I wrote about a colleague who has COVID. He has been sick for three weeks. He is in his early 60’s, had a mild heart attack at the beginning of the year, lost a lot of weight and now COVID. I had a deep chill when I heard he was sick.
News about him is sparse. My employer is very strict about HIPAA, but I began gleaning some updates. At first it seemed he was getting a mild case. Fatigue, a little fever, but he thought he had it whipped. Not so fast. He got that second wave and ended up hospitalized with pneumonia. He has been in the hospital for several days.
Somehow his wife and teenage son have escaped it. I think his wife had a mild case. She had been sick right at the time he got sick. Regardless, he is not well, however, his denial is huge. He is telling a colleague he will be back to the office next week. He is still in the hospital. Plus none of us are in a hurry for him to return in case he spreads it around.
During all this, my company did flu shots this week. Thank goodness. I not only did the flu, but got my first shingles. That shingles vaccine is nasty. It hurts during the injection, my arm was sore after, I got a mild headache, and I am flat out exhausted today. Plus I have to keep my paranoia in check because the shingles vaccine side effects are similar to COVID. What was I thinking?!
I am sending positive thoughts for my colleague. I hope he recovers soon and doesn’t get sicker. Fingers crossed….
Today was a crazy day. I am officially on vacation for the Labor Day weekend and it is off to a full moon wacky start. However, one event has created an ethical dilemma. What would you do? Sit back and let me set the scene.
I was home participating in my Zoom Toastmasters meeting. I was minutes away from giving a speech when I hear a woman screaming and a dog fight. Since I was set up right by my window, I peered out to see a young 20-something woman fending a dog away from her pit bull mix. The aggressing dog has no leash. The dogs are the same size. The girl is trying to keep the dogs separated but the unleashed dog won’t back off.
The unleashed dog’s owner has another dog, a husky mix, on a harness leash. He is the same age as the girl. He does not run over to help. He calls the dog, eventually goes over. Meanwhile the girl is screaming for help, picking up her dog, using her body to block the unleashed dog. She is in a panic. The guy gets his dog and walks off. Her dog drags her to the ground. She is frantically fighting for control. It was awful. The husky mix is not helping and egging the situation on – off course, his pack member is having all the fun.
The guy has no leash or collar for the loose dog. She carries her dog upstairs to her apartment. As she does, I run to my door. I call to her and tell her I saw it all. She pops her dog into her apartment and comes over. She is shaking all over. I tell her I am in the middle of a Zoom, but I will come over when I am done.
Between that, the power knocking off my internet less than 10 minutes from the meeting start and a census taker earlier, I was not operating at my peak – LOL – but my speech turned out pretty good. I won a speech contest! Right before I started, I heard her yelling at the guy – they live on the same floor….it lasted less than a minute.
Anyway, back to the ethical dilemma. I pop downstairs (with my mask on) to check on my neighbor. Poor thing. What a morning for her. Her sweat pants are covered in dirt, she broke 4 nails and one was still bleeding. She had just woken up and this was the shit show that started her day.
She had already called property management who told her to call animal control (AC) and the police. The police were kind. She was reluctant to call AC because she didn’t want them to seize the dog. Poor thing. I asked her what the guy said. She said he blew her off, didn’t apologize.
I told her that property management should be enforcing their pet rules. Seizing animals is not the only remedy for AC and that it would not be her fault if the guy got in trouble. He would be getting in trouble because of his actions, not hers. Then I told her I heard their other confrontation several months ago and described it to her dumbfounded face. She tells me after that incident she got a better collar and leash for her dog and she tries to time her walks to avoid the guy. I told her that I am there for her as a third-party witness. I will vouch for her and to please let me know how I can help.
So now you are wondering where is the ethical dilemma in all this? Here it is: I work with this guy. He is in a different department and I don’t see him in my day-to-day routines. I didn’t tell her this. She said he left right after the incident. I knew it was because he had to get back to work.
I am really disappointed with this guy, First of all, why no leash? We live in an apartment complex. That dog needs a leash for its own safety. The dog is skittish. When I have come across them, the dog barks at me and runs away.
Second disappointment: no apology. WTF. His dog caused this girl pain and anguish and an apology is simple common courtesy. It is his neighbor for crying out loud.
