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A day later, I am still rolling the conversation over in my head, finding new jewels. Granted, they're not pretty, shiny, healing stones. They are dark, poisoned stones. Did she think I didn't hear - or understand - the bit about hiring new engineers? Our new hires are always recent grads with little to no experience, they don't understand anything about designing systems. As evidenced by what happened last fall. Without an experienced, senior engineer, the projects are doomed: there will be cost over-runs and software may not even successfully achieve core capabilities. Without adequate technical staff, why should I bother?
A phone call this morning from a colleague on a joint project has me nearly choking on the irony: she is asking me for help on managing people - little old me! Even if I try, it seems this week's revelations keep expanding. The only possible way to keep me at this job requires outside intervention that provides access to new / better technical talent. There's one small problem with this potential scenario that was described to me: the reason for the outside interest by definition means I would essentially be sold as a fixture, not the asset that is being sold.
After a day of increasing frustration at work and home, I need an evening of conviviality at Knit Nite. To simply cut loose with people that are friendly and supportive, to share yarn stories, to discuss the week. I have come to rely on these Friday night sessions as my only real social outlet. I know from nearly 25 years of participation in online communities that they have both real appeal and real limitations. Long calls with friends IRL are not an option for me. Tonight's gathering was less than two hours and not sufficient to hit my reset button.
For ten years, Main Street in the little village was perfect and essentially unchanging. It was perfect. There were great places to eat, a wide range of interesting, independent stores to poke about in, my favorite bookstore with its guard-cat Harry, a gourmet food shop that had stuff I'd never seen before. And then it started to change. Walking down the street today, it seemed unfamiliar. There are vape stores. One of the largest stores is closing. We visited one store and then left. I am shocked to realize that I am glad we didn't buy a house there.
I am thrashing and flailing right now and I know it, but without some serious downtime without deadlines, without work, without travel, without blathering from and about Trump - I cannot recover. I keep telling myself that in two weeks, the deadline crap will be over while simultaneously trying to no reproach myself for not having quit on Tuesday. It isn't working. I feel the need to be out clawing at me from within. I just need to find something that will be a bridge gig - to get us through a year while we figure out the big plan for retirement.
If the end of learning is gracious living, what is the end of working? I have been contemplating that question for a while, and today it seems rather relevant. It may have happened at the very last minute, but the second of five deliveries was completed today. What happens in a week, when they're all finished? Regrettably, there is more work, although perhaps not quite as much, as urgent. What is my next move, one that gets me permanently out of this death spiral? How can I work part time, still earn some salary but have time to enjoy life.
Pretty sure I've goofed the cables on my sweater, less than two inches in. Pffft. Never mind, I've cast on a sleeve, and I'll try to get that right. But of course, getting the pattern to generate something that looks even close, well, that is still a work in progress. I will keep tinkering with options in the software, as I've learned some new things that may allow me to get a better fit. To test fit I should knit a very simple pullover rather than this ribbed cable tunic, but with knitting, the heart wants what the heart wants.
You can't win every round, at some point you lose. For me, that was today with a full blown migraine that hit me at work. With all the extra stress and hours over the last month it really was no surprise. Given the general decline in their numbers over the last year - approaching nil - I had been hoping that I might escape entirely. One week from today is the last of the major deliverables. I made it through the five prior weeks. I made it four fifths of the way through before a migraine - it sounds pretty good that way.
Seedlings! I have more seedlings! The orange peppers have finally kicked in and shown tiny green sprouts. I think the heating pad is really what did it by providing the steady warmth necessary for germinating the more finicky seeds. Particularly with our cold snaps. I now have more seedlings than we have room for in the raised beds, and I'm not really done yet. I don't quite know what I'm going to do, but the ground cherries can go out front. I need to figure out the plan eventually, but for now, I'm just enjoying the dreams of spring growth.
Snow. I can't believe it. I have crocus in bloom all over. A lone daffodil bloomed yesterday. The buds on the lilacs are fat and definitely green. I can see the green fringe beginning to appear on the edges of our river birch tree. And today, we have snow coming down - a total near five inches! I am head-down, working on deadline, as I have been for every snowfall this year. I would like to be able to just sit back, drink cocoa and knit while enjoying the snowfall. To commune with the snow. Not quite Lorelei, but close.
