Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Good Cry

I've been in a "funk" for several days.

I've attributed it to a few things:
  • Missing driving - I've been in the office almost 3 weeks!!
  • PMS (sorry, boys, but it's the truth)
  • Frustrations with my boss
  • Insomnia
  • Mild lack of spiritual obedience

This past weekend, though, I started to wonder if it wasn't really a "funk" but maybe a touch of mild depression. I had always thought that I had managed to avoid this family inheritance, but as I pondered my state of mind, "mild depression" summed it up quite nicely*. I haven't felt exactly sad - like after breaking up with someone or a loved one's death - mostly I've felt indifferent. Indifferent to work, family, friends, things that usually give me pleasure. Going to work every day was a tiny struggle and a couple times I was tempted to cancel plans with friends. All I wanted to do was sit on my lovely red couch and watch my newly-installed cable TV. In fact, Sunday, that's exactly what I did. I stumbled upon a SciFi Channel series that I'd never heard of, Eureka, and watched the all-day marathon of its second season...well...all day. (It's a pretty cool show, check it out!)

Once I started putting 2 and 2 together, I figured I could pull myself out of this funk/mild depression with just a little effort, now that I knew what I was dealing with. I worked out some issues with my boss, restarted some spiritual habits, and put more effort into work, and slowly I felt the clouds start to dispel. Hooray!

So, yesterday's bombshell fortunately didn't have quite the impact it would have had, say...last week. It still knocked the breath out of me, though. Please don't ask for details - I'm not at liberty to discuss anything - I'll just say that it was pretty heart-breaking. I didn't sleep much last night, thinking about it. Then I awoke with cramps (of course!!). I picked a fight with my boss this morning. He asked me into his office at lunch, shut the door, and asked me what was wrong. I told him I didn't want to talk about it. He kept pestering me (please don't follow his example!) until, like usual, he broke me. I spilled everything, sobbing with just the smallest bit of control. He spoke kindly, soothing me a little. His patient showed up, so I wiped my eyes and nose and left while he went to fetch his patient from the front. I went into a back room, lights out, sat in a corner, and this time really let loose. For about 5 minutes I cried out all my broken heart.

I dried my eyes, stood up, and felt like I was leaving my burden on the floor. I felt okay again. My heart is still broken, but I feel like I can handle it now. And, the mists of the "mild depression" have dispelled and I feel more like my normal self.

A good friend and a good cry. Aaahhh. Excellent.

*Did you know that one definition of "nice" is "accurate"???

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bertha and The Beast

A year ago, when my boss and I were trying to figure out if we were actually going to start offering mobile hearing services, driving a big truck and trailer was theoretical and I didn't worry about it. However, when we bought the trailer and it turned out to be 40 feet instead of 30 AND I stood in front of it and thought it was the biggest trailer in the entire universe, then I started to worry a little. I remember driving the truck for the first time, longing for my little Altima. I worried that I'd never learn to drive it and the trailer.

Almost 10 months later, Bertha and the Beast are like old friends. In fact, during May and June, I spent more time with them than my own family and friends. They were the only ones around on my birthday. They have witnessed Shawn's kisses, my reconciliation with Dad, scenic landscapes, and more cuss words and whistling than I care to admit. So, without futher ado, here are pictures of Bertha and the Beast.

I took these pictures at the Guernsey Armory. This one gives you an idea of how big the truck is. The trailer doesn't seem too bad, does it? Check out the next picture.

This picture shows exactly how big the trailer is. The ironic thing is that we only use a little more than half of it for testing. The very back of the trailer is where the electrical outlets, spare tire, and extension cords are stored. You can't see this from the inside of the trailer, it's like a false back, or something. From the back door to the back of the trailer (before the false back) is where I do the testing (next picture). From the back door to the goose neck was used for training by the previous owners, but I use it for storage. The goose neck is hollow, so perfect for storing things I don't need often. The room behind the front door contains some chairs, a counter, and two cupboards. This room I use to store things that I need on a fairly regular basis but not enough to justify cluttering the back room. I didn't take a picture of this room because at the time it was mega messy. Yesterday, I spent a couple hours reorganizing and cleaning, so it looks tons better. You'll just have to take my word for it.

