Silver Linings

One hell of a week, whether looking at my personal life or a week of news I can only say, “It was one hell of a week”.

I don’t know where to start; don’t even know what I think about this past week, turmoil was a theme, one I could certainly have done without. I suspect there are times I should toss plans aside, never mind those great thoughts I have and instead simply allow the world to spin me to the next adventure. This might truly be the easier strategy that is no strategy at all. Weeks like this do make me wonder though, wonder if my goals, wants and desires are simply unrealistic.

Do you ever think fate is a great and evil bitch with a nasty sense of humor? I think this quite often. I also think, more often than I care to admit that I am far too old for this, I need something more settled, more secure and less crisis based.

What has happened this past week that was a shot out of nowhere, unexpected and costly?

  • Husband’s car lost transmission, no not putting $4,000 into car. Buy new car. But wait this one isn’t paid off; still have three payments by my calculation. There is question as to what is still owed and the difference is $3,000. This is costly and we are still trying to get an answer from the other bank of why their records are off.
  • Current contract will likely be cancelled this week; this is only 6 months early. This is a big blow for me. While the client is a bit crazy, it is a good contract, interesting and fun. It is also the first time I haven’t traveled in 10 years, being able to drive to work instead of getting on a plane on Sunday is a huge benefit, one I took a rate cut to enjoy. The change in project strategy and leadership came as a surprise (though not a shock) and it is unlikely they will use me going forward.

So significant cash out of pocket right at a time when it is likely I will be taking an extended unplanned holiday. Nice, right?

Fate is a bitch.

This leads to how to achieve calm, peace or Zen in the face of the unknown or the unexpected. I have unfortunately had an inordinate amount of practice at this. My week ended with two great things, an early dinner with my sons, their partners, children and other parents on Saturday. Grounding me in family and love. Sunday was a long and leisurely swim, adding a new exercise to my routine.

These don’t lead specifically to calm or peace; they just remind me there is more to life. If I lose this contract, it will suck; yes, it will. But I have been through this before and will go through it many times more before I retire. My suitcases remain ready to roll through airports, my resume remains up-to-date and I have already upgraded my membership at Dice and Ladders. I have to remind myself, I signed up for this when I signed up to contract rather than work for others. Time to put my network to work for me.

If the contract is cancelled, I will take a couple of weeks of downtime while I look for the next one. There are certainly some things I would like to do before being sucked back into work!

There is always a silver lining.


  1. Val, I always like to look for the silver lining or, as my mother would say, when one door closes, a window opens. Or something like that, but you get the message. I hope it’ll work itself out soon.

    • I suspect it will, whether with this client or another. Though I don’t really want to travel right now, I am willing to as I always have been and a part of me, oddly, misses it. We shall see.

  2. I Adore your positive attidude, Val.
    Sometimes it’s hard as hell to see one, but you DO! Xxx

  3. I hope you find another contract soon enough to not feel financial trouble, but not too soon to miss out on the unexpected vacation.

  4. Val, I know the place you’re in, and when I was young with two young children I found it very frightening. But when I finally reached a safe place ( well, safe-ish) and I looked back, I could see that there had always been something that just popped up and kept me going round each corner… and I regretted that I hadn’t trusted that the universe would come to the party. Instead, each I worried, instead of surrendering and knowing that something would work out…
    Thinking of you..
    .I drained the glass too – only mine was just an ugly earthenware mug!!!

    • Oh Valerie, I know and that trust gets easier. But that week last week, it just felt I don’t know; heavy.

      Oddly, today relationships are already shifting. So it will be interesting to watch.

  5. Oh this sounds familiar. Your attitude shows the right way to go.
    Gratitude for the truly great things in life.

    Oh, I detest change :and honestly empathize.

  6. I can relate to what you’re going through, Val and you’ve my best wishes for a glorious sun burst.

    You’re right as sometimes, I feel the cosmic masters have a sense of humour that many of us don’t feel is funny.

    Peace, Eric

    • I honestly am likely just whining. This has been one of the stranger contracts and odder clients, often sending me ducking for cover. Though I like many of the people I frequently don’t like the environment. Perhaps it is for the best.

      We shall see what is next.

  7. I’ve discovered that too. Just when I think I’ve finally got it all together fate smacks me in the face and says, “Sucker!” LOL

    • Sucker indeed! You know though, Spring has finally arrived in Texas. I can polish off my lens and take some strolls through our parks before the weather heats up to much and kills all our flowers. I can finally, perhaps get some shots of downtown and do some long put off cleaning (not fun but much needed). I can take a short trip home to Houston to visit family.

      So it isn’t like there aren’t things to do. Fate might be an evil humored bitch, then again we just might fail to see the humor.

  8. Oh, Val, that is a lot in one week. Yikes! Even one of those would be enough to put a serious strain on my peace of mind. So happy you enjoyed time with your family, however. Hang in there.

    Sara and I have arrived safely in Ecuador, and I’m trying to get back in the blogging groove. More soon!


    • Hi Kathy! I am so glad you all are safe and sound in Ecuador! I cannot wait to see you come back to the blog and tell us all about your travels, your new home and everything!

      You know, I am just going to hang out and see what comes. Maybe this is just the next door to open, you never know. Maybe we will be neighbors.


  9. Here is hoping we come back to you with an inbox full of offers. Ugh to the car.

  10. My stomach is getting tied in sympathy knots by your $$ trouble. The older I get the more security-focused I become. I have to remind myself of the half=full/silver-lining stuff all the time. Good for you for (kinda) rolling with these punches. Hang in there!

