Warrior Princess

November 30, 2006

The Stick

Filed under: Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 4:35 pm

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.” ~ Katherine Hepburn
Well, I certainly didn’t expect to be going through life with such a big stick up my butt.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at how rigid I can be.  I was always rigid, but I kept it a secret from myself.  The biggest surprise is rule-related.  I always took the position that I would follow all the rules…unless I thought they were stupid.  I frequently thought things were stupid.  Now, not so much.  Well, okay, maybe just a little.

I expect everyone else to follow the rules, though.  If I don’t think the rule is worthy of being observed, it’s okay with me if you get rebellious, too.  Otherwise, rules are made to be followed.  See?  Major, major stick up my butt.  In part, I think it’s from being an only child.  In part, I think it’s from being an only child with a psychotic parent.  Whatever the reason, I think I’d like it if I could just let go of this to some extent.

It’s difficult to take that position (rules are made to be followed) when you think of yourself as a non-conformist.  I tend to look like I’m conforming, but that’s just because people can’t see inside my head.  I’m pointlessly subversive.  Sometimes I just like to screw with things because other people are trying to require me to do things their way.  (See above.)  Sometimes I just like to screw with things because I can.  I definitely usually look like I’m conforming, though.
Anal retentive.  I have a big need to have things done a certain way.  Maybe that’s more obsessive-compulsive.  I’ve defintely got some qualities that fit that bill.  I alphabetized all of my books, after I put them in categories.  I have a lot of books.  It took me forever to figure out how I thought they should be categorized.  I think I re-organized them several times.  It drives me crazy if one of them is out of place.  Actually, I need to start over because I’ve acquired a whole new category of books.  I just haven’t figured out where in the existing groups to put them.
Clinically speaking, I can get sidetracked into brain loops.  I just made that up…oh how non-conformist of me!  I can start thinking about how to solve a problem and get stuck there like a broken record.  For those of you who even remember what those were.  The really nutty thing is that obsessing never leads to an answer.  I’ve known that for years.  Leaving it alone and letting my intuitive abilities work on it is much more productive.  Nonethless, I get trapped from time to time.

So I guess if Santa is coming this year, I’d like to get rid of the stick.  I’d like to stop getting caught up in obsessive thinking.  I’d like to have Santa re-organize my books.  The stick, though.  That’s the main thing.

November 29, 2006

Not What I Expected

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 8:20 pm

“To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
I’m not the person I expected to be.  When I was a younger woman, in my twenties and thirties, I lived on the dark edge of disaster.  I was despondent more often that not.  I didn’t have much confidence that I’d choose to be around long enough to make it to this age.  I was angry.  Actually, angry doesn’t begin to describe it.  I was enraged…at men, at a society that holds men as inherently more valuable than women.  I was clear about the hypocrisy that seemed endemic to this culture.  I could never understand how people could get up every day and choose to not confront the despair that seems to settle around us like a fog.  Wake up and smell the fucking coffee, people.  Stop sedating yourselves with the notion that Jesus will fix everything if we have faith.  Stop sedating yourself with your drug of choice, whether it be superficial religiosity or a new car or something equally ridiculous.  I can’t tell you how tired I got of adults telling me that my life with my parents would improve if I would only turn to Jesus.  It seemed to me to be an absurd misunderstanding of reality.  Or my reality, anyway.
Much to my surprise, I turned out to be one of those people who constantly looks for something positive.  In the worst possible circumstances, I’m looking hard to find something good.  Sometimes I don’t find it, but mostly I do.  I still get angry.  Sometimes I’m enraged, but I’m generally just amused.  I don’t allow people close enough to make me angry.  The minute I meet someone, I’m sizing them up to determine how dangerous it might be to let them see whom I truly am.  I’m very good at it.  Once I establish the benchmark, we’re good to go.  I let you see just as much as I think you’re capable of handling.

