Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Move to Bldg. A & Grandma

Last week's move to Building A did not go quite as smoothly as I would have liked. In fact, I felt like ripping my hair out four of the five days. It started Monday with people contacting me at 6:00 a.m. to tell me there weren't enough crates for the move (I had been pushing for the crates vs. cardboard boxes since we started the move process over two months previously, but the decision was made at the last minute, i.e., the week before). They had delivered 350 crates on Friday, but when you have 70+ people moving, that only comes to five per person and the Big Boss himself took 20. I knew I would need 9 since that's what it took to all of the dept. crap just nine months previously. So, you can see the problem already. Not only did they not deliver enough crates for the entire department, they didn't deliver enough dollies for the 350 crates (four crates per dolly). They couldn't get us any additional crates or dollies, so whomever hadn't gone on Friday to grab crates was stuck using cardboard boxes. I spent the day answering e-mails and running around helping the Tuesday move people (about 20 of us didn't move until Wednesday). Then the computer crates showed up, so I was getting e-mails from half the department (at the exhortation of one particular goofball who wanted to see if I would go over the edge) "Can we use the grey & red crates?" I finally sent out a dept.-wide e-mail saying "If you use the grey and red crates, your stuff will not get moved. Don't do it!" And since the entire department decided they'd love to see Kathleen go absolutely nuts, every time someone would see me, they'd ask "Hey, can we use the grey and red crates?" Silly silly kids.

Monday I also got an e-mail from the Corporate Move people forwarded from a guy who sits in the same area to which most of the dept. moved. He was objecting to someone being moved into a desk he had wanted to save. I replied saying that I had not scheduled anybody for that particular desk, but had for the desk just across the aisle. Turns out that somebody was already sitting in that desk although Corporate Move didn't know anything about it, so they simply moved my person across the aisle since he's a real person vs an imaginary possible new hire (mind you, the group already sitting in the area were saving 11 (that's ELEVEN) desks for possible new hires (guess how many of my dept. are sitting in a completely different area because of those 11 desks – yup, you guessed it – eleven). Anyway, I figure out what's going on and I'm furious that they want to move one of my people for a "just-in-case" new hire, but I agreed, letting them know that I was pissed off. "Fine. You can move Tom to Cube AA, although I think I've been more than accommodating considering I have part of my team downstairs and two people sitting in admin cubes. He is already packed and his stuff labeled with the Cube D information. Someone else can take it up with the move team to get him to the correct cube." I figure "Fine." Is an excellent indication of my mood. They didn't care and wrote back saying that they would move his boxes themselves the next morning. (Story to be continued when I get to what went wrong on Wednesday.)

The majority of the dept. moved on Tuesday which left Building C (for Crappy) relatively quiet that day. I helped one of my co-workers pack as she's just swamped with real actual work and just didn't have time to pack. We got her packed in an hour, but she had more boxes than labels, so I carried 8 of her boxes to my desk because I had extra labels and since we were going to be sharing a cube, they'd end up where they needed to be (under my desk apparently). ;-) By this time I was sweating profusely while answering questions from the people who were now in Building A and were having issues. I was finding the occasional crate and getting it to the person who needed it the most.

I was also getting phone calls from co-workers saying "Holy crap, what did Ernest do to you that he got that cube?" I didn't have time to get to Building A and find out what they were talking about, but did on Wednesday. Oy. I don't remember the rest of Tuesday, so on to Wednesday!

Last Wednesday (I wrote this a while back - it was Sept. 12) was my first day of walking to work after nine months, and while that made me happy, it was essentially the highlight of the day. Everything was at my new desk when I got in before 6:00 a.m., but my computer did not get hooked up and set up until 1:00 p.m. They had ONE guy setting up the nearly 20 people who moved that day because three people called in sick. I did get completely unpacked that day while running around and theoretically fixing problems. I went upstairs where the rest of the dept is and found Cube AA where The Other Group moved Tom and nearly blew a gasket. Cube AA was significantly smaller than a normal cube. Why on earth do people think that a cube that is not acceptable for one of their people (not yet hired, mind you) would be acceptable for one of mine??? Tom has since been moved into a normal sized cube.

On to Ernest's cube. It was the same size as Tom's, so you know I wasn't happy. The original agreement had been to take that cube and combine it with the space next to it to make a slightly larger than normal cube and by slightly, I mean very slightly. I told our move coordinator that had been the agreement and a secretary from The Other Group overheard me and came out of her cube to lay claim to the "extra space." "We need that for this-and-such." At this point, I lost it and said, "No, this was agreed upon months ago. You already have two or three other areas for this-and-such. You've saved 11 seats for nonexistent people, so I have that number of people downstairs not sitting with our department and you single-handedly moved Tom out of his seat. I've given enough and I'm tired of it. You've gotten everything you wanted." Or something like that. It was three weeks ago and I was angry.

