Thursday, July 31, 2008

The one where I have to share an office

I haven't shared an office for oh, maybe 35 years. Maybe longer. But I'm finding that I don't much like it.
I like my work space a certain way. Tidy, clean. Mainly tidy.
My office mate?
Not so much.
I have TWO boxes.
She has EIGHTY.


None of them are put away.
She has an equal pile of junk that isn't even contained in boxes (we ran out).

I am so not happy.

However, if you just happen to mosey past my office, you only see my little bit of it.
Not the mess.

I feel like the Odd part of the Odd Couple.

Monday, July 28, 2008

They don't call Topamax Dopamax for nothing

I am not a fan of Topomax, mainly because it can make a person stupid. I've tried it a LOT of times and it has made me really stupid. Really fast.

I did mention, oh....about 50 times that it makes me really stupid and my doctor, Dr. Big Shot told me I'd be dandy if I just started slow and low.

I've heard that before and from more guys than just him.

Doctors for some reason think maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. I mention it REALLY strongly and they always say oh, whoever prescribed it didn't start me off low and slow enough. Believe me, any lower and slower, I wouldn't be talking it at all. I'd be taking it next week.

So I started low and slow...just like he told me to and this morning I got lost on the way to work.

I turned right instead of left and ended up on 13th instead of 10 1/2. (There are no signs out in the back of beyond. You just have know how to get to where you are going.)

So I had NO idea where I was. No idea where I came from either (told you this stuff makes you stupid).

I managed to get back on the road I was on (it doesn't have a name, either) and thought to myself, "Ogden. I'm going to Ogden." (I am nowhere NEAR Ogden.)

As I'm going past the big barn off the road, I know I'm supposed to turn where the Budweiser sign used to be seven years ago but out here in Boswell-land, there are no signs, no street names and the only landmarks are crops and it is harvest time right now, so the hay bales that were in the fields yesterday are gone today.

There are two huge prisons out here and I'm not real sure at this point which one I'm supposed to go. No worries!

I'll go to eenie meanie mine-y-mo and pick this one. If I'm wrong, they won't let me in and then somebody in charge will look at my badge and figure out where the heck I'm supposed to be and call them up to fetch me.

No worries.

Oh, I eventually sorted it all out. I picked the right one. When I got into the check in, they let me in. I recognized the door to my office. We were moving, so it was all topsie turvy anyway. I spent most of the day watching inmates strip the floors and move stuff. It was sort of like grown up recess.

My new office isn't ready yet. Maybe tomorrow. Or not. I only have a desktop and a box and I'm not even real sure what my new job even is.

Probably pretty apt, doncha think?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How a BAD THING can be a very good thing indeed

My son has autism and schizophrenia. It is a long, involved and mainly scarey story that is mostly in the distant past. He is fine now. Well, SSI fine.
He has his issues.
He volunteers at the local mental health center 40 hours a week and at the end of the week is pretty much peopled out. Mike and I are in high people careers, so we understand exactly how he feels. That's why we leave town on the weekends and don;t even leave the yard.

When we are gone, Ben goes over to our house and in exchange for the cable and the a/c and the computer, he cleans up the kitchen, puts away the laundry, remakes my bed (I manage to get the laundry DONE, folded/sorted/hung...just not put away). He cleans up the counters and vacuumns. Makes sure the dogs have water. Watches tv. Surfs the internet. It is a good trade for all of us.
I leave food in the fridge and he makes sure that it is all cleaned out by the time I get home on Sunday, so when I take him home, I can stop at the market for the week.

Works for all of us.

Weekend at the frog pond

The nice thing about knitting so slowly is that the skill set kicks in and I actually DO learn something. I've figured out the 9 million mistakes I made on the back of this sweater I'm making my husband, so I'm ripping the entire back out, clear back to the ribbing and trying a new tack. The pattern I'm using (in the most casual sense of the word) is one I've made up myself.

The actual goal of knitting is to make the garment fit the wearer...instead of the other way around.
And knitting is really simple math (counting), two sticks and some string, I would THINK that since I have an MA in Math (la di dah...don't get too one at the bank is, which tells you about my counting ability), I could manage this.

