Monday, March 22, 2004

I am sitting at my computer working on a story of mine. Fernando Ortega's beautiful music is flooding the room with hymns of praise. Fancy and Madison are asleep on my thigh. Tally, a ring-necked Indian Parakeet that was given to me last week is perched on my shoulder preening my hair. Kashi is curled up in a ball sleeping. Truly a peaceful time.

I am thankful for companionship of animals, the beauty of music, and the escape of writing.

Last Monday, my boss was fired...and then I was down-sized. Out of a job again after only six months. I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't. This time, I don't have my refinance money. In fact, I have VERY little money at all. Very little. And I learned that you cannot have more than one unemployment claim in a year, so I have only 13 weeks of unemployment, money that is barely enough to cover my mortgage and nothing else.

It turned out that my Christian boss had... issues... to put it lightly. I kept thinking, as the weeks passed and he utterly disparaged my speech and interactions with others even as he praised my work, that I would somehow figure out how to act in a manner to which he didn't object. In November he told me that he wanted me to walk behind him as we went into meetings and that he didn't want me speaking in meetings unless he had approved my comments. He was extremely angry at me and was shaking his fist while yelling that he was in authority over me and I was to be in submission to him. I stopped listening to his praise because the criticisms always overshadowed any good he found in the tremendous amount of organization I was doing in the marketing department.

I spoke to HR several times. HR actually labeled his behavior a hostile environment. I spoke with the VP/GM who said he would speak with my boss if I wanted. But I knew that would be inflammatory to situation, so I tried to work it out myself.

In January, I was ill and missed 8 days of work. During that time, someone spoke to my boss about his behavior towards me.

Things were better for a while, but my boss was not doing what management asked him to do. He truly flaunted his desire to do things his own way, focusing on Marketing exclusively and neglecting his responsibilities to Sales. Talk floated around the building that his days were numbered. He was being reprimanded quite a bit and the displeasure floated downhill again. I was a tennis ball being smashed between management and my boss, as he would direct me to work on a project and then clear my progress with managment. Management would grow angry because my boss was not doing what they wanted him to be doing and thus I was not doing what they wanted me to be doing. The back and forth happened over and over again.

Three weeks ago, he grew so angry that he tore up the work I had been doing for over three weeks prior to that day and threw it in the trash. He deleted the files from the server. And then he got up and walked out of his office. I felt as if he had thrown me away.

After two very dark days, I tried to just focus on the work and once again tried to steer him toward the work management wanted out of our department (I know...that was not my job to do so). And I asked the VP/GM if my job was in jeopardy if my boss was let go. He assured me--three times--that it was not.

Then, last Monday, 23 minutes before it was time for me to leave, the VP/GM called me into a meeting where I he told me that the company was eliminating my position. Six months to the day from when I was hired. He walked me back to my desk where he watched me pack up all my things.

I am still in a bit of disbelief. Yes, I am out of a very negative and draining situation. Yes, I have had the time to get well from my recent illness. But I am unemployed with very little money left. My mortgage looms before me.

So...I am thankful for companionship of animals, the beauty of music, and the escape of writing.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I found a rather humorous e-mail waiting for me when I logged into my hotmail account this morning. Below is part of what I wrote back explaining why the laughter was so welcome.

If you only knew what a blessing your laughter has been this morning!

I coughed for a few hours last night before, in desperation (althougth not quiet), I took a few swigs of some prescription cough syrup (with the magical drug codine) in it. I took those swigs knowing full well that the bottle was from an asthma ER visit two and a half years ago and that two swigs was considerably more than the prescribed dose of one teaspoon.

I did fall asleep, happily drugged, for the first time in three days. However, this morning, as I was struggling to get ready for work, I grew clammy, threw up, and then fainted. Once I collected myself off the bathroom floor, I felt better. I supposed I won't be taking the syrup to sleep tonight.

Part of his reply:

I am glad that you were not seriously hurt when you fainted.

