Sunday, June 30

Anchors Awaaay

My best friend is moving.

It's hard not to feel sad, even though I am happy for them. My selfish reasons aside, I think all will be just fine and we will not even notice the distance after they get settled in. For now, I am wallowing in my own self pity over the fact that she won't be 5.2 miles away and able to be immediately accessible to me any longer.

We've visited their new place, and without the usual, familiar nooks and crannies I felt like a stranger. I got all weird and had to try to not cry on the way home. My husband thinks I'm menopausal/premenstrual....something. He just runs like hell if I feel a good bawl coming on.
I know, I'm a miserable, selfish, pathetic excuse for a friend.......(grin)

But I just don't LIKE it. I don't, I tell ya. Did I say I didn't like it?
I tried to come up with some kind of bribe - to convince them to stay in the same zipcode, but I didn't have the cash to do it, and I don't have the body I used to for any other kind of bribe.

Imagine a 3 year old......who takes her teddy everywhere with her, can't sleep without the damn thing, and it's almost grown into a part of her. See her, see the bear. Well, one day this bear comes up missing - get the correlation?
I'm the 3 year old now.

The one good thing about being three, is that if you give me a cookie.....I'll feel all better.
And - I will forget what I was all upset about in the first place.

The one thing I know, is that we have shared many more difficult things in life than this move. This should be a piece of cake...
But I want a cookie.
Express Yourself

It's really tough sometimes to stand back and take a long, hard look at yourself.
Some of us are defined by what we look like, what we do for a living or what we own. For me, it's tough to say exactly how I define myself, as it's been so long since I had my own space to really crawl back into my brain and explore.
Currently it's a lot like my couch - filled with leftover change, lint, and crumbs from something someone left there long ago.

Easily enough, I will overlook what I'm wanting or needing to attend to something more pressing - like supper or another trip to the school to pick up one of the kids from practice. These are things I didn't know about womanhood.

I know more women like me, who defer their desires to satisfy the larger familial need, than those who allow their kids and families to react to their schedules, on their time. I see benefits on both sides.

I remember a girl who loved music, books and fun - clowining around goofy fun. The kind that makes you cry, and double over in pain because it was so stupid. Somewhere, I think the transition phase of my first labor and delivery, I figured that acting like a lunatic probably wouldn't give you much credibility as a parent, so I have tried to abstain ever since.
Fortunately, I have two girls who are just as far *out there* as I was and we can share moments where we all sit and cry big breathless tears because we crack ourselves up.
Case in point - my youngest loves to draw. She is 13 and will sit for hours working on a sketching. She is really good at landscapes and other items like that, but give her something specific to do, such as a portrait and she has a few minor clitches. She works just as hard at it, but the person never really looks real - kind of like the post hypnotic sketches people make of aliens....
Tonight, she tried to sketch her sister.
She toiled away and when she was done, she asked us to look at it -
OH MY GOSH I CANT HELP IT IM GONNA LAUGH...
We all busted out laughing. The shirt was okay, the hair was just right, the neck and head shape was there, but by God if her face didn't look like a sick slalmander. It took us nearly 30 minutes to recouperate.
So you see, sometimes I get to be my old self. Lunacy has it's privaleges.

I live with a man who bases his self worth on his *objects* Be it his wife, his car or his home. This is extremely difficult for me to live with, as I didn't realize the similarities between him and my father until we had been married several years. I was brought up in a household where as a child, I thought money was no problem. What I found out later, was that money was a very major problem, and because my father worked at a bank, he had found interesting accounting practices to provide all he thought we desired.
(All legal of course) All the *toy's* my brother and I had growing up and thought nothing about nearly cost our family dearly.
I have tried, over the years to convince my husband that this gadget, or that item will not improve our family or our standing in society..it's a constant struggle that he doesn't even notice....

I think nothing of nursing along a pair of shoes until they refuse to hold together any longer...actually, I had to resort to duct tape on my favorite pair of sandals yesterday. Now they have to go. Not that makes me a martyr - I just don't place much emphasis on material things in my opinion. (Not like my Ralph Lauren towel buying sister-in-law) hee hee hee. (She will learn)

But how do I define myself.
I've decided that everything has it's chapter...it's season if you will.
I am a continuously changing individual. What I love to do today, this week or this year, may change rapidly if given opportunity.
I don't always appreciate change, in fact I usually loathe it and I am a real stick in the mud and usually the last to come around and accept it.

