Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Got Nothing.

In honor of Mr Pooh, "what you got?"

2 weeks ago, I made the decision to not travel at all. I was on the brink of a breakdown, and although I knew I should've gone out to one of my NJ sites for a couple of days, I mentally could not make myself go. I was talking to a coworker and she offered to go with me, so we started making plans for the following day, and I could feel tears start to come on. I had to take a mini break in the office, and get a coffee, and then tell my coworker I just couldn't go. My boss was cool about it all - he understands and actually prefers if I don't travel as often as I do. But my site was still in a bit of uproar 2 weeks ago, and looking back on it, I should've put on big girl shoes, pulled my pacifier out of my mouth, and just gone out.

Okay, so I just rambled about how I made the decision not to travel 2 weeks ago - and there was still traveling involved. My *other* NJ site at the NJ/PA border called - the request they had asked me about in my last blog post - that request was making the rounds and they wanted someone to come out and present to a bunch of their higher ups about the request. I sucked in a VP to come with me, because honestly, the request is not something I can approve. So on Thursday, we hired a car and headed out to the border for the late afternoon and evening. Things went really well actually - surprising to both of us. It was a super giddy ride back, and ended up with us quoting Anchorman for the last 20 minutes of the car ride. I told Blondie that this VP is one that is "on my side" (not that the rest aren't - just that he seems to really care if I'm happy at the company and feels that what I do truly matters to the company) - and getting to do an awesome presentation, alleviate concerns at my site, and then quote Anchorman after - it was one of the better days I've had at the company in the last 6 months.

Last Friday night it was a coworker's birthday so I headed out around 4:30 pm to get drinks. And got called from my NJ/PA site as soon as I walked into the bar. Something else had happened - this time on a mix up on their side - but I had to talk them through some stuff and advise on how to handle 1 thing in particular. By the time I got into the bar, all energy had been sapped from me - I ordered a beer, drank half of it, and left. OMG - want a rocking good party? If you do, don't invite me. I was in bed by 8:30 pm that night.

And overslept our 9:45 am train out of the city on Saturday. We instead headed up to Penn around 11 am and got on an 11:45 train out to Montauk (the Hamptons) to celebrate the birthday of my BFF from my old job. His fiancee's family has a house out there, and they let us crash there for the weekend. It was a great weekend, minus my intense need to sleep. We grilled out, had a bonfire, drank a ton of wine, ate like crazy, and basically just had a lazy ass day. We got back to NYC on Sunday night around 5 pm, and I felt pretty good at that point. Sleeping in a place where there is no traffic noise (normally I HATE no noise when sleeping - I'm just used to noise now, and it's creepy to me when it's silent) was exactly what the doctor ordered. That good feeling last until Monday.

When I hopped another freaking plane back to Detroit. I landed in Detroit (no first class upgrades - boo you whores) and drove about 20 miles out to my project site. I met up with one of my coworkers and we discussed the next day's plans for a bit before I crashed for the night. We were there to do 2 things - the thing we were scheduled to do on Tuesday went off without a hitch which was nice. And our Wednesday plans got cancelled by the 3rd party company and postponed until mid April. We chatted and stayed at the company through the afternoon, grabbed a late lunch, and then headed back to Detroit to stay the night there. I told my coworker I had a bit of work to do when we got to the hotel but would call him in a bit for drinks.

Then I got in my room, checked my email, and realized everything had gone to hell in the 1.5 hours I had been offline. I should've realized this because on the drive to Detroit, my cell phone was going off about every 10 mins - I didn't check it b/c I'm a scary driver as it is, and don't need any distractions. But yes, that was my first clue that something was wrong. Anyway, a VERY long late afternoon ensued - complete with phone calls to/from VPs, phone calls out to my 3rd party sites, multiple emails I had to write up and send... My estimated "30 mins until I call you for a drink" turned into 3 HOURS.

This is the thing about my job - I truly like it. I consider traveling a perk (I'd prefer to travel LESS than I do but it's still a perk to me) and I love getting to work with new people every few months. But I am the "face" of my company at my sites. So when things go wrong outside my control (code gets released that has a bug in it for example), my sites come to me. And that's what happened on Tues night. I handled everything well though - and one of my other VPs even used an email I sent as an example of how we should be handling outage notifications.

