Friday, April 30, 2010

M.E.E.T.I.N.G.S.: Also known as Making Everyone Eschew The Important & Necessary Good Stuff . . .

30 April 2010

I'm writing this as I wait for my hubby to get home from . . . wait for it . . . a meeting.  Meetings are the absolute antithesis of and anathema to productivity.  How do I know this . . . well, aside from the seven years I spent in Nursing Management (three as a Night Supervisor, and four as an ER Nurse Manager), I also have common sense. 

As a manager, I HATED meetings . . . I couldn't get anything done that mattered (i.e. schedules, payroll, chart review, and god-forbid, patient contact) for all the time I spent in meetings.  I attended QA meetings, Policy & Procedure meetings, Critical Care Committe meetings, ED Section meetings, Nursing Management Team meetings, Hazmat Response Team meetings, Educator Team meetings, and more, most of them so trivial I can't even remember them anymore.  I even held monthly staff meetings.  During my time as a Nurse Manager, I managed 55-60 FTE's and an annual department budget of around $15-18 million.  Really, meetings are the what kept me from managing them better, lol.

That's where common sense comes in . . .  I learned to define productivity as basically the end product divided by the resources and man-hours required to attain that product . .  . In my case it was good Emergency Department care . . . for my husband, it's selling insurance.

My husband is a commission sales guy.  Albeit, he's a district manager for his company, but in the end, he makes his living from commission on what he and his team sell. 

And this is where common sense leaves the building.  The company he works for (a Fortune 200 insurance company, by the way) requires his presence at more meetings than you can shake a stick at. 

Meetings . . . also known as "Making Everyone Eschew The Important & Necessary Good Stuff" . . . and at my house, that important and necessary good stuff is also called 'earning a living'.  The yahoos that run his company are so totally divorced from reality that they've forgotten that little gem.  He's so busy running all over Texas to meetings, he can't get out in the field to work. 

They'll  probably hold a meeting to talk about it . . .

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Buick Duality

First, just let me start by saying that, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, if you drive a Buick, and this offends you . . . I don't give a fuck.

Steve and I have noticed for years, that it seems everyone who drives a Buick is either a.) old, b.) retired, c.) brain-dead, or d.) all of the above.   Certainly, for whatever reason, they all drive a lot slower than I want to.  We have even made a game of spotting Buicks and taking the under and over on 70 for the driver's age.

I don't know if Buick just did a superlative job of marketing when the 60-70+ demographic was forming their impression of automakers, or there is some kind of geriatric crack (Viagra, Valium, Nitroglycerine . . .???) sewn into the seat cushions, but BOY!  are there ever a bunch of old farts driving Buicks.

So, I was on my way to meet my friends Jennifer & Kim for lunch today, and as is usual for me, was running late, and was in a hurry.  I pulled up at the stop light in front of Walmart behind a really stylish looking car.  I was astounded to note this was a BUICK!  From the car company for geezers . . . what were they thinking!  This car had pizazz, it had stylish lines and fashionable attitude.  It had cool written all over it.  It looked tough.  It looked FAST!!!  I was intrigued . . . perhaps our well-tested theory was about to fall by the way side! 

So eventually the light turned green, and I was on my way to my luncheon date . . . I thought.  Turns out, Ms. Buick driver definitely had the 'over' on the age game.  My first clue should have been that I could barely see the top of her little blue-haired head over the seat back. 

It's noon and traffic is heavy, but three lights later, I finally managed to hustle my way around her, by moving into the left hand turn lane, as I headed to the vet's office to meet Kim & Jennifer.  And then she cut me off, darting across the solid white line into my lane.  I slam on the brakes and discuss her ancestry in sordid detail in mostly four letter words.  She slowly toodles on through the light, turns left, and takes my exact path down the road towards my vet. 


So, Buick has apparently designed a hot new car . . . that still appeals to Seniors.   I'm lobbying for a new accessory that will be mandatory if the driver is over 60 (which should cover about 90% of them, I'm thinking) . . . a LARGE cover for the gas pedal, so it can be easily found . . .

Apparently, doesn't really matter how it looks, it's still driven like a Buick.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Evie Miracle

20 April 2010

This post is a little different from most for me, but I felt moved to write it, so here goes:

Several weeks ago, I had a semi-philosophical discussion with a friend regarding regional mind-sets (I live in the South, she's a 'Yankee'), religion, and how we view the concept of miracles in general, and it's been in the back of my mind ever since.

