Monday, July 27, 2009

Confession Tuesday

You know the drill.


I'm throwing a pity party. You're all invited.

I'm writing from beautiful Stamford, CT. Why, you ask, am I in Stamford and not on my way to Washington D.C.? Because the temperature gage in my car flared up. Was afraid the car would overheat. I had this problem last week but thought it was resolved. So rather than risk the drive to New York City, I'm going to have it fixed first thing tomorrow morning.

This sucks on many levels.

  1. Not psyched to sink more money into this car after the repairs from three weeks ago
  2. I was supposed to stay with Joseph Legaspi tonight, but I'm currently at a Marriott
  3. We were going to a party thrown by Poets & Writers. *BIG SIGH*
  4. I'm praying tomorrow's early-morning visit to the mechanic gets me in and out in record time, for little money
  5. Saw this little trip to DC and NY as my vacation. So far, it's sucking royally.
  6. I'm 45 minutes from NYC, damn it!
  7. ESPN is based in Connecticut, yet I can't find a decent American League baseball game on TV. What's up with that?
  8. With everything else going on, this simple hiccup seems larger than life

Of course, I'm thankful that I'm not stranded on the highway with an overheated car. It just sucks.

****

I'm now on Twitter—one more distraction to keep me from writing.

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How many ways are you digitally connected to the world? Besides the blog, I tweet, I'm on Facebook, Ning, BlogHer, Red Room (sort of), and now SheWrites. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. How many social networks are too many?

****

The hotel has complementary wine and cheese in the lobby. I'm on glass #2.

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Earlier, before the car went on sick leave, I was listening to a conversation on talk radio about work/life balance. Do men think about balance in these terms? I read a lot about this subject from the female side of the equation. But I never hear men, single or married, talk about making choices to maintain stability in their personal lives. In my case, I work because I enjoy it, and now I'm the breadwinner for the family so not working is not an option (sorry about the double negative). But I'm constantly thinking about how to spend more time with the kids while remaining effective at work and nurturing a writing career. Is work/life balance a term women created to make us feel better about ourselves?

****

Keep your fingers crossed about the car, and I promise to do some mobile blogging tomorrow—with photos.

8 comments:

Deb said...

Oh, girl.

What a wreck of a day, tarnished silver linings included.

I'll hope for the very best, and toast you another wine.

As far as connectedness. I'm feeling distracted & stretched these days. A bit of a FB/Identi.ca (smaller, open source sim. to Twitter that I cross-post from) addict. Too easy to check-in & check out! Bah. I need a little discipline.

Can't speak to work/life balance very well. So won't.

Cheers!

Kells said...

Craziness! I am thankful the universe (or the Marriott) rewarded you with free wine.

______
RE: Being digitally connected--
I'm on Facebook & I blog. That's it.

I honestly don't get twitter. I tried it & I just don't think my brain is wired that way. There was all these-- @somethingsomething or #fancypants #newsworthy etc. I honestly do not even know how to read some/most of the posts, I just never get who is responding to who or what. It mostly felt like a time waster (of course, I think the news feels like that too.)

I never got anything out of writing tweets (okay, I wrote maybe 3 before I realized I had nothing to say) or reading it-- I signed up to follow people but it just seemed like work.

Other connections--
Linked In I somehow linked myself in at some point in my life, but I find no usefulness in that, or good reads honestly.

Actually, I ignore FB half the time and have a huge group of people hidden so I can only read the news of people I know/like.

I LIKE reading blogs though. And writing one. But that's about it, I don't like the feeling of needing to be online or someone I don't know might wonder where I am. It's very confusing to me.

However it's summer so I'm not on my computer as much... and some days not at all, so it comes and goes in cycles I guess.

______________

RE: Work/Life Balance--

I could go on and on about this.

What I'll say-- women tend to judge themselves too harshly because we want to do a lot of things well. A friend told me early on just to try to be a "good enough parent." I was shocked by this, I wanted to be the best.

Since then I've heard it a lot and what I realize is what some smart woman said, "We do the best we can and when we can do better, we do that."

And no, when I was pregnant, my husband never even considered anything regarding his job and schedule (of course, he's a firefighter so he's always home).

