Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Real quick

I'm losing my mind at work, trying to get everything done. I have literally 3 billable days left before we close for not only the month but also the year. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please see the last few posts. I don't even have time to link to them.

I feel like I am losing my mind, trying to compensate my personal life and my work life to make them mesh into something coherent. I wake up in the middle of the night, and if my son's school has a delayed opening then I can fold clothes until I can go to work at 6:45 and then leave to bring the boy to school at 8:30.

Now, at least, the boy is out of school until after the new year, so I can go to work extra early tomorrow, Christmas Eve. All that really means to me is another day that I can bill out work tickets.

Keep in mind that I am saving the whole Service Department's butts by processing this billing in the first place. They are the one's who didn't make certain someone could cover the lady who does the billing... By the way, she's doing much better, thank goodness.

So, Tuesday afternoon, Fancy is busting ass all day trying to do not only her job, but the billing lady's job, also. Fancy has only had time to train the temp to cover the phones and a few other things. Fancy is still issuing purchase orders and getting
interrupted every 30 seconds, while trying to bill.

I had to leave early, my sister needed to get to a doctor's appointment. As I was leaving, I threw a folder on the Service Manager's desk of billings he needed to approve so I could post them. He said, "Wait, I have something for you". My direct supervisor had given me a very generous gift card to local restuarant earlier in the day. I don't know why I assumed that the Service Manager, who's ASS I was saving by doing the Service Billings would have given me an equally generous gift...

The service manager pulls out of his bag...a chocolate covered apple, decorated by either his wife or one of his daughters, he doesn't really know.... Um, thanks? I was kind of hoping for a raise or something, but I guess a chocolate covered apple should do it.

While I was telling my son this story, telling him that he is welcome to eat the stupid apple, I made sure to make fun of myself, also. I called out, "Bitter, party of one."

He looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Mom, that's a party of three."

I thought he was being sympathetic until he revealed the three are "Bitter, Bitchy, and PMS".

Um, thanks, baby, for getting my back?

Monday, December 15, 2008

So, what's new with you?

Saturday I put in five hours at work cleaning up my desk so I could start training a temp to replace me while I go up to do Service billing. Saturday night I worked the Holiday Party, and had a really awesome time. Except my car broke down again on the way there. I was able to make it home, and was very lucky that my niece was already at my house and drove me to the party. I kinda had to be there as I had the list of everyone who was supposed to show up, and their meal choices and $300 in gift cards to give away as door prizes. The president and his new girlfriend drove me home. Which was a bonus - since I didn't have to drive, I took advantage of the open bar.

I not only got a filet mignon dinner out of the deal, I got an additional 3 hours of overtime. I consider that a win-win situation.

My landlord jumped my car yesterday, and I thought maybe it was a fluke that I had so much trouble Saturday night. Maybe I had left the lights on and that was why the battery drained while I was driving. I didn't make sense to me though. I don't think I even had the lights on during the day on Saturday, and why would it start, but then power down while I was driving?

Anyway, I started my baking yesterday, and periodically went out and started the car, with no problems. It started right up this morning, but it was dark and foggy and as soon as I turned the headlights on, it started having problems again. I was able to drop my son off at school, but barely made it out of the parking lot. Going 20 miles per hour, then 15, then 10 as it just kept dying. I made it around a corner where I knew I could pull off the road, put it in drive and it just died. I'm thinking maybe it's the alternator, as the battery is brand new less than a year ago. I have no idea, I don't know cars. I only know I had to walk to the nearest gas station and they didn't have a pay phone, so I had to beg to use their phone to call work and have someone come get me.

I had the car towed again to my mechanic, they'll let me know when they know what the problem is. I cannot stand the idea of another car bill the week before Christmas, but what choice do I have? Again, I'm very lucky that my company had a vehicle I can borrow until I sort out the car situation.

In the meantime, I'm keeping busy at work and at home. So far, I've made 2 batches of cashew brittle, 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 5 dozen black & white cookies, and about 100 chocolate peanut butter cups. I refuse to let anything knock me down. I'm like a punching bag, hit me and I'll keep getting up, saying "Is that the best you've got? Really, is that all? Cause I can take you. C'mon, let's go...".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Warning: boring post ahead. A.K.A. I'm going to miss you all

I'm always way behind on reading and commenting on your blogs. I follow a bunch of people because I really like reading what you have to say, but throw one little wrench in the cogs and I can't keep up. I often read at work, and then in the evening when I get home. There will be no more doing anything personal at work anytime soon.