Today, I had a middling crappy day.  It was my day to volunteer answering phones out at the shelter, and every idiot in town seemed to call, wanting to bring in kittens/cats/dogs for whom they abdicated all responsibility, which frustrates me no living end.  But that's another story . . . the point is I got home about 5:30 with an attitude,  and in a semi-crummy mood.  I had a headache (the getting up every couple of hours the last few weeks, first for feeding kittens, and now for checking on Eclaire, who's due any day,  has taken it's toll), and was feeling tired and generally grumpy.  So I got undressed and lay across the bed to pet Evie.

And that's when it occurred to me . . . what reason did I have to feel crummy, with my own little miracle curled up next to me, purring up a storm? 

Some of you may remember one Saturday last March, when I was at the Vinton, LA show, that I got a call from my husband that five of our cats had gotten out through a door that was ajar . . . and my special baby Evie was one of them.  I made the 4+ hour drive home in just over 3 hours, frantic to find my baby girl.  I got home to find my hubby and wonderful friends Charlotte & Jaimye, and even my brother-in-law Mike, and neice Diedre had searched and found all of the cats but Evie.  I was beside myself.  Evie is my 'princess kitty', had just been bred, and I couldn't imagine her fending for herself out in the big bad world.

We looked ceaselessly for the next several days, driving around for miles searching, putting up posters, knocking doors, and even contracting with a company that calls people in your area to alert them to a missing pet.  No results.  I was absolutely heartbroken, and by Wednesday, feeling like I had to face the horrible realization that I would not get my baby girl back.   I prayed SO hard for her to come home to me.  Mostly, I just wanted her to be safe, even if it was with someone else.

That Wednesday night, Steve and I decided to make another circuit of our neighborhood, using his night vision goggles, to see if we could see her out and about.  Our theory was that she'd be scared, having never been outside, and the quiet of evening/night was when she was most likely to be active.  This was the 5th night we'd done so, and in my heart, I really believed it was futile.   We'd driven around for a half hour or so, and it was nearly 11pm.  Knowing Steve had to be up really early the next morning for work, I was just about to turn in the driveway, when Steve said "Well, since we're out, don't you want to go on around the other side of the neighborhood?".  

Feeling foolish, and hopeless, I agreed.  What the hell.  What could it hurt.  So I backed back out of the drive and headed towards the other side of our subdivision.  Right at the STOP sign, back around and left onto the next street over.  And suddenly, there she was, standing behind a black truck at the end of someone's drive, just one street over from our house.  Steve jumped out and grabbed her.  I had my baby girl back.  I cried so happily.  I've seldom been as grateful for anything as I was then. 

And what were the odds, really?  That we'd turn down that particular street, at that exact time?  That she'd choose that same time to be out and about?  That there wouldn't be a scratch or mark on her? 

We went to our vet the next day, and she was perfect.  Better, even, as he scanned her belly and found three little fetal heartbeats.

So, here she is, my miracle princess kitty.  She went on to have a healthy litter of kittens, and is now spayed and living happily, knowing she's my special girl. 

So this is my point - I think miracles are around us every day - we just have to open our eyes and see them.  I think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in the minutia of life, that we miss the little miracles, and don't appreciate the gifts He gives us every day.    I see God in every little kitten paw, reaching up to hold the bottle as I supplement them, and in the flowers, and in the beauty of life.  I have my ongoing miracle, that my husband loves me, inspite of myself.

So, I think we just need to open our eyes and recognize all these common little things for what they are:  Everyday miracles.

I don't think it really matters what you call Him - Surely God is great enough to be many things to many people, by many different names.  He's there, and He shows us everyday.  We just have to be willing to see . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

Itty Bitty Baby Poops and Marital Discord

5 April 2010

Well, my husband is an extremely understanding guy, and fortunately he likes cats and loves me, but I managed to push the envelope (and his buttons) this afternoon, all unawares of course, lol.

Steve actually took a holiday from work today, since he's been on the road for most of the last month.  So, when I got ready to leave to take Livvie to the vet for her recheck (she has a bad case of metritis), his Prius was parked behind my Explorer, so I took it to the vet. 

Now, I need to back up a minute and explain that Livvie has 2.5 week old kittens that I'm hand feeding, since she's been ill.  So right before packing her up to go to the vet, I was down on the floor in the kitten room, nippling them all. 

