Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's better.

I wound up taking a sick day yesterday to sleep and relax, and be bundled up. I feel worlds better today than I did yesterday, so I think it really paid off! Now I can see myself actually enjoying NYE a little, which is a pleasant thought.

I'm otherwise pretty boring right now, so I won't waste your time making you read about what isn't very exciting in my life at this point. (Example: today, I'm going to look for a new coat to replace the one I've had for the past 13 years, that has somehow stuck with me through all those winters and through a gain of 40 or 50 pounds. It's a size 10, and I'm a size 18/20 right now. I don't know how it's working, but I can still wear a couple of layers under it, even. The thing is that it's so old, the buttons cant be sewn back on anymore. And even though I had it relined a couple of years ago, the pockets both have holes in them, and my car keys keep falling out. It's time for a new coat. I love this one soooo much! But it's time. And that is the excitement in my life at this moment. Woo?)

Happy new year to you all. I certainly hope that 2010 is a better year than 2009 was for my family and friends, and wish you the same for you and yours. Unless 2009 was a particularly good year for you, in which case, congratulations. (But no one likes a show-off, so go 'way now, would ya? :P)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This is just silly.

I think there might be a total of about 30 people in my whole building. I really don't know why I'm here right now. This is how bundled up I am in my chilled state...I have on my scarf, my knit wrap I keep at my desk for days when the A/C is too much or the heater isn't enough, my sweater, and two shirts. I'm wearing my ankle-length sweater skirt and tights on my legs, and I still wish I had a down comforter to wrap around me to cozy me up a bit more!

I have a hair appointment tonight that I can't cancel, or I totally would. I can't cancel because of the salon's new cancellation rules (I'd have to pay for the appointment if I cancelled right now), and also because my roots are awful...they must be done. So I'm gonna take another sudafed in about an hour, suck it up, and go.

So tired. So, soooo tired...

Miserable. Effing. Cold.

I have a cold. It is not only a crummy time to have one, but it's really just capping off a lovely past couple of weeks. So, trying to focus on things that cheer me up, I will share puppy videos with you now.

Jake in the snow. He is so spazzy, it just makes me giggle.


And here he is in a relatively serene and mellow moment when I was working from home recently...it gets silly around the 1:13 mark.


Sorry for the boringness. Blame the stuffy head. Blah.

Monday, December 28, 2009

FLOR stands for "F^ckin' LOVE Our Rug!"

Over the past couple of years, we've been struggling with what to do with our living room floors...actually, the floors throughout the house, to be honest. I love hardwood, but I also like to change things up every now and then, if you hadn't noticed. :P So the original rug that I've had in our living room since I bought the house back in 2003 had gotten a wee bit old for me. At one point, I wanted to install carpeting, but leave a border of wood floor around it, after I'd seen a picture of something similar in a magazine. But that's expensive, and I'd have to tear out a whole lot of original flooring to do it, and a part of me dies when I think about tearing out those original floors for aesthetic reasons!

So we've been looking at new area rugs for a while, watching for good sales, and trying to figure out what we wanted to buy. For the record, this is what our original rug looked like in the space...


It was a 5' x 8' rug that I got on sale from Pottery Barn. That's the only way I buy big items like that from them...from their sale section. It just doesn't make sense to buy things from them for full price, if you ask me. The sales are totally worth waiting for.

Anywho, the rug was a good one...it masked doggy accidents rather well, and looked good with most of the changes we made in the living room over the years. But it was accented with brown and green, and now that we've painted the blue and gray in the room, it definitely was time for it to go.

I've known about FLOR tiles for a while now, and knew they might be an economic option for what it was we were trying to achieve in that room. I went to their website a few weeks ago after we measured the space we wanted to cover with rug (it was about 19' x 13'), and entered the measurements into their little tile calculating tool, and looked up different variations on designs that we might like to have, and then I ordered samples of the tiles that I liked the looks of, and that definitely helped us make our decision on the colors and types of tiles we wanted to get. So I'd recommend not skipping that step if you ever order some FLOR tiles yourself.

We went with the Easy As Pie pattern, which costs $6.99 per tile...one of their lowest priced tiles, which suited me fine! We purchased them in the seafoam and earthen colors, and mixed the colors in a striped pattern. Each square has a striped pattern on them, and we alternated the stripes in the seafoam rows, and then kept the stripes going the same direction in the earthen row, which you can kind of see in the photo below.
It took us about 3 hours to lay the rug out, and then place the FLOR dots under the corners, to adhere the whole thing together. But overall, it was super easy, it looks great, and we're very happy! This was what it looked like when it was done, without the room loaded back in...
And here it is with all the furniture back in the room with it. Ignore the clashing of the Christmas decor...I might have to change that out in the future, since it doesn't look so good with our blue/gray theme we have going on now.

