Hell Week Begins

I knew this was the start of a long, bad week. I hadn’t expected the first day to go so bad. Frequently, when I expect the worse, it often proves overkill. To day was not one of those times. As a project manager I tend to expect certain disappointments, but today left me with some unexpected news that directly pushed my already ridiculous schedule further into oblivion. I met with testing people to listen to their concerns and offer poor solutions as to why they were the ones being squeezed when so many other missteps had already occurred. Then the bomb dropped. I communicated with my director on this project and she never provided input as to how best to handle the slippage. I continued and proceeded without it. Since, she never got back to me I started thinking…why am I so wound up about this unrealistic deployment date? I didn’t set it…I never promised it to anyone and although, I am the one putting the schedules together (based on the end date) and managing all the interfaces and so on…I am tired of being all stressed because of these unrealistic expectations.

Once I let this bad energy go, I felt so much better. I found that so much of the negativity I had been exuding disappeared. Frankly, this day has just reinforced why I am do ready to leave. I am so over this place. I want better, I want to get up in the morning happy to be going to work. I want to enjoy my job. I want more fulfillment and I am just fed-up. I am just trying to focus on that, there is something better out there for me, I know it.

A Weekend Away

O to be off…what a blessing. And to be going away, a true treasure!

BozoBoy and I leisurely spent Friday getting ready, dragging around the house, catching up on tv we had taped. Eventually, we start edging our way towards the door and thus the car ride.

The car ride was uneventful and actually quiet and calm. It took us about 3 hours to actually make it to Ocean City. It has been nearly 15 years since I have been to Ocean City and I had never actually stayed in the city. I camped at Assateague Island . So, my memories of the area were foggy. BozoBoy had never been.

We arrived at our hotel and were immediately disappointed. What had been marked as an oceanview room wasn’t really and the hotel was back from the beach somewhat. We were close to the beach and the boardwalk. Our room was less than pleasing but overall…we were just happy to be away. Out of the reach of work (no internet connection) made things so much nicer. We spent time walking the entire boardwalk and then some (3rd to 35th street). Not much was open as a lot had already closed for the season. The food wasn’t the greatest, could just be the places we tried but we came back not feeling entirely great. We drove over to Assateague State Park and we were fortunate to see several deer and one wild pony, that was a definite highlight. The beaches were very clean and looked inviting if not for the 50 degree weather. It had warmed by the time we decided to leave. We headed north and drove through Bethany, Dewey and Rehobeth before heading back across the Bay Bridge towards home.

All in all, although we probably would not go back again (and if we did we would try to stay at the Dunes), it was just so nice to get away.

I felt so much better when we got home. I had let go of much of the unhappiness I had been feeling. Too bad it didn’t last…

Utter Craziness

Hell, that it is what it has been at work this week. There is a flurry of activity starting this week as we get ready to accept our first implementation from a vendor. Of course, they are behind schedule, we are slightly too but ours can be made up and most likely will hit the targets. I can see this thing falling apart during testing. Next week is not going to be pretty.

I have had a lot of pressure on me this week from every source possible and had at least 3 managers looking over my shoulder. It has sucked for the most part. I thought making a move to Project Management would be fun and exciting, that I would enjoy the interaction between the multiple groups of people I interact with for IT projects. But I am not enjoying it one bit! It probably doesn’t help that I am still also doing all of the tech writing, until they can fill that position. I use to love tech writing, but it was getting monotonous, it was time for a change.

The thing is I not just overwhelmed, I am so far beyond that I don’t even know what to call it. I am hoping that this is just a passing moment and that things will improve but doubt is creeping in. Maybe moving companies will change my perspectives, so it of course that is constantly on my mind and the desire to earn more somewhere else makes it hard to ignore.

In the midst of all this I am also trying to balance my mother’s typical craziness. 2 1/2 years ago she moved back to the area from out west and of course, the good (only-child) loving soul that I am said, “sure, come stay with us until you get back on your feet.”

