Thursday, December 25, 2008

HoHoHo What a Merry Christmas!

Santa came to my house last weekend. I got to enjoy spending time with my parents, my kids and Miss L. My son deep fried a turkey for us and I actually ate solid food for the first time in three weeks. That was a big deal. I gave Miss L the Kissing Elmo among other things and he was a big hit. It did not take her long to figure out how to squeeze one hand for him to talk and put the other hand up to his mouth for kissing sounds. She was so cute hugging him the whole weekend.

Monday I went back to work which was probably too soon but I did it and since it was just a three day work week it was not too bad. The end of the month and end of the year is always a crazy time in a Billing office. And, I have quite a few things to catch up with after taking two weeks off.

My daughter, son in law and the baby have so much family to try and squeeze into the few days they have for the holidays (four additional groups) so I was surprised they wanted to see me again today. They were headed from breakfast with her dad and on their way to East Texas to visit the SIL's side of the family but TenderHeart had to give me one more gift. I decided it was bothering her that I had no specific plans today but I was actually looking forward to sleeping late and not having a schedule to follow. Some friends had even invited me to join them for Christmas dinner but I begged off.

But, I sacrificed and got up and drove out to meet them on the road. I was very pleasantly surprised that my son came out to meet us as well. (He was flying back to Colorado this afternoon and I did not expect to get to see him again.) Sure enough, they had another gift for me. They announced they are having another baby!! It was so funny, all of us standing around and I am hugging the baby and then realized she was wearing a shirt that said "Big Sister". Talk about excited!! Lots of squealing and dancing around in the parking lot.

Yes, it was a very, merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How I know I was in the hospital ...

The following are the Top Ten ways I know I have been in the hospital.

10. I have flower arrangements in various stages of disintegration.

9. My nightstand looks like a full service pharmacy.

8. My bed pillows have become decorative items throughout my home. Wherever I sit, there is at least one extra pillow within arm's reach.

7. I can play connect the dot with the holes left behind when the hospital staff mistook my arms for pincushions.

6. I recognize showers are not for sissies.

5. Velcro is my friend.

4. I do not care what my hair looks like yet.

3. My daily activities revolve around the next pill, elixir, shot, blood test, breathing treatment, walk, liquid intake, liquid output and documentation of the previously mentioned. Yawn!

2. Just when I think I am finally through with the alcohol and cotton balls, I find more adhesive residue in unexpected places. Like spots on the carpet after you have had it cleaned, they just keep rising to the surface.

And, the #1 way I know I have been in the hospital. . .

I did not touch my computer from 12/7 until 12/17.

Yes, I went into the hospital on 12/8 for a relatively simple procedure but my resistance was down and my subsequent symptoms (high fever and low blood pressure) gave everyone a scare. The doctors had to go back in, on 12/9 to make certain everything was okay. It was but instead of getting out on Wednesday, 12/10, I did not get to come home until Saturday and I am just now getting my strength back. I won't dwell on the details in this journal but I am tracking my progress here.

I am glad the rest is behind me and if I can just get the remainder of my Christmas purchases wrapped, I can relax.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A strange twist

The company that bought our pharmacy only wanted three pharmacists and eight technicians to come on board with their new organization. That left quite a few of us updating our resumes and waiting for the doors to close. I was totally okay with this because we were offered a nice severance package and I looked at this as a perfect chance to seek employment closer to my daughter and her family.

Then another opportunity presented itself. The corporation had decided to consolidate its client services and they are starting a new call center several miles closer to my daughter than my current job. I have call center management experience and decided to throw my hat in the ring. At the last minute, my boss, Sheriff decided to interview for the job as well. Her interview lasted over an hour and then it was my turn. The way it went I was very certain I was not being seriously considered for the position. Imagine my shock when the VP returned today and offered me the Manager position. It was a wonderful surprise and I was then able to offer CCR positions to several of the remaining pharmacy staff.

I am thrilled. And, I was able to make several other people happy, including Assistant. Yes, I am taking her with me. Sheriff? She will need to continue to interview.

Can you say, "Karma, boys and girls?"

Starting a new chapter

I feel very energized right now and it is almost 2 AM. I get this way every year when I put up my Christmas decorations. I get so excited and do not want to stop. Last year I had a car accident on November 12 and spent the next six weeks confined to a recliner at my parent's home which had a huge impact on my plans, shopping, decorating, etc. This year I had every intention of starting early and being ready by December 1st. Well, I am close. I am actually enjoying getting out in the middle of things (traffice, malls, etc.) this year and am so grateful for my ability to drive myself, get in and out of the car unaided and walk everywhere I want to go. I took those abilities for granted before and, even now, I have to remind myself how far I have come since last year. I am truly blessed.

I am also taking a huge personal step by adjusting my eating habits and have already lost 16 pounds. I am a grazer and since I am single and live alone I feel little to no pressure to cook anymore. I had an older friend years ago who told me that after her kids were married, she and her husband went out to eat most of the time and she "dusted her stove." Back then I could not imagine that lifestyle but now I can relate.
Life is good and is getting better.

Well, this bundle of energy better call it a night!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What century is this??

If I had not been a witness, I would think someone was making this up. This is unfortunately a very true story. I was in the restroom at work today and was in the handicap stall since the other was occupied when I arrived. (Who am I kidding? I always go for the handicap stall at work if it is available. The other one is so small you practically have to stand on the bowl to open the door to get back out.) A third person came in and when they hit the locked door to the handicap stall I recognized the shoes belonging to my boss. You may remember Sheriff if you follow this journal. Well, she then went into the other stall since it was now vacant but I heard her leave immediately after.

A few seconds later I heard Assistant come in, mumbling under her breath. She went into the other stall and I called out, "Assistant, is that you? Tell me you are not cleaning the toilet for Sheriff?!" Oh, but she was! Sheriff was unhappy with the condition of the stall after the other person had left but she had sent Assistant in to take care of things. I was flabbergasted and strongly expressed my feelings to Assistant!!

