Week in Review

subtitle: Emmy has a lot of things bouncing around in her head and can’t figure out one thing to write.  (This is what a conversation with me can be like.)

This week was much shorter than I initially intended.  Garbanzo has a teacher development day at school today which means it is just me and the kids.  I had already planned on taking today off, but I had not planned on taking yesterday off – or at least part of it.  Okay, most of it.

I have dust allergies.  And as our old cat Garbanzo gets older, his dander will also bother me.  Have I mentioned that cat has to sleep with us at night?  The hubby loves him sleeping with us – and the cat has an unnatural love of him (I think the cat wants me out of the picture) – so he sleeps with us.  And, if I’m really “lucky”, the cat sleep next to my face.  When the dust and the dander get bad, I take medicine.  When I don’t take the medicine and it’s bad, I have mornings where I don’t feel well.  About a couple hours after I get up and going, I’m usually fine again.  But during that two hour window, I just can’t tell – so I assume all is well.

Yesterday, I did that.  I got to work.  I started staring at the computer.  Started trying to get some things done – all the while I was feeling worse and worse.  I finally said screw it and went back home.  My big mistake of the day – going back into Portland during rush hour traffic.  It took me an hour to get home.  (I usually do rush-hour going the opposite way which means I see rush hour, I’m just not in the middle of it.)

I didn’t feel bad about leaving.  I have had to work too much lately.  Between a couple of major system outages/issues, I have been sleeping with my Blackberry.  The company can give me a sick day….and since I’m salary and did work a bit yesterday, the company did give me a sick day yesterday.  Thank you, loop holes!

But I suspect work is going to be interesting for the next six months.  We are doing a major systems project – interesting enough in itself.  But, the PM (update -sorry, realized I used an acronym – PM = project manager) from our team is already struggling….two weeks into the project.  I will be honest.  I wanted to do it from our side.  But, I already had two projects on my plate.  This guy had credentials and experience, so it made sense.  So, when asked my opinion by the big boss, I gave it my blessing.   What I am finding is that he lacks the experience of managing projects.  (Hmm…someone exaggerated on their resume.) I spent an hour with the guy and consulting team where he kept bringing stuff up that made me go “huh?”.  He’s worried about getting it all perfect for the business but without holding the business accountable to what they tell us.  You run a project like that, and you end up with a project that won’t end.  And a project of this size could put a company out of business if that were to happen.

I spent the meeting explaining what you do when that happens.  If the users forgot to mention they can’t live without seeing this report everyday, you put it before the change committee.  The change committee will decide if it should be brought into the scope of the project by looking at what the change introduces in terms of increased time and budget.  It’s project management 101.  Or, what if the people won’t give us what we want?  You escalate it up to their manager, their business owner and the project sponsor.  They are in the way of progress, someone with real authority over the person needs to do something about it.  Again – basic stuff.  I hate being on projects being run by people who aren’t experienced at the basics.

And, it is situations like this that make me recall my favorite phrase that describes my career at this company:

“No good deed goes unpunished”

Yes, it is cynical.  But, if you deal with performance problems, you tend to get the harder to manage employees.  (I know how to fire people versus just laying them off when the opportunity presents itself – so I have had my share of performance problems over the years.) If you can pick up a flailing project and get it on track and across the finish line, you will be handed flailing projects.  I have come back from vacation to find out I got the project no one could get completed…..not once, or twice….but three times.  I love vacations – but I hate coming back to work because of this.  My point….and I have one…..I expect this one my land in my lap.  I don’t think the consultants are very happy with our guy either.  The head architect who I met with for the past two days told me I’m the kind of manager he likes working with – one who will make decisions and remove obstacles.  Consultants who have a reputation on the line will usually not sit back as someone messes up their project.  We’ll see what happens.

Changing subjects, Indigo has gotten positive feedback from her teacher about her behavior. So, she gets to watch Sponge Bob again – much to my dismay.  It is getting better.  And last night’s display at taekwondo testing shows everyone including her that she can do it if she puts her mind to it.  Today, she’s even showing good choices.  I hope the buzz of getting her Orange belt lasts!

Garbanzo and I are back in synch.  If you read his blog yesterday, it summarized up well what happened.  It was something that kind of took us both by surprise.  We are rarely that out of synch with each other sexually.  I chalked it up to something that just happens.  Maybe we needed a night off, so to speak.  He tends to be more of a worrier in the relationship.  For me, it was more of a “what the fuck” moment.  I think when you have had such good communication with a person, having a moment where communication has failed can throw you back.  He summarized it well – it was just sad.  I always approach these things as “tomorrow is another day”.  No need to over analyze something until it has shown to be a problem repeatedly.

For Garbanzo, he worries it could mean bigger things.  He worries it was something he said, did, or didn’t do.  No matter what I say or do, he worries.  What can I say – he had poor examples of relationships in the past (his parents, his dad and step-mom, his parents again).  No communication.  Always waiting for the other shoe to drop because it will.  It could be a year or two from when the situation in question occurred, but it will have another shoe drop.  When you have spent your entire life like that, it is hard to believe it won’t happen in your other relationships.

But, last night – all was well again.  We decided this morning though that we need a weekend away – just the two of us.  No kids to interrupt.  No taekwondo schedule to worry about.  Just the two of us.  And we agreed – no bed and breakfast this time.  While it was nice, not emerging from your room for the day is noticed by all.  I guess we’ll have to see what we can line up.  Even with the grandparents close by, their schedules don’t always allow for them to take the kids on the weekend.  But, my brothers may be able to be coerced.  Hmmm….

What do you think?

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