BACK HISTORY: Now she had stayed with us before, for 9 months! During which she put little effort into looking for a job or her own place. Her contributions to bills, food and such were minimal at best. In fact, that time I had to “put her out (had her stay with a friend of mine for 3 weeks)” because Bozoboy’s family was arriving from England, a trip they had planned before she came to stay. We were living in an apartment at the time and barely had room for them let alone for her too. In the end, that turned out to be the best thing…she got a job during that “away” time. In the end, she ended up in the same apartment complex as us.

This time around, you would have thought I’d have learned my lesson NO I am a glutton for punishment I suppose. I figured that she may spend a bit of time doing little but after 3 months she would start looking for work. Nope. This time though she did occasionally help out with the groceries and paid a small amount towards the rent but that was the extent of her help. BUT that wasn’t the worst part…and before you go saying, how could we ask her for money…the first time we never did, she had just had a personal tragedy (escaped a house fire that destroyed everything) but the second time we did because we were barely making ends meet ourselves. She had one rather annoying habit, besides talking through programs and asking questions about something because she had talked through it… she never left the house…so for 10 months or so, she was there every day or evening! We had no quiet time, alone time whatsoever. She has no social life and makes no effort to have one. Doesn’t even think about doing stuff on her own or asking you to go with her if she didn’t want to go alone. In the beginning we felt that we had to take her with everywhere we went. As time went by that changed. We did our thing sometimes we asked her and sometimes we didn’t. We started living our life without her even though she was always there.

To this day, I still think she would have continued staying with us had we not bought a house. We made it very clear that she had to find her own place. I am not the sort of person who wants to live my life with my mother constantly in tow. We just don’t have that kind of bond. I have tried improving things but the truth is she is just not a happy person and doesn’t know what to do to change that behavior or just doesn’t want to. Maybe she is happy in the solitude of her life. I bet you are thinking, how cruel, well you have to know her to understand our dilemma. Besides what I have already mentioned she can be abrasive, contrite, contradictory (to even the things she says), rude, insulting, and to say it nicely, a general pain in the butt. But I love her, so…we both tolerate her bad behaviors. Nonetheless we moderate our interaction with her. We see her once a week and that’s about it.

So, getting back to her current craziness. Well since she came in 2003, she has not worked. Has just sat at home (she is renting a house) and done, what? Fuckall, I suspect but of course I don’t know. Now she is getting all panicky about finding a job…probably because the money she had been making & saving at the last job is drying up, and the funny thing is she had been making close to 6 figures, for nearly 3 years. I have been helping her with her resume and job resources and basically trying to help her any way I can. She has said she’s been looking since early spring and just hasn’t gotten calls. Today she applied at Target. I have no problem with her working at Target, taking a job, any job to help pay your bills in a crisis isn’t rocket science. You do what you have to. But I wonder how she got to this point? She has over 25 years in the IT field and she can’t get a job? Why did she sit around for so long before she did something? The dire attitude she is starting to present is just getting under my skin.

I do care a great deal about her and what happens to her…but I also love Bozoboy and wouldn’t subject him to another interlude in our home with her. We are happy to provide her with financial assistance, if and when she needs it but there’s no coming back. I have been wishing hard that she finds something soon, anything but something. Besides her piece of mind I need mine back too.

Did I mention she doesn’t have medical insurance and hasn’t even been to a doctor in more than 15-20 years? Fortunately, she has cut back her smoking and drinking considerable. I have other things to worry about, once she does find a job. Please let it be soon.

Trying to Understand

Last week we happened to be flicking as you do and paused for a moment on Primetime. I can’t recall now what made Bozoboy stop but as it happened the segment they were introducing was about 2 13-yr old twins, who sing songs with racial epitaphs and develop lyrics to recruit others for their white cause. The also play a video game where the sole objective is to kill blacks.

Looking back now, I am upset with myself that I even bothered to watch it. For some reason when these types of programs are on I am can’t seem to turn them off…I guess I am looking for the why? I have one friend who calls any programming like this propaganda and refuses to watch, even under the guess of a news program. I find all these shows upsetting of course, but this one was particularly disturbing. To see such young children embodying the asinine ideologies passed down by their parents. I can only guess that their exposure to a diversified society has been limited. One segment had the girls creating packages for the survivors of Katrina but to only be distributed to whites affected. As it turned out the packages were never distributed they ended up in a store that caters to people of similar persuasion because even the whites didn’t want to accept the packages simply because they were white.

