Not “no” but “hell no!”

Since i’ve started the new job, one of the biggest challenges has been working with a remote division.  It’s not just the geography that is the challenge, these folks have operated in an entirely different research culture for decades, and there isn’t much common philosophical ground. 

We both have pieces of a substantial program, and for the most part have been working to serve our corporate masters well – albeit with differing views on what is best.  Their division, however, has been slated for ‘divestiture’ in 2011 and the folks there have the option of moving into our home office, or leaving corporate service.  Needless to say, they are cranky. 

It falls within the realm of my new job to orchestrate the program for my division, and it has become increasingly obvious that we need to develop a unified strategy to best feed the corporate interests.  In the absence of leadership, it has been my style to fill the void.  And i have attempted to do so since arriving at the new digs in mid-June.

Apparently, i have upset some of the fucking dinosaurs senior leadership at the remote division.  For the past month i’ve heard rumblings that they are unhappy with me in the new job.  Nothing direct, nothing documented, just an apparent behind-the-scenes smear campaign.  i assured my management that i’d be happy to address concerns, and would welcome face-to-face discussion, but haven’t gotten the call.

This afternoon a trusted colleague, SS, stopped by my office.  Like me, he is pretty direct in these matters, and asked me point blank about my history with these folks, and what i might have done in the past to piss them off.  We’ve crossed paths before, and i did not hesitate to call bullshit out items for further evaluation when i disagreed with their approach.  Generally, i knew they didn’t “like” me, and could give a flying fuck that we’d never be friends.

After a long conversation about our current stalemate — they are actively slow-rolling any attempts i’m making to develop a joint strategy for the program — we discussed ways to get things moving.  It was a brainstorming session between two people trying to figure a way out of a quirky situation. 

daisyfae:  i can put the history aside, even suck up to them and pretend like the work they’re doing is scientifically relevant.  What can i change about my approach to get this moving again?  Direct confrontation?  Work through the management chain?  i’m open to suggestions…

SS:  Well, you know, if you let it slip that you thought they were doing this because you’re a woman, that might pinch the loaf for good…

daisyfae: [steam sprouting from ears] What? Are you fucking serious?

SS:  They are a bunch of uptight white men*, grasping at straws to keep from working with our division.  We could throw their tactics right back at them…

daisyfae: [flames blasting from nostrils]  Never!  i have NEVER thrown that flag in 28 years of my engineering career, and i’ll be fucked like a drunken monkey if i’m gonna start now!

SS: I understand that, and everyone who works with you knows that.  But we were looking at ways to shut down the bullshit and get to work…

daisyfae: [eyes rolling in head, which is now rotating 360 degrees, “Exorcist” style] Absolutely no fucking way!  Even if it IS why they are doing this, i can’t play it that way… it sets everyone back.  Fuck… but it would shut them up.  Fuck…

In the end?  i decided to go home.  i was vexed, to say the least. 

The proverbial bottom line:  Playing the game their way — by tossing out unsubstantiated allegations of bad behavior — would allow us to most expeditiously get on with the program planning and integration.  Which would best serve our corporate masters. 

But the daisyfae bottom line: No fucking way. 

damned

*SS is an uptight white man.  But a creative thinker…

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Resourceful friend…

During my workshop last week, i had a chance to catch up with a friend i hadn’t seen much over the past few years.  He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer last winter, and is about halfway through his ‘hell year’ of treatment.  GP and his wife, DP, are simply adorable humans.  Favorite memory was from a Halloween party, where he showed up as a smokin’ hot pirate, and she was dressed scantily in a black mini skirt and jewel-encrusted mesh top…. as “The Pirate’s Booty”.

Asking GP how he was doing, i was amazed to learn that he is currently undergoing aggressive chemo.  He really showed no outward signs of feeling poorly, just maybe a little tired.  Working through it, although he said he has had some pretty grim days.  Radiation, major surgery, now chemo… he’s facing one more surgery in January to repackage his intestinal parts.

