Sunday, May 29, 2022

Haz lo tuyo

A couple of weeks ago, a coworker, "Martha", took a vacation to Mexico.  We had a less than springlike weather forecast for the day of her return, and I texted her a heads up    ➡➡

She replied a short time later:

Well, they didn't get covid, but apparently contracted some other "bug".

Upon her return to work last week, Martha put in her notice and announced that she and her husband are moving to Mexico.  They plan to become permanent residents.

So THAT was news! I haven't really had a chance to ask her how long it took for them to make this decision.  I knew they were both close to being ready to retire, but I don't know if they'd discussed moving out of the country, or specifically to Mexico before their week long vacay.

Martha and her husband don't have kids. Both Martha's parents are deceased, and she has a "high maintenance" mother-in-law who probably motivates them to create more distance.

So they're selling their stuff, working to re-home the two dogs, and heading south.  

More power to 'em, I guess.  I'm assuming they've thought this through.  Thankfully, Martha gave a full month's notice, and hopefully Boss can fill her position soon 🤞.

And I'll miss working with Martha.  There are only six of us at the center including the boss, and she's probably my favorite to work with (don't tell the others). Laid back, good work ethic, well-organized, often brings muffins...

She was part of our recent united front against Nurse Ratched. I changed her name here to Martha so as to not confuse her with Betty the blogger.

Party Girl and I got to talking about where we would want to move to if no limitations. I never really thought about being an ex-pat. There are places I'd like to visit, but I dunno about totally pulling up stakes like Martha.  

I'm actually quite happy in Fort Collins, thanks.

More waterfowl friends

In the meantime, know someone who needs a house in Colorado? Some housewares?  Coupla dogs?  A part-time job?  Hit me up!

Friday, May 27, 2022

kids, I tellya

He's not the first childhood friend I remember, but one of the first and most lasting. I distinctly remember hanging out with Daniel since first grade and all the way through high school.  

I mainly think of him as being a bit wild and adventurous. Ours was a small town, and I think we all knew he was gay from early on. But sexual preference wasn't discussed much back then other than to be teased and bullied, and he got bullied a lot.

But he had a flair for drama and liked attention. Honestly, he wasn't all that talented, but he was so confident and bold that it didn't matter. I remember him doing an oil painting of a prominent feature in our hometown, maybe before we were even in high school.  It looked rightfully amateurish, but he framed it and strode into big furniture store in the heart of downtown and asked the owner to display his painting in the window.  I can still see that rather ghastly painting sitting prominently among the furniture display for a good week or more. 

The two of us hung out a lot while growing up despite our many differences such as:

  • He was the 6th child out of 7 in a large, loud Catholic family.  My family was subdued in comparison, and I have two older brothers.
  • He struggled academically and was a class clown. I was a "good kid" who got good grades and participated in clubs and sports and stuff. 

Honestly, he was not the best influence on me. With him, I ditched classes, drove a car before really knowing how to drive, traipsed around on unsafe river ice, and other things it's best my parents never knew.

He was highly creative, and our art geekiness was the glue to our friendship.  By the time we were in 8th grade, he and I were somehow enrolled in an art "class" established just for us at school - then known as junior high - where he and I were basically TAs for the art teacher. I honestly don't remember how that came about, but there we were in a highly unstructured environment at the ripe age of 13.

HS art club 
Abby - front row, second from left
Daniel - front row, far right

It was like Art School Confidential, the two of us just having our way with all the art supplies for an hour or so each school day.  As for hall passes and teacher permissions? PffffT! The art teacher was a rather stereotypical public school art teacher - not much for structure and protocol.

Our paths diverged a bit in high school, but we still often hung out.  He'd discovered marijuana which added more fuel to his non-conformist fire. But he never drank, wouldn't touch the stuff. Both his parents were alcoholics, and he wanted nothing to do with booze. We lost touch after high school.

