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Dreams launched and shattered in a day. There is no way we'll ever have the kitchen of my dreams in this house, but I do have visions of a more functional space. One with more countertop space and a bit more storage in the room, not down in the basement. We're not talking fancy cabinets or all new appliances. Some lighting upgrades would be nice. To get that functionality, a wall might be removed, requiring plumbing and electrical changes. But after visiting kitchen remodeling showrooms today and discovering their estimate for very basic kitchen updates, the project is on hold.
An afternoon working in the garden is how I really know that winter is over. Uncovering the beds, preparing the soil, pruning berry canes, fertilizing and spraying the fruit trees - it all is part of the grand cycle, the awakening of earth after the long, cold night. Separating seedlings and planting new seeds is a new ritual that makes me happy, an affirmation that warmer days are just around the corner. I can imagine the garden a month from now, the beds filled with transplanted seedlings and new sprouts shooting up from the soil. Next weekend: the front flower beds.
Wake. Pain. Migraine. Meds. Out. A day with a migraine always seems like a freeze-frame memory. Small, isolated chunks. I don't remember much from them, other than the accumulated frustration at losing days. I probably don't remember much because I don't do much. I can't look at a computer screen for about 12 hours or read anything of substance or with typical book-size font. Once I'm able to open my eyes and be in a room with some light in it, I can knit, if I have an easy project and listen - but not watch - to the TV.
I don't really remember today. There was a morning full of meetings, back to back. I remember the lunch meeting. The afternoon? I think I did some actual work, how novel. I've started using a spreadsheet to try and keep track of what needs to happen, by when, and prioritize my time. I am clearly going to have to block out contiguous hours of time to address the larger deliverables that are coming up at the end of the month. I'm not quite ranting about work, but it is bleeding into my personal life, consuming more of my mental energy.
Thirty years ago I got my first solo apartment. All mine. Upstairs from a slightly scary big dude, at the edge of the student ghetto, it was nevertheless all mine. I remember mom helping me clean it -it was filthy when I got it- and putting up cheap bamboo blinds on the back porch / sunroom area just off the kitchen. There wasn't much we could do about the bathroom, the shower was definitely scary and I know mom was probably biting her tongue about it. It was senior spring, I only had one class and worked at the Chinese restaurant.
As the rain came to an end, the sun was setting, making dusk the lightest, brightest part of the day, temporarily blinding. And then I noticed it - the chirping. From outside. But its not exactly chirping, not crickets. . . No. It couldn't be. Isn't it too early? But as I listened, I realized, it was the spring peepers! The temperatures have risen just enough, I guess, and with all the rain, they've made their appearance. A lovely evening chorus, one that will come back night after night for a little while. And then disappear again, just as suddenly as it appeared.
Ah, well I screwed this up. Check the entry on 4/16 for what happened today. Gah! April 16 was Easter, and we had a nice, relaxing day. The Easter bunny was very kind to me this year. Despite being sore from the garden workout on 4/15, I managed to do a few more chores, and I baked a blackberry clafoutis and shared a bottle of prosecco with himself. After dinner cleanup was easy, and I watched a few Gilmore Girls episodes as my bedtime story. A nice end to a nice weekend. Wish they were all this way.
Running across the island for haircut appointments has lost its charm, not that it ever had much to start with. I need to find an option that is more convenient. It has been five years I've been detouring after work and weekends, so either I'm home late, up and moving early on a weekend, or I lose most of a Saturday. To be quite honest with myself, I've not been terribly happy with the haircuts in the last year or two. As daunting as the prospect of having someone new cut my hair is, I do think it is time.
Seeing the damage that was done by tenants in the last five years was heart wrenching. The house was essentially pristine when we made an offer, one that was rejected. Now, seeing the water damage to the floor, door, and windows at the back, the house is a mess. Never mind all the damage to the floors, which go beyond simple wear and tear: the deep gouges, and broken stair edges are mind-boggling. Shingles have shrunk and are cupping, brick is literally falling apart and we know that while the house once was our dream, it is no more.
Spring break was Easter vacation when I was going to school. That particular place and time made any other name irrelvant. We would be dismissed at noon on Good Friday. I often spent that vacation with my grandparents on a trip to the Smokey Mountains, and we often left on early Thursday morning, so I often missed some school. The idea that kids are on spring break this week, the week of Good Friday, kind of melts my brain. But in this time and place, school administrations must consider Passover and other holidays, so compromises are made to accommodate schedules.