Assistant left and as I stepped out of the larger stall Sheriff came in wearing latex surgeon's gloves and began grabbing several paper towels out of the dispenser. She proceeded to tell me how disgusted she had been by the condition of the toilet. I have to assume she was wiping down the commode and I offered her the trash can to dispose of the paper towels. Too late. She had put them in the toilet. I told her I was surprised that she would put all those towels in the toilet, that we were probably going to have plumbing problems now. Sheriff feigned innocence and said she did not realize that. Come on! By the time you are well into your forties you have had enough life experiences to know better, or so I thought. As I turned to leave Sheriff said, "Send Assistant back in here."

I should have ignored the request but I did stop and tell Assistant her presence was once again requested in the ladies room. She had a few choice words regarding actions she was contemplating but she dutifully got up and headed to the bathroom. I have no idea what happened next since I returned to my office.

Shortly, one of the staff came to me to let me know the first stall in the ladies room was not flushing properly. Ya think?? I thanked them and went straight to Sheriff's office. I told her "They just came to me to let me know the toilet is not flushing." (I am the office manager and used to be the facilities point person but remember, Sheriff took over those responsibilities. I no longer have to call the plumber. If there is a potential expense involved, Sheriff is going to handle it. And, certainly this was her issue to resolve!))

When I told her the toilet was stopped up, her response? "Can you get a plunger?"

I said "I don't do plungers. I am just letting you know the toilet is clogged." I turned and left. I heard later she had Assistant use the plunger and unstop the clog. Unbelievable!!

I'm still in a state of shock that (1) she would take advantage of her assistant like that and (2) that the assistant would actually do it!! Does this woman's narcissistic arrogance know no bounds??

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Visiting Santa

My daughter, son in law and Miss L.

Waiting to visit with Santa.

After standing in line for over an hour, the camera broke. Santa "worked" the line while they tried to get things going again. You can tell Miss L was a little hesitant but not frightened.

I was able to take my own pictures since the "official" camera was on the fritz. I was so glad to have come prepared!

This is the best shot I got before Miss L decided she did not need to discuss what she wanted for Christmas after all. This was such a great Santa, very authentic.

Little miss was worn out by this time but we still got some good shots.

A tired little angel..

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving and then some

I knew this Thanksgiving was going to be quiet. It turned out to be just me and my parents but we still cooked the bird and set out the good dishes, the kind that can't be put in the dishwasher. I did not think that would be a big deal since it was just three of us but we still managed to dirty just about every dish in sight and you would have thought we were expecting a dozen people there was so much food.

One sister and her family were all gathered in Florida. The other sister and her family are in Minnesota and their Turkey Day was postponed because sister and hubby are suffering from Whooping Cough. Yikes! I read on the Internet it was going around but I did not expect it to hit anyone I knew. Of course, you may remember my brother passed away this summer so that left me to do the family thing.

I always tell my kids they can be anywhere they choose at Thanksgiving but at Christmas we all better be gathered in Texas. With all the branches of the family it is difficult to be every where at once so I try to be gracious about sharing. Since Sport was just here last month he stayed in Colorado and actually deep fried a turkey for a group of friends. I'm impressed. TenderHeart was with her husband's father's family. With so many at that gathering all she had to cook was a broccoli rice casserole. Lucky girl.

After we ate, cleaned up and watched the Cowboys win, my folks and I sat down for a game of Phase Ten. Don't know if you have ever played it but it is a lot of fun and you can actually play with several people so it is a great group game. I can't believe it but my "elderly" parents whipped the socks off me. I kept cheering for myself that I had the highest score. Just wish that had been the aim of the game.

In the middle of the night I got a call from Sheriff, my boss. It seems the police called and our office had been broken into and she wanted me to go and assess the situation. Normally that would have worked since I am two miles from home to work but this time I was two hours away so she had to do the honors. In the last three years we have had maybe half a dozen false alarms but this time it was the real thing. And I missed it!!

Two huge glass walls were shattered. One into my office and the other into my boss' office. We work at a closed door pharmacy and naturally you would think they were after the drugs but nope. We have no signage and I do not think these guys even knew what kind of business they broke into or what was in the back. They never walked into the view of the security cameras and all they took was Sheriff's laptop. But what a mess they left behind. Sheriff was there from 2:30 AM until 11:30 AM waiting to get someone out to clean up the mess and secure the place. I learned that the police said the official "method of entry" was BFR. Big F***ing Rock Seriously, that was what was in the report!!

And me? I was diligently avoiding all sales and traffic.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How can I think about Christmas already?

I better start thinking about Christmas! It will be here before I know it. November is just flying by and I do not want to be out in the middle of the traffic next month, at the last minute, making rash, illogical purchases.

This morning I went with my daughter, son in law and the baby to have her picture made with Santa at the mall. We went into Macy's just to buy a hair bow and I ended up buying two Christmas dresses for Miss L that I thought were just adorable. Her mother and I have very different taste when it comes to dressing the baby. I always want to go with the classic styles with the cutesy, girlie dresses with smocking, tiny pleats, etc. Daughter wants to go with clothes like trendy jeans or blue jean skirts and bedazzled shirts that read "Born to Shop." But, of the dozen Christmas dress choices we did find a few on which we could agree. If I had had the money I would have bought at least two more. They were just tooo cute.

This particular mall has a really great Santa who looks very authentic and a huge Polar Express set up. After the kids have their pictures made with Santa, you can move over to a porch set where the whole family can pose.

I brought my own camera with me so I positioned myself beyond the picture taking venue and put on the telephoto lens. I was in excellent view of everything going on and I had a lot of fun watching the little ones react. It was probably an hour wait and by the time my kiddos were at the front of the line Miss L was bored, cranky and done with the hair bow! There was one family ahead of them and you would not believe what happened! The camera broke and stopped printing out pictures!!! They waited and waited and waited while the little mall workers tried to troubleshoot the problem.

