2020-03-26 Climbing the Pyramid is a Struggle

My basic needs are being met, and I’m grateful for that. By Maslow’s standards, I’m probably at Safety and while that’s ok, I’m desperate to go higher. But I’m stuck.

So many of my writer friends and acquaintances are writing their hearts out right now. Amid this crisis people are inspired to create. In times when you have more time because you’re isolated you can explore and let your brain wander and maybe, definitely that’s a good thing.

I’m not. And I haven’t been. I’ve got less time now, and feel less isolated, because my sanctuary has been invaded. My time has been raided and from before sun-up to after sun-down I’ve nothing left to give back to myself.

It’s work, which I’ve praised but it has transformed before my very eyes from saving grace to marauder. It’s got to level out soon. I think (I hope) today will be the start of that.

It’s not knowing how to, at the same time, homeschool. Sure, if I was twiddling my thumbs all day I would sit with my children and play task-master, checking in on their “enrichment plans”.

I’m not there, though, you know. I’m still adjusting.. fighting with my ex about where the kids are and why and all my anger and frustration that’s built up over the years comes pouring out. I just hate my ex. After all this time I’m still angry about so many things. Does one ever get over being treated so rotten by someone they love and trust with their life.

How is that possible? How can we have hurt each other so much? And when the bullshit just continues for years and years and you have to continue to take it and try to be amiable for the kids sake, it just doesn’t go away.

Yesterday I ripped him a new one on the phone and he acted like he had no idea where it was all coming from. Like an ignorant ass, he said my yelling was unfounded and something in me has changed. “You’re different now.” He said.

No shit genius. People change and perhaps I’ve grown a spine. Perhaps I’ve also been perfecting my throat-punch and he should be grateful that there’s a pandemic because if there wasn’t I might just go to his place and demonstrate my skills. I just hate him. And that’s a world I rarely use.

My son is here with me and my daughter is at his house. She’s not being very communicative and I’m just hoping she isn’t being persuaded to stay there. Gawd. It’s an awful feeling to know that the kids are stuck in this conflict with us, probably taking shrapnel from our verbal confrontations. It’s got to stop.

So, yeah, I’m just trying to figure out how to shelter in place and not lose my mind. I’ve not yet arrived at master of the art of homeschooling.

Oh, did I mention I’m behind on the whole writing a thesis bit? Or the lit-mag startup. Or, I dunno, supporting my husband and nurturing my marriage which is still less than 2 months old.

I logged onto Facebook today and that was a big mistake. So many people posting about every freaking thing and I just don’t have a positive note to contribute. Just because I say I’m grateful, doesn’t mean I’m bathing in gratitude and finding all the beauty in every little nook and corner. Facebook just makes me feel like shit. And those things I’m seeing are being posted by friends and family who I love. Why can’t I just find joy in their accomplishments and words of encouragement? What the hell is wrong with me?

Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.

I’ve got a meeting today with the other “co-founder” of this not-yet-a-real-thing on-line lit mag. It’s been a struggle for both of us to find the time. This is a guy I just happened to be sitting across a lunch table from when approached by one of the mentors of the MFA program about this little idea. He’s a teacher and has kids so he’s in the same boat as me trying to juggle life.

We both bring unique and needed skills to the table, but we do operate differently. I like things to be organized and well planned out and he just seems to like to roll with whatever. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just an adjustment for me. We need to get shit done and were still at step 1, which is assembling a team.

Hopefully I’ll get more insight into what that looks like from his communications (which he has not copied me on). I’m a little miffed about that. If you were starting a new project together, it’s good to have Everyone have as much information as possible. So I feel a little bit in the dark on where things stand and can’t make progress forward myself until I’ve got the full picture. I’m sure I’m overthinking and overdramatizing this as usual. Hopeful today’s meeting will actually happen this time and that all will be revealed.

I mean, if our launch date is still June 1. We gotta get in gear and go. So that’s where the “go for it” attitude is such a positive.. we just really need to engage the whole team soon. Again, just hopeful we have a complete list today on who that is. we’ll see.

