Friday, April 1, 2016

Another Year in Review

Having read my last year in review, I'm pleased with the format, so I'm going to use it again.

TL;DR Version: Fell off the face of the earth with my friends and felt extremely guilty about it.  Worked seven shows (crewed three, stage managed two, production managed two, production assisted two).  Adopted a new dog.  Got incredibly screwed over at work because of nepotism.  My union forgot I existed.  My family had three surgeries in eight months and I injured my shoulder badly.  I started dating the most amazing guy.


January: Ran the show with flying people in it some more (show runs are really freakin long).  The show transfer went shockingly well and I had two lovely people to carpool with for my first show commuting from my new apartment.  Shea moved out of her apartment because of a mold infestation, which was the cause of her terrible migraines and sinus infections.  Didn't get the production management job, but got offered interim production manager for three months, which was the strangest phone conversation I've ever had.

February:  Closed the previous show.  99 shows, 7 flights per show, and no flights aborted or unsafe.  I'd call that an amazing track record.  Spent my first Valentine's Day alone in seven years, and by alone, I mean partying with friends, including my ex (my life's weird, okay)?  Started my stint as interim production manager.  I was production manager for the original staged reading, which I'd stage managed the year before and also for the spring kid's show (which I was also stage managing).  Office work was bizarre and not my favorite, although getting to set my own schedule was bitchin.  Also!  I adopted a seventh month old, smooth-coat, Saluki puppy named Ash.  I got to take him (and Argos) into the office with me, which was super convenient timing.  Started work on a massive sighthounds of the world poster.  Had my first sinus infection ever, which was awful.

March:  Started rehearsals for the kid's show I mentioned before.  I had the best asms anyone could ever ask for.  Opened the stage reading, which was as fantastic as the previous year's.  Although the second night of the reading, I had to go up onstage and address the audience because they were having technical difficulties with the sound.  Balancing production management and stage management while not going into overtime was nearly impossible, though I got better at managing it as the time went on.  I pulled Ash from the obedience class I enrolled him in, when the trainer basically told me that she wasn't willing to work with us (he's leash reactive (though not aggressive, to be very clear) and gets excited when there are other dogs around him and he's on a leash).  They fired my old direct boss (who I loved, but was going to leave anyway) but then didn't actually have proven cause (which the union helped prove) and so he left without technically being fired.  Riley and one of my ex-roommates (who I can't for the life of me remember the pseudonym for) started dating (again (this is the second time)).  I was a little freaked out and frustrated at first, but I think I did handle it maturely.

April:  Opened the kid's show.  It was a huge success, considering we had 42 people backstage in that tiny, tiny space (that's not even including the four of us in the booth).  We did have an epidemic of the flu hit the cast, and were worried that we might have to cancel shows.  The new production manager showed up the week of tech, which was terrible, especially because he's fresh out of college and doesn't know what he's doing at all; so basically I got to train him....that was awkward (the kids program manager did tell me that she didn't offer me the job not because I wasn't qualified but because she thought I wouldn't take it, and that I'd done amazingly in the interim, which assuaged some of the bad feelings).  Got offered production assistant for the first show (at the theatre I normally work at), props on the second, production assistant on the fourth, and props on the fifth (this information will become incredibly relevant).  We lucked out though and pulled through.  Went on a solo backpacking trip for three days with the dogs in between closing the one show and starting the next.  It was slightly reckless, but I took precautions and enjoyed myself thoroughly.  Started teching the final show of the season as props.  Went to the dog park and dinner with my ex-roommate who's dating Riley (must remember to look up pseudonym), which was lovely, and, I feel like, cleared the air.

May:  Injured my right shoulder while trying to operate an Austrian curtain that pulled above my head.  After I realized what was injuring be, we adjusted the pull to be below my head height, but I was in a whole lot of pain.  My track for that show was extremely difficult in a different way than normal.  I had to balance props with rail pulls, umbilical paging (making sure the cable umbilical attached to the motorized band platform didn't tear out), and Austrian curtain swagging.  The four very different tasks were immensely difficult to balance.  It would have been easier if I had been the one in costume, then I could have just balanced props and onstage set moves, but there was only one of us in costume and they wanted it to be a guy.  Started flirting rather heavily with the coworker I'd mentioned before who is a good friend (Wendell).  Also, I realized that my union status had lapsed due to hand-waving and bullshit, bullshit, grumble, grumble, reasons that never ever became clear.  Finally, I emailed back to accept the positions I was offered, but never received confirmation that I would be working them.  My other direct boss for crew work got promoted to a new position that they created just for her, and we all hoped that would make grand changes.  Shea had surgery to fix a deviated septum that had developed from breaking her nose twice the previous year.  They hoped it would help with her sinus infections.

