Blink

After a meeting today, my boss mentioned October was barely two months away. This realization hit me hard because by then I’ll have gone to my first conference and my birthday pass. There have been so many times this year where I’ve thought, “Oh I’ve got time” and then Boom – a month passes and I barely register it at all because I’ve been busy. Time is flying by incredibly fast with this job and if I blink I end up missing something – like a week – before noticing it was important or having the time to acknowledge it.

I won’t say I want to slow things down due to the simple fact that I can’t. If anything, this summer has been “slow” and we are now starting to ramp up for “busy season”.  I’ve been given another client and taken on new duties related to marketing for the company.   My “slow” time hasn’t necessarily been all that relaxing, but it’s not been breaking my back yet either.

In non-work related things I’m jumping back into my workout routine again. I started on Monday and I’m a sore mess now. It’s kinda amazing how not doing certain exercises after a short amount of time can affect muscle memory and pain tolerance levels. It’s a reminder to me that I need to keep it up. My ankle is doing better, very gradually. I still do my exercises and stretches for it and so far I’ve not had any issues running.

Now, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m all about upping my shoe game. The “precious” shoes I mentioned were delivered, but they ended up being too small. So despite them being beautiful and perfect and exactly what I wanted, I had to return them because I couldn’t justify spending that ridiculous amount of money for shoes that I knew I would struggle with and not want to wear. The really bad side was they were literally the only size left so I couldn’t even exchange for a larger if I wanted. I have another pair of shoes on the way and have my eyes on a few more.

And now for the fun fact time: I make homemade ice cream. Several years ago I made All The Ice Cream Flavors (sort of – at least the ones I wanted) and then working a lot sort of dried up all motivation. I recently started up again and found making the custard for the ice creams very therapeutic because it was a simple task but I still had to keep a certain amount of focus on it – like not letting the eggs get scrambled from being too hot. So far this summer I’ve made blueberry, dark chocolate, dark chocolate with peanut butter swirl, chestnut honey (my favorite!) and peach. The fruit ones I’ve not been too keen on because they ended up more icy than I’d have liked. I’m ALL about making the honey one again. Chestnut honey isn’t as sweet and has a sort of earthy flavor to it, which is totally up my alley. I want to try making a jasmine tea with honey ice cream next. It’s a good thing I ramped up the exercise because I’ll need it from eating all this ice cream.

Here are the outfits so far this week:

Monday: YY top and suit dress, Eileen Fisher shoes. It was damn hot and wearing this dress made the day much more bearable. Someone in the office said they liked my apron.

monday

Tuesday: Rosen top, Issey Miyake pant, Frye shoes. It always amused me when I get the “once over” from fellow coworkers. I’ve noticed with one of them that I get it a lot. It’s like each day she grades my outfit – not in a bad way because she doesn’t say anything, but it’s obvious she takes note of it. I’m not bothered by it because I’m usually too busy, but on the days I see her I see it happen.

tuesday

Wednesday: YY top and pant, Eileen Fisher shoes. I did bring a cardigan but didn’t need it. I was warm enough in the office (after adjusting the AC the day before) that I’m more comfortable now in sleeveless or short sleeve shirts.

wednesday

Today during a break we talked about the death of malls. There’s one ten minutes from my house that was considered “the nice one” for a long time, but over the past five years so many shops have closed up it looks rather depressing now. Also, Macy’s Backstage reminds me of a really bad wannabe Nordstrom Rack. Maybe it’s more on par with Stein Mart?

Week 1 – Trial by fire

Wednesday: YY top, Rachel Comey Lure pant, Lems shoes.

wednesday

Thursday: YY top, Uniqlo pant, Jil Sander shoes.

thursday

Friday: Top from Yesstyle (Chinese vendor), Rachel Comey Menace pant, Frye shoes.

friday

This week has officially kicked my ass. I’m reminded of the rushed, stressed feeling from when I was first given my client accounts back in January/February, which were a mess. Everything was late and I was frantically rushing about to all the areas of the shop, constantly checking on product status.

