Thursday, December 06, 2012
Wow, it's been a while since I've done more than sign on, spin the wheel, track my fitness, sometimes try to track my food, and run off again. There's so much I could say about what's been going on, but I'll try to keep it somewhat brief. Of course, my "brief" is probably someone else's "wordy", so consider the source, huh?
Since my last blog update here, we went to Scotland as a family, my son's pipe band (Robert Malcom Memorial Grade 4) placed third in the Novice Juvenile category at the World Pipe Bands championship, and came home to North America via Iceland and visited for an afternoon with Sigrun (BARBIETEC) and her family. After that, we barely had time to recover and then the kids' school and other activities started up again. I had my birthday, and with my birthday money I finally got racks and panniers for my bike, and I continued biking to work for most of the fall. Of course, some of that time I had to because the truck was in the shop being fixed from a rear-ender. My fault (a moment of inattention - more on that later) so after 26 years of driving I had my first accident.
In the meantime, work has been totally insane. I was out to Maryland meeting with a sub-contractor about fixing a circuit that they designed for us (I flew the day after my birthday), then came back with it still not fixed. Several more weeks of debugging (thankfully it was a co-worker that got stuck in Silicon Valley and had to expense underwear, not me!) and we FINALLY figured out the problem. Only then management decided that now that block was fixed, and I got thrown into fixing a set of serious problems with another block, one that was designed in-house. Of course, we didn't make it easy (see my series of updates on helicopters), and that's only now finished. Of course, we thought it was finished last week, but then yesterday we found (and fixed) yet another bug. For the last six months, I have been working almost full time (60+ hour weeks) cleaning up other people's messes. Not my own messes. Not creating new messes. Other people's messes. Incompetent messes. Frustrating messes. Insanity-producing messes.
Three weeks ago, I had my second at-fault accident. Another rear-ender, and again, it was a moment of inattention. It was the second accident in 6 weeks, and it forced me come to a realization: the combination of six months of 60+ hour work weeks with essentially no break (Scotland doesn't count - I drove over 1000 miles on the wrong side of 1.5-lane roads!) fixing other people's mistakes and everything going on at home (in addition to the kid's stuff going on, we're also trying to clean out two rooms in the basement so my wife can set up a home-based business) was just too much. I've been distracted. I've been unproductive. I've not been sleeping. I'm burnt out.
I had been trying to hold things together until all the messes at work were cleaned up, but I just couldn't do it. I took three days off work with no notice. I talked to my doctor. I talked to my manager. I'm on prescription sleeping medication. I'm meeting with a stress counselor (covered by work, thankfully). I will be limiting myself to a strict 40-hour work week for the rest of the year and probably January/February; it's that or I'm going to have to take stress leave. I'm trying to straighten things out.
Of course, yesterday didn't help - the bug we found yesterday was caused by sheer stupidity. The guys who implemented the circuit removed two sub-circuits that I had put in the original design this block was based on prevent this precise bug. When I realized that I was beyond furious, as is my co-worker (the one who had to expense underwear) that I've been working to do the fixes. He is also dancing on the edge of the burnout cliff (and knows it) and will also be severely curtailing his time at work for the next while. We've told our manager that he will be the one writing up the post-mortem report because we will be unable to keep the venom in check if we were the ones to write it.
I'm just so thankful that I made the investment three years ago to get my health in line; if I were going through this now at 270+ pounds I shudder to think of what the consequences would have been. That being said, I'm not really tracking my food these days and I've found out that under enough stress I can be a stress eater. Thankfully the physical activity that I'm getting somewhat counter-acts this, but I'm pretty sure I'm back over 180 pounds. I'm not certain however, because I've not stepped on a scale for about 2 months. At this point I have no intention of doing so until Christmas craziness is over, at which point I'll evaluate where I am and take it from there. In the meantime, I'll try to update this blog a bit more often.