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Thread: Thoughts, Rants, and Musings

  1. #891
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    I was just reading back through my entries from December til the end of March, when I was finally, blessedly, laid off.

    God, I was so stressed out back then. I knew that I was stressed, but my stress level increased so gradually that I didn't realize how bad it had gotten.

    Not only was I sleepless, but my stomach was constantly grinding. I was literally going through bottles of Pepto and Gaviscon, trying to find a way to soothe its constant grumbling.

    I kept telling myself that it couldn't be stress, that it had to be something with my diet. Or maybe it was age--I might be genetically predisposed to stomach problems. Or maybe it was an ulcer... Never mind that I've never had stomach problems before....

    But I see now that it was stress. I don't have that grumbling, grinding feeling anymore. Haven't for a long time.

    Wow, that's never happened to me before. I've never been stressed out to a degree where my body started attacking itself. Crazy.

    Well, now I know that it can happen.

    Boy, did I land softly from that mess! Being laid off at a time when unemployment was practically doubled, literally forced to relax and do nothing for two months because of the COVID crisis. What a blessing.

    I want to hate my former employers, but part of me wonders if they chose to lay me off because the CARES Act had just gone into place, guaranteeing extra money to those laid off during the pandemic. Sort of a win-win thing.

    I feel bad for my former coworker, Joe, who quit just a few weeks before I was laid off. The job he had lined up didn't pan out, and he's been unemployed since then. I doubt he had the same access to unemployment benefits, because he quit his job.

    I am lucky. Yeah, I may be working for crazy people again. But at least I have a job. And I also got to enjoy a two-month semi-paid vacation!

  2. #892
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    Originally Posted by ~Seraphim ~
    So last night I managed to cut the nails on one of my Polydactyls. One of his claws was curving into his pad but hadnít cut through yet. This is a cat who used to be very good at the vet but after one incident of being put in the dog room has had to be sedated for every appointment since. And I mean sedated to the point of unconscious.
    This reminds me of a story about my dog that makes me laugh. Not vet-related, though (but she did hate the vet). I'll write about it when I come back (hopefully).
    My dear-departed dog, Niki, had a fear of thunder and and of fireworks. At the slightest rumble, the poor thing would slink off and hide in the laundry room, or in my mother's closet. It was so pathetic. She just looked sad, almost like she'd gotten into trouble and was being punished.

    Unfortunately for Niki, we lived across the street from the county fairgrounds. So anytime there were fireworks--at least once a year--my poor dog got a front row seat.

    Due to our proximity to the fairgrounds (and thus the fireworks), my mom often held a July 4th party at our house. One year, she called the vet and got a tranquilizer for Niki. She only gave Niki half the dose, thank god. That half a pill was more than enough!

    We found Niki completely passed out. The back half of her body was in the laundry room, the front half was sticking out into the hallway, where party guests were constantly going back and forth. Niki was lying on her haunches, like a neat little rectangle. Her little face rested on her paws in front of her.

    And this is the part that makes me laugh when I remember it: My mom used her foot to gently slide Niki backwards, so that Niki's entire body was protected within the limits of the laundry room and out of the high-traffic area. It didn't disturb Niki at all; she didn't break form. Her body just slid back with the pressure of my mom's foot, perfectly maintaining its neat rectangularity like a solid block.

    It was so absurdly funny.

  3. #893
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    The company has agreed to compensate me for some of my out-of-pocket health insurance expense for the month of August.
    Well, they gave me the amount that I asked for. Didn't try to play any games. That makes me somewhat happy.

    The company is still crazy, though.

    When they first approached me about the surveying opportunity, Simon (the other owner) told me that the company had rented a townhouse in upstate NY for the survey team to stay in. He said that they planned to hire another female surveyor, and that she and I would stay in a second townhouse, not yet rented. I liked this idea better than staying in a townhouse with a bunch of strange guys.

    Sometime between then and my first day of work, I asked Simon about the other female surveyor. He said that they were not able to establish contact with her, and that I'd be staying with the field manager, Max. Max was 65 years old, and married with children. Basically, not a hormone-driven 20-something dude to contend with. And the plan was for Max to be in NY only part of the time, so I'd have the townhouse to myself a lot.

    Well, when I started on June 1, the second townhouse had still not been rented and I ended up staying in the first townhouse with Jean and Max. I got the master bedroom, because it had an attached bathroom. Within a couple of days, the company finalized the lease on the second townhouse (unit 8B) and I moved in there. Jean and Max stayed in unit 6B. Unit 8B is right around the corner from unit 6B.

    But things changed again on our second go-around. We had another crew of two guys, Marshal and Ron, aged 25 and 21, respectively (basically, the guys I don't want to live with). Instead of Max moving into unit 8B, Jean moved in with me. Jean is 33 and married. Still preferable to a 20-something, but not exactly what had been proposed to me. I guess the logic was that we worked together, so we might as well stay together.

