Thursday, April 29, 2010

Playing Hooky....

So, I have a confession to make. I played hooky from work today. In my defence, I noticed yesterday that my left eye was red on one side. As the day progressed, my eye grew redder. Prone to eye infections, I assumed that the redness was exactly that: A visual clue that my eye was infected.

This morning I was awoken by the puppies at 5:35 a.m because they needed to go out. My eye was a little sore and gummy. I examined it in the mirror and saw that it was an alarming shade of red. It didn't, however, hurt and wasn't light sensitive as had been the case with previous eye infections. After I'd taken the puppies out, there was just enough time for me to go back to bed and get comfy before my alarm went off. By the time the alarm kicked on, I had talked myself into not going to work.

So I called in sick.

In my defense, my eye is still red. It looks pretty bad. Yet because it is only a little sore and not light-sensitive, I'm now wondering if I have an infection or I have a burst blood vessel. Either way, it doesn't matter. I didn't go to work today.

I've complained in the past that my company is stingy with Paid Time Off. They combine sick time with vacation time so what you earn. I get one day every month, to be used whether I'm sick or in desperate need of a trip to Napa.

While I'm psychologically in need of a trip to Napa, I know it's not likely in the near future. I don't have much time off work anyway.

Yet, even though only earning one day off a month in vacation/sick time means a slow accumulation, it also means when you don't go to work, no one can say, "You don't seem sick!"

After all, if I'm pulling my vacation time from the same bucket I'm pulling my sick time, what right does anyone have to question if I'm really sick or not?

Granted, if I hadn't had the sore and blurry eye, I would have gone to work. Yet, by mid-afternoon, it felt fine and it enabled me to not only watch a few Gilmore Girl episodes on DVD but it let me get outside into the garden. As a result, I ended up pulling up an awful lot of weeds. I got some things planted. I got some mulch put down.

Best of all, I got to spend the day with the puppies. This was quite a treat. While I know they're not humans, that they can't talk, that their thought process currently consists of: "treats!" "need to go to the bathroom!", "need to sleep" and "need to be cuddled," I can't help assigning them just a few more thoughts. It was nice to be able to spend time with them at home. It was nice to not have to rush home at lunch, feed them, take them outside and them crate them back up for the afternoon.

All in all, even though I did check my work email a lot, I didn't do any work. I felt no need, I felt no guilt. Way back when we were owned by a university and we had a separated supply of sick time and vacation time, I would have felt bad for saying, "I won't be in the office today."

Yet when the supply is combined and you no longer have the advantage of being allowed to get sick because, if so, you no longer get to take any time off for anything fun...then it stops making you feel so guilty. After all, a day off is a day off. My PTO is there to be used. Therefore, no matter how I use it, it's mine.

I won't say that my eye isn't uncomfortable and that I may have an eye infection, under most normal circumstances, I probably would have dealt with it and gone to work. Except, lately, work has been nothing but monotony. You can see why calling in 'sick' may not have been a challenge.

In the end, I think today ended up being a Mental Health Day as much as anything else. My eye is still red. It's still sore, as if bruised. It still doesn't like contacts. Yet if I'd have had the desire, I could have gone to work.

It's just, sometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you just know that if you were to go to work, you'd be absolutely useless. That's how I felt today. I mentally checked my calendar and knew I had nothing scheduled. I mentally checked my list of projects and realized that the one, lone project I am working on would not weep if I missed a day...and thus, I decided it would be ok if I missed a day.

I know I'm not the only one in need of a Mental Health Day. One of my friends/coworkers was out Monday, two were out Tuesday, my boss was out yesterday....there are just some weeks that feel as though they shouldn't be spent in the office but, rather, should be given over to real life- not just the way you earn your paycheck.

So there you have it: Captain Monkeypants skivved off work today. She had a red, sore eye but she could have sucked it up and gone in to do her duty. Instead, she surrendered to the little warm puppy bodies that pressed up against her on her bed this mornign and realized how nice it would be to not have to leave the puppies today.

In the end, I spent quality time with my puppies. I got to watch TV. I got to make soup. Overall, I got to rest my mental health without having to contaminate it with the politics of the office.

I know, in the long run, I should have gone to work today, to let my time off accumulate faster so that I could, if I so desired, take a real vacation. Yet...when you wake up in the grey light of dawn and realize that lying in bed, flanked by two adorable puppies is a far more appealing image than getting up, going to work and working on the same thing for eight more hours...the idea of playing hooky is ridicously tempting.

I recommend it to everyone...anytime.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

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