1.07.2014

Things Fall Into Place Fairly Easily

It’s still cold and I still hate it. But my house is warm and my car is running, so what else could a guy really ask for?

I did not sleep well last night. Well, to be clear, I slept great up until about 3 AM. Then I could not get to sleep. My mind was wandering all over the place and I couldn’t get comfortable. I went to bed at a decent hour and maybe that is part of it. My brain is not used to going to bed by 9 PM. I read a while, and that always makes me drowsy, so I assumed I would sleep soundly all night.

I hope I am not developing insomnia. There’s not a lot of stuff on my mind right now, but maybe that is part of the problem. My New Year’s Resolution was to take a zen approach to worry and irrational fear, blocking out such thoughts whenever I found myself worrying unnecessarily. Perhaps by doing that, I am just kicking the can down the road like American politicians, and thus forcing my brain to sort things out during sleep time, and so my brain is getting noisy at night as a result.

Supporting that hypothesis, I have been remembering my dreams more lately. They aren’t bad dreams, but that is neither here nor there. Dreams are the brain’s way of working stuff out. When I am sleeping, I don’t have the sort of zen mind control I have when awake, to block out thoughts. That’s not to say I have very good zen mind control when I am awake. I still have poor discipline about abolishing worry and fear when it creeps into my thoughts. But I am better about it now because I am consciously trying to do something about it and be aware of it.

Worry creates anxiety about things that either don’t exist (worst case scenarios) or that you can’t do anything about anyway (circumstances beyond your control). A person only needs to focus on the now and on things they can control and act upon. Easier said than done. I have been having an irrational fear of my power going out during this arctic cold blast we are having in Wisconsin right now, and my pipes freezing as a result. I don’t know why. It’s a totally dumb fear. My power has been known to go out for as long as 24 hours in a blizzard, but there was no precipitation associated with this cold spell and usually in a blizzard, the temperatures are above zero degrees F. My house is pretty well insulated and I think the coldest it has ever gotten during a long term power outage in winter weather is about 50 degrees. However, this arctic thing has temperatures as low as -20 F and as you know I really hate cold and I really love sleep and I really can’t sleep if it is too cold. So my irrational worry was that I would lose sleep (no pun) over my power going out and maybe have to deal with freezing pipes. But that is so stupid. If I know the power is out, I can open some downstairs faucets and drain most of the pipes that would be affected. Even if a pipe did freeze, I could just turn off the pump and call a plumber. I even have a buddy who is a plumber and will do it on the pretty cheap.

I don’t have too many money worries, although the holidays took a toll on my bank accounts because I started a new job and I am not getting my first paycheck until this Thursday, January 9, which also happens to be my birthday. That will be a great day. I get a fat check (I hope it is fat) and that night my country band, DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, is hosting my birthday party at Mr. Roberts Pub in Madison (9 PM to 1 AM…you should come!). I also have a vacation day on Friday, so I can sleep in, then get up and get rid of most or all of my fat paycheck on outstanding bills. But financially, I am in good shape. Revenue in is still slightly higher than accounts payable.

One thing that has been on my mind is finding a bike route to my new job so that, come spring, I can bike commute all or part of the way to work. My house is about eight miles closer to my new job than it was to my old job. According to Google Maps, I could bike the whole distance in about 2 hours at a medium pace. I asked an outgoing coworker at my new job about bike routes and he verified the route I found on Google is a good one. He also told me there is a locker room with a shower facility in the building. That was something I was concerned about. No one likes to spend a whole day at work feeling grimy from a bike commute. So now I know I can get clean, and my only worry is how much competition there will be for the ONE shower that is in the locker room. Maybe there is more than one shower here though, so I should look into that. Anyway, the biking option is fully on the table and I have a route plotted. Of course, biking weather won’t be here for at least two months and maybe more. But I like to plan ahead.

I also went into the Wisconsin Rideshare website and found a few possible people to carpool with to work. I should have done that ages ago. There were three people listed for Cambridge whose schedule and route might correlate with mine. I have sent e-mails to them all. There is even one person who might be interested in bike commuting. The Rideshare program has something now called “bike buddies,” to find a companion for bike commuting. Nice.

My former boss (the good one, not the bullying douche) works at the Oscar Meier meat factory close to my new workplace. I am probably going to have lunch with him next week. We both decided to leave my former employer (him before me) because middle management was incompetent. My new employer is competent to a fault. So many rules and regulations to follow, it is kind of overwhelming. But that is much preferred to the scattershot, shooting from the hip, trial and error approach of my last boss (the bullying douchy one). I am going to learn a proverbial shite ton here.

Anyway, I eventually fell back asleep last night, by focusing on my breathing and trying to block out random thoughts that were flying around in my mind. It took a while, but it worked and I think I got enough sleep overall, thanks to my early night. Coffee also got me going when I got up.

Tonight is Tuesday Jazz Night at the Mason Lounge in Madison. That means a pretty late night and tomorrow I fully expect to be tired at work. I am going to head home as soon as jazz is done and go right to sleep. There is some kind of weird political thing going on with the jazz group. With no group discussion whatsoever, the band leader suspended the drummer for some reason to do with his skills and it left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s supposed to be a fun outlet for people to jam and get better at jazz, but the whole incident makes it feel more like a job with a boss who acts unilaterally without consulting the group. I know he is the leader of the group and makes the decisions, but by not including the group in the dialogue about the drummer, it kind of makes everyone feel like they are not in the loop, and maybe they could be the next one to go, if the band leader decides it to be so.

I honestly would not miss jazz that much. It’s just a fun pastime for me and I am not in it for money. The players are all pretty good and I like them. But I like them all the time, not just on Tuesdays. I am an amateur not a pro, and if I was let go, I would just go to bed earlier on Tuesday nights. I actually want to see about finding another bass player who can share the jazz night duties so I do not have to do it all the time. Maybe they could even be better than me and take over the gig as the main bass player, and I will just show up as a sub. I should probably set a time boundary on that. If it was a real job, I could give two week’s notice. I will probably establish that need with the group tomorrow, after tonight’s performance, which would make my last official jazz night on Tuesday January 21 (2 more jazz nights, not including tonight). That actually gives them almost 3 weeks to find a sub.

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