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2007-01-02 - 8:45 p.m.

I Am No Longer Under the Tippity-Tappity Dress Shoes of THE MAN!

Happy New Year's, peoples!

In the last 2 weeks I've written 3 entries that I never finished, and with much determination last week, had nearly wrapped up a fourth, which I then LOST. Apparently when you hit a couple keys you shouldn't, things go bye-bye.

Anyhoo, the bottom line is that these last few weeks on the job were as painful as I imagined, yet different.

Lumbergh went spasmotic on me the Thursday before Christmas (the day he was set to leave early and take his family on vacation).

"Halo, we're gonna need to set up some time to talk about this transitional stuff. I don't think we'll be able to get anyone new in during the holidays, and I don't know if we'll get a temp for awhile, or what. Are you working on a list of things you do on daily basis?"

"Oh, yes. Been jotting down things as I go along." I flipped my notebook open and showed him 2 pages of notes scribbled in different ink colors. "I still need to type it up, but..."

"Great. Well, if you could get that in legible format, then maybe I'll sit down with (co-worker) next week and we'll go through everything and make sure we're clear on what needs to be done. Hey, I'm not sure what you have planned after you leave, but do you think you could come in for a few days to help train someone?"

"Ummmmm...gosh, I dunno."

"Because," he rambled on, "I'm sure we won't have someone starting the exact first day you're gone, and I don't know when we'll get someone in, so even if it's just to cross-train (co-worker), would you be able to do that?"

"Ummm, well, I'm mostly just wanting to take some time off at first, but.."

Before I could finish, he jumped in and said (I am not making this up): "Of course, we'd pay you."

Oh, REALLY? You mean I'd get to wake up early, put work clothes on, drive 20 miles out to the job I just left, to train someone on how to replace me...and I'd get paid TOO? Holy fuck! Where do I sign up?

I was so astonished by his statement of the obvious all I could say was "Well, of course!"

I should've said: "You know, we'll see. But you should know my fee as a consultant is $20 an hour. Plus travel expenses."


But in order to shut him up, all I said was "it's a possibility." Which, as you all know, means HELL NO.

And as it turned out, once Christmas was over, bossman kept putting off our "transitional stuff." Almost as if he was in denial. Furthermore, there wasn't a hint he'd put an ad in the paper or was reviewing resumes or anything. Hmmmmmm.

Sometime around late Wednesday he said we'd go over things before I left, "come hell or high water."

Ok, what-evah.

Neither Hell, nor high water came, but he did get a raging stomach virus on Thursday.

You know, it was unpleasant when I could hear him in the bathroom (that shares a wall with my desk) taking a piss. And it was even more uncomfortable when he'd answer his cell phone while taking a piss. But I thought the worst was when he'd been in there for 20 minutes, then spray several long bursts of air freshener.

I was wrong.

The absolute worst is being able to hear your boss wretching. Over and over. And twenty minutes later hearing five long bursts of air freshener before he emerged.

Oh good lord. Thanks for the memories.

He proceeded to walk into his office and shut the door. I peered around the corner and noticed that under his door, his office light was off. Wow. He must really be sick if he's in there resting.

Occasionally he would dash back to the bathroom. Lovely.

About an hour later, I was up at the front desk, and the phone rang. I picked it up and it was my boss. Calling from his cell phone. In his office.

"I'm in my office resting. I'm really nauseous. My wife's coming to get me. I didn't want anyone to think I had died or anything."

"Oh, ok. Well, feel better!" By that time, everyone else had figured out he was sick. But no one bothered to wonder if he was in there dead, possibly asphixiated on his own vomit (which, I gotta say, would've been SO COOL).

His wife didn't arrive for about another hour and dragged him off.

