Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hard Decision Time...

When the contract job ended, my then boss "S" told me that literally the minute someone on the team gave notice, she would be calling me to offer me a job.  One of my former co-workers gave her notice on a Monday morning in early March, and pretty much by noon the Boss S texted me and said "can we talk?" She wasn't kidding.

She had to post the job internally for 2 weeks and the job goes public today and will be open for 2 weeks for the "interview process...." She's encouraged me to apply for it. And verbally I think the job is mine. I would be the only candidate with the training on the products unless someone from a station that uses the products applies for the job, and that most likely in all the world will not be happening.

And so, I have done that. At about 1pm, I did apply for this old but new job.

I think she loves me, and she has said things to me about my personality, and how  I bring something to the team in the form of care and passion that she values deeply. She was very unhappy to let me go. And I think if she had not had to let me go, my co-worker who left might still be there... and we'd still be working together (which was great) but the fire wouldn't have been lit for her to find a job that she wanted more and to leave.

There are several pros and cons to the decision I may have to make shortly. I'll try and outline them, mostly because I want to remind myself later of whatever my decision was/is, so I can thank Past Me or kick Past Me's ass.

The Old Job:
Pros: 
  • I was good at it and I enjoyed it.
  • People liked me. I felt happy on my team, and with the other teams.
  • Every day was the same, but different. 
  • Cache of saying where I worked when people asked me always got a raised eyebrow and a lot of discussion. 
  • Doug will be happy to have me back in the car with him. He says his commute is sad and lonely without me. 
  • About 15k more a year in pay.
  • One work-from-home day a week, which I'd try and match up to Doug's day.

Cons: 
  • That Boston Commute. Jesus help me ... I didn't realize how tired I was doing that commute for nearly 2 years between the last 2 jobs. 
  • No real chance of any sort of advancement. I'll be in tech support forever. But at nearly age 50 am I a climber or am I happy being a foot soldier?
  • Fear of falling into an unhappy rut with the duties of tech support. There were a couple of people (outside of my building, people I had to support) that I was growing to despise. I am afraid my not-so-nice side may come out quickly when I return to that noise. 
  • Did I mention the commute?
  • Really, the commute is the big con for me. Enough so that I feel it is outweighing all the Pros listed above. 
The New Job 
Pros:
  • The Commute for sure. I am a few miles from my front door. I am sleeping in (by "sleeping in" I mean 8am) and getting to my desk before just about everyone. I can work until 5:30 or 6pm, and be home, cooking dinner, in 30 minutes. 
  • Location. The town where the job is is just ... superb. Restaurants, beautiful places to go walkies, a river! My office view (see previous posting). I am relaxed. I am rested. I am truly happy.
  • Small office, 5 people.
  • Very flexible/relaxed work schedule. As long as I'm getting my work done, where I'm doing it isn't super crucial. I can stay at home, as long as I tell everyone. The only day they like for everyone to be here is Monday for a 2pm staff meeting.
  • Getting stretched beyond my skill set. I was initially unhappy to find out that I'd be doing certain things (nothing dirty, you perv!) but I'm enjoying learning new software and figuring things out. There are a couple of things that I still have no flipping clue about, but so far I feel like this works as far as work goes. 
  • My boss seems like he really likes me and values my opinion. I can talk a big digital strategy game. And I am slowly helping him realize some of his ideas. It would suck to walk away from that kind of a role.
Cons:
  • Small office means we're up each other's butts when we're all here.  There is some office drama. I am trying to engage some of my co-workers in giving me feedback about what they want to see change on the site instead of just saying "our website sucks and I hate it." They frustrate me. I'm trying to build a website that makes your life easier. Tell me what you want instead of "it sucks, I hate it."
  • Boss sometimes doesn't give any notice of things happening, ie: someone coming in for an interview (for another person's job and they are being laid off...and they're sitting right here instead of on a day where they can say "I am leaving early..." And "Christine you have to edit and layout this book that is 90% finished" or "We have a skype meeting at 2:30." He seems to have his own schedule in his head, and then we just have to kind of drop things. 
  • He has some ideas and visions which are great but he needs to hold off on until the new site is built. But he is currently on the phone talking to someone about a shared content sponsorship program, and I have no idea how that fits in with our new site, or old site.
  • He seems to lay people off that he suddenly isn't agreeing with. I took someone's job that was doing what I perceived was a great job, but there was something going on there between them and ... she got the boot and I got brought in. It is happening again to someone in the office here (senior editor).  So he tells me I'm doing a great job, loves my ideas, very encouraging... but in 8 weeks will that be the same? 
  • Location is making me lazy. I promised myself I'd get up and go to the gym. I've done that once in nearly 2 months.
So yeah. Those are the pros and cons.  Doug said the money alone is enough to make the decision. He wants to move closer to Boston after Geoff graduates, maybe in the fall or next spring, so he thinks I need to put on my big girl pants and go back to the job in Boston.