For now, I have to put that out of my mind so I can get to work. No place to hide.

Stuck at Safety,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-25 My Plan to Go Rogue

I’ve just written three sentences and backspaced them. I don’t think I have it in me today. It’s that little voice inside that says “go rogue”. I’m on the hook for more work and never has there been as much other stuff going on.

I don’t want to get myself all bunched up like last week when I felt so lost. So not in control over anything. Everything is happening too fast. Work gives me a feeling of order and control, but even that yesterday went wild and those west-coast people just forget that 1.) It’s two hours later here and 2.) I have a freaking life, family, school, and other responsibilities. Today I’m pushing back.

Pushing back at work means pushing a few of these long two hour meetings to a different day and blocking my calendar with spots that just say “unavailable”. Yeah, just like the good ole days.

Pushing back with my ex-husband means me sticking up for my kids and telling him what an ass he is being. I’ve got a list of bad parenting mistakes he’s making right now and I’m on the verge of just letting him fucking have it.

Pushing back at the fucking Covid rules means deciding for myself that going to the grocery store or visiting a friend is just essential. Yeah, it’s hard not to think that way when other members of this household leave all the time. Jim going to work is understandable (and they take every medical precaution to keep their staff and patients safe) but then what about the kids?

All of them have other parents and keep a schedule where they come and go. And we might have certain rules here but as soon as they are out that door, they are no longer bound by those rules.

For instance, we aren’t allowed to get fast food, takeout, or use door-dash or anything like that and can’t have people over. We’re eating what we have here at the house. That’s it.

Then I hear Jim’s son bragging about how he can’t wait to go back to his moms and his friend is going to pick him up so they can get Subway. He says “I don’t care if I get sick.” So, I get irate. What happens when he comes back to the house and starts putting his potentially contaminated hands all over the kitchen here? How is that ok?

It’s not just him. It’s my daughter too. She actually told me the biggest reason she wanted to go to her dads house was so she could drive through McDonald’s. At least she seemed a bit tentative about it and was not outwardly bragging. The arrogant bragging really, really rubs me the wrong way.

Like those ass-holes on spring break in Florida saying they don’t care if they get sick like the whole fucking world revolves around them. That’s the worst attitude to have about all this. So selfish. But thats Florida, far away from here. This attitude with Jim’s son makes me angry. This is supposed to be My house too and the health of me and my kids is paramount to me so how is it ok??!!

I feel like pressing Jim about it but I haven’t so far because he’s under enough stress. My alternative? I dunno.. going to the grocery store and visiting friends and maybe even getting my own sub-sandwich. It would be different because I’m not arrogant and I can take precautions to minimize risk. I hope my daughter is doing that too.

What else does going rogue look like. Perhaps loading up my bike and just finding a new trail somewhere to ride, all alone with nobody telling me which way to go or what to do. It’s supposed to be a nice day today. Temps close to 70. Though right now it’s kinda foggy and drizzly. I sure hope the sun comes out.

That’s all I got ya’ll. It’s enough.

Hoping to find some peace in my mind today,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-24 Turning My Frown Upside-Down

I don’t have anything positive to say today it seems. My mind is cycling through points of irritation about my ex-husband, my current husband’s son, and just not having enough time to get everything that “needs” doing done. Most of this has roots in the current state of the world and the Pandemic.

And frankly I’m so sick of thinking about it, a 7 hour workday with 4 conference calls is a welcome occurrence. What I would like to do is shift my attitude by focusing on the positive. Can I do it? Can it work? Let’s find out….

I still have a job where I can work and earn money in this time of financial uncertainty. Even if my husband was forced to stay home and had to take reductions or pauses in his paycheck, we would still be ok. Which extends to our children of course. But what about the rest of the fam?

I have one sister that manages a Trader Joes grocery store in Denver, which is an essential service so her job is secure.

