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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Deliver Me from Excel Spreadsheets

Okay, so at work, we have this CRM system to keep track of things -- donors, contributions, campaigns, etc. You know, keep track. Now, in theory, you can ask the system to give you a report in an excel spreadsheet. You simply name your parameters, and voila, the thing spits out the information you're hankering for. In order, in cells as requested. In theory. In reality, in practice, for some godforsaken reason I have yet to figure out, it never populates the same cells in the same order with the same stuff. For instance, I have these two, no three membership lists to merge and purge for a mailing going out later on in October. I asked for one part of it and got it as an excel spreadsheet: First name, last name, address, you get the picture. Well. I tried to get the second part of the membership list into that format, and even though I set up the cells, it just would NOT lay it out as a table. It stacked all  the addresses in a cell and gave me some extraneous crap about donations made etc. in other cells, which I so did not need. So the easy merge and purge cell, stock and barrel I envisioned for this is out. Instead, I am retyping the whole bloody damn thing into the first spreadsheet, and merging and purging manually, as I go. Gah. Mindless data entry exercise. Not much better to cut and paste because of all the back and forth, and I feel more confident in my ability to retype the chunk of data into four separate cells than to highlight and click back and forth that many times. I am screaming obscenities in my head. Actually, I am screaming them physically, but with my lips tightly clenched together so it might sound more like I am having some sort of seizure than expressing my annoyance with the system. Mfffphghgh.


Sometimes, you just get time off from purgatory for the things you have to do, but deliver me from Excel spreadsheets.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grief Sneak

It was foggy this morning when I stepped out to the patio. It made me think about Chuck. I still get a little sad and feel sorry that his life ended as it did. I wish things could have been different, and that he hadn't suffered like he did... in life and in death..

Is it Friday Yet?

FL and I have been married seven weeks and five days. We still agree this getting married thing was the total best idea either of us has had in, oh, thirty-three or so years. Now, he moved from the Large Cowtown he lived in to the small one-horse podunk town I live in back just before we got married. He did, however keep his Large Cowtown job, which means he travels to the LC at least two days a week. This leaves a sag in my week, and this week it is especially saggy, because instead of the two days and a little I usually have to wait for him to come home, there are THREE days (72 hours! 4320 minutes!! 259200 seconds!!! they should never give me a calculator. I depress myself.) and a little until I see him again. I am trying valiantly (read: failing miserably) to buck up about this whole thing, as I do agree that getting a paycheck for a couple days away and home the rest of the time is not the worst deal in the universe, but still.

I so feel like whining. And not just that irritating half-hearted whining most amateurs adopt, no. This is professional serious full body whining. It starts from the roots of my hair and emanates down through my form and even rattles my mermaid-green-painted toenails. The only problem with this is -- if I start whining, I literally will not stop until FL is back home. And even I cannot stand 4320 minutes of professional serious full body whining. Besides, this would illustrate to my new husband the depth and breadth of my whining capabilities, and probably would take a notch out of the newness magic.

I also feel like sleeping. It would be just lovely to put the blanket over my head and not come up to the conscious world until my Prince Charming arrived to kiss me awake. That would be so so nice.Yeah right, dream on Sleeping Beauty. Bills don't get paid like that.

And then there's the feeling like eating thing. It was bad at work yesterday, kolaches and doughnuts, full on press. So of course I did have some, and my salad for lunch. And a steak and potato for dinner. So I did not emulate pristine food consumption in any respect. Ergh. I shall attempt to do better today, and look forward to the resumption of the exercise routine we have in place when we are together. Oh yeah, I love my exercise.

All I know is that I feel especially pitiful this week-sag, and all I want is to look into FL's sweet beautiful eyes and know that he is home, here, in the flesh and I can keep him warm in our bed until the next sag rolls around... Until then, I will endeavor to keep the whining, sleeping and stress eating to a minimum. While holding my breath. Until Friday. Is it Friday yet?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For Every Action, There is an Equal and Opposite.....

