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Getting into the swing of things at the new job…

I’m starting to get into the swing of things at my new job. The office politics are beyond interesting – we’re a team trying to accomplish something in this role while I used to be used to working alone most of the time, with the exception of a meeting or two throughout the week. Within this job, I’m attending at least three meetings a day. And the team leans on my experience much more than I expected. It’s not all dandelions and sunshine, of course. I have to be very careful I don’t authorize any of the subs to do anything that isn’t on the blueprint (technically, they’re white nowadays, and digital).

That said, I love what I do. It’s long days and I haven’t been able to ride as much as I’d have liked, but I’m walking seven hours a day, at least. In fact, my wife bought me a pair of Irish Setters last night, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to wear those! For the Unironedman and anyone not in the know, Irish Setters are a work boot made by Redwings, one of the last brands of anything that are 100% made in the USA. Irish Setters are said to be among the most comfortable of all work boots manufactured today. I’m currently wearing 9″ Condors… and they’re nice enough, but they’re heavy and clunky. I like to run the stairwells, but that is ill-advised in my current boots.

Anyway, after that, it’s dealing with a bunch of email… and trying to leave work at work. Something I’m not very good at currently, because I’m in that “I want to show the new company that I’m dedicated” phase.

And after showing up for work after the ice storm Wednesday night, that should do. It was so bad I had to take back roads to get to work. The expressway was shut down to clean up a crash.

It’s that last part, trying to show my dedication to work, that’s become a bit of a problem in my wife and my marriage. I’d gone for the better part of a year reforming myself into a better man and husband. The later hours (I start an hour later) have meant that our evenings are rather short. I’ve also had to re-learn how to leave work at work. I tended, for the last two weeks to bring work home and worry about every email that came across, the minute it did. This led to me dropping out of conversations with my wife out of nowhere. I started to put an end to yesterday evening.

As things are now, I very much enjoy my new job and feel like I’m contributing to the team. Next thing is to get back to that work/life balance and restore that.

Cycling with Friends… with A “Birthday” Party

I haven’t written about this on this page at all, but Trek Bicycles is buying the local bike shop. I’ll simply say this; as well as Trek has treated my friend and everyone who works there, I’ll never buy another brand of bicycle. It makes me proud to own my 5200 and have it in the shape it is. I’ll have more on this after the sale is final and the shop is “Trek Bicycles Flint”. It won’t be long.

Anyway, our friend wouldn’t let us call it a retirement party, because he says he’s not retiring in the traditional sense, he’s just moving on to a new phase.

So we picked up two birthday cakes for the party, that was Saturday evening at the shop. It was, as I expected, packed. Old employees, friends, riding buddies… hell, they even brought in a band featuring Greg Jenkinson on the guitar, one of our own A guys from Tuesday night. There was food and drink and deserts galore. There were laughs, back slaps, hugs and so much talking you could hardly hear the speakers when they were up. If you remember, Greg is the guy we coined the term for giving a person a 20-40 watt boost to the back, “Jenkinsoning” someone up a hill. I wrote about it (here) and (here – with a photo).

My wife and I stayed until only a handful remained, and for once, we didn’t stick around to help with the cleanup. In fact, I think that really might have been a first.

Driving home, and all through the weekend, it hit my wife and I in waves… we talked a lot about being thankful for all of our cycling friends, and for Trek Bicycles as well. We’ll have a lot more time to ride with our friend now that the shop is being passed on to a great company. Most people call it “exercise”. While that’s certainly part of it, we prefer calling it “hanging out with our friends”.

It really is a wonderful life on two wheels.

It’s A Bit Like Drinking From A Fire Hose…

My new job is absolutely intense. From the time I walk in the door in the morning, till the time I walk to my car, usually a half-hour beyond the time I should have, I’m on the go. I’m attending four or five meetings a day, addressing massive issues that could have disastrous scheduling problems if they’re not addressed two days ago, and trying to develop a plan of attack for pushing the job forward… which could also have massive ramifications on the opening date if I don’t get it right.

It’s not full-on panic mode, I’m nowhere near that, but this job is a lot more intense than my old position. Of course, to be fair to myself (which I rarely am), I’ve only been through three days.

I feel that once I get the flow of things, I should be able to thrive.

In the meantime, there are a few things that have taken a backseat. My wife isn’t getting near the time she used to with me and it’s been a rough on the both of us (the ebb and flow of these things is amazing). My recovery program has been on cruise control for three days after some intense work. I’m going to figure out how to balance that in. I haven’t clipped into my trainer since I started my job. Thankfully, half of my job is on my feet, so I’m getting plenty of exercise, but I miss my bike.

And finally, the blog. Sadly, I have had zero time to write until this. I may have to cut my writing back till I find that aforementioned rhythm. My recovery program will come first, followed immediately by my wife, then finding time on the bike… as the order should be.

