Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Morale couldn't be lower

Sorry for being so absent of late. It's been, to be blunt, shitty at work and I haven't felt like doing anything when I get home. To illustrate how bad it's been, I haven't even felt like knitting! I "watch" TV (more listen) while playing Jewel Quest. It's been bad.

Last Thursday I was at Borders (I needed the new Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl book) when I felt my purse vibrating against the side of my body. By the time I found my phone, I had missed the call, but my heart sunk when I saw the name of a coworker. I called him right back but it went into voicemail, and as I was leaving my message "You better not be calling me for why I think you're calling me," my phone rang again and it was him again. I answered it saying, "I just left you a voicemail saying 'You better not be calling me for why I think you're calling me.'" He replied, "I think I am. I just got the call." The Call is what happens when you work for my company but aren't a direct employee, but a contract employee. The contract people get calls at home on Thursdays (this Thursday is supposed to be the last) between 6:00 and 6:30 telling them not to go to work tomorrow, but to go to the contract house's office and turn their badge and whatever else they have. I was so upset, because this guy is a good engineer and a good kid (he's 23 and just got married, in fact, supposedly, it was to have happened the week before but he was on his honeymoon). I was more upset than he was. I cried all night, and most of the morning as I packed up his desk. He'd only been with us since January, but he had two boxes of stuff. That part was pretty amusing, actually.

He drove in that day for his stuff and we all went out to lunch with him. I asked him how his wife took the news (she's in grad school) and he said that she was pretty matter-of-fact about it. "So, I was the only one who cried?" "Um, yeah, sorry about that." I felt like an idiot, but I think he was the last straw. I had seen and heard of too many good people losing their jobs while everybody here has a list of useless direct employees who still have their jobs. I know nobody ever said life was fair, but really there is a limit.

News on the Grandma Front:

Turns out that her initial willingness to go to assisted living was short-lived, although she did change her mind again. She dilly-dallied so long that somebody else took the last 2-bedroom apartment. On Saturday she was going over to look at the one-bedrooms that remained and make her decision. Grandma is presently filling out the paperwork and my aunt is going to drop it off on her way to work. Then we have to work on packing Grandma up, and convincing my Mom to sell her POS cheap-ass, nasty condo and buy Grandma's, but Mom's objecting because she doesn't want a mortgage. *eyes rolling* While yes, I do understand that, to a degree, all my mother does is work! Constantly. She has NO LIFE whatsoever. She must have a boatload of money saved up. And this way, we still can have family functions at Grandma's and it would be like nothing has changed. Of course, someone pointed out that Grandma's style isn't exactly my mom's style and I said that's because my Mom doesn't have a style!!! My Grandma is so stylish and elegant and somehow that trait skipped my mother completely. But this way the aunts would have somewhere to stay when they come home, etc. It's just best for every one. According to my aunt, EVERYBODY is on board with the idea, except my Mom. You have no idea how hard it is to get my mother's siblings to agree on something. This is HUGE! I told my aunt to get the YS working on Mom, as she is the favorite child, and she agrees with the rest of us.

Okay, back to work stuff. One of my absolutely favorite people got walked out this morning. He had stopped by my desk earlier to say he heard "they" were doing his section today. It was obvious he was very nervous. My cubemate went to his desk to get him to sign a Get Well Soon card for another co-worker who is out on medical and when she was over there, she recognised the woman across from him as somebody she went to school with. A bit later, she got an e-mail from her ex-schoolmate saying, "I think the gentleman you were talking to was walked out shortly after. We were asked to leave." Cubemate got a look of horror on her face and I asked what was wrong. She forwarded it to me and I read it in disbelief. I had a brand new person (to our department) at my desk while we discussed getting a desk for her and I started to cry. I'm sure she felt uncomfortable, as we were all expressing our thoughts on this subject and how not happy we all were. I apologised to her for crying and she said, "No problem. I just had a baby, I'm used to tears."