Of course, I have a deep seated problem with doing that gauge/swatch stuff AND counting (it will take me maybe six weeks to accurately cast on anything).

So I've taken measurements of several sweaters that he likes, plus the shirt pattern that I drafted, plus the sweatshirts he likes....figured out the commonality of the measurements and drew up a schematic. Most people are not symmetrical and Mike is no exception. That little detail gets taken care of by increasing in mid fabric to seamlessly and all but invisibly tend to that. It's the opposite of darts in sewing, if that makes sense.

Lisi has the opposite problem...petite and multiple darts. Lots of invisible ribbing, with skinny yarns, so the ribbing is even less apparent..

Friday, July 25, 2008

I am DELETING bookmarks at 0200

I bookmark everything that catches my interest in the least.

Then of course, I either never go back and look at it, can;t find it or if I do find it, can;t for the life of me understand what possessed me to bookmark it.

So I am purging in a big way. A bookmark absolutely has to make the cut (as in NOT being part of the world wide waste of time). A new favorite is PIONEER WOMAN....she does photo shop stuff, which of course would be cause for me to have my head stuck in the computer because I actually would be learning a skill set.

Skill set. New catch phrase at the prison. Not to be confused with skill saw.

I finally found out from Bobby the Bug Guy why all these moves are taking place (during the absolutely hottest part of the 9th ring of hell). The departments are far flung. Supervisors can't keep an eye on us. Well, duh. That's why I liked working out behind work change. EVERYONE left me alone. Now that we are making an obscene amount of money, Sacramento wants to make sure that someone is watching me all day long to make sure they are getting their money's worth.

Probably not. Or maybe. Depends on whether we have air conditioning. The A/C units we have right now look like something on Serenity, with the cool air coming out of these big dryer ducts. By big, I mean big enough for me to stick my whole head in and gasp in the cold air. I guess you had to be there. I looked like I was freebasing at Richard Pryor's house. And if you have to ask, you are just too young to know.

Now I will be in the back of beyond, but in the Borg. I guess Glenda and I will have to make a cute sign that says
Glenda.....In...Out....Out and About on 3A/3B/3C/SHU/PHU/ACH/LEV 1/Admin/Litagations

Glenda gets out more than I do.

I have a TON of GED packets that I want to scan (I have yet to figure out this scanning skill set) so that it is in my computer and I can just conjure up a set, instead of frantically attempting to FIND the last set known to man. I do have 30 tutors who have to have timecards turned in every month (two different kinds...I don't know). That is the bulk of my job. I have a clerk who is doing three 35 year terms for murder. He was a paid assassin. Not near as cool as Mr. and Mrs. Smith or even Gross Point Blank. Because of course, this was REAL LIFE, as opposed to the movies.

Union meeting last night and no, I didn;t go. They are a bunch of holering screamers and I figure i FUND them....I don;t have to listen to them. O'Dd was there and was pontificating this morning about people who expect the union to represent them but are unwilling to support the union.

Up goes the finger.
"Do not EVER attempt to tell ME how I am to spend MY evenings. I pay dearly for the union. And if I could,instead, send it to Dakfur Charities, I would. I went out on strike for THREE WEEKS with a baby on my hip. So do not EVER attempt to tell me how I am supposed to aupport my union. I think at $160/month.....that is support enough."
O'Ddd was speechless and whirled out.

I will probably catch hell for it at some point. Like I care.
I got written up (first time in eight years) over ONE cell in my report. Actaully 2 cells. I had charged off some missing student time to custody (I charge custody every chance I is usually their fault anyway) and it should have been charged to EDUCATION. (B FAT D). Let me many cells do I have in a month? 10 x 30 =300 x 60=1800....and I get written up for screwing up. TWO. CELLS.

I must be making more money than I thought.

Well, actually, I am. I got a note in the mail the other day and oopsie...they had misfigured my credits, of which I have a gazillion. And then I get extra money for all my language tests. And my gun stuff. And my hostage stuff. (Believe me. If they resort to giving me a gun and having me do the hostage stuff? The world as we kow it is over. Dig a hole.) SO they were going to have to figure out how big of a screw up they had made since last August and send me a check. Someday here pretty soon.