Farm owner's assistant went nutty about no one touching anything he had touched, and to STAY CLEAR from the back bathroom until it had been throughly sprayed with disinfectant (Gee, really? Cuz I was about to run in there and lick the seat)

The whole time I've worked there, bossman has never taken a sick day that I can recall. He's come in with colds (thanks!) and bad allergies and whatnot and always pushed through. So it was kinda weird that he got so violently ill the day before I left ("Yes, yes, by all means, have another brownie, Lumbergh. My special recipe. Mwah-HA-HA!")

Alas, I'm not that evil. Because it never occured to me. At any rate, it all worked out. I spent a few hours on Friday going over my files and tasks with my somewhat reluctant co-worker (I needed to tell someone where I kept stuff). We'd wrapped up and bossman showed up after 3 pm. He ignored me for about 2 hours, and ten minutes before I left, for GOOD, we bumped into each other in the hallway and I told him I'd gone over the basics with my co-worker.

"Ok...good. Did you finish your list of tasks?"

"Yep. Now, it's not very detailed and I didn't include everything, but most of it's there."

I handed him a copy and he went in his office to look it over. I began a final quick sweep of my PC and desk as he came around the corner.

"Here's what I really need to know. How do you transfer the data from the one program to the other?"

(That's IT? That's ALL you want to know? Not where I keep the horse inventory or insurance lists? I've been waiting for THAT question for 2 weeks...but whatever, fucker)

"Oh, it's really easy. I just finished transferring the last bit from today, but I'll show you the screens and buttons I hit." I pulled up the program.

"How often do you transfer info?"

"A few times a day. Depends on how much has been entered. But at least once a day." I began to walk him through the procedure and he prodded me to write it down. "Sure! It's only about 4 steps."

I jotted the info down on the bottom of my task list.

"Great! Thanks!"

And that was the beginning and end of us discussing transitional items.

What a putz. And the last I heard about my replacement, a woman from a temp agency called him back a couple times. The last call (on Friday morning while he was still out) was whether or not he'd received the resumes she'd sent him (I'm assuming via email, or his private fax line).

It's hard for me to believe he waited nearly 2 weeks after I gave notice to start looking for someone else. I realize it was the holiday season, and even if no one was available to start till after the 1st, you'd think he would've been gathering and reviewing a stack of resumes a bit earlier than MY LAST DAY.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the farm manager threw every project he could think of, big and small, at me the last 2 weeks. I'm so happy I cleared out a bunch of old files (hard copy and online) before I gave notice, because with all the stuff he handed me, I wouldn't have had time to do everything. *WHEW*

Now while farm manager squeezed every last bit of energy out of me before I left, he acted chilly towards me. I had the feeling he was somewhat resentful that one of his workshorses grew a spine and bolted. Also, he seemed confused by my leaving (why would someone leave such a great farm...especially to go off and do nothing?)

His life revolves around that farm and he loves every minute of it. He was promoted through the ranks over the years (nowhere to go but up), doesn't have to commute, his house (plus utilities) and truck are provided by the farm, he can come and go as he pleases, and he can delegate all his tedious crapwork to everyone else. All while being able to build his own small stable of horses, and I assume, a very nice mountain of moolah/investments, considering how much he's probably paid, and how much of that he doesn't have to spend on a mortgage and bills.

Bully for him.

But if he were faced with a future filled with entering data and making copies, commuting 40 miles a day round trip, and getting a raise of 25 cents more an hour per year, he probably would've left long before I did.

You know, they'll manage without me, but I think at the very least, it'll be a bumpy couple of weeks (if not months) until the new person gets the hang of things. They took so much I did for granted.

I was surprised by how sort of blase everyone was about my leaving. People said they were sad to see me go and all that, but mostly they were so busy with their stuff for the last 2 weeks (almost a little too pre-occupied), there were days where it felt like I'd never even turned in my resignation. I think the three gals left in the office are trying not to think about the shit that might land on their plates until someone is hired. Even if most tasks are pushed to the side for awhile, there's no way for them to avoid answering the phones.

