Home: September 2005 Archives

Sunday, September 18, 2005
frustration and health

I wish I could help more.

It's been two weeks now that your back has been getting progressively worse, and I have to sit here, unable to help, unable to do more than say nice things, and encourage you.

Do you know how much that rankles me, angel? Do you know how frustrated that makes me feel at times?

Day after day, talking to you on the phone and hearing the catch in your voice when you move wrong. Or sitting beside you, watching you wince when you move just a little bit too much. Or waking up, and finding that you've had to sleep on the couch because your back has siezed up during the night.

It's not you I'm frustrated with, angel. It's me. It's the feeling of helplessness that I have when I see you in pain, and I'm unable to help. It's the impotence that washes over me as I see you hobbling and scared and angry, and knowing that nothing I do can help.

It's silly of me, I know. I'm *not* in charge of the world, after all. (If I was, ... but then that's another letter, isn't it?) There's not much I can do to help right now. You're doing all the right things - avoiding lifting anything, icing your back, and taking it easy. You're getting the right kind of treatment from a professional. But I still want to help, angel.

I find myself wanting to come over there and wrap you in my arms, and tell you everything is going to be all right. I want to press the "easy" button, like in the Staples commercials, and have your back pop back into perfect condition. But life's never that easy, is it? I'm going to have to patiently wait here, watching you as you go through your recovery, and encourage you every chance I get.

It's not easy, angel. After all, I *am* a control oriented personality. If something's wrong, I have a compulsion to try to fix it. I know this, and I'm trying not to let it get to me. But when you hurt, I hurt. And when I can't do anything about the source of the pain, it gets difficult to know what I can do.

So, I find myself giving you more room when we sit together. I find myself gingerly holding you, instead of wrapping myself around you. I find myself more tentative with you than when we were first dating. It's not you, angel. It's me. I worry about hurting you when I mean to give you pleasure. I worry about touching you wrong, and putting your recovery back weeks.

I know it's silly - I know you're not really that fragile. I know you're getting better, and that my touch makes you feel better. My head knows, anyways. My heart is all over the place.

I miss touching you, angel. I miss holding you, and making you feel wonderful. I miss lying with you, afterwards, holding each other, and touching each other. I miss listening to your breathing returning to normal, and watching as the twitches and spasms slow and fade. I miss walking with you, hand in hand. I miss you draping yourself all over me, and arousing you with my touch. I miss putting you over my knee, and hearing you shriek with outrage, and wriggle with pleasure at your helplessness.

But I am a patient man. I know you will be like that again, angel. I know you miss it as much as I do. And I know that you are as frustrated as I am by the current situation.

I love you, angel, and I look forward to you getting back to health soon. Take care of yourself, and don't worry about me. I'll be there to help you get better, and I'll be there when you're ready.


posted at 06:08 PM :: permalink :: Comments (1)
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Thursday, September 15, 2005
love and whys

There's a poem that starts "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." The longer we are together, the more that poem makes sense to me. Because there are so many ways that I love you, and so many things that you do that make me love you. I'm a very lucky man.

You have the cutest blush. When I whisper in your ear that I want to spank you, and we're lined up to pay for something in a store, you have the cutest way of blushing and squirming at the same time.

You love my kids already. You care about them, and you want to help me be a better dad to them, even though it means dealing with "she who must be paid".

I love watching you plan things out - you are so meticulous, and so detail obsessed. And as I watch you, I try to be ready to handle things if they don't follow your plan. Your strength is planning, mine is improvising, and I love the way we complement each other's strengths.

I love the way you refuse to admit that you love being teased. I watch your reaction when I tease you, and I can see the wanton wench just below the surface. She shows more and more of herself as you get excited, and as I take control of you, and I love that you realize and accept this part of yourself.

I love that you don't expect me to be perfect. There are things that I do (and many that I don't) that I *know* have to irritate you - but you love me nonetheless. I love that you haven't put me on a pedestal so far. (They're narrow and uncomfortable to stand on)

I love that you ask me questions. Questions about politics. Questions about history. Opinions, facts, and observations. Endless conversation, wandering from topic to topic.

And you dimple when I ask YOU about something. I know that you have opions and expertise that are different than mine, and I love that I can ask *you* about things, and get a reasoned, intelligent response. (Frequently, a different opinion, too, which leads to more conversation.)

I love the way you worry about me. You understand, I think I'm taking care of myself reasonably well. I'm not perfect, and I have blind spots. But the fact that you worry, and that you want to take care of me is adorable.

