2020-05-23 Laundry Day 🐱

Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time. I was on such an emotional edge almost all day and barely made it through all the things I had to do.

I participated in an early meeting with a client in which my only responsibility was to take notes and have my brain on to ask intelligent questions. I had no intelligent questions and spent most of the meeting with my head down on the desk. It’s a good thing that everything is Zoom and with the customer it’s audio only.

To be honest, I’m all Zoomed out.

The second meeting was out daily internal team meeting. I said “fuck it” nobody reads these notes anyhow so I didn’t take notes. I mean, I like having the notes because Confluence makes it easy to search for stuff and when people ask about a certain thing, it makes me seem like a damn genius because I have the answer in like a minute.

Again, had my head down listening to the same broken record conversation as every day and thinking about Z and C and how effed up things are right now, I wept. I literally put myself on mute and fought really hard to keep myself together but then let go.

I was also getting FB instant messenger notifications on my phone from my writing group and one of my friends was going through the loss of a pet and I knew that’s what it was about and it just hurts me to think of her hurting and to remember loosing Louie Louie. My sweet first pet as an adult. It was just all too much.

I took some time in the afternoon to get some more of my annuals in pots before the rain came and then it was back inside for my third meeting of the day… sprint retrospective.

This time I was up front about not taking notes. I told the PM before hand that I was having a tough day and didn’t feel like the internal notes for this wasn’t really necessary. Which was self-serving, but whatever.

This time I had more to say so I had to pay attention for my opportunities. The project is on two week sprints and the devs have established a bad pattern of not getting their tickets done. They are supposed to do their work, internal code reviews with each other and then merge all the code changes into the dev branch where KK and I can log in and do QA testing. The tickets can’t be closed until we QA them. So if they wait until the last day of the sprint (or even worse, the weekend after), KK and I are stuck testing on the weekend. That fucking sucks!

She’s the PM and responsible for steering the ship and helping correct that behavior, but there was some serious push back and discussion. If it does not change with the next sprint (after which we release a new version to the customer), it’s going to murder us. I know it’s going to happen again and that makes me want to cry too.

Last time we released to the customer we went into Friday with so much broken it was sickening. We worked our asses off all weekend. Our bosses bought us lunch on Sunday and the week after I received flowers from the company.

To that I say, that’s nice.. and thoughtful, and appreciated, but it doesn’t make up for the lost time with family or the anxiety that affects my health. If I’m burned out or dead, I’ll be useless to the project. It’s disturbing.

What did I not have to do?

I basically ducked out of three different personal meetups yesterday. Virtual happy hour with my company and I was so wrecked that was the last thing I wanted to do. Another one on one with a friend who I’ve been trying to connect with for a while and I just reached out to her to reschedule. And a third meetup with Josh who wanted to meet in person and I just wasn’t in the mood for dealing with the anxiety of that, nor did I feel like getting in my car to drive to meet him. You know, putting real clothes on and trying to make it look like I hadn’t been crying all morning.

So that’s me venting. And I let go last night and drank a bunch and Jim and I had a good night of saying “fuck it” to everything. We got take out. We talked all evening and I have no idea what time we stumbled to the bedroom.

Today I’m not doing any laundry, except maybe airing this dirty nonsense.

I’ve got work to do. I’ve got lit mag stuff to do. And Z Is coming back home so we can hang out more just the two of us.

My aim? Balance and restoration.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.
Happy Caturday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-11 No Rest For the Wicked

I worked all weekend. I didn’t have a weekend. It’s Monday and I’m exhausted. And there’s miles to go and I don’t even have time to say what I want to say or write what I want to write or have the quality time I so desperately need.

A person can do this for a while. You know, but it’s not sustainable and the Universe help me if I haven’t learned my lesson by now. So many trips around the sun. So many missed opportunities to gaze at the moon. Life has handed my a good life on a silver platter and I waste it. Shame, shame, shame on me.

I’m hanging my head low and at the same time, my heart races to dive into things. There’s a light in my eyes when I see the shiny things. And somehow, I just, just can’t help myself.

I do want to get specific here. I owe myself more than these nebulous thoughts. I want to remember what it was today when I get to tomorrow and today turns into yesterday, before yesterday fades into the past.

But there’s no time now. Damnit!!

My fingers are crossed for today and tomorrow.

Tick-Tock,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-30 Balance and Flow

When you put in the work, sometimes it sucks. But man oh man does it feel good when you’re close to the finish line.

That’s how I’m finally feeling today after putting myself in a box for the last three days. Not only did I need to crank out some pages for my MFA thesis preface, but I also had to complete another round of revisions on the actual manuscript. The due date my mentor and I chose together was last Friday, but he gave me a pass cuz, well the whole world is in chaos for one thing.