After a while Santa got up and started walking around talking to the kids in line. This was great for some and terrifying for others. He was very kindly and you could tell he was not trying to cause any drama. He just moved on down the line. Miss L was happy to see him and let him hold her hand and said "Hi, Tanta Claw." By now I had moved up to the perimeter fence and Santa suggested I go ahead and take pictures which I did of daughter, SIL and Miss L with Santa standing there. Great shots.

Then Santa told the mall workers, all gathered around the broken kiosk, he was going to sit down and let everyone take their own pictures. I was so thrilled that I had brought my camera and almost started to take orders from those in line! Tee Hee. But wouldn't you know, the minute Daughter placed Miss L in Santa's lap she began to squawk! She wanted no part of it and I got a very funny shot of her all straight-legged trying to get down.

A few minutes later the camera was fixed but by then there was no line left. Out of some sense of obligation we ended up buying the disk with the rights to the official picture. I just really think we should have gotten a discount for all the hassle but Daughter was too reserved to ask or allow me to do it.

Wished that reserved style applied to baby clothes! Just kidding!

Missing the compassion gene

Last week we had a trainer in our office from out of town. She was conducting several two day sessions with the staff to help us all prepare for the close of our office and the demise of our jobs. She was from a placement service and I participated in the first two-day session.

On day one of the second session she got a call that a close friend had died unexpectedly. She left the conference room and was quite upset in the ladies' room. I heard the crying but actually thought it was someone being silly at the other end of the office. A few minutes later one of the staff came to me and told me I was needed, that the trainer was crying in the bathroom. I went immediately to see how I might help.

Trainer was hysterical and had difficulty getting the words out but enough for me to know there had been a death. When Supervisor (I have told you about her before - see Tissuegate post) came in to see what was going on I instructed her to tell the employees in the training session to go on back to their regular duties, that training was canceled for the day. I then guided Trainer into the conference room for some privacy and to make arrangements for a flight home. For about 20 minutes she was unable to function and I ended up having to take the phone to talk to her boss. I say all that to give you an idea of how dramatic things were for a while and disconcerting for the entire office.

Well, my boss (remember Sheriff?) had gone to the dry cleaner and when she came back it was in the big middle of the drama. One of the employees approached her to tell her what was happening and as she headed for her office the employee said, "They are in the conference room." (in the opposite direction) She did not turn but went straight to her office. In less than five minutes she came out and told her assistant to notify the five employees that were in the training that they were on their own for lunch. She had canceled the boxed sandwich lunches! Can you believe it??? No concern for the distraught guest. No empathy for the staff that had been shaken up by the drama. Nope. Her primary thought was, "If they are not having training then we don't have to provide the lunch." You can imagine how this attitude went over with the entire office.

I ended up driving the trainer back to her hotel and she had a local friend who came to be with her and to take her to the airport. When I got back to the office my boss said, "I am glad you handled that. I just don't have that compassion thing ... I'm missing that gene." Ya think??? My response, "Well, I'm glad I have it."

A little bit later one of the trainees came to me and told me that since she always brought her lunch and she knew lunch was going to be provided for the two days of training she had nothing to eat that day. That is when I learned about the canceled lunches. This employee is in a very tight financial situation and had no money to purchase lunch. I told her that I really did not think it was my place to challenge the decision but that she should go to Sheriff and ask what she suggested. Sheriff's response? "I can give you the $6 to get your lunch but when you go back to training you will not get a lunch provided." Unbelievable!!!!!! The employee declined and went back to her station. I offered to get her lunch when I went out but she declined that as well. I brought back a lunch for her anyway. Glad I have that compassion gene.

I feel special!

It has been a long week and this evening I wearily plopped myself down for a cruise around the internet. Being a creature of habit I have a set computer routine and the first thing I do is read personal emails, then a jog around Facebook, look at the latest pictures of my granddaughter that have been posted, check out the newest tags in my tag group and, last but not least, stop at Blogger to catch up on some overdue reading and maybe, just maybe find time for a post. I was pleasantly surprised to find I have been given the Marie Antoinette Award by Lori at Dusty Pages. It is for real people who blog about real things. I truly am honored that my little piece of cyberspace has been deemed award worthy. Thank you, Lori!! That really perked me up!

I am now supposed to pass this on to seven more bloggers whom I believe are "real" bloggers who write about "real" everyday life. That describes so many of the journals I read, so I'm just going to have to pick a few of the many I could name. Many of those on my reading list have already been honored by someone else, so I'll try not to duplicate. (By the time I finished getting this all together I realize I have a duplicate after all but I don't care. They deserve another shout out!)

Here are the rules and my list of recipients.

The Rules

1. Please put the logo in your blog
2. Place a link from the person, from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more
4. Put the links of those on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blog to let them know

Jody at Dust Bunny Club of North America
Rose at
Roses Are Read
Veronica at Buffalo Squirrels
Jon at Lone Star Concerto


I named 15 organs in 4 minutes! How many internal organs can you name in 4 minutes?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rocket Science at the telephone company

I have been "bonding" with the AT&T call center agents about my screwed up account. I decided to bundle all my services when I added their high speed internet. This means that my television service, my internet and my land line should all be coming on one bill. And, at one point they sent me a check for the over payment on my previous internet service. But now my land line was cut off and in spite of repeated phone calls to get this resolved I still do not have a home phone. This is not a BIG deal to me since I only had that number added to make my family feel better that they have another way to reach me. I have been paying the bill but they cannot seem to wrap their head around getting it all on one statement as they promised six weeks ago.

The kicker was when I called again this evening and because I did not have my latest paperwork with me, I needed to answer a security question. The question: Who was your childhood hero? I could not remember giving an answer before but I responded with what I knew would have been my answer >>> Captain Kangaroo. Wrong. I told the agent, if that is not the answer then I have no idea who I would have listed. The agent then told me that there was no answer but because I had provided a response, it did not match and he could not discuss my account. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of the situation.

