Tag Archives: work

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 41 – 46

I am not an idiot.  I watch the news.  I ordered my face masks, and one has been delivered.  I know that this shit is real.  But I have been fortunate, in that personally, other than working from home and not being able to move around as freely as I have been in the past, but it has affected me, personally, very little.

Until this week.

This week Ormsby was laid off due to the virus.  And you know what’s ridiculous?  I’m not even surprised.  His industry has been hit very hard by the whole thing, and honestly I’ve been surprised that he’s been able to hold out this long.  Most others in his industry lost their jobs – or began not being able to find freelance opportunities – months ago.  In a way he’s been lucky… and it’s shitty to call all this lucky.  I do not know what he will do – he has a place of his own, a lease he can’t break, and even if he could… well… my apartment isn’t big enough for two people and (as awful as it is to say this, I know), I kind of am enjoying having a space of my own again.  He’ll file for unemployment and then… I don’t know… I guess no one knows anything.

I still have my job, and we are as busy as ever.  That’s a good thing.

They tested one of my cousins for the virus yesterday.  Thankfully that test came back negative.  But it was another reminder that I’ve been fortunate (and continue to be fortunate) when other families – some I’ve known since I was a small child – have not been.

I’m sorry.  I know I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on all of this… and I’ll keep trying to do that.  I guess everyone gets an off day once in a while.

Florida’s governor has decided to try Phase I of reopening.  I am personally going to continue to self-isolate for a while longer.  I want to see what happens as things get back to normal… I am not convinced that this is done, and I think, if anything, reopening this soon may make it worse.  In fact, I am more likely, now, to start doing grocery delivery, whereas I haven’t resorted to that yet.

Good Stuff That Happened:

My Build-A-Bear Baby Yoda (ok, ok “The Child”) arrived today.  The Star Wars collection that graces my living room now has its own Baby Yoda shelf.  The action figures I preordered should ship later this month.

I think Ormsby and I are going to turn my apartment into a photo studio this weekend to start working on a new portfolio for me.  It’ll keep his mind off of it, and give me a boost, now that I’m moving more normally again.

Today begins Children’s Week in WoW.  It’s a special in-game holiday for me, because it also marks 12 years since I first was introduced to the game.  Happy WoW-versary to me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to write.  Or maybe just an in-game achievement to go for.

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All That Debt

Let’s talk a little bit about debt.

Debt sucks.  It feels a whole lot like being in prison, except there are no bars and you are completely (mostly) in control of how much you are in for and how long it takes you to dig yourself out of it.  I mean there are limitations to that statement – emergencies can send you spiraling thousands into the hole with no other choice.  And if you don’t make a lot of money it can take a freaking long-ass time to dig yourself back out of it.  And then there are student loans which no one really wants, but everyone seems to have to have.

Anyway, I have a lot of it.  Debt, that is.  Student loans and revolving debt.

I had it (some) when I lived here before.  Student loans, mostly, though I’d had some credit card debt early on that I’d gotten paid off.

Toward the end of my Florida Tenure Part I, I started racking up more… life-saving missions, moving expenses, etc.  I did a lot of things the wrong way.  What I SHOULD have done, in hindsight (which is always 20/20) is waited until I had a job offer in Kentucky before I packed up my entire life and moved back up  north.  That probably would have been good in two ways: First, I’d imagine I’d have come to my senses once winter came and they were sitting in the snow and I was down here in the warmth. Second, if I did decide I was really that insane, I’d have had sustainable income to have gotten a place of my own, and not have racked up so much debt by paying basic living expenses on high-interest credit cards.

Buuut… sometimes I am not smart.  It’s rare, but it happens.  And I went anyway.  I ended up freezing that winter and it took eight months to get a job.  I did not have to pay rent for much of that, but I did still have expenses to pay (cell phone, car insurance, food, winter clothes, etc.).  Further, I did not think that it would take eight months to find something.  I did not take into consideration that Louisville doesn’t have the market that Tampa has for someone who does what I used to do.  And Louisville is cliquish… you have to know the right people to get hired to do meaningful work for the most part… I had the skills and the resume, but I did not have the connections.  Or the family background.

So I was screwed… in many ways.

But I digress… coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn’t get you anywhere.  Moving on…

At this point, it is what it is.

When I decided to move back to Florida, I did so for a couple of reasons: I hate cold weather. The job market is better for me.  I simply make more.

Both of those benefits have largely panned out.  I make more.  Way more.  And it’s been warmer here than it’s been in Kentucky, though lately it’s been very frigid (for Florida), and it snowed in the northern part, so some might argue that I didn’t go far enough south.

That said, there’s still all this debt.  And it’s frustrating.  Because while I bring in massively more than I used to when I lived here before, I see less of it because it all (at least for now) goes into paying off the banks.  And I get kind of anxious… not because I think I’m going to lose my job, but knowing that if I did, I’m really on the precipice of being completely and totally screwed because the monthly payments I’m bound to make are way more than I’d afford on an “average” salary.  Things are tenuous.

Now, on the up-side, I have a roommate.  A fiancé (he gets pissed if I call him a roommate, but when it comes to rent-sharing, that’s what he is).  He pays half the rent.  I take what he gives me and I roll it into my debt.

I’ve started doing promos again – because they pay well, I can take them when I have time to take them, and I can roll that money into the debt too.  Tax refund money will also be put there.  I mean, in reality, paying this off shouldn’t take longer than a couple of years to accomplish, if I work steadily at it.

It’s a great plan… it really is… and it works (when he’s able to afford it – moving to Florida did not do for him (financially) what it did for me).  But it’s still going to take a very long time.

I’m trying to be patient with myself, and to not beat myself up too much over the past.  The choices were what they were.  I’m sure I would have done things differently if I’d known how things would end up, but the point is, I didn’t.

And we can’t know, can we?  Not really… we take a path, we walk down the path, sometimes it’s the wrong path, but at that point (unless we’re really lucky) there’s no turning around and choosing a different path.  And even if we do, we still have the baggage from the wrong path that we started on.

