Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | July 27, 2010

15 Hours and a Day of Rest

Just got home a few moments ago from my work day. It’s after midnight here in Seattle.

Today, I logged a 15-hour day. And that was just at my “day” gig. My previous record at this particular gig was 14 hours (a couple of weeks ago).

This is what happens when you have a strong work ethic and have just come off a long bout of under-employment — you are inclined to make the proverbial hay while the proverbial sun shines. My day job as a database gun-for-hire — which pays ridiculously well — involves some heavy deadlines set by people who are not in touch with reality when it comes to available resources and time constraints. It would be easy to complain, but as I realized the other day… if my job were easy, they wouldn’t need me to do it. They’d hire some cheap kid to shuffle through it. The reason they pay me the big bucks (and time and a half for overtime) is precisely because they get themselves into these messes and they need me to get them out. So, there’s plenty of reason to feel good about this situation.

 (Up to a point.)

As long as they keep making the kinds of decisions they make, there will remain opportunities for me. Well, that and, as long as the political winds that blow at this company continue in the direction they are. But to borrow from another popular phrase: while I can’t control the winds, I can adjust the sails.

Of course, I can’t keep up this pace forever, and nor do I want to. There must be more to life than working and… um… working some more. (Remember, I have a second job, and I get very little sleep). I suppose throwing myself into this work also has the side benefit of blunting the reality of divorce, etc. But I do need to get on with this divorce, and I do need to get on with my life.

Given that Saturday marked what would have been Gabe’s 44th birthday, I once again watched her video (“What are you waiting for?”), and believe me, I’m painfully aware that my life is continuing to slip away one day at a time. Of course, right now, those days are spent restocking the financial reserves that were depleted over the course of this past year, so it’s not a complete waste, but yeah… I need to get moving forward. I wouldn’t say I’m “waiting” to do what needs to be done so much as I’m working to keep multiple balls in the air at the same time that really are necessary for me to move forward as best as possible.

One interesting rest stop along this road, however, occurrred yesterday (Sunday). By a fluke, I ended up with the kids for most of the day. Extrovert that I am, while walking with the kids to a neighborhood park, I stopped by a neighbor’s house to see if their kids wanted to join. The kids’ mother was doing homework so she couldn’t bring them along. That’s okay, I said, I’d be happy to watch her kids, too. The more the merrier.

So, I walked to the park with two of my young kids (the oldest is out of town this week, visiting my parents) and the neighbor’s two kids, and we all had a fine time. Eventually, I took them back to Casa Inris for water and ice pops, texting the other kids’ mother to ask if that was okay. Sure, it was! Later, I texted a suggestion that I could let the kids run through the sprinkler in our back yard. She said she’d finished her homework, and would come over with ther boys’ swim trunks.

What followed was a nice relaxing afternoon as the kids played in the back yard (sitting in a blow-up wading pool, holding up umbrellas against the sprinkler!) and the neighbormom and I talked.

She and her husband are also getting a divorce. Although neither of us disclosed much in the way of details as to why, there was enough subtext to suggest that she is leaving her husband for much the same reasons I am leaving Penny. This other couple has been together for about the same amount of time as Penny and I. Etc., etc.

Now, this neighbormom and I are not likely to become an item — she’s already playing the field (she and her husband have already filed for divorce, even though they continue to share their house), and quite frankly, she and I are simply not well matched. But what was interesting to me was this: it was actually cool to realize that I could even consider the prospect before ruling it out. You know? That I could look at her and think of possibilities.

That contrary to my occasional worries, I’m not, in fact, dead yet.

I felt comfortable with her. More, I enjoyed the fact that the kids could enjoy each others’ company while I enjoyed adult conversation. Sure, our chat was about divorce for the most part, but still… I’m an extrovert. This is what I’ve long wanted — to be around people who are being around people. To socialize. To have kids playing in the yard and big dinners and the summer sun and laughter and smiles. (Yes, I invited them to stay for dinner, and yes they stayed, and yes, Penny came home in time to participate in dinner, and that was okay, too… if not, perhaps, how I would have prefered to write the script. And no, there was no awkwardness, because there wasn’t anything to be awkward about.)

That’s what this house could have and should have been. A place for kids to play and grown-ups to relax. Insofar as Penny is an introvert, such events have been few and far between here. And that’s too bad.

My point is this: I had many things I needed to do, work-wise (and paperwork-wise and divorce-wise) this weekend, but I took a day off. And in that day of rest, I glimpsed a possible aspect of what my new life could become. More laid back. More… in my element. More, quite frankly, me.

