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.

Finality bites

I have avoided writing about meeting with Spawn of Hellbeast last Friday and the aftermath of that meeting and signing of documents. In person, she was coldly professional and efficient. Copies of my separation and severance agreement were presented for my attorney’s final review. Once he was satisfied, we brought in the notary and both parties signed the agreements.

All told, it was about 30 minutes from start to finish. End of an era and a job I loved.

Financially, I am enriched. Emotionally, professionally, I feel very much diminished.

My attorney and I went to lunch and talked about all the reasons this was a good strategy for me. We’ve known each other several years now and have a very good relationship. However, I still went home and have felt mostly depressed all weekend.

Tomorrow is the first of my last three days. There is still stuff yet for me to complete, but I can feel the weight of my departure. Associates are avoiding me after a fashion, and many of them are saddened by my separation.

Last week I received my first going away gift – a set of weight locks for the barbell in neon green. It was really a sweet gesture, even if the associate gifting them insisted they are used and this was not a big deal. But they were on my desk, until I turned my back and they mysteriously disappeared, only to turn up in the break room later in the day. It became a game last week – I’d put them back on my desk, they would go on walk-about the minute I stepped out of my office.

Friday they were missing when I left; today when I stopped by to get the last of my personal belongings in privacy they were back along with a card signed the associates.

They know me, and my habits, quite well.

These last few days will be challenging in a different way than dealing with the Hellbeast clan. I’m done; their interest in me is negligible now and I had a very peaceful, uneventful Friday afternoon without a single email, phone call, or voice mail message from anyone in the acquiring organization. I expect the same in my last few days.

However, we still have a lot of work to do. There are client matters to attend to, clients to deal with and talk to, moving of personal furnishings and such from the partners’ offices.  As far as my part in the transition, records are organized and everything on my to-do has been crossed off as done.

Really, not much left from saying final goodbyes to the staff.

I’ll miss them terribly. We have all grown-up a little more and gained some wisdom, experience, perspective in our time together.

And tonight, I am having a really hard time imagining not seeing them most days, not working together, not talking and interacting. Our relationships will change, because it is the reality of not working together almost every day and sharing experiences and common goals. I have said all along that the worst part of this change is leaving a job I love primarily because of the people involved long before I am ready for it to end.

Try as I might to put the bright spin on it, to acknowledge that I will be fine and retain my gainful employment, truth is the spin is tiresome. I’m sad and not sure my determination to put my best professional face forward is going to hold. But as my friend K advised me last week, the gift I leave them with is that I remain my normal solid, steady, and professional self to the end.

It’s only three days. With people I have come to respect and enjoy and will miss collaborating with during my workdays.

First world problem perspective

So I’m whining about work and recognizing the disconnect between intellectual understanding of what is happening and some emotional desire that it not be this way. I get it. It’s not the end of the world, I’m managing it fairly well, and in most ways my job has been winnowed down from a decision-making manager to a bookkeeper and clerk typist who can actually write. Where a couple of weeks ago I was someone who took care of office-related matters, chose products and vendors, had the authority to sign contracts and enter agreements, had routine contact with clients about their account with the firm, I am reduced to someone who must get multiple levels of approval from various parties before proceeding with just about everything. What once took maybe 15 minutes to be crossed off as completed and then promptly purged from my thinking now takes 2 or 3 days and seems to require adjustments after the fact. It is frustrating, but I could easily envision it happening the minute I learned the merger was proceeding.

The most challenging part of my job dumbing down, though, is the fact that soon where I could help or guide or impact issues that arise within the firm and with the staff, I am mostly no longer going to be involved in the resolution come July 1. It is a tough step backward and why I will not stay a minute longer than absolutely necessary.

There are other things I’m wrapping up. Sad things for me that come with the end of a firm I have loved worked at and with people I loved working with. I will miss them. I already miss the change ambiance of the office. Perhaps the merger will be good for each of us as individuals. While I am certain of my own future plans, I don’t deny part of my present day difficulties relates to letting go of the job where I felt like such an integral part of the vibrancy of the firm. Going from a boutique like experience to the bland impersonality of a Macy’s-like shopping experience is harsh.

For all my whining and venting here, it takes only one event to slap me back to reality and my own privilege and self-involvement.

