Saturday, February 19, 2005

the collapse

Work this week has been turgid with tasks. I like to be busy, and I don't usually pull the martyr routine about having too many things to do. But this week exceeded a healthy level of busy from the get-go. The last few weeks have led up to this, and I saw it coming. The travel and the accident set me back enough to know that I would have to move awfully fast to keep from having the whole thing cave in on my head. So, this week, I ran. And ran and ran and ran.

Yesterday morning, I arrived at my office around 6:45am and was immediately bombarded with more than 20 task reminders. Before 7:00 o'clock in the morning. I can't rehash the whole day, or my typing will trail off and I'll be left staring blankly at my computer, babbling incoherently and possibly drooling.

Here's an indication of the day. By the time I stopped working at 6:15pm, I had sent and received approximately 500 emails. In one day. And email isn't the only thing I did during the day. I was updating databases, creating documents, reviewing contracts, having conference calls, taking phone calls, fielding requests from people who showed up at my desk... I even provided computer support for three people, including the Co-Founder of the company. Among other things. And my lunch consisted of an apple that was already at my desk, leftover from the previous day. At one point, I think I remained seated for more than six hours. To say it was a full day would be like saying that the Empire State Building is kind of tall.

Despite running and running and running to keep up with it all, I had a little moment about 3:00pm when my husband called to tell me that we spent $50 for the vet to tell us he doesn't know what the bump is on Milo's shoulder, but we should make an appointment to have it biopsied. That little emotional hiccough (and the $400 it will cost) brought tears to my eyes. And when I started thinking about the rest of the stress, I just had to end the conversation.

My husband told me to grab my cell phone and go outside and call him. I tried to, but as soon as I turned around to leave, there was someone at my desk who wanted my attention. Me, with moist eyes and blowing my nose. I made up a story about having a reaction to the feathery leaves I'd just removed from my bouquet of roses. I think she bought it.

It was five minutes before I could leave, and I couldn't bring myself to go outside. So I sought an empty conference room. The closest one was occupied, so I ducked into someone's empty office to make the call. It was at this point that I lost it. I started crying -- balling, really. Like a little kid. I tried to meltdown quietly, but was horribly unsuccessful, sobbing and wailing. There was a Vice President in the office next to me (I could hear his voice through the wall). I knew that, as long as I was talking with my husband about this stuff, I would continue balling. So I literally hung up on him.

Then I spent a solid five minutes hiding in the corner of this person's office, trying to compose myself before I went out where people might see me. He didn't have any tissues (who doesn't have tissues at their desk?), so I used the hem of my skirt to dry my face (so as not to soil my more obvious shirt sleeves). I made a break for the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face and use paper towels to dry everything off, but when I got to the door, I could hear a couple people having a conversation inside. I couldn't do it. So, I raced back to my desk. Using my compact to assess the damage, I saw that there was no hiding what I'd been doing. My face was hugely puffy and red, and my eyes were almost completely bloodshot. I calmed myself and managed to log in another three hours of work.

The morale of the story? I don't think there is one. Sometimes life piles up on top of you, and sometimes, that pile collapses.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow... you are having a time of it. Your writing hasn't suffered, though. I'm glad to know you are physically okay. And your post about knowing how blessed you are shows me you are still grounded in reality emotionally. You are a strong woman! Just don't try to be superwoman, ok? I am home with the flu...feeling utterly miserable. But this,too,shall pass! Chin up my friend! And tell Ted congrats on the promotion!