The great thing about this kind of rug is that we can change out the tiles for a very low cost if any of them become damaged beyond repair. It's a super-low pile, though, so keeping it clean should be pretty easy. I wish I was one of those bloggers that received a discount or free stuff for endorsing shit on her blog, but I'm not, so know that I'm gushing about FLOR just because we love it so much. If you're looking for a change in any room in your house, you might just wanna give it a go!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from possibly the happiest dog ever.

Imagine this is a shih tzu-poo in only about 7 inches of snow, and you've got our home this morning. I effing LOVE this video! I hate how it has a habit of start/stopping throughout, but it's still worth the trouble of clicking play, IMO.

Happy Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a lovely holiday with friends and family. :D


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Woowoo!

I'm working from home today, thanks to my awesome boss being so...well, awesome. I figured that between the weather and the emptiness of the office, there really wasn't any point to me going in there to do exactly what I can do from my couch in my living room. So I texted him yesterday afternoon (he's on vacation until January), and asked to work from home, and he said, "Sure! Merry Christmas!" Heehee! Yay!

With the ability to work whilst I do other things, today, Leo and I are laying our new FLOR tiles we ordered, so we can cover our living room floor in carpeting, sort of. I'll be taking pictures, so don't you worry. The FLOR tiles are so cool, though...we basically paid a good $350 - $400 less for the tiles than we would have had to pay for any other carpet of similar size, so we feel really happy with the purchase so far. We love our wood floors, but we've been here for 6 years. We want a change. So there ya have it.

Happy Christmas Eve, all! If I don't post tomorrow, then Merry Christmas to y'all as well. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Long story short...(Hahahahaha! Yeah, RIGHT!)

So Leo left his job on Sunday. It was weird that he was scheduled to work that day, because technically, he was already at 5 days/40 hours for the week due to the bereavement days he took on Tuesday and Wednesday. So he asked his boss when he saw him on Sunday, "Am I receiving OT for today? Or am I getting paid for 48 hours this week?" Unsurprisingly, his boss said no. He was only being paid for Tuesday as a bereavement day, and Wednesday was just an unpaid day off.

Which was totally what I suspected was going to happen. So I freaked out a little on Saturday night, and told/asked Leo to make sure to confirm what kind of pay he could expect for the week. So he did. And felt that the answer was total bullshit. And so he quit on the spot.

He's never done anything like that before in all his years in the kitchen. And he feels awful about it. It has been like pulling teeth to try to convince him that he didn't do anything wrong. I blame his traumatic upbringing for his 2 years of devotion to that kitchen. He was willingly being abused on a daily basis. Because he thinks that kind of treatment is normal, or some shit.

Nuh-uh. Not in the least.

Acting as an advocate for the employees there, and also fairly pissed off myself about how my family was being treated by his employer, I wrote them a long letter (no joke...sucker was 5 pages long!) telling them how fucked up I felt the entire situation was when it came to Leo asking for and receiving bereavement time to be by my side for my dad's funeral. And then I shared a little bit more info about what I felt was wrong with the management style his boss employed in that kitchen. I sent it to the President of their Board. And the GM of the place he worked. The GM wrote me back to acknowledge his receipt of the letter, and his intention to look into the situation.

Today, Leo was asked to give back a key he had to a lock in the kitchen, and they would give him his final paycheck in return.

He checked, and sure enough, they paid him for 24 hours of bereavement, and not just 16. Which means he was paid what he was told he would receive before we left for our trip. So the letter must've had some impact.

::sigh:: I hope it has more than just that small impact, though. For the sake of the people who still work for that tyrant they call a chef...I hope they do more.

One of my friends whom I asked for advice from on the letter told me she saw it as being a bit meddlesome. And I get that. I totally do. (Plus, I like her, and I respect her opinion, so I took it to heart.) But the problem is that Leo wasn't the first cook to walk out of that kitchen with little-to-no notice. Throughout his 2 years there, I remember there being at least 4 others that couldn't stand the way they were treated. Maybe 5. And that is a lot, even by kitchen standards! (Particularly by country club kitchen standards, which is where he was working.)

