Friday, November 27, 2009

I love them... But I hate them...

For the first time in years, I've gotten to have Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle and cousins who live in my current geographical region. They didn't generally make the commute up to where I was, and I was usually either too poor, or unable to get time off from work to make the journey down to see them. And while I love getting to see the kids for the holidays, and I love getting to be with my family, I also hate them. I hate them because they invite me to take part, and when it's time for me to grab my purse and leave, they say things like, "Oh, you're taking leftovers, aren't you? We can't keep all of this! You need to take some!" And so in addition to being already overstuffed, I drive home with a back seat full of ridiculously delicious foods.

Ordinarily taking home leftovers would save me a trip to the grocery and not be a problem, but we've covered the fact that my most recent relocation saw me venture to the more politically conservative and less literate side of the Mason-Dixon line. (Fortunately my family can read though!) But this means that if anyone can't, or more importantly, won't read the cookbook version of the recipe, that they default to the Paula Deen school of thought, meaning that the conservatism shown in the political polls and overwhelming popularity of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News channel does not extend so far as to apply to the generally encouraged level of caloric intake. This is especially true on a holiday. So there are not just mashed potatoes, and giblet gravy, there are mashed potatoes made with cream cheese, a whole stick of butter, and cream and then topped with melted cheese, instead of simply being boiled potatoes which are then mashed and blended smooth using only a little pat of butter, and skim milk. Then there is even more butter dropped into the pan drippings an flour that makes up that delicious gravy. While delicious, this type of cooking, (and eating,) turns into a really unfortunate situation when it comes time to venture back to the bathroom scale.

So as if my ass-expansion wasn't bad enough, since the cousins have small children, there was discussion of the "Black Friday" ads and deals. And the more they talked about it, the more excited they got, and the more excited they got, the more that excitement was translated across the table and caught in much the same manner as a case of the swine flu... It was sneezed out all over me, and just because I happened to be sitting there, I caught the fever.


So despite the fact that I don't have any small children of my own, and despite the fact that I didn't think there was anything that I couldn't live without, I found myself going to bed on Thanksgiving night on an overly full stomach at roughly 9 PM, only to wake up at 3 AM and go meet up with the Aunt and cousins to get some great deals with all the other crazies. And I did this in spite of the fact that I prefer to shop online, skip the crowds, skip standing in lines, and most likely end up with a better deal, even taking shipping costs into account... And usually if you're a little bit savvy about it, you can swing free shipping.

Never underestimate the power and influence of a group mentality, or how it can influence your decisions despite your better judgment. This is how riots, genocides, car-flipping, Angelina Jolie's adoptive family, and Heidi Montag's inexplicable popularity all get started... And once the ball is rolling, it would seem that we are all doomed.

So as I ventured out into the cold, dark, wee morning hours, in search of the best deal on generally inexpensive toys and other assorted goodies, I suddenly found myself thrust into an electronics department. This would not be a problem ordinarily... But when you know that there are deals to be had at this obscenely early hour, in this particular store, on this one day of the year, once again, you tend to get caught up in the moment.

This is how one ends up with an 8GB ipod that would need to be returned, when only hours later you find a 16 GB ipod for only $30.00 more... Online... Where you instinctively told yourself to start your shopping in the first place. So I went from not having ever owned an ipod, to owning two in one day. And I will hang onto the 8GB version until my real ipod arrives... Thus depriving some crazy person of their ipod ownership, because undoubtedly, when I return this one, despite the fact that I will include everything in all of its original packaging, and I will reset the memory, thus deleting all of my songs, I'm sure that the store will return my ipod to the manufacturer, to be further "refurbished" and sold as a preowned unit for a significant discount. (I know I switched from passive to active voice and back again in this little paragraph, but I really don't care enough to go back and fix it.)

In short, I should've known better. I should've just slept in, like I really wanted to, gotten the model with the larger memory, and bought it online in the first place.

Stupid family. Overfeeding me and then suckering me into ridiculous shopping with their ridiculous enthusiasm... (insert further indistinguishable grumbling here)

Friday, November 20, 2009

My brother is a married man??? WTF?

Yep, my idiot brother, whom I love, is a married man. He found himself a VERY patient girl who was willing to put up with him for SEVEN YEARS before getting the ring, and then four months later, POOF! They are officially hitched!

I couldn't be happier for the pair of them. They are one of those adorable couples that you both love and hate being around. You love it because it's great to be around people who are that happy and who make each other that happy, but you hate it because they make each other that happy, and well, you know you're not that happy... Or maybe that's just me.

Yeah, my brother and new sister in-law's happiest day was one of the most intensely depressing of my life, and I've seen some doozies in my day!

And it wasn't depressing for me because I would begrudge either of them all the happiness in the world, but it was just one of those days that really highlighted for me all the ways in which my life kinda blows at the moment... And trust me, it blows HARD.

As I'm sitting here typing this, I'm trying to remind myself that I sat down with the intention of revising my resume so that one area of my life could blow a fair amount less hard... Most days lately, I've been sitting at my desk thinking, "You know, poop houses are bad, and nobody should ever have to venture into one to earn a living, but I'll be damned if I didn't land in the office-job equivalent of a poop house... Well, at least I'm not dating Jon Gosselin, or working in a sewage treatment plant."

Not good parallels to be drawing when trying to look at the bright side of your life.

Tomorrow it will be more job hunting, more poop house writing, and more... well, more bleh.

Sorry. That's all I've got.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This is it for now...

I forgot to mention in my last post that I'm out of town for the weekend.

You see, my brother is getting married, and while certain other members of my family may or may not feel the need to attend, I'm damn sure going to be there.

I'm writing this post after the rehearsal dinner, which was six courses of delicious, coma-inducing fabulosity, and while I might very well lapse into the aforementioned coma, or have to be rolled into the blessed event using a hand dolly, a flatbed truck, or whatever other apparatus can be conceived on such short notice, I'm going to be there!