I’m surrounded by so much negativity in my work place that I’ve started to think of myself as Little Mary Sunshine.  I can’t begin to tell you how shocking that is.  In my youth, when I came across people who were  small-minded, vicious and perpetually angry (like at least one of my current co-workers), I could be a dangerous adversary.  One of the advantages that comes with survivng a difficult childhood (don’t you love it that I always use that word, “difficult” to desribe it?) is a keen eye for people’s soft underbellies.  I know immediately where to go to hurt you the most.  When I was a young woman, I used that knowledge ruthlessly.

Now I just make a joke and then make an exit.  I certainly could cut people down to size, but I choose to allow them to wallow around in their own negativity.  Whatever makes you happy.  You won’t be doing it with me, though.  Every day, we all have a choice.  We can choose to focus on things that make us angry and unhappy or we can focus on things that make us smile.  Personally, I’ve had more than my share of sorrow.  Why anyone would choose to issue a permanent open invitation to misery is a mystery to me.

This 20 year old who lives inside me somewhere would have me believe I’m glossing over the suffering of the world.  She’s wrong.  And let me just say that she does not cotton to being told she’s wrong.  Nonetheless, here we are.  I see the suffering around me.  I can embrace that suffering, but it does no one any good to take up residence there.  I do what I can to make things better and try to maintain a positive state of mind.

Maybe it would be better to go back to the old days when I enthusiastically entered fully into the sufferings of others, verballly ripped fools to shreds, or dispensed with people altogether.  That doesn’t seem like a good place to be.  Fools will be fools, no matter how many times you point it out to them.  The same thing holds true for assholes.  And to be honest, I’ve been a fool many times.  I can’t begin to number the many times I’ve behaved like an asshole.  So, you know.   Who am I to take people down a couple of notches?  From time to time, I still choose to dispense with people, though.  There’s a point at which anyone can become more trouble than they’re worth.  When that time comes, I move on.  And I don’t come back.

The twenty year old curls her lip in derision.  She thinks “don’t worry, be happy” is a stupid way to live.  Of course, back then I believed that most things in life were under my control.  Or at least they would be when I left my parental home.  There’s actually very little in my life that I can control.  I can choose an attitude towards the things that come my way.  I choose to find the good things.


November 27, 2006

A Little Slice of Ohio

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 5:31 pm

“The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the pales light of all.  I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether Ihave lived my life or dreamed it.  Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware.” ~ Eugene Ionesco
Thanksgiving itself isn’t really worthy of comment.  I count the things and people for which I’m grateful first thing in the morning, every morning.  It was an episode of “60 Minutes’ that really grabbed my attention, shook the foundations of my life and made me ponder the meaning of memory.

The story was about the possibility of giving trauma victims a pill which would diminish the emotional charge associated with traumatic memory for those lucky ones of us who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Several scientists have noted the connection between trauma and adrenaline.  Now, you’d think that would be obvious, wouldn’t you?  If an animal (in this instance, a human) is in a life-threatening situation and can’t escape, can’t diminish the potential for harm, adrenaline floods the body.  Fight or flight.  Adrenaline helps to impress the event into memory. In terms of evolution, it makes complete sense.  Animals must know how to avoid similar dangers so that the species has a chance of continuing.  Hence the inescapable flashbacks.

There was a time not all that long ago when my life was just a relentless stream of  flashbacks and my unsuccessful attempts to move the mind away from them.  I’d stop the memory, try to calm myself down and focus on something entirely different, something non-trauma related.  It only lasted a moment or two and the brain would be back into flashback mode, reliving the same or a different trauma.  I have quite a few to choose from, so my brain never had to work very hard to dredge up something.  It was emotionally and physically exhausting.  Sometimes it felt like I was lost in time.  For instance, I was in my house with my husband and beloved four-legged family members, but my brain and body were in a completely different and terrifying time and space.

I’m well medicated, so I don’t have continuous flashbacks anymore.  I now have a lot of time when I’m completely present in the here and now.  However, flashbacks are very tricky.  They can arise without warning from the way light shines into a room, from just being in a bathroom, from picking up a stick in my yard, from a myriad of events or non-events.  Whoa.  Just thinking about those things is highly anxiety-provoking.  It’s good to keep the mind focused.  Blank time in my brain invites flashbacks. People think I’m acutely productive and disciplined.  What they don’t consider is that the reasons why I’m always occupied  have nothing to do with either of those two qualities. It’s just self-preservation.