I find it laughable that one of the main tenant’s for these people is to maintain their “white purity.” They are living under some massive delusion if they seriously believe that they are truly white and have NO mixed blood. These are what I like to call crazy thoughts.

Race is more on my mind these days, with the episodes and outcomes of Hurricane Katrina, William Bennett’s comments about aborting black babies to reduce crime, the beating of the man in New Orleans, and of late even celebrities get it wrong, the Joan Rivers/Darcus Howe spat.

To some extent, I do believe that some of us need to let the pain go and some of us need to stop inflicting the pain. Beyond just race, discrimination is something that should never be felt by another, whether it be religious, gender or sexual preference. I know that I am not a perfect …but I also, don’t go around judging others based solely on this surface information. And that is not say that I don’t pass judgment…I see families in the grocery store completely unable to control their wild children. I judge, under my breath, but I also give the benefit of the doubt and have never gone rushing up to the parents’ and say what horrible monsters you have, you suck as parents; because everyone has a bad day now and again. But I am not the type of person who would discriminate against someone.

I keep thinking about the future, my future and what that will mean when/if we have a baby. What will that child look like…how will the world view them…will they be accepted? Of course, these are normal questions to contemplate when thinking about parenthood, but I think of them with the eyes of a colored woman, in an interracial marriage. I think about how I will react if I drop them at school and everyone thinks I’m the nanny because we look nothing alike.

America is a cruel and ignorant place if you are a minority…the country is unforgiving, like a dog with a bone. This was never better demonstrated to me then after 9/11, with the enhanced racial profiling we had sunk too. The sad fact is that people mistake your outward appearance for something you may not even be. It is hard for minorities to fit in, to find our place, especially if we are strangers in a new country but even for those of us who have been here for generations. It’s funny that most of my racial encounter have been from other blacks…saying I am not black enough, the definition of which still eludes me. It is not easy trying to find your place, understand how you fit, it is hard work and in most ways I have given up. I don’t try to be something that I am not, particularly to satisfy someone who wasn’t interested in knowing the layers below my skin. Race is a dilemma that I know I will not solve. It is based often on the perceptions and preconceived ideas of others, their assumptions and the need to label or classify.

I find small consolation, when then I look around at other societies I had assumed were handling their issues of race better than us and realize that we are in some ways better off than other countries. Real Sports recently had a story about Europe’s struggle with discrimination of black soccer players. Some of the videos they showed of the fans throwing bananas and making monkey calls is hard for me to imagine. I would be astonished to ever see something like that here. These scenes brought back clips I had seen the initial sportsmen in this country who helped break the color barrier and the experiences they had. It is hard to imagine these barriers are still being broken in 2005, anywhere.

As time passes, I find myself thinking about a time far from now, when I am gone and my children and maybe even their children are gone. I think of the face, the face of what lies ahead? I think what will the world be like if we were the same racially? What if we all had medium tanned skin? Would we still hate so much? We would then covet or resent one another’s eye color, hair? What would be next? Ultimately, my fantasy loses it’s luster because I am forced to reconcile the daily acts of hatred I see and concede that it may never end and o how sad to admit that. So, for now I hold onto my little world. My own small fantasy where I feel a part of the diversification process…not just in changing the face of the world with children but with my daily interactions with people in my life and those I invite to be regardless of what’s on outside. I am anomaly. I don’t fit any molds and a label hasn’t been created yet to encapsulate everything I am.

And yet in the face of such doubt, I continue to hope and dream.

Too Obsessive For My Own Good

I spent almost all day on my computer. Resting my back, which has been nice…but all day. I felt like I was at work, sitting here surfing the net. For what u ask? We have decided to go away this coming weekend, a short 3-day weekend to Ocean City. Nothing special just time out of the house, a time to separate ourselves from the everyday mediocrity.

So, I spent all-day looking for hotels…searching and searching, reading reviews and more searching. Then I moved on to things to do, where to eat and so on. I haven’t been there since I was in high school and Bozo has never been there.

