Another sick day

Here I am, at home, slacking again. I called off sick from work. Never let it be said that I don’t plan ahead. I arranged this last week after I flunked PT. The boss has coverage for me today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. The Evil Empire’s new attendance policy ought to have me fired by sometime next week. M the Elder keeps saying “they can’t fire you for being sick!” Little does he know. How could he know? He’s spent too many years in the ivory tower. With tenure. There is no such thing as tenure when you work for the Evil Empire. We are all expendable (as in Merriam-Webster’s definition b. of the word: more easily or economically replaced than rescued, salvaged, or protected).

(Note: I know that M knows better. I’m exercising my right to sarcasm here this morning.)

What will save me is the fact that this is only black mark #2 (or, in official Evil Empire language, incident #2) on my record. I can have up to 4 incidents before the firing squad starts waving around the pink slips. Taking off 3 days in a row counts as 1 incident. Wooo-hooo! I can stay home all week. And next week, too.

I had planned on giving my two weeks notice today. M the Elder, ever the optimist, is against this idea. His reply when I mentioned this plan was, “But what if you start feeling better and want to work that last week or two before we move?” Want to work? Hehehe. He’s silly. I do see where he’s coming from, though. He wants me to be well enough to work. We could also use what ever extra money we can bring home between now and the start of his sabbatical. The trouble is, I think my boss took me seriously when in the grips of great pain last week I told her that I think it’s time for me to give my two weeks notice. She may have already started the process that will help me achieve that goal.

I’ll call her today and see what’s up. If she has started the process, I’m going to let it happen. I don’t gain much by screwing things up at this point (maybe a week or two of pay and let me tell ya, that’s really not much). The main thing I’m trying to avoid is the burning of the bridge that leads to employment with the Evil Empire. As much as I’m going to enjoy leaving, and even though I entertain thoughts and fantasies of never ever being an Evil Empire minion again, I don’t think it would be wise to cut myself off completely. Just in case. In case of what, you ask? I don’t know. It’s one of those all-encompassing just in case’s. Who knows what will happen in the future? I might even want to work for Wally World again someday. Hah.

Moving right along…

When we bought the property here at Breezy Acres there were several large barn stones laying around. M the Elder, thinking standing stones are a neat new way to decorate one’s property ( I completely agree with him and have encouraged this sort of creativity), was determined to stand them up. A year or two ago M the Elder and M the Younger managed to raise one of them. It stands proudly out front, looking a little like a tombstone. We’ve had an offer or two to buy it. Maybe we’ve started a trend.

There is a second, larger barn stone near the barn (heh, go figure). It has a round hole in it. At one point M the Elder was going through a pagan decorating phase and had hoped to position the stone so that the solstice sunrise would shine through the round hole. Or some such thing. Which would’ve been neato. But the stone is big. And very heavy. Just raising it was going to be a bit of a logistical (and strength) problem. He gave up on the idea of positioning the stone, but continued to think about ways to raise it.

And raise it he finally did:

Pretty cool, eh?

He had help from a neighbor who has one of those little bulldozer type things. I can’t remember what they’re called. I’m glad he didn’t attempt to use his truck again. He almost ripped the bumper off when he raised that last stone.

What’s interesting is that the shape of this stone is very similar to the shape of Ohio…sort of, kind of.

But Ohio doesn’t have a hole in the middle.

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866



Sick Day

(Current weather in the Bogs. October 25, 2006.)

It’s been a rough week.

Yes, I know it’s only Wednesday. I’m hoping the fact that I was barely half way through the week when I decided it was a rough week bodes well for the rest of the week.

This back pain with sciatica is the pits. I don’t know how people who live in chronic pain manage it. I’ve had this for about a month and I’m ready to have myself shot. Seriously. This. Just. Sucks.

I had another PT session last night. Mike the PT Guy revamped the exercises in an attempt to go at this a different way. I hope the new and improved exercises help.

In the meantime, I called off sick from work today. This will give me one black mark on my record with the Evil Empire now that they’ve instituted a new attendance policy. You know about the new attendance policy, don’t you? It’s been in the news. Here’s a bit of the Wall Street Journal article (which I nicked from the Wake-Up Wal-Mart website):

Critics Say Plan Is Designed To Pare Unhealthy Workers; 1-800 Number for Sick Days

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has enacted a new attendance policy that penalizes workers for multiple unexcused absences and requires them to call an 800 number whenever they get sick, changes critics say are part of a bigger effort to nudge out unhealthy and long-tenured employees…

The policy change comes at a time when some of Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million U.S. workers are riled by fears that the retailer wants to cut costs by attracting healthier employees and a greater percentage of part-time workers. Some employees and Wal-Mart critics decry the new policy as a way for Wal-Mart to discourage unhealthy employees by tracking sick-time use more closely, setting stricter guidelines for authorization and making the process of applying for sick leave more onerous.

