Drudging along

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Today marks five days of working from home while miserably sick. Telecommuting has it’s advantages, though I have debated whether or not this is actually one of them.

Sure, I have sick days I could have used. But after being away from work for more than a week because of vacation, taking additional days away because I am sick doesn’t seem fair to my team and for all intents and purposes it hardly seems fair to me…the work load after being gone for vacation was bad enough. Add more because of being sick? It would have been overwhelming!

Sure, working while sick is miserable…on top of already being miserable. But, someone has to make money in the house. Sitting around all day focusing on how miserable I feel doesn’t make me feel better. At least there is some progress being made at work, even though I am not physically AT work. Telecommuting has it’s advantages in that I can still work without being required to take those sick days off. In another setting, I would have had to burn these days. In another job, these days would also go unpaid. That would add a whole level of personal stress so I am thankful for what I have.

However, there have been several times over the last couple of days that I wondered if I was going to be able to keep drudging along. Coughing into a headset while working with a client isn’t a good idea. Constantly sniffling/snorting snot isn’t a good sound. The throbbing in the sinus region pounds out a reminder that says, “Don’t think you’re even close to relief…” The wheezing in the chest, the rattling of gunk down there in the lungs, well, that makes for a pleasant surprise when a cough actually produces something to dispose of. The light headedness after a coughing fit is enjoyable only in the sense that the desire to lay my head on the desk for a brief period of time might lead to a nap…only to remind myself that I am supposed to be working.

I have taken a nap nearly every day during my lunch break. Those are a pleasant reprieve. Only to be awakened by an alarm that says I need to return to work. Damn oppresive alarms….

Anyway, I might be starting to feel better. It’s only been five actual work days, and probably five actual days of being positive (I don’t really know since my symptoms got worse after my last test and I refuse to waste a test if I am nearly 100% positive I know what I have). I’ll test again tomorrow to see what the status is. That’s give me a direction about whether or not I can return to the office early next week. I’ll follow that up with another test on Sunday, just to be sure it is safe.

Keep your heads down.

Holding on

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Been a little over a week since the last post. Since that post, it seems I’ve had to enter survival mode. That might be a bit of a dramatic statement, but that is definitely the way it feels.

So, the Celebration of Life mentioned in the last post was nice. Still hard to believe and the grieving process moves in waves. Just when you think you have gotten past it and moved on, something triggers it. Not so much for me, but others in the family. I wasn’t as close as some.

The gathering of family and friends from near and far created a an issue that some probably foresaw or at least could have been predicted. As such, there were lots of people around and one (at least that we know of) tested positive the day after the gathering. Obviously, that means lots of people from all different places we in close proximity and exposure was inevitable.

Two people in the house now have tested positive. I haven’t yet, though the evening after I tested negative I got the chills really bad. However, I am pretty positive I am now positive. Waiting on more tests to confirm that, but it seems a logical conclusion.

It’s now been two miserable days of discomfort. But, so far I can say that this equals probably the worst cold I have ever had. I had Mono back in college – it almost feels like that.

Anyway, that’s the latest update. Hunkered down, trying to rest, work from home, and stay hydrated.

Long Break

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It’s been a while since I have written anything. Almost two weeks. This post likely won’t be all that profound, so don’t get all excited. I am not sure when the next post will be after this, but there will be more. Just things to sort out.

Last week was one filled with bad news. Sudden, unexpected, tragic death in the family. Shock. Disbelief. All those sorts of words could be used. Probably lots more.

Vacation to Arizona had been planned for months. It was going to be a time of relaxing and family visiting. Earlier this week, we left for Arizona. Only the relaxing and family time has been upended with stress, grieving, and uncertainty. Family we were coming to see is now broken and trying to hold it together. There is much to do while here and there is no relief for the weary. To end it all with a Celebration of Life, well, let’s say this is the worst vacation ever.

I have been sick with the flu or a cold the last couple days. Trying to power through it wasn’t working, so today was a rest day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Anyway, an explanation for the absence.

Hug your loved ones.

You never know when the last time is, indeed, the last time.

Paper jam

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I’d really like to thank whichever co-worker(s) continually jams the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom. It takes talent to do it on a regular basis and make it so others can’t use it.

Pulling the paper out and away from the dispenser has proven time and again to be the most effective way to use the dispenser. The cutter inside the machine works best that way. It cuts the paper towels just like it supposed to.

But whomever is doing this jamming thing, consistently pulls the paper towels sideways thus gathing all the paper in the corner, bunching the paper into a wad and rendering the cutter ineffective because it isn’t in that part of the dispenser. The next time the autofeed runs (because it is a sensor) it rolls the paper up into a tangle inside the machine, further jamming the dispenser even more.

It’s a pretty simple design and the function is also pretty simple. So, making it complicated can only mean that the person doing this is a moron. Continually a moron.

Thanks, moron.

Perhaps they need to have a paper towel dispenser orientation in the bathroom during the building tour given to new hires. It seems silly but is likely the only solution to this problem.

