Monday, August 26, 2013

Working with me has GOT to be surreal at times

I just had an IM conversation at work that went like this:

Coworker: Hey.

Me (about ten minutes later): Hola, ‘sup?

Coworker: You at lunch?

Me: Nope – just had to move a hose.

Coworker: ?

Me: Graywater hose. WFH today, doin’ laundry. :) (inside my head: la la la I’m just livin’ my life, I’m not thinking about how WEIRD this might sound to somebody else, la la la)

Coworker: moving hoses? don’t get it

Me: Well, TURNS OUT, we have gophers in our garden.

Me: So instead of putting the laundry water into the watering tanks for the garden this week, I’m draining it straight into their tunnels

{long pause}

Me: I figure the combination of FLOODING and SMELLS LIKE SOAP + HUMAN UNDERWEAR ought to make them think twice about settling in MY garden, you know? (erm, waitasecond…)

{long pause}

Me: At least, I HOPE it does…(ya, this is possibly a really damned odd thing to be telling a coworker…)

Coworker: That is…possibly…the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. In a work conversation, anyway. I think I almost choked on my tea.

Me: Oh. Sorry about that, man. They really should put “watch out for spit-takes around Tama” into our onboarding documentation. (inside voice: …oops…)

Coworker: Yes. Yes they should.  

{slight pause}

Coworker: Also, you should totally have your own reality show. :)

Me: You are not the first person to say this. XD (…whew, he’s got a solid sense of humor, I’m saved!…)

Coworker: That is not surprising to me. Anyway. QC # 5 for September release…

I think that is my favorite part: Note how he just sort of takes it in stride and goes on with his day.

Oh. I see.You were AFK for a few minutes because you were jamming a graywater hose down a new gopher tunnel so you could fill it up with laundry water in a (probably vain) attempt to encourage them to flee. Makes PERFECT sense, so, back to the matter at hand…

Yet another reason why I really just love the heck out of this team of mine…adaptability, my friends, adaptability…

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finished, in so many ways

We did yard work today. I did not particularly feel like doing yard work today, but it really needed doing. Also I was a bit troubled by some little piles of dirt I’d begun seeing. Little piles of dirt that made no sense. They weren’t anthills. They weren’t children digging. I had this dreadful feeling that they were going to be due to burrowing rodents.

Right off this morning, I noticed that a patch of thriving kidney beans…was now a kidney bean plant. And a lot of empty spaces where formerly there had been kidney beans. With quite a few new odd little mounds of dirt. Suspicious…

So I poked around until I found the tunnels. And then I said a few very salty words about it.

The damned gophers have found my garden. Awesome.

So we agitated things out there to make it clear that this was a bad place, a VERY bad place, you don’t want to live here, because it is BAD, VERY, VERY BAD.

I do not like killing things I am not going to eat.

And I do draw the line at gophers. Gopher a-la CrockPot is simply not going to be on the menu any time soon. So I really hope the “kick up a fuss and make them feel really unsafe” method works, and we don’t have to escalate the warfare any further.

And then I did a lot more weeding and digging, and digging and weeding, and replacing of broken sprinkler-things, and cleaned up some areas that have needed it for a really long time.

Several hours later, I stood soaked with sweat and regarded the fruit of my labor.

And then I may have cussed a little bit, because I was done-with-a-capital-D-Done for the day, but could still see a two-sided, tightly written 8-1/2x11 sheet of paper’s worth of things I really ought to get done out here in front of me.

Which is always the way of it. The garden is something that is never “done.” There’s always something starting, and something finishing, and something that needs weeding, and something needing harvesting.

A big old never-ending circle of chores. (Ha. You thought I was going to say ‘life,’ didn’t you!)

MEANWHILE…you know That Thing that happens with knitting sometimes, where you knit and knit and knit, but never seem to get anywhere?

I was starting to think the shawl was going to be the last project I ever did. Because I was going to DIE before I finished it.

