Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the evening shift

As a hospital employee I've worked every shift that there is and some combinations that were invented to patch things when a crisis occurs. I first started in '77 on the day shift and soon moved to 3-11 when I got married. He worked it too so it was normal to have somebody to chat with after work. For about the first ten years I was there, the techs shared call on 3-11 and 11-7. With no day off afterward. Weekends were the worst because it was two days in a row of it but, hey. We were young...in our twenties and anything is possible when you gotta. Our boss was a man who knew exactly how to manipulate his "harem" to take care of things while he went out visiting office to office. The only other guy in the lab was one that everybody loved and he left soon after I started. We were county owned first, then sold to a non-profit and finally to a corporation.

My friend was always one to compete and be obedient and I'm just not like that at all. Obedience is a word I find not only offensive but scary. Anywho...when our boss got shipped over to another division, she accepted his job and did it for two years without getting paid for the extra work. But then, we had been doing it all anyway so what the hell! Over the years, I have had rounds with her like the disobedient child that I can be, but only over matters of principle and justice, not what piddly stupid little thing he said/she said. I could kinda sorta see how the whole thing was going to play out, and with a young child I just didn't have it in me to commit that much to work. So I became her supporter because in my opinion it's just easier for everybody to find some middle ground and get along. It was tough for awhile, because she was very unsure of herself and insecure about the strength of her decisions. I remember silently praying in staff meetings that she wouldn't break down while trying to keep the heatherns in order. Several very STRONG willed women, I'm just saying. Hey...I'd have been scared too.

As the years passed under her leadership we learned to be a more moderate caring sort of team. We were terribly understaffed and the instrumentation was out of date and she worked hard to put flex scheduling into place so that the horses wouldn't drop dead before they reached age 50. We moved from a cramped corner cubby to a spacious new lab. I'll never forget the night that we moved. She and I had been chatting about the transition and she was all dreading it and I suggested that everybody be required to be there for the middle of the night move. You know....share the joy, so to speak. Since then we have morphed into a group that is willing to work together by trading shifts when necessary or covering when there's something that just can't be missed with the family. We are a much kinder gentler version of who we were 30 years ago, and I love it.

Our shared history is rich with both high points and lows. Babies get born, parents die and sometimes even a co-worker. For me, the freakiest thing that ever happened was when one of our young pathologists had a wreck and was killed instantly, her son surviving to call his radiologist dad by cellphone. Her Christian Egyptian funeral was at the methodist church and I've never seen anything more unique in my life. I was recently divorced and we attended the same church. There's a playground there now in her memory.

When my friend's Dad was killed in an accident with a log truck, it was somewhat of a turning point in our relationship. I watched her change from a devoted Daddy's girl, still respectful, but no longer willing to take people's crap. And that's when most of us said "HECK YES" and jumped on the bandwagon full force. By the time Gracey came along, she was prime for a big dose of getting her head out of the job and more into enjoying life. Let's hear it for the party cocker!!

We are a middle aged group, the youngest of the techs is in his thirties. Having men in the mix has been very good for us. The healthcare professions have long been populated by women who tend to get a bit testy without some other brain thinking in there to calm things down. The same thing is happening in nursing and I think it's fabulous. The really disturbing thing about lab folks is that statistics show that the bulk of the workforce will retire within the next ten years. Not ME, of course. Not without Sugardaddy ;) Nobody wants to go into the field because of the hard work involved to get there along with the lack of respect and recognition for the profession. We're all nurses to the patient.

My shift with Beck tonight gave us an opportunity to catch up with each others' lives in between clangs of the tube dropping from ER. She's an animal lover like me and has given free vet advice over the years. Speaking of which.....

Daisy from Kentucky will be coming to live with us this weekend, Lord willing and it doesn't snow a foot. Will there be pictures? You bet your sweet ass.

Monday, December 28, 2009

a new year looms

I don't know about ya'll, but I'm about ready to put this one out of its' misery. The challenges of 2009 for me personally and the world in general have been pretty intense. Something tells i need some more fun. Like a LOT more. I'm already working toward my goals of getting organized so that I'm not constantly looking for something or for a place to put it. The first seed catalogs arrived today and there is finally a bird at my feeder on the porch. Life is good on the lane.

My youngest brother's family got literally snowed into their mountain valley home for about a week. Their package to us arrived today complete with pics of Adam sittin' on Santa's lap smiling like the joyous little kid that he is.

