Part of me feels like this has been the longest three months of my life, and another part of me can’t believe it’ll be April tomorrow.
Our four day weekend was, in a word: fat. And in two words fat, sick. All last week my allergies had been awful – giant sneezes every two minutes, coughing, fuzzy head, sore throat, all the good stuff. And of course, I woke up on the first day of the weekend at 4:30 AM, basically unable to breathe and freaking out over a nightmare I had about an unfinished work project. So I decided to make the most of it – I made tea, swallowed a cocktail of decongestants and allergy meds, and read some Cormac McCarthy.
The rest of the weekend was spent brunching with family, eating some amazing dinners (and maybe some amazing take out pizza), so many hot cross buns, and possibly our weight in chocolate eggs.
The rest of the weekend was spent lounging in sweatpants. And it was everything I needed it to be and more – lots of reading, lots of movies, lot of figuring out the basics of Illustrator –
Oh, and I went ruthless with another closet purge – but more on that later. On Sunday night, I finally convinced Joel to give Game of Thrones a shot. So we spent Monday finishing the first season. Now we’re 2/3 of the way through the second season. With courage and determination, I’m sure we can watch the next 3 seasons before April 24.
So yeah. Not a whole lot to report. I didn’t get to skype with anyone back home (see: sick), but I did get in a lot of reflecting and talking to Joel about getting a grip on my nerves and making some kind of balance in my life. Basically, it’s just going to take some hard work for a while to get into a routine that lets me work, lets me write, lets me live, and lets me take care of myself, and lets me do it successfully. But it can be done. Sheeeit. I’m not the first person who’s ever had to multi-task.
There’s currently 3 weeks of laundry to take to the laundromat, a story to revise, a monthly budget to make, work to prepare, writer’s groups to research, and most importantly – three seasons of Game of Thrones to watch.
If this was real life, this would have popped up at least 57x at work in the last 3 months. It’s been busy. And the work/life balance has been a bit skewed lately. And let’s just pretend that 5 days of writing / 2 days off / 1 day of writing / 9 days off is totally a normal schedule.
But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… The end of my never-ending To Do list is in sight, a quiet period where we get to regroup is coming soon, and tomorrow is the last day of work before a 4 day weekend for Easter – which, by the way, kinda makes up for not having a Thanksgiving break (and if we lived in Tasmania, we’d get a 5 day weekend – what!)
If you need me, I’ll be holding my breath that I finish this list before 5:30 PM tomorrow.
Also, here is my new favourite photo of Joel and me, and the story behind its melted look.
So, this app is pretty awesome. It’s taken me a while to figure out the tricks, and it’s taken me longer to figure out how to remind myself to take video everyday – which really is the hardest part if we’re being honest, but I’m getting the hang of it. I’m kicking myself for all the great moments I didn’t film, but hey – lessons learned.
Kinda totally loving this.
Also update: I wrote every day from Tuesday – Friday, took the weekend off, and wrote again today. #heckyes
Every night as I’m falling asleep, I go over everything I did wrong that day.
And I mean – everything. I know that focusing on the negative is a guaranteed way to make me feel like shit, but hey – some depressive habits are hard to break.
Most of the time it’s things like “why did I eat a whole cake” or “why did I think it was a good idea to skip taking a shower” or “oh shit I forgot to call/email/schedule so and so” and “hey you didn’t work out – that’s the 362nd time this year.”. But always, always, “why didn’t I write today?” “I should have blogged about that.” “I could have made a post about that.”
I make no secret of my Writer’s Block that somehow morphed into an utter Creative Block which then morphed into Near-Paralytic-Anxiety When Opening WordPress Block. I can blame it on work stress, self-esteem, watching too much TV, not having the right kind of fuzzy socks to wear – anything – but the bottom line is I allowed myself to get lazy. I let myself fall into the “it’s easier to watch re-runs of The Wire than it is to sit down for an hour and write. So now I’m not only physically out of shape, but I’m mentally out of shape. And it’s been a struggle to do anything that requires creative brain power.
I had a white hot flash of inspiration (RIP Miss Lee) in December when I re-vamped my work space and made a plan to get myself back on track (new stationery = mega inspiration). Then I got distracted with the move. Then we didn’t have internet. Then I was working 12-15 hour days. I had more excuses to not do anything than I knew what to do with.
But on Monday, I had a rough day. Just rough all around. And as I was going to bed, Joel and I were having a pow wow, and I realised yet again that I’m still not writing, still not working toward what I want to be. And I’m still unhappy about it. And then I said out loud, “I’m not even trying. And I haven’t tried. I’m upset with myself because I haven’t tried. And really, I could just stop. Just work forever and that’ll be it.” And I felt painfully unhappy.