I celebrated by filling my car up with gas.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I love my job...except I'm not sure what it is

I love working at the prison. I love most of the people I work with. Even the really crazy ones...well, let's just say I can usually see a hot mess of crazy and not think it's me.

So we are moving over to the back of beyond, about TWO MILES from the parking lot down a cement alley we call main street that is back by cement buildings. So we are all packing up our offices (I am #8) and moving over to the old upholstery shop so the guys at the BoB can move into our offices and then we can move into their vacated space. Sound simple?

Except half the people moving are tied up in super duper high security something else, so many somebody elses have to pack for them. (I've moved people out of offices and set them back up elsewhere....and it is always just a little awkward to see what kind of junk people keep in their in boxes. Messy.)

So yesterday, I asked my first line supervisor exactly WHAT THE HECK he was planning for me to be doing? (Always just ask. Much quicker that way.) He said he didn't know. So when I saw HIS boss in the parking lot, I asked him. He said he didn't know.

I did not believe either one of them, since it is impossible for me to be going in to work every day with no apparent assignment for apparently the next 300 days. (Well, 600 days, if you count all the holidays and vacations and weekends. Immaterial.)

So today, a scant 24 hours after being today that neither one of them had any idea what i would be doing, I got a memo telling me that I would be sharing an office with Glenda. Huh. Glenda told me LAST WEEK that we were going to be sharing an office.

However, I still have no clue what I'm going to do. I thought I was going to be doing some kind of GED thing, but Frank told me that today HE was doing the GED thing. Plus, we've hired three new teachers....and where the heck they are going to put them is beyond me. Unless, of course, I'm in the line for a medical retirement (hello, 90%!).

So tomorrow, I'm borrowing some thugs to drag my stuff over to the old upholstery shop and then "draw" a line around it in masking tape and mark everything with a big "8" so that on Friday, different thugs can move my #8 stuff into my new #8 office. With three windows.

The view? Two hallways.

Of course, the office I really wanted has that one way mirrored stuff on the windows and doors. Much more entertaining.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good news about goals

I am almost debt free. I have just a couple of credit cards which will be paid off (and shredded) by August 2. I use them on line, so it's not like I NEED to have them in my handbag. They email me the bills and I pay them.

So on September 2, my check will belong to me me me. Well, me and toys for the dogs, grooming for Rocket, my toes, my nails, my hair.....clothes, shoes, yarn, books......anything I think of to purchase for my Girlie and anything I can think of to purchase for my Boy-o who will be living in his own house by then. Maybe a year long bus pass? He has all the kitchen/bath/house stuff he needs, except for one of those automatic water-ers for the dog.

This is a little 2 bedroom house and the front bedroom? he is putting up an extra twin bed we have so that Lisi can come visit. Maybe he and I will go thrift store shopping and get the curtains and spread and pillows, though.

We have figured out the BEST thing for good storage and a nice night stand, too. Target has these stackable drawers for shoes, underwear, etc. Two together, topped with a plywood round and a round tablecloth makes for a really nice night stand. (You can keep canceled checks or important papers in the drawers. Whatever.

At the foot of said twin bed will be one of my trucks, where extra blankets/sheets/towels are stored. Too cool for school.

My friend Nusan gave him her wrought iron pool fence, which is now his front fence. The glass shop guy (who thinks that although Ben could be a bum, he's not) gave us all the windows from a job where the people paid and then just left the deal, Happens a lot in construction. That's how I got my super duper jacuzzi wow bath tub for the hotel. People ordered it (paid the contractor's price) and the skipped out of the deal. And there he is, stuck with this super duper jet ski bath tub no one wants. And there we are, looking for a super duper jet ski bath tub.

Anyway, we also have a customer call who just bought a brand new never been lived in house for $200K (with prices the way they are, it is probably a $500K house).

His wife hates the kitchen. So we are tearing out a perfectly brand new, maple cabinet, CORIAN COUNTERED, dishwasher/stove/fridge so she can have the kind Kelly Ripka has. In the meantime, Ben will have what she had.

Doesn't this work great? Of course, I still have two pieces of molding missing in MY house. 13 years now.
Do I complain? Nope.