“I guess they’re just trying to see how many people they can get rid of,” said Ramiro Gonzalez, a 49-year-old full-time worker in the produce section of a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. “They’re trying to make ways that you can mess it up so they can let you go, especially if you’re a full-timer.”

Wal-Mart’s concerns about its soaring health-insurance costs came to light last year, when an internal memorandum authored by a top Wal-Mart official was leaked. The memo offered numerous suggestions for corralling benefits costs by luring healthier workers.

The new policy “just sends another terrible message that this company looks at its workers as a commodity,” said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for Wal-Mart critic WakeUpWalMart.com.

I’m looking forward to finally leaving the Evil Empire. Working as one of their minions has never sat well with me. The interesting thing about all the recent changes that have occurred within Wal-Mart is the way it’s brought the disgruntled (probably 99.9% of the associates) out into the open. Associates are now openly talking about unionizing. I heard three associates discussing it in front of an assistant manager. That rarely happened in the past (and certainly didn’t happen without repercussions). The walk-out in a Florida store last week, the release of the confidential memo showing Wal-Mart for what it is, the new attendance policy, and the wage caps may well lead to a unionization of the Evil Empire. I hope it happens and I hope it’s soon.

In other news…

The weather here has been cold and cloudy with the occasional snow flurries and showers. The ground is too warm for the snow to stick and accumulate so it hasn’t been a problem or even an inconvenience just yet. We should be out of here before that happens.

No news on the apartment front, but it’s too early to tell. M Fed-Ex’d our lease application and fee yesterday. It’ll probably be a few days before we hear anything.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now. I’m off to do some more exercises.

“I don’t know specifically what a living wage is.” — Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott who made $23 million in salary, bonuses, and stock awards in 2004.

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. ~Douglas Adams

Life shouldn’t be printed on dollar bills. ~Clifford Odets

Looking for that 1-800 number to call off sick?  Visit 1-800-I’M-SICK 


Aries

(Emma at COSI. Sept. 2006)

We had a great weekend visiting with Emma and her parents. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have such a wonderful family. 🙂

I’m amazed at how fast Emma is growing and learning. I don’t know why I should be so amazed. It’s not like I haven’t experienced this phenomenon with my own children. Perhaps it’s because it’s been a long time since my own children were young. I doubt there’s anything in the world that compares with the enthusiam and energy of a growing and learning toddler.

We went to COSI on Saturday where Emma seemed to mostly enjoy herself. She was having a bit of a bad day, not feeling all that well, but still had fun in spite of some rough spots. I love watching her play which may explain why I always end up taking a couple hundred photos of her whenever we have the opportunity to visit with her. It’s likely I miss the best photos when I put down the camera and engage in playing with her. But that’s much more fun that taking snapshots anyhow. 🙂

One of the things that intrigues me about her is how she enjoys wind and storms so much. I noticed that when we took her out to a local farm during her August visit with us. We had gone out to look at the animals in the little petting zoo they have and got caught in a storm. Luckily for us, there was a shelter we could take cover under until the storm blew past. Emma, sitting on her father’s lap, was laughing and having a good old time as the wind gusted and the rain poured down. At COSI she seemed to enjoy the things that created wind, once again lighting up as the air would gust and blow her hair around.

She also enjoys water and liked the Ocean exhibit. She’s a lot like her grandma in some respects. I’m looking forward to when she’s old enough to go hiking with us. I think she’ll enjoy it. It will be great fun to experience nature through her eyes.

For the fun of it, I looked up her astrological sign:

Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac and associated with fresh vigor and new beginnings. Individuals born under this sign are thought to have a confident, energetic, adventurous, enthusiastic, fair, passionate, and pioneering character but one which is also prone to selfishness, boastfulness, intolerance, impulsiveness, and impatience.

Another fire sign in the family. That should make for some sparks. LOL!

