guilt and abandonment

I feel like I’m a pretty good manager, but nothing prepared me for the experience of leaving my employer of 10 years.  I think we naturally want to minimize the impact we have on our team and others that we interact within the workplace.  I was surprised at the reactions I got.

When I told my direct reports, the room was silent.  You could have heard a pin drop.  I think I saw some jaws drop as well.  One person excused themselves to get a coffee, although later I found out that this was just an excuse to get out of the room and maintain composure.  Another obsessed about small controllable details, “We are going to lose the room if we don’t take over the meeting invite”.

Afterwards, the more open they became, the more guilty I felt.  Hearing things like, “you are the reason I’m on this team”, or “I don’t think anyone could lead the team the way you have”, or “Anna, I don’t need the money…I’m here for your leadership.”  Then tears.

well shit.  Don’t I feel horrible!

In a later meeting, I told some others that report up through my span of control.  My announcement was met with an audible gasp.

It felt strange to get a compliment for being “a great boss” from the grumpy guy in the corner who never gives anybody any compliments.

All this makes me realize that at some level, I made a difference to the day-to-day lives of these people.  I tried my best, and they noticed.  They brought up concerns, and I took action.  I set direction, and they followed.  I now realize how fortunate I’ve been to work in the trenches with these amazing folks.

And now, I know the best thing for me is to move onto a new adventure, where I hope I can make as much of an impact.

decisions, decisions

Lots of changes going on around here…

Matt and I have been getting ready to take our sabbatical together.  While we were preparing for that, I start chatting with a friend of a friend who just happens to be the CIO at a local company.

Long story short, they are in need of someone with my skills, and they “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”.  So, while I was not looking for a new job, I found myself deciding to leave the company where I’ve spent the last 10 years.

It is a big decision and honestly, it is pretty scary.  I’ve even shed a few tears fretting over making the right decision.  I dreaded having the difficult conversations to tell my current employer. Those are never fun.  And I despise the attention being on me for anything other than my work.  

I am pretty excited about this new job though.  My official title will be “Director, Enterprise Analytics”.  Doesn’t that sound important?  Anyhow, lots of opportunity and influence.  I will be responsible for governance, BI, and technical strategy.  Wish me luck.

can we NOT talk about me?

I’m stressed.  I can’t tell you yet why I’m stressed though.

I’ve made some decisions…that was stressful enough. Now I have to talk about them…I have to explain the reasoning behind those decisions.  ugh.

Then I’ll get asked a lot of questions.  I don’t want to answer everyone’s questions.  I’d rather hide under my desk.  Is that an option?  Can we talk about anything other than me?

Lets talk about you.  Yep, nothing going on here.

26 loads of laundry later…

Remember that “quick” laundry room remodel that we started in September?

Well, we’ve been busy. Since then, we…

  •  Hired an electrician to move the electrical outlets (and add an outlet)
  •  Installed cement board
  •  Built shelves (with help from Matt’s dad)
  •  Found chipped tile and took 3 more trips to the tile shop before we received enough good tile (sigh…not very happy with the tile company)
  •  Gave up on tiling ourselves and called a professional to tile
  •  Cleaned and sealed the tile
  •  Lots of spackling
  •  Primed and painted
  •  More spackling
  •  More painting
  •  Cut trim board
  • Learned that no room is square and researched how to “cope” trim (instead of trying to cut 45 degree angles)
  • Coped the trim and shoe
  • Painted trim
  • Installed countertop supports
  • Moved washer and Dryer in
  • Did laundry!!!!

Phew, that was a lot of work, but we aren’t done yet. So no photos…not yet.

Stay tuned for the finished product.

he hates me

I have come to the conclusion that our cat Harvey hates me.

Now I know what you are thinking. You think I’m overreacting, but hear me out.
There are two reasons for thinking so.

  1. Escape Attempts: The poor cat just doesn’t even want to be around me. See, here he is trying to escape! He sat there staring at that doorknob thinking, “If I could just turn that damn thing…”


  2. Blatant PDA: Secondly, he often runs from me, but the second Matt sits down on the couch, Harvey comes running for some serious cuddle time. He will literally jump over me to get to Matt. What am I? Chopped Liver? And then the snugglefest begins…let me just say, it is a little much. We are talking headbutts and purring like you wouldn’t believe. He settles in on Matt, and then just turns and looks at me…just to rub it in image

And that is why my cat Harvey hates me.
Maybe one day he will cuddle with me. I’ll dream of said day.

Yes, that is fast expanding foam insulation in my hair

Matt and I were at risk of losing vacation days if we didn’t start taking some. So we decided to take some time off and take care of some things around the house.  You know all those projects we dream up but never finish?

Our staycation started with the easy stuff.  About five years ago, we bought a new chandelier on clearance when a local store was going out of business.  Only the reason that it still sat in a box five years later is because of the location — the top of our vaulted stairwell.  Matt insisted this would be easy if we rented some scaffolding. So we found some at a local tool rental, but it took us an ungodly amount of time to put it together. Once assembled, we couldn’t help but notice how unstable it seemed.  After talking through our options, I decided I was brave enough to climb up and change the fixture if Matt could talk me though it. As we worked, Matt put pressure on the scaffolding to try to keep it steady. That of course brought is to our first lesson of the week: Make sure you have all the equipment needed.  As this thing shook back and forth, and Matt attempted to keep it stable, his eyes fell on a warning label plastered across one of the support structures. It read, “Do not use without cross beam supports in place.” Cross beams? We don’t have any crossbeams!