I went to my desk and called the person with whom I had been dealing for however many months that this move had taken. She called me back and we agreed to meet in the morning. She told me that The Other Group called her the day before and said, "Our relationship with Kathleen's Group has not gotten off to a good foot." And she responded with "Well, what do you expect with you guys doing all the taking and her doing all the giving." Not that it's changed anything, because they're now saying they can't reconfigure Ernest's cube into the original agreed upon configuration. Ernest, thankfully, is not a PITA, so he's taking it all in stride and dealing with it.

The original plan was that once this completely other group moves out in December that those of us downstairs would move into those cubes, but we're not so sure we want to. I'm pretty sure that I don't want to sit anywhere near The Other Group, but I do miss being close to the entire department. Ah well. We'll figure all that out at a future date.

In other news, Grandma's husband died Sept. 12 and all of Grandma's kids (save one of my aunts who couldn't get off work) came into town which made for some interesting times. My aunts have a tendency to be a little busy-body-ish and I wasn't really appreciating it that weekend. I should have bought tickets to opening weekend of the symphony and gone there that Friday night, but I didn't. Let's just say that there was too much family time that weekend which had me expressing myself in such a way that I'm pretty sure the family will tiptoe around certain subjects from now on. The Terror Children learned the "f" word that weekend. And I was told that I didn't have a sense of humor. Sorry, but who has a sense of humor when past mistakes are rubbed in his/her face by all present and you're made fun of as well. The sense of humor remark later in the day earned the Aunt who said a look that could kill. Some of you have seen my Look to Kill and let me just say that I surpassed myself with that one. And I'm not sure I could ever duplicate it. The same aunt is coming in Monday and I'm not all that certain that I want to see her. The aunt who couldn't come in for the memorial mass is arriving on Sunday, I'm just hoping early enough in the day that I can get over there to see her and then I'm sure I can justify not getting over to Grandma's during the week in order NOT to see the annoying aunt because I leave Friday afternoon with Martha for Maine to visit the Younger Sister.

Grandma, for those of you wondering, is doing well. My Little Brother (LB) talked to her last week and she said that she's looking forward to traveling again because Eugene had been diagnosed with cancer a few months after they got married five years ago, so traveling was difficult. I talked to her the other day and she was getting ready to go out for dinner with some friends. She said that the aunts are coming in and are planning on going through the house and going to tell Grandma to get rid of stuff. I told Grandma that it's her house and if she doesn't want to get rid of something she doesn't have to. And that I'd stand behind her. I'm telling you my aunts are being quite meddlesome. Another one had a realtor in to tell Grandma what she has to do to sell the condo. I again told Grandma that she doesn't have to do anything at all and that she doesn't have to move. I do understand that the aunts are trying to make things easier for them once Grandma dies, but for heaven's sake, don't write her off yet and let her live in her house the way she wants it!!! Besides, I'm not letting Grandma die for many many years.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Death & an Interview

Sorry I've been such a slacker, but I've been so busy at work that when I come home it's all I can do to keep my eyes open, much less actually string words together into actual sentences.

Grandma's husband died on Tuesday. He deteriorated so quickly, it's not even funny. He was relatively fine when Grandma went into the hospital for her bleeding ulcers, and that was less than a month ago. I wasn't home at all on Sunday. From Mass I went to Pamela's for a much needed haircut, from Pamela's I went to a guy's house to watch the baseball game. The Tigers were playing so hideously and the game was lasting forever, so I left around 4:00. I had to help Grandma fill out the trip insurance paperwork for the airline tickets she had to cancel for Labor Day weekend. My brother had told me on Friday that her husband, Eugene (not his real name) hadn't been awake since Monday, while I was there on Sunday he was moved to the "actively dying" list. Grandma wanted to go to my uncle's for dinner, so I told her that I would stay with him while she got away for a little bit and got some food. My mom decided to stay as well. While we were sitting there, I was rubbing his hand hoping it offered some comfort, if there was enough of him still there to appreciate it. I told my mom that it was lucky he married Grandma because otherwise he'd have been all alone.

When I had gotten to hospice that afternoon, his son was there, but he left while I was helping Grandma with her paperwork in the Family Room. He had been there three times that week, but he didn't like it because Eugene wouldn't wake up and talk to him. A little unclear on the concept, eh? His daughter had been there on Friday after work, didn't come on Saturday at all, and then showed up briefly Sunday early afternoon. She was gone long before I got there. I guess she was there when he died.