I believe in the Law of Attraction.  It works for me.  It has for many, many years, and it’s how I’ve gotten much of what I have.  I have to believe that, like everything else, this will all work out as well.  Somehow.  I’ll pay this off, I’ll have the things I want (a house, a new car… nothing extravagant… just something to get me out of apartment living, and my Beetle), and I’ll be able to stop working so damn hard.

Two Weeks’ Notice

I did something, today, that was either very brave or very stupid.

I put in two weeks’ notice at my job.  I do not have another one lined up (though I do have an interview tomorrow).

I have tried to stick with it while looking for something else, but the truth is, there just isn’t much in my field in this area.  Two years ago, I moved to Louisville, thinking it would be easy to find something that was similar to what I was doing in Tampa.  I was naïve to do that without doing some solid investigation (just because there were listings on a couple of job sites didn’t mean those positions were plentiful – in fact, they’re quite rare here).  I searched for eight months and finally found something, and I was glad to find it… but in doing that I took a $10k pay cut.  I’ve been doing twice the work that I was doing in Tampa.  And the living expenses (believe it or not) are higher here than they were there.  So I haven’t been living comfortably… I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck – something that I swore I would never do again.

And while I was doing that, I was putting up with a LOT of bullshit at work… the environment was toxic.  I mean, really and truly toxic.  I came home defeated, tired, stressed, and cranky every day.  Weekends were far too short.  I never felt like I had a break.  I tried to stick it out… I really did.  I kept thinking that if I just finished putting everything online, if I could just get past this new hire training, if I could just finish filing all the documents away, everything would settle down.  But it didn’t.  And then, to top it all off, they took my salary away.  Made me hourly.  A slave to the clock.  A misclassification (according to the Department of Labor website), but they did it all the same – to save them from having to give me a raise that I absolutely deserve to comply with the new labor law that goes into effect in December.

That was the last straw.  I mean if I was going to struggle, I might as well take something that didn’t require as much work and hate my life a little less, right?

But I still tried to stick it out.  Until I started to get sick.  See, stress has some weird effects on me.  I’ve lost my ability to walk before because I was stressed out.  Not so long ago (about four years ago), I got double vision.  I’ve had MRIs, blood tests, everything… they can’t find the cause of it and it disappears as mysteriously as it came.  The only explanation anyone has for it is stress.  Those symptoms are starting to come back.  Not as bad as they have been, but the fact that I’m having them at all is a warning sign that it’s coming.

So I decided to put in two weeks – to save my dignity, to save my sanity, and probably most importantly, to save my emotional and physical health.

It’s a leap of faith.  It really is.  Because I don’t have anything else waiting for me.  As I sent the message to my boss today, I could envision myself taking a running leap, jumping off a cliff, and hoping and praying that there was something down there to catch me – no matter how far I had to fall.  It hasn’t materialized yet, but, then, it’s only been about 4.5 hours since I told my boss (via email, mind you, because she couldn’t be bothered to answer the email that I sent her earlier this morning to ask her if I could meet with her at some point).

I am looking forward to the break.  Regardless of whether I find a job immediately or not, I’m absolutely taking a week or more off between them.  Because I need to heal… desperately.  I need some kitty time. I need some painting time.  Some writing time. Just time to recover.  To get my thoughts together.  To figure out what comes next.

And, you know, maybe this is what had to happen… maybe I needed to cut ties so that I could very seriously focus my energy on getting back to where I need to be anyway.

I guess we’ll see.

50 Things I Learned While Living in Tampa (and Florida in General)

1.  More curse words than I ever believed existed

2.  How to make up my own.

3.  All about Cybertron, Autobots, Decepticons, and how they’re in hiding all over the world.

4.  Living in Florida does not mean you’ll go to the beach every day.

5.  It also does not mean you’ll be on a perpetual vacation.

6.  You’ll be expected to come home often, but you can’t expect that you’ll be visited also.

7.  Contrary to what I was told all my life, no one is watching or judging everything I do, no one actually       cares, and believing otherwise makes me delusional

8.  I can paint.

9.  When it comes to dating, I am absolutely not nerd-friendly.

10. I am a badass.

11. Earl of Sandwich. ‘Nuff said.

12. Rules were made to be broken.

13. I’ve developed an affinity for spicy Spanish food.

14. How to smoke a hookah.

15. Sally O’Neals. Pizza. Yum.

16. Running combats anger, boredom, anxiety, and it’s also great for brainstorming.

17. Racquetball

18.How to get through airline security quickly and efficiently.

19.Sleep is overrated.

20. I can be a tree stump.

21. I’m not a girly girl (which I think I already knew, but I’ve acquired a greater appreciation of this      quality).

22. When given the choice, and despite the occasional harassment, I’d rather work in an office full of men; there is not as much bitchiness and an overwhelming lack of teary-eyed drama.

23. I do not have a brain tumor.

24. After lots of sprained appendages, a beard burn, wrestling matches, a nosedive off of playground equipment, and a full dental imprint on my upper arm, dating Floridians definitely counts as a contact sport.

25. Moxie tastes weird.

26. Sand is impossible to get out of your car.

27. How to fill out a customs form to ship “coffee” to Afghanistan.

28. Being yelled at in Japanese is just as confusing as being yelled at in English.

29. I am not normal. Again, I think I knew this, but it’s a matter of being comfortable with abnormal

30. That I can, in fact, move 1000 miles away, on my own, and be perfectly okay.

31. How to suspend an entire office from the ceiling, furniture and all.

32. Thai food is incredible.

33. To listen to, and heed, my own intuition, which is correct more often than not.

34. What a Keratin hair treatment looks like.

35. How to run a World of Warcraft guild.

36. Sand is also impossible to get out of your hair.

37. There is nothing, NOTHING, more relaxing in this world than having Rum Runners delivered directly to your beach chair.

