Not quite there yet

Published 9:58 am Friday, March 22, 2013

American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go home again”. Although his novel of the same title was not referring to circumstances similar to mine, I must say that my coming home is working out so far.

I have had some wonderful “welcome home” emails, phone calls and a few face-to-face visits.

I’ve had a lady stop by, whose children I knew back in high school, and bring me homemade rolls.

I’ve had an old co-worker from my days at Franklin Equipment stop by.

I’ve attended a breakfast meeting and exchanged hugs with neighbors and friends.

I’ve been introduced at a city council meeting.

I’ve had a friendly visit from the sheriff.

I’ve gotten a multitude of cyber pats on the back via my Facebook page.

I’ve seen old friends in stores and friends in church.

I’ve heard from friends of my Mother and friends of my Father.

I’ve met spouses of friends and interviewed children of neighbors.

I’ve even been in a dear friend’s wedding, along with 117 other bridesmaids, and at that wedding reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.

All in all, my first two weeks of working for my hometown newspaper have been gratifying.

But there have been a few obstacles.

These weeks have been stressful and hectic.

It is a joke here in the newsroom that we are in a time warp because the time flies by. I’ll sit down at the computer in the morning and the next thing I know, it is way past lunch.

I still have so much to learn. Although I’ve got newspaper writing and editing experience, I have been out of the business for a while and I can tell. I am finding that I am slower to get back in the groove. I know I’ll get it eventually but it is a big learning curve to overcome.

The computer systems are different than I’ve worked with and even the email server is foreign, so receiving an email with a submitted news item or photo is taking me longer than it should to process.

I’ll get there but there have been several afternoons where I just wanted to boo-hoo. There have been other days when I’ve walked out the door with stress knots in my upper back just aching.

But I shouldn’t be surprised about all of this. I have endeavored to tackle two of the biggest stress inducers any person can encounter in their lifetime — starting a new job and moving. It is no wonder I have stress issues. I should allow myself a little slack and not beat myself up for having moments of doubt.

Hearing from old friends and meeting news ones does help, but basically it boils down to the inner me — the voice inside my head — that must first be satisfied that I’m learning, I’m getting it and I will be okay.

I’m trying to settle in to a routine. I get up and walk my dog, Scrappy, a 13-year-old mixed breed my daughter and I rescued from the pound. It’s a new routine for him too.

I have found that bringing my lunch is the easiest way to go, since there is little time to pause and go buy something.

I try to do a few things around the house to help my parents, but I’m not doing as much as I’d like — yet.

There are more dog walks — right after work and then right before bed. I try to sit a spell with my parents, then it’s upstairs to my little nest. I’m back in my old bedroom, which in itself is surreal. It’s déjà vu — shades of high school all over again.

On nights the paper goes to press, I proof pages from home via the computer. I know I’ve missed things and made mistakes, but again I’m still learning.

I’ve had one evening interview and next week I have two nighttime assignments.

Like I said, the routine is falling into place, but I’m not quite there.

Making this paper the best it can be for the readers is my goal and I hope you’ll bear with me as I conquer the learning curve, face my fears, realize I’m not perfect, and continue down the path of making it work — for me and for you.

As Rebecca Wells wrote in one of my all time favorite books, “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” “It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb upon the beast and ride.”