Monday, April 01, 2019

"How is your soul?"

I got to go to Boston this past week. Our office hosted a series of meetings over two days, and I was encouraged to go. It was really interesting, even if a bit out of my wheelhouse. I was able to make some face to face connections with people from across the company. And some new people who really need my help. Overall it was not a waste of time, but I felt under-needed, and a bit out of place.

My boss also was at the meetings, and she encouraged me to go so we could go back to Boston. She and I were walking around Boston University/Comm Ave, which was dusty and dirty, and under so much construction, and full of students. She screeched at the top of her lungs that she just loves this filthy dirty place that is emerging from winter and not into spring and is just a mess. A gorgeous mess! We stood on Comm Ave and looked towards the skyscrapers, the views, the vistas, and lamented that DC just isn't interesting to look at.

And this was. We were joyful in our souls, standing by the Agganis Arena and just smiling. We must have looked like freaks.

She gave her notice the week before last. This is her last full week with us, and I'm not here in the office on Friday.  We knew this was coming. She's fought the great fight here for good things for our customers, and for our team, and she's run to the end of her journey.

She's off to different pastures that I hope are better and more fulfilling.

I truly am happy for her. We made this move here together and she told me when we were all debating what we'd do back in 2017 that she couldn't do this without me.

For what its worth, we had a great run, and I'm glad that I stuck with it and we came down here.

But now I'm feeling a little disjointed and not scared at all, or worried, but sad and kind of defeated. I am tired. My job is tiring. I love it, but it takes a lot out of me. They told me when I took the position in May of 2014 that people never last longer than 2 years in this seat and I had a "Hold My Beer" attitude. I have no real desires to climb a corporate ladder or jump from job to job to increase my salary and get my title to grow. I am not joking when I say I love what I do.

But yeah, I'm kind of exhausted. So I can only imagine how she feels deep inside and how she had to make the move.

While we were in Boston we got the old crew back together. My co-worker R was already in town for PAX, so we figured it was a great time to gather us all up again.

We all met up at a pizza/bowling alley in Somerville, and there was much fun and chatting. I didn't get to spend a great deal of time with some of the folks, but, I got to spend time with quite a few. On my way out at the end of the evening (for me - I didn't want to have too much to drink and not be able to get back north safely) one of my former co-workers and I got to have a minute together. She had gone off before our office closed to a great opportunity to do her dream job in Scrum/Agile development. She's training people all over the world, all over the country, and training people in-house in Boston on how to do the things they do. She is a beautiful, fun, radiant human being.

She and I hugged and she took my hands and asked "How is your soul?"

And I almost burst into tears right then.

Great question. How is my soul? I asked her what she meant, and she told me that I always had the best, kindest, willing and joyful soul in the office "I just want to make sure that is still the case!"

How incredibly kind and thoughtful. I told her, well, to be honest I'm not sure how my soul is.

Right now the thing feels a little weary and battered and but not broken. I'm not sure how it will do in the coming weeks once my boss doesn't work here anymore. But we'll go on. We'll go on. I recalled reading about Neil Peart's "little baby soul" and how shattered it was after the deaths of both his daughter and his wife in a very short period of time. He got on a motorcycle, and left. And each step of the road trip was a step in healing. With plenty of tears along the way. "Ghost Rider" is an outstanding book if you're looking for a good read.

I don't have the luxury of being able to get on a motorcycle and leave. And certainly, my situation is nothing like what his was. Mourning the great love of your life and your child all at one time is enough to break anyone. I am in a lot better shape and a great place in the universe, believe you me.

But yes, I too have a kind of a soul that once was big and bright and exuberant, but right now it feels more like the tiny spark that is left. It's been squished. And it hurts.

I didn't realize how depressed I maybe am.

I pondered these things for the weekend, and did things that helped bolster that little baby soul and make it feel bigger and stronger.

 Hanging out with Jess and drinking beer with her and her friends and laughing hard, and meeting the new girlfriend and new boyfriend of two of those friends. Seeing friends from church like Beth and Kara, and playing with both of their dogs. Talking to their kids, and we all call each other "lady" no matter if we're boy or girl, going back years now. Those kids are in 11th and 10th grade. Seeing my parents, listening to my mom tell stories to my kid, and my dad was sleeping a lot but still nice to see.  Breakfast with Amy, a full more-than-an-hour massage therapy appointment with Sue, and the Boy Scout troop. Going and seeing the Troop brought me great joy. It isn't like it was a few years ago when all the moms would stay and hang out and talk. But there were a couple mandatory moms there, and mandatory dads, and a few of the boys still in the Troop moving towards their Eagle ranks, I was truly happy to see them.

