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I have a million stories that bubble and collide in my brain. To get these out and on to paper is a compulsive need. An alcoholic craves the drink. A junky craves heroin. I crave the written word. ~Angi King~

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A friend of mine and I were talking one day after our families got together for dinner about how much I work. I am an IT Manager for a local non-profit, which means I am plugged into my network 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have been in the IT field for over 10 years now and its been just one of those things that go along with your job. My servers send me notifications on my cell phone to let me know when a back up is done and its results, matter of fact all of my network devices send me these type of notifications even if there is a power outage. I have always said its just the name of the game and lived with it. I am sure its annoying to my friends and family. Every time they turn around my little iPhone is “dinging” notifying me about a back up, or system status change, or some other type of network/computer related fuckery that I NEED to know. I attributed my “connection” to being a good IT Manager/Director/all-around-computer-pee-on.
I have been doing this for so long, that even my children know what each ding-chime-whistle mean. They know one tone means a back up finished and the different one means my network is having a melt down. When they hear that sickening alarm, automatically my oldest grabs my keys and runs out to start the car, my youngest grabs my purse, while I get my shoes on or worse have to get dressed because its 2 am and my server room is over heating.
I enjoy this flurry of activity as I felt that they were supporting me in my endeavors to make a better living, to ensure their survival in this world. My children have put up with me logging into my computer to check on the servers, but it really wasn't checking on the servers. What started out as “checking” and small routine maintenance morphed into continuing my work day after the kids were fed. In my female brain I had rationalized that it was to get some of the small stuff done so as to free up time for the end users during the day.
Because I was connected it came with all these other bells and whistles too, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, News, story writing, email, hell if it could be done from an iPhone I did it. Why you ask? Why the hell not. If I have to be connected why not find out who in your social circle ran across the country side buck-assed naked or why not post on twitter something funny that crossed your nerdy brain. It was a perk. It kept you in touch, it made you giggle, hell you would even share it with your friends. How many times have you heard “OH MY GOD! So-and-So just tweeted.... or “yeah, I saw that on Facebook.”
I could go on and on, but that is not the point to this post. To sum up the last four chapters of dribble, I said, Me-connected all the time, and irritating the piss out of my kids and friends because my phone NEVER, EVER, EVER shuts up.
So one night after having dinner I have this conversation about how connected I am. After a discussion which went more like a mature adult stating the obvious with my immature self responding back with my hands on my hip like a 7 year old, nu-huh. Which came forth the challenge. To go one whole weekend without any electronic devices. No cell phone, iPad, laptop, desktop computer, not even working on computers. Do you want to know what the first thing I did when this challenge was proposed to me. I tweeted! Yup, I sent this out to all my twitter pals and immediately received responses (I won't go into the number of responses because that just proves what kind of geek-a-fide dork I really am) like, “I don't like the sound of this”, to “What are you fucking crazy?”
Some how along this conversation it turned into a bet. Well now its a bet so I can't turn it down at all. I mean seriously a bet is just another way of sayin “I double dog dare ya.” I accepted. When you bet, there are rewards and punishments. Since my friend and I are the mature people that we are, we argued about it and finally decided to get an objective third party to post a twitter poll and to discuss this topic at length with some people we knew and others that were complete strangers. (Yeah, I know, It might have proven a point to go through the neighborhood and take the poll but seriously why do that when you can get input from some chic in New Zealand that barely even knows you.) The “reward” or “punishment” for the bet was to be revealed Monday morning via email to the both parties with the agreement that the said reward/punishment was not to be grossly humiliating or involve farm animals. If I received a land-line phone call to come to work because a meteor hit the office, we agreed to try again the next weekend. After all, I can't loose my job over a bet.
So the rest of that week I made preparations to be electronically celibate. I changed alarms to ring my house phone, informed my boss that I was going dark, sent email and scheduled ample time during the week to get all of my work along with Facebooking and Tweeting out of the way. Come Friday afternoon when I left work, there was none of that.
I left work on Friday at 2 PM. Which isn't all that normal, I just didn't have much to do after that time and that included dinking around on the internet. I gathered my electronics, dumped my phone in my purse and loaded up my laptop into my computer bag and set off for home.
I thought I was going to have a panic attack without my phone when I got into my car, to my surprise there was no panic. I drove home and listened to the radio. No problem there.
I walked into the front door and was immediately interrogated about where all my “devices” were. I pointed to my bags and purse, and proceeded to go about my Friday night routine. My youngest said that there was a party going on at the a friend, the same friend might I add that started the bet. So after some scurrying around to get house stuff done, we set off.
When we arrived the kids bailed out of the car like they normally do with squeals of delight. Meeting friends, hooting an hollerin’ about all the completely awesome fun they are going to have. (At least I think they still use the word awesome). All of the adults were still out cruising. I felt a little lost there for about 2.5 seconds. Normally I would grab my phone, play around on that, text my friend, or read me e-book. I didn't have access to that, well I did but who wants to lose a bet with unknown outcome. That is when I spied a blanket in the lawn. Then I thought to myself, I said “self, when was the last time that you just laid down and enjoyed the sun?” Well the answer, I can't remember when. I don't know how long I lazed around on that blanket there. Long enough to fall asleep. I must have been out for a while, when I woke up the blanket was draped over me to prevent me from getting a sun burn.
