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Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Yesterday was a wild day. It took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get to work due to rain, accidents, flooding, pestilence. Wait... no pestilence. But the rest, yah. I missed my first meeting and rescheduled it for today. I think that actually worked out for the best because I worked with that group today and it took 2 hours.

I did go on to my other meetings from 10-2, each at a different office on campus every hour, only managing to get thoroughly wet on my way to one meeting. It's been hectic, but this is the work I love. The local HR Managers are deciding who gets access to Web Forms and who approves, and they're setting it all up on a big spreadsheet I set up. It's a really daunting task because you have to put things in the correct order or nothing works. I don't expect that they'd really feel competent to do it alone, so I go sit with them for an hour, and usually at the end of that hour, they email me the completed document that has been created with at least 2 sets of eyes to catch mistakes. This is what I do best - acting as a liason between the technology and the user to help them get what they need from the systems. I love it. They love having my help. I love getting the data I need without having to do a lot of repairs to fix it after the fact. So though I was generally in an uncertain and unsettled mood about my home life, I was doing and enjoying what I'm best at at work.

As I came out of Green Library, I noticed the person in front of me was dragging his backpack straps in the puddles. I said, "Hey, your straps are dragging." Instead of the usual, "Oh" or "Oh thanks" the walker turned around and said, "I'm always doing that." I recognized the walker as Patrick Hunt, a professor here on campus who I took a Roman Art and Archaeology class from. I said, "Oh hello. Good to see you again." I'd taken his class and also bumped into him in the British Museum when I was there in London. He went on, "And the funny thing is I've been in several near crashes today with this hood on for the rain." We bantered momentarily and off we went on our own ways. I got to thinking about hoods and how they were a bit of a safety risk, and how women's bonnets were problematic in the horse and buggy era because they frequently blocked peripheral vision so if a horse was running up on you from behind, you either had to turn all the way around to see it (thus running a higher risk of getting trampled) or just run blindly to get out of the way (which also has a high risk). Anyway, off I went to the next meeting.

So on the way to my last meeting, my skirt had gotten so wet from the previous downpour that it was now hanging much lower around my bike. I got it tangled in the chain. Luckily it was a very stretchy skirt. With much tugging and frustration, I managed to get it free of my pedal wheel and still make it to the next meeting on time after a pit stop at the sink for some soap and water. The stretchy skirt was also black (who's surprised? Right. No one.) so it didn't even show the bicycle grease that was all over it, and miraculously, it didn't tear. Whew! I got the bike chain back on after the last meeting and made my way back to my desk to process the four bulk load documents that were now waiting in my Inbox. The rest of the day went fine.

I was heartened by the several comments and private notes that came as a result of my Broken Heart post. These helped offer comfort and a sanity check. I don't think I'm being too demanding, and it's comforting to have others confirm this. I'm not the kind of girl that demands fancy jewelry or other expensive gifts on a regularly scheduled basis. I just wanted a card or some other small acknowledgement. Last night Rick called from Arizona and we had a fairly long talk. He granted that he did really blow it, and we have a plan for a tool to help avoid this in the future. We're going to sit down together this weekend with a calendar so that it's clear to him when the big deal days are, when it's okay to schedule things, and what is already marked off as busy. Hopefully this will help. I have promised that his stuff will not be on the lawn when he gets home. Moreover, though the warning light is now not merely on, but actually flashing, I've decided to give us through my birthday to see he can pull his act together and actually successfully juggle both a job and a relationship. He used to do okay at it, so maybe it's just being out of the habit, but it's got to change. I will not accept this as the future of a long-term relationship. He doesn't get to break my heart again. Next time I won't take the fall.

I went to my annual gyn appointment today. I've had the same gynocologist for five years or so now, and I absolutely adore him. He's young and very personable which really helps when someone being both that intimate and that detached from it. He asked how things were and if I was still with Rick. I said that they were alright, and that I was still with Rick, but that he almost blew it on Monday. He asked, so I gave him the short form - boy missed V-Day utterly, and flubbed the Christmas present too. He was shocked, but much more by missing V-Day. He said "How could you miss Valentine's Day? It's everywhere for weeks beforehand. And even if you forget til that day, someone is going to remind you by saying Happy Valentine's Day in the morning and set you straight and you can fix it long before it gets to the end of the day." He was really surprised I hadn't dumped him without discussion. That's what his wife would've done. They got married about 3 months ago. His nurse is a heavy-set older black lady who said, "Oh no honey, that's not right. You shouldn't put up with that. There's something going on there. He doesn't respect you." It was funny hearing all this after deciding to give it another chance. When your doctor recommends you dump your boyfriend, that's an odd thing. Anyway, I'm relatively sanguine about the whole thing right now, so we'll see how this weekend goes, and how next weekend goes, and take it one day at a time for a while.

Meanwhile, I made it back to campus in the nick of time for my noon meeting, and showed up at Mario's office to find they'd gone to the Sports Cafe. With minor grumbles, I jumped my bike again and headed over, passing Professor Hunt on the way. He waved and we struck up another conversation. I mentioned my thought about bonnets and we chatted about where he knew me from. I said I'd taken his class, and then we chattted a few more minutes and then he mentioned visiting London in a few weeks with a tour group and I mentioned about bumping into his tour group a few years back at the Portland Vase. He said, "Ah! That's it. I knew there was some other connection." He asked what I did on campus, and I told him. And I asked what he's been up to. He's having a fabulous year, with his new Caravaggio book and how successful it's been due to it's serendipitous timing to coincide with a major exhibition. He's about to publish a book on Rembrandt which is also coincidentally set to coincide with another touring exhibit organized by the National Gallery. Anyway, to make a long story short, it's always nice to receive a compliment from someone you respect, and he said that yesterday I looked "so full of life." Considering how utterly thwacked part of my world was at that moment, it's nice that sometimes my work is so satisfying that it can fill me with that much of a warm glow. If it had been just another day at my desk testing software, I probably wouldn't have been able to get through it, but going out and being the liason and the guide filled my heart up where it had been let to drain out the day before. I really am an extrovert by nature. I get all of my strength and joy from interaction with others.

I did make it to the meeting, though about 10 minutes late now. Mario bought the team lunch, which was especially nice since I'd left my wallet at home and had been trying to figure that detail out for today. I dove in and offered my bulk load solution for those that haven't responded. Mario has gotten good feedback about how helpful I've been for the HRMs setting up the bulk load docs. We're on our way to going live on (the most newly revised) schedule. Then I went and made up the meeting with Chris Yam, then caught up to Linda Faris in Engineering. Two more bulk load documents done. Now to finish the security setup in FIX and PRD, and go off and see Caliban.

So for anyone who was worried - I'm doing okay. I'm at the point where if things work out with Rick, that's good. If they don't, I'm okay with that too. And in the meantime, work is good and the kitten is snuggly and things could be much worse.


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