For the foodies in the readership, (Marcia, I'm looking at you here) let me just say that six full courses, and six delightful wine pairings later, I can't find a word to describe the heavenly meal, other than to say that I didn't know it was possible to be this overstuffed outside of Thanksgiving meals. It was all spectacular, and during a couple of the courses, I looked at my plate, groaned, ate two bites and said, "It's fantastic, but I just can't." And I'm still regretting having as many bites as I did. If I'm so inclined, I might have to post the entire menu later.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go lay down and contemplate forcing myself to vomit in order to feel better... and maybe to taste that fantastic Duck salad again... Though I'm betting it will have a less appealing taste coming up than it did going down in the first place.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

No PHC today.

Sorry. There is no PHC post today.

I tried. I honestly made every effort I could. You would understand if you knew the exact details of last week.

Suffice it to say that the very stable version of me that goes to work on a daily basis, and does the bulk of my daily activities, and lives most of the days of my life (the version of me that is on call 99% of the time) well, that version of me got a little worn out. And starting on Thursday evening, that version of me decided to call in sick. That left the other me holding the bag.

The other me gets rattled, is emotional, raw, and well, somewhat more combustible than the stable me. And after what had already been a fairly ugly work week, sending in the unstable me to finish things out was not good.

So as the unstable me sat at my desk on Friday, a coworker (one that I really like on a personal level,) asked me a question and then put something on my desk for me to handle. The unstable me FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. And admittedly, I snapped at my friend and coworker. I instantly apologized to her, because I knew it wasn't her fault, and that I'd just essentially shot the messenger on that one. Well, I went and took a breather for a few minutes because it was clear even to the unstable me that that was the best course of action. When I got back, I was called into the boss' office. I was instantly reprimanded for what had transpired before. I told them that I had already apologized, and that it wasn't her fault. They asked unstable me what was causing this fracas. Unstable me said that I was overwhelmed, and that I was drowning in my workload, (which is why rational and stable me took the day off). At which point they essentially implied that they had no idea what it was that I did all day, because there is just no way that what they know as my job should be taking all day, let alone overwhelming me. They further implied that I didn't do much of anything at all. (Which is funny, considering that the rational me had stayed late at work the three previous nights to make sure that things were all getting done on time... So apparently, rational me was staying late to do bonus amounts of nothing.)

At hearing all of this, unstable me suffered a brain aneurysm. I stood there with my chin on the floor unable to form sentences, let alone use those sentences to explain what I do all day, or why it takes me all day to do it. There was not a coherent thought in that room, let alone one that I could've formed into the basis for my defense at that point.

I might as well have put my hand down the back of my pants, crapped in my hand, and smeared it on the walls while laughing maniacally. In point of fact, that most likely would've served me better. But instead, I just stood there with my mouth agape, desperately trying to form letters into words and words into sentences and sentences into the explanation of what I KNOW that I do all day, and finding myself coming up short. At least with the poop on the walls, I'd have had a solid basis for a mental health leave. Whereas with the idiotic blank stare, I just looked like a vacant idiot who seemed to be genuinely every bit as incompetent as they were implying when we all know that nothing could be further from the truth.

The unstable me ended up in the bathroom crying uncontrollably.

The unstable me was saved by my best friend at the office who, despite being taken aback at seeing me so rattled at all of this that I was crying in the bathroom, was in a rational state of mind, and talked the stable me into coming in to work for a half-day, because clearly the unstable me couldn't take the pressure.

Both of me then went after work and had much needed alcohol, on an empty stomach, and had to spend the night at my friend's house. Saturday turned into a day of physical recovery from the previous night's indulgence, and Sunday was spent on retail therapy and formulating my plans for the future. And tops on the list is getting the hell out of the only office to ever reduce me to tears on the job. I mean I know it was unstable me that was reduced to tears, and not the real me, but the fact that the real me was too worn out to go in, forcing unstable me to handle things as best as I could, and that they picked that time to imply that the real me hasn't really been doing anything all along anyway... Well, clearly I'm not valued for my efforts, and it has started taking a toll on my sanity enough that I am referencing myself as two entities. Thus it might be time to move on. Which means that the previous plans have simply been accelerated.

Those mother bitches aren't going to get the best of me.



This is far from over.

Suffice it to say that the PHC post didn't get written, and I'll make every effort to get to it as soon as possible, but with work drama and personal life drama, it might take a fat minute, but I am promising that I won't let it get away from me the way that things did recently to the tune of nearly three months without anything new. The comeback of the Lizzle won't let that happen either.

Monday, November 02, 2009

...And in that moment, I remembered "THE LIZZLE"

Once upon a time, I was a legend.

I could pound down drinks, laugh, dance, sing (poorly), and otherwise cavort all night... and I could get up at the crack of 10, go to class, go to my part time job where I would do my homework or reading, or play cards, and then clock out and go further elevate the legend of "THE LIZZLE."

It's been a long while since the heyday of "THE LIZZLE," and in the declining times since the pinnacle, I have admittedly let things unravel to an alarming and unacceptable degree.

This weekend, though, I found a slight glimmer of what I used to be. I was GROSSLY sleep deprived all week long... We're talking like three out of five nights with 3 hours of sleep or less. (And before you ask, no, these were not the good kinds of sleepless nights. They were way too drama-filled and in no way fun.) So by the time that Thursday rolled around, and I realized that I hadn't bothered to get a halloween costume ready, I knew that it was going to be yet another late night. So I stayed up too late again getting things on the costume just right, went to bed, and got up early to go to work on Friday. I worked late. I went from work to my place to pick up my costume, and then straight to the all-adult halloween party that my cousin was throwing. I dressed up in my AWESOME costume, I partied into the wee hours of morning, and when I got home at roughly 2 AM, I could think of nothing in the world more desirable than my bed... So I went to sleep and found when I woke up that I'd been comatose for TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT. No kidding. I then got up, packed the costume up, made a starbucks run, fielded phone calls with assorted partners in crime, and then went to my aunt's house for a little football and halloween fun with the kids before heading off to yet another party where I wore my sweet costume, danced, drank, and played games until the wee hours of morning. (Even with the whole "fall back" thing taken into consideration.) I then went home and used my Sunday to hit the snooze button in an effort to reset before another ridiculous work week.

This weekend I remembered what it was to be young and fun again. I remembered the exploits of "THE LIZZLE" legend, and shamefacedly, vowed to work on recapturing the enjoyment of my awesomely misspent youth. I'll get back there... Well, maybe not 100% back there, but at least like a 70% version. It can happen.

