Upheaval of every kind

Everything is closing or closed. The markets are scary looking ghostly places with empty shelves. There was so little traffic this morning I felt a chill. This was slower than a holiday. It truly seemed post-apocalyptic in a way. 50, no, only 10 people are allowed to congregate now! But, what about business?

Tomorrow I get to work from home, but maybe not Wednesday or Thursday. I’ve already scheduled off Friday. All of the managers are confused and have no idea how to handle this or what to do. The day shift at the shop has 100 people working in it. Will we have to close? We have measures in place to stop people getting in (sort of), but what about those already inside? My office is in a different building up a slight hill from the main shop, but I can’t go to the main building for meetings: A) because I’ve recently been ill and B) I’d scare the bloody hell out of anyone down there who heard me coughing. People are skittish now and on edge.

Even our home life has been thrown into disarray.

coffee table dinner

Behold, our dining room table for the past three days. It’s our coffee table.

We were notified our new cabinet doors would be installed March 17th, so we only had this past weekend to accomplish one thing: paint the cabinets. Since we are not getting a full remodel – only new doors and some drawers put in – we are responsible for making sure the kitchen is ready. Saturday my recovering ass was put to work. Z did the majority of the heavy lifting by sanding all of the cabinets and painting the upper areas. My job was to help with a little prep (taping, wiping things down) and sitting on the floor to paint the lower cabinets. That little bit of exertion wiped me out and I slept better than I had all week. Sunday I did a thorough cleaning of the kitchen, which had me utterly exhausted by night. The cabinet company emailed customers today saying they will honor their appointments – unless the people don’t want them coming into their houses. We want them to come! We want our new doors so we can have our house back in order!

kitchen

This is currently our kitchen. We put some things back in for ease of use for the past 48 hours, but all of this needs to cleared out because the installer comes tomorrow from 8-9 am. The drawer on the right side of the photo is the old, yellow-ish color. We put the utensil drawer back in temporarily.

mock kitchen

This is our dining room where everything in the kitchen is being held. It’s been strange to look at a cabinet and know something should be there, but when I need a spice or dish I then have to stop and remember where I placed everything in the dining room.

glassware

All of the glassware is on the bureau, which I realized later was a bad idea. Bento loves that window sill and even though it’s covered, he’s found a way to jump his big butt up there and then carefully jump down. Whenever he does the glasses jingle and I’m stressed out waiting to hear them crash to the floor. Since our floors are old and creaky and uneven, even walking past this room makes all of the glasses jingle.

roses

Tomorrow I work from home, but the installer also comes. But I have a lot work to get done because today felt like a bust just trying to figure out what to do about everything and hear from the managers. But I know I’ll be distracted by the installer and need to give input for the hardware we bought for the new doors. But what about keeping Bento and Yuki out of the kitchen?

I went to the store to buy onions and a loaf of baked bread to have with chili I made tonight. I couldn’t help myself when I saw these roses. I needed something cheerful and calming. I also bought Z a dark chocolate Lindt bunny and bought myself a cute large iced bunny cookie.

It’s the little things right now.

A different kind of illness

I am still sick. I’ve been sick since last Friday. I don’t have the coronavirus (that I know of), but what I can tell you is this is one of the worst sinus infections I’ve had in many years. It crept up on me very suddenly and that scares me. We had little to no winter at all this year. No snow and the temperature barely stayed below freezing for more than a day or two at a time before jumping up again into the 40s or 50s.

Considering I have acute chronic sinusitis this scares me because I can’t afford to have illnesses this severe as I get older. It’ll take longer to get over them and they weaken my immune system. Right now, I am highly susceptible to getting COVID-19 because of how ill I’ve been this week. Am I worried about getting it? Not really. Other than the morning hours on Tuesday where I holed myself in my office, I’ve hardly been outside at all. I went home midday Tuesday and worked from home yesterday. When I talked to my boss about possibly coming in late today he said, “Don’t come in at all! Stay home!” He said I sounded horrible – I do. He then told me to stay home and don’t come in at all this week. I’ve been banned from the office. I am still getting work done though since I have my laptop with me.

