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This Isn’t Really a Post About Anything………

……….just I’m sick…and whiny…..waaaaaaaaaaah…

I got walking pneumonia and an ear infection the day before Thanksgiving. 

Spent Thanksgiving day entertaining the family, not a one knows I’m sick, and then spent the next three days just lying around doing nothing much.

I couldn’t…everything is an effort and I get tired just walking from one room to the other.  Also, I feel drunk without the fun, because my ear is full of fluid.

I do feel a little better today, but I’m back at work and I’m already exhausted.

Like I said, this isn’t really a post about anything.

So, um…are you ready for Christmas? 

p.s. Aaaaaaaaaaand our computer blew up – literally – yesterday.  It’s old (8 yrs.) so it’s time to replace…but I didn’t plan on spending that money right now.

p.p.s. I’m thankful I have the money to replace my computer, so I’ve got it better than many people I know.

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Let Me Put It This Way

I had an amazingly screwed up childhood.

And, I’m glad I did.

Yep, I’m glad because the insanity that was made the person that is.

I was born, against all odds and to the amazement of every doctor around, in rural farmland to a couple who’d never thought children were going to happen for them.

My mother desperately wanted a child, but my father didn’t. In fact, he often told me how much he didn’t want children as the years went by.

He wasn’t particularly mean about it, just matter-of-fact.  But, to a young girl the words cut like a knife.

A hot knife with serrated edges.

My parents divorced when I was six.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  Few things are as traumatic for a child as divorce.  I thought the world had ended.

I was wrong, of course.

My mother dated some after the divorce.  Her incredibly beautiful and exotic features attracted men like moths to a flame. 

When I was eight she remarried.  My new stepfather came with an added bonus feature – a six year old stepsister whom I loathed nearly as much as him.

Blended families are not like you see on The Brady Bunch.  They are forged from the fire of anger and the grit of determination.  In the end, some are beautiful works of art and others are left on a pile of discards, charred and misshapen.

Ours was somewhere in between.  My sister and I fought – I once broke a finger of hers and she graced me with a gigantic bald patch on my head.  Our fighting didn’t seem to affect the parental units much.  Of course, liberal applications of gin and vermouth might have had a lot to do with that.

Because of their need for alone time with Tanqueray and Martini & Rossi we were left to our own devices a lot.

Neither of us was particularly rebellious, but both of us were desperate for the attention that our parents now showered upon one another.

There were moments, when one of us was sick or hurt, that brought them both running and being the kind of parents we wanted all the time.

These glimpses made us both wish for a fever or broken bone.

As I entered pre-adolescence I discovered the magic of the written word. One of my first loves had always been horses, and Walter Farley introduced me to a magnificent horse named, simply, “The Black”.  I read every “Black Stallion” novel ever written and re-read them when I finished the series.

Truth be known, right now in my desk drawer is a paperback copy of “The Black Stallion”.  It is worn and rough around the edges, kind of like me these days, and I cherish it.

At thirteen someone loaned me a copy of “Christine” by Stephen King.  From then on, and to this day, I read his work whenever I can.

In high school I was completely in love with horror and science fiction writing, and spent time with H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and the aforementioned King.

It was also during this time that I began to write.  To date, though unpublished, I’ve written one young adult fantasy manuscript and several children’s stories – including an entire series on a pair of unlikely buddies, a dog named Angelo and a cat named Malcolm, that I will continue to write about so long as it makes me happy.  

I’m not sure where writing and reading blurred, but one thing I am sure of.  If I hadn’t discovered the escape of a good book I don’t think I’d of developed such a love for writing.

In high school I was awarded every accolade possible for my creative writings – short stories and poetry – and urged to pursue a degree that would help further a career as a writer.

Well, life intervened and it never happened.

And, I can’t help but think I’m glad it did.  For while life was happening, I was tucking the details away so later I could use them in a world of my own creation. 

A world where I could control the outcome.

