To Talk of Many Things

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Today is leap day and the last day of February.  The last day of February is always a little uplifting because you’ve made it to March and the worst of winter is behind you.  Yes, we’ve had years where March was cold and cloudy and depressingly long, but, the days get longer and any snow quickly goes away.  It is the month when the first official day of spring lands and that makes it special.

And since we don’t have a 29th day in February every year, I figured it was worth memorializing the day with a post.  The problem is that I don’t have a burning topic to discuss so I’ll just do a series of quick hits and see what happens.  Be prepared for rapid changes in topics with no segues.

The last two things to officially end the vacation were picking up the dogs and getting the accumulated mail.  With laundry done yesterday and food shopping done and work getting back into gear, the vacation is officially over.  The dogs were happy to see me.  It is always a combination of “we’re so glad you’re back” and “get us the hell out of here” so there is much jumping and chaos and confusion and then they crash after getting back.  Did the first triage of the mail to discard the junk and pull out the bills but just not really in the mood to pay bills tonight so this post is a partial distraction from that.

Also dug out all the tax documents to start compiling them as well but quickly decided I couldn’t face that either so this post is keeping me from being financially responsible.  But that’s OK since I’m just not ready to completely jump back into being an adult yet.

I forgot to tell you the weirdest thing we did on vacation.  Somehow, we ended up at this little place they called an eco-farm which is a strange name and I can’t really describe it other than it was run by two ladies who moved to the island from Europe and must have had some kind of dream to open up a place like this.  Part of it is fish farming but on a small scale and, for a small fee, they allow you to dip your feet into one of the ponds so the fish can eat away the dead skin on your feet.  I wasn’t really keen on this, but, for some reason, my wife was fully on board so we sat on wooden planks on the ground, took off our shoes and dangled our feet into a murky pond.  In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a smart idea since I’m sure there are all kinds of nasty bacteria in that pond.  It wasn’t long before the fish were all over me.  I can’t really describe the feeling other than it being super weird.  It wasn’t painful in any way but it was just the oddest feeling in the world.  I didn’t last too long but I had a couple of patches of loose skin from left over blisters (dancers have the worst feet) and they were eaten away.  I did a google search later and found that this is not as uncommon as it appears even though it is still weird.

Getting back to work was interesting.  As usual, there is the mountain of email to wade through.  The first pass is to eliminate the junk and answer the urgent ones.  Then, through the day, I’d go back and try to reduce the pile to something more manageable.  I’m one of those people though who lets email pile up and why we have an automatic system that deletes messages over a certain date.

Over the next two weeks, I get to do performance reviews for my team.  YAY!!  I try to make them useful but it is not my favorite time of the year.  You really aren’t going to change someone at this point in their life.  If they want to change, it has to come from them.  So you can point out things that stand in their way but we have some of the same conversations every year.  “You do good but what keeps you were you are is “x” and then nothing happens and I just assume the person is happy where they are and if they are doing the job, then why hassle them too much.

What I have tried to do is push more down to them and, when I have people who I know can do more, I’ll try to find assignments to stretch them just a bit.  Nothing that will lead to failure since you want people to succeed but I don’t want people to stagnate and I’ve got those who I know want to do more but are afraid to ask for more responsibility because they are afraid they’ll screw up.  So its about building confidence step by step and its a struggle because, with some people, you can tell them that you see their potential, but they have to believe it.  I hope after a continued pattern of success that it becomes clear but you do end up having to be a cheerleader at times.

I got my performance review before I left on vacation since the boss is out these next two weeks.  Normally, it is a waste of time, but, for some reason, she either put some thought into it or talked to more people because she started going on about how she’s seen real growth in my team and so on.  I still feel a little strange trying to take credit for this because I don’t know what I really did other than provide opportunities.  People still had to come through.  But, I have to be honest that it felt good to hear her say that.  I guess it is some additional validation that I’ve moved closer to the INFP than I thought.

Then, she started in with how I’m always viewed as calming presence which is viewed as a strength by others because big business is very good at manufacturing crises and I usually don’t get swept along with the rest of the crowd.  But the down side is that there are times when people don’t really know if I agree with the decision that is being made and I guess people look to me to weigh in.  I don’t know if I could come up with a specific answer but it probably comes down to two things.  First, I hate to be rushed to make a decision so I might just need more time to think about it.  Secondly, I’m really pretty adaptable so, unless something pushes up against a value, I’m not likely to fight against a decision even if I don’t agree with it.  OK, there’s really a third which is I’m not likely to start a conflict unless it is a battle I truly want to fight.  So, if there is a decision that I don’t really agree with but don’t feel passionately about, I’ll probably stay quiet on it.  Of course, everything she described is classic introverted leadership style.  My boss is an extrovert and a social butterfly type so that fact that she actually recognized some of my introverted strengths was a good thing.

Well, I’ve talked of many things but I can’t leave dancing out.  It looks like I’m going to miss the Medal Ball.  Can’t be helped, we are drafting our fantasy baseball teams that night.  Even if I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t go.  I don’t really know how many students are checking out or what the crowd would be like but it would most likely just reinforce my fear that the studio is slowly withering away.  The team match they had when I was on vacation got a grand total of three students to attend.  Tex and Mrs Tex and one other.  That’s hardly enough people to really make an event like that fun.  I suspect that if I don’t go, I’ll get another one of OwnerGuy’s drive-by “is everything all right” questions.  This would be the first event I’ve skipped in I don’t know how long so he gets a little nervous when I don’t participate.  He’d probably understand the need to miss it for fantasy baseball so I can use that as a legit excuse.

Despite my sense of impending doom, I am excited to get back to dancing.  My first lesson is tomorrow and there are supposed to have the open Cha-Cha mocked up so we can start working on that.

I think I have fulfilled my promise to talk of many things.  Still not going to pay bills or deal with taxes so I’ll find another way to entertain myself.  Just not ready to adult any more today.

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