Warrior Princess

April 29, 2008

It’s Tuesday and I’m Already Exhausted


Yesterday started somewhere around 4:00 a.m. for me. My mom had a colonoscopy scheduled and was told to arrive at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. Late Friday afternoon, the hospital left a message telling her she needed to pre-register, but by the time she got the message, that department had already closed down for the weekend. She thought perhaps they wouldn’t do the procedure unless she pre-registered, so I suggested that we plan on getting there a little early.

I am not a morning person.

We agreed to get there around 5:30, but I was anxious about whether my alarm clock would work, so I woke up around 4:00 and never went back to sleep. There’s nothing wrong with my alarm clock. I have issues about being on time and I’m always afraid that the electronic devices that run my life are going to fail me in some critical moment.

I was at the hospital for a couple of hours, then I brought my mom over to my house around 9:00, took a shower and left for work. Things were going as well as could be expected when I got a call from our receptionist saying Crazy Employee wanted me to come downstairs and look after the dog from next door. The dog had been lying by the side of the road and she’d coaxed it to a grassy area between my office and Lillian’s house. He was unable to go any farther, unable to stand up on his back legs.

Owner came downstairs with me and we tried to get the dog to stand up. We brought him some water and a couple of large bowls of kitty food. The poor creature wolfed down the water and food. I tried to slide my hands under his hips to help him stand up, but that didn’t help, either. There was a high potential for me to get bitten, so I abandoned the effort.

Finally a young man, whom we believe to be Lillian’s son, ambled out of the house and over to where we were attending to the dog. I noticed track marks on his arms. The first thing he wanted to know was whether anyone had a cigarette. If I’d had a cigarette, I’d have been smoking it. I explained the problem to Son.

“He can get up. He just doesn’t want to,” he said. I repeatedly assured him that wasn’t the case. Son retrieved a cord from inside the house, slipped it around the dogs neck and tried to get him up. Couldn’t do it. I asked if Lillian was around. She was asleep, her son said.

After several attempts, I suggested that maybe the dog needed to rest. I told the son we’d keep an eye on the dog from our upstairs window. He mumbled thanks and walked back to the house. I got the dog more water and more food. I called a number of mobile vets, but no one was able to come. Even if they’d had time, the dog doesn’t belong to me and I have no desire to try to get Lillian to agree to treatment (even though she wouldn’t have to pay for it). Also, I’d almost guarantee that the dog has never had a single rabies shot. Vets won’t work with animals who haven’t have rabies shots.

This morning, I was afraid I’d drive up and see the dog, dead where I left him. He wasn’t out there, so I got the Golf Pro to look out of my window to see if he was in Lillian’s back yard. He was lying in his usual spot. Crazy Employee came in a little while ago to tell me about how they got him back. It’s really more than I can think about right now.

Nothing makes me angrier than children and animals being mistreated or neglected. Clearly Lillian has appeared in my life to help me find more compassion in my heart. I have a lot more work to do in that area, apparently.

April 25, 2008

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:16 am

I wish I had something fun to report from our Admin. Professionals luncheon, but it was uneventful.  Owner has been very depressed lately, so he sat at the head of the table like a zombie.  He did manage to take a couple of shots at me.  Some of my co-workers patted me on the back, but no need.  I’m very tough.

I never, ever let people see what rattles my cage.  Hubby knows.  My mom knows some of them, but beyond that, I keep my vulnerabilities to myself.  That’s partly how I was able to maintain a relationship with Former Friend for so long.  Owner is like a little boy who loves to pull little girls’ pigtails.  I happened to be on the receiving end this time.


I had a database meltdown on Wednesday afternoon; I thought I’d lost about 160 records.  Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with IT Boy and he restored it before the server could save the new, screwed-up file.

Most of the office is out today, having a good time.  The Ladies’ Man, Loathsome, The Hemorrhoid Guy, Crazy Employee, Mr. Moneybags and the Foot Lady are all out.  This might be a very good day to get back to the database.  Silence.