I have kitchen drawers that have popped off their rails. Do I complain? Nope. I need new grout everywhere and you better believe I am keeping my mouth shut about THAT because I re-grouted EVERYTHING in Florida. It is seriously not a job for me. A moron could do it and by the time I DID do it, not only had I worn off all the polish on my fingers and toes, I thought maybe I WAS a moron.

So we figure that the real estate market will come back up one always does....and then we will do a little repairs (cover everything and shoot the entire interior with Navajo White) but leave the big painting the outside and ripping out the white carpet as a sale deduction. Everyone knows that they aren't going to rip out the carpet but we all pretend that that is going to happen. And guess who is the only company in the county who will scrape/repair/repaint these old wooden Victorians? That would be us. And who do you think even knows how to rebuild screens for all these old windows? Right again!

I need to write a note to the yard guy and have him start putting the grass clippings into the garden boxes. Then you nail on lattice and plant one thing in each square.....say one squash plant in the squash box or one melon plant in the melon box. I have these wooden towers that settle right in the middle so stuff can grow up and non of the fruit lays on the wet ground. It looks wonderful and lush.

I'm ripping out all of the 128 rose bushes from the house my mother rented from us and put them over here. THAT will fill up the front. Well, not ME. I'm not actually doing it. I THOUGHT of it. Pete's doing it. He thinks it will look great. He calls this an estate and tells customers that he works at this big estate on the edge of town. He comes over ever week and mows or weeds or something. Now mind you, there is always just enough little stuff that I can do so I don;t feel totally useless. But nothing more than about 30 minutes....because I have that 30 yard over at the coast I have to worry about.

I'm wrapping the filter for the koi pond with a bamboo shade and hanging flat sided planters over the edge. Each one will be filled with mint (impossible to kill) and will have a little aquarium tube from the filter into the planters, so it is always damp. And my fish! My 2,000 fish barely make a dent in this pond....and some of them are as big as my hand. I have huge frogs, no bugs in my backyard.

Notice that most of this work can be accomplished in one afternoon.....and I will be spending more time buying the stuff than actually DOING it?

My kind of farming.

Man! That shot hurt

We didn't have to be in downtown SF until 3:30, but since the traffic there is so random, we left at 10 am. And none too soon, either. We had time for two rest breaks and lunch.
I got to chat a little with some migraineurs who make me feel like a whiny crybaby. Obviously, there are some people who REALLY suffer. They not only have gone thru Hell, they have experienced all of the circles therein. (I obviously am just wringing my hands on the banks of the River Styx, with no idea what a REAL migraine feels like.)

So I finally get in, an hour late and after going thru my paperwork, he digs around until he finds the absolute most tender spots on my neck. And I am talking about DIGGING, here. With pointy fingers. This goes on until I have the G0lden Spike jammed to the hilt in my eyeball.

Then he gives an array of Novocaine shots (nothing) and then several steriod shots. I'm not sure that they hurt, because I could only hear them popping their way into that nerve bundle. He'd pull the needle out, reposition it and the inject this really thick liquid. THAT hurt. WORSE than a cortisone shot and with none of the immediate relief. I was holding my son's hands and I think I almost broke his fingers while he was doing the whole breathe in-breathe out-concentrate on my voice stuff.

So I had to hang around for about 30 minutes to make sure I didn't have any immediate side effects (too hideous to write down) AND then he suggested that we spend the night (OUT OF THE BLUE) in SF that night, just in case.

Well, that is totally not even an option. We all have work in the morning and hadn't planned for an over night stay. No hotel booked. No hotel MONEY planned in our budget. It is now 5:30 in the afternoon. We have no idea where to go.

SO he said to go to see my regular doctor in the morning...which of course, screws up my work schedule...big surprise. My work schedule is so totally screwed it is a wonder that I have a job. I just need to be checked to see if there is any bleeding in my brain. OMG. nobody mentioned this part.

I stay awake until we get to to SFO, where it is a straight short to Gilroy....where there are only about 10 miles of signs directing one TO Gilroy, which then funnels you to I-5.