A world where Daddies didn’t leave, and never told their daughters they didn’t really want children after all.

Part Two: I Used To________

See Part One here….

So, by now I’ve been an office manager, a customer service rep, and accounting manager all in the span of about six years.

My next gig was as the call center manager for a very small computer manufacturing company.  From there, I became the expediter – and if you don’t know what that is, in a manufacturing facility it’s the person who identifies bottlenecks in the process and works towards resolution of same.  Later, they made me technical services manager.  Basically, I supervised call center employees in the help desk area. It was an okay place, but the day the human resources manager went out to “get some aspirin” and didn’t come back I knew the writing was on the wall.  The CEO literally fled town amidst speculation of embezzling; leaving all of us out of a job.

I guess, technically, I was not fired from that job.  But still, I was jobless again.

About this time I decided I hated commuting and wanted to find a job close to home.  My next job really seemed to fill the bill.

I was office/tech manager for an HVAC company.  When I interviewed with the husband and wife who owned this small business not two minutes from my house I explained that the only time I ever got to see my parents was during the Christmas holidays, and I would be taking off every year to do so.  This was non-negotiable and I made that clear.

First year I was there, no problem.  Second year, not so much.  I was told they were going to Cancun and I was staying at work to run things.

I said no, I’m not.   They said, you are fired…..in March.  It was the strangest firing, but they said I could stay until I found another job or they found a replacement.  Those things coincided in March that year.

Thus began one of my shortest, strangest (okay Vickie/Victoria was the strangest) job experiences.

I began work as a customer service/warehouse manager for a large distributor of plumbing supplies.  They were expanding in Texas and this facility was brand-new.  It was also a fifteen minute drive from home, and I was excited at the prospect of  creating something from the beginning.  Our main office was in Florida, and during the interview process I was asked about travel.  I stopped the interview, telling them I did not travel…ever…for a job. One reason was I had four kids at home, and a husband, but another reason is physical.  I have a hole in one eardrum and flying makes me sick..very sick.  No problem, they said, you won’t ever have to travel, they said.  The job was okay, despite the regional manager’s wife’s habit of dropping in at all hours and if he wasn’t in the office she’d go around looking in the closets for him.  No, really in the closets.  I found out that is because she had “stolen” him from his first wife as she, as his secretary, and he would meet in closets for their trysts.   Naturally, a relationship forged with such mutual respect would lead to closet-snooping.

Three months later I was called into the office of the regional VP (and total speed-freak I had recently learned)  to be told either I traveled to Florida for a week or I would have to find a new job.  I turned to my boss, who had been summoned as well, and said, “Welp…you got any boxes?  I’ll need some for my stuff in my office.”   The VP’s mouth dropped open, but I got up, packed up and never looked back.

The tally, so far – office manager, customer service rep, accounting manager, call center manager, expediter, tech manager, customer service and warehouse manager.

See why I have a story for just about every job situation?

But wait, there’s more!

From the plumbing supply company I went to work for the in-house counsel and VP of sales for a large retail chain at their corporate headquarters.

My first day on the job, one of the bosses was in the hospital.  He’d taken ill over the weekend with kidney stones.

His wife came into the office to pick something up for him.  However, in rummaging through his desk she got way more than she bargained for as she found nude pictures of his girlfriend, and him, in flagrante delicto.

She came out of his office, screaming like a banshee, and fell to floor.  She continued to wail and pound the carpet..as employees walked past her.

Apparently, as I found out later, this was her response to everything from “it’s raining outside” to “your husband is schtupping some chick behind your back.”, so people tended to ignore her.   This episode, though, finally got her banned from the office so subsequent days weren’t nearly so eventful.

Until the CEO got caught in the same compromising situation by wife #3, and was shown the door by her.  She came into the office that day, loaded for bear, but he was not in.  The actual break-up took place in their home, and call me crazy but I’m pretty sure that’s where that shit belongs.

Soon, he fell in love with a stripper.  And she, him.  Of course.

