Relationships matter

After a day of couch surfing, crying, feeling sorry for myself, I finally picked myself up and got annoyed enough with something else. So I got started deep cleaning my shower, which led to decluttering the countertop in the master bathroom. And more crying. One of our final interactions we were looking at apartments for friend J and I was fretting over the size of the bathroom – the vanity was single sink, barely any counter. But being a guy and a minimalist guy at that, what the f**k did the countertop or bathroom size matter? It has a toilet, sink, shower – all he needed. Medicine cabinet over the sink was a bonus.

Made me smile.

But after a couple of hours of frenzied deep cleaning all through the house, I feel better. M came home from a day of running and trail sweeping and I got irritated with him for tracking in crap on floors I’d just steam cleaned and wiping his feet on entry rugs I’d just vacuumed. Not his fault, of course, but I’m trying to burn off my funk and feeling cranky because of it. Essentially it was one of those pissy days in our household.

As I wait for a final load of laundry to finish washing to be loaded into the dryer, my alternate thought spin cycle has begun making its rounds in my head.

Work is for the most part going very well. I’m busy enough and engaged enough with the clients stable I’m serving already, but they bring me projects with quick turnaround deadlines and it keeps things especially interesting. I have no real complaints and am enjoying this aspect of my life.

Or I was, until Friday.

As you may recall, my former firm was bought out by a much larger corporate firm and I was given a damn generous severance package. My former bosses are still consulting and working cases that were continuing at the time of separation, and my former boss’ corporation remains a client of mine as we wind things down. It’s a win-win situation, because I do really enjoy working with them. I also remain close to my associates who are still working for Big Corp Firm (BCF) and meet them for lunch or drinks/dinner at least once a month. These people are my friends and the relationships are important to me.

Over the last couple of weeks I have gotten calls from BCF about various issues. I rarely answer the telephone when the regional operations coordinator phones, because as far as I am concerned, they instigated the separation, tried their level best to screw me over before and after said separation, and are therefore completely untrustworthy. Our communications are always going to be on my terms, not theirs. This does not mean I am so unprofessional as to completely ignore their email inquiries or telephone calls; it just means I do not jump when they snap their fingers. Kind of a childish control issue, I admit, but they are not nice people and treated me very poorly.

Anyway, the questions they have been asking have been very routine, stuff we went over several times before I left. I’m not impatient with them, but I find it tedious when someone who is supposed to be intelligent and in charge of a business group asks me the same questions in different ways over the course of a week. I learned during the Friday meeting with the partners that the problem is not so much a misunderstanding so much as it is a conflict with a couple of very fussy clients.

The partners asked me if I would consider a limited consulting engagement with BCF for these few specific clients with very particular issues and a much healthier respect for me and how I dealt with them. Just to get things transitioned completely. Had BCF treated me more professionally, I would do so up to a specific number of hours each month without charge. But I know their coordinator knows there is a huge amount of distrust and resentment toward them, because I have stated it in those precise words with very specific reasons for my feelings.

But relationships matter. My relationship with my former bosses/present clients are important to me, as is my reputation among the BCF, even if they think I’m scarcely more than a clerk for not having a law degree. Refusing this limited engagement with BCF will ultimately hurt my former bosses, because they do reap a share of the revenue from these ongoing cases until they are settled once and for all. Everyone also knows that the request coming from them is impossible for me to refuse.

Even if I dislike my choices in the matter or the people I will have to work with on the grind of getting the relationship repair work done, it’s business. I am probably more upset about being put into this position, because completely hiding behind my mask of professionalism will be almost impossible in this situation. But they need me, and the greater good for people who do matter to me means making the best of the situation. I cannot even charge them a premium because of the circumstances to make myself feel better about it.

The bright side is that I’ll get to be back amongst my peeps a few times each month, and I have missed seeing and interacting with them on a routine basis. It is also a limited scope thing, something that will likely only last through the end of the year. Biggest bonus is they need me, not vice versa. My irritation with them for their big corporate practices is greatly tempered knowing that they are under enough pressure to address the concerns of a client that they had to try and recruit me back to help them smooth things over.

Framed that way, I feel very vindicated. Perhaps I will even come to enjoy the time spent with the vipers of BCF. I doubt it, but I have to retain a facade of optimism about the relationship and situation.

