I LOVE stuff

The government has done a very clever thing. They have extended summer by a whole month this year and I LOVE them for it. This year, daylight savings is starting two weeks earlier and ending two weeks later. It starts this weekend and I. can’t. wait.

I LOVE daylight savings. I LOVE summer. I LOVE being able to go home from work and sit in the sun for a while and then eat dinner on the deck. It feels like you actually get a life outside of the office. I might even do some gardening now that I have a garden.

So I woke up today and it was freezing. I was stoked! That’s usually a sign of a cloudless day. And I was right. Now the sun is shining, the birds would be singing if there were birds in the office, and all is right in my world. I’m spending the weekend in the country with my family doing nothing but relaxing, eating (according to my wheat and sugar free regime of course) and drinking (water and decaf). See, even that can’t get me down today! I have some alcohol-removed wine so that I can skull it by the bottle and trick my deprived body into thinking it’s just like the old days.

So that’s it for now. I have some work to power through while I’m on such a roll.

Over and out.

Uh oh. There’s blood.

For the first time in my 10 year career, I have started unravelling at work. Sure, there have been times when I have been frustrated or pissed off with people or situations, but I have never felt that I wasn’t in control. Which is exactly how I have been feeling over the last couple of days. And it’s not good.

I’m collaborating on a project with a person I have never worked with before. He is doing the print side of things and I am looking after the web stuff. The idea is to showcase a product that the company will be onselling. The project has been well planned and generously funded. It is being well managed and communication is good. Sounds perfect, huh? Well it would be. If the software worked.

I have never used something that is so full of bugs before. Or something that has so little documentation, come to think of it. Every day I make some progress, only to come across a knew ‘known bug’ that causes me to effectively have to start again. To make things worse, every time the print guy makes changes to his side of things, mine crashes. It seems to break every morning at 9am and he figures out what he did wrong about 10 minutes before I leave for the day.

Rather than just taking it all in my stride and accepting the fact that it isn’t my fault, I’ve been letting it really get under my skin. My stress has almost been tangible. It came to a head last night when I got a blood nose. Contrary to popular belief, I have a fully intact septum. The blood noses are a warning sign of extreme stress. The last time I had them was during the build up to my wedding. As a controlled epileptic, I have to be careful about stress. I know that. I do.

So last night I was thinking on it and I’ve come to some conclusions. It’s a job. I can’t control what is happening. I am the only person that has the power to control my feelings.

I’m the king of my world. Today I’m taking charge.

Do I know you?

Every Wednesday morning there is a girl at the gym that I went to school with. I know it’s her. She looks exactly the same as she did then. But I always ignore her. Not rudely, just like I don’t know her. I don’t know why I do it. It’s just the rules. Admittedly they are my rules and other people probably aren’t aware of them. But still, rules are rules.

Today she came up and said hi. It was quite strange. We caught up about old times as if we hadn’t been standing a couple of metres from each other once a week for the last couple of years.

There are other people at the gym that I ignore as well. Old family friends that we haven’t seen for years, friends of friends, people that I can’t place. Come to think of it, they are probably TV stars.

There is one family of several kids that we used to be close friends with when we were kids. We used to hang out at their place all the time. I haven’t seen them in about 20 years, which frankly, is just way too much water under the bridge to try and catch up on in a brief 5:30am gym conversation. I told mum that I’d seen them and she told me to say hi. I refused and told her the rules.

Then we ran into them out at dinner one night and mum commented on the fact that we are gym buddies! What was she thinking? She may as well have followed that up with the fact that I like to go commando on Tuesdays or that I’m scared of sea animals. She clearly has no concept of the intricacies of gym etiquette.

After that dinner I went back to ignoring them. It was a completely mutually comfortable relationship. But my sister (who still lived in Auckland at the time) started saying hi. I can’t believe she had the audacity! She knows the rules! I was forced to start smiling at them as a result. That’s getting dangerously close to talking and contrary to popular belief, there are a few occasions on which I just don’t like to talk.

A bit of stupidity

I hear you breathe an international sigh of relief to discover that this isn’t another whining post about how hormonal I am. This post is about nothing but how much of an idiot I am.

Over the last couple of days I seem to be constantly embarassing myself. A couple of incidents stand out above the rest as particularly bad. The first was on the weekend. Since we got that gas heater the size of a cow, we no longer need the portable one that we used to use at the last place, so I decided to sell it on TradeMe. The auction finished last week and the winner emailed me to find out when would be a good time to pick it up.

Her name seemed familiar to me. The more I thought about it the more I was convinced that I knew her. I could picture her face. She was even in one of my dreams. Creepy.

And then on Sunday morning she came over and it was her! The woman of my dreams! (Whoa! I never thought I’d hear myself say that!) I told her straight away that I knew her from somewhere. I told her my name and she said that it sounded kind of familiar to her as well. I asked her if she was ever a teacher. She wasn’t. She asked if I’d always lived in the area, how old I was, where I went to school etc. Nothing helped. I was going nuts.

After a few minutes of me grilling her I became aware that perhaps it was time to let the nice stranger leave before I made her nervous. I told her I’d email if it came to me later. She said please do. I suspect she was being polite.

