Random equations in the mathematics of life

Posts tagged ‘stress’

Dividing by zero

So, of course, the work deadline morphs from “Uh, how the hell are we going to accomplish that step when the program needed to do it isn’t finished?” to “By the way, we’re doing this step on paper, and you need to submit within 2 working days.”  Wait, what?!  I maneuvered and shifted some items, but otherwise, built a perfect test form.  This sucker was psychometrically balanced, adhered to the curriculum standards, and even had some interest level for the students.  Voila!  It was such a good feeling, after busting tail on it for so long.

Right up until the bottom fell out.  See, a while back, in a meeting, the psychometrician told us quite clearly, to construct 2 free standing mini-selections with, and I quote, “four or five total language items attached.”  No problem, mon.  This is a forte of mine.  I whipped those out in no time, dropped them into the system, and poof, they are reviewed and ready.  However, when said psychometrician handed us the test form matrix, she pointed to an empty block of seven slots and said, “Just drop your language items in there.”  Sure, ok, no probl…wait.  Seven?  What seven?  You said “four or five.”  I have five!  Her answer was, “But didn’t I show you this matrix like a month ago?  Yes.  At the time, it was a “working document” and we weren’t shown where the language items would be.

Just effing kill me now, please.

I was devastated.  I worked so hard, and now I wasn’t going to make deadline at all.  And as I was scrambling, trying to find a solution, a conversation with the Silent One let both of us know that NOLA wasn’t going to be possible.  So my already ruined day got ruineder.  (Shut up.  I can make up a word once in a while if I damn well want to.)

Finally, by 2:30, I’d had it.  I filled out a leave slip, and went the hell home.  I’d written 2 supplemental items, but they are at step 4 out of 20.  NO way to get them ready on time.

So I pondered some alternatives, and have come up with some good ones.  In the mean time, the Silent One and I talked and apparently, the Flake had the wrong dates and now NOLA might just work after all!  Roller coaster of emotions, anyone?

Then I got to work this morning, and had an idea.  When I was futzing in the system yesterday, I noticed that a lot of the items that got trashed half way through the process were, indeed, language standard items.  So I went to the production supervisor and asked her to grab some holy water and resurrect the items back to Step 9 so I could edit them, tailoring them to the standards I needed.  Then shoved ’em back into the review system.  Now, they’ll take a bit to finish, as the TMS went home at noon yesterday with what she thought might be flu, but the situation is much, much better than it was yesterday, at least.

I’ve also recently discovered a love for Pandora Radio.  I listen by way of my phone, in the office, the car, wherever.  LOVE it.  Holy cow.  It’s especially helpful today, as my darling coworkers, who will sing out in praise of the LORD, were equating homesexual parents to pedophiles this morning.  Very nice.  I was swapping emails with the Scientist and cracked that I had, “Racists to the left of me,* homophobes on the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you!”

*his parents make racist comments and it drives me batty

Update: Just heard that despite the fact that my form is perfectly psychometrically balanced, I got called out in a meeting yesterday (I wasn’t even in there!) for having “too many” of one sub-standard, and not enough variety.  *facepalm*  Love it.  This is when I shake my head, roll my eyes, and say “whatthefuckever.”


Dancing on quicksand

I’ve been thinking more and more lately about plans and possibilities, figuring out what to do.  I’m not sure what I’ll decide, but the more an idea brews in my weird little head, the more I think this may be the right thing.  We’ll see.  I just wish I knew if I was crazy and stupid, or brilliant and wise.

Somehow, I think it might be the former.

On a mobius strip

I kinda feel like the ant, walking on August and Johann’s famous toy.  There’s really no beginning or ending to my world, and I’m never really sure when I’m “done,” or even if there is such a thing as being “done.”  My job contributes to this, as even when we send one test cycle to print, we are already in the midst of processing the previous one’s data and starting to create the upcoming one.  Many moms feel like this as well, when faced with piles of neatly folded, clean laundry, only to turn and find a child with a stained shirt in hand.  Same goes for cabinets full of clean dishes, with a dirty plate slipped onto the counter.

I’ve felt what could almost be described as a sense of panic at this realization, the dawning of the idea that it might truly never end.  When you have kids, you sign on to care for them for 20ish years, and that’s totally cool with me.  No matter what mistakes I’ve made, or decisions I’ve regretted, that is one that I have never second-guessed.  If I had to do my life over again, I would change a lot of it.  But that?  No way.  If I knew that making certain choices would get me my kids again, I’d jump in with both feet.  It never bothered me to be in the midst of that chaos and stress, because I knew it was finite.  At first, they’re totally dependent on you; you do literally everything.  As they grow, the balance slowly shifts until they not only can care for themselves, but want to care for themselves.  So on the path to their independence, I find myself walking nearly parallel to them as I reach for my own.  As they leap into the adventures of their own desires, I will get that same chance.  After going from my parents’ house to college, to marriage, my life will finally be my own.

