One Year

Well, it’s been 1 whole year since I took my admin assignment at work. My how time flies. It doesn’t seem that long at all.

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One year ago

I’m still enjoying the assignment. And yes, I’m still struggling with the hours. I just can’t seem to develop a consistent rhythm. It’s the going to bed part I struggle with. I can’t seem to get sleepy around 2100 (09:00pm). If I hit the gym hard that day I usually start getting a wee bit sleepy by then; however, if it’s a cardio or off day I’m awake for at least another hour. This makes me sleepy the next damn day. Arrrrgh.

Beyond the hours, I’ve settled into it. It isn’t hard, I just crank thru documents and audio/video files on a daily basis. Work comes in, work goes out, work comes in, work goes out…and repeat the next day. Pretty simple. I’ve learned quite a bit about our local Sunshine ordinance as well as our version of the Freedom of Information Act.1  I still work overtime from time to time in operations. It keeps my skills up and I miss the camaraderie of being with my coworkers. I’m isolated in a tiny office with just one coworker. We get along just peachy (some might say too well. heehee) but it isn’t the same as being in a room with a group of your peers.

The assignment is up to 5 years so I’m barely a year in. I have the option of rotating out after 3 years. I’m not sure I’ll stay the full 5. On the upside, I’ve finally gotten used to having holidays off! It was a bit surreal after over a decade of working most holidays. One can actually plan to do things that aren’t just on my weekend. Who knew!? hehehe  Half the time, we just sit at home and enjoy the time off. I’ve become such a home body. I’m still struggling to shrug it off. I know we should be out doing ‘stuff’, but video games and the couch are always so alluring. Shawn is just as bad; however, he seems to shrug it off a little easier than I do. He helps motivate me to plan trips and get out of the city.

So here I sit ‘working’ up a storm. It’s my Friday on a holiday week and I’m looking forward to the weekend!




  1. FOIA applies to federal agencies. We have the California Public Records Act (CPRA) which almost mirrors the FOIA one. []

Nap

It’s been almost 6 months at my new gig at work and my body is still fighting the new schedule. I am just not an early to bed person. Getting up isn’t much of a struggle. As soon as the phone goes off, Cooper is up and at’em. If I don’t get up he is pawing at the bed in moments so any chance of falling back to sleep are slim to none. hehehe  Getting my ass into bed at a decent hour to get a full 8 hours is the problem. I hear people all the time talk about how little sleep they need (or get).  News flash, your body needs sleep. You can get by but in the long run it isn’t healthy. And if you’re an avid gym-goer like me, sleep is even more vital. 

I’ve embraced napping. I was never a big napper but I do often now. I struggled at first but my body seems to be adapting to it. I’ll rush home, get naked,crawl in bed, and turn all the lights out. Of course, Cooper has to nap with me! haha  IF I can get him to settle quickly, I can squeeze in a quick 20-30 minute nap before the gym. I’m usually groggy but I wake up pretty quickly and by the time I get the gym I feel more energized.

Frankly, I am just no good w/o sleep. This is probably why I spent 12 years working swing shift. I miss waking up when I wanted; having no alarms was awesome! Lawd, I miss those days. I highly recommend it if you get an opportunity. Anyway, back on topic, if I don’t get sleep, I’m a cranky bitch. Being on a 4-10 schedule makes it rough to get a lot of sleep. Ugh. I have to be disciplined or I end up screwed the next day. I start out with the best intentions, “I must get to bed on time, I must get to bed on time.”  That turns into, “well, I have 30 more minutes before I HAVE to be in bed.”  This doesn’t include the 30 mins it usually takes me to get ready for bed. Cooper has to be fed and walked. If I didn’t shower at the gym, I get my shower in before bed. I usually try to get my cl0thes out for the next day as well. And considering I give myself just enough time to wake up, get Cooper settled, and then out the door, there isn’t room for chores in the morning. 

To be fair, my body is slowly adjusting. I do find I get sleepier earlier now. I’m not quite on the old person schedule yet but I’m hoping I adjust soon. I hate the constant struggle against my schedule. I don’t know how my coworker does it with kids. I’d be a wreck. hahaha  Granted she doesn’t hit the weights 5 days a week but still. Being in TN this past weekend with my brother and his kids gave me a new perspective on raising kids. It ain’t for me! 