At the end of last year, I had dreams of going to the Edinburgh Yarn Fest. If they'd come true, I'd be there now. Alas, I knew early in January that I wouldn't be going back to Edinburgh, not for the yarn festival this year. I am thinking about how to do my own little yarn festival. The Yarn Crawl doesn't really appeal to me, but I am thinking that might be the way to go - take that Friday off and just tool about, visiting various yarn shops and seeing what happens. Things to daydream about while I do homework.
Welcome to the first morning of Daylight Saving Time - Gah! I like DST, since I wake up when it is light out, and that gets quite early around here. But it seems that the first week or two of the spring ahead change is more difficult than the fall back change. And the snow is not helping matters. Nor is the pile of work. I have no idea how I'll manage to pull together a keynote in the next 48 hours. There's another storm on the horizon, but since I'll be south of here then, I hope to avoid it.
I got stranded in the middle of nowhere when the hotel advised me to go to a train stop that doesn't even have a platform, they bring out little step stairs for people to disembark. No cabs or civilization in sight, skies darkening at 6 PM as snow began to fall. I had a little bit of a meltdown, nearly broke my phone but eventually made it to the hotel. But is it wrong to pray for massive snow so that the conference gets cancelled? I still have only half a keynote and am so tired I can hardly think.
It is not the reprieve I wanted. The conference has been cancelled due to the storm, my keynote along with it. My presentation is still unfinished, since I never got any substantive time to write it the last few weeks. But the mania of the last month is now over and I'm exhausted beyond telling. I think I must have been fueled by the adrenaline of deadlines and now, there's nothing keeping me going. I've turned the heat up to 76 and am still huddled under the comforter, shivering. Why is it that I get so cold when I'm tired?
On a wing and a prayer, I started the trek back home, the day after the storm. The taxi ride to the last Metro stop was delightful, a good omen. The trip into DC was quick and relatively comfortable, and I had just enough time to get my lunch and secure a decent spot in line. Sitting on the train, watching the miles fly by, I tried to do something for work but wasn't very successful. By the time I hit the City, it was game over, all my energy was gone I just huddled on the eastbound commuter rail.
I am so tired. Yes, it is good to be home, and while yesterday could have been so much worse, it was still long. I have no meetings today and just kind of float between doing work, and not. Tomorrow has meetings and work and I just don't want to. I'm fed up completely with things, I know it has been a long time developing and as much as I wold like to just quit stone cold and walk out, it isn't likely to happen. Every passing day makes it clear that I need to figure out my exit strategy.
Wheels are now in motion toward a new employment option. I don't have any expectation that this will result in a sudden change, but with luck, by the end of the year, something positive and concrete will come of the current efforts. And I will regain my life. The ability to spend time with those that I love, doing things that I want to do. The compulsion to go, go, go, do, do, do will hopefully begin to wane. I do enjoy what I do, but I think the current environment will always be significantly more intense than I want.
One stone can change a river's course. So said the beloved little watercolour from my aunt. Not that I know where it is now (something I need to change) but there is something in that concept. One thought about the past sent me on the interwebz to see what has happened in the last 35 years. I was more than a little shocked, not least because the family clearly had more siblings than the two I knew. And I suspect that somehow the golden boy and devil swapped roles as they grew up: the devilish teenager became a respected professional.
The sun poked out just long enough to make it easy to take photos of my recent knitting. I know I am making progress, but I'm still having fit issues. Ones I'm not sure how to fix myself, so I spent some of my knitting time documenting the issue and requesting some additional help. Not having weekend homework for the office for the first time in nearly two months, I have done a good amount of knitting this weekend and it still isn't enough. I want to knit more, now, always. Time on my hands is fuel on the fire.
There is mold in my office. I smelled it when I walked in this morning and I spent most of the day trying to find evidence of it. I've not been there in 12 days, and yet there's wet paper on the floor, with spots of green mold. Something's very not right and I don't think management quite gets yet how serious a health risk this is. This is not a kitchen renovation that can stretch out for two months, this needs fixing NAO! On the plus side, I managed to go through a lot of paperwork and sort it.
Why should I have to all but jump up and down and shout "MOLD!" while shaking my fists to get anything done about the situation? Especially as it turns out there's a long standing leak that is certainly the cause. I have moved out of my office for the duration, which I am betting will be at least a month. I don't know what my office mate will do, I don't know where he can go to work, there isn't actual office space available since the building is quite literally filled up and every meeting room is also often booked.