I am proud that I did all this in a single day. Normally, I would have spent a lot more time, perhaps even a week’s worth of time and well in advance. Why do I have to take so long, and read every piece of information? I don’t know, I am cheap but want to go or do something nice and fun. But it is more than that, its because I am a total control freak. Relax? That will be the day. I think I will let Bozo plan the next trip. He is so low-key and what research he does is minimal or so it appears. He prefers to discover a place.

Somehow doing all that research never seems to satisfy me. I have the info, but I fret over whether we will have a good time. I am sure we will but, I want for once to just not plan…to be risky. What do you do when planning a trip?

Grown-Up Decisions

Today I was chatting with a friend at work and we got on the topic of our fathers. A mutual friend’s father was on his deathbed and he was visiting with him. He had never been very close to him.

Both she and I are probably in similar situations regarding our fathers although it has been many years since we have seen or spoken to our dads. We discussed what we would do if they were dying, if they asked us to come, if we would cry or grieve?

When I thought about my relationship with my dad I started thinking:

First my dad probably would never ask me to come to his bedside. I am sure it would be one of my uncles who would contact me with the news. I am pretty sure this would be the scenario. I started thinking would I go? What is the point? He is 61 and has never been a “part” of my life, his choice not mine or even my mothers. He has had many opportunities to reach out, be a father or even a friend but he never did.

I have long since let go of the hope that he will be a part of my life. I can’t picture him in it. O, don’t get me wrong I have a void inside. I mourn the what-ifs and maybes.

When I think of his side, it my grandparents I miss the most. The ones who invited me into their lives and helped integrate me into me extended family. When I think of my father and his family, it is them I see and them I truly mourn. I was closer to my uncles and cousins then I was with my father. But it was my grandparents who helped keep those relationships fresh and they have all but faded now. Once a year I send a newsletter, sometimes I hear back from someone, sometimes I don’t.

When I think about whether I would run to his beside in his final hours, I just don’t know. I probably would…but I wonder if I would only be doing it because I felt some obligation to fulfill someone’s final moments. Perhaps, my motives would be completely selfish, to show that I am the better person…but I hope that is not true.

And I know where some of this is coming from. As much as I wish I could say I have forgiven him…I can’t because I haven’t. I’ve accepted that he is a non-entity in my life but forgiveness, well I just can’t. I guess I am waiting for him to ask me for it and I will gladly give it. I don’t think I can give it otherwise. Having said that and realizing it may never happen I am still ok with my decision. I lead my life, I have other Great men in my life, others who stood in for him and who I did a fantastic job.

So, if I got the call today, would I go? Probably, but that is only for this moment in time…a lot can change from one day to the next.

Snap, Crackle, Pop…and now for more suffering

This is not a natural body sound. Last Thursday, I stood felt pain and some random cracks and I knew in that instance that I hurt my back. As I left work stooped over, walking like a penguin I could feel it getting worse with every step. The short walk out the building to the car was near unbearable. Carpooling with hubby has been fun and allowed us to delay buying another car but at that moment I just wanted him to drive up the stairs through the glass doors and into the lobby to the elevator. I was sure the car would fit but my mental powers to communicate my wishes were failing me.

One foot slowly in front of the other, I eventually stumbled out and shuffled into the car. That evening I took ibuprofen and hoped it would help…it didn’t! I searched the medicine cabinet for some (old) tablets of muscle relaxants I had from a previous injury (too embarrassed to tell you how old they were). I took it…I was desperate and a little less than rational. It helped ease the pain but it was there. I slept for all of 15 minutes that night. Over the weekend the pain decreased but it was still there lingering, pinging me at night and nagging me during the day.

Reluctantly, I made a doctors appointment. I have a new doc and he seems nice but usually I attempt to use a natural remedy if I can. I like to think I understand my body a little better now after a few minor medical hiccups and conventional recommendations that were just unacceptable. As a result, I rely on my gut to tell me when a pill is ok and when I should find an alternative method. My back was screaming drugs, any drugs, O PLEASE HELP ME! I gave in and now a week after the snap I am happily medicating myself.