I have another sister that works at a Google data center in Iowa which has also been tagged as an essential job function (by Google anyway) and in her words, “I’ll be there until I get sick or this is all over.” She’s looking at it negatively but I see that as a positive thing because she can still make moneys while some people don’t have the option. Her’s is a physical job.. server maintenance and stuff I think. It makes me wonder what the situation is with other data centers around the globe. What happens if there is nobody there to maintain the servers and we lose the internet?? 😱

My bro is also in Colorado and I think most of his job, like mine, can be done remotely. He’s an aerospace engineer for Ball. So he’s going to be ok too. His two kids are close to the same ages as mine. His daughter is home from her freshman year at college and his son is in HS and is at home for the duration too. We’re all safe in our houses, which is also a thing to be grateful for.

We have a safe place to sleep and enough food to eat. We have each other here to talk to. We can play games and watch shows and when the weather gets nice, I might even be able to convince my kids to go outside with me.

In fact. It’s supposed to be 60 today and close to 70 tomorrow. I really need to get out of the house for a walk in the fresh air. I admit I’m kind of a pansy when it comes to being outside and being cold, so the nicer weather is a prerequisite. See, I’m kinda spoiled too.

Today I do indeed have another long work day and I’m ok with that.

Well….

That didn’t seem to work. The second I ran out of things to type just now, my mind gravitated back to the situation with my ex and my son not wanting to go to his house. And just like that, back to a grumpy thought puzzle.

I can name at least 7 reasons why my son staying here is a better plan than going to spend time at his dads house. And no matter what my reasons are, my sons reasons and feelings are important too and I want to support that. He doesn’t want to go to his dad’s and that says a lot. I just have to suck it up and not be such a pushover. I also need to let it go, you know, the anger and worry. So what if C stays here? What’s his dad gonna do? Drive here and knock on our door. I don’t think so.

It’s hard for me to imagine how that would go down. I kind of start to daydream about my ex getting his ass handed to him (verbally at least) from my husband. They have met on the phone but not in person. What would it be like if THAT were their first time meeting in person??!! Priceless!! 😂

Ok.. so I guess that daydream is the thing that’s going to improve my mood so imma just roll with it.

Pretty soon now I’ve gotta get to work. I’m currently substituting jogging for Jazzercise (as long as my knees can take it anyway), so I gotta get my jog on now while I still have time.

Here’s to hoping you too can find your happy place,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-23 Navigating the New Monday

I realized yesterday that just being home doesn’t qualify as time I need to recharge my battery. I need time alone. There’s a big difference between me being home while everyone goes off to work and school when I can get down with my own intentions and plans and parting ways after breakfast where I’m still on the hook for every little thing that comes up.

I’m going to resist complaining too much about dishes, but my struggle is real. And believe me, I recognize the privilege in that, but I’ll just leave it by saying, I don’t really get a day off from my other job duties as assigned.

Yesterday my writing goal consisted of two things: 1.) Not bringing Covid into the picture and 2.) Writing a poem.

I did both so.. yay me!

I’m coming into today feeling like it’s ok if this wanders into thoughts about being quarantined for like 15 days. Yeah, 15 days ago was the last time I left the house to meet a friend or do anything that didn’t involve getting last minute supplies for the house.

It could be worse. We could be in California or New York or somewhere else in the world where it’s turning from disaster into nightmare. Here in Nebraska I feel like there were restrictions and recommendations that started to happen super-early and watching the rest of the world, it feels like a good call.

My kids were on spring break last week and so this is technically their first day of “remote learning”. For my school system that means that I’ve now got to be super involved in what they are doing with their days, continuing to use the resources we have to continue to be engaged in all subjects. Yup, they are putting it on the parents more than the teachers at this point so just add teacher to the list of my “other duties as assigned”. Whatever.

Right now I’m up and the whole house is still sleeping and I’ve got lots of my own stuff to do: school, work, reading for workshop, and lit mag stuff. I’m going to have to really work on navigating this “alone together” scenario. Even Jim is home today when normally he’d also be going to work.

In a non-Covid world he would be in Denver for a work conference and I’d either be there too visiting family or here with just the kids. And the kids would be in school of course. So today Jim has the day off and won’t go back until tomorrow. And being in healthcare, the picture of what that looks like is changing daily.