Aside from the super stuffy sinuses, which has made breathing its own sort of game of chance (especially when trying to sleep at night), it’s now in my chest and the congestion is making me cough all time time. My throat is now more sore from coughing than from the post-nasal drip. I still can’t hear all that well due to the pressure in my head. I’ve experienced this all before, but it’s very easy to take for granted that it won’t happen again when I’m feeling better.

I hadn’t been listening to any news, which is what I normally do on my drive in to work each day. When I dragged myself in on Tuesday, I heard that the stock indexes were at their worst the day before. Everyone is worried about recession now. Interest rates on houses have plummeted to the same when Z and I bought our house (we got ours just before the rebound upswing). One of my emails was about the cancellation of the largest orthopedic conference in the world, AAOS. It’s a show we always exhibit at. Last year I was in Vegas at this time and spent nearly a full week there talking with clients, staying up late for business dinners and happy hours. Z told me two of his spring events were postponed to the autumn. Events are being cancelled all over. E3 was cancelled, so there was no news or teasers of games.

It’s strange how a different illness – one of paranoia – has taken over. Z went to the store to get some cough medicine for me and noticed a sign on the door: They are all wiped out of masks, rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer. It seems like we are all in a sort of lock-down of our own free will. But is it?

I’ve read about people prohibiting hand-shaking. My coworker said she heard of business people giving each other “welcome kicks” instead, which I said was a liability in itself. How about we just respectfully bow to each other the way the Japanese do. I would like to see that sort of shift away from the happy-go-lucky, touchy-feely American way going to something a bit more respectful of people’s personal space and unnecessary touching.

To end this dour stream-of-consciousness post, another form of illness I have is definitely addiction. It’s in the form of Animal Crossing because there’s 9 days left until New Horizons is out. Then, I won’t care about being self-quarantined. It’ll be heaven to stay in and hang out on my virtual desert island.

animal-crossing-new-horizons.900x

Oddly coincidental

I’ve had to ask myself the big questions lately: With regards to the one seemingly necessary women’s accessory – the handbag – am I one of those fancy tote-carrying types or do I prefer to be as casual as possible?

For the past month I’ve been on the hunt for a new handbag. The only thing I knew was it had to be a crossbody style. I want to be hands-free. Would it be leather? Would it be waxed canvas? (I was thinking extreme weather conditions.) How many compartments would it need? What would I carry? Do I really even need to carry half the stuff I do or think I’ll need?

What really drove home the need to get something ASAP was two-fold: A) I’m starting another shopping ban on March 1st [more on that later] and, B) I got really sick and tired of carrying multiple bags around for the past two weeks.

The admin at work was out on medical leave so I had to double-time as  her job and my job. I was swamped at work with new projects and clients coming in among other things and got very irritated by carrying my large, heavy Dooney & Burke purse along with my insulated lunch bag and then my laptop bag. This past Monday I had a breakthrough and remembered I bought a backpack for myself for business trips. It’s a very casual canvas bag, but it worked well enough for the few trips I’ve taken it on and it helped me out a lot this week. I don’t take my laptop home every day so some days it felt funny to be lugging a backpack with just my notebooks and wallet, but it was still lighter than the large leather purse and I could put my lunch bag inside so in the end I was still only carrying one bag.

bags

So then I thought, but what about weekends and when I don’t want to lug everything around? Well, duh Jen – you always use your little Baggu crossbody bag. It’s lightweight and fits what I need for running a few errands.

It sorta hit me: I really don’t like fussing with fancy things and carrying around more than I have to. So I put the D&B purse in my closet with my old Coach purse (thinking about selling them now) and I’ve only been  using the backpack I bought from Amazon and my Baggu crossbody purse. I honestly DGAF how I look when dressed up and carrying a frumpy canvas bag instead of a fancy leather tote or designer handbag. Practicality always wins me over in the end. My “search” for a new bag ended with my using what I already had. Today I went to the craft store and bought some magnetic buttons and velcro since the pockets in both backpack and purse are loose and are sometimes difficult for me to get things in and out of them.  The velcro now keeps the larger pockets in the backpack shut and the magnetic buttons keep my cards put in the purse.

