Friday, November 20, 2015

Goodbye Thirty Eight

My birthday was last Sunday and holy smokes I have gotten so many gifts this year, I am completely spoiled! I have the gift of:

- a great job
- a great boss
- a great apartment
- great family and friends
- a great new bigger paycheck

Prince Analyst has gotten a bit less complainy and presumptuous. But I did get the chance to say after one of his impassioned "Why don't we try..." speeches, "Gee, I have no idea why no one has ever thought of that." I also got be the boss of him last Thursday because Super Boss was in training half the day. My ego enjoys being the expert and guiding people. 

This week I discovered that Super Boss is a fellow member of the broken toys club. The dept went out to lunch to celebrate my birthday and we were sharing stories about our childhood. If you've had a childhood with violence or neglect, these kind of situations kick up some anxiety. As I scoured my memories for something that sounded normal, Super Boss shared something in an incredulous joking manner about his childhood that rang the "Wow, that's fucked up" alarm in my head. And then it all clicked. Now it makes sense how he can help me in exactly the right way when I'm riddled with anxiety and why I get huge barking laughs from him from my darker jokes. The story I shared at lunch was about my cousins - no need to lie - the constant bright spot from my childhood. I also got a card from my dept and a co-worker got me Adele's new album.

One thing that marred my birthday and annually ruins the holidays, was my father. He hasn't spoken to me for two months. He isn't angry with me, he just makes no effort with anyone in his life. My mom wanted to take me out for a family lunch on my birthday. I agreed to let her pretend and have that. My father ignored everything said around him and asked me two questions. That was his birthday gift to me - acknowledging that I exist. My brother helped me to have a fun birthday celebration and a ton of laughter. I don't know how abuse survivors who are only children make it. My brother and I just let each other feel without labeling or blame while acknowledging the horror and that we aren't crazy.

I have the next four days off from work. Friday night is my 20th high school reunion. I can't believe it has been that long! I really hope some drama/chorus nerds show up and it's not all jocks. It will be so nice going to a reunion with a great job and home to talk about.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

All These Places Have Their Moments

I have been having a bit of a social life lately. It is so much easier now that I am living in JP. I've had dinner at Christophers, drinks at the CBC, and got to see a movie at Kendall Square. At least once a week I've been asked by co-workers if I'm going on a date.  It's a nice new feeling being complimented on how I look.  Gwynnie Bee has helped spruce up my look but my outsides are just matching how I feel on the inside. Connected, where I am supposed to be, and happy.

I am so happy to be the Right Hand Woman to Super Boss. We are finishing each other's sentences and having conversations with a look lately. I am also getting a steady flow of people asking for my help/feedback at work. Walking the halls and having so many people to say hello to also makes my heart sing. The fly in this happy ointment is Prince Analyst who spent almost every morning this week in my office complaining. His latest complaint was that he is required to wear a tie to work. But it's just a minor annoyance and he won me over twice by getting me coffee one morning and asking for me to critique his work. I am sucker for being treated like an expert. Also, he is already helping with our workload. Veteran's Day was a holiday for us but half the department came in anyways. I decided to actually take the day off. Hey, maybe that's a sign that I am getting some type of work/life balance!

Roommate and I are still getting along but now it's past the honeymoon phase so I have noticed minor things that bug and adjustments I need to make. The biggest of the miniscule things is that she is politically a bit more conservative than I had expected. She watches Fox news. The only time I ever have that channel on is to see what the enemy is saying. I have been a bit uncomfortable with her word choices for African Americans and Jews. But what can I expect from someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania? She's a good, helpful person with a worldview unlike mine in particular aspects. I know I'm not perfect and she probably winces internally from my Liberal rantings.

I'm turning 39 next Sunday and my 20th high school reunion is the Friday after Thanksgiving. I'm not too freaked out about aging - I actually enjoy finding new gray hairs. Correction, my gray hairs are awesome glistening diamond white. Thanks genetics! It feels pretty great to enter a new year of my life on such an upswing. The bad times have made me really appreciate these good times.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Huge News/Stuff Happening

One of the new analysts started this past Monday! He's a former temp and thanks to his attitude, I will call him Prince Analyst. According to him, he will be getting dual monitors and VPN access. Super Boss has been requesting dual monitors for years and the only person in our department who has VPN access is the director - sorry to burst your bubble bud. Yeah he hasn't really been acting like a new hire, just complaining a lot and speechifying about how things should be. The attitude isn't winning any points with me but I hope he's a good competent worker once he gets up to speed.