Another thing that surprised me was how emotional I became near the end of the week. I gave Rosie the office cat a big hug Thursday afternoon and almost started crying. I said goodbye to one of the assistant farm managers because was heading out on vacation that night. I drove home feeling rather fragile and melancholy. I perked up a bit once I got home, walked the dogs, had a bite to eat, and was just about to pop open a beer and jump online, when my nose started running. I jumped up to grab a Kleenex, thinking wow...why's my nose running all of a sudden? Before I made it to the bathroom, I instinctively reached to wipe my nose with the back of my hand, at the exact moment it dawned on me that I had a nosebleed. I pulled my hand away and it was covered in blood. Awwww shit! I leapt into the bathroom, grabbed a fistful of tissues, and swung my head back to stop the bleeding. Which of course, made the blood run down the back of my throat. So I went back and forth between blowing my nose, coughing, grabbing more tissues and throwing my head back again. Took about 10 minutes for it to finally stop.

Christ. That was unexpected. I wasn't concerned because during the winter, when it gets too dry, this happens to me from time to time.

So la la la, I finally got online and wrote and wrote and wrote, and then lost the entry, as previously mentioned. Fuck. Fine, then. It's bedtime!

Friday was weird, being my last day and all, especially since my boss wasn't in. I finished up a project for farm manager and helped my co-worker with a mailing, then headed off to lunch. When I returned, I did the review of stuff with her. Right near the end, my nose starting running again. Ohhhh shit! "Uh oh, I'm getting another nosebleed. Just a minute!" I locked myself in the bathroom, stuffed tissue in my nose, and stood there against the wall, leaning my head back. I was feeling jittery, and my head began throbbing. Christ, give me a break, wouldja?

A few minutes after I sat down back at my desk, with my head back, trying to relax, bossman showed up. I started feeling a little better, began finishing up a few more things, but my head was still bothering me.

An hour later, while he was busy ignoring me, I went out to see the stallions and say my good-byes. I was doing fine...until one of them stared right at me with a sweet wistful look, and tears started streaming down my face. I tried to get it together, in case anyone walked in the barn, but first I made a beeline back to my favorite stallion's stall, to talk to him once more time. I began sobbing quietly and softly told him how things had been so weird for the last few weeks, and how strange everyone was acting. It's different than I thought it would be. I gripped the bars of his stall, leaned back on my heels, and took a long deep breath. I looked up at the rafters, while he munched on his dinner, and tried to stop crying. I'm sure gonna miss you, but I'll come back to visit. Be a good boy, ok? Have a good breeding season and no matter what, be careful. I love you, you know that? You're my boy. Don't forget it. Take care, handsome. I gotta get going now.

I walked back across the barn slowly, waved and said goodnite to them and did the best I could to compose myself before I went back in the office. Luckily I'd restrained my sobbing to the point just before the splotchy-face, swollen-eyes phase, so I was in decent shape. But I was hoping to have another minute or two to run to the restroom before talking to my boss, but that's when I ran into him in the hallway. (Knock knock. Who's there? NOT CHRIST. Where's my break, dammit?)

So that's when I mentioned that I'd reviewed items with co-workers and hoped that if my eyes were red, he didn't notice.

Fifteen minutes later, I was hugging a few of my female co-workers, and on my way out I went in the conference room, where the guys were watching the UK football game, to say goodbye. Farm manager was facing away from me and didn't bother to turn around. I vaguely remember seeing him putting up his arm and waving. I went to shake my boss's hand, but he was sitting down with his arms were crossed, so I lightly gave him a playful punch on the arm right as he said "Hey, you don't wanna touch me, I'm still sick." I jumped back and said "Well, I'm off. Take care everyone. Good luck. I'll be back to visit."

They said their vague goodbyes and see ya arounds, but they were much too interested in the game to bother with anything more formal.

Well, ok then. That was IT?

