Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The neighbours & the noise

I knew it the minute I saw them: they’re going to be trouble. Of course, P thought I was overreacting. But my sixth sense kicked in. My people-antenna picked up bad vibes. And needless to say – I was right.
He works for some fancy French champagne house. She does something in fashion. They’re twenty-something, and think that, beside the apartment, they own the world. I’ve rarely seen so much arrogance and self confidence packed into two people.
When they held their first Big Noisy Party (without giving us any notice), I thought "ok , this is just their house warming. No problem." In the mean time, and one month later, we had several Big Noisy Parties – with loud music and front door slamming until the early hours of the morning. Between the Big Noisy Parties, she walks constantly around – on the wooden floors and wooden stairs – with her high heels. And once again, the poor front door gets slammed hard enough to cause small local earthquakes.

Until yesterday, I felt quite lonely with my complains. But then the lady from next door asked me if I too, was having trouble with the noise. Relief !! It wasn’t just me being over-sensitive. It wasn’t just me, overreacting ! There really was/is a problem !
To give an extra touch to the whole situation, the little arrogant bitch from downstairs is blaming US for the noise when being addressed by the next door-lady. Like a little Paris Hilton she goes : "nonono, it wasn’t me ; I was away to China" or "no, pas possible, we’re never here in the weekends – we travel". (so I suppose there must be Gremlins living in the house, responsible for the parties, the cigarette smoke in the hall way, the garbage bags in front of our garage, and the front door-slamming).

I wrote an email to our landlord – but didn’t send it, as P thought it was "too aggressive". That’s right, I’m out of patience. And instead of sending an email, I would much rather go down right now, and start a scene that could come right out of Kill Bill, vol 1 or 2. Now that’s aggressive.


You go away 7 months, you come back…and all of a sudden everybody is
a) pregnant
b) already promoted to the mom-status
This is what is happening all around me. I’m being surrounded by big bellies in the office, I’m receiving one birth announcement after the other (at home and at work), and honestly : I just can’t take it anymore. Manpower planning is getting more and more difficult because, yes, you’ve guessed it, they’re all pregnant (and don’t underestimate this in a company of 600 people where 90% is female).
And somehow (and this is really the cherry on top of the pie) : everybody thought I would come back pregnant from France. Hah ! Talk about a bad joke. So every time I have to congratulate yet another one, I’m getting this questioning look and little smile, and the inevitable : "aaand…what about you ??" To which I respond by rubbing over my flat belly and pointing out my perfect waistline, going "nothing in here !" (better than bursting into tears every time, isn’t it ?) .
I just wonder how much longer I can keep walking around with a ticking time-bomb inside my before-said flat belly, and how much longer this is going to be ignored. On the other hand : if I’ll explode any time soon, I’ll be, in my very own way, also part of the baby-BOOM !

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Work again

We’re in the middle of a big merge, restructuring is daily on the agenda, and now the people-puzzle is about to start. For someone who doesn’t like change, this should be an awful situation. But…I’m lovin’ it ! Maybe it helps that I’ve been out of it for eight months, and that – because of everything else going on in my life – I can see it for what it is : work, nothing more, nothing less.
Over the past four weeks, I’ve realized that my own job is not mine anymore :-)... but I’m happy with the projects I’ve been assigned to, giving me more and more to do, more to learn, and more to discover. There’s social legislation I quickly have to freshen up, there are internal processes and organizational structures to re-design, manpower planning to analyze, and, on the side, some recruiting. And, in a few weeks, give training as well. So, in all, I realize that it may all be temporary projects, and that not even my job is "safe", but in the mean time, I’m enjoying it – and I happily walk out of the apartment in the morning.
I know now for 100% that not working is not an option for me. I need the structure, the focus, the rational side of my life – where my brain can do all the work, and my heart can come second place (or has to shut up all together from time to time).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rewind, fast forward and pause

