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Life Update

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Hi, friends!

Friend, singular?

No one? That’s fine, too.

Alright, let’s see, my last post was…June of last year. Shit. Almost a year ago.

So, I’ve been gone a while. In my last post, I wrote about how I’d gotten a new job. Last week, I celebrated my one-year anniversary at that job. This was a huge deal for me, and I’m still in awe that I’ve been at my first Big Girl Job for over a year!

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My official work photo!

But, before we celebrate, let’s back up.

Back to last summer.

Shortly after I wrote my previous post, work got really crazy, really fast. My job began to rule my life.

In order for me to get up to the proper speed for the job (i.e. be able to complete the required amount of work), my supervisors ramped me up at an increased rate. I went from a very meager work week (~18 hours) to a full work week in a few weeks’ time. It was super hectic and incredibly overwhelming for me, but my team assured me that everyone had to go through that kind of training at some point and that once I was fully trained, I would be okay.

So I pushed, and I worked, and I sweated, and I cried (for real, it was bad).

BUT

I finally found a good pace. I adapted well to that kind of work, despite how overwhelming the training process had been. Around July, right at 4 months in, I was in a pretty good place; I had a routine.

Then the Bundles happened.

I won’t go into a huge amount of detail, but just know that Research Square offers several different services, and they decided to “bundle” some of those services and see customers’ reactions. We were not expecting the bundles to be a huge hit. But they were, and it literally happened overnight.

Suddenly, my routine was wrecked. There was now brand new protocol to learn and follow, on top of what I was really still learning. It was the overwhelming training process again, but on back alley steroids.

People couldn’t get enough of the bundles―which was great for company/employee revenue, but the fact of the matter was, we didn’t have enough manpower to accommodate the new flood of submissions. Which meant, I was quite literally working around the clock, as was my small team, to get all of our work done on time.

And it’s been this way since August. For a long time, I wasn’t working less than 50+ hours a week (my highest paycheck was for 115). I wasn’t getting a ton of sleep, and the piles of laundry and dishes were comical.

We’ve hired several new people on our team to help out, and while it has been helpful, the amount of work the newbies can do vs. the amount of work that needs to be done doesn’t exactly even out. I’ve still been working my butt off, but, happily, that has calmed down for the most part this month.

On top of all of this, I actually had started to edit my second book. All of my editing was of course put on hold to get my work done. I’d been using my work computer since it had the latest version of Word on it, and I was using the Guest account so that I didn’t have to disable or otherwise work around any of my Word settings under my main work account. Sometime during the summer, Windows 10 became available for download, and I obliged the Microsoft gods on my work computer. Little did I know, this update completely wiped the Guest account on the computer, which erased all of my edits.

It’s been a long year, guys.

A wonderful, but long and hard, year. I’ve cried a lot, and prayed a lot. I’ve chastised and rewarded myself. I’ve developed a ton of new skills and learned so much. Mostly, like usual, I’ve learned that there’s still so much to learn.

February was not any kinder than the year preceding it.

Maybe I’ll write an account of this later, but the short of it is, Justin and I had a small car accident (misleading term—it was an accident which involved our car) just after Valentine’s Day. We ran over basketball-sized rocks that someone put in the middle of the street, causing over $4K worth of damage, and we had to spend 20 days driving a small boat (read: 2016 Buick Enclave).

The following week, my work computer died in the middle of, well, work. Plus, it was almost midnight, so there wasn’t anything anyone could really do to help me. I had to use Justin’s tablet to finish some of the work (thank goodness he’s a quick thinker!) until I could get a loaner computer from work the next day.

We have the car back now, my work computer was fixed, and things finally seem to be looking up!

We were approved for our dream apartment. We’d had our eye on this apartment since last summer, but because these apartments are so awesome, they’re always full. A unit opened up, on the date we needed, for the floor plan we wanted. It was perfect, and we can’t wait to move in May. We’ve already started packing and strategizing.

So, there it is. A life update.

I’m sincerely hoping to update the blog more this year. We went from a team of 3 (me being the third), to a team of now 8. The workload is considerably more manageable, and I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things. For the most part. 🙂

See you soon!

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Me, after I won the Culture Champion Award at work. This award in nomination-based, so people voted for me because they believe I uphold my company’s values. Very awesome stuff.

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The Hardest Part

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First and foremost, I must present you with not only one of my favorite Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers songs, but also the incredibly awkward music video that comes with it.  Please enjoy as you read this post.

I meant to write this when everything first happened. But things got crazy. Everything happened so quickly and then continued to happen at such a rapid pace that this is the first time I’m able to sit down and write about it.