And something finally snapped within me. I have to try. I have to force myself to make shit happen, because it obviously won’t happen on its own. Joel told me “just write. Write a story. Not a blog. What’s your story called?”
“uh… Tacos at Night”
“What’s it about?”
“I don’t know – a cat?”
“…ok. Write it.”
So I did. I got home from work the next day, changed, and sat down and wrote for an hour. I made Joel (who barely slept and worked a longer day than me) make dinner and barely said hi to him when he walked in. I didn’t write a blog. I didn’t write an essay. I didn’t do stream of consciousness. Or a prompt. I started a story. And it felt great.
As I went to bed, I felt good about myself. And I remembered this article I read about a writer who fell into a similar hole. She made a tiny writing area in her closet, and sat in there with just her typewriter for an hour a day and wrote. After a few weeks, she got back into the habit of thinking and working like a writer. The time constraints helped her a) bang out ideas, and b) stop before she got burnt out and deleted everything. And it wasn’t long until writing stopped being something she dreaded, and something she looked forward to.
Today, I got home from work, changed, ate dinner, and wrote for an hour on the same story. Then I broke out Illustrator and dusted off my tablet and played with that all night. It also feels pretty great.
So I’m making a new routine for myself. Writing for an hour every day – no more no less. I hope it leads to advances in that whole “more hustle; less sweat pants” resolution I made in January.
If I can keep this up over the weekend, maybe I’ll be able to keep it up for the rest of the month. And if I can keep it up for the rest of the month, WHO KNOWS what will happen. Maybe I can start working on some goals – like how many stories can I write every month? Will I ever get back into the ‘sending out pieces for submission’ stage of my life? But for now, baby steps.
Let’s get through tomorrow. And Friday.
And I have it documented here so I can feel nice and shamed if I fall off track. Woo!
On Friday night, my beloved laptop’s hard drive had a stroke.
And I was sad. Sad for the obvious reason that I’m totally reliant on this very valuable piece of machinery, but also sad because I’m ridiculously sentimental and I’ve had it for years through myriad adventures.
Thankfully – it wasn’t a complete catastrophe. Even though I’m just about the worst at remembering to back up, it just so happens that I did a major back up of all my documents and photos in January. And I hit another stroke of good luck by being “too busy” “too tired” and “too lazy” to start any major projects since I did a back up in January, or to upload my photos from my camera or my phone, so I only lost a few goofy photos on my photo booth.
There was nothing to be done to save the little guy, so my only option was to buy a new computer. Well, or just not have a computer.
Onward we trekked to the Apple store (I’m a hopeless convert), where I was totally cool and knew exactly what I was talking about. Except the opposite.
I’m not cool enough to own Apple products (seriously, I typed “Mac Store” before I realised “no, that’s not what it’s called.”). And walking into the Apple Store makes me feel like they know it, and they’re like a second away from asking me to leave. I also feel like the little that I do know about technology gets reduced to knowing nothing. Usually after the second question about what I need I’ll end up stammering and pointing at what I want, like it’s 2AM and I’m drunk at Denny’s and trying to order a Moons Over My Hammy. And yesterday was no exception. Exhibit A, my exchange with our super hip Apple Guy:
Apple Guy: So what do you need your computer for?
Me: oh… um word processing, internet, Paint Brush…
Apple Guy: Paint Brush?
Me: Yeah, like Microsoft Paint?
Apple Guy: *blinks slowly* Oh, yeah… Yes, thank you. Now show me how to get on the world wide web and the amazon dot com.
Exhibit B –
Apple Guy: The hard drive died?
Me: Yeah… it was like… it uh… JOEL????
Exhibit C –
Apple Guy: These silicone covers also have a shock absorption inside, so if the computer is dropped or you put your carrying case down too hard, or anything like that, it’s protected.
Me: (interrupting) does it come in other colours?
I’m pretty sure he thought I was going to take home this very nice computer and use it just for Twitter*. So now I have a flashy, fancy, new baby. And a fancy, flashy new payment plan. I’m excited to have a computer that will be able to handle Illustrator and Photoshop, because those are cool programs to know anyway, but those kind of skills would be super sexy on my resume, too. And just for a split second, my old computer’s hard drive came to life under Joel’s wizardry, and he did a full back for me. But not too long after that, the hard drive crashed again. It was like he came back to life for one last moment. And now, all is well.