It doesn't help that my current job has got me spending what little time I have for flights of fantasy plotting out the logistics of an office shooting rampage... Or at least dreamily imagining pinning a medal on anyone else who went on a shooting rampage and rid me of my boss.

I'm not really homicidal. I'm not even armed. I just actively wish for the day when I can tell them where to shove it. I knew it was bad when I started comparing the relative pros and cons of this bullshit versus the poop house.

When you compare anything to the poop house, you know things are not good.

I'm thinking that the next PHC post will be up sometime this weekend. (Provided I don't party so hard that I wind up comatose and unable to leave home long enough to hit the publish button.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An update about the me of the present... (Poop house post below.)

We've been delving into my archived daily log sheets from the poop house case and re-examining the mentality I had back then. Today it occurred to me that you have no idea what is going on with me in the here and now.

At this exact moment in time, I'm parked in a starbucks because I got a gift card for my birthday, so the otherwise ridiculously priced coffee-based beverages are not ridiculously priced, and they have wi-fi... The final four words, (counting the hyphenate as one word,) of that last sentence made me cringe a little bit at my own nerdery and poverty.

Sitting here, otherwise enjoying my Sunday afternoon and the "fancy" coffee that doesn't taste nearly as good as the coffee I make at home, I realized that while age might merely be a number, I am in fact getting old. I support this theory with my overwhelming disdain for the small group of eighth graders who just sat down and appear to be dressed in a way that could really only be described as the incarnated lovechild of Urban Outfitters store mating with the ticket line for "Where the Wild Things Are." Seriously... Tie-dyed socks, silver ballet flats, tunic tank tops over long sleeved shirts, and backpacks stitched with patches or other adornments seemingly intended to be ironic or indicate some kind of apathy, but placed in the hands of children who have no idea what irony or apathy are as they sip an over-sugared $4.50 venti house blend because ordering the hot chocolate that they really wanted would've made them look juvenile in front of their cohorts who all secretly wanted hot chocolate too. No twelve year old really wants coffee. They want the appearance of maturity. Which is why I think no one under the age of sixteen should be allowed into a coffee house of any kind, nor should they be allowed to order anything stronger than that aforementioned hot chocolate from the drive through as they ride around in the back of mom's minivan.

If you're too young to work at the coffee house, you're too young to be a patron of the coffee house.

A thousand pardons, my adult bitterness has caused me to delve into an overly-detailed digression railing against the douchebags of the future.

Moving away from my hostility towards the youth that I can feel all too rapidly slipping from my once-firm grasp, I feel the need to expand the picture of my little corner of the world, which means I should probably mention my work life. Work is mind-numbing and soul-killing.

This past week I was offered a promotion, which was, in reality, more of a lateral move, meaning that they wanted to give me additional duties without any additional compensation for my efforts. My bosses were pretty upset when I pretty bluntly turned them down. (I guess they figured I was dumb enough to fall for it, or meek enough to accept it without a second thought.) It took them a little while to regroup, during which time I returned to my office, and my normal workload. About a half an hour later I was called back into the boss' office where they shot my refusal down, saying I would do it 'because they said so.' Knowing that I am not a recent lottery winner, nor a trust fund baby, and that my ability to pay my rent and buy groceries depends on having a reliable paycheck, I relented and said, "Ok, fine. Whatever you want." And as I left the room, deflated and defeated, I found that my previous inklings of displeasure were rapidly calcifying into a solid mass of anger-driven certainty that I will wait them out until December. I will collect my Christmas bonus, and I will promptly tell them where to shove it and march out the door upon securing other employment. Basically, you're not going to tell my that my refusal of your offer wasn't good enough, and that I'll do it because you say so. You're not my mom, and in case you've forgotten, I'm a Northerner. I am not all sweet and demure like the Southern debutantes you're used to dealing with. That's not the type of thing that I will take lying down. My response might take a little while to come to fruition because the job market here is still in shambles, but they sure as hell aren't paying me enough to take that kind of treatment without an appropriately measured response in kind. You can't refuse my refusal with "because I said so" and think that everything is going to be fine and dandy.

On Friday, a co-worker of mine, Bill, and I were the last ones left in the office. The bosses and the other drones had all gone home. Bill came into my office and confided in me more than he ever had previously, and more than I had ever expected. Bill currently occupies the position that they are grooming me to do. The position I am unwilling to take on fully without a raise tantamount to doubling my current salary.

Bill generally comes across as a nice, mild-mannered, sweet, southern guy who will do whatever he is told because it is inherent to his nature. So of course I was surprised when he opened up and unloaded his real impression of things.

Bill sidled up to my office doorjamb, man-bag slung over his shoulder, "Hey... You ready to train with me on Monday?"

I spun around in my office chair, "In all honesty, no. And its nothing against you, but I was told I had to, so I guess we're in it together."

"They told you that you had to? I don't get it, how did that work?" Intrigued, he slipped into my office as though he suspected that someone was watching him, suspecting him of being a communist defector in the making, even though he knew we were the last two people left.

"I told them no, and they pulled the mom-card and told me that it wasn't really up to me."

"Oh." Bill appearing perplexed, I waited for him to process what I'd just said.

"...Wait, you told them no?" The shocked tone of his voice and look on his face told me what I already knew; telling them no simply wasn't something that one did.

"Yeah, I told them that I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO interest in doing your job, and that taking on new responsibilities relating to your job one at a time didn't appeal to me in the slightest. And they told me that it really wasn't my decision and that I would do it because they wanted me to do it."

Bill's face lifted in surprise. "Wow... I think I just gained a new level of respect for you... I don't know anyone else around here that would've had the balls to tell them no. I mean, I knew you were pretty cool before, but I suddenly find myself rather impressed."

"Well, don't be too impressed, I mean, I still got shot down and forced into it anyway."

"Doesn't matter. They know you're not going to just roll over for them, you're going to at least tell them how you feel about it."

"A lot of good it did me." I said with an eye-roll.

"Well, I was pretty sure that you were cool enough to talk to before, but now that you've just told me that, I know I can safely tell you that I fucking hate it here."

"OH THANK GOD! YOU'RE NOT ONE OF THE POD PEOPLE!" A wave of excitement and relief swept over me as I found that I now had a new confidante.