This first week I’ve been taking over a coworker’s account while he’s on vacation and it’s the largest client account we have. Basically I’ve been tasked with taming a wild, galloping elephant and it’s getting the better of me. I knew this account was a bit of a clusterfuck to begin with, but damn…. this is beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined. Also, I don’t think my coworker anticipated any of the stuff I ended up encountering. He said I only had prototypes to worry about… well, the prototypes were the easiest part of what I’ve had to worry about all week. I’ve been in contact with the client rep 4-5 times every day. My boss is the only other one who knows what’s going with this client and he’s been out half the week at a conference. He’s checked in with me every day and yesterday I flat out said to him, “I’m drowning.” I was given a report from the client to work on and I was floored by how much we are backordered and what goes into all the orders we do for this client. My clients are peanuts by comparison. I’ve gotten them all under control now and have a really good rapport with them. So to be given this task with a new rep that I’m only temporarily working with has literally thrown me back into the deep end of the pool with everyone standing at the side saying, “swim, damnit!”

However, I have managed to gain a much greater respect for my senior who handles this account because it’s so insane and I’ve learned a lot of new things about how we operate and manage the work load. And I’ve been given tasks that I had no idea ever fell on my department before. I’ve had so many 5-minute-tutorials on how to change things in our system to accommodate the work load I’ve left work with my head spinning and a general sense of anxiety, wondering if what I did was correct. Even today I turned to the more seasoned employee next to me and asked if I did X, Y and Z things right that were entered the day before. I won’t say it’s been easy or the best way for me to learn this stuff, considering it’s all on the fly, but I’m gaining a much greater grasp of how I can help out.

The new admin has been great in seeing if I’m ok and even coming to me with silly things or comments just to make me smile. It’s obvious she cares and is worried about me and that makes me feel all the better about us hiring her. I’ve given her a huge task I used to handle simply because I’m so swamped I can’t take care of it now, which she will need some guidance with, but I’m sure she’ll be helpful. After seeing some of the stuff I had to deal with, even on a generally slow Friday, she said she didn’t envy me at all but is still willing to help me out whenever possible. It’s really nice having that kind of support.

The biggest thing to help me this week has been being able to run. I’ve run three times this week and getting that stress out of my system by exhausting myself physically has done wonders for me emotionally. I’m still restraining myself because I know I risk running myself into a new injury out of sheer stubbornness, but what little I’ve done has worked. Granted, I’ve got a mean case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in my legs, but the little masochist in me is saying, “Yaaaaassssssss, my preciousss.” Once I get over the soreness, I’ll get to the strengthening part and after that the muscle memory part and then… it’s all routine and my head clears and I move mechanically – in a good way.

I thought about running tonight, but I did run a lot more than I intended to yesterday so Z told me to take it is. So… I’ve had a double of Johnny Walker Red and am about to stuff myself with grilled brats and apricots and couch potato it with more beer and watch new anime season premieres.

Buying all the things – black

The mule shoe hunt continues. After a failed DSW browse last weekend I went online and bought a pair of mules from Frye, but promptly returned them because I felt like I’d kill someone by flinging the shoes off my feet and hitting people in the head. It was cold this week anyway so I didn’t really need open backed shoes.

monday

Monday’s outfit: not caring. While these Brass Clothing ponte pants are nice, I’m kinda over them and only hate-wear them when I want a skinny black pant look. Note to self: get skinny black pants I want to wear, not hate-wear.

tuesday sweatertuesday

Tuesday: feeling black. The situ at work with one of my clients starting boiling today and half of a department at work was 86’d for incompetence. The director isn’t dicking around and will cut anyone not worth their salt. Unfortunately, that puts them in the situation of having all production work bottle-neck at their area.

Fun note: Although you can’t really tell too much from the photos, my arm muscles are fierce. I took off my cardigan for a bit and the GM  – halfway down the hall – noticed and said: Damn girl, you’ve got some guns! He asked me to flex for him. Aside from one of the other directors saying I look fit, this was the first time someone’s noticed my muscle gains. I take a certain amount of pride in that, although it’s making wearing skinny/ tight fitted clothes difficult. Most normal clothes aren’t made for muscular people.

wednesday

Wednesday: this day was doomed from the get-go. I had on an all Yohji outfit – all black again – and was so pleased with myself for it. I was actually wearing a skirt! And then I got toothpaste all over myself because I have butter fingers and my electric toothbrush went rogue on me. Looking back on it – yes, it was hilarious, but at the time I was miserable and late to work because I had to completely change my outfit.

