Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When rules are stupid

I saw a post on FB today about someone being #89 at the DMV when they were only on #45. It reminded me of my experience recently at JoAnn Fabrics.

JoAnn's has gone to the "take a number" method of cutting yardage. So, I walk up, there are a couple people ahead of me, I take a number. I'm number 26, the big lighted sign hanging from the ceiling in view of the entire stores says they are on number 20. There are two cutters. One cutter finishes, looks up at the lighted sign, walks over to the microphone and shouts into it, "Nimber 21, now serving number 21!" One of the people in front of me steps up and hands over her number and several bolts of fabric. A gentleman standing in the waiting group steps up and says, "I want all the velcro on this roll, I just need it measured so I can have a ticket to take up to the cashier." #21 looks at him like he's begging for spare change and tells the cutter how much she wants of the first fabric. The second cutter finishes and calls #22. Number 22 steps up with several items to be cut. The gentleman again mentions that he only wants that one piece of velcro measured. Same reaction. The man looked at me in frustration. Without lowering my voice I said, "Sir, if I had a number ahead of yours, I'd trade you, but I'm behind you in this line." Numbers 23 and 24 look at us and quickly look away so we won't expect them to do anything of the sort. Cutter finishes and shouts on loudspeaker that she's now serving number 23. Poor gentleman tries again to ask the cutter if she can just measure out that velcro before starting another pile of fabric. Cutter ignores him and asks how much fabric #23 wants. By now, I'm thinking how ridiculous this is....

Poor man waits his turn. Cutter 2 finishes number 23 and calls over loud speaker for number 25 like he hasn't been trying to get in line the whole time. Finally, cutter 1 finishes with # 24, I'm the only one still standing there, I step right up and say, "I'm number 26, you don't have to yell it over the loudspeaker. She looks up at the sign, which says 25, pushes a button to change it to 26, walks over to the mic and shouts that she's now serving number 26! I am flabbergasted. And, being me, I cannot help making a point of just how ridiculous this is. I start jumping up and down, shouting, "Oh, it's me! It's me! I've got number 26! It's me!" Both cutters stop what they are doing and look at me with their mouths agape. The man with the velcro starts to laugh, picks up his measured velcro and walks to the cashier. The second cutter, who has a tag claiming he's the manager, says, "We have to call out the numbers, it's company policy." I say, "Will you at least admit how silly it is to shout it over the loudspeaker when you know I'm standing right here?" Nope, he wouldn't. It's company policy and number 27 might be out there in the store somewhere waiting to hear that they are on #26 so she can hurry over. Hurry over? The store isn't that big that she won't hear #27 called in time to get over there, and the big red lighted sign is visible from all over the store, as well as the audible buzz when the number changes.

Sometimes, rules are stupid, and the managers who enforce them are even more stupid. Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Help

I went to the theater to see "The Help". I read (actually listened to - audio books while driving - can't be beat) the book a few months ago, wanted to see the movie.

I enjoyed the movie, although of course the movie is never as good as the book. But I was somewhat perplexed by the reactions of those around me in the theater. I felt that they completely missed the point. They laughed when I wanted to cry, they snickered when there was nothing funny, and they cried and/or sighed at times, but I just felt it was for the wrong reason. They should have read the book before they came to the movie - or maybe they did and they just plain don't get the point.

I tried to unobtrusively check out who was in the crowd - it seemed the inappropriate (in my opinion) responses were coming mostly from groups of younger women, perhaps in late twenties, early thirties - perfectly made-up and coifed blonde "real wives of Eastern Oregon" types. This bothers me even more. Are they that oblivious to what truly went on in our country before (and after) the Civil Rights Act? Yes, I grew up just at the tail end of that, but lived in the south for 5 years as a child, and certainly was not, even at that young age, unaware of the distinctions and complete acceptance of the inequality of the races.

I'm disturbed. It frightens me that perhaps they really don't get it.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." ~ George Santayana

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On having a granddaughter

Two years ago, I was subjected to an experience that taught me many things, not the least of which was that I'm not sure I like girls very much. Well, let me qualify that. After almost two years of time invested in a young woman who definitely needed our help, but whom we learned was beyond any help we could give her, I am gun-shy, especially when it comes to "princess" girls.

I grew up with brothers - my sister was much older and didn't bring as many friends around the house as did my 3 brothers. I raised three sons and was second mom to several more. I've been (over)exposed to boys - I know how guys work, I understand them. I never liked the drama queen sissy girls in school, and I don't like them now.

When I recently learned that my second grand-child will be a girl, I had a few moments of panic. Everyone thinks I've been "deprived" all these years by not having a daughter. Pffftttt - I thought I wanted a daughter - right up until my third son was born. From that point on, I do not recall ever feeling like I was missing out on anything. I love being the mom of all boys. I love being the baby sister of 3 boys. I love my crazy, ornery, awesome nephews. I dearly love being the Nana of a rough and tough all-boy grandson.

But I'm starting to get used to the idea of a little girl in our lives. As Chad so wisely stated, "Mom, Sam isn't a drama-queen kind of girl - she's not going to let her daugher be a drama-queen kind of girl." He's right. My beautiful daughter-in-law Samantha has been nothing but a blessing from day one. I trust her completely to give me a granddaughter who will be a wonderful blessing as well.