Just for the record, I didn’t mean to imply that I’m sorry to have lost the relationship with Former Friend.  I was relieved.  My therapist said I should write something more direct and to the point.  She thinks it would be therapeutic.  I’m considering it.

April 23, 2008

Loathsome’s Proposal

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:08 pm

I think I mentioned earlier that Loathsome is back with us.  (Settle down, ladies.)  We’ve already had more than enough interaction to last me about a decade.  We’re in the same suite of offices, unfortunately.  Last week, we had a 30 minute conversation about what he and his psycho wife have for dinner every night.  This  was in the context of my own food dilemmas–what will Hubby eat, how much time and energy do I have to prepare it, etc.,  Loathsome had an extensive list of suggestions.  No, I’ve never heard of fish.  Ditto tacos.

He’s been stalking around the office, telling everyone that he’s been to some big meetings the past couple of weeks and he’s working on some proposals.  This should not be monumental, impressive news seeing as how it is his job.  Loathsome reminds me of a pigeon during mating season, his chest all puffed out, strutting through the building, looking around to monitor who’s noticing.  He’s doing proposals, people.  Sit up and look suitably awed.

You know how I am:  friendly, approachable.  Loathsome stopped me in the receptionist’s area this morning to let me know he submitted a bid that will save the client tens of thousands of dollars.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?  Save the client money?”

I couldn’t figure out whether he was really confused about that or if it was rhetorical.  I answered yes, just in case. I was never able to ascertain whether he actually knew the answer before he asked.

Loathsome then waxed eloquent in excruciating detail all about the cost saving idea.  My eyes had begun to glaze over when the Superhighway walked in.  I excused myself and trailed after her, mumbling that unfortunately I had to immediately resolve an issue regarding another one of our offices.  I could see Loathsome pitied me for having to leave our spirited discussion of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Later this morning, Loathsome’s name came up during a conversation with Mr. Moneybags.  He suggested that Loathsome’s new office nickname should be Isaiah.  He was referring to the mind-boggling level of incompetence Isaiah Thomas brought to his job with the New York Knicks.  Thomas has been banned from even talking to the team, just as Loathsome was prohibited from talking to anyone in our out-of-state office after he returned from there to our corporate office.  Mr. Moneybags can be very, very funny sometimes.  I signed on immediately.  Of course, I’ll continue to call him “Loathsome” in these posts.

We’re having an office luncheon today to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day.  No one really wants to do it, but if we don’t, Crazy Employee will be crushed.  I’m forcing everyone to show up, even Golf Pro, who would normally beg off.  No way, Pro.  We all have to honor Crazy’s endless uselessness in all things administrative.

Who knows.  It could be fun.  Owner will be there, so Loathsome will be the primary focus of his current bad mood.  Even Owner’s relentless disdain won’t diminish the pigeon walk, but you can’t have everything.  If I find it amusing, I will most certainly recount the high points.

April 22, 2008

Andy Trauma

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Marriage, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:32 pm

We may have to find a  psychotherapist for our dog, Andy.  Yesterday, Hubby went to work at noon and accidentally left the little boy outside.  My mom didn’t make it over for her puppy-sitting stint until around 1:00.

She arrived to find Andy crying.  Sheba wouldn’t take her treat from my mom until Andy was inside.  This is totally unheard of.  Under normal circumstances, she would have taken the treat and run to get into Andy’s crate so she could be there when he entered the room.  Andy hates it when she’s in his crate.

After my mom let Andy in, he sat by the sofa and cried for a while.  He was so upset that he couldn’t take his treat.  When he was able to pull himself together to drink some water, he had to take a little cry break in the middle.  Finally, he started to feel better and went directly into What Can I Do To Be Bad Boy mode.

