Friday, September 28, 2007

Seriously GOOD things!

I'm feeling much better now. It's great to have had no hitchhikers since Monday actually ON (shudder) me. I'm still keeping up precautions but I think I'll be "clean" to visit my Mom on Saturday. I've been talking to her on the phone to make sure she didn't get them too. And asking pointed questions to make sure she didn't get them when she saw me last!

I still have the bright red little bites from Monday, though. They itch worse than a mosquito bite and having lived in Minnesota I know exactly how itchy mosquitos can be! In fact as a child when we were driving to visit my Mom's relatives (she's from there) my Dad would look out the car windows and say, "Swamp, swamp, there's swamps everywhere!" and make her mad. We've always called it the Land of 10,000 lakes and a million swamps!

Some bonuses to my situation:
Since July and the back and leg pain got so bad, I've not been able to eat or sleep much. I've lost 22 pounds without dieting! How do you like that? I've been on every diet known to man and have lost some, but not nearly as quickly as this. It's only been a little over two months. Of course I need to lose weight, so this is very good.

And now since I have to launder everything the moment I take it off in boiling hot water, my clothes have shrunken a bit. They were just hanging on me and I don't have the money right now to buy more clothes in the (yay!) smaller size. But just try washing jeans in really hot water every day and even with the weight loss they fit me pretty well. They were falling off me before the plague hit. My work pants have shrunken (but not as much as the jeans) too, so fit a little better at least.

So there are some seriously GOOD things happening with this situation. I haven't been a good blog reader even though I love it so. It's been sort of hit (write a post) and run in the mornings. Hope all goes well with you, too!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

I am not a filthy slob!

OK, I hesitated before sharing my plague problem out in public. But now I'm feeling defensive about it. Kind of like the girl with "cooties" in school! The clean-up report is: no new bites since Monday, when I first realized I had the infestation. I first (briefly) tried organic or at least less drastic means of extermination, like Dawn dish-washing liquid and borax, and a couple of other "home-made" concoctions, but it didn't touch these bad boy bugs. So I brought in the big guns of chemical warfare, spraying and dusting everything, house, car, me, and any chair I had sat in at work (secretly--now that was difficult!) I bathed in flea shampoo (and am still doing that every morning) and slept in flea powder. They seem to be licked. But after finding out online that fleas have three stages, egg, pupae and adult, I am going to keep up the chemical warfare for awhile yet, just to be sure.

What an embarrassing problem! The clinic NEVER DID get me a prescription for people medicine like they had promised on Monday. They mailed me a two-page advice article about new pets and keeping dogs free of fleas. So very not helpful. I don't even have any pets, as I had told them during four different telephone calls. And I feel like people may judge me as being a horrible, filthy slob! I'm not. I'm not! I've always been a neat housekeeper and believe me, the house has been pretty near immaculate since I put it on the market last May. You could nearly eat off of the floors--well, now you wouldn't want to with all of the insecticide--but you know what I mean. Any given day the real estate agent could be bring strangers through the house, looking in closets and everywhere else. It's very clean in here.

Maybe I am celebrating victory too soon? I hope not. SLA has had the infestation for three weeks at least. Which means that she had visited my house TWICE while she had the plague and never said a word until the second time and it was too late. She's still battling the bugs and had to get rid of her beautiful living room furniture. I think that's what strengthened my resolve--I am NOT going to get rid of my new (last year) leather couch and loveseat! They are pale beige and getting a few spots from all of the bug spraying but I refuse to just throw them away! And the strategy seems to have worked, I hope.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No longer organic

Yep, as you might have guessed, SLA gave me the plague. How nice of her to share! Even though we've known each other for nearly 25 years, I may not speak to her again, still deciding about that...

I was supposed to have an Open House this Sunday. Guess not anymore. And I've already spent over $50 of money I don't have buying remedies that haven't worked yet. Ever taken a bath in dog shampoo? Now there is a treat! Or completely stripping and washing everything in hot water, everything I've worn, touched, or slept in (sheets, blankets, comforter) every day goes into the washer. Those are super-mutant bugs! I've never heard of anything like it. Even when I lived in Florida, they were in the carpet and the apartment managers did a monthly bombing, but we never got bites or had them on us. The clinic hasn't ever heard of it either and they still haven't come through with any PEOPLE remedies I could use. They called me back about four times on Monday with additional questions and still no prescription even though I keep telling them that it is urgent.