And then, the pendulum swings back. Thwacks me on my generous, cellulite-ridden nether posterior parts. Oof. I thought I could do this motherhood thing, why? I'm going to get him through all this stuff, how? Who is this unmotivated dark, emo kid and what am I supposed to do with that? I am at a loss. I am supposed to think of things to motivate him to do his schoolwork and get excited about things that have never excited him. Add into this a few teachers he just happens not to like, and boom goes the dynamite. Oh, and have I mentioned he doesn't listen to me seriously? Oh, I know. Let's take away the video games, the TV, and the computer -- the things that he clings to as his lifeline to All That Does Not Suck In Life. Yeah, THAT might work.

Then there are the FL ex issues. She is just going round the bend. She tried to friend me on FB. No, honey, you don't get it. I am not interested in you having any more intimate knowledge of who I am other than what my last name is and whom I have married and am making very happy. As a matter of fact, I would not mind at all if you moved to Timbuktu and disappeared from our lives permanently. So I blocked her. She is also trying anything she can think of to get a rise out of my unflappable FL. Like finding excuses to show up at his house in ridiculous inappropriate outfits and rumble around looking for stuff she wants... or wants to sell on eBay. She makes outrageous pronouncements and embarrassing requests. He is so much nicer about it than I would be, or actually than I really want him to be. I would dearly love to have him tell her to run up the street, but they were a family once, they had children together, they have history and grief and Christmases together, and he wants to be as kind as possible. In my part of the world, the kindness is getting stretched verrrrrry thin, but this is not my circus.

She is desperate on so many fronts, and she doesn't have a road map for any of this. I understand this, and in the beginning, I did sympathize with her. She did time in a relationship that is no more, and five years ago, made a break that she seemed to want. Now she has had second thoughts, the wind knocked out of her, the final knell of nope, there is no more marriage. It is too late and it is just sad. But nobody can help her but her. I have to admit, she makes my smacking hand itch. To tell the truth, I would smack her, but it would make only me feel better for a second, and not give her any good insight other than I can be violent when aggravated for prolonged periods of time. But wait... you know, a restraining order does limit contact, and I would be okay with that. (speaking only hypothetically and all in the spirit of the Interwebs, where no one knows you're a crazed ex-wife...)

Still no handle on ultimate solutions to all this. Seems I can only work from the gut, grit my teeth when it gets oppressive, and count my numerous and lovely blessings. On the list, awesome friends and family who have stuck with me through thick and thicker. The Boy all in all is a good kid. He is totally mine, I love him and his dark emo side. He does have a sense of humor and away from me, people say he has lovely manners. I know he has a good heart, and somewhere under that non-haircut, a good brain. Topping the list, FL is the love of my life, and this marriage thing was such a good idea. He makes me happy and fulfilled and just damn glad to be alive. Yep, a decent cadre of numerous and lovely blessings. I will just have to quell the itching of the smacking hand and instead count on those fingers, upon one of which resides my lovely wedding ring.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nice ankles there, St. Joe.

I am becoming cautiously optimistic about the Boy and High School. Emphasis on cautiously. Gingerly. Hesitantly.  One eye open, one squeezed tight shut looking through the splayed fingers of my hand. You know, the all digits crossed, rabbit foot, horseshoe, salt over my shoulder kind of a thing. Oh, and St. Joseph buried upside down in the front yard. (I don’t really know about this, I hear it is a Yat sort of a thing when selling a house. Full shrug on that, but hey, if it works….) We all may even survive Freshman Year. And maybe even with decent grades. Are extra-curricular things next on the horizon? I can only hope.  A huge part of this is the team concept. For the first time in a very long time, I. Have. Backup.  Another fully-engaged adult to play good cop (or wait, bad cop?) to my counterpart.  An enforcer of rules, a setter of limits, a watcher of boundaries.  While this does not stop my vigilance or replace all the time this was missing in our lives, it is still such a relief to know that there is a unified front being put up and (dare I say it) it is working!!!!!! The Boy seems less belligerent (slightly, he still is a grumpy bear in the morning…) and his grades are going in the upward direction. YAY, I whisper. Good job, I send to his brain telepathically. Things are going to be okay, I breathe into his body. 

