Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wonder-full Wednesday

I ducked out of work for about an hour and a half yesterday to go to Beth’s first OB/GYN appointment. My first roll was to provide family health history. It’s nice to be useful.

Now some people wondered why I called the baby a girl. Beth was adamant that she was having and wanted a girl. I was accommodating her. And I was hoping I guess at some inner level for another girl, too.

I was surprised when the doc said he’d be giving her an ultrasound right then. Remember the old days when you had to drink so much water it hurt and then the tech would have you cross your legs and wait to see if the pics came out okay? Maybe that was just my nightmare.

We learned two things from the ultrasound. Beth is five months pregnant. That’s further along than she thought. It puts her due date at January 23, 2006. I told her she better not mess up the Superbowl, but Nelson said he thought it would be fun to watch it at the hospital. I think he had silly visions of nachos in bedpans.

The second thing we learned is that we are actually starting Nelson’s little league baseball team. Yes, much to Beth’s disappointment, she’s having a little boy. She’s not so much sad that the baby is a boy as she is sad that now it’s just going to produce another argument between her and the boyfriend—this time over the name. He’s adamant that if the baby was a boy that he will be named Jerry after his father (and many of the men in his family). He is constantly accusing Beth of being selfish and irresponsible. He’s threatened to kidnap the baby and run away. He’s threatened to kill himself. He’s said that Beth will never get custody because she’s irresponsible can’t manage her money. Now that’s an odd one: when she is responsible and pays her bills she’s selfish because she doesn’t give him money when he needs it because he’s squandered his check on absolutely nothing responsible. It’s not a healthy relationship.

Sorry about that tangent…back to the good stuff.

Last night I was just exhausted after work. It seemed like my entire body decided to ache at once. I was lying on the couch fighting to stay awake so that I could go to bed at 9 and sleep through the night. Even in my exhaustion my heart was smiling. Beth had been given this bag of information and magazines. She had started reading them before I even got home. She kept telling me facts and things that she had learned from her reading. She’s going to be a good mom. Here’s one of the things I didn’t know: did you? Did you know that a baby’s ears grow from the inside out? Beth’s baby has ears now. He weighs 10oz less than a can of pop but more than two sticks of butter.

Enough rambling. I need to get moving or I’ll be late for work. Oh, and I kinda got the impression from Buddy that I’ll be kept on hourly for the time being. It won’t hurt my paycheck any, but I sure wish I just had the freedom to work.

Have a wonder-full sort of Wednesday.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Just a bit before bed...

I’m so tired and so far behind on reading, writing and noting. It’s not that the week has been without its moments. It has been full of ups and downs. I know this, I’m just not sure I can recall them long enough to cast them upon your computer screen.

I am sure that my tiredness is majorly attributable to continuing to work 10hr days and both of the last two Saturdays.

Mom and George came for the weekend. It was so good to see my mom. We played as much scrabble as we could cram in. All three nights I played until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. She won the series. Losing didn’t even bother me—it was just so much fun!

Mom loved Rocky. I was afraid he was going to be a problem, but he totally endeared himself to her. It just made me smile. She bought him a bag of pig’s ear strips. Can you believe it? She was spoiling the puppy? This is not the woman who raised me, but I like her a whole lot!

Ann, Travis and Penelope came yesterday for Sunday dinner. We were going to go out, but I recommended that we get Kentucky Fried Chicken instead and eat it here where Penelope could romp and play with the dog. She was quite the entertainer. We all laughed at her antics and decided she was pure genius and joy. Wonder what we’ll do with two more at these gatherings. Better get another camera!

Work has been interesting. I continue to be blessed as I watch Deb blossom in her job and her confidence. And while that has been an occupational high, there has been severe disappointment with one of the other employees, to the point that I agreed with Dan and she’s no longer employed with us. Make me sad, but with all of her mistakes and issues from a supervisory position: if she was a cat she’d be dead she’s run out of mulligans, do-overs, and second chances. Honestly, today, I didn’t miss her added drama—not in the least.

I spent a lot of time last week just trying to pump this chick up. By Friday I was so tired of being her personal cheerleader: You can do it. I believe in you. Keep trying. Chin up. Blech. At one point I just rested my head in my hands at my desk and wondered half out loud: who encourages the encourager? Then I remembered all of you and smiled and got back to work.