38. Cake Vodka. Yes.

39. The joy of being able to drink beer, wine, or vodka shots at work.

40. Flip Flops made of Yoga Mats are simply delightful. Getting to wear them every day is fabulous.

41. Going to the Cupcake Spot on a Sunday and ordering a half dozen, each a different variety, can turn any bad day into a good one.

42. What it’s like to be able to do whatever I like, whenever I like, without having to consciously worry about saving every single penny I make.

43. If I’m going anywhere, I need to leave at least an hour before I’m supposed to arrive. Even if it’s only 5 miles away.

44. How to behave at a Grog Ceremony.

45. After ceremonies are over, I buy my new bffs new shoes from the expensive gift shop.

46. Orlando traffic sucks… at least until you are past International Drive.

47. Skinny Dipping.

48, How to read tarot cards.

49, How to read comic books (this is a skill that is quite different than reading novels).

50. The definition of insanity.

BONUS:  I’d rather be North, jobless, and freezing with someone I care about than hot and gainfully employed in Florida on my own.

The Hanged Man

It’s been a month since I had that monumental chat with Botboy.  In the physical part of my realm, not much has changed.  I said I’d wait.  I’m waiting.  Some days I’m waiting more cheerfully than others, but still, I made a promise, I don’t go back on my promises, and anyway, there’s no one else I want except for the man I’m waiting for.  Where else is there to go?

Things haven’t been all that great at work, though.  I know I don’t write about my job often, but I’ve not been happy with it for awhile, and even less-so lately.  I keep telling myself that I got that job three years ago.  My mentality was different.  I’d just moved here.  I was trying to settle in.  It was a receptionist thing that wasn’t supposed to be permanent, but then I got promoted.  And then the part of the company I started working for got bought by an even bigger company and I got a huge pay raise.  I stayed.  It made sense to stay.  But the older I’ve gotten, the more I don’t like the atmosphere… it’s childish in many ways.  It’s often like going to work in a fraternity house.  That was fine in my twenties, but I’m getting a little sick of the constant ball throwing (and I mean literal ball throwing), the alcoholic mentality and, ultimately, the cutthroat atmosphere that has taken hold since the beginning of that.  I’m staying, for the time being, because I’m waiting and because I am due for a large bonus in September.  This is to be the last of the bonuses that we were going to be given for signing on two years ago with the takeover.  It’s a considerable amount of money.  I can hang on for seven more months for that amount of money.

But after that, I’m realizing, things are going to have to change.  Somehow.  I told Botboy before he left that I needed the “time off” not only because I wanted him and no one else, but because I needed to think.  And I did.  I’ve thought a lot.  About a lot of things.  In the middle of all of the “what-ifs”, there are two certainties here.  1:  I am getting a large bonus in September.  2:  There are many facets of my life that I am not happy with at the moment, which demand a change, all of which can be funded by said bonus.

First, I am not happy with my drive to work.  They are rebuilding roads, people are taking the way I usually take to work.  It is taking me increasingly longer, daily, to get there and even longer to get home.  I have tried every alternate possibility.  The results are either the same, or they are worse than they were before.  So, that said, I can either wait out the construction or I can move when my lease is up in November.  Road construction takes forever.  The obvious choice is to move.  The question is to where.  Acknowledging the fact that I need more living space because my one bedroom apartment isn’t cutting it for me anymore, the obvious answer is to a place with more space.  I’ve been looking at houses to rent in South Tampa, as that is closer to work and the drive won’t be so nightmarish.  I’ve found some options.  But there is nothing that I can do until I get that bonus as I cannot currently afford to buy out my lease.  Or to make the deposits necessary on another place, finance the movers, packers, etc. and move.

Second, I am not happy at my job.  Reasons are listed above.  I can either find a new job, potentially making less money.  Or I can stick around and hope that with the upcoming transitions, things are going to improve.  As I want that bonus, and as I need that bonus to facilitate the other changes, I’m staying put for now.  What happens after I get that bonus will be dependent on how I feel about the job when that time rolls around.

Third, I am lonely.  My social circle has diminished drastically since I’ve stopped drinking and no longer care to really be around the alcohol, and because none of my friends (at least right now) seem to be capable of doing anything BUT drink if they’re out doing something.  I read somewhere a long time ago that if you stop drinking, people stop talking to you.  I didn’t believe it until now, but now I know it’s true.  Building new friendships is a lot of work. It’s doable, but would be easier if there were a pre-screening process (ie. Can you hang out without having to binge drink; Can you carry on a conversation without bringing every single topic back around to self pity; Are you capable of getting through the day without throwing bitch-fits about inconsequential bullshit… that kind of thing.) And that’s harder to find than you realize.

Also, I would like nothing more than to be in a stable, committed relationship with Botboy.  He is the only person on this earth that has ever truly felt like home to me.   I love him, and I do not want anyone else.  But also, he is not here.  At least not right now.  And I’m not even really sure, at the end of the day, that that’s what he’s looking for with me anyway once he is BACK here.  I’d like to believe that it is.  And ultimately I’m waiting to see if that is, in fact, even a possibility with him.  If I find that it is not, honestly, then I don’t know if I even want to stay in Tampa.  Not because I think it would be better anywhere else… but because I don’t know if I can look at this place knowing that he’s in it and that I can’t be a part of him.

So, all those things said, I’ve come up with several plans.  Written flow charts for various scenarios.  Jesus says I think too much.  I probably do.  But it’s better to have a plan than to have nothing at the end of the day.  And anyway, they make me feel better.

Scenario 1:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is okay.  Botboy and I are progressing satisfactorily.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I get a bigger place in South Tampa, with a garage, a yard, a couple of extra bedrooms for painting and spell casting.  I use the funds to pay the deposit, and I move.

Scenario 2: It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is NOT okay.  Botboy and I are progressing satisfactorily.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I get the bigger place in South Tampa with the bonus, but I also start looking for another, similar, job in the area.  I may also go back to school to study what I REALLY want to study.  But that is a subject for another blog.