"No. I'm miserable here, and I'm just waiting for my Christmas bonus."

"You're not alone in that boat."

"No, I didn't think I was." Bill shrugged, already having a good estimate regarding the head count on that boat.

"I don't know too many jobs where I've heard such vocal displeasure, and its gotten worse lately. I know I've heard Leslie say pretty much the same thing about leaving. I mean I heard a lot of grousing at my social work job, but there we dealt with poop houses, child abuse, and the constant threat of physical assault, or being stabbed with a dirty hypodermic needle. And as things got worse there, not only was I vocal about my displeasure, I quit that job in a hurry because it made me miserable and I didn't like who I was while I had that job."

"Poop houses?" The look on his face told me he had heard the phrase 'poop house' and despite the fact that it captured his full attention, he didn't really want to know.

"Another time... That's too much for most people this close to dinner time."

Bill nodded and looked relieved.

"While I know that my social work job was worse, and that in the scheme of things this is a 'cushy' office job, one of the things that I have to tell myself to keep me shuffling papers for these assholes is, 'well, at least its not a poop house,' and that's how I know things are bad enough that I need to be looking elsewhere."

"Yeah, I hate this place, and I hate what it has done to me. I am a pathetic shadow of who I used to be before I started here... Which might be why I have started taking interviews."

"If you're waiting for your Christmas bonus, you might be jumping the gun a little bit," I questioned in a more matter-of-fact statement kind of way.

"Well, maybe," he shrugged, "but with the peanuts we get paid here, I can't imagine that any Christmas bonus we get would be good enough to convince me that it was worth it to stay on... Even if it has been a record year for us."

"Its been a record year for us because it's so bad out there. We benefit from a crappy economy."

"Still... You and I aren't going to see any extra even if we are working four times as hard as the other teams. This isn't a company where they show much gratitude to the little cogs that keep the machine going."

"You don't have to tell me... They know there are plenty of cogs out there looking for work, why would they show appreciation for us when we're so easily replaceable?" I questioned as I shut down my computer.

"Another reason to get out of here. High turnover in our position, so no matter what er do, we're never really secure, and its not like there is any genuine room for advancement here."

"Yeah, they threw possible advancement in when they told me I had to take on this 'promotion,' made mention of eventually becoming a team lead."

"Really? You're the first I've ever heard that claim made to." He looked surprised.

"Yeah, but there are over 300 people working here. There are only 5 team leads. And there are a whole lot of people who have been working here whole lot longer than me who would actually want a team lead job... Whereas I can scarcely imagine much of anything more appealing to me than a quick exit to greener pastures."

"Shouldn't be too hard to find a pasture greener than this."

"From your lips to God's ears!" I said, looking to the ceiling, and raising my hand as though he were a preacher at some pentecostal church, preaching about fire and brimstone while handling snakes. I knew he was speaking the truth, and wouldn't have me drinking cyanide-koolaid.

"...But speaking of quick exits, it's after five, what are you still doing here?"

With a smirk, he said, "Milking overtime. I'm approved for five and a half hours this week. I've only got about two hours worth of work over there. But I think we're both ready to be done with today."

"Yep. I'm done with this place... I only wish I was done with it for longer than a weekend."

"Soon enough."

"I envy your confidence."

We left the office and parted ways, both a little better off, each with the knowledge that the other was professionally miserable, and ready to defect.

Combine that with the fact that I haven't been getting much sleep, largely because my upstairs neighbor seems to find unending enjoyment in playing horrible music at top eardrum piercing volume until 4 AM, even though I knocked on his door at midnight despite being in my pajamas and asked him to turn it down so that the rational and employed people of the world could be up for work at 7:30, and well, yeah, I'm a bundle of joy. The upstairs neighbor compounds my loathing for him by having guests over and not taking issue with them as they drop beer bottles off his balcony and into my shrubs, and drop their cigarette butts between the deck boards down onto my porch.

Man, I'm complaining like an old person... Next thing you know, I'm going to be buying bear traps to keep the neighborhood kids off my lawn.

Sorry if I'm all doom and gloom here. But at least I'm back, and there's a poop house post down there for you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

After far too long, may I present without further ado, "The poop house chronicles 13: It can get worse..."

As I stood lecturing Mitch about his chore list, sounding not entirely unlike a broken record, Millie rolled in like an unwelcome rain cloud at public hanging, something unpleasant on its own coming along in a timely way and making an already really unpleasant situation just that much worse.

Millie bounded around with all the energy that an enraged overweight 5 year old could possibly muster. First she terrorized the animals. She selected the nearest, slowest or sleepiest feline she could find within grabbing distance, (and with the outrageous number of cats in the house, she had plenty of options…) and grabbed it in a way that made me wince. I anticipated deep scratches and yowling from the cat and tears and screaming from Millie. But much to my dismay, the cat seemed relatively resigned to its fate. It hung uncomfortably in her arms, draped over her pudge, and not seeming to mind that she was clinging to it only by its shoulder blades. Shortly after growing bored with merely holding the cat, she decided to make it dance on a pile of laundry which could only possibly be described as filthy, even if Mitch had just taken it out of the dryer, (which was doubtful). This, inevitably, pissed the cat off. And about 4 seconds into the dancing, the cat began to twist and writhe in determined attempts to escape little Millie who seemed equally determined to hold onto the cat.

With a sudden burst of unanticipated vocal rage, Millie made the announcement that she was hungry. It was an announcement made in a much more hostile and loud way than what I would’ve considered standard for a kid informing a parent of mild after-school hunger. This was worrying. Mitch told her to wait and he’d make her something in a few minutes. She screamed and stomped and made a big production. And as I stood there, mentally tabulating the reasons for this kind of aggression, Mitch just yelled back at her screaming that he would fix her something in a few minutes. Mental tabulations resolved. She simply mirrored what she had available as a role model, which was poor at best. As the shouting match continued, I stood there observing, shaking my head in disbelief at the lowest level of parenting, (if one could call it that,) which was displayed before me. After a few minutes I’d had enough and interjected that if they weren’t so busy yelling at each other a snack would’ve been prepared by now. I suggested that Millie go play in the other room while Mitch got something ready. They both seemed displeased with this, and gave me a sneer of disgust… If only they knew how mutual the feeling really was.