June: Got involved with Wendell.  It was so so fantastic.  Being involved with a Dom is just exactly what I needed.  And it helps that we mesh so well in other ways too.  We really didn't intend for it to become "serious" or even "dating" initially.  Struggled through running the show with an injured shoulder.  Got an MRI and saw the first ever orthopedist that I've ever liked (I did extensive, extensive research).  He told me I'd severely compromised the acromion-clavicular joint (AC joint) and had developed Bursitis because of a calcification on the end of my clavical (which I'd also had (and they'd removed) on my left clavical).  Basically, it was just pain management, unless I wanted to undergo a very minor surgery to buzz off the calcification (which I didn't).  I emailed the union at least four times and got no responses.  Wendell decided to apply for the open boss position (which he is incredibly qualified for), which meant there was an open motor position, which I emailed both the production manager and stage ops supervisor (the new position that had just been created) to tell them I was interested. Oh, and because I don't mention her nearly enough, Wendell adores Fae (my kitty) and she adores him; it's adorable.

July:  Transferred the show to the new town.  Pulled my deltoid on my first rail pull and had to have someone sub in to do my rail pulls (which was awful).  My dad had a second blood clot that resulted in a pulmonary embolism, which occurred almost as soon as they eased him off the blood thinners he was on.  They kept him in for more extensive testing this time.  I continued to pester the powers-that-be about if I would get a motor position and was told not until they filled the two positions for my immediate bosses.  Also continued to harass the union and after many more emails and a well-placed call, I finally got an interview and a retest scheduled for the next month.  Wendell broke up with the other woman he was seeing, but they said they'd reassess in a month; though he still was/is seeing another woman under very specific circumstances off and on.  Wendell got the promotion and it was awesome and well deserved!

August:  Closed the show; the last weekend, I had a massive sinus infection that came on suddenly.  I was dizzy, disoriented, exhausted, headachy, and feverish.  I couldn't even drive, Wendell ended up spending the entire weekend helping me make it through the show and taking care of me.  A few days later, we ended up talking about where our relationship was going and he told me he loved me.  From there is was just a small step to dating ((So much for keeping it casual) yes, I know, my love life is weird (Wendell's is weirder though! Okay?!)).  I aced my union retest/interview and my status was finally finally above-board again.  Continued to get put-off by the stage ops supervisor about what shows I would officially be working, and whether I'd work motors, though she heavily hinted that she wanted me there. She did tell me that we'd talk during tech for the first show of the season. Started in rehearsals as production assistant (yay asisstant assistant stage manager (my favorite......) for the first show of the season.  It took awhile for the sm and asm to trust I knew what I was doing, but once they did, they trusted me and we worked well together.  Worked on my birthday, for the first time ever (it's normally in between seasons) and also my birthday turned out really poorly.  Wendell and his ex-girlfriend decided to start hooking-up again and chose the day after my boyfriend.  He'd promised her that he wouldn't see me the day before he saw her, so he wasn't going to come over on my birthday.  He was rather vague on all of those details, however, so I completely misunderstood and thought he was coming over and ended up feeling completely deserted.  He felt terrible, he did end up coming over, and we talked until the early hours of the morning, trying to make the situation better.  He admitted that he didn't really even want to hook up with his ex anymore, but had fallen back into old habits because it was easy.  They're still friends, but not more than that anymore.  That was really the biggest misunderstanding we've had so far.  Doctors finally discovered that my dad had a condition where a vein in his left leg was deteriorating and he'd likely need surgery.  Oh and my mom discovered that she had an extremely aggressive form of skin cancer.  They scheduled surgery for less than a week later.  (Oh wow, a lot happened in August).

