Thursday, February 07, 2019

Before And After

Apparently, I post once every two weeks now, whether I have anything to say or not.

Is it possible to feel exhausted and energetic all at the same time? Apparently. I look forward to work each day, I come home tired but feeling very accomplished. Okay it's a little hard to get up at 6:30 every morning, but hey, it's dark out! I bet even Kimmy Schmidt hates getting up in the dark.

The house is sort of falling apart around the edges, and I try to catch up on the weekends, but currently there are two baskets of laundry in my bedroom, waiting to be put away, and a ton of dust under my bed, threatening to choke me in my sleep if I don't start Swiffering. Also, there are approximately 40 dozen winter coats in our hall closet, and there are only 4 people currently living in this house. Why? I know not why, and I don't have time to find out.

We won't talk about the refrigerator, okay? Just...no. Lord knows what's happening in there. We'll just let the CDC sort that out.

All my IRL friends are tired of hearing me talk about how I love having a job, and I don't blame them. So I'll just say it here: I love having a job. It helps that I'm doing something I enjoy, and I get to work with fairly interesting people, and the hours are somewhat flexible. But what I hadn't realized is how, before I was working, my day was filled with unrealistic (for me) expectations: there were a zillion things I didn't get to, and WHY didn't I get to them? AFTER ALL I HAD NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

What I'm saying is, the self-talk was pretty negative, and constant, and I didn't even realize it was there. It was even stealing the joy from my knitting. WHY WASN'T I GETTING MORE DONE? I HAD ALL DAY.

January socks
But now, with full-time work? I have a finite number of things expected of me on a day-to-day basis: go to work, come home, play with Susie (she's on a Yahtzee kick), drive/nag Rachel (yes, she still lives here, but with a breathtaking amount of disdain for her housemates, as befits a 16-year-old girl), make sure the fridge has some basic comestibles in it.

That's it. If I do cook dinner, well, it qualifies as an amazing feat. Yay, me! (Whereas, BEFORE, I was SUPPOSED to cook dinner. ALL THE TIME. See the difference?)

Yes, we HAVE seen this recipe before, but this time? I'm amazing for cooking it
Having a job has pared down the number of things expected of me to a manageable number. Who woulda thunk it? I swear, I feel lighter than I have in years.

None of this is ha-ha funny (and I do prefer to make people laugh), but I wanted to write it down here, in case there is anyone else out there who is feeling dragged down but doesn't know why. You might just be suffering from a case of irrational expectations, is what I'm saying. I'll repeat: BEFORE, the self-talk was pretty negative, and constant, and I didn't even realize it was there. 


I mean, I (unwittingly) fought past it pretty well. I took care of the house, I took care of the kids, I pretended I didn't mind feeling as though I was always dropping the ball (ALL THE BALLS). But it's tiring, all that fighting. No wonder I feel so much more energized now - it's as if someone took 20 pounds of weight off me.

Now if I could just lose the actual 20 pounds that have attached themselves to me since menopause...but hey, I guess that's why God invented spandex...

Coming up next time: Larry makes me do taxes. Also, my favorite shapewear. I know! Riveting!



Friday, January 25, 2019

Being Employed Is Nice

Oh, uh...hi! Looks as though it's been almost (gasp) 2 weeks since we talked. That's what having a new career will do to a person, I guess. She just abandons everyone she's ever known as she walks into the sunset with her company-provided laptop and backpack.

Or not. I've just been a little overwhelmed by this major lifestyle change. And now I'm overwhelmed by the thought of trying to catch you up with everything, so why don't we just dive into a random list, okay?


1. I got my first paycheck yesterday (direct deposit doesn't kick in for a bit). I brought it back to my little cubicle and took a picture of it, because...well...exciting. Then I thought, "Gee, that looked pathetic." So I felt way better when I caught the other new editor (who is younger than me and has always worked) doing the exact same thing. I like that woman.

2. I know that after 6 weeks or so, I'm supposed to be able to telework, but can I tell you something? After all these years at home, I love, love, LOVE going into the office. There's plenty of tea, and a cafeteria downstairs, and people to talk to and - best of all - I can sit at my desk and FOCUS on my work. Do you know how long it's been since I've been able to focus on just one thing? It's so darn relaxing. Seriously. I can FEEL my brain going "A-a-ahhhhh." I never want to multitask ever again.

3. There's an IT guy at work (did I mention I have a job?). When there's a problem with my computer, he comes to my desk and fixes it. If I need something like headphones or whatever, he gives it to me. When he hooked up my laptop to a couple of bigger monitors and showed me how to use all the screens at once, I told him, "You're even better than having a teen around!" I'm not sure he knew what to do with that statement.

4. Yes, I still have kids. They're around here somewhere.

5. Larry's adjusting well. Remember, he's spent 27 years with someone manning the home fires, as it were, sort of keeping track of everything (like, uh, where ARE those kids, anyway?). But he's managing to roll with the Costco-prepared dinners and my not knowing where the heck his laundry is and just the general weird feeling that things have changed. He's a champ. But we all knew that already, right?

I do still cook sometimes (full disclosure: IKEA meatballs)

6. It snowed here at some point, but then it got washed away by rain. Lots of rain. I need to move north.

Picturesque, right? It didn't last long.
7. Susie  and I could not figure out how to fit our light-up deer back into the box. We briefly discussed leaving it up year round, but decided against it. Larry amused himself for a time by moving it around the house and scared the bejeezus out of me when I walked into my yarn room one night.

Why does this look SO CREEPY indoors?
8. And, in keeping with my newfound habit of getting to bed at a reasonable hour, I need to sign off. I'm exhausted. Because of my job. Oh, did I tell you about my job?