I like the me that I saw. I like the way the kids were at ease, and the goofy (creative) ways they played. I liked having company. It was a light, refreshing breeze after a long, tough drought.

Refreshing enough to get me through a fifteen-hour work day the next day and still feel okay about it all.

Here’s to possibilities. Here’s to making them realities.

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Responses

  1. In a sense, you could think of your discussion with neighbor mom as a sort of Divorce Anonymous meeting, especially as you get the impression that her reasons for her divorce are similar to yours. It always helps to discover that you actually know someone going through the same experiences you are, and that she is open to discussing the topic should you needs some input. This was a serendipitous discovery!

    You needed this break in the pressure, so don’t worry about all those things you “need” to do – they will wait for you! Just deal with them one at a time, and the one closest to coming due first. They are all just subroutines in the larger main program which is your life.

  2. This is good! This is the way my life has always been. It’s good to be social. It’s good to have people to share your life with. And it’s good that you are looking so optimistically toward the future. So happy for you!

  3. Awh I just got a warm fuzzy feeling for you. I think you really needed this. That glimpse into what your life will soon become….you are working hard but you ARE working towards something and that something includes a lot more of what YOU want. I’m glad you could take this little break to adjust!

  4. Two things – you are FAR from dead and you are NOT letting your life pass you by – these things I am almost positive about. You may feel that way, but from my perspective, that’s not the case, you are just in a transitional time. And I love that you were able to have a great convo with “neighbormom” and you have very much in common…too bad you aren’t well matched (why aren’t you?), but at least it’s an ally and friend for starters.

  5. rediscovering your social side (or unleashing it after a long break). boy, can i identify with that. sounds amazing. and it’s a good indicator of what’s to come, eh?

  6. So glad to read this!

    Playing in the sprinkler is one of my favorite past times. In fact, last Saturday I was at my family’s house and I asked my Mom if we could put the sprinker on in the back yard. Of course, they all wondered why on earth I would request that… but as I sat slightly closer to the water than them, with my feet wet, I didn’t care. *bliss*

    More so than being proud of you for recognizing you *could* consider neighbormom as a possibility, I’m proud of you for recognizing that she’s probably not. It is much more easy to think of everyone as *the one* than it is to be level headed and know who is, and isn’t truly a possible match. Good on ya!

    Work will slow when it’s meant to…. right now you need the work, and whattayaknow there it is! When you are back on your feet and ready to slow it down… it will. I have faith 🙂

    You are going good places, my friend. Good, good places!

  7. I think rediscovering the value your skills command in the market, and that because of it you get paid top dollars, is well a tribute to your life’s philosophy.

    This recession has upended many a life. I have a friend that moved to Europe to weather the storm and she has, but she is on her third job, something unheard of before in her old country, like many she is questioning her skill and herself.

    As I plot my return to California, I recently came across an opportunity that could utilize 100% of my skills, but not in the proportion I expected. About 90% of it would be things I did in my former life as a corporate citizen. “it is high level, yet hands on, the HR rep said. Then she paused. We need it done and up and running in less than 12 months.” “Are you actively looking she asked me?”

    Memories of long commutes (sometimes four hours round trip), very long work hours, and sometimes the dull routine of dealing with technical stuff came to mind and my stomach churned. I can handle it. But the challenge she threw, “Need it done in less than 12 months”, is what thrilled me. My response was simple “I’ve thrived on hands on, fast paced environments…and listed areas in which I could contribute. (In the end it may not work out because of other details, but it is very tempting!)

    I am sure I would thrive because it is just not the work itself that kills you. More than anything, It is the life you lead outside that helps you succeed.

    It is not surprise then, that you are seeking to balance your life at home, your marriage. Once you do you will be running at 100% of your potential…and you’ll still have plenty of years to live. All this mean my friend means that you are alive…and thinking!

    There is in article recently published by the HBR: How will you measure your life? by Professor Clayton M. Christensen.

    I think you and some of your readers might find it interesting. Enjoy!

    http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1

  8. I’m glad you finally took a break. Especially because that’s a day your kids will always remember!

  9. Awesome! A much needed break. Make sure to give yourself that time on a more regular basis now. I’ve found that it has helped me get through everything with a little more sanity and a little more grace.

  10. YOU.ARE.NOT.DEAD. So much the opposite. You are alive in ways that Penny will never be. Which is why you are getting divorced. Try to remember that, okay??? LOL!!!

  11. A case of being reintroduced to yourself. I love it. I think we need to do that every once in a while, because life tends to get in the way.

    Isn’t that silly? Life (work, responsibilities) gets in the way of living life (the fun stuff). Here’s to better balance of the two!


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