The only issue I have now is my wallet. I’ve been using a $5 large wallet I got from Nordstrom Rack a couple years ago. It’s fine for the backpack, but it’s too big for the Baggu purse. My usual routine is to take out my DL and a few cards for the weekends.  Xin’s many posts of mini wallets to the rescue! I’ve seen so many on her site I knew I’d probably find something decent through her links and I ended up getting the Albee leather zip card case by Italic. I almost went with the green because I’ve been on a green color kick, but decided to stay with a classic color and got the saffianno leather one in tan.

hobonichi techo

Today I got my Hobonichi Techo Weeks. I’ve already written down some work items in the monthly planner section and a few other things. The paper is actually as amazing as reviews says it is. Since I’ve always used an A5 size notebook, the slim size Techo will take some getting used to, but I’m already a fan of how the weeks are organized. Some days I don’t have any notes at all or only one or two lines, so instead of wasting a whole page doing a one-a-day style with my old A5 Moleskine, I can look at the whole week and notes at a glance across two slim pages.

planner toys

I bought a cover for it so I’d have a pen holder and indulged in some planner stickers and stencils.

When the planner arrived in the mail I was so happy to look through it but then so sad because I knew it was a spring starting planner (April). But wait, what? The first page of the weekly planner section begins with FEBRUARY 24th! Meaning I can start using it for this coming week! There’s a hundred memes about stars and planets aligning that would work for how I felt realizing this, but google search is failing me right now in images to exemplify that feeling for this post. It felt seriously eerie and dare I say like some black magic was a work that I’d get the planner today and it just so happens to start on the following Monday.

his hand-me-downs

Lastly, a blurry outfit photo from this week. Other than the shoes and necklace, my entire outfit is Z’s hand-me-downs.

Everything changes

beige

I’m on a light color and monochrome kick.

grey

A dress! This is the only dress I own right now. I just got it from Knock Knock Linen (after nearly two months). It’s heavy weight linen so it’s got a nice heft to it that makes me feel grounded and safe in it. The pockets are big and the length is flattering. I added a belt to cinch the waist since it would be rather triangular in look otherwise. I’ve worn it a lot lately and tend to wear a belt with it while I’m out and take it off when I’m at home lounging.

yuki distraction

This outfit was a case of: It looked better in my head than in person. The pant are new from Knock Knock and came at the same time as the dress. These are also heavy weight linen and have lots of functional pockets. If I was tall enough to leave the bottoms un-cuffed I would, but I opted out of shortening the length because I wanted to cuff them. They are very fuzzy and chunky due to the look of the raw style heavy linen, but are very comfortable.

I was picking up a camera lens cover I found on the other side of the room as Z took the photo. The culprit is standing next to me and the reason why I find little trinkets and things knocked about the room all the time.

The past two weeks – going on three – have been a blur. The week of Labor Day I was out of the office entirely on a trip to Vegas. It was incredibly hot so I stayed inside Casesar’s Palace where my room and the conference were the entire time. When I had down time I wandered the shops. I met a Saint Laurent sales rep who complimented me on my Yohji pant (from the suit I usually wear on business trips) and we got to talking about Japanese fashion. He was really nice, wished me well and said he was glad to meet a kindred Yohiji fan.

The following week I was busy in the office and had a day trip to Ohio. I was up and out the door at 6 am and returned at 9 pm. It was my first day trip like that and I felt a bit drained on Friday.

During the time of the conference a deal was made and our company was sold. I found out via an email from the CEO while waiting in the LAS airport for my flight home.  Ever since then our doors have been a revolving stream of reps from our new company. HR, benefits managers, CEO and upper management from the main and sub companies have all taken up residence in our conference rooms and main break room so all of our regularly scheduled meetings tend to be in small offices, the middle of hallways or areas of the shop floor that allow for people to congregate.  I had to fill out a new job application and file for new benefits. So far we’ve been told that there won’t be many employee changes, but we all know how that can change over time… I’m not worried about my position at all. I’ve been a one person department for quite a while and even though we’ve got another rep to help lighten the load there’s no need to trim anywhere in our department since we’ve already got well established connections with our customers. The big question is whether or not they will change our pay or not, which usually doesn’t happen, but isn’t entirely out of the reach of possibility.