The saddest part and the part that makes me the angriest is that I don't even take an Excedrin or Aspirin for a headache--I breathe in mint or drink mint tea. I never use cold remedies or any other sort of over-the-counter medication. I don't use any sort of chemicals in the house, yard or garden--and now my house is filled with chemicals. My drawers, shoes, closets, bed everything is full of insecticide. All of my spiders are dead and I'm sure this is not good for my plants or for me. Today I'm getting an exterminator. I hope they take credit cards!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Meme

Meme #4890 or something....
I saved up the questions from this meme a while ago. I love to do and to read memes, they give a little window into the real personality of the writer. It's perfect for this morning as I've not been online much at all this past week.

1)Were you named after anyone?

I was named after a popular song at the time, a favorite of my mother’s. My Dad complained (at first) that she was spelling it wrong. But my family didn’t call me by that name anyway. I’ve always gone by a nickname.

2)When was the last time you cried?

It’s been quite a while now and I normally cry quite easily. It was over that movie about Johnny Cash, “Walk the Line”.

3)Do you like your handwriting?

All through school I had bad, nearly unreadable handwriting. I even got a “D” in penmanship once! But as an adult I got a book about handwriting and now write very well. In fact I once worked as a card writer, writing the same greeting 1,200 times before going on to a different greeting. And a friend of mine who always complained about my bad handwriting couldn’t even pass the writing test to get hired!

4)What is your favorite lunch meat?
Thinly sliced turkey or that fantastic smoked salmon from downstairs of where I work. I don’t eat it much, though.

5)Do you have kids?

One son and a pseudo son who lived with us for six years.

6)if you were another person would you be friends with you?

Yes, it’s always nice to find a person who likes the same things to hang out with.

7)Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Yes, in fact I used it on the Rebuttal that I wrote for work. And got called on it, too.

8)Do you still have your tonsils?

Yes. But this is a boring question!

9)Would you bungee jump?

When I was even a little bit younger, yes, and I wanted to sky drive too. But not now, everything hurts already and I don’t need any more injuries.

10)What is your favorite cereal?

Oatmeal with things like raisens and fruit cut up in it. But lately I’ve just been having the fruit for breakfast.

11)Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Nope, I wear clogs, sandals, or ballerina flats. None of those have laces.

12)Do you think you are strong?

I was quite strong but now with several months of inactivity I’m certainly not. My arms aren’t very strong.

13)What is your favorite ice cream?

I normally don’t eat ice cream, just sherbet and Italian Ice.

14)What is the first thing you notice about people?

From far away, their clothing, but close up I notice their eyes and their smile.

15)Red or pink?

Red, I like deep rich colors. Rose is a good color, though.

16)What is your least favorite thing about yourself?

I’m constantly moving, thinking, dreaming so my life circumstances keep changing.

17)Who do you miss the most?

My Dad, who passed seven years ago this month.

18)You want everyone to blog this?

Not really, unless you want to do it.

19)What color pants and shoes are you wearing?

Bare feet and a nightgown right now.

20)What was the last thing you ate?

A salad from my garden with homemade orange-sesame dressing on it, yummy!

21)What are you listening to right now?

It’s early in the morning so the only noise is the hum of my computer.

22)If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Sky blue.

23)Favorite smells?

Freshly mowed grass, Bath&Body Works “Cotton Blossom”, Nag Champa inscense, “Wicked” perfume from Goth Rosary.

24)Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

Former Temp, who called me last night. We talked about work woes.

25)Do you like the person who sent this to you?

Nobody sent this but I like the person on whose blog I found it!

26)Favorite sport to watch.

Football, NASCAR.

27)Hair color.


28) Eye color?

Blue with a bit of greenish in them. I’ve always loved big brown eyes and my son has those.

29)Do you wear contacts?

I did use to wear contacts or glasses before I had that eye surgery done.

30)Favorite food?

Fruit and salad.

31)Scary movies or happy endings?

I like the happy ending type of movie better as long as it’s fairly realistic. I watch movies for escape and stress release, not to get all keyed up and nervous about living alone!

32)Last movie you watched?

”Stage Beauty” a really weird movie set in old England where only men were allowed to play the women’s parts in the theater. Not sure I liked it that well.

33)What color shirt are you wearing?

Not wearing a shirt, but my nightgown (which is thick, because it’s gotten cold at night now) is black and gray.

34)Summer or Winter?

Spring and Fall.

35)Hugs or kisses?

I’m not a hugger really, but would prefer that to a kiss from people I don’t know well.

36)Favorite dessert?

Cheesecake, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had some.

37)Most likely to post this on their blog?

Anyone who doesn’t want to write a post, or who really loves memes, like I do.

38)Least likely to blog this?

Some bloggers never do memes, but there’s no law that they have to do them!

39)What book are you reading now?

”Gatsby’s Girl” It’s an OK book, not great but a bit interesting.

40)What is on your mouse pad

One of the free mousepads we were giving out at the convention.

