Warrior Princess

July 22, 2008

Loathsome Says It’s Classy

The corporate office cost-saving meeting on Friday has the entire staff up in arms.  We’re all more than a little peeved that Owner chose not to mention Golf Pro’s excessive entertainment expenditures, including $2k for college football season tickets.

Everyone has to give up something.  Water coolers, a Bags and Highway fave, are going.  Plant care services are being canceled.  I’m upset about that because I know many of the plants  will let die of neglect.  When I come in every day, maybe I’ll make the rounds to ensure all of them have been watered.  No more matching contributions to our 401(k)s.  No more birthday cakes.  Owner is lucky a small riot didn’t erupt when he issued that pronouncement.

After all of the haranguing, the high level of tension, the lay offs and one of our offices being shut down, we have now discovered that we’ve been making a substantial profit all along.  We’ve even been making a profit at the Houston office.   Bags has no interest in letting Owner know that.  He rightly suspects that Owner would be even more infuriated than he is now.

On a lighter note, just as I was getting ready to leave on Friday, Loathsome buzzed me on the intercom.

“I brought you and Superhighway some basil from my garden.”

“Oh, thank you for thinking of me, but you should let Superhighway have mine because I grew some basil this summer, too,” I told him.

“But this is from my garden  I put it in a little baggy.”

Oh.  Well, now that you put it that way, then absolutely bring that basil right on over to my office.  It’s bound to be superior to anything I could ever hope to grow.  I gave up.

“Okay.  Well, you need to bring it now because I’m getting ready to leave in exactly two minutes.”  I can always hope, you know.  I was thinking maybe I could sprint out the door before he had a chance to hoist himself out of his chair.

It was a false hope, of course.  In a couple of seconds, there he was, with two baggies filled with basil.  I took one of them and thanked him ever so much.  I stuffed it into my tote bag.

“Wait.  Smell it,” I glanced over at him and he had his nose buried in the other baggy.  “This is such a classy smell.”

I dug the bag out, dutifully opened it and sniffed, smiled and nodded in agreement.  That is exactly the word I would have chosen.  Classy.  I don’t know if it’s classy because he grew it or if all basil is inherently classy.  My former daughter-in-law used basil as perfume, though, so maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to make a judgment call here.

Finally, Superhighway told me to expect Repo Man to come by and work on his resume with me.  So far, I haven’t heard from him and she said he didn’t mention it today.  I may dodge that bullet, after all.

Thursday, I’ll be in Houston for pre-op, then surgery on Monday.  Compared to the way things have been going in Crazy Land, surgery seems like the lesser of two evils.  I’m positively looking forward to it.

July 16, 2008

Trying Times

These are trying times.  Every day is a test of whether the truths that awakened in me during treatment have been deeply assimilated.  I need to embody strength, forgiveness and compassion.  I must remember that all of the qualities by which I’m defined are ultimately meaningless.  My treatment mantra:  I am not my hair, I am not how I look, I am not my intellect, I am not my body.

How am I faring?  Intermittently calm, but mostly very stressed.  However, I have at least noticed anxiety when it’s occurred.  I’ve always had enormous difficulty in recognizing anxiety.  During all of my formative years, anxiety was a relentless companion.  Of course I never recognized it.  Today, I can see it, if even just a little.

Sometimes I’m angry.  I’m still mourning the loss of two of my daily friends from Crazy Land.

Fewer people means more encounters with Loathsome.  And Golf Pro.  And Bags.

Friday morning, we’re having a cost-saving initiative meeting, called by Owner.  Everyone is supposed to come up with five ideas to cut costs.  Owner promises the meeting won’t last more than an hour.  In Crazy Land time, that will be somewhere around 3 hours, minimum.

I have to share the Loathsome Lexapro anecdote.  Unfortunately, once again, I’m too tired for that.

July 11, 2008

Ingrid Betancourt and the Jungle

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 1:10 pm

A couple of days ago, I saw a Larry King interview with Ingrid Bettancourt, one of the freed FARC hostages.  I was shaken as I saw the trauma in her eyes and watched her try to manage the memories as they arose.

One thing that struck me was that, several times in the interview, she said that “… I think that many things happen in the jungle that we have to leave in the jungle.”  She may have meant that she doesn’t wish to discuss her abuse.  She may have meant exactly what she said, that some experiences are better left to the darkness of that place and time.

