Day: May 30, 2015

GSL Open Water Clinic

It’s official 2015 open water season has begun and life is happy for yours truly.  Next week is the GSL 1 mile swim and it will be my 4th year swimming it.  I am probably my least prepared for it but I had a test swim today and it gave me more confidence for next week.  They said I swam about .9 miles today and it wasn’t too bad so I think it will be great for the race.  Please pray I will be able to sleep next Friday because that could be a problem since the race is early in the morning.

Today was the GSL Open Water clinic and it was a huge success.

DSCF8005The water was very warm at 75 degrees.  This is why they have the GSL swim so early in the year because the salt and position makes it heat up very early .

Getting in the Great Salt Lake is an experience.  Your whole body reacts to the salt. Your nose and any other tender spots burn, your skin tingles and the water feels heavy like no other.  As you are swimming you can feel the salt sucking strength from your body as you quickly get dehydrated with no relief. People think it is like the ocean.  It is nothing like the ocean.  5 times saltier than the ocean in fact!

open4It was so funny some tourists from New York asked us for tips during their stay and where they could buy “local shrimp”.  I didn’t know what they meant at first and realized they were talking about the brine shrimp!  These are microscopic organisms that live in the Great Salt Lake, the only living organism in the lake.  Certainly not the kind of shrimp they were hoping for!

This year the water is very shallow and it seemed extra potent.  It’s so shallow they had to take all the boats out and have them in the parking lot.  We started at the marina and then they had about 5 buoys set out going towards the south beach.  The GSL swim has always been a straight shot to the Black Rock beach but this year they are doing a loop to one of the rocky beaches because of the water (if they did Black Rock it would have to be half swim half run and I’d be out).

I have decided this year to swim in batches of 50 and as I was testing out my stroke I think it will be good to alternate breaststroke and freestyle.  Sighting is so hard in Great Salt Lake even with buoys and the current can be very strong. There is something so motivating about swimming breaststroke open water because you can see your target dead on.  It is a little bit slower probably but it feels faster in the moment which is very encouraging.

Open water is such a mental sport.  It always feels like I am never going to get to the target.  I tell my friends it feels like you are on a swimming treadmill.  Even when you are very close it seems like you aren’t going to make it to the final destination.

But today I went out of the marina area and then about a half mile and then swam back to the marina.  Gordon told me it was .9 of a mile so pretty close.  This has given me great encouragement for next Saturday.  I was really nervous since I haven’t swam open water since last July but now I feel confident.  I’ll be tired but I know I can cross the finish line!

open 2 DSCF8012 openMy friend Etsuko is swimming open water this year (hurray!) and her friend could not understand why we would get in that stinky ‘cesspool water”.  It’s hard to explain.  Sometimes the swims give me anxiety and stress me out but there’s nothing like the feeling of finishing especially at GSL.

There is something about the human experience that needs to occasionally do hard things.  And people don’t expect a big girl like me to do something hard.  With my feet issues I can’t run or do anything like that so when I first went to open water it was like finding my home.  It was where I belonged with all the other misfits who love the water.  Even among swimmers a very small percentage do open water.

I’ve had so many people I’ve taken to the lakes and they hated it.  It was dirty.  It was gross.  It was cloudy.  But then every once in a while there will be someone like Etsuko, my friend Abby or myself who love it.  We love the challenge.  We love being out in nature.  We love the unpredictability.  We love the comradarie and family but at a certain point we just love it.

It’s like when you love key lime pie you can say a few things that you like but it in the end comes down to your taste buds just like it.  Same with me and open water.  It is hard.  It makes me nervous and I doubt myself sometimes but I love it.  It fits me and I am SOOOOOO Excited for the summer.

I hope you can all find your athletic match and hopefully it can be outdoors enjoying the beautiful, crazy and sometimes stinky world God has given us.

Stay tuned for tons of fun open water updates this summer and all the excitement of next weeks big race! Go SLOW!

Accounting Goodbye

In the Apartment Jack Lemmon learns what he will sacrifice to not be one of the 'office masses'

Today marks the end of an era in my life.  It is my last official day working in accounting (at least for the foreseeable future).  It’s been 10 years since I got behind a desk taking a simple secretarial job never dreaming it would dictate the next decade of my life.  I still can’t believe it!

If you had asked me when I was growing up or even in college if I would work in accounting for 10 years I would have said you were nuts.  I’ve always been cluttered and bad at math.  Little did I know that accounting actually has very little to do with math.  It has everything to do with routines and organizing data.

In some ways it was a good career for me and maybe not a surprise I ended up there.  I am great with routines and am extremely fast at data entry.  I am also someone that can do the same thing over again and not grow tired of it.  I could eat the same thing, see the same movie and be fine.  That part of accounting never bothered me.