His wife, DP, was very sweet when i was diagnosed in 2006, bringing me silly gifts, booze and chocolate to cheer me on.  i asked him how she was managing – with two active children at home, part time job, she was always on the move.  GP explained that she seemed very scared, was hovering a little, and always wanted to be close to him – which was ok with him. 

daisyfae:  If there’s anything i can do for you or the family, please let me know.  Maybe just taking DP out for lunch some day and getting her drunk is what y’all need?

GP:  Well, I’ve been telling her that since I got cancer, she owes me a three-way…

daisyfae: ….

Love, American Motors Style

i love my jeep.  unconditionally and without reservation.

It’s a 1983, CJ-7.  Inline 6, bored out 0.30 over, with a high torque cam.  30″ tires.  T-5 tranny.  Fiberglass tub, impenetrable to the metallic skin cancer that afflicts most vehicles in this part of the world.  Frame off rebuild in 1996, she’s been mine and mine alone since the day she became roadworthy.

After rehearsals on Thursday nights, my adorable young cast mate, AU, and i have developed the habit of wandering across the street from the theater to a hole-in-the-wall biker bar.  Thursday night is “Dollar Night” and you can get Bud Light in a can for a buck.  Or a few beers for a few bucks. 

Tonight was a complete run through of the show, which opens 18 September, and she and i are both realizing that the show will be good.  But not great.  High hopes dashed, we wandered down to the tavern for a quick beer.  Sipping our cold cans, smoking a few butts, and commiserating over the bitch slap realization that we’re staring down the barrel of seven weeks effort for the ultimate outcome of “Meh…”. 

Heading out and calling it an early night, we were stunned to leave the bar and find torrential rains, lightning and winds blowing horizontal water.  Oh.  Shit.  Well.  Since i drove the jeep, and she never wears a top in the summer, we decided to wait out the storm and kill another beer. 

Texting a friend for a weather radar update, he suggested that things would clear after another beer.  So we chilled for another half hour… And found even worse weather after killing round two.  So we went back to the bar.  The bartender, learning of our plight, plopped the TV over to the local news, and we figured it was about one more beers worth of storm.

Wandering back to the theater, i snagged a trusty towel from the console, placed it on the seat, and hopped in my baby.  The accelerator was under water.  Hmmm.  Grabbing a waterlogged pen from the console, i unplugged the drain holes in the floor.  Yes.  Drain holes.  You see, my baby likes the rain, and this wasn’t the first time we’d been caught unawares by a summer thunderstorm.  i drilled the holes several years ago, but they have a tendency to plug up with dirt, sticks and other road shrapnel that tends to collect in a naked tub.

Lightning still decorating the sky, but no rain.  Deciding not to wait for the water to drain, i just hit the road.  With every incline, every corner, gallons of water were sloshing over my feet.  Made me laugh like a complete moonbat as i squished my way homeward.  Delighted – as always – to find that even soaked in standing water the dimmer switch on the floor still popped on the high beams with no trouble.

She’s in the driveway at the moment.  i’m letting the water drain a little bit before i put her back in the garage tonight.  Reliable.  Rugged.  Steadfast.  Strong.  Sexy.  She’ll be pretty dry by morning.

Sometimes i truly wonder if i’m capable of love.  i’m pretty dead inside, having built fortresses around the brick enclosures that protect my kevlar encrusted heart.  But it is without reservation that i can say i love my jeep.

Deja Vu – Meeting Survival

i’m starting “Day 2” of a three day workshop.  This means that as of yesterday afternoon, we’d accomplished the following:

1) Listened to encouraging words about our tasking.  We were told that we’d been “Selected” for this important task because of our unique and special expertise as Subject Matter Experts*.

2) Were pelted with background information.  Things we need to know to accomplish our mission.

3) Were given our “Charter”!  Go forth and make Powerpoint Chartage!

i was delighted to discover a bootlegable wireless signal from the hosts at the meeting venue.  Spent a small portion of the morning developing my own personal “charter” and “mission statement”. 

Productive, and it kept me away from the donuts… 

VISION:  Continue to receive paycheck.

