Diary of a Week - Part II
Sunday, 2 July. Weight: 8 st 3 (?!?!), Calories: 100 (white chocolate crunch eggs), Cigarettes: 600 (better), Alchohol units: 1 (beer again; nephew asks "Do you drink a beer every single day?", causing pang of guilt at being poor role model for impressionable pubescent)
3:00 a.m. Despite only two hours' sleep, am feeling energetic and efficient, fully concentrated on work. Is not much more to go with report, then must only do Power Point recap and print copies. Will almost certainly be finished by time relatives awake at 10, as have full 7-hour workday before then.
9:15 a.m. Tables and charts taking longer than expected to format, copy and paste from statistics program. Am far behind schedule. Guests will soon be up and about, and in-laws are stopping by this morning to visit. Aargh!
10:00 a.m. Everyone is awake and milling about. No news of remaining luggage.
May never finish report and presentation, and will end brief stint in new
career in utter disgrace, while also disappointing refugee-like houseguests
by ignoring them during their hardship of having no clean undergarments.
Would contemplate suicide, but need privacy as is not the sort of thing one does in front of other people, except as dramatic statement before television cameras in case of civil unrest, war, and similar. Must instead keep working, at least until Giorgio and Marisa arrive.
12 noon. In-laws' visit was total disaster, as tried to be cordial hostess
while simultaneously making progress on presentation, resulting in frazzled
running back and forth from office to living room and complete failure at
both. Sister pulled out old family photos, but could not stay in living room
long enough to look at, and in-laws had left glasses at home and so could
only peer vaguely at photos of mustachioed ancestors (both men and women,
which explains many things). Stress has stretched patience to zero point,
and must try to avoid snapping at anyone who interrupts train of thought.
Is not good hostess etiquette to shout at guests.
Have finally finished printing draft of report for editing by Dario. Must now complete presentation, make corrections, print out total of 640 pages on slow ink-jet printer and insert into binders in time to meet Mario tomorrow at 8 a.m. for drive to Very Big Client.
Think a beer would be good just now. Am becoming drunken, embittered shell of person who cannot handle interpersonal relationships and drowns frustrations in fermented hops.
Is bloody hot and humid. This does not help one's overall state of well-being. Will turn on fan.
12:05 p.m. Did not consider that fan would blow stacks of paper on desk all over office. Must now sort and reorganize report draft, notes, surveys, etc.
2:15 p.m. Dario and April have gone to airport to enquire after luggage, leaving Ryan and BIL alone in foreign country with harried hostess. Suffer broken heart every time nephew stands in doorway, obviously wanting to chat. Spend far too much time talking instead of working on presentation, but blood is thicker than pixels. Can always make up lost time later tonight.
3:10 p.m. Dario and April return, asking for help carrying up two remaining bags. Bags turn out to be not missing luggage, but small "emergency kits" provided by airline, containing toothpaste/toothbrush, packets of laundry soap, shaving essentials, black socks, and panty liners. Sister is discouraged at lack of clothing, food and gifts, finding no solace in panty liners or laundry soap.
3:30 p.m. Airport called. One more bag has arrived, apparently immediately
after Dario and April left with emergency kits and stack of claim forms. This
suitcase contained massive amounts of processed food for BIL who eats no pasta
or vegetables, and gifts for all of us. Presents from sister scattered around
desk amid papers and notes, as sort of postmodern collage representing current
Ooh--white chocolate crunch eggs! Must eat some. Yummy.
4:06 p.m. Hurray! Have finished presentation and edits, and begun printing
final copies. Am once again productive, efficient work machine.
Must not think about meeting on Wednesday or, especially, massive presentation for Mountain Client on Friday. Is important to stop and acknowledge small achievements to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Will go rollerblading with nephew to celebrate new-found sense of freedom and control over own life.
5:10 p.m. Was excellent skating around Trebbo with tall, blonde, athletic
nephew! Ryan was very sweet, even saying, "You're a pretty good skater,"
when was obvious was unable to do more than roll in a general forward direction.
Apparently surprising to teenager that "adult" is able to skate
without wobbling or falling. Trying very hard not to feel like old, brooch-wearing,
cheek-pinching auntie (though is indeed hard to resist pinching nephew's cheek).
Felt extremely good to move body after weeks of sitting hunched in front of computer. Perhaps am becoming almost human again.
5:12 p.m. While out having fun with nephew, printer became crazed and spewed papers all over office floor, leaving poor Dario behind to stand in front in (vain) attempt to catch sheets as they flew out. Am terrible, selfish, lazy person who relies on others to clean up after self.
9:00 p.m. As responsible adult who realizes own limitations, will go to bed
early to get more than two hours' sleep. Will get up at 4 a.m., leaving plenty
of time to print out own notes, make CD and copy presentation file to laptop,
bathe and dress as successful career woman in time for Dario to drive downtown
with box of natty report binders at 7:30.
Have calculated that printing will take until at least 3 a.m. Dario has volunteered to manage printing and inserting pages into binder so can actually sleep a few hours before important meeting. Am incredibly lucky to have found wonderful, supportive, selfless husband. Must not take undue advantage.
