2019-09-16 Just Shrugging Along

Monday again and I had class which felt really long today. We finished a class exercise we started last week and it took 77 minutes. I didn’t count .. the prof was apparently keeping track. It makes me realize these things are sometimes just as tedious (or more so) for the person dreaming up, conducting discussions about, and then grading assignments. There’s a teeny-tiny fraction of a percent in me that thinks that would be good, fulfilling work. Working with aspiring writers. Watching them grow and flower. The rest of me is like.. “nope”.

If I ever become a teacher I think middle school would be my main Jam. Fresh minds who need to be introduced. Not jaded human beings who have already suffered enough to want to write through their pain. I dunno. /shrug

Anyway.. class was ok and I happily turned in my poems and reading response and feel good about that. Rewind one hot minute Before that and next week’s assignment was passed around. This weekly class thing, yeah, I remember how this works. Kinda. I’ve been spoiled by a program with big deliverables and deadlines but a lot of time in between to work with. We have to be good at time management (which is sometimes a problem for me because of procrastination), but I can crank it out if I need to. /shrug

Monday again and the kids are back and I’m catching up on the parenting thing, checking grades and trying to cook a meal. My Son is already struggling and I went to bat for him convincing the powers that be that he can do well if he’s motivated. He said he wanted to take AP World History. “It’s one of the toughest classes at the high school”, I said to him.

He said “I know, I can do it”. I want very much for him to be right. I want him to show them what I already know.. that he’s a very intelligent. He has a logical, and strategic mind. He’s got a huge capacity for vocabulary and great reading comprehension. He just needs to be interested or he shuts off. Now I know life doesn’t hand you “interesting” on a silver platter calling it your life. Nope. But in this one case I’m hoping he’s not all talk and no action. What’s a mom to do? /shrug

My darling daughter had a baby sitting gig this evening and I had about 10 whole minutes to figure dinner out (because of unexpected traffic after class) and I said “chicken in a skillet and Mac and cheese?”. She said “no”.

I said “pizza rolls?” She said “ok”. I made pizza rolls in the toaster oven (and started the chicken and Mac for C and I). When she came down the stairs she looked at the plate with a frown, “I’m not eating that and I don’t have time anyway”. She grabbed a package of pop tarts and went out the door. Grrrrr.

The pizza rolls were offered to every other human in the house and it was a big fat round of “no”s. Fine. Whatever.

I ate 3 to spite them and dumped the other 9 in the trash. /Shrug

I mean none of the things on the menu tonight were very healthy. I admit it. I didn’t go to the grocery store today for supplies. I’ll go tomorrow. /shrug

What else is there? (I’m doing an hour on the treadmill tonight to make up for the lack of exercise I did today, my butt in a chair most of the day). I dunno. Work maybe? There’s been a flare-up in the last few weeks and right now it feels like the hours I’ve put in are pro-bono. There no bucket to log my time and I know how this goes. We gotta our in some work and then if the project gets picked up for real, then it will be billable.

What can I say? I’m on the bench right now and they are still covering my health insurance. So I kinda feel like I owe my employer anyway, for keeping me on and covered. So I do the requested tasks, which are all not too difficult, and see where it leads. /shrug

Speaking of health insurance. My kids still don’t have any. And my ex is ignoring my requests to help pay. He’s a total ass-hat and I’m going through paperwork which is super painful with the DHHS and the hospital. I hate hate hate it! I don’t want to think about that or it will pull me from my /shrug down to mind on fire driving a burning stake straight through his left eyeball. Nobody wants that.

Simmer down.

Simmer down.

/shrug

That’s better.

I’m on a new sleeping plan prescribed by my fiancé. We are, one thing at a time, eliminating factors that impact our sleep negatively to try and find the thing that’s going to help improve the situation.

Step 1: Remove the cats from the bedroom area. No more walking back and forth all night, taking baths right by my ear, and sleeping with their fluffy bits in my face.

Step 2: Stop drinking water several hours before bed to reduce waking up to go. Yes, we’re old. Whatever.

Step 3: Use a noise app to generate white noise. Not sure why that’s a thing but I know lots of people who can’t sleep if it’s too quiet.

Step 4: Reduce caffeine intake. Oh, this! We’ll see. Never really been successful trying to do this. Willpower = weak sauce. More on that in another post soon I am sure. Maybe /shrug

Fitbit now has a “sleep score” and even if you get like 8 hours, it can still be poor. Though I’m sure duration is a factor in that score. So all of my nights of sleep are “fair”, not good. Good would be my new goal though hitting my last goal, 7 solid hours was a dream realized only for a short time before it tanked again. Makes me think my issues are chronic and or age related.