"So basically you are telling me that I had not ever picked that security question or given an answer and because I answered your question you cannot discuss my account with me??" Yep, that was it in a nutshell. Crazy, huh? But he did say he would update my answer for future reference.

The agent eventually did ask me for information I could provide which verified my identity and we went from there. And, before I hung up I asked for a new security question. The question: "Who has lame security measures?" Answer: AT&T.

He did not let me use that one.

I wonder when I will get my land line fixed??

Oh, yeah. In case anyone who knows me thinks it would be funny to mess with my AT&T account, Captain Kangaroo was not my childhood hero.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since our office is closing in a matter of weeks, I do not think it will hurt to tell some of the more benign stories of what happens at work. There are days when things occur which are so bizarre all I can think about is, "I wish I could post about this!" Such is the story of the Kleenex.

I got a new boss last year and shortly after she came on board I had a car accident. My lengthy absence caused a necessary shift of duties. When I returned, the ordering of supplies was no longer my responsibility. Worked for me but it did not take long to realize there was a new sheriff in town and she was tight, tight, tight!

We are not a big office and I had been very careful to watch the budget, have companies submit bids for our business and keep a tight reign on expenses. Or so I thought. It seems that Sheriff started ordering the cheapest paper towels that tore into pieces as you pulled them from the dispenser, a sub par grade of toilet paper that disintegrated upon contact and she openly requested post it notes be cut into strips to conserve. I kid you not!! She did several other things that will have to wait for the telling since they are worthy of their own post.

But the tissue fiasco was the latest straw. I used to make a bulk purchase of tissues and kept the boxes under lock and key in the closet with the coffee, creamer and other staples. The boxes were placed throughout the office since not everyone had the luxury of a permanent station/office and it was not a big expense. No one took advantage. They were an off brand tissue and some folks, like myself, bought our own boxes if we wanted to express our personal style.

Well, when the last bulk box was gone Sheriff would not order any more. This caused a stir in the office as people came to request a new box. They were particularly peeved when Sheriff said, "I will order more during cold and flu season." What the heck?? One of the pharmacists came to me, asking for a new box since he was suffering from an allergy attack. When I had to tell him he was out of luck and why, he suggested he might just use his sleeve or, better yet, use Sheriff's sleeve. As funny as that sounded I offered my Kleenex to him instead.

Fast forward to last week. Sheriff's assistant, who has been delegated to do the actual ordering, placed a supply order and included a case of 20 boxes of tissue. We had recently had our flu shots and many of the office were suffering from various ailments which seemed to be a good indicator that it was cold and flu season. Not so!!

When the order came in and Sheriff saw the packing slip she was furious and royally reamed her assistant for taking it upon herself to order tissues. The assistant tried to explain her reasoning but Sheriff announced, "I am not paying for them! You are sending them back!!" This all happened in our front office and everyone in the department could hear the fallout. You would have thought this $20 item was the tipping point of our financial success or failure so great was the reaction.

But it gets worse.

The assistant put the case of tissues on her desk in her cubicle to be returned the next day and went off to deliver the rest of the supplies to the various departments. Sheriff went home for the day.

Turns out the lead supervisor came through the front office shortly after this, and seeing the much coveted tissues, opened the case and took three boxes for her staff. Assistant comes back and seeing the opened case had a bit of a meltdown. I heard the commotion and stepped out to see what was causing the latest uproar. It seems my staff was offering suggestions to Assistant on how to undo the deed.

Stuff the case with used tissues? Eewww. Wad up toilet paper to fill the void? Naw. It was too thin and would take too much, thus creating a toilet paper shortfall. There was nothing Assistant could do except face the wrath of Sheriff in the morning.

Sure enough, the next morning Sheriff saw the opened case and pounced on Assistant the minute she walked through the door demanding to know why she had not been obeyed. Sheriff was actually yelling and causing such a commotion we all came out of our offices/cubicles to see what calamity had befallen us. It was absolutely the most bizarre scene with a row of heads sticking out of cubicles all looking in the same direction like drivers on the highway straining to see the accident scene. And I, realizing there was no need to call 9-1-1, returned to my desk.

A few minutes later Sheriff flew into my office and essentially demanded that I help her get to the bottom of this inexcusable breach of security. "I want to know who did this!!! I want you to find whoever did this." She was so enraged I actually thought her next words might be, "Off with their head!!" As the kids would say, she was off the chain.

It was so hard for me to keep a straight face. I had taken a walk through the pharmacy the night before and saw where the kleenex had been placed and had learned from the supervisor that she was the "culprit." It was a harmless deed and we laughed that perhaps we were not far enough into the cold and flu season after all.

I announced to Sheriff, "I know who took them." Who?! The look of elation on her face caused me to think I was well on my way to a Detective of the Year nomination. "It was Supervisor and it was an innocent mistake. She saw them, knew they were needed in the back and helped by passing them out."

Well, I have never seen someone shift gears so quickly in my life and I believe Sheriff may have left skid marks on my carpet. The reason? The lead supervisor reports directly to the Big Boss and I knew there was no way Sheriff was going to take this to Big Boss. Even in her state of frenzy Sheriff knew she was out of options. She had to pay for the tissues.

Last I heard there will be a fund raiser to cover the non-budgeted expense. Anyone want to sign up to sponsor me?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mmm mmm good

I enjoyed going out to lunch with my daughter, son in law and grandbaby, Miss L, this afternoon. Miss L was in rare form and kept turning around in her high chair to flirt with the other diners. She is 16 months old and does not really understand what she is doing but she was so funny, overtly blinking her big blue eyes and smiling when people looked at her. Then she started staring at the ceiling fan above us. It was bright red and I think she made herself dizzy trying to follow the blades. We just have so much fun with her, she's like a toy and will mimic most anything you ask her to say. When she first saw me today she immediately said, "Hi, Nana!" which melted my heart.
The lunch was at my favorite rib place, Red, Hot, and Blue. I had signed up online for their email notifications thinking that I would get discounts, special offers, coupons, etc. but nothing! It got to where every time they sent out a notification I was getting more ticked at them because it was never about the customer. When they emailed about their 20th Anniversary celebration, once again their were no coupons, no discounts. But, they did ask their customers to send them pictures of when they had enjoyed their dining experience at RHNB.

