Today I gained some clarity on several key fronts.
#1) By 8:15 a.m., my doctor and I were standing in front of a computer screen, scrolling in and out through the MRI images of my knee. “See there IS something here that looks suspicious,” he said. Which is good, because I was not sure he’d believed me about something being busted, and he was about to get a lecture on the month’s salary of out-of-pocket expenses I’ve incurred in order not to have any problems solved. We’ve fixed the secondary problem, which was everything being achy and out of whack from my becoming so guarded about the injury in the first place, but didn’t discern the issues which were causing me to guard it.
“Everything still looks fine from your first two surgeries,” he said. “But none of us looked hard enough at this other thing. This is probably torn cartilage. If it continues to bother you, I can remove it, and it’s a small enough amount that it shouldn’t cause an arthritis risk if I do.” It’s subtle. But they missed it. And then they found it.
FACT: I did not make it up. My knee is busted. But only slightly, and now we know what to fix, should it come to that.
2) I laid myself off today. For six weeks nobody has been willing to state directly that our business is closing because our boss had a stroke. Nobody has been willing to discuss when, exactly, or how, or what needs to be done first. New Guy, being a registered architect, was given the task of figuring all of that out, and he is not on the same time/space continuum as I am. It’s only been in the last couple of days that he’s acknowledged that we’re closing at all, though I knew it was coming six weeks ago and the date “March 1” has been popping up for a month. He’s been saying all week, “that’s like three months away, we’ll deal with it later,” and I keep walking to the calendar and pointing out the four short weeks in between the last day of January and the first day of March, and he keeps not understanding.
Yesterday he said the words “when we switch over to the new software” and “in October we’ll have to…,” and I reached my limit.
Today I insisted that the three of us in the office sit down and discuss it directly. I had to pull out my Here Is What’s Going To Happen Next voice, which I used to use with my Asperger’s kids as a teacher. I broke it on down, clearly and firmly. I presented the list of tasks I thought our clients needed for me to complete before I am laid off, and discussed the projected March 1 layoff date nobody has officially told me, and pointed out that if my assumption is correct, then I have thirteen days left in the office, not including travel, in which to complete my task list. “I am not quitting,” I said. “But if anyone thinks I am wrong about being laid off March 1, then please let me know, because I will need to file for unemployment on March 2.” I would hear no talk of transitioning to new software. I would hear no talk of October. I would hear no talk of being on-call indefinitely, as New Guy finishes up all the tasks only a registered architect can do. I most especially would hear no talk of spending the next thirteen workdays reorganizing and sorting the seventeen years’ worth of accumulated office debris in the building, which has been a thorn in my organized, visually oriented side since the day I started.
Fuck that. I am not cleaning up this mess.
FACT: This chapter of my professional life is ending. This is not the way I wanted this chapter to end, but change is ahead, and soon. March 1, soon, I think.
#3) At lunch today, I went to Reader’s Corner and bought a guidebook about a secret location. I’m headed to Brussels next week to visit my Adorable Precious Perfect Baby Nephew, and since I’m flying across an ocean anyway and don’t want to overstay my welcome in a household with a newborn, I decided to take a side trip. I’m spending a long weekend somewhere fabulous where I’ve never been. I spent weeks trying to decide which Italian city I’d pick for my excursion, and dithered and dithered and dithered. Last Friday night I booked my flight, and on two minutes’ reflection, went with a destination which is Not Rome, Not Milan, Not Torino, and in fact, Not Even Italy. I am so giddy about this secret destination that I did a wild chair-dance tonight, telling Veronica about it over beer. (I didn’t tell her where I was going, though. Y’all will all have to wait for the photos.)
FACT: I’m still here. I mean, ME, the me that gets childishly giddy over buying a ticket to a place where I don’t speak the language. I’ve been worn down to the point of numbness, lately, doing I job I haven’t loved for far too long, and dealing with issue after issue that was beyond my control. This time next week, I’ll be on a plane to Europe. And I’m already starting to feel like myself again. I feel like I’m about to have one of those laughing fits that doubles me over and I laugh until I cry. It doesn’t happen very often these days, but I love it when it does.
#4) Nobody can figure out how old Dawg is. He’s supposed to be 19 weeks, but he hasn’t lost any teeth yet, which means he’s younger than 16 weeks. Which means he’s not fully vaccinated yet, and we still have to stay close to home, and he’s teething and biting and generally acting obstreperous, in little bursts, because his teeth hurt. I’ve been giving him frozen marrow bones to chew on. Dog popsicles. It seems to help.
All of a sudden, in the middle of the debilitating back spasms last week (is it obvious that that was stress-induced? ‘Cause that was totally stress-induced) Dawg suddenly started sleeping through the night. God bless his little teething self. Eight hours of sleep a night, for the last week and a half. And I am a different human being, much more serene and much less emotional than I was ten days ago.
FACT: It doesn’t matter how old he is, or how obstreperous he is, I love him, and he’ll get there. Things are a lot more fun with him around, even if they’re a lot more chaotic. And with a good night’s sleep, or a whole bunch of them in a row,
I can see now that pretty much everything is going to turn out fine.