Yet, Jim is hopeful this will work for me so I have to have a little faith too. Still… /shrug

Times up! Time to shrug my way into pajamas and onto the couch.

Xoxo,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-04-24 Today I’m Cutting My Hair

I’m definitely still adjusting to all the changes in my life. Sometimes I still can’t believe the path I’m on now and sometimes, in a quiet moment when I have space to reflect on my life, I question the Universe and it’s grand plan. It is in those instances that I return to doubt. Life doesn’t ever pause to allow thoughts to catch up with reality. It’s a train on the tracks and Time is the engineer with a hand on the accelerator. Do we really have control over what happens next? Once we choose a thing and it’s set in motion, it feels very much out of our hands. Or at least that is how I feels to me.

Last night I helped Jim install some new solar powered lights in the back yard. Our back yard. My back yard. I held the string of lights and fed them up to him on the ladder as he strung them around and across branches. We hung some above the hammock and some in the tree outside the greenhouse. I just stood there thinking “I live in a house that has a greenhouse and a hammock in the back yard”. I chose Jim and he chose me and now we live together in this giant house that sometimes feels overwhelming. I’m still not quite used to that.

What if I change my mind or, the Universe help me, he changes his??! I quit my job, you know, and in 4 weeks I will no longer have income or responsibility to a company for doing a job. That’s kind of freaking me out. I mean, before I met Jim and was going through the most difficult struggle of my life I quit my job and took 6 months off of work to figure my shit out.

At that time, I had boundaries. I had a finite amount of money to work with in my savings and knew I had a set amount of time before I had to find a job and start working again. I had a mortgage and two teenagers to raise. I knew things would be ok. I did not really worry about finding a job because there’s an endless amount of work that needs doing in my chosen field. It didn’t feel like a risk and I used those six months to search my soul and find the answers I was looking for. And find them I did.

It led me to my MFA program. My passion for writing was re-ignited. That time also allowed me to discover how important sleep and exercise and healthy eating are. I realized how precious time and life experiences are. I found magic moments with my children that I had been missing out on because I was always working and always tired. I discovered all of that and just as I was navigating my way back to the “working” world and trying to figure out how to balance that with everything else that I had come to realize was way more important, I met Jim. After that, everything changed again.

Now here I am a year later and on the precipice of yet another big life change. But this time, the decision to quit comes without the same boundaries as before. I don’t have to check my bank account balances daily and I don’t have to think about how I’m going to pay my bills. This time, My unemployment has no ticking clock attached. Believe it or not, that’s scary.

My career is a big part of who I am. I’ve worked in healthcare IT for 23 years. In that time I’ve amassed a fair bit of knowledge and expertise and rose to the top of every job I had. At social gatherings, when meeting new people, someone always asks, “what do you do?”.

I always briefly explain my work and knowing how extremely uninteresting it is, I quickly move the conversation elsewhere. The point is, the “thing” I do isn’t going to be the thing I do anymore. What am I going to say to people when they ask?

“I’m a mother” , “I’m a housewife”, “I’m a gardener”, “I’m a traveler”, “I’m a student” , “I’m a writer”. I just have so much doubt in all of these things.

I was always great at my job and I’m afraid I’m just failing at everything else. As I helped Jim hang those lights it kinda made me feel small. I used to be the one on the ladder and now I’m just supporting other people who are. Like I said, sometimes it feels freeing and sometimes it just freaks me out.

The train keeps rolling on the tracks and I’m just sitting on the top with the breeze blowing my hair. Speaking of hair..

I’ve noticed that my hair is getting too long and the ends are stringy and thin. It’s definitely time for a haircut. At least there is one thing I don’t have doubts about. ✂️⏰😜 Time for a visit to the ‘Salon de Punteney’.

Losing Some Locks and Searching for Keys,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-21 Downhill Slide + 10 Random Things

We’re finally on the downhill slide to the weekend and I know I do a better job of planning to get some rest and relaxation than actually doing it, but it feels like this weekend might actually be the first “low key, no commitment” one that I have had in a while. Now if only I could prevent myself from making a to-do list or feeling guilty for NOT being as productive as I could be.

Yesterday was a doozie and now that all that is over, I feel that a weight of stress has been lifted off me. I still have the same deadlines I had yesterday but there’s just something about being more than half over with the week and having the bulk of the weekly meetings behind me that is just a relief. By now all the conversations about my cutting back to part time have been had and we are targeting mid-May for my roll-off of my big project. That was fast and is also probably part of the reason I’m feeling better today. Having that solid finish line in sight is a great feeling. Now I can turn my attention back to the other important things in my life.. the kids, Jim, school, etc. It just feels right.