I’m gonna give it a full year to see if I can force my body to comply. If not, I’ll look into what it would take for me to switch back to a 5-8 schedule at work. It would be slightly more work for me and slightly less for my coworker but if I can’t force my rhythms to adjust, it would be worth it. On a related tangent, I almost quick this job a year into it on my own (after training). I got bumped to mids for 6 months and it was just awful. I could not sleep. I ended up getting sick twice and had I not been able to go back to swing shift at the next sign up, I would have quit. Clearly, I’m not giving up this asisgnment but I do think there would be some flexibility if I really needed it. 

As always, hope springs eternal…

Busy

I have been busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest! Oh lawd baby jeebus.

So yeah, my new admin gig keeps me pretty busy. It didn’t help my coworker went on vacation. (I’m not complaining at all. Vacation is good)  On the flip-side my paycheck should be phat this next payday. haha  I do like it overall, but I’m still struggling with the hours. Being up at 5:00 am is painful. To be more accurate, it isn’t the getting up part, it’s the going to bed part I struggle with. For the life of me, I am still struggling to get to bed in time to get a full 8-hours. It’s been easily a month now. It doesn’t help Shawn has become so accustomed to my late schedule that he is totally out of sync w/me now. I barely see him weeknights.1  I’ve also been rather sad over all the recent tragedies going on. I just can’t bear to dive into it for awhile. So many wrongs on all sides and it is only getting worse. But I digress…

It doesn’t help that my ‘quick’ naps end up being 2 hour naps usually.  I mean what gives with that? I used to be the king of power naps. I could close my eyes and get a 15-20 min power nap and feel refreshed. Now, I’m down for the count. haha  Damn getting old.  Being on a 10-hour day means hitting the ground running or I miss something. So far it seems to be a toss-up between sleep and gym time. Arrgh. The struggle is real.

Cooper has adjusted fine. He is awake and ready as soon as he hears my alarm kick on. It’s a routine fight not to trip and fall over him hovering under my feet in the dark. All he knows is daddy gets up in the dark to feed him and he gets to go back to sleep when daddy leaves. Rude!

Anyway, I haven’t mentioned any of my traveling plans as of late. Shawn and I have been on a tear these last few weekends. I’ll get to it as I figure out my new rhythms. At least the new gig is going well. I enjoy my coworker (we’ve always gotten along well) and the work keeps me busy. I’m learning different aspects of the legal and criminal systems, which is always good. I just need to get the schedule under control.

And speaking of, the next batch of work just arrived.

 

 




  1. I’m sure he likes the down time. []

911

I don’t talk about work a lot here as I often feel it is just too much for people. It was never really the purpose of my blog either. The first thing a person often asks me when they discover my line of work, "What is the worst call you’ve ever taken?" Honestly, I’ve taken so many calls over the years, there really isn’t just one or two. I also like to think I don’t remember calls simply because of how awful they are. Actually, I know that is true. But yeah, there are always calls that stick with you for one reason or another. I can name on two hands the calls that have stuck with me. I guess that is good considering it has been 15 years! In no particular order:

1) Gay guy shoots himself on the phone with me.

2) Security guard finds an aborted baby in a trash can on the 15th floor of an office building.

3) Woman with psych issues throws her kids in the bay and drowns them because "the voices said so. ."

4) Little girl calls 911 and hangs up, on call back I had a suspicion she was being molested.

5) Woman calls because her boyfriend has stabbed her (6-9 times)1

6) Homeless guy pulls a dying man from a burning vehicle

7) The lion that got loose at the zoo and mauled a kid. (Yes that one)

8) The death of an officer in the line of duty. (Sadly, I’ve been present for two of these)

9) An unwitnessed arrest patient that woke up.2

10) The first baby I helped deliver.

#1 Was very personal to me. I was still very new at the time. He was determined to do it and he did. I felt bad but I knew I had done my absolute best and so never lost sleep over it. I still remember the conversation we had. It had a big impact on my decision to share my own near-suicide from my childhood on my blog.

#4 Is probably the only call where I felt like I failed the caller. The police made contact with the father but couldn’t prove anything. I did a lot of extra work, making calls to different agencies, hunting for any source of proof to push it further. Nothing came of it. It still gnaws at me to this day.

#7 Should be self-explanatory if you lived in SF at the time.