There are three phone booth-size sound booths in the trailer (we're looking from the middle of the trailer towards the rear), the one on the far left is being blocked by the middle booth's door. Those two are always quarreling. There is a bench on which people who are waiting to be tested can sit. I sit at the "command center". That's my comfy black chair, my laptop that controls the audiometers, the audiometers (the three small rectangles fastened to the black mounts - the previous owner had bigger audiometers), and the printer. They automatically administer the hearing tests - all I have to do is push Start and monitor for any problems. It's actually a pretty handy set up, though it does need a few adjustments to make it perfect. All in good time, though.

So, there you go. Now you know what I drive and where I practically live while on the road.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guernsey, WY

Guernsey, WY

If I ever become wealthy enough to retire without having to worry about money, I'm going to move to Guernsey, WY. As many of you know, I spent two weekends in this small town during June, and frankly, I fell in love with it as soon as I crested the small hill and saw it for the first time. When I went back for the second weekend, I wished very much that someone would come with me so I could share this little piece of heaven. In the end, I decided to do something very uncharacteristic and take pictures. More characteristically, I procrastinated until the evening before I left, hence the coloring in some of the pictures. Tee hee.

This was my first view of Guernsey. I had expected an ugly town, since I hadn't been very impressed with Cheyenne when I went there. So, the trees and loveliness of it was pleasantly surprising.

Did I mention that Guernsey is small? Notice the population. No Wal-Mart, no fast food, no stop lights. I could drive down every street in the place in less than an hour. According to what I could see (don't stake your life on these facts), there were 4 bars, 1 diner, 3 hotels (mine was the largest), and several churches of differing denominations (not my own, though). Oh, and a small grocery store that saved my life a couple times. But that's between it and me. Sorry.

This is where I stayed both weekends I resided in Guernsey - three nights each time. The place boasts 30 rooms, like I said the largest in the town - the others had 11 and 4 rooms.

My bed wasn't mega comfortable, but the room had a fridge, a shower with great water pressure, and a cooler, so it was do-able.

This is the diner at which I ate every dinner. I was tempted to try a couple of the bars that had, so I heard, decent food. However, I could walk to the River View Restaurant - and it was a nice little walk - and I really liked the food.

Admittedly, I'm a creature of habit. The first night, I tried the Club sandwich and it was the best I have ever eaten. Mmm mmm mmm. However, in the spirit of adventure, on the second night I tried the above sandwich, the Renegade BLT. The rest of my dinners traded off between these two sandwiches; three nights Club, three nights Renegade BLT. To heck with adventure! What make it "renegade"? In addition to the usual accoutrements (bacon, lettuce, tomato), the sandwich had pepper jack cheese (yummy) and a fried egg. Sigh. It was so good. I'm going to have to try to make it at home. I'm craving it mega! Oh, and the first night I tried the fries - subpar - so I stuck with tator tots the rest of the time. Just in case you ever eat here.

The following pictures are views of the river from a nice bench by the river. I'd always walk to the diner and read a little at the bench either before or after eating. Oh, it's the North Platte River, for those of you who were wondering.

Guernsey was part of the Oregon Trail and you can still see the ruts made by hundreds of carts.

While traversing the tourist park that houses the above ruts, I came across this tree. Whenever I see trees such as this, I think of my friend Tearese, who first showed me their beauty. I named this picture "Tree for Tearese".

I got kind of silly while driving around. Hence this next photo. Tee hee.

Please note the bug guts all over the windshield and realize that this was after I had cleaned it. Those suckers are a permanent part of the glass, I'm afraid. Well, until I pay $40 to have Bertha detailed inside and out, I hope. It's also fun to see what direction I was facing (not driving, since I was also taking a picture - I'm a safe driver!) and the temperature at the time (around 8pm or so).

This picture illustrates one of the things I loved about Guernsey and the land around it. The grass and trees were very green, then there'd be these white-gray rocks jutting out like teeth. Unfortunately, the effect is a little lost due to the setting sun, but I still think it's pretty.

I love this place. I hope I get to go back again someday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life Lately

Has it really been almost a month since I last posted?? How did that happen. I still remember sitting in that hot was so relaxing! I've been back to that hotel numerous times since that night, but my thrifty nature hasn't allowed me to get the suite again. Sigh. I hate my thrifty nature sometimes.

I've been gone a lot lately. Remember back in April when I wrote about how busy May was going to be? June was busier. I was gone 16 of the 30 days in June, and the longest consecutive period I was at home was 5 days. The shortest was 1.

