Monday, March 5, 2012

Mental Health Weekend - Part 1

I think *fingers crossed* that the audit at work is finally over.  That four-week project took four months.  I despise our banks that kept getting in the way of us getting this done.

Well, actually, it's just in a final draft form.  I again despise our banks.

So I was mentally done.  The stress had been unbelievable.  It's completely different than what I underwent at D&T.  There was more work to do there, but I was detached from the numbers.  It didn't matter to me whether my clients made or lost money, just as long as I could report on it.  Now these are my numbers and the presentation matters.

I needed to get away.  I needed to see something completely different for awhile.  I didn't even want to be at home even though I have countless projects to work on there.

So I finally used some of my Marriott rewards points from all my traveling days at D&T and booked a night at the Marriott in San Luis Obispo.  I would have booked the whole weekend, but I had committed to running a 10K in Sanger with my coworkers.

The 10K was a great stress-reliever too.  I was the second-fastest (also the second-youngest) from my company, and my time of 53 minutes is probably a personal best for me.  Under 9-minute miles the whole way.

I came home, showered, and loaded the bags in the car.  The beginning of the trip was frustrating.  I had bought a John Grisham book on cassette at a thrift store, only to realize in the car that I only had the second half of the cassettes.  So there weren't two copies in the store, they were Parts 1 & 2.  Then I got a speeding ticket.  Then slowing down to ~5 miles over the speed limit on the two-lane, cars were tail-gating me.  My GoogleMap print-out was vague and led me off-course twice for about 20 total miles.  I was asking God why, regailing Him with everything that led up to needing this weekend away.  I think the answer I received is that He never promises us that things will be easy, not even that they'd ebb and flow to give us some "easy" after a season of "hard."

But things picked up from there.  I stopped in at a winery and did a tasting.  The San Antonio Winery offered three tastings free, but I ended up getting five free.  They had a huge range of reds,whites & sparkling; sweet and dry wines, clearly classified.  I really appreciated that since I generally go for sweeter white wines but had the chance to branch out into some reds that I really liked.  While I was doing my first tasting there, a woman (another patron, not an employee) almost jumped up alongside me and asked me what I thought of it.  Her name is Amy and she was here with three coworker friends, Yessinia and two Debbie's celebrating her (Amy's) birthday.  I talked with them for awhile while they started their tastings.  They had rented a limo, and this was the last of four or five wineries they had visited that day.  They are all working on various aspects of the start-up of a new solar power plant.  Talking with them and the employees started to turn the trip around for me.  I bought a few bottles of wine and kept going.  I stopped at another winery for a second tasting, but most of their wines were so dry that I really didn't enjoy it.  I did meet another patron there who used to work for PwC as an attorney, so he and I were able to talk accounting for awhile.

I needed to use my phone's GPS to navigate successfully to the hotel.  But once I arrived, I turned the phone off.  I was done and disconnected.

I arrived at the hotel and checked in.  Evan helped get me all setup; he was a really good pick for a front-desk man.  Positive and upbeat, and he was also a Christian.  I got some info on restaurants, hikes and churches, grabbed a couple cookies, and headed up to my room.

As I brought my bags in from the car, the elevator was taking awhile to arrive, so I started talking with Tom, another guest who was also waiting for the elevator.  It turns out he also used to work for PwC.  The crazy chance meetings.  We talked for awhile, and after about five minutes, realized the elevator was not coming, so we took the stairs.  I called the front desk from my room to let them know about the problem.

It was a weird feeling being back in a Marriott.  While I had never been to this one for work, all of it came rushing back to me even though I hadn't been to one in 11 months.  It was weird how "home-y" it felt.  It felt as though I was going back to visit my old apartment.

I read my Bible for a little while.  I've been working my way through all the Bible passages in my Fresno church's doctrinal statement.  It's been an amazing encouragement and validation to my faith as to why I believe what I believe.

Then I took a short nap.  I decided not to live on the clock: I was going to sleep when my body was tired.  When I woke up, I drove over to Splash Cafe for some clam chowder.  It had been four years since I had been here on a previous road trip, and I still remembered how good it was.

After eating, I meandered around downtown SLO for the evening.  I spent about an hour in a used bookstore, and was very proud of myself for not buying anything.  Then I went into a record store, and ended up buying The Karate Kid off their DVD shelf.  I've been wanting to see this movie since taking up kenpo karate and hearing my friends in the class mention it.

Then I drove back to the hotel.  The pool was open until 11, so I went down to get some laps in the pool.  It was heated to a nice moderate temperature.  I'm not a hardcore swimmer, but I was happy that not all of my technique I had practiced for my triathlon last year had disappeared.  I had said that 2012 was going to be my running year, but maybe fitting in a Sprint Tri at the end of the month wouldn't be a bad idea since I currently don't have another long race scheduled until May.

While I was swimming, a woman and her two teenage sons came into the pool area.  She sat in the jacuzzi while they got in the pool.  After I was done doing laps, I went over to the jacuzzi as well.  The mom's name is Suzanne, and she and her boys were visiting from Antioch up north to see her brother and his family.  I found out that she's Catholic, and we had a nice time talking for awhile, before I went back up to my room.  I caught the movie Overboard on TV by accident.  I had been seeing it advertised as being on sale somewhere, but it never looked appealing from the DVD cover I recall seeing, but it was a funny and insightful movie about a rare chance to experience life from another point of view.

1 comment:

  1. Karl,
    I am so glad that you got a chance to get away and relax. It is so good for your soul. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Some day maybe I'll be brave enough to talk to everyone in proximity like you do.