M’s best friend was hit by a cyclist and is presently hospitalized and suffering from some pretty serious injuries. Head trauma, internal bleeding, broken hand that will require several surgeries to repair. This man is a landscape designer and sole proprietor small businessman; he does not have employees who can fill in the gaps until he is back on his feet. Fortunately he does have a brother who can step in and see what is in progress and needs to be done. M is heading off later this afternoon to assist his bestie’s brother retrieve equipment, assess work in progress, and finish up some work at a couple of sites that must be completed this week.

I am horrified at the events that have unfolded in the last 24 hours. M feels fortunate to be in a position to help out with jobs, so his friend does not have to forfeit income for work mostly done and juggling commitments to other runner friends with a big race looming in less than 2 weeks. A lot going on in our world, although M is doing the heavy lifting and bearing the brunt of those far more real and close to home responsibilities.

My job is just that – a job – and what has happened to our friends puts it into a clearer perspective for me. I’m still unhappy with the turn of events, still disappointed in a couple of my associates, still not looking forward to the battles and boredom and tension that will come with this merger and the changes it will bring with it. Small cakes compared to someone lying in a hospital bed with broken parts and a recovery days ahead.

Sadness

While I do not want my return to semi-regular blogging here to be all about work and it’s changes, for the moment I have to accept that it is for this weekend at least all about work and it’s changes. This too is temporary and will pass.

Thanks for all the kind and supportive comments. I very much appreciate you reading and taking a moment to share your thoughts.

An email announcement went out yesterday after the papers were signed and originals shipped out via FedEx. Typically I am consulted on communications of such weight with staff, but as in the way things are moving forward, I am now part of the staff. It is appropriate and as it should be; the partners are the owners and shareholders of the firm and made this decision after much discussion and thoughtful consideration. It is like we are children of divorce: definitely a consideration of the parents’ decisions, but not a party to the actual decision-making process. I’ll be honest – I feel hurt by that. The decision-making is 100% theirs, but the communication afterwards? I am the one whose telephone and text began blowing up immediately after staff received the news. It would have been nice to be forwarned, as I am probably the only person in the firm who does not have her work email pinging on her iPhone. But this is my choice to not stay in touch with work 24/7; I suppose this is one of those minor consequences of that choice.

To their credit, it was an incredibly nice, sensitive, thoughtful and caring email. Or it was the best example of those attributes when such life-altering news is delivered to the unsuspecting. It outlines the primary reasons and motivating factors behind the decision and describes next steps with regard to the transition, the severance that will be offered to anyone who is not offered a position with the new organization. It reinforces all the reasons I like and respect my bosses to such a high degree, yet at then same time and to a lesser degree demonstrates a key weakness in their ability to relate to the long-term, far-reaching impact this has upon their employees.

While they built this firm themselves and have poured countless amounts energy and sweat equity into building it into something so viable and successful, I know that I done a lot of work to breathe community into the staff who grew it into something really special. That’s hard for me to release my territorial protectiveness of them right now. My anxiety over the impacts on the rest of the staff is real. If the partners are the originators and rainmakers, I infused the heart, soul, and got-your-back team spirit of those who work so hard most days of the week to make it happen. As a firm, we are not all about billable hours 24/7, although yes, we all recognize the importance of staying profitable. The dog-eat-dog culture of most professional services firms is a distant echo in our hallways, and I know it is a direct result of my influence on the human policies governing salaries, bonuses, promotions, office space, even taking time off.

I suppose if I am freaked out over anything, it’s how to help the staff manage their own emotions in this tumultuous time. I have known about this outcome was a possibility for more than 6 months, yet even I was blindsided by it actually coming to fruition under cloak of secrecy and cover of darkness. While I understand business is business and family is family, the attorneys, paralegals, and my receptionist/admin – I genuinely care about their long-term well being. And accepting things will change so dramatically in less than a month is difficult. I console myself it has been less than 24 hours, and tomorrow there will be an office full of people waiting for more information and hoping for some reassurance about the future. I am presently scheduled on my work-from-home day, because Tuesday we have several things going on that require my presence.