With some balance and luck, we were able to exchange the light fixture and repainted the entire stairwell and adjoining hallway.  We added sandbags to the scaffolding, which helped a tremendous amount.

See our before and after below:

Now that we had some success behind us, we moved into a bigger project…the laundry room.

When we moved into the house, we had some blindingly ugly stripped wallpaper lining the very small room. We took that off years ago (very distracting) and it sat looking like this (except more cluttered) for the last several years.

The plan was to replace the vinyl flooring with tile, remove an outdated cabinet, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and add some open shelving.  We barely started when we learned our second lesson: There will always be surprises. We pealed up the existing linoleum to find a second layer of ugly flooring. Pealing that up, we found an extra layer if plywood and the biggest surprise, wood rot. It is about now I realize that I’m going to be doing laundry at the nearby laundromat, because this is not going to be a quick fix.  Lots of demolition and investigation later, I came to the conclusion that things could be a lot worse, but the fixes needed extend beyond our skill sets.  Consult with professionals when in over your head.  I get on the phone and tried to find someone to come out and help repair the sub floor and wall supports so that we could get back to our project.

Luckily for us, we found a super nice guy who came out the next day and spent 12 or so hours fixing things.

So now we have a quality sub floor and some new drywall, but are still many days away from being able to wash our clothing. We go back to work on Monday, and may need to start turning our clothing inside out.   Apologies if when we start to stink.

Three issues of People Magazine later…

I met with the neurologist.

My MRI came back normal.  My blood work was good except for a low B12 level. So more vitamins for me.

It turns out, I’ve not taken my prescription early enough In the day when I get a headache.  When I did take them, I didn’t feel like they helped at all.

And I learned that the prescription that the clinic at work gave me is actually outlawed in most countries.

He gave me three other prescriptions to try to identify what is the most effective. I’ll go back in a couple months to report back.

The good news of course is that…

He he.

Awkward moments in management

True story. As soon as I think I’ve seen everything…

  • John types too loud.  Can you do something about that?
  • What kind of rating are you giving me this year?
  • I have this hemroid creme that I have to carry with me everywhere…
  • I’m in severe intestinal distress, can I go home?
  • Our cubes are old.  Can we get new ones?
  • Bob smells. Can you tell him to take a shower?
  • Sorry I’m late… I was on the toilet all morning.
  • You showed up on security’s radar. Were you looking at adult content on your work computer?
  • Can I “work from home” to watch the World Cup game?

No evidence of electrical instability 

Hello there.

Last week I went back the the neurologist for my EMG.  They actually performed two different tests, neither one being very pleasant.

The first consisted of this super nice nurse giving me electric shocks all over my arms.  First she took a pen and drew out different measurements on my hands, arms, and shoulders.  Then she used those measurements to determine where to trigger electrical signals.  At first it was pretty mild. It felt like what happens when you shock yourself on a doorknob. Then I saw her crank it up and watch my arms flail about.

For the second test, the doctor stuck little needles in my muscles. He told me to relax and the flex.  The cool thing was that the needles were somehow connected to the audio system in the examination room.  So when I flexed, I could HEAR my muscles contracting.

At the end of all these tests it was determined that I had “no evidence of electrical instability”.

Abnormal reflexes, sleep disorders, and headaches

well, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor.  I found myself feeling really anxious.  I don’t like going to the doctor.

First I went to the on-site clinic.  She agreed my the number and severity of my headaches was unacceptable and gave me some prescription pain killers.  She also referred me to a neurologist.  

So I met with the neurologist.  He asked me a lot of questions, analyzed my posture, asked me to walk across the room, tested my reflexes, and examined my neck and shoulders.  He rambled on to the nurse practitioner about things I couldn’t quite catch:  Something about my spine, then some muscle in my neck, and finally abnormally low reflexes in my arms.

He suggested I may even have a slight sleep disorder and that might be contributing to my migraines.  Then he gave me a lot of homework.

  1. Take a new 2nd prescription next time I get a bad migraine
  2. Keep a sleep journal
  3. Get more sleep and sleep on my back
  4. Keep a headache journal
  5. Get an MRI of my head and neck
  6. Get lots of blood work
  7. Get an EMG
  8. Come back for a follow up appointment to review the results

So, I’ve been going to bed early.  That part is nice but I don’t like falling asleep on my back.

I was nervous about the MRIs. Am I allowed to look around? Apparently I’m supposed to keep that to a minimum.  So, I figured I would find something on the ceiling of the mri machine to stare at.  It will look just like what it does on “Grey’s Anatomy” right?  So the nurse sends me in, and I immediately notice two things.  One is that the ceiling is only a few inches from my face. So I really can’t look anywhere very far.  Two, is that there is nothing to stare at. The ceiling is just one flat piece of white plastic.  So that made the next two hours fun. No moving, and trying to ignore every itch.