Oh, Deer.

Well, if the headline doesn’t give it away, maybe these pictures will.

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Say hello to my Honda Civic. You’ll notice by now that a deer did the same thing.

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Except that when Bambi said Hi to my car Friday night, I happened to be driving it about 70 mph at the time.

Not a bad start to the weekend, eh?

Ugh.

The good news? I’m OK. I can’t say the same for the deer. But, I don’t think I killed it.

Also good news. Nobody else in the car with me.

I was on my way home for the start of what was going to be (and what turned out to be) a great weekend. Elton John was playing Friday night at a nearby venue and I managed to score a ticket earlier in the day, thanks to a dear (um, no pun intended) friend.

So, on my way home, Elton on the iPod and just cruising along the highway.

SMACK!

Never saw it until it was rolling over my hood. I was in the right lane. It must have come out either leading a friend of his or chasing a friend of his.

Whatever the case, all he did was find me doing about 70.

It happened so fast. I never breaked. Never swerved. Never did anything except run into it.

I started to pull over, mostly to make sure I was fine and settled down. The highway was busy. Not a lot of room in the breakdown lane, so I really didn’t want to get out.

Nothing I could do there anyway. I could tell the hood was pushed up, but I could see fine. I wasn’t injured. Heck, my iPod didn’t even slide off the passenger seat. (And, if you’re wondering, I don’t wear the earphones. I plug mine in through the stereo. There was no safety issue. And, no, I wasn’t on the phone either.)

The car was moving. I was fine. And, I was less than 10 minutes from home, so I just made the decision to keep going — partly out of fear that if I did stop, something would happen to the car and then I’d have to call Renee to come get me. So, away I went.

I called Carrie. She was the one that I got the ticket to the show from.

“Um, I should be at the concert, but if not, it’s because I just hit a deer.”

You know, don’t all conversations start that way?

Then, I was home — right at dinner time — so, you know, no better time to bring up that I was just in an incident involving a deer.

I should also mention that this is the second Bambi I’ve encountered in my life. The other was when we lived in Vermont. And that’s actually a very funny story. Maybe someday you’ll be lucky enough to hear it.

So there’s Renee, putting the kids’ food on the table.

How was your day?

I just hit a deer.

What?

I just hit a deer.

Are you OK?

Yes.

OK.

And the routine became the routine. And that was a good thing. Needed the normalcy there for a minute. While I was fine and all, it was still a somewhat hair-raising moment. Got settled down after a good dinner and made mental notes about who to call.

Insurance. Body shop. Need a rental. (I’m rocking a mitsubishi galant, by the way).

After dinner and assurance that I was OK, it was bedtime for the kids and then Elton time for me.

Took Renee’s car to the venue and walked in just in time to sit down, have a beer, meet some great people and enjoy the master sitting at the piano.

It was the third time I’ve seen Elton, and, honestly, probably the best time. He was stellar. And, if you’re a fan, he hinted that he and Billy Joel will be back out on the road together next year.

But, I digress…

So then Saturday morning, I start the calls. Insurance. Claims. Rental. Ugh. Hate this. But, it’s just a car. I’m OK, the kids are OK. Renee’s OK. It’s the car that’s hurt.

It’s going to be a pain in the ass, but we can do this. Deep breath.

Get the car to the body shop. Clean it out. Move car seats. Oh. The. Joy.

But, here we are. Ready to go. Ready to get on these people starting Monday morning. Get your ass there, adjustor. Let the body shop start on this sooner than later.

And, let my baby (um, that’s the Civic) be OK. The damage actually doesn’t look too bad, but have no idea what it’s like underneath. Because, I can tell you this, going straight was no problem. Turning was a bit of a challenge.

So, that’s the start of my weekend. How did yours start?! Doubt it was as much fun as mine.

Thank goodness for Elton. He made it all better.


Work.

Full disclosure: I love my job. I truly do.

I’m good at it, too. At least I think so. But, I mean, hey, this is my blog, so I can say anything I want.