Or will it?  My mother’s health is declining, and there’s already enough guilt flying around to pave a highway.  Having been dragged kicking and screaming through parochial school and the shackles of Catholicism, being selfish was beaten out of me at an early age, to the point that I started to see my own health slip before dealing with my own needs.  I’ve gotten better at resolving that particular character flaw, but the guilt weighs heavily.  My mother’s increasing dependence on her children wavers between genuine need and carefully crafted manipulation.  (Interesting that while being selfish was a mortal sin for us, my parents were experts in the art of their own gratification.)  Unfortunately, my sister bears the brunt of this, as she is the favored child and the oldest, not to mention being a nurse.  My mother has little use for me unless there is a purpose for it, and then I’m her best buddy.  But my sister is the one called at all hours of the day and night for everything from  something bleeding to she can’t find her reading glasses.  I have scratched and clawed my way to where I can back away a little, and prioritize my own family first, but my sister hasn’t.  I feel for her, in that her stress level is sky high all the time, but it frustrates me to see her neglecting vital aspects of her life simply because she is ruled by my mother’s intricately woven, guilt-ridden remarks.

So now I wonder what will happen at the point when I reach my own familial finish line.  As I triumphantly reach to embrace my freedom, is it going to be yanked back like Charlie Brown’s football?  And to what extent will I allow that to happen?  No way to tell, of course.  Who knows what will transpire between now and then?  But it does weigh on my mind sometimes.  The idea that I would be trapped here, stuck indefinitely in a life I resent, makes it all the  harder to trudge through the days.  I know there are those, much better humans than I could ever aspire to be, who would relish the intrinsic spiritual value of fulfilling that familial duty.  I’m just not there, and after the way things have been in my past, I don’t myself ever even coming close.

I suppose, to a point, I also worry about the Scientist and me.  There are days when I’m pretty sure he will choose to remain here when I move to the islands.  His own father’s health is failing, and I’m not sure how self-sufficient his mom would be if he dies.  Plus, he is incredibly sensitive to the heat, much preferring the cooler temperatures that my islands don’t experience.  On the flip side, what if he does decide to fly the coop?  Do we sentence ourselves and each other to a life of celibacy, without romantic entanglements?  At this point in life, I am totally fine with it on my side, but I worry about what it does to him.  The last thing I want to do is deny him happiness, but sometimes I feel like he’s trapped in his own version of this never-ending conundrum.  He wants the happily-ever-after with me, and that isn’t going to happen. Not like it does in the fairy-tales.  I feel like I will wind up hurting him no matter what, whether we stay together or not.  Times like these, I wish I could see the future to know what path would be best.

As I can’t, I suppose for now, I will try to keep my balance as best I can, as I walk the never ending spiral.

I feel the need…the need…for…sleep?

Things have been absolutely insane around here.  I realize this is nothing new, but it seems almost more chaotic than usual.  Part of this is the fact that several soccer games were rained out, and had to be dropped into the season’s already packed schedule for make-ups.  The Ambassador is stressing out because his school work is quite hard, and he’s getting real tired trying to keep up, but like I keep reassuring him, the season is done in 11 days.  The Artist and the Professor both have college exams going on right now, along with their usual papers and projects to do.

Weekends are packed for right now, as well, but they too, ease off when the last of the candy corn and Jack-O-Lanterns are cleaned up.  Fall break for the girls was last weekend, and Jay’s roommate came home with her to stay.  The Poet is a sweet girl; she fit right into the family seamlessly, even following along with our crazy sense of humor.  This weekend, the girls and the Scientist are ziplining as an early Christmas gift.  The Ambassador can’t join, as he’s acrophobic, and I can’t either with my knee, but I’ll be in tow with Alejandro (who is, by the way, ecstatic about this excursion!) to capture the action.  Next weekend is the Professor’s feis in Charlotte, and the Writer is coming down from Minnesoooooota to join us.  Cannot wait to see her!  Then on the 29th, Girlyman is in town and we will go spend an evening relaxing as a family with some phenomenal music. We baked for them last year when they performed here, and will again.  But I’m not sure what I’ll make this year.

And then, we have November.  Aaahhhh.  No plans on any weekends yet, no sports to attend, nothing to rush off to after work.  I will have time to work out in the evenings, we will have a routine in the house again, I’ll actually cook instead of having dinner on the bleachers three nights a week.  Bliss, I tell you.  I’ll get my bulbs into the ground and my gardens mulched, hopefully get the closets cleaned out and stuff taken to Goodwill, and just relax.

Work isn’t any more insane than usual, but we do have project deadlines coming down the pipe.  Luckily, for once my stuff is done ahead of time, and I will not be the redheaded step-child.  I generally have system issues, or whatever, like most people, but I’ve clashed with a few certain DPI people in the past, and they hold grudges like no one I’ve ever seen.  Not surprising, but whatever.  Right now, I’m actually the eye of the hurricane as my teammates are nowhere near ready, and our content lead is tweaking out because people higher up the food chain have gotten some misinformation and are pushing in the opposite direction than we need to go.  Just stupid, really.  If they would stop and think first, they would’ve realized that what they were asserting wasn’t even possible.  Duh.  Honestly, people.

So in a few weeks, life will settle down, I will catch up on sleep, my house will get cleaned the way I want it, the gardens will be done, wars will end, there will be enough food for everyone…oh wait, I think I got a little ahead of myself there for a second.


Until that time?  The spiral spazziness of my existence continues.

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