Years from now I know I’ll did the right thing. I can’t see a future where I’ll ever regret putting myself and my family first.

That’s how it should be and what I have to absolutely remember going forward is to really think about future “offers” before saying ‘yes’ and committing my time. I didn’t really think about the implications before accepting this last project and frankly didn’t understand the contracting world. In my head I was just still working an hourly job and missed the fine print about what the expectations were. They were more than I anticipated and that was part of the problem.

Now I have to live with the fact that people are disappointed in me and also probably a little put-off by my “quitting”. I have to deal with that and staying with the company is tougher because I still work with some of the people who harbor those feelings. I’m sure my worry about that will soften over time, but it’s still too fresh.

That’s enough about that. I’m going to finish this one off today with 10 quick random things in my mind (potential future topics perhaps)…

1. My darling Z is on a field trip to South Dakota today to do a college visit/tour. My baby’s getting ready to fly.

2. The basement has water in it and we’re tearing out brand-new carpet pad this week. The flooding in the area is bonkers.

3. I had a dream about Josh last night.

4. I submitted some poems to a contest. A rare thing indeed.

5. I’m now apparently enrolled in Spanish 1 at the high school because my Son is failing and I have to learn along with him to help him through it.

6. I’m going to Spain in April!

7. I haven’t slept past 5:30am Amy day yet this week.

8. It’s going to be almost 60 degrees out today and I want to go play outside.

9. I haven’t had coffee all week.

10. Our birds (zebra finches) are tending new eggs in the nest they built 6 weeks ago.

That’s it for today. Time to go make this one count!

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-20 Is it Friday Yet⁉️✅✅✳️‼️

Ummmm… no. I’m definitely feeling that mid week “pile up” where more things are being added to the list than are actually getting done. In true SugarCookie form, I have an actual list to prove it.

This week I’m crossing the finish line with my house closing, beginning to transfer ownership of my main project at work, and trying to finalize plans for the next big SugarCookie adventure. That means I have competing priorities and don’t have time to get distracted by shiny objects. At the moment, I’m putting some energy into my steps and cardio which I neglected yesterday because of those aforementioned things. It feels great!

I’m at my gym on my beloved elliptical machine and it’s a nice reminder of what my body and mind need to work at their maximum potential. If I elevate myself, then I will for sure get more out of myself for the rest of this oh-so-random Wednesday. #truth

This morning I pulled the trigger on what I think is the last thing I have to go to “my house” for. I left a nice note with a gift card for the family moving in today. I’m grateful for such nice people (as far as I can tell) taking ownership of the place that was my sanctuary and my home for 3 years. I think this will be the last time I write about it and in case you missed it, I love that house. That’s how it should be.

The closing isn’t until Friday so moving in 48 hours early is atypical but I agreed to it. They have 5 kids and a newborn that is less than a month old, so it’s just the right thing to do. I try to operate on the principal that what you give comes back to you. Things have worked out for me which makes my faith in that concept stronger. ✅💚✅

Now that that is checked off my list for today I can turn my attention to work. That’s where the real pile-up is happening. I realized yesterday that I’m now spending about 50% of my time on meetings – preparing for them, facilitating and taking notes, and then communicating on follow ups and action items. It’s a lot to keep track of. Again, I only have 20 hours a week to spend on this project so now I only have about 10 hours to do actual scripting and work on the SSIS package. It’s not enough. 🙄

Still, it is what it is and I’m doing the best I can. My replacement started this week already but he won’t have access to the network or servers for another month or two. That’s how long it takes to get through the security process. In the mean time I have to figure out how to transfer all my knowledge and get help on tasks that are slipping. My boss keeps telling me “everything is fine” but I’m the one in the trench facing the onslaught of unfinished tasks. Like I told him last Friday, someone else might be able to do the scripting faster, a thing that takes me two hours might take him or someone else half or a third of that. They hired an interface person and not an sql expert. I’ve learned a ton but each thing just takes too long (in my opinion). That’s enough about stupid work!! 😜

Rounding out the priority trifecta is my next big trip which has been very tentative until this week. As of Monday, though, we officially have airline tickets to go to Barcelona in April! Hellz Yeah!! Spain was on my bucket list but not Jim’s. As fate would have it, things just worked out and after researching just a little, he’s super excited about it now too. The next step is researching lodging and I’m taking the lead on that.

I think that’s enough going on for a day-in-the-life. I’m gonna try to keep my head down and get a shit ton today and when it’s over, I’ll be one day closer to Friday.