And all the fun I had with Carrie. The mandatory Newburyport Sweatshirt trip was needed. I am so happy to have a new fresh one. Breakfasts, her going to pick me up at the wrong hotel, going to the beach, driving around Newburyport and just talking. Just having the time to not think about work but to talk about all kinds of shit.

I felt pretty rejuvenated there, until about 10:30am into my workday.  My little baby soul, it's hiding in a corner.

And I'm looking forward to when I get to go back.







Sunday, March 17, 2019

Harpers Ferry

Compared to last winter, this winter wasn't as bad as it could have been. Weather-wise we only had a couple of days of severe cold, compared to last year when it felt like solid weeks worth.

Longtime readers (all five of you) know that we like to go out for adventures and have fun, even in the cold. With Doug not having a job right now we've curtailed a lot of said fun and travel. I've longed to take a trip to New Orleans or to go out to see Aaron. Go to Montreal or Quebec City... but we've been staying home and not venturing far afield. Which can bring a soul down during a long stupid winter.

We go into the city once in a while. The parking at the metro is free on weekends and we can go into town and back for less than 10 bucks each round trip. Mostly we go to free things, like the museums, and play Pokemon, and have a beer and appetizer of some sort just to keep from losing our minds. 

We have gone to the Folger Shakespeare Library a couple of times, and Library of Congress. The "LOC" as people around here call it, is gorgeous. A beautiful color scheme and fantastic art mixed in with great literary quotes all about the walls. We spent a great deal of time just reading the quotes and trying to figure out what famous author wrote them. Doug and I both realize that our literary education has faded off into the distant memories, as there were so many that we didn't recognize. 


We went to the Smithsonian Natural History and American History museums. We shelled out some cash to see Peter Jackson's WWI documentary "They Shall Not Grow Old," and that was money well spent. 

And by the way, if you can, please go see that and make sure you see it in 3D, and make sure you stay for Peter Jackson's commentary at the end. It's worth it. Completely. 

With spring coming though, both of us are starting to get a little more restless. Spring does that to you, I suppose. And Aslan is on the move, as they say.

Last weekend Doug wanted to go out to the Shenandoah Mountains and toddle about Skyline Drive but it was closed due to ice and snow. We will save that for a couple weeks from now, I guess. 

Instead, we went to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. We didn't quite know what to expect on arrival and were confused when the visitors center was really far out of town. Luckily, you pay for parking and there is a nice shuttle that takes you into town. There isn't any real parking in town, a small lot at the train station, and aside from that you are out of luck unless you're at the bed and breakfast or an employee of the parks service. 

I'm a big fan of the national parks, and they've done a really great job with this little town at the convergence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. There is a lot of history that happened here, most notably John Brown's raid before the Civil War. 

And as sometimes happens, the man who is most allergic to cats was found by a cat who wanted his affections. And he agreed.

The weather was still cool and windy, but the sun was very warm and walking around we were comfortable. We walked about a mile's worth of the Appalachian Trail in downtown and up a hill to Jefferson's Rock, so I can say I did that. Ha. 

After walking around town we found a brewery, of course.

The Harpers Ferry Brewing Company sits up above the river and has sweeping views of the area. The beer was refreshing, and the BBQ food truck on site provided good eats for us to sit and enjoy being outside. For early March, I gotta say this area is a blessing for getting out of the house and being able to not freeze to death.


Yesterday we drove down into southern Maryland, which feels like it should be a completely different state from where we live, or from the far western part of the state. 

Maryland is so weird. 

We went to Fort Washington, which I think took almost 2 hours to get to because traffic. Once we got there it was a really nice place to spend time. It reminded me of all the old Forts around Portsmouth and Southern Maine like Fort Stark, and had a really cool view of DC. 

We wandered over to the Piscataway Farm a little bit to the south, and enjoyed a nice flat stroll around the property looking at the pigs, cows, sheep, and buildings. This was a good vantage point to look back north up the river and see the big yellow welcome center at Fort Washington, and across the river to Mount Vernon. 

From there Doug just continued to drive south. There are a lot of scenic drives and by-ways through here, and he picked one from brochure he'd gotten on a previous trip south. It is pre-pretty out, so the scenic drive was less scenic and more headache invoking, but eventually we found route 301 and some gas, and got our bearings about us to decide the next move. 

We ended up heading to Cobb Island, and getting dinner at a place called Captain John's Crab House. The food was alright, the beer was cold, Doug played a couple rounds of Keno in honor of my dad. This place would make him very happy, we thought. 

Great sunset, and back home. 