My own codependency is starting to bubble, in that I feel the need to go in and get started taking care of everyone. Today was a struggle to manage my emotions as the realization that the job I love is fading away and my role in this firm is already being eradicated. The phase out began yesterday with the blanket announcement to the staff and continued with small group meeting invitations/announcement for the various hierarchies, something I would have once sat in on as well and now only know about because the associates are telling me and asking if I will be present. No, apparently not.

Much of the Saturday I anticipated being spent working on self-employment matters was instead devoted to text and phone conversations with the staff about what it all means and list-making for things I need to attend to in the next 20 days before we officially merge. There are many questions to ask, plans to be made, training to commence, hand-off of responsibilities. My sense is the merger of systems and administrative tasks will happen quickly. Fortunately for me I have good practices in place and can efficiently hand them off when the time arrives. The way announcement and shutdown of the firm is being handled also leads me to the conclusion that I will be made redundant from day 1, so this could be my final month of having to report for duty with this firm in this office. I am a good and loyal employee, though, and I will do as I am asked to for as long as they need me to continue. I am prepared for that to not extend beyond June 30.

The thought should scare me, yet it doesn’t, not at all. As I said, mostly it hurts my feelings. I want to help with the transition, but instead it feels like I am already just part of the furniture to be transferred to the new entity.

I stopped in the office today to complete a few things minor tasks and bring home some personal files and records I might forget when the time comes to clean out my desk. While I was there a couple of the bosses came in and of course stopped in to talk with me.

There are rare moments when I wish I were not quite so honest about what I think and how I feel. It’s barely been 24 hours and I have already got a bad case of the sads. Staff are blowing up my text and my phone with question for which I have no answers and that’s hard. I feel as if my hours are numbered and not sure how I feel about any of it. And I am mad at them for doing what is in their best interests as owners and shareholders of the firm. While intellectually I understand it, emotionally I know they are ending a job I love. It’s just business, it’s not personal – and I know that, but admit I am still taking it personally because I care, probably too much. I know I will get over it, put on my business manager clothes and game face and push through this. As I said to my bosses, I am just a little heartbroken that it is ending before I am ready to let go.

Which is a big, defining difference between me and them, I think. I may be capable of being professional and fulfilling my responsibilities with autonomous precision, but I am not able to completely compartmentalize in the purest business is business type of ways. I see the human beings behind the job titles and social security numbers in ways a large corporation will never replicate. I don’t know that I want to separate myself so completely that it doesn’t sting when change of this magnitude happens, even when I know the changes are the best things possible for the decision makers.

Knowing I will get over it, that this emotional storm is transitory and come Tuesday (I am off tomorrow doing a Monday self-employment work from day) I will have my business manager cape on and efficiently carrying out the directives to make the transition a smooth one, right now I am sad and unhappy about the direction of my career. I barely slept last night thinking about things. In the gym this morning I found myself blindly pushing forward to burn off some of this fierce emotion, to the point that my shoulder started a slow to furious blink of ouch, Ouch!, OUCH!!!!! before I realized that I was pushing hard and doing something wrong and ignoring it. Thankfully no permanent damage done, but it’s been awhile since my inner angry/hurt girl got loose with 20 lb. dumbbells in her hands.

Perhaps it is better we had the honest conversation today, rather than next week. They know this is particularly hard on me, because of my unique standing in our little firm and likely not even a position to be had after the merger. They were frank with me that my role may possibly be shrinking even during the transition. While they tried to tell me that my exclusion from group staff meetings was because I would not be in the office, the disbelief on my face made them come clean that yeah, it was a decision they made because I am unlikely to be around for the the staff into the future. Weak, but okay.

This is all still brand new and very raw. I have an extra day to pull myself together emotionally and get my game face on. Right now I’m just not sure what that looks like at this point in my career.

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.

An awesome day

Today was the actual office moving day, and I am so very proud of my crew for stepping up and getting shit done.

IT guys were already in the new office and hard at work when I walked through the doors at 9 a.m. This new key code locking system we have is fantastic! They have their own code to the front doors and the network server room and can be in the office working on the server without me or another staff person present.

Comcast phone people arrived on the early side of their window and were done and gone by 1 p.m. Phones were down for all of 20 minutes, our auto attendant was in service 20 minutes after that.