I'm sure the money will be hugely helpful. We could buy a car. We could pay for both kids to take classes. Money is nice.

I'm just not sure that walking away from this job before we get the sites rebuilt and optimized and rolled out is something I'm comfortable doing. I feel awful about the concept. But if I choose to stay here, and then find out I'm being ousted in say June or July because he has a change of heart about how he thinks the job is going, that will suck (sounds all very Alice in Wonderland, I know).

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

a picture of me, for a change...

In my office, sometimes I'm the only one here. People work from home,  a lot. I can work from home, and I have once or twice.

One particular day, I found myself alone here at my desk. I was a bit ADHD and very cold. So I took this picture of myself.

I normally do not like pictures of myself. I look fat and stupid with a big Peter Griffin double chin so the scarf helped out this one a lot. I put this through a filter on Instagram, and it caught the sun coming through the window behind me. The black and white helped out my skin tone.

The only thing I really would have liked to have done is  blend out the circles under my eyes... but this was the day after Jack died, and i think it holds a certain sadness.

Additionally, I've always liked my nose, and my skinny irish lips look cute.

So... I like this photo.

The J.O.B. Job

My contract at work didn't get renewed at the end of January. I had gotten to the point where I was pretty solid on the support I was providing, and learning still. Which is always good. I felt like 80% of the stuff coming into the helpdesk was a drop kick done deal that I could answer, 10% was stuff I had to question and then 10% stuff that didn't overlap with me.

So feeling safe and happy was good. I also had gotten to the point where there were a few people (out side of our building, people who sent in help desk requests) that I wanted to never hear from again. Two maybe. Which is a tiny fraction of the people I had to deal with on a regular basis.  I suppose that is bound to happen in help desk work.

When I knew they weren't renewing my contract, I started looking for a new job and I secured one, which started one month ago yesterday (a short month, but a calendar month nonetheless). It is very close to home, only a few miles and a few minutes of a commute. The view is outstanding... and it is hard some days for me to focus when I get to sit here and gaze out upon the gorgeousness of the Merrimack River.

It is kind of a good thing that my job ended when it did because the commuting into Boston situation was sort of impossible for a couple of weeks, and for some is still impossible. Doug said it took him over 3 hours some days to get into work. And if he had thought he'd put me on the T on his side of the Charles River to try to get to my side of the Charles River, more often than not I'd pretty much just be stranded because the T essentially ceased to be.

February 2015 goes down in history as a commuter's nightmare. And from the people I'm still in touch with at the old office, it sounds like the city has just given up totally, and the hope is that spring will just melt the snow away.

My sanity rejoices for this commute, and being here. And I can make a nice big dinner and pour a cocktail or pop open a bear for my road warrior husband when he finally gets home long after 7:30pm. The poor kid.

So the job. My title is Web Manager. Sounds reasonable. It is a 5 person office. I had two half-days with the girl I replaced. The replacing was awkward, I think there was a money issue or personality issue or something between her and the boss... and he decided to get rid of her and bring in someone else... She's lovely, really. And in real life she and I would be best nerd friends ever. She trained me to the best of her ability with short time of my being here, but I feel that I really needed her for a week. I'm trying to make do. Or is it make due? Anyway.