Just talked to my friend Sue for the first time in weeks and she's in Colorado! Plenty of snow there too. She said it's the biggest warmest fuzziest feeling to see her kids and grandkids play like that. We work together on occasion but love each other all the time.

Gotta go take the ornaments off the fire hazard of a tree. It's been up for a month and there's needles everywhere!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

poopie's law

We always give Daddy one of the Murphy's law desktop calendar so he can rip off a page a day to find some axiom of amendment to the basic truth that "If anything can go wrong it will." Hey...I've learned a lot from the law about how to not lose the proverbial cool over any little thing. Pick your battles, self. It's the only way to halfway enjoy being alive! I knew today was going to be a bitch when I walked into an IS downtime halfway through. On the day after Christmas...with the ER filling up! Can you say "Noel"? That's not quite what I said but it kinda rhymes.

The day went from bad to worse when the air went out with all of us middle aged women scurrying about trying to keep our heads above water. *sigh* My feet hurt and that's the extent of it right now. I'm about to kick off my tennis shoes and wiggle my toes until they relax like these lazy dogs on the couch.

After all, it's still a holiday.


Friday, December 25, 2009


That's shorthand for offering the old heads a free day. Normally I have about six hours of vacation to cover my luxury of working nine days out of ten in a pay period. I mean, gah....it costs so much to pay me to be there to watch over all that donated blood. No overtime allowed...not good for productivity, and certainly not for the investors. If there's one thing my boss can do it's crunching numbers. Lord ya'll...I wish I was smart like that. Most of my old school co-workers have husbands to help with the bills. The other half of my rent went packing about seven years ago. It's a long story...remind me to tell you sometime.

Me and BG and Bubba smooth cooked an excellent Christmas breakfast down at Mom and Dad's place today. His sausage? The best I've ever eaten. I did Gaga cheese grits and splashed some half and half into the scrambled eggs while Lauren and Bubba fried homemade sausage, bacon and country ham on the griddle. Before we went, I ran by Aunt Granny's to pick up her gift for Mom because she's bad sick with the epizootie. Granny made friends with this escape artist named Eddie who can draw people's faces like nobody's business. We told her it was a composite of she and Nancy's and Bill's senior pics, drawn by Eddie and re-created by Johnny. Looks just like 'em.

Don't even consider coming to our emergency room this weekend unless you're on death's door. My senior citizen butt is totally tired of listening to that tube system go off like a tornado warning every time it drops. The chillers don't work very well these days either. I think I'll dress light tomorrow because even though it's cold outside, it's hot up in there amongst all the blood countin' gadgets.

More later....it's almost bedtime ^j^

Thursday, December 24, 2009

then one windy christmas eve

This week's weather has been a real strange mixture of frozen fog and now very gusty winds, ushering in the REAL winter. Like the kind that buries the mid-west! Work was steady enough not to be boring today and I've got tomorrow off before heading back in on Saturday. That sound you hear is me taking a big sigh of relief that I'm right where I am at this point in time doing what Big Ernie expects of me. She told me so.

BG and BF are gone to visit her Dad for a few hours so it's me and the animals for a bit. My thoughts have wandered back over the years when BG was growing up and Christmas was a hUGe deal for all of us. Kids make all the difference, with their wonder and awe at the magic of the season. Believing in Santa Claus is a little bit like believing in God in that your practical side says "no way" but your faithful side says.."well, it could happen."

I hope that you all have wonderful family filled moments from now until next Christmas. And I sincerely hope that nobody told Santa that I've been bad because it's simply not true. Not that I didn't try..........

Keep the Christmas faith ^j^

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the almost nurse/pharmacist/doctor/social worker

Our village has come to the point where things must be condensed and simplified...any system that has a chance of success depends on day to day commitment and an understanding of the big picture. Oh hell...sometimes you just have to grow an idea and that is exactly what is happening with the fam. We run errands and count pills and figure out which trips are really necessary. The team gets smart and realizes who's milking Medicare for the bucks and who's in it to "help people."

Our census is really low right now which makes for shorter hours and much less scurrying. All the ER patients are at Wallyworld picking up last minute stocking stuffers and they won't even begin to think about getting sick until this weekend. When I'm working. Oh happy day! For this I went to college? Not bitchin', mind you. Just making a well informed observation from the hospital employee standpoint. My company gave me a big old honeybaked ham and a raise so I'm committed to making a difference,at least until the new year.