They are shifting to a tele-health model to continue to provide patient care for non-emergent cases that can be handled by video conference. It’s likely that by the end of the week, the in-office visits will be limited and that means they only need some of the staff. Of course, this could turn on a dime and get worse. Or, it could stay this way for 4 weeks and then start to get better.

I mean, if they lock down domestic travel and keep the community spread case numbers down, it could have that curve flattening effect everyone keeps talking about. Best case would be that they do get to re-open school in May. A girl can dream right??!!

My priority today is probably work stuff. At least that’s the direction my mind wants to go now. The last few weeks things have gone wild and I’ve worked more than I have in months. On one hand it’s been great but on the other it’s really cut into my schedule. I apparently don’t have a good handle on balance. No surprise there I guess.

Things this week will probably not be as crazy cuz the real project manager / scrum master is starting and she’s going to take some of the pressure off. She’s actually a friend of mine who lives in San Diego. It’s a crazy small world and the fact that we worked together 20 years ago at Methodist Hospital in Omaha and are now back together at a consulting company / dev shop that employs less than 25 people is wild.

It just so happens that we’ve both have connections back to one of the founders of our company through different channels. Me from a job I had in Omaha at a software dev company for 5 years and her from working at a hospital in California about 4 years ago. So her and I go way back and I’m excited to get to work with her again. I also know she’s a tough cookie with high standards so she’s gonna keep those devs in line!

My role on the team will start to shift this week from PM to project support. Working on organizing Jira tickets, adding the Epics, filling in fields and helping to prepare for our formal project kickoff with the customer. It’s a greenfield project which is super exciting for all the members of the team. And so far the interaction with the customer had been really good so it’s full speed ahead.

That’s probably a good place to stop and do the mic drop. 🎤

Welcome to the New Monday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-20 Best Laid Plans 🤷‍♀️

Today I’m going to try… really try to get through the last third of my manuscript and revise those pages based on feedback from my mentor. I have a call with him tomorrow.

***

I literally wrote that opening sentence 7 hours ago. I was called away by other duties as assigned and now it’s almost 4 in the afternoon. Wherever this Friday has been, it’s not been anywhere near what I was hoping for based on that sentence. I have not even opened a browser tab to access the feedback document or the thesis source document I’m editing in. Needless to say, I’ll probably be unprepared and winging it for that call tomorrow (not unlike other conversations I’ve been involved with lately).

The work thing has really blown up lately which is good, cuz $$$ but there’s a lot of big changes in general with life and it’s been leaving me feeling scattered. Like I said yesterday, at least when I’m working I’m mostly in a bubble and able to focus on the task at hand. With the school stuff, it’s a struggle. I think later today I’m gonna have to try. Maybe.

If I’m being completely honest, (and you know that’s the whole point of this right) … I haven’t showered in several days, my eating is askew and I’m just generally not feeling well. I keep taking my own temperature as if it’s suddenly going to register something different than yesterday even though I’ve been living under general quarantine for about 12 days. So yeah, paranoid.

I’ve been watching my kids and their spring break behavior, on laptops and computers for like 6 straight days now. In their rooms and not having any problem with it. I mean, my daughter is starting to have fast food withdrawal episodes but that’s about it for complaints. Are they just taking it so we’ll because they don’t realize yet it’s the end times? I dunno.

I also admit I got sucked into the FB vortex today and actually contributed to the noise. That’s how you know it’s truly the end.

Well, there you have it folks. Another post has spiraled into pandemic-y stuff. It’s like freaking unavoidable.

What else can I say? It’s Friday.. I’m gonna go take a shower and pour myself a bottle of red wine. Why not? I’m not going anywhere. To hell with goals.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. I’m back to using pics taken in Kauai for my featured image. Daydreaming myself into the past. Hard to believe that was just 5 weeks ago.

2020-03-19 All Roads Lead to Madness

I’ve been awake since 5 am after sleeping less than 6 hours. I’d like to let my brain wander around for a while on things that are not pandemic related, but it’s a challenge. I have six hours of work meetings today and that’s something I might typically groan about but my outlook on it today is that’s it’s fantastic!