MISSION:  Appear to be useful / productive / “value added team member”

GOAL:  Survive three day workshop – leaving with zero “action items”

APPROACH:  Drink my weight in coffee.  Caffeine and constant urge to urinate assure consciousness.

OBJECTIVE METRICS:  Stay awake – without electric shock or poking wrists with pen.  Avoid all taskings while appearing to be useful.

THRESHOLD METRICS:  Five minute nap (vertical) per hour of meeting.  Agree to be “Scribe” (which allows for marker-sniffing as a bonus).

Effective Props are Essential
Effective Props are Essential
From the good folks at ThinkGeek!

* Everybody say “oooooooh” and “aaaaaaah”

let’s give ’em something to talk about

Yesterday was moving day.  My children had been sharing an apartment near their university for a year, and it was time to excavate a years worth of shit and prepare for the road ahead.  The Boy has a new place nearby, as he’ll be continuing in school.  The Girl is consolidating her belongings and moving back in with me as she continues her job search.

i hate moving.  With every ounce of my soul.  Since neither of them are old enough to rent an appropriate vehicle, and we don’t know anyone with a big truck*, my primary function was to be renting the truck.  The Boy arranged to have some of his friends help with the heavy lifting, and The Girl had a friend pitch in as well.

i was still concerned that i might actually have to lift something we would be short handed. 

daisyfae:  Have you told your dad when you’re moving?  He could come down to help…

The Girl: [cringes]

The Boy: No.  He’d bring R**.  She’s a bitch.

daisyfae:  Yeah, but she’d help move shit.  If for no other reason, to make me look lazy.

The Boy:  Mom, no offense, but you’re pretty crazy.  But R?  She’s fucking insane. 

daisyfae:  C’mon.  i can use the blog-fodder.

The Boy:  You want something to blog about?  How about I just go take a shit on your living room rug.  The dog will eat it, and you’ll have plenty of blog material***. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Huge downside to hangin’ with theater people.  They drive Yugos and Ford Festivas.  The ones with cash?  Bunch of eco-weenies with hybrids that are smaller than my dog. 

** R is my ex-husbands live-in girlfriend.  She helped with moving last year.  She was helpful, but creepy.  i gave her points for showing up… and left town so the kids could have a nice dinner with the ex and R.  Apparently?  She really hates me, and it was an uncomfortable dinner…

*** hey.  lookit that.  found a post in it anyway!

open all night

He’s stretched out across a bench in the waiting room.  Dirty denim shorts, work boots.  His legs are pale, but scraped and bloodied.  His face and arms are reddened from working in the sun.  Bad tattoos adorn his legs and arms.  Blue, indistinct artwork, partially obscured by grime and dried blood.  Elbows and forearms bearing more cuts and scrapes.  His pale red beard is about the only hair on his head.  He’s there alone.

What is most noticeable is the pressure bandage covering his chest, barely covering the large spot of blood on his white t-shirt, just under the back of his ribs.  He’s trying to sleep in the emergency room at three o’clock in the morning. 

We’re sitting across the waiting area, watching the large, wounded working man attempt to get comfortable on a hard bench with no pillow or blanket.  Getting the call just after midnight, we brought a friend to the emergency room for treatment.  Since we are not family, we’re relegated to wait.

It’s the largest trauma center in the city,  and the place is a veritable smorgasbord of bad shit on a Saturday night.  We wait.  An older Amish couple walks by quietly, pager in hand, and takes seats to our left.  Within a couple minutes, they are called back to the triage desk.  We watch.  A younger man in a wheelchair parks to our right, as his girlfriend heads to the restroom he mutters “I hate this place”. 

There are stories.  Too many to count.  Too many to process. 

Checking in with the triage nurse, we are told it will be at least another hour before we are allowed back to see our friend.  With flashbacks to my days of late night clubbing, i remember that there’s a Denny’s all night diner just down the street, so we leave to grab breakfast. 