This morning there was a meeting with the company owner, Ed (plant manager), P (CFO), Dan (T-Net chairman), and me. I used all my word skills and persuasion to make my point on how many people we need, how to figure production, and other issues of importance to me. I actually think everyone but Dan heard me and he might have caught some of it.

(A paragraph was deleted here to address privacy issues related to work.)

Okay. That’s enough for tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to work hard and then go with Beth to her first doctor’s appointment. She normally weighs about 105lbs—for a while people really wondered if she was anorexic. So that baby is pooching straight out---making such a cute little belly. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll hear her heart beating and get an idea of when we’ll meet her face to face. Grammy’s pretty excited about this one!

Sweet dreams all.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Very Rough Day

It’s been a terribly rough day. We made two huge, and I mean HUGE errors. Part of me wants to feel responsible for them, and ultimately as the supervisor I know I am…but I also realize that everyone else on the team signed off on the parts/packaging—no one else caught them. We’re all on the sinking ship.

I am so upset about the mistakes that I am actually feeling sick about it. Then I came home and tried to make some supper, Tuna Helper, for Nelson and Beth. It came out terribly soupy. Beth was half complaining about how it wasn’t setting up, so I told her to put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon. I just about couldn’t handle another mess up. They did eat it and said it at least tasted good. I have a very smart family.

I’m sitting on the couch half dead and totally discouraged after work and Nelson announces that Ann and Penelope are coming over…TONIGHT. I thought he might be kidding, but he was not. They are now here. Chaos is an almost two curly top barnstormer, a rambunctious puppy, two pregnant daughters, and a hub who can barely get out of bed. I don’t have the energy for it tonight. Maybe if I sleep well…but I’m so stressed about work I’m not sure I will sleep…It maybe a Tylenol PM kind of night.

The reason that Ann and Penelope are here (though two days early) is to clean my house. Ann has a mild case of OCD and is an excellent cleaner. That’s a good thing since my mother, who has a moderate to severe case of OCD, will be here on Friday with her husband. If that’s not stressful enough, Ann wants to leave Penelope here when she goes home on Thursday night. That means Nelson (the semi-incapacitated) would have to care for her by himself on Friday and on my two days off when I would want to play scrabble with my mom I will have to tend to the baby and chase the dog.

This is one time I’m not sure I’m excited about being a grammy. She needs us to watch the baby. We love caring for Penelope. She is such a joy…an energetic, temperamental joy. We have never said no. We won’t say no now.

My foot is getting much better. The toe barely hurts. What do I need a toenail for anyway? The arch/sprain is still sore. It helped today to wear the same shoe and use my inserts. Nelson is improving too. Yesterday he had his first shower in 2 months. It took a lot of energy to balance on one leg for the whole time, but he liked being clean and fresh. I took him to Ponderosa for lunch and then to get a haircut. He was so happy to get out and about. He was even willing to sit in the car while I ran in and grabbed some groceries.

I guess I’ll go downstairs and get a hug and kiss from Penelope and then head to bed. I feel a bit like Anne Shirley from Green Gables: I’m glad tomorrow has no mistakes in it yet! Hope there’s few mistakes and lots of smiles in your tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

So Far This Week

I wore the boot. It was heavy…but seemed to weigh the most when I went to the doctor’s office. That was totally unfair. I followed the young skinny nurse person through the door and her first words were: step on the scale and let’s get your weight.

What!!!!! I have worked hard and am quite proud of losing over 30 pounds. But I stepped on that scale with two steel toed work boots on and saw half my work disappear. I wanted to cry. The pain in my soul far exceeded the pain in my foot.

I sat quietly in the exam room. I left straight from work so I didn’t have a book or my PalmPilot to play scrabble on. The doctor finally arrived. He had me take the bandage off—which I really appreciated. He showed me the x-ray and there is a questionable black line on my toe just below the nail area right on the outside edge. Possibly a fracture? So the whole wound is considered an open fracture and needs to be redressed twice a day and I need to be on an antibiotic. Still only Advil or Tylenol for pain.

Still wearing Nelson’s work boot. Still heavy. An interesting day at work. And a growth piece too!