Scenario 3:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is okay.  Botboy situation leaves much to be desired and no clarification the fronts that need to be clarified.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I consider whether or not I can stay in Tampa with those things considered.  Likely, I cannot.  So I file for a transfer in the company, I move elsewhere, I cut ties with Botboy, and probably with Tampa completely.

Scenario 4:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is NOT okay.  Botboy situation leaves much to be desired.  I still need more space.  Solution:  There is nothing left to stay for.  Game over.  I find somewhere else to go, and I move on.

It all seems so simple.  And when I write it out like this, it really is.  The problem is that the simple solutions on paper don’t take into account the emotional bullshit that goes along with them.

I’ve been reading my cards a lot lately.  Just in general, and also based on more specific things.  The Hanged Man keeps coming up in the “key card” position.  The “Key Card” in the layout I use is the card that gives the overall feel for the reading – not just advice, but also the actions that are being taken and the actions that should be taken to see the eventual, overall outcome manifest itself.  The Hanged Man, in the Rider-Waite deck that I prefer, features a man hanging upside down from a limb, his hands behind his back, his foot tied to the limb while the other leg is crossed behind it.  He is calm.  Nothing is out of order except his hair which hangs downward.  What you have to understand about tarot is that the cards mean different things to different readers.  But to me, and to the majority of other readers I’ve talked to, the Hanged Man symbolizes the need to “Let go or to surrender.”  That’s the hardest thing for me to do… because I like for things to be signed, sealed, delivered, and solved right-the-fuck-now.  The Hanged Man means that, in this regard, that I need to wait.  To let some things materialize before I do anything rash, essentially, and that I need to relax as best that I can.  One might ask how does a person relax when they are hanging upside down by their foot while tied to a tree.  The answer is not clear.  But, what we do know is that his hands are behind his back.  They are not necessarily tied there.  And there may be something in them that we can’t see yet.  Something he uses to manipulate the situation to his favor.  An “Ace” up the sleeve, if you will.

I am, right now, the Hanged Man.  I am the Hanged Man, because not only am I in a state of suspension (because there is nothing that I can do right now until the other factors become clear, and not least of which, until I get the bonus), but also because I chose to put myself into this state.  I chose to sign the lease for another year last November.  It was my choice to stay in my job as long as I have – partially due to comfort, partially due to the fact that I didn’t think there was anywhere else to go.  And finally, I chose to wait for Botboy, despite the fact that I did not have the balls to echo his question about love or that I did not have the balls to ask if there was a chance in hell that we’d actually try to pursue something when he got back.  I put myself into this state of suspension.

At least there’s one thing… The common factor in all of the above scenarios is that bonus.  If I can hang on for seven months, I’ll have that.  And the seven months really does give time for things to sort themselves out which, sometimes, they do on their own better than they ever would had I forced them to.  My mom was right that way.

So, I’ll try to make myself a little bit more comfortable on this limb.

And I’ll keep waiting.

Maybe one day I’ll find out what kind of “Ace” really is up my sleeve.

hanged man

Silver Linings

It’s a funny thing about cycles.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re monthly ones, weekly ones, or yearly ones, no matter what you do, they always seem to cycle – and there’s nothing that you can do to put an end to it.  If it’s a good one, you’re perfectly okay with it.  If it’s not a good one, you’re not necessarily okay with it, but you’re at its mercy.  And you know it.

I seem to be trapped in one.  And I seem to have been trapped in one, at least since college.  I’ve written about the venom before.  I’ve talked about it in the past.  It does its job and yet it still manages to leave me bereft of that which I really want.  Perhaps that’s my fault – my fault for looking in all the wrong places.  I don’t know.  But let me explain.

Six months ago, my world got turned upside down.  My boyfriend came home from Afghanistan, took all of his things out of my closet, and left me wanting – without any explanation, without any sort of cause, without, really, anything.  My job got turned upside down when the Groper decided he was going to come in and first tempt me to cheat on said boyfriend (before boyfriend disappeared) and, when I didn’t, decided to start slandering me to those around the office for not acquiescing to his request.  The boyfriend thing was worse than the groper thing – to begin with.  I found Metalhead, healed, got back out there.

But when I talk about cycles, I mean that it’s funny how things cycle back in their own time.  Because where I thought I’d settled the issue with the Groper, it turns out I haven’t.  It’s nasty, really.  The guy doesn’t want to drop it.  Like Botboy, I have no idea what he wants.  He doesn’t want me.  I can’t imagine that he wants my job.  I don’t know what his motives are behind all of this.  I don’t see that it really matters.  Truthfully.  I was willing to let the past go.  I largely have.  Yes, I stay in my office most of the time.  No, I really don’t talk to anyone.  Yes, work has become, really, in most cases, bereft of any sort of socialization the way that it was months ago.  But, Botboy or not, I think that would have happened anyway because it couldn’t have continued the way that it was before.  It just is what it is.  And I was perfectly happy to let it remain so.  Let him crucify me for whatever fucked up reasons he has for doing so.  Let him tell the new people that I’m a whore.  Let him tell them not to associate with me.  He hurts only himself.  And the people that matter at work, and there are a couple that I’m friends with there… they know it’s not true.

The thing is, apparently he is not satisfied with leaving it the way that it is.  Apparently he is not satisfied with letting things go.  He wants to blow it out of proportion.  He wants to file paperwork that will keep this in the system for months without a resolution. I don’t like it, but I don’t see that I can stop it.  I’ll stand my ground inasmuch that I won’t admit to doing something I have not done.  But, if I can convince my boss to convince him to just let it go, that he can win without the filing, I will.

It is inutterable chaos.  Botboy causes chaos, yes.  He readily admits to that.  But his chaos I can handle.  I have handled it in the past, I can handle it now.  This sort of chaos – the kind of chaos that affects my livelihood, the kind of chaos that threatens my wellbeing – that I cannot handle.

