Contagion

I have a dear friend who is a nurse and has worked graveyard shift for as long as I have known him. We met in the worst of times – he cared for my oldest child in her final days – and he has become part of the story of my life for the last 20 years. Like so many of my friends near and far who are silent readers, he keeps up with the blog, especially the training recaps. Last night before he went to work, he texted me that I have become a positivity terrorist.

My level of thrilled-out-ness presently knows no boundaries, I was so delighted with the term and characterization. Because he is a nurse, I wanted to find some medical-related term for this post. Because I am a glitter-bombing unicorn positivity terrorist these days, right? Love it! Perhaps it is contagious? I have no idea, but it does seem the majority of those around me are calmer and less stressed out to morose. Whether the change is coming from them or the way I see and interpret their auras – I am just not sure. But I actually prefer it this way, of course. I vastly prefer to be around happier people and not feel as if I am draining their life force away because I cannot muster more upbeat joy to share.

It’s Friday. It’s been a terrific week. And I have a mish-mash of random and pleasant stuff to share.

Tuesday was my review at the firm, and one of the things we discussed was employee perks and benefits. To be clear, I find the partners at my firm to be extraordinarily generous in compensation and benefits to the staff. Being a small firm with 4 partners, their intention has never been to “grow” the firm into some massive behemoth with hundreds of partners. As it stands right now we are expanding to capacity, with 30 full- and part-time employees, of which the attorney staff will number increase to 24 of varying degrees of experience.

We provide usual (for a professional services firm in our area) benefits of healthcare and retirement, paid time off, and more holidays than any small firm I have worked at in many years. There are monthly events – like junk food Tuesday and happy hours that could mean anything from jamba juice to an afternoon of golf or more traditional happy hour offerings. Remote work is also a negotiable opportunity, but unless someone is sick or stuck at home waiting for the cable guy, staff (other than me) rarely take advantage of it.

But health and wellness is seems to be on the partners’ minds these days. After my most recent brush with ergo “experts,” the topic of how we can encourage staff to pursue more work/life balance and stay healthy has become a theme.

And to be perfectly transparent, a healthier group keeps all our healthcare insurance costs down.

Now, these are lawyers, and by nature and definition they seem to have some level of workaholism in their DNA. I know, because I feel it too when I am in the office and toiling at my own stuff. But I am a genuine, born again believer in the benefits of exercise. While I cannot make anyone go to the gym or go for a walk or take a yoga class, I can be open and honest about my experience and what I was like before versus how I feel right now. The difference to me is pretty startling, but it happened very gradually and over an extended period of time. However, the other ladies in the firm (there are actually 8 of us now out of a firm of 27) have noticed that my figure is changing. Subtly, slowly, but changing nonetheless.

We talk about diet and exercise all the time. A couple of the ladies have tried Whole 30 for a couple of months, another has been pursuing weight watchers without much success. I think all that stuff is a huge PITA as well as an overall challenge to be consistent with it. But just like I truly dislike the scale, the closest thing that I do that comes to dieting is trying to eat more protein (shooting for 45% of my total daily calorie intake) and staying within a realistic calorie budget. The rest is pretty much anything goes. I also understand that I get a little wiggle room with my daily exercise. Not a whole lot, but I do occasionally fall off and eat gratuitous sugar.

But I have come to really understand that exercise or diet alone will not get the results anyone seeks. I am supposing that body might relinquish weight faster with less food intake, but perhaps not. For now, I am choosing to be happy and grateful that my health concerns are mostly resolved enough that I can (mostly) be patient and pursue my activities without any overwhelming drama. I think my cohorts are suspicious of my placidity in this regard. They did not know me that well when I was having my almost daily gym meltdowns with negative girl behind the wheel.

The partners are contemplating adding gym membership as an employee perk. Would employees use it, though, that’s the bigger question. While I would love, Love, LOVE to have my gym membership subsidized as an employee benefit, I would not be willing to change gyms to receive it and would obviously be lobbying hard to have MY gym chain be the corporate selection. There are other offerings around town, but I do not think any of the others have the same consistent levels of equipment and facilities.