And though it’s no excuse, I’m also now being expected to pick up as many extra hours at work as I possibly can. This is mostly because my husbands income is being reduced during this challenging time.

My boss and my team are coming out guns blazing on a new project and I put my PM hat on for the three weeks while the real project manager was wrapping up her current gig. She started last week, thank goodness. I still worked like a full time chimp but this week I’m going to dial it back.

I’m gonna ease into a support role. I love my new PM, for real. She’s a fellow princess. My nickname for her is Princess KK and hers for me is Princess SheShy. Those names were established in the 90’s when we last worked together and became friends. After that she moved on to bigger and better things while I remained in Nebraska.

She’s a rockstar at both team and project management. She can have all that shit. Imma sit over in my corner of the universe taking notes and writing documentation and adding detail to the Jira tickets and confluence. That’s my happy place, keeping quiet and only interjecting when I feel something is really important. It will be easier to keep my damn mouth shut with such a strong leader.

The other thing that starts today for real is online learning for my kids. Last week was dedicated to “enrichment learning” while the teachers figured out their plans for how to teach in their pajamas.

When I pressed my son about doing enrichment work, he just said “mom, nobody is doing that.” He spent most of the week playing video games. My co-workers tried to make me feel better by saying that playing video games was enrichment. Haha! This weekend my email in-box was flooded with tons of instructions and links from all their teachers. Sure, the kids got these also, but who do you think will be responsible for making sure they actually get up and out of bed and on the Zoom meetings? There will be assignments and video instruction and quizzes and tests online.

Yeah.. all that starts today. I have to remind myself that balance is key and also try and take my friend Michelle’s advice and go with the flow. Give myself a little slack you know, partially because it is a stressful time in the world but also because I’m only human and can’t freaking do everything perfectly all the time.

Anyway, all that time in the box this past weekend was rough but I feel great about my progress and almost ready to send those pages off to my mentor. That’s my priority this morning (besides finally getting back to walking on my treadmill and writing).

At 10am I have a two hour work meeting and so the homeschooling will be delayed for a few hours today.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Balance and flow. Time to go.

Peace and Love!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-12-15 The One About Old Dogs and New Tricks

Ok.. I’ve really tried the last couple weeks to keep the ranting to a minimum, but if something is bothering me, I just have to get it out. Perhaps the answer is just to write about it and then throw it away, but somehow that’s not as cathartic. As the title of this post might suggest, it has something to do with my age, and the challenge of taking on something new. I’m this case, I’m talking about work.

You know, I didn’t ask for this. I’m trying very hard to be a team player but the level of micromanagement in the face of my being a newbie with this current project is starting to get to me. When I was hired, it was to be a technical writer. I was going to working behind the scenes on documentation, which is totally in my wheelhouse. I was also hired for my high standards when it comes to repeatable process and continued process improvement, and my experience in the software development process. Everything from one end to the other and starting at the beginning again, over and over.

It’s a cyclical process. Issues are discovered and new requests come in (with an established application anyway). You work to document, collaborate with devs to make those changes, then you test the shit out of it, then deploy. That repeats over and over. I’m very familiar with this within the context of my last job.

It helped that I was a subject matter expert in what the software was supposed to do, and learning the app I was supporting came easy. I digress.

My new contract deals with most of the same data, but that’s where the similarities end. There’s not a defined process and my role is so undefined. I’m a month in and my role is still fuzzy… that’s fucked up. Am I a PM? No, because one of the other people on the team is largely filling that role (though she refuses to acknowledge or adopt the project timeline I was asked to develop). Whatever. 🙄

My role seems to be more of a SQL dev, because that’s how we are extracting the data and formatting it. But I have very limited experience in that and there is also absolutely no process in place though the company has had “teams” do this like 6 times already. All of it is other people’s heads, primarily my boss.

I was told that my role in the contract was defined as project liaison and, like I said, that’s not happening. I’m ok with that – I hate being the “front man” anyway. As I’ve been introduced in meetings I’ve been introduced as the data expert doing the “heavy lifting” of analysis, running scripts, and operationalizing the process for the data conversion. Again, I’m no expert in a process that is contained within someone else’s head, so that feels like a fabrication.

I have all the credentials to log in and access all the tools and resources now and I’m really just getting started with some smaller requests. We’re currently just doing analysis. My SQL knowledge goes like this.. 1. Find the tables and fields 2. Start with a basic select * and inner joins. 3. Add in qualifiers. 4. Limit, sort, group as needed.