I ended up sending an email expressing my frustration with their marketing strategy and heard back from them the very next day. A Regional VP sent me a personal reply and expressed his appreciation for my comments and his agreement with my thoughts. The marketing is handled out of a national office and the various franchises, including the Texas RHNB region was at their mercy. He said he was glad to have my email to forward to Corporate in the hope they would make it worthwhile for the customer to be a part of their email campaigns. Then he offered to send me some "Baby, I Done You Wrong" coupons.

So, I hope to see offers on line in the future but I was thrilled to save $20 today. Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The writing on the wall

Yesterday was probably one of our last "normal" days before the office closes its doors permanently. This Monday, 25% of the business will be gone and the inevitable cutbacks will begin.

We decided to have a company luncheon on Friday so I got up early and made a huge green bean casserole. You know the one with the Durkee Onions and cream of mushroom soup. Mmmmm. My schedule got off track and I realized I was going to be running late so I called to give my boss a heads up. I am salaried and a few minutes is no big deal but I feel it is the professional thing to do, so I called.

Typically, when we have luncheons my boss will give me money to apply toward the purchase of meat or something because she never wants to be bothered with doing anything herself. But this time she never mentioned it so I did my shopping Thursday night and all I had to actually prepare was the casserole. So now she wanted me to stop somewhere and buy something for her for the luncheon. I walked right into this by calling the office before I arrived. I knew we would probably need more desserts but that would require more effort here at the last minute so I never mentioned it. I wanted to make it easy on myself so we agreed on a gallon of sweet tea since I had only bought one and I was not sure if anyone else was bringing any. I had to drive past the office to get to the tea but she is better at delegating than actually doing anything herself and I want to keep the peace so I did it.
There are a lot of mixed emotions at the office these days. The company that bought us was the previous employer of several of our current pharmacy technicians. Some left that company on good terms but others did not and they now know this will prevent them from filling any of the limited available positions being offered. You just cannot burn your bridges, no matter what your reasons. It will come back to bite you!!!

One of the techs lied when she left the corporate company, saying she had a family emergency. She then started working with us and never went back. No notice, much less working out her notice. Another tech gave notice but only worked two more days and quit. No one at our company knew about this at the time and these employees have never had any issues in the time they have worked for us. I am certain, like all of us, we never dreamed this new company that was new and so successful would ever close its doors. A couple more of the techs did some serious pot stirring at their old office after they started with us so they will probably prevent them from being rehired as well. I guess people have to learn the hard way to do the right thing.

I have mixed feelings about job hunting right now. I want to work through the end of when they will need me in order to get the severance package but I have no idea how long they will need the billing department. If I start to look for something now they may want me sooner than I want to go. Next week they will have an outsourcing firm there to help us so I plan to take advantage of their expertise as well.

It is no wonder I can't even think about Christmas preparations. So much is in limbo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Embarrassing Moment - Part VI

Something happened at dinner this evening that caused a repressed embarrassing moment to pop into my head. I have to share.

A few years ago, while living in NC, I dated a gentleman who enjoyed singing. Since I do, too, we frequently hit the karaoke clubs/bars. It seems that most people need to knock back a few drinks before they have the nerve to take the mike. But for others, they will embarrass themselves in front of a room of strangers with little to no encouragement. That would be me. A Patsy Cline wannabe.

My friend, whom I will call RJ, would bring the house down every time he did his excellent rendition of James Brown's "I Feel Good." It was always a crowd pleaser. We had a lot of fun and found one DJ in particular we loved to follow. Freddy and his wife were retired and they were booked several nights a week at various locations to bring in business. Freddy, a little wizard of a man, worked the crowd and his wife played the music. They were a great team and had a very appreciative audience including RJ and me.

For a time, Freddy was booked as a regular on a week night at an authentic Mexican restaurant. It was not a fancy place but the food was excellent and with the karaoke, the crowds were steadily increasing. RJ and I liked to go to the places where the karaoke was new because it meant the wait time was shorter between when we could sing. And, I always said, after the other diners heard me sing, they were less inhibited about trying it. I think it is a gift I have to make others feel better about themselves. Tee Hee

On this particular evening, RJ was once again in the queue to sing and I had to find the little girls' room. The restaurant was not large and the door was in close proximity to the counter. I made my way over and upon entering I determined it was a unisex bathroom. I stepped back out to check the door. Yep, I was in the right place. I then found the latch on the door would not work. I was not about to run the risk of someone opening the door and any bypassing customers having an unobstructed view.

I stepped back out and found the nearest table where four men sat drinking their beers. I asked if one of them could come guard the door since the latch was broken and quickly realized they did not speak English. With my broken Espanol and sign language I explained my need and this dude stood up. He must have been 6' 3" and he came over, turned his back to the bathroom door and crossed his arms. I went in with every confidence that I would be uninterrupted.

As I came back out, I thanked my new hero. RJ was singing and he shot me a quizzical look. I found it funny that he was jealous of my body guard. I made my way back to the table with our friends and when RJ returned he was full of questions. Why did I need to get some guy to stand by the door? And, why did I choose to use the men's restroom?

It turns out the women's restroom was across the room.

Good grief. I do not remember the Spanish word on the door but I obviously misinterpreted. Can you imagine what those guys must have thought when I was insisting on using their men's room and was motioning one of them to come with me??!! RJ, who did not speak Spanish any better than me, went over to try and explain. Not sure if anyone was able to translate but they kept grinning at me the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Glad I was in the dark

As the end of the year approaches, I am trying to make certain I get in all my standard annual doctor's visits. Since I have passed that magical 40th year, I get a mammogram each October. For that not-so-fun procedure, I like to go in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, because they always give you pink ribbon goodies. I am a sucker for freebies. This year I got a jar gripper, some power bars, and a nail buffer. Woo Hoo!