I’m really surprised at how quickly September is flying by. The weather has also taken a drastic turn for cooler weather, but we are in the transition where one week is gloriously comfortable and the next is back to summer hot temps. My allergies have exploded and I spend more time moving about the office by sneeze-jet propulsion than walking.

Hitting the work self-destruct button

denim

Banana Republic top – Uniqlo pant – Frye Carly Chukkas – handmade (by me) lace scarf

Work has been utterly bat-shit insane lately. It’s all to do with a client that is not mine, but is affecting product for my clients, which is annoying to me. It’s been an all-hands-on-deck situation, but it really shouldn’t be considering how big our company is now. That is the part that pisses me off. Once smaller client derails everything when it should only be a tiny blip on the radar compared to the rest.

I’d like to say that is my work rant for the week, but I have a feeling another one is coming very soon.

The great flood

silk

Helmut Lang silk shirt – Y’s pant – Jil Sander shoes

Of course the one day I should wear a sweater I wear a silk shirt and freeze instead.

I got to the office and went to put my lunch in the fridge back in the kitchen and nearly stepped in an inch of water. What? Apparently one of the pumps in part of our warehouse broke and sprayed pressurized water for 12 hours on Sunday, flooding everything. The water had started creeping into the business office area by Monday morning and definitely wet areas that were uneven and lower like the kitchen, near the bathrooms, and the IT room. Everyone on the shop floor was sent home. However, all of us business office people ended up having to stay the entire day and work. Umm…. ok. Not that there’s a whole hell of a lot we could do since, you know, we didn’t run production that day at all. Maintenance was also there all day directing the restoration company that came to clean up over an inch of water everywhere.

Total bust of a work day that kinda made me pissed I had to stay for it. Most of us got caught up on things and made jokes about the company having natural disasters. Several years ago there was a fire on the shop floor and now we’ve had a flood. While many were getting biblical with what the next catastrophe would be (many said locusts) some of us were thinking more basic elements. We’ve had fire, water and next should be wind? So 38 months from now, which is the estimated disaster date, we’ll expect the next experience to be a tornado or hurricane blowing off the roof of the building.

Week 1 – Trial by fire

Wednesday: YY top, Rachel Comey Lure pant, Lems shoes.

wednesday

Thursday: YY top, Uniqlo pant, Jil Sander shoes.

thursday

Friday: Top from Yesstyle (Chinese vendor), Rachel Comey Menace pant, Frye shoes.

friday

This week has officially kicked my ass. I’m reminded of the rushed, stressed feeling from when I was first given my client accounts back in January/February, which were a mess. Everything was late and I was frantically rushing about to all the areas of the shop, constantly checking on product status.

This first week I’ve been taking over a coworker’s account while he’s on vacation and it’s the largest client account we have. Basically I’ve been tasked with taming a wild, galloping elephant and it’s getting the better of me. I knew this account was a bit of a clusterfuck to begin with, but damn…. this is beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined. Also, I don’t think my coworker anticipated any of the stuff I ended up encountering. He said I only had prototypes to worry about… well, the prototypes were the easiest part of what I’ve had to worry about all week. I’ve been in contact with the client rep 4-5 times every day. My boss is the only other one who knows what’s going with this client and he’s been out half the week at a conference. He’s checked in with me every day and yesterday I flat out said to him, “I’m drowning.” I was given a report from the client to work on and I was floored by how much we are backordered and what goes into all the orders we do for this client. My clients are peanuts by comparison. I’ve gotten them all under control now and have a really good rapport with them. So to be given this task with a new rep that I’m only temporarily working with has literally thrown me back into the deep end of the pool with everyone standing at the side saying, “swim, damnit!”