We have a perfectly wonderful backyard where Andy chases birds and squirrels.  There are three dogs that live behind us and a small terrier who lives at the side.  We have some overhanging bushes that all of our dogs have loved to run through and a garage that has an exit door at the side near the back fence.  It’s a veritable universe of canine fun potential, but Andy’s accustomed to coming and going as he pleases.  He’s also used to having his Woo outside with him a lot.

When Hubby got home, I told him about how traumatized little Andy had been.  Hubby felt guilty and dispensed treats all evening.  This morning, Andy wouldn’t go out until the Sheba Woo went with him.  When she came in, so did he.  I need that pet psychic lady from television to come over and talk with him.

April 21, 2008

Former Friend

Filed under: Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:17 am

As I was rushing around Monday, trying to get on the road to Houston, I heard a voice mail message being left by a former friend. She called to tell me that she’d run across my blog when she was checking around the Web to see if I was dead or alive. The “dead or alive” part creeped out Superhighway. I thought it was a valid question, the answer to which is, mostly not. Former Friend wanted me to know that I’m not quite so anonymous as I’d like to be.

“The people you’re writing about can find you,” she said.

I broke my therapist’s no-contact rule and returned the call. I simply needed to find out what she meant. I didn’t engage in any conversation, though I felt a little impolite. After I hung up, I called back to thank Friend and apologize for my abruptness.

Former Friend and I knew each other from high school. We met when we were both 17. We were friends, off and on, until about ten years ago. By that time, it had become very clear to me that we simply weren’t going to be able to remain friends. I can’t do friendship the way she needs and she can’t do it the way I need.

She had raised her voice to me. Three times. I warned her twice that I will not tolerate being yelled at by anyone. Not by anyone. Not my husband. Not my employer. Not my family. I grew up in a violent and abusive family. I won’t have it in my adult life. The third time was the last time. I can’t have that kind of friendship.

Remember me? I’m the “pathologically independent” one. Former Friend wanted a lot more contact than I could tolerate. Not long before she told me not to call her and then hung up on me, Friend intimated that she was tired of putting up with my “limitations” (not having any herself, of course). I didn’t see much reason why she should have to tolerate them. I could take her inventory here, but why would I? We’re different, that’s all.

At the end, I had been really ill for a couple of years from a stress-related disease so intense that it was all I could do to get through work every day. I was having some major repair work done to my house and I was in charge of the whole ordeal. My father was slipping into ever-deepening psychosis and I was his mainstay, no matter how many times I tried to establish limits. I was in the middle of coordinating a huge annual company event and…oops…I missed her birthday. I didn’t even notice that I’d missed her birthday for several days. Oops. Now, if you miss my birthday, I’m fine. I might actually be better if you miss it. We’re different that way.

I called to apologize and she was furious. When she hung up on me, I was furious, too. Oddly enough, the next day I was fine. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I talked to my therapist about it, about my “limitations,” about what a bad friend I’d been, about what I should do next. Therapist proposed the no-contact rule. Her take on why we should just stop trying is not the same as mine.

I’m certainly not the perfect friend by a long shot. I can go long periods of time without talking to friends and yet still feel connected. I’m a little distant. I have very definite boundaries and, when they’re breached, I become even more distant. I’m not inclined to argue or engage in veiled hostility. I like to step back and think about things before I talk with people about disagreements. I could be wrong, you know, and I like to examine both sides. Everyone, without exception, finds this difficult to understand. I’m only a great friend if you can tolerate a certain level of benign indifference. I’m fine by myself. I’m very, very independent.

Former Friend has reached out several times, but there doesn’t really seem to be much point in responding. We will only end up right back where we are now. I can’t do it and neither can she. We’re just too different.

It’s too bad, really. Former Friend is bright and we shared a skewed sense of humor, a source of great pleasure and connection for me. I have lots of lovely memories of times we spent together and the early years of our relationship are especially dear to me. That was a long time ago, though. On some level, we do not understand each other. On some level, we understand each other too well.

