Archive for May 7, 2009

ernie

Well.. he’s actually like, 17 months old now.

Ernie is a Jack Russell / Beagle mix and has done everthing from rape every single bed pillow I had to tearing apart all the trash bags and trailing it all over the house.

He destroys toilet paper rolls.. shoes.. stuffed animals.. you name it. Anything with stuffing that he can pull out.. Ernie’s in!

One morning back in February 2008, I woke up and went in the kitchen to get coffee. Chief gave me a morning hug and then said, “.. I got one word for you”  and then whispered PUPPY! in my ear.

That was all I needed to hear.

He knew he wanted a Jack Russell.

NOTE: Let’s face it. We’re fucking masochists!

I knew that I didn’t want to go to a puppy mill. I preferred to go to an SPCA or Rescue Organization. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find one so we wound up at a farm on the country border of our state.

To be honest with you.. the place was clean.. obviously taken care of.. but I couldn’t get out of the car. I was in tears as soon as I heard the dogs barking.

We had taken Spaz with us. He didn’t know where we were going because the puppy was a surprise for him. Chief had felt that Spaz needed something that would be loyal and always be excited to see him. I agreed because animals played an important role in my life.

When Spaz realized I was upset about being there.. he became upset for me.. getting upset with his dad for taking me someplace that was obviously making me sad.

We had to tell him and then he was over the moon. I ventured out of the car a little just in time for the worker to bring out two puppies. One white, the other black.

As soon as Chief held the one that was soon to be named Ernie, he bumped his nose into Chief’s cheek. Chief was like, yep.. he’s the one.

So we paid for him and on the driveway leaving, Spaz asked Chief what his name was going to be. Chief though about it for a minute and then said ERNIE.

I don’t know if he read his personality or Ernie became what his name implied but he is definately an ERNIE.

Goofy.. silly.. a real love bunny.

Ernie will throw himself over your body like a fainting ingenue.. bury his nose in your neck and put his paw on your face and stare at you until he acknowledge him and then he’ll get all wound up and lick three layers of skin off of you!

He has personality to spear and tons of facial expressions. Me and Chief get silly animating Ernie’s thoughts. I’m going to have to take video of us doing it because it jsut won’t translate into print but we’ve given Ernie a little high pitched cartoony voice that we use to express his thoughts.

Sounds weird but … for instance..

Chief initially trained him to walk off the leash. He did this because he said that if for some reason he got away from us or the kids while on the leash, he wouldn’t THINK he got away… or something like that…

Anyway.. the first time we put the leash on him he had no idea what was going on and he wouldn’t walk.. so Chief had to tug and pull and tug and pull …

NOTE: DO not call PETA. Chief wouldn’t do anything to hurt an animal anymore then I would.

His facial expressions were so funny that Chief started saying in Ernie-Voice:

He’s CAH-RA-ZEE! He put a rope… around me NECK.. and he’s DRAGGING ME!!!

I really wish you’d get just how funny it is.. or when “Ernie” says “.. LOVE MEEEEEE!!!”

There are plenty of times when he does something and I just want to scream.. but then he gives me the face above and what can you do? Scoop him up in your lap and give in to the love!

One of the things that prevented me from posting yesterday or even feeling writing anything is that I was so weighed down emotionally because of Spaz and his behavior.

From what I understand, he was professionally diagnosed as having ADHD. I added the extra letters in the title because he has more then ADHA wrong with him.

But I won’t get into that now.

Anyway.. Spaz had been on medication for it but according to Chief it made him like a zombie. I remember him telling me that he wanted Spaz to be not be symptomatic but he still wanted him to be “Spaz”.

This was before I met him so I’m not quite sure what he meant by “zombie” but I’m pretty sure right now that if he WAS a zombie again, Chief wouldn’t be so bothered by it.

Not the Christmas that just past, the Christmas before :: I know this because I remember how my bedroom was decorated. Weird I know.. but I have bizarre reference points for remembering things :: Spaz was the most out of control that I had seen him. Well, it was new to me then but he was out of control. So Chief took him to the doctor’s and he put him back on the meds.