However, I have managed to gain a much greater respect for my senior who handles this account because it’s so insane and I’ve learned a lot of new things about how we operate and manage the work load. And I’ve been given tasks that I had no idea ever fell on my department before. I’ve had so many 5-minute-tutorials on how to change things in our system to accommodate the work load I’ve left work with my head spinning and a general sense of anxiety, wondering if what I did was correct. Even today I turned to the more seasoned employee next to me and asked if I did X, Y and Z things right that were entered the day before. I won’t say it’s been easy or the best way for me to learn this stuff, considering it’s all on the fly, but I’m gaining a much greater grasp of how I can help out.

The new admin has been great in seeing if I’m ok and even coming to me with silly things or comments just to make me smile. It’s obvious she cares and is worried about me and that makes me feel all the better about us hiring her. I’ve given her a huge task I used to handle simply because I’m so swamped I can’t take care of it now, which she will need some guidance with, but I’m sure she’ll be helpful. After seeing some of the stuff I had to deal with, even on a generally slow Friday, she said she didn’t envy me at all but is still willing to help me out whenever possible. It’s really nice having that kind of support.

The biggest thing to help me this week has been being able to run. I’ve run three times this week and getting that stress out of my system by exhausting myself physically has done wonders for me emotionally. I’m still restraining myself because I know I risk running myself into a new injury out of sheer stubbornness, but what little I’ve done has worked. Granted, I’ve got a mean case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in my legs, but the little masochist in me is saying, “Yaaaaassssssss, my preciousss.” Once I get over the soreness, I’ll get to the strengthening part and after that the muscle memory part and then… it’s all routine and my head clears and I move mechanically – in a good way.

I thought about running tonight, but I did run a lot more than I intended to yesterday so Z told me to take it is. So… I’ve had a double of Johnny Walker Red and am about to stuff myself with grilled brats and apricots and couch potato it with more beer and watch new anime season premieres.

Panic in 3, 2, 1…

Wednesday’s outfit: New (to me, but used from TRR) Ann Demeulemeester top, Rachel Comey Menace Pant, Chinese Laundry shoes (old).

Investor visit day. My shoes are wedges I’ve shown before, but you can’t really see them much in this photo. The Quality Director was wearing wedges as well that looked almost exactly like mine. Hers were from Target, mine from DSW. I told her I wore them to my wedding and her eyes bugged out, saying, “No way!” Yes way. My wedding was super no fuss and casual. I wore a black cocktail dress that I no longer have because I weighed 20lbs more back then and the dress doesn’t fit me so I donated it.

Anyway, this was my first time wearing the Ann D shirt and it’s super soft cotton that almost clung to me too much. It’s more suited to jeans than formal wear, but I made the outfit work for me. I’m also still torn between having the pants hemmed or not. They are very long and even with the wedge there’s a lot of extra pant hanging around the bottom. I kinda like that baggy, bunched up ankle look, but I’m not sure it’s the best option for office-ness stuffs.

Wednesday

Thursday: (no photo) I skipped because it was a PT day. I wore my Everlane white button down and green linen Uniqlo pants with my navy Jil Sander shoes. My boss stumbled backwards (literally because he’s a clown like that), confused because I wasn’t wearing black and commented on it. I guess I have a reputation now….  Anyway, the new admin we hired also wears black almost all the time and she thinks about things in the same way I do to a degree that is almost frightening. We laughed about that. She then said that it should be reassuring to know that she’ll get done whatever I tell her to do. I’m technically not her boss, so that was a little scary, but also slightly comforting. In any case, we get along really well and I’m glad she’s fitting in with the company.

Friday

Friday: Yohji Yamamoto day – wearing YY top and YY suit pants with Eileen Fisher shoes and obnoxious cat (Bento) in my way. Just look at the snarky glare he’s giving the camera. He’s such a turd.