Alright. On that note... this post has taken me like two weeks to write, I started it after Harpers Ferry. I'm sure I will have something to write next week, or the week after or after Ft. Lauderdale. 

Monday, January 07, 2019

Weird Little Yellow Car

Over the last couple of weeks, I've seen this weird little yellow car in my neighborhood a couple of times. It looks like it may be a mini-cooper of some sorts. Normally I wouldn't think anything of a weird yellow car. In fact, I love when cars are interesting colors. It makes them noticeable in traffic, when you see a little orange speed past you, or a bug-green car run a red light. These are helpful little cars when they are that color.

This little yellow car always has a guy in the driver's seat, an older gentleman. And he's looking at my house.  On Sunday, Geoff noticed him and said "What's that asshole doing looking at our house and pointing to us?"

Doug and I both got up to look, and sure enough, there he was. Someone was in the passenger's seat, and they were parked facing the wrong way down the street. The man was pointing and gesturing. And when he saw us looking out the window at him, he pulled away from the curb. In doing so, he almost hit a car head on (remember, he's pointed the wrong way down the street by parking in the incorrect direction). That would have been comical, if no one got hurt.

And we could go outside and say "dude, what's up with you looking at our house and stuff?"

I'm intrigued but also nervous.

Our lease is up at the end of July. What if this is the owner, and he's thinking of selling the house? We currently rent through a rental agency, and I was going to wait a month or so to talk to our agent about renewing the lease for another year.

Houses in our neighborhood are typically $450,000 and up. A cute little one around the corner was just rehabbed top to bottom and is on the market for $599,000. I hardly think it is worth it. It's pretty and all, nicely newly restored. But wow that's expensive.

A lot of properties in this area are skyrocketing due to Ah-may-Zahn HQ number 2 opening in Virginia in the future. They hadn't even granted the town the deal when prices for rent started to climb. Everyone figured it was a foregone conclusion, and they should jack up the rents to get in all those employees gonna make big paychecks at new HQ. The timeline for the HQ to be open is still years in the making - no one is going to be working there because there is no there for quite a while.

But even on the other side of the Potomac, up here in the county I live in, things have gotten very expensive housing-wise. If they don't renew our lease, we have to find somewhere else to live and to be honest, I may have to find somewhere else to work. Commuting down here from say Frederick MD (a wonderful place to live) is a challenge traffic-wise, and I would love to live closer to the ocean, but again... housing costs are insane and traffic is not much better out towards Annapolis or Upper Marlboro. I'd be living in a car, both for my commute and where I live!

And, Geoff is doing great at the community college where he is taking classes, he's very happy, and really working hard. I don't want to upset the apple cart that we carefully got into place with him this year.

So back to weird little yellow car and the man inside. Back in the day, I'd probably make up a narrative about hit. I used to do that with Dave when we did our Shenanigans. We'd sit at a bar and make up a short story about someone down the other end, holding court like they do in the middle of the afternoon.

But maybe I'm getting older, and I'm not as much fun as I used to be. I am starting to slightly panic over this. I'm kind of convinced he's the owner and he's going to want to sell the house and make a fortune on it. And I'll have to move. And now I'm worried.

Hopefully it is nothing but my imagination runs wild in the not-fun direction. We'll see what is going on...

Friday, January 04, 2019

These Dreams

Happy 2019, dear reader. All five of you real humans who I think still read this blog - I hope 2019 is full of love and joy for you. Or at least isn't a dumpster fire of epic proportions.

I don't put a lot of stock into dream interpretation. I've written a couple of times here about dreams I've had that were super bizarre, like my dream about Steven Page singing in a taqueria with incredible interior design.

Lately, I've had a lot of dreams about barns and about roads.

The barns are empty of animals, and are being used for events. In one dream I have often, we're doing some repair to a barn door. Hinges, new wood frame, making it secure and safe. I like the kind of barn doors that are on a rail or a track, and they slide open instead of barn doors that swing open. Last night, I had a dream where my boss was getting married, and the wedding was in a barn (very not her style!) and I was in charge of keeping an eye on the small children in attendance.

Sounds very much like my style if it isn't hers.

At the wedding, most of my daughter's high school friends were there. Which is weird, because only my daughter knows my boss. The cake was really good.

I dream about off ramps and bends in the road a lot. The other night I was dreaming that Geoff was behind the wheel, and he was eyeballing some dogs the way some dudes sometimes eyeball hot babes. He had a big grin on his face, and missed the turn. We went off the road and rolled over and over on a beach. I was yelling at him, neither of us were injured, and he was defensive and angry, and I think embarrassed that it happened. No dogs were injured in our roll over incident.