Somewhere Between

It’s a rattling nice place.
After my altered engagement
Truly programming is nothing
However it’s a logic
That does not come to me.
-The latest #spampoetry

I had a thought that I wanted to write down, but I lost it somewhere between homework and reloading the dishwasher and dozing off in front of American Ninja Warrior. It’ll come to me tomorrow, most likely during a round of questioning my life choices, otherwise known as running behind a middle school cross country team. I’ll find it.  Eventually.

=NVL(Number,24)

Started new
My novel number
It is error
– The latest #spampoetry

Toward the end of July, I had a work week with three 24 hour days in it.  It’s not like I’m not predisposed to insomnia anyway and haven’t worked those kind of hours before1,2, but this time was different, because I’d promised I wouldn’t do that anymore, and it took me to the end of that third day to realize that I hadn’t even felt a pang of self-preservation. Nope. None. There was work to do that needed to be done, and I was there to do it, and…

It was ridiculous. I wasn’t saving lives or putting out fires or keeping the streets safe or trying to make the world a better place through sweat, patience or holding the line against the darkness. At best, I was helping get people into jobs, or keep the ones they had.

At worst?  Well. For a while, my work hours had been compressing my life to the edges of the day:  I was staying up late to get homework done, or getting up very early to handle household chores and basic self-care3.  It was manageable. For a while.  Then my work started eating those hours, too, and the hours I’d ordinarily spend sleeping.

Which was insane, but I didn’t really notice it until @bhoneydew drew my attention to it. I went huh, he’s right, and around then was when I promised I wouldn’t work any 24 hour days unless it was necessary.

Like I said earlier, I wasn’t doing anything strictly necessary.

So, I gave my two weeks’ notice. I did consider negotiating an hours cap for my role, but the nature of the business made that impractical: sales and business development waits for no one, even sanity.

I quit. I’m back in school. I have an unexpected opportunity to get some hands-on experience with big data, which is something I honestly enjoy working with — in a purposeful manner, not just because I stumbled into it years ago.

I do stay up late sometimes, but it’s no later than 2:00 am, and it’s because I’m working on homework or something like this blog post. I sleep well when I go, and I remember my dreams when I wake up. Food tastes like food again.

I think this will work. We’ll see, won’t we? Who knows, I might even finish that sweater this year.


1I was on call during a lot of days while I worked the graveyard shift for Altavista during 99-2000, and overall so sleep-deprived that when I got the phone call inviting me to come interview for Lucent, it took me three days to realize that I hadn’t talked to someone from Genentech. I’ve been told my in-person interview at Lucent (this at three in the afternoon after I’d worked double shifts for a week straight while also planning a wedding) was hilarious: I was clearly asleep, but able to answer every question I was asked. I don’t remember more than pieces of that day:  the dull grey carpet, the rectangle of sunlight on the conference room table and the white and green hedges out in front of the building that smelled like Ivory soap and gardenia.

2Other than a brief glorious period of three long naps a day, the Monster barely slept until he was seven.  Ergo, I barely slept until he was seven.

3Ironically, I took better care of myself when I was traveling. Being forced to be out of the house meant I showered every day, instead of just the days when I was able to make it to the gym. I tried very hard not to give up on that, even during periods when scheduling became a nightmare. I don’t eat when I’m stressed. Going to the gym forced me to eat even when everything tasted like sawdust.

Summer Armadillos

An ouroboros is cathexic by nature.

By nature, an ouroboros is cathexic.

Cathexic by nature is an ouroboros.

An ouroboros is cathexic by nature…

Repeat until there are no more margaritas.

Margaritas are finite, but delicious.

(8.25.2017)

I’ll explain later. At least most of it. It’s all good, even the stuff I can’t talk about.

Ninety Percent Thresholds

I still haven’t finished the sweater. To be honest, I haven’t worked on it at all. I was going to during the last two episodes of The Expanse, but I was so fried when I watched them that I didn’t need anything to do with my hands. American Gods debuted recently, so maybe I’ll get the sweater done when I get around to watching the episodes.

If that doesn’t work out, there’s always hope that it’ll happen during Suits or Killjoys — assuming I manage to watch the new seasons when they come on. To be honest, it’s rare that I watch more than one season of a series, and not unusual that I stop watching one right before it gets to a season ending cliffhanger. Pretty sure that would have happened with Season One of House of Cards if @bhoneydew and I hadn’t just binged it one weekend while we were sick.