Friday, January 11, 2019

Kindness Just Kills Me

Again, quickly, because I seem to have turned into a responsible person who goes to bed at a reasonable hour every evening. Amazing what a job will do for a person, huh?

I've gone to work 5 days in a row now. I thought it would wear me out, but it's actually almost relaxing - after 27 years of structuring my own day, every single day - to have someone else structure my time for me. I got home this evening at 5:00 and had the energy to chop veggies and make dinner, which is bizarre, because (for the last 3 decades) the absolutely LAST thing I could do was start dinner prep at the late hour of 5 PM. I was too exhausted by that point.

Seriously, people, I used to prep dinner in the morning, just because I knew I'd be a zombie by 4.

So, yeah, I'm liking this new lifestyle.

Wednesday's dinner - but, hey, I baked the cornbread!
On Day 2 of My New Life, I received a free laptop and a nifty backpack to carry it in. I was trying to play it cool when the training guy handed me and the other newbies these items, but the other new editor felt no such compunction. "Oh, wow!" she said. "What a cool backpack! Look at all the pockets!"

She's totally my people.

So, yeah, an exciting week, marred only slightly by Larry's insisting that I max out my 401K contributions (translation: I don't get to fritter away all my earnings on yarn and Nando's). I'm going to be pissed off if I drop dead early and don't get to use that money, though.

And can I give a shout-out to my friends, who have stepped up to make sure Susie isn't left alone at home doing workbooks (or not) all day? In a month or two, I'll be allowed to telework; but until then, I have to go into the office every day. I was worrying and worrying about Susie, and somehow not thinking to, oh, I don't know, ask people for help. They came riding to the rescue anyway, thank goodness. So many of them...

Really, I've made pretty good friends over the years, and I get sort of weepy thinking about it. These people are inconveniencing themselves, repeatedly, just so I can start something new at age 55, which is...I can't even find the right words, they're all inadequate...such an incredible gift. An incredible, undeserved gift.

Dammit, this is making me cry. I love you, guys, you're amazing. And Susie loves all the food you feed her. But she lets you know that, I'm guessing...



Monday, January 07, 2019

Working Girl

Bye, Christmas! 

Just quickly, because I'm tired and I have to go to work in the morning...

[Pause while I giggle softly to myself]

My first day of full-time work in 27 years was today and it was just orientation, but hey - I got a water bottle with the company logo on it! I felt irrationally pleased by that. Also, my ID photo did not suck, which is a big plus. Now if I could just do something about that driver's license photo...

The entire day, I felt as though I were Rip Van Winkle-ing it. The last time I had a job, my ID was just a picture. Were magnetic strips even a thing back then? This time - well, I don't even know yet what that card can do.

Last time I had a job, I didn't have to sit through a half-hour presentation about cellphones and social media use at work, because social media didn't exist and cellphones were rudimentary at best. I mean, picture it - you couldn't do anything on your work computer back then but work. I know, quaint!

Last time I had a job? I wasn't pleased as punch to be in a room full of grown-ups, because I hadn't been deprived of that particular experience for, oh, 27 years. Today? I was downright giddy.

And on and on and on...

So I was sitting on the couch this evening, trying to catch up on some reading, when the thought hit me: I'm going back in tomorrow. Like, that's 2 days in a row. Weird. It's as if it's my job or something.

No, I don't know what's wrong with me, either.

During orientation, we all had to hand in some identification for employment purposes, and then I watched as the admin aide came back in the room later and returned the passport to the guy next to me, and then the woman next to him, and so on. I waited patiently, but sometime after she had left, I raised my hand and asked the nice HR lady when I would be getting my passport back.

Passports are important, you know. You have to keep your eye on them. Especially if, like me, you're trying to impersonate an organized person with a full-time job...

The HR lady looked puzzled and said she thought that all the IDs had been returned. "I didn't get mine back yet," I insisted, in front of all those other grown-ups I was thrilled to be around, and then (and only then) I checked my purse. Wherein lay my passport. "Oh, uh, never mind!" I told her. "Ha, ha, it's right here, just forgot..."

No, really, you made the right choice hiring me. No worries!

In other news, we got rid of our Christmas tree yesterday; and, judging from this news item, that was not a moment too soon. Next year? We're going artificial, for sure.

Happy New Year! (Legos by Susie)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Not Bored, That's For Sure

Here it is, New Year's Eve. I've spent the last week doing I don't know what, but it's been BUSY. We ran out of Christmas dinner leftovers after 2 days and I had to start cooking again (the horror!); there were doctor's appointments for a recurrence of vertigo (and the first person to recommend the Eppley Maneuver will get blocked, if I can figure out how to do that); there was baking and more baking for our New Year's neighborhood open house tomorrow...

I swear, I am so done with lemon bars. DONE.

Happily, David doesn't mind helping. In fact, he baked 8 dozen snickerdoodles today. He helped with dinner the other night, too:

Engineers cook tater tots very precisely

There were out-of-town guests, and there was helping Anna get ready to go to Tunisia, and there were movies to see, and yes, vacation time is surprisingly exhausting. Normally I would be looking forward to a nice, slow boring January, because remember? It's my absolutely favorite month. But on January 7th I start my first full-time employment in 27 years, so the days preceding that will be filled with looking for office-type clothes and making sure Susie isn't simply abandoned for the 2 or 3 months until I can telework and generally getting ready for a pretty major lifestyle change.

So, yeah, not exactly relaxing, right? But still, exciting - I'll give it that. I'm thinking I should prepare by watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - you know, to get pointers on how to function in a totally new, real-world environment. Do you think I'll get my own desk? I'd like that.

Me, going to work the first day

Do people have desks anymore? A lot's changed in 30 years, I'm guessing.


[Kimmy Schmidt image credit: Vanity Fair]