This week went really well at work. I had really crazy long hours since the billing reconciliation was due and we had additional demands thanks to HR negotiations - when I tried to get Prince Analyst's help,  I got an ear full of bitching and nothing even worked on. This is the guy making $8K more than me - fabulous. I completed most of the reconciliation on my own and finished over half the charts needed for negotiations. I also wound up being able to rope Legal into my billing process where they brought out the big guns. I have a girl crush on one of the Legal Counsels because I saw her in action in a meeting. She was pissed but professional in a no B.S. way that I need to study and learn. It was awe inspiring. 

Super Boss had a completely trying and overwhelming week. He fired off an email Tuesday that was totally professional but I could tell how much work it took and the underlying tone so I called him to see how he's doing and offered my help. Oh yeah, Sunday, Super Boss and Super Wife saw my new place! He gave me an old rug of his for my bedroom. It's so funny, Stella LOVED them and when they left, she darted for the door to follow them. Sorry kitty, you're stuck with me. You're going to love Super Boss once you hear what he did in the midst of his trying week.

This morning he came into my office and told me if I see a personnel action for myself sitting in my queue, I can't approve it. I asked him what personnel action is happening for me. He said it was my raise and that it got approved. I was a bit stunned and babbled some noises then he left. It hit that all the months of long hours, the tears, and sleepless nights were appreciated by my company and this financial bump will be life changing. I started crying happy tears. Super Boss popped back into my office to remind me of something and asked, "Are you crying? Are those happy tears?" I somewhat brokenly thanked him for his support and getting me the raise. He said that though his week has been frustrating, knowing that this was coming helped him get through it. You know what he did this week? He wrote a salary justification memo for me to make sure I'd get my raise. I was able to read it and wow it is so overwhelmingly flattering, I started crying again! On top of this, I found out another department is singing my praises to Super Boss.

So yeah, the depressive side of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Too many good things are happening to me at once! Someone is going to die or I'll get injured. The scales will need balancing at some point. Or is this karma for all the shit I've endured? I don't know... But I do know that I want to donate a part of my raise to charity.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Life has been really good with my new place, roommate, and work. 

We have made job offers to two new analysts. One is starting this Monday, I have no idea when the other is starting. Both these analysts were offered higher compensation than I am currently making, $8K more. So I thought when they come aboard I will be getting a salary adjustment. Super Boss told me this week he wants me to be the highest paid analyst - getting over $10K bump! I had two really bad days this week. Tuesday I had to tackle a report that I thought I understood but when I had trouble and Super Boss tried to help with explanations, it just sounded like Jibberish to me. I couldn't connect the codes we use and interpreting the report request, my brain just got hung up so, as I always do when I'm overwhelmed, I cried. At work. In front of Super Boss. Again. Kinda sick of this y'all. I got home and had a good cry with my roommate who helped a ton. I figured out what upset me and attacked the next day with a plan and an apology to Super Boss. Thursday morning, I came in to four emails from Super Boss at 9:30pm Wednesday about four separate mistakes I made. I looked at what I did and could not figure out what I had been thinking. So guess what I did? I cried in my office. Luckily, it was early enough no one was really around except one warm, kind co-worker who gave me a big hug and encouragement. When Super Boss got in, I was done with crying so I asked him about correcting my mistakes. Since I am a champion poker player, he totally knew I had been upset and asked how he could help. I told him that when I make mistakes, I feel like a worthless piece of shit. Super Boss told me that I really need to not think that or even say that aloud because that hurts him. Aw!! I am usually better bouncing back from mistakes but this week was a struggle.

So my roommate is fucking fantastic. She is a great cook, gets along with my family, and we basically enjoy the same books, films, and tv shows. Also she is emotionally intelligent with a warm, open manner. It's so nice to come home from a tough day and have someone who is encouraging, and who cries with me. I had one request for our morning routine and she changed with no complaint! 