In my book of life, another chapter concludes

Last night we had our final dinner as a firm. While I had my doubts about it when first announced, the partners wanted something special for the staff offsite to commemorate the firm that once was. There has been a wide range of emotions about the sale, but joy and elation were not within that range. Mostly it has been anger, sadness, uncertainty, ad some bitterness that the partners would sell out and abandon what is a great firm, great jobs for all of us.

I do not disagree. While intellectually knowing and understanding their position and desires to pursue some other type of life, it has been a struggle to accept and let go for me. But accepting what I cannot change has been for my own good, and I’m in the best possible shape for this parting. I am staying positive 90% of the time about it.

Thursday afternoon we had a boozey-schmoozey final lunch. It was fun – good food, lots of laughter, booze – and at 4 p.m. I was putting the last tipsy lawyer into an Uber and saying goodbye to my receptionist. He gave me a parting gift and I opened it in the car. It’s a copy of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and he wrote the sweetest note inside for me. I didn’t cry until reading it, but it was powerful. I love that kid and expect he will do well and have a great life.

We were closed for the day on Friday at the partners’ insistence. They were moving their personal belongings from the offices and did not want the staff around to witness this final phase. I stopped by in the late afternoon to put a personal note and goodbye gift on each desk. The empty offices, the framed degrees, the photographs of the firm and staff through the years off the walls nearly broke me in half. The finality that this would be my final stop in this volume of my life and career hit hard.

But last night, last night went from semi-serious and nearly morose to something more typical of us as a group over the course of the evening. Good food, open bar, and a lot of funny and touching anecdotes from the partners about each of the staff members made for a good evening. I’d been asked to share something as well – about the state of the firm on its last days as well as anything else I cared to talk about. I was still trying to write it all down 3 minutes before we were due to leave the house.

In the end, I quoted numbers from my notes, because I’m a numbers kind of person and that is part of my role. For me personally, I spoke from the heart about what they have all meant to me, how it has been both a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a scary smart group of people with such unlimited potential for greatness in careers and in lives they live. Ours is not a Hallmark movie inspirational tale – our clients are primarily big insurance companies and not some little guy seeking justice in the form of monetary damages – but being our best selves, using our intelligence and experience to do the best job we can has its own rewards.

My career has spanned longer than a few of these kids time on earth. While I have not always been a manager or a leader – I was 47 before finishing my degree – it has been many years since I have discounted or pooh-poohed my professional accomplishments in comparison to others. As a very young woman I came to understand that I could have everything I wanted in life (assuming I was willing to put forth the sweat equity to make it happen) but I could not necessarily have it all at once. I married, divorced, raised children while working progressively responsible administrative support jobs, a role that I still feel is mostly undervalued. Every job I have had, no matter how low on the food chain or how lacking in respect, has taught me something, even if it is how to not conduct myself or the ways I manage work-related relationships. I remain hopeful that this new big firm experience will benefit my (now former) associates in positive ways. To the very end I continued to encourage them to have an open mind about the possibilities and experiences awaiting them.

And I meant every single word of it.

I debate with myself the value of authenticity and sincerity in the professional realm. There is an edge of cynicism that continually tries s to expand within me yet gets tamped down at every turn. I am realistic that people are people and there is a segment in every workplace that are ruthlessly ambitious or insecure and will do whatever it takes to realize their vision of getting ahead. The work I do is not deeply personal or life-altering to my clients, but it must be done and putting forth quality effort and using my education and experience is satisfying to me. I have grown accustomed to a higher level of autonomy and control in my work, and I see going back to self-employment as the best option for maintaining that. I know how fortunate I am to have this option, to have retained enough part-time clients to ensure our basic living expenses are covered, but already a few clients I referred out 18 months ago when I went with a full-time job have gleefully returned and other firms have been contacting me about projects of various lengths. I should have no problems keeping myself busy, off the streets and out of Baskin Robbins (purely medicinal purposes, of course).

Returning to employee status – I don’t see it happening for me unless something extraordinary happens to my stable of clients. The law firm offered me an unique and challenging opportunity where I felt certain I could and would make a difference. At the end of it, when the old firm is now just a shell that we will be winding down and closing out as a corporation in the next year, I know that my presence and efforts made an impact and a difference for the partners and the staff.

