But driving home, through the cornfields surrounding our neighborhood, I saw this scene, and it just captured my imagination. Big storms getting ready to hit now, and far off on the horizon, a hit of clear skies and a pink cheery glow.
It's come to symbolize life for me, right now.
For the last two weeks of my stay in Chicago, I developed a stubborn, miserable skin condition on my face - seborrheic dermatitis. Think of your worst case of stubborn, teenaged acne, with flaky dry scaly skin on top of it. Ever since I've been in Ohio, it's been like I've been 14 again - and trust me, if I ever thought (at 14) that I'd be developing horrific facial skin conditions at nearly fifty years old, I'd have probably taken my life in despair. Steroid creams (not the GOOD kind of steroids, unfortunately) seem to help - but if I even miss one application, any progress I've made slips away like sand out of a broken hourglass. Ick. And the steroid creams that help the dermatitis seem also to irritate the original acne rosacea that I've been struggling with for years.
So that's been fun.
Work at The Evil Empire has reached a fever pitch of insanity, again. We currently have more than 240 problem tickets that really, really, really need to be fixed by Monday - or they'll just get worse. And a new payroll processing schedule that needs to be developed, tested, and implemented. And a massive upgrade to the payroll processing system, ditto, ditto, ditto. Year-end processing that needs to be set up and evaluated, ditto, ditto, ditto.
And I'm at the heart of all three, by virtue of skill, experience, and role in the organization. There's just not enough of me to go around. It's buffered, somewhat, by not having people standing outside my cube - but it's nuts.
::: sigh :::
I know that if we can get past this, get the necessary automation in place, and get stable, this can be a much better place to be. But right now, it's pretty awful. I was instant-messaging with one of my co-workers, saying, "There has to be a way out of this mess," and his response (after working here since June) was scary:
Another co-worker's comment was, "I really hope North Korea doesn't drop the bomb - because I'd hate this to be the last day of my life." I've had occasion to repeat his line a number of times since...
So I just keep on keepin' on, and try to pray that when the absolute last straw has been drawn, I'll have the wisdom and the courage to take the right action. It's not yet, but it's coming.
My sister's condition is not improving, and her mental attitude is rocky, at best. Of course, if I was being jerked around by the medical institution while my worker's comp paid-time-off was draining away, and even the most dramatic efforts seem not to be producing any results, it can get demoralizing. So I'm very glad to be here - my presence seems to be a help both to her, and to her husband as well.
Storm front's comin' on, to be sure. I'm tryin' to just keep my eyes on that pink patch of sky out ahead, and just keep trudging the road of happy destiny.
Gratitude is often the key - when I list the difference between my life in Chicago the last month and my life here, I'm loads better than I was. Just the quality of life things make the move here much, much better than the life I had in the Big Windy. So (at least when I think of it) I'm grateful to be where I am. And that's good enough for now.