I’ve been stress eating/drinking this week. Today was the last day of the investor visits. Now we see who bites – or not. We may be bought out or merged or whatever. It’s a rather frightening time, especially for the upper management. I don’t think I’ll have anything to worry about immediately, but I still don’t like the idea of losing my boss, who is VP. On top of that, the last prototype for my client is severely delayed. The engineers have been  having an insane time getting the part done right and the lab with a Super Famous Surgeon for these is due Wednesday at my client’s location, which is nowhere near here. The guys are working this weekend to get it done so I’ll be going in to work tomorrow for support. I’m not keen on the idea of just letting them work their butts off while I sit around and wait for the results. If the parts run ok this weekend then we can ship on Monday. Worst WORST case scenario, we get them done by Tuesday at the latest. If we manage to get them done that late, then guess who will most likely be on an emergency flight to the client to hand off parts and then turn around to fly back? Why? Oh well my boss will already be in another state visiting another client that day. *head**desk* This afternoon he told me to look into flights – just in case.

Never ever in a million years did I ever think I’d be working for a company that put me in these situations. This Is Not A Bad Thing. Seriously, this job is one of the best things that could’ve happened to me and while there’s a shit ton that’s wrong and messed up, there’s also a shit ton that’s amazing and fun as well – mostly the motley crew of clowns I work with. This job is the definition of bi-polar disorder. And yet… I know I can do it and handle it. It’s woken me up and made me sharper and think more clearly in many ways. Yes, it’s stressful as hell, but there’s a sense of fun even in that – for as masochistic as that sounds.

In the meantime, Bring Me All The Scotch while I freak the fuck out this weekend….

Incoming

wednesday

I could have sworn I took a photo on Monday but I guess I forgot. I’m kinda shocked I didn’t take any photos of outfits until today. I know I didn’t yesterday because I changed into workout clothes at work before driving to PT. Monday though, it’s a blur.

A lot of things are blurring together now. Even though we’re not busy at work, I’m still Busy because I’m getting many more responsibilities loaded on me. It’s kinda strange how things work out that way. We have clients coming in to the office next week so I’ll be sure to clean up my new YY suit and break that out.

With regards to today’s outfit. It’s fine, but I really think nicer looking shoes would’ve worked better. I really need to find a nice oxford/brogue to wear with my outfits. I’d hoped the Nisolo shoe would fill that, but the style and cut of it (and size) just aren’t working out so I’m going to sell those along with many other items this weekend and now I’m on the hunt for better work shoes.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the majority of my wardrobe revolves around work attire now. I also want to make that wardrobe work for me no matter what day of the week. I want work clothes to be real clothes I can wear any time, not just the clothes that come off immediately after work because they are uncomfortable. The only exception will be when I’m running regularly again. Then, no matter what, I’ll be throwing off work clothes to put on clothes to run in, so maybe it doesn’t make that much of a difference?

 

Va-ca

mondaytuesdaywednesdaythursday

Outfits for this week thus far. Tomorrow’s photo may not be posted until I get back from vacation. Last Friday Z said after dinner, “Do you want to go somewhere?…..” which of course sounded strange and ominous, but I quickly picked up on the fact he’s burnt out a bit from work and needs a getaway stat. He’s been working the past three weeks solidly – even on weekends – because he’s been on call for projects with his clients (his company does work for non-profits, charities and political canvasing that mostly operates on the weekends).  We promptly found a house to rent way the hell out in the boondocks 3 hours north of here with next to no cellular service, a lot of trees and several lakes and waterfalls. There’s also a state park nearby with a freshwater lake that allows swimming. The next to zero cell service was key for him. He’s really sick of his phone constantly going off from clients being needy 24/7. He already booked tomorrow off his schedule, but I couldn’t so I managed to get my boss to give me a half day. The kids, aka cats in bottom photo, have already been packed away and sent off to the grandparent’s house (in-laws).

Work has been insanely busy this week. I’ve been training the new admin and dealing with clients suddenly all emailing last minute X, Y and Z things to get done before the long holiday weekend. We also had the first of three major grilling/bbq events the company hosts for all employees around the summer holidays. I thought it would be an easy week for me, but I’ve been working 9 hours days and *head*desking* over situations with clients and in-house production issues more than I’d like.

I also started PT this week on Tuesday and had another session today. It was eye-opening seeing how weak my ankle really is based on the strength and stretching tests done. Even though my copay is a joke ($50/session UGH), I am glad I’m going. While the exercises in themselves aren’t anything I couldn’t easily do at home, I don’t think I’d have the motivation to force myself to do them all otherwise.