Mitch jumped on the first opportunity to prove that he was not the lone culprit in this pile of filth they called home, by showing me that Millie wouldn’t listen to him. He screamed at Millie to put the still-struggling cat down. Millie screamed back that she was playing with him, and didn’t want to let go. If a sigh had been possible without engaging in a deep breath, I’d have rolled my eyes and deeply sighed at this interaction, because obviously I was misinformed in my middle-class upbringing, and this screaming is the best way to communicate effectively, especially when standing about 5 feet apart. I settled for rolling my eyes and mentally cursing profusely.

When the cat finally clawed its way free, Millie screamed and stomped out of the room to chase after it. Mitch stopped her long enough to tell her to go clean her room. Millie retorted that she had to go to the bathroom. Mitch told her to hold it for a few minutes until I left because the dogs were in there and if she let them out they would proceed to bark and nip at my ankles. Knowing that the dogs were likely carrying all kinds of crazy diseases not known anywhere else in the civilized world, and knowing that Millie’s impulse control wasn’t all that great on a good day, and that having to go to the bathroom would only worsen anyone’s impulse control, I thought that was my cue to head for the door. It would’ve been a handy excuse to get the hell out of there into fresh air, only speaking to Mitch over my shoulder as I made a beeline for the exit. Clearly that exit strategy was not meant to be.

Millie then ran across the garbage and feces-littered living room, chasing after one of the cats, and upon cornering and capturing the poor creature, began tormenting it. Meanwhile, Mitch plodded over to the pantry door to retrieve god only knows what from one of the shelves. As he opened the door, another cat shot out from one of the lower shelves and bolted toward the relative safety of the dining room table which was, as previously mentioned, heaped with piles of soiled laundry. I couldn’t entirely blame it, as I turned in time to see Millie squeezing whichever of the many other cats she’d managed to capture and naturally proceeded in a clear plan of action by screaming in its face. As she turned more directly toward me, I noticed that the screaming was a consequence that we all suffered as the poor feline desperately clawed her, I hoped the clawing was as much for punishment for the squeezing and screaming, as an attempt to escape. I was admittedly surprised that she hadn’t yet taken to swinging it around by the tail. I turned the half of my attention which wasn’t devoted to controlling my shallow breathing, and not vomiting, back to Mitch who was apparently trying to satisfy Millie’s after-school hunger, I noted that he was seemingly perplexed by the pantry, either unsure of its mixed contents, or trying to dream up some kind of remotely appetizing snack using any of the ingredients he had on hand. As I tried to figure out what it was that he could make using the alleged “food products” in the pantry, possibly by covering some of them with the stocks of government cheese I knew they kept in the fridge, I had a thought. Essentially, my thought was that while I wasn’t the wealthiest kid on the block growing up, (in fact, FAR from it,) I know that my upbringing afforded me some luxuries that my client base was not privvy to, but even if I were stranded on a desert island, and I were all out of coconuts, and I had depleted all my other resources, and fished the seas barren, I still would not have ever consumed anything that was prepared in this kitchen… As this thought reached its conclusion, I noticed something disturbing, in hindsight, the thought might have been abbreviated by my noticing that the walls of the pantry were speckled black and brown, and worse yet, the speckles were, of course, MOVING.

Of course the pantry, like the rest of the house, was totally infested with cockroaches. It was folly to imagine otherwise. I don’t know why it shocked me so deeply when I actually SAW the many legs and antennae traipsing about among the household’s food supply. My gag reflex was being tested more than usual… I knew I had to make a quick exit or risk yacking all over the place. I would not have felt any guilt over the mess my vomit would’ve caused in the house, as my vomit would arguably have been the cleanest and healthiest thing to show up in the residence since the family moved in. My concern over vomiting was more related to knowing that when one throws up, the general impulse is to be crouched low to the ground, or clutching a toilet, and then gasping once the regurgitation is complete. The crouching, toilet-clutching, and deep gasping breaths were not rationally feasible here. It simply could not be done.

“Well, I know she mentioned that she had to go to the bathroom, and you’ve got the dogs pent up in the bathroom… If she’s got to go to the bathroom, let her go, I’ll just get out of here. Be sure to keep working on the chore list! And I’m going to reiterate that I don’t care if you have to wash those dishes in the bathtub, or rinse them off using the hose outside, make sure they are done by tomorrow! I’ll see you then. Bye.” I said all of this at a frenetic pace as I practically ran out of the residence, because once you have vomit backing up enough to feel the chunks rising in your throat, and you recall that freedom was dangled in front of you like that, all wrapped up in a neat little excuse not unlike a glistening Christmas present in shiny gold paper with a giant crimson bow, you lunge at it and you tear it open because you’re pretty sure it’s got to be the new game system you’ve been begging your mom for over the course of the last three to six months... Or pure and simple freedom.

I celebrated my the end of my shortened visit to the Poop House by changing out of the poop shoes, racing home with all the windows down and taking the requisite sanitize-mode shower and having a stiff drink or six with my slightly-earlier-than-planned dinner. I would pay for this later… I knew it. There is no such thing as getting off easy when it comes to the Poop House.

In hindsight, I did pay for that quick exit… Though the problems I’m about to face were in no way something that could’ve been solved by me staying longer, I knew that karmically, this was all going to keep compounding because I ran out when I did.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I suck.

I suck. I know I do. I'm sorry.

I promise all of you that still come here for updates that I WILL get back into writing the poop house chronicles. IT WILL HAPPEN. I will not leave you hanging, wondering what the hell happened.

I currently hide behind the excuse that I've been very busy at work, and trying to establish myself here in my new home. I've been making friends, meeting my neighbors, and I've finally found a crew that I can hang out with and plan fun events for. (I know that sentence contains not one, but two dangling prepositions, but I don't give a rat's pink ass.)

Suffice it to say that I haven't forgotten about you all, but I admit that things here have been put on the back burner. It is only temporary. Indeterminate in length, but temporary.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now that that's over with...

I've been making excuses for a while. The excuses will continue for the time being. I don't have internet set up at my house yet, and I've been putting it off while getting ready for my best friend's wedding. Obviously I've had bigger things to worry about, like getting my dress altered, making sure I had the right shoes, making sure my bank balance was high enough to purchase airfare, trying to figure out exactly how I was going to get my bag through security without raising questions regarding whether or not I'm some shoe-bomb-toting terrorist because I have foil wrapped items and finger nail clippers somewhere in the packing.