I suggested that keeping quiet might not be the best idea. Everyone else had kept quiet, and that man (i.e. his boss) was just allowed to keep on keeping on...managing everyone through fear and intimidation, yelling and screaming and being mad at them all the time. Threatening them, berating them, mocking them. It's not right. People shouldn't have to work for people like that! I left it up to Leo, though. I've been writing letters as a cathartic outlet for a loooong time, and if he wanted me to fold this one up and put it away, I certainly would respect that decision. But he chose to send it. And while it was from my point of view on the situation that took place, and included hearsay about how his boss manages his kitchen, we also got permission from a couple of those other coworkers who had quit to include them in the list of people that could be contacted to verify what had been said in the letter. That helped a lot. Because that made it so it wasn't just me acting like a crazy-ass, meddling wife, going off on a situation because she didn't want her husband to be bullied anymore.

Anyone out there that has to deal with abuse on a daily/weekly/monthly basis...speak up. Say something. You do not deserve to be treated like that in return for your hard work and dedication to your employer. You don't deserve to be treated like that in your home, either, by someone who is supposed to love you and take care of you the same way that you take care of them. You deserve to be healthy, happy, and productive because you care about your job (or your home/spouse/whatever the case may be)...not because you're being intimidated into doing something you're talented at for money. Or because you're being intimidated into sticking by those "till death do us part" vows. You deserve MORE. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Um, is it covered in diamonds? Because diamond-coated liver isn't my thing.

Leo wanted to make duck breast with a port wine and mushroom sauce, seared foie gras, and brussels sprouts for dinner on Christmas day.

We got the duck breasts from McGonigle's. 2 pounds for less than $40, as far as I know, because that's what I gave him to spend on it. (Maybe he's using the change to go to the movies someday this week...not sure. There's no way they cost more than a whole duck, which we found at Whole Foods for about $30.)

I just went to Dean & Deluca to check out the foie gras, since it's apparently the only place in town that has it available to the public.

Eighty-five. Dollars. Per. POUND.

The small .4 oz chunk they had available would have been $35. They're getting more in later, though, so in case anyone wants any, get there early because the dude said it goes quick.

You know, I remember the one time I've had foie gras in a restaurant, and it didn't cost us more than maybe $20 for that appetizer. And it was at least .4 oz on the plate.

So what is Dean & Deluca smoking? (Well, besides their own ego, which of course is monstrously inflated to begin with, right?) I dunno...$85 per pound is just silliness. We'll just buy a nice little bit of pate to have with some bread before dinner, and pretend it's foie gras, maybe.

In other News From Outside, I almost got hit in the Town Center parking lot by a small bus/large van as it backed out of a spot, so I slammed on my breaks and honked. Which gave me plenty of time to see that their license plate read "QUIVRFL". ::runs screaming from scary baby fundamentalists:: (By the way, avoid Town Center if you can. Jesus McFUCK, there are a lot of people there!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wait until he learns the phrase "GFY!"

While home for my dad's funeral, I had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with the Twin and mine's best friend*. She came to our parents' house on Sunday before the funeral, and helped us with the programs for the service on Monday, and to just generally help us try to remain sane throughout all the crazy that was going on with all the preparations. She is a fabulous person, and believe me, if you don't know her, you should wish that you do.

She managed to stick around through dinnertime with the Smith clan, and she told one of my favorite stories about her son when we were all done with eating, and had officially commenced with the semi-drunken story hour. (For some, it was the FULL-ON DRUNKEN, but that's totally allowed the day before your dad's funeral. Just so you know.)

Apparently, she and her husband were sitting on their living room floor, playing the Memory Game with their son one night. Said son is about 4, I believe. And he is a cutie-pie! Anyway, he was having a great time, finding his cards as he flipped them, memory working away in his favor. Until he flipped one card, getting this look on his face that said, "Oh, I know where that match is at!" And he flipped the card he thought matched with it to find that it, in fact, was not the matching card. To which he exclaimed, "What the FUCK?"

For me, this is an absolutely AWESOME kid story. LOVE. Funny, funny, FUNNY. My friend's husband found it hilarious as well, and laughed out loud, which made my friend laugh of course, and then their son laughed along with them.

Aw...heartwarming, isn't it? Gotta love it when a 3.5 - 4 year old says something like that, with the correct inflection, and the correct context and all. But the thing is, they totally aren't cussers. And I don't hang out with them enough to be blamed for his downfall into ludeness and debauchery, so where did he learn the phrase? Hahahahaha! (I blame Iran, Brittany Murphy, and the existence of celery personally.)


*For the record, I have no idea how to word that...EVER. Mine and the Twin's best friend? The best friend to me and the Twin? Our best friend that is awesome for loving the twins so much since age 13? It's always a jumble in my brain, is the thing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An Ode to Southwest Air

Hi! ::waves:: I'm back. I'm not all together here, but I'm back. :)

As I told everyone in my last post, I was flying via Southwest Air for my trip back to California this past week. I honestly dread flying on Southwest, because even though they've made some significant advances in their boarding procedure since the original "cattle call" days, it still somehow manages to confuse people. How? I do not know. But since people and I usually don't get along all that well, you can imagine how much worse off things can be when I'm around people who are confused for essentially no reason at all. It can get ugly all up in this head, y'all.