For six solid hours my brain will be occupied with functional requirements, project organization, and diving into the technical architecture that’s going to support a new system my company is developing. Six solid hours I can ignore the world in chaos and do something I’m good at and enjoy and also contribute to a team. So good.

To be fair, I have plenty to do on the school and writing fronts but somehow it’s not the same. The second I pick up a book to read or open my laptop with the intent to work on writing my thesis preface, my mind starts to wander….

What in the world will happen tomorrow? Do we have enough supplies? Should we get cash out of the bank? Do we need to go fill our gas tanks? How bad is it going to get? How do I keep my kids safe? Will we be ok if we get sick? Will there be enough resources and people if that happens? Do I let my kids go back to their dads house?

“Stay home” .. I get it. But it’s tough. People need people. Even us introverts.

Yesterday I went to Whole Foods just because, you know. I don’t know. Like somehow the grocery store seems safe and it’s one of the places that’s stayed operational in other countries cuz they provide basic needs. When I told Jim about it he basically said not to again. Not right now anyway.

Ok, so this is a little rant-y and I know I need to suck it up and put my big girl pants on but I’m just feeling so trapped. He’s still going to work of course which is also being affected but that’s a lot of exposure to the general population. If we get sick, it will likely start with him. And I’m just now thinking through this but it’s terrifying. That we are higher targets because of his profession.

Then all of a sudden the pendulum in my head swings the other way and I’m 100 percent behind eliminating as many other variables as possible. That includes me going to the post office and grocery and vIsit friends and anywhere else I might really really want to go and do.

I have a friend that’s recently moved to town and I really want to go visit with her, but have been told no. My mom is moving this weekend (which was all planned long ago), and we promised we’d help move boxes and stuff to her new place and now we can’t. I’m starting to think about all the people I meet with regularly and I’m bummed.

I also want to make sure everyone is ok so I keep peeking in on social media. Then I find chaos and just can’t. Ugh!

On my agenda today is to call my darling daughters work to see what their plan is for protecting employees. That seems a little intrusive but if daughter is just going to shrug when I ask her, I’m going to take matters into my own hands.

I would think they would have communicated out to employees already (they are a fast food restaurant), but she’s not forthcoming if they have. She’s still in “spring break land”, staying up late and sleeping a lot during the day. Anyway, she often works the drive through which is likely still open.

That means handling money and credit cards from people and it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you can make a mistake. It only takes one. I want her to quit that stupid job. She doesn’t need it right now. She really doesn’t.

As for my son? He’s in the happiest of happy places. He’s also on spring break and remote learning has not started yet. He’s been gaming all day and night on his PC and his friends just started a new online D and D campaign last night. I’m the coolest mom ever because I let him set up an old PC that nobody is using in his room so he can have the game map up on one monitor and his character profile on another monitor (we don’t have the eq for dual monitors for one PC).

He would be happy with this setup in perpetuity. It’s going to be interesting when those online lesson plans start rolling in next week. I’m going to have to spend a whole lot more time monitoring his school work. I’m seriously not looking forward to that.

See?!!!… I’ve just gone off on a whole pandemic rant / tangent when all I want to do is talk about normal stuff. What’s normal though? Even the weather is going to be crazy today. High of 68 degrees and low of 18 with thunderstorms!!!

It’s now 7:15 AM and 50 degrees out and the thunder has started. Perhaps I’ll go back to bed for a bit and listen to the rain. My work meeting marathon starts at 9:30 so I’ve got time.

On that note. My time is up and whatever it is, I’ve got to go something else.

With Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-18 What’s really on that glass container you are holding?…

(Yup, another one of those articles you have to read and endure all the way to the bottom to get the answer.)

I’m a serious creature of habit and I like routine. It often means I dig my heels in and get stubborn about how things go but it also means I can easily get stuck in a rut. However, there are sometimes there are glimpses at inner rebellion where I get an itch to change something or suddenly decide that some aspect of normal is just not good enough.

There’s a lot of ways this could go today, because not only I’m thinking about how to best structure my day to conform to the new normal and also what I can do to break out of the box.