#8 Is still very painful to me and I still get very sad over it at times. I also had a co-worker that took her own life (not at work). She was a classmate and a friend. I still do a remembrance for her every year.

#10 Is by far the funniest because the father was constantly one-step away from losing it the whole time. It wasn’t until I tried to give him instructions on how to clip the cord that he really just lost it. "Oh man, you are asking too much!" was his reply! heehee Luckily, the crews arrived just then. I never got to meet the baby but I hope he is healthy and fabulous!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise I’m looking forward to my extended admin assignment. But don’t misunderstand, it isn’t to avoid these types of calls, just the opposite actually. The time away will allow me to renew the compassion and concern that pushed me into this job in the first place. The breadth of my call volume has definitely been building up on me, even I can see it. I find I’m more jaded and irritated at callers these days. I’m quick to frustration over people who abuse the system.

It used to be I’d take a nice vacation away and come back fully refreshed. Lately, it doesn’t seem to help. If anything, the extraordinarily stable home life as of late has been the biggest offset. Having Shawn and Cooper gives me peace and joy. Anyway, I’m hoping the break from day to day the drama will allow me to recover from years of abuse and raw emotion. I don’t want to end up bitter and angry at the public. I don’t want to not care or be indifferent to the suffering of others.

People often tell me, "you knew what you signed up for", or "you get paid a lot of money, so what if it’s hard." And it might be true on both counts to a degree, but I’m still a human being. I didn’t suddenly gain the ability to not be affected by the work I do. I can’t switch on/off my emotions. And I honestly think I’m better suited for this job than others. I rarely take work home with me and I handle stress pretty well. Even the best person wears down over time.

I’ll still work "the floor" from time to time to keep my skills up, but I’ll be out of daily call rotations for 3-5 years. (I can stay a full 5 or come back after 3) My assignment starts the first week in June. I’ll be in the same building just in a different section. Besides, the super early hours, I’m really looking forward to it.




  1. And yet she is still worried the police will shoot him. They also use this one for training new cadets []
  2. Statistically very rare []

View

It is amazing the difference one small act of kindness can make in your day. A point of view of a particular supervisor really made my day today.

I took off the early hours of work for a chiro appt. I found out this morning I wasn’t gonna make it because I got word the doc was out of the office unexpectedly. Change in plans, now I’m gearing up to head in to work for one of the 2 hours I had scheduled to miss. Then I get a call from the doc’s office, he came back earlier than planned and if I arrive soon, he can seem me. Great, but now I’m behind schedule. Said schedule which I allotted 2 hours away from work to avoid getting behind on.

I skip heading back home and straight to work. I arrive to work with a few minutes to spare; however, I’ve not had food or drink yet. Forgetting what a lack of caffeine will do to me, I woof down one of my prepped meals and I’m 2 minutes late to my station. One supervisor walking by commented rather snidely about me missing line-up.1 No concern for my well-being or how I’m feeling, just the snide comment. I brushed it off w/o saying anything as I was late after all.

Another supervisor who witnessed this comes over and immediately asks not only how am I feeling but is there anything she can do to make my morning a little easier. I was so touched by her point of view and approach that my frustration and anger evaporated. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do but the compassion was an act in itself, and in an instant I was back to normal again. I thanked her profusely and let her know how much such small kind words meant to me.

It’s the little things we do that have a big impact on those around us. I normally consider myself immune to such things as I am pretty self-contained. I rarely need justification or validation for my good/bad behaviors. But while I accepted that I was late thru my own fault, it did not help my mood to have someone comment on it rather snidely. The act of kindness made me forget my woes and put me back in a proper frame of reference.

There is no real point other than the obvious one. I just felt like sharing.




  1. If I called in the first 2 hours, yes I’m aware I missed it. []

Consistent

I’ve finally reached a point at the gym where I feel like my schedule is consistent enough to start pushing for gains again. I’ve managed to shed a chunk of my dad bod. I have even being doing cardio on a regular basis. We all know how much I loooove cardio. The trick is to distract yourself w/movies or Tivo shows on a phone or tablet. Don’t laugh, it works. Anyway, it didn’t make sense to push hard and then not show up for over a week so I stuck with doing steady weights. It didn’t help I somehow managed to aggravate one of my rotater-cuffs. I’ve been stretching it a lot and it seems to be helping. The last thing I need is to go have another surgery.