As I walked out the back door, with my head still throbbing, and a knot forming in my throat, all I could think of was "Geez, that was weird. Man, that was really weird."

Once I drove past the first set of gates, I burst into tears.

All the emotions hit me at once. How long I'd wanted to leave. How much I'd looked forward to this day. How long the last two weeks seemed to last. How exhausted I was. How indifferent they'd acted. How sad I felt. How I no longer had a job. How much I'd miss being silly with my co-workers. How relieved I was leaving all those stupid job tasks behind. How I was supposed to be giddy with excitement driving off the farm for the last time. And how all my dreams about working for a horse farm didn't pan out.

The more I drove, the less I felt sad. I was a bit freaked out, but mostly I was overwhelmingly tired. All I wanted to think about was getting home and climbing into bed. I knew I'd feel so much better in the morning.

And I did. I also realized one reason for the waterworks was because it was time for the monthly visitor. It's like fucking blood bank central over here.

(On the upside, I can now honestly describe my former job as consisting of blood, sweat and tears).

And even though I was a big ol' mo-mess (emotional mess) there at the end, when my (former) co-workers are running around this week trying to answer the phones and find the goddamn Johnson file, I'll be snuggled under the covers, giving them the finger.

And while I surf the ninnernet and eat a pan of orange rolls, 'roundabouts noon, I'll smile when I think about how much shit my FORMER boss is going to get from everyone, especially the farm manager, because he dragged his feet on finding a replacement ("You mean, you don't even have someone lined up to answer the phones?")...and... he, kinda sorta, well, gee, COMPLETELY blew off the transitional stuff. ("Are you telling me that no one else in the office knows how to do this, or THAT?")

Hee HOO, I say.

Meanwhile, back at the Headquarters of the Newly Unemployed (where we will be experimenting with making double-size Pillsbury orange rolls, because we have that kinda time), I (supervised by me) have finished the following projects before the start of the New Year:

1) Disposing of all the trash I could lug to the dumpster in one car load.

2) Laundering of work clothes that shalln't be needed for many moons.

3) Cleaning out the purse that was filled with mucho crapo.

4) Organizing a partial stack of paperwork on the corporate desk/coffee table.

5) Balancing the checkbook and savings account. I was happy to tell myself that yes, we do have enough money to cover rent. Mainly because most of the day to day expenses of the, er, headquarters have been going on the, um, corporate credit card for the last month. Or so.

Now before you (me) start fussing at our accounting department (which reports to us), have no fear. We couldn't tap into our reserves until after January 1st. Tax consequences! You see, the accounting department has a plan. Involving "CDs" and "14 months of interest," so don't worry your pretty little head. And yes, they know about the 10% early withdrawal penalty. Shut up and eat your double-sized orange roll, will you? And don't forget to give a bite to the watch dogs who protect the headquarters from big scary monsahs. You know. MON-SAHS! Um, monsters. Corporate spies, thieves, fat squirrels, loser neighbors, evil kittens.

Anyhoo, where was I?

Right, projects I finished:

6) Scribbling down the numbers of my doctor and dentist on Rolodex cards (finally), as well as the address of a very good friend of the company, Janet. I haven't added a friend to the Rolodex in quite a spell, so you know she's the bomb. Or whatever the young folks say these days.

But mostly, I slept. The staff at the headquarters does require down time during the holidays. Here, we treat our people well. And I've had the most vivid dreams. One where I was traveling with a group of gypsies, and there was a park with a labyrinth of little (open aired) rooms off the side of the road, complete with cozy cabinets. At some point, during that same dream, I was part of a space crew and was put in charge of docking the module, even though I hadn't been trained on it. In other dreams, my mom worked at a dollar store and while trying to get info from her one day about something (?), she blew me off in favor of her customers, and I left in frustration and claustrophobia, only to get stuck in the parking lot, literally, with my friend (Jane) from high school. Because cars were blocking her car. So we had to wait it out.