I'm on the Christmas eve shift this year and have been put in charge of cheese grits which I shall double tomorrow night for work and our family gathering on Friday. Gaga made them every year but I've learned that you don't have to have those little expensive rolls of garlic cheese to make it work. Hey...we watch the food network up in our crib.

I wish for all of us, peace on earth. The practical side of me feels that it probably won't occur in my lifetime, but has sincere faith that it can happen.


Monday, December 21, 2009

one day at a time

Twelve steppers will tell you that it's the only way to go. I became one of them back when I was in therapy and battling all sorts of demons from the past. Oh, it was nothing bad like physical or sexual abuse, but it was pretty tough work all the same. I'm still learning, if you know what I mean. Take today for instance.

Mama called me at work today and she was crying uncontrollably...you know. The UGLY cry. She went to the doctor last week and told him that it was happening pretty often what with her disabilities and daddy's "mental status". Evidently he failed to hear what she was saying when she called me today..."I feel like I'm coming apart!" I don't know about ya'll, but when my mama calls crying I'm outta there and going to see what's up. For the first time in her 76 year old life, she told me that she thinks she needs help, meaning someone professional to spill her guts to. Something more than a hug and the grocery shopping will take care of.

As with your family, there are things that were never discussed because they were shameful...like feelings. She grew up as the overweight oldest child of three in a household that had plenty of money for extravagance like household help. She married just about the poorest sharecropper's son she could find because he was honorable and loved her to death. Daddy has spent his life busting his farmer ass trying to make her happy when only she can do that. Too bad she grew up in the fifties because she would have made a very nice hippie :)

BG and I met up at the shelter today to visit the dogs and cats for Christmas. They barked and sniffed and looked at us longingly but Butterbean wasn't there. I gained a whole new respect for the staff of this volunteer organization by coming in as a repeat customer. No...it's still two dog night around here. But that might change this weekend.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

fa la la la la

BG and I did something yesterday that we rarely do...we shopped together! We both tend to put things off and all of a sudden we looked at each other and realized that it's a week away. Oh.Shit. Nothing like a deadline to get some girls' butts in gear. We had a blast with our list and our (limited) money, finishing up what we started under my mother's direction a month ago. It is hilarious how much effort we've put into making sure everybody has something cool. But we've done it. It's a wrap and under two trees...ours and theirs.

Spending a day and looking at life through my daughter's eyes was the most special thing of all. We visited my aunt and drove around the old 'hood where my mom and dad's family lived right across the street from each other. As we entered the feed store downtown we ran across an old friend or two and heard the crooning of a live guitar player over by the rakes and hoes. She has a way of seeing people and appreciating their smiles which naturally leads to a lot of smiling back. Nah, I'm not biased at all ;)

So, you better be good and you better NOT pout.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the christmas cake

Over the years, I have piddled with and somewhat perfected this absolutely decadent chocolate chip pound cake with fudge icing. The thing is rich, extravagant and a bitch to make so it only happens for special occasions. Like Christmas. I delivered the first one today to an old friend who has watched my back through the legal system for the past twenty years. We met at church when he was married to his first wife and they were the "perfect couple." When things went south, she went home to NC and he pretty much got the stink eye by the brotherhood, if you know what I mean. We didn't see his face for months and months! I was friends with both of them and stayed neutral so it wasn't a big deal to me. I gladly paid him...TWICE..to divorce the same man. I'm really not a slow learner...just loyal to a fault.

I could tell when I walked in that the receptionist was sniffing the icing, even though she's a size 2. The legal assistant hung over the rail to give me a shoutout for chocolate and we chatted a few minutes before I made my way back onto court square. One time when a credit card company sent one of their assembly line guys to squeeze me a little bit, he did a pro-bono visit for moral support so I wouldn't cry in front of the judge. Man, those were the good old days.

Slowly but surely, with the grace of God and the prayers of many, our situation has begun to look like something other than constant struggle to make ends meet. I'm not talking vacations and clothes, just paying the bills on time. Much of that has to do with the fact that good friends and neighbors have extended credit over time with the knowledge that when things get straight, they will be repaid in full. The guy at the grocery store gets a cake too when I get some half and half for the icing. Not gettin' out of this house again today!

