there is something wrong with me, ups and downs

In which I am my very worst self

I spent last week at a conference. I went last year too.

The content on the whole is great. They have amazing keynote addresses (which this year even managed to be on topic) and amazing tech presentations. The breakout sessions turned out not to be as relevant to our role but they set up a “garage” area that was more in our sphere and that was cool.

Don’t I sound positive, after the fact?

It was great… it’s great BIG. Estimates varied from 12-14000 attendees.

All in all the event is too big for me – I feel lost in conferences with several hundred attendees, let alone several thousand. And they had growing pains of their own, little nitty things that added up to not a great experience.

Things like asking the people who were in for Training the day before the conference to get there 1-2 hours before we needed to be there, and then not letting us into the training rooms on arrival because they were still being set up.

Things like simultaneously asking everyone to come in and register a day early to get better positions at the concert night, causing a huge rush during training registration and sessions.

Things like having that rush correspond with not just 1 registration line but also separate lines for swag and concert entry. The entire facility was just a sea of snaking lines, and that was just the prelude to the event itself.

Ostensibly the theme of the event was Breakthroughs but I would say the real theme was lines.

My second day (the first day of the event proper) didn’t go much better. The coffee reception didn’t exist because we all needed to queue up for keynote seating. (I didn’t grab the awful hotel coffee because I was headed over to the reception).

No. Coffee. For. Me.

That line:

  • Had us standing on a concrete slab for over an hour (my back and feet in agony before we were done.
  • Didn’t have any separators to keep people in queue, so later arrivers were able to swoop in and get ahead of people who’d been there longer, waiting.
  • Didn’t guarantee a place in the keynotes because they had either oversold the conference or not set up enough seating inside. I got in, barely, and ended up in one of the farthest back rows, with easily hundreds of people still behind me. Some of them ended up in an overflow room, watching the event via streaming video. They were not pleased.

Continue reading “In which I am my very worst self”

flotsam

Adjustments

Time zones and daylight savings, then Thanksgiving and the official start to Christmas shopping season. Seasonal decor to render things festive.

Leaf raking and the introduction of a sharp back pain that is all new. Oh Lord, have mercy.

And then the return to my early hours commute. The early rise not as much of a shock as I expect, though the drive feels longer today (heated seats a blessing for my still-sore back).

But the rain won’t come for hours and the temps will be above freezing then, and a lack of ice and snow is a bonus and a boon.

Fluorescent lighting in the office is sharp and stinging – especially juxtaposed against the dark of the morning – but the office is quiet and calm in these early hours, and my eyes have time to adjust to the unfamiliar brightness.

Things to do, a blessing for me and a way to bless my clients – even those that irk.

It’s official: I’m back.

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Back to work

A funny thing happened while I was away.

The earth moved around the sun. The seasons started to change.  The 5:30 am commute kickoff happens in the early morning now, not in the final throes of night. 

There’s light on my drive. Before I reach the second half of the drive, there’s a massive blinding ball of it, actually. 

The big yellow one is the sun. (Brian Regan)

Apparently the rest of the world has some kind of solar alarm, because the roads are busier even though it’s still so early. 

It’s a shock to the system to revisit these early mornings, but I think I’ve needed that, to get back to normal again. 

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Still recovering

The alarm goes off at 6am, on my second day back to work, and I turn it off and turn over…

But I don’t have an alarm set for 6am. My alarms go off at 6:15 and 6:45 (do I want a full workout or an abbreviated one before work?) I am thinking of the strangeness of this phantom alarm, and then asleep again, and then fighting off my actual alarms, and then waking at 5 minutes to 8. On a work day. I usually log in by 8am on work-from-home days.  

I think maybe I’m still out of sorts with the travel. And the downpour that sounds like my white noise app probably isn’t helping. 

Can I go back to bed now?

flotsam

Rising Sun

I started making Wilmington a regular (more or less) thing in the New Year. It was a shock to the system on two fronts: (1) I had spent virtually all of the prior year working from home (the occasional meeting in NYC, NJ, PA, or DE notwithstanding) which meant my commute that year was basically “walk down the hall,” and (2) the short commute and private home office meant I could go from bed to office in minutes if I needed to. So I could -if I wanted/needed to- sleep in, and still start earlier than anyone else on my team. 

I never had to be up dark-and-early. 

On Wilmington days, the alarms go off before 5, so I can be on the road by 5:30 at the latest (so everything I need gets packed up, set up or set out the night before). 

When I started making this trip, the days were short. The “morning” part of fivethirty in the morning was strictly hypothetical. Black sky with stars equals night, by my reckoning. Ninety-odd minutes later when I pulled into the office lot, it would still be dark

Like, really dark. Can’t see any landmarks dark. Need those footpath lights to keep from falling dark. 

But the seasons turn, and pretty soon it would be almost dusky as I reached the office.  

And then it was dusky as I crossed into Delaware, grey pre-morning at the office. And today…

Oh lovely day, oh gracious and glorious God…

Today the sky was dusky as I crossed the Susquehanna, and I watched the sun rise as I drove, and the sky was painted and the sun rose red and it was well and truly day by the time I reached the office. 

Daylight savings is coming next week to throw the morning out of kilter for a few more weeks. But this morning was simply beautiful. And I’m thankful for it. 


Also, thematically, I recently earned my Japan badge on #Fitbit. Land of the rising sun, you know. 

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Too tired

I wonder if I’m fighting something off; yesterday I felt like if I had taken an extra long blink in the afternoon, I’d have fallen asleep and awakened next week. By 7:15pm I felt like it was midnight already and only made myself stay up long enough that my body would let me sleep through the night. (Because I was afraid if I went to bed at 7:30 I’d wake up at 10:30 from a refreshing nap, and mess myself up for the 4:55am Wilmington alarm.)

Not. Enough. Coffee

The early to bed served; I woke ahead of the alarm today, thankful and hopeful and…. headachy and tired. 

Ugh. Up. Go. Move. 

It turns out my outside light has burned out, but fortunately 2 of my neighbors have left theirs on, and I can see my way to my car.  

Technically the commute is easier today than some; it’s not pouring rain or dangerous crosswinds, but it feels harder today. I know tired driving is a hazard, and the headache isn’t helping. 

I make it to the office without incident (thanks be to God) and grab some more coffee and more aspirin… it’s going to be a rough one!