I love the way you take so long to wake up in the mornings. The contrast between my waking and yours makes me laugh. I wake up and I'm ready to go, ready to get dressed, get reading, and go. You take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half to wake up. And during that time, you're dopey, cuddly and confused.

I love the way that you act the brat, hoping for me to put you in your place. And when I finally do put you in your place, you snuggle up to me, happy that things are still working right between us.

I love your obedience, but I love that you are just disobedient enough to be a challenge in a scene. Watching you transform from recalcitrant brat into wanton slut never fails to excite me.

I love the way you get embarassed at the things I say to you while you're excited - and the way that it makes you even MORE excited when I point it out to you.

So, angel, even when things are difficult, I love you. Count on it.


posted at 07:30 AM :: permalink :: Comments (5)
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Friday, September 02, 2005
responsibility and leaders

It's not always easy to let other people take responsibility. I don't know if it's a part of what makes me dominant, or if it's a reflection of the way I am, expressing itself in my vanilla life. From time to time, I find myself occassionally taking responsibility for things that are not mine to take.

Case in point - recently, I found myself in the unenviable position of being the only full time IT staffer for my entire office for a week. It was a bumpy ride - we had two disasters that week, one on the Monday, and one on the Friday. In between, it seemed like I'd spoken to everyone in the remote offices that could have problems. By the end of the week, I was stressed, but at the same time, exhilirated.

You see - I was in charge. There was no one else to rely upon, so I had to make decisions. When there was more than one person to deal with, I was the one that had to prioritize. As the week went on, I was more and more comfortable being in charge. So when a project that my boss had been in charge of, before he went on vacation, started to run into problems, I found myself taking charge again.

The problem started when I started to take the project goals personally. I'd gotten myself so wrapped up in what was going on, in what other people needed to get done, that I lost my perspective. You see, that seems to be a periodic failing of mine. I see ways of doing things, and see that I'm the only person available at the time to do it, so I take personal responsibility for the success or failure of a task. And when I see that the task isn't getting done to what I consider to be an acceptable level, I start to try harder. When the task is as formidable, or as screwed up as this one was when I took charge, it's like trying to push water uphill.

Eventually, (and quicker than I used to...) I realized that I wasn't responsible - not really. The project had been specified by marketing, with no margin for error, and with a very (!) short deadline. The team had been staffed by my boss, and the technologies used (including three new ones that we'd never used before in a production environment) hadn't been chosen by me. In short, I'd been handed a pig in a poke, and it was up to me to make the best of it. We got the project to where it was working reasonably well, after putting in ridiculous hours for a week or so.

And then - my boss was back. He was back and immediately took charge of the team. And I found myself on the outside again. I hated the feeling of no longer being in charge. I found myself to be off balance, and disoriented for a while. Fortunately, I didn't have much of a role in the remaining portion of the project. I did my part, but I was astounded at my lack of motivation. It was like I'd run full out to get to the finish line, and then found myself in mid air, still pumping my legs.

I found myself turning around and watching him as he led the team. I still felt protective towards "my" people, and I had to remind myself that they weren't my responsibility. I shouldn't feel resentful that someone else was taking over from me, because I never should have been put in that role in the first place. (My role is in IT, but does not include responsibility for managing project teams. I'm supposed to take care of the servers and ensure that the users' computers are working properly.)

Once again, I found myself reminded of the differences between a boss and a leader.

A leader leads his team, and protects them from constant interference from their customers, and from constant scope creep. A boss accepts assignments and passes them on to his subordinates.

The leader encourages his people, ensuring that they get as much done as they can, while tempering his demands with an eye on their tolerance for more stress. A boss constantly pushes his people to deliver more, with less, in less time. A boss praises his teams accomplishments, then immediately makes more demands.

A leader says "No" to customers on occassion, like when they inevitably ask for more than the team can deliver. A boss gets pushed into a corner, and makes promises without giving the team an honest opportunity to give input.

A leader takes an estimate from his people and lengthens it for unexpected delays and developments. A boss takes an estimate and shortens it, because the customer needs it faster, or because he thinks his team is taking it easy.

When things go wrong, a leader works with the team to fix it, if possible, or takes responsibility for the team's failure, if not. A boss takes credit for success, and assigns blame for failure.

A leader encourages his people to balance work, family and leisure, for a more satisfying and productive life. A boss demands more sacrifice from their people, to the greater glory (and profit) of the company.

Being a leader is different than being a boss. I think I'd rather be a leader.


posted at 07:55 AM :: permalink :: Comments (0)
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