There are two others that I intend to deliver....one to the propane guy and the other to the folks who deliver lunch for my parents everyday. They have all gone above and beyond what people would do to help out someone in need, like ME. So, let them eat cake. With fresh holly on top!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

not much to say

One thing about getting a cold that's good in a way is that you get to sleep a lot and not feel bad about it because, well...you just can't help it. This has been a very hard lesson for me personally because I have enough of my mother's niceness and father's temper to have kept me going on adrenaline for about fifty years. Trust me, it can be toxic to be afraid of not making people happy and dodging the runnin' fits. My brothers tend to have those as well, by the way.

Work is busy enough not to be boring which about all I could handle this week so thankyouverymuch Big Ernie. Only a Methodist like myself could just as moved over the Adam Sandler Hannukah song as by The Messiah. I'm funny like that.

Peace and love and jingle bells. ^j^

Sunday, December 13, 2009

deck the halls and all that jazz

I'm not sure what day of Christmas it is right now, but in my world it's a gray Sunday afternoon on the lane except for the white lights draped on the window above my desk. We have done the breakfast thing which now happens at Mel's Diner and everyone is tucked in for a Sunday afternoon rest. It wasn't too very long ago that I was afraid to relax in fear of the next phone call about one of my parents having a car accident. My goodness how life has changed since then!! It takes a village, as you all know. I'm not sure we could manage without the kindness of others who pitch in with a ride or a meal. Both of them have been faithful members of the UMC all of my life and that's their big outing each week. I got a very dirty look from an old lady in a big ass expensive car when she tried to back out while I was waiting for pick-up today. I just smiled at her like Jesus would.

I had the opportunity on Friday to take part in something at work that was kind of unusual, in a team-building sort of way. A procedure that we usually perform with minimal assistance at the bedside turned into a big old group hug for those of us who were in it together with that patient. I was impressed enough that I even sent emails to bosses about it. Trust me, it takes a lot to impress this old gal.

Sam has some kind of puncture wound on his hind leg and is forced to hop around in the field behind Faith on their mole hunting expedition today. We had an offer to adopt a miniature beagle this weekend but had to turn it down. It has become very evident that dogs, like kids, do better in pairs. With three, there's always an odd man out getting picked on.

This will be a full week at work for me and the crud has kicked my butt pretty well. Managing to get to bed by 8 two nights in a row..ON A WEEKEND...means you know your limits.

Keep the faith and pass the torch. ^j^

Friday, December 11, 2009

wtf day is it anyways?

Oh yeah...it's Friday. And i'm off the weekend. See ya'll next week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

thank the lord for small things

Mom and I were all set to head to the next city over to get her vision looked at and lo and behold, the heavens opened up. Neither one of us do the "get in and out of the car with an umbrella" thing very well, and the Camry isn't always so trusty when road tripping with the elderly. So we both said "nah" and stayed at home, rescheduling for later. The dogs are ecstatic to have me as company for another day.

We are taking this season in baby steps, partly because that's all we can handle but largely because we know that there are memories that need to be shared between the generations. Mama insists that we know where everything came from. LP came home with some hundred year old school slates that belonged to my great grandmother's baby brother! His name was Faris, by the way. He died of TB as a teenager.

I inherited most of my grandmother's linens when she died many years ago. Some of them still have the original creases that someone put on them. I have decided that maybe my cousins might like a piece of that so I'm working to make a collection for each of them to have and pass on to their kids. That is how family history stays alive when the ancestors are long gone.

My Dad started researching his roots about 15 years ago and found everybody except his grandpa Joe that ran off from Mississippi. Mama's Agee roots have been traced to France where her mother, Gaga, visited during the sixties as a young widow. She went to her grave apologizing that she didn't get to take me to Europe for high school graduation. It never mattered to me. She was my grandma and I'm the oldest of ....hmmm. I've lost count now. As we have aged we meet more often at the funeral home than at family gatherings. That's why Mom's birthday was so special.

We have this recordable book for my nephew in Virginia so BG and I played with it a little bit today but couldn't quite figure it out. Yeah, we're blonde, and proud of it. She told me the other night that I was very much like Gaga because "you just don't give a damn." And you know what?