What I hope I have learned on my quest, if you will... is that in order for me to function well, I need a good network of people who support me. Sometimes those people are my family, my friends or even people I run across that I don't even know that well.
We all have people in our lives who don't know the accumulated layers of dirt and grime that have covered our lives in, and they see us as stellar examples of humanity. Those are the ones I am glad to run into when I need a lift.
I feel like I'm being vague and cryptic now....
I hate it when I have something to say, but it won't give itself words.

There will be a time for me. I can't say when, but I know it's waiting and it will be ready when I get there.

Friday, June 28

No Data

I know, I haven't been here enough. Sad thing is, I haven't really missed writing everything down that aggravates me. Probably because now that I am home again, I have other places to vent my frustration!

Looking back, over the past few weeks, I haven't really been able to come to any good conclusions about what happenned with my job, my life and my control of the entire globe.

I started out pretty jazzed about the fact that I would be working for the paper. I felt that would be an interesting and fun thing to do - and it has been for the most part. It's much more recordkeeping and telephone tag than I had wished but for the most part I'm not disappointed.

Then, on the heels of that, I received the job I wanted at the factory. What I didn't know, was that the hours spent there would more than triple those I spent with my family in a week, and the frustration level was through the roof. I consider myself one tough old broad - but when you are standing in a full pool of sweat, running your ass off in the heat of the day on your 15th anniversary and you won't get home until way after supper - you lose your motivation a little.

I found out a lot about my husband during that time too. Things I don't really appreciate too much. Maybe it's just my internalization of my failure, but it seemed as though he was going to miss my paycheck more than he would me being gone 60+ hours a week.

I'm still taking hits and prods about being unemployed and shiftless, and somehow they just aren't funny anymore.
I have a window of opportunity available to me - to either return to the same factory but a different plant - or another factory altogether where some friends of ours work. I'm looking at this as a necessary move, but one that will have to be executed with some serious thought about the rest of the summer. The different plant situation would be the best pay move, but the other factory would have more charitible hours.
6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.

Fair is 3 weeks away. The lambs are in marginal condition, I'm disappointed with the kids responsibility factor. Without constant prodding they would just as soon sit in front of the TV all day. The whole sheep situation is disturbing to me. I love them, they are my outlet and hobby. But when I see that they aren't being cared for properly, and I don't have the time to do it I wonder "What's the use"?
I usually live for fair, but this year they may have to go it without me - if I have to accept one of the employment options available.

I think that is the most difficult part of this huge learning curve I am on, figuring out that everything does NOT hinge on me. My kids can play ball if I am not there to watch. My husband can manipulate the washer and dryer if he is forced to, Fair will come and go, even if I am not there to orchestrate every move. I'm learning that I don't have to do everything, and it hurts a bit.

I'm just in a noncommittal mood. Dark and dreary as they say.
Maybe I'd better go let Calgon take me away...
Oh yeah, the vet will be here in a few hours. No sense getting all cleaned up for that!






Monday, June 24

You're OUT

Saturday was gameday. The big double header against the other team from our school.
When I was asked to coach, the teams had already been divided, and it seemed as though the other coach had seemingly helped himself to most of the athletic standouts, and left those who needed instructed on which end of the bat to use - to me.
Friends like that are hard to find.

All season long the undercurrent of opinion was that our team was the underdog, the weaker representative of our school.

Don't think this is an uplifting story about how the lowly, underprivaledged team beats the bigger one - it's not.
We got our pants beat off twice.

What my experience on Saturday taught me, was that all Jr. High kids are evil. At least those who have an abundance of self importance and an exaggerated esteem problem.

We took the field anxious, their pitcher was by far one of the best in the league. We had just recently played and beaten the supposedly toughest team in the league - one that had not had a loss in 3 years. Stoked by this win, I felt we could handle this team quite nicely.
The girls responded as girls do - doubting their skills, and wanting the other player to work for them. The end score of the first game was 23-6. The six runs coming in in the last 10 minutes of the game after they were sufficiently embarrassed.