What do I do? Do I MYOB? Do I go talk to him next week and basically said WTF? If I do talk to him, I will tell him that I talked to her. Should I call property management and tell them I saw the whole thing and they need to get their heads out of the ass?
Of course, this is huge juicy work gossip and it is absolutely killing me not to say anything, but I won’t. Not right now. I need to give this some time and I need your feedback and dialogue so I can get this off my chest. Ugh, my tongue is bleeding from biting it. Thank goodness I won’t be back in the office until next Tuesday.
I had one of those work moments where a blinding lightening strike of my prowess pops up. One of my skill sets is negotiating. In previous roles I did a lot of it. I can negotiate just about anything for anyone (but do a lousy job for myself — typical woman).
I recently kicked ass and took names. I beat four men at their own game and they didn’t even know it. I saved the company over $80K. I took a negotiation that had been log-jammed for two weeks and wrapped it up in 24 hours. I was a complete bad ass.
However, nobody really knows what a bad ass I am because it is not something I can go running through the halls high-fiving everyone. Sigh. I am one of those people who loves a bit of public acknowledgement. Don’t worry, I took note of it and added it to my list of 2020 accomplishments.
For now, I know that I still got it and those men had absolutely no idea who they were dealing with. Silly men — I googled each and every one of you. They didn’t do their homework. That was a good day…..
I have been saving like a mad fiend during the pandemic. There wasn’t really anything else to do. I have loosened my purse strings a little the past two weekends, but I want that to be exception. I need to remember that spending money is not a solution when I am lonely or sad. That had been my crutch when I was married. Man, did I spend some money on a whole lot of stupid stuff.
I am preparing to pay off my car which will reduce my savings but increase my monthly cash flow. I can replace the money in my savings in about the same time I would have paid off the car loan. My savings can take the hit. I prefer to have the cash flow and zero debt.
It will be the first time in my adult life that I don’t owe anyone a single penny. No car payment, all bills paid on time. Savings for retirement, my HSA and emergency fund all accumulating nicely. I have been saving over 25% of my income. Yes, it’s a tad aggressive, but I needed that catch-up. Once my son is done with school and his stipend ends, I will increase my disposable income. I got a modest 2% raise this month which I applied towards my 401K. I am thrilled to have any type of increase during these crazy times and I say a word of thanks for this job each and every day.
When that car is paid off, I will have paid off over $50,000 of debt in the past year. Yes, $50,000 between the IRS, credit cards and the car loan. Wow. Yes, half of that was my dad’s most generous Christmas gift. In my mind, it doesn’t matter so much where it came from. What matters is that I took responsibility for my situation and did what I needed to do to make it right.
My credit score is now over 800 for the first time in my life. I never dreamed getting it up there so quickly. Yes, it will take a hit when the car is paid off, but I don’t give a rat’s ass. I pay off my credit card in full each month and use it only as a convenience and to keep it active. Sometimes I make two payments in a month so it doesn’t get away from me.
I will have a little more disposable income with the car loan paid off because I won’t send the entire payment amount off to savings. I am in the midst of renewing my apartment lease. They foolishly asked for a 6% increase. Yeah, ask all you want, but that’s not reasonable in today’s economy. I have already countered. They have no idea of my negotiating skills, but they are about to find out.
Life is good. I am feeling peaceful. The next big audacious undertaking is to get the weight loss program back underway. I can do this. I just need to make better choices. At the end of the day perhaps that has been my biggest lesson over the past several years — make better choices….
I have not heard my internal drumbeat for quite some time. I had heard it in March and April, but then it thankfully faded. Now, this week, it started again, albeit softly. My drumbeat is my sign that I am anxious. I don’t feel too much in control and I like to be in control.
Perhaps this is a lingering PTSD effect of Isaias swinging past and we haven’t even hit active storm season. Perhaps it is a discussion board on a professional site about the gloomy future of business. Perhaps it is the hard conversation I had with my son about school expenses, my thought that his dad is struggling to meet his obligations, so my son needs to talk to the financial aid office about more money. Maybe it is a combination of all three and more.