Monday, 3 July. Weight: 8 st. 5 (white chocolate crunch egg effect), Calories: 400, Alcohol units: 1 (must break nasty new beer habit!), Cigarettes: 30 (v. good).
5:30 a.m. Stumbled into office at 4 to find hastily scrawled note from husband
reporting printer problems: refuses to print final copy of report. Why didn't
he wake me instead of going straight to bed??? Proves adage that one must
never rely on others to carry out important tasks.
Spent over an hour trying to get printer working, while simultaneously cursing Bill Gates and husband in odd juxtaposition of fault. Finally discovered obscure menu hidden in depths of Windows NT that mysteriously instructs printer not to print. Will now jump in shower while system reboots, and hope it works.
6:10 a.m. Hurray, it prints! Still do not understand why printer spews papers
randomly across room rather than neatly stacking in reverse numerical order,
but important thing is to have printed pages. Have placed Ikea chair in front
of printer cabinet to catch flying sheets.
Oops--am dripping all over computer chair and keyboard. Must get dressed, then will have just enough time to copy files to laptop and print presentation notes before leaving.
Must wake husband to insert pages of last copy into binder, as have not time to do so. Will remind him that marriage is a collaborative effort, and that goals can only be accomplished by working together in concert.
9:15 a.m. Am sitting in conference room at Very Big Client, waiting for IT
person to bring projector. Have been informed that presentation will not be
to entire Strategy Committee, as planned, but only Very Big Head Honcho and
one or two directors. Am trying not to feel discouraged at lack of interest
Trip down in car with Mario was disastrous. Could tell immediately that he was angry, but could not understand reason. Barely glanced at hugely swollen report binders before setting off. Thought it might be family tensions, as wife is often angry at him for being gone all week then playing tennis most of the day on Saturday rather than spending time with family.
Was astonished to discover real reason for poorly-suppressed anger: he was furious that am working too hard!!! Was literally speechless. Briefly wondered whether age and sunstroke had finally made him lose his mind. Sat through half-hour tirade on how it was unthinkable that one should be reduced to this point. Comment that, "I hate to see you in such a state" prompted furtive peeks at rearview mirror to see if mascara had melted or had lipstick smeared on face (no). Was informed in no uncertain terms that must have urgent meeting after this week to organize future work, as is clear am incapable of managing assistants or preparing reasonable work schedule for self. Mario was unmoved when it was pointed out that reasonable work schedule had gone to hell when two large projects had been shortened by several months ahead of planned deadline.
"That doesn't matter, Gilpin," he said. "We need to be prepared for the unexpected."
Finally emerged that real problem was that he had been forced to postpone two crisis management projects until September since am not available to work on them, thus have single-handedly damaged agency turnover for entire year.
Grr... Mario is standing by window while waiting, and just muttered, "Gilpin, Gilpin, you need a good spanking." Raised eyebrow as silent form of enquiry was met with explanation, "You don't know how to organize yourself." Repress urge to hurl laptop across room into his face, as would also be impossible to return home to husband after destroying expensive piece of electronic equipment purchased at great sacrifice.
Ooh, here is projector, along with three sceptical executives. Hope do not throw up. Perhaps was not good idea to eat handful of white chocolate crunch eggs for breakfast, as would not be pretty sight on massive glass conference table.
3:37 p.m. Hurray--meeting a resounding success!! Executives very impressed
by quality of work done! They asked many questions and were pleased at answers
received. Have also managed to delegate foreign travel to other team members,
and to eliminate useless segment of project that was brainchild of now-departed
executive. Company has decided to extend project to newly-acquired business
in Austria, but will not think about that now. Is more productive to bask
in present success and feeling of well-being.
Trip home much more pleasant than previous. Is obvious that Mario was expecting something unmentionably inadequate, despite having seen draft of 'real' report, as was pleasantly surprised. Tried very hard not to grimace at repeated comments in car that, despite own work on presentation, what actually led to success of meeting was Mario's 'insightful' remarks comparing corporate leadership to government. Nod appreciatively as he repeats several times that is important to learn from more experienced colleagues, and should incorporate such comparisons into own presentations in future, rather than following actual research results.
No longer care; am simply glad that this part is over. Must now try to concentrate on next goals, like focused Olympic athlete preparing for multiple events. One at a time. Deep breathing and visualization are good techniques for honing focus.
Hmm. Perhaps a brief nap would be more productive. Have earned it.
4:10 p.m. Guests returned from tour of Bologna with Dario (who took day off
work) just as was dropping off to sleep. Is better this way, as must not turn
into weak person who wastes precious time napping. Must instead be focused,
task-oriented type person.
Aargh--completely forgot 40-page translation due tomorrow! Must get to work.
9:15 p.m. Dario made own secret recipe of Pesto Rosso. Is not bad, although rather crunchy as left basil stems in. Have almost finished translation, is good idea to spend some time with family members to ease transition from one project to another. Can finish translation early in the morning, when in peak form, rather than at end of long and stressful workday. Will go to bed at decent hour and awake refreshed and energetic.