Posted by: Budger | March 9, 2010

Who moved my cheese? I don’t know, but Come and Take It!

OK so I know what y’all are thinking…..what does the title of a famous Change Management/Organizational Behavior book have to do with the fighting call of the revolutionaries for Texas independence? Well in my own warped little world, one has led me to another.

It’s been a very stressful few months in Budger’s world, and as such, by the time I got home from my day, I just was not up for dealing with anything more challenging than harvesting my crops on Farmville. A few tomatoes here; milk the cow there; point; click; don’t think. No blogging, just stay in the routine. Get up and do my Yoga, and then go to work. Come home and tend my virtual farm.  My cheese had been moved, and I was not happy. I realized I was no different than Hem from the book “Who Moved my Cheese?”, denying the reality that the cheese station had closed, and it was time to move on and find more cheese. What?!? Budger???? Certified PMI Project Management Professional is having change management issues? Well……..yeah!

What rocked my world? Well all the usual stuff. Layoffs at work, getting a new boss, saying goodbye to an old one (who I really liked and admired – but don’t tell him I said that), friends moving away, yada, yada, yada. Everyday seemed like a new adventure, and while that is sometimes exciting, in this case, it got old pretty quickly. Where was the plan? What are the objectives, the scope, the schedule? Budger PMP doesn’t like it when her spreadsheets don’t make sense. I didn’t want to go looking for more cheese. I liked my cheese where it was.

It’s March in Texas, and that means we’re moving into spring (although you wouldn’t know it this year). The Bluebonnets will be out soon. And most importantly it’s Texas Independence Relay time. The Texas Independence Relay is a running relay that is 203 miles – 8-12 runners per team – starting in Gonzales Texas where Texas Independence began, and ending at the San Jacinto Monument, where Texas Independence was won.

One war, and one monument, that is taller than the Washington Monument (which as a citizen of the Great State of Texas, I am obligated to point out), started and ended over a cannon. Well as with everything there were deeper issues, but the cannon is what makes the history interesting. The Battle of Gonzales started when the Government of Mexico demanded the return of a cannon given to the Texas Settlers in Gonzales. Mexico no longer felt it wise to have the settlers armed with a weapon since the settlers were becoming dissatisfied under Mexico’s governance. The settlers refused to return the cannon, and instead  formed a militia. The Battle of Gonzales ensued under the flag of the Texas Revolutionaries with the slogan “Come and Take It”, and this became the war for Texas Independence from Mexico. (Although they don’t mention this in the history books, I think you can boil this down to the settlers weren’t happy about having their cheese moved either.) The relay celebrates the victory of that war at the San Jacinto Monument where the final battle – the Battle of San Jacinto – took place. And as with everything in Texas, this relay is big.

My company has had a relay team since the inaugural run of the relay in 2008. And even though I don’t run, don’t know how to be a relay runner, have never raced competitively, or even bought a pair of running shoes, I am the designated coach of the team. And I have to say as frustrating as this sometimes is, there isn’t much that makes me prouder. Since the last few months have been filled with daily movement of the cheese station, I shouldn’t have expected that it would be any different with the relay. And true to form we had our changes and challenges with that as well. We had difficulty getting and maintaining runners. Our budget was cut. Everyone was time constrained, and so it seemed like the planning was always last-minute and hurried. But as it does every year, it started coming together. Next thing you know it’s TIR Eve. No presents or anything like that, but lots of excitement as we fill our ice chests with care, eat pasta with visions of cannons and batons dancing in our head and get ready to blast off across Texas in a giant white van led by 3 support people destined to go sleepless for 36 hours straight. All we need is a tree. I’m ready. I’m organized. Let’s rock and roll…………

And then, just when I didn’t need it, some asshole STOLE my cheese.  Right out from under my nose.  Yep that’s right.  Budger is now supporting criminals.  Some idiot opened my passenger door of my car, at the gas station where I filled my ice chests, and stole my purse, while I was in the car.  I happened to be searching for my keys on the ground, so I didn’t see it, but the police said it wouldn’t have mattered.  The guy wasn’t worried about being seen.  The cop said it was probably better you didn’t see it anyway.  And it probably was.  I’m thinking now that God was probably looking down thinking “OK something is about to happen that’s going to alternately scare the hell out of you and piss you off, so let’s just drop your keys now.”  It’s funny how fate has a way of stepping in.  As it was, when I saw the security video, George the pacemaker was working double time to keep up with my heart.  I made it through all of the hassle.  Filed the police report, canceled the credit cards, and got my shaking body, quivering knees and racing heart home.  I told my husband – “I don’t want to go.  I’ll get the team kicked off somehow, but I don’t want to go.”  I wanted my cheese – and at that point my cheese was my husband, my three dogs, and my nice cozy bed with covers I could hide under. But my husband reminded me, “he already stole your purse, don’t let him take your weekend too.”  My husband was right.  The Texas Revolutionaries didn’t crawl back in bed, and neither could I.  I needed to go find my cheese.  So I cancelled the pity party, tried to get a good nights sleep, and Saturday morning at 3AM off we went in our big white van.  Come and take it!

As with all of our relays, this was another memorable event.  We had a few injuries.  We didn’t meet our stretch goal, but we did make our goal of beating last year’s time.  We added new slogans to the mix.  Our support group was made up of the anti motivator to the highly motivated.  Our team got chicked (the term for when a girl passed a guy), and our animal runner Marcia chicked many (the term was coined for Marcia by another team that she repeatedly chicked).  Two members were “budged” – the term for when Coach Budge says you can’t run anymore because of injuries.  One of our team members went on Mr. Toads Wild Swamp Run.  Another got to experience Texas heat and humidity for the first time.  One of our support team got to try her hand at 15 Passenger Van Urban Offroading.  Van #1 learned the Texas Fire Ant Dance going down the road at 30mph, and we also learned that bactine not only takes the sting out of fire ants, but works as an ant killer as well.  Van #2 was the driving Karaoke machine, and a microphone has been added to the 2011 equipment list.  And, finally, we learned if 20people can sleep comfortably in one RV and 2 vans.  The answer?  No.  It was a great event, and the team persevered through the changes, and we finished in style – 2 hours under our predicted time. 

My reputation for being anal regarding my spreadsheet remains intact, and although I thought I was going to explode around 3AM on Sunday when my cheese was moved again, I tried to dig deep.  My driver has dubbed me the interrogator, and then another team member told me I had the good cop/bad cop thing down and should move to New York and join the force.  By the way, I am taking these quips as compliments as I am sure that’s how they were intended.   And as I was riding in the car to our traditional after relay celebration, I reminded myself that cheese is made up of a lot of different things.  It can be your work, your routine, your values, your hobbies, whatever.  And some of that cheese never moves.  It’s your anchor.  It’s always there somewhere.  Sometimes instead of looking for more cheese, you just need to look for your cheese.  So the plan isn’t always the same.  So my spreadsheet has a few too many crossouts on it for my comfort level.  But the essence of my cheese is the same.  We’re running for fun, teamwork, for Mickey, for whatever.  My friends and my values don’t get moved.  So to the P2 Pace Makers, my team, thank you for being part of my cheese, and thank you for moving me down the road to the next cheese station.  You guys rock!  To 2011 – Come and Take it!  In under 30 hours.

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