Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heigh Ho, It's Off to Work I Go

I have been working very sporadically as an independent consultant since before Kelsey died, but it is very limited hours and the money I am making as a result is negligible at best. Doing it over the last couple of months allowed me some structure and a filler for my resume. More importantly, it is a job with complete flexibility so I could take care of whatever I needed to for Mother. However, like everything else in my life, things have suddenly changed. For one thing, we were already dipping into savings each month to feed and house all the occupants on our lot, both the two legged and four legged variety. Neither the house nor the occupants are getting any younger and require a bit more maintenance these days. But now there is grief counseling. I don't know how long we think we'll need it, but I wanted to give us the ability to go for as long as it takes until those awkward moments like I had this weekend don't devastate us and movies like The Sixth Sense don't choke me up (okay, bad example, the end of that one always gets me). The weight of the worry over the mounting debt added to the weight of the sorrow, and threatened to topple me over the very narrow edge I was trying to traverse. With a hint of Fate, something opened up at my old company which two of my friends gave me an insider's scoop on, and I started there again yesterday. This time I'm doing something that has a lot more flexibility, but already the stress of trying to manage work and home life rose its ugly head last night when I was trying to juggle dinner, the consulting job, spending time with family, getting ready for the next day, doing a little housework that I'm behind on because of the virus I had, paying Mother's bills, returning a couple of calls, watering the plants and finally falling into bed for a few hours of sleep. You get the picture. The working women in the audience really get the picture.

However, if I am to be totally honest with myself what I really get out of this is a potential cure to the lethargy that comes with grief. I noticed it even before all the company left after the funeral. There is indeed a lot to do in an aging house with lots of dogs and deer around, but I wasn't doing it. I'm not sure what I did do all day because the days went by quickly, sort of to my surprise. I was constantly thinking I would tackle one project or another, and then, poof!, the day would be gone. I am not sure what I spent my time doing really, but that hallway wall still needs painted. If I'm not going to paint it, I guess I better earn the bucks to have someone else do it. Now there is a place to be and people who expect me to both show up and perform once I do, which can keep me focused and moving forward. Forward to what, I can't say exactly, but it has to be better than the confused direction I was traveling.

At the same time, working cures the quiet. The house was just full of quiet, which was about to get so much worse with Marissa about to move into a dorm. Maybe that contributed to my feeling that I had to have something and had to have it now. Work in a cubicle is not quiet. I can't dwell on my loss when I can barely hear myself think.

Can I listen to people worry about too much work and not enough time without thinking they don't have a clue about what a real problem is? Can I meet all the new co-workers and answer the polite and curious questions about my life and listen to them tell me about their kids without thinking that my heart will just bleed out? Can I really care about deadlines and work pressures when I find it hard to care about much of anything? I'm not sure, but I don't have time to think about it because I have to go get my outfit ready for tomorrow.

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