I got hired to do a job that I thought was as simple as updating text in a newsletter (InDesign) templated by someone else, saving it for PDF posting online, and updating content on the website. I quickly found out that my job entails:
  • updating the templated newsletters (3)
  • updating that content on the websites (3) 
  • proofreading and editing and making content updates to a book that was supposed to be published in December (uh.... okay?) 
  • designing marketing collateral for print in In Design (designed it, but the printers come back with blah blah blah spot color cmyk bleed blah blah blah problem blah blah blah) 
  • posting tests/quizzes on a Moodle site (piece of crap and a half. Moodle is from Satan)
  • posting products (like the book!) 
  • project managing a big rehab of our site(s) with a company out of NH.
Outlining and detailing all the challenges and house fires I've had to do since starting here does no good. I am boring you to death as it is, I'm sure. I have posted the newsletters for this month (it only took me 4 weeks to do it), I have revised, tweaked and fixed this book a million times and yet the senior editor still keeps coming back with "oh, I missed this one thing can you fix it?" So it just went to the printer for proof today. We are getting ready for the March content. We're talking about site redesign and what we want to see in the new layout on the User Experience front and back end. I drew up a little mock-up for the front page of the site and the office manager loves it. We'll see if anyone else agrees. I just realized I need to post the one-off "a la carte" tests for each the newsletters and the instructions on how to do that are so bat-shit crazy I can't even.

The literal saving grace is that everyone here is cool. So cool. There is no yelling. There has been panic, and the 4 co-workers I have who I deal with most all have great senses of humor, so it is super nice. We joke around about needing valium or heroin to get through the crisis du jour.

And the view. The view is pretty sweet...

This is the view from my office window.
I am longing for the snow to be gone, and walkies to happen.

And my co-worker has this dog.
She came to visit and it made me very happy.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

And then there was one...

I am distracted and unable to focus on anything at all, so we'll see how I do getting through this. 

Thursday morning we had to put Jack dog to sleep. Just shy of his 13th birthday. It has been a rough couple of months for Jack, and I know this was the best thing to do for him but that knowledge makes this experience no easier.

I don't want to write about the process, it is what it is and it is part of loving a dog, especially one who gets old. He was old, he was sick, and he was in distress, and we let him go.

In some ways this is an incredible relief and in other ways I am simply unable to handle my heartache.

This winter we started out with very little snow, and one day standing out there with him doing his doggie thing I thought it was such a shame that we didn't have any snow for him to enjoy, this his last winter for sure. And I asked myself "well, how do you know it is his last winter for sure?" Then I told myself to shut up because yes, it was, and I couldn't pretend to trick myself into being pleasantly surprised if he made it to summer or fall or next winter.

We knew it was coming, we knew it would be here soon, and every day was a gift.

Jack eventually got his snow.

I had a routine with Jack  at night. He would tell me he needed to go out, so I'd get off the couch (I was sleeping in the living room with him because he had to go out a couple of times a night) let him out the front door and watch him walk to the foot of the walkway where he'd pee. Then, he would either flop down right there and start eating snow or he'd turn around and face the house, walk a couple feet and flop down and start eating snow.

I'd go pee. I'd put wood on the fire. I'd get my snow pants and boots on. I'd go out and join him because once he was done he needed help getting up the 2 steps into the front door. We don't have a fenced in yard here at the apartment like we did at the old house, so he needed to be monitored. He couldn't move fast or far, but the one thing I didn't want him to do was move out to the end of the driveway and into the street, in the darkness, black dog that he is.... 

So I would join him outside and keep an eye on him. Even on nights when the wind chill was about 30 below, I would just stand there and wait for him to be done. He loved to eat snow, roll in the snow, shove his face in the snow...

So... I let him do it all that he wanted.

We stood out there at night in the darkness with the stars in the freezing cold and listen to the coyotes chattering down the power lines that run just to the east of our house.

We had the whole night and the whole darkness the whole of the snow and the whole of the world to ourselves. He'd stand and listen to the howls, leaning against the snow bank, and he'd turn his head to follow where they were.

And then he would flop down on his belly and eat snow.

