Mondays lose their sting when you work through multiple weekends, and Mondays are now more of a bookmark than a back-to-work day. Sleep also seems strange as you sleep to work, not to rest. “I need to sleep so I can be back on at 6,” goes through your head. When you look at the clock, you calculate India’s time to determine if you should expect some replies. There is no real rest. You are on, like everyone else, 7/24 and ready to serve. On Monday, your regular job rises like Dicken’s ghost to meet your 7/24 work, and now you are doing both. Usually, everyone is on for the workday, so the stress is a little less as others step up, but the meetings start (every problem and issue seems to generate 1-5 sessions), so there is little free time to do your own work, you can hear Marley’s chains clang.
It is called the meat grinder, the rat race, Just Do It, and less polite things. The cycle seems endless while leadership pushes and then backs off and next praises. Software failures, mistakes, incorrect data, and missing data generate tickets, often creating meetings and talking points for status meetings. Each ticket is pronounced critical, high, next build, or another arcana status and becomes the focus of progress. To have a critical path issue is the highest sin as all wait for its resolution or downgrading. Status meetings are where you discover that you have a ticket you did not know about, and now leadership wants to know what you are doing about it, “We will huddle and get back to you.” I support the master data engineering team, and we must get the one thing that must be perfect, perfect, timely, and accepted. F**k.
So my day starts with me waking with my alarm for the first time in a while. I had awakened before it and went back to sleep. My arising was more of a crawl than something a Dracula movie would show. Yes, no stately rises from dust to sit proudly in my coffin, the stake no longer in my chest. It took me three times to find the arm holes in my robe–they kept moving.
Coffee was assembled in the kitchen after checking the phone for calls (none) and important Slack channel updates that required me (nope). Meetings started at 8AM via Zoom, with me not using the camera. Hours passed, and I was multi-tasking as none of our team members were needed. I found that the vendor had answered some inquiries with new fixes, creating more Zoom meetings.
Breakfast was again cottage cheese with pepper, smoked paprika, and sea salt, plus the remains of the can of peaches from yesterday. I find this meal means I am not very hungry in the morning. I had soup from a can, chicken with noodles, for lunch which I rushed through.
My back hurts at my shoulders, a cutting pain. I do my exercise and stretches, and the pain returns to my lower right back–the weak spot we are working on. Yes, the pain moves and needs to be recalled back to the source. Until I sit too long, there is no pain. The PT is working, and my next session is on Tuesday.
More chores: I also blocked my calendar for my doctor’s appointment and colonoscopy (soon) and called the nurse to get the revised instructions (drink this stuff, don’t leave the house, and clear the bathroom for use). I did learn that they will call Radio Cab to get me home on 15 March (Next Wednesday), so I just need the cab there. Better.
Next, I drove Air Volvo to the DEQ center only to learn they are closed on Mondays (!?). So I drove to the hummingbird house. Despite my starting from DEQ, the highways were not busy, and I was soon at Susie’s place, the hummingbird house in Portland (Tigard) at 9925 SW 82nd. Ave. Portland (Tigard), OR 97223; phone (503) 246-4116.
Susie was resting in her recliner in the shared living room. Her favorite show, old Blue Blood episodes, was on the TV. Susie was delighted to see me and seemed more alert today. Jennifer, the live-in nurse aide, said Susie had an unexplained bruise on her arm but was not complaining. Susie is on blood thinners, and we will watch this. Susie’s next appointment with her cardiologist is in May.
Susie and I called her mother, Leta, and I let them chat for almost a half-hour. I had chores, but Susie seemed alert, so I let them burn my spare time. Leta is still working on her house; pests have moved in, and she hopes to return to normal in the next few months.
Susie was sad to have me leave but knew it was needed. No tears on either side today.
Next, I stopped by the bakery, had a quick slice of cake, and picked up bread and baked goods for breakfast. Lastly, I stopped by the cleaners and brought five more pairs of pants to be shortened. So, I am replacing all my pants with new ones–physically getting rid of some of the past.
I arrived at the Volvo Cave without issue. I had twenty minutes before the meetings started again. I had new meetings from today’s items and some carry-overs from last week. So non-stop in the later afternoon. Every meeting overran.
While this was happening, my mail showed. This included four packages: A cookbook, high-energy circuit components, gaming items, and my replacement paints. All on Monday. The cookbook is Raghavan Iyer’s newest and likely last, On The Curry Trail. He is one of my heroes and writes delicious and easy recipes. His 660 Curries cookbook is his best-known book (already on my shelf and my go-to for Indian food). I can’t wait to read this journey-based cookbook. The high-energy parts could build a Tesla Coil–we will see (but having a 20,000V rated capacitor is just cool anyway). I found in Esty 1/3-sized dollhouse coffee cups with coffee for a marker replacement in the board game Arc Nova. I will give one to Richard and likely use one when I buy a copy someday of this fantastic game (I play Richard’s copy so far). My Army Painter 50 paint set and some brushes arrived. I hoped to start painting figures and wanted new paints–mine are thick and turning to goo. So quite a load of fun on the mail today.
Meetings went on and on. Finally, I was free and decided that I had eaten enough of my own cooking (from cans) and headed to BJ’s Taphouse. Near Quatama MAX Stop, the apartments across from the MAX station, Arbor Crossing, was filled with flashing light police cars. I hope it is not another shooting. I checked, and nothing is showing in the news.
Eric was here in BJ’s (where I am writing tonight), my usual waiter, and I had my favorite pork chop with a baked potato and veggies. I added a salad tonight. My dinner was delivered a bit too fast as I was here early, but all was great. I started the blog as I drank coffee after dinner.
I must admit that work, health, costs, and being alone can get me down. Until I remember that I have so many incredible people I work with to keep Susie well, to keep me well, to do the impossible every day at work (Doing Impossible Every Day: DIED), playing incredible games, building amazing things from excellent shops online, and learning so many beautiful things. But, it is also the time to help others, like buying the last cookbook from a great man telling one the last story while he is dying from cancer.
There is so much to do and so much good to try. I am glad to be on this strange, often impossibly difficult journey, but I know I am never alone. You are here with me, and we have so much to do.
To me, Ghandi’s best line, which I loosely translate as: Be the Future you want Now.
Thanks for reading.