*Southern for “getting ready to”


I pick a book off the library shelf—Change the Way You See Everything by Cramer and Wasiak. Cool photos, inspirational ideas until they get to be too much. I read a little more. Concentrate on the positive and stop trying to prevent and fix, it says. What???? Preventing and fixing is bad? That’s what I do. I’m furious. Back to the library you will go.

A few days go by. A few days of being at work, trying to prevent and fix, followed by a couple of days with a gnawing feeling that things are unpreventable and unfixable. Meanwhile, the people around me are content with working in pleasant, meandering ways.

I’ve noticed that the words that piss me off the most are often the truest.

I pick up the book again. This approach to things is definitely not me.



You know the beginning of the Lifetime movie where they show the perfect neighborhood?

The movie ends when the guy across the street’s freezer that’s chock full of severed limbs and heads is finally defrosted.

No, I’m not really of that superstitious mindset.

I am simply overwhelmingly happy. Everything fits in the house. The backyard is cozy and beautiful. The neighbors are great. The house has no flaws. A cool breeze continuously flows through my being-decorated-with-my-quirky-taste home while the fully functioning air conditioner remains unneeded. Thanks to my brother-in-law’s shortcut recommendation, my commute to work has been cut 10 miles a day. Perks such as free bus transportation, games (including billiards which my daughter and I have already enjoyed together), and other activities. A nearby lake we haven’t yet checked out. A community garden I can use to grow veggies.

I’m holding off on Internet, landline phone, and TV until my finances get settled. But I know I can make this work.

A happy life.

Over the years, when thinking about how people approach getting things done, I’ve pegged them as being what I call either linear or fractional.

Most people seem to do this, do that, then do that, maybe do a couple of thisses and one of that….. They seem to see lists and check off the tasks. They may multitask, but they approach work as a list.

Others, like me, see what needs to be done, while being very aware of HOW MUCH TIME WE HAVE. Then we think of the whole responsibility, dividing it into pieces and constantly thinking about how much time each fraction of the whole is using up. Then we adjust the times as needed, because we’ve allowed for delays ahead of time. We factor them in when we plan.

My fractional approach works very efficiently for me when I am the one managing the responsibility. If the weekend is approaching and I know what needs to be done, I will go food shopping, cook, mow, do paperwork, etc. I can switch the pieces around any way I want—mow when the grass is dry or cook when I’m most motivated or go shopping when the traffic is lighter. I may fit a little bit of paperwork in between. But I see ahead of time that the weekend will give me more than enough time to do these tasks.

But my approach doesn’t work when I’m trying to fit everything in and other people keep tossing me more “this is a priority” work, after telling me the other stuff needs to be done by such and such a deadline. Everyone is very nice, but totally out-of-touch with what they expect of me, especially as a new employee.

So I’m going linear. I will do things in their order of importance, after reminding them that I still need to do such and such… I am going to stop worrying about the fact that, even with my being a great worker, I can’t finish all this work. I am going to start taking my breaks, because I can’t catch up even when I don’t take them. I’ve told them what I still need to do and they keep giving me more work.

Unfortunately, the way it works is that there is only one way they can see that all that they’re expecting is unrealistic. It’s when they see that what they expect never makes it to reality. And I will be very nice when it doesn’t.

My job in North Carolina:

Claudia, look at you opening attachments and copying and pasting! You’re as smart as Bill Gates!

My job in New Jersey:

Claudia, Bill Gates will be dropping by this afternoon. Would you mind showing him how to use that software?

Plan B

This evening, my daughter and I went to the store to buy bagels, and she showed me this decorative spatula. I started crying and put it in the cart. I told her I hadn’t been able to post on my blog for almost two months, but that I’d take a picture of this and write. I finally was able to see what’s been happening through the haze.

After a stressful clinical, I finished my phlebotomy course. A few days later, I was offered a job (not in phlebotomy—maybe part-time someday?) that is right for me that has good benefits, bought a house with an iffy closing date which I need to move into before the closing on this house. Our family dealt with all the issues of the house I’m living in now (the homeplace owned by us siblings) going on the market and being sold. My new job is interesting but stressful since I don’t know what I’m doing yet. When I look at my finances, I see that things will be very tight, which is wonderful because a few days ago, before I decided to apply for early retirement benefits from my last NC job, they looked impossible. In the middle of all this, I flew out to South Dakota for my brother’s wedding and had a fun weekend.

Plan A was security, security, security. Which I found was a f**king lie.

Plan B is real life. Which I’m finding I’m pretty good at.

The spatula will hang in the entrance of my new home, welcoming all to my “Plan B”. It will have a special, sacred, dedicated place.

Then, as real life gets real, I might find I need to take it down from time to time to help me scrape by.

For phlebotomy students, this is the big question.

I really didn’t think I wouldn’t make the required 100 blood draws. My focus continues to be on learning, learning, learning to do something well that can only be learned by experience, experience, experience…

I’ve had many days where I question if I can really do this. I will have many more days like that. Then there are days where I hope, because I love it, that I really will be able to do this. What I didn’t know about phlebotomy before taking the course is that it isn’t a skill that, once learned, is at your beck and call. Phlebotomists with years of experience have days where they miss easily accessed veins, and veins that are well accessed sometimes don’t give up their precious blood.  AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHY!

But yesterday, exactly at quitting time, after a wonderful day of tubes filled to capacity and patients saying that they didn’t feel a thing, that 100th patient was gauzed up and told to have a great day.

No confetti or balloons dropped down. Except in my head.

When it comes to trying to end my love affair with control (unrequited due to control’s nonexistence), I may be talking the talk and writing the writing, but I am struggling with living the life. From my sneaky subconscious, a  loop of tape keeps playing in my head:

When I get things under control, I will be able to relax and be happy.

Perhaps I could upgrade to new media and enjoy streaming reality.