In my former life (aka before my world collapsed), I worked hard. But in that working I had a very strong tendency to “make myself indispensable.” I was the expert on whatever I was doing. I would never have considered training my replacement on the off-chance they might be better and take my job. Can you say control and insecurity?

Well, I have learned my lesson and it has a sweet reward! Monday we received the computer and printers from the parent company we package for (big industry name). Tuesday they were coming to train us on them. Monday afternoon, B came and asked if I thought Debbie (one of my team) should be trained as my back up. I never flinched. I thought it was a superb idea. On Friday I had taught her how to do the inventory. She was quite tickled to have the new opportunity and added responsibility.

Here’s the thing. I’m not threatened. I am so excited to be a part of her growth and excitement. And she did really well with the training. The parent company was really impressed with her too. (insert big proud smile)

The only down side to yesterday was the whole issue of having tons of work and not enough workers. When the parent company sends us parts we’re supposed to have them packaged on a 5 day turnaround. Right now we’re at more like a ten to fifteen day turnaround. And on top of the 16, 599 parts I need to get out for the parent company, I have 9,600 parts to package in the next ten days that we’re making in house.

I went to talk to Mr. R about it (company owner), but he was gone. So I stopped and talked with the CFO and he told me that I would need 18 workers to get it all done. I only have 5. Maybe that’s why I didn’t sleep so well.

We’re considering working 10 hour days to try and catch up a little. And I thought I was tired already?

Well, it’s still the wee hours of the morning. I’m going to get washed up and head out the door. Today I’m going to try and wear my own shoe: my old work shoes that a little bigger. I tried it on. It fit over the bulbous bandage—just don’t know if it will work for all day…only way to know is to try. Fill you in later.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

News from Gimpville

Yesterday I worked too hard. I was locked out of the office where the paperwork was. I did a few things in the office, but I was busier driving the tow motor and eventually ended up making cartons. By evening my foot was good and sore. I took a couple Tylenol PM’s before bed, hoping to get some much needed sleep.

And sleep I did. I didn’t wake up until after 8:30 this morning. I made Beth and Nelson pancakes for breakfast. They like that on Sunday mornings. After Beth went to work I gave Nelson a bath and washed his hair. He felt much better.

We ate out today with Nelson’s boss and some other friends. Nelson used his walker to get out of the house. We were very careful on the end of the ramp where I fell. He was able to ride in the front seat of my Kia with very little pain. It was fun to watch him enjoy being out. This was his first trip out to something other than a doctor’s appointment or the hospital. His smile was worth all my pain. One of the cute moments was when he had hobbled out to the car. Remember I wrote that Nelson’s boss, Dave, fell off a ladder and fractured his leg? Well, we looked like some kind of Gimp Club. (Picture it: Dave's on crutches, Nelson is in a wheel chair, and I'm hobbling along.) Dave’s wife Linda is the RN administrator of a Nursing Home. She said she felt like she was out to lunch with a bunch of clients. After lunch when we hobbled out to our vehicles, Linda got a pic of Nelson, Dave, and I by my car, holding up our wounded left legs and feet. I may have to blow that one up!

I’m really having some nasty twinges in the empty nail bed and some seepage. Last night before bed I tried on one of Nelson’s steel toe work boots. They fit “okay” with my foot and ankle wrapped in an ace bandage and a slipper sock on—along with the big toe bandage on. The boots are the boots that Nelson bought for Ann’s wedding last fall, so they’re his “dress” boots and I’m under strict orders not to get them scuffed up. I think I’ll be so protective of that foot that it shouldn’t be a problem.

Updates on Ann and Beth: Beth is being very responsible. She’s checked into getting aid and we’ve talked about childcare after the baby is born. She’s also checked into some full time jobs. The boyfriend is running hot and cold on the whole idea. I’m not too surprised—when it’s not something you plan for, it can be hard to adjust to. Ann and Travis are still struggling. They had a huge fight yesterday and he threatened violence. She threatened to call the police and leave. He said she couldn’t leave without the car seat for the baby and drove away in the car that had it. Ann decided to wait and see how he was when he got home. We haven’t heard from her today. Hopefully, they talking things through. His biggest complaint (that we’ve heard about) is with Ann’s decision and desire to stay at home with the babies (Penelope and the new baby due in November). We’ll call her later when Travis goes to work to see how things are.

