Yep, that’s me taking that selfie. This past Friday night, I dolled myself up, put on this brand new pride-themed shirt I found at Ragstock, and went to Mother Fools for their monthly poetry performance. I hadn’t been there since doing some semi-freeform spoken-word stuff last December, and hadn’t been a part of their first-Friday-of-the-month poetry events in well over a year. I hadn’t been there for various reasons, including my job search last summer, just feeling dog-tired from the work assignment I have right now (more on that in a moment), and lack of creative poetry juices.
This time around, though, I didn’t want to make excuses to myself or wait any longer. So, after I finished my work day late Friday, I made a bee line straight home to get changed into Allison. It would have been a little sooner than late Friday had I not had to stick around for a couple of things I had been meaning to do all day at work (again, more on work later).
Still, it was amazing how I turned out after applying my makeup. I’d say it took under an hour for me to slather on the foundation, blush, eye shadow, and lipstick, not to mention straighten out my wig. (Note to self: The hair goes over the glasses’ arms.) Oh, it also took an extra hour to do some extra shaving of my face and find the maxi-skirt and shirt I wanted to wear (my closet is always unorganized *sigh*).
But how did I do at the mic, you ask? Well, while I was a bit rusty, especially with my less-than-perfect poetry intros, I did all right. And even with the light crowd indoors at Mother Fools on what was an incredibly beautiful Friday evening (perhaps most of the regular crowd was taking advantage of that weather), it was a nice, accepting, and appreciative atmosphere.
Yes, I’m glad I got behind Mother Fools’ mic again. More importantly, the work of the other performers got me some inspiration for my future poetry work, including thinking about doing more performances. All in all, not too bad for someone who let their performance skills grow a bit fallow.
My performance came over a week after I heard some unsettling news from my mother. I was heading home from work when I turned on my phone and noticed a voice mail message. I thought it would be nothing more than spam, but I was wrong: It was mom leaving me that message, letting me know that she had to check into the hospital. Earlier that day, she started feeling lightheaded and short of breath. So that afternoon, she went into the local hospital, where they decided to check her in for the night as a precaution.
Obviously, Mom’s news that she had to be hospitalized left me unsettled. I called her up after arriving home that evening, and she understandably sounded a bit tired. But she kept reassuring me that she was in good hands. She also believed her situation may have been due to a recent change in the dosage of her medication.
And sure enough, the next morning I received text messages from my sister saying that’s what the doctors believed as well. Mom checked out that midday, having gone through some tests and being advised to rest up the next few days and decrease her medicine dosage. The following Monday found her on light duty at her place of employment; she works as a caregiver at a home for the disabled, which can be tiring and draining as it is. (I’m sure those of you in the working world can empathize; I can most certainly sympathize with her.)
That change in Mom’s medication, combined with letting the younger folks do the straining stuff at work, has helped: In my texts and calls to Mom since her hospitalization, she’s been in rather good spirits. She’s went to the doctor’s office for a follow-up visit last week, and will do so again this coming week. So far, so good. And, yes, the doctors think her breathing problems were likely due to her medication change and overwork.
I’m so relieved to know that Mom’s doing much better now. She’s not a spry chicken anymore (she’s 72), and that makes our family understand the, if you’ll pardon the term, weight of her health situation, from a visit to the hospital to a cut on her finger. But knowing that Mom’s still a fighter health-wise allows us to join her in enjoying the winter of her years just a little bit longer.
If only I could enjoy my work assignment just as much. As I mentioned back in April, the organization where I’m assigned underwent a reorganization of tasks. The week of May 1, two new hires joined on. One of them is a strict admin person, meaning he does the mailings, office supply ordering, etc.
The other new hire, whom I’ll refer to as R. for the sake of anonymity, is doing the primary tasks I had been doing. Let’s just say it involves our organization getting paid for the services we provide. That, of course, means I’ve been training R. on what I have… er, had been doing since I joined on last August. The good news about that is that R. understands the broad picture and desired end results quite well. As well, she is more readily to take the initiative on gaining needed information and follow-up than I was able to do so. In my defense, I had a lot of other tasks to care for that overwhelmed me. (So now you know how I can readily sympathize with Mom over her own work load.)
The bad news about how R. is doing is that while she quickly comprehended the broad picture, she doesn’t quite seem to understand every detail we need to care for to reach those desired results. Well, least not yet anyway. I’m not sure of what kind of background or skills level R. has in office work, but it appears that said level is a bit rusty. And while it’s good that she does ask lots of questions and wants to make sure everything she does is proper — always a good sign for someone new on the job, whatever job it may be — asking those same questions several times over, even weeks after they were first asked, makes me think that perhaps R. may at times find it hard to comprehend what needs to be done. I say that only as an observation and certainly not as a criticism, not by an means. But it’s also said with hope and optimism that R. is indeed absorbing what she’s learning and can still work effectively.
Some of the tasks R. is learning have been done by my colleague, whom I’ll refer to again (for anonymity’s sake) as J.T., just as I had done in that earlier post. Like me, J.T. has been part of this organization through a temporary/staffing agency’s indefinite assignment, meaning that we’re there as long as our managers need us and/or are pleased with us. And for sure, J.T. has done some pleasing work, even though his role is being phased out. That end will be this coming week. J.T., being the professional he is, has been taking the news in stride. He’s hopeful that the agencies he’s been working with will find new work for him and his skills, the better to help keep food on his family’s table and a roof over their heads. We will certainly miss J.T.’s presence, and hope that whatever knowledge he imparted to both R. and myself will remain in our minds so that we can teach our successors well, if it comes to that.
So, what am I now doing at work, you ask? I won’t bore you with details (again, for anonymity’s sake), but the tasks I’m doing now had been some of the tasks I had been doing before R. came aboard. And they’re the tasks I hate the most. Needless to say, I’m not entirely a happy camper, as it were. And I’ve voiced my worries about not being happy or good enough to representative of the staffing agency I’ve been working with. Thankfully, they’re empathetic. And just as thankfully, I’m remaining professional and am doing my very best in this situation. The best I’m doing is the best I can do, as imperfect as I may be. And who knows? Perhaps the situation I’m in now and the work I’m concentrating on now will grow on me, expanding talents I never thought I had.
Oh, one not-so-fun aspect of “the situation I’m in now” is the fact that between today and mid-August, I won’t have my Sundays free. Let’s just say that one of my responsibilities involves heading out of Madison and helping care for… let’s just say the people who need our services at this time of the year. While my weekends will be a bit of a wreck for the foreseeable near future, at least the setup affords me to take a day off during the week. This coming week, for instance, I’ll be taking off from work on Friday… J.T.’s last day with us, sadly. (*sigh*)
So, please send some good thoughts my way, both personally and professionally. I still have my mom, I’m still trying to polish off my poetry talents, and I still have a steady income. I also have a burgeoning wardrobe, perhaps too much so. But that’s another story for another post: I gotta get ready for work.