It wasn't too bad on the flight out. Well, unless you count the lady that thought her 35 pound toddler was extra luggage she could keep in her lap for the trip to Vegas. Who decided to take the empty seat behind me. Yep, that was a treat and a half! Especially when the kid shit his pants halfway through the flight, and the lady decided to sit there for 10 minutes without changing him. Delightful.

On my way home yesterday, I figured out the way to avoid the kid-sitting-behind-me scenario. I sat in the row that was directly in front of the exit row. Brilliant! Now, not only could I escape from the plane quickly in an emergency, but I was guaranteed to be free of a screaming kid kicking my seat throughout my flight. Yay!

I also discovered that it is totally worth it to splurge for the extra $10 to get the "early bird" check-in thingy online. It got me some decent spots in the A boarding group on both my flights, and I had loads of seating options, which including the row in front of the exit row on both my flights. (Tip: if you're traveling with other people, you really only need one person to by the $10 early bird deal. Then have them save you the seats when they get on! Woowoo!)

Unfortunately, regardless of when you board, or what boarding group you're put into (A or B), there's always an idiot that either wants to line up in absolute numerical order, or who doesn't get the boarding system at all. I try to ignore the latter because if they talk directly to me, I'm likely to smile at them in an idiotic way and cross my eyes in order to try to mimic what they look like to me inside my head. And they don't tend to catch the sarcasm. (Shocking.)

But the numerical order people...UGH. While waiting for both of my flights yesterday, I just stood in the general area that I was supposed to. The first flight, I was in A26. The second, I was a bit behind that in A44. And just before I boarded on both flights, men approached me to ask me what my number was. I asked them both, "Does it really matter?" They didn't respond. I'm guessing it's because they realized that, no. It does NOT really matter. If you're lucky enough to be in the A boarding group, you're good. So who the fuck cares about what order you get to climb on the goddammed plane in? If you DO actually care, then you're wasting your brain power. Try relaxing a bit more, and unclench your asshole for a while. You'll thank me later. (I know this might sound weird to some of you out there that know me, because you're probably saying that to ME in your head much of the time. But the thing is, when it comes to travel, I let go of a lot of my control issues. Because it's stupid to try to be in control of everything when you travel. I'd have a stroke if I tried to control everything when I travel. There isn't any point. From the time you give your belongings to a person behind a desk to the time you land on the ground wherever you're headed, you are not in control. So let it goooo.)

The second guy that approached me to ask what number I was in line also called me "hon". ::sigh:: Guys, strange women are not your "hon". They are not your sweetie or cutie either. Refrain from calling strangers a pet name. Because it might make them want to dump their Diet Coke over your head later on the plane, just to warn ya. (I covet my Diet Cokes a bit too much to do anything like that, though, so you'd likely just get a dirty look from me if you ventured to call me something along those lines. But you certainly wouldn't get a dose of kindness from me, that's for sure!)

Lastly, I've found a way to manage my somewhat irrational fear of moderate turbulence during a flight. I discovered it when I was traveling to New Hampshire earlier this year, and had to fly through some very stiff winds when trying to land. (We were kind of sideways when we landed...I think they call it "crabbing." And it was utterly frightening.) I happened to get lucky with a favorite song that came on my iPod as we started to descend into the nasty air, and as I rocked out, I didn't notice the turbulence as much. In fact, it kinda helped my rocking outness. So now whenever we're going through a rough patch that's so bad, it causes the flight attendants to have to sit down, even, I flip through my iPod, and I find my Peter Murphy "Deep" album, and tune in to "Roll Call (reprise)" to get me through it. It lasts about 8 and a half minutes, so it generally gets me through any bad patches all together, like it did last night on my flight from Phoenix to Kansas City. It took about 15 minutes for the pilot to find some more mellow air, and then we were back to a normal smooth ride.

Of course, the vodka sodas I had in Phoenix while I waited might not have hurt. ::shrugs::

The week went well. I felt pretty ok the entire time, until I had to travel home by myself yesterday. (Leo came back on Wednesday, so he could get in to work yesterday, per the request of his idiot boss. Who, when he saw Leo, asked him how the weather was in California. You know, like he'd been there on a vacation, or something. ::rolls eyes::) I found the presence of my family more comforting than I realized, apparently. But I need to learn how to deal with this stuff without them around me. Hopefully, the weekend will help me learn to cope on my own. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanks everyone!