When I finally "talked" to mom I screamed at her. About our old house and secrets and this and that. Just like the dream I had the other night, when I went on the space mission, I came back and finally erupted in frustration about our big fancy house and her not telling me the truth. In that dream, I screamed so hard I lost my voice. What's that all about?

Unresolved something, that's for sure.

And I have a lot of dreams with Jane in them, because I've always known she slept with my college boyfriend, although they've both denied it.

Let's put it this way: He lied better than she did. When we finally spoke in person nearly a year later, she could never look me in the eye. We drifted apart for good soon after.

Apparently, that's a whole other unresolved majigger-bobber from my past, and I really don't know why I'm bringing it up. Maybe to get it out there. You deal with it, ninnernet!

Anyhoosens, yesterday I slept in, did a few things around the apartment, but mostly laxy-laxied. Then this morning, after walking the dogs around 8:00, I cleaned out my dresser, called to cancel my AT&T internet service that I never used, folded towels and put them away, hung up some sweaters, and got another load of trash ready (old couch pillow, a few books I no longer wanted, dirty air filters, ratty socks and t-shirts, etc). I finally watched my Netflix copy of Nacho Libre that's been sitting on top of my dresser for almost 2 months ('twas cute and amusing), finished up my grocery list, cleaned out the fridge, jumped in the shower, hauled another load of trash to the dumpster, mailed off the movie (though I realized later that mail service wasn't running today because of Ford's funeral), buzzed back home about 30 minutes later with ingredients for 2 (count 'em) casseroles, plus other necessities. After walking the dogs again, I half-watched some old X-Files episodes on TiVo while sorting through a box of bills and papers. I popped some chicken breasts in the oven around 3, called mom back, ate din-din around 5 (broccoli, rice, cheese & chicken), and watched 2 episodes of Six Feet Under.

And here I be. *WHEW* I'm sure there will be many days where I don't do much of anything, but I wanted to make a good dent in my to-do list.

A couple days here soon will be mostly devoted to errands (oil change, registering my car for Kentucky license plates -- I KNOW!, picking up flea & tick stuff for the dogs, dropping off stuff at Goodwill, going to the bank, etc). But tomorrow I need to put together a final number for how much to withdraw from investment savings, so I have some moolah in my checking account for the next few months. Once I submit the request, it'll take 3-5 days to get the money. I've got enough to cruise on until then. Oh, and did I tell you guys I signed up for COBRA insurance (medical and dental)? It'll cost me $200/month, which ain't too bad, and I can utilize it for up to 18 months. Not that I'll need it for anywhere near that time frame, since I should have a new job sometime by the spring. But in case I wind up unemployed/jumping around as a temp for longer than I thought (perhaps, on purpose), at least I'll have insurance coverage. Of course, there's also the possibility I'll get a job with one of those 3 month probationary periods before I qualify for benefits, so it'll be a nice net. And overall, it makes me feel much less vunerable to the elements of life. Comfy. Safe. Warm. Happy.

Which is the same feeling I get when I'm curled up in bed eating orange rolls. Interesting.

Alright, folks, that's enough of my blathering for tonight. It was a lot of info to squish into one entry.

P.S. Go to The Ugly Betty "Be Ugly in 07" site and listen to the Jason Mraz song "The Beauty in the Ugly". YOU MUST! I love it! I hope it'll be released as a single, or be on his next album, but for now, that's the only place you can hear it. Unless, you know, someone could locate an MP3., send it to me. Because I have orange rolls. And I might be willing to 'spariment with putting Pillsbury orange rolls and cinnamon rolls together. Look, you can come over right as I'm putting on the blended icing, ok? Plus, I'll call in sick for you (you sneezed and your eyeball flew across the room), you can wear my new (still in the box) fluffy bathrobe, and we'll watch George Clooney movies all day long. Now, get me that MP3. See you tomorrow 'roundabouts 8:42!

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