Problem was.. and it usually is when Chief is responsible for something.. he would forget to give the kid the pill in the morning. Another thing that I didn’t quite understand is why would you only give it to him on school days and not EVERY day?? Chief said he didn’t need it every day .. just for school so being new to this type of thing I shrugged and let it go.

Once the perscription ran out though, he didn’t get it refilled.

I can’t say that Spaz was a zombie during that time. Not even close. He was more settled at night .. didn’t eat as much.. went to sleep earlier but no horror stories that I had been prepared for.

So fast forward, what? 17 months? The last few days.. well, more then a few.. Spaz has been really pushing everyone’s last nerve.

He talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks … breath.. and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks … breathe .. AND TALKS and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks…

Non stop. About nothing. Random stuff. You can’t have a conversation with him because there’s no actual exchange. You can’t have a conversation with someone else if he’s around because he talks on top of you or them and interrupts.. NOT EVEN ABOUT THE SAME SUBJECT.. if he says “HEY LEESE” 3000 times a day.. then it’s a good day for me! He says such obvious things too.. like we get into the car and he’ll say “.. are we driving somewhere?” or if Chief takes a pizza home for dinner, he’ll sit at the table with the open box in front of him and ask “What are we having for dinner?” OR MY FAVORITE “Are we having pizza for dinner?”

Now.. before you say anything.. I did my time in Psych 101 and I know this is his way of getting attention… of being noticed.. of saying HEY GUYS, I’M HERE or “HEY GUYS, DONT FORGET ABOUT ME TOO!”

I KNOW this.. like I know how to spell my name but that doesn’t make it easier to tolerate.

Same goes for the lying. He lies constantly about everything.. things that only matter because you know he’s lying and there’s no reason at all to lie.

Take for example the box fan that’s been sitting in my living room for the last two weeks.

The night of the day that Bubba had all his friends, I noticed that there was a box fan standing against the wall near the fish tank.

I asked Spaz if he knew anything about it and he said he didn’t and that it must have something to do with Bubba and his friends being in the house.

So I thought that that made sense being that the weed BEFORE Bubba wanted to store a wheelchair that his friend found at our house. I made a mental note to check with Bubba that I propmptly threw out by accident because I didn’t remember to ask him about it until two nights ago.

Spaz had said something to Bubba about wanting his fan back

NOTE: When I moved Spaz’s bedroom downstairs, I gave his fan to Bubba. I did this because Spaz’s new room has a southern window and a western window that creates a great cross breeze. The bedrooms upstairs only have one set of windows. Since the landlord hired a douche roofer who covered the attic vents, it gets wicked hot upstairs as soon as the weather turns warm. So I figured Bubba was going to need the fan more the Spaz. This is a thorn in Spaz’s side that is festering and infected and gangrenous.

So I asked Bubba about the fan and he said he didn’t know anyting about it.. Spaz re-affirmed that HE didn’t know anything about it but as Chief was walking through the room he said it looked like the fan that used to be in the attic.

Bubba said that he doesn’t go in the attic.

NOTE: This I know to be true. As big as he is, he’s afraid of the dark and spiders and the few times I asked him to put something in the attic, it only made it in as far as his arms could reach in.

So now I have one mysterious fan and two kids who insist they know nothing about it.

I looked at them and said So someone did it and they won’t admit it because the only other people in here are me and your father and if it was either of us, I wouldn’t have to ask would I??

At that point, Spaz said, “Oooohhh… wait a minute… that COULD be the fan that I brought down from the attic.

Come on. Now really. Do you see what I mean about the lying about nonsense?

And he knows everything.. and he has a “friend” to collaborate everything..

NOTE: In fact, his “my friend.. ” has become the equivalent to “.. one time, in bandcamp”

And I know, because I did my time in Psych 101, that this is driven by his self-esteem. He doesn’t like getting corrected because it makes him feel stupid.. makes him feel bad when he does the wrong thing.. wants to feel important.. wants to feel viable.. yada yada yada..