A little over two months ago, I started a new job. It’s an amazing job for an amazing company. I am now an Academic Formatting Specialist for a company called Research Square. I get to work in the middle of downtown Durham, the office itself is really cool and has free sodas in the kitchen, and I get to help people publish their findings in the US. It’s pretty much everything I could ever want in a job—plus I get to work from home whenever I want!

Last summer was very difficult for me. I had been let go from what I then considered to be my dream job and then, once again, I was unable to find work. I had to resort to unemployment benefits for a few months until I could find a job. One of the requirements to those benefits was to search for jobs on a consistent basis and provide proof of your job search. It was through one of my job searches to keep the benefits that I first met Research Square.

The photo taken of me on my first day!

I originally applied for an editing job there. I was called in for an interview last September, and, although I didn’t end up getting that job, I instantly fell in love with the company and the office and my would-be coworkers. I was absolutely crushed when I didn’t get the editing gig because all I wanted at that point was to work at Research Square.

Around the same time, I had applied for a job through a temp agency. I was able to begin work there very shortly after my RS interview, and the unemployment benefits stopped. I worked at the temp job until February of this year, and I actually really enjoyed it. What was supposed to be a two-week stint turned out to last over six months, and the pay was incredible. But, I knew going in that it was a temp job, and eventually those have to come to an end. I’d made enough money at that temp job to keep me afloat for another few weeks before it was absolutely essential that I find more work.

I thought back to RS and wondered, even hoped, that maybe there was something there waiting for me. I wrote an email to Amy, the woman I had interviewed for back in September, who also happened to be the hiring manager. I figured if anyone knew of any open positions, it would be her. She wrote back and was delighted to hear from me. Sadly, she said, there were no open positions available. However, she did advise that I set up a lunch date with a couple of people that were out of town when I interviewed in September.

So, I did. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had lunch with the woman who would be my boss in less than a month. There was very scant talk of a position that could open up down the line. After lunch, and for several days after, I constantly refreshed the open positions page on the RS website, hoping to be the first to apply for the new position. When it finally showed up, I applied immediately.

It wasn’t long after that that an interview was set up. Then the interview happened, and I was sure I’d made a fool of myself.

Things got tense, because the same temp agency I’d worked for earlier in the year had been working to get me another job—which I was very grateful for. The timing was very inconvenient, though. I was waiting to hear back from RS regarding the position I really wanted, but I couldn’t just say no to a job that was being offered to me. Justin and I decided that I would accept the temp position and then, if RS offered me the job, I could quit. That’s what I did.

Then, the night before I was to start the temp job, I got my offer email from RS! I don’t know if I can put into words how filled with happiness I really was. There was an email, staring at me, telling me that I was not only wanted somewhere but could start on this date for this much money. It was as official as it gets. I screamed, Justin screamed, we jumped up and down, he told the guildies. All the official stuff.

I began work on March 16 and it’s been going like a runaway train ever since.

Sometimes, work got to be too much to handle. I was working almost 70 hours a week, and I hadn’t even had the job for more than a month! Thankfully, this was addressed, and now my workload, at least to start since I’m still learning everything, is much more manageable.

I love who I work with and what I do. It’s not exactly editing, but it’s another form of editing. Not to worry, my meticulous nature is still being catered to. 🙂 This job is a big deal to me, not only because of what it is and who the company is, but because this is the first time I’ve been given an in on the ground floor. Every other job I’ve ever had through a temp agency or was part-time work. This is official from every side, and that’s amazing!

I got my square…because now I’m a Square!

So, that’s what’s going on. I’ve had this tab open for several weeks, trying to find time to write about my new job, but sometimes life is hectic. I haven’t had much time to read or edit my second book, either, so don’t worry—it’s not just the blog that has suffered.

I’m hoping that I can continue updating this blog again now that I have more time to write. Thanks for following along, even in times of uncertainty. I know that the waiting is the hardest part.

2014: Bye, Felicia.

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I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so ready for a year to end.  Usually, I write a pretty sappy end-of-year post and review everything that happened.  This year’s post isn’t going to be like that.

Last year, when I wrote the EOY post for 2013, I was incredibly sad to see it ending, and remarked that 2014 wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to it.  And I was right. Read the rest of this entry

Forty Years From Now (Ago)

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This morning, the Writers Write Facebook page posted this picture to its timeline:

Now, I don’t know if I’ll still be blogging when I’m 70.  Hell, I don’t know if I’ll still be blogging when I’m 30, and that’s less than two years away!