My biggest struggle in getting to the gym regularly has been my schedule at work. Being on 10-hour shifts makes it hard to hit the gym consistently during the week. Since I work 1100-2100, I either have to get up hella early or hurry and go after work before they close. After work is a struggle because I’m usually eager to get home to see Shawn and Cooper. Believe it or not, my lazy ass has been getting up early and going before work. And I actually do ok most days. I’ve adjusted to making myself get up and it seems to be working.

Considering I’m moving to an admin assignment in late February, I really need to get used to being up early mornings. I got a not so pleasant surprise a few weeks ago. My assignment hours were changed to 0600-1600. Yeah, you read that right, six friggin’ am in the morning! If I didn’t really want this assignment, I’d be like hell naw and stay on my regular job. However, I really do want it for a variety of reasons. I’m still not sure I’ll make it though. That is crazy early. I go in for a two-week refresher in January and I’ll have 2 weeks on the early hours to see how I do. I’m honestly worried I won’t do well. Getting up isn’t the problem; getting to bed at a decent time is a different story. I tend to crash around midnight and previous attempts to get myself to bed earlier hasn’t gone well. Since I’ve been working on getting myself up regularly, I’m hoping I’ll adjust. Only time will tell I guess. Nothing bad happens if I don’t take the assignment. It would just delay the transition of the person who is rotating out until someone else can be trained.

The up side is I’d be able to hit the gym after work and before the afternoon rush starts. The gym is an absolute mess come 5:30 pm every day. I’m sure if you are a 9-5’er you know exactly what I mean. And as much as I loathe the new work hours, it would make it easier to hit the gym consistently. Hope springs eternal…

Mental

I used to scoff at people who mentioned taking off from work for a mental health day. If you’ve never heard of such an idea, you wouldn’t be alone. The premise is you take a day off from work for mental health. I’ll be honest, I always figured it was just an easy way to get out of work. There are plenty of people out there who think like I used to. And that’s if they even get paid sick time. Sadly, it isn’t always a guarantee.

After almost 15 years in my job, I can tell you there are days when taking a mental health day is a necessity. I have a new found respect for the idea of mental health, especially when it comes to vital services. I deal with an expected level of drama and raw emotions in my line of work. Luckily, I tend to be a very resilient person in that regard.1 However, over time the onslaught of such emotions builds up even on the most resilient person. If you don’t find constructive ways to maintain your own sanity it can lead to severe problems. I’ve seen it in my profession several times and it is a very real thing. I no longer scoff at the idea and have learned to respect the need for a mental health day. I know for myself there are days where I’m just not in a frame of mind to function in a helpful way. It falls under a sick day but from the perspective of mental health. On said days, I know if I go to work I’m going to get fired, or worse, potentially bring harm to others thru neglect or indifference.

I’ve learned the hard way ignoring it does not make the angst/frustration go away. If anything, it gets worse. You can become hyper-sensitive to even minor stresses and become agitated as a norm. You can also become desensitized to traumatic events. You aren’t weak or slacking-off for occasionally needing a day to clear your head and refocus. For myself, I often try to do something fun and relaxing. Believe it or not, blogging always seems to calm me down.

I no longer feel guilty about taking said days off. While I don’t take or need them often, I try to recognize when I do and take advantage of it. My sanity is better for it.




  1. I often consider it an unexpected side effect from my childhood. Courtesy of my step mother and years of mental abuse. []

Axiom

I used to have a scrolling marque on my blog that ran thru a list of my favorite quotes and phrases. Some were my own and others were ones I always found inspirational. I randomly discontinued it in my never ending tinkering with my blog themes. One of my favorite phrases is "what you think of me is really none of my business." It has become one of my daily axioms. I mention it because I often say many of said phrases in conversation.

Just such a conversation came up recently. I had chance as part of one of my training assignments to interact with a couple coworkers whom I’m not overly close to. I know them well enough but we just aren’t besties at work. We rarely spend much time talking beyond specific work duties. Anyway, through our conversations one coworker caught me saying my phrase above and really latched onto it. She found it to be very "deep", as she put it, and felt like it was a great mechanism to learn by. This led to more talks and how the struggles in my own life led me to the phrase. We shared several life stories and connected in a way we never had before. It very uplifting.

