Monday, April 20, 2015

YUMMY!: Celebration Meal: Ribeye Steak

So on the good news that I won't be soon homeless, I paid $12.99 a pound for a couple of boneless ribeyes and cooked one up with some spinach. Here's the results.

Skulk Away Ol' Hag!

DeFarge Crisis averted.

I went in today at the normal Med Manager scheduled start of 8:00 and saw that I hadn't been included on the day's Assignment Sheet. Basically, I wasn't scheduled. My heart, already palpitating, skipped a deeper beat or two. I thought of the scene where Tom Hanks' character in the film Philadelphia puts two and two together and asks bluntly, "Am I being fired?"

I called Susan and she clarified that she wanted to keep the schedule loose so I would have time to "get acclimated" to the position. Oh boy, she was sellin' it hard. This was making my Option B plan seem shaky.

She and I met at 9:00 and I spat out my well-practiced line I'd been rehearsing over the weekend: "Can I go back to the overnight shift?" I explicitly wanted to start this conversation with this line to reinforce what the major goal in this would be for me and that is that I get back to where I started. I knew this wasn't the preferred option from her standpoint so I knew I had to make it clear. And in presenting this as the first question, I hoped to convey the fact that without an affirmative on this issue, all others were potentially off the table. It's subtle, and if I had conveyed it out the way I just described it would have sounded like extortion (ie. "Marie gave me the secrets of the position and if you don't give me what I want I'll immediately walk and you'll be up shit's creek without a paddle.")

I told her about my anxiety issues with high-stress jobs and apologized for thinking I was over them and could accept the tasks of this position. But I also reserved a bit of the blame for the smothering training style of Marie and, once she saw me as a critique of her legacy, her actions as a hostile trainer stacking things to set me up for failure, all the while "Fawn Halling" evidence of her lazy documentation management to the shredder.

Susan said she'd try to connect with Charmaine, the direct supervisor for the overnight position and with her assurance that she'd try, and her agreement that it'd be okay with her, I agreed to stay on in the Med Management role in order to organize things and help create a guideline for the eventual permanent replacement. I agreed to work the next two weeks bringing us into the dreaded end of the month when all the MORS get updated and printed out. These are the medication sign off sheets which direct caregivers as to what meds every resident takes and are considered the Bible of med observation.

I blundered through the day trying to make sense of it and as each hour progressed, it actually got better. I was building my own organizational systems and completing task in a timely fashion. I even handled a pressing issue with one resident and the funky way meds are ordered for her through various email threads, calls to her PCP, her mailorder pharmacy and the residents father. It was a lot, and things like this I actually hate, but it was okay. Do I want to do this every day? No. Thus the Option B talk. Two weeks, batting down the hatches. Okay. Two years? Huh, you'd be lucky to get two months. Then I'd be SOL.

An afternoon thunderstorm rolled though and our power went out. Meh, it's Florida. Helen called me and reassured me that she'd already spoken with Charmaine about the possibility of me going back to night shift and said she was fine with it. So, holla, the CEO said I was able to return to the position I needed. And all was good. I smiled happily that everything was gonna be okay. Yes I'd be trudging though this mess of a position which isn't worth a dollar and thirteen cents extra for a couple more weeks but that's okay.

Soon I'll be back to normal.

So you can scowl your venomous decrees elsewhere, Madame DeFarge, I've been granted a reprieve from Le Monsieur Guillotine.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Death To King Lou-weeee!

That's right.

The dirty old French peasant bitch is back.

I'm in the midst of a full out Madame DeFarge crisis.

What's that mean, you say? Yes, well, I guess it has been a long time but in fact these panic attacks were quite commonplace in the late '00s. As I define it here, it's basically a sudden and dramatic plunge in self-confidence and the desire to keep one's job. Heavily influenced by increased (or simply continued if already at high levels) drinking and hangovers, disliked or irritating aspects of a new job become much more than nuisances, they bombard each waking thought causing a full out freak out. It becomes so crippling that the mere thought of going in to work becomes a nausea-producing, sweaty-palm, heart-racing near impossibility.