Though I was not held captive in the jungle for 6 years, I was held captive for 18 years in my own private, solitary jungle without the support of other hostages.  This much I know:  For her and the other hostages, nothing can be left in the jungle.  The jungle is in her head.  This is true for everyone:  The Gulag, the concentration camp, all of the places where we learn, from personal experience, the extreme cruelty of human beings toward another live on our heads.  Watching or hearing other people being tortured never leaves one’s consciousness.  Our own personal humiliation and deprivation of even the most basic of rights–those minutes and hours live on forever in our minds.  Without warning, they reassert themselves and the jungle lives on and you live in it.

It took me a while to recover from the interview.  Her words were inadequate to convey the horror and sadness that I recognized in her eyes.  I wished that I could wipe it all away for all of those freed hostages, wherever they are.

But the jungle, the Gulag, the concentration camp, the time and locales of extreme child abuse live on forever in our heads.  Forever.

Loathsome Conjures Up A Migraine

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 9:28 am

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday at 8:15 when Loathsome knocked on my door.  Not knowing who it was, I said, “Come in.”  The sight of him standing in my office doorway first thing in the morning was a harbinger of bad things to come.  To my surprise, he noted immediately that I was on the phone and left.  Loathsome is usually too self absorbed to notice that you’re on the phone unless you put the person you’re talking to on hold and say, “I’m on the phone.  I’ll be with you in a minute.”

When I finished my conversation, I actually went to see what he wanted.  That’s exactly the kind of bad judgment call I’ve been making for weeks now.  I can’t even remember what the hell I was thinking at the time.  I ran into the door jamb on my way out of my office, though.  I remember that.  I have a bruise on my left hipbone commemorating the event.

“What?”  I asked him when I got to his office.

“I need to scan….”

“Give it to me.  I’ll do it.”  As always, I was trying to cut to the chase.

“No, I did the scan…”  Oh my god.  He can actually do something.

“…but when I checked my email to see if I got the copy, it asked for my Roadrunner password,” his voice trailed off and he looked for a moment as if the confusion was blocking his airways.  “I have to get this to a client.  Could you send it?”

Oh god.  What I won’t do for my company.

“Okay.  Scan it again and send it to me.”  I groaned inwardly, knowing I was probably going to spend the next hour or so dealing with him and his email.

After he scanned it, I opened my email as he hovered over me.  He brought a sticky note with the email addresses and watched me type them in as if I might accidentally detonate a bomb in the process.

“Done,” I pointed out, in the hopes that would get him out of my office immediately.

“I don’t know why it asked me for my password.”  He’s relentless.  Loathsome’s general approach to life is to keep repeating things endlessly until he gets the response he wants to hear or he drives someone absolutely out of their mind, whichever comes first.

“Did you restart?  Restart your computer,” I suggested.  I know.  What a brilliant, out of left field idea, right?

“Okay,” he mumbled.  “I don’t know why it asked for my password.”

I told him I didn’t know, either, but he should try restarting.  I hotfooted it back to my own office.  Halfway back, I felt like I’d been stabbed in my left temple with an icepick.  The Migraine.  It didn’t leave me for the rest of the day.  Nonetheless, I called Loathsome a little later to check on his progress.  I know.  I’m a saint.

“So did you restart?”  I asked him.


“Well did it work?”  Just then I remembered why I should never follow up with Loathsome.  Too late….

“Yeah.  I don’t know why it asked me for a password….”

I felt that icepick in my temple again; it was actually the high point of my day yesterday.  Seeing Loathsome first thing in the morning is like walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, opening an umbrella on the inside and crossing paths with a black cat all at the same time.  Things can only get worse from there.

July 8, 2008

Updated Injury Report

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 7:32 pm

Since my last self-injury post, I struck my head against something.  I now have a knot on my forehead.

Somehow I managed to bruise my right forearm.

Luckily, no more burns yet.

The Ever-Shrinking Crazy Land

Foot Lady left us yesterday, another casualty of declining revenue. I’m disconsolate. Foot Lady, though she could be difficult and annoying, was tirelessly supportive after my father’s suicide and my treatment for breast cancer. Of course, I’ll also miss the general discomfort she caused the rest of the Crazy Landers whenever she forced them to look at her feet.  I’m going to miss her on many levels.