41)What did you watch on TV last night?

I seldom ever watch TV but do get movies from the library very often.

42)Favorite sound?

I love hearing the rain, thunder, or the distant sound of a train at night.

43)Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

I like them both equally, for different moods.

44)What is the furthest you have ever been from home?

Drove to Central America for our honeymoon.

45)Do you have a special talent?

Not really. I do seem to be fairly good at finding new uses for old things. Also (related to the first thing!) helping people find jobs.

46)Where were you born?


47)Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back?

No one in particular, but I love reading memes.

48)What time is it?

It’s a little after 5:30 AM and I need to get ready for work

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

I know where I want to go!

What a great day I had! Hope you had a good Saturday, too. We have gotten four days/nights of cooler weather. When I got up early on Saturday, my garden's leaves were wilted. It had been touched by frost. Time for the harvest! I took a plastic dishpan out and filled in with red and green tomatoes. There were a few cucumbers left that I hadn't given away, and best of all--The droopy wilted leaves revealed two SQUASH! So I will get to taste my own squash after all. I was a bit disappointed when SLA and I couldn't find any, but they were hidden in the thick vines and tall, broad leaves. It was a good year for vining vegetables, because it was so hot. It was sad to see the baby watermelons struck down by the frost before they were ready, though. I had to go out again with a pan to harvest the rest after Mom and I toured the Urban Gardens.

Mom and I had gone out to eat after hitting a couple of rummage sales. She found three brand new jigsaw puzzles and I found some containers to pot up my herbs for the winter. At the restaurant Mom pulled out her checkbook and offered to write me a $500 check right there. I told her that I didn't need it quite yet (but finances are tight this month. That's the real reason I've been inviting everyone over to my house, I can't afford to go out but still want to socialize.) She looked at me closely and said, "But you WILL tell me if you need it?" I laughed and said, "You will be the first to know, Mom, thanks!" I have to admit that it was very tempting, right in front of my face like that. But I'll not tap into my family/friend financial resources unless I truly truly need to do that. Anyway, after the lunch (Mom paid, even though we normally always split the check, but I had the $2 coupon from the rodeo, so helped a tiny bit) she decided that she did want to see the gardens, as long as there wasn't a lot of walking. Her and me both! I can't walk very far either.

The Urban Garden Tour was wonderful. First, we went to the old school with the chickens and talked with their owner. She'd had them for four years and had lost one occasionally, to a raccoon, to a skunk, and a neighbor had once called the police. But she said it's basically contigent upon getting along with the neighbors, as really the city zoning doesn't permit farm animals in town. I was a bit disappointed in that because I'd gotten a little fired up about those chicken tractors that I saw at the Harvest Fest. But then I started to talk to her about living in the old school, which is a housing co-operative. They have vacancies! Oh how I would love to live there. I had applied a long time ago, when my son was still a minor. But then I went and purchased a house instead (a bad habit of mine) so when they called, I turned them down.

I'd be the oldest one there, though, and after my difficulties at work I'm a little gunshy about that. Some younger people just think they will continue on in life being exactly how they are in their twenties--they have a big surprise awaiting them! Age and time change everyone, no matter how much they exercise or how well they eat. Hopefully these are more open, loving types of people. The chicken owner seemed to be, and she was probably middle or late twenties in age. I'm thinking she she may feel that I deliberately came to the Urban Garden Tour to quiz her about living at the co-op (should be called the "coop" ha ha) school, though. But really I didn't, at least not consciously, I just wanted to see the chickens right in the middle of town. As we went back to the car and drove to some urban gardens, my Mom asked, "Where did you know that girl from?" Mom thought I'd previously known the chicken owner from the way we chatted about chickens, gardening, the housing co-op. "I've never met her before in my life" I said, "Never even heard her name before" (Chicken Owner had an unusual first and last name) so maybe there is hope to live there if I sell the house. The Co-op interviews at least three candidates for each available spot and I might have the age thing against me.

Well, the latest real estate listing runs out this week. And this time I'm not going to panic, "The house isn't even listed!!!" and re-sign with that same guy. I'm going to find someone else from a company that actually advertises their open houses, and doesn't expect that a sign in the yard for one hour is going to pull in people just driving by. I know where I want to live when I sell the house!

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Urban gardens and fleas

Yay yay it's Saturday! Yesterday was a pretty good day, after work anyway. HR and BZ have been really nice to me. I consider that a bad sign. They've probably figured out some way to trip me up. My job duties are numerous and visible, while most of the other staff members don't have visible, accountable duties. I am to keep the kitchen, storage room, publication room, work room and the supplies all neat, organized and labeled--plus do all of my other work and be the receptionist too. I'm sure I'll be less than perfect in at least one of those areas. They're probably just waiting to jump all over that. Oh well, I'm in a good mood today and don't really want to think about them and work!

