Restlessness and Routines

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn’t lyin’
All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
I’m gonna drink ’em up

And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill

Warren Zevon
Desperados Under the Eaves

Big storm tonight. Lights going off and on a few times, but as of this writing, more on than off.

I was meant to be off today. But I decided to stick around. Some big meetings and I was uncomfortable being out. I needed to support my boss and help with the messaging. Also, I am acutely aware I will be held accountable for outcomes—and so I need to shape the inputs as much as possible.

We had some difficult moments this week. A couple of my bosses, with big titles, are not in agreement with my depiction of our current status. From my viewpoint they are naive. Nice folks, but with vastly less relevant experience than me in this situation. Yet their ego prevents them from seeing the truth. Even though they are sitting on top of the program, they are not able to see clearly the larger picture and all the hundreds of things that must come together for this initiative to deploy. So they are overly optimistic about our ability to execute all these things in precision, with a tired and professionally immature team, with much of the most important work taking place over the holiday period.

I got home around 9:30 this evening after leaving the office at 4:00. I was restless, which is not unheard of for me, but this is different. It’s more immediate and a little concerning. It has a heavier base than my usual restlessness. This is more like tense and on-edge. Maybe some sadness mixed in.

I went first to The Fairmount, which a cool little restaurant and bar near university circle, just south of Cleveland Clinic main campus. But it was overcrowded and way too noisy for single. It would have been great if I were with a group, but alone, it was a bit much.

Next I went to The Standard for a beer and a shot, and later still to Bratenhal Bistro for take away pizza.

Full moon; harvest moon. Friday the 13th. Superb storm with lighting and thunder, maybe that is contributing to my state of mind. But Warren seems appropriate for a night like this, so listening to the LP of Excitable Boy.

Not much to report on these past 10 days or so. Both a blessing and a curse. I’ve never been one to embrace normalcy or routine—always striking out on some adventure or another when things got boring. But I am trying hard now to learn to accept day-to-day. To slow down. Read more. Write more. Build a canoe. So, doing some of that. Definitely getting more reading time and doing a bit more writing, but work has also been pretty exhausting. So just hunkering down. I am very committed to getting this work project across the line. I don’t think we will make April. Just too far behind and not enough time to make up the ground. It’s still possible, but the team is tired and slowing. Professional consultants are used to long hours and the pace and intensity of complex projects, but most of the Clinic personnel are more 9-5 culture. Most people are working hard, but only from 7:30 or so to around 5:30 or so. And that should be enough, under normal circumstances. But in this program, as happens so often, nothing of substance got done for the first 9 months. And so by the time everyone woke up, they were way behind. I came in March and was the wake up call. We’ve added 13 or 14 people since then, changed our organizational structure, become tactically focused on activities immediately in front of us, better at planning and execution, improved governance and reporting, but it may be just too late to get all the remaining work done in the time we have available to us. But we will see. Keep on keeping on.

I want to get this project through to the end so I have it on my resume. Then I may strike out on a different path. Or maybe move to London with the Clinic to oversee the new hospital implementation. But for now, all focus on the task at hand.

What else? I took my friend Sadia to dinner at Soho in Ohio City one night. Great dinner on the patio. Upscale southern style chicken joint. Sadia is going through a bit of a tough time so we chatted and got caught up. After, we went for a walk to get a drink and came across a glass blowing operation and stopped to watch for a bit.

On Tuesday night, Ryan and I met Craig, Michael and Matthew at The Standard for a nice dinner to celebrate finally getting the Premier contract signed for data conversion work. Between Oracle and Cleveland Clinic, two mammoth organizations with more lawyers than is good for them, it took forever. Were it not for the good grace of Craig, the deal would have fallen apart. Afterwards, we met some of the crew out for drinks and had a good time. Turns out Matthew, who is just one of the coolest, most sincere and unique people I have ever known, is a big Rocky fan. Rocky 4 is apparently, the crème de la crème, of Rocky movies. Rocky 5? Forget about it. Worst movie ever. Matthew does not even acknowledge its existence. But 4? Oh yea! Who knew?

I decided at the last minute not to go to the boat makers rendezvous in Ontario, CA. With the border crossing, that is an 8 or 9 hour drive each way. So too much driving for a 3-day weekend. I need to save my PTO for Namibia in November. I need to get that trip booked soon.

I have managed a few good bike rides including 35 miles on Saturday with some decent hills. 2300 feet of elevation gain, which is not bad for OH. Still a lot of work to do on the bike but I am getting there. I remain amazed at how beautiful parts of Ohio are. After the ride, I sat in the garden at The Standard and had a Cohiba with a couple of Stella’s and Jameson’s. Lovely time.

I need to get more rides in during the week. I had intended to get out of work a little early last week on a day or two, but something came up, as it usually does, and I was there with Marcelo until after 6. Every project has a workhorse and at GBT it is Marcelo. He is always first one there and last one out. At Vertiv it was Scott Trifiletti. At Whitelight it was Brian Petrotte.

On Sunday, I drove to Columbus and met the family for brunch at 101 Beer Kitchen. Always a decent meal at a fair price. We were celebrating Dad, Larry, and Shannon’s birthdays. Nice time but 4 hours on the road. 5.5 actually because I stopped at the outlet stores mall and got some slacks and shirts for work.

No other news of note. Just learning to embrace routine. Still missing that little dog like crazy.

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