Friday, August 16, 2013

Workin' It

I've taken a big step this week. (Drum roll please) I've re-entered the work force. In recent weeks I'd been feeling a slight tug in the back of my brain, like it was time to join the world again, to meet some new people, to establish a routine again. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, just that I wanted to be doing something. What I did know for sure is that I'm not ready to commit to a permanent job and I certainly don't want to go back to the field of veterinary medicine. I wanted to be part of the economy again, make a little income, try something new. I have a good friend whose in-laws own a staf
fing agency so she encouraged me to give them a call about doing temporary jobs. I went in for an interview last week and was given some job options on the spot. This week I've spent three days cleaning high end homes in an exclusive resort community. I'll do another day this week, three next week and two the week after that. I've never done this type of work before but it's straightforward and it's a nice change of pace. It's not something I'd want to do forever but who wants to do anything forever, really?

On day two, a co-worker was asking some general getting to know you questions. When I told her about my most recent job and my reasons for temping she said "Well you seem really happy doing this" in a high pitched voice that suggested she found that strange. On day three, the owner of the company told me my supervisor was raving about how well I'd been doing. I told her I was glad to hear it, that I was happy to be there and have been enjoying myself. She replied with "You are a just a joy!" I can guarantee you that no one at my last job would say say that I'm a joy. The thing is, I am happy doing this. It feels like a positive step forward out of my cloud of sadness under which I've spent the last two and a half months. Every day there is a scenic 45 minute drive each way, which I spend in the passenger seat. We drive through a canyon, alongside a river. I sip coffee in the morning, Diet Coke on the way home, while I chat with my co-workers and watch for wildlife out my window. It's not a bad gig at all.

I'm curious to see what happens after the next few weeks. I imagine it will be weird for me to leave a job after that short of a time span and go to a new one. But I also think that knowing it's a short term job is part of what makes it enjoyable. I don't feel that sense of dread about work because I know I don't have to do it if I don't want to. I can call the agency and try something new next week. It's quite liberating.

I'm thankful for this opportunity to work yet not take on a long term commitment. Over these months that I've been home, I have changed. I'm not the same person I was when I was working at my last job. Things that were stressful and important four months ago just aren't anymore. I read a great line this morning, in my book of daily positive affirmations "Stress seems to be fairly subjective, controlled largely by perception".  Sure, there are other important things going on but I've learned that everything is going to be okay.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pet People

I woke up early this morning when I felt my other half stir on his side of the bed. I had barely lifted my head when he said "Don't roll over. It appears one of the cats has thrown up on me." He said it calmly too. He was obviously not surprised or upset. So we got up, squinting in the early sunlight, cleaned up the cat puke, changed the sheets and went back to bed.

I've written before  about my life as a pet person. That is, a life with perpetually hairy furniture and dirty floors. I've always been an "animal person". This is my lot in life. I take care of these creatures, give them a great life, in some cases when no one else would. In return I get unconditional love and companionship along with an occasional dead bird and/or vomit in a weird place. I don't think it's a bad deal.

I once returned a pair of shorts to Wal-Mart that I had bought without trying on. As I handed them to the clerk,  she politely asked "Do you have a dog or a cat?". Oops! I have three cats: one orange, one calico, one gray and white, and one dog who is black and white. They've literally got me covered when it comes to hair on my clothes. It doesn't matter what color I'm wearing, one of them will shed all over me before I leave the house. I used to get embarrassed about it but I don't anymore. I have a few lint rollers I use on important outfits and that's about it. I don't stress about the cleanliness of my house as much as I used to either.

My pets have taught me about life. They remind me to be patient, to relax and enjoy each day. They also help me remember that I am not in control. I lost one of my beloved pets this summer as have my parents and my in-laws. I worked in veterinary medicine for over a dozen years, and I witnessed an incredible amount of joy and sadness come into people's lives through their furry family members. What's always amazing to me is no matter how huge that loss, how crippling that grief is, we're almost always willing to do it again. A "pet person" can always find more love in their heart for the next creature that needs it. 

I've just started thinking about getting a puppy. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm ready or I dwell on all that comes with a new puppy: chewing, house breaking, crate training plus the huge financial component. Then I think of the last time I got a puppy, eight years ago and what an incredible bond we had. I'm not looking for a dog to take his place, but rather fill the empty space and take on some of the love I have left.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I like August. A lot of people moan about it being the end of summer, but I think of it as a different phase of summer. As a kid, I always looked forward to August because it's my birthday month. School didn't start until after my birthday, which is late in the month, so when August rolled around I knew I still had time for fun before the dreaded school shopping started!

Even though we're still seeing temperatures in the high 80's, the heat just isn't as intense as it was a few weeks ago. Already there's a different slant to the sunlight. It's not too hot to go for a run at 9am. After the sun goes down, it's cool enough to wear jeans. It's still summer but it's a bit more enjoyable than the sticky days and hot nights of July.

Here in Montana, this is fire season. Thank goodness it's not nearly as bad as last year, but there's still a smokey haze that prevents the mountains from being seen clearly and burns my lungs if I run outside.

August is also the birthday month of my sweet dog Ritz, who I lost at the end of May. He would have been eight this year. I've been thinking of having a memorial service on his birthday. His death was so unexpected that it didn't occur to me to have one at the time. His absence around the house is still so large.

Earlier this week I posted a FaceBook status that said "I have decided that this summer shall be known as The Summer of Sadness and when it's over we will never speak of it again." This summer has been tough for a number of reasons. You know how it is, once one thing goes wrong it seems like everything goes wrong. I was touched by the responses from my friends.  Some days it feels like I'm the only one in the world who has ever been this sad. My favorite comment was "Every one must have a summer of sadness as a barometer for better days. I am sorry this is your summer." My friends understand and that's a great comfort to me.

Deep down inside, I know that I will recover and things will pan out for me.  Sometimes it's easier to see that than others. I have a big trip planned for later this month. To celebrate my 35th birthday, my other half and I are going to Colorado to see my favorite band in the world (Dave Matthews Band) for two nights in a row. It's at the end of the month, the end of the summer, the end of my roller derby season. To say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement. Even though I normally don't celebrate the end of summer, I think this year I'll welcome it as another step forward.