Under the Rainbow

It’s funny how things can turn, almost on a dime.  I sat in Deb’s office last night, smiling and happy, and telling her about how much things seem to have changed over the last six weeks, since I started my new job.  I’m confident in my work.  I’ve had an easy time of making friends with the people who work around me.  (A bunch of us are going roller-skating after work in a couple weeks.)  I’m out to pretty much everyone, and comfortably so.  I’ve fairly well tolerated the inefficiencies and poor co-ordination of some things that go on there.  I’ve taken, relatively in stride, the fact that the things I believed to be the reason I was hired, my “expertise” in such things as moving large groups of people and managing all the issues that come with that, had been relatively ignored, due to the timing of my arrival.  (We were hip deep in a 60-person move when I started.)  I’ve met someone with whom I have a lot of chemistry and genuine, mutual attraction.  I’ve been relatively adept at letting the little things slide off my back.

Monday night at dinner with Lil’B, for reasons that are too random and confusing to explain, we began talking about Vincent van Gough and bipolar disorder.  One of the activities in the kids menu he still gets was to draw a picture of a character from the menu after they had just visited the Louvre and he decided he wanted me to draw the picture.  I’m not really sure how Vinnie came into the conversation, but as I was using one of the only two crayons they gave Lil’B to draw the picture, the yellow one (I held the red crayon in my other hand), I was telling him about my drawing, about the Louvre, and about Vincent van Gough.  I drew a living banana, with two twig legs, and a suit coat, with lapels and long sleeves.  He had a yellow face, with a protruding nose and he wore a monocle.  I told Lil’B about the emotional troubles that Vicente had and how unappreciated he had been because people couldn’t understand how he was so up one minute and so down the next.  We discussed the fact that he likely thought himself a terrible artist (something I learned form a little educational documentary I watch called Doctor Who).

The assignment was to draw the character right after they left the museum, so as I was putting the finishing touches on the picture, LIl’B asked me why I had used only the one crayon.  Just as I reached the point of telling Lil’B how in one of his fits of deep despair, van Gough had cut off his own ear, I switched to the red crayon and our debonair, snappily dressed, monocled banana-man suddenly gained a bloody gash on the side of the head where, once his little banana ear had been.  The boy in Lil’B thought that was pretty cool.  The innocent and naive young human being in him, the one who has never been exposed to the kind of emotional turmoil that Vincent van Gough went through said, “so he was crazy.”

As I was trying my best to explain to my young friend how, mental illness does not necessarily mean crazy, that there are plenty of people in the world who experienced these types of mental illness but who would not qualify as being “crazy” and that, in fact, I have struggled with depression, even during the time I have known him, but that I was not crazy, it occurred to me for the first time, that I was not depressed.  Not just that it was at bay.  Not just that it’s lingering in the shadows waiting to destroy me again.  For the first time since I could remember, I did not feel like I was struggling against Depression, working to keep it at bay all the while knowing that it was just over there, just beyond the great barrier waiting for my next moment of weakness, to take over.

I shared this with Deb last night.  But I tempered it by telling her, “I’m not dumb enough to say that ‘I’m cured’.  I think it’s dangerous to make such claims but right now, things are good.

And then today happened.

Only….  Nothing particularly special or significant happened, just a whole lot of little things.  I told a friend t0night, via text message, “I think I’m just having a moment.  Several things kinda crumbled (not caved, just crumbled) in on me this evening and I’m just trying to deal.

“I think I need a hug.  Well, a hug and some company and some comforting…”

A whole lot of little things piled up on me all at once, right around 5:00.  Because I’m now hourly, and didn’t get to work until around 9:00 this morning, I planned to stay until six…  I was there until 6:45.

At 5:00 the last two people in the immediate vicinity of my desk (two of the four-person Communications department – a group of people who communicate very effectively…  and frequently…  and from great distances…) left and I was alone to concentrate on whatever I needed to do.  It was then, in the deafening silence, filled only with the sound of the air conditioner kicking on and off, and my own addled thoughts rolling around in my skull, that I realized how much I had been struggling.  Not that the work is too hard, or that the people around me aren’t awesome, because it’s not and they really are, which thrills me.  It’s that with my particular set of circumstances (I was formally diagnosed with ADD six months ago) it can sometimes be really difficult for me to focus on what I’m trying to do.  Suddenly the list of things I needed to accomplish before the day was over was daunting.  Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that this is not a new predicament.  Suddenly, I was distraught, and even a bit angry, with what a mess my very small, very cramped, very not-my-own-private-office-like-I-had-for-8-1/2- years-at-my-last-job desk was.  Suddenly, I was upset that I feel like my talents are being wasted, because I spend at least half of most days processing and delivering mail and packages (something that was not discussed as being part of my duties in my interviews or hiring process); all day every day subject to the random whims of our customers who don’t have any means of requesting things other than approaching my boss and me directly and interrupting whatever we happen to be in the middle of; and the other half of most days struggling to concentrate on what I’m doing over the constant bombardment of voices.  It’s not that they’re not talking about work, because they generally are.  And it’s not that they’re not friendly people, because they definitely are.  In fact, it might be easier if they weren’t, because then I wouldn’t want to be part of the conversation and I do.  Which makes it a complete distraction.

