ONE STEP IN A SERIES

It’s a pretty morning, not yet unbearably hot.  Had the required coffee on the porch with the birds and my out-of-control wild flowers.  Happy to find some quiet Think Time.  Sorted out some issues; what I do and don’t have control over.  What I can change and what I can’t.  Sadly found that the list of things I can/do is much shorter than the list of things I can’t/don’t.  And this godforsaken hormone pill that I’m on is narrowing my options down quite a bit.  One more week and I’ll be off it.  Thank you God.

I can’t get control of my sleeping life when I’m waking up a thousand freakin’ several times a night drenched in sweat, feeling like my skin is about to combust.  It can be quite a challenge, rolling all over the bed trying to find a cool spot that my body hasn’t cooked.  Then you wake up in the morning needing another shower which severely cuts into the pared-down-to-the-minute, absolute-minimum amount of time needed to get ready for work. When you lose sleep all night it becomes very important to sleep every possible minute you can.  See why I’m feeling I have no control?  As a courtesy to PD and his sleep time, I’m bunking in the guest room.  Do I miss the snoring?  Well, um… No.

My waking life.  Eight hours of that is job.  If you count getting ready, road time and recovery after, it amounts to 11 hours.  That’s just me.  The part of that that I control?  Not a lot.  You see I work in a clean room, a controlled (ironic, huh) environment.  You know, that big white room that’s all sterile-looking, temperature-controlled, full of microscopes, computers, cameras and a bunch of people in white suits with hair covers and gloves and shoe covers… It’s not claustrophobia-inducing or anything…  yeah, right.  And I’m Oprah Winfrey.

Anyway…

Lots of restrictions when you work in a clean room.  No make-up, no nail polish, limited jewelry, (only a wedding band, smooth with no grooves or stones, only earring studs, no hoops, etc.) no hairspray, no cologne, yadda yadda yadda. You suit up in a change room in a neck-to-ankle suit made from polyester and carbon but seems like just nylon.  It’s the absolute best material to hold in heat when you experience a hot flash.  And sticks to your skin perfectly.  Holds moisture? Sure!  And in a 66 degree room, the after-flash chill factor is the most comfortable state a body can attain.  Add a gauze hair net, safety goggles, latex gloves and vinyl shoe covers.  Oh my Lord.  How do I do this? When our company switched to making the product that we do, in this new environment, a lot of people quit.  A lot of other people went on anti-anxiety medication.  Honestly.

Ok, I think I’ve established that I feel a little out of control in that aspect.  Follow with the fact that, on any given day I will show up at work and be told that “today we need you to fill in in this other job/department…”  Okay, I really don’t have a problem with that at all, it’s just that, now with all this upheaval I have going on, a little predictability would go a long way.  It’s not that I don’t like my job.  It’s close to home, I’ve got 11 years there (only the last one in the clean room and that was not by choice…) a terrific benefit package and little or no weekend hours.  To leave there with my experience and skills (or, rather lack of) would be foolish.  I would have to start all over earning what I make and the vacation hours I’ve got.  So no, I’m not going to include my job under the heading of Things I Can Change.  Not at this point anyway…

Okay, enough spilling my guts for today.  Stay tuned for future episodes.

I’ll leave you now with a little funny story.

Recently while grocery shopping, I was walking past the ice cream section in the store.   There was a tall, normal-looking guy who appeared to be in his mid-thirties standing in front of the freezer doors, intently looking in at the enticing array of ice cream brands and flavors.  Right hand up to God, he was naming flavor after flavor out loud and I swear if it was humanly possible to make love to ice cream in the middle of a grocery store aisle, he’d have been going at it.  Was quite amusing.  As I approached him, I said “Wow, you really like ice cream…”  It was when he turned his head to look at me that I noticed the Bluetooth stuck to the side of his head.  As I skulked away, face reddening, I heard him laughing and saying “Some chick just walked by and said…”

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6 responses to “ONE STEP IN A SERIES

  1. Funny ice cream story. At least the guy didn’t have a blue tooth stuck to his head (I honestly thought that for maybe a millisecond).

    That’s the most I’ve ever heard about your job. That would be quite a difficult environment sans hot flashes. I hope the finish of that pill does the trick on them.

    Owning a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Sociology, I feel your pain about wanting to stick with one company now that you are at that level with yours (I’m in the computer industry, in case that helps folks understand why my resume rarely gets put in the short stack unless I know somebody on the inside).

    I’d love to change fields completely, but when you’re the only breadwinner, starting over with something else isn’t so much an option as an impossibility.

    But, really, this is about you, not me. Hang in there, One Wink.

  2. Clean room? My work has something more akin to a panic room but not in the good way. It’s more like when you walk in the place you start to panic and wonder what the hell you did to deserve this!

    My resume is out there but I am going to be picky this time. And when I get to wherever I am going, I will NOT learn how to do others jobs. Biggest mistake I have ever made at my current one is knowing how to do many of the functions there!

  3. I know that you and I have already discussed certain similarities in our jobs/lives, but this is truly uncanny. Especially the whole lack of sleep, 11 years at one place, non-transferable experience/skills, and no sensible reason to leave behind the benefits and/or vacation. But I don’t work in a clean room. Bonus for me, huh?
    As for feeling out of control, how about this?
    Just remember that Whoever it is that you’re praying to has everything under control. And that same Whoever has your best interests at heart.
    I hope you find some comfort in that thought.

  4. Mark. It was funny, the kind of thing that comes back to you for a few days and still makes you laugh.
    You understand, then, why I feel stuck at my job. PD collects disability benefits and that’s not exactly a cushion to tide us over if I were to change jobs.
    Thanks so much for your words and kind thoughts 🙂

    Jeff, thanks for bringing your sense of humor here with you 🙂
    We’re pretty much required to cross-train at work. It’s actually necessary as we operate within “cells;” (a group working on one project at a time) and if one or two in the cell are not there, their jobs still must be done. To refuse to cross-train, well, that would not look good on one’s review.

    M+, I will remember that. Thanks, bud 🙂

  5. dude! you got called a CHICK! that’s awesome.

    at first glance of a clean room, i like the whole sanitary aspect of it. there has to be long time damage of some kind though, b/c anything good causes the “permanent damage”. it’s in the rule book.

  6. Piglet, thanks for the early morning chuckle 🙂

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