    A couple weeks ago, Jean actually moved his family from NJ up to a town that is located a couple miles from our townhouses in upstate NY. So, I'm back to living alone in unit 8B, which is ok with me. It's just a little scary at night because there is no deadbolt or chain on the front door, no bar for the sliding glass door in the back. It's kind of a security joke. You could basically bypass the front door lock with a credit card, as Marshal pointed out one day. It didn't make me feel better to learn that someone shattered the sliding glass door at unit 6B while the crew was gone for the week.

    Needless to say, I booby trap all three doors every night before I go to bed, lock my bedroom door, and sleep with one of the machetes nearby. The booby traps are mainly to serve as an alarm so that I can wake up and position myself with the machete. Probably nothing will happen, but I'd rather be prepared. I've gotten pretty good with a machete due all of the bushwhacking I've been doing this summer.

    Now, there is another change of plans. Max will no longer be coming up at all, and they are going to consolidate the two townhouses. Basically, the two boys are going to be moving in with me. Not terribly thrilled about this, but at least they're not complete strangers at this point. Ron seems pretty self-contained. It's really Marshal that presents the problem. He's a bit headstrong and unsettled. Things at home are unhappy for him, and he seems to be casting his net rather wide.

    When we were in NY three weeks ago, I got the sense that Marshal had some designs on me. And I realize that I do get paranoid about guys liking me, but he really was overly-attentive. Carrying things for me, fixing things. Asking pointed questions about my boyfriend, our relationship. Whether I thought he (Marshal) was still a kid....

    One day, when I was organizing the tools in my new Durango, I saw Marshal pacing nearby, purportedly on the phone. I got the sense that he was going to come over and chat me up, so I actually went inside my townhouse for long periods of time to avoid him. When it seemed like he was gone for good, I went back out and sat down. Lo and behold, he reappeared and came right up to me. Asked me if I smoked pot. I told him no. We talked for maybe 20 minutes. He showed me a picture of his son. I talked a lot about my boyfriend. I suspected Marshal had a girlfriend but was careful not to ask him about her because a) I didn't want to look interested, and b) I didn't want to hear about how unhappy he was with her.

    When I told Arnold that Marshal asked me to smoke pot, Arnold said, "He's hitting on you." I wasn't entirely convinced, but then Arnold said, "Think about how you would feel if a 25-year old girl asked me to smoke pot." Funny how that put things into perspective for me. I'd definitely want to kill her lol. I ended up telling Arnold all about Marshal's behavior the last time we were up there.

    Marshal and I drove up together this past time in NY due to vehicle issues. We spent the whole three hours in conversation. Random things, mainly. But relationships did come up. Yes, he has a girlfriend. Yes, they are unhappy. I told him that I was in a happy relationship and why it was happy. I also informed him that I was a year older than his mother. After that, he seemed to lose whatever interest he may have had in me. Thankful for that. Still not looking forward to dealing with him as a roommate because he's pretty bullheaded. But maybe it won't completely suck.

  4. #894
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    My relationship with Jean improves every time we work together. He's a pretty laid back, mellow guy. Sort of happy-go-lucky. We don't always see eye to eye about the best way to proceed in certain situations, but overall we make a pretty efficient team.

    We have developed a couple inside jokes based on some of our past struggles, which is nice. For example, when we pass traffic cones on the side of the road, Jean will often point them out in his Egyptian accent: "Cone." This is to gently bust my ass about being such a b*tch about safety all those weeks ago.

    I actually did try to bring a cone from home, but Arnold vetoed my attempt for sentimental reasons. So, I stole two cones from the office instead. Jean and I subsequently kidnapped two more cones from the side of the road and added them to our cone-arsenal. It was a cone-heavy week.

    Why did Arnold get sentimental about our home-cone? Good question. It starts back about 23 years ago, when he and I had our brief, semi-platonic friendship. At that time, Arnold and his friend Dan used to steal traffic cones and place them in each other's driveway or on each other's car. Arnold called it, "Leaving a Deposit."

    One morning, I woke up and discovered that someone had Left a Deposit on my car. I took a fat magic marker and wrote, "JOG, FAT ASS, JOG" vertically around the cone, then drove it to his house and placed it on his car. Arnold and I had started going to the high school track and jogging together in an effort to become more physically fit. I was Leaving a Motivational Deposit.

    Well, Arnold still had that cone in his garage when we got together 8 years ago. He was sentimental about it. I am, too.

    After my harrowing experience surveying on that winding mountain road with Jean, I dug the sentimental cone out of storage with the intention of bringing it with me for added visibility on roadsides. But the cone is still sitting in the back seat of my car to this day, because Arnold did not want to risk me losing it somewhere in upstate NY.

    I was slightly annoyed by that, but it took a couple of days to figure out why. Finally, in relating the story to Jean, I realized: Arnold would rather protect the cone than protect me! Jean laughed at the story, and after that we kidnapped two more cones and he started pointing out cones that we saw along the road. Sometimes, when we see a really bright bunch of cones, I'll say, "Whoa, look at those cones!!"

