Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Not Bouncing Back

I think I’m losing my ability to be resilient. While I’ve never been the most flexible person on the planet (emotionally, at least), I feel like I used to bounce back from the unexpected more quickly. For unknown reasons, it’s been a lot harder lately.

Something happened this morning that has me pondering my ability to deal with matters I cannot control (don’t worry, you’ll laugh in moment when I reveal how minor it was).

Once a year, our apartment building sends members of the maintenance team into our apartments to vacuum the filters in the air conditioners, clean behind refrigerators, and generally ensure that no one has descended into squalor over the course of 12 months.

About a week ago, we had a notice stuck in our front door (they don’t do technology around these parts, so this is the manner in which all things are communicated here) saying that our apartment was scheduled for September 25. It gave a time range, which I thought said between 9 am and 4 pm.

Last night, Scott and I talked about how we had to make sure we were up and showered before 9 am, in case they decided to start with our unit (we are not early risers). He got up around 8:15 and 20 minutes later, it was my turn for the shower. I got out of bed, headed for the bathroom and was standing in the bathroom doorway when I realized that the maintenance guys were in the living room. And they were looking at me, standing in the bathroom doorway, in my pajamas.

We hadn’t heard them knock and thanks to a recent hallway renovation, we don’t have doorbells anymore. There hadn’t been a phone call letting us know that they were coming in. And apparently, they were starting at 8:30, not 9.

It threw me. I felt intruded upon, ¬†exposed, and embarrassed (my pajamas consist of a tank top and underwear). I did some minor disgruntled yelling at the maintenance guys in the moments immediately after it happened and then apologized as they were leaving (because as Scott pointed out, they were just doing their job). But still, I haven’t quite been able to let it go.

I went down to the office and told the management what had happened and that I was upset. However, when stuff like this happens to me, my emotions hover right up next to the surface. So my voice shook and I had to fight back tears. I end up seeming like a sloppy, weepy girl.

All day long, it’s left me feeling shitty and not at all like a person who can bounce back from the unexpected.




dining room corner

I think I’m finding myself drawn back to this blog at this time because all the other writing gigs I have in my life right now have rules, structure, and a goodly amount of stress baked into them. The idea of writing without a point or an educational message is highly appealing and so, here I am.¬†

When I was young, I remember my grandma Bunny saying that one of the best things you could do for your future happiness was to turn your avocation into your vocation. Essentially, take something you like to do and turn it into your job.

I have managed to do just that and I am profoundly grateful that my career has worked out in the way it has. On most days, I get to choose my environment, the schedule in which I complete my tasks, and the ways in which I interact with the world. When I think back to my very last, very uncomfortable job where I spent nine or ten hours a day hunched over a computer in a space that was entirely without natural light, I could not be any more appreciative of my current situation.

However. It is not all autumn sunshine and cozy mugs of steaming tea. There are hard and fast deadlines (and weighty guilt that comes when I miss said deadlines). There is paperwork and uncomfortable financial wrangling. There is the very real fact that the work never ends (and that actually taking a relaxing vacation is nearly impossible). And there is the pressure to be creative on demand, on a schedule, and without interruption.

Back in the very early days of this blog, this was the only place I wrote. I got to save up all my words and spend them in a single place, without fear of judgment, offense or error. Though I wouldn’t trade where I am for anything, I do miss the ease and unhinged freedom that came with writing in the beginning.

I wonder if there’s a way to regain that and still do what I do? I don’t really know.

An Apartment Building Book Sale


I’ve been gone so long now that one might have guessed I’d given up over here. I can’t quite surrender, but neither can I do something crazy like try to sum up where I’ve been in the five months since posting last. So instead, I’ll just dive back in and see where it takes us.

Every fall, my apartment building has a used book sale. They do it as a fundraiser for the Philadelphia Free Library system and it’s always been a good way to both get rid of a few books and pick up a a handful of new reads.

The signs went up a week or so ago, and so over the weekend Scott and I did a book purge. We filled up six grocery bags with books that we’ve read (or titles that we’ve finally admitted we’re never going to read). Of course, our shelves are still groaning with books, but at least the overflow stacks are mostly managed.

This morning, as I was heading out to run a few errands, I stopped at the desk to ask if I could drop off some books for the sale. Here’s what I was told. We’re not allowed to just donate books anymore. The book sale organizer wants to go through every single potential donation and select the books for the sale.

I was seriously taken aback. First of all, I find it disturbing that just one person is curating the contents of the sale. Second, that is not how donations to this type of event work. Asking the people who are making donations to jump through a number of steps isn’t really fair. Finally, it made me feel insulted and a little judged, like I had to prove that my taste in books passed muster.

I think I’ll take my books directly to the Free Library used book store. Skip the middle man and the judgment.