I talked to SLA on the phone yesterday just before leaving work. She's back with the Sleazeball but claims everything is wonderful wonderful that he really is a cop, but he hurt his shoulder while training in the Cities. Could be true, I guess, but why doesn't he have medical care than? Or be able to go to PT for his shoulder? I didn't ask her anything about him but on a whim invited her over to my house for dinner. She still doesn't have a car, so after leaving work I went over to get her. SB was there on the couch, unshaven and surrounded by a horrible mess (normally her house is fairly neat) and empty beer cans. Of course the man was relaxing at home, but I didn't get any better impression than before.

I picked SLA up (wishing she had been ready to go, I hate when people make me park, come in and then wait) when they know exactly when I'll be there. But it was fun. I had leftovers from a meeting at work on Friday morning that BZ would have just thrown away. It was perfectly good (was refrigerated) deli meat cuts and cheese. I had a couple of buns left, and SLA and I stopped to pick cucumbers and tomatoes, oregano, basil and sage from the garden. I broke out the homemade dressing and mayo, mustard, salad greens a jug of Sangria and a bottle of Leinie's Octoborfest for me. After the food we had some left-over birthday cake. It was from a friend of my Mom's, made for Mom and she had given me half which had just sat in the freezer since then. It was another mini-party!

SLA talked about SB incessantly though. Any subject would immediately turn to him, especially after she'd had a couple of large glasses of Sangria. After a couple of hours I actually was tiring of her company, which has never happened before. AND then she told me that her cats had fleas, from the neighbor dog. She said she'd tried everything to get rid of them but she and SB had them too! Oh good, if she brought fleas into my house I'm gonna be mad! Yikes.

I was paranoid about getting contaminated after that and wrapped up the night shortly after--early at around 9:00 PM. Former Temp called me right as we were leaving to tell me that she didn't get the for-sure job. That's very sad. She is a single parent and we just dumped her with little warning at work, and now she has no job.

I brought SLA back to her apartment in my jeep thinking "Please don't let Jeepers get fleas!" She needed to drop off some mail and bills, so we swung around to the night deposit at the Post Office. I had split the remaining deli meat and cheese with her, and the remaining birthday cake, plus given her some herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. We had looked for squash and there aren't any more! I was nearly positive that I had many more left. Either I am mistaken or somebody took them, as the garden is right by a city sidewalk.

Speaking of gardens, today I'm going on an Urban Garden Tour! There even is an old school converted to apartments in the middle of town (in which I was very interested in living a few years ago) that has chickens! Chickens in the middle of town, I want to see that and the other urban gardens. My Mom thinks she doesn't want to go and the tour is from 2-4:00 this afternoon. So Mom and I can do our normal Saturday thing together and I get drop her off if she decides not to go with me. Have a happy, fun Saturday and weekend!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Something funny

Yesterday I ran my legs off because it was so busy at work. Several people are traveling and I had to box their items (heavy books, etc.) to ship, plus BZ had me working on a proposal and there was a lot of work to be done in a short period of time. Why is it that it's dumped on me--I'm running around trying to get stuff done while most other co-workers are having a pretty leisurely day? It's because my job description covers all of that, while very loose and doesn't give actual job duties. But oh well, on to the funny part of yesterday.

BZ did come into work. She was limping and frowning, had to drag herself around instead of the usual crisp clop clop clop of her high heels. I'm also still limping around, especially after all those heavy book boxes. BZ and I both walked through the hallway or into the copy room together several times--both limping. It was hilarious, I had to keep myself from chuckling about it. She would frown at me each time as if I was copying her, but hey, I was limping first! It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is sitting, waiting to see someone who has a limp. Jerry gets up and his leg is asleep, so he's limping around. The office woman laughs because she thinks he's mimicing the boss' limp. It was kind of like that at work yesterday. We even limp on the same side, her left foot and my left leg. It was just too funny!

During the very busy Thursday, an old friend called. I have known her for nearly 30 years but we hadn't seen each other much at all lately. We used to do lots of things and our kids played together. She wondered if we could meet for dinner so I invited her over to my house instead. She hadn't seen it yet. I made three batches of those pudding cookies (to have different kinds) and she brought a Subway sandwich to split--and also a bottle of wine. So we had a really good time.