I work in a small office and we all cover for each other on vacation or sick days, if we can. I'm cross trained to cover for both the accounts receivable and the Service department accounts payable ladies. I haven't had to do either in a very long time, but I have meticulous notes. Good damn thing.

Our Service department accounts payable lady took the first week of December off to go to Mexico. No one covered for her because she's a work horse and control freak and insisted she could get everything done when she got back. She came back Monday and started catching up, but Tuesday she came in with what appeared to be a painful stomach virus. She couldn't keep anything down, and they sent her home. Wednesday she was admitted to the hospital with an intestinal blockage and they performed emergency surgery on her this afternoon. I don't have an update on how she's doing, and I really hope she will be okay, I like her very much and don't like to see anyone in pain. I also seriously doubt she's coming back on Monday.

Whenever I have covered for a co-worker for a period of time in the past, they hired a temp to do at least part of my job. At this point, they still haven't hired a replacement for the HR girl they "laid-off" 2 months ago. The lady doing the payroll on top of her normal job technically only works part time, so I've been picking up as much slack of her work as I can.

People were running around panicking when they realized that Not One Person in the Service department knows how to do the billing.
It's December 11th and NO service billings have been entered yet for the month. Monthly contract invoices haven't been issued, we've already got a two week backlog on work tickets that can be billed, and on Monday it will be three weeks.

They are stupid fucks for not thinking ahead, like nothing could ever happen to her, but I've got notes. Granted I haven't done it in 2-1/2 years, even though I have brought it up on numerous occasions that I'm rusty and she should throw something my way every once in a while so I could brush up. But hey, let's give it a shot.

I gloated for a little while, not at the fact that my co-worker is sick - I'm not that twisted, but then I got down to work. It turns out she was already behind when she left, and hadn't yet sent out November's invoices. Again, nobody else even knew how to separate them to put them in the mail. I spent all afternoon sending out hundreds of invoices. You can bill all you want, but if the invoices don't go into the mail, customers don't send those checky-money things back to us.

We'll see what the next couple of weeks bring, but I'm thinking I'm going to get some overtime for Christmas. Which is in two weeks. And I haven't started my shopping or baking yet. So if you don't hear from me, I'm either drowning in work, or drowning in chocolate chips, or I'm in jail because I've killed my mother.

Call 911 on January first, k?

I'm just sayin'...

When I posted last weekend about my favorite Christmas cartoon being The Year Without a Santa Claus, fellow blogger BeckEye left me a comment that her favorite was Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I had forgotten how much I thought I liked that one. It's been a long time since I've seen it.

Last night it was on the ABC Family channel and I decided to watch it. I was a little disturbed by the lyrics of some of the songs. The first one was, "If you sit on my lap today, a kiss a toy is the price you'll pay". According to Wikipedia, I'm not the only one that was disturbed by that. Most years when it aired on network television they edited that song right out.

The second song only bothered me in relation to the first because Kreepy Kris Kringle said it to the children while smiling his creepy smile, "I'll see you when you're sleeping, I'll know when you're awake, I'll know when you've been bad or good...".

Does anyone else think the producers/writers of this cartoon were pedophiles?

I couldn't find any video of the actual song from the cartoon, but see if this doesn't creep you out even more:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas memories

My all time favorite Christmas cartoon is the The Year Without A Santa Claus. My brother Jimmy and I both loved it. Our favorite part was when Heat Miser did his song and dance.

We always joked with our mom that she looked exactly like Heat Miser, right down to the hair, and her dancing abilities. Only, he could sing better.
We didn't like their version of Blue Christmas, though. We liked Elvis's version much better.

Jimmy could be counted on to unbutton his shirt and flip up his collar to give us his rendition on demand, as long as Elvis was already playing, you know - backing him up.

I'm not really going anywhere with this, just reliving some good holiday memories and traditions.

