And we move on #kids #mentalhealth

Wrestling season is done. Cookie season picks up steam. Work becomes easier. A visit shows me what my life was. Celebrating the way forward.

We had our first weeks without wrestling season. It was kind of nice to be able to just go home after work and not have to arrange a pickup. It has also been nice to be able to get up on Saturdays when I choose instead of having to wake up and run someone to a meet. It was sad that the season ended with an injury. Number One son severely strained a muscle in his upper back at the last meet. We might still do one more meet, but that is up in the air. Overall, it was a good season, a successful introduction to High School level athletics.

Our weekends are not fully our own yet of course. We have a lot of cookies to sell if Number One daughter is to make her goal. Which means an average of 10 hours of cookie booths every weekend the next 3 weeks. Plus time spent after school. And an almost daily reconciliation of cookie counts and money collected. It really is like a small time business. Kim will probably wonder what to do with her time once this all finishes up.

My work is becoming much smoother and easier. I am continuing to build an extensive arsenal of conversation items. The weeks are really flying by. I do not have the feeling at midweek that cannot only be Wednesday, that is replaced by the feeling of ‘wow it is Wednesday already!’ I was even told this week by one caller that they cannot believe  I have only been there a couple of months.

Last week I took some bags of cookies by my former place of work. I was struck by how different the atmosphere between the two was. The old place is like a mausoleum, quiet, almost dark, and sparsely populated. Compared to my current workplace which is loud, bright, and packed. I can tell you that I am much happier in the new location.

These last 2 weeks have been nice as we have begun to transition to life at my new job, without wrestling and a gradual weather change. I am definitely happier now.

Finding a new puzzle #Life #Mentalhealth #Work

Good morning as we mark another milestone today. It was an interesting week, Plenty of challenges for everyone. I had yet another epiphany at work. All in all a good week.

I am up early for a dropoff for the last JV wrestling tournament of the season for Number One Son. It has been a good season for him. A season of growth and improvements. He had some tastes of Varsity. Some very good tournaments. He continues to get better and better. I am happy to see such growth. I foresee a bright future for him with the sport if he remains focused. But I for one will be glad to have my Saturdays back after today.

Number One Daughter had a very good but very busy first week of Cookie sales. She is nearly 25% of the way toward her goal! It has been exhausting to get there. Especially for Kim. But we have remained cheerful, and are getting the daily practice of reconciling inventory down to a science. In a way, it is just another project for us to do together, which we always enjoy. Something about the collaboration brings out the best in our relationship.

Number Two Son has hung in there in recent weeks. This can be a difficult time of year for him. With his sibling occupying the majority of our attention. We have recognized this and are doing what we can with him. Including his return to therapy.  And we also know that once wrestling and cookie season end we need to give him some special emphasis.

My work continues to get better. It is not without challenges. But the challenges are actually very interesting for me. I even had the revelation this week that at this time in my life I prefer to solve people over software. It is more appealing and interesting to me to try to find different ways of talking with my customers and making them happy than it was to solve software issues.

This marks the third week of having epiphanies at work. Ideas and solutions that came to me. It is really quite cool to be at a job that challenges me on so many levels. In retrospect, I think that losing my former job and having to come to this new job was one of the better things that could have happened for me. My health is better. My mental health has improved. And I actually look forward to the work.

There are challenges to be sure. Tuesday my brain decided it would be fun to start the day with a manic state. Which made the calls extra challenging. And exhausting. Some calls are definitely better than others. But I enjoy it overall.

So life proceeds. We mark transitions from wrestling to cookie season. We make do when mechanical issues challenge us. We work together to improve our lives and have some fun while we are at it.


Let the craziness begin #GirlScoutCookies

Today is the opening day of Girl Scout cookie sales! A crazy time of year for our family. With Number One Daughter being her troops top seller and Kim being the troop leader we all have work to do. 

This was the beginning. A longer of cars waiting to pick up their troops cookies. We had three cars, for 350+ cases. 

We are lucky to have Kim. Because she spends her days stacking and organizing groceries. She is an expert at packing stuff in spaces in an efficient manner. Every car was filled to the brim. 

Which made for an interesting drive home. Then we emptied all the cars into our house. Which gave me a good start on my daily exercise. 

Today we began our door to door sales. I got the ball rolling while Kim distributed to individual Scouts to sell. But there will be lots more walking in store. Then this week we all begin hustling at our work places. 

It can be challenging to go from weekends filled with wrestling to Cookie booths. However it does keep us busy. Life is never dull in the Freerange household. 

What’s going on? #life #mentalhealth

Where have I been? Well, work has been very good. There has been sickness. There has been car trouble. Yet we have adapted and overcome. I even handled a bit of real anxiety in the midst of all this.

Work has its challenges. But it has not been dull or tedious. I have really begun to dig into the meat of the work. Making a serious mental effort to improve. The key for me has been finding a way to make the information real so when I explain things I will be persuasive. It’s a very different kind of work than I was doing before. However, I find the work more interesting, While the difficult parts present a unique kind of work.

This week a plague descended upon our house. All three kids were home from school on Tuesday. Number One son was hit the hardest. He ended up missing 4 days of school, which meant 2 wrestling meets out the door. It made mornings hard for me as I would try to get him to get up and go. Which meant I had to start every morning with a battle.

That led to my fighting a case of anxiety. It was tough. I managed to make it through. I even managed to work through it all. I am really happy with how I handled that because there were so many stressors at work at once. Kids sick, car trouble, adapting to work. I took it all, figured it out and managed it without too much trouble.

Yeah, my car gave me some trouble this week. In fact, I have to take it back next week. Which was a big pain in the neck. But nearly as bad is it would be without the aid of parents who were willing to loan vehicles out.

