This year I've been keeping a "grateful list" -- an old school journal started many years ago, but with remaining pages. I couldn't bring myself to post something like this on FB, so many similar posts make me roll my eyes. And it hasn't been convenient to post the list here (I write as I get in bed each night). So the journal has worked well.
It's been fun to look at the journal itself. It keeps falling open to pages I wrote in 2007 on our trip to Europe when we got engaged.
But, in an effort to get back into the habit of blogging and bring things back up to speed, here's a rough run down of my current "grateful list" as I sit at my desk eating lunch.
I'm grateful that we got to go on an amazing vacation for most of October, enjoying time in the Andalucía region of Spain, all over Morocco, Southern Italy, and then a final day in Milano. The trip was one of our best ever and we honestly had trouble on the flight home trying to decide what the "low point" was (I concluded it was getting ripped off by a cab driver in Tangier (charged us the equivalent of $7 when it never should have been over $2), husband concluded it was spending as many nights in Tangier as we did, considering it was actually our least favorite part of Morocco and the nights would have been better spent elsewhere).
I'm grateful that I still have 2 vacation days to use over Christmas! That means my "work remotely from Italy" plan worked! It was 100% worth it to carry my work laptop all over creation with us. The goal was to do 50% on a Wed., and then 75% days on Thurs and Fri. Of course the very nature of vacation in my job means there's tons of stuff that builds up when I'm gone, and I was able to easily blow through tons of it. I actually worked the equivalent of 3 full days I think, instead of the 2 full days I'd planned.
I'm grateful that I have a lot of job security. While I was on vacation, my co-worker (who just started in January!!!!) gave her notice. And her notice was basically "I'm quitting in 2 weeks, but I have some unused vacation and floating holidays, so I'm out of here next week actually." That was horrible. Fortunately, we were able to recruit back someone who quit a few years ago, and she'll be starting next week. It will take some time for her to get up to speed, but far less time than it would take with anyone else we could have hired. So right now, my main excuse for not having posted since we got back to the US, I'm basically working double time. I'm handling all my cases, plus all of my co-worker's. It's impossible. I'm not really "handling" them -- I'm doing more triage than anything. All my major reporting deadlines are passing me by and I'm powerless to even make a dent into my "real" workload -- but for the most part, I haven't horribly dropped the ball yet as far as I know. It's scary, because years ago, when I was hired, it was a situation like this -- I was coming in to take over for someone who had left the office a few weeks earlier. And my old co-worker (the one who quit's predecessor, who is still with the company but in a different role) was basically managing a double workload. And she inadvertently had a lawsuit go into default on her watch. She was notified it was served, intended to retain counsel, but failed to actually do so. Total disaster in our industry. We were able to work around it in the end, but I feel like it's just a matter of time until I basically do the same thing. It's impossible and unrealistic to manage this kind of caseload, so if/when I drop the ball, I have a feeling my boss will be forgiving. I just hope it doesn't have dire consequences.
I'm grateful that I'm running. I wore my ankle brace religiously on vacation. As the weeks went by, I noticed a decrease in the amount of pain and swelling (though it's still a bit swollen). By the end of the trip, I could walk for hours with no pain at all, unless I was on any kind of side sloped surface (think walking on a sidewalk, crossing a driveway that slopes down to the street). I went for a follow up doc's appointment, and got the all-clear to start running (wearing a brace) as long as I was pain free. Well, running in the brace lasted all of 5 minutes. That thing was going to blister me like no one's business. So I'm wearing the brace for boot camp, but I'm running brace-free -- trying to stay off all sloped surfaces (frequently running in the middle of the street; luckily, not many cars at 5:15 on the streets we run), trying to avoid stepping on any kind of rock or pebble or acorn or anything else that might cause my ankle to rotate out or in. There's some definite medial (inside) ankle pain when I get over about 6 miles. But the places the doctor said to watch for pain (and immediately stop if there was any) were all on the outside of my ankle and a bit into my calf (where the stress reaction or fracture is). No pain there at all, so I'm proceeding. I ran 13.1 miles this past Sunday. Pace was terribly slow, and I definitely would have had trouble going further, but it's miles. The plan is still to do a marathon next weekend (WTF????!!!). Fortunately, it's never a marathon I intended to race. It's a girls' weekend trip, and I may do the full with my bestie if she does it and our paces line up. I don't care if there's walking involved, I'd just like to finish. I read Amy's post about basically doing the same thing -- running a marathon severely underprepared, but just because she can finish, and because she likes to run. And so many people can't and/or don't. And that's basically my attitude. I think the race will be fun, even if it takes 6 hours. And I don't think it will hurt me to do it (if there's "bad" ankle pain, I'll absolutely stop).
I'm grateful that we don't have to travel for Thanksgiving this week. I get to keep up my longest streak race (huge local Turkey Trot (over 30k people I think), 8 mile distance for maybe my 12th consecutive year?). We are going over to my former boss's house for dinner as we've done the last couple years. And this year, I'm going to endeavor to make the main course for me and my friend (ex-boss's wife, my former co-worker in Big Law) -- the vegducken. Butternut squash stuffed with an eggplant stuffed with a zucchini stuffed with scallions. Looks labor intensive but we shall see...
I'm grateful my husband is feeling better. He came back to some work chaos as well, and (my theory...) got stressed about it, wasn't sleeping well, etc., ended up with a weakened immune system and caught an upper respiratory infection. He was down for the count for about a week (even took a sick day, which is rare for him). He got better, finished off the steroid pack, and then within a week or so, he felt like he was getting the same thing. He was considering going back to the doctor, but as of this morning, he thought he was actually around the corner, making a comeback, feeling better.
I'm grateful some family drama has resolved. It unfortunately began last week Monday morning, and continued throughout my nearly 100 hour work week. Lovely. The short version: my sister-in-law was very upset because I had asked her kids what they wanted for Christmas the first weekend of October when I was up there for the marathon that wasn't. And then I bought them what they wanted. And it turns out that I can't return things on Amazon after more than a month. And it turns out what they asked me for (and what I bought) is also what they wanted from Santa. So she was freaking the f out about it. Which was awesome given my work hours and stress level. She was texting me all the time about it. Unnecessary lost sleep for me stressing about it. But we found a solution -- she is buying the gifts from me for the kids from Santa, and she is going to shop for new gifts from me and wrap them. Win-win. I told her my whole point was to be done with them (and a lot of the rest of my family) before vacation, buying as much as possible small items that I could wrap here and fly home with, rather than large things I'd ship there and then have to hurriedly wrap in the days before Christmas. But I honestly don't think our relationship wasn't harmed by all this -- I'm not a quick forgetter or an easy forgiver unfortunately. I'm left feeling kind of bitter and unappreciated -- there was no "it's so great you did all this to make my kids happy" and there was a nasty voicemail from her telling me I "just don't understand because [I] don't have kids". But I shall try to let go and move on... Either way, I'm grateful it's over, resolved, done.
I'm grateful I finally got back to writing. Just sitting here for half an hour, checking out of the office mentally, it's nice. Not sure I'll ever get caught up on blog posts I missed while I was gone, but at least I'm back to reading, which is always what I've liked to do.