Monday, March 24, 2008
Me reading the map
Friday, March 21, 2008
It was a clear, sunny, spring day in Salt Lake City, Utah. It had been a very cold winter and today was the first day in a very long time that the weather had been warm and sunny. Jess looked longingly out the second floor window of her downtown office building. She wished she could spend the day outside. Instead, she was stuck at work for another four hours.
Jess, a twenty-two year old girl with copper red hair that hung in straight layers to her shoulder blades, wished that time would speed up. It had been a long, hard week at work and there was no sign that her work load would be decreasing anytime soon. Jess worked as an administrative assistant and was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. Lately, her inbox was overflowing with a wide variety of projects that needed to be done. All of them required a large amount of time and all of them needed to be completed as quickly as possible.
Time continued to drag on as Jess worked feverishly, attempting to get her work load to a more manageable level. Finally, she glanced at the clock and smiled wearily. It was time to head home. Jess quickly shoved her cell phone into her pocket, shut down her computer, and grabbed her big, black backpack as she headed outside into the sunlight. As Jess walked to her bus stop, she called her best friend, Wil, to see how his day at school had gone.
“Hey Wil,” Jess said into her phone as Wil’s familiar voice answered her call. “How was school? Learn anything interesting?”
“Not really,” Wil replied. “It was just another boring day. Sid and I are just about to head out to get some food. We’re having trouble deciding what we want to eat, though.”
Jess grinned. After five years of being friends with Wil, she was used to his unexplainable inability to decide where to eat. Most of the time, she, Wil and their friends would sit for a half an hour, or sometimes longer, just trying to decide where to get food. After offering several suggestions on where they could eat, Jess said goodbye and hung up the phone.
Jess enjoyed the remainder of the walk to where she would get on the bus that would take her home. It really was a fabulous day. It was finally warm enough that she could have removed the dark green winter coat she wore, but she didn’t want to carry it. Once on the bus, she waved at her dad, who also rode that bus home from work.
The bus ride went smoothly and uneventfully. Once at home, Jess let her dog, a border collie named Rain, outside and fed her. Once Rain was taken care of and chewing happily on what was left of the huge bone Jess had gotten her earlier in the week, Jess changed out of her work clothes, and into a pair of striped pajama pants and a black tank top. Once she was more comfortably dressed, she scrounged in the fridge for dinner. She settled on bean and cheese burritos. As her oven preheated, she went into her office to check her e-mail.
She scanned through the e-mails quickly. Most of them were junk that she deleted without opening. Then she saw something that made her excited, and slightly nervous. There was an e-mail from her older brother, John, who was currently serving as a Marine in the Iraq war.
Jess was the youngest of five children. Her oldest sibling was her sister Jane. Jane was in her early thirties and was divorced with three children, Abby, Tim, and Denise. Jane and Jess had never been close, due partly to the 8 year age gap between them and also their very different personalities. They did, however, get along and enjoyed each other’s company now that they were older.
Jared, the second oldest, had always been quiet and shy. In his teenage years, he mostly stayed in his room playing video games when he wasn’t at school or work. He had loosened up and relaxed considerably after getting married to Joann. Jo was a burst of fun and energy. When she was around, she would have everyone laughing and joking within a few minutes. It took a while for Jess’ family to adjust to this since most of them were more on the shy and serious side. Jess loved it since she had always been the one in her family who was more relaxed and less serious. It was nice that the rest of her family could loosen up, if only a little, now.
Next in line was Adam, with his wife Rebecca and their two children, two-year-old Michael, and two month old Lisa. Jess had always considered Adam to be the nerdiest of her three brothers even though all three were incredibly nerdy in their own way. She supposed that she felt this way because Adam looked the part of the typical nerd. He wore glasses and was usually seen in slacks and a collared shirt with pens in the pocket.
After Adam, came John, Jess’ closest sibling in age and looks. All of the other siblings where only a year or two apart, but John was three years older than Jess. John was married to Stacy. They didn’t have any children yet, but that wasn’t really a bad thing since John was away in Iraq while Stacy waited patiently at home for his return. Stacy was similar to Jared’s wife. They were both happy and energetic. Stacy would have the family in fits of laughter when she would tell a story about what happened at work or something her mom did since she was so animated while telling a story and would usually over exaggerate everything. It was always fun when Jo and Stacy were around.
Jess quickly read the e-mail from John. Nothing was wrong. He was just giving an update on how he and his Marine buddies passed the time between missions. Jess logged out of her e-mail and went to the kitchen to make and eat her dinner. Rain lingered nearby as Jess ate. Once Jess was done with her dinner and had everything cleaned up, she went into the living room to see if anything good was on TV.