She loved the house. We got into one of my bottles of wine, too. She has a regular job at the university but works on a PT basis in wardrobe for incoming acts at our arena complex. She told me some interesting stories about nudity and stars. Then she asked if I wanted to be on the list to get called for wardrobe duty at $15 per hour. You betcha I said yes to that! Even though I'm not such a great seamstress. The work is mostly evenings and weekends. She said that newbies have to do things like match and lay out shoes, and only after I had done it a few times would I get to actually dress the stars. How cool is that?

When she was ready to leave I loaded her down with herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Since it was 10:00 PM and dark, we had to use a flashlight to pick the stuff. She was wearing cowboy boots and accidently stepped on my favorite gourd, a little stripey guy. Oh well, it's hard to walk around in a garden at night.

Today I'm going to bring the rest of the cookies to work. There is a meeting in which the facilitator asked me to ask BZ if we could supply some cookies and juice (with the usual coffee and ice water, of course) but she said no. So these cookies will give them something to nibble on at least, and staff can eat them too.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not in

BZ broke her foot, a stress fracture from running and exercising. She was not in the office yesterday. Favorite Co-worker did the same thing about two years ago.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

People are kind: some good stuff

But many people are kind, generous and good-hearted. My neighbor and her daughter came over one night after work. I was so tired (and had been lying on the floor) that I told them I was sick (true) so just talked to them at the door and didn't invite them in. I got caught up on the neighborhood news, since I haven't been working outside in the yard much at all this summer for the past two months. This neighbor family has come in many times for lemonade or tea and freshly made cookies. It was an unlifting visit and I told them as they left, apologizing for disturbing me "You made me feel a lot better!"

Well, when I came home from work the next day, her husband was out weed-wacking my yard! It wasn't knee-high or anything but ragged around the edges and I had received a citation from the city to fix it (which I hadn't told the neighbor, of course). It's a lot of work to go around the raised garden beds, the rocks and the trees I've planted and he was nearly done with the job. I ran (well, sort of hobbled) up to him and thanked him. He is shy, his wife is the talkative one, so he ducked his head but looked pleased at my gratitude. I went to the garden and got him two large beautiful squash the first ones from my garden. He was done with my yard so I gave the squash to him as he walked past to go home. Wasn't that the most wonderful thing for them to do for me! I was touched by their kindness.

My friend who had come over for dinner had cried, "This house is perfect for you!" and when we were touring the basement, she offered to loan me some money--a large sum. I thanked her profusely and said I'd keep the offer in mind. She and her husband aren't wealthy, but are comfortable. I won't borrow her money unless I really really need to, as I have no way to pay it back. It would be quite a looonnnngggg time before I could repay her. But wasn't that the sweetest thing?

And then there were my co-workers helping me with the publications room. It looked really nice for the open house, thanks to them. I don't think I would have been able to complete it on my own but was giving it my best shot. A couple of the co-workers had read the accusations, and one read my rebuttal. They (the friendly ones) have been supportive, which has been a life-saver at work. And two co-workers, both with high-up positions have offered to be references for me as I'm looking for another job. It's good to know that I'm not alone at work, and makes it bearable.

My Mom had called last night to offer me money. She volunteered to pay me a sum every month until I get a better job/house situation. Sometimes I just don't appreciate my mother enough. She's always been there for me since Dad died. She's certainly got enough issues of her own to deal with. She is comfortable financially but very very careful with her money. It was a good surprise to find that she would help me, if I needed it!

The kids, who have offered me a place to stay, if I did lose the house. They take good care of me when I visit, which I wouldn't expect if I stayed there, of course. And I'd hurry to find a job in their city, and then an apartment. Long-term guests can be difficult. I really appreciate their offer.

And then there is YOU, my kindly blog readers, probably heartily sick of hearing about my problems but still supportive. Thank you! I can't say how much I appreciate your comments, even when my post is the same-old some-old horrible struggle.

It's hard and even a little embarrassing to admit I need help and support. I've always prided myself on being able to take care of myself. Maybe THAT is the lesson in all of this.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And the beat goes on

This is how it will end, they will just wear me down. I worked almost 12 hours yesterday, most on my feet. We had the open house on Monday and had well over 100 people attend. They brought down two busloads plus people who walked or drove. My part was setting up the book displays and bringing in stacks of books (and refilling them during the open house) greeting people at the door and directing them around the proper "circuit" making coffee (in that heavy huge pot, and they wanted it far from the kitchen, out in the hallway) and clean up. I enjoy those types of things, but it was just too much for my physically. I didn't get home until nearly 8:00 PM and was exhausted. My Mom had called and left a message so I called her back, then lay on the floor for several hours for my back.

