Monday, May 04, 2009

That Was The Week That Was.

Last weekend was fantastic. My first trip out to TQ's new place since he moved - it's farther away but I found a bus that makes it possible to get there for a weekend (although I think I'll try to arrange for future trips to be long weekends).

He's inherited a great pair of dogs - the way he got them was very sad, the friend to whom they belonged was far too young to go, but they've settled in well with TQ & on Saturday, we took them for their first longish canoe trip - 10 miles on the placid Clarion River. Great fun.
Oh, I know I'm going to get grief about the lifejacket - the river's about 2 feet deep, slow-moving, has already warmed up a bit, and on this hot, hot day, people were swimming & splashing all along the shore. I couldn't believe we were paddling in t-shirts & shorts while it was still April but I would've done well to jump in the water for a cool-down myself, it was a fabulous day & would've been even better if I hadn't ended it with one of those needly heat-caused headaches.

My dad happened to be in the area for yet another tower-bell thing, so on Sunday he came out, we fixed him brunch & then took him for one quick walk to see TQ's property, and another to see some of the cascades in the area. Here we are looking out over TQ's land.

So that weekend was great -

And this weekend wasn't too bad either - hey look, I still managed to place in the overall-women's division at Empire Kayaks May Day On The Bay Race, despite the fact that I've basically been chained to my desk for the last month.

Of course it turns out there'd been a challenge laid down to Sebago by the North Atlantic Canoe & Kayak Club - too bad it didn't get passed on, surfski would've been a gamble since I haven't been on it all winter, but it was a nice placid day & the ski might at least have given me a shot at at LEAST giving the woman from who took first a LITTLE trouble!

Although there still would've been this matter of she'd actually trained.

It was a fun day, though. I'd been undecided up to the last minute, but I did have a very good time, and Walter & I left talking about how it would be fun to try to have a little more interaction with other clubs in the area.

The week between was really pretty bad - hence my absence. As I may have mentioned here, our budget presentation to the Board of Directors was on April 23rd. I had been given another rather large reporting project due on the following Wednesday. Sort of like telling somebody who's in the middle of a marathon, "OK, so when you finish this marathon, I need you to report to the local track for the 400K." The report was based on something I'd done before, but they wanted things split out differently, and it ended up being a lot more time-consuming than I'd expected. I'd run some of the background reports during the budget process, when I was between assignments, but I basically had Monday & Tuesday to put things together. Those were a couple of late nights. Wednesday, I delivered what I'd done; the folks in charge of the project decided that some of the numbers weren't as useful in the new form as they'd been in the old form so Wednesday night was another late one putting those back the way they were. Thursday we had another review, and they left me with more changes, and thinking it was going to be another horribly long night - but then they called to say that they'd decided to just skip the numbers part & talk marketing plans, etc.

These things do happen sometimes, and I was awfully glad that they'd made their decision before I'd put in Late Night #4 - but it was still a bit of a bummer to discover Late Nights 1 through 3 were wasted. I was particularly bummed because I'd gambled my garden on getting a couple more hours of sleep during those days - the mini-heat-wave went through Tuesday, when it was up around 90; I was going to get up early on Wednesday morning to go water but I woke up around 4:30, looked out the window & saw that it had rained & went back to sleep. Wasn't sure it had rained much, though. Thursday there was rain in the forecast, so again I gambled that the rain would turn up before all my plants were totally dead.

The rain didn't get going until I think maybe early Friday morning. I was really afraid that I was going to go to the club to find a bunch of dead seedlings. Not too late to restart, but things had gotten going so nicely.

Fortunately, though, my fellow Sebago Diggers knew that I'd been crazy busy at work & I think more thanks to them than to the rain, my garden is fine! Hooray!

The unsettling part of the week, though - in fact going back a couple of weeks, and I think part of what had me singing "New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down" was that co-workers have, in the midst of all our work craziness, had some unexpected losses among their friends. Accident, disease & illness took those young people. So hard. Listening to my co-workers (all very good people) of course reminded me of the former owner of the dogs (heart attack at 40) - and then of course all the former co-workers who didn't make it out on September 11th. That's getting to be a long time ago, but it still hurts to think about.

The person there who tends to stick out in my memory more than most was a woman by the name of Susan Getzendanner.

If I remember correctly, she had at one point gone through a really bad divorce. She'd fought through the aftereffects of that, though, and by the time I was working with her, she was a cheerful & confident business manager. She took her job very seriously, but there was more to her life than work - she sang with a Gilbert and Sullivan group, and once a year she would go trekking in Tibet.

Despite holding a pretty high-level position at the bank, she made sure that her time in Tibet was HER time in Tibet. If you were working on a project with here, she'd start giving you warnings about a month in advance, saying "If you have anything urgent, please make sure you've let me know so that we can wrap it up, as I am leaving for Tibet on x-and-such day. Anything that is not done by that day will have to wait until I return." And she stuck with that. She was a hard worker, but she made sure that she carved out that time for herself.

She was among the lost on September 11th. Another fellow former Fiduciary employee & I talked about her quite a bit after that - we somehow pictured her as being able to face what was happening with a lot more peace in her mind, because she'd MADE that time to live for herself, even if people didn't always understand how she could.

How much more terrible it would have been if she'd been putting off that time for herself for some point in the future - stashing money away for a grand tour of Asia the year after she'd retired or something, taking vacations closer to home & staying on the pager leash like a lot of people do.

Since then, I've always thought that I should try to live my life a little more like she did. Not that I want to go trekking in Tibet (for starters, I'm in children's publishing now & the pay scale falls a bit shy of the high-net-worth-individual private-banking pay scale; secondly, obviously my dream vacations are more along the lines of the sort of thing TQ & I do - our kayak, camp & catch up with old college friends vacation last fall was just about perfect, as was our week in R.I. the year before) - just that I want to make sure that I keep time carved out for me.

It's easy to forget that, and it's harder than ever to do these days. I seem to spend a lot of evening hours in my cubicle, hours that I would rather spend paddling or gardening - but when I know so many people who are out of work & not getting so much as a nibble, I guess I feel like what I sometimes have to do to get my work done is worth it.

Or at least it's what the times demand.

My weekends are still mine, mostly. I'm not sure how long I could stand it if work started slopping over into weekends on a regular basis.

But I am feeling like a good goal for this summer would be to try to get my job under enough control that I can actually get out paddling after work at least once a week or so.

A little more sailing would be good too.

Wish me luck, OK?

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