The pill I spoke of causes the traumatic memory to be more tenuous.  From what I gather, the memory is still present, but it becomes a little vague.  Obviously, this would work much better for people who’ve only had one traumatic event.  Or maybe two.  What about those of us whose lives are one long, continuous traumatic calamity?  A professor concerned with  the ethical application of scientific advances commented that we are who we are because of what we’ve lived through.  He said that these learning experiences can make us better people.  I think that’s very true.  I think the obverse is also true, but that’s another blog entry altogether.

Who I am is directly informed by my experiences.  I’ve had trauma, therefore I am.  My non-traumatic memories are sketchy at best, probably because there are so few of them.  I don’t have any good memories, so the ones that aren’t traumatic are just bad memories.  If you take traumatic memories away, who am I?  Am I just a blank slate?  My intense engagement in my surroundings arise from trauma.  My intuitive abilities are informed by trauma.  My logical abilities spring from trauma.  My compassion is deepened by trauma.  My sense of humor, my ability to get back up every time something mows me down was forged in trauma.  My ethical and moral compass were refined through trauma. If trauma is taken away, I still have those qualities that have developed over time, but would I even know how they came about?  When I tried to remember things, would nothing be there?

When I was a young woman, I dreamed of an ordinary life.  I always told people I just wished I could be living in the midwest, married to a salesman, content with defrosting my refrigerator (back in the old days, refrigerators did not defrost themselves). In many ways, that’s still true.  If living that kind of life could free me from the complexities of a difficult childhood, then I’m definitely purchasing a bus ticket to Ohio. I now know with certainty that which I guessed at in my youth.  Ohio will not free me from the past.  However, there may be a pill that serves up a little slice of Ohio for me.  Would I take it?  Probably not.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a Sociology class taught by a Chinese man whose accent made him barely intelligible.  The question he posed to us (and it took me a while to figure out what the hell he was aking) the first day was, “If you could take a pill that would make you always happy, would you take it?”    Of course that just leads me to ponder the meaning of the word “happy.”  Since I still can’t define it, I always arrive back at the beginning.  I am my memories.  Who else could I possibly be?

November 22, 2006

I’m grateful

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 4:41 pm

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart
Being alive

Being through with chemotherapy

My mom

My husband

My stepson

My huskies

The feral kitties I care for

All of the people I love

All of the people who love me

A place to live

Sufficient food and water

A job

A fully (as far as I can tell) functioning brain and the medication that helps it function correctly

The trees outside my office window

The fabulous squirrels who defy gravity as they leap from branch to branch

The Good Boy, my favorite kitty

Books

Music

Art

The full use of all of my limbs

My upcoming reconstruction surgery

All of the natural world

My best friend, even though she’s gone

The opportunity to give to others

The opportunity to learn, spiritually and intellectually

Not being like everyone I know in my Dad’s family

My online friends

Hitting the genetic jackpot

There are many other things for which I’m grateful, but it’s not possible to think of all of them right now.  Suffice it to say that I’m grateful for everything–good and bad– that’s happened to me.  My job is to figure out how to use my experiences for positive growth.  I’m grateful for being up for that challenge.


November 20, 2006

Facing Thanksgiving

“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” ~ Wendell Berry

On Friday, my therapist and I were discussing how I keep avoiding the knowledge that Thanksgiving is imminent.  I used to be Ms. Traditional Thanksgiving to make up for all the really horrific ones I had as a kid.  I not only cooked a turkey, but baked fresh bread and made pies with homemade crust.  I lit candles and looked fabulous while we ate.  Most people who know me now find it hard to believe I was ever that way.  That’s just because it’s more comfortable  to reduce others to the lowest common denominator so we don’t have to embrace complexity.  I am always at both ends of the spectrum.  I embody contradiction.  That’s a hard, hard thing for people to understand, so I just let them rest in whatever (limited) understanding they have of me.  But I digress.