This decision started me thinking about how well I take care of myself and with making healthy decisions. I am healthy and work daily to make the best decisions when it comes to my health. I am flawed of course, I am a few pounds over-weight (20), have a slight issue with my thyroid and pesky migraine/cluster headaches. O and my eyesight isn’t 20/20. I think that sums up the major physical flaws. The mental ones would take too long to list. This aside, I only eat fish a few times a week (no other meats in 15 years), I primarily buy organic and natural food products, eat very few processed foods and cook mainly from scratch. So, why when I do all this do I get occasional pangs of guilt? Guilt that I am not doing enough, making the right decisions, exercising enough, not taking too many drugs; over-the-counter or prescribed. This always pops up when I decide to make a decision that readily ends my suffering. I’m starting to think I have some masochistic tendencies. Up to this point in my life I have been very lucky, I have had what I measure as few painful episodes. I know this is my perception and that others when looking over the collective body of my life may have a different take. But from my view I have had Lady Luck beside me more times than I can say. So, why do I feel like I should be willing to suck it up more when it comes to my physical pain? Crazy? O I know, I know.

Damn Woodpeckers

So, I like to say I am still in the newlywed stage of homeownership. We have been in our house for almost 20 months now. For some this may seem like a long time, but it takes a while to settle into a home and to understand how the changing seasons impact the behaviors of the house. We were very fortunate to have found a house that we love. The layout was exactly what we had been looking for. There is lots of room to grow and it was in move-in condition with a nicely finished basement. But we have done very little to the house. We’ve painted one room and gotten new furniture for most rooms but we have yet to dress the rooms. Although, we have an exciting list of ideas, making a decision is hard and also we are not exactly ready to spend the money necessary.

So, recent events have made us start evaluating what it means to be a homeowner and not just a squatter. One of our neighbors was very concerned about a tree on our property that was leaning towards her house. She very much wanted us to remove it and insisted and contacted us about this several times. I don’t know about you but I do things in my own good time AND when I can afford to do it.

After several storms this summer, she actually offered to pay half of the cost to get it removed quickly. Well I am not going to sneeze at help…and we certainly needed it. Also, she was starting to break me down. She is the only neighbor who has so much as spoken with us or invited us into her home or even been remotely interested in knowing our names. (I know this because 6 mos. after we moved in we had an open house/b-day party celebration inviting all the neighbors on our small street (6)). And I have not forgotten her generosity…I still need to think of a creative way to say my thank you but I am not worried about the tree, her house or forgetting and most of all I was able to give her piece of mind.

The next problem we have encountered has been with WOOD-F*ING-PECKERS! This creature is very annoying and destructive. We had one pecking away on the wood exterior of the house, shortly after we had it painted. This was most upsetting. But enough banging on the bedroom walls on Saturday at 6am must have scared it off this spring…that and hubby running outside and spraying it with the hose. But alas, that was a temporary eviction, for it has returned with a vengeance. So, this weekend we (a.k.a. hubby) spent time on our new “Little Giant” filling the egg size hole on the side of the house. We are planning on putting a decorative panel over the bird’s favorite pecking ground to make it harder for him to peck through.

These activities have reinforced that 1. I need to work on my diplomacy a little more and 2. I suck at home improvement, fixes or general handy-woman things. The first one I can work on, the second, I am considering writing off. I bake and cook and clean and wash clothes and run the house…I can get hubby – I mean outsource those things if need be. But it struck me that I am the one responsible now, it’s all on our shoulders…this is our biggest investment (and if you know anything about the DC area real estate situation you will understand when I say that things are going from $200k 2 years ago to $400k now). Of course the market is slowing but the appreciation of this homes is already up there. So, I am sitting her pondering and wondering, will my house ever grow into that imagined “home” that I have in my head? Memories of something I never had but something I desire greatly? And how will my handy-less capabilities affect this dream?

At the moment I am stuck, I have no idea what to do about the woodpecker. I mean how do you stop them from ruining a perfectly good house, my “home” in training? Got ideas?

Now What?