Peace Out, ☮️ & 💟

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-16 Tempting Fate and Thumbing My Nose at “The Ides”

As predicted nothing ever goes as predicted. Chew on that sentence for a hot minute. This is true for what I “thought” might happen on Thursday when I met with my boss. I was as ready as one could be but as fate would have it, he didn’t ask me how things were going. I let it go. It was 3pm and I had a prior commitment coming up and didn’t want to short change myself on taking my time.

It was fortuitous as that gave me just one more day to talk things over with Jim and really be sure about all the possible ways it could go. It also meant, however, that if I was going to have the conversation before the end of the week it would have to be on Friday, March 15th – – “The Ides”!! 😱

Not a great day to tempt fate and go out on a limb. Oh yeah, it’s also “THAT” time of the month I’m typically super emotional and making decisions and letting the feelings drive is not a good idea. So all the stars were aligned for me to hold off and keep quiet until Monday. So what did I do?

I went with my instinct and against what my head might dictate, ha! I just did not want to have the anxiety and uncertainty hanging over me all weekend. I just wanted it to be over so I could relax. What’s the “big deal” again? Oh yeah, I’m ending my contract when it’s up in April (originally written for 6 months) and not taking the extension that everyone probably assumes would happen since the project isn’t over until sometime in December. In simpler terms, I’m requesting to be removed from the project. However, to be clear, my intent was not to quit. I still have another contract I’m working.

In essence I’m saying “I can’t do this one anymore, but I still want that one”. Yeah, I pretty much want to have my cake and eat it too. (Except I don’t like cake. 😜) My ex-husband would say that’s classic. I always want things my way. To that I say “who fucking doesn’t??!!”. He certainly did and in the end he got what he wanted – his freedom. I digress.

Yes, it’s true, I want what I want and you don’t get what you do t ask for and I’m tired of the pressure and stress I’m feeling week in and week out and all the times I was being asked if I could just work more hours. I had to say no eventually and sobehow it still feels shallow or selfish that I say it’s for the sake of my family and school commitment. That’s very curious and I wonder why but wasn’t dwelling on it too much because I didn’t want it to impede my decision to ask to have my hours reduced.

In any case, I was done with the majority of my work for the day Friday and was finally at a good stopping point and decided it was time. Not “now or never”, just “now”. One thing I did predict correctly is that as soon as I opened the door for the conversation it would happen in less than 15 minutes. Meaning, I messaged my bosses and within 15 minutes they would be on a call with me. That’s exactly what happened.

I let them know I was going to be reading a statement. I said “if this sounds prepared, it’s because it is. Please let me get through it and then let’s discuss”. And that’s also exactly what happened.

I tried to be prepared for all outcomes, which ranged from me getting fired to them saying yes to all parts of my “request”. That’s probably the biggest reason my heart was pounding so and my voice was shaking as I made my way through 4 tough paragraphs. The reaction was a supportive one and one that was more positive than I had thought would be. They “understand” and want to work together to do the best thing for everyone. That means we landed somewhere in the middle between the two endpoints.

I’ll roll off the project.. not by the seemingly “arbitrary” date in the contract but in May or Mid-june at the latest. They almost immediately named a replacement for me (doesn’t that sound familiar?) and said that I could still work whatever hours are needed for the other contract as we roll into summer (and the start of school). So.. I didn’t get fired and I still have my cake. What do you think about that??!

Frankly, I’m just relieved the conversation is over and the reality hasn’t sunk in yet. There’s been so many other things going on in the last 48 hours that I’ve barely had a minute to catch my breath. I could do s whole other post about all of that (and I think I might need to), but this one is just all about the day I came nose to nose with The Ides and showed it who was boss.

Now… I’m going to try and relax and enjoy the rest of my weekend. It’s been a long time since I didn’t have my kids or other commitments I had to attend to and for the rest of Saturday and Sunday I’m going to take advantage of it!!

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-14 Go Time

Well .. folks.. something in my gut tells me that today is the day I’ll be pulling the trigger on initiating the tough conversation with my bosses that has been building for quite some time. I really wasn’t planning on it until next week but the timing and other factors have aligned and it feels like it could go down this afternoon.

Of course to try and plan the timing and orchestrate the right moment is fools play. Life will always be unpredictable. I might think that the one on one tech review meeting I have with one of my bosses this afternoon will end with him asking me the questions “how are you doing? How are you feeling about things?”. I predict that because that’s almost always how he ends these sessions. It opens the door for me to initiate the conversation I need to have with him.

However, I need my other boss present to hear what I have to say AND sometimes these meetings do get cut short with one of the two of us having another commitment immediately following. At the very least I can defer him and request that we schedule a time when all three of us can be available. The unpredictable part is that could be “right now” and it could be later in the afternoon or evening. I don’t foresee them asking to schedule tomorrow or later, that’s not how they roll. Fortunately I’m available all day and open to meet anytime, and even tomorrow or over the weekend if that did come to pass.