There were days I'd quickly reach my threshold for standing out there and I'd encourage him back into the house. And there were days he'd eat a little snow, and head back in fast.

What I wouldn't give for another chance to stand out there in the dark with the moon and cold and my boy.

On Tuesday night Jack was fine... sort of. We were able to get him into a standing position to walk out the door but he would make it just to the top step and lay down and pee without standing. And Doug had to lift him up to bring him back in the house.  We joked around that it was like having a drunk friend who weighed 70 pounds. Don't worry man, I'll get you home okay.

Wednesday he stopped walking altogether. Both children texted me at work to let me know that he was unable to stand up and walk, and didn't want to be lifted up and helped out the door. Our vet's office was closed so I spoke with the on call and made an appointment for the next morning.

Our vet said that he was paralyzed from the hips down from arthritis or a clot or something. We could do testing but as she put it "there's no coming back from this, he's not going to walk again, not like last time" and she knew from our last visit that we knew that we'd be making the decision on the next visit if she said there was nothing that could be done that wasn't "heroic and expensive."

So we opted to not bring him home and to let him go.

And even though I'd prepared myself for this, it still sucks. Maybe because I worked so hard to prepare myself for this, it sucks extra hard. I knew after Gonzo passed away this summer that Jack would not be far behind, so I've had months to think on this. None of this was sudden, or an accident. It has been months in the making but that does not make it better.

When I posted on Facebook that we'd put him to sleep I asked people not to "Rainbow Bridge" at me.  I fully believe in Heaven and that God loves us enough to give us these gifts of companion animals on this plane so I don't doubt for one second that they're waiting for us when we get there.

When something gives you this much actual, real, honest joy, how can it not be part of your eternal paradise?

So one of my animal rescue obsessed friends asked me what I had against the Rainbow Bridge story she thinks it is beautiful. First of all, I'm allowed to not like something. It's hokey. It's poorly written and trite.  I don't like it. It is Hallmark Card made for TV Movie quality. I understand the sentiment that our pets are waiting for us. But I don't see this "rainbow" or "bridge" that we cross over together.  The story provides me no comfort or solace, no soul salve and no respite. It makes me roll my eyes and barf a little.

That said, I have my own vision. And it isn't the same for many of you. It may be, if you're like this. But hey. If you're not, that's okay. You can create your own vision of reunion and I will not question you and your heart.

For us, there is no bridge. There is no rainbow.

There is just a field, with really kickass mountains in the distance. Maybe it is like New Zealand, or maybe it is somewhere up the county in Maine where we ran back in the day. There are black-eyed susans growing, and bees. The grass in the field is brown, and moves gently in the wind. The air is cool and crisp. You are going to need a jacket.

Jack is there waiting in the middle of the field, and he's got a stick. Not just any stick, but one that doesn't break when you bite it, because those sticks suck. He is sitting up straight and tall and I can see his white spot on his chest, and he lifts his ears when he sees me coming. He picks up his stick and comes to me. And I touch his head, and feel his rabbit-soft fur and get pummeled by that tail wagging hard against my leg.

I throw that stick for him as we walk forward towards the mountains.  And every single time, he's running that stick back to me. We eventually make it to a pond, and you know what happens at the pond. I throw that stick, but not in the direction he's facing. I'm totally to faking him out. His ears shoot up when he hears that stick hit the water surface, and he switches directions like lightning, runs and jumps to go get it.

There are other sticks in the water, but he finds this stick because my scent is on it. It's been in my hand all day, and I've thrown it for him. It is our stick. And he brings it back. And we do it again and again. We walk along the pond shore, with me throwing the stick and him going for it. Over and over.

We come to a cabin. And that's where we live. He smells like wet pond dog and ozone and sunshine as we fall asleep in front of a woodstove full of wonderful dry wood.

Then we get up and do it over again.

No rainbow. No bridge. Just me and Jack dog. And that's how it's gonna be.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The law of the pack, the oath of the Scout...

When Geoff was little we didn't really have a diagnosis for him for his behavior issues at the time.

Part of me said "he's just a super active boy, it's normal" and another part of me said "wow, this kid is unlike any other little kid I have ever known."