So, my entire family (minus one aunt who just doesn't have any time off) is either here or arriving in time for the Memorial Mass on Saturday. My Grandma is doing quite well. Mom told me that she choked up a bit on Sunday when calling the funeral home to give them the heads up, but other than that, she's been doing well. Someone, might have been my uncle, on Sunday called her "Our Little Rock of Gibraltar." She was so good with him, too. She would tell him that he had so many visitors and all these people were here to see him, and she would kiss him on his forehead. When she left for dinner, she told him that and told him to have a nice nap, and when she got back from dinner, she bent over and told him she was back and did he have a nice nap and how Mom and I stayed there with him.

Once this weekend is over, I'm hoping Grandma will now take the time she needs to recover from the internal bleeding. She gets weak and tires more easily than before, so she really needs to build her blood up. Now that she won't be sitting at hospice until all hours, she'll have no excuse for not taking care of herself.

My dearest friend Suzy (one of the very limited # of people with whom I keep in touch from my SF days) participated in an on-line interviewing process (aka survey or that other word I refuse to use) started by someone she reads. There are rules, of course:

Interview rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are Suzy's questions and my answers:

Here are the questions!

1. You're my idea of a true Detroiter. What's yours?

Someone who loves the city despite her faults, myriad though they are.

2. Why did you start blogging, and what keeps you doing it?

I started blogging the day I found out that my dear friend emmo2 was being released from the hospital and given one week to live. I needed to rail against the unfairness of life. He died less than 48 hours later and an hour before I was going to visit him to say I love him. He knew I loved him, but I wanted one last opportunity to tell him.

Truthfully, my regular readers keep me at it. I like reading other people's blogs and appreciate their efforts. I like it when people leave comments at my blog.

3. What's one thing none of your friends or family knows about you?

That I'm incredibly insecure. I figured my one aunt must think I'm really secure, because a couple of years ago, she went on and on and on and on about how everybody thinks my younger sister is so pretty, but she (the aunt) thinks that the OS (older sister) is absolutely gorgeous. I got to hear this not once, but twice!!! Not once did she say anything about me, she simply discussed how attractive my two sisters are.

4. When did you become a vegetarian, and why?

Oh heavens, it was a hundred years ago, give or take 80. I stopped eating beef & pork first and that was in 1985 (I think). I stopped eating poultry and fish New Year's Day 1991 or 1992 because I figured it was the next logical step if I were doing it for ethical reasons, which it had become over the years. I had never liked "meat" when I was growing up and would just cringe when we would have steak. When I was in college, I was never home (it was a commuter college). I would leave for school by 7:30 every morning and wouldn't go home until after the library closed at 11:00 p.m. One day I got home around 11:30 as usual and was looking for something to eat. I asked Mom what there was as I hadn't been home for dinner in years. She said, "There are some pork chops from today and hamburgers left from yesterday." I turned my nose up and gave a clear indication that neither option struck my fancy. My mother freaked out! "Oh my God, you've become a vegetarian…blah blah blah." I honestly don't remember exactly what she said other than that, but I do remember thinking, "Hmm, that's a good idea." The whole extended family (Grandma, aunts, uncles, sister, etc.) took it as a personal affront that I refused to eat meat after that. Then I stopped eating poultry and fish and they were just beside themselves, because they just didn't know what to feed me when it came to family dinners, as chicken was no longer an option. Thankfully within the past couple of years, my one cousin has become a vegetarian and another cousin married a vegetarian, so options are more plentiful than they used to be. Although, my one sister still refuses to have anything I can eat at her house. It's always, "Bring whatever you want to eat." I think it's unfair as nobody else has to do that, but whatever. After the spinach dip debacle, I just don't argue.

The spinach dip debacle occurred one year when I was asking the OS what I should bring for Christmas. She gave me a few options which included spinach dip. I said, "Oh, I could bring spinach dip (Easy!), except that Mom doesn't like my spinach dip." OS said, "Really? Oh, that's right you don't use beef bouillon." WTF?? "What?" "Yeah, our recipe calls for beef bouillon." "Why didn't you tell me you use beef bouillon?" "Why? It's not like it killed you." Needless to say, I was pissed off, but you see the attitude that I've had to deal with all these years. And trust me, it hasn't gotten any better. The best part is that whenever I tell somebody that story they all say, "Beef bouillon? Who makes spinach dip with beef bouillon?" In fact, a few of my friends are complete smart asses and will tell me that beef bouillon is in everything they make from brownies to potato salad. We all laugh.