Wednesday - repeat it all. This time my NJ/PA site had a problem - we almost immediately knew it was something they had done on their network, but trying to figure it out, and make sure they understood what happened, took almost all day. I had to take a billion phone calls from the airport which I hate doing b/c it's so loud in airports in general. And then almost cried as flights started getting delayed. I was flying through Boston which was having a high wind advisory - so we finally left Detroit and had a horribly bumpy delayed flight in. And then my JFK flight was also delayed. But it worked out well as I got "surprised" upgraded to first class on that leg - free bourbon; it's what's for dinner.

Thursday it was back to my NJ site, running on nothing but coffee and exhaustion. I dealt with a lot of little issues all day and almost cried when I sat down in the seat on my train back to the city. Friday I went into the office for only a tiny bit - I went in late, and left around 2:30 pm to get my hair fixed. My hair looks so great right now, that I shit you not, I got hit on 3 minutes after leaving the salon. Getting hit on blatantly hasn't happened in years - so I felt pretty good when I got home. Blondie had a meeting on Friday so I headed over to our local to hang out with everyone. And that turned into a dance party, drink your face off night. I got soup for a late dinner from a 24 hour market by our house and remember that soup being the tastiest fucking thing I had ever eaten. Drunky McDrunkPants - that's me.

Saturday was a waste - I did a little bit of workout once I felt better but it rained all day here so I mostly didn't leave bed. We made spaghetti for dinner and split a bottle of wine, and then watched a movie before I crashed out for the evening. And today - it's a repeat. A little bit of a workout, the weather is shit. I feel Gossip Girl binge fest is in order for this afternoon.

Tigga news! He gained .5 lbs at his vet appointment last week. The vet was REALLY happy about this b/c it's been so hard to put weight on him. The vet said to just keep it up - keep feeding him like we're doing. I was hoping for 1 lb gain but the vet said any gain is good news right now. Everything came back great from his test results too except his blood potassium levels. The vet said they are borderline too low right now - these low levels lead to lack muscle strength in his hindquarters so we really have to watch this. We test him again in a month and keep our fingers crossed that the levels have rebounded. If not, it's another supplement he has to take. But all in all, great news for my Tigga!


Sunday, March 16, 2014


Warning: self-pity out the ass coming at you. Skip it if this kind of shit annoys you. Or honestly, skip it even if it doesn't annoy you. It's not going to be pretty.

Work 2 weeks ago was tough - we've been dealing with some things at the 3rd party site that make each day I'm there a mix of adrenaline and terror. I ended up staying the night 2 weeks ago on Tuesday - the commute back and forth isn't so bad, it's the 5 am alarm that's killing me. So I stayed the night and ended up waking up at 5 am Wed anyway with my mind on work. And got up for the day then which pissed me off because I could've stayed in NYC for that.

On Thursday 2 weeks ago, it literally felt like a vacation. I met up with the CTO of my company in Tribeca and hitched a ride out to my NJ/PA site with him. He was going to meet with some of the team members there, and I tagged along as I just wanted to see everyone and sit in on the meetings. It felt like a vacation because I didn't have to meet him until 8:30 am, which meant I could sleep in. The meetings went really well, and he told me after that the staff members had raved about me to him (I had stepped out of the room for about 30 minutes at one point to meet with someone else and that's when this happened). So that was good.

After that, it was back to the office for a 1/2 day - putting it 2.5 days physically in the office since the middle of January. My boss was so excited to see me that he actually called a team happy hour and we left the office early (so 2.5 hours in the office). And 2 weeks ago Friday, I threw in the towel. My exhaustion is palpable right now - I can almost taste it sometimes; the feeling of being too tired to even yawn, too tired to even move as I sit on a train leaving NYC and wondering how I'm going to walk a mile when I get to my NJ site, and then arriving at my stop and somehow finding the energy to drag myself and my laptop bag to my site, and then getting hit with sheer panic at things that are happening. I was so done in 2 weeks ago I couldn't bear it. And I got them to replace me onsite for a day with someone else, while I drug myself to the office instead.

Needless to say, that weekend was a bust. We didn't do jack shit. I literally got in bed on Sunday and didn't move. Up until my bar friend texted that she wanted to meet up for a beer for her birthday. So we found the motivation and headed to our local to meet up with her and our friends (1 hour late, it took us that long to rally). It was only a few drinks because...

It was yet another week of traveling. Out to the NJ site on Monday and Tuesday - things were still not great. I had help both days which was nice, but it was still an intense 2 days, ending with a super late Tuesday night and a flat out run to the train station at the end to make sure I didn't miss the last train to NYC. Which didn't help the tiredness. We did stop in our local on Monday night to do drinks for the official birthday of my bar friend - it was good seeing everyone, and having to force myself to be happy and perky, actually made me feel happy and perky for the time we were at the bar. I should try that more often.