Incidentally, Cha's babies will be five weeks old on Thursday, and so have graduated from their crate to the run of the kitten room.  For the un-initiated, kittens generally potty train from about 4-7 weeks old, and this age is what I refer to as the 'pig-pen' stage.  They're awful cute, but messy.  Well, this particular litter has been just WONDERFUL, from the time they were not quite four weeks old, pottying in the litter box.  I've been SO impressed with them . . . a little prematurely, as it turns out. 

So, I fed the little babies, and then packed their mom Livvie into Steve's car, and headed to the Vet's office.  One uterine (her's, not mine, lol) flushing and big dose of antibiotics later, I open the door to put her into the Prius, and notice this small brown stain on the driver's side seat.  "Huh, Steve'll need to be careful about eating in here", I think to myself.  "Looks like he got some chocolate on the seat."

I arrive home, and start to unload Livvie.  Gee, I didn't notice there was a smear attached to the stain.  Oh, well, sun's out now, guess I didn't see it as clearly earlier when it was cloudy.  (NOTE:  Self-delusion is a wonderful thing . . . seeing as how I live a whole 10 minutes from my vet, the weather couldn't have changed THAT much . . .)

I put Livvie back in with her kids, and come back into the living room.  Steve wants to go look at plants to replace those in our front flower beds that we lost to the hard freeze we had this winter.  I grab my purse and we head back out the door.  Steve opens the driver's side of his car.  "What the hell is on my seat?" 

"Oh, honey, I meant to mention that to you; you'll need to be more careful about eating chocolate in the car."

I grab a Kleenex out of my pocket and bend over to take a swipe at the stain. 

Steve:  "I didn't eat any chocolate in the car.   Holy shit, is that a poop log on your ass?"

And sadly, no it wasn't chocolate, and yes, it was a very small 5-week old kitten size poop log on my ass.  Guess they aren't as well potty trained as I thought.

I'm now banned from the driving the Prius without a prior ass check.  After I change my shorts, guess I'll be calling Stanley Steamer . . . again.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First thing Monday

4 April 2010

First thing Monday, I'm buying a fucking magnet.  Why, you ask, would this become a priority at 12:30am on Easter morning?  Well, let me give you a little background . . .

Firstly, Steve is out on a 'ghost hunt' with his group of fellow enthusiasts.  And don't ask why on this one - I don't have the first clue.  So, not sleeping well, when he's not home, I'm still up in the office building jewelry.  (Yes, I got the earrings from hell done, lol.)

Secondly, my desk and all my acres of jewelry making crap, where I'm sitting working on said jewelry are in the office.  Also in the office is a closet, where we've removed the shelves and made it kitty potty central.  There are three litter boxes in there.  My desk is about four feet from that closet, and right in the middle of the litter scatter path.  This becomes salient information in just a bit.

Thirdly, Angie (my little 6 month old blue tortie point) never just happens by casually anywhere.  Angie ARRIVES.  Picture Seilfield reruns with Kramer sliding in the door, hair standing on end, shirt askew and arms akimbo . . . if Kramer were a cat, he'd make an entrance like Angie.  A hundred miles an hour with her hair on fire, that's my Angie. 

Ergo, the need for the f'n magnet.  Reference the above jewelry making.  The bracelet I was working on (magnesite and turquoise) requires crimp beads to attach to the clasp.  I keep a little plastic container of about 400-500 crimp beads handy.  Note: It has a screw top that closes tightly, to keep all these little 2mm wonders securely corraled. 

As I've said for years, timing is everything.  Unfortunately, MY timing has never been particularly good.   Hence the removal of that nice secure screw top from the container of about a gazillion crimp beads at the exact moment Angie decided to come visit, i.e. barrel through on skids, wiping out across the desk and into my hand, holding the now open container of crimp beads.  Have I mentioned these suckers are slightly bigger than a grain of friggin' sand?  Well, they are.  Especially to tired eyes.  They went EVERYWHERE.  Under the keyboard, in the Kleenex box, in the open bags of beads, rolling merrily every damn place, including off onto the floor, of course. 

About half of them landed on Angel (our oldest kitty, and the polar opposite of Angie, the wild child) . . . she's so complacent, I just brushed 'em off her onto some paper.  I'm not even sure she really woke up.  I guess I got them all.  If we ever carry her though an airport metal detector, she may ping - who knows? 

The other half-a-billion of them landed on the carpet.  So I put my fat ass down there to pick them up . . . a project in and of itself.  I found maybe 10 - and picked up about 5,000 grains of kitty litter, which are coincidentally the exact same size and appearance, when you can't see worth a shit to begin with. 

They're metal.  First thing Monday morning, I'm buying a fucking magnet.