9

If Anything Else Breaks…

How I would typically describe my job: Rarely boring or mundane.eow

Now, the fact that I don’t get bored is a major bonus. If there’s one thing that makes me cranky and irritable, it’s boredom. I have a list of things I want to do rather than sit on my ass staring at a white wall for 8 hours, so if I’m at work I want to be doing something. In this respect, my facilities job is absolutely brilliant for my personality. One day is never identical to the next (this isn’t to say we don’t have our down time- I’m pretty sure I could have gone screaming Christmas carols down the hall on Christmas Eve and nobody would have heard me), but it’s still contained in an organized combination of tasks, which I then create lists and spreadsheets for. It really appeals to the crazy organized side of me. Can you say color coding? However, there are days, days when I’d really like to take all of my beautifully organized and labeled folders and CHUCK them at the next thing that breaks. Or the roach I just saw crawl across the floor. But that’s why I write. So I don’t get roach guts on my folders.

The Week of the Urinals: Have you ever had a multi-floor urinal clog? It’s not pretty. Flooding is involved and a lot of cleaning is required. It makes your typical clog look like a walk through the park and suddenly Drain-O just isn’t cutting it. Call in the big guns.

clog

Code Name Mr. Jingles: There be mice. And roaches. They might be in your kitchen or cubicle. We apologize but alas there’s a bulldozer destroying The Everything outside, so they’re going to come in here. It’s also below freezing, where would you run?

Calling for Comfort: This is a constant struggle but you have 2 options. Would you prefer Dante’s Inferno or the Arctic Tundra. Your choice.

therm

Cry Me a River: No, really. There’s a river coming from the kitchen down the hallway. I’d recommend lifting your feet and potentially rowing your way to a pal’s office.

The Great Flood: Your wall looks a little wet. That’s because our neighbors upstairs have an overflowing toilet and it’s dripping down the walls. 4 floors worth of them, but don’t worry there won’t be any mold. At least, none that you can see.

Every day is an exciting new adventure and I promise I never laugh at your misfortunes. Okay, maybe I laugh a little bit, but it’s not my fault. Schadenfreude is a real thing.

ul

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3

8 Deadly Commuter Sins (Because 7 isn’t Enough)

If you live in or near a major city you know the pain of commuting. The blood, sweat, tears, and expletives that are inexplicably linked with trying to get anywhere between the hours of 6-9am and 4-7pm. Part of the struggle is, admittedly, the sheer number of people who decide to live a little farther away from the constant excitement (read: chaos/mayhem) of the city. I am guilty of being one of those people. BUT there are far worse crimes!

Allow me to present to you my own version of the 8 deadly commuter sins.

(in no particular order)

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1. Going Beyond the Merging Point- You all know this person. You might even be this person. The merge has already ended, there is ONE lane, and this too-good-to-be-behind-you Snickerdoodle is now driving technically off road to get ahead of you. Well, as the beloved character Naomi from Naomi in the Living Room would say, “Screw you and the horse you came on!” It’s not that hard. You merge every other car. Watch:

Car in lane

Merging Car

Car in Lane

Merging Car

See? It’s not rocket science! YOU CAN DO IT, AMERICA.

2. The Incompetent Fender-Bender- Remember when you had to read that common sense driving handbook? In it were instructions detailing what to do in the case of a minor accident. For instance, you should NOT stay in the middle lane of 395 at 7am taking pictures of that tiny scratch on your back bumper when everyone is trying to stampede the city of Washington. You definitely should not be putting out cones taking up half of another lane. Pull. Over. Otherwise I reserve the right to glare at you and perhaps demonstrate the elegance of my limited sign language.

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3. No Signal, No Problem- Except it is a problem. A major problem. Also, please take note, flicking your turn signal on AFTER you’ve started to change lanes does not count. This is a four lane highway with a 5th merging lane that only lasts a few hundred feet and is desperately trying to meter two lanes of merging traffic. If you want to get over as we’re crawling along, put on your turn signal. Otherwise I’m not leaving a space. And when your tiny smartcar tries to dart in at a 90 degree angle, you’re going to be squashed and I’m going to be furious.