    • Nah, no sympathy knots. Honestly, I signed up for this even if I bitch about it. I just wish sometimes my clients could be a bit more forthcoming, a bit more organized. But, then I suppose this is why they hire me. Strangely, I like this client even though they frustrate me. I would love to create my perfect job and then work for them (even though I don’t think they would let me be successful).

      The glass is empty Peg, I drank the water. The lining is surely silver if not platinum.

  11. There’s nothing like car problems to ruin everything. I’ve always said, once the transmission goes, it’ll be a slow-motion train wreck going forward; the proverbial domino effect. Saddened to learn of your client issues, too. If you have a contract with them, aren’t they obligated to pay for the full term? Obviously, I don’t know the full details. But, I’d be interested to understand something about it, as I try to get my own freelance writing career going.

    • Contracts are always open ended, always. For the sake of reputation you (and I) would never walk away without giving notice and finishing key milestones. On the other hand a client can end a contract with no notice. Similar to employment but without the perks and benefits. Generally, you will have some knowledge if you are working in project management, but in the case of this client things have been in turmoil for months now so from week to week it has been a constant question mark.

      You and I agree on the car issue. It is why I said I absolutely would not spend the money to fix the transmission.

  12. Like you said, life’s a bitch, but you know that sooner or later you’re going to blow her off, right? Luck to you, Valentine. I never did contract work, but have friends who do. Negativity attracts negativity. Glad to hear you have a positive outlook. Good luck.

    • The bitch is my relative, I am certain of it. We walk arm-in-arm and chat over coffee. 😉

      There is no other outlook to have, without being able to smile through this I would surely be lost.

  13. Hey Val, sorry for your trouble. I must say that I am impressed with your attitude I think the car thing alone would have made me cry.

  14. I hear you about contracts ending as I recently had one cut short as well. I try to think of the phrase ‘as one door closes…’ but sometimes it is so hard to think that way at the time! Please keep us posted and let us know if we can help you in any way. If friendship can help then you are among many helpers here x

    • Isn’t it interesting the way the economy is more and more shifting to this strange ‘temporary’ worker model and we are finding ourselves in transition all the time, a very weird place to live.

      Thank you Christy. I think for both of us we are rich in our friendships and support systems.

  15. Something better is on the horizon for you; I feel sure!

  16. Wine… lots of wine… it will seem better then.

    My partner did contract work for awhile, so I’ve been through that unexpected ending… it does suck. Here’s hoping a good contract comes your way soon!

    • Mostly I love the independence of working for myself and working contract. What I hate? I sometimes despise this process, when clients are in flux. When projects are in flux. When there is a need for a fall guy and it is so easy to look at the contractor and say, lets sacrifice that person.

      I wish I drank, right now I would pop a cork and drink copious amounts of my favorite.

  17. Sorry to hear about the unexpected financial burden and the contract loss. I imagine that’s the definite downside to freelance work. Here’s hoping something else comes around soon to take its place.

    • I really could have done without writing that check, especially since it came out of my upstairs remodel budget! Dammit. Now I have to either wait or do less. Do less isn’t in my plan, so I guess I will just wait. Oh well.

      It is indeed the downside, but I have been here and done this before and in much worse economies. I haven’t lost the client yet (though I expect to). We will just wait and see what happens.

  18. After and because of my divorce, I went through three years straight of unplanned, unwelcome floundering where I could not find work nor a steady place to live. Directly survived on savings, and did nothing but stress out over it the entire time. I sure didn’t take advantage of my ‘time off’ by doing wonderful things (like in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”), though I could have in theory, and maybe in a way, I would have felt better when all was said and done. Either way, three years went by. Still struggling financially now and have to force myself very often to stay positive–to try to make the best of it wherever I am on my path. I know this about myself… I cannot pull it off the way I’d like to all the time, but it still benefits me to try.

    Good luck, Val !! Hang in there!

    • My friend, I have been there… right there. I wish I had taken some of my money and traveled. Spent on myself. Instead, I stressed out, cried a great deal, tracked every penny and nearly declared bankruptcy. I watched my bank accounts dwindle to damned near nothing, every week. Sometimes actually less than nothing. I borrowed from my father at one point. I took a job I hated and moved away from family just to pay the bills.

      Believe me I hear you.

      All of that is what led me to finally say I will take a little bit of scary (unconventional contracting) over “I hate my job and my employer”. Now I can choose. Now I can breath. Even when things like this happen I still own my world. I still own my day. I can still find silver linings.

  19. Chin up! You are strong… this too shall pass. xoxo

  20. Always see your glass as half full rather than half empty Val,, And Silver Linings are always there.. even in the darkest of clouds…. Rainbows are to be found in family…. Nice you had a nice time with them. A belated Happy Mothers Day, I believe in the USA….Big Smiles your way! xxx

    • I think I said earlier, my glass is empty I am a opportunist I drank the water.

      While the week was full of frustrations, it doesn’t mean I spent it frustrated only that there were bumps in the road. Truly I do not know what well happen yet, no one has said a word and I am projecting based on my astute observations.

      I did have a wonderful time (my grandson is the best).

  21. There never seems to be a good time for bads new. But you’ve managed to stay positive and that’s what really matters.

  22. Losing a client is not easy for the self employed, so cheers to you for your positive look ahead!

    • I don’t really look on it as losing a client, just the contract. They have gone through huge upheavel over the past few months, so we will see what happens.

  23. Val your bad news sucks. Sorry to hear it. But I’m glad you ended the week on a high note and found that silver. Maybe it’ll translate into the type that will fit in your pocket with a new, better contract that will pay for that new vehicle.

    • It is just normal in this line of work. The contract was actually supposed to end now, then they asked me to take on another project which would end at the end of the year, now it is changing and I was unprepared. Oh well.

      Life throws curve balls sometimes.

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