The other thing is his complete and utter hatred of Bubba. This goes way beyond sibling rivalry and I remarked one time to Chief that one of these days Spaz is going to really do some damage to Bubba.

But with Spaz.. everything wrong in his life he tries to twist it around and make it Bubba’s fault. EVERYTHING. Do I need to spell it? E V E R Y T H I N G.

He has a bad day at school? That’s because Bubba put him in a bad mood that morning.

Can’t find his sneakers? Bubba moved them.. he’s SURE of it even if I point out that that’s where he left them the night before.

It goes on. And on. And on.

I’m taking the long road here on telling you what happened right? Well.. sorry.. but I figured you’d need some background.

Yesterday morning, I really don’t remember what set everything off. The night before I know that Spaz was crawling under Chief’s skin because Chief kept on walking out of the room.

Oh no.. I know what it was… DUH!!!

Tuesday, the school called Chief and told him that Spaz was acting up.. big time. Being disrespectful, throwing things, etc. So Chief got Spaz on the phone and told him that he was going to get the belt if he didn’t straighten up and fly right and if he got another phone call again, he was really going to whip his ass but good.

Wednesday morning, after Chief left for the shop, Spaz knocks on my door and tells me that he doesn’t feel good. I ask him what’s wrong and he said he feel like throwing up.

I tell him to splash water on his face and wake up alittle bit and he’ll be fine.

I went back into my room to get dressed and not two minutes later he asks me to see if he has a fever. I tell him to wait and he stood OUTSIDE my door, breathing heavy and moaning until I was finished.

He didn’t have a fever and then he told me he threw up. I asked him when because I didn’t hear him.

NOTE: When Spaz TRIES to throw up he makes all these loud noises so that you know he’s throwing up. Only problem is he hasn’t figured out how to make it sound like something his hitting the water!

He said it was before Chief left for work and I asked him why he didn’t tell his dad. No answer.

He was still obsessing about it.. saying that he was going to go to the nurse and she’ll send him home.

Little Brat

Anyway.. to get on with this.. we get to the shop and he tries to pull the same thing with Chief. He’s starts whining and bitching and answering back.

Chief was trying to hold his shit together until Spaz threatened the nurse thing. And then Chief lost it.

I mean LOST IT

If Spaz didn’t have any mental scars before then he has them now.

I know how Chief feels.. I know how frustrated he gets wtih Spaz.. I know how good Spaz is with getting under your skin.

One time he said, “Just shoot me”. I told him I only had one bullet left and it was for me!

But regardless of all that.. I can’t justify the things he said to him. It was the truth and the truth does indeed hurt but I don’t know.. I just don’t think him saying that he couldn’t stand to be around him.. that he’s the reason why he doesn’t stay in the living room.. that his constant talking wants to make him gauge his eyes out.. that it gets to the point where he wants to punch him in the throat and the only reason why he doesn’t is because he knows he won’t stop.. that’s why he has no friends.. that’s why none of the kids want to be around him because he lies about everything.. he’s picks fights with everyone.. etc etc etc.

You get the idea.

Like I said.. all true and all things that I’ve felt at one time or another but still… I felt for the kid. He was sobbing uncontrollibly with big tears sprouting out.

Chief stomped in the back room and I followed. He openned his arms and stepped into them and he hugged me tight, burying his head in my shoulder. He was shaking.. saying that he just can’t take it anymore. He doesn’t want to feel that way about him.. he doesn’t.. but he can’t do it anymore.

I told him that I knew because that wasn’t the right time or place to say anything else. He wiped his eyes and went into the bathroom. I then went out to Spaz and made him a cup of coffee. He was trying to say something but I couldn’t understand him so I lowered myself in front of him

NOTE: I’m way too old for deep knee bends

and said, “.. you can’t help it can you?”

He shook his head ‘no’ so I got up and made him a cup of coffee.

NOTE: Spaz loves coffee but isn’t allowed to drink it.

I heard Chief come out of the bathroom so I went back asking if he though Spaz should go back on meds.

He said he thought he needed to. In the meantime, I told him to let him drink coffee. Someone had told me before that coffee helps people with ADHD because it has the opposite affect and calms them down instead of revving them up. He said it made sense and agreed.