I sat at my desk, organizing, as best I could and growing more and more frustrated by the limitations that I have in my ability to do my best work and the list of projects that have been asked of me, that I simply can not get to because I’m overwhelmed with the little stuff that in the short term is high priority to people as they request it.  I spent half an hour, trying to get some semblance of control over the situation.  I got rid of some clutter.  I sort out and filed my e-mails so only current and relevant things were in my in-box.  I made a to do list for Monday, and I cleared my white board and made three columns on it: one for daily responsibilities, one for short-term projects and one for long-term projects.  I put completion percentages next to each project and put a sad face next to the 0% complete for the Emergency Response Team development project that is currently at the very bottom of my list of priorities, even though I would like it to be at the top.  Finally, I packed up and walked out for the night, despairing with the knowledge that I must talk to my manager on Monday about finding a way to mitigate some of these issues.  I need to ask her for somewhere else for me to sit.  A desk that will be quiet enough for me to focus on my work when I’m able to be at my desk doing it and which will take me away from the noisy, but fun Communications group and “the guy”, because I can’t get any work done when they’re around, and knowing fully that there’s a very good chance that there will be no where for me to move.

I drove home thinking about “the guy”.  Which, to be fair, is probably overselling it a bit.  The truth is there’s been little more than the two of us circling around each other, and around the idea of becoming an us, which I suppose makes him more of “A guy” and not so much “The guy”.  I’m frustrated.  I know what I want…. I think.  But I can’t figure out what he wants.  And every time we talk and I just about have him opened up and ready to be forthcoming he dodges and I’m left in the dark again.  He’s an expert at avoidance and if I didn’t understand it so well, I’d probably be pretty pissed, but I do, so I’m not.  I’m just annoyed that we haven’t managed to work through it yet.  I was feeling disappointed about his lack of response to a text message I had sent, and about the fact that, while he acknowledges that there is “unfinished business” between us, he has not made any moves to finish the business, and when I do, he just avoids.

And I realized I was feeling really lonely and low, and that if I could just hang out with somebody and talk about it I might feel better.  I reached out to three different people including The Guy via text, just really needing a bit of interaction, period.  None of them responded to me.  One still hasn’t.  One responded within an hour of my text but didn’t offer much in the way of comforting or consolation.  And The Guy finally acknowledged my first text hours after I sent it, but disappeared pretty quickly after.  All of which is to say that I’m absolutely giving them the benefit of the doubt.  It is after all Friday night.  Most people have social lives on Friday night.  Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean people are obligated to respond.  I realized that I’ve only had one person extend an invitation to me in months, while I’ve extended a number of invitations, most of which have been turned down.  And now I’m wondering what’s so wrong with me that people only want to be my work acquaintances but not my friends and, apparently, not my boyfriend.

I’ll get over it, like I always do.  But still, not exactly the smiling, happy go lucky, better than I’ve been for a while, guy I was last night.

Also, right in the middle of writing this post, and when The Guy finally got around to responding to my texts, my Internet crapped out due to an outage in the area…  When it rains it pours…

A Drop In – (In which I Parenthesis You To Death)

Oh hi!  I didn’t see you there!  I’m sorry, I don’t really have time to talk right now.

Okay, so, yeah, I’m cheating a little bit… again.  Or at least I feel like I am.  I really don’t have time to write a deep and meaningful post (or even a shallow and meaningful post).  Today is laundry day and I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to Michelle’s house.  She texted me a little bit ago and told me, “Stop playing games,” (I had just sent her my moves in Dice with Buddies – If you have an iProduct and you’re not playing Dice, you’re missing out.  It’s like Yahtzee, but on the phone and it’s fun, quick, mindless entertainment (in which I don’t routinely get my ass kicked.)) “and hurry up and get here so we can go to Red Lobster for dinner.”  (The girl is a sucker for Red Lobster.)

So, yeah.  I really shouldn’t be here right now, but I didn’t want the day to go by without a post (and I likely won’t be home before midnight in WordPresslandia – which is 11:00 my time).  (Did you know, I just learned a new rule about parentheses and periods?  Apparently, according to the Roget’s (I think I’m spelling that right) Writing Guide on my desk at work, the period goes inside the closing parenthesis if the entire sentence is in the parentheses and outside the closing parenthesis when only part of the sentence is inside the parentheses.  I always thought it was always supposed to be inside the closing parenthesis.  Go figure!) (I’m pretty sure I’m also breaking some rule about parentheses inside of parentheses, but whatever!)