The situ with the client boiled over and I was super stressed out most of the day. I felt flustered during our usual call and my boss came in and saved the day – like he normally does. I still have a lot to learn.

thursday

Thursday: work is getting even worse with delays and my client’s company taking their sweet time getting information to us so we can finish our inspections and get product out the door. My boss took me out to lunch to de-stress. He could tell I was struggling and we discussed where the whole situation was going wrong and how we could make it better and to assure me I’m doing a good job, but maybe my sense of responsibility is too severe because I’m taking things personally. I put a lot of weight on myself for being the liaison for the client when even he knows that not everything is in my control.

At first, I didn’t even want to go to lunch because I thought I should stay and work, but I’m glad we went out. Getting out of the office was nice and I was much more relaxed and “over it” the latter half of the day. I even called my client’s engineer to light a fire under his ass in getting us data and let him know: we cannot work on ANYTHING until we get his specs. *drop mic*

friday

Friday: the entire morning hours were wasted by shit data provided by the client’s team. One of his people got back to us at 2 pm: Uh… yeah, so all the numbers I gave you – they’re wrong. *head**desk* Over. It. It’s ALL on them now and I’m done wasting time. I tell our people to shut it down. We aren’t spending another second on this crap until they get their heads straight. A coworker laughed and told me I should’ve had a double scotch last night like she told me to. I said I only had a beer because I’d been drinking scotch every other night this week. The engineering group bust into laughter, saying: she’s one of us!

I started doing more work for another client this week and this new one is a real piece of work – not in the good way. She only hears what she wants and has laser focused tunnel vision where she basically ignores everything you say until you end up saying what she wants. I hate this bitch already. My boss says not to get involved with her game and just give her what the answer is once and let it go. Ignore the rest because it’s not worth getting pulled into it. She’ll continue with her Spanish Inquisition style bullshit but it’s not necessary to answer to it if what we’ve given her is correct in the first place.

And the last nail in this week’s coffin: no admin support for me. The one interviewee we all liked out of 80 applicants took a job elsewhere. We are at square one again and I’m no where near getting the help I need so I can focus more on learning my other roles. FML.

Saturday I got dressed, but didn’t take a photo. We went to see Isle of Dogs and it was fantastic. I’ve learned a lot of Japanese from watching so much anime so when some characters spoke Japanese in the film I could easily get the gist of what they were saying due to lots of words I recognized. It was nice being out with friends for a bit. Everyone has been in hermit mode this winter. We are also trying to resurrect Food Night, which is just one night out of the week (usually Wednesdays) when all the friends get together to have dinner and hang out.

sunday

Sunday (today): I wore my All-Bird shoes but I folded down the backs of them so I wore them mule-like. This allowed me to have mostly warm feet and not agitate my ankle. I went out to the mall to mule-shop again but came home empty handed. The mall was super depressing too. The selection was dismal at Bloomingdales and I noticed half of the Macy’s second floor was completely empty. I wonder if they’ll close that one down. I did see some nice Vince mules, but I knew I could get something more of what I wanted for cheaper online.

I ended up coming home and ordering the Gwen Slide by EF. I like how low heeled they are and I think they’ll go with the majority of my clothes. I find it funny how one of the reviews calls them “vamp” but she means it in a negative way. I think I’m guaranteed to like them then.

My mental state of mind has been very fragile lately. A lot of it has to do with work, clearly, but a lot of it also has to do with my ankle. I’ve had Z examine my legs several times this week and he’s assured me I’m being paranoid. There is no bump coming back on my bad leg. Because I’ve worn the brace for 4 months and kept my foot at a right angle, the natural bumps and creases in my skin around the ankle are completely smooth. My whole foot and ankle area is baby smooth soft as well and I hate it. Wearing house slippers hurt my feet because they are so incredibly sensitive now. And now that I’m moving my ankle and getting the natural creases in it again I’m getting overly paranoid and freaking out because those creases cause little bumps in the skin and that’s just it – it’s just skin, not a bump in relation to a torn tendon. I know that’s what it is and Z has constantly told me so, but I’m still freaked out a little. I do have a little bit of pain, but it’s more due to soreness in that area from moving it again. This week I spent more time doing slow, controlled stretches with a towel. I would only wear my boot in the morning and take it off mid day. I do more walking around at work than I realized, especially now that I’m chasing down more issues with production on my client’s work. I’ll probably do another week of half and half at work and add some different stretches this week to get more range of motion back. My left leg is so pitiful and weak!