Every year it's little bit of a tradition that we have a big sandwich lunch on Christmas day. When we were younger it was a treat for us to have a sandwich that had more than one piece of meat and cheese. We would make Dagwood sandwiches with a variety of meats, cheeses, breads, condiments, maybe pickles and roasted red peppers, the more the better. We always finished it up with a plate of Mom's homemade cookies.

One year, while my sister Bouf was making Christmas cookies, she and Jimmy decided to make something a little naughty. And they put it on Mom's dessert plate of Christmas cookies. Thank god she had a sense of humor!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas ornaments

MelO sent me something the other day that was like a Christmas themed Meme, email version. I don't want to bore you with all the specifics, but a portion of it caught my interest. It asked if I did the every year ornament collecting thing, which I don't. But I did it for my son when he was born.

I started buying a special ornament every year from the year that he was born up until he was 10 or 11. I tried to make the ornament special or specific to what he was really interested in that year. It went from Pooh Bear to Scoobie Doo to Star Wars, and everything in between. I stopped around 10 or 11 because there are only so many computer ornaments you can buy, and they aren't really varied - there aren't many geared toward the gaming community.

As my son and I were decorating the tree this past weekend, he proudly looked at it the whole thing and said, "All this will be mine in four years...". I had always told him the ornaments that I bought for him would be his when he grows up, maybe 18, maybe 21, who knows. But "all this"? Probably not.

I reminded him that I expect him to be in college in 4 years. If he wants to, he can take the fiber optic tree that Nana left behind for him when she moved to Florida.

Even when he's 21, he's probably going to be living with a bunch of guys who's idea of decorating a tree is throwing empty beer cans at it. Believe me, I've seen that. And you probably have, too.

I realized that while I had specifically been collecting ornaments just for him, I was also collecting them for myself. Almost every school year either he or someone close to him had made an ornament with his picture, or he and I had made an ornament together, or I had a picture of him that I made into an ornament for myself. In the meantime, my collection was growing with other sentimental gifts, an ornament from my Grandparent's tree, a fishing lure of my brother's, a handmade gift from family and friends, or an antique bobble that someone thought I would love. And I do. I love them all.

So, I suggested that maybe he can have his special ornaments when he gets married or something.

The rest, he's going to have to wait for until I die...

Every year I look forward to taking out these decorations for a tree, and find myself reliving some of the happiest times of my life. I think that is what the "holidays" are all about. Finding Joy wherever you can get it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Max and Patches

Dr. Zibbs asked us to entertain him with some of our boring pet stories. I didn't really think I had anything more than the shit I post about my dog and cats, until I started reading some other people's stories on their blogs. That Damn Expat in particular sparked off a memory, and I had already had the photo out ready to be scanned. Also, I need to liven this place up a little bit, but thanks again for all of your comments about, you know, that which shall not be named.

When I was little we constantly had animals of all sorts and varieties coming and going in and out of our house. When my father was living with us, it was mostly dogs, and their puppies, but after he moved out, it was a free for all. My mother collected stray animals and humans the way other people collect stamps. And many of us children had the same inclination. We were constantly bringing home animals and the ocassional person, hoping she would let us keep them.

I remember my very first time I found a cat that was obviously homeless. I was 10, and she was living on a horse farm around the corner and behind the house we lived in. Every time I went to visit the horses, she would run up to me and wrap herself all around me, purring. I found out from the men who lived there that she had gotten dumped off as a kitten, she didn't really have a place to stay other than the barn, and they didn't feed her. My 10 year old heart was bleeding - she had to fend for herself?! I asked if it would okay if I took her home, since she obviously loved me as much as I loved her, and they didn't seem to have problem with it. This cat was so cool that she let me carry her home in a paper bag while riding my bike. I named her Patches before I even told my mother what was going on.

I don't remember there being a problem with bringing the cat home, and soon enough she was the next cat in the house about to have a litter of kittens.

At the time, we also had a miniature red long-haired Dauchshund. His name was Maximillian, and he was one of the cutest dogs on the face of the earth. I don't know if he just knew his place in the order of things in our house, or if he thought he was a cat, but all the animals lived in harmony.