So I started doing some research and found mulitple sites that confirmed that coffee would help.. reducing refine should will help.. amino and fatty acids will help.. Omega 6 and Omega 3 would help.

Remembering the zombie claims, I got in touch with someone at the Center for Homeopathic Studies and explained what was going on.. they said that there is a product from a company called Native Remedies that they found to be very, very successful with ADHD patients. So I called Chief.. explained it to him.. and will spend the 118.00+ S&H with my next pay to see if it helps.

Now.. thought this was over didntcha??

NAaaaaa!!!!

I don’t say I need a reality show for nothing, yknow?

Fast foward to the end of the day. Spaz was at the shop because again, Bubba didn’t come home after school to open the door.

I didn’t remember if youth group had ended this week or last week so I told him I’d drive him over there and if not, then I’d take him home because we had the wholesalers to go to.

Sure enough.. there was no youth group so we take him home. As soon as he opens the door and before we can pull away, he comes running down the front lawn saying that Bubba is in the house blasting rap music

NOTE: If there’s one thing Chief can not stand it’s rap

Bubba comes to the door and Chief tell him that our house is a rap free zone and if he wants to listen to it then he can listen to it outside.. not in our house. He also told him not to fight with Spaz and if they’re going to play the PS3 then they have to take turns.

Spaz said he was just going to sit outside until we came back and Chief said that was fine.

We pulled away and Chief asked me how long I though Spaz was going to wait on the lawn and I told him to give it 3.5 minutes.

We did what we had to do and then stopped at McDonald’s so he could get something to eat and made our way back to the store. It was about 9:00 when we pulled up and what do we see?

Spaz knocking on the door soaked to the bone. I roll down the window and asked him what he was doing and he said that Bubba threw him out of the house because he wanted to play the PS3.

Me and Chief both looked at each other like WTF???

I tell Spaz to get in the car and I drive the block and a half to our house. As I’m walking in, I tell him not to say a word… I go in, followed by Chief, follwed by Spaz.

Bubba was sitting on the ottoman infront of the television with the internet up DOING HOMEWORK.

Let me tell you… if that wasn’t the most BIZARREST sight I ever saw. I shoul d have taken a picture!

Any rate.. so I ask what happened.

Bubba said that he had to do his homework and he needed the internet. Spaz started to wig out.. said that he was running away and to tell me and Chief that he was going to sleep in the cemetary and then ran up and down the street yelling I HATE YOU BUBBA.. I HATE YOU BUBBA

Very matter of factly, I said, “yea.. that sounds about right.”

Spaz started in about how nobody never bleieves him and throws himself on the chair like Sarah Bernhardt.

Chief said that he agreed but Bubba didn’t handle it right either. He shouldn’t have been doing his homework at the last minute… he COULD have been doing it instead of listening to rap on YouTube.. right Bubba?

I have to hand it to Chief.. he didn’t yell .. he tried to reason.. tried to explain.. but Bubba got smart with him when Chief told him that he had to come home after school to open the door for Spaz so Chief had to yell at him.

And then Spaz.. who ALWAYS has to have the last word.. said under his breath that he wanted a cable box in his room.

Chief and I had discussed the possibility of taking cable out of the living room completely and just putting in their rooms so that would solve alot of problems… but I said to Spaz that I’m not giving them what THEY wanted because they don’t give me what I want.. their rooms are still pig stys.. they show no responsibility and if they keep pushing it, instead of giving them cable I’ll take it out of the living room and just have it for my room.

He started to get fresh with me and Chief went off again.. not as bad as in the morning but bad.

He screamed at him that it was almost 10pm and he still wasn’t finished working.. that we still had things to do but we can’t because we have to put up with this bullshit.. they don’t make the rules.. they don’t deserve anything they want.. and on and on and on.

I was actually proud of him because some of the things that he said to them were thngs I had mentioned to him. So I know he at least listens.

I had told him before I think he needs to let them grow up and start treating them like 14 and 11 … and not 6 and 3.

I think he gets it now.. I think he realizes how out of hand things have gotten.