These SQLs I was given copies of are hundreds of lines, creating schema and doing tons of formatting and logic/case statements on the data. That is ALL new to me. I’m ok with learning it, as long as they are ok with the fact that the learning curve takes time. On one hand my boss is saying they are totally ok with that, but when we work together he has zero patience (and a very low tolerance for things being done differently than he would do them).

So yesterday, I have a working session with my boss. It’s to go over the server and confirm all the tools and start setting things up. At least that was my intent. We get 3 minutes in and he’s all like “we’re not ready for that yet. We won’t be doing the ETL project setup for a few months”. I’m all like “ohhhh Kay”. So then what? I know, let’s work on transferring some of the canned scripts to the server.

For one, I don’t know what scripts he wants me to start with, so I’m dependent on him for retrieving those. There’s no standard library of scripts and according to him, the best source is the lastest customer because they are always making improvements. Again I’m like “ohhhh Kay”. He logs into the other customer (which I obviously can’t do on my own), and saves them to google drive.

From there, I can pick up the scripts and put them on the local server I’m working on. But no. That’s not right/good enough. I’m told it would be better for me to download the google drive app that lets you navigate the folders and files through a traditional windows window instead of in the browser. So we go down a path to set that up. Mind you, I didn’t even know this was a thing and he assures me I’ll “love it”.

By this time, he’s controlling my desktop and driving the session and doing things so fast, I’m not really learning, just watching. He’s insisting sql mgmt studio access the drive files directly and not store things on the local server. I’m not an idiot.. I know the reason for this is so other people can update the scripts on the drive without access to the server. By now, he knows my skill level and probably has no confidence in my ability to do the job.

He’s even gone so far as to ask the customer for his own login credentials. In my mind that sends a clear message to the customer that I’m not capable. I guess I should be ok with that since I’m not capable. Well, I AM completely capable but right now I’m on a learning curve. The problem with that is that when you hire contractors, you expect to have experts, not people learning in the job.

By the end of the session yesterday, he was driving so fast I could not keep up and had truly gotten frustrated with that. It made me feel like a puppet. I’m the one with the login credentials and just sitting there while he was working away. That makes me the ultimate front man. Ick!

Then I ask myself, “ohhhh Kay, what now?”. Do I just keep doing what I’m doing, which is the best that I can? I guess. What choice do I have? I guess we’ll see how next week goes.

I suppose another factor that I should not gloss over, is that this is my last contract like this and there are other unknowns, like how many of these type of projects are left in the industry. Just by the very specific nature of the beast, there may not be many. So how much effort do you put into defining a repeatable process. That IS something I’m good at, but not a part of my job description in this case. So where’s my value? I don’t like feeling like a puppet or a person who is not adding any value. We all want to feel like we are adding value in our jobs. That’s part of job satisfaction. Again, I guess I’ll just wait and see how things unfold.

I swear, if we have another working session where he completely takes control of my machine and just starts doing the work, I’m gonna lose it. I’m really not an old dog and I’m certainly smart enough to learn new tricks, but what’s my motivation. Maybe it’s less about my motivation and more about this strange dynamic between my boss and I. I dunno. 🤷‍♀️

Wow… that’s quite a rant indeed. I’m not sure if getting all this out now is doing any good. (I should just delete it). I feel like composing an email, but my instincts are telling me to hold off on doing that too. It’s Saturday and I should be focusing on my Christmas shopping and hanging with the kids. I should be relaxing and NOT thinking about work. I’m gonna go try and do that now.

Flame Off,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-11-05 The Missing Cat Was a Lie

Yesterday I experienced high anxiety which I attributed to multiple factors including the fact that my cat was missing. She always paces by the back door to be let out and even stretches up and puts her paw on the door handle and pulls down. Most of my doors don’t have round knobs, They have the lever kind that you pull down on and the pull the door open. If that door wasn’t so heavy, I swear she’d be able to open it. She’s smarter than any dog I’ve ever met. If she wants my attention, she’ll follow me and nip at the back of my heels to let me know. If I turn and let her know she’s got my attention, she’ll start walking in the direction she wants me to go, which is usually either the location of her food pantry or the back door.

Yesterday I let her out mid morning as I was working my way through the house doing a bit of packing and organizing. By late morning I went to let her in and she didn’t come when I called. She normally comes running right away. Sometimes she gets out of the back yard and so I went to the front door and expected her to run up on the porch right away to come in. This time, that didn’t happen. I didn’t think anything about it at first except for how strange that was. I kept working my way through different rooms of my house.

