Sunday, July 05, 2009


I think it started when Adam called me a monkey. He grinned when my mouth dropped open in shocked indignation and took a drink of his soda while awaiting my reaction.

"I worked really hard on that!" I finally protested, earning the attention of colleagues at a nearby table.

"I'm sure you did," he agreed mildly. "All I'm saying is that someone with your extreme talent wouldn't be necessary to do it. A trained monkey could have input the data. But I'll bring you some bananas if that makes you feel better."

"I'll expect them tomorrow," I sniffed, continuing to pout. "I spent all weekend doing work for you and then you call me a monkey," I muttered, barely managing to suppress a grin.

When faced with this weekend - a four-day super-special holiday weekend - I decided work could wait. It has therefore been four days of tackling all the non-Industry items that I keep meaning to do.

I mentioned my chapter. The project had gone from a flattered acceptance of request to a niggling worry of when I was going to work on that to a nagging concern that I wasn't going to write anything worthwhile.

"I need time to think," I often say. While I am reasonably smart (Really. I am. It's hard to tell, I know, but you'll have to trust me here.), when it comes to technical concepts, I sometimes need some time to process information and look at examples before I can wrap my mind around a new method. Given that the phone is always ringing and email piling up and people at my door, I can't even beg for 30 minutes to sit and mull something over. Instead, I react in prioritized order.

You may think of my mind like a guinea pig (for I like them more than hamsters) faced with multiple wheels (Do guinea pigs run on wheels? I was little when I had them as pets.) and trying to run on all of them in a frantic pace. Then I sleep.

In order to make the wheels stop, I left my laptop closed. I turned off my cell phone. I was off and doing other things. No Katie for you.

Yesterday was not productive, a fact that disappointed me mightily. The house was a mess, my chapter was progressing nicely but not finished and I began to worry about going back to work on Monday. Frustrated with myself, I decided to steam clean the basement carpet last night - Chienne and I were already cowered down there, hiding from the scary sounds of exploding fireworks. About an hour later, sweating profusely and swearing at the steam cleaner that wouldn't suck up the water, I finished using my ShopVac and nodded in satisfaction. Then I sleepily curled on the big, comfortable couch and looked up additional references for my chapter.

This morning, I wandered downstairs with renewed purpose. De-clutter, start laundry, water plants, I decided as I poured coffee and curled in the corner of my loveseat. Revive iMac (which has been broken since my last trip. It was very sick before I left and Smallest One finished it off by banging on keys in some special 'Die, Die, Die!' order.), load new pictures on digital photo frame, organize books and DVDs in bedroom.

It's barely past noon and I'm looking at new photos in my frame. The last load of laundry is in the washer and the dishes are also clean. Tiger is installing on the iMac (I went through 5 of the 6 troubleshooting steps on the Apple Support site and was beginning to lose hope.) Plants are watered (and doing very well! This house has lots of windows and there are plants in most of them). All is organized and pretty and my nails (fingers and toes!) are even painted. I've talked to my parents and the girls.

"I'll come home in two weeks," I decided. "I'll take Friday off and drive home to spend the weekend. It's been good to take a break - a real break - from Industry." I told Mom. "I think I'm even ready to go back tomorrow."

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