Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Reading

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

To Whom It May Concern:

Today is the first day of September, but I'd like to take you back to the First of July.  Some sixty-two days ago, the Summer of 2016 held so much promise, so much hope, there was nothing but endless sunshine and carefree days ahead of us.  Some of us would go to camp.  Some would go camping.  Some travel, road-trip, hike, bike or swim.  Others stay-cation in the back yard or practice escapism with the help of books or movies.  My July, however, was going to look more like this:

Just before leaving the office on the evening of June 30th, I flipped over my Grumpy Cat calendar to see this beautiful mug of a cat, reminding me of what I already knew.  July was going to suck big time.  Or was it?  No, it was.  I've spent 12 years of my professional life on this cyclical roller coaster.  I knew by now what months sucked more than others, and which days of which months sucked the most.  I had it down.  If I wasn't such a lover of predictability, I might actually dislike the repetitiveness of the financial reporting cycle, its deadlines, its deliverables, its drivers.  January always sucks the most but July may be a close second.  If January is the final exam, then July is the midterm.  This July, my boss was handing over all the lending and credit reporting and disclosures to me.  I had a small piece of this pie for the January cycle, and a slightly larger piece for April's cycle, but since then, another manager had left the team and my boss absorbed all that other stuff, so I've been absorbing all my boss' stuff, and so goes the food chain.

I'm also the newest person on the team, having only worked here for about 8 months, after having just served a dime at another bank, and prior to that, a year and change at another bank, who had been mortally wounded by the financial implosion of 2008.  I was familiar with lending and credit reporting, but the word on the street is that the full package of lending and credit reporting would amount to a slow and painful death, basically consuming the month of July.  I was kind of hoping that the end of June would go on forever, like a warmer, critter-less Groundhog Day.  But the transition from June to July was palpable in the office, as July 1 rang in a new era for several other staff on our floor (unrelated to my issue) but it warranted a pizza party none-the-less. 

Pizza in hand (the July 1st event was so monumental, we even had Sicilian pies!!), I got to work, because in addition to this massive amount of work, I also had to do my regular job of ‘Other Stuff’, and maybe also get to see my family and take a shower and regular things people do like this.  Part of me was looking forward to the challenge.  If I could pull this off successfully, I’d be a new(ish) hire with a bargaining chip, or two.  If not….well… yeah.

"Take a break and get away / Run away with us for the summer
  (Hamilton, the musical)

So with 12 years of working on this financial reporting cycle, summer classes for grad school, summer jobs and internships, I probably haven’t had an unbooked July since maybe 1991?  It’s OK, I tell myself, as I catch the scowl of the Grumpy Cat as I sit at my desk.  What would you do anyway?  Clean the house, do the laundry, cook meals in advance but then not want to eat them, you know, boring stuff.  As I eat my Sicilian at my desk, I scan social media on my phone and see people going to Lego camp and beach trips, and the rooftop party scene is in full effect.  And I see kids (and adults!!) going to writing camp or writing programs and I’m sad because I miss my blog.  I haven’t been on this page in over a year, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you, Seventh Borough.  In fact, most evenings, on the train ride home from work, I try to switch gears from number cruncher to story teller.  I pull out my notebook from my bag, turn to a clean sheet of paper and jot some ideas down.  But for whatever reason, I feel like these notes and bullet points just slide off the page into oblivion, like grains of sand through my fingers, unable to materialize into a narrative nor congeal into a plot line. 

And I think what excitement do I have to offer here, besides my totally average suburban working mom life, about to be saddled with an incredibly youuuuge work load?  (It’s going to be yyyyyuge!!!).  If you look back at some past posts here in the Seventh Borough, they kind of revolve around the themes of running for trains, spilling coffee, silly things my kids do and/or the ridiculousness of my cats.  And for the most part, nothing has changed.  Over the past year I’ve written several drafts and published nothing, because reading back my own writing, well, it sucked. 

So how do you un-suck?  You practice.  And I don’t have the luxury of time to go to writing camp, so I figured I’d live my story in July, write it out in August and edit/publish it in September.  31 days of small posts jammed into a thirty-day month (looks like some lucky date is getting a two-fer!).  Even though this post is technically only covering July 1st, I’m going to skip ahead for a minute and cheat when I tell you many, many, many times I thought a month of mini blog posts was silly and a bad idea and something I’d only have time for if I was back in 1991, but we didn’t have blogs in 1991 so that poses a problem.  And then I saw this gem of inspiration online:

And if it's on the Internet, it must be true.   

Welcome back to the Seventh Borough!

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