Stickers From Screenshots

I made stickers from the screenshots I took from the Finch self-care app. Now my buddy Yeet can adorn my upcycled notebooks, my planner, and my analog life in general, reminding me to Do All The Self-Care Things.

Thanks again to Dani Donovan (creator of The Anti-Planner and ADHD Comics) and her Finch, Taco, for introducing me to the Finch app! Separating my self-care tasks from my other tasks has been instrumental in helping self-care not get lost in the daily shuffle.

What a Week.

On one hand, it’s been a hell of a week. On the other hand, it’s been a mostly low-key week.

On Monday, I went to the dentist for the first time in over a year.

The last time I was there (January 2022), they couldn’t schedule me for my usual three-to-four-month timeframe, and scheduled me out six months. I was surprised, but figured that there was no point in pushing back if they had no availability.

As the date for my appointment approached, I saw that I had another important thing on my schedule for that day and time that couldn’t be moved, so I called to reschedule. They told me that if I decided to reschedule, I wouldn’t be able to get in until January 2023. I didn’t have much of a choice, apart from finding a new dentist, so I rescheduled out yet another six months. (Keep in mind that I receive regular periodontic maintenance due to past issues with gum disease.)

A few days before my rescheduled appointment, I got a call from the dentist’s office saying that the dentist wasn’t going to be available for my post-cleaning exam that day, so my appointment would need to be rescheduled. That pushed things back yet another two months.

Which brings us to Monday. I went in feeling apprehensive, but looking forward to having clean teeth again. After the preliminaries of updating paperwork, seeing that nearly the entire support staff had turned over within the past year, getting full x-rays, and having a pleasant conversation about Studio Ghibli with the dental assistant, I got my perio charting done and learned that I now need root scaling and planing.

Which they can’t get me in for until June.

You know what? Fuck you. I’m finding a new dentist.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was scheduled to attend some meetings at my work’s downtown campus. These meetings involved a consulting company working with users of some new-to-us accounting software. I’m peripherally involved in the reporting aspect of this software, so it was suggested that I take advantage of being able to see how the users use it.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in the building where these meetings were held. The building across the street, however, is where I spent the entirety of my work life from November 2007 through the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, and sporadically through 2022. We officially moved out of our cubes (for the second time) at the end of 2022, when our department went fully remote. Even so, there was still a cube with my name on it where I could call home for those two days.

At the end of this month, several departments are being relocated to other buildings on the downtown campus, and the company will be leasing out floors to other organizations.

It was a weird couple of days. Things were almost like before, but so very different.

The commute was the same one I’d been traveling for the past 15 years. It’s changed slightly over time, with contruction projects here and there, but the route is the same.

As I pulled into the parking garage, my right hand habitually started to reach for the spot where I used to keep my monthly parking card, up in the sunglasses compartment, even though I knew I’d need to push the button and pull a ticket to park now.

In the office, my cube was right where I’d left it, in its barren state, with dual monitors I couldn’t use without the dock that’s now hooked up in my home office. Someone had been calling my work phone and not leaving a voicemail; the screen said I had 12 missed calls from the same number.

I went into the pantry to fill up my Tervis with water, and couldn’t help but set the clocks on both the microwaves forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time, even though it didn’t really matter.

The best thing about being back in the office for a couple days was getting to see people. To talk in person. To run into people by chance, and be fully present in that moment, with the knowledge that this may well be the very last time I see these people face-to-face. To eat ramen with my co-workers, and to run into other co-workers at the restaurant.

The meetings were worth attending.

On Thursday, a long-anticipated work project was scheduled for deployment. We were taking all of our hundreds of reports and dashboards and moving them to a new server, with new URLs for all the reports. There was a non-trivial amount of loose ends that needed to be tied up after the main move, including updating links and configurations, plus deploying some updates to reports.

It had been through development testing and QA testing, and still we expected something to go sideways.

The Universe did not disappoint.

I’d had to completely overhaul the report we use to report on the reporting — Report Usage, we call it. It’s a meta-report that shows who uses which reports and how well those reports are performing, among other things. And I couldn’t get it to finish loading up all the metadata, even though it had worked fine in testing. I spent all afternoon Thursday and a good part of Friday troubleshooting; since it was the last piece of the puzzle, and it was just internal to our department, we moved forward with getting all the links updated at end of day Thursday and we turned off the services on the old server at noon Friday. I finally managed to get Report Usage working after lunch on Friday, and we thought we were good to go.

Until someone submitted a ticket to the Help Desk saying they couldn’t access their reports.

Without getting too much into the weeds with the details: we had to turn the old server back on, change back some of the links, and let the old and new report servers run in parallel over the weekend until we can coordinate all the necessary departments to fix it for real come Monday morning.

The above is, of course, all firmly categorized under the umbrella of First World Problems. I recognize this, yet I still feel like this week has been mostly shit-show with glimmers of not-suck here and there. My co-workers, my family, and Krav Maga all helped get me through this weird-ass week.

When do I get to feel like I’ve actually got my shit together again?

Spring is a Thing

The dwarf irises have been above ground for at least a week now, visible through kitchen window, the but I only went looking for the crocuses out front this morning.

We’re expecting a few inches of wet, sloppy snow overnight, so I’m glad I haven’t done much spring cleanup yet.

Self Care Brain Dump

The term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot, especially via social media. It’s a legitimate concept, but the popular idea seems to be that self-care equates to taking time away from the daily grind to pamper oneself, and that isn’t the only part of self-care.

Self-care is also the everyday things: the little bits of maintenance that keep us from breaking down. Going outside and getting some fresh air. Taking some time to doodle. Putting away the smartphone. Drinking a glass of water. Sitting with your thoughts. Writing them in a journal or a blog.

A few months into our… relationship? …my therapist gave me a printout of a short essay by author Brianna Wiest, entitled, “This Is What Self-Care Really Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake.” (Make sure your ad-blocker is turned on if you choose to read the entire essay.)

Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

—Brianna Wiest
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