At the time, we decided to keep him in a private pre-school for kindergarten (full day) instead of enrolling him in the public school kindergarten. Many factors worked in on that decision, such as   day length, class size, amount of teachers and everything. I knew he'd do better with the private K that he was in, and dreaded sending him to first grade. I would have kept him at the private school if they had a K-3 program.

In first grade, we signed Geoff up for Cub Scouts as an activity. We tried the town soccer program but that didn't work at all for him. I thought running in a giant pack of kids would be what he'd like, but when the coach told him to "dribble the ball" down the field he stood over it and spit and drooled on it... because that was what his knowledge of "dribble" meant.

Cub Scouts was challenging. Small group format, 6 boys total in 2 dens, 2 den mothers per den, and I always stayed with Geoff's den to help. Because I had "that kid" who always needed the extra help and external conscience and guidance.

One day while going to his Webelos meeting he decided he wasn't going to wear his uniform to the meeting.  Uniforms were only for the special occasions like Pack meetings. They had never worn their uniforms to den meetings but his den mother was trying to get them used to the idea of always wearing their "Class A" uniforms to get them ready for Boy Scouts the following March. Geoff and I had a huge fight about it, and I asked him if he would just rather quit Boy Scouts and be done with it.

He told me yes. Then as I turned the car around to head back to the house he said "No, I'll wear my uniform." So we went to the meeting, and he stayed in Scouting.

Doug says he recalls Geoff telling him shortly after he joined the BSA Troop that he was going to be an Eagle Scout. Doug found that slightly entertaining at the time. I was just happy that he wanted to continue to be a Scout at all.

Boy Scouts was a lot different than what he'd been experiencing with Cub Scouts. It was a big Troop, and all the boys were together, of all ages, 10 to 17, and Geoff and his fellow incoming Scouts were like a big pack of puppies, a herd of kittens, that older Scouts had to wrangle and convince to do things and listen and participate. It looked frustrating to me as a mom to watch the older boys trying to work with Geoff's patrol.

Of the boys who joined, one by one they dropped out of the program until it was just Geoff and Brendan. Another boy from their grade who wasn't in Cub Scouts joined a couple years in, Max, but out of the original Den 3 and Den 7 from the class of 2015 it was just Geoff and Brendan...

Both dedicated themselves to finishing up as Eagles.

On January 15th, Geoff passed his Eagle board of review. He and his Scoutmaster went into a parlor room at a local church to go over Geoff's project. Paperwork, pictures, examples of the posters and flyers. They asked him questions about leadership and his role in Scouting. They released Geoff and his Scoutmaster to come out and wait with us... and called us back in to congratulate him. Congratulations, son. You're an Eagle.

Indeed.

You all have followed the past couple of months where I have outlined the project, I've stressed over him getting things done. I've supported, shoved and cajoled.

We managed to get a couple small smiles out of him for pictures but the smile on his face when they congratulated him is etched in my mind forever. A great big huge grin, ear to ear, all teeth. Pure and happy.

We didn't doubt he'd be able to do it. We didn't think for a minute they'd decline him. It was just super stressful getting him to this point and through it all.

Last weekend, I wondered "What are we going to do with our time now that this is done...?"  I guess now we plan that Eagle Court of Honor ceremony.

When Geoff was a Cub Scout he learned the Cub Scout oath (also known as the promise) and law.  Those are:

Oath
I promise to do my best

To do my duty to God and my country,

To help other people, and
 to obey the Law of the Pack.

Law of the Pack
The Cub Scout follows Akela.

The Cub Scout helps the pack go.

The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.

The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

Who is Akela? It comes from the Jungle Book of all places. Akela is a leader to the Cub. A Cubmaster, Den mother or father, other adult leader, and the Cub's parents. A symbol of leadership, wisdom, comfort, protection. The pack of children are guided and guarded by the Akela... and I think I made a good Akela through all of this process. And continuing into Boy Scouts, I think that I did a decent job continuing to be an Akela... for me, watching Geoff through this whole process I don't see the Eagle Scout at the end.

