Category Archives: Work

Week two of working from home due to the quarantine.

I’ve never worked from home before this COVID-19 pandemic. I went into it like “YESS all of my dreams are coming true!” – because I like home. I’m a homebody. If I can spent an entire weekend at home and not go anywhere at all I feel like I won the lottery. This quarantine hasn’t affected me in as many ways as it seems to have for those on social media – my feed is plagued with memes about boredom and insanity. I suppose I should feel lucky I don’t feel bored or as if I’m going insane.

For the past two weeks, I’ve *tried* to get up every morning earlier, so I can cycle before I clock in. I haven’t done it every day, but I have done it a few times and, on the nicer days, gotten my exercise outside in the fresh air as opposed to a stationary piece of equipment inside. I think that staying active throughout this chapter in our year 2020 is important; we need to be expending that energy!

On the mornings where I wanted or needed to hit snooze? I allowed myself to do so and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s been excessively gloomy outside lately, which is par for the course for the beginning of April. Resting is okay, as long as I’m not shirking the necessities of what needs to be done.

Whether I get up and cycle or just get up, I get ready to go to work as if I am leaving the house. This has put me in the mindset of “Okay, now I’m ready to get to work,” as opposed to simply rolling out of bed, walking the 15 steps from my room to my work station, and plunking down in my pajamas. While some people may be able to work from home this way, I didn’t feel it would be something that I could do long-term, given that this work from home thing IS so new to me. I do my hair, put makeup on, even continue to pick out my clothing and accessories the night before – just like my normal routine prior to the pandemic. Overall I don’t feel like my productivity was hampered much at all by my working from home. My connection is slower than what I’m used to in the office (oh, how I miss the speed of my work computer and my two big computer screens!), but overall, I feel like I’m moving right along with things and quite able to keep it all on track.

I did realize after week 1 that I sit a LOT more at home than I did at work, as I’m not walking back and forth to the ladies’ room or to the copy machines. So I brought my standing desk home and find I stand most of the day now. My body is thanking me for this 🙂

The boredom thing though? This I don’t get. I feel like it’s been the perfect time to slow down and work on some outstanding household projects, as well as make some crafts for some extra cash. I ramped up my macramĂ© plant hanger production, as people really seem to like them on Mercari. (I re-opened a Mercari shop under the name of Davis At Home and it keeps me busy in a positive way.)

I suppose that is what it comes down to. There’s always things to do – projects to work on. We started our garden seeds and the kale is already poking up. I’ve gone through 2 big Christmas totes and re-organized. I’ve done the laundry and hung it out on the line during the days where it isn’t raining. I’ve picked up, eaten delicious homemade foods, and finished a book. I’ve buried myself in Shameless on Netflix and drank more wine than I used to (I’m having 1-2 glasses, as opposed to almost 1). It’s relaxing. I have nowhere really to be. No one does.

 

 

 

 

 

In just two weeks – so much has changed.

It’s pretty astonishing how much has changed in just two weeks.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Manhattan visiting my parents. They remain there, despite everything, in order to continue my mom’s immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. We arrived late on Friday night and by Saturday, the cases of the COVID-19 had already doubled (or tripled, I can’t keep track at this point) and NYC was in a “state of emergency”. But we wanted to see my parents and spend time with my dad for his birthday.

Life seemed to go on as normal while we were in NYC although when we had to go to our local CVS for toilet paper, there were only a few single rolls left – no packs. That didn’t really alarm us because it’s the city and there’s a lot of people. Perhaps that particular store was just not as conscientious about inventory.

In that time frame, we’ve returned home to a world changing fast. Too fast. Will we be able to keep our jobs, our homes, ours and our family’s bellies fed? Maybe I’m getting too ahead of myself but really? The lack of toilet paper and other paper products here in Niskayuna heightened the state of alarm. It causes a ripple effect – we’re normal people, going about our normal lives the best we can, but when others are stockpiling up on one particular product, it makes it so when NORMAL people go to the store for their NORMAL things – they can’t get it. So what do we do? We grab it while we can, even if we don’t need it for another week or so, because we aren’t sure if we’ll ever see it again. Last weekend when my wife went to the store she sent me a picture of the empty paper product shelves* and indicated that there was no ground beef – hardly any meat at all. She grabbed what she could, which wasn’t a ton, but apparently this aisle had also been ransacked.