One thing I know is that I am a trifle weary about my utter lack of social life. I am trying to dig deep into focusing on things I can control: diet, exercise, sleep and finances. I am holding back on my spending. That is always a false stress-reliever for me so when I want to buy shit, I now stop and ask why? My cozy apartment can’t hold much, so any purchase needs to be carefully analyzed. I am focused on saving, saving, saving and frugal living, but honestly, that’s boring. No razzle dazzle there, but I do like seeing my savings grow, so I need to savor that.
I need to focus on what does bring me joy these days. I need to embrace the simple pleasures. My Beachbody on Demand (BOD) has been a surprising happiness builder for me. Yesterday was rainy so I couldn’t go outside for my nightly walk. Instead I did 30 minutes of Country Western dancing. This was in addition to my morning 30-minute Barre Blend, which combines barre and Pilates. To know me is to know that I have 2 left feet, no flexibility or rhythm. BOD has been introducing me to my hips and teaching me about coordination, stretching and footwork. Plus I get to look ridiculous in the comfort of my home with no one judging me. I also get to do these workouts repeatedly on my schedule and I advance when I feel comfortable moving on. I really like that. Look out Shakira – when I find my hips, they won’t be lying!
The other thing bringing me joy these days is the simple pleasure of being able to go to an office and be around people. This week is a trifle boring because I am in a lull with most of my projects. I have a few interesting things to do and some not so interesting, but I am around pleasant people all day without pressure.
I am reading a good book. Finished another last night. I have listened to some interesting podcasts. I have a weekly Zoom Toastmasters and this week I have a Zoom bingo night with another professional group. I am sleeping well. I just wish I could go to dinner or brunch with some girlfriends. I wish I had some girlfriends up here. The pandemic quashed all my plans of developing a social network up here.
Part of my internal drumbeat of anxiety is what I am seeing and hearing out of my professional networks. A tsunami of more layoffs and shutdowns is coming. Companies are distributing boxes to employees so they can pack up and work from home permanently, however, as those employees drive off the company knows most will never return. Lots of companies are closing up offices as of the end of September to coincide with the end of the third quarter. More will close up in December so horrific write-offs can be done for 2020. This will enable companies to potentially salvage 2021 after shedding everything possible.
The news have been full of woes about COVID testing, but I have to say my experience wasn’t that bad. I got a text 2 business days and 4 actual days from my test date.
I waited until I got a second text days later because I didn’t recognize the company texting me. I googled them and said, “Crap, this could be my test results”. They do need to do better on that part of things. Anyway, my test came back (drumroll…) negative. Hallelujah!
However, my work colleague (who is also a dear friend) came back positive. She’s the one who is also a kidney donor. She felt crappy one weekend, has had an upset stomach, only ran a fever for 2-3 days. She is lucky it appears.
COVID is a very strange virus. Her hubby got it at work – both his boss and a coworker tested positive. The coworker was briefly hospitalized. The hubby, by the time he tested, came out negative. He had mild symptoms, mostly digestive.
With Florida spiraling out of control, we are seeing/hearing more cases at work. People have fled back to work from home, thankfully. This leaves fewer people in the office. I am now mask on all day, eat lunch outside, use only one bathroom and really minimize my movement around the building. That is all I can control.
I got my hair cut today (mask on, temp check, etc). My stylist is very careful and sanitizes the area, mask, gloves. But people around her and me for that matter aren’t. Young man comes in for his haircut and only puts a mask on when told to do so and then wears it under his nose. Maskhole. A barber waltzes in and doesn’t have his mask on. He dumps his bag on his chair and heads back up front. I don’t know if they checked his temp. He too is a maskhole wearing his mask under his nose. WTF. I held my tongue because the owner was right there and had told the young customer to mask up. The barber had no excuse.
My young stylist tells me her very young roommate who just moved down to SFLA got COVID. This caused my stylist to flee her own apartment for two weeks. Apparently the roommate was quite sick. She was and is running around on Tinder dates, partying in Ft Lauderdale. What is wrong with people? Sigh.
Once again, this is not something I can control, so I will let it go. I will keep my focus on the things I can control. Thus here I sit at home, safe with a really cute haircut.
My best writing and thinking takes place early in the morning with a cup of coffee for company. I wrote all of this while on vacation and am just getting around to transcribing and editing my handwritten notes.