I have to say that was such a great nap. For those of you who know me, I have insomnia of the worst kind. I can't take naps otherwise I fight the sleeplessness for hours during the night. To be able to pass out and take a nap was the absolute most delicious thing I have experienced. It is simply unheard of for me to just nap unless its been a good three weeks and I need up crashing.
Later when all of the adults arrived a few of us went for a motorcycle ride. It was the first time in my life I have ever been on a motorcycle. I feel sorry for the poor dude steering the damn thing. Nothing like a sissy of a woman screaming obscenities in your ear at 70 miles an hour. (we only got up to 70 once on a deer infested back road, so it was completely safe.) After a while I began to relax and try to enjoy the ride.
I did.
I totally see why people love to ride those noisy things. Yes, men look rather sexy rumbling down the highway on them. But ladies, ride bitch. I will have to get my next boyfriend a motorcycle just so I can mollester-macate him while going on trips.
After we came back and just talked. I ended up drinking too much to drive home so I just crashed on my friends floor. Since I couldn't sleep (yes even drunk and insomniac has a hard time sleeping.) I laid there thinking about how the day was. How I was going to win this, even if there wasn't a reward for completing this task; I had this so in the bag. That is when it hit me.
Laying there listening to the kids joke and kid around. There was something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I am not talking about missing in the aspect that something has been taken away from me that I can't live without. It was another missing, and absence that made me feel lighter. Being tied to work, devices, and such really was a stone around my neck. When I left work on Friday that stone was lifted from around my neck, placed in my purse, and forgotten (ok, not totally, but you get my meaning.) Because of this, I was able to do things that I normally don't do.
The next morning I went home after a mess load of teasing about being babysat. Which I really took offense to, since they were questioning my integrity. Anyway, I went home fussed with my pool which was frustrating and left me questioning why I am putting up a pool when the river is only a 5 minute drive down the road. (I'm still figuring that out.)
The rest of the weekend wasn't really too eventful. My Ashpopper got into a minor horse accident. Don't worry she is a little banged up but like the iron tough gal that she is, she's not letting it keep her down. She is just taking it easy. I took all my girls out to pick cherries where Nikki climbed up the tree so far that the limb gave way which sent her crashing to the ground on top of Courtney and I. Ashely decided to camp out on Jan's couch to just rest up. (besides I have been pestering her asking questions like, Does this hurt, can you do this, can you add, can you touch your finger to your nose and sing the national anthem. All the typical stuff you ask kids when they hit their head.) No one was hurt in the Cherry Tree bungee jumping mission so we packed up and went to deliver the cherries.
That evening was just as relaxing as the last two. Dinner with great friends, that I consider as being my family. Watching True Blood, harassing the kids. Courtney and Ashely decided to stay and off to the house I traipsed because I have work in the morning and I only had 9 hours left until I could play with my “devices”.
By the way, those of you who use your cell phone as your alarm clock. Get a real alarm clock. I spent an hour looking for my travel alarm clock. Apparently after 10 years of having a cell phone to wake you up, you tend to misplace all of the real ones. I ended up using an old fashioned wind up alarm clock with Scooby Doo on the face.When it went off this morning I thought it was the fire alarm, grabbed the cat and herded my dog outside in my underwear before I realized that what it was. I should apologize to the next door neighbor, I am sure he didn't want to see that as he went to work. For those that don't know, my cellphone doesn't have a “buzzer” type sound for the alarm, because you can customize it, I wake up each morning to Yirma's A River Flows Through You. It kinda puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day.
So after I dash inside pulling my small tee shirt over my barely there panties, Scooby (my dog) jumping up and down because he thinks its time to play. It hits me, I can check my computer.
I walk over to my desk and see my poor black laptop sitting there. Calling to me its ok to hold me now. I didn't want to. I didn't want the weight of it around my shoulders. Yes, I missed talking to my friend Niki in Utah. But opening that laptop meant that I was going to connect to the network at work and see how everything is. I do it every morning, this was the first morning that I didn't log in.
I didn't create that secure connection, I didn't log into the servers, I didn't check my email to see who couldn't access something over the weekend. I just didn't do anything that was part of my normal work morning routine. I did go to work 30 minutes early to see if everything was ok, and it wasn't. It took 20 minutes to get everything running again from the thunderstorm that passed over the weekend but nothing catastrophic.
As I continued my work day, I did get pissy. I don't want to go back to the way it was. I don't want to go back to constantly being connected to work. I don't what that kind of weight around my shoulders that will not allow me to relax. I want to be able to comment on Facebook, tweet my friends, and fuck off when I am bored. But I don't want to go back to the burden of being on call all the time.
When I started writing this, I wanted it to be a “TOWANDA” “in your face” gloating type of post. But it is far from that. It took someone dear to show me in an unconventional way what is really happening. At this point the stakes don't matter, what matters is I realized something, experienced it, and now I am making changes for the better. ---OK the stakes do matter because that’s just the icing on the cake-but still you get my point, right?