I am struggling to get the words out, much more so than usual. They were here a week ago, but suddenly, they're gone. I stare at the screen, and what should have been a simple update and re-write of a few paragraphs now seems impossible. I have no idea what to say about the project I've been living and breathing for nearly two years now. I know I am tired these days, but writing is generally not the issue. Coming up with the ideas - that's the issue. As I stare at two unfinished submissions, clearly, writing is the problem.
Move the sink to the bay window, and be able to look out at the back garden? Those were probably the magic words to get himself to think seriously about a real kitchen renovation. The budget is a real challenge, as that definitely does mean moving wires, plumbing, baseboard heat, floors, changing windows and exterior siding. But the potential change in functionality and usefulness is substantial, and not to be ignored if we're going to stay here another 15 years or so. The prospect is daunting, and tantalizing. And still a bit in the future, we're just starting the discovery.
We went through with the appointment, even though the budget probably isn't feasible, not this year. We want to know what is possible and what it would likely cost. It all contributes into our consideration to stay or go. And if we go, how far to go. Some initial design ideas were brought up, and although himself is now fixed on the idea of relocating the sink to the outside wall to look out onto the back yard, I am not giving up the knitty room for a formal dining room. That is a complete waste of space for us.
Driving through several residential neighborhoods this afternoon, I see the incredible variety of flowers coming up. Daffodils are everywhere. Some places have hyacinths, muscari and tulips. My own primroses are in bloom. The flowering trees and shrubs are starting their display. Forsythia are finally full and thick. There are even a few azaleas on display already. White, yellow, red, magenta, purple and pink. Color clings to the branches in sheer wisps, small clumps, and fat clusters. The color splashes remind me of tulle, dotted swiss and polka dotted fabrics. These trees have put on their pretty party dresses for Easter!
I always forget how large the flower beds along the property edge rally are. I had the idea of planting the heirloom iris and gladiolus bulbs today and cleaning up leaves and dead growth from the beds, as well as weeding and pruning everything. Um. No. Four hours in, I had to give up. This time, it was my knees (mulch is hard, and sometimes sharp and pointy!) and my hands (I need new pruning shears) that were destroyed. But I did make progress, enough that if landscapers come for spring cleanup, there's no justification for any damage from them.
Another crappy migraine day. Or, to be honest, the bounce back headache that I wasn't able to stop. It has been lingering all week. I can't look at a computer. Period. So I wrote things out by hand. I thought about stuff. Because if I don't make some progress on certain work projects, the end of the month is going to be truly ugly. And no reading, I can't focus on small print. I considered getting out the coloring book, but settled for knitting fat purple yarn and staying in for the evening. I should find a simple mindless project.
Suddenly, most of the trees are sporting a green fringe. A few of the trees are still bare, but after it was nearly 80 yesterday, almost everything has exploded. Spring has arrived, baby! Now that I can move again after Saturday's blow-out, I would like to spend the day working in the garden, planning the next phase of planting, and just drinking it all in. But no, I head off to work, put in my time, then scurry back. I water the seedlings, bless the currant clusters that are forming, and spend five minutes thinking about planting seedlings tonight.
Chaos. That is what life feels like right now. Dissatisfaction at work - overburdened, undersupported, stranded. And another several months of the same on the horizon. Simultaneously, there is professional satisfaction due to external recognition and prospects. Delight with the progress in the flowers and seedling garden veggies. Dreams of the 18th C. house and property, tempered with the reality of how much work it would be to maintain. There is definitely a transition not yet begun in a meaningful way. I just don't know what the transition is, where it is taking me. Kind of like the Delenn chrysalis transformation.
I had no intention to discuss the actual state of affairs with her. But in the course of trying to find out if TFNG was actually signed up to take a class, details began to leak out. Since she was smart enough to catch on, she asked the right questions and a substantial discussion ensued. She offered to broker a conversation intended to bring TFNG up to adequate speed and efficiency. I don't really believe anything will come of it, but I was very intrigued to learn that she shares many of my opinions and observations about the senior leadership.
Uh-huh. Boss Lady both calls and texts me late in the day, wanting to talk. Since I managed to accidentally call her while checking up on the voice mail she left, and I couldn't get the phone to hang up before she picked up the call (may I say how much I.hate.this.cellphone?) we had a conversation. She wants to meet soon to talk about TFNG. It would seem my colleague has delivered on the first item, to broker a meeting. Will I be able to tell how much gory detail she passed along to Boss Lady?