I had a lazy day on the couch during my vacation. I simply vegged either in front of the TV or on the front porch with a book in my lap. I think it was because my mind was examining some big questions and needed the time and space. Here are some of the topics I examined:
The repercussions of being single with limited nearby friends during a pandemic. This issue has resolved itself somewhat. Friends, family and coworkers have stepped up to volunteer assistance should I need it. I am blessed and thankful.
Now that cases are escalating exponentially, working in the office, even with a mask is a bit fraught to say the least. No shit, Sherlock. I wrote this BEFORE I realized I might have been exposed and before Florida hit over 15K cases in a single day.
Vacations for the next few years will be limited for many reasons. I do not see myself flying anywhere unless there is a damn good reason. Rats because I yearn to travel.
What and where will retirement look like for me? That is always a question for me. I like to plan and this is the biggest unknown for me. My pragmatic side hates the uncertainty of this. I just need to accept that I have limited control over this. I need to identify what I can control and focus on those things. A topic for another post.
Can I handle a decade of my boss who can be a handful on occasion? This is looking like it will be my last full-time job if all goes well. I believe the answer is yes. Everyone has their moments of questioning their employment. Will the company navigate this recession successfully and without major layoffs? Too soon to say….
I wrote all of this as I sat outside on the front porch of my parents’ mountain home. It was a beautiful morning. I listened to the birds and watched the chipmunks scurry around the yard. I turned 56 this year. I am pensive because I am on the downhill slide to 60. LOL.
I have a decade of full-time work left in me, hopefully. A decade to save and plan my retirement. A decade to make a home in my new community so I can decide if I stay or leave during my golden years.
I am happy having my free time be for just me. I am happy to be doing little to no compromising these days. It is a first in my life. I have spent a lifetime compromising and letting loved ones’ needs come before my own.
Birthdays are a great time for reflection. 50 years ago I was a young girl living about 2 hours from this mountain home. My parents were in the midst of splitting up. My mom had a breakdown and was hospitalized for a few days. My dad was having an affair with his now current wife of almost 50 years. It was 1970 and all the adults in my life were acting in self-centered ways to the detriment of me and my older brother. My mom was a borderline personality. She claimed their psychiatrist labeled my dad a sociopath. Let’s not get hung up on labels and let’s just generalize it and call them both selfish.
The result of selfish parents, for me, was to counter balance with over-giving. I have always given too much. Too much time doing for others, too much time putting others before me, too much time for futile causes, too much money for others rather than saving for myself, too much, too much.
Now I am learning to value myself and my time. I am learning the value of no and boundaries. It is a bit uncomfortable to express those boundaries, but each time I flex that muscle, it becomes stronger and easier. I look forward to it becoming more effortless and less guilt and anxiety producing. When I first wrote out the previous sentence, I wrote it as a limiting belief “I am never going to think…”. As I transcribed my handwritten notes, I recognized the limiting belief. That is a minor victory!
I feel safe these days. I feel like I have navigated my little lifeboat into a tiny, safe harbor while a storm of catastrophic proportions rages around me. I feel small when looking at the vastness of chaos all around me. I know this single year of 2020 is a turning point in history, yet I will carry on having normal days of work and home. I am very fortunate.
I also feel incredibly fortunate to have my little boat safely anchored. I now longer strive to have trappings of success like expensive clothes, car and a fancier home. Minimal suits me far better. I am happy in my cozy oasis of an apartment. I may decide to redecorate. I need to do something with my grandmother’s dining room set. I think I will get it refinished. Maybe change the seat covers even though she needlepointed them all. Perhaps I will frame them instead or just store them for the kids. Fewer belongings mean fewer ties and responsibilities.
I have led an incredibly interesting life compared to many. Yes, I know many others who are even more interesting and that’s fine. I am no longer competing. I am content to realize I will always have a story, an experience, an understanding for almost any conversation. That is an accomplishment. I also have learned to be a good listener and appreciate the stories and experiences of others.
I have kids who are simply amazing. I listened, on vacation, to my son’s friend tell him how amazing my son is for living in Asia for a year. What an accomplishment that few people have achieved. My son felt and looked rejuvenated and recharged from this vacation. He needed it as much, if not more, than me.
My daughter is in a league of her own. Finding her soul mate has made her journey easier. Their communication with each other is light years ahead of my relationship communication. She is still wrestling with conforming to society norms. I continue to encourage her to follow her heart without guilt. What do I mean by that?