It’s hard to be sad when I know this to be true.

My book of life continues to be written, only one chapter is now concluded. Fresh page, fresh start. Let the new adventure begin anew.


Unexpected endings

This is not the post I expected to be writing today. Really, this is not the post I expected to be writing anytime in the foreseeable future.

My full-time job is likely ending. The partners told me today they have agreed to terms to sell/merge with a big corporate firm. This has been under discussion since the first of the year and I have been peripherally involved in those discussions. However, as of the end of April it appeared to be filed away under not-going-to-happen. Apparently there were some other things going on behind the scenes as of today, the deal is done. I went to the office to notarize documents and agreements and have had opportunity to skim through the highlights. The firm as a separate entity ends on June 30, but there will be up to a 6-month transition term to ensure our existing clients receive the same level of service and we figure out office space and other matters.

What that means for me – I already knew I will be leaving, even if offered an opportunity to stay. Life is short, and I do not want to work in a corporate firm again. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the small firm aspects of it. I am within 10 feet of the owners and decision makers; there is no layered bureaucracy to wade through and navigate. While we have a chain of command and a defined organizational structure, everyone in our firm is comfortable talking to the partners about anything and everything. It’s informal and comfortable, yet very professional with high integrity and sense of fairness. From working with people of rather flexible moral standards when it came to running a business, I have found this to be of immeasurable importance and priority for me.

The partners – they are good people; they put measures in place to protect the staff. Whether I stay or go, I will be collecting a paycheck through the end of 2017. Because of health insurance benefits and other severance package incentives, I will honor my commitments to them in whatever shape it takes me. However, I already know I am likely to be among the first to exit the firm. As a supervising manager in our office and an almost purely administrative overhead employee, my job functions of billing, accounting, payroll, and human resources will be absorbed almost immediately by existing staff in the Los Angeles office. A new leader has already been appointed and will be in the office the third week in June meeting the staff and outlining the way forward. The partners will continue to function as consultants to the new enterprise, guiding existing client cases as needed until they can be moved to another attorney.

Surprisingly, I am actually quite happy for the partners. From a business and financial standpoint, they made an excellent deal that sets them up for either early retirement or with an opportunity to pursue other types of work that may interest them. Reading through the outline of the agreement, they put protections in place for the staff with regard to severance pay and offers of continued employment. Who will end up staying or going I cannot predict, but at least the parachute the partners negotiated will soften our landings.

While I should be more upset about this turn of events, I am really not. I will miss my crew; I have made some great friends and helped create a very special work environment. In truth, of all my professional accomplishments within this firm, I am most proud of the team we have built and the work ethic we have instilled and built up around one another as individuals as well as the firm as a whole. To see it absorbed and become just another tiny cog in a big giant machine with bazillions of cogs is difficult to swallow. But that’s business.

Most people in my situation would understandably be freaking out, but I guess I am not most people. I still have a thriving little self-employment business and with more time and a little energy I can return to a level of billing that comfortably pays the bills and provides freedom to continue pursuing our interests. I recently cut ties with a couple of clients, and I still have zero regrets about it, despite this new news. With a steady paycheck and maybe a job to report to for the balance of the year, I have room to plan and create a strategy for moving forward on my own again.

Maybe the freak out happens next month, when this all becomes a lot more real. Or perhaps I will just become enthralled and excited about more time to pursue my better health objectives and develop a hobby. Or something like it. Heck, maybe I’ll even blog more frequently than I have been this year.

Whatever happens next, I have the luxury (and trust me, I recognize how fortunate we are in this) of looking at it as an adventure rather than a setback.


Pause, reset, trust

I had a meeting scheduled with my bosses yesterday to discuss our recruiting efforts. After what happened on Friday with two hand-picked candidates asked us to meet with (and turned out to be kind of awful people), I was bewildered and confused by the process. Their reaction when I tried to discuss it muddied the waters further as well as left me feeling completely disrespected and on the path to demoralized.

Sunday the scheduled meeting was moved into the afternoon and a management meeting scheduled instead – which is just me and the partners, versus the 5 of us, 2 supervisors, 3 seniors.