I've talked to two attorneys and both say that unless they are doing something illegal, there is nothing I can do. I may possibly have an age discrimination suit, but only AFTER they let me go and hire someone younger. Employers can be unfair, unjust and even cruel--and just get away with it. That's why we used to have unions (both lawyers asked if we did, because then I would have had some recourse). So there is no recourse for my situation at work. After I found that out, I began to wonder if this is worth it, to keep fighting, when they can torture me so?

BZ was glaring at me as I was refilling the book stacks. Today she will probably tell me that I was wrong to do that because "it looked bad" but if I hadn't, then I would catch hell for letting the stacks run out. There is no winning for me at work, as I said previously, from now on it will be damned if I do and damned if I don't. I've written the rebuttal, but really want someone else to take a look at it before I turn it in. It's emotional and subjective for me and I want to make sure I don't sound that way and have presented clear, logical evidence to refute the five points of accusation. All of my friendly co-workers have been at a conference for the past several days, only returning for the open house to mix and mingle.

Today I must submit a strategic plan, we have a staff meeting, I need to do the minutes, finish the clean up of the book area and publication room (because of the open house it has gotten out of order) plus all the regular work of publication mail-outs, etc. I have to make a run to the main office with some board mailing stuff that BZ had me copy on letterhead yesterday, by noon. I have a raging headache from not sleeping (drinking mint tea is helping a little) and dearly want to call in sick today. Well, truth be told, I'd like to call in and tell them that I'm never coming back!

I do have some happier stories to tell next time, though.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Harvest Fest

Well it's Monday again and life, and work life goes on. Thursday wasn't as spectacular of a day as the first day with the board, but good nevertheless. Friday, however turned back to what it will be like from now on until they force me out of the job. BZ and Favorite Co-worker had thrown all sorts of things into the hallway. I was supposed to organize them, and two other roomfuls of materials into our new publication room by the Open House. We were waiting on some shelving, very heavy-duty, as these are books, for that room. The shelving was put up at 1:00 on Friday afternoon, the Open House is Monday (today). That was a big job that I was planning to spread out over a couple of days at least, no luck with that.

So I was lugging book boxes and was quite pale, sweaty and ill. A couple of co-workers were still around on Friday (most leave early on Friday, so as not to get above their 40 hours) they stepped in and helped me. Soon they were sweating too and saying, "This is a huge job for one person! And aren't you not supposed to be lifting things?" So then I just about cried with gratitude! We could have hired someone to do that--but it had to go through BZ and she wasn't in on Friday, plus I still would have had to organize it all. Yet if the mess was still in the hallway and the new room unorganized by Monday--I would catch hell and give BZ an easy fault/blame to show. It was a damned if I did and damned if I didn't sort of situation that I think will probably be happening quite a bit at work, now.

Today is the Open House and the new room and the entire office has been organized and cleaned up. Of course I had a horrible weekend of pain for doing it. The PT had just advanced me, at the appointment late Thursday afternoon, to doing exercises whereas before I had been doing postures and movements, not really exercises yet. This may have set that back. And we have to work late tonight because the Open House lasts until 6:00 PM and people linger and talk, plus I have to do the cleaning up after they leave. So it will be a long day, starting shortly after 7:00 AM until whenever, and I've barely been able to sleep except sitting up, in the daytime.

I've only started writing the rebuttal too, and they want it today. Due Tuesday is a strategic plan for myself (assigned at the meeting from hell), and of course I have to keep track of everything I do at work--and oh yes, I have to finish those TWO DAYS of meeting minutes! Plus all the normal stuff that comes up. I don't really feel very up to it today. But I did apply for a couple more jobs.

Saturday morning I went to the (free) Harvest Fest down at our waterfront. It was really fun, even though I should have brought my cane to walk on uneven ground. I ran into a good friend I hadn't seen for a long time. She had just been let go from a job that she loved. She was busy at a booth but we hugged and said, "Let's talk!" and planned to get together at my house soon. I bought some kohlrabis, like my Dad used to grow and peel for us kids to eat right in the field and a bouquet of flowers for my Mom. The flowers looked just like little strawberries and were called "Strawberry Fields"! My Mom loved them, of course. We went out to eat and talk, like usual on a Saturday afternoon. I told her some of what had happened, so when I'm let go she won't be caught by surprise. Like my son, Mom does not like surprises, either good or bad ones, but likes a heads-up on things. I'm the opposite of them in that--surprise me!

But of course I don't like those unpleasant surprises, like at the meeting from hell. If you saw BZ (Bosszilla) you would not think it possible of her to be jealous of ME! But I do think she's very insecure despite her bravada and poise. Friday morning I showed the evil memo she and the HR director gave me to a couple of friendly co-workers. Yes, they could backstab me too, but at this point, what do I have to lose? The fact that the board and our clients love me will hold no sway. They liked Former Temp too, who was young, cute and lively--and she also gave good customer service. The board doesn't get involved with staff matters, only things like the program, PR and our training content.