Living where I am in JP means I am a 5 minutes away from two orange line stops. I can also walk to two friends' places in under 10 minutes! And there is a grocery store here that delivers booze and toilet paper! People are really nice and the orange line hasn't been too much of an asshole - yet. The only thing I need to adjust to is street cleaning. I got towed the first week because I didn't read the street sign correctly but the second week was a breeze.

So stuff is going really well and the list of things I need to stress out about has been shortened. I just need to learn to relax and appreciate it. With work, I have a mix of people who are telling me to stop caring so much, a boss who gets upset when I'm upset, and a possibility of making the most money I've ever made. Maybe that is what's freaking me out? I am an expert in the midst of chaos in emergency mode but when that lets up, where's the next crisis to overcome? 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Everything is Awesome

The move last Saturday went well. The movers were really quick and they came in under quote. The cats handled the transition really well too. I was able to set up my bedroom pretty quickly and I put up their condo with toys so familiar smells were everywhere. Roomie's cat is very relaxed so no huge fights or hissing matches. Rasputin didn't really emerge for a day but Stella was inspecting everything. I have several boxes left to unpack and we have set Halloween weekend as a deadline to be completely unpacked. 

For my second night, roomie made dinner for me and her friend then we played board games. I have people to play board games with now! I might have had my car broken into over the weekend or I was a complete flake when I moved leaving my passenger door unlocked, open trunk, and open glove compartment. Nothing was stolen and nothing was added (dead body nor bag of coke). If it was broken into, they only have my remote fob. 

My new commute is a 5 minute walk to a T stop and a 20 minute ride. Since I don't need to stick to a commuter rail schedule, I have actually been working later now. Boo!

Tuesday morning I got a text message from landlady's son. I felt the familiar spike in my blood pressure and pit of dread in my stomach. Oh God what could he want with me now? No worries dear readers - I forgot to fill up the oil before I left. He tried to get my new address but I just gave him my work address. Sayonara psycho!

So of course work was nuts this week - 5 days of work in 4 days. I got a glimpse of a potential raise amount for me in the pre budget approval stage. If it gets approved, hooo boy! I also basically screwed up everything I touched Tuesday. I had a lovely spouse of an employee scream at me, call me condescending, and hang up on me Thursday. I was pretty upset that night but Roomie was there with a bottle of wine so I felt better pretty quickly!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Goodbye Quincy

I am all packed up and thanks to my brother, the place is pretty clean. The moving permits I spent $170 for have already been ripped down by someone in JP. I have no idea where the moving truck will park tomorrow. I'm not freaked out - I'm too tired to get worked up. Fun fact, the permit allows us to tow cars in the way. I'd rather not of course.

My plan tomorrow morning is to empty and pack one litter box then move the other to the bathroom. Maybe grab some Dunks, pack easy stuff in my car. Then corral the cats into the bathroom when the movers arrive. A nice portion of my stuff is going to the curb. Man, I have an insane amount of clothes! 3 totes and a trunk stuffed full. As each room gets cleared, I'll sweep up. Once we're done, the cats will be put in their carriers. After Stella takes a chunk of flesh from me, I'll try to get to JP ASAP. Roomie and I will stash the cats in the laundry room. Then all my stuff will merge with someone who has lived in the apartment for 8 years. I think I'll be moved in by 3:00pm. Wish me luck and easy street parking!

This past week was good but I was barely getting any sleep at night so my thinking felt very foggy. I'd have a realization and Super Boss would say, "Yeah, I just said that." I had my annual performance review Monday. I got overall the highest possible score, 4. Of course there were some 2's and 3's peppered here and there. I actually asked for one 3 to be lowered.

One part of the feedback got a strong reaction from me and it was only in therapy the next day I figured out why. I was told that I need to work on my tone when I'm stressed or disconcerted because there are more professional ways to express myself. I was not really clear on what that meant so Super Boss brought up a couple examples which I remember feeling really strongly and not liking how I handled things. I really wasn't aware it was so bad. So I felt a bit annoyed that I was being dinged for having human reactions but I asked Super Boss to please let me know when it happens again to make sure I understand what he's referring to. I felt really upset about this after work. I know I still aced my review so why let a comment bother me? Because I had so much trouble talking and recovering my tone, I feel like every lilt in my voice is an achievement - something I cherish. But yeah even stroke survivors should not sound like assholes. My lilts will be used for good. My interim plan is if I am feeling strong emotion, to not talk as much or build in pauses.