The situation was unfortunate, because it made me wonder who these men were and what had happened to the cooperative, creative bosses I had earlier in the week. While I am not a shareholder in this firm, I am typically included and consulted with regard to management of the firm. To be shut out and shut down so completely is awful; had they physically reached out and slapped me I would not have been more shocked and surprised.

And as if they had physically assaulted me, it gave me enough pause to stop and really consider my options and alternatives if this is the way things are going to be moving forward.

My ways of processing things is partly analysis of the situation, it’s possible reasonable (and unreasonable) explanations, and figure out what must happen to make restore peace in my fiefdom that is my day job. While I really love the staff and the role itself, if I wanted to work in a compartmentalized corporate conglomerate where I am a mere cog in the big giant wheel I would have chosen another type of firm. If it took 18 months for the partners’ Dr. Jeckyll to transform in Mr. Hyde, experience tells me the time span between future transformations will evolve into a briefer and briefer pattern.

After leaving my prior employee-based position, I swore not to put myself into another position where I am cleaning up the messes resulting from lack of communication and poor decision making. If I am in a role where I am supposed to be managing something to manage firm resources and personnel, I need to either be part of the solution or my job becomes a cancer that takes over my life.

This weekend, I decided we would resolve this issue or I would be turning in my notice. Sounds extreme, I know, but in truth I have a thriving part-time self-employment business and am routinely having to turn away referrals from existing clients because I don’t have time to take on a lot more new work. While making money is really nice – I am a capitalist at heart and do appreciate my opportunities to make lots of bucks – it is not worth sacrificing my self-respect or feeling undervalued and unappreciated. That said, I am not someone with an over-inflated ego; I so nor believe myself indispensable and beyond reproach for my skills and work habits. I am well aware that everyone is replaceable and there are literally dozens of equally to more qualified candidates out there. But whether those other candidates bring the same level of care and compassion to the work, I have no idea. I do think my empathy coupled with practicality, skill set, and willingness to be fair and balanced in dealing with people – maybe it’s less common.

M and I had discussed this extensively over the weekend, and I had a few in-depth conversations with other friends who are in similar lines of work. I needed a gut-check to ensure I was not massively overreacting. But at the end of the conversations, I would probably still be inclined to walk away if this was the new world order at my firm. Love the people, actually really like and respect the partners as well, but I cannot and will not work with my role and priorities being altered without any discussion or notice.

With this all settled for me, I went into the meeting with a clear head and an open mind. I had my hopes – an explanation at the very least – and was not completely disappointed by the outcome.

There was a genuine apology for their brush off. There was opportunity for me to vent my feelings – primarily anger, disappointment, and betrayal. I felt set-up, walking in blind with a couple of candidates they already knew or were at least familiar enough with to invite to meet with us. No debrief? No advance warning? Or was it the candidate set-up with extended hopes and expectations?

Uncomfortable silence around the table when I laid it out for them in black and white, and I was dimly reminded of reprimanding my kids in their youth. Unanimous agreement all around the process had been botched and that the candidates were unlikely to be a good fit with the type of firm they have created and the professional atmosphere they want to foster.

The why of it all still eludes me, other than the concern of adding more female professional staff looms large in their minds. I point out that yours truly is female and a manager, even if I am not an attorney and even if my male bosses dis me from time to time. However, I agree that another female hires would be beneficial. Alas, finding the most qualified female for the jobs we are seeking to fill has been a challenge as well. In addition to that, our willingness and ability to accommodate the time and schedule requests of the lady lawyers we have extended offers to have been rejected. Not our fault.

But before we dug too deeply into the actual recruiting part of our meeting, I wanted to wrap-up the communication aspect of our discussion.

Bosses agreed they botched this introduction and also agreed it might have been partly an unconscious and on purpose choice to test our mettle. Nope, I did not like that, at all, and we were very nearly back to square one.

Of the 4, all have been married and divorced at some point, although all are presently single right now. I am older by more than a decade and have been with M for more than a quarter century and know quite a bit about trust, betraying trust, and what it takes to rebuild once broken. Just in case you’re curious – it was not infidelity on either side, so much as my child victimization and M sharing it with our counselor without my permission or even telling me first. That lack of communication nearly ended our marriage, and it took a long time and therapy to recover and rebuild.

