One Week In and Still Too Long to Go

It’s now been a week since I turned in my letter of resignation. If it was a normal, two weeks notice scenario my work life would be winding down. Unfortunately, I gave 30 day notice so I have too much time left to really start to feel any relief.

The timing was terrible. We started two new initiatives at work this week. This means that even though I am on my way out I need to learn the basics of these initiatives to do my job over the next few weeks. Instead of a feeling of relief and winding down, I am feeling stress about the new duties and how we will navigate the work expected with no increase in staffing.

I will still be scheduled to work the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Not a huge deal since I will be home anyway, but it would be much better to have a four day weekend. After Thanksgiving I will still have two weeks of work left. I think that is when I will finally start to feel a little relief and my stress level might start to go down.

Of course, there is still a little sadness about leaving a place I have worked at for so long. A sadness about not seeing friends. A sadness about a loss of easy access to books.

I know it was the right decision. I know it will be good for me, I’m just not close enough to the end to really feel it right now.

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There’s Always Something

I knew that turning in my letter of resignation was not going to magically make everything easy. Still, a part of my hoped that I would feel so good about that decision that I would get a bit of a reprieve. The problem with anxiety -there’s always something.

I resigned, but I gave 30 days notice to make sure I get paid for my accrued leave. That means instead of being almost a week into a two weeks notice i still have four weeks of work left. Instead of winding down and passing things on to other people I’m stressed about how to spend my work at home time when I’m not going to be taking on new projects. Instead of being free from meetings about upcoming things, the four weeks means I still have to participate. It won’t be until Thanksgiving that I feel more free from the work anxiety

Outside work life s also full of things to worry about. Covid is surging across the country. Restrictions are being put back into place. It won’t change things for us for Thanksgiving. We don’t travel, so we will have our normal four person festivities. Christmas is looming, though, and I can’t imagine things will be better by the time we normally travel. I had really hopes that we would avoid the surge until after the holidays. Once we hit January I will be happy to be in my house and only seeing my wife and kids until things are better.

There’s always the little things as well. Is the basement really fixed and won’t flood with the current rain? Will our second attempt at window installation be successful? Etc, etc, etc.

There is always something.

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Every End is a Beginning

Regular readers of the blog know that I have been in an unhappy situation. I felt stuck. I was depressed. I knew I needed a change but I wasn’t sure if I was able to make a change. Today, I have news.

I started talking to Mrs. Tater way back in June about the possibility of me leaving my job. I was unhappy before the pandemic. I was even more stressed and unhappy during the time I was working completely from home. I knew then that things would not be great for me when I did return to in-person work. I was correct. Most of what I liked about work was gone. All of what depressed me about work was still there and magnified. I started to feel physically ill at the thought of a new work week. I was depressed. I started going to therapy to deal with it. I knew deep down I would never get right while in this situation.

I had talked to my wife several times about it. I had pretty much given up hope of her being on board with me leaving my job with no landing spot. It is a giant leap of faith for someone to be OK with losing part of the household income for an undetermined amount of time. I wrote up a plan for how i would spend my days and how I would try to spend my “sabbatical” trying to wrote something that could be profitable. I did admit that I am 99% sure that I will not find a way to make money writing, but at least I would have the opportunity to know for sure. Then there were weeks of nothing. I would occasionally ask about the email and she would say she had not had a chance to consider it. I was losing all hope.

Sunday evening we went for our dal walk. I decided to bring it up one last time as I was already getting more and more stressed out about the end of the weekend. As we walked and talked she surprised me by saying that she agreed that leaving my job was the best thing for me to do. I made sure several times that she was really saying what I thought she was saying. She was telling me to leave my job. I called my kids when we got back to the house and they were both happy and in support of my decision. I texted my brother and sister to tell them. They were also happy and supportive. I told a small circle of my friends. Same story. I guess they all understood how unhappy I was.

So, Monday morning, while feeling like I was going to vomit, I wrote and sent my letter of resignation to my boss and HR. After 25 years with the same organization and years of doing the safe thing I took a leap to the unknown. As of December 12 I will officially have no job. I am taking a chance on myself that I will find the right place for me moving forward and that I have not doomed myself to never finding another job.

Life is too short to be miserable.

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Ready for a Break

I woke up this morning already stressed and anxious before my day really even started. My dog woke me up around 6AM as usual. I tried to go back to bed and get more sleep since I am working the 4-8 shift at work tonight. I think I dozed a little, but I can’t turn my mind off enough to go back to sleep once I’m awake. It starts to drift to things that will make it hard for me to relax. I’ve been officially out of bed since around 7:30.

It probably doesn’t help that besides making coffee my first two things I do are turn on the news and read the newspaper. Maybe it is time to break my news addiction and do something different with my morning coffee. I did read a little bit and I  did my morning word puzzles. It did not help settle my mind. All of the coronavirus news mixed with the stress and anxiety that work brings has me on edge all the time.