September:  My mom had her surgery.  They took a huge chunk out of her arm and had to remove four of her lymph nodes to make sure the cancer hadn't spread.  The day before her surgery, Wendell's car broke down, so he ended up borrowing my car for a week and I borrowed my mom;s  We went into tech for the first show of the season and it turns out tech as a production assistant is really fucking boring.  Also the stage ops supervisor put off my meeting with her three times (I wasn't really surprised, but really fucking annoyed).  The last time I actually showed up to have the meeting and she didn't show up until an hour and a half after she said she'd be at the theatre.  I sent her an angry email basically saying I needed confirmation and she responded saying: props for two, production assistant for four, key grip for five (a demotion and pay-cut).  I responded that we needed to meet and we finally set a time.  We talked and what she had to say was a lot of temporizing and in many cases, insulting.  I turned her down for show five, and she said that she'd work on getting me a different offer.  Turns out they decided to hire the new master electrician's girlfriend, who had never crewed before with the theatre and never worked with or even really seen the motors in action before, as motor operator.  I'm still bitter and pissed.  Anyway, we opened the first show and I walked away because my job was complete and I started officiating high school volleyball again.  I began a very slow, but concerted effort to de-clutter my apartment (I actually adore the results so far).

October:  Stage managed the same fundraiser as last year.  It went extremely well and was a lot of fun.  Continued to officiate volleyball, which was mostly fun.  The stage ops supervisor got back to me with a new offer, saying that I could have props for show five instead (exactly what I was originally offered).  I said: fine.  I was working the opposite schedule from Wendell for this stretch, which really sucked.  At the end of the month, started tech for the show I'm currently working.  It was a fairly easy and straightforward tech.  Working with Wendell as my boss was a slight adjustment, but the biggest problem I had was how hurt and bitter I was with the company.  It didn't help that they'd budgeted extremely poorly for the crew hours and so Wendell had to fight them for every spare bit of time that we actively needed.  My dad's surgery was scheduled to be at the end of the month, but the doctor didn't submit it to insurance in time so they had to reschedule, but they didn't know that until day of (this meant I had to pick up the dogs in the middle of tech, which was pretty brutal).

November: This month was such a blur.  We continued to fight management about the amount of time we needed for our call.  They insisted on only four hours (not four and a half), for a three hour show.  The day they finally mandated that, I found out during dinner and sobbed the entire time.  Poor Wendell felt so bad for having to tell me the bad news (the props track generally takes the longest to set up, tear down, and maintenance).  We're making it work now.  Sorta.  But the crew is amazing and I really enjoy the show, so I'm feeling better about that.  My dad had surgery the day after that proclamation was made and in my depression, I completely forgot to show up to the hospital.  I felt awful about it, but he's recovering so well now at least.  Ash got treated for a bladder infection (it seems to be helping immensely).  I went to see my doctor for a physical and also to talk to her about the amount of depression and anxiety I'd been suffering from.  It's easy to list all these things that happened categorically, with no feelings attached, but the stuff with the union, work, and my family hit me really really hard.  It was just one stress on top of another and I wasn't myself at all.  My doctor (who I love), agreed that it was depression and prescribed for me a mild anti-depressant (so no more alcohol for me for a minimum of three, more likely six, months).  I also made the decision, that I couldn't emotionally handle working show five and scheduled yet another meeting with the stage ops supervisor.

December: My talk with the stage ops supervisor was at the beginning of the month.  I went into it with pages of arguments as to why she should move me to show four.  Turns out that I didn't need any of them.  I told her I couldn't handle working show five and she said that she'd switch me; that easy.  After everything I'd gone through, it was anti-climatic.  However, I have never felt so relieved.  Emotionally, things have been uphill since then.  The cold from hell went through the company and I managed to catch it, and the worst case of it, at that.  It was the worst regular cold that I have ever had (it was definitely up there with bronchitis, pneumonia, and the flu).  It manifested during the Friday evening show and got steadily worse throughout the weekend.  By the Sunday matinee, Wendell and the asm told me that they were calling in a sub to run the show that evening (she'd be running it dry, having never shadowed my track).  I felt so sick that I actually agreed without a fight, though I felt horribly guilty when the sub messed up and they had to hold the show. A week after that, my doctor upped my anti-depressant dosage my 5mg and it went so so badly.  I got so anxious in crowds and around people that my throat tightened up and I had a full on anxiety attack, which meant I couldn't even enjoy Christmas with my friends.

January: I'll save most of this month for next year's review, but after having two full anxiety attacks, one during work, I stopped taking to 10mg dose entirely.  This, predictably, sent me into withdrawals, which entailed terrible anxiety and depression, including suicidal thoughts.  It was terrible.  The most terrible thing I've been through.  But I got through, with a lot of support from Wendell; and though the depression has stuck around, it's actually more manageable than it was before and it's less frequent.

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