For example, she has discovered she doesn’t like to teach. I get it. Her patience is a precious commodity. She feels guilty because her residency program has encouraged her to teach others, but it is not in her DNA. I asked her how many doctors of her specialty teach and she responded less than 20%. I replied that her mentors knew from the beginning that the odds were against them for her to teach. I said she shouldn’t sweat it.
Perspective – perhaps that is my best gift to friends and family. I offer gentle perspective when appropriate. Blunt, but I also hold back at times. It is a nuanced diplomacy that I have been blessed with.
There you have it. Maggie’s morning reflections on a porch swing with delicious coffee….
I was being lazy after my son left and hung around the cabin. My birthday was the final part of my trip. My son had guiltily left the day before (I didn’t need or want guilt about his departure). My dad and stepmom planned to hang with me for the birthday afternoon and evening, then we would all leave the next day. A short, but sweet visit with them.
Until I got the Happy Birthday text from my GF at work. She called me. She may have COVID. However, I have been directly exposed not only through work, but she gave me a ride to the car rental and we didn’t wear masks. Sigh.
I immediately cancelled my afternoon rendezvous with the parents. My dad then said what I was thinking. Go home. Immediately. So much for my birthday. Fortunately I don’t get hung up on that type of stuff. My poor dad had gotten me a cake. Sweet thing.
There were multiple reasons for immediate action. I didn’t want to get too sick to drive. I didn’t want to further contaminate their house. I had to pass a Florida checkpoint, so I needed to be reasonably healthy for that. If I am going to be sick, I want to be home.
I packed up, washed the sheets, wiped down the house with my Clorox bleach spray and hit the road. Shortly after midnight I was tired, but home and the car was unloaded.
Today I slept in, returned the rental, picked up some groceries, made an extra key to my apartment. I am ready. I received official notice from work (via my GF who is HR) that I am not to return to work for another week. I am to work from home.
This will be interesting. I am waiting to speak to my boss who does not like WFH at all, even though she does it successfully when on a deadline. I have my laptop with me and I don’t need much else.
With the logistics all in place, let’s talk about me. How do I feel? No fever, my neck is a bit achy, I have a mild headache and a slight dry cough. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? I called Taz. Not much to be done at this point. I am scheduling my own COVID test right now. No sense in waiting if I already have mild symptoms.
Am I scared? Not yet. I do want to know if I have it. I am very worried for my GF. She donated a kidney to a family member a couple of years ago.
Like Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part. Sigh.
In my last post, I was basically “ho hum, no excitement around here”. Ha! That was like inviting the gremlins of mischief to pay me a visit, so they are popping out a bit.
My lovely state of Flori-DUH is redefining the word spike. Remember I wrote about opening up and people running around like raging chickens? We have clear evidence that FL is full of nothing but raging chickens. Raging chickens that party like crazy and refuse to wear something as simple as a mask. You want to see people’s full blown crazy on display? Watch this video of a Palm Beach County commission meeting where they voted on mandatory masks (it passed in spite of the crazies). Now some of you might not be CNN fans, so feel free to bypass the reporting, just listen to the absurdity of my fellow residents.
Anyway, now masks are mandatory in stores and at work. Work that has become quite busy now that I am heading out the door for vacation. We have known that eventually our 600 employee, multiple office firm would be impacted by Covid. Now it has. We have a handful of people in multiple locations testing positive. That results in their colleagues freaking the fuck out (I can’t blame them).
The huge Covid tsunami is cresting over our heads and the leadership team is paddling frantically to try to ride the wave. I have been handed a bucket so I can bail while they paddle. That’s the best analogy I can provide about what I do to help. Suffice it to say that my regular duties are on hold as I bail water.
Add to this that my boss has hit her wall. She isn’t the only one. A lot of people are beginning to buckle under the weight of all this. She is one of many. She has been holding up so well for so long, but this past week was not her week. Her mom, who lives 8+ hours away, had been ill and is now released from the hospital but not able to fend for herself. She, much like me, has a difficult relationship with her mom. My boss has been in pain since January from recurring back issues. She is finally getting some treatment, but it looks like she will need intense surgery to set things right. Plus we have a pandemic and she is on our Crisis Management Team. It is a lot to carry around and last week the weight was too much.