Well I just found out that my company is allowing some of us to telecommute! Yippee!!! 3 whole days at home, alone to get things done and it gets me away from the office. I am SO happy about this. I have been looking for a change for a while now. I have grown discontented with the way things were going at work. And honestly I was getting bored. It just wasn’t fun or interesting anymore, hard work on top of hard work.

This summer things only got worse after a promotion I had been promised actually forced me to apply and compete with outsiders of the company. An ordeal that lasted 3 months…and then I was told that “Congrats! and o’ by the way, we just weren’t able to find any viable candidates so we were happy to give it to you…probably for less money because we can.”

Needless to say I was peeved, I had been working on that promotion for a year! I was more than qualified and had recently completed the appropriate certification. I made a big transition from writing documentation to project management. I love this new area within IT but it is intense. And right now, I am still doing my old job while they try to find a “viable” candidate for that position. HA

Before they announced this new ‘perk,’ I had seriously been trying to plan my exit strategy. I was trying to rationalize it by saying I wanted to wait until my current mega project had happily rolled out. The project is sadly looking like it will be delayed past the December implementation.

It’s funny I don’t know why I feel like I am at such a crossroads. I had been thinking about moving to another job, one where I could make easily $25k+ more. I am seriously trying to decide what is the best path. Do I stay at a place, where I don’t respect the upper management including my boss, who failed me and I feel wasn’t forthcoming with the truth that he obviously had. The place that requires only 37.5 hours/week, where our health care is paid 100% by the company and we only ever pay a co-pay, where we get 4 weeks vacation and 3 weeks sick leave, 10% in retirement, and have our own offices, where talking business on IM is normal…and now telecommuting 3 days a week. To move to a place that will pay loads more (a prerequisite or why bother) but potentially have longer hours and maybe an even crappy work environment? Did I mention in only work 15 minutes from home?

OH what a dilemma! I bet you’re thinking that I am just scared, use to my cozy, stable setting. NO! I have no problem picking up and moving jobs…I have moved from DC to the west coast and back again having no job and no place to live…so starting over has never been an issue before. I don’t know why this is so much harder. Hubby and I have talked about moving back to England in a few years and I am fine with that…so why does this interim move seem so…hard?

So, where are u from?

You know I recently read about (in 2 separate articles) a project that National Geographic is conducting. The project is called “Footsteps of my Ancestors.” The premise of the research study is to trace DNA to specific regional areas to help determine who your original ancestors were. Having a varied and mixed background this sounded so neat to me. I had visions of seeing my ancestors mapped out on the globe. Proudly looking on as I traced the generations before. My aspirations were dashed when I checked the price! $100! Come on, give a working girl a break, my purse only holds coins.

I am a frugal spender. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy buying stuff just like the next person. BUT I am an Actively Neurotic Analytical Lunatic. This means I like being in control of just about everything. I am a total planner. Spontaneity is not a part of my vocabulary. I will scour the net for the best deal, which includes me searching on 50+ websites searching for the best (insert any consumer product here) deal. I will even create spreadsheets to document where I found the deals (I know what you are thinking, just remember at least I know I’m Crazy).

Anyway, I don’t think of myself as cheap but I do take every purchase seriously. Spending $100 to participate in this test just seems excessive (picture whining and long face). I would love to find out how my genes ended up here but that goes on the “when we win the lotto” list.

I don’t know why this is annoying me. I suppose I just saw another home kit that allows you to have your mercury levels tested. That was only $25, that’s 1 dinner out, for 2! I bet your wondering though why this even caught my eye? Well I have been a vegetarian for about 15 years and about 5 years ago my doctor suggested I start eating fish again…so now I eat A LOT of fish. I spend a lot of effort trying to take care of myself…and as I move towards thoughts about having starting a family, I have been thinking more about the levels of mercury that could be swirling around in my blood.

So after pondering this for a bit, I think the best I can do for now is to send off for the mercury test. Who knows maybe I will decide that satisfaction of knowing more about my ancestors and how they have shaped who I am in even the smallest subtleties will mean more then the money I pay. I mean come on who am I kidding I can easily spend $100 in Whole Foods on tomatoes and nuts.