What was difficult was I seemed to be prone to errors especially at the beginning because it was all new.  It seemed at first I was inventing new ways all the time on how to mess up the check run (I can’t believe no check runs! Wow!).  These mistakes were always caught by one check and balance or another but it was still humiliating and it didn’t help that my manager at the time rubbed them in my face and made me feel ashamed of my work.

She was the wicked witch of my life.  Not only the worst boss I’ve ever had but one of the worst people.  She manipulated me (and everyone else) so that I found myself apologizing when I had actually done good work. Imagine what it was like when I made mistakes.  I put up with her for 3 years because I lacked the courage to quit my job but finally in December 2007 I had enough!  In one of my proudest moments I walked out and into nothing to begin the great economic year of 2008 (seriously who quits their job in 2008.  That’s how bad it was).  Kierkegaard talks about the great leap of faith and how it has to be perfect or it is illogical to believe.  That moment in my life was as close as I’ve ever gotten to the perfect leap. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind it was the right thing to do.

Everything good that has happened to me in my life has been a response to that leap including starting this blog! I was unemployed and decided in May 2008 to blog how I was feeling.  Honestly I felt like I needed healing after such an intense period (some of you may think I’m exaggerating but it was a time of deep depression and anxiety for me working in that job.  Only God knows how tough it really was).

At that time I graduated from my MBA and thought I would go work in marketing or maybe human resources but over 40 interviews and nothing.  My Dad asked me if I wanted to help manage his properties and I did that full time for about a year (thanks Dad!).  I learned that even if I was doing some accounting work I was happier working from home and being my own boss.  I felt free and it was exhilarating.  I also moved to Draper during this time.

Then I got the offer to work part time in marketing for Grabber, which I did giving at warmers at local events (remember my old Grabber van?).  But that was quickly dissolved and they needed help with accounting so back I went but this time I was working from home which was pretty good.

My next boss Kevin was a delight and I began working full time for Impact, Grabber and my brother’s new company Poler.  I would go up to Syracuse, Utah once a week and print checks and do other mind numbingly boring tasks that nobody in all 3 companies wanted to do.  That’s the history of my time in accounting.  Because I was so fast if there was someone who didn’t want to do something I would get the job which was generally okay with me.  One of the worst projects was entering 27,000 lines of inventory into quickbooks for Impact.  So boring!  (it was then that I got into podcast listening because it distracted me a little bit without being too much).

Then the company’s were sold and Kevin moved over to exclusively Impact while I stayed working for Grabber and Poler.  Each week I did more and more for Poler until I was working for Grabber only managing their sales tax.  I became the queen of sales tax.

Then they sold Poler and eventually Grabber was sold to Kobayashi.  In 2013 I went from working at Grabber to Poler full time and then to part time last summer.  My boss at Poler is a woman named Kelly and she is a total delight.  I will really miss working with her.  The part time work was a little bit of a safety net as I am working 30 hours in my marketing work for Kobayashi and it gave me a full 40 hours with Poler but it feels good to sever the ties and focus solely on my new  job.  (well except for my Dad’s rentals).

The problem with all of this work is it was never ending.  I was grateful for it but because I worked from home there was no separation between my life and work and if I didn’t do certain things they just didn’t get done.  In the case of accounts payable that is a major problem or payroll.  It has to get done! So there was many a time when I was sick as a dog and printing out checks or entering data into a computer in Hawaii or California.  It was also sometimes hard to go home because my father was my boss and it meant I couldn’t relax because I was always working or thinking about work.  No breaks.

But I got to work from home so it was worth it.  The very idea of going to back ‘cubicle Hell’ as I like to call it makes me nauseous.  It will be very tough for me after working from home for the last 7 years. I pray every day that nothing will change in that department.

Fortunately things are looking great in my new marketing job and I really feel like I have scored the job lottery.  I couldn’t be more happy.  Every day I am learning new things and honing my craft.  It is so satisfying!

I am nothing but grateful for those years in accounting.  It was a journey I needed to go on and it sustained me for 10 years.  It helped me buy my home and do so many amazing things.  I never felt completely whole doing accounting and had decided it was just a compromise I was going to have to make in life.  It was the card I had been dealt career-wise and at a certain point (8 years in!) you have to accept what God has given you and not be miserable all the time.

So I am grateful but getting this new job has taught me to always maintain a sliver of hope.  Good things do come to those who wait and work in the sphere God has set them in.  I wasn’t anticipating a career change.  It came out of nowhere but like I said it has been a dream come true.

And now one door is closed and another is 100% starting, no safety net.  I hope I can eventually be made full time with my new career but I will wait patiently and do my very best.  In some ways it is actually nice having 10 more hours a week to do personal projects like my youtube channel (but I want the 40 don’t get me wrong!).  There are times and seasons for everything and just like my accounting career morphed and changed I’m sure this new job will do the same.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

10 years of accounting is done!  Hurray!  (I don’t know if anyone but me will read this rambling post but it is my story which I needed to write out).  Sure love you guys and to 10 years of marketing!