I suppose the gold thread in all of this is Metalhead – as odd as it sounds.  Months after he stormed out of my door, after I did what he once told me he wished people would do, and I left him alone, we have started talking again.  Like we did before all of that craziness happened last summer.  We’re friends again.  It was what I wanted, most deeply, out of everything that I lost over the summer.  I’ve missed Botboy.  I still do.  I’ve miss the social whirlwind that work used to be.  But I’ve missed Metalhead the most.  He’s the oldest friend I have in Florida and it has seemed strange without him.  Despite what happened over the summer, he’s still like my brother.  And whatever that cultlike organization did to him several months ago, he seems to have stopped following them now and is more like himself.  I guess there’s always the silver lining somewhere.

Tonight we went out for drinks after work.  I had dinner – he did not eat.  We talked a lot – mostly about the crap that’s been going on at work.  Also, a little, about what caused him to storm out of the door – even he doesn’t remember – though he says that’s just what happens to him sometimes and assured me I did absolutely nothing wrong.  He read the parts of this blog that I’ve been dying for him to see (especially the part about where I said I don’t sleep with homeless people – to my utter glee, he filled in the sentences before he read what I wrote: “Well, technically, you kind of did.”)  We went to the beach, and walked around for awhile (until the security guard chased us away).  That was kind of fun because I haven’t been chased out of closed areas since I was a teenager.  Ha!

I got home, and I thanked him for coming out with me.  And I told him I was still worried.  His words:  “I told you to keep your chin up.  Probably not as bad as you think.”

That’s the thing about silver linings.  No matter how shitty things get, no matter how hard they are to find in the midst of the chaos, they’re always there.  Sometimes more evident than others.  But this time, I know I not only have right on my side, I know I not only have the couple of friends at work that stand with me, but I also know that if I can make something that got so broken stand upright again, I can do this with something else.

I just don’t know what It’s going to look like once I’m finished.

Housecleaning Take Deux, Part Deux – The Trifecta

They say that when you are dating, you usually best find someone to be with when you aren’t looking for anyone at all.  I never believed that before – with the invention of online dating, you can, if you choose, be presented with option after option and play the “numbers game” so to speak until you find someone acceptable.  It’s more about statistics than luck when you’re working with personals sites, and I’ve always found that I meet more people that way than I do in real life.  When your code is not to shit where you eat, and when you do not like the bar and club scene, or otherwise do much that would put you “out there”, online dating is really the only alternative.

That said, though, I am not looking.  If you read “Open Letter”, you know why and, for the time being, I am trying to put myself in order.  And so I have been throwing myself into work, into my writing, into some of my new projects, being with my friends and pursuing some new tactics to strengthen some of my other talents.  Focusing on “me” for awhile while I wait for Bot to get himself together.  It will make me better prepared to be who I need to be for whatever comes along.

And the funny thing is, all the times before when I wasn’t looking, no one materialized.  Considering I am waiting for someone for the time being, I assumed that this strategy would be sufficient to employ while I took a break.  It seems, this time, that I was wrong.

It started with work.  It seems, anymore, it always starts with work.  Part of my job is to acclimate new employees with the system that they are being hired to support or to develop.  And a couple of weeks ago, I was given two new employees to work with.  They were cool, these two kept me laughing through the majority of the day and made the orientation part of my job much easier.  One suggested taking a trip to Coral Castle which intrigued the more exploratory side of my personality.  I agreed to consider it, we exchanged phone numbers.  I didn’t think anything more about it.

I didn’t think anything about it, either, when he asked if I wanted to have dinner with him that Friday night.  I agreed to meet him… after all, the place we were going to was on my way and I had no reason not to.  He’d wanted to do more – a movie, perhaps, and some other things, but dinner was sufficient.  After all, I had other plans and I didn’t know him very well.  So I met him for dinner, with the full intention of paying for it my own meal, the way that I normally do.  And dinner was good… the food was fantastic, the conversation was kept light and unserious.  But when the meal was over a couple of hours later, he insisted on footing the bill.  I didn’t like feeling obligated, but there was not a whole lot that I could do beyond:

“You should know I do not shit where I eat.”

“Neither do I.  I need a job, and I am staying where I am.  At least until my desire to date you exceeds my desire to make money there.”

I was mortified when I left.  I’d been conned into a date.  I felt dirty – as if I were cheating, even though I knew I had done nothing at all.  This was not going to happen again, I assured myself.  I wasn’t at fault, here.  Nothing happened beyond the dinner and while I had enjoyed myself, the energy here was contradictory to my own.  As the events unfolded with The Groper and I got my office, I realized that now, with all of this swirling around me, I had to be even more careful.  I have not gone out with him anymore, and I won’t – partially because I do not want to deal with the work drama and mostly because he continues to try to date me.  He texts, I do not answer.  I cannot stop him from talking to me at work, but I keep things cordial and distant.  And when he enters my office, I am careful to stay on the other side of the room.  Appearances are important there, but even moreso, I do not like feeling obligated to someone I have no interest in.

And then there is Gatsby.  Called Gatsby because this is a man who has everything – everything but what he really wants.  We’d dated before.  The relationship had lasted for a little while, and then it had ended, ultimately, because things were too unstable to continue on as they were.  We remained friends afterward, however, and I got invited to go to a pool party at his condo complex one evening.  I showed up and, with some of his other friends, we had a party.  There was alcohol.  I drank… more than a little.

People began to leave, and still, I kept drinking, until it was just Gatsby and myself left behind.  He offered to let me have the spare room that evening and because I was in no condition to drive, I agreed.  We went for a walk that night – hit up last call at one of the bars downtown.