But what I do know is that I love to chronicle my life — it’s the whole reason I blog in the first place. Read the rest of this entry

A Dream Realized

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I could read and write by the age of 3.  My parents were thrilled and greatly encouraged me.  Before long, just like in Matilda, I had read every book in our house.

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Read the rest of this entry

28 is Gonna Be Great!

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Eleven days ago, I turned 28.  My birthday week was spent with all of my friends and then going home to see the family.  A great time was had by all and I am very loved.

Turning 28 was kind of bittersweet for me.  I am no longer 27 and that makes me a little sad.  I loved being 27.  I loved how I felt, what I did, what all I accomplished.  Being 27 made me feel alive in a way that I had never experienced before.

me on my 27th birthday

At first, turning 27 was quiet scary.  It was the first time that my age sounded “old” to me.

Turning 25 was a jarring experience because I realized that I was now into the next age bracket.  I was officially in my late twenties.  When I turned 26, I went through a late “quarter life crisis” and felt kind of lost for a while.  I wasn’t sure where my niche was or what I wanted to do with my life.

I can’t say with absolute certainty that being 27 helped me realize any of those things, but it definitely made me happier.  I was riding on a pretty good high for half of my 27th year.

Every year, since I turned 26, I take a current photo of myself and then make a list detailing what I’ve accomplished/done/liked over the last year.

These are the previous two:

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And here is the one for this year:

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I am proudest of what I’ve accomplished over the last year.  Even though 27 was scary, it quickly turned exciting and significant.  I’ve never felt that confident, or that ready to take on anything.  But being 27 made me feel like I could.  It was an indescribable feeling.

I hope that 28 brings some of that electricity with it.  I hope that I continue to feel happy, healthy, comfortable, and excited.  I want to write another book.  I want to finish up with the current one so I can sign it for friends and family.  I want to read to my heart’s content and watch Netflix when it’s not a reading day.  I want to be fulfilled.

And I definitely want to live out 28 the way it began: surrounded by my friends and eating delicious pizza.

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Here’s to 28.  I hope it’s going to be great!

2014 Can Officially Begin.

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I suppose it’s time I finally write my annual new years post.  I began writing them on my old blog as a way to record my new years resolutions and review the past year.  Traditionally, I’ve written the premier post on January 1st.  In the post, I recall my previous resolutions and how well those held up, as well as introduce new ones.  I’m quite late getting the first official post of 2014 written this year.  We’ll just say I gave myself a month to think about it.

I wrote a short post at the end of last year capturing some of 2013’s biggest moments for me.  I would like elaborate on each of those points to have them on record, but I’ll make individual posts for them.

Last year was incredible.  So many wonderful things happened and my world changed drastically.  For the last six months of 2013, I felt so alive in everything I did.  Electricity popped within me at every task I accomplished and every milestone I passed.  I’m convinced still that 2014 won’t hold a candle in many ways, but I don’t want to diminish the year’s light so early in.

As I was looking over last year’s post on the old blog, a few things really stuck out – things that weren’t even actual resolutions but observations or comments in passing that came to mean something later on.  Things like:

  • “I attempted to start writing at the start of last year, but couldn’t stick with it and eventually lost interest.  A resolution for this year is NaNoWriMo.”  This was part of a recap on a 2012 resolution to write more.  It’s interesting because NaNoWriMo wasn’t an actual resolution, it just happened.  I remembered it existed at the end of the year and felt like doing it.  I didn’t even remember making this comment in that post until I reread it in preparation for this one.
  • “Basically, I just sat back and expected good things to fall in my lap.  I’m a Christian, and I’d heard so many times to just “hand it over to God.”  But I think it’d be better if I met God halfway.  So this year, the mantra is, “Try Harder, Do Better.”  I want to give a better effort to things, and physically do more.  So there’s that.”  I couldn’t have possibly known what I’d accomplish or how far I would come from where I was.  I also think the “meet God halfway” strategy should stay in place.
  • In tandem with the previous bullet, “I’m on a mission this year to find a real job.  I’m tired of being a sell-out and a joke to everyone who looks at me and sees an unemployed job-seeker.  If it comes down to an unemployment agency, then so be it.”  My, how prophetic.  For it was exactly this act that led me to my dream job.

And now, a recap of 2013’s resolutions – the year preemptively described as “lucky” in that previous post:

  1. Do more.
  2. 1a.  Do less.  (i.e. Less whining, less complaining, less stressing, less lashing out, and less bad.)
  3. Lose more weight/run more.
  4.  2a.  Participate in another 5K.
  5. Take more pictures.
  6. Red Binder.
  7. Find a job.

How did I do?