Miss G., the therapist, asked me when all of that changed.  I actually had to think a moment before I remembered…it was the year my dad killed himself.  That changed everything.  The first Thanksgiving, which came only about a month after he shot himself, I decided the only way I could get through it was to do everything differently.  We did Italian for Thanksgiving.  We did Chinese for Christmas.  My husband was out of town for both.

I gradually migrated back to a more traditional menu, but it’s never been the same.  This year, I’m just so exhausted that, even though I keep making noises about bread and pies, it’s next to inconceivable that any of that will actually happen.  My mom and I shopped for Thursday this past weekend and it was hard to even focus my mind on what we needed to get.  I’m not sure that’s related to my father, but I suppose it could be.  I seem to be a bit stuck in cancer treatment mode. I was trying to remember where I was last year on Thanksgiving day and, as far as I can recall, I was getting infused with poison.  Fun times.

All in all, the memories that currently go with Thanksgiving are difficult to face.  The memories from being a child at Thanksgiving may be, in their own way, much worse.  It’s hard to quantify horrific.

November 15, 2006

Frankly, Scarlett, Get Your Butt Out of Bed And Get A Job

Filed under: Marriage, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 5:59 pm

“Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.” ~ Jane Austen

I’m taking a short break from the endless database work.  One of my esteemed co-workers came by my office yesterday, seeking changes in the design.  He also had a new request which I don’t know how to fulfill at this moment.  It’s definitely do-able; it’s just going to take some time for my brain to figure it out.

Hubby has a job event today.  It’s not an interview; he has to submit an application and allow them to take his fingerprints.  It’s a government job.  It is a job he can get, no doubt about it.  Last week, he scheduled an audition for 4:00 p.m. today and the job thing is at 5:30.  I suggested perhaps he should do the audition a little earlier to ensure he makes it to the job event in time.  I impressed upon him the importance of having a job and the dire ramifications to our relationship if he screws this up.  Hubby assured me he’d make it in time.

Yesterday he was looking for his Social Security card or his birth certificate.  All employers are legally required to verify citizenship through one of those two documents.  The federal government seems to be pretty inflexible about it.  Go figure.  Who keeps up with their birth certificate?  As for the Social Security card, I tend to lose mine pretty regularly.  I mean, it’s in the house somewhere and I always mean to put it in a very obvious location.  Unfortunately, I can’t ever remember what I thought constituted “obvious” at the time.

When I came home from lunch, I went searching for Hubby, who’s usually downstairs for my arrival. I found him lying on his bed.  One o’clock in the afternoon and he’s lying around in bed.

“Are you okay?” I asked, thinking he’d better have something wrong with him to justify such blatant slackerdom.

“I’m feeling a little run down.  Having cold chills.”  This is generally a hint that, like Scarlett O’Hara, Hubby is going to be taking to his bed for a couple of weeks.  They used to call it “the vapors.”  I just call it lazy.

“Well, can you come lie down on the sofa and supervise the dogs?”

(Aside:  I just got another injury report from Virginia.  What is with these people, anyway?)

Hubby came downstairs and I went back to work.  When I got home later in the afternoon, just absolutely dead tired, I asked him how he was feeling.  He actually said he was feeling better.  I believe that would be a first.  (Critical note:  He did not ask how I was feeling.)

Hubby finally ferreted out the birth certificate and Social Security card around 7:00 last night. Apparently the not feeling good thing was related to feeling grossly incompetent because he couldn’t find either of those documents.  I pointed out that it’s a life rule that if you put something somewhere you’re sure to find it, you may never find it again.  Or it will take you hours to locate it.  That’s just how it goes.

In the meantime, he’s trying to cast a performance/radio documentary scheduled for February (I think) about cowboy songs.  It’s a big niche market for recording companies, apparently. Who knew.  Anyway, the lead non-singing part was supposed to be filled by an actor friend.  Unfortunately, the actor friend, Jeff, is very bipolar and doesn’t have the best track record in the world for staying on his meds.  He’s an excellent actor, though.

Jeff had another theatrical performance here in town around the same time as Hubby’s.  Last week he sent out an email to Hubby and the director of the other play, telling them that he was maybe going to get to audition for something in New York at that time.  If the audition materialized, he would be unavailable for these two previous commitments.