Alcohol, for me, is a truth serum.  It exaggerates the mood that I’m in and makes me introspective.  Downtown that night, drunk, I told Gatsby I needed to be alone for a moment and I walked away to perch on a concrete block in the park.  I sat there, looking up at the moon, thinking about all that had happened and I began to cry – partially because of what had happened with the guy at work, partially because I was sitting downtown, drunk, when I had made a decision to stop drinking, partially because all I wanted was The Botboy and it did not look as if I were going to be able to have him.  It was an awful feeling, and I hate to cry, and so, after shedding a tear or two, I rose and walked back to Gatsby who was waiting for me, awkwardly, on the sidewalk.  I would have been fine, really, had he not asked if something was wrong and I started up all over again.  He hugged me, walked me back to his house, and I went to bed in the spare room.  At five the next morning, I paid dearly for the alcohol consumption – I was very, very sick – and swore never to drink again.

Gatsby and I hung out more that week.  I felt guilty for crying on him like that, though he said it was okay, that he was glad to see that I was human, and the following weekend he told me that he thought he was falling for me again.  I didn’t know what to say.  We were friends.  I didn’t want to lose that.  But I knew it wouldn’t work, either.  There was too much baggage from before – his friends don’t like me, and while it would be a smart match – the package is there, after all, there would be too much climbing, too much repairing, and it would not be the way to begin a relationship.  I explained this to him.  I hurt him, though I tried desperately not to.

And anyway, in the case of both Gatsby and Work Guy, it would be hardly fair to start something when my heart still belongs to Botboy.  So clearly does it belong to him – enough so that I can uncharacteristically break down on the sidewalk in the middle of Downtown Tampa over it.  And it doesn’t make any sense – he’d been incommunicado again.  He was gone, or so I thought.

And then he wasn’t.  We went out.  We had a good time, he told me he wasn’t looking for anyone else, and, yet again, I decided to wait.  Because what else could I really do?  I cannot move forward – not in good conscience, with more than half of myself waiting for him to come back.  It would not be fair to whoever I chose to try to move forward with.

I promised to wait until the end of the summer.  Botboy and I make plans to see each other, he calls, he is like his old self again – lucid (for Botboy), funny, fun.  And then he disappears, no word of confirmation or acknowledgement that we had these conversations, we go from daily messages to sporadic communication again, barely a sentence.  I extend myself because he extends himself and then he runs away.

It is a vicious cycle.  Especially for someone who demands reliability.  I do, always, exactly what I say I’m going to do when I am going to do it.  I was brought up to be this way.  I demand it out of my friends.  Bot, it seems, may be incapable of being reliable.  It’s funny – he always was a few months ago.  Now?  I have a different Bot.  And yet he is still a part of this Trifecta.

He is the only one that matters, really, because he is the only one that I want.  Though wanting it, and waiting for it, is tiresome.  And he acknowledges that – as much as he can, as he asks why I want him despite all of his imperfections.  My answer?  I want him BECAUSE of his imperfections and because I know what he can be.  But I am forever worried that I will fuck it up, though I know that whatever is supposed to happen will happen and that when things do not go the way I want them to, it’s not due to my own lack of effort or my own unmaking.  For once, I am blameless.

While chasing all of these other hobbies, I saw the psychic again.  Because he was right about all of the other things the first time.  And afterward, I went to the island to think about it all.  I always have a choice.  That’s the beauty of free will, readings tell you what will happen if you stay the course, but you always have the option to move right or left.  I know what my choice is.  I began it in December.   I made it again, unconsciously, a couple of weeks ago, when I started the Housecleaning process and began to ward off the interest from the other admirers.  I redoubled that decision yesterday – I know what the consequences will be, and I accept them.

I clean house because it is not fair to me or to the others to keep them around when nothing can happen.  If I can be friends with them with nothing more expected, great.  If I cannot, then they have to go.  I wait for the Bot because this is not done.  No one believes that it’s done… not my friends, not my counselors, not my own inner voices.  It’s all about free will, and not just mine but his too – the will to wait, the will to walk, the will to work on things, the will to make them happen, the will to remember where we were and why we chose this.

Things are not as settled here as I would like, but at least there are no interferences.  The Bot may not here completely right now, and I am not with him the way I would like to be.  But I wait anyway, because I believe I am supposed to.  And while I wait, I work on the final piece of this Housecleaning project:

Myself.

To be Continued.

Housecleaning Take Deux, Part Un – The Groper

I had the closest thing to a nervous breakdown about a week ago that I have had since 1999.  Life doesn’t shit on me much… but when it does, man, it seems to have diarrhea.  The watery, runny kind that seems to never end, with a green color and a putrid odor.  May was not a good month for me.  And that’s ironic, because it was supposed to be the best month.  It was the month I’d been looking forward to all year – or at least since the first extension in January.  But it got off to a rough start, as I’m sure you can see by reading back over the last few posts.  And it seems like it kept going.

Granted, some of that was my fault.  I made the mistake of assuming that things were clearer than they were, that problems were solved.   My enthusiasm for what was coming was enough to make me… er… overlook the fact that maybe things weren’t as great as I thought they were.  I mean, how could they not be?  I’d gotten a new car, my boyfriend was coming home, things were going well enough at my job – and the parts that weren’t I thought I had fixed.  They weren’t perfect, but even still, Botboy was coming home and things wouldn’t matter so much when he did.

But, of course, even the best laid plans fall through sometimes.  And it seems, sometimes, that once things start going south, they just stay that way… at least until I jump in and start to take control of them.  It’s like the Housecleaning I did after 3.0.  But this time there was more of it… perhaps it was just an indication that I didn’t take care of it as well as I thought the first time.  More than probably it was just an explosion of shit that came out all at once.  No matter what it was, though, it had to be taken care of.  And it needed to be done before June started.  I wasn’t going into another month with this fallout hanging over my head.

You may remember, a few posts back, about the guy at my work that was harassing me.  We’ll call him “The Groper” – Botboy gave him that name, I like it, it’s appropriate, considering he DID grope me on the office premises.  And we’d had exchanges such as this via text, during work hours:

This took place after another work dude had dropped him off at the airport:

Groper:  Awe, I didn’t get to kiss you goodbye.

Me:  That would have been awkward

Groper:  Lol.  How so?

Me:  You left from work, yes?  Even if I’d not been responsive, people would have talked and I would be sitting here, by myself, dealing with the fallout.