Afternoon pondering

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Just had a thought float through the brain. It was sort of a random thing since I wasn’t thinking about this at all, but it just sort of popped in and now I can’t seem to get it out of my head?

Anyone been following the Elon Musk and Twitter thing? You know, that he wants to buy it for like $46 billion?

The thought that floated and stuck…what if he bought it for that boat load of money and then just pulled the plug? Like just shut it down. No more Twitter, period.

How cool would that be?

Anyone else think that would be cool?

Talk about the ultimate boss move. Buy it. Shut it down. Move on.

Cool.

Probably won’t happen, but I think it would be cool if it did.

WTH, Doc!?!

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When it comes to your personal health, who should be in charge – you or the doc? Being that you know your body best, should you be the one to make decisions about your own health and if you know something about your body should the doc respect your wishes and do what you have asked even if they disagree? Or, should a doc who may have more knowledge about a subject in general be able to make decisions regarding your health regardless of whether you agree or not?

A meeting with the cardiologist way back in February felt as though the doc wasn’t listening. As a result, an echocardiogram was done (results didn’t show much) and a cardio stress test was scheduled. During the first meeting with the doc, when asked about what kind of stress test it would be, we were told it was going to be a physical (treadmill) test. I specifically asked how much data (time) on the treadmill would be needed since the person likely wouldn’t be able to do more then maybe a minute or two before it would become physically impossible to continue. The doc said there was another option – a chemical stress test – if needed. We said it likely would be.

Much to our dismay, a physical test was scheduled. When asked about it, they said it was the best option.

Today, much to our frustration (and anger, quite frankly) when we showed up for the appointment, because the person needed a assistance to get to the room (a wheelchair) and assistance standing from the wheelchair, the tech wouldn’t do the test because of liability. They were worried they person couldn’t support themselves during the test and because of shortness of breath, the person wouldn’t be able to hold their breath during the echocardiogram to get pictures of the heart. They were going to send a message to the doc that the appointment couldn’t be completed and they sent us on our way.

After waiting for a more than a month for this appointment, there is no progress made on the medical mystery. Still no clue as to why the person is feeling this way.

Which brings me back to the original question – who’s in charge, you or the doc?

It seems these days you are less in control of your health and the decisions are being made by docs (or even insurance). You seemingly get ignored “because we know better” is the attitude.

Should it be this way? Is it supposed to be that way?

Who is the paying customer? Who is providing the service to said paying customer?

Something here is backwards…

Vacuum Tube

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*Eye roll*

*Sits back and watches insanity unfold*

So, there is still this argument by a large segment of the population that kept saying “Follow the science” that isn’t going to accept the fact that the science never supported the mandated masks on airplanes. In most cases, in general, the mandated masks were never really supported in most places. But, this is a victory for all who have ridden in a large, silver, metal vacuum tube and felt suffocated by the policy.

As I am sure you are all aware now, the mask mandate on public transportation, the biggest of which was airlines. The CDC, which instituted the policy while under the watch of President Trump, was ruled to have exceeded their authority – really no surprise here. At first, it seemed a reasonable step as there was so much unknown about what was going on (I am trying to avoid being shadowed banned here, possibly, so being a little vague but you know what I mean). Through every iteration of the unknown, the mandate has remained in place even though the severity, and risk, has diminished substantially.

The CDC themselves said that the science showed that most face masks didn’t work for stopping the spread, but there was never a requirement instituted that you had to wear a certain kind of mask on a plane to stop the spread. More science showed that the air in an airplane (granted this is the industry that stands to benefit from riders) was mostly safe since it was cycled in and out regularly and often. As such, when you put those two scientific finding together, masks on an plane didn’t make much sense.

Isn’t it weird (actually it’s not) that one side of the aisle screams follow the science when it fits their agenda but doesn’t want to follow the science when it doesn’t?

Now, there are people all over social media screaming and crying about having to fly in a metal death trap tube because masks aren’t required. Hold up! Wait, wait, wait! It’s not required…not banned…meaning, if you still feel the need to wear a mask, wear one! If you feel at risk and the bare faces of the people around you makes you feel anxious, don’t fly.

It’s pretty simple…you know, just like they were telling those of us that didn’t want to get stuck or wear a mask or provide proof…if you don’t want to do it, just don’t go the the place that require it. Take your business somewhere else that will accommodate you. Or just don’t.

Shoe’s on the other foot now, isn’t it?

Clueless Chris

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It’s interesting that there are people doing jobs for others and they have no actual idea what the person they are working for does. A while back I mentioned that I was having “retirement envy” and that I was starting to wonder how I was doing on progression towards that goal (an evaluation) and possibly planning for the future. I have an acquaintance/ friend that I have known for a long time and it was my understanding that he did financial planning, as well as insurance sales.

Well, I called and booked an appointment and talked with whomever was answering phones, a guy named Chris. He didn’t get a lot of info from me (didn’t even ask my last name) and didn’t really even ask what it was that I wanted to meet about. I let him know with the initial phone call I was looking at financial planning for retirement. He booked the appointment.

