Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blah, blah, blah

2 weeks of reverse commuting to NJ has done me in. And it's not about to end anytime soon. The madness is just starting - by the time this year ends, if I maintain the same amount of days I will have stayed in a hotel room this month, it will equate out to about 72 nights. SOB.

2 weeks ago, I was in NJ for 5 days of training for our 3rd party customers. I did an out and back commute on Monday, but ended up staying Tues and Wed nights. Training starts super early, which means a 5 am wake-up call if I stayed in NYC, and I just couldn't handle it. My coworker stayed with me also - which was nice as I had someone to eat dinner and have drinks with. Also, this coworker and I have never really had 1-on-1 time, and I really feel I got to know him that week.

So the training went well - this is honestly my favorite group of 3rd party customers I've ever worked with. They made me laugh on a daily basis which is always a nice thing. But the week was kind of a bust for multiple reasons. I had to do a bunch of networking tests throughout the building we will be putting our product in, so every night after training ended, it was several hours of wandering the building, doing tests, making notes, etc. After an early start, working into the evening, fried me.

And then.... ugh. The PM I tag team with quit. Him and I had been on multiple projects together, we had an excellent rapport and had reached a point in our working relationship that we knew what the other was thinking. Things just went well when we worked together (me = technical PM, him = project PM). Anyway, he did quit - his last week was 2 weeks ago during training. I had been bugging him and his boss about who was taking over, and they (my boss, his boss) ended up deciding I would just handle it all. They told me the night before his last day - which was a complete shock. The stuff he deals with is stuff I don't like to deal with - insurance, legal issues, etc. So it's been a super frantic 7 days since he's left the company - I feel so overwhelmed I don't know what to do.

Last weekend, after getting the news I own the project, I decided to just collapse. We didn't go out on Friday night, just stayed in and watched TV. However, on Saturday, we went up to Times Square to BB Kings with our bar friends to watch an 80's cover band play! The band was amazing - the show didn't start until 11:30 pm which is super late for me, but I'm so glad we powered through. I think we got home around 2:30 am. I was coated in sweat from being a dancing machine and just giddy from good music, good friends, good beer, etc.

On Sunday, I went up and met my bar friends sans Blondie at Pony. We spent most of the afternoon there - I love the bartender that works there and enjoy getting to sit and chat the day away with her. We ended up re-doing the profile of one of my male bar friends (with his permission, he was sitting there with us) and drinking some great beers. After Pony, it was back to our local bar to end our night. I ended up at home around 8 pm, and we ordered in a ton of pizza for dinner. And then crashed out again watching TV.

And NO SUNDAY DREAD b/c we had Monday off for MLK day. Blondie and I met up with my best bar friend around 2 pm at a new restaurant in our neighborhood for brunch - this restaurant also is a mixology bar so I had 2 of the best bourbon cocktails I've had in my life along with a killer smoked chicken hash. Blondie went with a totally refreshing apple salad, and my bar friend had a negroni and a cuban. After lunch, Blondie headed home but my bar friend and I went back to Pony for some more beers. We also ended up getting into some deep conversation and kept delaying our departure so we could talk.

And then Tuesday - back out to NJ for a week of manual labor. I met up with a coworker bright and early and we boarded the train. And it started snowing about 10 mins into our 30 min train ride. And it kept up all day. We met up with 2 other coworkers at the 3rd party site in the morning, and 3 of us ended up deciding to last-minute stay the night b/c of how bad the snow storm was. It was treacherous driving, and the 3 mile drive to our hotel took 1.5 hours. Wednesday our 3rd party site shut b/c of the weather, so I waited until about noon and then made the trek back to NYC. Blondie had stayed home to work that day also b/c of snow, so him and I got to do a nice lunch together.

It was back to NJ on Thurs, this time meeting up with 4 more coworkers. Most of us stayed the night on Thurs also - we went for a killer dinner and then bought a bottle of bourbon and sat up in the hotel lobby until 1 am, drinking, talking, etc. And Friday was horrible - I had identified a problem with the network at the 3rd party site, and had brought in our network engineer to talk to them. They finally agreed they had a problem (which was a major step forward) but now we are in the midst of trying to get it resolved ASAP. On top of that, all of the PM duties are in my lap so I felt like all I did this past week was sit in meetings where I would take 25 million action items down. Completely overwhelmed. I haven't felt this kind of work stress in a long time.