Groper:  LMAO that would have been EPIC!!!  …and you would’ve been responsive!

Me:  …I would not be so confident, sir.

 

This had been going on for awhile.  I was steamed… he knew I was in a relationship, he could not let it go, even after I posted “Noli Me Tangere, Caesaris Sum,” this continued and so I stopped talking to him almost completely.  I deleted him off of Facebook.  It was then that I received this:

Groper:  So I was looking for you on Facebook yesterday and I realize that you took me off so now that I know that there is definitely something wrong.  So I figured one of three things has happened:  1.  You got offended by what I said on Friday while I was at the airport.  2.  You told (Botboy) what I said and he became upset and told you not to associate with me.  3.  The one guy I thought I could trust with how I was feeling about you just shitted on me.  If it was either 1 or 2, I apologize.  If it was 3 then I hope you’d let me know know so I don’t trust this asshole ever again.

Now, yes, I’d told Botboy.  There had been death threats.  Botboy was not happy.  I’d also gotten offended.  And that’s why I’d deleted him from Facebook.  Between the groping and the lines that were getting crossed, I needed to create some distance.  But this… he was TELLING people at WORK.  That crossed the line even further.  And so, when he got back, I took him outside and I asked him who he told.  He told me.  I was livid, I told him that didn’t he understand that that one guy was going to talk to the others?  He said he hadn’t thought about that, apologized again, I thought it was done.  I wasn’t talking to him much after that, staying in my corner for the most part, waiting patiently for Botboy to come home – not to kill the guy, but just to prove to all of the other horny assholes in the building that this man was NOT a figment of my imagination.

Things were quiet.  Work had gotten back into its usual mode.  Things were almost normal… people were still looking at me funny, but that was nothing new.  It got a little worse once word got around that Botboy had done what he did.  But still, no one said much to me.  And then, as that part of the world collapsed, the work world did too.  Groper, it seems, had reached an entirely new low.  Pissed that I’d rejected him, I can only guess, anyway, he began to spread rumors himself.  People I had known maybe a total of two days were coming to me, repeating rumors, things that he’d said, and a little bit of homework put the origination point back at the Groper.

I’d had enough.  I was in the middle of the drama… Botboy had left me high and dry.  I’d been the victim of drama from several unwanted advances made by other people (that’s next week’s post).  My aunt was not feeling well – she had pneumonia, pretty serious pneumonia and I was 1000 miles away from all of that, unable to do anything.  I was trying to heal, I was trying to get my life situated.  And then I find out that work was no longer safe for me either?

My first inclination, really the right inclination, was to sit in my corner and mull it over.  I still had the text messages.  I’d kept them, not sure what to do with them, knowing that I could turn them in if I needed to.  I’d sat on them all this time, not sure if I wanted to.  The minute I started rocking the boat, I knew that the world there would change… at least for me.  Did I want that?  As long as things stayed reasonably under the radar, I could handle it.  But this time… this time it was too much.  Here were these new people, people I was trying to train, spouting things that people I didn’t even associate were saying about me… it had to be stopped.

It all had to stop, really… all this drama… and I could start here.  It was tangible.  I could fix this.  I could find the proper channels.  And so, I went to the one person there that was corporate.  A female (thankfully) who listened to what I had to say and said she’d talk to my supervisor.  I barely slept the next night.  I didn’t know what they would do.  I’d asked them to keep it confidential.  It’s a small company… the minute someone starts to talk, everyone knows about it.  And the informants were new – they were worried about being fired.  I was worried, I was afraid I’d get fired (even though there is a no-retaliation policy).  I was worried things would not be the same.

And I was right.  I came into work the next morning to find the woman I’d talked to and my manager in a meeting.  And I knew, the way I know things, that it was about what I’d said.  I got called into the office later in the day,  I read the texts to my boss.  He proposed a change.  They wouldn’t do anything to The Groper.  They couldn’t.  Unless I filed paperwork, which would launch an “official” investigation (what I didn’t want), he was safe.  He wouldn’t even be written up.  But, they proposed to give me an office so I could get out of the general population.  It was what I wanted.  I could go in there, close the door, be out of everyone’s way.  And if someone got out of line again, I could just go to them immediately and it would be taken care of.  It was a suitable solution.  I took it.

Last week, I got to move in.  I sit in there, headphones on, door closed.  There is no noise… I no longer want to kill anyone during PMS week.  I still want to rip The Groper’s head off when I see him strutting around the office like he’s king of the world (he doesn’t talk to me anymore at all… I can only assume that someone blabbed that I was talking myself – and that’s fine).  But I know that Karma will have her day eventually.  And in the meantime, I’m in that little room where the air conditioning doesn’t blow down on me all day like it did before, where no one can hear what I’m listening to when I want my music to be loud, and where, most importantly, no one can harass me anymore unless I leave that little room –which I don’t do very often.

I’ve been waiting for this since I started working there.  I have it.  Housecleaning Part I complete.

Onward to The Trifecta.

 

(To Be Continued)

Noli Me Tangere, Caesaris Sum

I don’t write about work a lot.  For the most part, I tend to follow the cardinal rule of not saying much about where you work.  Because when you post things online they are here forever and you don’t want to get fired.  And this blog is not really a rant about work.  Not directly.  I like my job, I like what I do, I don’t want to stop doing what I do.  The beef I have with work has nothing to do with my job, and it has nothing to do with the company itself.  Both are fine.  Standard.  What you would expect out of corporate America.

I suppose it all starts with the culture of the company that owned the product I work with before.  It was lax.  Like not being at work at all.  And in a lot of ways, that was great – we could drink after 5, they kept beer for us in the fridge.  There is a pool table, darts, and a Wii in the back, we had a fitness center, and when you went on vacation there, you got pranked.  And I’m not talking about someone hid something that was on your desk, I’m talking you come back in from your vacation and your office is flipped onto the ceiling in the mirror image of the way it was on the floor kind of pranking.  It was a fun place to work.  Liberal.  You could say what you wanted, mostly without fear of repercussion.  They just didn’t care.

