Tag Archives: work

I Survived A Stressful Week Without Going Completely Insane

19 May

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

This last week has been fraught with stress. Along with almost everybody in my department, I spent the first half of the week waiting to hear whether I still had a job. I work for a large corporation, and they do these organizational shuffles from time to time, and invariably not everyone survives these. While we knew that this reorganization was underway, no-one was telling us anything. Throughout Monday and Tuesday, several familiar faces quietly disappeared. And those of us who remained were wondering who would be next.

On Wednesday, the new organizational charts were finally released. I had a brief moment of panic when I couldn’t immediately find my name, but located it under a new manager. I was not thrilled about that – I loved my previous manager – but at least I was there, doing more or less the same work I’ve been doing.

On the same day, I received notification that I had been accepted into the Professional Writers Association of Canada as an associate member. This was big news indeed: it gives me access to all kinds of tools and people that could help me in my quest to get a foothold in the freelance writing business.

While all of this has been going on, I have been trying to resolve some technical issues that have been preventing the upload of my new website. Last night I had to log onto a couple of sites, and click a couple of buttons that would finalize the transfer of my domain name to a new registrar.

My website broke.

I went into emergency fix mode, calling customer support lines and harassing my long-suffering website developer. I was able to put in place a band-aid fix, which will work just fine until my new website is uploaded after the weekend.

Then my email broke – the email that’s associated with the domain name.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what needed to be done. I had to kill off the email address in one place and recreate it in another. Which meant that I first had to sift through the emails in the old place to figure out which ones I wanted to keep. And we all know that nobody keeps their inboxes nice and tidy, right?

Sheesh.

I got the email address set up in one place, but now it would appear that I didn’t succeed in fully killing it off in the old place. So the Internet thinks the email address exists in two places. While I’m getting most mail in the new place and none at all in the old place, there is the odd message that simply doesn’t get delivered. Kind of like lost snail mail.

I am trying to muddle through and sort all of this out while coming down from a week of stress.

And deal with an autism meltdown that happened this morning when George couldn’t find his box of DVDs.

All of this is happening as I go a bit mental leading into the final week before my half-marathon.

At least everything that’s happening is, in some way, a step in the right direction. I still have a job. My writing career took a big leap. The infrastructure is in place for my new website, and I can always change my email address.

Even George’s meltdown was a positive thing, because he was able to communicate what the trigger was.

I am ready for a relaxing weekend, and I hope that anyone reading will relax right along with me.

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A Day In The Life

11 Apr

I am participating in the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge, in which I publish a post every day for the month of April, based on health-related prompts.

April 11 – Theme song: Imagine your health focus or blog is getting its own theme song. What would the lyrics be? What type of music would it be played to?

I confess that I had no idea what to do with this prompt. My writing skills do not extend to the lyrics of songs. That is my husband’s arena. Therefore, for today, I decided to use one of the bonus prompts:

Daily schedule: Write a list of your daily routine from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Be honest!

alarmclock

5:00  I wake up to the sound of the alarm on my phone. More often than not, I am on the futon in my living room with a small kid pressed up on either side of me (although it must be said that the small kids are getting less small by the day). Because I’m wedged in between my kids, I can’t simply grab my phone and throw it against the wall like I want to. It takes effort to extricate an arm. Often, as I’m reaching for the phone, I knock it off the table, and then I have to get out of bed – a supreme effort indeed – to pick it up and turn off the alarm.

5:15 I turn on my computer to check my email. I am dressed in my running clothes and I am waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. While I’m reading my emails my younger son wakes up. I get him a cup of milk and start preparing to leave, knowing that I will be delayed by my son’s constant chatter.

5:25  I kiss my older son goodbye. He is asleep, but he will know if I’ve left without kissing him goodbye. I field a gazillion questions from my younger son and eventually manage to escape. I sprint to the bus stop and make it with seconds to spare.

6:30  I arrive at work and head straight for the corporate gym in the bowels of the building. I dump my stuff in a locker, fill up my water bottle, and head out for a run. I’m still groggy and sleepy, but the first kilometre or so takes care of that.

8:00  I get to my desk, all showered and feeling good from my run. I drop my bag on my chair and go straight back out for coffee and a bite to eat. I bring it back to my desk and work until noon.

12:00 Lunch-time! I curse about having once again left my carefully prepared lunch in my fridge at home. I gather up my notebook computer, buy a random salad somewhere, and sit in the common room writing words.

12:30  Back to the grindstone.

2:45 Arrival of my mid-afternoon energy crash. I go out for coffee, and while I stand in the queue I stare at the display of donuts and cookies wondering if it would be OK for me to have one. By the time I get to the front of the line I’m so undecided that I don’t get anything except the coffee. Which is a good thing.

4:00  I pack up, log off, say my goodbyes to my co-workers and leave. I go to the subway station and position myself on the platform just where I think the train doors will end up. More chance of getting a seat that way.

