Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

5/21/2009

All stressed up and

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 1:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

…No one to choke.

I’ve been living with a lot of stress lately.  It sneaks up on me when I least expect it.  I noticed it this past week when I almost snapped at church while driving one of the vans to pick up women from a local shelter to bring them to church.  Yeah, I know, that totally sounded like a self-serving, self-aggrandizing, self-promotion statement, but that’s what I was doing.  The additional stress of doing that for the first time, not knowing where I was going or what the procedure was combined with driving essentially a small bus, which is the largest vehicle I’ve driven in years and years, in the rain, had me about ready to snap.

But, here’s the thing, I didn’t notice that the stress was building up until it was right on top of me.
Looking back, I can see all the warning signs.  I’ve been eating too much and exercising not enough.  Nor have I been sleeping enough.  Witness the fact that I’m writing this at about 1:00AM after not working out because I fell asleep on the couch after eating a huge bowl of left-over mac-and-cheese-and-Spam.  Don’t judge me, you hypocrites who are all acting shocked because I ate Spam.  You have your comfort foods, too.  Mine just happens to be high-fat, processed meat with delicious hickory flavoring added right in for your convenience.  And, I’ve been eating donuts and candy at work, too.  But, the other signs are worse.  I’ve been clenching my jaw for weeks now, to keep myself from saying the things I don’t want to say out loud, at work and elsewhere.  I don’t want to be the asshole that turns loose with the biting sarcasm at the least provocation.  Well, I don’t want to be that guy again.  Oh, sure, it’s funny, but it doesn’t exactly make me the kind of person who other people want to get close to and be honest with.

Worst of all, I’ve noticed that I’m not getting everything done at work that I want to get done.  My users have come to expect a certain level of service that I’m proud to be able to deliver.  I try to make things run smoothly enough that no one waits for more than a few minutes for anything really important and most things aren’t really important.  But, that has its problems, too.  Now, I think that my users are used to not waiting, so some of them get impatient when they don’t have instant results.  Worse, I’ve made the impossible happen on short notice so many times now that everyone seems to expect that to be the norm.  Apparently, I haven’t made it clear enough that I’m making an exceptional effort to accomplish some of these things on short notice so everyone seems to think I can just produce at that level all the time.  Well, guess what?  I CAN’T! I know, I know, I should take time off, right? Because a little time off will make it better, right?  Well, not so much.  I am, in fact, taking several days next week to go watch my nephew graduate from Basic Training, but I’m so worried about what’s going to go wrong while I’m away that I can’t hardly sleep at all, unless I pass out from exhaustion on the couch, like I did tonight.  And, yes, I know this is getting more and more panicked and ranty sounding, but that’s in part because I feel more and more panicked and stark, raving mad the closer I get to trying to take a couple of days for myself like everyone else in the company does, because I’m so terrifed that nothing will work while I’m away or that the office will call all the damn time while I’m on the road that it will be worse than actually being there and just disappointing my nephew. I mean, if the users can’t wait five minutes for me, how are they going to wait five days?

I try to remind myself that I’m lucky to have a job.  And, I know I am, but sometimes the stress is enough to make my heart explode in my chest.  And, I know they did survive when I was getting treatment for cancer, but there are more of them now and it took weeks to sort out the mess that was the result of me being away so much that year.
There’s nothing much for me to do about it, either.  I try not to hate the person I see myself becoming.  I try not to backslide too badly on my exercise and generally better diet.  I try to pray.  I try to sleep.  I try to just relax.  But, I’ll be honest, gentle readers, I’m just not designed to run this hot anymore.  I used to live at this stress-level all the time, but that was a long time ago.  Besides, I was a real asshole when I lived like that.  And, I really, really don’t want to be that guy again.  But, I’m starting to wonder if that’s not the only way to deal with it, if that guy is the guy who’s designed to work under those conditions.  Maybe.  I hope not.
Or, somehow, conditions will have to change.  Soon.

Well, until then, I guess I’d better try to catch a few hours of sleep before getting up and doing it all again.
I hope your collective weeks are going better than that, my faithful readers.
And, with that, we return you to your regular internet drivel.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
A real hero is someone who's afraid, but does the right thing anyway.

11/12/2006

Forgive me readers, it’s been…

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,NaNoWriMo,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:01 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Too long between updates…

Now, for the two or three of you who actually seem interested in my sad, little personal life, here are some updates.
First, I heard from LK for the first time in months this past week. She’s moved to Colorado and has investors and capital for her business. If I understood her story correctly, she made the decision to move in less than a month and has been there about three weeks now. The good news is that her business is doing fabulously well. The bad news is that she finally had to put her faithful companion of fourteen years down right before she moved. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been for her. I can’t imagine loseing my Hildagard now, much less after another ten years. I wish I’d known, so that I could have been there to help her with that, but… Well, I guess times change.
I have to say that I was quite shocked to hear about the move. I know I certainly couldn’t have made that large a decision in such a short time. I hope it all works out well for her.

Second, I finally have the full, complete title to my house! After more than a year of the divorce being final, the lawyers finally got all the paperwork fixed and the house is titled solely in my name. They had to get my ex to sign a second warranty deed, which got filed in Arizona, after they lost the first one she signed. So, there’s the second surprise of the week.

Thirdly, I’ve written about as many words for NaNoWriMo as most people might be short right now. If I were to calculate it, I’d bet that I’m about 15,000 words behind the projected goal for the month. In short, as I suspected this year, it will be almost impossible to accomplish this goal. But, it’s not a total loss, since I’ve written more words of fiction in the past two weeks than I have all year. So, while I’ll most likely miss the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words before the end of the month, I’ll still see quite a bit of benefit from that effort.

Fourth…
Well, the fourth thing is a two-part answer. It’s work, mainly. Work has been busy and crazy and long hours, which drains me beyond belief these days and makes it hard to find the energy to write. But, also, there’ve been some personnel changes.
Now, that means two things to me. First, of course, it means setting up machines and users and all that junk on servers. In some cases, it means undoing things left behind on machines. This time, though, it means a bit more than that.
There were two women who weren’t quite as productive as one would like let go and three hired. Two to replace the two who were fired and one new hire for a new position. All three ladies are better looking than the ones who were let go. And one in particular, we’ll call her C., caught my eye. I don’t know quite how old she is, but close to my age. She’s got an eight-year-old and a ten-year-old. She’s a writer, though she writes very different things than I do. She’s also very pretty and, apparently, still a little married. Yeah, yeah, I know. See, ladies, it’s not just you who fall for the married ones! I don’t get this at all, but the married ones all seem to find me like iron filings find a magnet. Go figure. Anyway, I had to work on C.’s computer a lot this week and got a lot of positive signals. I did my best to be ultra professional, which meant a lot of very direct eye contact. In retrospect, that may have been sending the precise signal I was hoping to muffle. Ah, well…
At one point, she asked me if I knew what I wanted out of dating, since she knew I’d been divorced for a bit. Maybe I read a bit into it, but it seemed like a signal to me, a sign.
But, I’ll tell you this, I sure don’t want to have the whole office in on anything. Those nosy bastards would be gossiping about us all the damn day. So, now, I’m torn between just ignoring the whole thing, since it’s at work, and trying to find a very discrete way to let her know I’m interested if she is and find out more about the state of her divorce. Until then, I’ll do my best not to notice how nice her hair smells or how comfortable she seems to be in close quarters with me. *gulp* Thoughts? Suggestions?

Well, time for some comfort food before bed. It’s going to be a long week.


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