The second game score was 11-6 - a much better game, but they were playing out of fear that their coach might just have a coronary.

Our enlightenment, as a team came somewhere in the 4th inning of the last game. The other team was in their dugout, really ripping hard on my girls, verbally. So much so that my first base player was in tears at the end of that inning. We were "losers" and all other sorts of immature name calling.

Maybe thats just how sports have to be. I know there is a mental aspect to it, but I always presumed it had to do with sore losers and not sore winners.

I had to take my team, sit them down and dole out one of my famous life lessons that my children's eyes glaze over and they stop breathing until I am done.

I spoke of playing your best, giving your all, and ignoring the assholes who don't have the class or respect for the contest.
We play again tonight
I wonder if they heard me.

Wednesday, June 19

Back From the Dead

Thanks, to those of you who have stayed vigilant, checking up on me to see if I shall ever return.
A story such as mine isn't without dramatic twists and turns worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock script.

I have to say that I have been on the most dramatic ride of my life. Forget about child rearing, sheep raising and marriage woes, working like I WAS is not for the faint of heart.

That's not to say I didn't at some level, completely and entirely love it - I did. But it was an awful feeling to come home after working 13-15 hours a day and find out that your life went on totally without you.
Your kids spent the entire day home alone, doing whatever they wished, and you were too tired to even ask them how it went. You couldn't even muster the strength to fix dinner, but no matter because it was already too late to eat anything that didn't take 15 minutes to prepare.

I could rationalize working that way if I were a single parent, trying very hard to make all ends meet, but I'm not. I also thought to myself that now, of all times, is when I need to be available to my kids.

That's not to say that I am planning on staying home, because I am planning on returning to the leagues of the employed as soon as possible, but I hope it's to a job that will allow me to work less than my last full week at the factory - which was 65 hours.

I can't tell you the boost it was to my ego when people I admire would give me "credit" for being able to do what I did. I felt a weird confidence in being able to not only do it, but to like it so much.

You don't know how hard this failure is for me to swallow. I tell myself regularly how skilled I am, and how I can handle almost anything that comes my way. I found out that I can't do it all, and it really has hit me hard. Right now, I'm thinking that working the french-fryer at McDonalds might be too challenging for me.

It is hard to describe to you the circumstances that made me turn in my safety glasses, without having you know the complete situation, but I will try.

Each RV that is produced runs down a line. Employees are responsible for EVERY part, big or small that goes into the total production of the unit. Once completed, it gets to the "Final Finish" part of the assembly line and other workers, including myself put the finishing touches on it, including cleaning and fixing mistakes that the inspectors mark with red tape.

I have had no less than 5 different jobs in final finish in the 4 weeks I worked there, which made it difficult for me to establish a routine in any of them separately. If Betty was out sick, I got her job on Tuesday, and if Betty came back, I would go do Carl's job because he needed help - ad nauseum.
Having trained employees myself, I know that it is important for new people to be able to get their own system down so they can feel comfortable and competent. I never really felt like I had a "home" per se.

The higher-up's felt that the line was moving too slowly, so they hired more people to do final finish, and then they assigned me to the very specific job of cleaning out each entire unit with a 20 gallon shop vac. Sounds rather non-complex, eh?
I had to sweep out each drawer, cabinet, storage compartment, underbed, under sink, under drawers, bathroom, kitchen, overhead storage and any other nook or cranny available, all the while dragging 30 feel of 6 inch hose over people who were also trying to work in there.

What killed me, was the fact that there were SIX cleaning girls in the same unit, each assigned to wipe down floors, cabinets,walls, bathrooms,windows and lights. But only one lone idiot to sweep the entire thing - which was me. Yielding my crappy shop vac which wouldn't suck up dandelion fuzz, I boldly attacked my task Monday morning, knowing that the last "Sweeper Boy" was an 18 year old Amish kid that quit because of the stress...

Speaking of an exercise in futility.....
They would overtake me by 5 am, and I would run like a headless chicken all day with my supervisor hot on my ass to go faster.