 I see the Wolf Cub at the beginning. And I always will.



Sunday, January 11, 2015

what a new dog is like

My dogs are 13 and 8. Jack is bowed of back and slow. Brodie can be fast, but knows where her body ends and yours begins.

Our neighbors have a 9 month old chocolate lab. He's huge. His name is Rocky. He barks all day when they are not home, which makes me sad, that he hasn't figured out that it is okay to be alone. And he is hyper. Super hyper.

Yesterday when Geoff and I got home from a Boy Scout event, Rocky came running around the car to meet us. I couldn't hear his owners calling for him, and they weren't running behind so I was slightly confused. Rocky ran in circles as Geoff and I tried to grab him.

And he crashed into me full force, whole hog, freight-train speed of big brown dog in white snow and ice. The fact that I didn't go flying and land on my face is a sheer miracle, a defiance of any law of physics that can have been applied to the situation. He hyper extended my knee slightly, but not so bad that it was the end of the world. It was a pain for a bit last night but I am fine.

I tried to get ahold of his collar but he was like a hurricane. And as quickly as he appeared, he left. He ran around the back side of the house and didn't return. So my guess is Josh or Maureen were out there and he went with them, wherever with them was supposed to be.

There are things you forget when you have old dogs. Very old dogs. Or at least one super very old dog and one who is happy to just chill. You forget that they have energy. You forget that they are needy, and they want to play. You forget that sleeping 20 hours is not normal for most dogs.

We aren't sure how much longer Jack will be with us. He gave us a big scare about a month ago and we thought we would be putting him down. I was surprised he made it into the new year. Brodie probably has a good five years ahead of her if she has a day.

And I'm honestly not in any hurry to get another big huge dog that will knock me on my ass (or try to) anytime soon.

Friday, January 02, 2015

There are certain joys

Getting home semi-early tonight, we opted to make left over ham sammitches and doug suggested home made french fries. Which got Geoff super excited, and made me inwardly groan.

I had G do all the prep on the potatoes, and then I put the first layer into the frying pan. He watched me do it, and watched me turn each of the slices over and check the coloring. After the first batch was done he said "Go sit with your husband, I got this set."

So. I'm sitting with my husband. He's got this set.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Oys and the Joys of 2014

A fall back song for me in a greatest hits list for New Years Eve or Day is Jim's Big Ego's "New Lang Syne (Thank God It's Over)


This past year wasn't the suck that 2013 was, that's for sure, but it still wasn't awesome. It started out rocky with me ending up in the hospital at the end of January. Let's hope nothing stupid like that happens again. I got placed in a good job with good people and while I've felt a little awkward with some of the folks and I've kind of felt left out and on the periphery (various reasons I'm sure) I actually really like where I am. My health hasn't deteriorated any further, I'm thankful for a lot. In March I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs and now it's no big deal, and walking any sort of long flat distance is a piece of cake. I need to get back to more walking though, and get my legs stronger than where they were this time last year. My knees hurt, my left hip hurts. but all told ... I can make this better and find my strength (to steal a little bit from a certain rehab hospital in the area)

There were the huge highlights like Aaron's great wedding, our first vacation really since 2005, and our first trip to the west coast since 1988. We saw some beautiful things and places, I got to be a Best Man, and gave a toast that I think many people will remember forever including referencing my daughter in diapers and Zeubenelgenubi and Zeubeneschalami, words that most of the people in the audience probably had never heard.

I met very cool people coast to coast.

And then there is the whole Geoff Journey with the Eagle Project. Watching the work he's put in all year has been outstanding.

One of our dogs died, and another is kind of on the edge of not making it for much longer. And then there's ole Brodie girl who actually will be 9 this March if you can believe that. Officially a Senior Dog this year, she still is like a puppy sometimes.

Once Jack goes, she'll be by herself and I'm not sure I want to get another puppy any time soon.

Our lease runs out in August and Doug thinks we should move closer to the city. Geoff will hopefully have a job, and if it is around here I don't want to move too far. Jess got picked up for a contract job that I used to have and she's doing great with it and is very happy. I'm hoping that she'll be able to whack all of her student loans down and figure out what comes next for her. As long as she's happy, I really am happy.