I spent the rest of the day racking my brain. If something would come to me, I’d email her. Are you musical because I used to be in an orchestra? Do you play any sports because I used to compete in judo? That sort of thing.

It was later that day when I was driving home from indoor soccer that I remembered where I knew her from. Shortland Street. (It’s a long running NZ soap opera.) She’s a soap star. I’ve never met the woman in my life and now she thinks I’m a stalker with lots of weird hobbies. What a fool.

The second incident was this morning and while it isn’t as drawn out, the embarassment factor was pretty high as I jogged through the lobby of the gym after my workout, being obnoxious and teasing one of the especially hot personal trainers. I turned around and ran face first into the glass doors.

I think I may have left part of my nose on the door. I definitely left most of my pride.

The death of the party girl

Wow. What a weekend. But perhaps not as you might think. Wow did it suck.

The strange thing is that nothing bad actually happened. I just had this overwhelming feeling of sinking faster than I could swim. I had a great night on Friday. We had friends over for dinner and I genuinely enjoyed myself even though I was sober.  I was starting to feel like I was making some progress.

Then Saturday dawned. The day of tears. It seemed that everything that happened caused me to spring a leak. I bumped my head. It didn’t hurt in the slightest but it made me cry for half an hour. Shaun broke my egg cup and holy hell! He might as well have killed one of the cats. I definitely prefer the tears to the bitchiness of last time, but bloody hell is it exhausting.

Saturday night was the hardest. By the time bed time rolled around I was so sapped of energy that I couldn’t function. I went to bed and had two good hours sleep before my phone rang. By the time I realised what was going on, it had stopped. I looked at the clock and it was midnight. The missed call was from a friend that never calls in the middle of the night so I thought I’d better check the message. Bad move. It was several of my friends calling to say what a great night out they were having and what a shame that I couldn’t come. Ouch. I lay awake hurting for a while.

I finally drifted off in time for the next message. This time it was a text giving me a blow by blow breakdown of the night. The texting continued until the coupe de grace some time between 3 and 4am, which was a photo of them with my brother drinking my signature drink. Now on an average day, I’d see that for how they meant it. They wished I was there and were trying to make me feel included. But that’s not how it felt at the time.

I lay awake for the rest of the night crying and feeling hurt and sorry for myself.

I had to cancel lunch with them yesterday because I was too fragile to talk about it without getting emotional.

I guess the thing that I’m finding hardest about all of this is other people’s reactions. I know it sucks that I can’t drink. I know my friends miss me. I know I’m just not the same being the only sober one at the party, but hell, I don’t need to be reminded. How about the fact that I’m at least making an effort to go?

Sensitivity people. Please. I’m a walking tear bomb.

Bung

Today I am sitting at my desk with a mountain of work in front of me, struggling to keep my eyes open. I feel like someone stuck a needle into my vein and mainlined out all of my energy. I guess it would be fair to say that it’s time I slowed down and just started saying no.

I’m not sure whether this complete exhaustion is the result of the just trying to fit way to much into my life at the moment or the significant number of glasses of bubbly that I drank last night. It’s NZ Fashion Week and I was invited to one of the shows. It was fantastic! I enjoyed my last night of freedom before getting back on the wagon for the next round of hormones. I broke my diet and got drunk, so I guess I effectively poisoned myself.

This morning at training I was doing something that was certainly interesting, but could not be called boxing. It was more sort of flailing. For the first time since I started the sport, I was counting down the minutes until I could get out of there. I just had nothing left to give. Unfortunately my lack of concentration has ended up in disaster. I hurt my wrist. Not seriously, but badly enough that I’ve had to get it strapped and I’ll be giving the gym a wide berth until Monday.

So I have people coming over for dinner tonight and then I’m working all weekend. I have a million chores to do, a coffee date, a lunch date and a game of indoor football. In my down time I’m going to strategise. I need to think about slowing down a bit. Something has to give and I’d rather it wasn’t my sanity.

Wired

Yesterday was quite a strange day for me. It was the result of a few things.

Firstly, I am going through a ridiculously busy period. I am working to an unrealistic deadline at my day job. The project is huge and every possible hurdle seems to be throwing itself in my way. My company is also crazy busy. It would seem that everyone has urgent jobs that need to be done. That’s fantastic for business, but the timing sucks. On top of that, I have an extra heavy Youthline schedule at the moment. There are lots of new trainees that are trying to become solo counsellors, and as a mentor, the demand on my time is huge.

So that stuff is mostly out of my control.

The second reason for the strangeness was due to something that was very much my own doing. After detoxing my body of alcohol and caffeine for the last month, I dosed myself up on coffee yesterday. I think I only had three, but I may as well have ingested an entire gram of methamphetamine. I was speeding for the entire evening. Due to the edginess that created, I was feeling really overwhelmed by my life.

After work I was went down to the bar to do the flowers before Youthline – my normal Wednesday routine. I decided to hide out down there for half an hour where there was no one to make demands of me. The boys gave me a new wine to try. One glass may as well have been one bottle. Add boozed to wired. (I wish I had’ve known about this detoxing trick years ago – talk about a cheap party!)