As for Hubby’s venture, Jeff was unhappy right from the get-go (do people say that anywhere other than in Texas?) because he felt he didn’t get adequate billing in the advance publicity that was just disseminated a month ago or so.  The show is about cowboy singers.  Therefore, the actual cowboy singers do indeed get higher billing.  You know?

Anyway, things just can’t come to a screeching halt because Jeff has a more promising venture.  Hubby let Jeff know that he’d be casting someone else in that part.  Unfortunately, I guess that means the end of the friendship, too.  They’ve known each other for about 20 years now, having met when he was cast in one of Hubby’s plays.  Hubby’s a little distressed about it.

As for me, I just can’t do the whole drama thing.  Actors have very thin skins and tend to whine about things or have hissy fits or create personal drama where none should really exist.  Or maybe it’s just the actors I’ve known.  I have no patience for that.  You people are big old grownups now, so let’s try and act like it.  Jeez.

So that’s why Hubby has an audition set for today.  He found another actor whom he thinks will be a good match with the role.   Do I care?  Yes, I hope it works out and I hope the February event is a roaring success.  I have more pressing matters on my mind right now, though.  A job.  Hubby will be paid for the performance, but not enough to justify sitting around on his butt for the next several months.

Well, there you have it.  I’ve got all that going for me and a gazillion records to update.  Aside from that, the sun is shining through the leaves of the trees visible outside my office window.  Present moment, wonderful moment.

November 10, 2006

Employee Emeritus

Filed under: Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 5:28 pm

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.” ~ Aristotle
We were unable to access the internet all day yesterday at work.  I played a lot of solitaire, which is the only game I have on my hard drive.  Boring.

My boss is getting ready to lower the boom on a couple of my fabulous co-workers.  One of them (J.) is the guy who was working at our office in another state.  He whined and moaned to come back because he wanted to spend time with his harridan, borderline personality disordered wife who hates him.  The company owner, S., has a real serious dislike going for this guy.   J. used to be the company darling,  but not anymore.  I have the distinction of being the first one here to hate him.  My boss finally figured out why.
The other person, whom I’ll just call “The Foot Lady” is a salesperson, but as far as I can tell, she hasn’t drummed up any new business in a couple of years.  That’s what I hear, anyway.  I call her The Foot Lady because if you’re in conversation with her more than five minutes, she’s going to take one of her shoes off and plop her foot up on her desk (or any other stable surface, I guess) to show you why she complains about her feet all the time.  This cracks me up.  It’s so much more appealing than pulling your underwear down in my office, like one of my other co-workers.  Yes, boys and girls, it’s the Wacky World Where GGirl Works.  It just doesn’t get much more fun than this.

So S. has developed a job description for these two sales people that actually involves making contact with potential clients.  What a concept!  He expects J. to bitch about how the rest of us aren’t really doing anything, so he’s making us all submit job descriptions.  In order to make J.’s life hell, S. is making the rest of us suffer.  That just how it is here.  Kind of like Purgatory.

It’s been years since I’ve even had a job title.  I’d sort of been going with “Employee Emeritus” because I like that name.  I knew it wasn’t going to be viable for these purposes, though.  I just answered the email and listed all the disparate things I do here and suggested maybe S. would like to come up with a job title.  Within 15 minutes, he had sent back 7 or 8 potential job titles.  I could just pick one.  I hope I can remember it, though, because it was pretty good and I’d like to be able to tell people that’s what I do…while I laugh, because this place always makes me laugh when it’s not making me want to beat my head against a wall.

I guess my job title could also be “The Only Person in the Office Everyone Likes.”  That’s just my unofficial title, though.  I’m always surprised that they all like me, but my therapist points out to me that I’m actually likeable.  They’re not.  That’s one of the reasons I’m willing to pay her money every week.  She reminds me that the person I live with in my head is not the person everyone else lives with.  I’m sad a lot or testy a lot (especiallyl at work), but that’s not what shows on the outside.  Because I move on.  I do not hang onto the bad feeling and spread it around like the flu. We have the rest of the company to take care of that.