While their behavior is small-ball in comparison, it is serious enough that I did figure out my options and whether resignation was a viable one. I do not threaten ever, and I did not give them a “my way or the highway” ultimatum speech. What I did say – I am a professional in my own right and in my own field, and I am always straightforward and honest with them about my thoughts, ideas, opinions. This is their firm; they can run it however they see fit. However, if my role in it is as they have described and up to this incident acted like it was what they wanted, the game playing and mettle-testing must cease. Immediately. Tell me it is none of my business. Decide to alter my job description and explain to me that they are implementing changes to my duties and role. But do not treat me like an unknown quantity they cannot or will not trust enough to use her best judgement. Because despite what they thought they were doing or what they intended, this is the ultimate outcome of their misstep.

They are smart men; they got the message loud and clear. There is no double-secret probation, no hoops they must jump through to make it up to me. But my expectation of being treated like a professional was crystal clear.

After a rough day with all that yesterday, it was good to have some space from them and focus on my self-employment workload today.

Life is long and relationships of all stripes complicate everything. But we will sort it out, work it out. Our first big fight; time will tell how it shapes our future.

Communication and misplaced anger

I strive to be professional in my employment pursuits. I am close to many of my colleagues and very fond of my private clients, which sometimes makes it harder on me to just do the somehow negative tasks in front of me and explain or deal with the occasionally strong emotions of the other players in that slice of the business world.

A self-employment business client is caught up in a shitstorm and has been needing a lot of extra time and support from me this month. It has caused some friction and stress, because my schedule is pretty full during the first quarter of every year anyway, but unless I literally cannot carve out enough time to do the work I am reluctant to say no. Since he is a great client, typically a pleasure to work with, I have rearranged my evening and weekend work schedules and pushed through to get what he needed completed within deadlines.

Unfortunately a good outcome is not forthcoming. And that makes it harder for me to muster genuine positive energy and enthusiasm to continue to push through and do my job. I am a professional, though; I actually push harder and expend more effort in hopes of finding a better solution to resolve the problem.

This morning I gave up my sacred exercise block for a conference call (client is presently buried in snow on the other coast) and in a moment of stress and frustration his temper flared and he snapped at me about the quality of my recent efforts for him. Professionally and intellectually, I understand he is frustrated, unhappy, and under stress with the issues he is facing. The comment was an emotional outburst and not meant to be taken personally. However, words matter. Personally and emotionally – someone says in very plainly that I am doing a “shit-worthless job for them” in the matter at hand, it is nearly impossible for me not to take it personally. I was very much taken aback by his vitriol, particularly as it was not a one-on-one interaction, and while he has since apologized in text (after we hung up I had to run through the shower and get ready for my day job so did not answer the telephone when he called me back), my reply was neutral. I know further discussion is warranted – he lost his cool and said things that felt far more like a personal attack than disappointment or distress with my work product. Unfortunately now is not the time; he has far too much on his plate and it is not a conversation I wish to have by phone.

Sometimes I wonder if I am tough enough to be self-employed and to take the flak that occasionally flies from an executive’s mouth. My emotional response made me glad we were not sitting in the same room, because it is far easier to maintain my composure and rein in my own temper being alone in my office. Once the call ended, though, I had the angry cry and the raging inside my head of how dare he treat me so poorly.

Cooler heads do prevail. I know he knows his show of temper was inappropriate and directed at the wrong person. I also know I will overcome it. But I have learned (the hard way) that to allow this sort of disrespect toward me even once sets a bad precedent for future interactions, so we need to have a calm, grown-up discussion about what he said, how I received it, and why it should not happen again, particularly when it is a meeting with other people. If that conversation does not proceed as I hope, then our professional association will have to end. I know it is a luxury to not having to tolerate being disrespected or abused by someone paying for my services, and I know I am fortunate to be able to cut ties and not be stressed about income and paying bills.

But I hate when my days start like that. Possibly why I would rather be at the gym, presently my happier space. Something to look forward to tonight, even if the tradeoff is being in the club at an unusual, potentially busier time of day. I will make it work. Plus M is cooking tonight, so one less thing to think about.

My unlucky day

Today was not a terrible or even a bad day. However, it was a day with a series of events that distract and irritate me.