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how great it would be if you could rewind, fast forward or pause your life. For instance : I would really want to hit the pause button once in a while, just to take a break (as sound sleep is not one of the options anymore since, let’s say, the past 6 months). The rewind option is also a tempting one. I think I would rewind all the way back to my high school days, change a few stupid mistakes I’ve made in my late teens and early twenties, and then fast forward again to today (or tomorrow). Maybe I would use rewind a lot, as I feel that I’ve taken the wrong turn more than once in my life (please save me the "you-learn-from-every-mistake" blah blah). I wouldn’t use the fast-forward to jump into the future I guess. I’ve learned my lesson on that one. All 2007 I’ve longed for 2008, only to realise that that one was even worse.
Hm, maybe all this is just a result of a midlife-crisis (which would mean I’m not getting any older than 64), or just the general feeling of being already over-30 and not having achieved anything significant in my life yet. No smashing career, no real estate, no family, nothing really. People always say that when you turn 30, it’s decision time (especially for women). Around that time, you should have reached some career goal, the biological clock is ticking away, etc. Yeah well, that was two years ago…and no life altering scenarios have happened. Time and again I’ve put the career "on hold" because I thought that it was almost "start-family-time". But I’ve been thinking that for the last four years now – here as well, I would like to push the rewind-button. Time to let the dreams go, and face reality. I should have stopped dreaming ages ago.
Now, let’s just hit the imaginary pause-button, and hope that at least I can get some sleep.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To this blog, who is more or less one year old!
I realised it this morning, while standing under the shower, getting ready for the yearly car-free day in Brussels. I remembered writing about it last year (and I especially remembered how miserable I felt because I missed P so badly).
It feels so strange that it's a year ago..Too much happened & too much didn't happen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Choices, choices, choices

Wouldn’t it be nice if you go to let’s say…IKEA, and there would be just one thing of everything ? One mattress, one kind of mattress cover, one pillow, one of whatever. I’ll tell you : it would be heaven ! It would have saved me a total of five hours, spread over two Saturdays, of trying out mattress after mattress . It would save many an argument between couples. And it would simply be so much easier.
So this is the mental exercise I finally did the past weekend :
After once again doubting for more than an hour, and going back and forward between the three mattresses I liked best, I said to myself : OK, let’s just pretend you’re in a very small village somewhere in Africa. This mattress is the only one available. Would you be happy with it ? Yes. So, take it.
Three nights later, and I haven’t slept a wink on my « African » mattress.
It’s ten times harder than the one in the store (probably because each Saturday there are some thousand people bumping up and down on it like I did), and Mr. Sandman just refuses to visit it. So each night saw me crossing the hallway in the early hours of the morning, pillow under my arm, to the guest room, back to my old bed.
You might wonder : why haven’t you bought the same mattress again ? Ah, well, because IKEA (and other stores) not only think we should have too much choice, they also think that by changing their product range every so often, they give us the benefit of even more choice, spread out in time !
So at the moment, I’m stuck with these two options:
- keep on crossing the hallway around three in the morning
- continue my mental exercise : I’m in a small African village etc….

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back @ work

Last week I started working again, after a "small" break of 8 months. It was good and strange at the same time. Good to have some structure again in my life. To have a clear purpose to get out of bed in the morning, to stand in front of my wardrobe and be forced to choose something else than jeans and a T-shirt. Strange because my office is taken by someone else – and so is my job. Because all of a sudden free time is once again limited to two short days a week. And mainly : because my new job content is far from clear.
So I spent that first week happy to get out in the morning, somewhat bored during the day, and a bit restless in the evening.

In the mean time, we’re a week further…and nothing much has changed. I’m trying to design and develop my own job content (hey, I’m HR after all :-). And from time to time someone else thinks of something I can do, and I get dropped onto yet another project. So far, I’m trying to integrate HR-wise a small company of 10 people into our company structure, I’m working on the participation of « Best Employer 2008 » election, and , well…that’s all. In a few weeks, I’ll also get to work on some payrolling project (which is a first timer, and I’ll have to deal with numbers.. Fear strikes), I’ll have to become a social legislation expert on outsourcing contracts (luckily I’m allowed to follow some training), and I’ll be part of the task force for the further integration of the before-mentioned small company of 10 people. So hopefully, in a few weeks, my schedule will be more filled, and I don’t have to read every email four times anymore, just to appear busy and working.

P also started again at the Big Consulting Company, and on day 2 he’s already abroad. Same old story : I don’t know if he’s still abroad, when he’ll be back, and if he will be home at all the coming weeks.

So a lot of maybes, ifs, perhaps, and we’ll sees….But somehow over the past months I learned not to care anymore. I just take it day by day, feeling I have no grip whatsoever on my life and the direction it’s (not) going in.