Archives for posts with tag: working from home

Well I’m sipping cold coffee this morning, and taking a short break from work. I’m thinking over the last 24 hours, and also the last 6 weeks. Giving consideration to the challenges of life in the time of pandemic, and finding some opportunities for wholesome perspective, and balance.

I think about the crazy shipping delays on some goods that have been ordered recently. I sit awhile with the recognition that it is a fortunate convenience to have shipping available at all.

I think about the lack of availability of some goods (hey, these are not the hotdogs I like!). I feel fortunate to have access to delivery services, even for groceries, and substitutions mean still being able to have meals, in spite of stock running low on specific items. I feel fortunate to be able to use such services.

I think of the “sanity projects” here at home, and the occasional frustrations when attempting to order this or that item for those, and getting stalled on depleted stock, shipping times, costs. I slow down and recognize how often my partner and I are able to “work around” those limitations, or how often waiting a few more days really isn’t anything more than a minor inconvenience, and a bit disappointing.

I think about small things that have big emotions attached, like a favorite fish deciding to jump free of an aquarium, and landing on the carpet. The stress of being worried over the little guy was (and is) real – but so far, he’s a survivor, not a fatality. Life gets pretty real sometimes, and where loss of life is concerned, a single fairly common fish is a much smaller concern than “COVID-19 vs. humanity”. Feelings are feelings; perspective makes the weight of most of those a much lighter burden to bear.

I think about the small aggravations that go along with working from home (so hard differentiating between work time and life time). I’m fairly fortunate to have this as “a concern”, at all. The fact that I am still working is part of what makes some of the other things so minor, so worthy of a moment of perspective.

I think about how fortunate my Traveling Partner and I are to enjoy each other the way we do, and how grateful I am to be staying at home with this particular human being, rather than some other. I’d be fine alone – but I’m glad I don’t have to be.

Sure, there are some inconveniences. There are moments of unique tension and stress. There is emotional fatigue (I mean, seriously? How much more pandemic news do I really need, right now?). There is also real joy, real intimacy, real connection, and real opportunities to continue to learn, grow, and to practice.

So… what now? Another beginning, I suppose. I’ll start with this perspective, and gratitude, and proceed from there to kindness, empathy, and patience; we are each having our own experience. Those are not all uniformly easy, or stress-free (most are neither easy, nor stress-free) – why would mine be?

Here’s hoping each new beginning you embark upon takes you closer to contentment and perspective, and that your days give you reasons for joy, even if you must search for those. ❤

So… internet connectivity issues in the 21st century, during a pandemic, while working from home… yeaaaaaaah… so…. wow…

…The world has changed a lot since 2000, hasn’t it?

A couple evenings in a row, we’ve experienced some connectivity challenges. Initially, I soothed my frustration with assumptions that it was, most likely, network bandwidth issues resulting from higher usage during peak hours – after all, my ISP’s status page indicated there were no outages in my area (although, checking the internet showed some consumer self-reporting to the contrary). It got worse, each day beginning a bit earlier, resulting in more frequent interruptions in connectivity, that began to last longer. Each time, resolving itself fully, for a shorter and shorter period of time. I reported it. No resolution, just the usual “did you try unplugging it and plugging back in?” sorts of basic troubleshooting. The next day I tried getting help through chat-based support, and frustrated myself with a fairly terrible customer experience, due to the ISP’s zeal to protect my account security (so, thanks, I guess?) – efforts which sometimes create new challenges because of my TBI. Yeah, that sucked, but apparently there was still “no outage in my area”, and it seemed like our connectivity was back…? Sort of? Mostly?

This morning I awoke and found myself face-to-face with my Traveling Partner’s apparently all night long frustration-journey with the intermittent lack of connectivity having become so severe that it was not possible to connect, which he continued to re-attempt, troubleshoot, and re-attempt some more, without success. His frustration was uncomfortable to be around, but so familiar; frustration is my kryptonite. I get it. What a shitty experience! The longer it goes on, the deeper and more encompassing it gets. Worsening that; all the log-in and authentication details are mine, and there’s never been, previously, any reason for that potential limitation to become a known, obvious, “need to fix this today”, sort of concern. So… he could not simply contact technical support and resolve it with them, himself. (Couldn’t have anyway, since their hours are extremely limited right now, in this time of pandemic; I had to wait until 6:00 am to call.) Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. What a shit experience that had to be for my partner! I only glimpsed those final moments at the ragged edge of his all-night-long frustration, before he yielded to sleep, and left calling technical support in my hands.

Some 90 minutes or so later, after chat support fails me utterly, over-the-phone troubleshooting confirms that some piece of technology outside the house has begun to fail (but still tries to serve), and needs a technician to actually touch it. Repair or replace? Unknown, and to be determined. I feel fortunate that there was an appointment window open tomorrow morning. Working from home, for me (probably for most people), requires a fast FiOS internet connection. No connection? No access to work tools. No ability to authenticate to access those tools if I could access them in the first place. lol I sip my coffee and reach out to my team – instead of enjoying my morning hours. (“Fuck this shit”, I snarl to myself, softly, not wanting to wake my partner with my irritation; I have much to do “in the office”, and this is a valued “get it done” day of the week. Super frustrating. My turn.) I start working on rescheduling what can be rescheduled, and figuring what I can do instead of what I can’t do. I succeed in coordinating with my team. I succeed in moving the one critical meeting that very much needs me to be connected to have any value. So far, so good.