I'm kind of (nervously) looking forward to experiencing a little girl. I'm hoping for curly auburn hair and brown eyes. And of course hoping she chooses choir and basketball over dance-team and cheerleading.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I've been receiving lots of spam and seeing lots of FB "copy and paste this" posts about the government and how they spend money. I find it rather ironic.

DISCLAIMER: I do not read a newspaper, nor do I watch the TV news - I hate CNN and FoxNews and long ago determined that there is no such thing as unbiased journalism - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that no one even TRIES to be unbiased any more.... So when you read this, read this knowing that I don't know all the details or ins and outs of the most recent government spending issues. And I am most assuredly biased.

Here's what I do know:
The government of the US is WAY in debt.
The US senators and congressmen apparently get to VOTE on their pay raises or cuts.
We have MILLIONS of folks living on welfare, ADC, food stamps.

Here's what I think:

I see the posts about how disgusting it is that the government is so far in debt and how something needs to be done about it. Then I saw all the posts about the soldiers possibly not being paid, then most recently, my mom said she might not get her SS check or her government retirement check because of some decision being made in congress.

Don't get me wrong - I definitely think the government officials are overpaid and I think it's odd that they get to VOTE themselves raises. I think it's unfair that they take no pay cut but consider cutting the pay of soldiers who are on missions determined by this same government. I think it's unfair that anyone who has paid into SS for their whole working life or worked in civil defense all their lives should be threatened with no checks.


Isn't it true that (I learned that little turn of phrase from the lawyer who questioned me as a "hostile witness" when I testified in an unfair labor practice hearing many years ag0 - anyway)... Isn't it true that we all only care about our own pocketbook? Why should be expect congress to be any different? I haven't heard even one of these people who are protesting so loudy volunteer to give up some of THEIR income to fix this debt. I'd even go so far as to say that most of us whine and cry and have fits if we find out our taxes have gone up.

I have a solution. See all those friends, family members and neighbors sitting at home, not going to work - not even at McDonald's or Walmart? How is it they are still paying rent and eating...and smoking and drinking? Well, I'll tell you how - I pay the government out of MY paycheck, and the government gives it to them. I have no problem with a struggling young family getting food stamps to help out when they are both working and doing their best to make it on their own. But when I see able-bodied and slightly disabled young people sitting around collecting welfare and food stamps and not even trying to find a job... I want to slap them. There are LOTS of jobs one can do, even if one has some mental or physical disabilities - but it's so much easier for some people to just sit home and let ME pay their bills. Oh, and just in case they are bored, they make more babies to play with, and for me to pay for! I pay their hospital bills, I pay for their food, their clothing, their housing. Heck, I pay for them to go to college! But I couldn't afford to send my own boys to college - and because they are middle-class, white, male, both parents have always worked for a living, and they haven't manufactured any "disabilities" that qualify for a free ride.... we couldn't get any government help at all.

So I have a solution. If you are able to think and move, you don't get food stamps unless you have a REAL job - even if it's at McD's or Walmart. If you are able to think and move, you don't get Social Security unless you have PAID IN to Social Security for the years prior to your disability. And NOBODY gets any government aid at all without a monthly drug screen. I'm not ok with paying your bills while you sit at home and do drugs.

And I just learned that Oregon has 50,000 people with "medical marijuana" cards. Really? Give me flippin' break. Thankfully, I also just learned that Oregon passed a bill that every "medical marijuana" card holder must pay $200 a year to retain the card and the suppliers must also pay $200 a year to maintain the license to sell. I do not for one second believe we have 50,000 Oregonians with such severe pain/nausea that they have to use marijuana to control it. And since they can't pass a drug screen, I reckon most don't have jobs.... so guess who pays for the marijuana - and now the $200 fee...

I'm tired of it. I'm tired of working, but I can't afford to retire yet. But I see many who sit at home and enjoy the good life on MY MONEY!!!!

Government - take a clue from FDR - instead of handing out money, hand out jobs. Create them. No work, no food. It's Biblical.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's her, not me.

Why does it seem there must always be one at every workplace. One person who is never happy about anything, who never takes pleasure in anything unless it's the failure of someone else?

It is so tiring, so very draining, to be around such a negative person. And it's so very hard to get anyone to do anything to make her change her behavior. The problem with having "nice" management is that they never want any conflict, especially if they have to know about it or deal with it - so they ignore it.

When I attended the seminar "How To Handle Toxic People", the main thing they told us is that we have to say to ourselves, "It's her, not me." OK. I can do that. But why, I'd like to know, do we have to tolerate such obnoxious, toxic behavior in the first place. This country has come to a point where even bad employees get to keep their jobs because employers don't want to risk the lawsuits that will surely come about upon firing bad employees. Even employees proven to have stolen from the company are given the opportunity to "retire" with full benefits.

So, sometimes I have to ask myself, "Why am I working so hard, and being so honest, when I could lie and cheat and steal from this company, and they'd give me early retirement?" And my answer has to be: Because I need to be able to live with me. So I continue to work hard, and be honest, and tolerate the one really would prefer to give a good hard smack... and count the days to my legitimate retirement.