Our parent company (where the HR director works) has always been envious of our department and of our generous funding. The IT guy (when I told him on Friday) thinks that they (parent company) are trying to get some of their workers into our department to be able to bill us and get their hands on our money. The person who has my old job and office is from the parent company. So it may be a hostile takeover of sorts. Interesting, but I wish I wasn't involved in it!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Little victories

Thanks to your support, I'm in there fighting! Having a place to vent and support make a HUGE difference. I was feeling very bad about myself. BZ's hints about "other co-workers" and her and the HR director's "you have no value to the company" had broken my heart. Yes, I know she's an evil so-and-so, but her poisoned darts kind of got to me and put doubt in my mind. I've been there since 2000, worked hard, long hours (many more hours than I've been paid), taken on additional assignments and am beloved by our clients--they rave about me--which annoys BZ and Favorite Co-worker, too. But still I had the poison of self-doubt until I read your wonderful responses of support, thank you!

Well, the timing was excellent, not bad as I had feared, to have our large board from all over the country come for a two-day meeting. BZ assigned me, very last minute, to sit in and take minutes for the entire day. That's a tough job, especially when I'm also responsible to keep the coffee, hot water, cold water, snacks and supplies filled--they are a hungry and thirsty bunch! Add to that a board member needing to make copies, send a fax, look up something on the computer--which they all did, several times--and it makes for a busy day. But I was in my element. It was a good day. Even though I was up all night with my leg/back and barely slept, I was raring to go. It really helped that my leg didn't hurt much during the day, I was lucky there.

But like the rest of our clients, our board loves me because I take care of them and love them back. BZ sat at the head of our huge boardroom table looking tired, scraggly and crabby. I was brimming with energy, smiling and talking to everyone as I darted around getting things done, and later, for the day, sitting at the end of the table taking minutes. I even smiled at BZ and had the pleasure of throwing her off in confusion. She has lots of poise and seldom gets flustered. Ha ha, right then and there I decided to be as sweet as can be and act as if nothing had happened. It threw BZ off all day and during the meals too.

We all walked for lunch at a nearby restaurant and I made sure that my end of the table was laughing and having such a good time that all the others were wondering, "What's so funny? It looks like they are having a lot more fun than we are!" That was easy enough to do, because most of the board are very outgoing and with a little encouragement....

Dinner with the board was optional, but BZ said "We really should attend." which made it NOT really optional but after the lunch and day success, I was still raring to go despite having very little sleep. I sat right across from BZ at the long table, between two male board members. Oh it was such fun! I was really getting into it, full-well knowing that BZ would later come up with some other horrible punishment and repayment for her discomfort. The two board members are much younger than I am, like most of our industry, but I have a good rapport with them and after a few drinks they were flirting with me and BZ was trying to get their attention! I have to remind you that BZ is small, very attractive, polished, well dressed and much younger than me. While I am older, larger and a little rough around the edges, a country girl at heart.

I didn't have any drinks, of course. I don't normally drink with co-workers or clients, but BZ had lots of wine and the guys had beers. I made sure to lean around and include the nearby women into our conversations (even BZ--how do you like that?!) so as not to get accused of "making eyes at the board members". It was a blast and the food was good, too.

An added bonus to the Day from Heaven (as opposed to the Day from Hell) was that BZ and HR director had wanted me to write down everything I did at work for two weeks "to try to show how you have any value to the company" and this was a great two weeks to pick for that! I worked from 7 AM to 5:30 PM, went home and came back for the dinner. Of course the dinner is considered voluntary and not paid, but the other time will go to the HR director who has been strict about enforcing the 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week restrictions. She will find some way to blame me for working more hours than I am supposed to, but in the details that I am to list of what, exactly, I am doing, it will show that the extra time was necessary. All of that will be documented, on record.

So it was a great day yesterday and I'm hoping that today will be at least a fraction of that. When the smoke (and board members) clears it will be back to the grim business of dealing with BZ--and she will get me back, but it was a wonderful pleasure while it lasted!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Got jobs? It hits the fan

OMG was this a bad day! I thought I'd seen bad days before. OK, hope I didn't scare you off already from reading this. Hope you're not thinking, "Oh good, another post about work..." Actually it started off as a bad day before I even got to work. I couldn't sleep last night, my leg hurt and it hurt all day today. That may not excite you for reading material either. Sorry. I've just been having one heck of a time that is just getting worse and worse.