And the puppy…we still have him. He’s still cute. But tell me…I have two feet for him to lunge at: WHY must he go for the wounded one? It’s amazing how much pain that little critter can inflict when he lands on my nail-less toe!

My wonderful hubster ordered taco pizza for dinner. Guess what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow too? For dinner I think we’ll have BLT’s since the neighbor brought us over some wonderful tomatoes from his garden.

And now I think I’ll put my weary body and very sore toe to bed. Sweetest of dreams to you! And yours.

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's Official

I'm a klutz.

Tonight, around 7:30 I was taking the dog out to let him do his business. I got to the end of the ramp and slipped. My left leg went under me and I ripped my "great toe" nail almost completely off. Instant blood...tremendous pain.

Beth had just left to go to her boyfriend's for the evening. I had Nelson call her and tell her to come home to take me to the ER. Nelson was frantic for me...even offered to come with us to the that was going to happen!

I am not fond of ER's. You wait way too long. Staff is over worked and grumpy. It's never a good experience. I was pleasantly surprised tonight. The staff was a hoot and we laughed the entire time we were there.

Well, maybe not the entire time. I wasn't laughing when the nurse gave me the tetnus shot. I couldn't remember the last time I had one...always means you're going to get one. She was good and I barely felt the needle go in. I will tomorrow, I know. I wasn't laughing when the doc was shooting novacaine into my "great toe", either. That hurt a lot. Not the needle, the med. Oooooo. I closed my eyes when the doc pulled off the nail. It didn't hurt, but I didn't want to see it.

I had x-rays. Nothing is broken. I did sprain my arch. That hurts quite a bit. The whole foot is starting to throb since the novacaine is wearing off. I wonder how much Advil I'll need to take to knock that pain out? No script for pain meds. Yehaw.

I'm scheduled to work tomorrow. I'll just be sitting at my desk. I have to go in. If I don't we'll fall just that much farther behind and after the fiasco of a day we had today...let's just say it was really bad...I have to go in. Besides, I have no way to contact anyone on the team to cancel. Going to be a long day. Good thing I have lots of paperwork to keep busy with.

So that's just one more thing on my plate. But I am thankful. Nothing is broken. I have a job that has insurance. And in one fell swoop I probably knocked out all my deductable.

Hope you sleep well tonight...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Somewhat Overwhelmed

I’m feeling overwhelmed. Like I’m taking on water. I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well at all last night.

Yesterday Beth and I drove (I drove and Beth rode) to Indy to the Brickyard 400! It was completely awesome. There just aren’t words to describe how amazing it was. It was so loud. It was so neat to be there with SO MANY OTHER people. We left before it was over and avoided my traffic phobia. Beth and I had a great time together. It was just the best.

Then as I was laying my very weary head upon my pillow, Beth came to my room and said she needed to talk, that she was SO stressed out. She sat on my bed and started to cry. Then she told me that she was pregnant. I knew what she was going to say before the words tumbled out of her mouth. I hugged her. I told her I love her. And I told her that we were going to go downstairs and tell her dad. That didn’t make her happy, but we went down and did it together. He was stunned but said all the right things. I was very proud of him.

Ann shared while she was here that she and Travis have been having more problems and keep bandying about the “D” word: divorce. This breaks my heart. Both situations with the girls make me wonder what I did wrong as a parent. Not so much that they ended up pregnant, though I wish it was different for them, but that they have ended up in relationships with men (and not just their current relationships) who don’t value them and make them happy. It’s as if they settle because they don’t feel as if they’re worth more than that. How did I not convey that to them?

I talked with Ann a little about it today and she said that Nelson and I put too high an expectation on them and they rebelled against it. I tried to express that it wasn’t an expectation as much as it was a hope. Semantics, I guess.

Nelson is in more pain today as he has been trying to stand, sit up, and move around more. Ann went to Walmart yesterday to get his prescription. (She was here for the weekend to care for Nelson while Beth and I were at the race.) The pharmacy wasn’t open yet. She tucked the prescription and bankcard into her wallet. She took them home with her. They should arrive on Wednesday or Thursday via the pony express.