But The Admiral tied the knot this weekend, so that situation is handled. She looked gorgeous, (as expected,) I cried, (not expected,) and we drank and danced our asses off. I'm pretty sure that when I take my dress to be cleaned, my dry cleaner is going to just look at the dress, shake his head, look at me and say, "WHAT DID YOU DO?" in that shaming judgmental tone that so many dry cleaners are known for. Like an ashamed puppy, I'll just tuck my tail between my legs and give the sad "I'm sorry" face and hope that he'll forgive me. (Yeah, I have a tail now.)

Basically, what I'm getting at is that I hope to be getting internet at home, and updating you with more horror stories from the poop house chronicles on a much more frequent basis.

That said, I love you all, but I have to go nurse my post-wedding hangover and board a plane back home now.

You kooky kids stay out of trouble while I'm gone! Much love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Poop House Chronicles 12: Once more into the breach...

I know it has been a while so we’ll give you the quick and dirty (emphasis on dirty) version of the previous PHC post, even though you’ve had ample time to review the existing posts in the absence of anything new.

Long story short, the last post examined the shitty, (both literally and figuratively,) working conditions that apparently applied to the terms of employment I somehow agreed to. It demonstrated exactly how little we were paid, exactly how much more work we were expected to do to get that pay when compared to the state social workers, and that VERY necessary mental health services that we all needed to maintain sanity, (if not sobriety,) were not covered by our health insurance plan, and were not provided for free, despite the fact that state social workers DO get free mental health services, their medical plans DO cover mental health services if they choose to see someone outside the office, and all this, despite the fact that the employer specializes in mental health services. In a word, GRAND… but just not for us.

The last post also recalled a phone conversation between the Poop House Family’s state social worker and me. It was not a productive conversation to be sure, unless your idea of “productive” includes further cementing the idea that the state social worker has got to have some kind of (pretty severe) impairment of all 5 natural senses as well as a significant overall comprehension and problem solving skill handicaps. The phone call refreshed our memory of the fact that the Poop House Plumbing was entirely, revoltingly clogged solely with the carcasses of roaches which died most likely of natural causes because the family did not appear to be taking any discernable extra steps to remedy the situation.

After the conversation with state worker Dave, I had other clients to see, and I decided to round out my day by going to the poop house last, as usual. [Sidebar: Some people have queried as to why I would wait and leave that dreadful experience for the tail end of the day. Their reasoning being that one could just power through it in the morning and then have the rest of the day to focus on all of the positives of already being done with the Poop House, and having the rest of the day to air out. My argument is this: if you have ever been to a Poop House, you know that your sole concentration from the instant you leave the premises until the instant you are bathed in purell or are otherwise sanitized and solidly getting started on getting blackout drunk, is getting to the closest possible shower and scrubbing your entire body until it is raw from the effort, and minimizing any unnecessary contamination (this is why having a pair of poop shoes is important for ventures into the poop house, and keeping those poop shoes in a sealed bag when they are not in use is equally important) … This type of showering, sanitizing, and heavy drinking is not something that most people can easily swing at the beginning of the work day, especially when you’re just going to go into other slightly-less-dirty people’s slightly-less-dirty homes and undo all the positive sanitizing efforts you’ve just undertaken for yourself.] So I went to see everyone else first. I got pissed off at several of my clients because they would fail to show up for visits, or they would fail to appear in court, or fail a drug test, or commit wholeheartedly to doing whatever they could to live up to being the ultimate failures that they always knew they could be. The clients’ total commitment to failure and my near constant pissed off mood went hand in hand, and as inseparable as they were, it should go without saying that I often let it show on my face that I was not to be trifled with on any given day. The really rare contact I had with clients who were not as committed to actively pissing me off was usually met with them saying to me something resembling, “You look mad… Who pissed in your cornflakes?” It was a just question, and was almost unfailingly answered, “Pretty much everybody but you.” This answer was not a stretch, given that I had the employer I had, the clients I had, and the fact that we were not compensated for using our own cars, even though gas prices hovered somewhere in the $3-$4 a gallon range during this time. (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, this job does find new and diverse ways of sucking, just when you think you’ve heard it all.)

At the end of my day when the Poop House was the only thing standing between me and a scalding shower followed promptly with a stiff drink, I headed over in that direction. As was my normal routine, I sat and audibly cursed for a couple minutes, put on the poop shoes, and headed in to see just exactly which circle of hell I’d be working in for the remains of my day.

As I knocked again on the once-white, now-tan-with-grime front door, I tried to control my breathing in an effort to keep my lunch down. The little pissant dogs started their incessant yapping which would not die down at any point during the duration of my stay, no matter how long it was to be. Mitch cracked the door to see who I was, (as if anyone without a professional obligation to enter this shit hole would ever set foot on the property,) and after putting the dogs in the bathroom, he let me in. As usual, I was nauseated at what I saw, and even more so by what I smelled.

“Mitch, this has got to stop.”


“What is that odor?”

“Well… We still haven’t gotten the sink all the way unclogged, so it’s probably the food from the dishes, and the standing water in the sink.”

“Mitch, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t really care what it is you have to do, but that can’t keep going on. I don’t care whether you take those dishes into the bathroom and wash them in the sink or even the tub in there, or if you take them outside and run a hose on them, the fact is that those nasty dishes can’t just sit around out in the open being dirty.”

“Well, I think we’ve almost got the sink unclogged, so that’s why they are still there.”

“I’m thinking that the sink has been clogged for the better part of a week now, right?”


“Well, if there’s still standing water in there, then I’m pretty sure that it’s not ‘almost unclogged’ as you say. I’m no plumber, but I think that’s a pretty safe bet. Furthermore, I’m not an exterminator, but with the standing water and the dirty dishes, I’m guessing that you’re only attracting more roaches and then giving them a pool in which to drown. And I’m pretty sure that that’s only going to make your problem worse.”

“Well maybe, but Martha gets paid at the end of the week, and she’ll be able to get some stuff to fix it when she gets her check.”

