Wednesday, October 5, 2011

...To Everything There is a Season...

This time of year always reminds me of when we were kids and we had to clean up the apples from our yard and the neighbor’s yard.

We had a huge backyard. HUGE. The trunk of our apple tree was so girthy (I meant that in the clean way) no one could wrap their arms around it. It spread out so far at the top, the apples would hit our house, our garage, fill up our above-ground pool, the alleyway and the yard of our next door neighbor. On the craziest of windy days the two houses across the alley from us and even their neighbor might find a few apples in their yard, too.

I was too small to rake so I was given a pair of garden gloves and picked up as many as I could to drop in the trash bag. I was a kid, so my energy level was high and I could run around back and forth all day. My sister on the other hand, in her usual irritated, overly dramatic performance might rake a few before she was “overcome” with outdoor allergies and had to run off for respite. Really though, some of the apples were rotten before they hit the ground and she was afraid of and grossed out by the worms.

I was told later that had we trimmed the tree regularly we might have been able to produce edible fruit. But most of these were bad. They had the most pleasant smell but they were almost always mushy soft and when they hit the roof, from inside the house it sounded like you parked your camper in the wrong end of a Punkin Chunkin field. 

This is still usually a nice time of year.

I take my official vacation this time of year. My birthday’s in November. Those addictive Honeycrisp apples are in back in season and I will eat about 8 caramel apples (not in a row, but within 3 weeks) before I decide I never want to see one again until next year. And the best part ever, the leaves change colors.

When I was little I asked my parents why the leaves change colors in the fall.

My dad gave his typical Dad answer: So you’ll pay attention to them before they go away.

My mom gave her typical Mom answer: “Why? Why not?”

It occurred to me that both answers could apply to the horrible tragedy that befell me upon returning to work after my vacation.

My boss walked into my office around 9 am.

She confirmed that she had the budget for next year and I was on it. That’s good news.

Not only that, but remember around this time last year when I said there was talk of a possible promotion for me? She told me she had successfully managed to have my position reclassified. That’s better than a promotion. You stay put but essentially your pay catches up to your workload. No changing spaces, titles, departments, or bosses.

Except for that last part. Or at least that’s what I thought I heard her say just before I fell off my chair kicking and screaming like a 2-year-old lost in a department store. After 35 years, 20 years at our agency, and the last 9 years with me, she had decided to retire.


Another great thing about working for a psychologist is that they will allow you to hyperventilate before they go on.

She explained how she had a wonderful opportunity to move into her dream job which included dream hours (under 20 hours a week) and therefore, more time with her grandkids and aging parents. I had to respect that. I didn’t like it, but I had to respect it. Or at least get used to it.

Despite my best efforts to look at it from her side and acknowledge it as a wonderful thing for her, it’s hard not to be sad on my good days, and cranky on my bad ones. I’m the last chick standing in this department. I’ll have a new boss of course, but the original team from back when I started have all moved on or retired. The retired ones are crazy happy; the “moved on” ones are at least okay.

In the middle of my tantrum, my boss took the opportunity to drop a hint about getting my master’s degree. I still think they’re a farce, but every once in awhile some horrible thing like this will come up to make me think it’s worth buying into the game.

I almost gagged just writing that.

Anyway, I’m planning her retirement party with mixed emotions. I have always appreciated how wonderful it has been to work here with the team I’ve worked with. On the days when everyone else was getting on my nerves, I think I was able to hold it together because of these people. I’m living proof that a good boss makes for the best employee retention. It’s going to suck here without her.

To be fair, my new boss is also pretty cool. She’s a nurse and I like nurses. I’ve worked with her before but not as closely as I will now. I don’t doubt that this can still be a workable situation for me and I hope I can make this a great experience for her, too. Even if I’m not looking forward to losing one, I’m happy about the one I’m gaining and can’t think of another person I would rather move forward with.

So the leaves, and the seasons they are a’changin’ and maybe the whole point is for me to take inventory of my own situation and see what I’m doing, what I want to be doing and what I need to do get to what I want.

During my vacation I came to the conclusion that I could stand to make a few changes anyway. I learned that accepting responsibility and accepting blame are two different things and will lead you in two different directions. I have a tendency to accept blame as if it is responsibility.

And then I realized that that was like mistaking kindness for weakness, and since I’m so annoyed by the latter it would only make sense that I try not to engage in the former. It’s been one of those small changes that make the difference for me. I’m seeing things differently and it’s an especially good time to try doing that. Anytime’s a good time, but right now especially.

Yep. It’s definitely that time of year to notice and appreciate change.

It’s time to think a little bit about something you’ve been wanting to do and how you can really get it done …and not just think about it anymore.

I wish my boss well. And I wish you the same as the seasons change.

Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

New Edition – A Little Bit of Love is All it Takes

And something soft and really pretty with a considerably shorter song
title than the other two…
Latrelle – Infatuated

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