By that stage I was feeling that strange kind of anxiousness that can come about from too much coffee. That sort of adrenaline-ised weirdness. I got to Youthline and had one of the strangest evenings I’ve ever experienced there. It was heavy in a surreal kind of way. I kept waiting for the world to explode. Thankfully it didn’t.

I went home and read for hours because I couldn’t sleep. This morning I woke up tired so I’ve had two coffees already. I have to put a stop to this.

Tomorrow I’m back on the wagon.

Losing a parent

Lately I seem to have come into contact with several people who have a parent that has died or is dying, seemingly before their time. I guess there is no such thing as dying before your time, but as a child you grow up just assuming that your parents will die of old age when you are middle aged yourself. That seems to be becoming less and less common these days.

The idea of losing mum or dad any time soon is just incomprehendable to me. I have lost people close to me, but this is in a whole different ball park. I remember earlier this year when Les was killed, I was shocked at how much it affected me. It seemed significantly more painful than the loss of my grandparents. Even though he was a pet, it was more acutely painful than any loss I had suffered, because he was so much a part of my day to day life.

As are my parents.

Mum and dad live a couple of kms up the road and I see them at least once a week and talk to them pretty much every day. They are fantastic. My biggest supporters and close friends. Never in the 3 years that we have lived so close have they shown up unannounced. They respect our privacy but are always there if we need them.

I have noticed that the dynamic of our relationship is changing slightly as they get older. There are times when I feel really protective of them. That is a reminder of their mortality and it upsets me. Last year dad had a cancer scare and my life stopped for a couple of days. The fear that I felt was greater than any emotion I had experienced before or have since.

My father lost his father while he was at university. One of my vivid childhood memories is of the first time I saw dad cry. He was telling me that he regretted that his father never got to meet me. Back then the concept scared me.

But no way near as much as it does now.

There’s nothing hot about it

I have known for several years now that when it comes to making decisions about things in the house, I should make them myself. Shaun always has the best of intentions, but he just can’t visualise things. Without fail, he seems to make the ‘interesting’ choice.

Yesterday was one of those occasions.

When we moved in, our house needed very little done to it. Heating was really the only issue. It is a pretty warm house, but there are tiled floors in the main living space which get a bit cold during winter. The last owners had portable oil heaters. They did the job but they were ugly as sin. I prefer to avoid ugly if at all possible.

So I decided on wall mounted gas heaters. There is a type called a ‘cozy panel’ , which is a narrow panel that is mounted on the wall and flued in (to stop the release of moisture into the air when the gas burns). I was keen on getting a couple of those stuck up in inconspicuous places. I talked to Shaun about it and he got a heating guy to come around and discuss it while I was at work. He told me that the guy advised him that cozy panels won’t be efficient in a house as large as ours. What we need is a couple of energy saver heaters. I asked what they were.

The description I got from Shaun was that energy savers were slightly larger than cozy panels, but effectively the same thing. The main difference was that they have a fan in them to distribute the heat more efficiently. Sounded perfect. We could even get them in white for the white room and titanium for the dark room. I was sold. It was an expensive sell however. $5k. Ouch. Still – it was a good long term solution that would be energy efficient.

So I got home last night and the guys were still there. The first thing I noticed was the white heater in the dark room. Hmmmmmm. Apparently there was some confusion and the type of heater that comes in titanium was a floor heater, not wall mounted. Bugger. Still, it looks fine.

What doesn’t look fine however, is the contraption the size of a small cow that is standing in the corner of my dining room. Holy mother of god! It’s large enough to partially eclipse the sun! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Slightly larger than a cozy panel? Slightly larger than 10 taped together, perhaps. I was too scared to turn the thing on in case it blew my legs off.

So another valuable lesson learned. I have to sign off on all house purchases from now on.

Domestic violence

Last week an unfortunate thing happened. It all has to do with trust. Both implicit trust and the complete lack of it.

If Shaun goes to bed before I do, he lets the cats get in bed with him until I come in and put them out. If I don’t, they wake up in the night and fight until they wake us. He always wants them to stay, because it’s me that ends up having to get up. So he hides them and pretends to be asleep when I ask if they’re in the bed. Sometimes he curls around them and covers them with his arms. Sometimes he makes a tent with his knees.

On the night in question, he had Julio squished between his shins. The cats are in on the game, so they always lie incredibly still. I asked if there were cats in the bed. He said no. I looked under the covers but Julio was so far down in the dark that I couldn’t see him.

While I was brushing my teeth I thought I saw something move. I asked again. Shaun said it was his foot. I said that it looked suspiciously like the shape of a cats head. He denied it. I poked it and he reacted. I asked him if he cared if I punched it. He said no. I told him that I was going to punch it hard, so if it was a cat he’d better come clean. He asked me why I didn’t trust him.

So I thumped it and all hell broke loose.

There was howling and Julio came flying out and cowered under the bed. I felt terrible. I was mad at Shaun and I was mad at myself. The stinkest thing about it is that now whenever I approach Julio from above to pat him, he cowers.

Damn me and my fists. Damn Shaun and his lie! I punched the wrong guy.