On the way to the gym, my pony tail stretchy band breaks. This is not an unusual occurrence, so I always have a spare in my gym bag. When I get to the gym and trying to install a replacement pony holder, it too breaks. What are the odds? I go forth and practice sans pony tail, hair flipping and flopping all over the place, and the world continued to spin on its axis.

Then about a third of the way through practice, my headset starts acting up. Usually just turning the phone off and on resets everything, so I tried that first. And then my headset (it’s bluetooth) would not pair. I need to continue with practice, though, so I toss it into the bag with my phone and get back to it sans tunes. The sun continues to shine and the sky is still anchored in place overhead.

I did delete and repair and had music for the sets in the final quadplex.

Today is my work-from-home day, for self-employment work. I had no appointments until 4 today, and even that was for a yoga class. Phone calls I can do in yoga pants or even sweaty and gross, so I was able to sleep an extra hour (unintentionally) and still get my full List of the day concluded.

I’m all set to rock and roll … and the power goes out at home.

No problem, I think; my laptops are fully charged. Except with no power, I have no internet. But I have a phone. I can hotspot. Or the power and internet will return.

The power comes back after about 10 minutes. The internet is still down as I am typing this post. I have hot spotted off and on all day long, but it’s not quite as peppy as my regular wireless.

So I did not get much work done. I had telephone calls scheduled, and I did those from my car. And while getting a pedicure. And while waiting at Starbucks to meet a friend for coffee.

Then …  THEN … I had a yoga class scheduled at 4 p.m. I left my house at 3:30 for a 12 to 15 minute drive, only today it was more like 29 minutes. By my watch I was at the LOCKED studio at 3:59. Yep, studio front door was locked and my yoga class was already in session. There was much swearing and foot stomping frustration going on at this development.

Now I have to wait another week to try this class.

This whole day has been one issue after another. I almost – ALMOST – feel like going back to the gym and working off my irritation. Stuff happens, I know. But must it freaking happen all on one day?

I’m finishing up today’s work-work and am feeling thankful I stayed up later last night doing some more critical things that got pushed back from the weekend, hence the late sleep today. Tonight I’m going to bed on time and will be up and at the gym early to tackle my List of the day.

I’m also feeling really, really frustrated about the yoga class.

It seems silly – M made the huge misstep of coming right out and saying it was silly – to be this upset. In M’s defense, because I am fair and balanced that way, he stated that it was somehow their fault for sticking to their policies of locking the door when class began. While my watch said 3:59, theirs obviously said 4 p.m.

My upset is not just disappointment at missing a class that felt like an important step somewhere new. I have placed some unknown amount of pressure upon myself to somehow do better. Yes, I really want to do more stretching, get more yoga. But this … implosion … is really off the scale.

September has been a great month, but the distractions continue. Yesterday it was the nausea/sickness thing. Today it’s power and internet disruptions, not being early enough for the yoga class. Taken alone these are inconveniences and irritations. Taking in the broader context of a September of distraction, they leave me feeling awful and terrible … about me. See you peeking and blowing smoke through the crack in your cell, negative girl.

We have done this dance throughout the last year, and I’m winning. Every time I feel her negative breath in my head, I remind myself I’m winning our ongoing battle.

Tomorrow is leg day again, running through Monday’s training List once more. I am trying to not be either intimidated or overconfident. I want to just be … be with the List. *smile*

September distraction continues, and it seems to be carting off my rational mind with it.

My own little business has been humming along, and I have several projects coming up for renewal this year. Except … I am really thinking that I need to cut loose of the majority of these small jobs. I have enjoyed the work and the clients involved. However, at the time we began my life and the way I anticipated work to evolve was very different. This work represents about 40 hours per month and a few grand in revenue. Except I have been subcontracting about 80% of it out to other friends and reviewing the end product. Part of me thinks this is the way I should be working – subbing the actual work – another part of me believes I do not want to continue this way.

I have been thinking about it. I suppose no decisions or decisive action needed to be implemented today. But soon.

Occasionally I have my own woo woo moments that make me crazy. Like today, I start questioning my overall karma relative to the many little frustrating events of today. Have I been ungrateful, disingenuous, not nice, lazy, slacking? Mean? Have I been too hard on friend J and this is the universe providing bitch-slapping payback?