I actually sent her home one day. She had a doctor’s appointment and I urged her not to come back to the office. I asked her if she would have told me to return if I felt like she did. She said no, so I suggested she take her own advice. She did.
I have been helping with daily employee check-ins. Early in the week, a senior VP who runs the Crisis team was working with me. He mentioned that he had been awake the night before extremely worried we would be getting an outbreak.
Pessimistic Paul nailed it because the rest of the week was spent handling a handful of people being tested and two positives in different locations. Add in a new mandatory mask mandate with about 160 people coming to work daily and you have got fun times because some people don’t want to be screened or wear masks. Ugh. We make it as quick and easy as possible, but you always have those who resist.
I have actually been in good spirits. I just stick to my comfort zones and do what I need to do. My girlfriend invited me to go boating this weekend and it sounded lovely….until she mentioned they were stopping at a restaurant for lunch. Nope, can’t do it. Add in that I have a bunch of things to do for my vacation and nope. I just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of a waterfront restaurant. Those places are chock full of rule-breakers. I stayed home and cleaned my apartment. It’s OK, I have a fun-filled, relaxing vacation up in the mountains of North Carolina.
That lovely vacation is questionable also. We have a lot going on at work, so I have agreed to be flexible, take my laptop and be available if they need me. Fun times. I don’t mind. The weather should be amazing – no AC needed, just open the windows and let the fresh air blow through. We can take a few hikes, a few rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just generally relax. I have zero expectations except to unwind and spend time with my son and his two best friends.
Let’s hope I get to go! Everybody stay safe, keep your mask on and wash your hands!
What is new around here? Not much to report, thus I haven’t been writing much. I had my quarterly review — kicked butt. I cleared up a few things where I needed some direction and all is well with the Boss Lady. Great news is they will be giving raises, not sure how big, but anything is welcome around here.
I am now voluntarily doing health screenings for over 100 people 2-3 times a week. Why? Why not? I am meeting lots of coworkers, wearing a mask, feeling like a team player. The company needs the help, I don’t mind coming in early once in awhile and it scores me major brownie points all around. I am careful, we always wear masks, I keep my hands off my face and wash them. If I didn’t feel safe, I would stop.
I have a lovely road trip planned for July 4th. I am meeting my son up in the NC mountains at my dad’s vacation home. My dad won’t be there, so we’ll have the place to ourselves. A little R&R with some hiking and cooler weather.
I have joined the hordes on Beachbody on Demand beginning with the 21 Fix Real Time. I just completed Week 2 of 3. I like it. 30 minutes and I am done. 30 minutes of me out of sync with everyone, groaning, not able to do quite a few of the movements and I.DON’T.CARE. Why? Because I am still moving my body better than I do on my own. Plus I am -2 pounds for 2 weeks in a row. Did I change my diet? Nope, not really. Just changed my exercise. I have already figured out my next series on BOD once I am done with the 21 Day Fix.
My current frustration: my car door handle. The button that automatically unlocks the car from the outside doesn’t work anymore. I have to use the remote. I stopped by the dealership and got this breakdown:
Part: $250 – yes, $250 for a friggin’ door handle on a Hyundai
Labor: $150 – one hour for something that a guy on YouTube replaced in less than 10 minutes (and that included his close-ups on a couple of angles).
Paint: unknown. The handle comes unpainted so it has to be sent off to be painted to match my car’s current color.
At the end of the day, we are looking at over $500 for a Hyundai door handle so I have the convenience of hitting a button to open my door rather than fumbling with the remote. Yeah, that’s not happening.
My plan of attack instead is to find a salvage one (not easy) or just get the part and have someone else do the work. It’s the price of the part that annoys the crap out of me. OK, the labor also. Surely I can find it cheaper somewhere. A commenter on a discussion blog on this issue suggested just swapping it with the passenger handle. I think it could go upside down, but I am not sure. I need someone more mechanically adept to check it out for me.
Anyway, Maggie is alive and well. Staying home. Hitting the beach sometimes, but avoiding crowds, restaurants, stores. If I didn’t have this job, I would be in such a crisis. Therefore, I say a prayer of gratitude virtually every day. My passwords are things like “Grateful, Blessed, Gratitude” I remind myself every day of the good things in my life. I hope you see the rainbows in yours.