Warrior Princess

June 29, 2008

Mint Green

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:19 am
Mint green.  That’s not the right name but that’s what I call it.  I saw a woman on television with a coat that reminded me.  It wasn’t mint green, but that’s what I call it.  I can’t see the color truly, because before I can categorize it,  I’m inhabiting a different space and time in less than a split second.
 
Where is it?  What went on there?  It was not a happy place, not a place for any child to be.  I don’t know who else was there, but there was someone.  I’m too frightened to enter into that moment and define the color.  I call it mint green.
 
I don’t want to know.  It’s been so long since a lost terrifying moment arose from nowhere, spinning back in time.  There are predictable triggers for predictable pasts.  The way the sun shines in a room.  Picking up a stick in the yard.  These things shove me back into long ago that seems like right now.  But mint green.  That’s something new.
 
Having entered that space and time for less than a split second, several times now, there will be no stopping it.  Whether I ever remember the place or what went on there, mint green will always invite a flashback.
 
That’s how trauma goes. 
 
I was going somewhere with that sentence, but before I could finish, I was numb.  Magically, I’m dissociated.  Of course, that’s how trauma is, too.

June 27, 2008

All Quiet in Crazy Land

Wednesday was Receptionist’s last day.  Owner wouldn’t allow anyone to know other than Superhighway, Mr. Moneybags and me.  On her final day, I sent Owner an email asking if I could say goodbye to her.  He told me I could if I was careful not to let anyone else hear.  I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.

Though she doesn’t know it, today is Crazy Employee’s last day.  You know I’m very ambivalent about her.  My therapist thinks she’s a sociopath; I believe she’s probably right.  Nonetheless, I’m feeling sad.  (I’m also trying to think of how I can be someplace else when Crazy is presented with her personal belongings already packed up and told to hit the road, jack.)

I complained, bewildered, to my therapist last week that it’s so unlike me to be so emotional about what happens here in Crazy Land.  I make a concerted effort to keep people at arm’s length.  I make a concerted effort to hide myself from them.  It’s one of the things I’m very very good at–when at work, I’m in thinking mode.  I inhabit a role familiar from childhood.  I stand back and watch…then I tell you about the absurdity and humor.  I do not emotionally participate.

Therapist told me that part of my transformational experience of breast cancer is that I have less control over the arm’s-length thing.  She believes it’s a manifestation of my true nature.  Well, damn.  I don’t think I like this part of the transformation.  Can’t I just return to the way I used to be?

The only people here today are Crazy, Loathsome, Foot Lady and me.  It’s a silent office.  The quiet makes my sadness  loud.

June 25, 2008

Bad Truck Karma, I Guess

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:03 am

Yesterday was Truck Day in Crazy Land.  Late yesterday afternoon, I got a call from the Branch Manager in Virginia to report the theft of one of our trucks from our client’s site.  They noticed it missing yesterday morning, but thought it might be “lost.”  They searched everywhere, he told me, and finally decided to report the truck stolen.  I got Branch Manager’s call a couple of hours later.  He wanted to know if there was anything else he should do.  Well, yes.  That’s why we have insurance.

It’s 10:00 o’clock and I have now spent two hours trying to find the correct person to talk with at our insurance company.  I still don’t have it.  By the time I get that information, they’ll have already found the stupid truck.  This isn’t even something I do.  I’m the Workers’ Comp person, not the Liability, Business Auto, everything else person.  Nonetheless, if I get a call about any of those issues, I’m duty bound to take care of it.  I hate it that I’m so responsible and accommodating.

The other big truck news from yesterday involved our 1986 flat bed truck.  We have four flatbeds  in town, but the other three are in use at clients’ sites.  We’ve have a project in a city about 40 miles from here that requires some (apparently) rather large items from our warehouse.  I didn’t even know we still have a warehouse.

The Ladies’ Man had some help getting everything loaded up on the truck and set off to the client’s site.  He got there, but as he drove into the parking lot, the elderly truck gave up the ghost.  Ladies’ Man tried several times to start it, but had no luck.  Unfortunately for him, he had to get Loathsome involved at that point.

Loathsome’s solution was to get in his own truck and head on out to try to jump start it.  That didn’t work, either.  I saw them both arrive here at the office around 2:00, when the temperature was somewhere in the upper 90’s and the heat index around 100 degrees.  Ladies’ Man left his truck, got into Loathsome’s and off they went.  LM looked like he might prefer to have a stroke or massive cardiac event.

They drove the 40 miles back to the parking lot, unloaded whatever it was they had on the flatbed and loaded into other trucks (not flatbeds).  This morning, the flatbed is still taking up way too much space in our client’s parking lot.  Both the Ladies’ Man and Loathsome are completely humiliated.