Accepting Life On Life’s Terms, One Day At A Time. That’s How It’s Done.

I am very much going to miss my old, cushy, comfortable job. It was anything but easy, but it was comfortable and I knew what to expect. I had a boatload of vacation time and had a future that was workable. Another 15-years of work and I was out. A few years on my own cash, then social security would kick in and it was coasting for 30-odd years till my wife and I were worm food.

That’s not how that ball is going to bounce, though.

My first day at my new job was quite awesome. The new company made every effort to make me comfortable in my new role and it was awesome. I felt like I contributed quite a bit on my first day and I’m working with a great team.

One thing is certain; if not for recovery, this tale would be very different.

Things have a funny way of spinning sideways from time to time, and my career is a great example. I didn’t think my old company was crazy enough to try to get along without me, but here we are. That said, after the initial shock, I didn’t label this a bad thing. It was the story of the farmer whose son went off to war; the whole village came out and said how horrible it was. The farmer said he didn’t know if it was a good thing or bad, he just knew it was. That’s where I’m at. I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad, but it definitely is a thing. I am going to walk through this one day at a time and give my recovery, my wife and my life the best I have.

I can, and will, accept life on life’s terms. The alternate is more misery than I would want to tolerate.

A Sunday Two-a-Day… And Time To Make The Donuts. For Someone Else.

Well, I start my new job today. The new company is pulling out all of the stops to make me welcome, too. I was told the owner of the company is flying in today to welcome me to the team. I’m more than a little shocked, in a humble way, that they’re making the fuss. I’m also thankful beyond words that they are. I should have about four months of solid work before looking into the next part of the adventure after the comfort of having (mostly) the same job for the last 25-years. More on the next phase later.

Yesterday, with the last of my time off flashing before my eyes, the weather was unseasonably glorious. Sunshine, a decent breeze and fairly warm temperatures in the mid 40s (4 C) – and with my wife picking out dresses with our daughters for a wedding we’ll be attending in Florida next month, I had some free time to enjoy the outdoors on the Trek. I almost took the Venge but wanted to see if the Trek was still not creaking after most of a winter on the trainer. I also invited my sponsee along so we could talk some program things out. He’s midway into his ninth step and he’s getting to some of the tricky amends. He’s new into triathlons and he’s got a decent Felt alloy bike with Claris components on loan from a friend.

We had a wonderful afternoon jaunt around our Swartz Creek loop. The weather was nice enough that neck gaiters or balaclavas were entirely unnecessary.

Starting out, I could see he was in a terrible position on the bike. The handlebars were tilted up too much and the hoods were way too high. He was sitting too upright for his young age and flexibility. You’d expect that position out of someone in their late 70s or early 80s. We talked twelve step stuff till we’d gotten through everything he needed to, then we turned to cycling stuff. Not surprising, he was having some comfort issues after just ten miles or so. His feet were hurting – hot spots under the cleats, and his back was tightening up. No doubt, the back issue was from loading too much on his backside and feet because his hands were so high up… he wasn’t sitting in a neutral position at all.

We completed the 19-ish mile loop at a winter pace that was throroughly enjoyable and talked about a bunch.

On arriving back at my house, we took his bike in and set to checking a few things out. We took the dork disk off from behind the cassette and check the derailleur positioning to make sure it wouldn’t shift into the spokes. Then I went to work on the handlebars. I rotated them down, considerably, into a more normal position. I checked that the hoods were the proper 10-ish° rise, then put a couple of the spacers above the stem to lower the bar. We’ll give that a go and see how he feels the next time.

After that, it was a special dinner with my wife, daughter and her boyfriend before watching “the big game”. It turned out to be a fairly great night.\

As for today, here we go.

Could it be? A February Day On the Road Bikes?!

We rode the trainers yesterday out of expediency because we headed out to a wedding in the afternoon, but today looks to be a peach of a day.

I start my new job tomorrow.

All of the paperwork is in. Everything is signed. And the owner of the company is coming out to meet me Monday morning. I’m still a little shocked they’re treating me so well.

The trainer ride was sweet yesterday. Lots of intervals and some much needed progress. But there’s something wrong with riding the trainer when you know the weather is going to warm up enough to ride outdoors…

So today’s conundrum is the local swap meet at 11 this morning. It’s still just below freezing outside, but it’s no worse than Friday with a gentler breeze. I’m thinking, we should take the road bikes out and do our normal loop through town.

I’ve been itching to get the Trek outside again. Spring is just around the corner, too.

Writing on my own brand new machine for the first time…

Rather than rely on my new company to provide a computer for me, I simply bought my own that I’ll be able to take with me wherever I go.

