Random equations in the mathematics of life

Posts tagged ‘vacation’

A perfect square

We had a phenomenal weekend in NOLA.  I paid dearly for the physical exertion, but that was completely to be expected.  Once I accepted the fact that I would pretty much always be in some level of pain (unless I was drugged to the gills, of course!), things got a lot easier to handle.

My stress level with work has been sky high with new deadlines and the transitional shift in job responsibilities.  Unfortunately, there has been some peripheral stress going on too, compounding everything else.  My heart and soul took a few serious hits, but I was determined not to let them break me, and they haven’t.  I’m still standing up and recovering, and will be for a while.  That’s just the way grieving and healing works: it’s a process, not a light switch, as I have told the kids on occasion.  That said, I wish I had some way to speed it up.  I don’t particularly want to face the emotions, the hurt, and the work it takes to rebuild right now.

For those reasons, this weekend was important to me.  I wanted to spend some time with my friends, to cut loose one night on Bourbon Street, to celebrate the boost in confidence my self-image has found lately, and to spend some one on one time with Alejandro as well.  In short, the whole thing was a raging success on all counts.  If you’re bored and would like to see some of the evidence, it can be found on Flickr, as usual.  The four of us had so much fun, laughing and talking together, exploring the city, seeing some new stuff and some stuff we remembered from prior trips.

I was profoundly grateful to the Silent One, as she has been with me step for step in the latest emotional train wreck.  Without her, this whole process would’ve taken much longer.  She has walked the exact same path that I’m on right now, so she was able to offer by turn, empathy, snark, hugs, tissues, and whatever else I needed at the time.  She is one of those people in my life who remains, without fail, one of my closest friends.  If I had a wish for all the good people in this world, it would be to have a friend like her.  In the twelve or so years that we’ve been friends, we’ve never snarked at or fought with each other.  She could call me right now and say, “I need you here” and I would be packing a bag before I hung up the phone.  The cool thing is that I know without a doubt that if I called her with the same plea, she would do the same.

We did our first shot together on Saturday night to the list of things we decided to toast.  The most important part of it?  “To second chances, icy roads, butter, and Ted Williams.”  That, above all, says everything there is to say about my life right now.

Already planning for next year’s return trip…anyone who wants to join us is welcome!

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.”


Balanced Equations

I was a little surprised that the kids wanted to spend Christmas at the beach again this year.  Last year, we made the decision based on a lot of things hitting several fans, and the fact that we wanted to get the kids away from all of them.  V was absolutely supportive of this; she encouraged us to do it and to just sequester ourselves as a family for the weekend.  It was absolutely the right decision, but it does alter the norm of Christmas morning at home, opening gifts while having our traditional breakfast, and such.

But we do all agree that “Christmas” isn’t a single day for us.  It’s always a time period of about two weeks or so, so really, the day we open Santa’s gifts doesn’t have to match the calendar designation of  “Christmas.”

I’d gotten the family a “message center” that has a white board, Post-It notes, and a little video message recorder.  It was definitely useful for us, but also a lot of fun for the kids, who love to leave goofy videos for each other.  That arrived on the 16th, and I allowed them to open it and set it up.  We celebrate Solstice, so on the 21st, everyone got their “cool, surprise” gift.  I try to get one “big” gift for each person, that’s not on their wish list, that they don’t expect.  Yule is an important day in our family, so that gift was opened then and a little celebration was had.  On the 22nd, we did Santa.  My living room looked like a cyclone of wrapping paper and boxes had hit it, but it was a blast.  The kids and the Scientist loved their gifts, and I did too.  I love having them open the things I chose for them and get excited.  It’s such a rush for me.  Stockings, however, weren’t touched; those came to the beach with us.

Christmas Eve was spent together watching movies, especially A Christmas Story, just hanging out in the living room enjoying each others’ company.  We woke up on Dec 25th to crashing waves and a gorgeous sunrise.  The Artist and the Scientist came down to the beach with me to photograph it – the Scientist then went out geocaching while the Artist and I went upstairs and back to our cozy warm beds!  The place where we’re staying has a full kitchen (as well as a LOT more space than last year’s place!), so our traditional Christmas breakfast of bacon, hot cocoa, and cinnamon rolls/orange rolls (yes, from a can!) was easily made.  We opened our stockings and reveled in more fun gifties and then spent the day relaxing.  The Scientist went back out geocaching, and I’m glad he did.  Shortly after he left, the Artist mentioned that she might be brewing a UTI – crud!!  I texted him and he found an open Rite-Aid and got her unsweetened cranberry-pomegranate juice and Azo.  It seems to be working, thankfully.  We hit the pool, lazy river, and hot tub later that afternoon, and then I worked on my project and we watched more movies.  Dinner was a fantastic lasagna that I’d made and brought, along with salad and garlic bread.  Yum!  The Ambassador and I weren’t feeling great, so we went to bed around 10ish.  We all crashed and slept in a bit, which helped us all, I think.

At home, there’s about 6-7″ of snow on the ground from the storm, but it’s just swirling around here.  I was pretty stunned, though, to look out the balcony door to watch the waves for a bit and see surfers in the water!  Alejandro and I bundled up and went down; that was too good to miss.  Yeesh.  It was really cold!  I got some good pics, though, so it was worth it.  We’re going to play cards and watch football for the rest of today; we thought about going out originally, but it’s cold enough that we’d all rather just stay cozy and warm instead!

Maybe this is the last year the kids will want to do this, maybe it’s the start of a new tradition…either way, it’s been a blissful, nearly-no-stress holiday season.  Success!

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