I sleep for about an hour (thinking of course that surely to GOD, Mike can bother find his way out of SF, where we have only gone a dozen times to the very same place) and manage to turn EAST at Gilroy. Nope. He manages to pass up Gilroy and end up on the road to SALINAS. I wake up right about then and say "Wow! Look at that dirt! Isn;t that great llooking?" Then I realize I haven;t seen this particular patch of field EVER before. WHich means we must have lost our turnoff, past the Gilroy garlic fields. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

His excuse?"Hey, I drive. You guys are supposed to tell me where to turn." HELLO. GILROY. BIG ASSED SIGN? BIG SIGNS POINTED TO FRESNO? ALLthat is missing is a sign that says "MIKE!! TURN HERE!! NOW!!"

Men are idiots.

But he is taking me to the doctor today. SO men are just idiots like big dogs who dig big holes are idiots. It's that y chromosome. There is so much missing that they can't function like high order humans.

Which would be women.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crazy Making Sunday

I don;t this anticipation stuff too well. Good thing I am to old to get pregnant.

Evidently, I sounded so crazed on the phone, the big shot doctor ordered some meds for me...just got the call from RiteAid.
I guess he is not looking forward to this high strung mare in his shooting range, either.

I have some little piddly chores to do...clean out the car, get my toes done, buy some sandals because I just want to. Buy some melons because I have a sincere need to eat some.

Oh, I a merry little mess but just for a little while.

I did put a ban on both MONK and HOUSE...just too crazy making. So I'm spending a cheery afternoon watching The Sopranos. Something about all the unnecessary violence calms me down.

Monday is BAN day for me. Make it swift!

Got a call form my big shot (literally) doctor.

I go to UC/SF on Monday (4 hour drive one way) to get TWO BAN shots
in my greater occipital nerve bundles.

Don't eat after six am (never a good sign....sounds like it is going to hurt). Make sure I have a driver (oh, yetanother bad sign). They will have pain meds to give me (as in a shot, as opposed to pills that I would be throwing up).

Did I have any questions?

Am I going to have to even look at the needle? (NO)
Does he have narcotics in this little anxiety cocktail he is planning on shooting me up with? (YES)

And will it be in my hiney or vein? That gives me a good idea of how bad this thing is going to be. (Vein. Badbadbadbad). Saline IV...yes, but the drug will actually be pushed. (Badbadbad very badbadbad. Very.)

I have a five hour drive home....well, he has a teeny little pill to give me to make the trip comfortable for me. (I am hoping that means I will be unconscious.)

Then he tells me that I will be sitting in sort of a massage chair with my head IN A VISE and he will drug me, then shoot me up with novacaine AND THEN he will be adminitrating the nerve block ON BOTH SIDES OF MY HEAD with a BAN in a fan shape. (Doesn;t that sound like he is going to be taking that needle in and out? It did to me.)

Relax, he says. I've done hundreds of these. It isn;t as bad as Botox.

BOTOX!!!! I've seen that on TV and it looks about as pleasant as giving brith to a full grown COW.

Well, says he, Botox is the next step if this doesn;t work.

So needless to say, I am on the edge of hysteria. I am cleaning my car out tomorrow (it is the kind where you can just hose the whole thing out) because there is enough dinnkity things to do besides think of that BAN.

I grew up on a farm. If anyone knows what a big a$$ed needleooks like, it would be me. ANd I am POSITIVE it is going to be blunt and square, to boot.

Now the headache. I think I am so hysterical over this that there is no room in my head for the Japanese drummers guys to be pounding away with a screamer in the

Remember when you very first went into labor with your very first baby....right when it got all messy and primal and mammalian? There was no Zen. There was no silence and being
at one with the universe.

That is where I'm at.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So how does your life compare with what you thougtht it would be?

I’m 55. When I was younger—say, 12—here’s where I thought I’d be at 55: Possibly married, but maybe not. Possibly a child, but maybe not. Definitely living in THE CITY– San Francisco, which was the only city I knew.

I’d most definitely be going out to dinner a lot, seeing plays and musicals, going to bookstores late at night. Going out with friends. Working in some imaginary, high-powered job—a fabulous and rewarding career that would afford me the opportunity to wear spike heels every day for the rest of my life. I'd get my nails and hair done weekly and be impossible smart and chic. And by 55, I would have a LOT of money and be respected. People would ask my opinion on VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS.