I was starting to feel the Defarge symptoms last week when the monthly deliveries arrived and then the next day Marie (the departing Med Manager) had us taking care of the Expired or Discontinued meds. The deliveries were immense. Massive amounts of drugs we had to stock. It took hours. Then the 'Pops" as she called it, popping out the Expired or Discontinued pills into essentially a bucket which I quickly dubbed the "Valley of the Dolls" bucket. Thousands of pills and capsules. It was mind-boggling to think of the waste. And the potential risk of theft or abuse with that much uncatergorized, unidentifiable drugs. These tasks and the brute force style of inventory management Marie had employed made me freak out as to the potential for really bad, really illegal mistakes.

Then there was the old feelings of anxiety that arose due to the dynamics of a 9-5 office job. The traffic, the small talk, the water cooler gossip, the saccharin "good mornings", the lunch room table selection and awkward conversation, the late Friday afternoon weekend wishes and exasperated exclamations of TGIF. You know...the "Kathy" cartoon shit. ACK!!!

It seemed to get better by Monday and I felt more confident that it'd eventually work out. By Wednesday though, the knitting-needle wielding ol' crag was back in full force. Marie, an overly-bubbly, constantly-apologizing little Haitian lady was starting to turn on me. One of the classic potential saboteurs of new employees is the trope of the disgruntled, departing staff teaching the newbie. If the newbie points out inconsistencies, criticizes the former's techniques and methods or comes up with better ideas than the mentor, there's gonna be friction. By Wednesday afternoon Marie had turned into a hostile trainer. Not good. She was harping about all the negative variables I'd be dealing with in the job. She implied the fires she was constantly putting out were going to be conflagrations in the future. She poo-pooed every computer-based time-management tool I tried to set up and insisted it would fail.

By Thursday afternoon I'd had enough. Either by my own logic summation of how the job would fit in my life or due to the subversive influences of my antagonistic trainer, I went to Susan and confided I didn't think I'd be able to do the job. Naturally she tried to convince me otherwise and she said she'd support my decision either way, but hoped I'd stay on in the position. Helen later met with me and reiterated the same. I said I'd give it the old college try, so to speak, and went back to my dungeon with my evil taskmaster piling an enormous stack of new doctors orders on my desk that had to be processed within the next hour. I told her we had to slow it down, I wasn't able to absorb it all, it was too much. Her organic method of doing the job's duties by memorizing everything and spewing it verbally out to me in rapid fashion wasn't working. She became frustrated with me and no doubt saw me as an entitled white American, spoiled into wanting luxuries like classroom-style training and computerized inventory and time-management systems. And that's true, that's what I was expecting and what I needed. Pardon me for being white. And it probably doesn't help, in light of her ancestry, that I'm French heritage as well. She accused me of convincing Susan "behind closed doors" to give me preferential treatment and unrealistic promises of concessions and accommodations to alleviate the stress I was feeling. She had me there. That is what I did and I know that the things Susan said she'd do would eventually be unrealized.

Friday I came in but lasted only to noon. Though I was in fact light-headed and feeling faint due to lack of sleep stressing over all of this, I built it up and told Susan I had to go home sick. She was visibly disturbed that I'd not utilize the last remaining hours of Marie's time to gain a bit more her knowledge and expertise. If she only knew how she'd been deceiving them these past few years. Her method was not magic. It wasn't a "well-oiled machine". It was grunt work. Effective most of the time but overwhelmingly time-consuming and inefficient. Human error as slight as overlooking one pill bottle or a vial of insulin could result in medication unavailable for folks who need the drugs to function. So when the eventual mistakes arose, thus the fire-dousing campaign would commence...and the CYA email barrage.

I haven't quit. Susan texted me saying to take the weekend to think things over and we'd talk on Monday. I tentatively have 3 options as I see them. A. I tell her I'll give it my all and try to do the job to the best of my abilities. B. I plead with her for my overnight hours back, likely having to offer to continue in the position for a bit since pretty-much no one else can do it now that Marie is gone. C. Embarq.

I'm leaning towards B. I realize I should never have asked her for this position. I miss my hours of free time. I miss the solitude. I miss the sedentary life.

Not sure what will happen. I'm hoping to be able to right my wrong. But it could just as well be I'll be living off credit cards scanning the want ads in a week from now; quaffing ale and singing a ditty to Le Monsieur Guillotine.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Filaments Are Shaking!