I think this is the end of the reductions in force.  It shouldn’t be.  Mr. Moneybags has insulted Owner and provided him with incorrect information not once, but twice.  Owner shared with me the details of their first conflict.  He now refers to Mr. Moneybags by his last name only.  Accordingly, he will henceforth be called Bags here.  The Superhighway filled me in on the second (and more egregious) offense.  That’s why she’s called the Information Superhighway, after all.

I’ve absorbed most of Crazy’s work and, therefore, I’ve been spending enormous amounts of time with Hemorrhoid.  God help me.  He’s a sweet guy, but we speak two completely different languages.  It requires a staggering level of concentration and energy to convert Hemorrhoid-speak to Ggirl-talk.

My surgery has been postponed until later in the month.  Oh yay.  More time for self injury and high anxiety.  I’ve been looking forward to getting it over with, but maybe even more to taking a little break from Crazy Land.  Yes, in this case, surgery is superior to work.

There’s so much more to say, but this is all I have energy for tonight.

July 4, 2008

I’m Good At Keeping Secrets From Myself

I finally figured it out.  It’s anxiety.  In the past three weeks, I’ve

burned my right arm twice on the oven
burned two fingers of my left hand, testing the heat of a grill
sprained one of my ankles
cut both of my feet
hit my lower back against a sharp-edged table

I’m a disaster.  All of these were accidents, but they form a pattern, obviously.  Whenever I’m anxious, I’m so distracted that I  go through periods of accidentally hurting myself.  For as long as I’m fearful, I’m a danger to myself.

I haven’t been aware of thinking about my surgery, but clearly my mind has been focused on the pain ahead.  I’m so good at keeping secrets from myself.  It’s how I got through my childhood.  I compartmentalize to keep anxiety at bay.  The Inner Fascist asserts herself and, as always, finds an abundance of qualities that need correction.

Why, why, why.  I shut down the Inner Fascist and wonder why she’s back.  I wonder why I’m falling, cutting, stumbling, injuring myself repeatedly.  They defend me from what seems like unbearable anxiousness.

I’m a slow learner.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell anyone, especially not me.

July 2, 2008

Now That She’s Gone

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:34 pm

“Now that Crazy’s gone, who’s going to buy paper plates for us?  Who can I order to clean the cabinet doors?”

Excellent questions.

July 1, 2008

Crazy Employee Culled From The Pack

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:00 pm

Yesterday morning Crazy Employee was culled from the pack.  According to Owner’s wishes, she wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone other than those doing the severing.  I was relieved that she didn’t get to come to my office and cry at me.  However, it took her 2 hours and 45 minutes to gather her personal belongings and leave the building.  We all hid until the all-clear sign from the Information Superhighway.  It took so long that I’d begun to think someone had reversed the decision.

I’m ambivalent for many reasons.  Not the least of which is that she was a highly entertaining storyline.  On the other hand, Crazy was nothing if not annoying.  I’m sorry that her family’s income will take a hit.  The good news on that front is that she was commuting about 70 miles every day, so maybe she’ll find a job closer to home.  Lower fuel costs must surely offset any cut in pay she’ll have to take working for some other company.

My other selfish reason for not wanting to see her go is that it will certainly mean more work for me.  More unpalatable work.  None of us has any idea exactly how she billed clients, maintained the insurance coverage…or anything else, really.  Of course, I’ve never had a job where there was any real transition from the previous employee.  Even when the departing worker was there to offer assistance, there’s not much motivation to ensure that the person taking your place is fully informed.   I’m scrambling a bit to figure out how she used the system I put in place.  Please feel free to laugh.

Owner was out of town until today and arrived at the office in a contentious mood.  I haven’t actually talked to him, but the Superhighway was called in immediately.  It wasn’t a pleasant talk, from what I’ve been told.  I don’t know whether Mr. Moneybags has been summoned.  I saw him earlier and he didn’t seem enraged enough to have had a conversation with Owner.

Superhighway escaped to my office a little while ago and asked if I’d expected Owner to be so surly.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

More brouhaha and culling is in the works.  The Foot Lady may be next.  Another excellent storyline bites the dust.  But have no fear.  It’s still Crazy Land.  Undoubtedly, there will still be much to entertain ourselves with.

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