My car is really acting up. One of the guys at work asked for a ride home and I obliged. As we turned off the road where the plant is onto the state route that would lead to his house, my car nearly died. I have no earthly idea what the problem is and Nelson is not able to diagnosis it from his bed. So here we go with an expenditure we can’t afford—especially since Nelson got a letter from BWC informing him that his “pay checks” would be reduced by more than half.

At work we’re getting more work to package, which is a good thing, except that I’m not getting workers to work so the work is piling up, and will continue to do so since the company my company has a contract with wants us to become a distribution center, which is a good thing---if I just had workers.
And tomorrow is the anniversary of my dad’s death. He died on 8-9-89 from cancer at the very young age of 53. I miss him very much.

I kept singing to myself today: turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

I may take on some water…but I’m not going under. I may feel overwhelmed, but I’m not defeated. I may not feel like I have the strength to put one foot in front of the other, but I am promised that I am more than a conqueror.

I don’t know about you…but that’s what I need to know. It’s what I need to hold onto today.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Staples and Conspiracy

What a day! I worked so hard and then rushed home to take Nelson to the doctor. The wound is healing well. They took the staples out. We counted them and all together there were only 35. It was a painful process.

Beth brought a puppy home. It's part chichuaua and part daschound. It's really quite cute, but I don't know how we'll be able to care for him. He's temporarily been named Rocky...did I mention he's absolutely adorable and sleepy so sweetly on Nelson's chest right now...sigh. They decided if I just saw him, got some puppy kisses and let him cuddle up that I would be able to send him away. I was double teamed!

And now I'm off to bed!

Monday, August 01, 2005

No Casualties

It’s getting hot again. The good thing is that it’s been a little cooler at night, so it’s cooler in the morning when they open the bay door near our area. I actually didn’t feel like I was going to die from the heat.

As I was waking up this morning I was in pain. At first I thought it was my kidneys and that was scary to me. As I got up and moving though, I realized that it was my hips. And I decided they were sore from the way I had been bending while I made carton after carton. Fortunately the longer I worked today the more limber I became. So even though I ached and acquired quite a few new bruises, I wasn’t going to die from the pain.

Today was a very important audit at work. I had been assured that my packaging operation would not be part of the audit. This assurance didn’t just come once, but several times. Then, this morning, shortly after we started work, B came to me and informed me that the auditor would be stopping by to talk to me. What?! No way. I was assured. Now, remember B is the biggest kidder in the plant, so I wasn’t sure if I should believe him. A little later the tow motor guy, T, came from his first audit and repeated the dreaded warning that I was indeed going to be audited.

I had to do some serious self-talk. First, I was hired because I can do this job. Second, if they find something missing in my production process it doesn’t make me a failure, it means there’s room for improvement…and that’s okay. Then, they don’t want to see me fail. I actually must have been listening to myself—surprise, surprise.

The auditor arrived in our new area about 1:30. He asked a lot of questions. T had coached me to just answer the question he asks—not offer any extra information. I knew that routine, having appeared as an expert witness in court on behalf of kids and families. Anyway, I did well with all the questions. B and Ed gave me thumbs up. I survived the audit: I didn’t die.

At the end of the day I was tired, not dead tired, but very tired. When the shift started Dan informed me that S, one of the workers, had several concerns/complaints and wanted to have a meeting to work them through. Great. So we met. Oh, I had to bite my tongue. There were so many things I wanted to say. What about my concerns? It was time to pick my battles carefully. So I did. And neither of us died from the confrontation.

Before I left work, I called home to see what Nelson wanted for dinner. He requested chicken parmagiana. I make a cheater version: frozen chicken patties, spaghetti sauce, and grated mozzarella over spaghetti. And believe it or not, they ate my dinner…and nobody died.

I guess that makes this a good day.

Now, before I duck out of here a quick question…When you greet someone and ask how they’re doing and they say not bad, how do you respond? Is it good to be not bad? I’ve just been thinking about that recently. Several people have responded that they’re not bad, or just okay, or hanging in there. The first couple times I gave a automatic response of “good.” But is it good? Is it good enough? I’m going to have to pay more attention to this…and definitely more attention to my responses…

And now, I’m out of here! Sweet dreams.