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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Now Iím not sure if I want the phone to ring or not. During the day it always seems to happen at just the wrong time. Iím trying to do year-end cost reports for the 48 different jobs the company worked on last year. Iíve never had to do that many cost reports at once before, and each one takes more concentration than Iím used to.

Thatís why (a) I need a break every so often and should welcome an occasional interruption, and (2) every time the phone rings I lose my place and lose my concentration, so that I have to go back to a starting point.

The worst part is, either way Iím more likely to make mistakes. An interruption that takes me out of the flow of creating a spreadsheet is an invitation to screw it up when I get back to it. But endless hours of nonstop data entry and manipulation are probably even worse. Everything gets blurry, and not just because I need new glasses (although that doesnít help matters any).

One reason I need the breaks is that my back tends to stiffen up if I work too long at a time. Most of the year, letís say every month that isnít February, my job is totally different. Iím jumping in and out of my chair and racing around the room from file to file all day long, so itís not so much like a desk job. But right now, thatís exactly what it is, and itís a painful one at that.

Hereís the weird part. My wrist hasnít bothered me at all during this intense period of nonstop typing. I think itís because I moved the mouse to the left side. Thatís taken a lot of pressure off my right hand, where the pain that knocked me out for several days last month was centered. It was the best decision I could have made, and it has probably saved me from having to take even more breaks.

26 January 2005

Birdbath reflections of oak branches.

So hereís the verdict. Every time the phone rings I have to stop what Iím doing and answer it. That makes me grumble, but as soon as I hear a human voice my mood gets suddenly and miraculously better. When the call is done, I go back to work until the next ring-grumble-smile cycle. Itís probably the best way to get me through this month, even though Iíll most likely continue to complain about it every chance I get.

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This time next year my job should be easier. More than half of the phone calls I get during the day are from people looking for the Boss. Heís a hundred miles away and has a different phone number, which I give out freely to anyone who asks. I donít have the time I once had to filter his calls and take the pressure off him. Let him be rude to telemarketers; heís better at it anyway. I figure that by next February, most of the people who want to reach him will know how to do it without going through me. Itís a modest goal, but a worthy one.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Flyover
"At first I couldn't get enough of them, and then I was all 'Ho hum, gobble gobble.'"

Two years ago: Side Two
"It's hard to live the communal life if you're a committed loner."

Three years ago: Too Much?
"Who says you can't learn lessons from sports? Why do art and literature have an exclusive on all life's great messages?"

Four years ago: Down for the Count
"There was a lot of bowing and hand shaking, all quite civilized."

Five years ago: Trash Collector
"I sometimes feel as if I'm entombed in a warehouse of my own worthless memorabilia, like a poor man's pharaoh."

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