Practical, rational me says I am being ridiculous. The part of me that feels stressed and disappointed – I recognize the heavy hand of negative girl is at work here.

Wedding, vacation, socializing, work craziness, friend J’s sudden, very serious illness – September has been distraction-palooza. I’m shaving sleep again. Except, not tonight. Tonight I get to bed on time. Tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start with Monday’s List and an opportunity to get through it in a manner that completely satisfies my Type A-/B+ personality.

The shock of friend J’s illness, initial steps of his recovery, and my supreme fear of the Very Bad Things potential – it hit me pretty hard. We are good, mostly back to normal. I’m still concerned, but gaining the upper hand on my emotions and unease.

This feels like a wasted day, because work was not as productive as typical and yoga didn’t happen. On the other hand, I went through 3 sets of my List of the day this morning in a 98% satisfactory manner – tricep dips are hard, and overhead flyes? What the Hell are overhead flyes? Brain was wracked and nothing came to mind. I substituted some kind of lateral raise. I got a pedicure. I had coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in a few months. Friend J is smirking in email.

The universe is a balanced place. Maybe there’s a lesson there for me.


Having a great day … on Saturday

This was actually supposed to be posted on Saturday around noon, but for whatever reason my blog was not allowing me to post until today (Sunday).

I took M’s car over to the smog shop today to get it smogged and ready for title change. For whatever reason, I tend to be the one taking all our vehicles in for repairs, oil changes, smog checks. M and I have both been operating on a sleep deficit this week, but I at least had opportunity to catch up by sleeping until 6 this morning. M still gets up at 2:45 a.m. to be out the door for his run at 3:30 a.m. to bypass the heat.

We have nothing planned today, other than choring. There is a week of laundry washed, dried, left in laundry baskets, because I have been insanely busy with work-work all week. I am meeting one of private clients at 1 p.m., but in the meantime, I’m eating lunch and writing this post, and will be getting started on the folding of said laundry. Because while M is fine with the washing and the drying of our clothes throughout the week, he is happy and content to take clean clothes directly from the laundry basket sitting in the middle of our family room. I am the one bothered by that practice, so I am the one who folds the clothes. He will put them away once folded, but there is a definite disconnect between getting clean clothes out of the dryer and the folding clothes process.

Enroute home from the smog shop (Highlander passed, no problems), I stopped at CVS for bandaids. I don’t know how or why this happens this way, but we go through periods where one or both of us has bleeding, bandaid-worthy wounds and are out of bandaids. This time, since M scraped his elbow on something yesterday and told me we were down to the last one of the large size, waterproof bandaids, I chose to be proactive and buy another box before the next bandaid-worthy injury occurs. This it the closest I come to being superstitious; if we are out of bandaids, one of us will be bleeding and needing it immediately. If we are well supplied, we are probably safe.

The clerk there always seems to be there when I stop in for something, and we had our usual pleasant interchange while I was paying for my purchases. He said to me, you’re always smiling and so cheerful; I wish all my customers were so pleasant. It was a nice compliment, and I smiled and told him that it’s because I have taken up regular exercise, that it boosts my mood and emotional frame of reference as much as it impacted my physical presence. And I wished him a very nice day as I was leaving.

His comment got me thinking. While I cannot imagine a universe where I’m in a crappy mood and wishing someone to have a horrible, awful, no-good kind of day, I can see wishing someone a good day and have it sound hollow and insincere. Because I know I have done it, mostly out of habit. Not so much anymore. There are these really nice kids at my gym’s front desk most days, and I am genuinely smiling as I am leaving and will wish them a great day in a cheerful, upbeat-sounding tone. And I truly mean it. I am mostly happy walking in (depends a lot on my awareness status at 5 a.m.) and I am definitely really feeling good and happy inside walking out.

So while this particular Saturday is nothing special with uplifting or super fun events scheduled, we are still having a great day. M will be putting forth his best OCD on cleaning his vehicle, and I will be folding laundry, working with a client I enjoy, and then finishing the laundry, cleaning house, and hopefully getting to wash and clean the interior of my car. We are eating out tonight, doing our grocery shopping for the week, and essentially just being ordinary people attending to typical, unexciting weekend chores.

And it is a great day.