This fragile state has also made me prone to therapy shopping. Gretchen’s post about not knowing how to dress herself really hit a chord with me. I feel the same way. I’ve lost 20 lbs since I was married  just over 3 years ago and before, dressing was never really an issue for me. Now, I’m questioning the fit of everything and not sure how I should look. I know I veer on the side of quirky and it’s deliberate because I hate the idea of dressing like everyone else. [side note: i’ve used the word “hate” a lot in this post – again state of mind…] However, sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard or if I’m letting mainstream ideals of dress crowd out my natural tendency to be rebellious. I still don’t know. All I do know is that when Gretchen wrote: “I don’t want to wear flowy, drapey, oversized things, I want hard, refined and BLACK.  I want rigid and crisp and clean.  Give me all the Yohji Yamamoto please.” a light switch turned on and so did my OCD button because I went online, spend three days debating on items and yesterday bought 3 black items of clothing from Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake. Whether or not they work out is TBD. It may take a week or so to get them because they are all coming from Japan. If they do work out – and I have a feeling they will – I have planned a post about shopping for these designers because they are all second hand from discounters. But for now, yes, I’m having a moment too – more due to general stress from outside issues. And for now – give me, too, all the black, crisp clothes from Japanese designers please. And a fucking pair of mules.

Coincidence?

While I was stuck at home during the massive snow storm yesterday, I thought to myself: this would be a good day to buy those pants I want from PdC. I’m still nervous about buying something so expensive, but at the same time I know I can afford it and I do want them (along with three other items I found on sale).

So as I lingered on the site, after pacing around the house a bit, I sat down to put it in cart. Now.

Nnnnooow.

Ok. Right now.

NnnnnoooooOOOH MY GOD, WHAT WAS THAT CRASHING SOUND!?

Me: What was that?
Z: I think a tree branch fell…. on the garage.
Me: *runs to window and sees all sorts of tree debris in yard*
Z: Come up here and look.

I went upstairs because the guest room window looks down on the garage roof and sure enough a large branch fell down, broke and was pinning down an electrical wire.

Z went outside to check the garage, but the garage door wouldn’t open over a foot off the ground. He looked in the windows and the branch punctured a hole in the roof and offset the garage door mechanism. The car (new Mustang) and his motorcycle seem to be fine. What worried us the most was the electrical wire being pinned down because it was the one that went from the pole at the far corner of our yard directly to our house.

Z: immediately calls insurance company.
Me: immediately calls electrical company.
Z: calls roofing companies and his dad, who is the VP of a construction company.

We couldn’t do anything about it at all because it was still snowing heavily and we had no way of safely getting on the roof to take the branch down. I don’t even think Z could’ve moved it if he had been able to get up there. The branch was large and broke into two pieces when it hit the garage. One part pinned the wire and hung off that and half on one side of the roof and the other part of the branch that was bigger punctured the other side of the roof.

We made whatever calls we could and just had to hope for the best. All companies we called about roofing and garage doors were closed and the electrical company has ten million other people to deal with – not one person whose electricity hasn’t gone out….yet. But hey, they added it to their service calls that they’ll get to…eventually. I wasn’t expecting much at all but at least the service center woman was really nice. I know they are still dealing with fallout from the storm that hit last Friday. Some people still didn’t have electricity and then this storm hit.