When the larger company came in and bought the product from the smaller company, they said they wanted to keep the culture.  Most of us were happy about that.  I was happy about that… it meant that I didn’t have to wear business clothes every day.  I could still come in wearing my jeans and flip flops and bum around the office all day barefoot if I wanted to.  If you are a man in that office, things are great.  At one time you could take three hour lunches, get drunk, come back, no one would say anything.  Baseball outings in the middle of the work day for the “boys” weren’t (and still apparently aren’t) uncommon either.  You can have football games in the middle of the atrium.

For a woman, though, in this male dominated office, things are very, very different.  They started out that way… I was hired for my looks.  They made no secret about that.  And I was hired to be a developer’s girlfriend.  They didn’t tell me this until about a year after I got hired there, but it certainly explained why this developer would get drunk, get on World of Warcraft nightly, and profess his love to me while telling me about how he’d had beer and cigarettes for dinner.  Forget the fact that I was seeing someone.  Forget the fact that I was not attracted to him.  Forget the fact that I don’t date people who don’t eat substantial dinners (alcohol is NOT a food group).   It didn’t matter.  I was still fair game.

In this office, if you are a woman, you can’t befriend your male coworkers either.  I made the mistake of trying.   And I am friends with a couple of them – the ones that no longer blatantly try to hit on me and who, if they were ever attracted to me, knew how to keep it in their pants (and I think that attraction has fizzled for the most part).  I wrote last week about the rumors that are being spread… it’s these friendships that I had that started them.  I couldn’t talk to one of them, let alone hang out with one of them, without rumors starting to fly.  Before I knew it, I’d slept with all the men in the office at least once… I am apparently a very busy girl.

Now, I have thick skin.  I learned not to let it bother me.  I knew I wasn’t sleeping with anyone, no one was getting “too” out of hand, and anyway, I’ve been dating one guy or another since I got there (but never anyone I worked with, I do not shit where I eat).  I don’t cheat.  End of story.  As long as I knew it wasn’t true, I told myself, it didn’t matter.   I had my couple of close friends there, they knew the truth, that’s all I cared about.  Everyone else could go to hell.  If I was the subject of conversation at the family Christmas dinners (it was a family-owned company), then so be it.  Worse has been spread about me in my day.  This is minor, and I’m used to creating scandals wherever I go – half of the time never meaning to.

2013 came, I started seeing someone new.  Not unusual for me – though the circumstances this time are a little different.  The people I was closest to knew a little about it… enough so that it was evident that I was attached, waiting for the new guy to get here so we could really meet face to face (yes, it is an internet situation which, again, is not unusual for me).  The reactions I got from my friends there were fine, at first.  Normal, even.

But then I don’t know what happened.  It’s as if the rumors that had been floating around the building about me sleeping with a friend of mine went to his head.  We both knew about it.  The other guys had asked him if we were – he says he told them we absolutely weren’t.  And yet, things were changing.  They were slight at first.  I’d catch him looking at me once in awhile.  Not unusual.  I get looked at a lot.  And anyway he’d ogle the new receptionist more than he’d ogle me (they hire receptionists there to be pieces of meat for the men – seriously).   I asked him once, teasingly, what he was going to look at when they fired her.  He looked at me seriously and said, “You.”  I laughed it off.  Obviously it was a joke.

But it wasn’t.  Looks turned to words.  Words to suggestions.  Suggestions to hypotheticals.  It was all getting out of hand, none of it was encouraged.  At least not on my part.  My silence, my unwillingness to answer these questions, to give specifics, to come over, to hang out, to go out for drinks late at night… obviously I was being coy.  Obviously.  >_>

Worst of all, though, were the seeds of doubt being sown on my current relationship.  How do you know you’re the only one?  Is he REALLY divorced?  How do you know what he’s doing when he’s not talking to you?  How do you know there isn’t someone else?  How do you know he isn’t actually hanging out in someone’s basement?  What are you going to do if he gets here and he’s really short or really bad in bed?  The questions went on and on.  Building and building until finally he offered to buy me plane tickets to go on vacation with him.  Tickets I declined.   And I guess I finally snapped, finally, when he commented about not being able to kiss me goodbye… which would have been out of order at ANY time, but was particularly out of order on that particular day.  I let him know, in no uncertain terms, that it would have been unappreciated at any time… but given the circumstances and given what was going on right that second, he was particularly out of line.

That said, things have changed.   I hadn’t said anything about this to my boyfriend… it was something I could handle on my own, I reasoned, and there was no need to bother him with it.  But with the ridiculousness of the situation beginning to escalate, it was time.  And anyway, the waiting period I’ve been putting in for the last few months is coming to an end.  It is important to me that he trusts me.  If this is going to work, it is time to be more candid.  At least about things that could, potentially, throw a wrench into this relationship if they became misinterpreted or if people in the office start running their mouths with those rumors.

We both agreed that the guy is a dumbass, I’ve begun to isolate myself at work for the time being. When the boyfriend gets back, and after things have settled down a bit, I will look into what other measures there are to take.  I do not know what those might be right now.  Things are so cliquish at the office that reporting it in that atmosphere won’t be possible, but there is corporate HR.  I could leave, too, but I like my job.  I don’t want to leave.  I just want the drama to stop.   So I sit in my corner, quietly, and I watch, bide my time, be political and friendly (but not overly so), and I wait.

And as for those seeds of doubt that the work guy had been trying to plant (and he’s not the only one)… how do I know that none of those things are true?  It’s very simple.  I trust my boyfriend.  And I will continue to trust him until he gives me a reason not to.  Because that’s how this works.  If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything.

My world is about to change soon.  But before that happens, I have one last shoot to do.  I have a few other things that have to be straightened out here, a few final tasks that have to be completed – though most of it is finished now.  And then I am ready.  The world will likely end when I do finally see his face in person, but I am ready.

I belong to Caesar.