In fact, I would probably be more famous than Danielle Steele and I would be both rich AND famous and the biggest quandary I would have on a regular basis would be what to wear at the next red carpet event, where (of course) I would graciously be accepting any award I was ever nominated for. (Think Meryl Streep, except more fabulous and chic).

That’s what I imagined for myself. I would definitely be living in a fabulous high rise apartment with no yard and obviously a housekeeper, since none of that housework stuff interested me in the least.

At the time, I lived on a cattle ranch/farm ten miles from the nearest small town. We made our living in agriculture, which has as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. We worked like field hands. Every morning and afternoon were filled with chores that mainly had to do with cows, hay, feeding and cowshit. Acres of cowshit. Weekends were for middling projects---like running cattle for I don't know why or what for. I was at the cutting and prodding end, not the doing end.

School vacations were for bigger chores. Thanksgiving was for picking up any walnuts that escaped the general harvest. That was our Christmas money. Christmas was for working cattle.

Easter was for working in the orchards, pruning and picking fup about 100 acres of cut limbs. Most of summer was pulling weeds and setting irrigation pipes.

August (where it just gets up to about 114) was for harvesting prunes, getting ready to pick cotton, which was followed closely by the walnut harvest.

90 days of o 'dark thirty to dark thirty. If there was any down time, I would lie down in the dirt and take a nap for, oh....five minutes.

I became a teacher and although I wore high heels to work every day to work until I got my present job, the big pressing questions I answered were invariably "When is lunch?" "I miss my moooootttthhhhherrr!" "I need to pee" and "When is recess?" I sincerely doubt that I am remembered by any of my students (maybe one or two....but they don't remember my name).

I live in a little dinky town (it has four freeway exits, compared to my hometown, which STILL has only two). I don't own any heels. I own one dress that is suitable for both weddings and funerals. My favorite shoes are purchased at Rite Aide and are the little grandma tennis shoes.

I teach now in a super max prison with people who, at present, want to whack me up in little pieces. I wear the most boring, nondescript DOWDY clothes I can find because looking attractive just makes these pervs whack off. I can't even wear open toed shoes, since still OTHER pervs will crawl up under my desk and lick my toes. (Eeeeeuuuuwwwww!!)

My children-two-are grown. I like the people they have become.
I have two dogs, who are immensely entertaining.
I have no awards. No housekeeper. I not only keep my own gigantic house, I do all the yardwork on God's little acre because I can't find anyone who can do this even fractionally as well as I can.

I read. I knit. I watch Law and Order. I go to bed every night of my life at 9pm. I iron in the middle of the night when I can't sleep...which is often. I stay in touch with most of my friends via email, since they, too, have no time for midnight runs to a bookstore. (Heck, the closest thing we have to a bookstore here in Dinkytown is WalMart and I would rather poke my eyesout with a magic marker than go there.)

How similar is your life now to how you imagined it twenty years ago? Thirty years ago? Are you exactly where you imagined you’d be? Or are you constantly asking yourself, “How did I get here?” Do you mourn the unrealized plans in your life? Or are you happy no matter what your circumstances?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back to work Part 1,2 and 3

Well, going back to work opened an entire can of unexpected worms. Before I left, I filed paperwork just like I was supposed to, had it signed just like I was supposed to and turned it in just like I was supposed to.

Once it is typed and reviewed, it gets a log number and I sign it. Being as how this was a big deal person threat, it should have been submitted to the Threat Assessment Team.

None of that happened.
And here is why.

My boss was on vacation, so I had a substitute boss who just signed the report and didn't read it.
I gave it to some officer (just a guy in idea who he is or what color he was.) I bet you a nickel it is either in a pile of paper (it could have been his Friday or his last day before vacation or he was just covering the position.....or he retired....any number of things could have happened to those reports.) And when it gets found, I bet a nickel it will end up in a batch of junk in the shredder ASAP.

And no, I didn't make a copy because I never make copies before the reports are logged and typed. And since my supervisor didn't read it, there was no red light there. I'm not the one who decides if it is a threatening situation...someone else does that. So that didn't happen.....and so on down the line.

And July 1 is the day where all of the job changes go into effect..sort of like the first day of school.
So the guys who were doing job 27 in June might be doing job 18 on July 1.

