August 2, 2001


The antidote for my raging case of the Post-Wedding Blues, this week, has come from an utterly unexpected source:

Going back to work.

NOBODY is more surprised about this than *I* am.

When I left on my wedding vacation, three weeks ago, I deliberately filed all thoughts of pantyhose and payroll and assorted Totem Pole Company nonsense in the *I'll Think About It When I Think About It* department of my brain. I consciously thought about work exactly ONCE during the entire vacation: when we got home from the honeymoon, and we opened the stainless steel dish drainer that Franz sent as a wedding gift. As my vacation was gradually winding to a close last week, though, thoughts of the TPC began creeping back ... unbidden, unwelcome, unavoidable. As a matter of fact, I believe that mounting dread over the idea of going back to work contributed as much to my overall emotional malaise, this past week or so, as wildly fluctuating hormones, tearful *Tot Goodbyes* and the end of my wedding/honeymoon, combined.

By Monday -- my last official day of vacation -- I was a mess.

So it came as a genuine (and genuinely pleasant) surprise to come back to work on Tuesday ... and to discover that it didn't completely suck to be there. In fact, I think it was one of the nicest days I've ever had on the job, at the Totem Pole Company or anywhere else. Lots of hugs. Lots of happy faces. Lots of "Congratulations!" and "Welcome backs!" (and surprisingly few "Hey! I thought they fired yous!")  My boss brought me a flower from his garden. The Human Resources Director Person left a Hallmark on my chair. The MIS Guy had already changed my last name in the e-mail system, and there was a tiny announcement about my marriage in the company newsletter. It was nice to see my favorite co-workers: Danny The Executive Ass Guy, Bob The Engineer Guy, Bob The Other Engineer Guy. As the week has progressed, of course, it's been more about getting caught up and getting back to normal. But even that has been unexpectedly OK, if only because it's kept me too busy and too distracted to dwell on silly stuff, like getting past the Post-Wedding Blues.

It's not like anything changed at The TPC in my absence. My boss is still as sweaty and evasive as ever. My co-workers still look trapped and hopeless. The Stoopid Chick Wars rage on, unabated. The coffee still looks (and tastes) like merconium.

But I don't think it's the job itself that is calming and healing me this week: it's the sense of structure returning to my life. As dearly as I love vacation  --  as much as I enjoy sitting around in the faux leopard skin leggings all day, watching Judge Hackett and ordering ugly jewelry off the Internet  --  I'm one of those people who thrives on a certain amount of order and regimen in her day. Otherwise I'm an untethered balloon, bobbing aimlessly around the ceiling light fixtures ... not writing, not creating, not focusing on much of anything for longer than 3.7 seconds. (Which sort of explains why you rarely see a new *FootNotes* entry on the WEEKENDS, doesn't it?) For the past seven months my life has been "structured" around the wedding. Now that it's all over with  --  now that I no longer have this Big Thing to plan for and look forward to and obsess over  --  it is the structure of getting up at 5:45 a.m. and going to the office and pretending to be The World's Most Efficient SecraTerri, every day, that is going to keep me tethered emotionally. And the fact that things are relatively serene around the TPC right now just makes it that much easier.

I don't expect this to last, of course. Like all honeymoons, I know that this one is temporary ... and that pretty soon I'll go right back to hating my job and hating my boss and hating my shoes (and forcing you to read voluminous *FootNotes* entries every day, all about how much I hate my job and hate my boss and hate my shoes).

But for the time being it's a reason to get up in the morning. And that's good enough for now.

one year ago: tomato jones
three years ago: deliciously unplugged

throw a rock