The accounting guy is especially grumpy and negative.  He’s completely in the dark about that.  He thinks he’s Little Mary Sunshine (um, no, that would be I).   He’s very pissed off about the whole job description thing.  He brought it up a couple of days ago and I thought he was going to literally foam at the mouth.  I made a joke and tried to get him to climb down off his high horse, but I was only moderately successful.

I can’t wait to hear about how the meeting with the two salespeople goes.  That should be fun.  In the meantime, I whipped up a job description for myself today and sent it right off to my boss.  I know who owns the company and it’s not the accounting guy.  The accounting guy acts like he owns the company, but that’s just a grave misunderstanding which is going to ultimately cause S. to start focusing on making his life a living hell.  Soon. Right now it’s just at the stage where S. makes Accounting Guy go out to lunch with our banker and they gang up on him politically.  Accounting Guy is a Rush Limbaugh freak, so S. always gets the banker going about her liberal political views.  I think it makes it hard for Accounting Guy to digest his food.  Things are going to get much worse than that, though.
So that’s how it goes here.  Mostly we’re a bunch of 13 year old girls talking behind each other’s backs and carrying around a permanent case of PMS.  I don’t talk behind people’s backs.  I just don’t talk about my co-workers at all other than to my mom and Hubby.  People can not count on me spreading the latest rumor.  I don’t do it.  It’s stupid.  I’m not 13, not even in my head.

November 7, 2006

Do Not Send Any More Reports

Filed under: Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 4:17 pm

“A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Part of my job here is to manage workers’ comp insurance issues.  When someone gets hurt, I make sure the claim gets filed with our insurance company and track their progress if their injury is such that they miss work or are reduced to light duty.  I also have to call the boys (and they are always boys) periodically just to let them know we’re all thinking of them. Our insurance people tell us that calling the injured ones motivates them to get back to work because they think that means we actually care whether they get better.  This is my least favorite part of the job.

In fact, I don’t really care how they’re doing.  I just want them to get well and get their accident-prone asses back at work.  Every day they miss work just adds to the cost of premiums next year.  Workers’ comp can kill a small company.  Don’t get me wrong.  When people get injured at work, the company should ensure that the bills get paid.  If they need to be at home recuperating, the company should make sure that’s financially feasible for them.  I just don’t wish to talk with them once every couple of weeks.
Some folks are suspiciously accident-prone.  We had this one guy who worked for us five different times over the course of several years.  He would work a week or two and get hurt.  I mean badly hurt.  Hurt as in taking the next six weeks off.  I finally told the owner of the company that he needed to keep his personnel folks from hiring him again.  The guy’s name was Wally.  He’s a Viet Nam vet who writes poetry and will tell you all about it, whether or not you wish to know.  We were all relieved to see Wally go because it meant we could go to the company Christmas party without fear of getting stuck in a corner somewhere for a couple of hours, listening to Wally recite extremely bad poetry.  Frankly, I expected some reward money from my co-workers for alleviating that anxiety.
We had another guy several years ago whose hobby was bull riding.  Seriously.  I live in Texas, where people do these kinds of things, but I will never understand what makes someone get up on top of a bull who is royally pissed off…other than just a serious streak of self-destructiveness. Anyway, this guy shows up at the doctor with a work-related shoulder injury.  No one saw him get hurt and he came by the office the next day on his motorcycle. We had no way of knowing for sure that it wasn’t some bull’s fault (since said alleged impairment occurred first thing Monday morning), but we were all pretty sure that riding a motorcycle should be too painful for that type of shoulder injury.  So we set up the Jose Ramirez (names changed to protect the idiotic) Memorial Film School.  Every day he was unable to work, he was required to show up at the office, sit downstairs watching safety films by himself and writing synopses of them.  This went on for about 30 days.  He never got hurt again.  I digress.

We have an office in another city in Texas and one in Virginia.  They are responsible for their own injury claims, which only makes sense because it would add a lot of extra time to the claims process if they all had to come through me.  Plus, I’d be calling even more assholes, trying to convince them that even though I’ve never met them, I’m just broken up about their injuries.  Virginia has very different reporting requirements and coordinating everything to meet those requirements would require Herculean effort.