And on Wednesday, oh Wednesday. I was slated for a Detroit trip - connecting through Boston. I looked at the weather report on Wed morning and gleefully told Blondie I'd see him that night as NYC and Boston were getting hit with a rain storm, and a blizzard was dropping 5-10" of snow on Detroit (how could one of those flights not cancel?). And then ate my words as all flights went on time, with no issues whatsoever. The nice part of the trip out was my 1st class seat from JFK to Boston. The worst part of the trip out was when I got off the plane in Boston and realized I was getting right back on the same plane to head to Detroit, with the same flight crew, who all were like "oh look who's back!" when I got back on the plane to head to my coach class seat this time.

The Detroit trip was pretty good actually - I got my rental car (ugh, driving) and picked out a brand new, bright red VW bug. I actually really liked the car, and the drive (about 20 miles out of Detroit) was also pretty pleasant. The roads were clear (the airport runways weren't, the roads were - go figure), but it was bitter cold. I got to my hotel that night and met up with a coworker from CA. We got to talking about some things that were going on with her and work, and I finally checked email for the first time in about 8 hours. And realized I got put on another project, kicking off this week - at the Oregon/CA border. And then called Blondie and cried a little. I just want a break from traveling. One break - 2 weeks of being at home with Blondie and Tigga, and not worrying that I can't have a nice dinner with Blondie b/c I need to be in bed at 8 pm for a 5 am alarm, or a 7 am plane, or any of that shit.

I was up early that next day - par for the course, and headed out with my coworker to our meeting. The meeting went really well actually - everyone was super nice and I'm excited to work with them. I got the rest of my trips to Detroit in my calendar (4 more by the end of April), and now need to coordinate those with several trips to CA by the beginning of May and a trip to KY tossed in the mix. Afterwards, my coworker and I stopped for lunch where I had one of the best salads I've ever had - a wilted spinach, dried cherry and red onion salad. The combo sounded disgusting to me, but I still ordered it - and have never been so happy in my life.

I then said goodbye to my coworker and drove back to Detroit to stay in a super fancy pants hotel that night - I checked email when I got there, and got official notification that they had finally resolved the issues that were causing havoc at my NJ site!!!!! The release had gone out that morning, and word from the ground was that use of the product was in full swing (finally!). I was sooooooo VERY happy that everything had finally gotten fixed, but honestly, soooooo VERY disappointed that I was not there when it finally happened.

While I was lying on my hotel bed, just kind of feeling the weight being taken off my shoulders, my cell phone rang. And it was the 3rd party site at the NJ/PA border that I work with. They had some issues earlier in the week (that they had worked with their salesperson on) and were calling to give the good news that they felt they had gotten past those. Squee! And then they hit me with another request, that I had to punt on. I had them send it to me in email, and then called a coworker to tag team on it with. It's something I don't think will happen, so immediately, weight back on my shoulders.

I gave up then and headed down to the lobby for a glass of good wine - plopped down in the bar area, and ordered a couple of glasses of red along with brussel sprouts and a stuffed banana pepper. Then went back upstairs and raided the concierge lounge (one of the perks of traveling is the membership levels you get at hotels and airlines) for a scotch, before calling Blondie and passing out without touching the scotch.

And Friday, back to NYC - with a 2 hour layover in Boston. Flights went on time again, which made me grateful, but landing at 6 pm on a Friday night means a subway back (or a 3 hour cab ride). It actually worked out pretty well though and I was home by 7:15 pm. To do absolutely nothing this weekend. No shit. We left the house on Saturday to run to the grocery to buy fruit and potato chips (dinner, holla!) and that's it. I rode the bike at the gym for 30 mins on Saturday. I did a bit of yoga today. And I've vegged on Gossip Girl reruns.

This week - FINALLY. No definite travel plans yet, although I will definitely be back at my NJ site 1-2 days this week. I have a bright and early meeting tomorrow morning, I have to get my roots fixed (unintentional ombre hair will never be a look), the cat needs to go to the oncologist, and my boss is making me interview 2 candidates for a position at my company. On top of that, I'm kicking off my CA project, and gearing up for 3 days in Detroit again next week (and all the work I have to do to prep this week for it). So even my off week is not an off week.

I told you. Pity Party. And nobody is invited but me.