We did nothing again this weekend. I hitched a ride back to NYC on Friday night with my driving coworkers and then collapsed early in bed. And yesterday it snowed again like crazy so Blondie and I did a junk food and wine run around 4 pm and then nothing the rest of the day. Today, taking it easy. It's back to NJ on Monday, the oncologist for Tigga on Tuesday, and leaving for Atlantic City on Wednesday through Friday to support yet another 3rd party site that got put back on me when the PM quit (it was originally our launch last August, but I rolled off and he stayed on. Now it's back to me fully. And I haven't kept up with them because I never dreamed this would happen. So yay. Yay on that).

And starting next week, I'm 4 weeks at our NJ site in a row as we do a rolling launch.

For the Tigga fans out there - he's doing great. We went through about a week period where he wasn't eating - I called the vet about it and they said to keep him on the dosage until his checkup (which is Tuesday). If he stopped eating entirely, then to bring him in earlier. But he didn't stop eating, just stopped eating his normal amounts. Anyway, he's back to eating his full amount of food and he's still feeling heavier to me. He hates his pills right now, so that's always fun in the morning. And he seems to be "achy" for lack of a better word - he used to fling himself into your lap, but now he steps on and gently eases himself down. However, for the most part, he looks good.

Ready for summer.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Reverse Commute

Last week - nothing. It was so lame and boring - because both Blondie and I had come down with the crap. It was either a mild case of the flu or a really bad sinus infection. No idea what. But since it was contagious (cough Blondie giving it to me), I'm guessing mild flu. I still managed to haul my ass into the office everyday. I'd wake up in the morning, feel HORRIBLE, decide to take a work from home day, get out of bed and within 15 mins out of bed, I'd be feeling so much better. So I'd go into work. Only to be about 10 mins into my 20 min walk to work and start feeling HORRIBLE again.

Everyone loved me last week.

In nicer news, Blondie texted on Thurs night and wanted to know if I wanted to do a date night. I was totally in so we headed to a nicer restaurant in our area. Blondie did fish and I did steak. I also got a nice bourbon cocktail (which made my throat feel better - totes medicinal). We then headed over to our local bar for a bit, had a few drinks there and caught up with our friends.

The rest of the week we did nothing. I didn't even leave our apartment from Friday night to this morning. I finished up Downton Abbey this weekend - I know I'm in the minority, but ugh. 99% of the characters I couldn't stand. And then I restarted Veronica Mars on Amazon. I've already watched it once, and I just needed something to keep my occupied during my 48 hour stint not leaving my apartment.

Tigga seems to be doing better also which is nice. He feels heftier to me and Blondie. He still is painfully thin, but when you pick him up, you can definitely feel a difference from a few weeks ago. He is starting to lose his appetite though - the vet warned this might happen; where the cat starts to have an adverse reaction to chemo (he's not vomiting, he's just not eating). So we might have to cut down on his chemo dosage. We have to give it a few more days and see how he does.

I'm reverse commuting this week - off to NJ everyday for some training at a 3rd party site. I did an out and back day today and am now fried. So I'm thinking I might stay a few days this week in the city where we are doing the training. I don't mind doing the train back and forth daily (its about 30 mins ish commute) but it's the 5 am wake-up call, not arriving back at my apartment until after 6 pm nightly, that does me in. So many decisions people.

That's it. Nothing else.


Monday, January 06, 2014

Everything But The Cancer

Last weekend ended nicely. I ended up meeting my 2 female bar friends around noon, and we headed off to do some shopping. I got a sweater and new earrings to wear for NYE and they both bought a few items also. After we shopped, we hit up Pony Bar for 1 beer before heading down to a wine bar in our area. We spent the afternoon drinking nice wines and snacking on food - and actually had a blast. It's not often I hang with just the females in our group and I honestly loved our time together. While at the wine bar, a friend of mine from work started texting about the Packers game so we ended up heading down to our local bar to end the day cheering on the Packers (GOOOOO Cobb from Kentucky and Rodgers!)

I went into work on Monday, thinking I would stay for just a few hours. And I did. I got in late because I assumed (incorrectly) my boss wasn't at the office. And then about 30 minutes after I got in, I took off and met some of my old coworkers for lunch. This was a 20 min walk over and then back, and then lunch. It was really good seeing them though and getting caught up. When I finally got back to the office, my mind was just not on things. So a coworker and I left very early (with our boss' permission) and grabbed a few beers. We were joined by one of my bar friends for a bit, and I ended up at home around 8:30 pm that day.