By adding more employee's to the final finish, they did increase the rate the RV's moved through the line, but that also decreased the time I had to complete my job - Where I had 25 minutes to do it before, and it took every second, the line was moving in 15 - 20 minutes now. Though only 10 minutes less, over 23 units per day, I was nearly 2 hours behind at the end of the day.

By 7:00 Tuesday am, I was defeated miserably and in tears because I just couldn't get ahead to save my life. I met the plant supervisor on the floor, handed him my safety glasses, shook his hand and apologized for not being able to last one more minute. Surprised, he took them and told me I
"Gave it one HELL of a shot" and I think we both parted with respect for each other.

Feel bad? I sure as hell do. I wanted that job. I wanted to work my butt off, and get paid well to do it.
But I learned that the true cost of money is sometimes not worth it.
Enough crying in my beer, I have 4-H lambs and some kids to care for now.

Sunday, June 9

Daily Grind

I'm not nearly acclimated to my new job situation yet, but I have to say it's getting better.
I'm learning the ways and means to which I may stay afloat every day, and that's a good thing, Martha.

Fortunately, I've been given "Leon's" job, which is outside the actual RV sweeping interior compartments and looking for inspector marks to fix. I'm not sure if they moved me because I am doing such a spectacular job at it, or they really didn't know what the hell else I could accomplish around there within the time frame allowed.

To know me well, in a working environment, you would know that I love to be very organized and anal compulsive about my work. It has to be done before it's due, and everything has to be orderly.
I'm having a heck of a time getting everything organized because it is always in a state of constant change, and utter chaos.
I tell myself all day long, "You're okay, you're okay"

Friday was an interesting day. Last Friday they sent home a note with all the employee's regarding their drug policy. It reminded us that they have the right to do personal searches, vehicle searches and request urine sampling at their convenience. Now, personally, I didn't care what they did because I have no fear of being arrested or fired.
They pulled in 40 police officers, dogs and drug task forces and arrested 5 people and the dogs hit on 15 cars in the parking lot. My boss was one that was fired. Amazingly enough, the line moved much faster after that.

I was thinking today that my job is exactly like the "I Love Lucy" episode where Lucy and Ethel find themselves on a chocolate assembly line. How hard could it be? You simply have to put the chocolates in the box! Any imbecile could accomplish that. That's usually the last thought before it all goes rapidly downhill. Curse the "How hard could it be?"

That is where I find myself. faster....Faster....FASTERRRR.....hurry hurry go go
until everything piles up at my feet and I collapse into a frenetic heap.
Then, I sort it all out, and am incredibly proud that I managed it all.
Every day it's like that.

Oh well, I asked for it, I got it.

The girls have been helpful at home, realizing that if I am going to be working the hours I do, they should help out since they are home all day. They even cook supper once and a while for me.

The only consistent problem I have, is with my hair.
I have naturally curly hair. I can wash it, style it and make it all beautiful - but then ten minutes at work and I'm Richard Pryor. All those "Sleek and Straight" styling products...whatta bunch of crap.
I wear a hat, which makes me look like a pinhead. My husband doesn't mind, he figures the worse I look, the better off I am. (from his standpoint)

Like I'm gonna run off with Bubba, or Earl. (Or even Omer or Amos)

Gee Whiz...I'm too busy and/or tired to do that.

Daily Grind

I'm not nearly acclimated to my new job situation yet, but I have to say it's getting better.
I'm learning the ways and means to which I may stay afloat every day, and that's a good thing, Martha.

Fortunately, I've been given "Leon's" job, which is outside the actual RV sweeping interior compartments and looking for inspector marks to fix. I'm not sure if they moved me because I am doing such a spectacular job at it, or they really didn't know what the hell else I could accomplish around there within the time frame allowed.

To know me well, in a working environment, you would know that I love to be very organized and anal compulsive about my work. It has to be done before it's due, and everything has to be orderly.
I'm having a heck of a time getting everything organized because it is always in a state of constant change, and utter chaos.
I tell myself all day long, "You're okay, you're okay"

Friday was an interesting day. Last Friday they sent home a note with all the employee's regarding their drug policy. It reminded us that they have the right to do personal searches, vehicle searches and request urine sampling at their convenience. Now, personally, I didn't care what they did because I have no fear of being arrested or fired.
They pulled in 40 police officers, dogs and drug task forces and arrested 5 people and the dogs hit on 15 cars in the parking lot. My boss was one that was fired. Amazingly enough, the line moved much faster after that.