Anyway, that’s how I think things will unfold and I’m ready with my “statement”. With these sorts of things it probably comes as no surprise that I have compose a document that is word-for-word what I want to say. Having that eases my mind that I choose all the right words in the right order and don’t leave anything out. I knew I was having this tech review today which caused me to be awake at midnight thinking about it. That’s when I took my notes and formulated what I want to say. It wasn’t until after that that my mind was at ease enough to go back to sleep (which also required half a Xanax).

Now it’s just past 9 and I have to get rolling with my workday soon. It really is a full set of meetings and all things considered I should have no problem getting 5 or 6 hours in today. I’ll have to be ok with sacrificing some of my morning cardio today, but these sacrifices feel temporary now. Well, as long as I don’t chicken out!

Wish me Luck! 🐓🐓🐓

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-13 Leaps of Faith

Yesterday turned out to be a good day despite all of the anxiety that I am feeling around things going on with work and with my house. After I wrote out what I was feeling about the upcoming conversation I’m going to have with my boss (or bosses ) about my involvement in various projects I felt better and that was followed by a day where I really only did a minimum amount of work for the “dreaded” project.

Instead my time was spent on the “other” project and also taking care of business for my house. I went to the title company office and signed about a gazillion papers releasing the property. It was a bitter-sweet moment. I was alone, a single girl who has built a life and made great choices. I bought that house on my own. Not that I have anything to prove to anyone, but my dedication and commitment to working and pursuing more has paid off. I did that on my own and hopefully it’s a good example for my children.

Yes, I tried hard for too long to be everything for everyone and learned the lesson of what that can do to a person the hard way. The changes in my status over the years, both professionally and with relationships, are a result of choices I had some control over. I own that. I hope my kids can see that too and that ultimately I had to make “course corrections”, because we have to be in control of our own fate. Though I know they will have to learn their own lessons in life and that, at times, it will be tough. That’s just life.

Now I’m “giving up” that single life and autonomy for a new adventure. I’m beginning a life as one half of a team… the best, most supportive team. We will make decisions together and he’s accepted me and my children and all the nuances that come with that and I have accepted him and his burdens as well. In turns, we will take care of each other. I always say that you can’t predict what will happen tomorrow, but I suspect it’s going to be pretty fucking great.

As a single person who has been treated poorly in relationships and suffered through divorce and come out of all of that successful – financially secure, happy, and healthy, it takes a great measure of trust to give up independence. I’m not going to sugar-coat this next bit. This “leap of faith” was made so much easier by virtue of the fact that it means I don’t have to try so hard anymore for that financial security.

The burden of monthly bills is being lifted and now I will have more freedom to chose what work I do (or don’t do). That’s what makes the conversation I’m having with my bosses this week possible. If I was dependent on that paycheck, I would be stuck. Yes, I could always quit and get a new job, but that’s a tough road too. Now I can be bold and tell them what I want and need and if they don’t agree, I can exit. How that story will turn out remains to be seen, but it will be soon.

Obviously other factors for this path I am on now are required… Jim is awesome and crazy about me. He’s a thoughtful, hard working person and has been so supportive of all my choices already. From School to work to issues with my Ex, he’s listened and offered advice. All of that makes me more confident about selling my house and surrendering that independence.

As of yesterday, that’s a done deal. I’m in it now and that’s what people mean when they vow “for better or worse”. It sounds a lot like marriage and even though we are not there yet, it’s tougher to go through all the emotional strain of moving and negotiating house sales and making sure the kids are good and blending our families in daily life than it is to stand in front of some people and say some vows. Well physically doing the standing and vowing will be easy but the actual life-long commitment part maybe not so much.

I’ve got a whole other post about marriage brewing but I’m not “there” yet with it. One big thing at a time. Last month it was the move and settling in, this month it’s the house, and next is the job sitch. I’ll tackle “wedding planning” at some point but I gotta slow the roll or end up with emotional overload.

Today aside from one meeting I have with my financial advisor, I’ve got no other plans.. well aside from work to do on my “dreaded” project. I’ve continued to be focused on the project I worked on over the weekend to finish the second iteration of our deliverable and still “owe” about 16 hours of work to my main project. If I work 5 or 6 hours in it for the next three days, I should roll into the weekend all good.

It will be my first weekend without the kids in like 5 weeks and what I need is a lot of QT with my sweetie and some nice R and R. I’m really looking forward to that.

Time now to go “earn” that.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie