Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Unwelcome news... and incitement to stop procrastinating

I have about two weeks' vacation stored up (a little over a year's worth of accrual) that I'd been saving for a mammoth friend-visiting trip all over the US, but had been putting off due to work, work, and well, work. Since October fell through, my next plan was whenever Willy Week is in 2007.

Then at work last month they told us that since we merged with another part of the company, we had new benefits, and one of the changes was that our vacation would no longer roll over. So I have until 1 Jan 2007 to take 10 vacation days... in the six weeks with the highest density of company holidays in the year.

And, not surprisingly, each of those few free weeks is filling up quickly... just today I heard about two "absolutely necessary" happenings at work during my only possible vacation week.

The reassuring thing is that we will get paid for our unused vacation in salary equivalent.
But I don't need the money.
I need the time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

On to October!

The last week of September consisted of pulling extremely long hours trying to prepare the schedule for our annual Road Rally. Then, if you know me, you know what happened the week after...

I got sick.

I couldn't get out of bed for 3.5 days (luckily - or unluckily? - two of those were weekend days), right before Road Rally. I kept promising The Big H I'd be healthy in time to go because I had a feeling it would come back to hurt me later if I didn't. I knew from previous experiences that he expected a good engineer to suck it up and get the job done regardless of failures of the flesh.

Instead, I was told not to be selfish, and not to put my personal wishes above what's best for the team.

This, my friends, is proof that a girl just can't win. If I'd really been selfish, I would have skipped the whole thing and gone to a best friend's wedding that weekend (note to self: get your friggin' priorities straight).

Well, regardless, I had committed to Road Rally instead. My health improved enough to get me through, and it was a good experience. God punished me, however, for missing Loni's wedding by arranging for my cell phone (w/ my best photos) to fall into a port-o-john in San Diego at the same time the wedding was beginning in Lexington. *sigh* More proof.

On the other hand, I was able to have dinner with my old college friend Elisabeth, who I hadn't seen in years and who had just recently relocated to San Diego. It was great seeing her again - we laughed and laughed, as we always do on those rare occasions when we meet up in various corners of the country. We've run into each other in Houston, Albany, and San Diego - where next, Minneapolis? It was also interesting (and shocking) to hear how her family and friends were affected by Hurricane Katrina - it's one thing to hear about it on the news, and quite another when it directly impacts someone you know. I can't imagine what they went through.

The week after that, as you can imagine, was solely for recovery. Big H gave us a day off to make up for the working weekend. I had several plans for that day, but ended up unconscious (either in bed or in front of the TV) for most of it. But I discovered the joy that is Arrested Development. This is Exhibit C in the case that Fox carries - AND prematurely cancels - the best shows on television (Exhibit A: Firefly, Exhibit B: Futurama).

I finally went back to choir, after missing three rehearsals in a row. You may know that I sing in a mostly Mormon choir (which MK calls the Tabernacle). The first was because I was sick, the second because I was at Road Rally, and the third because they changed location and I didn't know (MK thinks they were playing Ditch the Heathen). But I'm glad I'm finally back in because we are doing parts of Messiah and I love it more than a heathen probably should. Also, we are singing (among others) O Holy Night and Angels We Have Heard on High which, if I have to sing carols, are good ones. And when you sing with the Tabernacle at a winter concert, you know there are going to be carols.

It's been a long September and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last

So I promised to catch up before I fell too far behind. But I'm going to be cagey about the rest of September because it mostly involves my work (which is not uncommon these days). But believe me that the middle two weeks of this month were packed with travel, work, and serious overtime.

I did spend one night in Las Vegas as part of this travel. Everyone else had already been there a million times (crazy Southern Californians!), but I've never even set foot in Nevada. Luckily for me, my colleague and friend Crizzaig promised me a personal tour of the strip. "But first, a drink!" he proclaimed. Well, one drink turned into two, which turned into four, which turned into a promise to drive down it the next morning before we left (and a glass of the most extraordinary champagne to soften the blow - my one drink for the evening). Well, when the next morning came, I tried to collect, but Crizzaig wasn't there. Instead, I got told by Boo-Radley that tickets from Sac to Vegas are, like, five dollars.

The next day was the last day of the trip, and the guys were planning on celebrating the project completion by taking a swim in the pool. "But first, a drink!" Which turned into two drinks, which... well, you know the story. We ended up playing pool, but not actually going in one - which was just fine with me because the only suit I packed was my birthday suit and I certainly wasn't going to wear THAT to the pool!

After that was another of my regular trips to Detroit for SAE. And I have to say that Detroit Airport Smith Terminal is not only the crappiest terminal in the Free World, it also has the worst food. But the J-Man and I made up for it with our obligatory trip to La Shish, home of the creamiest hummus this side of Morocco and the famous gut-busting (so I hear) Flaming Tower (the J-staff insist on calling it La Shi-Shi, which I find rather funny because "shi-shi" means "pee-pee" in Japanese).

After the regular interminable delays in Chicago, I got home, and had to put in some serious face time with the katz to make them stop hating me for being gone so long. Feeding them soft food again helped. Dusty got in a fight, and the writhing furball that was this other cat and him rolled into the street and almost got hit by a car, so I put him under house arrest for a while.