(My internal monologue was wondering whether or not whatever they would purchase to "fix" their problems included the words "cyanide" or "atom bomb" or since they were working on a budget, even "just enough rope" would have satisfied me... but obviously that's not what Mitch meant.)

“Mitch, that absolutely cannot wait until the end of the week. And I don’t care if you have to call your landlord, and have him fix it, the fact is that this is a MAJOR problem.”

“I know. I know.”

“Don’t blow me off, Mitch. I know you’re just trying to get me to drop this, but the fact is that if anyone from the state came out here to make sure that things are going ok, they would yank Millie out of here so fast that it’d make your head spin… And then you get to start this process ALL OVER again. And I know you don’t want that.”


“Well, between that little issue, and all the other little issues running around here and leaving their own little issues all over your carpet, you’re about 2 seconds from having that happen.”

Mitch then became visibly frustrated. He shifted his weight nervously because he could tell that I wasn’t bullshitting him.

“Well, what am I supposed to do? I can’t do everything here!”

“Mitch, I’m not asking you to do everything all at once.”

“Well I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“Mitch, I’ve told you what I want you to do. I’ve written it down as a chore list and had you tape it to the cabinet. What you have to do is work on those chores EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I know they seem big right now, but that’s because you haven’t been working them every day. You’ve been thinking that you can get by just doing the minimum while I’m here so that I don’t yell at you. But if you’re working on it EVERY DAY, and keeping up with it as you go through the day, it won’t seem like much at all. You just have to change your habits and get busy.”

“But I don’t have any help!”

“Well why not?”

“Because Millie is 5, and Martha goes to work all day.”

“Right, but neither of those is a reason not to help you. Your contribution to the house is maintaining it in general, and doing daily things like laundry and dishes, and cleaning up after the animals. I guarantee that you didn’t create this mess entirely alone… And there is absolutely no reason why Martha or Millie can’t help you out by cleaning up after themselves.”

"Yeah, like that'll happen."

"Well it definitely won't with that attitude! You've just gotta have a little discipline and make it all a prat of the family routine."

Roughly the time those last few words rolled off my tongue the Tasmanian Devil, or perhaps just THE DEVIL rolled in... Little Millie was home from school... And I was about to bite my tongue clean off from trying to withhold the urge to correct anything while Mitch was still in such an agitated state, and Millie was hell-bent on continuing her reign of terror.

But that is for another day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Two things...

1) I finally got the new computer. Therefore I will resume my regularly scheduled awesomeness and other grotesque stories.

2) You should expect a poop house post by Monday. FOR SURE... But probably before then!

Thank you, that is all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fear not... All is well.

I haven’t died. There is no cause for worry. Do not send out the search dogs to scour the entirety of the South. So far I haven’t been assaulted by the good ol’ boys for being a liberal.

The fact is that I have settled into my new home, gotten entirely unpacked, and started to actually smile occasionally because for once things have somewhat gone my way. I mean if I all of a sudden find a guy and fall in love and live happily ever after, it will be the adult-life trifecta. I’m not holding my breath for that one… I’ve NEVER been that lucky.

However, the proverbial fly in the ointment at the moment is that my computer is totally jacked. I even took it to the office IT guy to see if there was anything he could do for me. He gave it a look and said, “Yeah, it’s totally fixable, but if you’re going to spend the kind of money needed to do it, you might as well be getting a new computer.” This is clearly not what I wanted to hear. I mean I did just drop a boat load to the folks over at U-Haul… TWICE. And that would have more than covered the costs of a new computer. But that was an investment that has paid off handily, so the U-Haul folks can keep their money, and I’ll sit here with a busted computer.

The primary drawback of all of that is that I lack internet access outside of work, (where they monitor everything,) and you don’t get the posts you so dearly love. For that, I’m sorry. Within the next few paychecks I’m guessing that I’ll have this situation remedied, but that takes time, as you know.

Once all of this is resolved, you will get regular doses of the poop house, and other posting will resume on the normal schedule. I PROMISE! I will also work on getting caught up with all of you, because in case you haven’t noticed. I haven’t made the rounds or commented on any of your pages either.

It’s all in the works. I promise. I SWEAR… I think.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Exciting news!!!

Well, kids, I think I have a home!

I've been looking for the last few weeks and had found a place that I kind of liked the looks of right off the bat. The thing is that they were always closed when I was able to make time to go check out the actual living space. So I went back this Saturday, and of course they were closed again, (because who goes looking for an apartment on a Saturday?) so I called the office and left a message saying I wanted to set up a time to see an apartment.

While I was either at church or having lunch with some of my dago family members, the property manager called and left a message saying she'd be around today. (SERIOUSLY, who is closed on Saturday when the ad says they should be open, and then around on Sunday when the ad says they are closed? Is that not weird, or am I just loony tunes?) So I went and took a look, and unlike all the other ones I'd seen, it wasn't ghetto, it wasn't a matchbox, it didn't stink of recent animal inhabitants, it wasn't stupidly set up, it wasn't in a complex that had just made the papers for having a fire, the other residents that I saw walking about didn't terrify me, and the rent was reasonable. And since it had been the first complex that drew my attention when I first arrived and was able to look at complexes in person, I was pleased. What pleased me even more was the fact that I will cut my commute to work from 45 minutes to a measly 15 minutes. This means I can sleep in even later! There is also free wi-fi in the community room, so that means that as soon as I get my retarded-ass computer patched up, I'll be able to post and check in with you guys all the time! (And yes, that also means that the PHC will start up again, and believe me there is a LOT more to tell!)

As excited as I am about all of this, I think I am even more excited by the fact that I will be able to unbox all of my belongings, and have access to my full wardrobe! I'm also really anxiously awaiting the day that I can invite Traci to come down and hang out for the weekend, because I know that homegirl could use a friggin break! And we can go ca-brewing on the Cahaba river! (For those of you not up on your slang, ca-brewing is canoeing with lots of beer.)

I'm just so pumped that I'm not tossing out a boatload of cash to live in someone's walk in closet and call it my apartment. I will have all of my own stuff all around me again, and I don't have to worry about anybody else's plans, or who I've got to worry about offending, or whatever... I'm PUMPED! It's going to rock!