We managed to touch base a few years ago and we friended each other on fbook as people do. Sometimes he would rant incoherently about politics, and I eventually removed him from my feed. He ultimately left the platform, either willingly or was kicked out. 

In recent years, I've received invites from him to connect.  Not personal invites, but ones that look like he just clicked the option to send invites to anyone and everyone he might remotely know on linkedin. 

His linkedin profile is characteristically strange, filled with grammatical errors, and, I think (hope), sarcasm. I ignore the requests.

I got a text from him a few weeks ago. He seems better. He told me how he moved back to our hometown, hoping to open a fine dining restaurant but has struggled with various things regarding the hometown.  I'm not surprised, our hometown has "issues".

But being there jogged his memories of our childhood adventures and inspired him to contact me. His texts mention his gratefulness to God for various blessings. Over all the years I've known him, he's vacillated between extreme bible thumper and zealous atheist.  Apparently he's in a bible thumper phase now.  Will it last?

I've enjoyed our texting conversations, remembering who we were back then - naive kids exploring the boonies, frolicking in our freedoms. 

It was Daniel I called upon when my HS boyfriend turned up the drama. And it was Daniel I called upon that fateful day when I needed to break into a neighbor's house. He was the obvious life line. I reminded him, last week, of that particular breaking-and-entering adventure. 

He remembered it well and replied, "That's what happens when you have an Italian gangster as a best friend".

That's what happens.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

5. Tell us about the first childhood friend you remember. Do you still keep in touch?

Sunday, May 22, 2022

it's how you use it

I've been working some extra shifts these last two weeks.  A couple of weeks ago featured spring semester finals for the college students. Then this past week, one of my coworkers took a vacation week to Mexico, so I covered one of her long shifts.   I'm looking forward to "normalcy" working hours.

And I'm looking forward to continued spring thaw.  Many signs shout it out, mainly return of allergy sneezing and puffiness and little puffball goose babies around every corner.

I enjoyed a run along the burbling creek this morning. Geese on the water, but I didn't spot any babies.  Childless geese?  Parents getting out for "me time" before the babies are up?

I received an invitation to transfer to a local PEO chapter this week.  I recently blogged about visiting some meetings after being on hold from the 2-year covid lockdown.  This first chapter to invite me to transfer is the one I'd set my sights on and was stalking the hardest. It's all pretty casual, but there are procedures to follow - in that, to transfer, I need to be invited - so we're playing the game.  I'll accept and be done with playing the field, I suppose.

Also at work this week, each of us in my department was given a little "thank you" gift for  making it to the end of another school year and gearing up for the next.  We each received a polo shirt with the college logo and a similarly logoed coffee cup. 

We were told a few weeks ago that this was coming, and in fact, we were to select a size and style for the polo shirt from a box of samples.  I selected the Ladies medium, but when push came to shove, alas, the Ladies medium was unavailable.  

It was no biggie to me, I mean, where would I even wear the thing other than to work?  And we're not required to wear it - it's not a uniform.  

Anyway, the gift bags were bestowed upon us, and I found that the powers-that-be got me a shirt anyway - a Men's small shirt, substituted for the Ladies medium. Putting it on, I look like  a small woman in a man's shirt.  Like a middle school kid wearing his dad's golf shirt for the school dance.

They tried, and I appreciate it. I'm not scrutinizing the mouth of this gift horse. Seriously, though, I will never wear that shirt. 

But it got me thinking.  What if, say, a male coworker selected a Men's medium and it wasn't available.  Would he be given a Ladies large as substitution?  I think not.  But what would they do?

I like the coffee cup.  It will get much use, it's quite the right size.

Loosely linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Write about something you are looking forward to.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

coming in hot

My mid- to late- 80s mother-in-law and her husband came to visit last weekend.  The drive from their home is about 135 miles. It can be an uneventful two to two and a half hour drive, but involves interstate driving through Denver along with traffic congestion, construction zones, and mishaps along the way.