Everyone had their offices and workspaces packed on carts, wrapped in saran wrap (or whatever that stretchy moving film is really called) and were working on laptops well before the noon deadline. When the movers showed up at noon – right on time – we were read to move. To get our carts and furnishings that needed to be moved loaded, driven less than 2 miles, unloaded, and some desks rearranged took them 3 hours. They told me it was a small job and estimated 4 hours, but they were hugely efficient and we are delighted with the service rendered.

By the time I left the office at 5:45 (for my 6:30 yoga class), nearly all the carts were empty and the moving boxes folded flat and ready to be picked up tomorrow. The only exceptions were the library, and my receptionist and a couple of the associates were busy putting books away when I left. The phones work, the computers work, the internet works, and we will be back in business tomorrow morning. The biggest issues are with a couple of the new desks – the keys provided do not seem to match the locks. The furniture vendor will be in the office tomorrow afternoon to have a look and get us the right keys or replace the locks.

Also tomorrow the newer and improved copy machine and printers will be delivered and set-up, and our confidential shredding service will be delivering new containers.

My bosses are really happy with the everything going so smoothly, and all is forgiven (if not 100% forgotten) about the many meetings and disagreements that cropped up on our march to make this happen. Majority of the staff are pleased with their new work areas, and the couple who are less delighted are newbies still working at smoothing the chips on their shoulders. We also now have a couple of small client consultation offices and a larger work room for collaborative efforts.

I am relieved the biggest, most questionable aspects of the job are now complete and life will soon return to normal levels of busy for me.

M has been rather surprised at how well I have handled all this stuff the last couple of week, but as I point out to him, the stress load was spread out over most of 7 months. I have also continued with my gym training and practice at least 6 days per week, plus yoga at least a couple of nights per week. I’m on a pretty regular sleep schedule and sleeping very well for the most part – it’s only when I shave sleep staying up late working or engrossed in conversation or a book that I do not get enough rest and am vulnerable to stressure meltdowns.

Having this type of routine is huge, and I cannot stress enough the positive benefits in all aspects of my life.

As much as the exercise and the healthier food choices, I have simply let go of a lot of things that brought some level of additional stress and anxiety to my life. It has been strangely uplifting and liberating to let go of people and things that clutter and impact me in less desirable and healthy ways. I still have quite a lot of work to do in this area, but I firmly believe that getting started and making consistent effort a habit is at least half the battle.

I expected to feel a bit let down now that this huge project and undertaking in now winding down to the clean-up stage, but the opposite is true. I do not feel sad, depressed, or even relieved; I am exhilarated. Not having to think about dozens of tiny pieces and parts of this move every week now frees me to focus on other projects on my work-related bucket list.

And I am ridiculously excited about the prospects of new challenges and projects. I am looking forward to a reasonably quiet December and into January before starting my next big work thing in 2017.

For tonight, though, I’m riding a wave of happy success, where everyone showed up and did their jobs and simply pitched in where needed. My work tribe exceeded my expectations and I could not be prouder or more pleased than with how well they handled the disruptions of the last couple of weeks.

I am also really proud of me. I worked damn hard at this and stayed focused on the end goal and did not get stuck in the weeds or distracted by the avalanche of details. That I can type and post that kind of positive affirmation? Big giant forward progress. Go me!

When bad food happens to good people

It is a measure of my emerging better mental health that I think of and refer to myself as good people. This was not always the case, for most of my life I have thought myself as just okay people on my best days and not so good the rest of the time. Negative girl, when she was in a conciliatory mood, would toss out that such judgments of self worth left ample room for improvement and insulation against the perils of conceit setting up shop in my brain.

Me wandering the streets with an over-inflated ego and sense of self. Pigs growing wings and flying would be only a slightly less wondrous sight.

Despite such fanciful musing, I have reach the Goldilocks tipping point of Just Right in my assessment of me, the person, and how I am doing in progressing through life. It is my assessment that there will always be room for improvement, and being good and content with where I am right now is not the equivalent of unpinning the unobstructed by clouds blue sky overhead today.

Until a random stop at the grocery happened today after practice and in a moment of genuine weakness, the bottle of Mexican coke slipped into my cart AND made it through the check stand and home to my refrigerator.

