Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Where Does the Time Go?

July 13, 2003

It’s Sunday again. I’m not at work this week, though I probably will do some work from here at home in a little while, because I’ve got a couple big projects I really wanted to get done before I go off on medical leave. I say “wanted” rather than “want” because it’s clear to me now that it’s not possible. I worked long and hard last week, giving up such luxuries as writing journal entries during lunch hour and getting home to have dinner with my husband more than once or twice, and, while I made progress, it wasn’t enough. Now I’m just aiming to get as much done as I can so the size of the messes I hand over to my coworkers is as small as possible given the time remaining.

The biggest mess is the albatross project. Yes, the same one I wrote about eight months ago. I have finally come to the conclusion that this task is beyond my capabilities. It pains me greatly to say that, since I like to think of myself as smart and capable, able to do most anything if I set my mind to it. Well, last week I set my mind to finishing this project and worked at it diligently and ended up in just about the same place as I’d started. I found some things that needed fixing in the parts of the module I thought I’d finished and was pretty much completely stumped about how to proceed to complete the last part. I can’t do it. I can’t figure out the logic needed to do what the spec says the programs need to do. I suppose it could be that it’s not possible to meet all the points laid out in the spec, but if that’s the case, I would have realized that months ago if I were truly smart and capable. I’m going to take another look at it today with a fresh brain, and if I still think it’s beyond me, I’ll focus on figuring out the best way to present this disaster to the woman who’ll have to take it on.

The other big project I’ve been working on is in better shape. It’s well within my area of expertise; it’s just a matter of how much I’ll be able to get done before time runs out on Tuesday night. I know I can at least hand that one over with a clear picture of what needs to be done to finish it. I am hoping that I won’t have a lot of customer support requests to deal with for the next two days so I can take a big chunk out of this work. That’s probably wishful thinking, but I can hold on to my dream for right now.


When I haven’t been stressing about work this past week, I’ve been stressing about my surgery. I had my pre-op appointments on Monday. After going over the details of the surgery with me and reassuring me that the overwhelming majority of people do just fine, my doctor was obliged to tell me all the risks I faced. I already knew that there was the potential for damage to nearby organs such as the bladder and bowel, but none of my research had turned up the risk of damage to my teeth from the anesthesia. What? My teeth? My teeth are nowhere near my uterus! It didn’t seem at all fair that I could wake up from surgery with a mouth full of cracked molars, but evidently some people do. Evidently the anesthesia triggers a reflex in a small number of people that causes them to bite down so hard that they break their teeth. As if I needed something else to worry about. I’ve never had anything more serious than local anesthetic in a doctor’s office for surgery so minor that I went to work right afterward, so I have no clue how I’ll react to general anesthesia and major surgery. I do have some clue that I won’t like being in the hospital, having to ask for help with even simple things and having much less choice than usual about what I do when. I am hoping that when I’m most restricted that I’ll be too doped up to notice much. I am also hoping that I inherited my mother’s powers of recovery– the day after her hysterectomy, her doctor dropped something on the floor while he was examining her progress in getting around, and she bent over and picked it up without even thinking about it. Go Mom. Do I have that in me? We’ll see.


Taking a break from stressing about either work or surgery, I went with Mr. Karen to see the Detroit Demolition play last night. The Demolition are a women’s professional football team. I had no idea there were women’s professional football teams until Mr. Karen read the article about the game in our local paper a few days ago. How did I miss this? The league started in 2001, and Detroit joined in 2002 (as the Danger). Detroit won the championship in its first season, and went undefeated this year, and I heard nothing about it at all. I might still be in the dark if Mr. Karen hadn’t happened to see the article, since I’m not in the habit of reading the whole newspaper. Once I heard, I had to go see, especially when one woman was described as “general manager and tight end”; that is one great title. I’ve often watched NFL games and wondered if women would ever play. Now I find out they’ve been playing; there are thirty teams full of women doing just that in The National Women’s Football Association. Full contact NFL rules, too, no powder puff stuff or girlification of the game to make it easier. That just seems so cool to me.

So off we went to the high school that’s the home field for the Demolition and plunked down our $12.50 a ticket for this second round playoff game. (Yes, the league has a long way to go before it reaches the level of the NFL, but I’m sure those teams played to small crowds in tiny venues in their early years, too). The team was just walking onto the field when we arrived, and they looked like football players. Of course they did; that’s what they are, but somehow seeing it in person was different than looking at the pictures on the team’s website. They didn’t look like women dressed up as football team; they looked like the real deal. And they played that way, too. Granted, there weren’t any spectacular length of the field passes, but there were shorter passes executed well, and runs broken for long yardage, and real blocking and tackling. Unfortunately, there were also real injuries. None looked too serious until the game was almost at an end. The Demolition were up 28-15, but the Cleveland Fusion were still fighting, driving toward the goal line. The Demolition intercepted a pass with under a minute to go on the game clock, and after the return, one of the Cleveland players didn’t get up. First her trainers came out, and then our trainer was called over, and then the ambulance raced down the track to the spot. The player was strapped onto a backboard and taken off the field on a stretcher; as the ambulance drove around the track to the exit, we could see her inside, helmet still on and taped down to the foam support they’d put in place to stabilize her head. I hope it looked worse than it was, that the medical personnel were just taking every precaution. I was a sobering end to an otherwise fun evening.


A year ago, give or take a day, I explained why I didn’t want a PDA. I still don’t have one, but I’ve been warming to the idea a little bit. Why? My quilting book inventory. Right now, I keep it on a spreadsheet that I update every so often; I print out a hard copy, but that’s inconvenient to put in my paper planner so I often don’t have it handy when I run across a quilting book sale. I have so many books I can’t remember them all, and buying duplicates is not a cost effective even if it’s a good sale. I do keep a wish list and try to buy from that, but since I can only put things on the list if I’ve seen them, I will run across books I like that aren’t on the list and it would be nice if I had a convenient place to look up whether I already have them. But since this is the only thing I’ve thought of that a PDA would be good for, and I’m not going to buying a lot of books for a little while here– disability insurance will not come close to replacing my salary for the time I’m off– I’m not that close to going digital.

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