Dad officially passed away finally this morning. I'm pretty convinced that it was just his body finally shutting down, though...I think his soul moved on a couple of days ago. (I warned Leo that he might just join Jeffers now at the house, so he'd better watch out for more activity! Not shitting you, Leo's eyes got all big and he actually looked freaked out, like I was serious. He's so cute...)

In that same vein, I've officially moved on to the silly/goofy/inappropriate comments/behavior stage of mourning. Just to warn y'all, this is completely normal for me, as well as the Twin. I think it's because of our beliefs about the human spirit, and in ghosts and other planes of activity, etc...It's also probly due to the exhaustion and mental whooping we've taken leading up to this point, too, though. So who knows?

Just know that I'm doing ok. Now it's time for me to be there for anyone in my family who is not doing ok, and to hopefully bring them some well-deserved relief from the thoughts about dad suffering for all those years, and the difficult end he experienced. Leo and I will head to California on Saturday via the Big Bus Company of the Skies, Southwest. So you KNOW there are bound to be some stories coming from that. I specifically avoid flying on Southwest, willingly paying more money for flights elsewhere, because the average person who flies Southwest is...well, they had a reality show about those people, ok? It was like a precurser to the People of Walmart site, for fuck's sake! I hate flying with those people. But! The seats are comfier than they are on American, and they fly through cities that don't tend to get snow this time of year...those are two qualifications that I just couldn't discard this time around.

Thanks again for all your kind words and thoughts throughout this week. I can't tell you all how much it's been appreciated!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Isn't it *fun* to deal with people like that?

During the drive in this morning, where I saw people whipping back and forth from lane to lane to get wherever they were going as quickly as they possibly could, regardless of the slop on the street we all were driving in, I couldn't help but think about mixed up priorities. As if I wasn't already focussed on them as it was...

Leo has been having a hard time at his job for around the past 6 months. He suddenly has a target on his head that apparently invites his boss to regularly threaten his job ("If you can't do it right, then maybe I need to find someone who can..."), give him shit for having to tend to other peoples' mistakes (unloading the delivery truck, not knowing that there was supposed to be $600 worth of filets in the delivery, only to find out later that they weren't loaded at the dock, but the restaurant was charged for them in their order...and Leo somehow was at fault for not knowing they were supposed to be on the truck in the first place), and just generally treat him like a slave.

Prior to this, he's been sailing along in an ok way. But for some reason or another, the boss has it out for him now, and I'm frankly tired of the way he fucking threatens him all the damned time. I wish he'd either grab his balls, and fucking fire him already, or just shut the fuck up and recognize Leo for the hard worker that he is.

But yesterday took the cake. Leo and I have decided to head out to California on Saturday this week, seeing as the funeral will likely take place on Monday, and there's some spending time with the family that I'd like to do both before and after. Leo has been dreading telling his boss about my father's turn for the worse. He's known that my dad was terminally ill, but he hasn't been all that sympathetic about it, to be honest. Not that I expect him to be, but still...some level of human decency toward a tenured employee and his spouse was expected.

I don't know what I was thinking.

After I spoke to Leo yesterday afternoon and gave him the update on dad, and told him what I'd like to do for our trip to California, he went back to the restaurant to tell his boss, and to request the bereavement time off. (I think his company allows for 3 paid days off for a loss of a parent-in-law. That's what Leo said, anyway. And it makes sense. It's at the management's discretion, though, hence the request for the time from his boss.) Amazingly, that jackass decided to bring up our trip to California in September (although he was talking about it having taken place in November, which was when we had originally planned to take vacation this year, but that fell through when my family asked me to visit dad instead), saying that he didn't understand Leo's need to go, since he "went to pay his respects already."

Cue my brain shifting into shocked, amazed, and ultra-pissed mode.

He went on to say that Leo could take the time, but he needed him back by Thursday, not Friday, and he only thinks its fair that he warn him that because of him taking this time off, he'll be reducing Leo's hours starting in January. He'll only be working 4 days/32 hours a week at that point.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I decided to write a letter to the general manager of the location that Leo works at. I didn't know if Leo would want to actually give it to him, or if he'd just like to use it for his own reference when discussing the time off with the HR lady in the office there (he wanted to make sure he was going to get pay for the bereavement days, so he planned to talk to her today), but regardless, it was a cathartic letter for me to write. Here's the final version, in case you're interested in all this crap:

"To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to address the treatment that my husband, Leo Smith*, has received from his manager, Whackjob in Charge, due to my father’s death and funeral plans in southern California. My father passed away this week after a long fight with a terminal illness. Leo’s subsequent request for bereavement time was met with derision and anger from his boss.