4. The 18 Wheeler from Hell- It’s big, mean, and will merge when you’re right in the middle of the truck’s hulking frame. In my head, I sometimes calculate if I could possibly pull a Clark Griswold, you know, if the situation called for it. Usually the answer is no.  Passing the cab is like seeing the light at the end of the Baltimore Tunnel. It’s beautiful and you’re thankful that it’s over.

gw2

5. Riding a Bicycle Without a Brain- Let me first disclose that I have friends that bike. If I was more confident in my abilities, I might have become a city biker myself. I 100% support a biker’s right to safety. What I don’t support is a biker who runs a stop sign and then has the nerve to shake their fist at me WHEN IT’S MY TURN TO GO. Also, hand signals. They exist for a reason. If you want to change lanes that’s fine. If you expect to do so without any kind of hand signal do not expect the car in the far lane to read your mind and know to slow down. Finally, the dotted line between lanes is NOT a biker lane. A small vindictive part of me really wants to open my car door when I see you come pedaling down the middle like the apocalypse is chasing you. You are not above traffic laws. And I hope a bike cop gives you a ticket.

6. Driving Under the Speed Limit- Hucomm4ndreds of cars on the road can certainly inhibit ones ability to drive the posted 55MPH. I understand this. However, there are beautiful, merge-less stretches where the highway opens and everyone can just…go. It’s lovely. Unless the Buick in front of you forgets how to accelerate. In the far left lane (note: The farther left you are the faster you are supposed to go). Just because the normal rush hour max is 35, it doesn’t mean you can’t accelerate to 55 when you can! You can do it! And if you can’t, get over. You are the reason traffic backs up needlessly. Did you know there’s a minimum speed? Look it up. It exists.

7. When Stuff Falls from the Sky- It doesn’t matter if it’s rain, hail, or snow. If there is any form of precipitation people drive like the world is about to end. Stop that. You know why all those cars are on fire in the movies? People driving like idiots. Now, in my personal experience there are 2 kinds of idiots.

      a. The overly aggressive idiot- This individual weaves in and out of lanes, generally goes about 80, and honks needlessly.

      b. The overly cautious idiot- This individual clutches the steering wheels and goes 25 everywhere except in the 25mph zones. Then they go 5.

Both are equally dangerous. If there’s ice, yes, I agree, slow down. But if there’s a drizzle of rain coming down from the sky you do not need to race home to get into your ark or crawl along because you may hydroplane on the drop of water in front of you. Keep calm and drive like a normal human being.

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8. Seat Hoggers- Welcome aboard your local transportation system. Please take a seat. Unless the lady with 20 bags has already secured her groceries with a cozy window spot. Or that guy has his legs so far apart he may be stretching for ballet class. In that case, you’re screwed. Please commence clinging to the poll next to the 90 year-old woman. You may win bonus points if you catch her every time the train stops because a teenager camped out in the last handicap seat. People, can we please exhibit some form of manners? Put groceries on the floor and your lap. Get out of your seat if you can and offer it to an individual who needs it. And in the name of romance close your damn legs! I don’t care how comfy it is, you’re a “beetle-headed, flap-ear’d knave” (Credit for knave insult belongs to Shakespeare- thanks, BIlly!).

What annoys you during your commute?

1

Tips for the Anxious

Nightmares claw at the fringes of daylight and walk alongside me down the street, at the grocery store, while I’m working. Oxygen becomes a precious gift and not an every day commodity. This is what anxiety feels like to me. Just like many other disorders, anxiety is an invisible ailment. While someone may not advertise their daily struggle, it does not make the mental, emotional, and physical side effects any less severe.