So I won’t be buying the pants just yet because we need to know how bad the damage is for all of this first. Our deductible isn’t too high so that’s one good thing so far. Also, after Z shoveled the driveway for the third time he ended up talking to our neighbor (also shoveling) whose yard the tree is technically in. I had immediately thought: hmmm, their tree our damage… but I wasn’t going to be a jerk about it. Z came in and said our neighbor was more than willing to call his insurance company since the tree is in his yard and he felt slightly responsible. The tree is old and he was planning on having it looked at this spring to be trimmed or removed completely. The canopy of the tree mostly hangs over our property. It would be really nice if our neighbor put it on his insurance claim because we actually just got notice our rates lowered recently. However, this might bump the rates back up. Z mentioned that if they decide on removing the tree, we could help out a little because it is very expensive.

So while we survived the storm, we didn’t come out of it completely unscathed.

If I were superstitious I would say I was being told not to buy those pants, but I don’t get spooked that easily. It’s simply an emergency situation that will have some financial consequences happened and I’ll need to wait a little longer. Technically, I can totally still buy the pants no problem, but I want to know what the costs for fixing the roof and the garage door will be first.

Auuuuugggghhh

You know that sound Charlie Brown makes, when he tries to kick the football and Lucy steals it away at the last second? He lets out a yell and you can tell it’s a mixture of frustration at what happened, but also knowing it was going to happen anyway? That’s been my week thus far. And it’s only Tuesday!

Tuesday

Sweater from Yesstyle, Grana jeans.

Boring outfit is boring – in photo. My boss actually complimented me on it and was shocked I was wearing jeans. I wondered what rock he’d been under.

I completely forgot to take my outfit photo yesterday. I’m still stressing out a little over the changes happening at work and yesterday I got home and immediately changed into workout clothes without thinking. I was halfway done with my workout when I remembered.

I’ve been having a lot of those, “wait…..what?” moments. This whole month I’ve been good about not spending any money (just a couple movie tickets and an affogato) and I kept saying to myself: Ok, don’t spend until February. Then I’ll look at my credit card balance and check if my predictions for discretionary spending were on target so I can set up a proper budget for shopping. And before I knew it, it’s almost February and I’ve not had two minutes to really think about spending because I’ve been so busy. Plus, I’ll need to reassess my expenses again because this month saw me being offered a 20% raise and new position. Wait… what?

I’ve been a nervous wreck the past week and a half because I knew this was coming. It’s not as if I wasn’t prepared for it, but A) this is a whole new set of responsibilities that I really need to step up my game for and B) my new numbers would affect my choice of benefits program now that I’m eligible and the deadline is February 1st – hurry the hell up, where is my paperwork, BOSS!? (No worries now, got it taken care of – finally.) My biggest worry currently is being properly trained. When I first started working for this company, I had someone sit with me and teach me everything. Now, I’m having to scramble and search for the information myself. I do have plenty of help from some people, but the main ones who could train me best are the busiest and already being pulled in 20 different directions. I’m trying to do what I can with what resources I know I have right now, but it’s still very piecemeal.

One of the directors told me she’s really glad I’m doing so well and I’m very much needed there. She said I’m a “go-getter” and I corrected her. I’m not a go-getter at all. There’s nothing I want to go get at the company and if it came down to that, I’d probably fail. However, I have a good work ethic and sense of responsibility. If I’m going to be paid well to do a job, I need to make sure I’m proving that it was worthwhile to put me in that position. That is what I’m afraid of most – not being able to prove that I’m worth what I’m being paid to do. I’ve worked at plenty of places where I’ve been severely underpaid and know that I should demand more for what I’m doing. Now, I’m in the opposite position of being given a lot more than I was expecting and it’s making me panic, wondering how I’ll get the information I need to do the job well. My new position is very similar to other ones I’ve done in the past. It’s essentially customer service work. However, before I was mostly working in retail. Now I’m working for a corporation where the “customer” is another company and losing one of them could mean losing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of just a couple hundred or a couple thousand. I understand that the amount of money I’m being paid correlates to the amount of responsibility I have to keep these customers happy because of how much they are spending with our company. But it’s all still very new to me and I think my little freak outs lately are keeping me centered and anxious to do as much as I can as quickly as I can.

I don’t even know if what I just wrote makes sense, but it’s cathartic to write it out. Z just asked if I want to play more Zelda and my attention span and focus for this post just disintegrated. When do I want to play Zelda? ALWAYS.