I got a call today to confirm the appointment and when I confirmed that I would be there, I again mentioned that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to bring to the appointment. He said he would find out because he wasn’t sure. He called back and told me to bring documentation for insurance comparison. I let him know that isn’t what I was coming in for. That I wanted financial planning. I asked if I had misunderstood what services were being offered. Again, he didn’t know and was going to ask his boss.

Huh.

You would think that if you work there you would have some understanding of what your boss does and what services are offered.

Needless to say, the first impression of the office person isn’t a good one. Clueless Chris may be hurting the business if the communication is this clumsy about what services are offered by the office he works in.

I have a feeling the meeting this afternoon is going to get cancelled as I am not exactly looking for insurance (well, maybe some additional life insurance, but that isn’t high priority) at this point.

Just mediocre

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I have a meeting with my supervisor, or manager, later today. It’s kind of a “check-in” and not an evaluation or anything like that. It’s a time to just chat about how things are going, visit, and a time to voice concerns, suggestions, etc.

So, the meeting usually starts with the same question, or the same line of questions – “How’s it going? How are you feeling?”

Over the last several years, it been getting harder and harder to answer those questions. Do I really (I mean REALLY) tell the truth or do I just minimize what or how I am feeling and fudge the truth? In the past, it never felt like I needed to hedge the truth (much). I felt like I could be honest. But, as time has gone on, there isn’t the same feeling with my manager, isn’t the same feeling in the team, and isn’t the same feeling in the organization. It’s hard to pinpoint the change, but much of it stems from the feeling that management is no longer listening to what we need or want, isn’t willing to be work with people, and then really that translates to they don’t really care what the employees telling them. Granted, it’s a government job of sorts, so that hasn’t ever really been totally true but over the last several years it has not gone in a positive direction.

What do I say this afternoon?

Well, for one thing I will say that I don’t feel like I am doing the best job I possibly can. It has become increasingly difficult to do a good job.

Part of the reason is because our team has shrunk over the last year and it has been an incredibly slow process of bringing on people to replace those we have lost. There have been three new hires since the beginning of the year, but it takes time to get them up to speed (they have three years to be “proficient”) so they don’t contribute to an even distribution of the workload. Their knowledge base just doesn’t afford for that to happen. Additionally, because everyone has had to pick up extra slack, the projects we need to work on and the new knowledge we need to develop as experience software analysts can’t be done. Everything gets put on hold.

Another part of the problem is that we are supporting two different versions of the software at the same time. The migration process that was originally thought to take three years has turned into a disappointingly difficult process because of the poor development from the software creator. As such, there have been so many hurdles to overcome, software issues in the newer version of the software, that the process is now running on five years and there is at least another 3-5 to go before everyone is back to using the same software again. Learning and troubleshooting the newer version is slow, tedious, and unpredictable because when there are issues we are never sure if that is the way it was designed and supposed to work or if it is broken and needs fixed. Then trying to get the creator to make it work like schools need it to work (or at least similarly as the current software they already know and use) has been frustrating and tiring.

Needless to say, I don’t feel like I can give the clients the best of my efforts. I am spread too thin, can’t focus on much of anything without getting more duties, additional tasks, or trying to learn something new in either software. The best I can do is just mediocre.

Anyone feel like mediocre is a good thing?

I realize sometimes you just hang on and hope that things get better. It might. But how long do you hang on?

If my manager asks if I was looking for a different job, I probably would have to say that I am not actively looking but my eyes are open to other opportunities. I don’t have any at the moment, but if the right one came along I can’t say that I wouldn’t seriously consider it and jump ship if it was right for me. It’s not that I am unhappy, it’s just that I am not happy either.

Make sense? Probably not.

Mediocre.

I hate that.

Retained stiffness

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Or maybe it’s retained soreness?

Last weekend I began working on building a planter by the new patio. It’s going to be one that has a short retaining wall to keep the soil and such contained. But, to get the project started, I had to dig out the area first. That part wasn’t actually as much work as I expected (the soil was mostly sand) but there was still a couple hours worth of shoveling and wheelbarrowing the soil away.

Once the initial groundwork was done, I put down weedblock fabric and the shoveled and wheelbarrowed drain rock to form the bed of the area where the planter is being created. Again, it went faster than predicted. I then sorted retaining wall blocks already on hand to see what I had versus what I was going to need for the plan in my head.

I stopped at this point though, for several reasons. One, it was starting to get late into the evening and my stomach was telling me it was time for dinner. Two, it was getting much cooler since the sun had gone down over the horizon. Three, my body was really sore already.

Here we are three and a half days after I worked on the project and I am still feeling the soreness, stiffness, pain(?) of the weekend’s work. I can probably chock all this up to the fact that I am “old-ish”, out of shape for such a physical activity, and well, it’s hard work. But, mostly because I am out of shape.

Not that I will probably do anything much about it. I am just complaining.

I want to try and work on the next steps this week after work, but I am not sure the weather will cooperate and a holiday weekend is fast approaching. There are likely other chores that will need to be tended to first.