Clandemonium Heads East

I’ve written before about routines. My feelings on them, my need for them, and my belief that you need to choose what routine you want to settle in to. And I believe in what I wrote. Routine is a necessity. It can be a good thing that keeps you grounded so long as it is one that you want to commit and stay in. I love my routines. While I am making some tweaks and changes, I wouldn’t give them up for long.

That said…

It’s time for an adventure mutha fuckas!!!

Clanman is getting out of Dodge for two whole weeks. Trying something new, in a new place, surrounded by new people. My company has sent me to the far off region of New England, specifically Connecticut. For two weeks I am trading in my Yooper brethern for New Englanders. Leaving the woods of the Upper Peninsula for the… well I guess they have woods in Connecticut. So woods for other woods, I guess. Pasties for… wait. What is Connecticut known for food-wise? Google search, one moment. Lobsters and crabs? Shit. I’m allergic. Oh well. There has to be other foods there different from the limited culinary options of the Iron Range. There is pizza everywhere, right?

Just kidding. I actually do a lot of researching foods from different regions of the country. Mostly burgers. I gots kind of a hang-up about burgers. Borderline obsession really. I read about ‘em, watch videos about ‘em, look for local burger hotspots while on vacation. I… I do a lot of thinking ‘bout burgers. They’re the best. There will be QUITE a bit more on this subject to come. Believe you me. I am not certain that last sentence is grammatically correct but I have heard it as an expression. Am I missing a comma?

Back to the business at hand. Yes, I am heading out for two full weeks. Two weeks away from my home, my Store, my family, and my work family. I am leaving my comfort zone to test the waters of a new adventure. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this could be totally cray. I am not super adjustable to changes to the plan. Like I am not at ALL a fan of the pop-in. You know when you’re at home doing your home stuff like cleaning and such, and someone just shows up unannounced to like talk to you? Yeah that… that is not my scene at all. I need announced visits or I fly in to a Rain Man like fit of anxiety. It isn’t pretty. It’s not that I’m against visitors just give me a heads-up when people are gonna be all up in my business so I can mentally prepare. I like to know which Me needs to be activated to each scenario. Oh, yeah. There are different Mes in my head. Like depending on the situation there is an appropriate Me to fit the conditions and I need to have a moment to shift gears to become the proper Me to fit the situation. There’s Work Me, who is adapted at customer service, management, planning and work production. There’s Dad Me that is agile at answering endless numbers of questions, constant clean-up, and general misc. plate juggling. Husband Me that can interact with my wife and such. And then there’s Social Me which is able to converse(admittedly awkwardly) with peoples and in social settings. There’s a Me that fits any situation as long as I have proper warning of what the situation is. Sometimes I get a little weird if I haven’t gotten ample warning and have to shift gears without notice. That makes me turn into Fidgety/Anxious Me as I work through the change. Now this sounds crazy, however I often hear “put on my big girl panties” as an expression of changing into a mature version of oneself to handle a demanding situation. This implies that you can shift gears simply with a change of underwear. Who’s weird now?

Still me.  Allllllwwwwaaaayyyyssss me. Which is actually Regular Me.

Anyways, I am leaving my comfort zone. I’m leaving my routines. I’m leaving my peoples that keep me going. I’m committing to spending two full weeks away from my wife and children. What the hell is wrong with me? I can’t do this. I don’t know if I have accurately portrayed the shit sandwich that I am without my wife and kids. It’s like I’m a mess unless there’s someone relying on me. Then somehow I can at least fake it to make their world better. Does that make sense? I need the dependence of them to keep me rational. I’m not super good on my own usually. And now I’m gonna commit to two weeks away from them? The F is wrong with me?

Okay, Clanman. Breathe. Sensible Me is gonna talk to you for a minute. Here’s why I’m doing this: the opportunity for my career. I’m not going to get in to a lot of detail of my assignment, but this is a rare chance to learn and demonstrate my abilities as a manager and a leader. I was chosen from a group of people in my position to take this assignment. Part of the reason that I was chosen is because when this opportunity came up I did my research on it. I learned about the region, the population, and the demographics to know what the assignment would look like. The crazy thing is that when I did this, I found that this place in CT(BTW, that’s Connecticut) is not unlike Ironwood and the UP. It’s closer to bigger areas, but the store is actually in a more rural setting that fits what I do. Plus knowing what I do about how my company approaches execution in physical spaces that don’t fit the traditional mold, I know firsthand how to make things work. I love my company but a lot of times you gotta shoehorn round pegs into square holes to make it work. I am an expert at the round to square process. Knowing these things I decided that I was the right person for this assignment and wrote up my case for the selection committee. From what I am told, after my boss shared this info there was no debate and here I go.