I haven’t seen any episodes after that, even though I enjoyed House of Cards very much. I just can’t get myself in the right frame of mind to invest the time.

I’m still not sure what’s happening with my Goodreads reading challenge. Despite everything that’s going on1, I’m still way ahead of the curve. If I succeed in my devious Mother’s Day plan to read all day (after I finish my homework) and not look at anything work-related, I may even finish it!

1I’ve been working 50-hourish weeks for the past three weeks, while juggling my night class, Momming and this weird new peace with eating right and working out. Sadly, the good sleep habit I’ve been trying to cultivate did go right out the window — notice when I’m working on this? — but I’ve been cranky about that instead of just resigned2 so there’s hope for me yet.

2I haven’t been working on any creative projects. Seriously, the time I’d ordinarily put to that, I’ve been trying to put toward household foo. It’s not that I’m avoiding creative projects, it’s just that the household foo needs to be dealt with. It’ll get better. Eventually.

Eighty Percent Chance of Getting Stuff Done

Today at work, I followed up with someone I exchanged email with on Friday, and suddenly they no longer exist. As of the end of March.

I’m about 80% sure I didn’t make this person up, so it was surprising.

-Me, @shainorton, five days ago.

I’ve been busy.  This quite possibly surprises you not at all.

I haven’t yet finished the sweater.  I did finish:

    • another book (The Book of Etta, Meg Elison’s sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, making two more books that I have read recently that are actually recent, who hoo!).
    • multiple homework assignments and a midterm.
    • my gigantic pile of transcripts evaluated for another academic program, which, assuming I can fit everything into the schedule, I should finish in a year and change.
    • a large work project (in very little time), and multiple smaller work projects (in less time)
    • a work transition, but I’m more than eighty percent certain that work has not yet finished its side of the transition.1
    • transferring my cell phone to another phone and another carrier, like I’ve been putting off for over half a year now.
    • a blog post.  This one. In twenty-five minutes, as planned.  YAY!

1This doesn’t bother me; I’ve yet to have a job or even a gig where things didn’t change. There have even been a couple of occasions where they changed on my very first day. I started an engineering internship once, and got swapped into a human resources administrator role before I could put my lunch into the break room fridge. My first analyst job for a government contractor saw me pivoted into corporate business development on Day One — I never set foot on the site of the client I was initially hired for during my entire time with that company.2,3

2I’ve been told there’s a disconnect between reading my resume and talking to me. Can’t count for you how many times people have told me “You’re not what I expected.” I’m never sure how to take that. Are they smiling because they’re delighted or because they’re worried that if they upset me I’m going to manifest some hidden superpowers that involve, oh, wide area disintegration?

3“Why didn’t you say no, Shai? Don’t you care about what you do for a living?” Frankly, no, as long as the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosive — er, no, I mean to say if my paychecks clear, I get to solve problems, and it doesn’t require me to make someone else coffee. See, I have a problem making coffee before I’ve had coffee. Sometimes, it’s not even coffee, more hot water tinted brown from whatever residue was left in the coffee maker after I cleaned out the old grounds and failed to replace them with fresh. Or it’s water on top of a thick layer of sludge because I scooped the grounds into the coffee pot instead of the machine. Don’t get me started on what can happen when I have to use a Keurig in the morning…

Throw

No spam commentary this week: all the fake comments I’ve gotten since my last post were all straightforward pitches for the male enhancement supplements I apparently need to be taking. Guess I’m just not a convincing female, despite this pesky c-section scar.

Happy Monday. I’ve been trying to post things on Mondays, to throw something together and stick it up on the blog in twenty-fiveish minutes or so, reckoning that getting what I can say said within that time period is preferable to something I’ve crafted from the finest syllables and polished to within an inch of its life, because you will likely never see that, and if you do, it won’t be within the next ten years.1

Trying, yep. And failing, but in a happy way: I’ve been getting decent amounts of sleep, and balancing work with the spring school schedule (mine and the Monster’s) and the ongoing domestic shenanigans in a way that’s more like, well, balance and less like throwing plates into an overhead cabinet while hoping I’m the only one that’ll ever open that door after it’s shut. I’m continuing my twenty-five minutes of morning reading-stuff-just-because-I-want-to2, my twice-a-week gym workouts, my once-a-week bread therapy, and once I finish the remaining sleeve4, I will have crocheted my first sweater. I’ve also resumed chasing the Monster during his cross country runs, which I’m still certain might be scaring the local wildlife.