A few weeks ago, step-father-in-law had an incident that helped him come to the realization that he probably shouldn't drive anymore, so now MIL is the sole driver.  I'm not necessarily convinced she should be behind the wheel, but it's the lesser of two evils. And they have an SUV with all kinds of sensors and control systems, so we keep our  mouths shut. They seem to do fine as long as they are in familiar surroundings during daytime. 

They made it up here just fine and attended Meego's graduation with us, Chaco in the role of chauffeur.  After the grad ceremony, we gathered with other families at The Lake House -  Meego and his roommates' college rental house. The house is a typical college rental house on a typical college rental house street and nowhere near any lake that I know of. 

Not surprisingly, MIL and SFIL were ready to turn in while the grad bash was in full swing.  I walked with them to their car and asked if they could make their way back to the hotel okay. It wasn't far away, about 3 miles.

"SFIL says he knows from his phone", MIL replied.

They typically don't use GPS, so I saw this as a sign that they're finally ready to embrace the technology.  So with that, I saw them off with confidence, adding that it was still light out so, no worries!

They did eventually make it to the hotel.  About an hour and a half later?  It was good and dark by then. SFIL rehashed their adventure for us the next day -  about how it was too dark to see any street signs, how they often didn't know which direction they were going, etc.  I'm sure they were exhausted by the time they made it to bed, but I'm glad they weren't in an accident.

Coming home from work on Monday, traffic was light in the area since the high school had the day off for some reason.  Good thing, because just beyond the high school is this 4-way-stop intersection where I turn left to head home.

There was no one behind me, and I eased myself to the left turn lane and approached the intersection.  A cute Miata convertible approached from the right, totally blew through the stop sign, then turned left into oncoming traffic.  Oncoming traffic = me and Daisy, my commuter bicycle.

Cue bike cam footage:

We managed to avoid each other, as the driver seemed to realize her mistake.  But strangely, she swerved around me by pulling further to the left?  

Thankfully, there wasn't much traffic around, and we easily avoided one another.  As she went by, I noticed she was an older woman - 70's maybe?  The Miata had dealer plates, so a new acquisition?  

I thought maybe she was meaning to pull into the cul de sac on her left and was cutting corners by driving down the wrong side of the road, but she actually continued down the left side, all the while, going upstream like a salmon.

She went over the crest of the hill and beyond toward the high school, never to be seen by me again.  

Cute car, though? 😕

Sunday, May 15, 2022

good things come in threes

 So a thing happened this weekend.  I'll leave some enigmatic clues and let readers guess.


Friday, May 13, 2022

surf's up

"Would it be considered harassment if a coworker or supervisor attempts to stop me from filing a claim of harassment against another party?"

My coworker, Party Girl, posed this question to me last week while well within earshot of our full-time coworker, Bugs.  Bugs is not in a supervisory role, but when Boss is gone, Bugs is typically put in charge. Boss happened to be out of town when things were going down with Nurse Ratched.

Party Girl, another coworker we'll call Betty, and I had dug around and found the official HR form for submitting a claim of harassment.  We decided to each submit our point of view of the Nurse Ratched situation, and Bugs attempted to discourage us from doing so.  The question was Party Girl's cute and clever way of telling Bugs his "advice" was not needed.

"Pretty sure the answer is 'YES!' as we all learned from our mandatory harassment training", I promptly replied as we all gave Bugs the side eye.

He backed off after that.  

To summarize, Boss did something we all (except for maybe Boss) agreed was inappropriate (not sexual, nothing like that) with a student.  That student went to her instructor - Nurse Ratched - to complain about Boss and ask for some leniency on the exam she took with us since she was feeling frazzled while she worked on the exam.

Nurse Ratched, understandably, became upset with Boss and complained to... somebody.  I really don't know what all happened after that as I don't have a need to know.  But because of the incident between Boss and Student, Nurse Ratched decided to bully, judge, and demean all of us, even though she's never dealt with anyone other than Boss, other than that one incident.