5:30  I arrive home, lamenting the fact that once again, I did not get a seat on either the subway or the bus. I walk home from the bus stop, and stop to check the mailbox on the way home. I do so much stuff over the Internet these days that I hardly get any actual mail.

5:35  The husband and children, who get home before I do, have been standing at the living room window watching for my arrival. The husband opens the front door to release the kids, who run towards me in that joyous, unrestrained way that only children are capable of. I dump my bags, drop to my knees, and open my arms. My boys come hurtling into my arms and almost knock me backwards with the force of their love.  My cup overfloweth with happiness.

6:00 The kids were fed their dinner before I got home, and now the husband and I are cooking up something for ourselves. I enjoy the companionship as we chop vegetables together and chat about our days. I reflect on how fortunate I am to have a husband who supports me in my writing and my running, who accepts me for all of my weird little quirks, and who is the best dad ever.

7:00  Dinner has been cooked and eaten. I clean up the kitchen but don’t start the dishwasher – not yet. My older son, the one with autism, has a lot of angst where the dishwasher is concerned. I have only just gotten to the point where I can unpack and reload it without him completely melting down. Actually running it would be asking for trouble. Best to wait until he is asleep.

7:30  Bathtime for the kids. George goes in first, because he really doesn’t like being in a tubful of water. I soap him down and then, amid panicky cries of protest, I wash his hair. Like many autistics, he has a big problem with having his hair washed. James dives for cover, only emerging when George is safely out of the tub and in his pyjamas. James’ bath-time is a splash-fest. I have to keep a towel handy for myself, and I’m not even in the water.

8:30  The kids go to bed. George has done his homework (and got it right) in about three seconds flat. Bedtime milk has been consumed, stories have been read, hugs and kisses have been administered. I wait until George is asleep and then turn on the dishwasher. I make lunches for the following day and ensure that everyone has clean clothes to wear. I sit down at my computer and do whatever admin needs to be done.

9:30  My day’s work is done and now it’s time to reward myself. I pour a glass of wine, send my daily email to my mom, and waste time on Facebook. I complete and schedule any unfinished blog posts and start one or two new ones. Sometimes I abandon Facebook in favour of a nice soak in the tub. There’s something very decadent about sitting in a bubble bath with a book and a glass of wine.

10:00 I have a cup of tea with the husband and sigh dramatically as he channel-surfs. Why do men do this? Just as I’m getting into whatever happens to be on the channel gets changed.

10:30  I suddenly remember some crucial email or piece of admin that absolutely cannot wait until the following day. I turn on my laptop again to take care of it.

11:00 I fall into bed in a state of exhaustion, and fall into a fitful sleep that will, at least once, be interrupted by one of the kids needing something. Sometimes, I wake up to find one of them beside me. And I’m completely fine with that.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/szift/3196084839. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.)

Time’s A Bitch, But I’m Gonna Beat It

25 May

I am having a battle with Time. This battle has been going on for a while, and I confess that for the most part, I have been letting Time win. I’ve decided that from now on, I’m going to stand tall, square my shoulders, hoist up my big girl panties, and KICK TIME IN THE ASS!

I am tired of the following statements being rules of my life:
– I don’t have time to run.
– I don’t have time to write.
– I don’t have time to cook nutritious meals.
– I don’t have time to get enough sleep.
– I don’t have time to relax with my family.

Basically, all I have time to do is commute, work, commute again, and then do a different kind of work when I get home.

This is no way to live. And I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m going to take the time to sort out the logistics of my life, so that going forward, I can do the stuff that matters.

I’m going to systematically go through the stuff in my house and throw crap away so that I can have the physical space to be organized. (I’ve already made a start on that – this weekend I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and linen closet, and Freecycled three big garbage bags full of baby things).

I’m going to get all of my paperwork filed and up to date, and THEN I’m going to deal with things as they come in instead of waiting for a big fat pile of papers to be teetering over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (I’ve made a start on that too).

I’m going to prepare kids’ clothing and lunches for the following day, and get my own stuff ready as well, as soon as I get home from work. That way it will be over and done with, and I won’t be dashing around at eleven at night looking for the kids’ socks or trying to find an apple to slice up for a lunch box.

I’m going to go to bed at a reasonable time.

That way, I will be able to get up early to RUN.

I will have time to write, time to cook real food, time to live my life the way it should be lived.

And with all of the crap and clutter out of my way (physical and mental clutter), I will have time for the most important stuff of all. My husband and children.

So that’s the plan, and I am publicly declaring it here.

Now, wish me luck. I think I’ll need it!

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atportas/329630852)

The Juggling Runner

16 Feb

Those who know me well know that I have the dual problem of (a) having way too much on my plate and (b) having crap time management skills. Juggling a full-time job with parenting a child with autism, parenting a child without autism, helping manage Gerard’s business, and everything else that I have going on, can really take it out of me. That is a lot of balls to have in the air, and dropping any one of them is not an option.