A few minutes later we all got an e-mail from our former co-worker saying thank you for helping and teaching him, wishing us all (including the company) well, etc. It was a very nice e-mail – he was raised properly. This one hit hard. I saw someone he worked with program-wise come over and look for him (as Good Co-worker used to sit by me – I'm in charge of moves, so I put him by me on purpose because he's such a good guy). I called Program Guy's name as he turned around asking who he was looking for (although I pretty much knew). I gave him the details as I knew them, at one point, he looked to race away to find Good Co-Worker, but I stopped him and said, "He's long gone. They walked him out a while ago." PG was furious. "What is wrong with this place? Don't they realise these are human beings? We don't even get to say Good-bye."

I had been doing relatively better, after last week's stress and tension, but I'm back to Friday-mode. I can't stop crying, I have a headache and I just want to go home, take a valium and go to bed for a week. I don't feel like eating, in fact, I had to take an alka-seltzer because my stomach is so not happy. I want to throw up.

My brother sent me the following the other day, the first half consists of interesting facts about Michigan (even if you're not from here), the second half is old-time Detroit tidbits which probably won't mean anything to you unless you lived here.


From 1910 to 1920, Hamtramck, Michigan grew from 3,589 to 45,615 residents, leading the nation in growth for that period.

During the lumber boom era, the row of saloons that lined Water Street in Bay City was known as "Hell's Half Mile."

In 1936, Escanaba, Michigan harvested and processed 100,000 sq. ft. of bird's eye maple to be used in the English Luxury Liner, the Queen Mary.

When the territory of Michigan was created on Jan. 11, 1805, Detroit was chosen as its capital.

Bagley's Corner was the original name of Bloomfield Hills. (This is amusing because Bloomfield Hills is super ritzy, expensive…and Bagley's Corner doesn't really sound that ritzy.)

The world's only marble lighthouse is located on Belle Isle. (Livingston Lighthouse)

Hog's Hollow was the original name of Utica, Mich.

There are over 11,000 lakes in Michigan.

The home offices of Life Savers Candy, Beech-Nut Gum, and Squirt soft drinks are in Holland, Michigan.

In 1870, Detroit became the nation's first telephone customers to have phone numbers assigned to them.

Charles A Lindbergh was born in Detroit on Feb. 4, 1902.

The Stars and Stripes first flew over Michigan soil on July 11, 1796.

In Sept. 1908, William C. Durant organized several independent automobile plants into what was to become General Motors.

Michigan began charging an annual license fee of 50 cents in 1905.

Michigan 's first police woman began walking the beat in Detroit in 1893.

In 1942, the Davison Freeway in Detroit was completed and became the world's first urban freeway.

The first soft drink, (Vernor's Ginger Ale) was introduced by a Detroit Pharmacist, James A Vernor, in 1866. Note: There were several 'elixirs' on the market at that time, including what would later be called Coca Cola. These contained alcohol, whereas Vernor's didn't. Hence, the name 'soft' drink.

The intersection of Woodward Avenue and Grand Avenue in Detroit proudly displayed the world's first traffic light in 1915.

In 1688, Father Jacques Marquette founded the first permanent settlement in what would later become Michigan .

The world's first shopping mall (Northland Mall) opened in the Detroit suburb of Southfield in 1954.

The world's first painted highway center lines were featured in Trenton , MI in 1911. They were used in other towns and was how Centerline, MI got its name.

Michigan ranks Number #1 nationally in the production of dog sleds.

The nation's largest indoor/outdoor museum complex is Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village . (Right across the street from where I live.)

Opened in 1904, the nation's oldest freshwater aquarium is the Belle Isle Aquarium. (I thought this was closed a few years back.)

The onion is Michigan 's largest fresh-market vegetable crop.


You took a 'moonlight cruise' to Boblo with Captain Boblo or went to Edgewater Amusement Park . (The cruise was the only way to get to Boblo. It was half the fun as they had a dance floor on the ground level floor and as a pre-teen/teenaged girl, you'd dance your way to Boblo. My Great Grandparents lived near Edgewater and you could see the roller coaster from one of the 2nd floor bedrooms.)