I'm really enjoying being on the road, though. I'm getting used to driving 12+ hours; anything less seems like a blink in time. Books on CD are life-savers. As are sunflower seeds. Oh, and lots of water. Needing to use the facilities has a way of keeping me awake like nothing else.

I like the work I do. I've been testing the Wyoming National Guard a lot and work with the same officers each "event", as they're called. We've learned how to work together well and each time things are more efficient than the last. I *heart* efficiency. I like meeting new people, too. Even when I've been in the same location, working with the same officers, the people I'm testing have been different. I get a thrill when I explain to a young man why he needs to protect his hearing or he'll be deaf before he's 30 and he gets it. That look of enlightenment on his face is like a drug. He'd never considered the danger to his hearing before, but now he has knowledge and with that knowledge he can do better, be better. And, I'm the one who gave him that knowledge. Sigh. Yeah, I like it.

I love exploring new places, eating at local diners, chatting to the locals. I love flopping down on my hotel bed (especially if it's comfy) after a long day's work, knowing that I don't have anything I need to do - no laundry, no cleaning the bathroom, etc. - and allowing myself to just relax for a little bit.

I love Mint Crispy M&M's (a limited Indiana Jones flavor) and can only find them in one truck stop along the drive to Wyoming. I stock up, but not as much as I'd like. I'd like to wipe out the store and have one bag every week 'til the wretched day that they're all gone, but I don't. I buy 2. One for immediate consumption and one for the next day. Or later that day, if I'm weak. I'm usually weak.

It tickles me that the guys and gals who work at the truck stops are getting to know me. I stop at the same ones along the route, because I'm a creature of habit AND because I know I won't run out of gas before the next stop (very important to my sanity). This is a true story: coming home from Wyoming this past Sunday, I stopped at my normal Rawlins Flying J and the girl (who I mentally call Amy because she looks like my brother's ex) smiles and says, "Hi, Julie! Welcome back!" I wonder what my face looked like. I know it must have showed my surprise, I'm an open book. Then I smiled back and made some witty remark I don't quite recall well enough for it to still sound witty in the retelling. We chatted a bit while she authorized the pump, I walked back to pump my gas (imagine having to go into the store, back to the pump, back into the store, back to your truck every time you stop for gas and you stop 5 times going just one way - it's the only exercise I've gotten in months!), and when I returned to pick up my receipt, another guy was there who I've seen a lot of times and he also knew my name without asking! I think it's funny.

I enjoy being busy. I like feeling that I'm contributing to my boss's business in a way I never did before. I'm actually bringing in money instead of just managing it. I like making more money and being able to afford the condo and new furnishings. I still have to be wise with how I spend money, but it's worth it to have a home of my own. Side note: owning a home sometimes interfers with my daydreams of the guy I'm crushing on who lives somewhere else. In my daydreams, he always has to move here, I can never even consider moving where he lives. Oh well. :)

Being gone so much, I haven't been able to hang out with the people I love as much, but the next couple weeks will change that. I think I have plans with practically everyone I care about! I'm even seeing friends and family who live out of town! If you don't have plans with me yet, and you know I love you, please email me/call me and let's figure out something!!!

It'll be nice to be home for a long stretch of time. Like I said, I may go to Wyoming the first weekend of August, but it's not definite yet. The commanding officer wants me to do the event, but there's a bit of a hiccup that would bore you, so I won't expound on it. Anyway, if that job falls through, it looks like I won't have another one 'til the second week of September, the week after I get home from my cruise. Wow! What am I going to do with myself if that's the case? Well, I'd like to go to Bryce Canyon at least once (Cardine???), clean my bathroom (not done once since I moved into my condo; I'd be ashamed to admit it except I use it so rarely it's like brand new), organize my unorganized 3rd bedroom, and maybe start reading Shakespeare (refer to my New Year's goals).

That's pretty much it. I've left out some pretty interesting stuff, but to get that, you'll have to call or email me. Teehee. Aren't I clever? Hahahahaha.

P.S. Will someone please change my background colors for me? They are stuck in Spring and I have absolutely NO motivation to change them. Hmmm. Maybe that's one of the things I'll do if I don't get another 'job' before September. Don't hold your breath, though, I'm really not motivated.