So it is a thought swirling around in several heads this week, and sometimes soon I am going to have to get busy figuring out whether or not this is something we will offer our employees. One of the partners starting thinking out loud about introductory training, and I immediately imagined trainer J’s reaction to the idea of bunches of new recruits clamoring for his available hours. The thought made me smile. Maybe if there was enough interest he could craft a group offering for my group? Hey, anything is possible, right?

But first things first – assessing interest and then pursuing cost proposals, etc. I’m hopeful, though. I think it would be a terrific opportunity for my associates. That I have bosses genuinely interested in the overall health and wellness of their employees also makes me happy.

We are having “bring your dogs to work day” today as well and have 4 labs, a golden retriever, and a pair of corgies roaming from office to office for meet-and-greets with the staff. Admittedly we are a dog-friendly office and when it happens everyone present seems to work it out and get along, plus there are enough people here that all the pups get petted and fawned over adequately. Our new offices will be even more dog-friendly, so it should be even better when there is no carpet to clean in case of accidents (not happened yet, but one never knows). I love dogs. M will not let me have one, and I tend to agree that our lifestyle is not especially dog friendly, so I get to enjoy the visiting pup-pups.

I gave trainer J this really pretty bottle of scotch this morning. It always makes me happy when I am able to rehome quickly items I will not use. Otherwise M takes a shine to the pretty bottle or box and tries to manufacture a reason to keep it. No, just no. We have several bottles of wine for cooking and another small bottle of scotch for another experimental chicken dish somewhere in the house. This good and better stuff can go to the kids or trainer J or other friends who will enjoy it. Except for friend J and trainer J, I really do not know anyone else who enjoys scotch. Canadian whiskey, check. Beer, mostly check. Cognacs and brandies, uh huh, got it covered. Bourbon, gin, and rum are sort of a catch-all ask anyone and everyone I know.

Speaking of friend J, he is presently in the states, but unlikely to be able to get out here for a visit in his short window. He suggested maybe next week – arrive on Thursday, have to depart again on Saturday morning – but the timing is crappy for me for a couple of reasons. Probably time to start making our holiday plans.

On the other hand, friend J sounds much more himself-like of late. Whatever program he is pursuing in the gym (and it is kicking his ass) and whatever scotch he has been drinking, cigars he has been smoking, company he has been keeping over there in Zurich has catapulted him back to his more normal, happy-go-lucky self. Thank goodness; our long friendship can only endure only so much navel-gazing ramblings, and I pretty much have that position locked up for the foreseeable future. It becomes a challenge to maintain this level of self-absorption if I have to slap it him silly and out of humming melancholy baby in my text and email because his love life has hit a continual streak of crazy women. I am glad to see him back to his normal, slightly cynical, potty-mouthed self.

M seems to be coming out of his back-related aches and pains, or he is not complaining as much about it. While I am mostly sympathetic, my only thought is that perhaps taking a day or more off from his 20-mile daily runs would allow this muscle spasm thing time to settle down. But no, it’s apparently not bad enough to make him break his streak. *sigh* The life of an endurance athlete is quite hard and even harder to comprehend sometimes, and I obviously fail to understand the nuances and needs associated with it. All I know for sure is that no one would have to tell me twice to take some time off if I were in that kind of pain, so I am pleased it finally seems to be fading.

My own gym pursuits continued this morning, and I noticed washing my hands at lunch that I have acquired these little calluses on my palms and fingers from the weights. I would think they would be all the way across my palms or on most fingers, but no, only a couple of specific spots on each hand. It feels as if that means something really good, like I am actually working hard enough to leave physical evidence. Or my gym crazy just took yet another turn. Whatever. I am ridiculously excited by feeling the little rough patches of skin.

And that, my friends, is my brain-dump wrap up for this Friday. Happy weekending!

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