Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't Tell

You can’t see me. I’m hiding.
Okay, I’m not doing so well at it. Sigh.

It’s been an emotional week.

I realized half way through last week that this was the first year that the anniversary of my father’s death slipped by me and I didn’t even notice. He died in 1989.

On Tuesday, I had to deal with a big disappointment. One of the guys who has been in the program for over a year now really screwed up and was arrested. I have poured a lot of time and energy into this guy. We were at the PO”s office at the same time and he deferred to me, allowing me to go ahead of him. The next morning I found out that he was hit with a probation violation and immediately taken to jail. He was on judicial release, so he will have to finish out his original sentence—about seven years—and then he will face time for whatever charges they will levy against him for new crimes.

I really believed in this guy. I knew when he was blowing smoke, but I never, NEVER, imagined the stuff he was in to. He lied to me about things and left details out of other things. I just wanted to smack him upside the head for being so stupid—but then I wasn’t sure that all my anger was at him. I felt so dumb for trusting and believing—and I don’t want to feel that way.

I thought a lot about that this week, especially as I dealt with the rest of the folk in the program. Who could I believe? Who was lying to me? Will I ever know if they’re telling the truth? What I decided is I trust very easily. I am able to be shrewd and discerning at times—but I tend to err on the side of believing in that there is goodness in people. I want to be that way and it makes me very sad to think about not being that way.

Then there was the job interview. There is so much going on with this and so much not. I’ve talked to some people who know what’s going on and they are of the opinion that if Dan was smart he’d figure out a way to get me insurance because he doesn’t want to and won’t be able to train someone else to do the packaging component of the job as well as I do. There words were encouraging.

This past weekend my mom was here. She and George arrived on Friday about the time I got off work. We played scrabble non-stop all weekend and on Monday too, since I took the day off. It was so good to be with her and George was actually quite well-behaved. That was a major relief.

At one point Mom and I were looking at old family pictures that I had gotten when my grandmother, Mom’s mom, died in 1999. While we were strolling down Memory Lane, Mom looked at an old picture of Grandma and she started to cry. It nearly broke my heart and it made me think about how awful it will be when she’s gone. But hopefully we’ll have lots more Scrabble marathons before we have to think about that.

Tonight Nelson and I had dinner at Ponderosa. I was pleased with how controlled I was with my eating. That felt good. Afterwards we went to check out the Grand Re-opening of our local Goodwill Store. It was a good night to go. Sweaters were on special at $1 a piece. So I picked out 4! I also got a pair of dress navy pants and a pair shorts to wear working out at Curves. For all that I paid $7.27. I was quite pleased. The really cool thing: I shopped the regular racks. There was soooooooo much more to choose from. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I did talk with Dan this morning about the job. They’ve interviewed the other guy and today there was a board meeting at which they would decide when they would meet with us. Hopefully that will happen within the next week. In the meantime, I’ll try to come out of hiding. I’m pretty sure I can trust you.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Did you hear that?
It was the sound of the door shutting.
I got a brief email response to my letter.
The answer is no.
Funny…it came on the day when I interviewed for the “opportunity.”
Good thing I don’t believe in coincidences.
The interview went well.
That’s not too surprising, I interview well.
The job description is very doable.
The salary was more than I anticipated.
There is ongoing dialogue about insurance.
Next step: they interview the other guy.
I have some definite pluses (I already know the packaging program—shoot, I created it!).
After that, we will interview with the board of the T-Net.
Many of them know me and the work I’ve done.
The whole process is going to take a couple more weeks.
Maybe by then they’ll know more about the insurance.
I surprised myself when I realized how much I want this job.
I wonder if that has anything to do with the other door slamming shut?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What day is it?

What day is it? I started the day thinking that it was the 9th. I had two orders to get out on the 10th, two orders that had 2400 parts in them. Nearly impossible. Completely impossible given the pokey-couldn’t-be-rushed attitude of my workers. I was steaming!