5. What's the one talent you wish you had?

I always wanted to play the violin just like Violet from The Boxcar Children (my all time favorite childhood book). One problem with going to Catholic school is that there's no money (or at least there wasn't back in the 70s) for such frivolities as music or art. We did have music class once a week which consisted of us going to the music room (a double classroom in the 3rd wing) sometimes which contained an old piano. I’m not sure anybody ever played said piano, but we did sing songs as a class. I remember "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree," "My Darling Clementine" and other such classics. There was band or orchestra or whatever it was called in high school, but I was on the college prep track and there was no time for anything other than your basics that would get you into college. I would be surprised, actually, if anybody from my grade school took band/orchestra since music was not really encouraged. My freshman year of high school was so packed with classes that I didn't even get the mandatory gym class (took in sophomore year with all the freshmen – so embarrassing), nor did I have a lunch hour. I had to squeeze in lunch in a ten minute period.

And there ya go. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment or e-mail me and I'll rack my brain for some interesting questions.

Oh yeah, I see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow again. I'll keep you posted.

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Bullitt Car Chase Scene

The incredibly brilliant and fabulous Mr. Schprock found the chase scene from Bullitt for us all to enjoy. Watch for the green was the stuntman's VW (no, Steve did do the driving).

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

August Books & Movies

I can't believe summer is over and that my non-existent Secrets are back at school. Here in Michigan there's a law that keeps public schools from starting before Labor Day as it was killing tourism to have kids in school before the long weekend. I have to agree with it because it was getting ridiculous, I thought. I know that when I started high school, we started the week before Labor Day and it made me most unhappy because that was the year (or maybe the year before) when we had started going to Camp Dearborn for that week (same cost as a regular week in the summer, but you got the extra two days of Sunday and Labor Day, since CD closed on Labor Day for summer camping). The Former Father had to drive me into school while he went to work. The funny thing is that I thought it was so so so far from home, but people drive that distance and much further to work these days. Not me, of course, with my 1.7 mile drive which in one week will be back to my 13 minute walk. Woohoo!!!

Yup, next Wednesday I will be out of Building C (for Crappy) for ever and always, I hope, and back in Building A (for Fabulous) which has coffee rooms everywhere (vs. one for this stupid building and the water isn't even hot). I haven't mentioned this before, but I think the cleaning guy on my floor has it made. Whenever a wastebasket gets used too much, it disappears. Honestly. There was a food waste container not far from my desk when I first moved here. About 3 or so months ago, it simply disappeared. I talked to the cleaning guy's boss and it re-appeared very briefly (less than a day). I called the boss and he said he would talk to the cleaning guy. That was the last time I ever heard from the boss and needless to say, the food waste container never reappeared.

The closest one to me then was in the main hallway between me and the lady's room. I used it all the time to toss out my paper towel, because I don't open public restroom doors with my bare hand. I was also using it for my food waste after the disappearance of the other container. It got moved down a cross-ways hallway just outside the men's room. I've been tempted to throw my paper towel at the container, but know it would never make it, so I have to carry it all the way to my desk. I'm sure he never has to empty that one either.

3rd example of eliminating your own workload – there was a food waste container in the center of an area where every desk has someone in it…you know, handily located. It was between me and my former boss who brought a microwave in since there was only one microwave for the entire floor which worked out nicely for when I bring in my food. It was quite a popular wastebasket, but yes, you guessed it, it disappeared as well. The plastic bottle/can recycling box disappeared as well. There's one downstairs, which I definitely use, but I just think it's interesting.

What is it with cleaning people who empty your desk trash cans and then instead of putting them back where they found them, they just throw them into your cube, so you trip over them? I didn't have this problem really in Building A, but I definitely noticed it at my job in SF. Is this common everywhere? Are your desk side trash and recycling containers put back where they're found?

Time now to list my books and movies for the month of August. I was a complete slacker, so this will be short and sweet.


Invisible Prey by John Sandford – 388 pages – I've read every book by John Sandford and not just his Prey series. His crimes can be a tad violent/gory, but I enjoy his writing style and his plots. And he has the coolest detective ever.

Steve Diggle's Harmony in My Head: Rock & Roll Odyssey by Steve Diggle – 256 pages – This book was about The Buzzcocks and while I did appreciate reading about how they got started and everything, I thought that Steve Diggle came across as a bit of a dick. In his opinion only four bands that came out of the punk/postpunk era were any good: The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, The Jam and The Clash. He pretty much stated that everybody else was shite. I like The Buzcocks' music, but I think I'd like to read Pete Shelley's side of the story. I also would have liked it if Mr. Diggle's editor had done a little editing. Bloody hell, but the writing "style" was atrocious, to say nothing of the grammar!!!