So around 9:00 this morning my downstairs neighbor (later identified as Shirley) knocks on my door looking haggard and sleep-deprived. She politely asks me to try to keep down the noises she claims I make. She insists she hears me lifting weights and jogging.

Amused, I point to my stomach and flatly deny any participation in exercise. She doesn't chuckle in appreciation of my wit but (still rather politely) continues to describe the noises as repetitive and so loud to the extent that her light bulb filaments shake.

I hold back an urge to chastise her obvious lack of concern for our planet as she has just admitted that she refuses to part with wasteful, antiquated light sources.

I invite her in to see my bedroom and she is quite apparently hesitant to follow me in there. Perhaps she thinks I'll rape her? Perhaps she fantasizes about this? Perhaps she should take a good look around at my apartment furnishings and realize that this place could be the creation of none other than a true homosexual? Perhaps that would allay her fears? Or, since she seems a tad old-skool, it might heighten them?

She eventually yet hesitantly makes her way to my bedroom and I show her my IKEA desk chair and demonstrate that it does have a bit of a catch sound when one sits in it if it is in a semi-lounging position. To myself I think, this can't really be what she's bitching about since it's only a slight sound and shouldn't transmit down to her. Indeed, when I demonstrate the sound by sitting in the chair, she doesn't seem satisfied that it is the sound she's hearing.

I escort her out politely as I promise to be more gentle in my seating habits. I can tell she still is looking around for the unseen Nautilus machine and treadmill she insists I use. I wish. I could use the weight loss for sure.

She bids good bye with semi-appreciation for my gracious demeanor. Perhaps as time goes on she'll come to realize that in fact she is actually bat-shit crazy and needs to be institutionalized.

Or perhaps I should just turn down my sub-woofer while I loudly play computer games featuring clanging and booming noises?

Fuck that!

It's all in your head Shirley! It's all in your head.

Thursday, April 09, 2015



Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


This morning, Hulk's odometer hit 10,000 miles.

My baby's growing up.

It seems like just yesterday when I was negotiating his price over the phone and via email with the dealership's internet sales rep. Squeezing into him with that little smiley Hispanic sales guy. At least he didn't point out the full sized glove compartment. Getting reacquainted after 10 years with stick shifting again. Driving him home to Bellagio and worrying if he'd be stolen that night or would the thieves wait a week or two. Finding out a few months later it wasn't home I had to worry about in so far as nefarious people stealing things. Driving him to Universal so I could ride on his namesake back when I was 50 pounds lighter and able to fit in a roller coaster seat. Buying my key chain fob with a genuine Universal Studios Hulk/Bruce Banner figure equipped with a hidden green LED "night vision" lock light. Taking a weekend trip to Cocoa Beach, the farthest I've taken him thus far. Learning what a mini-A/C compressor, thin sheet-metal bodywork, a tiny-volumed passenger compartment and the unrelenting Florida sun can and can't do to avoid sweat beading on my brow. Discovering that with my big and tall frame I can't put my right leg at full rest and adequately maintain control of the pedals thus making a trip of more than an hour non-stop uncomfortable; more than two hours straight...untried since it'd probably be impossible without rest stops, likely relegating my Hulk to commuter-car-status-only forever. Realizing last week as I witnessed his windshield wipers starting to perform poorly and hearing a slight gurgle of the engine at stops that, like all Chevys, Hulk too will likely become a repair headache the very second his full warranty expires in October of next year.

My baby's getting old...

Hmm, I do like the look of my neighbor's car!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Getting Back In The Fray?

Back when I was at Sears Home Improvement, there was a new hire appointment setter rep that I trained that confided in me that she was formerly in management for some other firm but the particulars of the day-in-day-out of what was required finally had burned her out. She endeavored now to just "make do" with a low-stress-entry-level job to just get by for a while. Well a few months later she came to me as she was in the interview process for a floor supervisor position. She said it was my enthusiasm that got her motivated to get back into the fray. She was awarded the position and thrived in it.

Unexpectedly a new position opened up at my current place of employment. I applied for it today and  and though I would be giving up all that luscious down-time, I'd be gaining a regular Monday through Friday work week 9-5.

But this does mean getting back in the fray

I don't know if I would be ready for this.

I'm so fat I can't hardly walk, I can't stand being around people for more than a few minutes and I drink a lot. In fact, I'm drunk now.

What the fuck did I do?

Oh my......