I got to use that method yesterday. Super Boss and I spent the majority of the day on the billing system that I have cleaned up, designed, and managed. The process had to go through major timeline revisions which totally confused us at department meetings. It was so funny when the new deadline was mentioned in a meeting as a statement of fact, Super Boss and I made the same WTF face at each other across the table. Thursday I set up an official meeting between us to decipher the new deadlines and what needs to change. I had printed a calendar with known deadlines and he brought a bunch of blank paper where we sketched out workflows and billing cycles for three hours. We accomplished something but really just the tip of the iceberg. My mind was whirring through lunch so I created a four month timeline projection but the dates and calculations weren't lining up the way I knew they should. So I knocked on Super Boss' office door and apologized saying that I needed his help. We spent another hour and a half perfecting the projection. It was a great collaborative learning experience but I did say sorry for waltzing in with a question that sucked up so much of his time.

Around 4, I had to tackle a billing issue with potential legal implications and needed a second set of eyes on the correspondence I had developed. I called Super Boss and asked him to come over. He seemed very flustered or rushed when he arrived so I felt a strong emotion. Uh oh - time to be quiet. It seemed to me he really didn't want to be sitting next to me critiquing a letter from his tone and body language. I started to feel guilty that I had sucke up so much of his time that day. I remained quiet and didn't speak above a murmur. We got sidetracked many times but the letter was completed. After he went back to his office, I shot him an email saying I 'm sorry, that the billing process takes a lot of time. He replied saying it's no big deal and had to be done. So I responded saying that I'll leave him alone tomorrow.

Cue him showing up in my doorway asking if it would be okay if he gives me professional advice. Of course. Then he gave me a huge impassioned lecture saying,"don't ever apologize for asking for help. If I don't have the time, I WOULD TELL YOU! Then you say you'll leave me alone. Don't ever say that. We're a team. We're here for each other." I started to apologize and caught myself so we had a good laugh. I explained that "misread the room" because I thought he was pissed. Yeah, I felt pretty strong emotion then - gratitude. Plain and simple. 

Thursday night I said goodbye to the sweet train conductor who told me months ago that I don't need to show her my pass, just my smile. She said some lovely things as a farewell and I did get teary.

This week the first man I ever fell in love with posted an old song we used to adore. Enjoy:

Friday, October 02, 2015

Illegal Apartment Living

This is my last weekend living in this shitty attic apartment that is nowhere near up to code and is probably illegal.  For the past six years, I....

...could not move my bowels, wipe my ass, and flush the toilet. The plumbing is so inadequate the toilet gets clogged all the time. I need to break down my bodily evacuations into steps to have a functioning toilet. I can only use septic safe toilet paper - and we aren't hooked up to a septic system!

...spent thousands of dollars on heating oil.  The eaves are not insulated so any heat just escapes.  I tried using plastic sheeting to stop the drafts but it made too much noise to sleep.  Most winter nights, I had the heat on, wearing layers,  with a space heater.

---have been screamed at and blamed for any repair I need.  The toilet needed a gasket and bulb replaced - my fault. A pipe burst in my bedroom after a power outage in the winter, my fault.

...haven't been able to take a long hot shower or bath.  The hot water doesn't last more than five minutes in my apartment summer or winter.  I can't wash a big batch of dishes at once.  During bad parts of the winter, I heat bathing water on my stove.

...have had trouble hanging anything on the walls  There is basically no wall, just layer upon layer of crumbling plaster.  Thank goodness for command hooks!

...have been told that the cats smell too much and I should get rid of them every single year.  According to my landlady's son, my cats are ruining the entire building.  This is the same man who trapped poor Rasputin in a room for a day after doing "repairs". This guy also thought my cats eat feces.  He's incredibly intelligent.

... had a pit of dread coming home, never had people over, and anxiety attacks.

For liability reasons, I won't post the link but let me say if you see a Craigslist ad for a Quincy apartment that looks too good to be true, it is.