Where it sits like a ticking time bomb.

I have all sorts of excuses as to why this demon has entered my realm. The long series of unstructured days. The traditional peppermint mocha black Friday weekend. The sense of deprivation. The pumpkin pie and mini tiramisu cupcake on Thanksgiving. The mashed potatoes and bread from Thanksgiving. The feeling of deserving a treat. The lie that I got it for M as a treat. The negative girl effect of slacking on practice.

All such complete and total bullshit.

The demon is in my realm because I wanted it. A moment of weakness? Perhaps. More likely just one of those impulses I have mostly learned to suppress or distract myself from indulging. At worst I will consume it and savor the sugary goodness as much as the caffeine hit it will provide. At best I will hand it over to M to remove temptation from my grasp. Most likely, though, is we will split it before or after dinner tonight. The world will continue, my A1c will not be orbiting Mars with January’s lab work, and my new meal planning discipline will keep me on the straighter and narrower pathway.

This time of year is always a challenge for me, with the uptick in socializing and the onslaught of goodies being delivered left and right. Our office move is scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week, the end game of a very long, hectic, stressful several months. Surprisingly everything is coming together; my obsessive list-making, phone call/email/text badgering communication with vendors and the property management firms paying off with this last week of moving Hell. For someone who abhors moving, I have discovered that I am surprisingly pretty good at working through the logistics and problems and wielding an invisible cattle prod to get everyone moving at the proper pacing to make it happen. By Wednesday night all offices will be packed on the moving carts and ready to moved onto the trucks big burly men will be loading for us. Desks and other furnishings will be taken apart as needed by said big burly men, loaded on the big truck, and delivered to the new space. When we arrive at our new digs on Friday morning, desks, office furnishings, and carts loaded with office stuff will be waiting to get unpacked.

Whether telephones, computer network, and internet will be up and running is one of those mysterious wait-and-see efforts, although my computer folk tell me it will go swimmingly. That we are getting a new network server and telephone system in conjunction with the new space should make the actual set-up, troubleshooting, and debugging happen with fewer issues than moving and reconnecting the former server and telephone system. I am simply going forward with faith and confidence it will happen without any hair-tearing or screaming from me to make it happen.

Essentially, 7 months of work comes together this week. Being a stress eater, my single splurge this morning is really the only bad food in the house I will actually eat. M has a stash of gummie butterflies, which smell really good yet I cannot abide the texture or taste on my tongue. Skinny pop popcorn is not that bad, and I will only eat so much of it in a sitting. The box of oranges, the bags of grapes – good substitutes for the snacking I’d be doing if I allow myself the luxury of stress eating. I have worked very hard to get to this point; I am not going to let my resolve dissolve right now when the clutch finally happens.

I did indulge myself in some retail therapy: new yoga mat towel and mat bag. I have been doing yoga very casually a couple days per week, and chatting with trainer J about yoga last night made me yearn for an additional mat towel so I don’t have to launder the one mat towel I have after each class. At least it was on sale. Not my first choice of color, but for the $10 difference in price I can enjoy a pastel blue-green colored one.

The week ahead will take care of itself, without any additional fretting on my part. In this regard I’m glad to have found my niche at the gym, in the yoga studio. I’m glad to have found some focus on healthier food choices that tend to restrain me from activity other than mindless consumption and search for more sugar, more fat, more junk in times of stress.

For now, I am putting work aside and getting busy reorganizing my gym bag. My Lists have gotten to be quite a mess, with several copies outdated copies and Lists I have not pursued in several months and want to revisit, and others that I feel I have mostly outgrown or that have been replaced by other things.

There is also some work-work, some study on our bigger camera – I am wondering what it might be like to add pictures to the blog more routinely – and some additional work to be done on my fitness-focused blog that has been languishing and needs some attention.

Then there is the usual weekend domestic choring to be completed. How could I be home this much this week and still have to run the vacuum and run a couple more loads of laundry? But oh well. Add to this list a few emails to write and phone calls to make, and I should be busy the balance of the day. And I’d really love to get back to listening to my Scott Abel podcast series and read a further in my book.

Obviously I have plenty to keep me busy and not trying to implement anarchy in the streets.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.