Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

Category: Introspection (Page 1 of 18)

Personal posts

Day 92

The weekend is here again. Or is it gone already? How is it already 7pm on Sunday? They fly by without a trace.

Well, there is some trace. The new butterfly bush we planted yesterday after finding Country Nursery, a lovely little nursery. It meets my internal passing grade of a quality mom-and-pop nursery because you can never quite tell whether you’re supposed to be where you’re standing or not. Everything flows together.

Butterfly bush with purple flowers in green grass.
Butterfly bush, pre-planting.

We didn’t know this nursery existed until passing it on the way to Meadows Farms, the only nursery I know from frequenting one near the farm where I grew up.

Their prices on everything were far below anything Meadows Farms or Home Depot/Lowes can offer. As we talked to the woman behind the counter, she said “We order what people want to buy.” Which seems like a perfect way to do business.

We did buy a selection of indoor plants form Meadows Farms. A found a pair of cacti I allowed myself to buy after keeping the one I bought last year alive and doing well. Add to that a coleus (the red fuzzy one).

Annie got a Snake Plant and a ZZ Plant. Both hearty for shady indoor climates, which is our house.

This is our life now. Watching the birds at the feeders. Clearing areas to plant more bushes and flowers around our house. Annie is on a mission to remove anything that’s only green. It has to flower. It has to look pretty. And if it’s going to, it has to look pretty for as long as possible.

She lived in California when she was young and remembers the flowers everywhere, all the time. So while Maryland isn’t the same climate, replicate as much beauty as possible.

Purple flowers of butterfly bush up close.
Butterfly bush up close

Hibernation

I feel I’ve been hibernating.

I changed jobs in early March and the pandemic hit. I spent my days of government contracting waiting… Just waiting…

Then I took a job supporting Web Conferencing Platforms. You know what that means?

I support Zoom and Webex.

I had no idea the world would soon revolve around Zoom. It would be on the lips of millions of people across the world. Suddenly I had a skill set in massive demand.

My LinkedIn emails have never been so glowing. So many people are looking at your profile it crows seeking approval.

But while professionally I was a hot commodity, my days became a blur. I would stumble into my office at home and sit down to work.

Thankfully I had worked in that room for the past two or three years. It was well suited to the task at hand.

I was not.

I was learning Perl and how to call APIs. I was trying to sprint on the treadmill of Zoom’s constant changes. Their legal troubles. The public relations issues. But thankfully, no downtime. Say what you will of the company and their questionable choices, it has been solid and did not break under the weight of the world.

I would spend all day in that room. With periodic trips to fill my body with water, coffee and Coke then and relieve myself of the after effects of the same. My days were a blur. Even when I was able to stumble out of the room, I was often called back by the ding of an instant message or chime of an email requiring my skills or knowledge.

I wish I had kept a log of that time. It’s all a blur to me now. As the days continue to be. I wake up Monday morning and go to sleep Friday night in the space of a day.

The weekends come, or as my wife says, “that’s when I get to spend time with you.”

My week days feel short and frantic. My weekend days feel long and fulfilling. The weekend itself passes in the blink of an eye but those days I cherish and spend the time with my wife in our yard. Watching the birds at the feeder. Exploring post-apocalyptic West Virginia in Fallout 76 and finding the time to record a podcast.

It is somehow June. We are 12 days into June officially. Though I continue to insist it is February 243rd. That’s what it feels like.

The world has stopped and melted away into a fog of memory and remember whens.

At the same time, The World has become larger and more urgent. There was a protest march a block from my house this week.

There is a pandemic raging on.
Fueled my inept, uncaring leadership. The government has failed my wife and my family at every level.

While I am overwhelmed with work, my wife has seen 80% of her business vanish in a flash. She is self-employed and if it were not for telehealth she would be entirely our of work.

The Federal Government has failed her.
The State of Maryland had failed her.
Montgomery County has failed her.

She had applied for aid and waited… and waited… and waits.

Waits for aid that will never come.

We are living opposite lives in the same house. She is a Night Walker while I struggle to maintain a daylight schedule.

She looks at a business she spent 5 years building successfully get destroyed in a heartbeat. I look at a career that went from pause to hyperspeed.

I struggle to contain my work day and still have something left for her at the end of it. She stares down 22 hours in most days and tries to fill them.

I feel I’ve been hibernating since this all began. I don’t know what day it is. I have no clue what month we are in. Are there important events or milestones approaching?

I can only see the current day. Then I collapse. And start the next one underslept and overcaffeinated.

We have been in lockdown for 90 days.

You have my permission

You have my permission to delete.

You have my permission to mark as read.

You have my permission to skip.

You have my permission to step away.

You have my permission to log off.

You have my permission to ignore.

You have my permission to breathe.

You have my permission not to feel bad about any of it.

Your podcast queue is overflowing. Your stack of books is gathering guilt dust. Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and HBO and and and and…

There’s so much content out there. Endless feeds to scroll online. Twitter. Facebook. Mastodon. Instagram. Tiktok. They’re all there with new content engineered to suck you in and keep you there.

There’s email. Both invited and not. Newsletters are stacking up with interesting information.

You have my permission to ignore it all. You have my permission to not feel bad about ignoring, deleting, skipping and moving on with trying to get through your life.

How are you?

How do you manage through an environment where the business volume doubles within a 30 day period and at the same time you are forced to split the company into multiple teams. One team leaves the office and works from home for an undetermined amount of time, while the other two teams rotate in and out of the office. Then in order to meet the demand we need to hire staff and train them as quickly as we can using a plan and processes that did not exist two weeks ago.

Current State of things

This sums up exactly how things have been for me in the past 30 days until…?

So, how are you all holding up?

Today’s Adventure in “Where can we walk in social isolation?”

An old golf course that has become a park. It was nice to walk through the rolling hills. Greens have become rough. Sand traps are holes. Only the water and signage remains as remnants of it’s former use.

It was a beautiful, warm spring day today with a light breeze and 70 degree sun high in the sky and kissing our faces.

After the walk, it was time to hold (and troubleshoots) the family video chat. FaceTime apparently didn’t care for our three parties so Zoom it was. The first words I said as I sent the invites out were, “This is entirely too much like work!”

It was very nice catching up with everyone and seeing how our various Easter’s had been.

The day ended with pork chops, asparagus and a fire in the rain.

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