About every half hour I went back to both doors to call her in and each time I was greeted by a burst of cool fall air and no cat. By mid afternoon my mind was wandering and worrying. If you ever had a pet go missing you know that feeling. A sick feeling in the stomach and a vision of the animal being trapped somewhere or worse, run over by a car.

I tried to go to the gym to take my mind off of it but that worked in the opposite direction. My mind was too free to think about everything and my anxiety started to climb higher. When I was writing then, I eluded to the fact that I had a lot of things contributing to that feeling.. the job, school, money, all my stuff. One of the things I had in the back of my mind was this stupid drug test I have to take for my new contract. It’s not stupid, really. If I was an employer I would want my employees to submit to a test, but damn it’s terrible timing.

Today is day 7 after arriving back home from my Co trip. I’ve written about how I don’t like MJ and would never do that again, but when I was in the mountains, I shrugged and figured I’d give it another shot. I was disappointed again and really actually hated the experience and so this drug test coming up now is like icing on a shit cake. Anyway, I had actually forgotten about it for a hot minute with everything else on my mind.

For the record, i have it from several sources that since I’m not a regular user, it should be out of my system, but as of last Friday I was still weeing dirty on some home test I acquired. Thanks Obama. Jim told me not to worry, just wait till Monday and also said the test probably also includes benzodiazepines, whatever that is, but that I should not take any Xanax. Ok no problem.

When he told me that I didn’t think anything about it because I’ve only ever taken it to help me sleep and haven’t had any for over a month, maybe two. I haven’t needed it. Then yesterday hit and I was seriously feeling terrible. My mind was wrecking havoc and I just wanted relief. Like I said, I’ve never taken it for anything but sleep but I figured I would take just a half a pill to see if that would help. In about a half hour I could feel it working and it was like magic.

I made dinner and didn’t get upset when my daughter complained for the gazillionth time that she didn’t like it. I didn’t care. I continued to clean and organize and pack and just felt so much better. I actually sat down in my office and was able to open a book and read and get inspired to write. It was as if all that anxiety just melted away. Yeah, total magic.

It was like that for about an hour and a half until I tipped over the edge feeling sleepy. Yeah, when you’re tired and take a pill that normally is a sleep aid, that’s bound to happen. According to my FitBit, I fell asleep at 7:19 pm. Wow! 😯

And then woke up (actually Z woke me up) at 9:38PM. That was the most amazing 2 hour nap I’ve ever had. I felt great!

Then I remembered the test and was like, oh crap! Now I’m gonna have 2 potential hits on this thing. Cheeses! It’s like the Universe doesn’t want me to take this new job. Honestly I don’t want to take the job, so in this case the Universe and I are in agreement.

At least I have an RX for the Xanax and can bring that with me. I’m going to hold off to tomorrow anyway.

Despite having that 2 hour nap I still slept a full 7 hours and woke up feeling pretty damn good. I think I just needed a little extra recovery sleep. My anxiety is now back to normal, no thanks to my kitten. 🐱

Oh yeah, as it turns out, in all my rushing around the house in the morning I apparently had let her back in the house and didn’t realize it. She was sleeping in the basement the entire time!! Good grief!!! 🤦🏼‍♀️ Stupid cat (stupid owner). When my son brought it to my attention I felt relieved but also incredibly dumb. I also realized that it did nothing to alleviate my overall worry so I guess I can’t blame that after all.

The missing cat was a lie and that means the truth is that it was caused by something else. The test now is to remove the other sources until I find the one that really matters. How do I do that? Well, one problem at a time I guess. If it’s work, I’m screwed (for now anyway). There are a few other things I’ll be able to eliminate this week though so that’s going to be good.

Yesterday I kept reminding myself that I’m just one human being doing the best she can do with life. It’s a good thing for everyone to keep in mind. As I roll into this week, I’m going to be thankful that my cat is safe and warm inside the house and no matter what happens with this work crap, it’s all going to be just fine. Time now to get the party started.

Ready or Not,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-21 The How-Is-It-Sunday-Again-Already Status

Remember a few short months ago when I was all like “I love Monday’s, Monday’s are great! Monday is one of my favorite days of the week!”?! Yeah, I hope you didn’t believe those lies. I guess the more you come to treasure your weekends, the more it seems to go too fast, the more you are totally bummed to spend your Sunday’s thinking about the fact that you’re not ready for Monday. That’s real life I guess. It was nice while it lasted though.

That’s the trick, to enjoy the current moment while it’s here and not think too much about how things will change or dwell needlessly on tomorrow.