Consider this:

When we first started dating, all the kids clothes were in his room. All of them. And when the kids would take a shower they would ask him for pajamas.. and he would dole out their school clothes in the morning and they would ask him for pants or a shirt or whatever. Except Weed. Weed was doing his own laundry by that time.

I thought that was the fucking weirdest thing I ever encountered and he said that he had tried to have their clothes in their rooms but they were all over the place.. never in the dressers.. etc etc.

Basically the same thing going on now.

But.. BUT.. at the beginning of last summer when I got tired of being the keeper of the clothes, I told them that they were responsible for them now. Bubba told me that the whole clothes thing wasn’t his dad’s idea. It was his previous girlfriend’s idea. That when they lived together, she got all the clothes .. put them in their (bleck!) bedroom and kept the door locked.

I was like.. HUH????? … Why would she do that… and more importantly, why would he let her? Bubba didn’t know and to be honest, I’m sure Chief doesn’t know. Sometimes you can just shove him in the direction you want him to go and he’ll go.

I can’t do that to someone.. I don’t want to have that much control over someone and I think I’m probably the first woman he’s been with who didn’t take advantage of the particular character flaw and that may be some of the reason why he doesn’t take the bull by the horns sometimes.

My point to all this is … and I know I got off the Spaz topic.. but they are the way they are becasue everyone who should have been authoritative with them.. who should have made them learn how to not be a pig.. did the opposite. They just treated them like babies and so they grew to be babies.

And now that I’m armed with this information what do I do with it? Well.. I don’t know but probably a different tactic would be appropriate.

Last night when we were driving home from the wholesaler, I asked Chief he Weed was still trying to contact him.

Something has been on my mind for a few days.

I know that the whole situation with Weed being in jail and the things he’s been doing and the way Chief HAS to react to it in an attempt for Weed to see the error of his ways is weighing on him.

TOUGH LOVE” is indeed tough.. but I think it’s tougher on the parent then the child.

I asked him if he wanted to set up a phone account. He was like HELL NO!. He wasn’t going to put up yet another 50.00 because he was in jail.

I made this face that I always make when I’m like “yes-sery-bub” and then said, “.. cause you know, if you wanted to, I don’t want you to think that I’d have anything to say about it.”

He was like, “No. No. I’m not doing it“.

I said fine but that I was worried that you thought you’d get a problem with me if you did. Because that’s not true. You need to do what you think is best.

He said that if he stayed in after the 12th :: the date of his preliminary :: then he would do it.

I asked him if he thought he’d be released given his charges and previous track record.

He said that it was up to the judge but that the wife of one of our customers :: who are Weed’s cronies :: came in and told Chief that what happened was Weed was behind the school with 4 or 5 other people. One of them, CGWGRWTSAL :: Confused Girl With Great Rack Who Thinks She’s A Lesbian :: is under 18 and was found with a needle on her.

According to what Chief was told, because she is a minor everyone over 18 was charged with what Weed was charged with and that Weed didn’t have anything on him when he was arrested.

Not exactly sure how much of that I believe but given what me and Chief are going through with charges that are unfounded .. I guess it could be true.

I think though, Weed has to learn that even though he may NOT have had anything on him THIS time and he was telling the truth.. we didn’t believe him because we can’t trust him. And we can’t trust him because of everything he has lied about in the past. Also that there have been plenty of times that he should have been caught and wasn’t.

I know Chief tries to be non-chalent about it.. I know that he tries to bury the hopes and dreams that he had for him deep in the back of his mind. I know this because sometimes when he thinks I don’t notice.. I do.

And the sadness that comes over him.. the slump of his head.. the vacant stare into nothing breaks my heart.

I was always “thick”. I’m Italian which means that my hips were meant for child-bearing and I could literally die without bread.

Literally.

I’ve come close!!

So I always carried a few extra pounds.  And when I day that, I mean A. FEW. EXTRA.

Not “A few extra on my arms” “A few extra on my legs”“A few extra on my ass”… etc.

And even though I am really, seriously picky about my food and have a palate that kicks and screams at the thought of venturing into the unknown, I am an emotional eater.