First off, as I understand it, WiC is trying to say that since Leo and I went to California at the end of September for vacation to visit my father and other family members, that Leo should have no reason to need to attend the funeral at all next week. This bothers me very much because it was earned paid time off that Leo took to go to California for vacation. Regardless of what it was used for (which is none of anyone’s business, aside from Leo and me) it was paid time off that was earned per company guidelines. So the fact that WiC is bringing that up as a reason why he can’t give Leo the bereavement time the company allows for is irresponsible on his part.

Secondly, Leo’s father-in-law has been suffering from late-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis since 2002. His brother passed from the disease that year, which lead him to get diagnosed along with his other little brother. He was lucky enough to receive a single-lung transplant in 2008, and survived until this time in a slowly degenerative state. We knew that he would not survive the disease, as there is no cure, but we had no way of knowing that he would be going through the stages of death right before the holiday. We were honestly hoping that the new lung he received almost 2 years ago would carry him through at least another 5 years of life, if at all possible. Unfortunately, he started getting very sick on Thanksgiving weekend, and continued to get worse until he died just 2 weeks later. I realize how busy of a time this is for the [place of work], particularly in the kitchen, and believe me…if I could have this any other way, I would never choose to lose my father during this time of year! It’s unfortunate, but obviously unavoidable. When I started dating Leo several years ago, I quickly learned that giving up holidays with our families was going to be the name of the game for as long as he was working in a kitchen. And we’ve done just that, for most years that we’ve been together. I understand the importance of having him there to help. But I would certainly hope that his family issues involving death wouldn’t be looked at as being something of a nuisance by his managerial team. It’s frankly disgusting to consider that anyone would see it in such a way.

Thirdly, the company handbook states that employees can get up to 3 paid bereavement days, at the management’s discretion, for the death of a parent-in-law. At many companies, the maximum days are given when extensive travel is involved, like when the family lives in a state that requires a full day of travel to get to and from, which is the case for my family. They are in California. It takes a full 7 - 8 hours to fly there and back, which pretty much wipes out the entire day, particularly when returning to the Midwest from the west coast. Hopefully, it might be understandable that during this time, I would like to be with my family (including my husband) if at all possible. My own job gives me 5 days paid bereavement, which I plan to take the entirety of.

Leo regularly has Sunday and Monday off every week for his “weekend”. He is requesting to leave on Saturday the 12th, and return to work on Friday the 18th. That would be only 4 days off from work, since his weekend falls in the middle of that week. We would be traveling on Saturday, to arrive and help with preparations for the funeral (which will take place either Monday or Tuesday, depending on church availability), and then need to deal with a fair amount of family business in the day(s) following the funeral. I would like to have Leo there with me for support throughout those difficult days. We would return on Thursday, not arriving back in town until later that night, due to the time difference from west coast to Midwest. Leo would take Thursday as an unpaid day off, if allowed.

I am only 35 years old. My mother died when I was 25 (after a 10 month fight with liver cancer), and my father was only 69 himself. My father’s disease and subsequent death has been incredibly hard for me and my family to deal with, emotionally and physically. My husband is my rock, and is the only familial support I have locally. He is an amazing employee for the [place of work] (for over 2 years now), never calling in sick, and never showing up late for a single shift, give or take a few minutes on occasion. He is probably one of the most ethical employees that anyone could ever hope to have, particularly when it comes to kitchen staff! So I would hope that when WiC was threatening to cut him down to 32 hours a week starting in January, saying it was due to him requesting this time off to return with me to California to attend my father’s funeral with me, and help me get through the other difficult tasks that attend such an event, he was just upset at the time, and didn’t mean anything serious by it.

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and sincerely hope that my husband will not be punished in any way for being a decent, kind, and loving spouse to me during an extremely difficult time in my life.

Sincerely,
Faith Smith"

*Names have been changed or removed all-together, of course! ;)

I know Leo took the letter with him to work today...not sure why. He didn't sleep a wink last night, and his stomach was so upset this morning, he couldn't eat. He was planning on talking to the general manager maybe on Friday after his shift was over, so he could tell him about the fact that his boss was retaliating against Leo, using my father's funeral as a reason to cut his hours in the coming months. But he's afraid of what his boss will do to him when he gets back if the general manager brings it up while he's away. And he has every right to be afraid...his boss has anger management issues, going so far as to punch a former employee prior to pushing him down a set of stairs that leads to his office. The man is violent and irrational. Leo asked me how bad it would be for us if he lost his job. I told him that his health wasn't worth it, and he should follow his gut. I also told him that if his whackjob of a boss even hinted towards bringing up the bereavement time Leo is taking next week, he should ignore him, except to reply that his wife thanks him for making an already very difficult time even MORE difficult for us.

