The Rise and Fall (24.2022)

Last week was a long, tough week.

Work ramped up with a big task landing on my desk on Monday morning with a Wednesday deadline. This task took up all of my Monday, preparing a first draft of the document and sending it out to the team who needed to review and add to it. I received the document back Wednesday morning, and thereafter all of my Wednesday was spent on finalising it, meaning other tasks were let slip or at least I only looked at the short simple ones. Still, by 8:30pm Wednesday the task was done and the document submitted, and I was able to approach work on Thursday morning with a new energy.

By Thursday I had more or less got my Inbox back under control after my last unexpected absence from work. And when I say “under control”, I mean “all the tasks that need attention have been flagged.” There are about 50 tasks flagged, now I just have to plug through these tasks and hope that nothing new arrives on my desk in the meantime. (But of course it does and it has.)

Friday was a rough day. I had a family call in the morning to sort out some things in relation to my mother’s estate, and throughout the morning I had messages of condolence from people who I hadn’t spoken to in a while, all expressing their sympathy. This meant my mother’s passing was weighing heavily on my mind and I had to take a walk out of the building late morning and sit in the sun in the square outside the office for a few minutes. I wasn’t crying as such, but I was letting my face crumple and maybe there were a few tears and because the square was quiet at that time I didn’t have to worry about anyone staring, or worse, coming up and asking how I was.

I luckily had lunch with a friend that day – I haven’t seen her since The Before, so we had two years of conversation to catch up on. We were super happy to find the little falafel stand we used to go to was still there, having survived Covid, and still doing a wonderful falafel and halloumi wrap. I think the huge meal helped give me a boost to get through the afternoon.

I had planned to go to drinks for my old team on Friday afternoon. But I was feeling down again by the end of the day; I wasn’t sure I should go. I nearly walked by but I decided, no, I will stop and chat with people. I thought it might cheer me up. I got talking to someone new, who I didn’t know, and we talked about study and work and places she’d lived. But then I got caught up in someone I used to work with complaining and going on and on, and I was brought back down with a bump. Having been away from this for just three months, to be back around this particular person really made my skin itchy.

Who are these people? I wondered. They are not real to me any more. They are like ghosts.

And then someone launches at me, asking, “You still miss us, right?” I didn’t give the first answer than came into my head, which was, “No.” Instead I came up with some blah-blah about how I am too busy to even be able to think about missing anyone. And then I had to leave because I could feel sadness crowding in at the corner of my eyes like some kind of migraine headache.

Friday was the hottest day of the year so far and as we always do on 30+ days, Husband and I sat out on the patio and ate snack food for dinner. The warm evening air seemed to evaporate my bad mood. Either that, or all the crisps and ice cream I ate.

Saturday we continued with our purge and restocking of the study. Since the repainting, we have only put things back in that are justified in being there. The aim is to have a more minimalist study. Old photo albums? They are packed into boxes and put into storage. Old files? We sat down and went through them, throwing out credit card statements from 2015; tax statements from 1998; an offer letter from my employer in 2000. We now have a foot-high pile of papers in need of shredding.

We also checked some of the things in long term storage under the bed – Husband was devastated to find his collection of “vintage” All Blacks rugby jerseys had mildewed. We have washed them twice – once in vinegar and once in regular wash – and hung them outside to dry on the line in the sun. I don’t know how mildew forms or how we stop it coming back. All the online advice seemed to recommend bleach but that’s a no-go with black shirts. Luckily it was just the jerseys affected, as the same bag had some tapestries in it which thankfully were all fine.

We need to get the home office back into good shape by the weekend, as we have friends coming to stay, and the room where they will be sleeping is where we have stashed all the things we took out of the study. I’m feeling like I’m in a mood to purge things. I would happily go through my wardrobe, maybe even my shoes! I even agreed to give up some books which we are going to drop to the book swap library at the pub on Tuesday night when we go to pub quiz.

Oh yes! Pub Quiz – we won pub quiz again! We beat the next team by 10 points, so it was a full and proper whipping. The team that came 2nd are the team that often win. I had my back to them so I didn’t see their faces, but my friend was laughing, “They are so mad!” We didn’t quite walk out of the pub singing “We are the champions” but I was certainly thinking it.

Bargain fruit tree update: three of the trees have survived so far and are producing actual leaves! The other two I’m not sure about but I have watered them carefully during the recent hot spell and with some having leaves out I am fairly sure is a sign that the other two will survive as well. This is good news.

Rodent update: The house next door has rats (not the pet kind), and their rats have dug a tunnel under the fence into our yard. Our beloved cat, who is now in his dotage at age 20, was quite the mouser in his day, but he spends most of his time sleeping or looking for food now. Other cats in the neighbourhood, however, have worked out that there are rodents out and about in our yard, and last week while I was working on the document, I saw the cat we call Fluffy heading home with something grey in her mouth. The next day I saw the tortoiseshell cat whose name is Winnie also heading home with a grey rat corpse in her mouth. The day after that I saw a magpie fly past the window with something small and grey trailing out of its beak. I’m hoping that between the neighbourhood cats and birds we will wipe out rat population. We are getting some rocks and rubble to put into the hole in an attempt to stop the rats using our yard as a runway – whatever rats remain, that is.

I hope this week that if you have a problem, someone or something else solves it for you.

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