You shopped at Hughes and Hatcher, B Siegel, Peck and Peck, Himelhoch's, Robert Hall, Crowley's, Shoppers Fair, EJ Korvettes or Federals. (Definitely didn't shop at Hughes & Hatcher as it was a men's store, but I got my baseball mitt from Federals.)

You rode the elevator at J. L. Hudson's, which was 'run' by an elevator operator. (Once, near the end.)

You remember a Winkleman's and Sanders store in your neighborhood. (Heck yeah! The greatest day in Detroit history is when the new owners of Sanders opened up Sanders stores in DTW again. YUM! Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puffs!!!!)

You remember the 'Big Snow', Buffalo Bob, Howdy Doody, Clarabelle, Phineas T. Bluster, Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring. (Not that old, although I didn't think they were just Detroit .)

You remember Twin Pines Dairy delivered milk and juice to the chute on the side of your house and Milky the Clown performed magic with the magic words 'Twin Pines. (I love Milky the Clown. We did have a milkman when I was growing up, but I don't think he ever used the 'milk chute." What I remember most about the milk chute was having to squeeze through it to break into the house on the rare days we'd come home from school and mom wouldn't be there. The Former Father was not thrilled with us then.)

You watched Johnny Ginger! (no clue)

You remember the Good Humor man in a white uniform, ringing the bells as he drove down your street. (Again, I don't think this was just Detroit , was it?)

You remember Olympia Stadium. (To this day, I look up at the spot where it was when I drive past on 96.)

You remember when Vernors was made on Woodward Ave. , and a bearded troll was on the bottle. (Definitely the bearded GNOME, but we never went downtown as kids, so I don't remember where it was on Woodward.)

Your Mom got groceries at Great Scott, Food Fair, Food Town , Wrigley's, Chatham or A&P. (We were a Great Scott or Wrigley's family, whereas Grandma usually shopped at Chatham or A&P.)

Your Mom saved Holden Red Stamps, S&H Green stamps, or Gold Bell Gift stamps, and you licked them into those little books. (Again, this wasn't just a Detroit thing, was it?)

Kresge's and Woolworth's were 'Dime Stores.' (Oh yeah, I had a BMW t-shirt from Kresge's before BMW was so hot in the States. In fact, my college ID picture was taken in that t-shirt.)

"You had an uncle in the furniture business (Joshua Door)". (I remember stopping in a Joshua Door's parking lot one year to watch fireworks.)

You know who Bill Kennedy is. (Of course!)

You saw the Detroit Lions play football in Tiger Stadium. (I didn't really pay much attention to the Lions back then, but I was aware of them playing at Tiger Stadium. I also remember the Pistons playing at Cobo.)

You remember Black Bart and the Faygo song. Or how about "Which way did he go? He went for Faygo, old fashioned root beer." (I think I remember this.)

You watched Rita Bell's Prize Movies in the morning. (We weren't allowed to watch TV during the day, but my best friend was always inside watching Rita Bell.)

You remember Jack LeGoff and Van Patrick. (Not a clue.)

You remember Milky the Clown, Soupy Sales, Johnny Ginger, Poopdeck Paul, Captain Jolly, Sagebrush Shorty and maybe even Sergeant Satko Salute. (Three out of seven ain't bad.)

You visited the Wonder Bread Bakery and got to take home a mini loaf of bread. (Nope, but I do know where the Wonder Bread Bakery is – even before it got turned into a casino.)

Your address had a two-digit 'zone' before there were zip codes. Detroit 19, Michigan. (This is vague, as I was pretty young when the "zip" code first came into being.)

You remember "Get on the right track at 9 mile and Mack, to get the best deal in town. Roy O''s the best deal in town."

You remember going to Detroit Edison with your Mom to exchange burned out light bulbs for new ones. (Oh yeah, we never got to go with them to exchange light bulbs, but we always had to save them, which I did up until about a year ago, because it was ingrained in me that we save burnt out light bulbs.)

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At Wednesday, 30 July, 2008, Blogger Evil Twin's Wife said...

Ugh on the work situation. I really hope things turn around for you all there and things get better (and soon!).

At Wednesday, 30 July, 2008, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

I'm sorry to hear things are getting you so down. If only we lived closer we could have a good long talk.