But, suddenly…I went around the last corner. And then I was running in ends. And then I did a fast-block with it (dampen and lightly stretch, but not the full pin-out) (because it is going to need an actual washing, and it is both too late at night to be starting All That, and I am too stiff and sore to be crawling around dealing with 6,000 pins at the moment thank you very much)

I think I’m going to like this one.

It isn’t so fancy that you feel like you should be dressing “up” to wear it, the colors are friendly enough to play nicely with a lot of other earth-tones…I can see actually wearing it on my way to work.

Even though I’m probably wearing brown denim pants.

And possibly Thundercats sneakers.

Just to give the, like, one or two people tops who would actually notice something to gossip about for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I have just discovered my new favorite way to handle BART annoyances!

So, there’s this owl called the Northern White-Faced Owl. It has a defense mechanism that is just…well, awesome.

But, I don’t know how effective it is.

So I think I’m going to mimic its behavior on BART the next time I am approached by someone who clearly is going to be a pain. (Video plays rather LOUD and BEAT-Y music, rocker discretion is advised for those taking a little break at work…)

Imma gonna go practice in front of the mirror, like, RIGHT NOW…

Monday, August 19, 2013

What EVERYTHING is doing to my brain

It’s funny how you can instinctively know something, and yet dismiss that innate wisdom as being some combination of impractical or not particularly do-able because of {convoluted reasoning that in hindsight is not so rock solid as you initially believed}.

Or say to yourself, oh pooh, you’re all up in arms over something that probably isn’t even a THING.

And you’ll convince yourself of this for the longest time, until somebody does a study that convinces you otherwise. At which point you can proudly say, “I knew it!” and claim to have had this information since long before it was, you know, out there.

Humans. We’re an odd lot.

For a rather long time, I’ve been finding myself less and less able to cope with something that is a fairly inescapable part of my daily life, both at home and (increasingly) at work: Constant input from multiple sources. Noise. Car horns. Train announcements. Blaring music. Conversations shouted over the general noise. Phones ringing. Researching five things at once. Getting sidetracked down rabbit holes while trying to figure out why something did what it did, even though it really doesn’t matter because we’ll never know why, it was a thing that happened because of other things, none of which are there anymore – so it’s like trying to recreate the exact shape and hue of a rainbow from last week’s storm so that we can force it to always have that exact shape and hue. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, the guy next to you is watching Netflix on their phone without earbuds. Crying babies. Crying executives.

Kids hawking things on the sidewalk between the BART station and the office. Krispy Kremes, treat your coworkers, only $600 a box, IT’S A FUNDRAISER, DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT {cause du jour}?! We’re really trying to earn enough money to SAVE THE WORLD here…

Take a survey. Answer my email. I left a voice message. Instant messages. Instant messages asking if they can call you ‘real quick’ – which comes through as your phone is already starting to ring. Hey, pay attention to ME. Like, RIGHT NOW. Right now right now right now DROP EVERYTHING AND DEAL WITH ME AND MY STUFF, RIGHT NOW.

All day, all night.

The only tool I have to defend against it…is a set of headphones, through which I pump yet more noise and/or input into myself. Over the top of the Other Noise. Drowning it out with different noise, which (I tell myself) is better noise because it is as least noise of MY choosing.

I’ve been noticing lately that I have less and less resilience around it, too. As if when I get up in the morning, I haven’t recharged my batteries or repaired my armor – instead, I’m instantly just as exhausted, irritable and otherwise frustrated when the very first offense occurs as I was when I finally sloughed off the last of the one more things from the night before so I could crawl into bed.

And I’ve been plagued, day and night, with that vague feeling that I’ve forgotten something. That there is something looming over me. A check I didn’t deposit? A bill I didn’t pay? A form languishing at the bottom of a drawer somewhere? Left the milk out? Batteries?

And I was right. Over and over and over again, I’d run nose-first into a wall completely covered with a Technicolor mural of the thing I’d forgotten. The obvious thing, the thing I totally knew I had to do, or deal with, or move from here to there.

But somehow, forgot until that very moment. DAMN IT.