McQueen: The Biography by Christopher Sandford – 476 pages – The cover had a quote from Mail on Sunday which read "A Riveting Portrait of the 'uber-cool' of film actors." Wow, this book was amazing. It did not shy from the less appealing of Steve McQueen's personality (from hitting his first wife to sleeping with everything that moved), but it was quite obvious that the author has a strong case of "man-love" for Steve McQueen. In his opinion there was no greater actor ever in the history of the world. I understood his making allowances for Steve's horrific childhood, but I was very sad to read that Steve *hated* Paul Newman and referred to him as "Fuckwit." In fact, Steve McQueen had been offered the role of the Sundance Kid, but when he heard that Paul Newman had the Butch Cassidy role he refused it. Apparently, later in life, he got over his snit, and was one of the first people to call Paul Newman when he heard that Paul's son Scott had OD'd, but still, I thought the "Fuckwit" a little harsh. I have put every Steve McQueen movie that Netflix had in my queue in the order in which they were made. I'll probably start watching them next week.

I also read the August 20, 2007 issue of AutoWeek. It was thrilling.

Book of the Month was McQueen: The Biography. It was well worth the read.


I finally finished Stargate SG-1, all 10 seasons (technically, I didn't watch the final episode until September 3, but I'm counting it in August, so that I don't have to think about it anymore.) I loved all seasons of Stargate SG-1, even Seasons 9 & 10 which didn't have Richard Dean Anderson. The first time I saw Vala I thought she was annoying, but by the end of the series, I was fond of her and liked the dynamics of the team with her and Ben Browder as the RDA replacement. I hope to get off the sci-fi jag now, although watching the tenth season with Morena Baccarin as Adria had me wanting to watch Firefly, so I've started that series again.

The Three Musketeers - 1948 (TCM) – Rotten Tomatoes' rating 71% – I didn't set the VCR long enough so I missed the very end, but let's just say that Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan didn't work for me at all. I'm quite partial to the 1973 version with Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch and Christopher Lee. I feel I must admit that I have never watched the version with Kiefer Sutherland and don't really plan on it, unless one of you tell me it's utterly fantastic and how could I not have seen it, etc. Okay?

Underdog - 2007 (Theatre) – Rotten Tomatoes' rating 13% – I saw this on my birthday. It was not my choice, just for the record. I was in Baltimore for my b-day and RR promised her son that if he were good while we traipsed around the mall (it was rainy and miserable and crappy once again on my b-day) then we'd take him to see Underdog. I went into it expecting it to suck rocks, and I find that's a good way to approach a movie because I ended up thinking it was cute. It also helped that the 3-year-old loved it. The ending was a tad predictable, but it was a kid's movie, so what the heck. I can say that it was fun. This review summed it up quite well by saying if you set your expectations low enough or are an easily satisfied 8-year-old, you'll enjoy it.

Say Anything - 1989 (On Demand) – Rotten Tomatoes' rating 100% - After Underdog, we went back to RR's house for a little dinner and found this On Demand for free. Can't go wrong with John Cusack or this movie. Who doesn't appreciate Lloyd Dobler?

The Thomas Crown Affair - 1968 (Cable) – Rotten Tomatoes' rating 80% - I came home from work one day and found this movie just starting. As I just finished reading the McQueen biography, I decided to watch it (yes, out of sequence). I watched it a few years ago expecting to love it and was, instead a bit disappointed. This time, however, I watched it with different eyes, and although some of the cinematography tricks are extremely dated and beyond annoying, I was able to get past that and just appreciate the movie.

Thankfully, I haven't made a rule for myself where the Book or Movie of the Month have to be something not read or seen before like Heather, because I'd be picking Underdog as the Movie of the Month (egads). Instead it'll go along with the theme of the month – The Thomas Crown Affair and Steve McQueen.

I think that's enough for now. Oh, except for the fact that a mouse was found today in Building C (for Crappy)…it was dead as it was stuck to one of those hideous mouse traps that use glue or whatever to hold it still and let it starve to death. It was the teeniest little thing and looking at it made me sad. I'll be glad to get back to Building A where I never saw a single mouse in the previous six and a half years. Just the biggest cockroach I've ever seen in my life, but I don't care if those nasty things die. And please don't feel obligated to tell me that mice carry disease, etc. I know, but they're still cuter than cockroaches. And much less bold.

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