She's right. ^j^

Sunday, December 6, 2009

'tis the season

There is something very heartwarming about walking into a house where the Christmas tree is lit up. I don't normally do that because I'm the first up and the first home so I do the plugging in and out thing. Today was an exception because the roommates were home first. Sweet! There are enough candles lit in here to have a wake and strings of lights hanging haphazardly on windows in the style of prom night. And I love it.

The sawmill this weekend was the usual blend of really sick people and idiots of the year....just another day in paradise. The really sad part of being a practitioner is seeing how much of the resources available are not effectively utilized because nobody is on the same page. Communication is key when building an effective team and many times there are interdepartmental issues ( yes, many personal ones ) that inhibit a smooth flow in the delivery of patient care. I could go on and on but I won't because life is too short to spend whining about something you can't fix.

We have our office "holiday" party tomorrow afternoon and I signed up to bring to bring deviled eggs. Man..do I love those people or what!

Ya'll have a wonderful week. If you see Santa, tell him I'm still looking for a Sugardaddy.


Friday, December 4, 2009

in the office

I have turned the living room into my little private place to play because nobody ever comes to visit anyway..you can tell that by the stack of stuff on the dining room table. There are raggedy couches and a computer plus an old filing cabinet. This is my "command central" where the bills get laid out and stuff gets taken care of. It's been a real challenge for me to organize things because that's just not my strong suit. I guess it's just the part of me that wants to stay little.

I have an African violet that I've managed to nurture for a few years, a birthday gift from a friend. The coffee table is space to spread things out and actually work. I'm not sure yet what the next step will be, but I feel a creative mood coming on for the Christmas season. One of my most treasured gifts was a pair of hand painted cups and ornament from a fellow blogger last year. That is what the spirit of the season is all about, in my book. After helping Mom put their tree up this morning, I came home and plugged mine up in the corner of the office because hey..you don't get to enjoy it very long when they're live!!

Peace out. ^j^

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

coming up for air

I am off for two days now prior to a weekend at the sawmill and it never ceases to amaze me how those days off come at just the right time. Usually they're spent chasing my tail...or somebody else's. This time, I don't have that much to accomplish which can only mean one or two things on the to-do list. Like sleep in. And piddle around the house with no mercy. I remember back when I first became a single gal I spent about 90% of my time looking for a guy...back then it was in Yahoo chat rooms. I never did find a keeper, and kissed a whole bunch of frogs along the way. Now I just leave room for the spirit to work.

BG's cat Lily has been surprisingly not interested in the tree. In the past we've had to tie trees to the WALL to keep them from being ravaged by curious kitties. I suppose it's much more fun for her to knock everything off of my dresser so I'll wake up and feed her. Lily does have an evil side. When we were growing up, we never had pets in the house so naturally any cat that came around was too wild to play with. When BG was real little, we got her first cat named Screamer ( guess why!) and we've never been without since. At one time we had close to 20 which was ummm...bordering on "crazy cat people." That was after I picked one up in the parking lot at work who proceeded to have kittens and then one of the kittens had kittens. They all went to laugh and play in a dairy barn where the mice are easy game.

I read today that Senator John Tanner is retiring and that makes me quite sad. His level headed leadership and representation of the citizens of our state have been a great gift to all Tennesseans. I don't say that about many politicians, by the way. There will be a mad scramble for that seat in the near future and I pray that Big Ernie sees fit to bless us with another person of similar integrity. As for the Afghanistan push, I'm sure that Obama will continue to take the heat for the mistakes made during Dubya's administration, i.e. not blowing the shit out of Afghanistan and Pakistan to begin with....after all the innocents are evacuated, of course. That side trip to Iraq cost a lot of American and Iraqi lives and now we're signing up to do the same thing where we should have been to begin with. Go figure.

Mom and I will be taking a road trip next week to an occupational rehab center to have her visual problems assessed and look for possible ways to make life easier for her. Macular degeneration shows no mercy. Once an avid reader and creator, she is now confined to books on CD for entertainment. While Daddy's dementia has somewhat shielded him from the hardships of getting older, she is keenly aware of her surroundings through her other senses. Very frustrating for a former do-it-all-myself gal like her. I would be the same way, only not nearly as nice about it *snort*

It is gray, wet and cold....typical December weather in our hood. For now, there are snoring dogs and a warmly lit tree to keep me company. And that, my friends, isn't a bad place to be.