My mother was working third shift then, so she slept while those of us who still lived at home went to school or work. The story goes that one day while she was sleeping, Max kept scratching at her bedroom door, whining. She got up and tried to let him in, but that wasn't what he wanted. She finally realized that he wanted to show her something, and as soon as she took a step out of her bedroom, he took off running. She followed him to the linen closet where Patches was in the middle of giving birth. He jumped around like an excited Uncle, proud to show off the event.

For weeks after, he lived in that closet with Patches and her babies, and she was perfectly happy to let him do so. He stood guard over the babies when Patches needed to go take care of her business, and he got visibly upset when they cried. It was an amazing cross-species experience for me. Here is a warm and fuzzy picture to go with it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's not Mother's Day

I have to warn you in advance that this is ridiculously long, and really dark. Pass on it if you need to, this is not a humor only blog.

The nightmares started again last night. I think it might have something to do with talking on the phone with my mother last night and realizing she had manipulated me into letting her stay with me for 10 days over Christmas. And I didn't even realize what she had done until I awoke from a nightmare literally kicking "my attacker" who turned out to be a fat cat at the foot of the bed. At 4:30 in the morning I counted the dates on my fingers, and realized with a sense of panic and dread that I had agreed to 10 days.

Her summer visit turned out so badly this year that when she tried to manipulate me by saying, "oh, I guess I've overstayed my welcome". I didn't disagree. "Oh, maybe I should leave early", to which I also didn't disagree. So, she left early, with the vague threat that if she even did come back for Christmas, she would be staying in a hotel. I did not try to dissuade her.

I am not one to hold a grudge, and have remained on friendly terms with her, from 1500 miles away. When she told me in October that she would be coming for Christmas, but would be staying with my niece, KM, I agreed to help her book her flight. She, and my sister Shouf, are coming in on 12/21. Although she wanted to go back before the new year, there were literally no flights on Southwest except for New Year's Eve, late in the evening. Her 85 year old boyfriend understandably did not want to be out on the roads then to pick them up. Also, if they waited to go home until January 3rd, she'd save $100 a ticket. So that was what I booked.

I was grateful to my niece for offering to put my mother up at all, so when my mother asked if she could stay with me for a couple of days since she had prolonged the trip and didn't want to be a burden on KM for all that time, I said okay. I can handle a couple of days. I may have to hide in the basement so I can smoke and stay away from her, and I won't have access to my computer as it will be in my bedroom where I let her stay, I can handle a couple of days.

Let me take a brief interlude in the story to tell you about my mother. I don't think she's ever been properly diagnosed. Mental illness runs in our family with a mean streak, and I think she's got a combination of things going on. She's definitely been diagnosed with depression, but she also suffers from delusions of grandeur and possibly borderline personality disorder. I thought she was getting better over the years, being away from us kids and the stress we cause her, but this past summer made me think she's actually getting worse. Having been a psych nurse for many years, she knows how to fool people into hearing what they want to hear so she's on meds for depression only.

When she first shows up, everything is sunshine and happiness, but the more she stays, the more she warms up, the more she takes over. It's a control thing. The little zingers start. Then she starts to spread her stuff out all over every available space. Every surface in my bedroom where I let her sleep is covered, then the bathroom, then the dining room table and buffet, then the counters of my highly counterless kitchen.

Then the advice and lectures start. She never stops talking for a minute, so you never get a minute of peace anyway. In start the suggestions, then the critisisms of everything I do from what I buy at the grocery store to what I eat, how I raise my child, how I clean my house, how I spend my "money" (ha-ha). Then the crazy starts to come out, "those landlords of yours are no good evil Germans, I could tell the first time I laid eyes on her that her parents are probably Nazis. And Him. He's not a man of his word. How could he let you live in this dump telling you he's going to fix this place up". Said out loud on my back porch while the no-good-evil-Nazi landlords were outside, right next door in our shared driveway.

One night, about six long weeks into her visit this past summer, I was sitting on the back porch smoking and she cornered me. I don't know what had crawled up her ass and died that day, but she started laying in to me about everything under the sun that she could think of to criticize me about. Other than getting in the car and leaving, I had no where to go. She was already occupying my bedroom, she had me cornered on the back porch and the living room I was sleeping in doesn't have a door on it. What was I going to do, lock myself in the bathroom? While I had tears rolling down my face, I very calmly asked her to stop, stop now. She kept going, holding me emotionally hostage, and seemed to be enjoying the attack mode. I don't like being unkind, and she knows it.