April 17, 2008

The Telephone Is Ringing

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:41 am

I already had plans for today’s post, but the plan has been thwarted.  I’m answering phones for several hours today because

Crazy Employee is out for the third day.  One of her children had strep recently and Crazy neglected to make her take all of her antibiotics.  It’s back now and Crazy has it, too.

Our intelligent and beautiful receptionist is taking a day off.  (She really is beautiful and intelligent.)

The Information Superhighway is having her hair done.  It’s going to take a while.  The Superhighway deserves a break and I’m happy to help her.

Mr. Moneybags’ daughter is out today.  She’s doing an internship for her degree in Social Work, so she’s here intermittently.

The men whose masculinity won’t get in the way of answering the phone are out, too.
That leaves the phone to me.  I hope to get around to the former, B.C. (before cancer) friend tomorrow.

April 16, 2008

More Steroids

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:11 pm

Dr. Kronowitz agreed that I’ve healed enough to move on to the next step, the tattoo.  We discussed the upcoming (final, I hope) surgery to remove a lot of necrotic tissue caused by the high radiation doses I received.  He may also try to cut away some of the chelation at the donor site so that maybe I’ll have less ongoing pain.  We had originally discussed doing it in July, but now Dr. K. thinks his schedule may be too busy.

I guess that could be a good thing.  I would have more time to continue to recover physically and psychologically.  I’m less concerned about my physical condition than my mental strength to endure more pain.  It’s far easier to rehab physically than to rebuild psychological reserves.  At least with physical strength and flexibility, there are identifiable milestones and definitive means towards reaching them.  Though I may be in a lot of pain from tearing internal scar tissue while I do my exercises, I know the pain will end shortly after I stop working out.  After surgery, there is no predictable end in sight.  Pain will end when it feels like it.

Brenda is supposed to call me soon to set up the appointment for my tattoo and I suppose we’ll discuss a surgery date then, too.

We rounded up the visit with some more steroid injections in the scars running across my tummy and my “umbo” (his PA’s word for my navel).  Jennifer also did some injections in my sides above my hip bones.  I didn’t realize we were going to be doing that until Dr. Kronowitz told Jennifer to get the supplies.  It’s probably good that it was a surprise.  At least I didn’t have a couple of weeks of anticipating the excruciating pain.

I’m back at work today, feeling mostly brain dead.  One of my colleagues in Virginia called to ask about a legal issue and I could barely summon an intelligible response.  I must look pretty beaten up, too, because everyone is giving hugs today.

There’s some strictly lay-out work that I plan to do today so my diminished intellectual ability won’t be a problem.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll be more capable of working and writing.  I had a phone call from an old friend as I was scurrying around, trying to leave town on Monday.  I’ll try to get around to that tomorrow.

April 14, 2008

Dr. K.

Filed under: Breast Cancer — ggirl @ 9:16 am
No wolf today.  I wanted to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.  Thursday I had a dental appointment and Friday I had yet another team building event. 
 
Today, I’m going to Houston for a meet-up with the fabulous Dr. Kronowitz.  He’s going to take a look at his handiwork and determine whether I’ve healed enough to proceed with the tattoo.  I’ll be back tomorrow evening.

April 10, 2008

The Great Crazy Land Coffee Revolt

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:11 am

I’ve always had one rule for all of the places I’ve ever worked: I do not make the coffee. Ever. Once you start making coffee, people can get confused about your role in the organization and suddenly start asking you to go get some donuts on the way in or actually fetch a cup of coffee for someone. I’ve been here forever, though, and I’m confident that everyone understands my limits.

I made coffee a couple of weeks ago, after having been directed by Hemorrhoid Guy to use 4 scoops of coffee. The Foot Lady and Crazy Employee were apparently outraged that the coffee wasn’t strong enough. They felt justified in complaining bitterly about it to both the Information Superhighway and Hemorrhoid Guy. He told them to pour it out and make some more. Oh no. That would be too simple.