Why are people such DOUCHEBAGS???

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"I'm going on a trip..."

I'm on a thin line between wanting to be goofy and silly, and barely having the energy to talk. Last I heard from the Twin, dad had declined to a point where he's no longer responding to anyone, except when they flipped him on his side to put a sheet underneath him (which will make it easier to move him, so the bed can be changed frequently), and his eyes got wide with fear at what was happening.

He hasn't been able to keep anything down since last Friday, apparently. He tried to eat a little on Saturday, and when I spoke to him at about 9:30 or 10 a.m. his time, he sounded really very good! I feel so lucky that I got a hold of him then, because ever since, he's been slipping fast.

The food isn't staying down, and his organs are failing. He told someone that was visiting him that he was going on a trip. And I keep thinking about that, over and over and over. And I hope the journey he has is short, painless, and has my mom and his brother there waiting for him!

When we spoke on Saturday, he told me that he was glad I was happy. He thinks Leo is a great guy, and I agree. He did tell me, though, "You tell Leo I said he'd better treat you good, or I'm coming after him!" I laughed, and reminded him that it was Leo that we needed to worry about in this relationship, because I'M the evil one, dammit. And then I said that even though our family is only made up of me, Leo, and the puppies, it's a damned good one to have, I think. He agreed.

I wish I'd told him how much I appreciate everything he did for me. I wish I'd told him that I learned so much from him, and feel strong because of it all, and can't thank him enough for the values he instilled in me. I wish I'd told him that I'm glad that I've inherited so many of his traits, because it makes me feel like a better person when I try to behave like him.

But I try to console myself by thinking that he already knows all that. He has to. He is DAD, after all! They know everything. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh yeah...I *totally* wanna sit on that!

First things first: It smells like a ham sandwich at my desk today. I can't trace it to anything, and it's really starting to bother me.

Over the weekend, we had that move that I talked about in my post on Friday, and sure enough, I came in to find that my chair had been swapped out. Which, really, I'm fine with. Except that THIS was what they left for me to sit on...
Uuuhhmm...I think I'll pass.

I went out in search of a semi-clean chair in the surrounding cubes, and found this in the one next to mine:
Pretty!
I finally went across the hall and found a decent-looking one that was only minorly soiled, but still needs cleaning, IMO. It was the least offensive, though...

We have a real estate group that handles all this kind of shit, so I went ahead and sent one of them those pictures and asked them how I was supposed to request that the chairs get a scrubbing. We have a web portal to request maintenance items to be taken care of, but I'm not sure if they deal with things like the chairs. I can't imagine why they wouldn't, but I really just wanted to send someone in the department a picture of those chairs. Because really? REALLY? It's just FOUL.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oops. Sorry!

I was a little tipsy last night when I wrote my last post. So, sorry if it came off a little harsh! I am having a rough week, emotionally, because my dad isn't doing well right now and it's been a roller-coaster as far as his status is concerned. It's taking a toll.

But yeah...I'm still not changing my avatar because it bugs someone. ::shrugs::

I just watched a Folgers commercial that was disturbing to me. Anyone else see it? It's about a brother who apparently lives/works in Africa, and he comes home for the holidays, I assume. He gets to the front door, and his little sister greets him, and from there on out, it's just creepy. He seems taken aback by how different/grown-up she looks, and then they're in the kitchen getting coffee, and he gives her a present, and she takes the bow off of it and sticks it on him, saying, "You're my present." And then the camera gets a close-up of his face, and he looks at her with this tender look in his eyes...

Ick. Ick, ew, BLECH! The incestuous vibes of the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way.

I hate Folgers.

In response.

In one of my recent posts, Logtar made a comment about my avatar being somewhat of a bother for him. I guess maybe it doesn't look as scary/random/fucked up to him as it does to me, and I wonder if that's the case for everyone viewing my blog.

But here's the thing...

That face? IS IN MY BRAIN. It's not meant to be ironic. It's not meant to be funny. It's not meant to look like something that someone has told themselves it might look like (i.e. a thong, or what have you). It's a picture of how FUCKED UP my head really is.

OK?


There's a lot of shit going on in my life right now, and the last fucking thing I plan on doing is changing my avatar so it will be pleasant for people to look at. My brain is a fucked up place to be, even without the weird, evil, random, devil-looking dude showing up in images. I figure it's the best way to represent myself on other blogs, or on my own blog, personally. So it's staying up for a while. And that's all there is to say about that.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Aw...maybe you shouldn't have skipped today, after all.

