So there's that. A new pope. He's from Argentina. I am almost waiting for someone to do a YouTube video of him on the papal balcony with a dub of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Almost. Yeah. I'm a bad Catholic, but then we knew that. I'm so far from the religion of my birth, I'm starting to look at it mostly objectively. There's still much navel gazing to happen about that though.
"Navel gazing." I used that phrase at work today and my office neighbor looked at me like I had sprouted antlers. He has apparently never heard the phrase before. Both my boss and I thought that was incredibly odd. And funny.
I like my boss. He's from Guyana and has this interesting way of relating to the world. He grew up in the Caribbean in the British school system, so he's incredibly well read. He is the type of person who will randomly research a topic that strikes his fancy. It doesn't matter what it is. He was a teacher for a while too. And now 11 years in positions of increasing responsibility at my company from its inception. He's reminding me what it's like to have a manager who will actually challenge you and push you to your potential. It's kind of cool. Ok. It's a lot cool!
My job. My job is incredibly challenging right now on many levels. This is the first job I've had where I manage people. And the first job where I had to fire someone who worked for me. That's no fun. Not that I ever thought it would be, but man. Wow. Hard. Especially since personally I like the woman. The fit just wasn't right. So now I'm interviewing people and that's just as hard as interviewing yourself. Not only am I trying to find someone who will be the right person for this incredibly high volume, fast paced administrative position in a highly unstructured environment (one of my tasks when I have someone is actually to bring some structure to the function), but I have to sell this job to people who might, just might succeed at the job without running screaming from the building in a month. And still be honest about the position. It's ... interesting. When I've been asked to describe the environment, I've taken to saying, "Imagine you're in the circus. Now picture yourself juggling balls, spinning plates, and teaching elephants to fly." What I don't say is that oh, by the way, every so often, one of the elephants bursts into flame for no apiary reason. Sounds like fun, no? But then we all knew I was a little touched in the head. ;-)
Let's see... What else? Oh. Hrm. I went to the shore house for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. I was helping my folks and my sister pack things up and move things. See... The house is being knocked down. Soonish. My dad found a builder to take half of the land in exchange for building a house on the other half. So this was the beginning of saying goodbye to the house and, in a way, my childhood.
Walking into the house was like a blow. The first floor has been gutted. It had flooded with bay water and sewage. So everything on the first floor had to go. There was nothing left but the wood framing, the cinder lock outer walls, and the wood floor. All of the light fixtures are gone. All of the appliances and cabinetry. The funky paneling over the fireplace was really all that remained familiar. It looked so out of place and lonely. It was all I could do not to break into gut wrenching sobs at the loss. I had dreaded that day, but it had to be faced. So I faced it. I swallowed my tears and plowed on because I was there to help. It was hard. Especially seeing the look on my mom's face as she tried to swallow her tears. And watching my dad and my sister go all Klinger stoic. We each deal with loss in our own ways. So I'll take private moments to grieve for the loss of childhood, store and savor my memories, and look to the future and creating new memories.
Once the initial emotional punch had passed, there was just too much to do. Upstairs is its own special kind of disaster area. The second floor was untouched and has become a storage area and staging space for the stuff from those rooms and my sister's shop. After helping my sister move stuff back to her shop, I packed books all afternoon. If this had been my house or my parents' main house, it would have taken weeks. Still, there were at least 12 boxes of books - beach reading and children's books - and more to be packed from the studio. Huge, awkwardly sized art books mostly.
Now I'm trying to figure out exactly when I can go down again and help my sister. She needs the help. A lot. The goal is to get the shop ready to open for Memorial Day. Which means I really should be down there every weekend helping her and giving her support. And I know because I'm not, I'm letting her down and I'm a Bad Sister(tm). Thing is - and maybe I'm making excuses - early on I kept asking, "What do you need? How can I help?" I kept getting no response or, worse, non-committal responses. I also know that when I've tried to just insert my help into the family equation, I've been rebuffed. So... I've learned not to. And it's a vicious spiral of self-recrimination and second guessing myself. Frankly, I'm sick of it. I have told my family that I love them and I will do what I can, but they need to a) tell me what they need and b) let me help.
Ever get the idea that somewhere along the way, you picked up a label in your family that's just ever so slightly... off? I feel that way with mine. I feel as though they have me labeled in their collective minds as a delicate flower who can't take the harsh realities of life. Honestly, if that were true, I would have never made it past middle school. I mean come on. Really? Some of the crap I've been through in the last 40-odd years while not always Oprah-worthy (thank God!) was definitely trying and has sorely tested my mettle. But here I stand, alive and kicking.
Writing has been happening in sporadic bursts. Poetry, new stories, short scenes usually... It's good and always makes me feel better when I can write.
I've joined the gym again. While I haven't gone this week, I do enjoy it first thing in the morning. I'll go tomorrow if I can pry myself out of bed in the morning. The time shift has really screwed with my biorhythms. Again. It gets harder and harder to deal with as I age. I'd love to be back up to running 30 minutes straight by the time the summer gets here. I think I need new shoes.
Swimming really lets you know how far out of shape you really are too. Omg. Ow.
I am so sick of having constant congestion and coughing. It's a dry cough now. The humidifier isn't helping anymore. I know it's just the progress of this particular bug but man it's annoying!
Things spiritual have taken a back seat for now. That's not to say I'm not paying attention and feeding my spiritual self, but it does mean I'm feeling less in tune with that aspect of myself right now. And that's ok. I know I'll get back there again, I just need for the spiritual to not be so incredibly intense for a little while.
And we have a new pope. It should be interesting to see if the Italians think they can control him.
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