Of course, all of this information made its way back to me via the Superhighway (that is, after all, how she got her name). I’ve been waiting to exact revenge and finally found my opportunity this morning. I got here first, dumped six full scoops of coffee into the basket and punched that “on” button. The coffee is so strong that, not only can it stand up and walk away by itself, but if it meets you in the hallway, it will punch you out.

I was sharing my joke with the Superhighway a little while ago and she told me that she’d told Money Man that the coffee is “really crappy.” That’s one of the things I love about the Superhighway; she knows she doesn’t have to spare me. She says what’s on her mind.

Foot Lady and Crazy Employee haven’t made it in yet. It’s only 9:00 a.m. I can’t wait until they get here and pour themselves a cup of coffee.

My job may not be fulfilling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Back to the databases.

April 7, 2008

Naomi

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 1:21 pm

I’ve been trying to find the name of a poet whose works are brooding and mystical, a longtime favorite.  I can’t think of his name today, so I’ve been searching through poetry sites in the hope he’ll be listed.  Instead, who do I find?  Naomi.

I knew her when we were in college.  We were both poets, we dated the same religion professor, my one victory in this one-sided competition.  He found me more compelling.  It was small, comfort, though, because she had the heart of the one man whose attention I wanted and needed.  He was my English professor who invited me to come to the small university, who sent me a letter when I was a senior in college, encouraging me.

It wasn’t that I wanted to date John or have any kind of romantic relationship with him.  I wanted him to value me as a poet and, more importantly, to be my father-figure.  I’d already found a substitute mother, but what I needed the most was a man to care in something other than a romantic or sexual context.  I needed to believe that I could be special to a man who wouldn’t hurt me, who could love  about me the things I liked in myself.

John and I had a relationship, his door was always open to me.  He gave me pointers about getting in Phi Beta Kappa.  I took an upper division class of his when I was a freshman.  I never worked harder in any class; he was dazzled.  He was not dazzled by my poetry.  We had a conversation once about whether I should pursue that calling.  “Not unless you’re willing to be a second class poet,” he told me.  It broke my heart.  It spelled the end, really, of my creative writing.  I would always hear John’s voice saying those words whenever I sat down to work.

John liked her better, he liked her poetry better.  I thought of Naomi as a bitter rival in a contest I couldn’t win.  We never spoke, even though the campus was very small and I worked for a professor who officed right across the hall from John.  Naomi worked with John.  She called me once in my sophomore year, requesting a poem for the yearbook.  Coincidentally, both of our poems were about tennis.  I don’t think she played; I certainly didn’t.  I don’t know if she knew about my relationship with Mackenzie or how I found out he had dated her, too.  Ours was a complex dance, negotiated without contact.

After I moved here, I ran across her name at various poetry readings.  I was still writing and doing readings, even though in my heart of hearts, I had already given up.  I gave up all writing, except for business, for over 20 years.  When we were on the same bill, I tried to avoid her.  Even hearing her name made me angry.

For a time, I thought I was over the Naomi-John thing.  I could see her name and be fine with it.  After all, I’d given up.  But seeing her name on the respected poetry website sparked that sadness again.  Why does she have that life?  Why did she have John’s admiration and respect in a way I never did?  Why do I sit here in Crazy Land, living a life that brings me so little joy or satisfaction?

The answer is obvious:  She was given her life and I was given mine.  There’s no money to be made in poetry and who knows anyone who actually reads it?  I don’t.  Nonetheless, seeing Naomi’s name there reminded me of all the things I’m not, all the things I will never be, all the things I never had.  Joan Didion has a book called, “Play It As It Lays.”  That’s what I’ve done with what I’ve been given.

I’ve never for an instant believed that life is fair.   However, right now my life seems very hollow.  I’m left with my databases, calling on logic, not creativity.  I’m stranded here in Crazy Land, feeling more bereft than ever.

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