Never mind that he was 44, looked like a troll and had multiple health issues. He was a multi-millionaire and she was his “soulmate”.  She was also 22, and I don’t think a single “part” of her was real.   From her big hair to big tatas, she was a sight to behold.  She always wore 5-inch heels and towered over him.

This mad love affair led to much spending of company money on said “love of my life” – including the hideous $20K painting he shipped from Italy when they were on a cruise.  When the Board forced him out over his mishandling of company funds she stuck by his side, despite his rapidly dwindling income, for exactly two weeks.

A new CEO search was on and all the executives and their admins were shown the door.  I was first, but it was like opening the floodgates as soon after the entire upper management staff was gone.

I contemplated taking the summer off after this job, but a call from a headhunter changed my mind.  In June of 2002 I came to work for the company I’m at now.  I’m technically called an “administrative coordinator”, but for the pay and benefits if they want to call me “Chief Bitch of This Location” I’m totally cool with it.

And, it seems, after all these years if I haven’t pissed them off to the point of firing me yet – and believe me there have been times when I wondered – then maybe I’ve found my (work) soulmate at last.

So, yeah, next time I pipe up with some anecdote about something/place I used to work at, I’m not bragging.  I really have done just about every kind of office job, for every kind of whack-job, imaginable.

Part One: I Used To_______

Fill in the blank, because if there’s an office job out there I’ve probably done it.

Not that I’m proud of it, but until several years ago I had been fired from every job I ever had, starting when I was 14 yrs. old.

Let’s see, at 14 I was fired because my mother was the boss and nepotism was frowned on on a Tuesday.  Monday, it was okay…but Tuesday rolled around and suddenly it wasn’t.

After that I worked the usual teenage stuff until I got married.

I didn’t work, full-time, again until the kiddies were in school.  I believe a mother should stay home and raise the little mongrels she helps create.  Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

My first full-time job was as an office manager for a woman who was, in my very un-scholarly opinion, a certified loon.  I think she also had a touch of multiple-personality disorder.  Her name was Vickie, but some days she insisted on being called ‘Victoria’.  On those days, she dressed and spoke differently.  Even her mannerisms were different as Victoria.

I can deal with crazy, but multiple personalities?  That was not easy. Especially when one would tell me to do something and then the other would show up later and scream at me for doing it.

After six months of that I’d had enough. I found a new job and told Vickie/Victoria I was giving notice.  I think Victoria would have let me work the remaining time, but I’d told Vickie and she was pissed.  So, she wrote me out my last check and told me to leave.  I got an unexpected vacation, but it was okay as I was going to what I believed was a fun job.

I went to work for a courier service as a customer service rep.  I answered upwards of 200 calls per day for local couriers.  This was way before e-mail, so paperwork had to be physically shuttled from place to place.  On holidays – Valentine’s Day for example – we’d also do flower delivery for local florists.  One year my father-in-law passed away – very young and very suddenly – and I called my boss on February 12th to tell her I’d be going out of town for the funeral.  She informed me that I couldn’t do that as Valentine’s Day was their busiest day of the year, and if I didn’t come in I was fired.

Yes, you read that right.  I got fired for going to my father-in-law’s funeral.

After that, I worked for a company that sold plastic bags.  It was a great job and the boss was amazing.  However, his wife owned a business two floors above us and simply couldn’t keep from meddling.  The final straw, for me as accounting manager, was the day she posted the notice that we’d be allowed two bathroom breaks per day at no more than three minutes each.  It was her contention that too much time was being taken away from the phones and the main job of selling bags.  During the meeting to explain this new rule I opened my big mouth and said, “Diane, you obviously have waaaaaaaay too much time on your hands.  Why don’t you go out to my house and do a little cleaning?”

If I’d of said that in private she would have been pissed, but nothing would have come of it.  That is not me, though, and since I called her out in front of about 20 other people…yep, it was look-for-job-time again.

To be continued tomorrow….