I think there should always be giveaways at the doctor's office. "In exchange for your copay, here is a lovely Prozac pen as a parting gift." And, if I get free medication samples, I am as happy as a kid with a full Trick or Treat bag!
But, a week after my initial appointment, I got a call from my primary care physician's office. I needed to go back for additional tests ... someone was supposed to have called me already but they had not ... please make an appointment for an ultrasound ... the doctor will fax over the orders. I called the Women's Health office and arranged the appointment for today. No one seemed to be in a rush so I did not give it much thought. When I asked the reason for the new test the explanation did not sound too ominous. I try to take a low key approach to these things. No reason to add drama before there is a need.
When I got to the office I changed clothes and was put in the waiting room with the other ladies, all of us wearing the latest in pink, open-down-the-front tops. After a few minutes a nurse came and got me and quietly explained I was being taken to another part of the office. She was too nice ... too caring ... too attentive. I started to get unnerved. After a few more minutes a technician came and got me and explained that she would be "escorting" me to the procedure. Since when did I need an announced escort? Typically it is business as usual and you know to follow the businesslike nurse to wherever she goes. No explanations needed.

The technician was also very attentive and kind, explaining the process to me as though I was a nursing home resident suffering from dementia. By that point I felt as though I had stepped into a scene from the Twilight Zone. Nothing seemed normal.

The doctor arrived and explained why I had been asked to return. He had reviewed my xrays. There was a concern that I had lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. He was quick to assure me about the success rate with early detection. I was stunned. But, less than five minutes later Dr. H assured me that everything looked fine. He showed me the original xrays and what had caused the concern and then an anatomy lesson of what nodes should look like. Mine were perfect.

Wow! Those few minutes seemed like an eternity. I can't imagine how I would have felt if I had known for several days about the possible prognosis. Just think - I missed all that opportunity to worry. So, just for the fun of it, I have been shopping online for Guatemalan Worry Dolls.

Random Thoughts

It was a year ago today I had my car accident. I am grateful to be alive but I am still p-o'd at the gal who was in such a big rush she had to turn in front of me. Silver lining: I got a new car with all the bells and whistles. And, now my ankle and knee let me know when the weather is going to change.

I should blog about that.

I am always thinking of things to write about but they leave my head when I sit in front of the computer. I used to carry a little tablet to jot down ideas but I can't find it.

I will blog about that as soon as I find my notes.

Facebook has been a great way for me to connect with old friends. My best friend from junior high found me on there. So did two old boyfriends ... and an ex husband. Okay. It is not a perfect system.

I should blog about that.

My land line is not working and I think I am okay with that. I am considering becoming a recluse.

I should blog about that.

AT&T frustrates the heck out of me.

No one wants to read a post about poor customer service and those who call themselves "supervisors."

In this economy are there really companies that will pay millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad?

Do compulsive/chronic liars not realize we are on to them but we are sometimes just too polite to bust them?

If your company is closing your office and they offer you a job you do not want, can it prevent you from getting the severance package if you turn it down?

Do you know anyone who has had Botox injections? Were you surprised? Do they look surprised?
I've got nothing to blog about. I think I will call it a night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We have South America! Do I hear Africa?

Since I have been on Blogger, I feel I have several readers that are new to my journal, some who leave comments and others that don't. In my sidebar you may have noticed my ClustrMap. It is so cool. I added it just out of curiosity to get an idea of whether the DBP was getting many hits. I seem to have gone international. In addition to my USA readership, I see I have repeat visitors from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan, Australia, and someone floating around the Tropic of Cancer in the Pacific Ocean. This past week I had a visitor stop by from South America. There are a couple of hits where I cannot be certain of their origination so it is causing me to study my world geography.

In this time of global crisis, it is comforting to think that the world is actual smaller thanks to the technology that ties us together. And, if someone in Korea gets a chuckle from my cotton ball story (see Embarrassing Moments from college) it makes me feel good. Or, maybe they just think I am weird. Either way, I promise, I am no threat. Unless, of course I am in need of Dr Pepper. You've been warned.

It is a real addiction

In the spirit of full disclosure: I recognized my addiction to carbonated drinks some time ago, particularly Dr. Pepper and had quit cold turkey seven days ago. I know it is not good for me and it is a significant factor in my battle to lose weight. I had half of a two liter bottle of DP left and hoped, when I twisted the cap today that it would be dead. Nope. There was the "skoosh" sound of active carbonation. Oh, joy! Forget the appropriate set up with a glass and ice. I swigged it hot from the bottle like a woman possessed. I might as well have been crouched behind some dumpster with a brown paper bag wrapped around my vice, so great was my desire. I immediately was ashamed but once the day was ruined, I hit the bottle a few more times. Since this actually happened on Sunday, I will start the count over on Monday.

I should go into the kitchen and pour the remaining ..... okay. It is done. I poured the rest down the sink. Wish I felt better about it but I don't. Now, if I can just get past Sonic tomorrow on my way to work.

I missed the welcome from Blogger to all of us that journaled on AOL. If you missed it too, check it out.

I think this was a very classy thing to do.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still getting the lay of the land

I felt a certain sense of loss this weekend as I realized my alerts from AOL were no more. Oh, they had already been dwindling as JLanders bid their final farewells, locked their virtual doors and walked away. I did not realize just how much I had come to rely on those daily greetings that connected me with people hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. It made the world seem so much smaller and friendlier.

But I know you are still out there. I have a mental image of the Clampetts, in the past few weeks, packing up entries, comments, graphics and more, on to their overburdened Model T truck and clickety clacking down the road to Blogger. I have been working on putting together a list of Journals I followed (I did not realize how many) and finding the best way for me to be notified when you post something. The neighborhood looks somewhat familiar as many have transitioned to Blogger with the same journal name they used at AOL. So far I have listed over 200 journals that I have come in contact with through comments, sidebars or my personal interest. Slowly but surely I am loading my favorites. I am still a little overwhelmed by the cement pond but I am certain I will learn to adjust in my new surroundings and soon it will feel like home.