M and I continue to look for an apartment in Delaware. M has found some good leads on the internet. We’ll probably have to go out there again in a few weeks to look around and, hopefully, make a decision as to where we’re going to live. I’m excited about the move, but nervous as well since it means learning to get around a new town/city where we won’t know anyone. At least we’ll be fairly close to family and friends. That’s part of what I’m so excited about, hoping to spend more time with family and friends.

Work at Wally World has not been going well lately. There are lots of changes going on there and I’ll be glad when I reach my last day (November 21st). If I could afford to, I’d quit before that date. The fun has been leaving the pharmacy at a rather fast rate with the upcoming opening of a new store and all the good people leaving to go there. I’d be going there, too, if it weren’t for M’s sabbatical and the move to Delaware. I’m hoping they’ll have an opening for me when we return to Ohio next summer.

I’ve been having problems with my back due to all the car trips. I finally dragged myself to see a doctor at the Med Center on Tuesday morning where I was given some good drugs to help with the pain and the advice to follow-up with my primary care physician because the x-rays show signs of a degenerative spinal disease. Having looked that up on the internet, I’m thinking the doc should’ve said, “You’re getting old. Get used to it.” That’s pretty much what a degenerative spinal disease might amount to (arthritis) and there’s not a lot that can be done about it except for the things I should be doing anyhow (lose weight, exercise, etc.).

I have lost weight. 7 lbs. so far. I’m happy about that. :))

The weather here today is fairly nice. It’s cool, but I like cool, autumnal weather. The leaves are beginning to change. I really noticed it on my ride into work on Tuesday morning. My drive is on back country roads with lots of trees lining the way and arching over the road in spots. I wish I could drive and take pictures at the same time. The colors of the leaves are gorgeous, especially glowing in the early morning sunlight.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus


Cheesesteaks and other evils

(Cheesesteak from Smitty’s in Columbia, PA. September 23, 2006.)

I’ve decided that hoagies and cheesesteaks should be declared weapons of mass destruction. Or maybe weapons of mass build-up. Either way, they’ll be the death of me someday. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea for us to move out east. It’s going to be hard to stick with the doctor’s orders to lose weight if I’m confronted with stuff like this on a regular basis.

Our trip to Delaware was productive although we didn’t finalize anything just yet. We looked at three apartments in three different price ranges so we now have a good idea of what we’re facing when it comes to renting. It’s been a long time since we’ve rented and lived in an apartment. Now that we’ve got our bearings, we should be able to make some sort of decision. We probably need to do so by the end of October.

I also enjoyed our time in PA. We took my father-in-law to see the WWII Memorial on Friday. The trip went very smoothly. Leroy seemed to enjoy it very much. There were six of us (M, me, M’s sister, his younger brother, his younger brother’s girlfriend, and his father). The fact that we all managed to arrive on time was the first good sign. We had breakfast on our way to DC. Leroy picked the restaurants for breakfast and dinner. When we arrived at the memorial we immediately found a parking space (the last handicap space left!). We spent about two hours touring the memorial and then walking up to the Washington Monument.

The weather was perfect for the outing. It was warm, but not overly so, and breezy. It’s good things worked out as they did. We originally planned to go on Saturday and the weather wouldn’t have been nearly as nice.

Besides eating too much of a good thing, we did some shopping at the outlet mall in Lancaster. M and I came home with a great set of Pfaltzgraff dishes. They retail for $340 for 8 place settings. We paid (are you ready for this?)…. $15.90!!! They’re lovely dishes and I’m looking forward to using them (and getting rid of our Big Lots Specials which have been chipping away since we bought them).

I went back to work today. My last day at the pharmacy should be November 21st. It depends. Apparently the Evil Empire is being it’s usual demonic organization and the new pharmacist they’ve hired is related to Drunk Pharmacist who worked with us for about a year. I know they’re hard up for pharmacists, but this is ridiculous. I’ve had to work with the Psycho Pharmacist from Hell, Drunk Pharmacist, and the Crazy Hungarian Pharmacist over the past 3-4 years. Enough is enough. I’m not working with sub-par pharmacists anymore. Maybe I should move to Nebraska so I can work with my old pharmacy manager. 🙂

That’s about it from the Bogs for now. I have to get myself back on the straight and narrow. No drinking, and I need to get lots of exercise and eat healthy food. I think of it as the Hippy Dippy Plan.

Wish me luck.

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray. ~Author Unknown

We are all dietetic sinners; only a small percent of what we eat nourishes us; the balance goes to waste and loss of energy. ~William Osler