It’s still weird that the only work tool I really have available is my email. I mean… seriously? Still, I can get some things done. That’ll matter tomorrow afternoon, and Friday, when I have to attempt to catch up everything else. 🙂

Finally, I sit down here, and begin to write, even though I already know that with this connectivity challenge, it’ll be the spin of a cosmic roulette wheel determining whether I can save it, and upload it, at any point. I actually feel pretty cut off, which feels pretty weird. If I were out in the trees, I muse, I’d be seeking this experience, and embracing it. Right now, though? It’s a major inconvenience. It tests my patience. Clearly, my Traveling Partner’s patience was also tested. It would be nice to be certain whether or not we “passed”. LOL

“Not connected. Trying in 31s…” I look at the router. Flashing light. Yeah, okay, I get it. I sigh, and make a second coffee.

As I pass through the living room on my way back to my studio, I smile at the books; I’ve got plenty to read. I grin at the aquarium; always something to do, to watch, to enjoy. I frown at my partner’s gaming computer… and my work laptop… It is what it is. Today it is temporary, and will (probably) be resolved tomorrow… but… what if it wasn’t? What if, and this is an unlikely “if” but worth considering, what if it were permanent? What if the internet simply failed. No recovery. No reconnecting. What would life look like without internet… after allowing connectivity to become such a critical piece of 21st century life? I mean, sure, books, games, love-making, conversation, crafts, hobbies, gardens… but… what about online shopping? What about connected gaming – or gaming that requires online authentication to proceed with local play? What about work? What about staying in touch with loved ones. (Do you even remember where you last saw a postage stamp in your home? Do you still have stationary?)

I find myself sitting with these questions, and this coffee, watching the dawn turn to day, and waiting for tomorrow… as if there’s no value in “now”. Weird. I breathe, exhale, relax, and pull myself back to “now”. Present. Awake. Listening to the sounds of life beyond this house – the occasional car goes by. Birds are singing. The otocinclus in the aquarium are contentedly seeking out any remaining algae to munch on. Life is very much still… alive. No connectivity required. I finish my coffee, hit my vape, and begin again.

…I don’t really know what today holds, but there are more ways to be “connected” than the internet. 😀

 

This headache I woke with is no joke. Ouch. Too real. I woke later than usual; sleeping in is one of my favorite “day off” experiences, and I’d taken today off. I woke gently, bumbled around haplessly a bit, made some coffee… felt a bit “off” somehow, but didn’t clearly identify the headache as the cause for some minutes. I wasn’t quite awake enough, yet.

…I definitely “get it” now. :-\

I sip my coffee, and plan my day. This is a relaxed, quiet morning, no work pressure. Feels good. I’m thinking I’ll spend the day tidying up the studio to be more work-ready (for painting – it’s plenty ready for working). Later, a delivery of livestock for my aquarium will arrive (lots more delivery options than there used to be; no one wants to shut their business down, no one wants people in the shops), and I’ll spend the afternoon getting them settled in, and enjoying them. 😀

I make a point of continuing to clearly distinguish between work hours (and days) and non-work hours (and days) – healthy boundary setting remains an important practice for long-term quality of life. I see how easily work could become a solution for boredom or confinement stress, but also recognize that succumbing to that short-cut would likely reset expectations long-term regarding my willingness to work through my leisure hours, or at the convenience of my employer without regard for my own needs. I think I won’t do that. 😉 No, not even now. What I want and need from my own life, and leisure, for myself, remains of value to me.

Pulling my focus away from the morning news, to sit a few minutes and write, while sipping my morning coffee, seems to be a worthy endeavor; the headache seems to have lessened, and has begun to fade into the background. Looks like today is not the day to involve myself with the news. Less screen time, more aquarium time. Less “content” more housekeeping, perhaps. Be here, now. This is a relaxed, quiet morning, no work pressure. Why add media chaos to this chill vibe? Meditation, instead of news headlines – that sounds lovely. A second coffee, and some bird-watching, as spring unfolds in the strip of forest beyond the deck, perhaps. Confinement in the time of pandemic feels less confining, and more like a leisurely day at home, if I stay focused on these small delights, and refrain from involving myself in the concerns of the media (which, truly, are already very well-covered, and rather unchanging, at present).

I smile and finish off this first cup of coffee, eager to get on with the day, eager to see new fish swimming in the aquarium, and familiar squirrels on the deck. Eager to begin again – right here at home.

I’m home sick with a head cold while the media feeding frenzy is feasting on COVID-19 stories. Grim. It is what it is. My Traveling Partner and I seem reasonably well-set-up to endure long stays at home. The pantry is well-stocked. Bills are paid. I’m fortunate to be easily able to work-from-home.