  5.  

  6. #895
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Anyway, I did not come on here to post about cones. I came to post about religion. Sort of.

    Jean is a religious dude. Coptic Christian. Now that his English is improving, he is starting to ask questions about American culture: Why are there so many grandparents raising children? Why are there so many unmarried couples?

    They're interesting questions, and I don't have good answers.

    This past Monday, I was talking about my friend Lisa, how I hadn't heard from her in a while and hoped that she was ok.

    Jean said to me, "Jibralta, do you go to church?"

    I said, "No," thinking Uh oh....

    He said, "Why don't you go? You should go."

    I said, "Well, we didn't really grow up with it. And when we did go, the service was in Greek and we couldn't understand."

    He said, "You should come to my church." He found a Coptic church in a nearby city.

    I'm like, "Why? To listen to a sermon in Arabic? That'll be just like Greek."

    Jean laughed and said that the sermons were also in English. But I know what that means: double the length!!!

    The conversation sort of fizzled out there. I don't want to debate religion with Jean. I want to be agnostic.

  7. #896
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    It was a tumultuous week at work. Both survey crew chiefs left. One was fired (Marshal) and the other quit (Roy). Apparently, Marshal had it out with the owners some time between our previous field visit and this last one. On the night before this last field visit, they called him and told him not to come to work anymore. I was relieved. I mean, I'm sorry for Marshal and all, but I was starting to see him as a nuisance and wasn't looking forward to living with him.

    The owners had no idea that Roy was planning to put in his notice the next day. I'm afraid it came as a bit of a shock to them. Simon sent out this big 'team spirit' email to the whole group, I guess to assuage everyone's emotions about Marshal's departure. Apparently, Roy sent his resignation email at that exact moment. Roy said the two emails probably crossed in cyberspace. LOL. How awkward.

    Our crews were switched up to compensate for the loss of Marshal. They will have to deal with the loss of Roy next week. Jean worked with Ron, and I worked with Max, the field manager. It took a little getting used to. We barely accomplished half of our typical output. But then again, our truck broke down (again), and we had some bad weather. We also had to move the contents of Unit 6B into Unit 8B.

    This coming Monday, the owners want to have a survey team meeting. They want us to be prepared to discuss the issues that we have been experiencing. I am not looking forward to it because I am sure any comments that we make will just be ignored. Roy and Marshal were both extremely vocal about their dissatisfaction, and both are now gone. Granted Marshal was fired, but his outburst was the culmination of his frustration with this company--frustration that all of us have been feeling.

    Well, I guess that I should just be glad that I am employed and that my paychecks are clearing (so far!).
    Last edited by Jibralta; 08-28-2020 at 06:02 PM.

  8. #897
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Do you get weekends off? Hope things go a bit more smoothly next week. Hard not to get caught up with the politics.

  9. #898
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Do you get weekends off?
    Yes and no.

    I have to put in 80 hours over two weeks, but I am usually able to complete those 80 hours in eight 10-hour days.

    So, I work through the first Saturday and Sunday, then I have a 5-6 day 'weekend.'

    It's long days, but the lengthy amount of time off is really nice.

    My boyfriend and I spent a lot of this past week in upstate NY, near my job site. So, this 'weekend' is going to seem a little short for me.

    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Hope things go a bit more smoothly next week. Hard not to get caught up with the politics.
    Thanks. I find that I get quite mad about things. I actually just woke up thinking about it. It's hard not to get mad when it seems like people are taking advantage of you.

  10. #899
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    Weird timing for Royís resignation (but it is kind of funny).

    Your paycheck should clear at least for now, since they wonít be paying Roy or Marshal.

    How much longer are you doing the surveying? I thought that was temporary until you moved back into on-site office engineering with that company?

    Lol on dodging the religious service. You are probably right that the sermon would be double in time when done in both languages...

    My church service runs about an hour, or a bit longer . Maybe 20 minutes to 1/2 hour for the sermon. The rest of the time is singing, communion, offering, childrenís moment, and announcements. Online is typically a bit shorter, since we donít pass the offering or communion. Our pastor preaches from her back yard, lol. I wonder if she has a deal with her neighbors not to mow the lawn or use their chain saw right then, haha!

  11. #900
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    Your comment about complaints not being heard (but they are pretending to listen) reminds me of a city politician that was listening to the public on some issue. In their way out to the cars in the parking lot, one of his staff members was complaining about the comments, complaints and suggestions from the general public. The politician said ďOh donít worry, I was only pretending to listen. We all know that Iím going to vote opposite to that, but I have to appear as if I am listeningĒ. That was caught on a hot mic and heard by all of us. It made me so mad. So two faced.

    Hope that is not the case for your bosses. They do need to listen! And make changes as needed.


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