Anyway.  Cheating.  Yeah.  I kind of am, because this is going to be one of the most pointless, long-winded, without saying anything, posts I’ve written in a while, but the thing is, how cool would it be if I could post a picture of my February calendar with all those little grey dots over each of the dates, like I did for January?  AND – and I”m not making any promises here – but how cool would it be if NEXT January, I can post twelve pictures of twelve little calendars with little grey dots on every one of them???  So since I didn’t have time (or inspiration) – (What’s with all the freakin’ parentheses, today?) to pre-write and schedule a post for today, while I’m not supposed to be on my computer, I had to stop in really quickly to tell you that I don’t have anything to say today…

Sorry to have wasted your time. 😉

Anyway, I have got a few things bubbling around in the back of my brain and so I’ve got things to write about in the coming days, but right now, unless I want to make THIS a habit, I’ve got to get a move on!

Talk to you later.  Thanks for stopping by!

Roomba Revisited

You’ll recall that about a month ago, I bought a Roomba and I have been thrilled with that purchase every day since!  The docking station where it charges is right by my front door, partly because that was the only free outlet I could find that wasnt’ blocked by furniture and partly because I want it there so I can (and will remember to) hit the button and start it up as I leave for work every morning.  This means, of course, that it’s also the first thing I see when I come home at night.  During these short Standard Time days, it is already dark by the time I get home from work and I do not leave any lights on while I’m out, so when I open the door, the bright green glow of the charging/charged light glows up at me.  On Monday, I came home, opened the door and looked down into darkness.

“Uh oh,” I said to Mischa.  “Where’s Roomba?”  You’ll be glad to know, I was not expecting, nor did I receive an answer.  I went searching for Roomba, looking under chairs, peeking into the kitchen.  My bedroom door is kept closed so I knew she wouldn’t be in there.  And then I found her, peeking out from under the bathroom vanity, just sitting there.  (Don’t ask me why Roomba is a she…  She just is.)

I have double-sided bathroom rugs.  My family learned a long time ago, that cats seem to be attracted to the rubber non-skid surfaces of bathroom rugs for the purposes of peeing.  We learned this not from my problem child who is notorious for peeing in inappropriate places, but from my mother’s perfect little angel of a cat who never did anything wrong, ever, except for repeatedly peeing on rubberized bathroom rugs.  Once my mother bought the first double-sided rug, the peeing stopped.  Naturally, when I was out on my own, with my problem chid who is notorious for peeing in inappropriate places to think about, I went in search of double-sided rugs for my own bathroom.

The thing is, when you mix a robot vacuum cleaner with rugs that don’t hold their position and you throw in a marble tile floor to boot, you get a recipe for trouble.  I never know what I’m going to find when I come into my bathroom in the evenings.  Some days Roomba goes right over those rugs like it’s nothing, other days, Roomba pushes those rugs, inevitably folding them over.  I happened to be in the bathroom one Saturday morning while Roomba was doing her thing and I watched as she went over the first rug and under the vanity, but when she came back around and started making her way for the door again, she pushed the rug in front of her, until it folded over and became an obstacle that Roomba’s sensors are programmed to avoid.  Suddenly, Roomba was stuck in a four-foot square room frantically crossing between wall, bath tub, toilet, trash can and folded rug with nowhere to go, until finally I rescued her and sent her on her way.

When I came home on Monday, I found a similar scene with the rug folded over on itself and Roomba hiding under the vanity, her batteries completely drained of power.  I had to coax her back to her charging station to prepare for the next day.

I’ve had my Roomba for more than a month now.  I’m just as thrilled today as I was on the first day with this product and the developments it has brought into my life.  I never thought I’d have consistently clean floors again until I moved out of my current home.  This stuck-on-the-rug show is a rare occurence and nothing to diminish my satisfaction with the product.

So you can imagine, when I came home again on Tuesday, looked down into the black void that should have been my Roomba, peacefully sleeping and awaiting her marching orders.

“Again?” I said to Mischa, still not expecting an answer.  I went searching again.  checked under furniture, peaked through the kitchen, glanced toward the bathr–  I started laughing.

The bathroom door was closed, but I don’t close the bathroom door unless there’s someone else in my house.  I walked to the door and pushed it open slowly.  Sure enough, Roomba was sitting in the middle of the floor, completely drained of power, with one rug pushed up into a pile by the bath tub, another rug shoved into a corner behind the toilet and my trash can, the trash can which normally stands in the way of Roomba getting behind the door, in the opposite corner of the room.  I told you Roomba was assertive!

Roomba had trapped herself inside the bathroom and run around in circles (well, circles, random straight lines, whatever she does) until she ran completely out of juice and gave up.

I’ll pick those rugs up as soon as I can, but as I said, I have marble floors and the average temperature in my house this time of year, particularly in the mornings is 60 degrees.  Those rugs stay down as long as the temperature does.

I wonder where I’ll find my Roomba tonight…