Well, but at work:
I've been told to shape up or leave. BZ gave me a most brutal memo at a meeting with HR (which she told me about an hour ahead of time, and I had to drive to HQ for the meeting) It was bad, it was brutal. If I had that memo in electronic form I'd post it for you. But my fingers are sore. I just spent nearly four hours online applying for jobs and doing the resume/references thing. It takes a long time. I will type in the 5 points of the memo (omitting BZ's details and putting in my own!):

It starts off with:
I have noticed changes in your behavior, work performance and attitude, and I am concerned about you and the impact it is having on (company), and staff. I have made the following observations:

1. Numerous mistakes (that registration list fight I had with Favorite Co-worker)
2. Behavior (Not liking losing my office and job and being moved to the receptionist's desk)
3. Disorganized Library, Supplies, Supply Room (BZ's really big Biggie--this wasn't my job, remember? And at work we always talk about how everyone cleans up after him/herself)
4. Your relationship with your coworkers (the same as #2)
5. Lacks problem solving skills (she just said some very general stuff in this paragraph, nothing specific even though I asked)

This wonderful document continues on the next page with:

The types of incidents we have dicussed or which are listed above must stop immediately. Failure to demonstrate immediate improvment in your perfomrance will lead to further action that could include termination.

There are blanks, one for me to sign below the threat. I refused. They tried to make me sign it, but I wouldn't. The HR director said I could write a rebuttal to add tomorrow "just sign it now" and I refused, but said I might write a rebuttal. They said I was "defensive" well, I guess so when being viciously attacked like that. The meeting started off with the HR director telling me I should find another job! And it went downhill from there.

I drove home (with the jeep misbehaving, of course--I don't know what has happened to my nice normal relatively trouble-free life. Lately I feel like Calamity Jane!) and threatening to stall. I can't miss work tomorrow as I have been assigned (last minute by BZ, of course) to take the meeting minutes for an all-day meeting with our board. Our board comes from all over the country and will be in town for two days. During that time I will have to look cheerful and eager and happy to be at work. I'm not sure I can do it.

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Fun things

What a nice weekend! But now it's done and today is back to work. The rodeo was really fun, I like the barrel racing the best. The kids' calf chase during intermission was pretty cute, calfs are zippy and hard to tag! I didn't get any photos of the rodeo. After it was over we all went out to eat, Amanda and Anton, their horsecrazy friend and her dad, and a couple I just met.

On Monday I spent time with Mom and later in the afternoon went with Amanda and Anton to watch their horse-crazy friend ride. She rides English and is learning dressage and jumping. It was trying to rain so we were in the indoor arena and she only practiced on dressage, which was very interesting.

This isn't a good photo for several reasons: the indoor arena was pretty dark, my camera has a delay and she was too close by the time the camera finally went off--both times, the other photo is even worse. It was cool to see the horse "dancing" by moving his legs across each other and stepping sideways. After it quit raining we all went outside. By that time many other people had come to ride. Horse-crazy was done with her lesson but we stayed to watch the others until 6 PM! I didn't take any photos of them, since I don't know them, even though there would have been much better shots available once we were outside. We had to practically drag Horse-crazy away from that place. But I'm with her. It sure was fun to play with the big dogs (I miss having big dogs, or any dog, for that matter) pet the horses and feed them carrots. I could live there too!

And another garden photo. I was trying to get the corn in the picture. It's kind of silly to plant corn in such a small garden, but I wanted some. And it has ears on it now! Hope you had a great weekend!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rodeo drive

This is where I'm going this afternoon:

Great Northern Classic Rodeo
This rodeo is the highlight of the Labor Day weekend.The Wild West
meets the Great North with action packed
events: bull riding, barrel racing, bronc riding,
roping and more! Family and friends
experience the colorful pageantry and
excitement of the sport that grew from our
American heritage.

Anton and Amanda invited me to go with them and their horse-crazy friend. They had invited to go last year but I couldn't attend the day they went and instead went with Horse-Crazy Friend and her dad. It was so fun that I'd wished I'd attended all three days! Couldn't afford it this year but one afternoon/evening will be great, especially with all three of them.

Yesterday I spent a nice day celebrating my Mom's 81st birthday. Here she is with some of her loot: two cakes and some flowers. Cards and gifts are on a table nearby.

Later SLA called and we talked a bit. She's still hanging on to the Sleazeball and he's out of town for the week. He did help her return some of the things to help with her overdraft. So maybe he's not totally the bottom of the barrel--or still needs something from her. Her car got towed, rent is due and she still has no job-or prospects even. Her big idea was to go to the radio station and offer to volunteer there! When I pointed out that volunteering won't net her any needed money, she said they'd probably hire her in a couple of weeks. Even if that's true, what about food and bills and rent right now? I think the Sleazeball ate her brain, sadly.

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