She turned on the TV and plopped into her favorite, oversized chair with a sigh. It was nice to be able to relax. She should probably take Rain for a walk since it was such a nice day, but she couldn’t find the energy to get out of the chair, now that she was sitting. Looking around, she realized that the remote was not on the arm of the chair as it normally was. She groaned as she saw it across the room, sitting on a bookshelf. Slightly amused at how lazy she was suddenly feeling, so tried to talk herself out of getting up to grab the remote.
As she stared at the TV with some annoying reality show, wishing she could change the channel without getting up, something strange happened. There was a flicker of movement off to her left by one of the bookshelves. Jess ignored the movement, thinking that there was a fly or that Rain had tossed one of her toys in that direction, and tried to pay attention to the crazy people causing drama. It happened again, and this time Jess could not ignore it. The remote was now half way between the bookshelf and the chair she was sitting in.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I have had so much going on lately and I feel like I'm going a little crazy. I've had to deal with a wave of asthma attacks that keep me away from work up to a week at a time (which really hurts me financially and at work), with school which is becoming increasingly difficult (thank goodness it'll be done in August), and with work which has become busier than ever (which I didn't think possibly after the insanity of December). I leave work every day exhausted just to go home to take care of Rain and start on homework and then collapse into bed. My weekends have been my sanity lately. I live for the weekends where I can spend 3 days with Wil and our friends, watching movies, joking, and playing video games.
I love my job and enjoy school, but sometimes it begins to feel like too much. My breaks and lunches are spent reading my school books in between answering the never ending e-mails and phone calls. It's crazy, but at least I'm not bored :). I can't help but be distant and distracted.
I've always felt like an outsider in my family. It's been lessened to a degree by Jason marrying Jenn and Josh marrying Steph. They make me look not quite as odd compared to the rest of the family :). Lately, I've found it increasingly difficult to be around my family. I know I have Rain, and most days, I love my life. It's just hard to be around the family because it makes me feel so inadequate and more alone than I ever feel any other time. I've never really felt comfortable talking to any of them about anything that's super important. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I feel like I have to figure everything out on my own and do everything on my own. I always feel weird when I ask them for advice or try to explain how I'm feeling or my point of view. That feeling extends beyond my family, but is the worst with them. I always try to be completely straight forward and honest, but I have a hard time expressing my views to the family for some reason.
I don't have very many female friends and those who I am closest to haven't really been around lately (one moved to Montana, the other is now married and pregnant so I rarely get to see her), and most of the friends who I am close to are mutual friends of mine and Wil's so I never feel comfortably talking to them about anything too personal and don't want to spoil the fun and joking that goes on when we're all together, so I can't really express a whole lot to them. When I do talk to any of them, they listen and are nice about it, but most of the time, thoughts and feelings that don't relate to the movie we are watching or the game we are playing are just ignored and not expressed. I talk to Wil about things. His usual advice is to not worry about things I can't change and to just do whatever I can do (which in most cases is exactly what I need to hear since I tend to stress too much about little things).
These thoughts, especially related to my family, have been weighing on my chest for over a year now and have increased every time our family gets together (less for GNI, but the feeling is still there). It was building very slowly for a long time and has become an avalanche ever since Josh left. I don't think the two things are connected really, but that's when I really started to notice it. Every time the family gets together, I have a strong desire to just go sit in a corner somewhere and be alone. I don't really feel connected at all to my family anymore. I almost feel like a stranger intruding on a family gathering. I try to tell myself that thoughts like that are ridiculous and silly, but they don't go away. I do whatever I can think of to continue to feel like part of the family when I am with them. I do what I can to contribute to conversations going on, and when I don't feel like that is working, I turn my attention to the kids. While playing with them, and being a total goof, I feel less lonely and awkard and am able to forget about things, if only for a few minutes before I realized that I'm not in good shape and the endurance of the kiddos surpasses my own.
Anyway, those are some of the thoughts that are going through my head when I'm not thinking about the piles of work on my desk (that I should probably get back to now), or the homework that needs to be completed this week.
Typing out my thoughts seems to have lifted a weight off of me that I didn't realize was there. I'm not sure how many people will read this, or what they think about it, but this was more for me anyway, so even though I value the advice and opinions of others, I won't be upset if I don't get any.
Time to put my nose to the grindstone again and do what I can to finish the work that has piled up on my desk.
Until later, buh-bye!