Tuesday was a WFH day doing not much of anything. I ended up going to my bar friend's apartment around 7 pm and she did my hair and makeup for NYE. She also did my other female bar friend's hair and makeup, so it was a couple of hours of girl time, this time with champagne. We then met up with the guys for our NYE celebration at our local. We had a blast - and stayed out until around 2 am. It's always so nice seeing the madness of Times Sq on the TV, and realizing it's only a few blocks from us, and then realizing we don't have to be involved with it! Local bar on the outer edge of Hells Kitchen - it rocks; everyone should have one.

Wed was spent recovering heavily. And Thurs I went into work thinking it would be a "low key work day" again. But it wasn't. My boss put me on a last minute assignment and I ended up working until almost 6 pm. When I was walking home, it started snowing lightly. I was only home for about 20 minutes when Blondie and I left again to go to Pio to meet up with one of Blondie's TX friends. And in that 20 minutes, it went from snowing lightly to SNOWING. Seeing Blondie's TX friend was awesome and his new girlfriend rocks. When we left dinner, we decided to go to our local for beers, and ended up shutting down the bar that night. When we came out of the bar, it was like a whiteout. The roads were wrecks, the sidewalks were wrecks, it was just insane. 6 hours going from nothing to crazy crazy snow.

Friday I did another WFH day as there was no way I was braving sidewalks to get into the office. We didn't do much Friday night or Saturday. I started feeling kind of crappy on Saturday so was just taking it easy. And on Sunday I woke up with a massive sore throat and general nose cruddiness, and body achiness. I immediately popped some aspirins and then felt a little better. My bar friends texted early to suggest a Pony meet-up in a few hours, and I decided to go after I felt better. But before I could leave, they texted again that a high-rise building down the block from me was on fire. It was a massive fire (there is smoke / char burn all the way up the building) with 1 person actually dying from smoke inhalation. It blocked off all of our street and most of the avenue the building was located on.

I took a back way to Pony because of this, but you could still see smoke like crazy. Pony was a lot of fun though - they had an elderberry cider on the menu which felt really good on my throat. And we watched the Chargers win (one of my bar friends is a San Diego-an - I never know how to pronounce this because I've watched Anchorman too many times). Then I came home to take a nap, and pop more aspirins, and then watch the Packers lose with 2 secs left on the clock.

Today it was back to the office. I'm physically in the office for 1 week before I'm off again for 1 week. It was a sad day, part of which you'll read about in a second, and part of which is due to one of my favorite people and close coworkers quitting.

Now About The Cancer

On Friday, the vet's office called with the results of Tigga's test. He has cancer - small cell lymphoma of his GI tract. We (Tigga and I) met today with the oncologist to discuss next steps. The good news is what Tigga has: most common cancer in cats (lymphoma), most common spot to get cancer in cats (GI tract), most treatable form of most common cancer in cats (small cell). The bad news is: there is no cure / remission for this. The best we can do is manage the disease. Survival rate for cats who go on chemo is approximately 3 yrs (some a lot less, some a lot more). Without chemo, we're looking at 6 mos - 12 mos survival rate.

We've picked chemo combined with steroids. We start giving him a steroid pill once a day followed by a chemo pill once every 2 days. (Did you know that chemo pills for cats are filled at your pharmacy? I sure didn't.) There is a chance he can get sick from this - vomiting, etc - just like with a human. So we have to monitor and make sure he's not puking (which will be hard b/c he's been a puker since the day we adopted him). We also have go in once a month for 3 months to get blood work done to make sure we aren't doing anything adverse to him with the meds. He'll be on pills until he dies.

My heart is B.U.S.T.E.D. On one hand, I'm glad that if he's going to get cancer, it's what it is. I'm glad that we are in a position to afford to take care of him. On the other hand, he doesn't deserve this. No cat / dog / human deserves it. I'm fucking pissed off. I'm not ready for him to not be with us. And I'm not ready to think about him not being with us. And this is forcing it. I'm trying to be positive - he's a fighter, always has been. But fuck you universe for doing this to him.

Tigga. He owns a giant piece of my heart.