I’m the director of public relations for a (fairly) well-known museum.

I also love the people I work with. In fact, that’s probably the best thing about where I work — the people. For example, my blog roll has 14 people on it I’ve met through work in one way or another — 14!

Of those 14, I work with five on a daily basis. 

They know me. They read me. I know them. I read them.

So, in one way, this is going to be a bit weird — primarily because I’ve never talked about work here in the way that I’m going to talk about it.

And, I’m not just saying that because of the five. I’m saying that because it’s true. I’m only writing for one person — me. Sorry, work blogging friends, I’m really not writing for you. I’m also not asking anything of you either.

You’ve probably seen the stress in my face. And that’s fine. It’s been stressful. But, I’m not writing this to seek your approval or anything of the matter. Again, writing this one for me.

I’m not asking you, my working blogger friends, to look at me any differently because of this. In fact, I hope you don’t.

For me, there’s been a lot going on at work lately. We’ve announced a new president, reached a point in a project that has been planned for five years and announced staff reduction plans — all in a week’s time.

And, those things don’t just happen. The message to the outside world (and sometimes the inside world) is carefully crafted before dissemination. And guess who does that? Yup. Me.

Can’t ask for much more when you do PR. I just wish it was spread out a bit more. But, because it wasn’t, it actually made my job more interesting — and more stressful.

I have spent a great deal of time with senior leadership — advising on the best way to proceed, given all on the plate and how we can both maximize and minimize coverage — depending on the subject.

And, for the most part, mission accomplished. The good news is good. The bad news is virtually non existent. And a big part of that is because of things I recommended — and that feels good.

So what’s the big deal? Well, nothing really. And this is beyond my working blogger friends, but during this process, I was getting questions from everyone wanting to know what’s going on. Now, normally, I’m the biggest gossip there is. I love it. Can’t get enough of it.

But, at the same time, given my job, there are moments when I can’t share all I know. At least not at the particular moment when I’m asked. And, strangely enough, for the most part, people tell me stuff. But, with all that’s been going on — I’ve been asked a lot more than I’ve been told.

I always try to answer any questions I get. But sometimes I just can’t. And there are people who know this and people who don’t. Or maybe they do but they keep asking me anyway. I don’t know. But, honestly, sometimes, it’s annoying.

There’s just a lot of uncertainty right now with the staff reduction thing out there. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is stressed. People want to know who is taking the buy out, what happens next? Who is going to be let go? Part of me wishes I knew. But the bigger part is glad that I don’t. At least for now.

My goal is just to help keep people focused. We can only control what we control. Don’t let the other outside influences affect what you’re doing. We have to have the ship first mentality. At all costs.

So, besides the new president, staff reductions and other project, there’s been another rather significant issue going on at work, too.

Let’s just say that steps have been taken to (hopefully) improve the work environment that my colleagues and I are in every day.

This has been a big burden on me. Why? Because apparently I’m the leader of my immediate group — in this case, serving as the spokesperson (albeit very appropriate) for the staff in an issue we have brought forward to human resources.

Now, don’t get me wrong (especially you, work blogger friends), I’m happy to do it. In fact, feel a responsibility to the group to do it. But, again, stress level? Um, high. We, as a department, took a few unprecedented steps together. Part of the issue? My feet were taking the steps.

Again, happy to do it. Actually enjoyed doing it. But, it’s been a lot for me. Honestly. It has left me unfocused on things I should be focused on. But, at the same time, I think it was imperative for me to take the role in this situation that I did.

And I guess that’s part of the hard part for me — seeing myself as a leader.

Am I leader? Yeah, I guess I am. But, again, not always easy for me to see. In fact, up until a few months ago, I wasn’t seeing it at all at work. It took someone to point out some apparently very obvious signals for me to go, yeah, you know what, maybe you’re right.

Maybe I am being looked at to give my perspective, to draw on my experience — to take the lead.

If that happened before, I just fell into it without really knowing what was happening. But, quite honestly, since my eyes have been opened a bit, I feel more valuable — but also more stressed.

