Quarantine Chronicles – Roaring 20’s

As the title hints, this is part of a series. This is the first entry around the time of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

When 2020 started, I had all the positive outlook and motivation of someone who sets new year’s resolutions with no intention of keeping them. Kinda. I had done a fair amount of things in 2019, and I still had a lot of things planned for this year.

School started off with a bang. I got my first two classes for this six-month term done. I have two more classes left this term, and barely two weeks to finish my third class. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a struggle. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things, to find that motivation, dig down deep to keep that vision of better days at a high paying job–at least, that’s what I tell myself.

The problem is staying focused and finding the time while having a puppy. River. She’s my dalmatian that I absolutely love to pieces and obsessed with. She requires a lot of attention; of course… she’s a puppy. I got her at 10 weeks and although I took a week off work to bond and settle on routine, I sorely underestimated how much time she’d require.

The potty training was a month-long event. Lots of accidents, cleaning, and patience. Eventually, I got her trained on a bell system where she rings a bell near the door when she needs to be let out. It’s a system I both love and hate. I love that she uses it and accidents are a thing of the past. I hate it because the damn dog is clever enough to exploit it whenever she just wants to be let out. Right now the backyard is not entirely free to roam. I found out that there are two areas near the back wall that are easement/right of way for utility crew for our complex, so I can’t wall it off. I’m looking at an invisible fence system.

Daily walks. Basic training. Lots of toys, treats, vet visits (mostly cuz I’m afraid of every little thing she has), and lots more patience. Doggy daycare has been a god-send for this hyper pup. The first time I picked her up she fell asleep in my car before I left the parking lot, she was so exhausted.

Constant cleaning up after her, sweeping, vacuuming, or picking up after her toys. The many times of having to take things from her mouth. Telling her to drop things she isn’t supposed to have in her mouth is her own prompt to chew faster. Picking up after she leaves the poorly-named and referenced “gifts” in the back yard. It’s like taking care of a child.

She follows me wherever I go; upstairs, downstairs. Sometimes I make it a game to run up and downstairs to see if she follows. She does. Going to the bathroom is always a case of abandonment for her; scratching at the door whining that she wants in. It took a while to settle into a routine, crate training and figuring out what works for both. It’s been a compromise for sure. It’s taken me over two hours to write this simply because River wants out, is getting restless and circling, or she’s gotten into something. (I see the crate in her future)

I love her. She’s cute. She’s funny. She’s got that cute face. She can’t take her daily naps unless she’s touching me in some way or has her head in my lap.

River The Dalmatian

She’s recovering from her spay. Dropping her off at the vet was hard, but I had no idea how much harder it would be to pick her up and witness her still under the effects of anesthesia. My heart kinda broke; shivering, drooling, barely able to stand up on her own. Despite all the assurances that it was normal, it was hard to see. I cradled her in blankets and a towel for the drool. She didn’t eat or drink at all the first day. I had to carry her out for potty breaks, my only prompt was her whining. By the next day, she was looking better and ate toward the end of the day. It’s been five days now and my biggest concern is her energy level despite the recent surgery; she should be taking it easy.

Then, came the new job.

It’s been a struggle. I’m not going to lie. It’s something different. I’ve never held an official supervisory position. The work I oversee, however, is old hat. I did it 15 years ago, helped oversee, manage, and develop the systems that are used. Now, I’m dealing with people.

I try to stay focused, motivated, and positive by reminding myself of what I’ve come to call, The Long Game.
That’s what I call my career move. You see, this promotion transferred me from my solo IT role to supervisory one over a position I had years ago. The move is strategic;

  1. The supervisor position looks good on a resume.
  2. I’ve never really done it and perhaps it’ll be a learning experience, and
  3. 3) the position is part of a sale to become another company, a company whose IT infrastructure is cloud-based. That’s what my degree is going to be in.

The hope is I get another job opportunity to transfer back into IT but for this new company. This likely won’t happen for a few months. As a “backup” I’ve already had two offers (verbal pie in the sky) to come back to my old IT organization. However, there’s a probationary six-month wait to rehire.
Such is my long game.

It’s a gamble, no doubt.
I recently walked over to my old IT department, all their desks are empty. They’ve moved out of the building, because of the pending sale/spin-off, but also because of the COVID-19 situation; everyone has been moved to a ‘work from home’ status.
It’s kinda shocking, unsettling, highlighting the risks of this long game in an uncertain future. The pandemic has changed everything…

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Pick Your Own Adventure

Alas, here we are. Another year, another new year’s resolution, another year of challenges and opportunities. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Did I sell that right?

2019 was a pretty spectacular year, still stead-set on braving new experiences and getting out of my comfort zone. I would say the two weeks in Europe certainly solidified that effort.

2019 highlights:

  • Europe Trip; England, France, and the Netherlands. Bonus: got to meet a long-distance friend of almost 10 years. That was truly the highlight. 🙂
  • New gym with a class structure. That’s right, forced interaction with humans–and they’re not bad! It was the next step in my fitness journey and it’s certainly what I needed. I love their classes and instructors.
  • Riding on the coat-tails of the prior item; did my first 5K run. I know, who am I? I hate running, or maybe not so much.
  • Self-care centric; I started and finished my Accutane treatment, as I’ve written a few times now. It has cleared my skin–heck I’ve worn a sleeveless shirt for the first time in my life. The question of whether or not I can pull it off is something else entirely though. Ha!
  • I’ve acknowledged and managed my hyperhidrosis, taking botox treatments for underarms and other medication to address the general problem.

2019 was great and I think 2020 will ride on the momentum built. There are a few more runs I signed up to attend throughout the year, so I plan to build and maintain that stamina. I want to travel more this coming year, initially planning to return to the UK, but there are a few other events on the horizon that may make this difficult…

I’m starting school. In fact, my first day was technically today. I’m going back to broaden my horizons, expand the available jobs. While I’ve been very happy with my current job, having been there and the industry for 12 years (including acquisitions and transfers), I want something different. That’s not to say I’m not extremely grateful for all the opportunities awarded, but it’s time for a change. The over a decade of experience has in some ways burdened me with certain knowledge and a position that’s always in the “hot seat.” To be frank, I’m getting tired of being in that hot seat. It’s incredibly draining and the compensation has well… I’ve reached a potential limit without sacrificing a certain quality of life and work-life balance. There’s a lot more details that I can’t get into involving my direct superiors and the changing climate of the industry. Suffice to say, it’s time to seek greener pastures. Going back to school was the logical next step.

I’m getting a puppy.

A dalmatian to be more specific.

“A dalmatian? Why a dalmatian? You know they’re high-energy, right?”

Yes. I’ve read on the breed for a couple of years. I’m familiar with their temperament, needs, and health concerns. I fell in love with one while a friend was babysitting one some time back. Considering my active lifestyle and my desire to get into running, I could use the companion. Plus, maybe now I’ll finally be able to hit all the hiking sites I’ve been wanting to. I practically live in a forest being in the PNW.

As you see, it’s already set on being a busy year. I don’t think I’ll make up my mind about the UK for a couple of months. If I do go, it’ll likely be October again. I think that was a pretty good time.

The biggest struggle in all this apart from being a dog-parent that I’m sure will set as routine, is staying on track for school. I want to finish in under three years with all my certifications. It’s going to be a challenge. I’m a huge procrastinator (remember that third book?). I got a planner set to mark out milestones and hopefully keep me on track. Though somewhat ironically, it’s proven hard to keep to the planner.

If the planner proves its worth, I’ll add the unfinished book projects. That’s right, let’s tack that on as well.

Here’s to 2020!

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