How are you feeling about the transition? Do you feel like the proverbial transfer student? What tips do you have for getting settled in?

Embarrassing Moments - Part V

Originally posted on my AOL journal.
Some years ago I worked in a high rise building. I happened to have an assigned parking place in the basement which had many advantages. It gave me quick and easy access to the underground elevator.

In the winter, the wind whipped through the parking garage with a vengeance and we found ourselves hurrying to the elevator bay to get out of the cold. Because of the pressure of the interior of the building against the outdoor suction of the wind, the door leading to the elevators did not always close properly. A notice was sent out to all the tenants of the building to take extra care to close the door and not allow the building's heat to escape into the garage.
One morning I found myself rushing into the building, trying not to be late. My arms were full of folders and pages of the current project assigned to me and my purse was hanging precariously on my shoulder. I entered the elevator bay by myself and realized I did not hear the heavy outside door close behind me. Without turning to look, I reached back with my free hand and gave the door handle a good pull. No, wait! I did not feel the metal of the door handle. I realized I was feeling material. Kind of a wool blend - like a suit.

I turned back and, to my horror, I saw the stricken look on the face of a very tall, handsomely dressed black man. I had grabbed him below the belt and all I could do was blurt out "Oh, I am so sorry. I was reaching for the door handle! I am sooo sorry." He didn't (or, more likely, couldn't) respond.

Awkward silence followed as we stood in the elevator bay waiting for what seemed like an eternity. I could feel my face was hot and I just prayed he would say something to break the tension. Nothing. We got on the elevator, just the two of us, and he no doubt moved to the furthermost part of the elevator from me. Silence.

I prayed he would exit the elevator on one of the first floors ahead of me but instead we continued our ride together. Oh, please, Lord. Don't let him be a co-worker. I eventually got off at my designated stop and he continued on, never to be seen by me again.

Naturally, I had to share my story with my girlfriends in the office and as politically incorrect as it may have been, I reinforced a stereotype that day. He had made quite an impression on me, as I am sure I did on him as well.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Still in shock

In 2005, when I moved back to Texas, I was hired as part of the start up operations of a long term care pharmacy that serviced 37 nursing homes in Texas. For the first few weeks I literally used my own card table and chair to conduct business. At that time it was just a huge, empty facility and I watched as it built up around me. I helped pick out the furniture, cubicles, equipment, and as the Business Office Manager I also did all the background checks on each new employee as well as new hire orientation. I have been here every step of the way as people have come and gone; shared good times and sad. I know these folks. We are like family.

We filled our first prescriptions in January 2006 and I was there when we worked out all the bugs of the new software and refined our processes. I have written policies and procedures, conducted training, been the Compliance Officer as well as the Billing Manager. We have been very successful and profitable. So profitable I guess that a large corporation made our owners an offer they could not refuse. We have been bought and the pharmacy's doors will be closing.

We are all in shock since they only wanted our customer base and are absorbing our nursing home residents into their existing infrastructure. They need a few pharmacists and technicians locally to handle the growth. Their billing is handled out of another state so they do not need my staff. And, yours truly will be looking for a new job.

I have never been part of a corporate takeover and I think this is the absolute worst time to be seeking new employment with the economy in its current condition. Just a week ago I was counting my blessings that I had a steady job with a decent salary and benefits. Wahhhhh! You just never know.

They have hired a firm to assist us in our job search which I see as a plus and in my position I am going to be needed through the transition to close the books after the doors close. How sad to watch all my friends as they will be phased out in the coming weeks. This will certainly make the holiday season dismal but I am trying to look for the silver lining.

Blogger better not close me down. I need some consistency in my life at this point, right?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It can only get better from here

I opened one blurry eye this morning and almost had a stroke. The clock read 9:38 and I was supposed to already be at work. I tried to convince myself it was Saturday but I knew better. All I could do was call my boss to tell her what had happened and promise to hustle. She was very nice about it and told me to not rush and have an accident.

I cannot fathom what happened. The alarm was set right (AM vs PM), it was on and the power had not flickered. Evidently the alarm went off and buzzed for its entire cycle but I never heard it and it eventually stopped. This has never happened to me before and I was baffled and more than a little frazzled. Seems I had slept especially hard since one side of my body was a mass of bed wrinkles and my hair had taken on a Halloween-like personality - frightening.

So here I am turning on the lights, the shower, curling iron and clothes iron all at once. Grabbed the bedspread and pulled it up as far as possible and slung the decorator pillows at the headboard. Why did I worry about making the bed?? In and out of the shower in under five minutes. Decided against clothes that required ironing. Attacked my hair with a vengeance and brushed my teeth at the same time, trying to avoid crossing liquid with electricity.

Quickly pulled on my clothes and started turning everything off again. As I approached the front door with keys and purse in hand, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I had actually put my blouse on inside out and the built in shoulder pads were flapping in the breeze. Swish off - swish on.

Fortunately there are a few traffic lights on my route where I tried to apply some makeup and fill in the bed wrinkle crevices. Including my travel time I made it into the office in less than an hour from my rude awakening.

I think I better head to bed now and avoid a replay.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quality Time

My son, Sport, is winding down his two week trip to Texas. He actually drove to my office today and took me to lunch which was a wonderful treat. We have gotten to spend a lot of great time together but, as he tells me, I am geographically inconvenient. I am 45 minutes away from everyone else in the family so I sometimes feel I am getting the short end of the stick. Not this time.

Tomorrow Sport is best man in a wedding and he will then head back to Denver. Tenderheart and I will attend the wedding and then head in the opposite direction to take the baby to see relatives visiting from Georgia. I have a feeling I will be exhausted by Sunday night.