It’s the goddamn bread!!

I’m not a sweet eater for the most part.. I’m not really into chocolate, cake, donuts, or that kind of stuff. Not big on ice cream or pies or things normally associated with someone stuffing their faces.

Aww.. but give me a nice hot roll with melted butter!! :: my eyes just rolled back into my head!! ::

But on with it…

I was at my heaviest in my late twenties. A size 24 .. around 270lbs. Things were horrible with my ex and I guess it wasn’t so much that I was drooling chocolate syrup but I think my eating habits became irratic.

Honestly, I don’t really know. All I know is that I weighted 260 freakin’ pounds!

I wound up losing about 80lbs by walking. That’s all I did. During my hour lunch, I’d walk a half hour in one direction and then turned around and walked back. I didn’t start doing that to lose weight.. I stared doing that to clear my head of all the stress I was going through but the benefit was the weight dropped off. Without the aid of pills or surgery. Without having all the hanging skin flaps that need to be hacked off and sewn up afterwards because your body is losing weight too fast.

In the 10 years that followed, I did a good job at keeping it off but a little did sneak back.

So when I met Chief, I was a 14/16. Some 14s were too big.. some too small.. and the 16s were the same way. I also have broad shoulders so my top size was a Large. Still walked daily but also had incorporated weights and toning and yoga.

Chief has been a chef for 27 years now. :: please, please PLEASE don’t call him a cook!! PLEASE :: and he’s great at what he does. He has a talent for it.. he has a palate for it.

He’s probably cooked along side of every Food Network chef that has their own show and has recieved national awards and certificates.

His problem is that he’s a low key guy. He doesn’t get into all that OOOH AAHH stuff. He just wants to cook.

NOTE: Before openning the shop, he was the kitchen chef for a very high end catering company who had a 50,000.00 minimum for events.

Yep. You read that right.

He loved it there because all he did all day was to create new dishes and was responsible for tastings :: when people come in to sample the different foods they may want at their event::

He actually specializes in ethnic cuisine and…

OMG!! I just remembered this!! This is one of our first texts:

HIM: Come over and I’ll make you breakfast… bacon, potatoes, mollette

ME: a mollette?? what’s a molette?? something french??

HIM: Um. Typo. I meant omelette

OMG!! And another one:

ME: So what kind of stuff do you eat?

HIM: Regular stuff. Hot dogs, eliopes.

ME: Eliopes? What’s that, some kind of fish?

HIM: Oops. Typo. Meant Elio’s

Heh.. yea.. so anyway… he’s a great chef.. where the hell was I going with this?

Oh.. ok.. so he would make dinner at night and it would be a meat, protein and starch.

Before I met him, I was used to eating grilled chicken and brown rice.. steamed vegetables.. whole grains.. You know, the healthy stuff.

Him.. his idea of “healthy” was deep fried pork chops and mashed potatoes with a pound of REAL BUTTER!!

He also got me to be alitle more adventurous.. I knew that even if I didn’t like something, at least it would have been made properly. I had never had trout before. In my family, fish is cooked one way. Breaded and Friend. I never ate fish before because it always looked disgusting. So one night when he said he was making trout I was like.. “um.. yea… I’m going to head down to Baja Fresh”.

He was like no. no.. just give it a chance. And you know what, I loved it.

Not the shrimp though. I mean, it was cooked perfectly, like in a Food and Wine article .. but I couldn’t get past the texture.

So going from “.. I’ll eat chicken and brown rice right before I keel over from starvation” to a breakfast, lunch and dinner every night :: not to mention the cheesecakes, rice pudding’s and jewish apple cakes he would make on a whim :: I started to gain weight.

I am now a 16. A 16 that fits. A 16 that fits alittle TOO good. I’m conscience of it and have made adjustments and cut things out because I don’t want to go any higher.. and I told him that he needs to be a little more conscience about all the butter and greasy and stuff that he makes.

He is making an effort … but he REALLY needs not to stand there perplexed in the morning when his jeans don’t fit and says matter of factly, “Hmmm.. guess I went down another size!”