So after Head Honcho One grills me thirteen times (he was using the little tiny post-its, so there wasn't much of a story...and no, I don't know for positive which guys were planning on slaughtering me....I had just gotten a boatload of new students and these were some of them. After three weeks, the best I could do was guess it was A,B and C because they didn't turn in any work that day.)

H1 is very peeved with me and does his best to make this my fault. (It's not. Stuff happens.) Head Honcho Two tells me that if a guy is going to stick me, he certainly isn't going to TELL me, so in his opinion, not only did I handle it right, it was no big deal in the first place. H2O outranks H1.

So H1 definitely does not want me on the yard because I might be a nut case. (Actually, I think maybe I am a nut case and I caught it at work.) H2O can't see what harm I could possibly do if I just work my morning class and then "find something to do in the afternoon."

So in the meantime.....I'm answering the phone. Checking bubble sheets. Looking for boxes because we are moving over to the dark side...about 2 miles ON FOOT from where the car park is. (And you are right....How serious is an assignment called "Go look for boxes"? You can imagine what that was going to look like.)

I made six copies of the new and improved medical somethings for the six libraries. No real idea what the heck I was doing, but I managed to get part of each section of the thousand plus page project upside down, so I had to go through each set and fix that. Then my boss decided that the dividers needed to be in different colors, so I had to search out where the heck to put them. THEN I had to hole punch them....we have an automatic hole puncher, which in theory sounds good unless one has the attention span of a sieve. In which case one would have to hole punch BOTH sides, opening up the question......well, face it. I am no good at this. An inmate could have had it done in 15 minutes. It took me about three hours.

SO now I have an hour to burn (this is day three of finding something to do, since at my workplace, every day is a new day. We show up like we were dropped off the mother ship five minutes ago.)

I call down to the back of beyond to see if someone will open the gate for me (yep. Just like a cow when she hears the tractor) and hotfoot it (it was 109 because I'm in a concrete alley with big concrete buildings on both sides.)

So I am busily cleaning up whack bubble sheets for a report that is due in Sac on Friday. I have a special eraser and pencil and everything.

Happy, happy, happy. And just for GP, all teachers read directions differently. They read parts of any given memo. And what do you get? GIGO.

So there I am, merrily erasing and in flies Red. She has be redirected to my class and I'm in her non-contact position. She hasn't actually STARTED her job yet; she been getting things organized. And I'm not sure that this is real info, since I'm not getting a phone call from anyone in charge. But if I were running this asylum, that's what I'd do with me. I'm a competent worker...I just have a problem with migraines. Can't fire me. So in this huge machine in which I work, surely there is something I am capable to do. (Besides making copies.)

Now, non-contact positions are great. Lots of paperwork but no real problems. Behind in your work? Show up early and catch it up. Miss a few days? Make sure all your mail outs are done.
Contact positions are more demanding...because you are tied into a really rigid time schedule; you have to keep track of 60 guys (when did they go to the doctor? When did they get back? When did they physically set foot in class?), just in case one of them murders someone and claims it ain't him a'cause he was in school. Well, not at 10:22. At 10:22, you were not in class and you weren't in the clinic. It might be you. It might not.

And you have a ton of reports. plus seat work and is a real pain and you have to be really organized. I am. Red's not.

But Red goes to work every day. And that is a good thing because I don't.

But after the BAN in San Francisco on Monday, my attendance might possibly improve. Once upon a time, I had 220 days on the books. I have zero now.....I've had zero since Mr. Celery decided to stalk me.

So the job change is good....I'll get some serious walking in every day just GETTING to the office. I love doing mail outs. I can spend the entire day with my head stuck in the computer and listen to music and make spreadsheets. I have 220 students I never have to see.

I need to get that photoshop program

Two best photos of the Grand Canyon and one of the very vain me.

It looks better little....when I blew it up, it was quite alarming. I look EXACTLY.LIKE.MY.MOTHER.

I have a gazillion photos off three cameras, but these two are my favorite.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Almost a month ago, I had some problems with my students

And in the last month (I took only 6 actual days off--the rest were pre-planned, school-wide holidays) I have learned that once you are scared out of what wits you have, it is tough coming back.