My wife and I are heading down to clean out my old office. All of the exit paperwork is done and I’m ready to turn in all of my equipment and bring all of my stuff home. Photos on the wall, files from when my dad passed away… plus some paperwork and a few snacks I’d bought the day before I was let go and have tucked in my desk drawer. I’ve canceled my car wash membership, and think I’ve tended to most everything I really need to. There are no loose ends to tie up on my end.

Only the new job on Monday.

I mentioned my wife is heading down with me to clean out my office. I don’t know what I’d have done if we were our old selves in our old marriage. She’s been awesome. In fact, as I look back on it, if there was a way a guy would want his wife to act through something like this, I can’t imagine I’d have hoped it would be this good.

In recovery, life has a funny way of working itself out. One day at a time.

I love this life!

By the way, we got about an inch of rain yesterday… it’ll be too cold today, but tomorrow and Sunday are absolutely outdoors on road bikes! I can’t freaking wait!

My First Ride Outside in 2023…

It was crispy out at 8 in the morning yesterday, but the sun was on the rise. Mike had called at around 7 to say he’d be riding soon. I hemmed and hawed for a minute looking at the frost on my wife’s windshield.

In the end, she convinced and added she’d ride with us.

I was dressed perfectly except for my tights… I wore the 35°+ tights instead of the 20-34° tights, and I paid for it.

I could feel my leg muscles tighten as the crisp air worked right through my tights and leg warmers. I almost thought about turning around but that would be really bad for my wife and Mike, so I didn’t say much and marched on.

We were on pavement, on the gravel bikes, and I other than my legs being cold, it was freaking awesome.

We rolled on at an easy pace for a little more than an hour, commuting up to the high school to drop off something my daughter had forgotten. Then we headed home in the brilliant sunshine and mild breeze.

My legs also warmed up with the sunshine against the black Lycra.

Oh, how I can’t wait for spring!

Later in the afternoon, while she was working, I took Jessica’s new road bike in to straighten out the derailleur hanger at the shop. It was a simple and quick process and her bike went from shifting great to perfect. Better than I knew possible out of a mechanical drivetrain.

With that carbon Campagnolo Record drivetrain, I won’t lie, I’m a little more than jealous. Cripes, even the jockey wheel cage is carbon fiber, for God’s sake!

When it’s all said and done, though, I’m glad for my wife. She deserves that bike… and it provides me excellent cover. Heh.

A Hundred Forms of Fear and Self-delusion… And Let’s Not Forget Selfishness…

I woke up with a start this morning, at my normal 3:53 am time. A few minutes before Bittersweet Symphony would start the morning. It’s been a week since my position was terminated. A week since I’ve been paid to work.

My new job starts Monday, but I’m still imagining the 300 ways this could go sideways. Not always, of course. Just at 3:52 in the morning, or when I’m having too much fun being out of work.

Thirty years in recovery and fear still creeps in edgewise .

My wife has been awesome through all of this. We talk regularly about how amazing the timing was that we got our marriage figured out just in the nick of time, everything came together so we could deal with this in harmony.

I’ve begun, at the behest of my new sponsor, reading daily meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Starting out, it was way over my head, but I’ve sunk into the rhythm over the last week and I really love the method and message. It’s a little left-wingy at times (today’s message being an excellent example), but if you can weave your way through the overtly strained, virtue-signaling dull butter knife seppuku, there’s a lot of good to be gleaned. Again, today’s meditation is an excellent example.

In the end, I’m having a tough time being out of work every now and again, even with my new job on the horizon. After all, there are a hundred ways this could all go wrong…

…and, when that doubt creeps in, I always manage to remember within a few seconds, the thousands of ways my life in recovery has gone right.

And for that, I am grateful.

Grateful To Be On The Right Side Of The Grass, Pumpin’ Air

Of my recent position termination, I had a rough time in the first couple of days but I’ve turned a corner. I’m starting a new job Monday and my future prospects are excellent – better than I hoped for. In fact, it’s looking more like I was being set free. I just submitted my first resume for a dream job… and by dream job, I mean it. I don’t anticipate landing it, but I’m going to give it my best. The truth is, there’s no chance I get it if I don’t apply. That was my first resume in 25 years… in fact, it’s been longer than that; a little more than 30.

My wife and I are doing vastly better than I could have hoped through this. She’s been amazing and a blast about the whole thing… and when you can laugh about the fear with your mate, it diminishes its ugliness.

I’m going through this one day at a time, one minute at a time, one “next right thing at a time”. There are still a lot of ways this could go sideways, but I’m feeling that you learn a lot about the recovery program you’re working going through something like this.

I am beyond grateful to be on the right side of the grass, pumping air. What a life!

And for all of you out there with a youngster who needs recovery, don’t be afraid to send them this post. Recovering at a young age (I was 22 when I quit), is like cheating at life. Sure, there are gut punches, but they’re not so terrible when you have the abs to protect against them.