[*We try to limit our use of paper products anyhow, but toilet paper is something we can’t really get our minds around ~ this we don’t want to have to replace by using recycled cloth. Kinda ew.]

(Not really) Little by little, Courts, office buildings, businesses are closing their doors for the unforeseen future in an effort to keep the virus from spreading. I am a paralegal (I work in the field of estate and trust administration) and when I got a notice that the Dutchess County Surrogate’s Court was shutting down without a projected re-opening date, it was like – wow, this shit’s getting real. I work a lot in the Surrogate’s Courts in general (and yes, this particular closure does affect some of my files) and while I can continue to work and submit things, it will take a long time for those things to be reviewed and addressed. Which means there are going to be a lot of people out there in limbo.

Talk started around our office about what we would do. Plans were made and then hastily changed because the guidelines on what businesses needed to do changed – so no one got a chance to even get used to what our new “normal” would look like before the coin was flipped, yet again, and we’re on a new path. I don’t envy the leaders in my office at all for what they have to do and the decisions they’ve had to make. People whose hours were cut or, worse, temporarily released because things needed to be trimmed up and kept to essentials. It’s harder because jobs will be harder to come by in the next coming months with so many places closed. A lot of businesses won’t be “booming” enough to be hiring. It’s going to be a very rough time for a lot of people and no one knows how long it is going to last.

The talk around the office wasn’t just interior, it was also with clients, too. My clients have been clamoring for me to tell them how it’s all going to work – how it is going to affect their cases. All I can do is advise them that they can certainly expect delays but that we are doing all we can in order to keep things moving along. In many ways, sometimes I feel like I’m still a kid – I’m only 36. I’ve never been through what we’re all going through now; this is all unprecedented for me and I’m certainly not in charge. The older I get the more I realize I don’t know about the world.

When it came to staffing, we were on Monday “all systems go” on a pretty normal level. We were practicing social distancing with clients, taking extra precautions for cleanliness of common areas but by Wednesday, the more serious talks about some of us working remotely came up. For me, I said I’d prefer to work a hybrid in/out of the office type of scenario, as there’s a lot at my job that does make what I do easier. Now, I will admit, I’ve wanted to work from home for years now because I’m kind of a hermit, but for whatever reason, I really wasn’t too excited about this prospect given the circumstances. It is more of a crisis mode than a decision made freely, without duress.

Management was scurrying to cut down staff to 50 percent, then 75, THEN 100%. That took me from working in/out of the office to what’s projected to be entirely remote, except for stopping in to exchange/drop off files. Thank GOD I work close to home – there’s so many decisions I’ve had to make over the years that lead me to exactly where I am that I am becoming so very gratefully aware of.

Friday was crazy as I was packing up the important things in my office and all of the “on fire” files. My wife was an amazing help, bringing banker boxes out to her car. I have an office set up now in my home in an alcove in my upstairs and it’s bright, clean and sunny. As of 6 p.m. that night or so, I have remote access into my office computer, but it’s apparently going to be a very slow connection. I don’t know what to expect come Monday morning but I told our tech guy to expect problems because that’s just how it all goes.

The staff in the office is being staggered in such a way to comply with the guidelines set, but this new “normal” will take some getting used to. If we even have a chance TO get used to it.

It’s not even the COVID-19 that’s the scariest part, it’s the falling out of so much because of it that is changing our world minute by minute. It’s shocking how fragile our entire system seems to be ~ it feels like a big wake up call.

I will say one thing positive, because I don’t want this to all be sounding all apocalyptic – but when I asked people what they had going on this weekend, most of the answers were “not a goddamned thing.” THAT is amazing. NOT A THING. We really having nothing important to do and that’s pretty awesome in a world that has taught us to be busy, busy, busy. Friends of ours are going to come over today and help us install a new toilet and then we’ll make dinner for them as a thank you and just visit. No time crunches.