And THAT is when it became a problem for Party Girl, Betty, and me.  Nurse Ratched's abuse toward us seemed to be persistent and escalating, so the three of us each decided to get our two cents in.  

Bugs tried to stop us, saying, "It's already being handled" - referring to the Boss/ Student/ Nurse Ratched incident.

We disagreed as it had spilled over to baselessly involve us three underlings.  This was a new situation for handling.

Anyway, we felt good about telling our sides of the story and get confirmation from the honcho in HR who handles these things.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much, but I guess something happened.  Nurse Ratched has been cordial in her subsequent communications.  Dare I say, apologetic, even?

Sheesh, in all my years, I'd never felt a need to submit a report of harassment or anything else to a Human Resources department. Kids, I tellya.

I feel good that we didn't just cower and hope it goes away.  I'm glad we spoke up for ourselves despite Bugs' attempts to stop us.  

Bugs is a nice enough guy, but doesn't like making waves. We more or less told him, too bad, you're in the deep end of the pool with the big girls now.

And to this day, I still haven't even met Nurse Ratched in-person.  


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

5. Write a blog post inspired by the word: proud

Monday, May 9, 2022

let's go for a ride 'til heaven comes

I don't really watch sports.  I've had a passing interest in some, but most sporting events just takes so dang long.  More time than I care enough to commit.

And then there's horse racing. I love to watch horse racing. I know some think it's inhumane.  I tend to think/ hope the horses are treated like the elite athletes that they are, bred to run fast and... enjoy it?  I confess that I just love to watch them run full out.

The triple crown races begin the first Saturday in May with the Kentucky Derby, and I've watched it every year for as long as I can remember.  I recall last year, I was working at the nursing home. The old ladies gathered 'round in their wheelchairs for refreshments, all wearing massively ridiculous hats they'd decorated the day before.  Such a hoot!

This year, I was in the comfort of my own home.  I had no idea, going in, who the favorites were or the odds. No money riding on it, I just want to watch them run.  

And omigosh, whatta race!  It wasn't until right at the wire that I learned the winner was the longest shot in the field - basically just filling in for a horse that had scratched at the last minute.  

80 to 1 odds! The jockey had never ridden in the Derby before. I can't imagine the feeling!

Anyway, I get a kick out of watching the aerial replay.  That longshot horse, so far in the back, picking them off one by one and ending up winning the whole thing.

What can I say, I get a rush from it.  If I were an old lady in a nursing home, ridiculous hat or no, that finish might have been my ticket to heaven.  

Sunday, May 8, 2022

from empty to cuckoos nest

I had some revelations this week.  Nothing ultra profound, but the universe has spoken to me.

It has to do with work, and the details would be boring to readers. Plus I don't want to type it all out.  But this week, a certain instructor at the college - we'll call her Nurse Ratched - started throwing barbs at us in the testing center. Little passive aggressive condescending barbs.

Our staff consists of the director, one full-timer, and four part-timers.  I'm one of the part-timers.  I have never personally met Nurse Ratched nor had any dealings with her other than being a target of her dissings this week.

All of us part-timers are upset about Nurse Ratched's baseless hostility as she's provided no reasons detailing why she's laying into us.  We strongly suspect it stems from an incident between one of her students and our boss, and now she's writing all of us off.

I mentioned here once before that my boss can be somewhat annoying in that he has a tendency to talk incessantly about himself or topics of interest to him.  I was painfully trapped in a particular marathon he went on about college hockey - even after I expressed zero interest in college hockey.  

Anyway, he's very down to earth and can be okay to work with - aside from that annoying tendency.  I'd also say he's good at his job as far as dealing with facilities, software, budgets, scheduling, testing companies, etc.

His customer service skills, however...  ooch.

Luckily, he deals with customers and students very little, but there was that one recent incident with Nurse Ratched's student.  And now Nurse Ratched seems to think we're all clowns because of Boss's behavior.