I woke early this morning, head stuffy and having difficulty breathing comfortably. It’s a head cold. Just a head cold. I sat down at my desk, with my coffee, and reluctant to work “too early” (which, when working from home, often leads to working “too long” as well), I put on a video, headphones on. It was strangely muted, which I attributed to being Macbook “gremlins”, in my pre-coffee state. I turned it up. Turned it up again. Finally gave up and just listened with greater care. After a couple of false starts, changes of video, and just giving up altogether after awhile, I noticed that my headphones were plugged into my personal laptop, not my Macbook Pro from work… First thought? “Huh, I wonder how it did that?”, thinking somehow my laptop was picking up the digital signal from the Macbook… O.m.g… definitely pre-coffee on a “working while sick” day. It took me a minute, but I finally got to that “you couldn’t hear it well because you were listening to it play into the room, through the muffling of your noise canceling headphones!” Shit. Embarrassing.

I hope I didn’t disturb my Traveling Partner’s sleep… or wake the neighbors. 😦

Like a lot of things that go a little bit wrong, I let it go and move on, ideally with new knowledge and deeper wisdom… often not so much. lol

Just keep swimming.

Here’s hoping my experience of the day improves from that moment, to the next, in a daisy chain of contentment and calm. 🙂 Maybe it does… maybe it doesn’t… there will likely be verbs involved. Questions to ask – some even to answer. One step down the path, following another.

The house is quiet now. I’m reluctant to make a second cup of coffee, feeling a vague sense that I’ve “already made enough damned noise”, and not wishing to disturb the peaceful quiet that now envelopes the morning, I make an instant hot apple cider. I watch the fish swim, awhile, as the new lighting creates a “sunrise” progression in intensity. Beautiful.

Getting back to work feels natural enough. I’m sick and feel ineffective, and drained. I focus on the routine tasks that are least likely to go awry due to the cognitive effects of being sick. One at a time, I complete them. I move on to the next. Maybe I’ll get an entire shift out of this…?

Either way, or, perhaps, regardless… it’s time to begin again. 🙂

I woke drenched in sweat when the alarm went off. I’d already committed to working from home today, so I reset it and went back to sleep for another hour. I woke 30 minutes later, still drenched in sweat, but waking at a more comfortable point in my sleep cycle was nice. I’ve been down with a nasty head cold that first made its presence known late on Friday, with a hint of a tickle in my throat after an entire day of being generally cross about stuff without cause. I didn’t think bringing it back into the office (where I likely picked it up, let’s be real) would be considerate, particularly immediately before Thanksgiving. So. I’m home. Still fairly sick, but I think I’m up for working… mostly.

I pause to appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to work from home when I choose to do so.

Then I also pause to wonder what I’ll really be good for today, and to appreciate that it is a Monday, a day (on my calendar) that is short on meetings, and generally filled with updating workbooks,  slide decks, and preparing notes for meetings that occur tomorrow and on Wednesday. I think I’ve got this. 🙂

…I haven’t started yet. LOL I’m still thinking about it. Sipping my coffee, and making the day as normal and ordinary as I can. This? This is my “commute”. 🙂 Although, I may take out the trash before I actually start working, to feel the cold morning air, and really differentiate the work part of the day, from the non-work part of the day.

This cup of coffee is terrible. Is it me? Is it the coffee? Seems unlikely to be the coffee beans, themselves; they were excellent when I had coffee Friday morning. (Yesterday it was just pretty tasteless.) That means that 1. something wasn’t quite right with the preparation or 2. my sense of taste is altered by being ill, or by the symptom relieving remedies I’m taking to address that. Either way; something’s a bit “off”. My results, even with coffee-making, definitely vary.

My Traveling Partner has been sweet and considerate while I’m sick. I am pretty sure he’s sick too, although not nearly as severely taken by this particular head-cold. He’s worried aloud once or twice that perhaps I have the flu? Fucking hell, I hope not. 😦 He’s encouragingly tried once or twice to suggest in a hopeful tone that perhaps it’s just allergies? Not likely; I don’t have allergies on this order of magnitude, ever, really. I’m not particularly allergic to pollen, and those sorts of things, and can happily inhale deeply the scent of newly mown grass, and bury my face in flowers. (Aside from some “late in life” developments with food sensitivities, and bee stings, I’m largely allergy-free.) I kind of wish it were allergies… I could go into the office in good conscience, and tell myself this “drenched in sweat aching all over” feeling is… a coincidence. lol

The last two days has been fitful restless sleep (hard to sleep deeply when I can’t breathe), naps, drinking tea, water, chicken broth, and sitting around bitching about being stuck sitting around. Once or twice I’ve dragged myself out of the house on some errand that seemed important enough to warrant the effort. I’ve regretted each one by the time I returned home. I didn’t write, because my head was aching and full of snot, and I just didn’t have anything much to say that wasn’t 100% pure bitching about being ill, like a fussy child. So… yeah. I think you’ll get enough of that, here, this morning. 😉

My attention to my surroundings is much improved today. I even feel mostly up to working a bit, in spite of every movement making me cough, and the house feeling like we’re trying to roast chestnuts using the furnace. lol If nothing else, I know I can begin again, and I know “this too shall pass”. My results may vary… but I get results. 😉