I finally told her she needed to go to bed, NOW. When she kept going, I said through clenched teeth, "You Need To Get The Fuck Away From Me, NOW, Mom!". She looked at me like I had slapped her in the face, and she went in.

I didn't really sleep that night. She had the temerity to call me at work the next day, all sunshine, "Hi, Honey! How are you?" I replied with a flat, "fine". "Oh, I see, nevermind". And the bitch hung up on me.

When I got home from work, I couldn't even look at her, nevermind talk to her. I made sure everyone had dinner, and went outside to my back porch. After a while, she walked down the stairs and went out to my little table and chair set at the end of the driveway to call her boyfriend. I could hear her gaily conversing with him, but after a while it sounded like the conversation had taken a turn for the worse as she was angrily yelling things, and then it sounded like she was sobbing. I know for a fact she doesn't pull this side out for her boyfriend, so I peeked around the hedge, and sure enough the phone was down on the table and she was angrily muttering and sobbing to herself, theatrically holding her drink up to her forehead every couple of minutes or so. In full view of all of my neighbors including the landlords.

She finally decided she had milked that scene for all it was worth, and came up the back porch with snot dripping down her face, "uh-huh, gasp, uh-huh, gasp, uh-huh" sobbing up each of the six back stairs. "Mom, are you okay?" "I'm fiiiiiiine." Oy, flash backs to childhood. So much fun.

I waited as long as I could before going back inside, but I finally had to pee. As soon as I opened the door, I saw the empty bottle of Adivan strategically placed on the kitchen counter. I knew she had had a couple of gin and tonics, and didn't know whether the bottle was truly empty or whether she had tried to overdose. As I walked through the dining room, she came flitting down the stairs in one of her see-through little nighties. Not a pretty sight to see from an overweight 70 year woman with knockers down to her knees.

I asked her where her slippers and robe were. She replied, "who cares, Who Cares, WHO CARES?" in this loud sing-songy voice. Keep in mind she is a diabetic who should never have her feet exposed, also the image above should never be exposed. I pointed my finger right in her face and said, "Knock it off Right Now. I will NOT have you traumatize My Child!".

I made sure she hadn't overdosed, and she went to bed, finally. Again, I didn't sleep that night.

Again, she called me at work the next day, knowing I couldn't respond, and told me she was so sorry, she didn't know what had happened. She must have "lost her mind" or something, she couldn't believe how she had acted and was there any way I could forgive her. All I could come up with was, "I can't talk about this right now, but we need to talk about this later." When I got home, and again made sure everyone had dinner, I pulled her out back and straight out said to her that her mental instability was affecting my mental stability and I would not have this in my house any longer. Period. I asked her about her meds, which she seemed to be taking, and I flat out told her they needed to be adjusted.

On top of that, she started some weird shit were she pretended to flinch everytime I came into the room after that. Like I was going to HIT her or something. It was totally demented. I've never hit anyone in my life.

Then she started the shit about leaving early. Okay, bye-bye. I'm done, I've had enough. When you start to fuck with my ability to take care of my kid, nevermind. I'm already a bad enough mother, I don't need YOUR help.

So, where were we?

My mother called over the weekend, but I didn't have time to talk to her. I literally have to carve out a chunk of time because she never stops for a breath, and I really hate talking on the phone. I called her back last night only because I needed to tell her something important, which I was finally able to do after 15 minutes of her rambling.

We talked about this and that, and I asked about the scheduling for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Just so I can have an idea in my head as obviously everything is going to revolve around her as usual. She actually said, I shit you not, "Well, Christmas might be frugal this year, but my present to all of you is that I'm actually going to be there". I almost threw up in my mouth. But again, I don't like to be unkind, so I started saying, "uh-huh, uh-huh", trying to wrap up her self-absorbed show so I could get the fuck off the phone. Before I knew it, she had suggested that when my niece KM brings her over for Christmas she should just stay at my house. "After all, it's just a couple of days...". I agreed, blah, blah, blah. Set Me Free From This Phone Call, Please, Lord...

I awoke at 4:30am this morning counting my fucking fingers. December 25 to January 3 is 10 fucking days. I don't know how I am going to survive.