  1. I like to think I accomplished a lot last year.  I went out of my way and sometimes out of my comfort zone to get the things I wanted.  So worth it.
  2. I don’t know that there was actually less of any of the examples I wanted to work on, but I did give an effort.
  3. I ran on a somewhat regular basis until I started my job.  It became difficult to balance the two, especially since I had to get up early to get ready.  I’m hoping to get back into running this year.
  4. That being said, I also want to run another 5K.  I didn’t run one last year, but I’m already looking at one for this year.
  5. At some point, I actually consciously calculated it and I take an average of 3 pictures a day.  I doubt that’s any more or less than what it’s been in previous years.  I also think the pictures mentioned in the resolution were in reference to Delilah, my big DSLR – a call to take more creative shots.  This did not happen.
  6. Yeah.  Still need to do this.  I’m tired of it taking up a resolution spot every year.
  7. Finally.

So, what’s next?

Here are the traditional 5 resolutions for 2014:

  1. Run again.  As already mentioned, I want to start running again.  I’m going to start training in mid-February for this 8K at the end of May.  I’m so excited – I’ve wanted to run this race since I moved here!
  2. Less sleep.  I made the executive decision that I need less sleep.  While some people require the exact opposite, I think I get too much sleep.  It’s a vicious cycle: I fall asleep super early, sleep through the whole night, wake up early, feel tired from getting too much sleep and acting sluggish, then fall asleep early because my body is telling me it’s tired when in reality it’s just over-rested.  I’ve already been making some strides to staying up later, so hopefully this will continue.
  3. Write more.  I may or may not do NaNoWriMo again, we’ll see how I feel about it in October.  For right now, this resolution will be slightly revised to, “edit and publish manuscript.”  I’m giving myself the month of February to edit it and create the cover.  Then all that’s left to do is publish it!
  4. Finish: Dresden, X-Files, Star Trek, KK.  This isn’t exactly a constructive goal as it’s purely for entertainment purposes.  I want to finish the Dresden Files series (up until the current book) as well as the Kingdom Keepers series, and I want to finish X-Files and watch all the incarnations of Star Trek.  I’m stupidly excited to watch Next Generation, but I feel it’s only proper to watch TOS first.
  5. Red binder.  Seriously.  In short, my mother-in-law gave me this red “binder” (which is actually a photo album) that had a lot of pictures in it from when Justin was a baby.  I wanted to scan the pictures and then return the red binder to her.  I think she gave me the binder back in 2010.  It’s time to cross this one off.

So there you have it.  That’s what I hope to accomplish/do/watch/read in 2014.  I’m sitting in my rocking chair with a red pen behind my ear, my manuscript on the floor next to me, and the sunrise illuminating my apartment.  For all intents and purposes, I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year.

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, 2013

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So, what I meant by, “See ya in December” was actually, “See ya on the very last day of December.  And also the year.”

I cannot believe this year is over in less than twelve hours.  This is crazy.

I think that 2013 was one of the best years of my life.  Especially the second half.  So many wonderful things happened for me in the last six months!

Thank you, 2013:

  • I got my first real job!

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  • Justin and I celebrated 10 years together and bought a new car.

  • I walked in both an ovarian cancer and a diabetes walk.

 

  • I turned 27, which was incredibly scary at first, but now I want to be 27 forever.

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  • I returned to Dragoncon for the third time.

  • I set a new personal running record.

  • I travelled up to Tennessee to see my sister.

  • I participated in, and completed, NaNoWriMo.

  • I got my first tattoo!

 

I’m sure there’s even more that I’m just not remembering in the middle of the workday.  What a fucking awesome year.  Seriously, don’t know how 2014 is going to top it!

Thank you to everyone at WP that made my first year at a new blog so great.  See ya next year!

See ya in December!

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Hey Guys,

Looks like FE is going to be taking a small break, to participate in NaNoWriMo!

All writing, all the time, all November long!

Wish me luck.

See ya in December!

*click picture for original source

What A Difference Three Years Makes

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I was looking through my Facebook pictures today and came across this one from way back in 2010:

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This was right after Justin and I got married.  I wanted to get my hair cut so badly.  After getting my hair cut on a regular basis in college, I decided to let it grow out for the wedding.  I didn’t cut it for over a year.  I was so happy to have it short again.

And now, I just got my hair cut again – right around the same time as the picture above.

For a better side-by-side comparison:

PicMonkey Collage

I almost don’t know how to feel about these two pictures.  To me, they look so similar and SO different.  I can’t really put my finger on what I think is different.  I don’t necessarily look like a completely different person, but I do somehow?

I don’t know…there’s not a lot of substance to this post, so I apologize for that.

Funny how things change but they don’t.