On a lighter side, I am sure there is a substantial number of people who envy the effect that just two swigs of cough syrup provides you: throwing up, passing out, and collecting oneself off the bathroom floor. Many people spend hours drinking and lots of money to have the same experience.

If they only knew the time and money they could save!

While I am feeling quite a bit better than this morning, I do believe last night's foolishness ranks right up there in the top ten rash decisions I made and then came to regret.

I did, however, have the fleeting thought that the "cure" was similar to the one James Harriot described when he treated a horse for spots and ended up nearly killing the horse from its reaction to the drug (rolling eyes, frothing mouth, a seisure, and a collapse before the horse got up again), though the spots disappeared straight off. The horse trainer thought the cure was a bit "dramatic."

My cough is better.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I got my car back today (yesterday). The repair shop almost redeemed themselves by washing & waxing the car, shampooing the carpets, and cleaning the windows inside and out. Truly the car has not looked so good in years. I say almost because they had the car for 23 days in replacing the bumper and right front & side lights. 23 days.

The rental company gave me coupons for three days of free car rental because they had given me a rather dirty car. When I picked up the car, it was pitch black outside and neither the representative nor I saw that the car had not been cleaned. I didn't want to miss any more work by switching the car out, so I have sat carefully in the front seat and tried not to look at all the crumbs and trash in the seats, on the floor, and in the trunk. The latter had a smell I couldn't identify, which grew more odious as the weather has warmed. Given that this was my first car rental, I do not forsee using the coupons, but it was nice to receive them. was mostly pleasant today. I suspect that it was so because my efforts were mainly on creating new collateral, which would count as marketing and not sales. And "Sales only!" has been my bosses mandate from management. He is unhappy about the situation, so today was a day he could practice a bit of subterfuge.

I got to play on-line Scrabble with my best friend this evening (and won a few is always better when I win!). And the man from Saturday came over for some late night conversation to help wash away the last of my work angst from my mind.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

God gave me a precious gift last night.

I was with someone I hadn't seen in two years. We went to dinner and a movie and talked for hours. The company alone would have been enough, given how tough work is these days without any hope of change in the near future. But God is more gracious than even I could ask for.

During a truly relaxing evening, this person told me a story: He told me how, two year ago, when we first spent time together, he had just been through a truly difficult time. He was questioning whether he could endure when I sought him out to see if he would like to spend some time together. Forward as I felt at the time, I just wanted some company. It turns out that so did he. He never told me then, but he felt, that at that moment, when I walked up "out of the blue" with my invitation, he hear God say to him that he was not alone.

He told me, last night, that if ever I was in doubt that God was using me or that I was worth something, I should remember that I was, for him, the voice of God in a particularly dark hour.

I would have liked to tell him that his story was the same for me just now. But somehow, given that two years have passed since we last spent time together, launching into my own doubts and darkness would not have been appropriate.

God loves me. He loves me enough to send much needed company, a man willing to see a silly teen movie, eat Mexican food, and "wet the edge" with me as we debated this, that, and the other. And He topped it off with a reminder that His plans and purposes are not always ours, and that Christ can move in us to His purpose, even when we are unaware.

I only hope that I can remember this gracious reminder as I enter the chaos of my work once again.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

What a wonderful thing I just witnessed: Kashi walked down the stairs!

Instead of waiting for me to pick him up, he made his way to the top of the stairs and peered down. After a few long moments when I worried that his fear would get the best of him once again, Kashi made his way to the bottom of the stairs.

Woo Hoo! Yippee! Hurrah!!!!

Nearly five weeks later, Kashi has managed to conquer his fear. In the scheme of things, I would be hard pressed to say I conquered many of my own fears in shorter time.

May I always remember, MS moments and all, NEVER to use Pledge on wooden stairs again!

Monday, March 01, 2004

A friend told me that I should be more thankful. She is right, for I find myself thinking all too frequently about the problems I am facing at work. To that end, today I am thankful for:

God's grace for a rather stubborn child
An e-mail from a friend
A cinnamon pretzel
My Turbo Tax refund
Isaiah 35