Sunday, September 07, 2014

Counter balance

About 30 miles into my 70 mile ride from San Rafael to Stinson Beach yesterday, my back tightened up and my neck and shoulders started to ache. I briefly tried to blame my so-so bike fit, or the cold, or the strong headwind into which I was pulling a few friends.

But when we got off our bikes for a quick lunch in Stinson, I had to face the reality. Yes, my bike fit isn't terrific, but I'm not sore and aching because of it. I've spent the past 10 days seizing every moment of fun with friends. And that fun has included a lot of later-than-usual nights, meals eaten out that aren't too healthy, and more booze than is my norm, especially four weeks out from a century.

I'm exhausted. But damn, I'm having a ton of fun. It's intentional, this packing in all the plans, because I'm trying to counter balance the very bad work situation with all in my life that is good and positive. My office is reeling from the awful actions of our new CEO. She is launching nasty personal attacks and questioning our professional credentials. It's a pretty sucky situation.

So while I'm job hunting, and networking, and gearing myself up each morning to spend another day in a really bad environment, I'm also accepting all invitations for anything good, happy, and fun. Because as hard as it is to keep up this momentum, it's keeping away all the sadness and unhappiness over this dramatic change in my formerly-awesome job. I'd rather be exhausted from seeking the joy than because I'm wallowing in the despair.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's only seven flights. I'l walk, thanks.

I usually bike commute on Wednesdays, but rehearsal went late last night, so I slept in, but still had time to get to work about 20 minutes earlier than usual. So I boarded the bus, got off downtown, and went to grab second breakfast before crossing the street and entering my building.

I saw a guy from the 4th floor waiting for the elevator. He seemed to be holding the door for me, but then he bolted past me out of the elevator as I stepped in and went up the stairs. That was weird.

I pressed the button for the 7th floor, and the button didn't quite light up. It's a 100-year-old building and the elevator is almost as old. I pressed the button a second time and started my slow ascent to the top floor. And then I heard a clunk. And then a thunk. A loud one. And the elevator stopped moving. And I was stuck. Inside it.

Now, having not bike commuted, I also hadn't drank a full bottle of water this morning. And I had snacks. So I texted our office manager that I was stuck, and waited. Then I called our office, and told a colleague I was stuck. And waited. He was on the job.

And, since I was stuck just below our floor, I could yell-chat with my colleagues while they sorted me out. The building management company didn't answer their phone. The on-site contact wasn't on site yet. The emergency phone in the elevator told me a tech would be coming. It took him half an hour to reach the building.

In the meantime my colleagues tried to pry the door open, thinking maybe I could climb out. That didn't work. The emergency dispatcher called back to let me know the tech was on his way, but Pine St. is one way, so he had to go around the block and then look for parking.

I texted my sister, breathed deeply, and tried not to lose my mind.







The emergency tech got there, and I could hear him talking to somebody about how he'd never worked in the building before, and he wasn't sure he could fix the elevator. I also heard him talk about how there's been a fuse out for awhile, but the building wouldn't OK an electrician to fix the problem.

I continued texting my sister, and posting to Facebook, and tried hard not to consider the seriousness of my situation. I'm an orphan with two siblings and significant responsibility for an ill relative. I'd fuck up a lot of lives by dying. But my sister and brother would be crazy rich when they won the lawsuit.

I continued to try not to hyperventilate. My Facebook friends helped a lot with this, and I thank you all.

I heard the tech talk about cutting all the power to the elevator. The lights were still on, but I would have gotten hysterical, called 911, and demanded a fire department rescue the moment I was put in the dark.

I continued to try to hold my shit together, and ponder how unfair it was that no cute firemen were participating in my rescue.

Then the elevator made a few noises. The display panel for each floor lit up, and before I could gather up my things (including the three layers I shed because it was really hot in there)  I was dumped out in the empty sixth floor reception area.

I walked up to the seventh floor, and was greeted with hugs by two stunned coworkers. And then the elevator techs showed up, told me they were glad I was OK, and showed me the broken fuse thingie that caused my 70 minute entrapment. It was almost 10am.

I met Kathleen for early lunch, and headed to the nearest bar after I left her. After 18 anxiety-free months, I was having a whopping panic attack. I needed some drugs. But I didn't have any on me, so a midday shot of whiskey had to do.


One whiskey down, I (grudgingly) went back to my office, and was greeted by one of the landlords. An attorney. I'm pretty sure he was making sure I wouldn't sue him, and I took the opportunity to point out that this is the third incident in this building in a year that has put the safety of the 7th floor tenants at risk. He asked some questions, was appauled when I mentioned the day myself and another colleague had to haul our bikes up seven flights of stairs because the elevator was broken.

Wait, I park my bike up here? Why not in the basement? What do I mean I was told I can't park in the basement? Let us find out more about rectifying that.