Another hour has come and gone.   I’ve just had my fourth phone call with our insurance rep who still can’t tell me who the go to person is for my auto claim.  It feels like home.  Crazy Land is everywhere.

June 24, 2008

Something Helpless

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are but princesses that are waiting to see us act just once with beauty and courage.  Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest essence, something helpless that needs our love.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others. Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.
Pema Chodron, In the Gap Between Right and Wrong

June 20, 2008

Living in the Crazy Land Demilitarized Zone

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 8:13 pm

Christopher Knight.  A guy who’s made a surprisingly successful career out of having absolutely nothing to offer.

I, on the other hand, am living in Crazy Land.  Where are you living?  Wouldn’t you like to have a fabulous career as You?

Crazy Land has turned into the Mekong Delta of the business world.  My office is the official Demilitarized Zone.  Is there a war?  Sorry.  I don’t want to play.

The tension in the office is so high that the minute I walk in the door, it feels like a steamroller mowing me down.  By the end of the day, I’m depressed and exhausted from it.  I’ve been coming home and crying to release stress.  And doing yoga.  And doing weights.  And cumbia!

Owner and Mr. Moneybags are at each other constantly.  Doors are ominously closed, day after day.  In the morning, the Information Superhighway fills me in on the latest skirmish.

Some of my favorite characters (though not necessarily people I particularly want to hang out with) are going–Foot Lady, our lovely and brilliant receptionist whom I truly love, and…Crazy Employee.  I’m a little ambivalent about Crazy.  Let’s face it–her antics can be quite amusing.  On the other hand, I have to office right next to her and she is crazy.

I’m too tired tonight to tell the long and complicated war story.  I’m also attempting to tame my own issues so that I can think about it clearly.  Thinking about the uselessness of Christopher Knight is about all I can muster right now.

June 18, 2008

The NBA Championship…and Tim Russert

Filed under: Basketball, Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:55 pm

Proving once again that Kobe Bryant is completely lacking in leadership skills.  Without a doubt, he should never ever be compared to Michael Jordan.   The Celtics relentlessly shut him down.

You have to wonder if this will spell the end of Kobe’s relationship with the Lakers.  It’s far more palatable to say offensive things about management when you bring home an NBA Championship.  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s bye-bye to the “greatest player on the planet.”

The Lakers collapsed as if they’d been sucked into a black hole of basketball.  Aside from my fondness for Luke Walton, very little could make me happier.  Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and all the other Celtics (especially the “old” guys, like Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown)  absolutely made my month.  If only the Lakers could have shown up to play a competitive game.  Obviously I’m thrilled about the Celtics’ win, but ultimately I’m always on the side of a great game.

On a less jubilant note, could we please stop with the canonization of Tim Russert?  Of course, I’m sorry about his untimely death.  I’m sorry for his loved ones, friends and co-workers.  But people die every day who are much younger and who’ve had far less fulfilling lives.

I watched Tim Russert for a while.  I found him lacking in intellectual rigor.  Calling his interview with W. a series of softballs would be an enormous understatement.  I never watched him again.  His reputation amongst other news people as an unbiased, independent thinker is baffling to me.

If we wished to celebrate the life of a great conservative thinker, we should have devoted more time to William F. Buckley.  He was brilliant, an original.  I rarely agreed with his positions, but I watched his weekly show for years.  Maybe that’s part of my resentment of the relentless coverage of Russert’s death.  I respected Buckley and was dazzled by his intellect.  I never saw him suck up to anyone he interviewed or debated.

Enough of my little tirade, though.  On the Crazy Land front, we’ll be a little less nutty soon.  I’ll update as events unfold.

June 16, 2008

Cumbia

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Crazy Land, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:11 am

I’ve been missing in action for a while because there are a lot of things going on in Crazy Land.  I’m still puzzling out what I feel comfortable writing about in that regard.

Here’s something I can talk about–I did one of my salsa exercise dvds on Friday and rediscovered the joy of working out.  I had such fun!  It’s been three years since I’ve been able to use any of  my dance work out dvds.  It was breathtaking!  I may be phasing out the bike on Fridays so I can have more fun doing cardio work.  Until last Friday, my weekly schedule was weights on Mondays, yoga on Wednesdays (I recently switched from power yoga to gentle yoga) and the bike for 30 minutes on Fridays.

Hubby points out that I may lose some ground after surgery in July.  No one is more aware of that than I.  It may not be that bad, though.  After my joyous workout on Friday, I decided I definitely won’t have the donor site surgery.  I think the other stuff is “minor” enough that recovery won’t be too long and hard.

I’m helping to answer the phones this morning because we’re missing several people.  I need more endorphins.  Maybe I’ll just Cumbia around my office a couple of times.

June 12, 2008

Bad Vibes

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:03 am

Yes, I’m tired.  I just spent 45 minutes with Mr. Moneybags and the Superhighway, listening to their summary of the two hour meeting they had with Owner yesterday.  The onslaught of anger sucked the life right out of me.

