Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Miss Riding

I haven't been writing posts, because I haven't been riding. Each time I attempt to make some time to work with the horses, someone or something takes it away. I had to postpone yet another vacation day thanks to another important deadline at work. I'm suffering through the project from hell that seems to be a bottomless pit.

Today I took a lunch break with the intention of taking Gabbrielle for a walk, but when I got outside I discovered that the water troughs were getting low and needed cleaning. But first I had to change my shoes so that I wouldn't get my good shoes muddy. Then I had to find the bleach. On and on it went and by the time I finished dealing with the water troughs my lunch hour was over. I fed the horses their lunch and returned to my office feeling defeated.

This is also the time of year when we have a stream of visitors who are vacation, which forces me to juggle my work hours with their visits. It frustrates me that everyone around me seems to be on vacation, and I have to fight for one lousy day off. I feel like I have to clean house for them and do the marketing, so that we've got plenty of food and drinks on hand. Trying to fit in a ride is almost impossible with everything else that is going on. To add insult to injury, my husband was just told that he is required to take 2 weeks off from work by law and is being pressured to do so. My company, on the other hand, has no concern about the law.

I had the manager of a different department at work contact me to be on call to answer the customer support phones for the next several weeks. He started out the conversation with "Sorry you haven't been able to get your vacation days, but..."

He said we are all in a crunch right now. Ummmmm. If that's so, then why have so many other people been allowed to take vacations in the past few weeks? I had to work double-time both last week and this week, because people we depend on were on vacation and I had to do their tasks for them.

I was hired as a software engineer, and now they are trying to get me to answer phones. I feel like I am too old, too cranky, and too impatient to be working with customers. I'd embarrass the company by saying something we all would regret. I'm a hermit, which is about as far from being a social butterfly as possible. I hate phones. Every time one rings, I jump out of my skin and scream an obscenity, because I know it's going to be someone who wants something from me. No one ever calls up and says, "I'm calling because I want to do something nice for you."

Fortunately, they didn't have an extra company phone line to give me and didn't want to route customer support calls to my home phone, so I was relieved of that duty. I suspect the man sensed my stress and lack of phone skills too, probably deciding I wasn't the ideal candidate for the job. My philosophy is that if you don't want to flip burgers, just keep dropping them on the floor. I'm already working 60 hours a week. Do these people want me to die of a heart attack? I don't have much more to give.

Anyway, back to the horses... I miss them even though they are just outside my windows. I get jittery and cranky if I go too long without being able to ride. I've ridden enough these past couple of years that I feel more at home in the saddle than on my own two feet. I have had to cancel the past two weeks of equitation lessons thanks to my job. I finally had to tell my instructor not to call me, because I doubted I will get a day off anytime in the near future. I told him I'd call him if I ever do. I worry that winter will come before I can even get Gabbrielle 30-days under saddle, which was my goal for this year.

If this truly were just "a crunch", I'd deal with it and look forward to better days. However, every job I have had for the past 11 years has put me in a crunch. It's the nature of the software industry. People have to work as hard and as fast as possible in order for their company to survive, and even then you sometimes still get laid off.

After suffering through two lay offs in recent years, I desperately work as hard and as fast as I can to make my company successful. I've experienced the correlation between employees who slack off and companies that capsize. You have to keep steering the boat and baling the water out at the same time, or everyone drowns. But there's always a balance between doing that and trying to not drown yourself in the process. I will continue steering and baling, but someone else is going to have to oil the engine... and if I happen to be able to lift a leg over a saddle at the same time, more power to me.


Mary Olson said...

Talk about stressful! I hope you get some time to ride soon. You need a horse break. And point the visitors to the washing machine or whatever it is you're doing to clean up after them. I've been in that position before myself and it's no fun spending your summer watching everyone else relax while you pull kitchen and laundry duty.

KD said...

Girl...I feel your pain! I'm supposed to be off on Fridays ( I work 4 -10s), but some audits have stolen my last Friday and will again encroach on my day off tomorrow. I didn't get to ride last week except for about a 1/2 hour in my back yard. I am grateful, however, to have worked for the same company for 35 years! Hang in there.