Now I adore my morning class. They are older, they work like field hands and they trust me. If I tell them it will take them a year to get from point a to point b, they believe me. Clearly, thaey are not part of the "I wanna be a rock star" generation. The successes we share are celebrated by all of us. Each man encourages the other and they work together...drill each other on flash cards, give each other practice spelling tests. It is a great class. One of the best of my career simply because they are old enough to make goals, chop them up in do-able pieces and willing to work toward that goal.

Now my chop 'er up class....I doubt I will be seeing them again. THAT is a mob. Sure there are a few good ones in there, but they are overwhelmed by the bad ones. And I am exhibiting the same nut case behaviors that are appropriate to the threat. Can't sleep. If I do sleep, my dreams are all dangerous. I don;t want to be around people. I'm losing weight (see, there is an upside) because I can't keep food down. (Note to self. Don't be drinking red Crystal Lite. It is simply too alarming.)

Am I scared?
Do I think these "few" inmates could possibly injure me?
I believe that even three of them could do some serious damage to me...maybe not kill me because I think that takes about 7 minutes to actually do what they have planned AND hide what is left of me. But the hurting part? Yeah, they have plenty of time to swarm me, overpower me and hurt me. And we don't dicker for hostages here. Once you are in, you are in for the duration. I'm not without training, but it is mainly stay alive long enough to finger the bad guys training. It's not escape training. And believe me, THAT figures greatly in my dreams.

So of course, I looked all this stuff up on the www(world wide waste of time) and what I'm feeling is appropriate for my situation. And as odd as that sounds, it is comforting the know that I'm not singularly nuts. I'm normal nuts.

And going back IS an option. The way it works here is that if I want to leave, too bad, sooo sad you couldn't take the heat. However, if it's the idea of the department? Whole 'nother thing. They can change dates, strong arm my other pension plan to make everything end on the same day and the more I wring my hands, the higher the ante goes.

SO here I sit...sleepless, scary nights, hiving up and just waiting for the nursery to open so I can work in my little yard.

Trust me, this will all unknot and unravel itself. You just can;t be in a big hurry and be yanking on the yarn overmuch. Just patiently fiddle with it and bingo! one day, you have a nice ball of unknotted yarn.

It just takes time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chloe on a hot tin roof

I know I have mentioned that it gets hot here.
Really hot.
It is 109 right now.

It's one hundred million thousand degrees in my house and I am not exaggerating. Not even one little bit.

The a/c is on UPSTAIRS, so we can at least sleep and the fans are on downstairs. We can have one or the other, but not both because my house was built in 1888 and has the original windows. Quaint, but not energy efficient. (The hotel? Dual paned. Over insulated. Super roofing insulation so even without the A/C, it is still livable.)

It is supposed to be 111 tomorrow (Thursday) and 114 on Friday.

I turned the heater off on the spa, in an effort to get warm-ish water, as opposed to the pool...which is deep and too cold at the deep end. I bet it is at LEAST 100 degrees cooler in the bottom of the pool that it is on the patio.

But it is good weather for cotton.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The one with the monsoons

We are in Prescott, AZ...visiting family and friends here. (Charlotte from high school is came up ...I haven't seen her for 37 years!)

So here's the thing I've found out. I don't know sticks about geography. Nevada is desert. Texas was not. Arizona is not only NOT like Nevada, it isn't like miles of desert, either. Where we are it smells so much like a Christmas tree lot, it almost smells fake. And it RAINS. POURS. We are on the patio, being totally entertained by the three massive cloudbursts in the last hour. Huge raindrops.

It is Rodeo week here in Prescott. so lots of people. Today, Charlotte came up from Phoenix and we went to Courthouse Square to the art show. Yapped the entire time. Had lunch. Talked non-stop.

She looks just like she did in high school (with red hair) and has a delightful husband and looks so happy. She went to high school with me and was just one of those happy high school girls who worked hard. We were on the newspaper together. She is a seriously good writer and really has put her own life experiences into her pieces. I admire her greatly.

So we are waiting for a break between storms so we can go over to visit my in-laws. We are thinking about baking a cake (Darling's birthday tomorrow). We are taking the train up to the Grand Canyon for the day....okay, it's not sunrise, but I'll be up for it.) There is just something about a sunrise that makes me feel like I haven't managed to screw up THIS day yet that I like.