This bothers me because, as I've said, I also am often annoyed with Boss's behavior, yet I  keep my mouth shut because he's Boss.  So what's happened here - I actually agree with Nurse Ratched about the incident, yet she sees me and my equally innocent coworkers (who, like me, get annoyed with Boss but say nothing) as mini Bosses.

Revelation-wise, this is telling me to speak up when I see questionable or inappropriate behavior, even when it's coming from the boss.  And just because I'm a "lowly" part-timer, my input is relevant. It's my choice to be part-time. I've sat back, biting my tongue, while higher ups make decisions that affect me.  Screw that.

Also, Happy Mother's Day to the moms out there. I rather miss being with young kids all day - so much more mature than what I deal with at work now.

Friday, May 6, 2022

mama, he's crazy

My family doesn't make a big deal on Mother's Day, per my wishes.  It's a Hallmark Holiday and doesn't meld with my nonconfornist demeanor.  I used to gift/ send notes and cards/ call my mom when she was still around, but I've told our kids that "every day is Mother's Day" for me.

That said, two memorable Mother's Days come to mind.  

My first real job - i.e. I had to pay taxes - was as a busgirl at a hotel restaurant that was popular for Sunday brunch among the locals.  I'd been working there only a few weeks when Mother's Day rolled around, and OH Migod, the bedlam. 

So many tablefuls of so many people making so many messes:  a busperson's nightmare.  The wait staff didn't like it either since it was buffet, so tips were  non-existent to miniscule.  Kitchen staff struggled to keep the buffet stocked.  The dishwasher... oh, the poor dishwasher...

That job helped my teen drinking kick into gear.  Or at least it certainly didn't hurt. Sunday brunch mimosas became rather appealing.

So these days, I'm just happy not to be working OR attending a Mother's Day brunch.

The other  - much more memorable - Mother's Day was in 2000 when I was hugely preggars with Meego.  He was 2 weeks past his due date at that point.  

I recall being in bed and kind of flopping around like a beached whale, trying to get comfy, when I felt a strange *pop* then warmth and realized my water had broke.  I laid there for a while, on my beach, and thought, "Hmmm.  Interesting", because I'd been pregnant for so long, I'd started to feel like it was going to be a forever condition.

Just as I looked over at the bedside clock, it changed to 12 midnight.  It was officially Mother's Day.  Meego arrived all "Happy Mother's Day!" a few hours later, no Hallmark card needed.

Maybe that's another reason I don't need anything special for Mother's Day.  How they gonna top that?


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

1. Write about a memorable Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

wannabe nobody with my thoughts in my room

My office/ studio/ space is the smallest room in the house - not counting the bathrooms.  I liken it to Harry Potter's bedroom under the stairs

but it's really not that small.  I don't have exact measurements, but I'm sitting in it now, and I'd guesstimate it to be about 10 feet by 8 feet.  And there's a nice big window looking into our back yard. 

It was feeling cramped and cluttered, so this week, I've been giving it the Marie Kondo treatment. It's not quite to my liking just yet - mainly because I'm sitting here typing about it instead of finishing off the decluttering and organizing - but it's got potential.

Happy first day of May.  I guess I have a "spring cleaning" bug.  I've already done smaller Kondo-izing with some kitchen cabinets and my clothes closet.  

In other organizing news, I had my annual blood screening this week.  Results came back all green, no yellows or reds, so we're keeping that drive alive.  Prior to my appointment, the website and confirmation emails stressed their mask requirement.

I arrived on time, properly masked (almost forgot) only to find none of the employees were masked.  Okay.  Similar thing happened a couple of times I rode the university transit buses recently.  Masks are still "required", but hardly a mask in sight - even on the drivers.  I wonder what airplanes are like?

Personally, I don't feel a need for a mask as long as I feel fine and carry little likelihood of spreading anything.  I only wear one when required... but find myself the odd one out in those situations.  I guess I'm not the rebel I thought I was.

We'll probably go out for a coffee walk soon.  I'll make sure to jaywalk at some point.