Welcome to the family, Alfred P. Mac-ulon. I hope you and your new pal, WORKING HARD DRIVE THAT I WILL STORE ALL MY WORK ON INSTEAD OF ON MY DESK TOP (I need to remember to do this, guys), become fast friends.
*jokes on him, I’m also going to use it for Googling celebrities.
I’ll never take unmetered internet for granted ever again. On Saturday I had a two hour phone chat with my parents, and it was glorious.
It’s been a while, huh? Yes. So let’s catch up!
Moving – We moved on the hottest weekend in January, and I had an estimated 442 panic attacks that weekend. I was nervous about what Joel would think of the place, whether our stuff would fit, if the removalists would show, if they’d steal our stuff, whether I’d love it as much as I remembered… it’s always a risk when you move, but the risk is a bit bigger when you and your partner have signed a lease and you’re the only one who’s seen it.
But, all’s well that ends well. This is possibly the most organised move I’ve ever had. For the first time in my life I woke up on moving day with only the “can’t be packed until last minute” items left unpacked. Joel was a little skeptical of the size when we first walked in, and I’ll admit, I was too. With no furniture in it, the place looked even smaller than it is. Our removalists were late (expected) and manipulated me into accepting being overcharged by $100 (also expected – and after some rationalising I’m ok with this. Well, mostly. It was a hot day and we were their 3rd move and we had stairs, but they weren’t without their faults and – let’s not get into it).
At the end of the day though, as we ate pizza on the floor, we were happy. And a month later, we still are. It’s a different energy and a different feeling than in Balmain. And since it’s an old building, full of quirks too. Our water temperature is Hoth or Center of the Sun, the toilet runs if you don’t release the flush at a precise moment, most of our windows either don’t open or don’t stay open without spacers, our bedroom balcony door leaks when it rains, there’s a ghost living in our shower, we hear our neighbors above us when they shuffle their feet – the usual.
We haven’t replaced our washer yet (I learned the “measure important spaces” rule the hard way), but there’s a laundromat not too far from where we live, and it’s never crowded. And to dry off with a dryer dried towel after not having dryer dried towels for a year and a half was almost a religious experience.
Time to get real (i.e. shallow) I’ve always wanted to live in a historic building, in a place with high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and pipes, beams, and track lighting. The large covered patio and bedroom Juliet balcony are just bonuses.
This is turning really smug, really quick, and I’m sorry – but not sorry. It’s important to love the place you call home. And I really feel like I can call this place home.
Ikea – We decided to splurge a bit at Ikea for a new couch and a new bookshelf. I love Ikea. Joel does not. But we braved the Scandanavian wonderland on a Saturday morning and emerged with a new couch, bookshelf, lamp, and night stands.
A weekend devoted to Ikea shopping and Ikea construction and reorganising and rearranging? My inner Monica Gellar was all yesssssssss.
Work – So. Busy. Since mid-January. Re-launching a website and releasing a new product line at the same time = many long days/nights, weekend time working, migraines and actually – insane amounts of excitement. I have a really great job with amazing people. After all, I’ve pulled the same long hours in the same high stress environment in different jobs and have felt completely alone.
I’ve been with this team for 4 months, and most days, it feels like I’ve been there for years. Other days, it feels like I’ve only been there for 4 months. It’s frustrating to be a Noob, but I’m learning more every day. Getting more knowledgable about advertising and marketing (which will shock college Audrey – who transferred schools because the communications program she started to major in was going to focus on marketing), design, photography, and how to run a small business. My boss is inspiring, and the company I work for makes so proud. It’s a good fit.
Summer – we were fortunate enough to have really mild start to the summer, but now we’re making up for lost time. Most of February has been a damp, humid mess. But to be honest, I’ve been so distracted with work that I haven’t really noticed. And since we moved, my twice a day showers haven’t been needed quite as often. But still – I’m so glad for cooler temps coming in about a month.
oh, and the cold weather that will hopefully kill off the cockroaches that I now see almost every day. /shudder
And what else…
Actually – that about catches you up.
Since January, it’s all been planning to move or moving or unpacking or not having enough internet or working long hours and burning through our expendable energy. I wore myself out to the point where a greasy cookie and a few drinks of sour milk in my coffee sent me into a six hour bout of food poisoning. I think I’ve definitely learned over the past few months that I can’t run on empty anymore. That whole “work/life” balance thing that my boss keeps insisting I implement might be a good idea.
But now, it’s the first day of March. It’s the first day of Autumn. The dust is settling, and I’m looking forward to the end of summer (i.e. humidity) – even though I’ve done nothing I thought I would this summer. Woooops