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Yeee... It might be sad to see all these others go, but at least you're still there. No small item.

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

ETW - it's supposed to be done by tomorrow, so then, hopefully, things can return to normal...whatever normal is.

FWG - That would be nice. I talked to my friend Soyon for over 2 hours last night.

LL - I know, but now everybody left (well, the ones who have some sort of empathy) have survivor guilt. Lots of people are saying that Good Co-Worker from yesterday will land on his feet and get a better job, etc. I said, "Yes, I know, but *I'm* going to miss him."

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

They never keep the right people, do they? I've thought for a while that the Big Three have deep systemic issues, and this is just another sign.

Sorry to hear about it all, but I'm glad it looks like you're still around.

My bet is that Mom comes around. Peer pressure does wonders. ;)

I swear I'm not stalking you, nor do I plan to, but the final clue about where you live has pretty much locked it in for me. (I'll keep the specifics to myself). And honestly, I'm a little surprised that you can hear the music from Crave there.

Which brings me to an unrelated point. When you wanted to swing during shutdown, why not head over to Ford Field? That's an easy walk.

Never went to Boblo or rode on the boat.

I remember Crowleys, but none of the others.

I never got to Hudsons either. But Dad worked in the cafeteria there for a while.

I remember the Big Snow (mostly) and Twin Pines Milk, but I think Milky was off the air by the time I would have watched it.

I don't recall where Olympia was, but I remember its demolition.

No idea where Vernors was brewed, but I remember the Gnome and inhaling the fizz when you opened a new glass bottle.

I remember Great Scott and Wriglys. I used to go to A&P for Mom all the time. What about Danny's?

I had a cousin who worked at the Kresges on Cherry Hill. We shopped at D&C when I was a kid.

I remember Uncle Robinson and watched a lot of movies with Bill Kennedy.

I just picked up Faygo as a customer. The place has an awesome, sweet, spicy ,sugary smell when you go inside.

No idea who Rita Bell is.

I remember Jack Legoff (sportscaster, I believe) and wasn't Van Patrick the wings announcer?

2 of 7, Milky and Soupy. I've heard of the salute.

Never went to the factory, but I know where it is.

I remember the Roy O'Brien jingle.

And I remember exchanging bulbs with my Mom when I was little. For some reason I thought it was really cool.

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jorge - The problems with the D-Three (as I've heard them called of late) is that they're top heavy and they keep letting go the bottom. It's annoying, to say the least.

I didn't think you were stalking me. I pretty much gave away where I live with that comment and knew it. ;-)

Yeah, I know, it is amazing I can hear Crave from where I live - just to show you how loud it is. Hmm, any chance you're going to Homecoming this weekend? If so, I might head over and wear my Smoking Fish hat.

Yes, Ford Field is close - I might have to try that with the price of gas these days. I just like swinging on Hines for some reason.

You never went to Boblo??? You must be younger than me enough that Cedar Point was feasible. Once you hit high school, you were too old for Boblo, but Boblo was cool and close. Last time I went was 1990 - took Mom on what would have been her anniversary if the FF hadn't cheated on her. We had fun.

Olympia - You can see where it was when driving on I-96 into or out of the city...the building next door is still there (or newer) and says Palmer storage on the side.

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I totally forgot about Homecoming. I want to watch the Fireworks but Mona doesn't care for them. Where you're at you must have good seats for the Homecoming and Greenfield Village shows.

For the first time in a while I can say I have no weekend plans (sort of). I'm hoping to pick up a couple of new recliners on Saturday and on Saturday night Mona and I are going out while my cousins watch The Peanut.

If the recliners don't show we might take The Peanut over to the pool at the rec center (Zero entry is great for her) but Homecoming might be possible.

If it's going to be in the 90's it might be tough.

When are you planning to go? Barring a conflict, I'm inclined to say wear the hat.

I might be a year or two younger, but not that much.

My folks weren't into Boblo (or amusement parks in general) when I was a kid and once I got into HS there were pretty regular trips to Cedar Point.

Do you have a cross street for Olympia?