My week and weekend is almost over and I’ve only crossed off like two things from my list and have about 10 more to try and tackle today. The procrastination is REAL and I honestly wonder what I’ve actually done. Perhaps today’s status report will reveal the truth? Let’s find out…

Sleep.. 7 hours and 35 minutes average sleep per night. Ok so I slept more. That explains a little. It’s sort of misleading though since I was sick for most of the week. Being heavily medicated will do that to a person, plus I had a few serious naps which is factored in on the FitBit calculation. Last Sunday I collectively slept for 10 hours. Wow.

Exercise/Steps.. 16K steps per day and that’s more than it has been in a while. I spent considerable time in the gym on the treadmill and doing yard work. When I don’t feel well and my brain can’t focus, I can still move my body. It’s really one of the only things I can do to not feel terrible about not accomplishing much else.

Food/Healthy Eating.. Forget about it.

School.. I met with my mentor on Tuesday despite having the longest day in the history of the world and she extended my next deadline to next Wednesday. I’m therefore deep in the weeds of trying to get that done. Seriously contemplating taking a semester off. I’m in it to win it, I just want to take my time. I want to learn.

Work.. I only worked about 25 hours this past week. Whatever. The good news is that I was mostly doing things that I enjoy. This week coming up will also be a short one too. I’ve got two PTO days planned for different reasons and will not be working the weekend at all.

Relationship Status.. Engaged and loving life. Looking forward to an amazing life together.

What else? Oh, a few months ago I included a new status about what show I’m watching. I’ve really not kept up with reporting on that. Jim and I finished watching the Colony series and I highly recommend that for any fellow sci-fi, dystopian fiction nerds. It was awesome.

We’ve just started a new show called “Maniac”. We’re just two episodes in and it’s too early to make a judgement call on it. So far very interesting and weird. Really weird.

I would also share what books I’m reading but it’s all poetry and “ain’t nobody got time for that”.. including me apparently. /sigh

That’s it for this week. Peace, ☮️

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-09-28 Serious Friday Feels

Everything I was worried about yesterday went great. Every thing that got done made me feel lighter and lighter.

I made a space for my morning cardio which I did not think I was going to have time for. ✅

I got my lawn mowed. ✅

I had a difficult conversation with my boss. ✅

I hit up my OBGYN and had another minor procedure to boost my testosterone levels. ✅

I successfully ran another call with an important customer. ✅

I had a visit from the heating company I hired to investigate why my furnace is not coming on. It turns out that’s going to be a very expensive repair, but at least now I know. ✅

Jim and I had dinner together and more great conversation about my job situation and the future. ✅

I was able to log into my school website and access the mid-term form and though I haven’t tried to submit yet, I’m ready to pull the trigger. ✅

It’s all good stuff. I slept great last night and am feeling energized and ready to take on today… FRIDAY!

After I pull the trigger on the mid-term I’ll have the whole rest of the day to get hours into work. I’ve put in a serious minimum of hours this week so far and even if I put in 7 or 8 today, I probably won’t even break 20. 😱 However, it has been a more balanced week and what I originally signed up for. I’ve learned through the experience of the last few months that 30-35 hours is too many to not start sacrificing my family and school. How I ever worked 45+ is a serious mystery to me. But we all know how that turned out eventually so maybe it’s not THAT much of a mystery.

I told my boss yesterday (one of 3 bosses I have) that if I take this next contract the rest of my hours have to be reduced. I let him know that I was getting married and that I’m wanting to focus more of my time on family and school. The truth is, even with that reduction, I’m still considering taking a semester off just to focus on my personal life. I’ve only got this next year to get Z on track for college and we will also be moving which is a significant life change for us. My time in school is slipping away and I realized in the past month or so that I’m not getting out of it what I am paying into it. I want to change that. I don’t think that’s an excuse to put a pause on it but it might be. I’m not sure actually.

All I know is that I want to study more and write more and even take advantage of the alternate track for the program where you can take an actual on-campus class to satisfy some requirements. That appeals to me quite a bit. I dig the idea of having an actual class with assignments and a curriculum of topics to learn about. The MFA program that I’m in is fantastic in the way that it is structured, but the classroom experience feels like an element that is missing. I don’t think I would have time this spring to take advantage of additional classes but next fall I might. Lots to think about.

In any case, I’ll still be navigating my way through this time puzzle for a while. My thoughts still shift daily and I haven’t quite figured out how to make all the pieces fit. It might be an eternal work in progress. 🤷‍♀️ Who knows. All I know is that I feel great and am ready for whatever happens next.

Whose got two thumbs and is ready for Friday?! THIS GIRL!! 😊

Rolling in the Happy,

~Miss SugarCookie