So I made it through the last 2 weeks intact. And now I get to look forward to the craziness of Girl Scout cookie season. In fact, as I sit and type this my nostrils are filled with the scent of cardboard from the stacks of cookies filling up the room. I will regale you with more stories about that tomorrow as I plan for a double post weekend to make up for last weekend.

To recap, I made it through family illness, transportation problems, anxiety trouble to say that it was a good couple of weeks. I have the joy of continual challenge at work. Family health is recovering. I am moving more, feeling better physically. In short, life is good.


Routine resumes #Life #Mentalhealth

Finally had a full week. The kids had a full week of school. I had my first full week of work on the floor. The kids were mostly able to return to their normal sleeping arrangements. About the only thing missing was the regular Monday events because of the crazy wind storm that shut the schools down. It felt good.

My first full week of regular work went very well. I continue to shine in the basics. With most every call I can feel myself getting better. The calls get easier. I can foresee doing this for quite a while.

The kids all made it through their first (mostly) full week of school. Which went well. No traumas. Jimmy even had a chance to wrestle with the Varsity at their dual. He wrestled well but lost. The kids all seemed to adjust to the new reality of Dad working again.

Kim even undertook the project of getting our room rearranged. Setting up her new entertainment options in there. The goal being for her (and us) to have the option of a place where we can go and hide away when necessary.

I don’t want to go overboard, but I feel good about where we all are. I don’t have the same feelings of boredom and tedium I had at my last job. While there is a general undercurrent of worry about politics it is not a constant preoccupation. I am not letting sports occupy my time either. (Although I am impressed by the choices my teams made for their new head coaches.) In general, my mind has happily been focused on work, and role playing. Which is a good place to be in for me, living in the now where I have control of what I am doing.

It is still just the first real week of the New Year, but the return to a routine felt good. And the new elements of that routine are improved and manageable.

Adjusting to a new world #Life #Job

I spent the last 15 years of my life working for a software company. Immersed in technology. I saw a lot of changes. I now carry a computer in my back pocket that is probably more powerful than what I was using for a personal desktop when I started back then. From just dabbling in the internet for things like sports news and fantasy football I am now on it all the time. It really is a new world.

Now, instead of the internet just being a source of news and information, my life depends on it. Since I now work for what is effectively an Internet marketing firm. It is my job to help people use the internet to improve their business and thus their lives. Many of those people are not tech folks. They do not

Many of those people are not tech folks. They do not use the internet all the time. And yet they are now seeking to employ this tool in their lives. Some of them are savvy enough to grasp how this all works. Others are not there yet. Which is what drives my job. Finding new and different ways to explain to these folks how this all works.

But this week has been all about reps. In my mind, I think of this like the early days of Jimmy’s wrestling career. Every call is like another match. What I need to improve my skills are more matches. I need mat time with my customers. With every call, especially the challenging ones, I learn a little. I refine my skills.

This is why, when we saw our first productivity numbers at work this week, I had such high numbers. Because every call is like another match. And I know the only way to get better is the experience of more matches. So my goal is to get out there and challenge myself.

While every call is different, like every opponent is different for Jimmy, there will eventually be patterns. And styles of callers. From the angry ones to the logical ones. My challenge will be to develop ways of detecting those patterns and then use my skills to give the correct responses. I know that will come.

It is a new world. I have to adjust. The great thing is that in many ways I have been preparing for this my entire life. From all of my time just absorbing all the potential of the Internet. All the years of just taking calls of varying kinds. All the time I have spent working on, or hiring folks, to work on my own home. And last from friends and family who work on the fields that my customers work in. I have a challenge in front of me, but I have a vast number of resources available to help me take it on.

Marking another milestone #Life #Mentalhealth

So here we are, another year gone. There are plenty of reasons to tell 2016 to get the hell out of here and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Far too many disappointments and sadness for most years. On the other hand, I had some real positive things happen over the past year that I prefer to think of. And on the gripping hand, a year is just a year, a metaphorical placeholder to mark the passage of time in our lives.

I lost some people in my life. A friend of mine whose life was lost far too early in a tragic death. A loved family member. In both cases, I think of those left behind. In one case, family members who will have to live life without that person around. In the other case, it is the young children who will have to face life and continue growing up with only one parent.

I lost a job I had held for quite a while. Forcing me out into the cold of job hunting and starting over. In the big picture, though, that was as much of a blessing as it was difficult. I was able to have some time off to do a lot of things. Enjoy time with friends. Be there for those who needed my assistance. And make some necessary personality adjustments. At this point, I prefer to think of that unplanned change as more of a positive than a negative.

I reunited with many old friends. Strengthening bonds that already existed in some cases. Made some new friends (or turned acquaintances into friendships.) In the end, I think that the year was definitely a net gain in this department.

Politics was dreadful. So very many disappointments. One of the true positives of my new job is the lack of daily internet access, which is slowing down the firehouse of doom and gloom. None of it has changed the facts of what happened or what might happen. But at least I am not as deeply immersed in it all.

Sports was different. I accomplished my goal of not letting my obsessions with sports control my emotional and mental well being. I was happy when my teams did something positive, winning games. But I took it in stride when they did not. That was a continued journey.

Now I can face the next milestone with good cheer. I am doing all that I can to make my life better. I am also happy to be doing things to make others lives better. From welcoming new kids to my games to organizing grateful farewells. I even get the feeling that my job has the chance to help other people in a way that my old one did not. I am embracing the hope that the future will be better, rather than focusing on all the tragedy and frustration of the previous year. And I am doing all I can to ensure that brighter tomorrow happens, instead of letting myself just drift with the prevailing winds.