For my seeking-info-on-Tigga peeps - that's finally some good news I can give you. We'll get official news this week after his oncologist appointment, but the cat has gained some weight!!!! It's not visible to the eye, but I picked him up on Friday night when I got home and was all "whoa!" You can definitely feel the gain - we're guessing 1 pound! He also has gained some energy - Blondie was playing with him like old times today and Tigga was playing back. So good to see it. It's such relief!!!!

Next week I'll do my best to pull my head out of my ass.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Okay - let's chunk this recap up slightly differently this week and start with "the work". I thought 2 weeks ago was the craziest week I had ever lived through, but it turns out that wasn't true. I know this because LAST WEEK was the craziest week I've ever lived through. So yeah, no matter how insane it gets, it can always get worse. Glass half full or empty? Whatevs. It just sucked.

I was back out in NJ every single day last week and didn't spend the night a single one of them - which meant a 5 am alarm, 6 am train every freaking day. Which would've been better, had say, things gone well. But they didn't. We uncovered a series of issues last week and I've never been so grateful and so sick to my stomach to be onsite in my life. Since I was there, I was able to help mask and mitigate the issues appropriately but we still haven't resolved them. Every single day was a terrifying and humbling experience. And that was work.

The better news was I got to see 2 of my siblings-in-law last week! Blondie's sis showed up on Sunday, after I had gone to bed for the day, but I trucked out of NJ on Monday and met up her with her and Blondie for dinner up the street and a few drinks. It was so good getting to see her - she's in a great place in her work life and getting to see what she's been up to was actually quite thrilling. After we did dinner, the 3 of us headed to Winchester and the planned "1 drink" turned into 4 (which made Tuesday morning be a giant boooooooo). I said goodbye to her on Monday night as she had a Tues afternoon flight back to the state she lives in.

And on Thurs morning, Blondie's bro showed up for a weekend of debauchery! He had such a blast when he came for Blondie's bday last year that his wife actually bought him tickets out to NYC for Xmas! He showed up on Thurs and Blondie and him spent the day poking around in our hood. I got home on Thurs night and we ordered in pizza and had some beers, and then I crashed out around 8 pm. Friday, the 2 of them did some touristy things while I worked all day but then I met up with them in the NYU area after I got back to NY. We ended up at one of our favorite beer bars in that area, and drank for several hours there before heading back to Winchester to finish out a pretty late evening.

Saturday I got up pretty early with a bad headache (cheap beer headache) and ended up working out for a tiny bit to cure the thing - it was one of those headaches that I knew would take 3 hours to get rid of with Aleve, or a 15 min workout would cure it immediately. And I sucked it up and did about 30 mins in the gym. And the headache was gone. Blondie and his brother went out that afternoon to do a few things in our area, while I collapsed in bed napping and watching TV. For dinner, we ordered in pizza again and were watching movies and drinking beers, and trying to rally to get to the bar, when Blondie's bro got a phone call that his flight back had been cancelled. Instead of his 3 pm flight, he was put on a 6 am flight back on Sunday. Which stopped our festivities immediately due to the 3:30 am wakeup call the next day.

And on Sunday, I met up with my bar friends at Pony and drank the day away there. I left the bar around 5:30 pm, fully expecting my site to snow out today b/c of super snow storm Titan. So I drank more than I should. I felt like a salad for dinner (completely random) so I stopped and picked one up, came home and chatted to Blondie while eating my salad, and then went to bed thinking I'd check my site in the morning and be able to sleep in. And awoke to find out that super snow storm Titan had dropped maybe 1/10th of an inch of snow. It was enough to cancel my coworkers flight in to help at my site, but not enough to do anything else. At all.

So yay b/c of I'm sick of snow. But boo me for being dumb yday. And it was back to NJ this morning for yet another round of everything. I'll be at this site through Wed (I'm staying out there tomorrow night) and then back to NY on Wed night before meeting up with senior mgmt on Thurs morning to go out to my other NJ site and do a demo.

In Tigga news - he's starting to feel heftier to me but he still is painfully thin to look at. He seems to be eating and drinking really well, and now I'm hoping that some weight will start to creep back on him. I can't wait to look at him and see a little bit of flab on his belly instead of just his rib cage. Keeping fingers crossed his pills are starting to kill that mother fucking cancer!

Exhausted. Drained. Emotionally Spent. Nothing else to say tonight except that if I ever bitch in the summer about how hot I am, or ever fucking complain that 6:30 am is too early to get up and workout, you have my permission to bitch slap me.