I was thinking today that my job is exactly like the "I Love Lucy" episode where Lucy and Ethel find themselves on a chocolate assembly line. How hard could it be? You simply have to put the chocolates in the box! Any imbecile could accomplish that. That's usually the last thought before it all goes rapidly downhill. Curse the "How hard could it be?"

That is where I find myself. faster....Faster....FASTERRRR.....hurry hurry go go
until everything piles up at my feet and I collapse into a frenetic heap.
Then, I sort it all out, and am incredibly proud that I managed it all.
Every day it's like that.

Oh well, I asked for it, I got it.

The girls have been helpful at home, realizing that if I am going to be working the hours I do, they should help out since they are home all day. They even cook supper once and a while for me.

The only consistent problem I have, is with my hair.
I have naturally curly hair. I can wash it, style it and make it all beautiful - but then ten minutes at work and I'm Richard Pryor. All those "Sleek and Straight" styling products...whatta bunch of crap.
I wear a hat, which makes me look like a pinhead. My husband doesn't mind, he figures the worse I look, the better off I am. (from his standpoint)

Like I'm gonna run off with Bubba, or Earl. (Or even Omer or Amos)

Gee Whiz...I'm too busy and/or tired to do that.

Sunday, June 2

Entry from the ICU

As I mentioned in my last post, I received the telephone call from the job I had hoped would be calling for an interview. That was Wednesday. When I awoke from my coma on Saturday morning, I was told that I reported to work on Thursday, worked 14 hours and then went back on Friday and worked 13.

Actually, I wasn't in a coma, nor in the ICU but for all practical purposes I could have been.

Take one overweight, 30-something mother of two who for the past month has been home running errands and doing house work and suddenly inject her into the fast paced world of the RV industry and you have one tired cookie.

I could complain about the heat, the work and the pace, but I won't. I could complain about the people who use 4-letter words as nouns, but I won't. I could complain about being rushed, and still expected to do a perfect job - but again, I won't.

I love going to work, going 500 miles and hour, and coming home completely spent. Honestly I do.
I still haven't figured out why though. I really feel like I have accomplished something (which I have)

Now - what do I do?
I'm not exactly sure yet.

Thursday, I began cleaning the insides of the RV's. Now this isn't just ordinary, remove the dust kind of cleaning, it's nearly sanitizing because if there is even "crumbs" meaning dust, they will pull you out and have you come and redo the whole thing. I quickly learned to do it right the first time.
The only thing I completely hated about that, was working with the women. I hate working with women. All they do it bitch and moan all day about how hard they work, and nit-pick every little thing.
By lunch, I was stoned on the cleaning solvent we used, and by 5:30 pm I was ready to keel over and die. They took every last bit of energy I had. I haven't ever been so bone tired in my life.

My husband happened to be rained out on Thursday, so in an act of good faith he had actually mowed yard, cleaned the house, washed laundry and made supper when I got home. I was so appreciative I went straight to the shower, then immediately to bed at 7:00 pm with nary a word to anyone.

I was considering never returning.
Friday, thank God, I was pulled to the exterior of the units, and spent my entire day vacuuming out the outside compartments and cleaning the shell of the RV's. That went much better. My supervisor there, Leon (yes, they are nearly all Amish) was a good kid and we just worked great together.

I've suddenly lost my capacity to stay up until 12:00, and I find myself seeking the sheets by 8 pm.
But when you have to clock in at work by 04:00, that's what happens.

It's even a great weight loss program! Thursday, I stepped on the scales and discovered I'd lost 7 pounds, mostly in sweat - and Friday I lost 3 more. 10 pounds in 2 days!
I did some math, and figured that by June 30, I will have lost 150 pounds!
EEk.

It's terrible, the people yell all day long, I'm a frazzled, scary specter by day's end,
and I love it.