I feel like I do have a good voice of reason. That I can draw on my experience. That I do have the ear of key senior managers.

Along with that, I feel like I can’t let my team down. And, honestly, hope to god that I haven’t. If they are, in fact, looking me to lead, then, damnit, I better lead. And lead effectively.

(Again, work blogger friends, this isn’t me asking you to answer….this is just me being me.)

Because I’ve taken on this role, I’ve sat in some pretty interesting meetings lately, not too mention have had some pretty strong conversations with people about their management style and why it is difficult for me and the team. And that, quite frankly, is just the tip of the iceberg.

The team I work with is talented, dedicated and, well, a ton of fun. I’m trying to take pressure off of them, quite frankly. My hope is that they can continue to focus and shine with what they do best and that I’ll take some of this other stuff off of their plates.

Is it a lot for me? Sure it is. Am I stressed? More than ever, actually.

But, it’s a ship first mentality. Do what’s right for the ship first. Nothing else matters.

That’s what I’m trying so hard to do.


Change

Well, seems to be a time of change here in this country.

So why not in blogland, too.

Not many of you were fans of the layout I had changed to — at least I don’t think you were.

Then, while stressing over work, the following conversation takes place between Carrie and me:

Me: Geez, you know, maybe I should have taken that job a few months back.

Carrie: Nah, PR for a bank. Not so much.

-pause-

Carrie: Though from the looks of your blog, you already do PR for a bank.

Me: Really? It’s that bad? Really?

At that point, Carrie couldn’t answer because she was laughing too hard.

So, still not sure this one is the chosen one, but it’ll do for now.


A Great Day

Screw you, cancer. Today was a great day.

Spent time with my cousin today. And you know what? It was fabulous.

If you haven’t read the post before this, he’s been diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. And, well, the prognosis isn’t good.

He lives two hours away, so we don’t see each other incredibly often, but we communicate multiple times a week.

We’d been wanting to play golf at least one more time this year, and we were able to do that today. As it turned out, I was home with the kids in the morning, so I decided to take the entire day, and Michael agreed to come down.

After a good morning of playing outside in the leaves and such, I went over to meet Michael and his brother, my cousin, Jim. Because the weather was so nice today (nearly 70), they started golf before I would be able to get there, so I met them at the turn and played the final 9.

We had a blast. It was quality. It wasn’t so much bonding as it just ‘was’. We talked about cancer. A lot, actually. And we joked about it.

Michael and I have a pact. If we talk about it, we try to laugh. You might not think any of this is funny, but we did.

I told him I was glad he came down to play. And, keep in mind, where we played is where we grew up. So this is home, really.

He made some reference to this being the ‘farewell tour.’ I told him that I hope he ends up like Kiss or The Who and that the ‘farewell tour’ goes on for years and makes multiple stops to every city.

We also played a little competitively and it was fun, when he had to make a short putt, to say, “oh, no, there are no cancer gimmies — make the putt.” Of course, he did.

And, not that I need to be quoting country songs, but one time, after he hit two great shots in a row, I said, “jeez, michael, you are living like you’re dying.”

After golf, we went out for a couple of drinks. Then, he was visiting his parents for a bit and I came home to help get the kids ready for bed.

We then met up for more drinks and dinner, primarily because the three of us had been talking about ribs and the decision was made to go get some. So we did.

And there we were. Three cousins sitting at the bar. Drinking beer. Eating ribs. And, to some strange extent, celebrating life.

Know that none of the humor was meant in poor taste. Know that it’s the way we are dealing with it. And know that there were some very emotional things said to each other, too.

We spoke a lot about my dad’s experiences. We talked about my brother’s death. We talked about treatment. We talked about how he told  his kids. We talked about what scares him. We talked about what scares us.

No matter the seriousness, we always found a way to break the tension with a good laugh.

I really don’t know how many more days I’ll have like this with Michael. That’s not being morbid. It’s just being factual. For me, it’s more quality than quantity.

And, following that mantra, there’s only one thing to say about today.

It was a great day.