Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Half-planned whirlwinds

I'd meant to post a new interview on Tuesday.  I have an excellent excuse.  You see, in my world, it's still Monday.  This week has a been one very long Monday, interrupted by an inconvenient series of naps.

But what a Monday!

Sunday:  get up, make bread, pack the car, chase the dog around and around and around and around, pack the bread, get in the car, drive for six hours until landing in Oshawa Ontario, park, get out, unpack the car, chat with Grampa, go for dinner with my mother, go upstairs with dog in tow, lie in bed and pretend to sleep.

End Monday part one.

Monday (the real thing):  Endure 2 hours of fidgety sleep (one before dawn, one immediately after), get up, scurry the dog through ablutions, zoom into the kitchen, set up the laptop and attempt to rush through 5 weekly reports (due Monday), 4 monthly reports (due Tuesday), 1 major 5-year study (due Friday last week), and 1 major new build (due Friday two weeks ago).

Discover that only two data points (out of 65) are functioning correctly.  Yippee!

Spend the next nine hours freaking out.

Pause freaking out long enough to discover that the church (which you left behind in Montreal) is bereft of any music sheets.  They're missing one singer (me), one person for recording the music (me), and one person for the music sheets required by all musicians and singers (that would be me).  FAN-tastic!

Jump in the car; Mother drives, I text, email and Blackberry Messenge' frantically in English, French, jibberish and minced curse words while dealing with simultaneous crises.

Arrive at Durham College and be a cheerful guest lecture in Tobin Elliott's patient and polite Creative Writing class (all the while dealing with a mild case of food poisoning from breakfast earlier in the day).  Tobin says I did all right, but I thought I rattled on pretty much the way I am right now, hardly pausing for breath and not entirely making sense, though from one word to the next I seem to be coherent except until you stop at the very end of the sentence, your eyes whirling in their sockets, as you try to grasp the enormity of the vagueness that is my mind.  Holy run-on sentence, Batman.

Exchange cars with Mother, go home, move more cars around, go to bed and pretend to sleep.

End Monday part two.

Tuesday:  endure about two predawn hours of bizarre and disturbing nightmares, get up, chase the dog through her ablutions, screech over to the kitchen table and commence one-handed typing while jamming fresh-made bread into the side of one mouth.  Muscle through 5 weekly reports (due Monday), 4 monthly reports (due immediately), 1 major 5-year study (overdue), and 1 major new build (grossly overdue).  Parry all (understandable) complaints from upper management at the lack of reporting, riposte with excuses and ETAs.  Freak out some more, just for the cardio exercise.  Compile data for an additional 52 data points, and throw together as much of the reporting as possible.

Pause freaking out long enough to jump in a Dodge Charger with Tobin (leaving the poor bewildered dog behind), zoom down major highways into the heart of Toronto, jump out, and commence hobnobbing!  Tobin and I were delighted to attend the book launch of Howard Shrier's Boston Cream!  With Linwood Barclay as MC!  I met up with other such wonderful authors as Rick Blechta, Dorothy McIntosh and Jill Edmonson.

Hang around a little while longer, networking, blabbing, and generally making a fool of myself while Tobin wittily and coolly sits back, having a grand old time.  (I, in the meantime, couldn't stop thinking about a) interviews, b) reporting, c) churches missing music sheets, d) how gauche I must sound to "real authors", and e) how wonderful it would be to have a book launch of my own.)

Return home by way of a gut-busting laugh-fest with Tobin, spend a little time with my mother and grandfather, shuttle cars around, go upstairs, lie down, and pretend to sleep.

End Monday part three.

(Deep breath...and now we carry on.)

Wednesday:  Suffer 3 predawn hours of nightmare-infested sleep (did you know the emails you get in your dreams can be darned realistic?), get up, run barking after the dog as she performs her ablutions, jump in the car, drive to Scarborough by way of drive thru breakfast, work for an hour and a half, jitter around the office building with members of my old team (and accidentally end up sitting right beside Tobin), jump back in the car, drive back to Oshawa, run around Staples trying to arrange a data transfer sometime in the next 24 hours, run back home, work for an additional ten hours (completing 4 overdue weekly reports, 3 monthly reports, no new builds and a pathetically overdue 5-year study), decline an invite to coffee with my mother and some of her friends (COFFEE?  Did you say COFFEE?!), shut down one computer, run upstairs and turn on another, and watch the dog drowse and wag her tail.

I wonder if there could ever be such a thing as a designated sleeper.

Did I mention the food poisoning, round two?

Now, I could spend another hour and a half working up one of the interviews, or I could stretch out with a decent book, probably one by Howard Shrier or Ed Kurtz, or I could play a re-run of The Incredible Hulk, Season Three, then pretend to sleep, nightmares or otherwise.

I'm going home tomorrow night.  I need to slow down, and I desperately need to sleep.

As much as I love it out here, if I'm going to do any more freaking out, I'd rather at least be where I can access data through something a little more robust than a steaming USB modem, where I can blast music by U2, ZZ Top, Artie Shaw and Caravan Palace, and where I can walk around my apartment wearing nothing but underpants and a smile.

And that, dear reader, is why you'll be getting two interviews back-to-back this week - one tomorrow, and one on Friday.  It's because I like my interviewees too much to give them a slap-dash presentation.

Seriously, though, I picked the worst (and best) possible week to be out here.  Murphy's Law was waiting here for me.  And boy, did the week flash by.  The last thing I clearly remember was climbing out of the bath tub with Tobin's book (Vanishing Hope) in hand, and going to bed on Saturday night.

Oh waiiiiit a second...that might explain the strange dreams and the lack of

Meh - I can't  stay mad at him.  He drove me to Howard's event.

But a lot of good came out of this week, too.  Tobin let me speak to his class, I got to meet up with Howard Shrier and umpteen different authors - including some I'd never met before - and I managed to complete most of my reports, despite the arduous and frustrating delays.

And I really don't expect any more than 4 or 5 hours of conscious downtime between now and Tuesday next week. On top of everything else, we're starting up practices for the Easter concert at church (guess who's directing...), I sing on Sunday, I have four more interviews now lined up, and I'm trying to launch a new business.

I live in exciting times.

Is it June yet?

Heck - is it Tuesday yet?

Here's hoping some SleepyTime Tea will keep me tranquil for an hour or two.

Sweet dreams, dear reader.  You are now my designated sleeper.  At least until Tuesday.  Whenever that may be.


  1. Holy. Friggin. Crap.

    Okay, I was there for half of that, and I'm still tired just reading about it.