Maybe I'm reading too much into the email, but when I read it to G, his eyebrows shot up, so it wasn't just me. The suggestion is that whatever I want is fine, just let them know. But my officemate? No, his opinion isn't being sought, he's not being given options. I kind of look forward to being back at my own desk, but it has been nice to be hiding away in a space of my own. I do have dreams of having my own office, not borrowed, and not just waiting for the other desk to be filled.
Getting outside, digging in the dirt, pruning and planting. . . this is what spring is all about. I planted the new arrivals of heirloom iris and gladiolus into the ground, and am hopeful to see blooms in about a month or so. The heirloom tulips from last fall are coming up, looking good. There are signs of life all over the flower beds - the deer didn't get all the tulips! I am a little more beat up by the days activity than I expected, but also a little more renewed. Progress is visible in the garden, even if not anywhere else.
His music essentially chronicles my life in New York. So many of his songs are tied to people and places, they form a soundtrack, beginning with the big sounds as the 1980's faded. The venue was a little odd, but I had a good seat. It was good to hear Pierce sing and play, although admittedly also more than a little bittersweet. Has it been five years since I've seen him live? I honestly don't know. But on the train home, I reflected on the last twenty five years, and how things have changed, in the city and in me.
And so begins hell week. There is too much to do, and so very little time remaining to do it all by next Monday. I honestly don't know how it will get done, but I'm head down, working from home today after a late night. One scene at a time I am writing the branching story, trying to plausibly connect the dots around a software tool I haven't thought about in seven years. GAH! Thankfully, there are many screen shots and tutorials online I can refer to. And this is the fun part of the week - before the floggings begin!
Surprise. That was what registered first. Surprise that Boss Lady was this serious about trying to fix things. The discussion focused around TFNG, the shortcomings and what could be done to address them. To be honest, though, there is no magic wand to wave, and any real change will be months in the making. Disappointment registered shortly thereafter, as it became clear that she was still oblivious to the real core of the problem. And without that changing, I will be gone, because there's no one left to lead the technical and development side on my projects. Disillusionment came last.
Enough. I had wanted to bake something this weekend, but there just weren't enough hours in the day. Today, after working for a full day and staring down the barrel at a few more, I said screw it. I baked a brown sugar and sour cream bundt cake. But I used the new fancy-pants pan that himself wanted - the one with all the laser sharp corners and swirls - and the cake stuck, DAMMIT. This is the second, and very last time that has happened to me. FWP and all, I know, but I will not be thwarted by cake.
Maine was supposed to be my reward. The promise that would get me through a summer of travel after a winter and spring of constant deadlines. A birthday present for me, from me. I wanted one of the rooms I had before, in a small building with terrific views so I could recharge after being with people during the retreat; being an introvert, I really do require alone time. I was horrified to learn that both rooms were already booked. I should have yielded to my temptation to book the room last Saturday when the retreat brochure first came out.
Suddenly, so very much about the last three weeks is clear. I've been living in retrograde without even knowing it. But all the failures in communication that have happened, on so many levels, with so many people suddenly make sense. The many and repeated failures of technology (software applications, fax machines, websites, cable conections) I now see in a different light. I can't believe I didn't realize it earlier, but I've been running so damn hard to Get.Shit.Done that I haven't stopped to think about anything else. Would knowing about retrograde have changed anything? No, only my attitude.
Risk and reward: the synopsis of today's trip into the city. Driving was a definite risk with massive construction delays and nearly being hit by bad drivers three times. But the reward was seeing such amazing etchings by Hercules Segers. Not at all what you expect from 17th C. Dutch landscapes or etchings. The use of colored paper, multiple impressions - it all looked so. . . modern. And the Seurat Circus exhibition was just delightful, many of the works just made me smile. Most of all, I wanted to take the color monotype of Circus Band by Maurice Prendergast home with me.
Today I choose to focus on the garden. Flowers are at early spring peak. Recent rain has helped everything green up, and color to continues its advance across the flower beds. G's yellow lilac, transplanted from Port Chester to Patchogue to here, has happily settled in and is loaded with blossoms that smell divine. Primrose have exploded, as well as the violas. Tulips in every color across the property are like sparklers. I culled veggie seedlings and started transplanting the survivors. Today we saw the actual apricots fruits forming on the tree. And a lone violet in the side yard.
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