It is also why I never close myself off from such random chance moments. Beyond being Southern1 , I’ve always felt simple human interaction is the key to most of our societal woes. It is much harder to objectify and marginalize someone when you know them personally. You can’t just disassociate yourself from them and act as if it doesn’t affect you. Anyway, I digress. My coworker really liked the phrase and hopefully she applies it in her own life in constructive ways. It came up in such a way regarding one of her own views and I think hearing it really made her feel good.

On a side note, it was also a great reminder of how far I’ve come as a person. I probably harp too much on my personal growth but I’m damn proud of it. I used to be a mess! lolol Back then, I’d never have thought anyone would value my advice or opinions. I didn’t value them so how could others? I’ve discussed here several times how finding my inner confidence2 changed me in so many small ways. I forget those changes can and do have ripple effects. They radiate out from me and change forever how I interact with others. These are often subtle cues but it is so profoundly gratifying to still recognize it in myself.

And now, another very popular phrase I’m fond of, "Hope springs eternal….."




  1. being friendly to strangers is in our blood []
  2. the realization was quite the epiphany for me at the time []

Work

There has been some major drama at work lately. While I was gone on the PHX trip, 3 of our union chapter officers resigned. There are only 5 positions. (I leave for a week and all hell breaks loose apparently. Oy!)

Frankly, the whole mess was completely counter-productive to our goals. It has already set us back on several ongoing critical negotiations w/management. While I won’t be fleshing out the details, the point is I got drafted to be the acting chief steward again. If you read with any frequency, you’ll remember I chose not to run in the last election. After 12 years, I needed a break. And the break has been nice. I show up to work with no cares.1 I only have to be responsible for myself and I’ve loved it. But, we have to have a functioning chapter. If we don’t, we give up a lot. It is my hope that more folks will step up for the interim elections for the 3 positions vacated.

One of my continuing frustrations from within is the lack of support. Many employees think because they pay dues that absolves them from any involvement. WRONG! A union is only as strong as it’s members. Members that work together toward common goals are capable of changing just about anything. Sadly, it just isn’t that case in my department. There is a lot of infighting and conspiracies. It borders on high-school to be honest.

I think part of the problem is the chapter doesn’t communicate well to its members. We put out meeting notes from one of our monthly meetings from management but that is just a snapshot. There is so much more going on behind the scenes. The antics aside, it is human nature to fill in details with guesswork when we don’t understand. I get it. People need to know what is going on.

I’m left with the choice of stepping down again after the interim election in a couple months or stepping up for a bigger position. I have time to think it over. Part of me wants to go back to being just a member. No worries, no cares, just work and go home. I did my time and then some. It is somebody else’s turn. Then the other part of me sees the big picture and really wants to step up to see if I can really make a difference. I have no idea what I’m going to do. Maybe someone else strong will run and I won’t have to. Yeah yeah, that’s it. I’m totally sure that will happen.




  1. I realize the irony in thinking just handling life/death calls is less stressful than my Union duties. []

Busy

I wasn’t joking when I said my training assignment kept me busy. The last 30 days have flown by. Tomorrow is my last day training for the records office. Next week I got back to my normal schedule and days off.

As mentioned, the work isn’t hard at all. However,  it is steady. The office runs very smoothly and thankfully so. If it didn’t, things would back up quickly.

My department is also in the process of signing up for shift schedules for the next 6 months. Since I don’t have exact start date for my permanent assignment,1 I’m on the sign up. I already got bumped off my days off. Tangent/ Even after 14 years my schedule isn’t a guarantee. It is one of the more annoying parts of my type of work. It isn’t all bad. I got pushed from Fri/Sat/Sun off to Sat/Sun/Mon instead. I mention it only because Christmas falls on a Friday this year. You might remember we planned to head to Phoenix for the week between Xmas and NYE. We are still going but now I’ll have to work Xmas day. Not the end of the world at all. It is a little disappointing after my excitement at finally being able to get such a primo week off. I can still remember sign-ups where I got pushed completely off an entire shift. Seniority still has some perks. /tangent  The coworker before me on the assignment list is not part of the sign-up. While nothing has been announced, one can read between the lines that her assignment to records isn’t far off. I’m projecting I’ll be assigned sometime in the next 3 months. And if I do get moved before the holiday, I’ll still have xmas off! *fingers crossed*

Anyway, I’m all backed up on blogging. I had so many things I wanted to cover and didn’t. *grumble grumble* Time to catch up, I guess.




  1. It is a 5 year assignment []