So looking back the way most people do this time of year, it was an okay year. I am thankful for the year that was and hopeful for the year coming up.

If you've been reading since 2001, or if you just happened to stop here along the way... thanks for coming along on this ride with me through the years.

Cheers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eagle Update

1. finish the box, build it, stain it, letter it, put hardware on it. 
2. recycle the nylon flags at the National Cemetery on Cape Cod. 
3. Fill out paperwork.
4. fin.

Having a validated Eagle Application in hand yesterday I sat in the parking lot at the BSA office and cried for about 10 minutes. 

There are two things left.

1. Finish the project paperwork and build his binder so he can take it to the Eagle Board of Review (his Scoutmaster is scheduling that with the Eagle Board). 
2. Attend (and pass) the Eagle Board, and we just got email saying that will be on January 15th, 2015. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the things that have happened ... enjoy. 


Here's Geoff with the representative from the National Cemetery, who met us and took our over 300 flags to a burial site at the cemetery. He was really nice, and incredibly supportive of the process.


the first round of lettering by one of Geoff's friends, 
and former Boy Scout now college student Matt.

That. Is. Important.


Office Spaces

My office just relocated.

We moved only a few blocks away from where we were, but where we were felt like it was truly in the middle of things. This feels like it is so far away and on the periphery of things.

There are pros and cons. There is a great, big, huge parking lot right across the street, which is nice. And it is a dollar more than the lot I was parking in over by our old office (when I drive, that is...)

It is almost equidistant from the T stop as the other office was, but the other office was on a Silver Line stop, so if I felt like waiting an extra minute or two, I could basically get right to our front door and not have to walk the half mile from South Station. Now, that isn't an option. Which sucks when it is 20 degrees and windy.

There isn't a food truck at the end of our street like at the old office... but hey, there is a liquor store and for my booze-lovin' co-workers this is a great bonus.  And I think they may have some food products, which is nice considering  I don't know where the food is in the neighborhood.

The long and the short of it is, though, I may not get the opportunity to truly settle into this new space. My contract is ending in January, and I'm really not sure it is getting renewed. I know my boss is trying to get it renewed... but things have slowed down quite a bit over the past few weeks and it looks like it will be that way for a couple of months.  I would feel bad if they let me go, and then in May it all picks up again and there isn't  a fully trained "me" here in this seat and other people have to go back to doing help desk, on top of what they have to do. That's what got me in here. So it is all timing, need, and money that come together, and I'm not sure what is going to happen with anything.

Part of me is truly sad because I feel that I really "get it" here, and I'm happy. I write emails to people who ask for support and I tell them that I love taking care of "my stations" ... and I truly do. And it kind of breaks my heart that there are people I won't be corresponding with anymore, helping them... and being called their "rock star" and "deity" of the support line. That always makes me smile. Making other people who are angry on the other end of the phone to become .... not angry.

Another part of me is just plain exhausted. I hate getting up in the morning so early to spend 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic or trains, getting somewhere. And I'm not sure if it is the time of year, combined with the huge focus of heart and mind on Geoff's project, but .... I'm weary. Last night I left here at 4:30, and was home, in bed, fast asleep at 7.

And it was especially obvious to me how happy I was last week while the office was moving. Loving helping people, in my pajamas, by the wood stove, with the dog, with the coffee. It's good for me in short doses to be at home for sure... I don't think I could do this particular job 100% from home. Being in the office is important.

I've been here since May, and as a contractor, I have learned over the past 3 contracts to not settle in. Don't bring in all the fun shit to put up at your desk. The pictures, the knick-knacks, the "me" stuff. Bringing them all back home is kind of heartbreaking.

The new office space is nice - but we're all literally together in one big room. And it is distracting for some. There have been complaints about the noise level from one group to another. We all have to get used to this space.

I'm looking forward to a lunch time walk-about, to go see if there is food anywhere nearby, so I don't have to walk back to the old neighborhood. Note to self: Bring your lunch, and bring in some headphones.