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Everyone experiences their anxiety differently. My own experience is personal and I share it to try and convey what anxiety could mean to someone. While I was in college, there was a time when anxiety almost exclusively controlled my life. I was ill, I was undiagnosed, I was scared, and somewhere between midterms and my mother’s heart attack anxiety crept into my life and never left. But over the years I’ve learned a couple of tricks that have helped me cope and maybe, just maybe, they’ll help you too.

1. Lists- If you haven’t noticed from my blog, I have a thing for lists (2014 booklist, Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Bride, etc.) I find that there is something calming about laying everything out there and then slowly checking it off. There are tons of ways to create and organize lists. Find what works for you! As I finish tasks, I feel some control over my world returning. It gives me agency and agency is power.cab

2. Dive into a Good Book- Books are not for everyone but for me they are magical, and if you haven’t tried it I strongly recommend it. I have lived hundreds of lives without ever leaving the comfort of my couch. It’s amazing and incredible. Words paint and build new, strange, and familiar places the reader can touch, smell, and see. While in the middle of an attack it may be hard to focus at first–don’t give up. Breathe in the moment and continue to concentrate on the words. With a bit of time they may come into focus and allow you to escape.

 

3. Friends & Family are Key- Don’t keep it bottled up inside. If you’re scared, angry, depressed, confused tell someone. You don’t need to know the why, where, or what of your emotions. By confiding in someone you trust, you’re giving them insight into the crazy clockwork going on in your head. And they might just have something wise to say that will make you feel better.

cm

4. Create a Go-To Habit- Sometimes I chew gum, like a cow, really hard. And it really helps. It annoys people around me, but it helps. Now, obviously, I can’t really do that at work. It looks a tad unprofessional, so I substitute by sucking on sunflower seeds. I’ve picked up these habits trying to avoid the more detrimental anxious habits like butchering my cuticles. My poor nails just don’t deserve it. Also, the comfort of a habit helps me to relax and focus on “the moment” that cookie monster mentions. I’d beware of making cookies your go-to, though. In all seriousness, food crutches can be just as destructive for your mental and physical well-being as other anxious habits. While cookies might give you that happy sugar rush in the moment, you might wind up feeling sloth-like later, which probably won’t help your anxiety when you need to get things done.

 

Have your own tips for dealing with anxiety? Share them!

 

1

Being a Young Professional with a Chronic Illness

Being young and being ill are not mutually exclusive. Most people look at me and see a perfectly healthy young woman. I have no obvious outward ailments, but that’s the problem with illness. It doesn’t always show on the surface and even when I am feeling symptomatic I may not allow others to see how much pain I am in.

I suffer from a chronic condition dubbed IBS, which means that I have bouts of extreme pain and nausea that can come on suddenly at any time for no known reason. My doctors are constantly attempting to find triggers or natural aids so I can remain functional. But, of course, there are flare days. These days are filled with stabbing pains, fatigue, sweats, chills, nausea, fog, and maybe a few unpleasant tangos in the restroom. It’s hard to function in an office environment when you feel like your organs have been brutally beaten and mangled.

As a young professional I don’t have the same flexibility as my older peers. I haven’t yet earned the additional personal days, flex time, or established a long-term reputation as a dedicated responsible employee. All of these things mean that I need to go to work regardless of my physical condition. If I’m not contagious I’m dragging myself in. But, reality check, sometimes I don’t have the energy after an attack to make myself soup more or less wear heels and walk into my office building smiling all day. So what do I do? I haven’t figured it out yet. So far I’ve managed to abate the attacks and confine them to weekends and nights with a carefully balanced regiment of 409080Stomach Ease tea (thank you, Yogi, you have saved me!!!!!), soup, and Ritz crackers. I could probably single-handedly maintain the Ritz empire with my consumption of crackers alone.

For me, the support of my family and friends has been invaluable as I’m trying to find the work-life balance I need in order to maintain my health. Surrounding myself with people that want me to succeed has made a large difference in my motivation to find new ways to help manage my illness and take back control over my life. As I continue to find my way I want to share anything I learn with my readers, and I’d love to hear about how you’ve managed to navigate the rocky road to work-health balance!