Don’t worry, I am currently digging the hole. St. Joseph will be standing on his head in my yard before you can flip that salt over your shoulder.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sometimes Being Right Just Ain't All That.

Yup. It is a hollow victory. Exxie is thrashing, and it is painful to watch. The death throes of a marriage are always excruciating, and always completely unpredictable. Wait, let me amend that. Always directly related to the amount of time it takes for the different parties to move on. Get laid. Get over themselves. If one partner, whether the divorcer or divorcee, happens to move along much faster than the other, there can be much discontent... to both parties, caused by the left-behind, carnal-knowledge-wise party. She's just pitiful, and I predicted much of this. At first, FL seemed a little surprised by it all, but I think he realizes that this is just how she is right now, and how she needs to deal with it all. She has convinced herself that this relationship started way, way before it did, and will not be talked out of it. Well. I can pass a lie detector on this one, the surprise was just as big for me that things happened the way they did back in December 2013. I feel like she needs to know this, so she can stop chewing on the supposition that she was in some way wronged by it all. Because as long as she clings to the victim paradigm, there is no moving on, and she'll continue to gnat us at any given chance. I really do feel sorry for her; this is not a good place to be. It is, however a place that you can determine to get out of in good time. What is the roadmap? Are you ready for this? Get out there. Get social. Get a boyfriend. Get laid. Get on one of those goofy dating sites. Wait, on second thought, don't. But really, enough with the thrashing. It's dead, Jim. Time for a new attitude. And take it from me, a few hundred non-self-inflicted orgasms can do wonders for a girl's perspective. Just sayin'.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Constant Life, Variable Reaction

I have found that life’s ups and downs seem to be more or less constant. There is always some tiny aggravation, always a big thing to be in awe of, or anticipate, or feel Something about.  Somebody gets a check in the mail, somebody loses the key, somebody has a baby, somebody dies. Emotions flow in a constant stream. What I find fluctuates the most is my ability to react, develop and process these things. Depending on factors as basic as sleep, or the amount and quality of food in my body, even the point at which I am in my cycle (yes, the ovaries continue to refuse to die…) can affect me. Now, I like to think that without too much falderal I can buck up and get the good process going, but sometimes things grate, or hurt, or strike me in an odd way, while a similar thing, a week ago, or yesterday, or a candy bar and a half ago, did not hit me in the very same spot. I recognize this, which they tell me, is the first step. I do score pretty high on the self-awareness scale. I am working on becoming more even in reaction and tolerance. Reaction is my hardest struggle. You see, I was born without a poker face, and I tend to cry at the drop of an onion or a good AT&T commercial. I also seem to blurt on a regular basis. So grimacing, leaking and blurting, this may be the reaction you’ll get from me at your big/small/happy/sad/angry news, but in a minute or so you may also get some insight or encouragement that may be worth something.


Be patient, I tell myself, the fluctuation is sometimes so subtle that those beyond the Elle Inner Sanctum may not even notice it. (Although some inside the circle have become hypersensitive to these flutters and do tend to notice, saying so simultaneously. I just read an article about the psychic cords that stretch between folks, interesting and really woo-woo if you’re not living it…) I temper that first reaction that might have threatened to go over the top with mass quantities of hey, what is this really? Where should it go in the big picture of things? and carry on.  What I am saying is, give me thirty seconds. There may be a slight grimace, perhaps a small tear or the peep of a blurt, but I will work to maintain an even keel and process the information presented. You may want to keep a protein bar in a pocket nearby or if I am particularly weepy, lead me to bed and instruct me to sleep on it. (and FL, Mr. Inner-Inner Sanctum, you already know and do these things. None of these instructions pertain to you. But that article – it was on the Internet, so you know it’s true--was really quite striking.)Anyway, just the observation du jour from the suburbs of my mind….