August 22nd, 2010

color cycle (slow)

A busy sort of vacation

I've had the last week off of work; I go back tomorrow, and, honestly, I'm ready for it. I've very much enjoyed having the time off, but I'm just plain ready to get back to work again, with much lower levels of stress than I came in with. Thinking about my impending review on Thursday isn't causing my heart rate to noticeably increase, as it had been until a few days ago, nor are thoughts about my to-do list at work inducing nausea. When I left, I felt ready to absolutely break down, about the level I was at when I had my vacation cancelled last year (the one I'd requested so I could have a few days to move apartments); now, I feel at least okay. Which I guess says a lot about the therapeutic benefits of just doing something else for a while, which is the point of a vacation in the first place. I need to get better at actually taking them on a regular basis, I guess.

Which means I need to thank [personal profile] baxil for coming up to visit! It gave me a reason to take time off, and it was a lot of fun. It made me self-conscious that I've been failing to attend to my own spiritual development well enough, and my trust in my sensitivity to such phenomena has dropped as a result, but that's something I need to be aware of, and to work on. Balance has never come easily to me, I suppose.

Part of his visit involved me trying to arrange a sort of local dragon party, since he knew a rather large number of locals. (His previous residence in Seattle isn't really enough of an explanation; it's more like his old forum is sort of migrating to the Pacific Northwest, one dragon at a time.) Previously-noted social anxiety issues aside (credit to [personal profile] goldkin for handling the steps I couldn't), it went quite well given that we were locked out of the venue I rented.

That deserves some elaboration, mostly because the people involved probably want to know how my little discussion of the matter with the leasing office the next day went. To make a not-entirely-long story not-entirely-short, I'd rented the community room in my apartment complex for the purpose of this party, and I couldn't actually get in: the door didn't recognize my RFID key-fob, and even if it did, the deadbolt was set. Fortunately, I got in the clubhouse itself just fine, so we sort of migrated over to the "Children's Room", this Orwellian combination of memories from my grade school (not in any way updated for the intervening 16 years) and an industrial, prison-like atmosphere. This was rather interesting, actually; we sort of adapted to the undersized (and unstable) furniture, and the stopped clock, fake security camera, lack of window screen on the one window that actually worked (all the better to throw kids out of), and generally depressing tone of the room made for interesting conversation. I called the maintenance pager (rather reluctantly, as this didn't quite count as a real emergency, but I had no other contact available after-hours), but never got a call back, which was disturbing not because this was a catastrophe, but because what if it was?

After I thought the building was closing at 10:00 PM, we moved to the parking lot, and then eventually proved that my living room actually can hold nine people. People actually stayed until 2AM, which probably wouldn't have happened if I had the actual room (and the rental ended at 9:30 PM), so arguably all this worked out for the better.

I'd called the leasing office at the time, and left a (rather irritated) message on their answering machine (in addition to calling the maintenance pager), mostly to establish that I couldn't get into the room for my paid-for rental at the time, with their timestamp. So I found out the next morning that I was supposed to have picked up a key for the deadbolt some time before the office closed. I'm pretty sure I wasn't told about this. They would have called me to remind me to pick it up, except they looked at 5:45 and the key wasn't on the hook, probably because the room was booked until 6:00 PM before our 6:30 PM event. With only one key, and the leasing office closing at 6PM, how was it even possible for me to get the key?

That little logistical problem aside, the maintenance pager not working is what had the manager really upset. Apparently, calling for a lockout at 7PM is not an unreasonable use of the pager, as the definition of "emergency" is a lot more lax early in the evening rather than late. It turns out they never received the page, and so the manager tested the pager at the staff meeting that morning, and... they never received that page either. According to her, she yelled at the pager company for about an hour over this, but at least the pager works now, in case someone has a real emergency they need help with.

They gave me a full refund, and additionally a free rental of that room (whenever I want it, there's no expiration date on that offer) as an apology, so I really can't be displeased with how they handled the situation; it's all I would have requested, and I'm at least glad it was something non-catastrophic they used to discover the pager was out of service.

In the meantime, our 1000 Blank White Cards deck has about doubled in size, and setting things on fire has become an important game mechanic. It is less important whether something is a robot, but that seems to be growing in.

Naturally, Baxil's visit coincided with unpleasantly hot weather, and the box fans I ordered to get better airflow arrived shortly after the daily high was back down to the mid-60s. At least I have them now; they do provide much better airflow. That hot weather prevented me from doing much cooking, which disappointed me; I prefer to cook for guests, but didn't get much opportunity. I did cook an overly elaborate curry recipe after he left, though; it came out too sweet, and it obviously needed the one spice I couldn't find in any of the available stores. (Seattle-ish people, where can I buy dried fenugreek leaves around here?) I've done a lot worse, though, and the recipe wasn't as difficult as it seemed from reading it.

Other than that and grocery shopping, I've been pretty much trying to relax, which is exactly what I'm supposed to do on a vacation, and I think that's been working, as noted by my lowered stress. Now the trick is to keep it (relatively) low. Stress is annoyingly self-perpetuating; when I'm feeling too stressed, I don't manage my time well enough to let me actually lower it.

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