=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.

Inevitabilities

Oh, how to start?
Where I am now
Is even less me than art
The feinting thump
Of an armadillo heart
Hey, I can walk in your shoes all day
Probably best to keep it that way.

–2.1.2016

Last week’s cryptic post was brought to you courtesy of my mother’s making an unexpected exit from the world. It was followed a few days later by my losing my great aunt; less unexpectedly, but damn, my family’s sense of dramatic timing.1

I’m now back home, up to my eyebrows in work that’s been keeping me up to 5HourEnergyCaliberUnfortunateHoursOfTheMorning, and now and again my brain gets stuck on the fact that my mother — who was Payroll Officer for a community college — made sure that she didn’t drop dead before she got out this year’s W2s.

Her shellshocked co-workers kept repeating that to me when they filed in for her viewing and funeral (and feeding us, bless ’em). Peggy got out the W2s.

@bhoneydew and I did our taxes as soon as we got back.

Now and again, my brain gets stuck on that fact too.

—-
1One of the ways I kept myself together last week was imagining I was in a movie, and doing mental exercises as far as who I’d cast to play us all, and who’d do the cinematography and soundtrack. My sister (wisely) curated my in-the-real-world choices for funeral music. My (wiser) Monster opted to sing along anyway. Loudly. In a chapel full of stunned silent people. I was dumbfoundedly proud of him. Also wondering where he’d been listening to Miss Dolly and Miss Loretta sing gospel music, but more proud than dumbfounded.

Nefarious Cornbread

So it’s September. Almost October, which is my favorite month of the year. September 29th marks the first official day I can decorate for Halloween (my homeowner’s association has a bug up about not decorating for a holiday more than 30 days beforehand), and oh, you betcha I’ve already hauled everything out of the basement. Almost everything. Okay, about half of everything. It’s possible I may have as many Halloween decorations as I do winter holiday ones.

The Monster’s already picked out two pumpkins for carving, and if the weather stays gorgeous like it’s been…

Yes, even with this week’s days of misty drizzle. I happen to like misty drizzle. @bhoneydew does not, so it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever relocate to Seattle, unless I can devise a way to keep him caffeinated twenty-four seven.

…we’ll be out on the front porch this weekend doing some clandestine Jack o’Lantern work.

Yeah, I really like Halloween. It’s a day to be silly and cheery and drama-free and to make sure that I’ve passed out every last damn piece of the truckload of candy I’ve bought beforehand in the name of appeasing the neighborhood goblins.

It has surprised some folks that I’m not really into grim gothy things, and all things Fae-ish make me twitch or at least wonder where I stored the bug zapper. I love horror and write weird and dark, sure, and there are a number of places in my brain where I can go if I want to feel ill-at-ease for days, but that’s a choice I don’t like making at Halloween.

I still haven’t figured out my costume, though. It doesn’t have to be clever or cute, but it does have to be comfortable: which eliminates pretty much any costume with the word ‘sexy’ in it1. My costume last year was the very model of a modern witch doctor (t-shirt, jeans, bunny slippers, a black lab coat, a stethoscope and a lime green-and-spiders themed witch hat), which was a change from all the years I’ve just gone as Canadian. And how does one dress as Canadian? Jeans. Check. Canadian hockey jersey. Check. Carry around a plate of Nanaimo Bars or a bottle of Grade B Maple Syrup for extra elegance. I’m considering being a cranky Southern foodie, something bhoneydew fully supports, because the costume will likely involve a cast iron skillet, butcher bacon, and Amish butter soaked buttermilk cornbread.

Yay, September. Which I already mentioned. And I’ve written a lot about looking forward to October and Halloween instead of saying “oh, hey, I’m in an algorithms class and an advanced database course and I’m about to start up a UVA class on running a business because I quit my job in early September and went full time freelance and it occurs to me that while I’ve taken courses in economics and business law and I know my way around and through business proposals and scopes of work and customer service, I…”.

So, yeah, there’s that going on too.

1Which is for the best, really.

Aim and Flow

Two decades and some ago, I wanted to move to Northern Virginia. Didn’t, for reasons which I won’t go into other than to say I suddenly found it a better idea to head another direction.

Believe me, the irony or whatever-you can-call-it of our winding up here is not lost on me at all.

So, we’re here. Sort of. And earlier than we had intended to be this summer, which has … yeah, it’s been stressful. Still is, but at least now we can see the end of the armadillo tunnel.