This morning, the smell of mold immediately hits me when I open the door to the stairwell heading up into the building. Third floor was almost impossible to be in, the smell was so overwhelming. By noon, my throat was closing, even though I was camped out on the second floor. I don't care who was supposed to be coming to the office today, I cannot stay in such an environment and I seriously wonder about those who cannot smell it now. I also wonder about those who do smell it but are choosing to stay in the office. Why??!
A disappeared day. Again. I got lost in the second half of the month, in part, because I was sick today. Himself was feeling not well at he beginning of the week, and last night, I started to not feel well. It may be nothing, but we've learned to not to take the chance or we'll be trading it back and forth forever. I spend half of the day in bed, or so it seems. I bail on the university partner, knowing full well that I'll pay for it later. It isn't a mental health day in so many ways.
The house I've been drooling over for years is having an open house tomorrow. We're going. The house is big and rambling, but is a single house, not house and cottage, which I don't like. I can only hope the interior lives up to the photos I've seen - and if it does, woah! The property is really big, but actually quite usable, once some of the less healthy greenery is removed. Enough for a major garden, a small orchard, and a greenhouse. It is on a busier road than we’d like, but set back quite far from the road.
This is the house we wanted to find all along. It fits the detailed description of what our ideal is - what himself described to me not a month ago as what he wanted to “retire to” in the area (except the price). Is one of the very few houses like it around here at any price. It is not unreasonably priced for what it is given the area, and taxes are likewise not unreasonable for the area, but what make it rough in the long haul: they only go up, which makes it a real gamble for a retirement choice.
Even though we never spoke about the house today, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It reminds me of the big old house that Madeleine L'Engle lived in as described in her four memoirs. It is a lifestyle house - I can't imagine living in that house and working my current job, but I'd need to do that for a few years. So maybe the answer is to find something like that in an area where the cost of living is less, and the cost to buy the property is less than half of the current asking price. It does exist.
I'm still dreaming of the house. I have a feeling I will not be able to get it out of my mind for quite a while. To be utterly rational about it, it needs some work. A new roof, for starters, from cedar shake, which is probably $50K. I bet it needs insulation as well. I'd want to install towel warmers in the key bathrooms. The downstairs bathrooms both need work to be truly acceptable and functional. The shed needs to be rebuilt and the carport needs one bay fully enclosed. And let's just not talk about the landscaping, 'mkay?
What else would I do if the house was mine? I'd get rid of most of the wallpaper and matching curtains (I shudder to remember them!). I would seriously think about refinishing the floors as I'm not fond of the black (paint?) finish. The living room would need to be painted, as would many of the rooms. The many furnishings that apparently come with the house. . . well, many of them would not stay with the house. I think that more closet space for the master bedroom suite is necessary, but that would need to be addressed with wardrobes, I guess?
Nearly twenty years since I moved out of the city? It doesn't seem possible. So much has changed that I no longer have "default options" at my fingertips - most of my old time favorites are long gone, often the victim of rising rents. The small businesses that gave each street personal flair have mostly been replaced by big box stores and chain restaurants. It wasn't just 42nd street that was Disney-fied. I'd like to keep the current metrocard and subway system but go back to the city as it was then, with neighborhoods that have clear and individual personalities.
Oh, do I remember the feeling of staring out over the soul-sucking abyss, just wanting the infinite blackness to end. And if that meant ending me, fine. I know very little of the specifics of her situation, the reasons, the methods, but none of those really matter. She was in pain, and couldn't see any viable alternative. Finding those alternatives now will take time, support and much love. I wouldn't wish the situation on my worst enemy, and her mother, who I know for a fact was concerned about her daughter before this crisis, is anything but an enemy.
Because I couldn't live in denial any longer, I took a stab at developing the new List. The one that typically lives on the whiteboard in my office. The daily enumeration of That Which Must Be Done that strikes fear into my co-irkers. And when I realized I couldn't even figure out everything that is needed for April, never mind May, June and July.... I just wanted to cry. I just came through three months of that crap. I'm not even whole again and I'm about to be flayed alive again. I must get off this merry-go-round.
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