And I’ve been thinking to myself that the thing that is killing me is that complete inability to actually get some peace and @^*&@ing quiet; to get a little solitude, a break from the constant nattering and nagging, to have even fifteen minutes in a given day that wasn’t interrupted by somebody slamming against my door screaming that they neeeeeed something.

The constant flood of distractions, all of them claiming – vigorously – to be vital, important, super-urgent.

All of them wrong.

And then I learned that there is a book I need to read: The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. The focus, obviously, is on the Google-effect – or rather, the email => Google => Facebook => YouTube => Google => Facebook => FailBlog => email => Twitter => GoogleTwitterFacebookWikipediaGoogleGoogleGoogle effect.

Y’all know what I’m talking about, right?

And this little video puts into words exactly what I’d been sensing was happening to me – but couldn’t prove or put into words myself very well.

This is what I’m up against; now, can somebody like me, who is easily distracted to begin with and “eats” information like an out-of-control sugarholic at an all-you-can-eat cake stand, actually do something about it, even if they know what they need to do to help themselves not lose their ever-lovin’ minds any more than they already have?

I have no idea. But I think I’d better make a strong effort at it, or I’m afraid I really am going to lose what little brain I have left.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hot paws and annoying attitudes

Last week, I was rather suddenly made aware that I had a tiny wound on my right hand pinkie, near the top of my nail, right where you’d expect a hangnail to be if you had one.

I didn’t. I know this because I looked. Repeatedly. Because the way this invisible wound decided to get attention was to suddenly become infected.

And I mean, it was sudden-sudden. Like I had no knowledge that there was even a thing going on that morning, and then almost between one keystroke and the next on the keyboard the whole thing just…happened.

Except that clearly it didn’t, because wounds don’t get infected / hot swollen / gross that quickly. It had to have been simmering for a while without me noticing it before it suddenly erupted into flames got hot, started swelling, and exhibiting other signs of infected-wound status.

I tell you what: I learned that I type a lot harder than I thought I did, and also that I don’t strike the key squarely with the middle of the pad of that pinkie, but rather a bit on the right side of it.

Also, I can still cuss very inventively indeed, given the proper motivation. Such as the fact that poking at the sore finger caused it to – and who could possibly see this coming – really @^*&@ing hurt!

Which is a load off my mind, because I was a little afraid that I was mellowing with age or something on that front. @^*(&@!

I still have no idea what actually caused it; there’s a big scab now, but I happen to know that underneath that scab there is not an equally big wound. The scab is that size because the microscopic wound bled a great deal, and had a great deal of, um, uh, not-blood stuff as well, and that’s what has hardened into this scab, and probably if I wanted to scrub at it a bit I would find that the “real” scab was just as microscopic as the original wound. But, I am a big fat chicken wise enough not to go poking at something that has only just decided to do me the courtesy of starting to heal, so, the oversized scab will be staying put until it decides to fall off.

It is in times like these that I have to just kind of laugh at myself – I can be amazingly stubborn sometimes. The sensible thing might have been to stop doing things that hurt, but, no way.

I’ll just figure out how to type without using the pinkie. So there. I’ll knit a little slower while I figure out a different way to tension. Ha! Plus, it’s not really that bad, you just need to not keep focusing on it, that’s what you need to do.

It is also in times like these when I realize just how annoying I must be sometimes. I can’t help it: I always think things will work out, one way or another. And that meanwhile, the best thing we can do is to do our best, try to work around it or work it out, just DON’T LET IT WIN, WHATEVER IT IS.

Really, it’s a bit of a wonder that nobody has just up and smacked me for being that way when they were trying to feel properly grumpy about something.

And I’m not sure I could blame them if they did.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

When the Meh attacks

At this moment, I can think of several (dozen) things I really should go and do. And to each and every one of those things, I have the same response: Meh.
I think I’m even too tired to play Warcraft. I know, right?! I may just need medical intervention on this deal. Or at least maybe an afternoon early-evening cup of coffee.