Another human buffet of late night creatures is assembled at the restaurant.  Two city cop cars are at the curb, and a man is being ‘interviewed’ by police as we walk in.  Four in the morning, and we have to wait for a table.  The private security guard, who is doubling as hostess, tells us we’re lucky because we missed the 2:30 rush as the bars close. 

Our waitress, Amber, seems harried but busts her hump to keep the coffee mugs full as we wait for our meal.  She tells a story of the table of assholes who had come in at rush hour, and made it sport to ship the food back repeatedly.  She also says a man beat the crap out of a woman awhile back.  Just another night in her nocturnal paradise.

Returning to the emergency room, there are even more people in quiet clumps in the waiting room.  i wear a blanket from the car to keep hypothermia at bay, since the room is kept at subzero temperatures – maybe to reduce blood flow in the waiting area.  A nurse made a mercy run through the room, handing out blankets as many people were now bundled under lightweight hospital white covers, fighting off the artificial Arctic chill. 

The bleeding working man is still trying to sleep on the bench.  Alone.  By 5:00 am, we are still waiting.  Time to check in with the triage nurse once again.  She tells us to go home, get some sleep and call back later in the day.  Commenting on the assembled carnage, she lets us know that it’s pretty typical for a Saturday night.  i find it heartbreaking, mentioning the poor bleeding guy on the bench…

“Yeah, he called me some pretty nasty names when I checked him in…”  Many people still rely on emergency rooms for their primary medical care.  She tells us “I have some compassion, but when we’ve already seen them three times this week… and they are coming in just because they threw up once?”

As we leave, we stop at the security desk for a parking validation card.  The security guard, seeing me bundled in my blanket asks “You leaving because of the wait?” 

“No, we brought in a friend and were hoping to get back to see her after she was admitted”.

Walking to the car, i realize “That mother fucker thought i was a patient!  Shit.  i know i look bad, but jesus…”

Triple dog dared…

Yeah? So what?  i’m easy…. A few dares, double dog dares and “oh no you wouldn’t’s” thrown in the comment section on this post was all it took.   Oh, and being able to just barely squeeze myself into a fabulous black and green satin corset, picked up in California over a year ago. When it was three* sizes too small…

As always, this is dedicated to my corseted muse, the fabulous and entirely edible nursemyra.  If the stars align properly, she and i are going to bask in the Mediterranean sun together for a couple weeks next summer… always a good plan to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?

greenblack5

* Now?  It’s only about a half size too small.  Although it’s been a slow and unpleasant slog, aggravated by a skiing accident and the ensuing knee surgery, i’ve managed to drop just over 30 lbs since January.  Not quite done yet, i’ve set a goal to drop the final 20 lbs before Thanksgiving. 

food? huh?

The Girl has graduated, and The Boy had the summer off, so needless to say, the Daisyfae Dream Condo has been hopping this summer.  Both of them have a marked tendency toward vampire body clocks, despite my annoying need to rise at 0600 every morning.  We learned to cohabitate well – they stayed out of my ‘bubble’ (mostly) and kept the noise down when the old broad needed to sleep.

Food-wise, however, it’s been a bit odd.  i found myself looking forward to days when The Girl would infest the kitchen, trying out new recipes and on occasion, making a midnight grocery run to purchase ingedients for the world’s most fabulous oatmeal-pecan-chocolate chip cookies.

Both of them have returned to their apartment near the university for a couple days to finish clearing out the old apartment, prior to moving day this coming Sunday.  Coming home from work tonight to a quiet home, i found myself going straight to the fridge – hoping like hell there would be some leftovers…