Since my day ends at 8 today it shouldn’t start until 12. One of the stresses of my life is people who don’t respect personal time. I already got a call this morning before 10. It was one of those “I sent you an email so now I’m calling to tell you to read your email” calls. Those are always fun. There was at least recognition that I am not on the clock once I mentioned I was in the branch 4-8 tonight, but I still felt obligated to read and respond to the email. It’s really hard to beat the stress and anxiety when there is no guarantee of personal time free from calls. It’s time for another mention to my wife that I need to quit and find a new direction in life. Maybe if I keep it up she will eventually agree. This is not a sustainable life.

I will be on vacation for a week after Monday. I may deactivate my social media. I will likely disappear from the blog during that time. Since I will be with the only people who I care to be in contact with I might leave my phone on do not disturb the entire time. I need a break from the world.

A Change in my Brain

I’ve mentioned a few times on here about my struggle with focusing on a book. There are several other changes in the way I occupy my mind during these times. Here are some ways the way I spend my time has changed recently(besides the obvious part that I spend all of my time in my house.

Reading – I am still reading. I actually finished a book over the weekend. It just takes me a lot longer to finish a book these days. I also find myself skimming the books more. I just can’t get absorbed in a book the way I used to. It’s possible this started before the quarantine as my reading had already slowed. This has just made it worse. It’s hard to get absorbed in a book when I have trouble getting my mind off of the stress and depression of the current situation. Maybe I should go back to one of my favorite books and see how that goes.

TV – I have watched a lot of TV since we’ve all been at home. The biggest issue here is that we don’t all watch the same shows. I need to find more shows to watch alone and we need to find more shows that all of us want to watch. My DVR is still almost full because there are a ton of shows that just me and my wife watch and we never have time to watch them now. I have noticed that I prefer shows that are lighter now and need less focus. We are watching some old seasons of Survivor. It’s fun watching them again with my daughter and they are easy to watch without thinking. I watch the news less because the last thing I need is more of my mind on the pandemic. I haven’t watched John Oliver the last three weeks for the same reason. We are watching shows like Community because they are fun and light and that’s what we need right now.

Sleeping – My sleep pattern is pretty much the same. I wake up too early every day and that leads to me being sleepy earlier than everyone else. Sometimes I try to stay in the room while others are watching TV late and sleep on the couch for a while. Others seem to stay up much later now. I’m too old for that.

Movies – We do occasionally watch a movie, but I think movies are suffering the same as books. It’s easier to focus on a short TV show than a long movie,  A nice, short comedy like Stuber is preferable over a long, dramatic movie right now. I think I need to watch some of my sports movies I love like Glory Road and Remember the Titans.

Walking – I take the dog for a walk every day the weather cooperates. Before all of this, I would sometimes be lazy and skip walks. Now it takes major rain to stop me from going on the walk I did take a lazy day yesterday and used the weather as an excuse. I regretted it at the end of the day.

Social Media – I’ve unfollowed people on both Twitter and Facebook recently because I couldn’t deal with constant rants on either side of the issues. I don’t feel like I post as much as I used to. I might be wrong about that. I try not to look at it as much, but it is a habit that is hard to break. You can find out a lot about people based on what they say during a crisis. Sometimes that is not a good thing.

It might take a while for me to get back to normal after this. My reading might take a while. I think work stress and Depression had already made it hard to focus on reading and since I will continue to work it won’t go away at the end of the crisis. It will just be more because of my personal crisis, not a worldwide one. I need to learn to turn my brain off and stop dwelling on the bad. I have never been able to do that so you can imagine what it’s like during times like these. Turning off the news has helped. Avoiding certain people on social media has helped.  Focusing on positives and hope has helped. I am a work in progress.

More School Stress

My daughter was supposed to study abroad in Italy this fall. We are pretty sure that won’t happen, but the school still has not confirmed they are canceling study abroad and keep pushing back the dates for a decision. Due to the fact that she was going to study abroad, she did not apply for housing on campus right away. She also missed the time frame to get housing in campus apartments. Once she knew study abroad likely wouldn’t happen, she applied for the apartments and filled out the housing application for on-campus housing.

She has confirmation that Commons(the school-owned apartments where all of her friends are living) is full.

Today she got the email that she does not have a dorm room either.

It appears the university doesn’t care that she was behind schedule because of a drastic change in her situation and the study abroad program likely being suspended.

I guess we will have to find her an apartment off-campus or she can sublet from someone or something but it will not be her optimal situation. It will be difficult to do with stay at home orders.

Add this stress on to health related family stress the past week and I’m done.