For me, with my daughter turning 9 and entering 4th grade in September, I still battle with how much to work vs. how much to stay home vs. how much to write vs. how much to clean vs. how much time to take for myself vs. how much time to spend with friends vs. how to make money vs. etc. etc.

I do not even think (actually I know) my husband thinks of none of this.

As my daughter gets older, it's become much easier and the most hilarious (ironic) part of the equation is that so many of those times I stayed home and "sacrificed" to be with her, she doesn't remember. Nope, no memory of it.

I was kind of bummed this then I remember how highly I hold those memories and realized our time together isn't just for her.

Hope things are going better and they've added free chocolate to that wine & cheese plate.

Great post, btw. I so enjoy hearing your thoughts, January.


_____________

Catherine said...

Hope tomorrow is much better!
Some men do think of work-life balance. I do hear from time to time of high-powered male executives dialling their careers down to spend more time with the family, or to live a simpler and more ecologically friendly life in the country. They're a bit behind women in this area, but they are getting there.

(You're the breadwinner? Surely your ex has to contribute something to the support of his children?)

Kay said...

So sorry to hear your predicament. I hope something nice comes of it ... you never know why this has happened, but there will be a reason. I hope you find out what that silver lining is!

January said...

Thanks for the support ladies. I think Deb said it best: "tarnished silver lining." But today is a new day, right? Time for a new beginning.

Kelli, I owe you a long and thoughtful response to your response. Will probably do so later tonight or tomorrow.

Catherine, my soon-to-be ex does contribute with time and money, but my salary covers most of the expenses (thank goodness). And, in truth, he booked the room for me at this hotel (yea for wine and cheese in the lobby).

Kay, maybe there is a reason this happened. I'm trying to remain open to all possibilities.

OK, Time to get the car fixed!

Kristin said...

I hope the car fairies (perhaps not the best metaphor for mechanics) are on your side today.

I love these responses on work life balance. Much to think about. What if I quit trying to be best at everything, but just aimed at "good enough." A good enough writer, a good enough wife, a good enough exerciser. I experience a rush of relief just thinking about it. To be able to give up the requirement to live up to my full potential, that ever changing, never achievable requirement.

I shall think more (and likely blog at some point) about this.

chicklegirl said...

First off, sorry to hear about your car troubles, but glad to see in your most recent post that you're on the road again.

Such a thoughtful, and thought-provoking post. And I also appreciated the well-considered responses to it.

Finding balance is a tricky thing, especially when you have other people who depend on you, and those people's needs are constantly changing, as is the case with children.

Love what Kelli said about "good enough"--my husband says something similar: "sometimes it's okay to just do a half-assed job". For me, that sums it up, because I'm such an all-or-nothing kinda gal; either I do it to the hilt, or I blow it off because I can't do it exactly the way I think it should be done. Giving myself permission to not be perfect is liberating like nothing else.

Being in recovery has helped me be more aware of how perfectionism has devastated me personally and professionally by limiting what I'm willing to take on (since I'm so afraid of whether I can deliver my perfect product), and by how I treat other people who don't live up to my expectations. It's a great feeling to be more willing to take risks, even just the risk of flaunting my feet of clay.

I think when we can be more humane and patient with our standards for ourselves, it's easier to extend that same compassion to everyone around us.

Supervillainess said...

RE: Work/Life Balance
Work/Life Balance is not something that comes easily to me. When I worked at Microsoft, or Capital One, or IBM, I worked 80-90 hours a week, every week. I never saw my husband for dinner.
And then I had health problems so severe they pretty much required me to give up my corporate life. I went from breadwinner to not-so-much-breadwinner-and-poet. The health problems have become the thing to balance; sometimes I feel I have to cram as much work as possible in between hospital visits. (I even sent e-mails to my class while I was in the hospital for pneumonia a few weeks ago.) I'm still a sort of driven personality, but I tend to put the energy into different things, like writing, now.
Since the health problems, my husband asked his behemoth employer if he could telecommute, first part-time, and now full-time, mostly so that he could help me out by being around for doctor appointments or so if I was sick he could be with me or so that we could change cities to see if it improved my health. To his company's credit, they allow this. He may not be the norm, but he definitely values work-life balance, and talks about it at the office. He has friends at work that have taken paternity leave to help their wives with babies, too, so it's not just him.
I think the best we can do with our lives is take the time we can to do the things we value with as much energy as possible.

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