As I’ve said, aside from stocking up with supplies and not getting to go to any meetups or Jazzercise, my routine hasn’t really changed much. In truth, I should have more time now to focus on work and school and parenting but somehow I’m not.

I was asked to limit my socialization several weeks ago and I can tell it’s affecting my mental health. Knowing you can’t do something you normally would messes with your brain. I’ve got social anxiety but that doesn’t mean I’m not bothered by no-contact rules with some of my favorite peeps. Thank goodness for the internet.

And nope, not talking about social media because I still dislike most of those platforms. I participate minimally. I say thank goodness for the internet and the technology to have virtual meet ups.

Aside from my once a week writing group which is mostly just text chatting online and facilitated writing sessions. I haven’t had a lot of communication with folks via similar chat or Skype or FaceTime sessions. Last night was my first experiment.

It was a little gathering of mostly my writing group peeps plus another gal from the MFA program. We all hopped on a zoom meeting and actually got to chat face to face. I’m the one who set it up but was also the one with technical audio issues with my laptop. Go figure! 🙄

Now that I’ve got all that figured out, my brain is working on how to use this tool to turn my would be coffee and lunch dates into events that can still happen. For gawd sake.. I just realized I’m talking about talking on the telephone. Seriously?! 🤦🏼‍♀️

I mean the cool thing about last night was actually getting to see people, so perhaps I’m not just talking about phone calls but FaceTime. Anyway, just one of the things I’m thinking about as I also ponder what the near future looks like.

As I’ve said already, we (and I mean I) stocked our household with groceries and supplies weeks ago and so we are set for disaster (for the most part). But until the idea of being stuck at the house for several weeks sinks into the teenage brain, you don’t get much response from the question “I’m going to the store, what do you need?”

This is now sinking in. My darling daughter sent me a text message at 2:30 am Monday night with her list. She finally realized what was happening (despite school being called off and info being all over the internet). I think what made the lightbulb go off was the fact that we told her no fast food and no leaving the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. (She persists for days on fast food some weeks so it’s a big change).

Her list still consisted of mostly junk food and things she wanted to make sure we have so she can bake cookies and brownies, but at least it was a list.

So I went back to the grocery store. Early AM (my regular local market which is the Walmart market which is just a grocery store).

It was interesting to see what items were completely gone or mostly picked over. Yup, no TP as I’ve heard. The milk and eggs were also almost out but there was still plenty of cheese to be had. The produce also looked pretty stocked so that’s good. There’s no soap or hand sanitizer and the cleaning supply aisle doesn’t have much left. It’s just fascinating. Human behavior is odd sometimes.

In other news my Jazzercise classes can now be done at hone (by watching a video). I’m on the fence about that. More than half the reason I go is for accountability and being with a group pushes me to work harder. If it’s just me in a room, what’s to stop me from just taking a seat or just shrugging and turning it off? I should give it a shot before I rule it out. We’ll see.

In other news… I left the house 3 times yesterday. First it was the grocery store. Then it was the post office. Then it was to the glass recycling center which is just a big green bin outside at about 102nd and I Street. Yup.. I loaded up all the glass that’s collected at our house in the past two months and tossed it all in the big green bin.

It’s strangely satisfying to throw a bunch of glass and listen to it bounce and shatter. And you can get angry and think about something that makes you mad and just channel all that energy into the act. A lot of pent up anger at my stupid ex husband now lives in that bin and has presumably been carted off, crushed, melted, and turned into new glass.

Think about that the next time you drink something from a glass container. What your holding could contain some tiny sliver of SugarCookie emotions/energy. That is, if emotions can travel on and inside the surfaces and molecules of inanimate objects.

Hey.. if viruses 🦠 can, then why not??!!

My agenda today includes staying away from social media and the news and just hunkering down to make progress on a few work and school projects. There’s a few official meetings on the books. Later I might even try to get my kids in the same room to play a board game. 🤷‍♀️

That’s it for this hump day ya’ll.

Enjoy the rain or sun or snow or whatever nature is bringing your way today.

~Miss SugarCookie