So, I spent 70 minutes trapped in the elevator and this has provoked a panic attack unlike anything I've had in about two years. And the fucker from the 4th floor knew the elevator was broken, but didn't tell me. But for my trouble I'm getting convenient bike parking. And a seven-floor stair workout a couple times a day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blah, blah, blah life

I'm sitting in front of iTunes, cursing the upgrade that's made me incapable of adding a playlist to my library. And that's probably a perfect metaphor for the past few weeks. I'm standing at every turn trying to figure out why all these little changes are causing me such difficulty. And I'm trying really hard not to lose my shit.

My job continues to be super-stressful, with no end to our poorly orchestrated transition in site. And it's about 100* in my office most days, which definitely doesn't make me happy about going to work.

Something is not right with my bike fit, and as a result my hands and arms are taking a beating. But, in the midst of some cycling misery, I rode an amazing Redwood City-Woodside-Portola Valley loop on Saturday, that included a ride up King's Mountain. I can't lie, I felt pretty bad ass getting to the top of that monstrosity. And it was pretty.
Crystal Spring Reservoir. That was the only fog we saw all day.
I'm feeling a little constricted by the structure of the team this season. I really want to spend a lot of time on my bike, but more on my own terms than our schedule makes possible. I'd also like to spend some time out enjoying summer with my friends, and finding the balance is hard. Case in point: two drinks with dinner and getting home after 11pm last night might not have been the best idea. But damn it was fun.

So yeah, life. It's happening, in all it's good and bad and crazy glory. And the soundtrack is pretty good, despite the songs trapped in my iTunes library.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Girl Pants

The toilet has new innards. The tires are aligned and rotated, and the oil has been changed. The laundry is done and the dishes are (mostly) washed and the clothes are folded and I'm sorting out my really bad allergies. I am on top of everything.

And shit,  I am exhausted.

I spent a lot of last week navigating some new (surprising and unwanted) work responsibilities and dealing with some drama in a couple of organizations I volunteer with. Everybody else's needs are met, and yet I feel a little like I'm teetering on the brink of being completely overwhelmed.

My bike commute is pretty.
So I'm taking a couple of steps back. Begging off of an organization that's bringing unpleasantness into my life. Focusing more on the things that make me happy. Spending more time with friends. Being personally productive and letting the work stuff slack a little. Stress cleaning, even, because if I'm going to be worked up about some stuff, I might as well vent it productively.
Last night's sing-along showing of Grease. In costume.
And I'm breathing easier today because of it. The balance may be hard to find, but I always know how to regain it when I'm losing it.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The inner monologue

I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home from an East Coast tour. I've crammed the past eight days full of family, food, and tons of fun. 

And for the first time, I'm leaving the DC area wondering how much easier life might be if I were to move back. If I could meet my sister for dinner once in awhile, or drive up to NY for a weekend with family, without taking on the hassle of a coast-to-coast trip.

I am so very rooted in San Francisco, and I can't imagine what leaving would be like, but I really hate maintaining my most important relationships over the phone. 

I'm so happy for the time we had together, but for the first time, I'm not as happy to be heading home. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The high road is is a hard and lonely place to be

My boss retires in two weeks. Three weeks ago, she told me that nobody in our organization pays attention to the work I do and it's not important. She told me this in a conversation planning for my annual review.

Two weeks ago, she sent an email to all staff praising my accomplishments this year (I have busted my ass in this job) and putting me on the leadership team in recognition of my good work. After she circulated draft updates of my job description to several colleagues - without my knowledge - asking for their feedback on the scope of my job.

Is your head spinning? Mine was. 

The job description led a colleague to send excoriating emails to our board of directors telling them that he wants me demoted and reporting to him so that he has more control over my job functions. I'm not supposed to know this happened, but things were getting so weird in my office that a colleague shared some details with me.

I don't even know what to do about all of this, but I've got to be honest, three weeks of taking the high road - continuing to go to my office and trying to do good work while not talking about any of this - is exhausting. And it's becoming demoralizing.

My boss retires in two weeks. My vacation overlaps with her last week in the office. I think I can make it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The secret society

It's like a fraternity almost, full of inexplicable camaraderie, inside jokes and late-night text messages and whispered questions nobody else ever hears. "You have plans on Sunday, right? You won't be by yourself?"

Some of us even, for a short time, had our own hashtag. The ladies of the #ddc united around Father's Day and the fact that our dads weren't here any more to celebrate.

And it's easier this year. Time, no matter how much you don't need to hear it at the beginning, really does heal.  And then a new friend asks if I have any suggestions for a Father's Day gift. Or a dad walks down the block carrying his kid on his shoulders like my dad did me, and for a couple of minutes, my heart breaks so violently I'm sure it'll never be whole again.

And yes, I have plans tomorrow. And no, I won't be alone. And has become my practice, I'll be with friends in the club. Wishing we were part of bowling club or a bird-watching group instead.