Free at Last… & now it’s time to pick up the baton & hit the ground running.

I was wondering when my last official day would be at the office. Turned out to be today. I hung on a month past when my two-weeks ended to help them out and get people trained up, though it was a helluva strain on me many days, trying to keep my cool and not let the stress get to me.

Well, now I’ve officially cut ties, gotten the all-clear to go, and gave a cheat sheet I’d made last minute to the newbies. Heaven knows there are odd little glitches that pop up and can ruin a shift if they aren’t taken care of or somebody has to suffer through them. I figured I’d write down how to take care of the most common ones so it doesn’t make things crappier when the day is long enough.

That was my last gesture. I’m done, and this day I’ve been waiting on is over with. I probably would’ve been asked to stick around a bit longer, but my boss knew I wanted to get and she said even though they ain’t trained up yet the way they’re supposed to be (they’ll have to come in extra days–paid–to get more hands on experience for vetting and training credits), she was letting me go. She said I’d stuck around a lot longer than I should have had to and if main office got pissy about the situation, it was their fault for dragging their feet after all the hoops we jumped through to train people and submit paperwork for approval.

She’s quite new at the job, but she’s got the good kind of stubborn streak that helps those under her get the job done, just wish we could’ve held on to more of the sanity-saving stuff. And I really hope she doesn’t do what happened to the last boss and take too much onto herself. That would just start the cycle of craziness all over again.

So, with that done, I went to get some stuff from the hardware store because of a boatload of projects I wanted to get started, like re-staining the deck, re-painting other areas of the house, painting the Free Little Library (when it finally comes in). I’m hoping to plant flowers around the post eventually, but I figured I’d gotten enough to keep me busy the next few weeks.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten.

It’s all well and good to have that stuff I need to do ready to go, but what about the game plan? What about the plan to focus and get my writing chops back and find online work?

Oh yeah, that’s been in the back of my mind the whole week, but I also promised myself a couple weeks of staycation, getting rid of the anxiety and stress of the past several months through cooking and spring cleaning-level cleaning. I’ve been really ratcheting up my journal writing in the mornings and thinking about things that have helped plan my days.

One thing that hit me was doing something I rarely do: flip channels on the T.V. Or, more specifically, through the channel guide to see what channels are there, especially in the music channels. Amazingly, I found a few more choices than I’d noticed before, and one was basically a “coffee-shop” tunes channel.

That gave me my biggest idea.

The first place I’ll need to clean up this weekend is my dining room. I have so much stuff I was sorting out and using the table for the past month. Granted, I don’t have any other large surface where I can put jigsaw puzzles together (especially the really really big ones), but when I’m putting a smaller one together, it wouldn’t hurt to put that four foot sheet of plywood somewhere else. Tomorrow morning, I’m doing that, and cleaning things up for good to make it much more clean and cozy.

I figured out why my efforts to do better in writing have stalled (beyond work stress and headaches getting in the way) the past several months: I don’t have the environment and basic comforts that have helped me write better and be more disciplined in the past.

coffee-984328_1280

I used to love going to Starbucks to write. Even if I didn’t get much done there, the stimulation of the smells, noises, music, people-watching… it all gave me something. The environment was really conducive to me getting things done. On my worst writing days, at least I could jot some ideas down and take the time to relax or talk to other people… which I tried NOT to use as a procrastination method.

But thanks to COVID-19, it’s gonna be a while before I can get back to that. I’m not up for going to diners and writing there these days; all the ones near me have too many distractions that aren’t all that comfortable. I hate to say it, but little drives me nuts more than somebody in the kitchen playing the Latin station at full volume from their phone (if it’s soft and the sound isn’t too garbled or doing that in-and-out thing, I can generally ignore it or just incorporate it into the background). And it really drives me nuts when there’s a kid screaming for attention a couple of booths away and the parents are ignoring it, or they wander around unsupervised. This is a pandemic, people! Watch your kids, because we don’t know where they’ve been, and you don’t know where WE’VE been!

That’s why even if I wanted the best omelette in the world right now, I’d waste a pan of eggs trying to make it myself instead, and I’ve never made a successful omelette in my life. But I’m willing to give it a shot… or lots of shots. Worst case scenario, whisk it all together fast as I can and make a “scramblette.” Those rarely turn out awful.

Anyhoo, my big plan is to–best I can–re-create the feeling of being back at the coffee shop. Heaven knows I can get the coffee smell down–I need at least two cups a morning to feel human. And if I put my TV on the coffee music station I found, then I’ve got the ambiance. Twittering birds can make up a decent amount of background chatter. I’m not very good at eaves-dropping, so if it sounds like murmurs, that’ll fit in with what I’m used to hearing. And with me sitting at a corner of a long table (like I used to do, often sharing with med school or law students), that will certainly help.

coffee-2589761_1280

Okay, the day I go and set up an espresso machine in my kitchen to keep the ambiance going longer, I’ve officially lost it… but won’t be remiss if I get one for Christmas (hee hee)

A good clean, central table with plenty of natural light would be very helpful for minimizing distractions and keeping me disciplined about my writing time. Anything to get away from the couch and it’s many distractions (and the damage my fat ass is doing to said couch. Hope me and my heavier guests haven’t messed up the springs underneath or anything, because that’ll be fun to try and fix later!)

(sigh) One more thing to add to my “check on” to-do list, I guess.

So, a newly-freed from a dead-end job woman is gonna spend the weekend cleaning and cooking, and getting things prepped for a whole new world of working at home. It’s gonna be an interesting adventure, and I really can’t wait to see how much I can do and improve.

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