 

A Tater Hibernation

It’s been over a week since I posted about my trip to Kentucky.  I’ve thought about at least doing my weekly posts, My Week in Books, Movies and TV and What’s Good in Tater Town, but never got to the point of opening the laptop. I may be wrong, but I feel like I’m posting less on my personal Facebook page. I still look at social media a lot, but I’m not as engaged as I used to be. I don’t know if it is the stress or depression or the shorter days but I just feel the need to mostly hibernate and withdraw from the world.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m reading more. I read the new John Grisham book in one weekend. I finished Mobituaries by Mo Rocca. It was very good and allowed me to bore people with odd facts from the book. I’m caught up on more of my TV shows. I’ve watched a lot of football. All good things to help take my mind off of how bad my normal day has become.

I have left the house, My book club went to see a movie in Baltimore and then played Cards Against Humanity.  The movie was Parasite. It was very good. I highly recommend it. I would have won Cards Against Humanity but they kept changing the final score needed to win until someone finally passed me. I plan on filing a complaint with the league office. I will leave the house again for book club next month. I also hope to get someone to go to some sort of Christmas lights or market thing with me.

I am hibernating. I’m not staying away from the world completely. I’m just shrinking my circle and trying not to let social media idiots add to my stress. I will try to start posting more here. I just need to decide where I’m going with it so I don’t become the person who just posts about being stressed.

Is This Thing Still On?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I struggled for a bit with being in the right frame of mind to write anything. I struggled with thinking there was no point in posting anything because no one cared anyway. My days were(are) sometimes stressful and demoralizing. I needed a break.

Fortunately, I decided a couple of months ago to take the day after Veteran’s Day off and take a short trip to visit family in Kentucky. I found a very cheap flight($90 round trip) on Spirit Airlines. I was able to pack all of my stuff in a backpack that counts as a personal item and I let them pick my seat so I had no other charges. Both flights were on time or early, the crew was friendly and the seats were comfortable. I would recommend them for anyone who is fine with no frills, no snack flying.

I got there early Saturday morning and spent the day at a school watching my niece’s 8th-grade basketball team play.  Doesn’t everyone fly hundreds of miles to watch middle school basketball? I did go out to lunch between games, so I had that going for me.

Sunday my sister came over to my brother’s house, we grilled out, hung out and played Scatergories. This gave us the funniest part of the trip. One of the categories was states. My niece rolled a K and wanted to roll again saying “There aren’t even any states that start with K!” Remember, we were in Kentucky…

My brother took Monday off. We went out for breakfast. We went bowling. I won. We stopped for coffee. We played Madden on his old Play Station. I lost. We went out to dinner with a friend from high school. We went to another middle school basketball game and then drove home in the snow. It was a good day and really made me want to retire. It was much better than going to work.

On Tuesday I drove to my hometown. It had been a while since I’ve been to my hometown. I walked around downtown a little, had lunch with my sister, and got a doughnut at the new doughnut place in town.  I went to the public library to see how much it has changed since I was a kid. I stopped for coffee at a new coffee place in town and then headed back to my brother’s to get ready to go to the airport. Since my niece’s game was canceled that night we had time to meet my other niece for dinner before my flight.

As you can see from my very boring synopsis, it was a nice, stress-free four day weekend. I really needed it. I really need to retire so my life is more like that on a daily basis.

We will see if it has revived me enough to feel like writing more. The stress came back strong.

Some Mondays are Very Monday

I stayed up late last night watching the Ravens beat the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. I got a little less than seven hours of sleep. That’s not terrible. I would like to get eight hours, but if I can hit seven I feel like I’m OK. A little less than seven and I’m verging on struggling the next day. So, I started out the day in a less than stellar way. It went downhill from there.

I just deleted a paragraph because I don’t think I should write about why this Monday was a very Monday Monday for reasons mentioned here.

It’s very hard to come home and write anything when your day sucks. It used to be that the blogging helped me deal with the stress of the day. Now the stress of the day is winning and I spend a lot of time staring at a blank screen. It’s also hard to write when you are boring. If I could think of interesting stories from my past it would be easier. I have no interesting stories left.

So, I can’t write about my stress because I’m not anonymous. I have no interesting stories to tell. I guess I need to do more posts about politics or TV or just give up.

More Of Tater is Done

Here are some other things I’m done with.

People who don’t do much but spend a lot of time talking about how much they do.

People who don’t know how to do things telling those who do them how they are doing them wrong.

People who ignore you until they need something from you.

People who make their own rules and use those rules to not do things until such time they want to do those things and then say the rules don’t matter.

Being an afterthought, forgotten and ignored(again until they want something from you or what to tell you how you’ve done something wrong).

Not getting enough sleep due to a combination of stress, anxiety, and pets that need to go outside way too early.

Multiple days a week when the thought of leaving the house makes you sad.

The inability to do anything to change the fact that leaving the house makes you sad.

Lack of respect for the work you do or have done.

Summer heat and humidity.

Distracted drivers.

Bad drivers.

Driving in general.

People who write whiny lists about what they are done with.

People who end a sentence with the word with.