The really sad thing is, I woke up this morning feeling ready to get out there and DO THIS THING! And for about the first third of the day, man, I was on fire. I was able to focus, and I was even able to multitask without completely losing focus on one or the other thing, and I was remembering things in a timely fashion, and I knocked out two relatively convoluted Solutions™ in short order and then I was actually contributing a little bit to our September development cycle planning meeting, and I was firing off emails and monitoring jobs (I’m primary on-call again this week…hip-hip-hoo-yeah-whatever) and communicating with partners and was just getting to where I was really entering into a major case of self-congratulations over my general awesomeness when it just…went away.
Next thing I know, I’m becoming aware that I’m basically just sitting there, staring at the same three lines of code like maybe they’re going to have changed themselves in the last ten minutes. I’m tired and droopy and clearly, I’m done for the day whether I’m ready to be or not.

And I haven’t even started thinking about any of the home-stuff I had hoped to get done today.


My normal response to things like this is generally to just push on anyway. But as this has not been working out for me particularly well lately, I’m trying out this new thing called listening to what your body is trying to tell you.

I don’t think I like it.

My body seems to be a lazy good-for-nothing lay-about loser. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, REALLY... it’s very important to tend to your own needs (she said with an air of wisdom, as if she always does so instead of doing insane things like putting in two or three consecutive days on less than four hours of sleep a night while subsisting on Ritz crackers and tea while at work because she is “too busy” to stop and get real food, ahem), and I am heartily in favor of doing so. Not only is it only fair to take care of oneself (aside: the word ‘oneself’ looks so wrong to me right now…like it is either misspelled or misused, but at the same time darned if I can put my finger on WHY), it is in the long run far better for your overall productivity if you make sure to maintain the old machinery before it collapses into rubble around you.

But at the same time, I have an unreasonable distaste of laziness. I’m like a Puritan sniffing out the sins of others when it comes to laziness, and in my own private little world things like murder may actually be justified depending on the circumstances, but laziness? Federal. Offense.

So I’m always suspicious of my true motivations when I start with the “wah-wah-wah, I’m tiiiiired, I need a breaaaaak, I just caaaaaaan’t keep going…” thing.

{sniff-sniff} I SMELL LAZINESS!!! Do we think the world owes us a living? Well, DO WE?!?! I didn’t THINK so, now, get OFF that derriere and get crackin’, missy! Daylight is BURNING!

And then if I don’t immediately jump to it, I get very stern indeed with myself and start parenting: “You have to do at least such-and-so much more before you can plant your backside in that chair and play Warcraft or watch anime or whatever.”

…and then I do that thing where whenever I’m not looking, I cheat the finish line back a smidge. Oh, did you hear fifty FEET? No-no-no, I said fifty YARDS…

And then I’m stunned when my body goes all toddler-temper-tantrum on me. Oooooo, the shock of BETRAYAL!

But, all that aside…I’m trying to accept the fact that maybe I am coming into a time of life where I am not twenty-something anymore. And that possibly, the 18-hour day thing is no longer a sustainable lifestyle for me. It sits like a hair shirt on me, but at the same time I figure that I should be able to accept at least some signs of time marching on.

Particularly considering that my mental age hasn’t progressed much since my teen years. And push come to shove, if I had to pick one or the other, ‘growing old’ versus ‘growing up’…yeah. I’d take growing old.

But let’s be clear: I have absolutely no intention, ever, of acting my age. Not gonna happen. So don’t ask. Nyah!! {sticks out tongue like proper brat}

In other news, I’m making headway on the shawl. I’m about to round the second corner of the knitted on border (note how I gloss over how well I did the first corner, which would be ‘eh, not the WORST job ever but also not the BEST one’), and then there’s “just” the long charge down the second long-side…and the third corner…aaaaaand the slog through the second short side…AAAAAAAAAND the binding-together-of-the-cast-on-edge, which sure enough I did VERY poorly so it WILL show a ‘seam’ when I go to finish it, I’m about 99% sure (but I comfort myself with the thought that when worn on a living, moving person, the chances that it will particularly show are slim to nil) (quiet, you! Let me have my little fantasies!).

I figure I should actually finish this thing sometime in the next six years.

If I don’t get distracted by new projects.

(Uh-oh. I sense a flaw in my overall plan here…)