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I think your employer is thinking, "Well, she's already bent over backwards for us, she can bend a little farther..."

No, they don't care if you have a heart attack. Screw them and stand up for yourself. Yes, it's good to have a job right now, but at what price? And anyway, what are they going to say? "We're laying you off because you wouldn't add 10 more hours on top of your 60 hour work weeks"?

Reddunappy said...

Geez it sounds like you have a high stress job, and havnt been able to destress! I hope things slow down for you soon!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That is so true about increasing the work load on salaried employees!
I hope it gets better for you soon!
I'm sure the horses are looking for you too.

fernvalley01 said...

I hope things settle for you soon.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You go girl! Tell it like it is. Times are tough, though.

My hubby's been out of work now for over 3 weeks. He can't find a job that will pay enough to cover our bills, food and cover health insurance. We are both without it right now....soooo the physical therapy appts that were supposed to get me back to normal and strong enough to get back in the saddle, are no more. I can't afford the $50.00 out of pocket for each PT appt. now either.

I'm very cranky and depressed, too. It's been almost 7 months since I was last in the saddle, and I just don't see it happening anytime soon either. I need to go back to the Dr for a check up and see how my ACL is healing, but can't afford that either.
I have lost so much muscle mass in that leg and am having trouble trying to build it back up on my own.

I doubt I will be able to ride at all this year...and that deeply upsets me.

And then I've got this crazy, cranky horse that noone wants to buy, especially in this economy. Can you tell I'm frustrated, too?

I feel for you, NM. I hope things improve for all of us soon.


Paint Girl said...

It just seems to never end with your job stress! I wish companies wouldn't stress their employees to the max. It happens more than we know! I dealt with that at the job I had for 18 years and it got worse every year I was there.
I hope it mellows out, so you can get back to riding!

photogchic said...

Keep your eye on the prize...hopefully a great vacation just around the corner with all that OT:-) Hang in there.

monstersmama said...

I am so sorry! Sometime your going to have to say something for the sake of your sanity! I wish you luck and strenght through this stressful time!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Everyone - Thanks for the encouragement to push on and what not.

Lisa - Oh no! I didn't know John lost his job. I was really hoping the economy was past that. It's hard to not get depressed when you have to change all your plans that quick and give up necessities like the physical therapy. It's also hard not to get depressed when the future is so unknown. I'll be putting some positive energy your way.

Breathe said...

Horse time keeps me sane when my schedule makes me insane. I always put myself last then end up being a real... witch to deal with. It's hard, but I'm starting to get that taking time away from everyone is sometimes what it takes to be a much nicer person to be around.

Lisa - that's terrible news. We'll all be pulling for you!

Cheryl Ann said...

My son and hubby go day by day not knowing whether or not they'll even have a job. Yes, it's the economy. It SUCKS! Our daughter doesn't know if she'll have her teaching job in August, due to the stupid California legislature! Hang in there!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The Nevada legislature finally resolved its budget problems by doing minimal layoffs and across the board pay cuts in the form of mandatory furlough. Everyone has to take two unpaid vacation days a month. My husband is more than willing to do that since it saves many people their jobs. Plus it allows people to plan their own family finances better, knowing that they will have 24 days less of pay over the period of a year.

manker said...

wow... trust me i feel your pain... crunching here today too (tho slacking by the sound of your insane schedule)... but as a runner... i absolutely start "jonesing" after a coupla days without my equines

youre a tuffer cookie than I .. .cowgirl hat tip to ya!!


Mrs Mom said...

Hang tough NM- hoping things settle down there for you and you get in some saddle time SOON. Sending happy thoughts your way!

Horseypants said...

There's an award for you at my blog...hope that cheers you a little.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks NM...(and Breathe aka Winter, too) Your kind words and positive energy means a lot. Hubby is supposed to be starting job training next week....but it's in Utah....for 2 weeks...and it's unpaid. gah!
Looks like stuff will get worse for a little while before it gets better.