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

I really don't know what to say other than good luck tomorrow. I really really hope you make the cut. Assisted living will be a good thing for grandma. All the best! (Van Patrick was a sports announcer best know for his work with the Lions. I used to wait on his widow at the country club. They used to have a Van Patrick Memorial Golf Outing every year with minor celebrities.)

At Thursday, 31 July, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jorge - I have no definite plans for Homecoming. I'm more inclined to sit on my front lawn and read...or lay out and get some sun (I'm a big fan of Vitamin D). If you're heading over there, either Friday or Saturday day, I'd be inclined to head over there, but I have plans Saturday night.

I have a great view of the Greenfield Village fireworks...for Homecoming I watch them from my bathroom window, if I'm not there.

Olympia - Grand River and Joy (I think).

Jason - I made it. They wanted all the layoffs done by today so that they don't have to pay anybody's August healthcare. I found out Monday that we were okay, officially. Thank you, I appreciate it.

At Friday, 01 August, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

I'm sorry to hear work has been so miserable. We're going through the same thing -- this month someone from every shift is going and it's terrifying to try and guess which one it will be. While praying it's not me! *sigh*

The Michigan stuff was very fun!!

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Heather - My fingers crossed that you are not the chosen lay-offee...I know how you feel, it sucks.

Jorge - Only supposed to be 82 today...any chance of homecoming?

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

I don't quite understand why corporations have to be so damn inhuman about layoffs. People need to say goodbye. People need closure. People do NOT need to be suddenly informed that they no longer have a job and walked out immediately. But that is usually they way they do it.

I hope the mom/grandma housing situation gets a good solution. Maybe your mom will come around.

The only time I was ever in Michigan was to change planes in Detroit.

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

Sorry Kathleen. We ran The Peanut around too much earlier to make it out this afternoon.

She went swimming, had lunch, went to Target and got a haircut- all before naptime. She's out like a tiny little light, and has been for the last 2 hours or so.

Like you, Mona and I have evening plans- Sushi and movie in Ann Arbor.

I don't know about tomorrow. We need to get some groceries and catch up on the laundry. We might go see the old Baseball Game at Greenfield Village tomorrow with a friend of Mon's who is staying with us. Maybe we'll hit the homecoming later.

A friend of mine will be up there tomorrow night too and I know he wants to get together.

I'll update you if something firms up.

Back in the pre-Peanut days we used to be able to make plans and keep to them. It's amazing how much a two year old limits yoru flexibility.

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

Glad you made the cut. I'll be able to relax on my vacation next week. My landlords are throwing a party tonight...if you're so inclined and want to see the fireworks we have a good view from the backyard. Stop on over if you like. I should be home by 9:30 or so.

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jorge - No problem. I sat outside and knitted all day, it was all good. Just watched the fireworks from my bathroom window - no mosquitoes, no people. ;-)

Jason - Thanks, Jason. I didn't get your invitation until after they were over.

At Saturday, 02 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - They're so scared that someone's going to sabotage something or steal trade secrets that they treat their employees like criminals. It's unbelievably ridiculous.

At Sunday, 03 August, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

The Detroit and Michigan trivia was interesting. I like learning about what makes different parts of the country unique. Every city and village has its own special quirks.

I've never been to Detroit. I have an in-law (in my brother's wife's family) who lives up around Flint. He was an engineer at GM - pretty high up the food chain, from what I understood - until he saw the writing on the wall a few years ago and took a buyout. I've only met him twice in my life - at my brother's wedding, and at his funeral.

At Monday, 04 August, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

Apparently I am not Sherlock Holmes.

I didn't get to Homecoming on Saturday, but I did cruise by the 2places I thought you might be with Mona as we were on our way to dinner.

I figured I'd at least say Hello.

It was about 6:30-6:45 and I saw one knitting. It's possible of course that you had already finished being outside and were on to your evening plans, but it's also possible that I'm an idiot.

Anyway, I'm sorry I missed you.

At Wednesday, 06 August, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I was re-reading some stuff and I may have been premature. I am Sherlock Holmes.

I was on the right street after all so I must have just been too late.

One of these days...


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