/her coworkers. I just really wish he'd get over it, or failing that, make an exception for the person who sleeps naked and pressed against him every night.