i really need to cook.  ok.  even more fundamental?  i probably should go to the grocery more than once every two months…

~~~~~~~~~~~

Note to the offspring:  Ate the rest of the mac and cheese.  And what the fuck kind of Doritos were those?  Nasty-assed things.  Nearly killed the taste of the Kraft cheddar in the noodles… C’mon, guys.  i’m wasting away here….

Evolution

Mom still likes to tell stories about me as a child.  In fact, this became good sport for my children at family gatherings:  “Hey, Granny!  Tell us more stupid things that Mom did when she was little!”  Being dragged around the neighborhood by my long pigtails.  My early toilet-training mishaps.  Slipping into a frigid mountain stream while on vacation in New Hampshire. 

Or the perennial favorite about my susceptibility to the power of a dare.  Family camping trip.  i was about four years old, my next older sister, T, was six.  We were bored out of our fucking skulls, and had hooked up with some other dirt-encrusted children at the campground.  The game of the evening was running in a circle around the fire pit, still smouldering from the cooking fires of the day.  We were chanting like Indians, wrapped up in some make-believe experience that only we understood at the time.

My sister stopped.  She looked at me and said “I dare you to run through the coals”.  Although the memory is quite vague, apparently i didn’t hesitate to run through the fire pit barefoot.  It’s a little blurry.

The next memory i have of the incident is my Mom putting salves and gauze bandages on my blistered, crispy feet – wondering out loud if it required a trip to an emergency room.  Dad was across the camp site, screaming at T for instigating my injury.  What i’ll never forget?  T, defending her honor, screaming back at my father “But I didn’t think she was that stupid!”

You can certainly understand why my children never tire of this tale.  Nor does my sister, T.

Somewhere around the same era, i remember another conversation.  Oft repeated by my mother through the years.  Mom was talking about all of us, growing up, getting married someday, and having families of our own.  i told her in no uncertain terms “i’m not going to get married.  i’m going to stay with you and Dad and take care of you.  Someone will need to do that, won’t they?”

As we grew older, she’d often bring this up whenever talk turned toward her twilight years.  She’d also complain about having to eat cold dog food from a can when she became an old lady.  After awhile, i finally started joking with her, saying “No way, Momma!  i’ll come back and heat up that dog food for you!”

Fast forward a few decades….  DQ, the niece next door, got most of the combat duty – as well as some financial benefits in the process.  Me?  i’m mostly phoning it in…. but unfortunately i’m still just as susceptible to a juicy dare.

compare and contrast

Mom had an unplanned heart catheterization last week.  She went in for a follow up appointment, post-pacemaker, and the doctor seemed to think there was something more sinister going on with her plumbing, since she was still sucking air like a fish out of water.  Either the heart bypass graft, from over a year ago, had failed, or there were sneaky little blockages buried somewhere else in her pipes.

Mom has already told us that she will not undergo more heart surgery.  Should she be told it’s required?  She says she’ll simply say her goodbyes, and call it a life.  Since i’ve firmly accepted the “her body, her choice” position in all matters, it’s not my job to try to talk her into something she doesn’t want – but making sure she makes her decision based on as much good data as possible will be a chore.

Wednesday morning, i arrived at the hospital just a few minutes before my niece, DQ, showed up with Mom.  Check in and pre-procedure preparations at 0830, and the heart cath at 1030.  So we had a bunch of time to kill before they wheeled her out for roto-rooter service, and Mom was very nervous, since she half expected to get the “Game Over” announcement after the procedure.

To keep the conversation as light and fluffy as possible, i started telling Mom and DQ about the upcoming production of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”.  As i described the characters, and unraveled the basic thread of the plot, they both got to giggling at the goofy goings-on.  Essentially, a trailer park couple has a marriage on the skids because the wife has been agoraphobic for 20 years since the abduction of their little boy.  The husband takes up with a stripper-on-the run, and naturally, hijinks and plot twists ensue.

After unraveling the story for them, and successfully killing another fifteen minutes, DQ looks at me and says “That’s it?”  And we both busted out laughing… ” That ain’t Trailer Park.  We’ve had worse shit going on just over the past month…”.  Still laughing, i said “What do a couple of fancy New York City playrights know about us trailer trash?”

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Or you’ll go fucking crazy…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mom’s doing well.  The hot cardiologist found an 85% blockage at a bend in her right coronary artery.  i asked hot doc to do a biopsy – to see if it was composed of gravy and chicken livers, which is what Mom’s been eating for the two weeks since she had the pacemaker installed.  She’s out of the hospital, eating everything that isn’t nailed down, and back living on the bed in DQs living room for a few more days….