I’m glad he doesn’t take me calling him an asshole seriously!! LOL!

I’ve been working when I was 9 years old roaming the streets in my neighborhood haulking soft pretzels. It was almost a rite of passage when I was a kid. It lasted through the summer and I think I probably cleared about 50 bucks in quarters. But a pocket full of change then was golden!

From there, I started working at the corner store stocking shelves and hosing down the front pavement.

I’ve been working ever since.

Although both my parents worked :: my mom went back to work when I was in the 2nd grade, I believe :: we weren’t living high on the hog so anything “extra” I wanted, I had to either put up my own money or invest some sweat equity.

NOTE: Funny how we never knew we were “poor” growing up. Everybody was in the same boat and no one really had any “more” then anyone else. Kids remained “kids” until they were adults.

So I’m used to working… and I’m used to giving 150%. When I started my first “real” job :: meaning an actual paycheck where taxes were removed :: my father told me that I better make sure I earn it because my boss didn’t HAVE to hire me so be appreciative and don’t make him regret his decision.

That stuck with me in a subconscience way because any job I’ve held since .. I worked my ass off… went above and beyond. My boss’ knew I was reliable.. trustworthy and would get the job done.

It’s a nice feeling.

And because of my work ethic.. I reached my current position with my current employer without a degree in my field. Considering the obscene amount of money I make :: more then half fo the distance between 5 and 6 figures :: it is quite an achievement.

I may not have always liked the people I worked WITH .. but I always loved the job.

Another lesson my father instilled in me was to not sell my soul for a dollar because whether I make 5 dollars or 500 dollars an hour, I would still be going to a job I hated everyday. So I started listening to my gut and knew that whenever getting out of bed in the morning got harder … or I couldn’t remain focused or interested in what I had to do then it was time to go.

It’s worked out for me, I can’t lie.

Anyway.. about 5 years ago my current employer offered me a job. Actually came after me offering to create a position for me. That’s never happened before.

I had been working for my old employer in the same role that I am now and was a system adminstrator for a brand new program that I was responsible for bringing in. The Provider Rep for this product gave my name and number to another company that was interested in signing up but wanted to see an on-site demo.

NOTE: That’s not an unusual practice. Normally these products are expensive to purchase and continue to cost money :: ie: monthly service fees, per claim charge, support call fees, hardware expense, etc. :: so alot of potential customers want to be able to SEE it in operation instead of just buying into the hype.

ALSO NOTE: I know that means absolutely nothing to you…

So I invite the IT Director and the Revenue Cycle director down for a demo. As it turns out, the IT Director USED to work for the company that owned the main system we used. AND this IT Director then was brought in to show the business office a few features and how-too’s the same week I started there.

I remembered him because well, I’m good at remembering stuff like that.. but also because he was wearing a blue and orange plastic Dave and Buster’s watch and was not wearing an undershirt.

Please don’t ask!! We’ll just leave it as something I happened to notice because all this information was over my head then and I zoned out.

Anyway.. The company I worked for was transitioning. I won’t go into all the boring details but let’s just say that the parent company decided it was taking over everything and even though my job was not threatened :: I told you, I’m good at what I do and have a great reputation in the industry. Well. Let’s just say “had” :: I started to get feeling in my gut and I really didn’t want to work directly for the parent company.

Because the IT Director was familiar with all the players.. we got into a more personal conversation then what I normally do and I told him that I really wasn’t looking foward to the take over.

He told me that if I ever found myself out of a job to call him and he would find something for me.

About two weeks later, he called me and asked me if I wanted to work for his employer. He said he was talking me up to the CFO and he thought that I would bring alot to the table and bridge the gap between the IT department and the Revneue Cycle.

The CFO was all for it and wanted to meet me. We met… and when it came down to salary, I figured I’d go fishing and told him that I wouldn’t be able to make a penny less then my current salary. The figure I told him was double then what I was actually making but I thought, what the hell.

He didn’t blink an eye. “That’s no problem” he said and I swear it was all I could do to remain visibly calm when inside I was like “Holy Fucking SHIT!! HE BOUGHT IT!!”