Late in the afternoon it dawned on me that we had an all-employee mandatory meeting on Thursday morning from 7-9am. I was concerned about leaving the crew unsupervised so I went to my supervisor to discuss it. I kept talking about the meeting that was going to take place “tomorrow.”

Shortly after that conversation I talked with the head of the shipping department and through great guffaws, he set me straight on the day and date. About five minutes later my supervisor came to let me know that he was having a bad day too. He was convinced that the meeting was tomorrow and called one of the third shift guys to remind him. He got quickly set straight. We laughed at each other and decided it’s been a long week already!

This morning I was doing a task that reminded me why I wasn’t and should never consider being a Home Ec teacher. We had run out of bubble wrap that we use to fill the void on our boxes and cartons, so I was cutting strips of this foam stuff to use instead. I was trying to do it like those incredibly talented women at the notions table at Walmart. I always marvel at how they barely move their scissors and whip right through whatever fabric they face. I couldn’t cut a straight line for anything.

The frustration caused me to laugh at myself, especially as I recalled an experience that I had as a substitute teacher. When Annie (dau #1) was a baby, I did some subbing in the county around our small town. One Friday afternoon I got a call from a nearby high school principal. His Home Ec teacher and regular sub were going to some conference and they needed someone to cover two days. The first day would be a sewing day and the second day would be a cooking day. We were so desperate for money, I quickly said yes, and then laughed myself silly after I hung up the phone.

I wasn’t the only one who laughed. Everyone who knew me laughed too. The first day I quickly identified the students who knew how to read patterns and work a sewing machine. I drew their wisdom out and paired them up with kids who had questions. It worked my total lack of any sewing knowledge never was fully discovered.

The second day held equal potential for total embarrassment. The cooking class was making dutch apple pies. I had never, ever made a pie. The class had already been divided up into teams. Everyone was doing well and I was feeling pretty good until one group came up to me and their lovely crumbly topping was a clump of dough-looking stuff. I had no clue how to fix it, so I worked with them to problem solve. They came up with an option and it turned out pretty good. That was a real brow-wiping relief!

And that’s why I was never a Home Ec teacher. And today is Tuesday and I need to go to worship team practice. Later!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Part Slinger

Today was our last early day for a while. I started the day “throwing” parts up on the line. These parts weight at least five pounds each. I pick them up out of a basket two at a time, and put them on the line to move toward the bearing press. This gets increasingly more difficult (and sometimes more painful) as the layers move toward the bottom of the basket. At one point I decided I’m just a part slinger.

Later in the day I moved to packaging. And there I did something I never thought I would do. I did a teaching with a guy that I never thought I’d do. A big chunk of my work with this crew is somewhat akin to a job coach. I’m working to help them make better work choices so that they can hopefully be hired somewhere full-time.

So this afternoon, two of the guys were having a discussion. The first guy said something the second guy didn’t like. He took a step back, thinking he was hidden by a stack of boxes and he “flipped” the first guy off. The problem with that was that he wasn’t hidden by the boxes and I turned around to catch him in the act. He immediately apologized. I let it set a moment and then I shifted in to teaching mode.

I called the guy over and explained that if he felt the absolute need to “salute” one of his co-workers, he was going to have to be a lot more subtle than that. I then proceeded to demonstrate how you have to “camouflage” the action. He insisted he didn’t think he’d get caught. I told him that stepping behind the boxes was an option, but then also pointed out that his very exaggerated motion was done facing the shipping dock and anyone walking by could have seen him, including management. He acknowledged that his action was a bit short-sighted.

I can’t believe I took ten minutes out of my day to teach this. Please know, we also discussed other ways of communication, but you can imagine what he really heard.

The Blizzards were a big hit. It appeared that they were a little surprised that I actually came through on my offer. I was impressed with their expressions of appreciation. Nelson did a great job of getting them there before they melted, too.