Maybe time can slow down a bit, now that much of the extra distractions going on around us are beginning to quiet down. There’s no extraneous shopping to be done, no movies to go and see in the theater. No bar hopping to do. Most everything will be done at home and online. I bet you we’ll be seeing some super clean yards and stellar gardens this year. I bet you we’ll be seeing an increase of bicycle traffic and people enjoying the local trails and footpaths. We will need entertainment and we’ll have to find it in a more simple way ~ I’m here for all of that.

 

 

 

Keeping up the optimism for 2020

I find myself staring into the month of February feeling a bit overloaded, stressed, but determined to be optimistic.

Even though I hadn’t talked about it publicly, I had a goal in mind to be part time (down to 30) hours at my job by June. I like having goals and actively working toward something and I was expecting that it COULD work. However, the attorney I work with, Christine, has resigned and will be leaving now in 2 weeks. I’m sad on quite a few levels because I really, really like working with her. She’s smart, she’s approachable, she takes the time to answer my questions and has always been very understanding and supportive. But…she found an opportunity she couldn’t pass up! So while I’m sad for me and my increased workload, I am also happy for her and want her to kill it. I also want to kill it on my end and rise to the occasion, but not to the detriment of my own happiness.

I haven’t been very happy this week. I’ve been tired because apparently now, instead of stress affecting the way I eat, it’s affecting the way I sleep. I’ve been waking up before my wife’s alarm goes off at 4:30 and I’m just kinda awake for the day, making it feel like 2 days in one.

But it’s the weekend and I have today all to myself. I am in my craft room about to get serious about some projects and let my mind wander.

I’m thinking of taking a chance and applying to the Jay Street Marketplace for the summer months. It’ll be a minimum of 5 Sundays through the season and it may be a fabulous opportunity for me to get more of my items out there for sale. It will require me to focus a bit more in my free time, but I really love it. I don’t want to lose track of the things I am working toward just because my full time job has gotten busier.

I’ve been plugging along slowly with new items, my latest being:

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You can find this in my Etsy shop HERE

I’m getting better at using my glass cutter and I was able to get VERY nice lines out of this wine bottle to make this candle. Wine bottles are the hardest because they are so very thick ~ check out the thickness in this close-up:

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This was one of my best cuts yet ~ nice and even.

I don’t want to lose sight of my own personal goals just because work is on my mind a lot more lately. I’ve done that many times in my life – lost focus of what I want due to distractions in relationships, jobs, conflicting goals…sometimes I wonder where I’d be in life right now if I hadn’t made much of my decisions based on the needs of other people. Would I be farther ahead in life? Would I have a higher education? Where would I be living? Who would I be today?

I do think that there’s a grand plan that I’m not in control of, so I don’t tend to focus a lot on the “what-ifs”, but sometimes I do wonder what my life would be like if I had stuck to my guns about more things instead of allowing myself to be swayed.

 

 

My annual review ~ hip hip hooray!

So I came off of the weekend and rolled on into Monday a bit better rested from Sunday’s night’s sleep, but still not really feeling myself. I had two meetings in the morning (which is not usual for me) and then surprise! My yearly review would be happening that very day, and I’d be the very first one to have theirs. I didn’t feel prepared but I went with it.

Over the years I’ve honed the skill of being able to hide my anxiety and somehow manage the words that come out of my mouth so that they don’t always 100% reflect the inner turmoil I may be experiencing at the time. I was able to keep my shit in check for this meeting and I’m grateful for that. I was even more grateful for the shower I took as soon as I got home because I had the anxiety sweats all day – the caffeine I had in the morning didn’t help.

Anyway, my annual review went very well!

Appreciation

…and I’m not just saying this because I received a nice raise and a nice bonus. Money is nice but feeling seen sometimes is quite priceless.

Here, I don’t feel doubted and I don’t receive any side-eye when I need time off for something. I remember feeling ostracized at my last firm if I took an unexpected day off. The day following I felt snubbed and basically ignored; as if I needed to be punished for taking a day to either be sick or take care of my mental health. Here, I don’t get that. I’m trusted to do my job; I was trusted even upon walking in on my first day without even having to prove myself. So despite the fact that I took more time off last year than I ever had with a job, I felt (and feel) appreciated, trusted, valuable, and respected.

I feel like 2020 is already full of good things for those around me and for me, too. It’s refreshing and while I know there will be tough parts to the year ahead, I am going to bask in its wonderfulness right now.