We’re having another birthday party today.  I expect Owner to be in an exceptionally foul mood, given the past two days he’s spent listening to how dire our future is if we don’t cut expenses.  We’re having my favorite for lunch–seafood.  At this moment, though, I’m not sure if grilled rainbow trout is worth all the trouble.  You know it has to be bad when I can’t even find any hope for sardonic humor in the situation or in the prospect of having pie.

On the up side, it’s NBA night.  Go Celtics.

June 10, 2008

The Crazy Land Carnival Ride

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed this week.  It’s a combination of things–the upcoming surgery and a veritable avalanche of Crazy Land projects, all large and viciously complex.  I note a return of the crying behavior, but not quite as bad as the long crying jag of recent vintage.

Enough of that, though.  Here in Crazy Land, we’re feeling the economic pinch.  Of course, that’s always been the nature of our business.  The proverbial feast or famine.  These are the leanest of times, primarily because of a top-heavy corporate staff and a dwindling contractor base as our clients scurry off to Asia where the labor is cheap, the environmental regulations nonexistent.

Accordingly, Mr. Moneybags and the Information Superhighway had a meeting with Owner yesterday.  If the Accounting Office were a small village, it would be razed and smoldering from the onslaught.  I’m intimately familiar with Owner’s slash and burn marathon management style.  I’ve spent many hours poring over invoices and expenses.  When I was the sole employee, entire days used to be devoted to sitting in Owner’s office as he worked himself into a frenzy of cost cutting.

He’s demanded an armload of documents.  Moneybags and the Superhighway are exhausted from merely keeping track of the action items.  By the time the meeting was over, they both felt personally assaulted.  Sometimes Owner’s anxiety expresses itself as anger.  Woe to those who must sit in an office with him as he works through his stress.

Meanwhile, the City Utility service has been digging up the side street next to our building.  We weren’t able to even empty the dumpster for a month.  The truck couldn’t get access to our parking lot.   They’ve also been digging up the freshly laid sod across the street that runs in front of our building, after a year of excavation and construction of a park, a lake, expensive and “affordable” homes, a very large strip mall and some medical facilities thrown in for good measure.  The dearth of planning by the Utility department has infuriated me for years.  I can go on about it just as long as I can rant and rave about the death penalty and toll roads.    Ask my husband.  He’s spent hours trapped in cars with me while I railed on and on and on.

The dust has almost killed some of us off.  We have several people who suffer from asthma who’ve been through multiple bouts of bronchitis brought on by the endless digging.  They finally installed the new sewer lines, though, and the City is now reconstructing the side road.  The machinery they use to accomplish this has been shaking the building.  All day long we’ve been treated to a rumbling sound and intermittent vibration.  I shudder to think what it must be like on the ground floor.  It’s a little like trying to type while sitting on one of those old vibrating beds.

Finally.  Crazy Land is now a very large carnival ride.  Strap on your seat belts and hang on.

June 4, 2008

Surgery, Round 4

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:53 am

I’ve been complaining for weeks about not hearing from Dr. Kronowitz to set a surgery date.  Yesterday, Brenda left a message on the machine requesting that I call her to discuss Dr. K’s  schedule.  I was immediately plunged into depression.

I don’t have to do this.  I could allow the necrotic tissue to remain.  Dr. Kronowitz suggested doing some scar revision on the tummy tuck.  He said the scars might come back, though, and it will definitely be painful.   I tried to think clearly about it last night, to determine whether I’d be sorry if I didn’t do either one.

The brain was already hunkered down, trying to steel the body for the coming onslaught.  I’m familiar with the mental strength that must be marshaled to get through the pain, though it most certainly will be pain of a variety I’ve already experienced.

At this moment, I don’t think I can stand another abdominal surgery.  Certainly a few more steroid injections might help with the pain I still experience over both of my hips.  I plan to ask Brenda about whether surgery ultimately will be more efficacious in resolving this chronic pain.  My guess is that it won’t.

I can’t speculate on how much of a toll surgery will take on my energy level, which is being managed relatively well with Ritalin.  I need to carry on with my life and that requires that I’m not burdened with insurmountable fatigue.

I’ve worked so hard the past several months to regain strength, stamina and mobility.  I wonder how much will remain after the surgery.  Of course, I will start rebuilding again as soon as I’m able.  Right now, I need to come to terms with the loss.

I can elect to move on and leave things as they are.  I regularly remind myself of that fact.  Just as regularly, my thought process shuts down.  I know I will have the necrotic tissue removed.  I like to think that in the dissociative silence settling over me that my brain is sending messages to this body beaten down by three years of medical assault.  It’s reminding the body that I can get through this.

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