Writing? It’s also happening. The piece I submitted in February was rejected, which made me very happy, because it was one of those things that should have gotten lost in an electronic file purge.

And that’s pretty much all I can talk about right now. At least it’s not laundry!


1This is assuming I wouldn’t trash it during one of my every five years or so electronic file purges, because nothing’s safe or sacred when I get on one of those tears. During the last one, I got rid of a journal that I’d compiled out of hand written ones that I’d kept off and on for two decades.

2I just finished Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy (which I still conflate with my favorite Björk song). In ways, her stories were awkwardly familiar. While I haven’t ever put on a costume to infiltrate a band of koalas, I did stay up for an entire week once to do a research project on Lucky Charms. Not for money. Not for a marketing class (never taken one). I don’t even like the cereal. I had the idea stuck in my head that General Mills had increased the frequency rate of new marshmallow introductions as Nickelodeon had gained market share, and I wanted to prove I wasn’t crazy. Yes, I know that was asking a lot from breakfast cereal, but at least it wasn’t poetry.3

3I don’t mourn the loss of my old journal. It wasn’t something I would have wanted to share with the world, even if I’d known there was a market for batshit.

4The idea of making a sweater has daunted me for years. I start with the “make a swatch to check your gauge” step each time, fail that each time, try it again, fail it again, and throw everything into the closet for another year, rinse, lather, repeat, WhyCan’tIGetThisRight?, et cetera. This time, I skipped the gauge swatch step, and just tackled the project as something to do while I finally got around to watching Suits while waiting for this season of The Expanse. I don’t watch much television. When I do, I like to have something to work on that makes me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt, but my habit of blindered focus on story-based entertainment means that I don’t have much attention span to spare for that which is making me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt. So, I’m getting a sweater made by ignoring it while I’m in the process of making it. Yep. I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

To be clear, I’ll be posting a picture of the sweater, not my c-section scar.

The Masque of the Waffler

I just wanted to send you a quick message here instead of calling you.
– latest #spamcommentary

Huh. I didn’t think I had posted a telephone number on my blog, but thanks for the heads-up, mystery spammer who keeps introducing yourself with a different name each time. Not that there’s anything wrong with … hey, I get that. There have been times in my online life when I had so many different names that I’d sometimes forget who I was.1

Each day since I’ve started this latest creative project — a revisit of a novella I wrote last year before my brain completely blew its transaxle — I’ve dreaded spending time on it. Not that the writing isn’t happening, despite the dread.  Not that I’ve gotten it to the point where I want to print it out and set it on fire or throw it into a folder to age. I’ve gotten more to the point where painting the rest of the rooms in this house seems like a fun way to spend my free time. Notice where I said that the writing is still happening?  Yes, it’s still happening. Maybe that’s why the mental penguins are trying another tactic to mess with me.

You’ll probably laugh, but, uhm, I’m figitated that I’ll finish this thing, send it off to my target market, and it’ll be liked right up to the point Marketing Googles me and decides that I’m not a good promotional fit, then (assuming I’m even told this) I’ll need to have a conversation with myself about going through the whole rigamarole of creating yet another online persona, one which I’ll need to invest enough of my life into in order for it to seem like a living breathing person.

The prospect of not being a good fit at first glance isn’t what bugs me. I’m used to that.2  This is all about my brain getting pre-tired considering the effort of making a workaround for it.  Yes, even though the problem doesn’t exist, and may never exist.3

I’ll get over it. Or I won’t, and I’ll turn the project into something my own name can go on without causing dread. Er, at least without causing me dread.


1Briefly. Not usually disastrously, but there were uncomfortable exceptions.

2You could even say I was born that way. Mom’s spelling my first name like she did set me up for a lifetime of hijinky first impressions.

3This is not new. I have workarounds for lots of other things that haven’t come to pass and may never. Admittedly, most of these are potential move related. For example, I maintain a sketchy base familiarity with the public school systems in a handful of target geographical areas, so that just in case we do find ourselves moving, I can get up to speed quickly.