The Twin caught this sign while watching GMA this morning, and took a screen shot. Looks like maybe "missin school" wasn't such a good idea...

Stoopid Americans...

My kind of Friday!

I'm working from home today...which means I'm in charge of my thermostat, which is nice. We have a large move going on at the office, consolidating teams that were previously spread out in different buildings, etc..., so we are staying out of the way by getting out of the office.

Except for my boss. He decided to go in today, since his office isn't part of the move. (Neither is mine, but the noise and distraction is harder to ignore from my open cube than it will be from his office with a door, I'd imagine.) He's guarding his chair. It's one of those ergonomic types, and he doesn't want it to be taken away just because he doesn't have a note from his doctor saying he needs it. I don't blame him...he's had it for twelve years, and it was given to him at a time when the company was apparently doing pretty well, and they were replacing ALL the chairs in his building with ergonomic kinds. Now they suddenly want everyone to provide a note from their doctor to prove they need the chair, and he doesn't have one, and doesn't feel its right to go ask a doctor to lie for him. He sent a note explaining about how he got the chair in the first place, and requesting to keep it, but they said Sorry Charlie! Which is ridiculous. First off, he's an executive. He should have the chair he wants since he works his butt off for the company on a daily basis. (He's one of the hard-working executive types of people...not the lazy kind that tell everyone else to do shit for him. He's nifty like that. :) ) Second of all, he's worked for the company for almost 22 years. Dude should be able to get a golden throne by now, ok?

But since he doesn't have a note from the doctor, they plan on taking away his chair. I have an ergonomic one I snaked from an open cube during the last layoff, and I don't have a note either, but I don't mind them taking it away. The only problem I have with the fabric, cushy chairs I used to sit on is that they seem to get dirty really easily. Which makes no sense to me, because I swear I wear clean clothes to work, so how the fuck is my chair so dirty after a few months? Whatever...I don't mind getting one back, but I will start submitting requests for them to clean it on a reular basis, is all. They really shouldn't have chosen the color of fabric for them that they did. It's a light greenish color...bad idea.

Anyway, I'm off to watch my email inbox do nothing, while I also watch recorded t.v. shows at the same time. It's called multitasking, and I'm very good at it. Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Time to shut the outside vents, maintenance!

It is fucking COLD in my office today. I don't know if they forgot to close a vent somewhere or what, but I'm 'bout to lodge a complaint.

Side note: Anyone else think of the "Brrr, it's cold in here; there must be some Toros in the atmosphere!" cheer from Bring It On whenever they say "brrr!" to themselves? Because I do it. A lot. And I'm wondering if that means I'm broken.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Rich is trying to kill us all with the cuteness.

I love kittens. I don't like living with them, but I love watching them in their anticy play that involves their sharp little kitten teeth with other peoples' hands. So cute! Rich has a post up today that includes a video that has killed me with the cuteness. If you're in need of a cute injection (and lets face it...we all are, ok?) then head over there to check it out.

So. fucking. CUTE. ::dies::

Gobble your WHAT?

Well, this just seems like a bad marketing idea.
Last week, watching t.v. the day before Black Friday was a mine field of advertising for all the big sales that were being planned. But, by far, Old Navy took the cake in grabbing our attention.

If you don't get why from the picture above, then maybe this will help:

Yeeeeaaaahh...um, ok. Gobble indeed, eh? :D (Although those teeth make things a wee bit more foreboding than they should be, IMO. ::shudders::)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quick question...

Why the hell is this Seattle cop shooting story so important to our local news, that they feel the need to update on it every 5 minutes, and even talk to someone in Seattle about it via phone? I mean, I feel bad for the cops that were shot, and for their families...awful, even. But WTF? On KMBC this morning they were acting like it happened in fucking OP, KS.

It didn't. It happened 1500 miles from here. Soo, yeaaah. Not sure I'm getting the significance to our morning, is the thing.

Do we have so little going on here that we need to reach out and look for national stories for interest factor? Maybe there's a robbery in Cincinnati that we should all be aware of? Or a house fire in New Orleans?

Oh, and Donna Pitman needs to go back to broadcasting 101, FFS. It's like she's lost all ability to state a sentence clearly and concisely, and she likes to start all her words with an "ah" sound. It's distracting and annoying. Even Dion's over-attentiveness to pronounciation is less annoying than Donna's word-stumbling as of late. And that's saying a lot, IMO.

I think I need to stick to watching recorded shows in the morning instead of the news, maybe.