I’m thankful that it has cooled down some. We didn’t run the AC all day downstairs. Nelson is outside on the yard swing with Asher. They’re listening to the game. I can hear Nelson talking to Asher, telling what the different sounds are and keeping him updated on the game. I wish it wasn’t so dark, because that would make a wonderful picture.

Our singing was well received last night. We sang an old Imperials song: “If Heaven Never Was Promised to Me”, and two hymn medleys. The first included “Fairest Lord Jesus” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” The second is one we’ve sung a couple times at church that the people love to join in on: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”; “Rock of Ages”; “Victory In Jesus”; and “Because He Lives.”

It was interesting at the beginning of the meeting, as an ice-breaker, the leader asked us to introduce ourselves and then share what our favorite song was. Several people mentioned some of the hymns in our medleys. When it was my turn, I had to smile, since my favorite song is “Classical Gas” (a song from the 60’s by Mason Williams featuring a guitar solo). Nelson shared that one of his current favorites is “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” He sings it a lot to Asher and it always makes him smile.

I just took a break to do a little reading in the bathroom. That’s where we keep the “Readers’ Digest.” I remembered, while I was reading, a time when I was in a pageant for our little town. One of the questions posed to me by the judges was: what magazines do read at home. The only magazine we subscribed to (other than TV Guide) was “Readers’ Digest.” They weren’t impressed—like somehow that meant I lacked connection to the world. Phooey on them. I didn’t even place in that contest. Guess I didn’t need to be the Tomato Queen.

Well, I’m looking forward to a restful weekend, cooler and completely uneventful. That would be a blessing to my heart. May your heart also be blessed!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hot Thursday

Everyone should own a Pepa bed. Just about everyday when I come home from work, Asher is asleep on Nelson. He’s there right now. He must be having sweet dreams because he keeps smiling so sweetly. He cut one of his upper front teeth. I called Nelson on one of my breaks this morning and there was this scrappy sound coming through the receiver. It was Asher “gnawing” on Nelson’s cane—he was using Nelson’s cane as a teether! Crazy baby! Crazier Pepa. Though come to think of it, my girls loved to get a hold of my keys to teeth on: something about cool metal felt good, I guess.

It’s supposed to rain here today and cool things down a couple degrees for tomorrow: I’ll believe it when it happens. We’re still working early (5-1:30), but it really doesn’t feel that much cooler at 5 than 7. My little crew is working in a poorly ventilated corner of the plant. We’ve really pushed it this week to get some orders out on time. I told them today that if they got two of three orders we were working on out on time today I would buy them Blizzards (ice cream treat from Dairy Queen) tomorrow. They were amazingly motivated. I don’t think they thought I was serious until I asked them at the end of the day what flavors they wanted. Nelson will go get them and bring them for lunchtime.

I can’t remember if I wrote about this: I’m writing a study guide for our small group ministry that compliments the pastor’s sermon. This has been a really fun exercise for me. I’ve done a few of them ahead of the sermon, which is a challenge as I then am anticipating the direction the pastor may go. The whole process is good to prepare me for the message and keep me reading and researching. I hope they are fitting well, the only feedback I’ve gotten is from the person who is in charge of the project. She’s been very encouraging.

Nelson and I are singing for our supper tonight. A few weeks ago we sang for the traditional worship service and a woman in our Sunday school class who heads one of the Mission Study Groups asked us if we would sing at their banquet/cookout tonight. So in a little bit (when the baby wakes up) we’ll practice that song and a few others. I really love singing with Nelson. We did an encore of the first song at the service where I play on the worship team (8:30am service) this past Sunday. People really like Nelson’s voice. It just makes me smile down to my toes to get to sing with him.

I haven’t heard anything back with regards to my letter. The college president was clearly absent from church on Sunday, so he and his wife may be out of town. I’m about to give up. I was talking to someone about it, and he asked how I was or how I’d handle it if it didn’t pan out. I said I was getting better with the idea. The longer I don’t hear anything, the more hope I surrender and pretty soon it will just be what it is.

Well, it’s time to practice…TTFN