Despite all of this, though, I run. I am living proof that the excuse of not having time to exercise just doesn’t hold water. Anyone who wants to exercise badly enough – assuming they are medically and physically up for it – can find a way to make it work.

That being said, it is far from easy, and several people have asked me how I do it. And so, for people who are overtaxed, overworked, and overwhelmed and still want to exercise, I offer my words of wisdom (and thank you to the Running on Empty blogger for suggesting this as a blog topic).

1. Get your partner/spouse/significant other on board. I cannot stress this enough. I’m not saying you have to drag them out of bed to go running with you at five in the morning against their will, just ensure that you have their support. Explain to them what you want to do and why it’s important to you. Let them understand what impact, if any, it will have on them. I am very fortunate in this regard. Gerard occasionally grumbles and complains when I abandon him to the mercies of two lunatic children so I can go for a long run, but he understands that it is something I need to do. Come race day, he is always a rock of support for me, taking me to races at ungodly hours of the morning and cheering me on at the end.

2. Planning is essential for people pressed for time. At the beginning of each week, write down what days you are going to work out and how long each workout will be. Be sure to take into account the amount of time you will need to change into your workout clothes and get to wherever you need to be. Once you’ve done this, schedule the workouts in your calendar. Once they are in your calendar, don’t move them. Schedule other stuff around them.

3. Once the workout is scheduled, just do it. If your calendar says you’re getting up at five in the morning to go for a run, then get up at five in the morning to go for a run. There will be times when you just don’t think you’ll be able to drag yourself out the door, when all you want to do is go back to sleep. Your mind may even try to convince you that this would be healthier. If you give in, though, you will spend the rest of the day regretting it. If, on the other hand, you get up and do your workout, you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. As an added bonus, I frequently find that the runs I am really, really not in the mood for turn out to be some of the best ones ever.

4. As much as I’m going on about scheduling and planning, you have to be prepared for exceptions. Sometimes it won’t be possible for you to go running when you planned to. Your child will keep you awake all night, and you will genuinely need to catch up on sleep instead of running. Or your boss will call an emergency meeting that will cut into the time you had reserved for your lunchtime workout. Or you yourself will get sick and be forced to rest. This is all OK. Sometimes life gets in the way of running. If you’re not able to reschedule a missed workout, no problem. Just go for the next scheduled workout and life will continue to be good.

5. Remember that shorter workouts are still worthwhile. If you were planning to run for an hour and only find yourself with twenty minutes, it’s still worth running for those twenty minutes. From time to time, I’m not able to get out at all because I have no-one to watch the kids for me, but even on those days, I manage to do sprints up and down my road, checking on the kids between reps.

6. The key thing here is perseverance. Even when things get so overwhelming that you have to skip runs or take an extended break because you’re ill or injured, don’t give up. Remind yourself of why it is important to you, and think about how great it feels when you complete a great workout. When things get tough, don’t just give up and tell yourself it will not work. Ultimately, you are doing this for YOU, and you should never give up on yourself.

One Step Closer To Normal

14 Feb

Life is one step closer to normal today.

James has rallied back after his week-long illness and is back at school today. It completely failed to register with my overtaxed brain that today would be the day to send in Valentines cards and treats for him to hand out to his classmates, but I don’t honestly feel too bad about that. I’ve had other things on my mind. In any case, James will no doubt get a lot of attention today.  He is immensely proud of the tiny little bruise on his hand where the IV line went in. He is going to show the bruise to his friends and tell the tale of his hospital adventures. I’d say the kid has earned the bragging rights.

George is still home, but he hasn’t thrown up for about thirty hours. He ate jam sandwiches yesterday, and right now he is digging into the scrambled egg that he requested. He has colour in his face again – a colour other than pure white, that is – and he is chatting away in his own little autie language. He seems happy, and definitely better. He’s getting one more day at home to recover his strength.

Gerard and I are at home as well. Both of us feel a little drained and weak, but we are also on the mend. My system is still very delicate – so delicate that I am, for the fourth day in a row, voluntarily foregoing coffee. Those who know me and my love for caffeine will appreciate just what a sacrifice this is.

Even though I am at home, I am well enough to actually work. Tomorrow I will go back to the office for the first time in almost a week. I’ll feel like Marco Polo must have when he got back from China or wherever it was he went, except that I won’t have boatloads of tea and rice with me.

After my return to work, I will be able to think about the next big thing. Running. Oh, how I miss running. How badly I want to lace up my running shoes and go out in the crisp, cold air and feel the crunching of the snow beneath my feet as I run.

If I try that today I will throw up all over that nice pretty snow. I have to be sensible. It will probably be Thursday or Friday before I try running again, and when I do, I will have to start out slow.

I won’t even care about being slow. I just want to be out on the road again.

And for everyone in my family to be able to go to bed at night without a designated puke bucket on the floor beside them.