Suddenly the office manager in Virginia has taken to sending me copies of the workers’ comp reports.  They’ve been filing these reports for the past decade by themselvers and I never hear anything about them unless someone has a question about legal issues.  Just opening the envelope and seeing the reports irritates me.  I suppose I could call her and ask why I’m suddenly so completely in the loop, but then I’d have to talk to her.  I dislike talking to her at least as much as the injured workers.  It’s nothing about her specifically, it’s just that I’m most contented when I’m not interacting with people.  (By the way, I referred to myself recently as “anti-social” when, in fact, I should have said “asocial.”  Thanks to my therapist for that clarification.)

I don’t really have a point here, other than the fact that I got one of those reports today and starting yapping in my head about it.  I just thought I’d include you in the yap.  I feel better already.

November 2, 2006

The Cat Story

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 3:11 pm

“If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.” ~ Mark Twain
I have  a number of feral cats that hang around the office.  All but one has been spayed/neutered and I’m working on catching the remaining one.  I am way too attached to two of them, but the others (3) I take care of because they’re God’s creatures…and they’re hungry.  This is a source of ongoing tension in my office.  I’m not going to stop feeding the cats.  Period.  My co-workers periodically whine and moan about how the cats have made the patio unpleasant.  The only problem is that, when we didn’t have cats, no one went out there anyway.

At the end of last week, a series of emails were sent requesting that we not spend any time on the patio because it was flea-infested and the fleas were coming in the building.  They noted that the exterminator has been out 3 times recently.  One of my least favorites (although it’s a hard thing to quantify–I dislike most of them at about the same level)  sent out his own email suggesting that it’s time for us “to take a stand” against kitty proliferation.  This is the same person who told me several years ago that he’s taking a “personal stand against homosexuality.”  (Which means what?  When gay men proposition you, you say no?  Trust me, no gay man would want him.)

Several months ago, our next door neighbor (my office is in a mixed use area) got four puppies.  One night the puppies, who were not being fed enough, crawled under the fence and broke a hole in this half-assed attempt someone had made to keep the kitties out from under the building.  My fave co-worker thought we ought to cement that up.  I’m not sure how that’s supposed to correct the kitty problem, but whatever makes you happy, I guess.

I replied to the emails requesting that no one be out on the patio for long by pointing out that it might take me a while to get that hole effectively blocked off while we waited for the carpenter to come over the weekend and permanently close it off.  There were definitely some kitties under there and at least one o’possum.  I waited until I could count all of the cats and blocked up the hole.  I have to tell you that, aside from not wanting the o’possum to suffer, I wouldn’t be unhappy if it died under there.  Preferably under the side where most of the whining and moaining originates.

Shortly after I sent out my reply email, my boss (the owner of the company) came into my office in a rage.  He was sick of the whining and moaning, too.  He’s actually spent time on the patio and knows that there is no kitty stench out there.  He noted that no one ever sits out there, anyway, except for the lone smoker in the office.  As for the fleas, our next door neighbor’s yard is completely infested with them.  On the other side of us, there’s a church (which only periodically seems to function) where the weeds grow pretty tall before they get cut.  My boss , S., pointed out that  maybe that’s where the fleas are born, then they come to our patio.  Sort of like moving into a new subdivision or something.

He sent out his own email, detailing his expectations regarding rat elimination.  No food in the pantry, no food kept in offices…you get my drift.  There are just some common-sense things to do if you don’t want rats.  The point was to just screw with the co-workers.  S. also told my co-workers that he was going to catch the cats and have them euthanised.  It was heavy on the sarcasm, but I’m not sure my co-workers recognized it.  I’ve known S. for over 25 years now.  I can always tell when he’s appearing to take the high road while, in fact, taking the very low road.

S. told me that I could move my cat food to our other building next door.  He has some other evil plans to make my co-workers sorry they even started this.  The kitties are staying and I’m going to continue to feed them.  As I said before, I love it when I win.

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