Here are the shots from visiting the pumpkin patch. What fun! Miss L picked an "apple" and carried it with her the rest of the time.

Hands full. Now what??

That sun sure is bright!

Now I need some advice from those of you who are more savvy with adding pictures on Blogger. What application do you use to be able to manipulate your images? I have some great shots on the photo disc but they are in landscape layout and cannot figure out how to rotate them to portrait to add them to the post. In other words, I turned the camera sideways to take the shot and the picture is laying sideways in the thumbnail.
I spend so much time trying to learn what to do that I end up getting very little done but I refuse to give up. Grrrrrrr...
Off to bed. Big day tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling Patriotic

I am feeling really good right now because I was able to find the right place to do early voting today and the line went quickly. I took a late lunch and was able to get in and out in under 40 minutes, including travel time. Woo Hoo! What a relief to know I do not have to fight what I expect to be long lines on November 4.
Things are so much easier these days to google voting information and, at least in Texas, you have a two week window to cast your ballot before the actual election.
And, I do not want to hear one word of complaint from anyone in the next four years if they did not do their part now to choose the next leader of our great country!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Apple Patch, Techno Toys and The Promise

Wow! How quickly time gets away from me! I feel like I just sat down a few minutes ago and now it is the middle of the night. This past weekend flew by, too, and I had the best time I had experienced in ages.

Spent time with Miss L. My daughter dressed her up in a little denim jumper with fall flowers on it and we took her to a pumpkin patch, or as Miss L would say, The "Apple" Patch. Too cute! The first thing she did was pick up a tiny pumpkin and carried it around by the stem the entire time. I still have not mastered the art of downloading pictures from my camera to this computer so I must go to Walgreens first and get everything on disk. I know - I am technologically challenged!

Speaking of technology. Sport is still in town and this evening we went out to eat and then he spent some time hooking up better speakers to my computer, adding closed caption to my tv (so I am ready for my dad's next visit) and then hooked up my DVD player to my new television. He refused to hook up the webcam on the computer and told me I just need to upgrade. With the economy the way it is, I will have to stay satisfied with what I have.

I could not bring myself to say this previously but when I mentioned in another post that I had "inherited" a newer computer from my brother, I did not say that it was because he had passed away. It happened this summer and was such a shock to my entire family. He was struggling with so many issues and took his own life. Carbon monoxide poisoning. The family had not heard from him for about two years and were not even sure where he was living. Turns out he was living about an hour from me. We had lost touch when I moved to North Carolina and then back to Texas. I found a sticky note with my old email address in his journal and it haunts me that he may have tried to reach me at that address and I only looked at it about twice a year. Over the years he had gone through so many stages of his life and even when he cut off the rest of the family in years past, he and I stayed in touch. I searched for him on the Internet many ways and kept telling my mom, "When R has something positive to share with us, we will hear from him again." It is difficult to realize that door is closed forever.

R was single and I ended up with many of his belongings - all of which were nicer than mine. I guess I feel closer to him now than I had for some time. Everywhere I turn in my home now there is something of his. I have even kept his screen saver on the computer - a beautiful picture of his beloved Bengal cat, Lily. So tonight Sport hooked up all the electronic "toys" that had been R's. I just have to figure out how to use them now.

On a more positive note, I went with several friends this past Saturday night to see "The Promise" which is a outdoor passion play about the life of Christ. I had been to see it with my kids and the church youth group 19 years ago and it was even more impressive now. There was a cast of over 100, live animals (donkeys, horses, a camel, doves, pigeons, sheep, goats, etc), a "river" which I hope for the sake of the actors was heated, wonderful costumes and beautiful sets. This is a limited engagement each year - only on Friday and Saturday evenings for a couple of months in the fall. It was great to get out, enjoy the company of good friends and the weather was perfect. This outdoor amphitheater is up on a hill and when the lights were out at various times, you could enjoy a sky full of stars. For an old city girl, that was a rare treat.

Well, I am finally sleepy - make it a great week!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It finally feels like Fall

I am so happy that the summer heat has passed and we are finally enjoying temperatures in the 70s during the day here. I love Fall and the high school football games and winter rye grass. Since we do not get to enjoy the bright fall foliage in this part of Texas, I enjoy the contrast of scalped yards and newly planted pansies. If the weather stays relatively stable this winter, those pansies will be around well into next year.

Sport has come home for a visit. The volatile stock market has been a roller coaster for him (and everyone one else, I know) but since he has the ability to do his work from any "port in a storm" he is spending time here while still connecting with his clients coast to coast. As I have often said, "Ain't technology grand?!" I believe when times get tough, even the most independent child will seek the familiarity of home. Of course, if he reads this I will never hear the end of it!! His business, while not on Wall Street, is directly tied to the market, stocks, bonds and portfolios so I pray for him daily that he does not have a stroke before "we see where the bottom is."

The State Fair of Texas is in full swing and, except for a little rain yesterday, the weather could not be more perfect. I will probably not make it this year since I still have some trouble walking and do not want to slow others by my pace. But, I have heard all about it from one of my coworkers. She has spent a good bit of time online researching what foods she would eat when she got there. It seems that they will fry anything that will stick to a stick. Fried jelly beans. Chicken fried bacon. (Just close my veins down now!!) Deep fried, batter dipped cookie dough. Ugh. While it may cause some to salivate in appreciation, it just makes my stomach churn. Now, whip me up a big pink paper cone of cotton candy and I'm right there with you. When I was growing up, the State Fair was the one time a year I got cotton candy. These days you can get it almost anywhere including in deflated plastic bags at WalMart. I wonder if it would feel like the fair if I bought a bag, sat on a bench at Wally World and just watched the people? Maybe on a Saturday!
What is your favorite part of a fair? The food, the booths, the new cars, watching the people?

Lots of fun things planned for the weekend. Dinner with the kids and Miss L tomorrow. "Day of Repair" Saturday with a manicure and haircut, and then an evening out with friends going to see the live passion play "The Promise." More about that next week.