The main reason I am seizing this opportunity is because of my discussion of choosing what routine I want to stay in. I have been thinking about my work routine lately, and deciding what I want that to look like. For now, my current one fits me just fine. But that won’t be the case forever. Eventually I am going to want something else. This assignment and opportunity let’s me see what else is out there and gives me experiences that can help me move in to a different role once I know what role I want to go after. The more I thought about this opportunity, the more I thought I would later regret not doing it now. So there was at least one logical reason for breaking my routine.

The other reason I did this was because my wife let me. While maybe not the biggest fan at first of having to be a single parent for half a month, she eventually saw the opportunity this presented. I also think she thought I might need a break from my routine for a bit. It’s weird but for the first 28 years of my life I feel like I was constantly alone and feeling lonely. But for the last eight I am not sure I have been alone for more than maybe a couple of days at the most, and even then usually for work trips. It’s really true. Be it at work or at home there’s always someone around. I don’t go on trips by myself which is a thing other people do. In fact the other day one of my employees told me they admire that about me. That all of my vacations are related to family things or taking care of family things. I hadn’t really thought about it until then. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. It feels right to me. Like that’s how a person is supposed to be. But in my head I know people are supposed to have space and be on their own for a minute here and there. I don’t know. I guess there’s a balance to be found there, I just haven’t figured it out. Maybe this can help me get some perspective on it.

Alright, I’m lying. There is a third reason. The truth is being on the East Coast for two weeks on the company dime sounds HELLA COOL! I mean, I am 90 minutes from Boston, a short train ride from NYC, and 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. There are 4 of my Burger Bucket List items nearby. And I am SUPER excited to eat some real fucking New York Pizza. I don’t apologize for the following statement: Midwest Pizza is shit. It’s just not my cup of tea. I mean, I’ll eat it cause even bad pizza can be good because pizza is fucking amazing. But there ain’t nothing like the New York Pizza I remember from my youth. I do not apologize for saying this, but if your pizza is cut in squares you’re not eating good pizza. Seriously. Slices, triangles make a pizza. Yes, I understand traditional Sicillian  pizza is in squares but I ain’t talking about traditional. I’m talking ‘bout American Pizza. That bastard child of Italian cuisine that this country made its own and part of our identity. And God dammit, it started in NYC and that’s where I’m going, and that’s what I’m gonna eat! FUCK YEAH!

So here I am on the cusp of this adventure. Something temporary, something new. I’ll be honest that I’m a little afraid. I haven’t been away from my family this long. And I need them. I really do. Part of me is of course worried something might happen and I’ll be gone, which is a normal fear. But another part is more afraid that I’ll miss something that I wish I had been around for. I guess that’s part of being a parent, right? You want to see it all, but best laid plans don’t always work out. Sometimes you miss things. Your best hope is to make sure you’re around for as much as you can be. I’ve tried to do that. Hopefully this won’t be the two weeks where Finn cures cancer, Ian gets his first sac, Emmett develops a Flux Capacitor, or Harley uncovers clues to an ancient advanced civilization that now lives on the moon. That stuff probably won’t happen right now, right?

I’m afraid, I’m anxious, but I’m excited. I am. Sure, I’m excited for the things I’ll see, the food I’ll eat, and the experiences I’ll have. But I’m excited to see about me. I don’t know this Me. This Alone Me is new and someone I’m hoping I like and enjoy having around every once and awhile. Someday I hope to reconcile all these Mes in to one well-adjusted Me that can fit in to all situations. Let’s see if Alone Me has some traits to share with the rest of the gang.

Sit tight dudes and dudettes. I plan to share my experiences via Facebook and my blog. I can’t promise the regularness of posts. But I’ll do my best. I’m even doing this Go Live thing, so ya know. We’ll see what shakes out.

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