I started work there two week after and I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVED. IT.

The only difference between the old and the new was that I had to drive in a different direction. The demographics were the same, the computer systems were the same.. I didn’t need training or had to scratch my head over something completely foreign.

The best part were the people. I was no longer an Employee Number. Once again, the new place was the child to a parent company but it was set in a community where everyone either worked at this place or serviced the employees in some way. Everyone was friendly.. everyone smiled.. everyone was committed to doing the best job they could because they sincerely enojed the place.

My office was actually off-site in a one story building with no windows and only one door in and one door out. It used to be a doctor’s office so there were sinks in all the offices which was weird at first but became part of the charm. Thee were 22 of us in there and even though we were dysfunctinal, we all helped each other for the greater good.

Our “child” was the only one in the system that consistantly landed in the black every quarter. We were the little place that could and all the state surveys and monitorings put us off the charts.

The “parent” wasn’t doing so well. They were doing bigger and more expensive services and way more volume but when you’re THAT big, its harder to keep a handle on what is really going on and things tend to get over looked or lost.

So the “parent” decided that they needed to hire a company that billed themselves as EFFICIENCY EXPERTS. The promised to re-design the structure so that the staff was more effective and that the supervisors / mangagers / directors could keep better track of the work and who was doing what.

The goal was to make the staff more accountable for what they were responsible for and be able to easily spot who coasting..

This company also suggested that all the revenue cycles under this company’s umbrella be merged into one corporate office.

Since all the different “children” used different base computer systems we were all going to be crossed trained :: YEA!! :: … there were going to be different departments that would handle different specific problems :: YEA!! :: … we would be able to brainstorm with other people who did the same jobs as us .. bounce ideas off each other .. become one big team :: YEA!! YEA!! and YEA!! ::

So we all made the moved and the damn thing tanked. Big Time. Titanic Time!

The staff I came to corporate with were used to getting an account and seeing it through… what they were now told to do was to just pass it along to someone else. It was difficult because the accountablility my people USED to have.. and the accountabliility that these Effiency Experts were suppose to provide actually promoted NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

And because of that.. because my people were constantly being told that they weren’t suppose to be doing what they were used to doing because “…we’re corporate now” .. our little “child” began to fail and fail so bad that now :: two years after we merged into a corporate office” :: it is closing it’s doors on June 30th.

The thing is … this environment that I’m in makes one NOT want to give 150%. I am an Employee Number again. There is no sit-around-the-fire-singing-kumbaya .. nobody had that desire to exceed because we are no longer viewed as “people”. They do nothing to help morale even though they have a “morale committee” .. they are so worried about the stupidest things that you just want to shake them and say “.. if you treat them like adults they will respond like adults”.

If there is one thing that I will downplay is that fact that I’m great at my job.. I know my job inside and out and when I say something is some type of way .. then it’s some type of way. I don’t want to have to go to a pre-meeting to prepare for the meeting then attend a post-meeting to discuss the things that were said in the meeting. It’s a waste of time and I refuse to be spoken to like I don’t know my job because THEY don’t know my job.

Oooh. Tangent. So Sorry!

The botoom line is what they failed to recognize is that highly productive people became completely non-productive because no one listened to the people in the trenches any longer.

About two months ago, the told us that there will be a big lay off coming. The company, as a whole, is an additional 16 million in the red :: over what they initially budgeted for ::.

I was never so excited at the prospect of being out of a job. I am hoping that since my original “child” will be closing and my job entails things specific to only that “child” that they won’t need me any longer and in affect, getting rid of my salary would actually save two people’s jobs.

We haven’t heard anything yet.. and that’s by design. They’re not going to tell anyone before the 11th hour because people will start taking all their sick time or leave for other jobs. A reduction is work force now before the end of the fiscal year isn’t a good thing.

Yesterday, I received a large white skinny manila envelope from the human resources department. I held my breath and said a prayer as I openned it but it was just information about benefit changes.

Dammit!

But you watch.. because I actually WANT to get laid off they will keep me. Or find an excuse to fire me!