(Don't tell anybody, but I think we're about to witness the comeback of the Lizzle... And that should excite us all! It's been a long time since I've had this much go right for me!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hey there, remember me?

Sorry I've been so terrible to you kids lately! You've done nothing but shower me with affection and praise, and I've been neglecting you like a wicked stepmother who forces you to live in the windowless basement and have only mice for friends... I could've made a "People Under the Stairs" reference there, but that would make me that creepy lady who gets all freaky with her brother, and despite living in the South, I don't get down like that.

Anyway, I promise that I have a good reason for neglecting you. And it all has to do with the fact that I'm kind of a big deal. You all know about my new job, and while having a respectable job in this economy is news enough, I have already made a name for myself, because I learned in one WEEK what it took my predecessor nearly a MONTH to learn. That makes me awesome. It also makes me very tired, because not only have I had to learn it, I've had to explain it to pretty much everybody down here who knows me, one at a time. They run into me at church, or at the grocery, or I get invited to their house or whatever, and then, one at a time, people will congratulate me on getting a good job so fast, and then ask what it is that I do. I take the time to explain to them the basics, and then they get all confused, so I have to give them more detail. Usually around the time I finish telling someone the gist of my job, someone else shows up and the whole cycle starts over. It is flat out exhausting. Add to that the fact that my weekends are spent at the kids' sporting events, babysitting the kids, trying to find the parts to fix my car, and looking for a good deal on an apartment in a reasonably safe area of town, and well, that really rounds things out. Are you tired of hearing me whine about how busy and awesome I am now? Because I'm fucking BEAT!

My cousin Frank has repeatedly suggested that I take up adult rec sports or other means of meeting people because he basically wants me to find a dude and get married already. I don't know about you kids, but if I could find the time to breathe I'd be happy, let alone trying to breathe while making out with someone... I mean that'd be nice and all, but I've been here less than a month, and already landed the job and have narrowed down the apartment search significantly... I figure the boy will come around given time.

So if you've been wondering why the hell you can't get your regular dose of the poop house chronicles, calm down. The remaining posts are in the pipeline. It might take a little time to get to them, but this has been a pretty significant shake-up for me, and I'm trying to get the dust to settle a little bit. If you're that antsy, go back to the beginning and refresh yourself... Gorging yourself on poop house posts ought to be enough imaginary-sensory overload to slake your thirst for a little while... In fact, if you go back and read them all at once, I'll commend you for keeping your lunch down.

That's where we stand.

Get it?

Got it?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

In case you were wondering,

I nailed it.

This is yet another reason that I am so much happier below the Mason-Dixon.

2.5 weeks of job searching landing a REAL job that does not involve poop houses or cashiering, versus three months of job searching and getting stuck behind a cash register and doing hourly restroom checks and having to clean up other people's vomit and explosive diarrhea messes. Salary versus hourly. Benefits and 401k versus no benefits and wanting to chop my legs off at the knee because my feet hurt so badly from standing for 9 hours at a stretch.

Things are WAY better here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Could it be the best day ever?

We know that I'm a junkie when it comes to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. That has clearly been established in years past. And in more recent posts, we've established that I'm a fan of my new home in the South.

So I'm really hoping that the stars are aligned to make this the best day ever, because not only is it the first day of game play in the tournament, but I have an interview that I totally think I'll nail! Couple that with the fact that the weather is spectacular, and after my interview is over I'm headed to the family lake house for a long weekend of tournament viewing, boozing, hooting and hollering, game playing, basketball watching, jet-skiing, bracket busting amusement. Basically, if I get this job on top of everything else, this weekend is going to rock the house. I'm trying not to get my hopes up so high that I totally choke, but I'm pretty damn excited.

After consulting with the Admiral in our annual tournament selection series, and discussing the job interview, (because she does pretty much the exact job I'm interviewing for,) I'm feeling pretty confident about this nonsense, and all I have to do is make that easy layup... Though if I don't get the job, I will totally revise that figurative language to reflect something on the order of a Hail-Mary- buzzer-beater- half-court shot, as opposed to the bunny shot of an unguarded layup... Or for the few tournament nerds out there, I will equate it to the year that Kenyon Martin went up for an easy layup and came down only to snap his leg like a twig, and crush the hopes and dreams of 90% of the tournament enthusiasts, all of whom had Cincy winning it all that year because he made them unstoppable. I'm really hoping that this doesn't go down like that.

So keep those fingers crossed for me sports fans, (and all non-sports fans who love me enough to want me to get a damn job). If you enjoy reading anything here, you really need to keep those fingers crossed, because getting a good job means that I can finally afford to get my computer fixed and post more frequently because I won't be spending my down time looking for a damn job.

It's going to be awesome, I just know it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Before I forget...

I know that I haven't posted in over a week and then I followed it with two posts in under an hour, but I do want to make a couple of quick points.

  • First, I apologize for not checking in on many of your blogs recently. And I certainly haven't been much for commenting since a few months ago when my computer went bonkers... I've lost most of my bookmarks as I use my cousin's computer here, and seldom have time to go through the whole sidebar to catch up with everyone.

  • Secondly, (albeit much more importantly,) I know that many of you couldn't give a rat's pink ass about this, but I want to point out that BRACKET DAY IS RAPIDLY DESCENDING UPON US, AND I FOR ONE COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED! You all forget from year to year that this is better than Christmas for me, because it gives me a totally fail safe excuse to drink beer and consume buffalo wings while gorging my auditory and visual senses with NCAA Men's Basketball nonstop for days on end. (It stretches over a couple of weeks by the finals, but in the later rounds there are days with no games in there and clearly those days totally don't count!)

  • Thirdly, I still get regular updates from people who continue to work for my old employer, (The poop house job, not the retail job,) and from what I gather, the shit is REALLY hitting the fan over there, and believe it or not, they are actually FIRING some of the more dedicated people who are not only WILLING to do the worst job on earth, they are, or rather, WERE totally COMMITTED to the job... This all sounds crazy to rational people and continues to make me happy that I told those bitches to suck it when I did.

Thank you, that is all... If you haven't already read it, there is a new post below, but these surreptitious thoughts and addenda came after the fact and therefore stole the heading thunder.

There's a place where people are actually HELPFUL?

So, I've been here for almost two weeks. Most of my time has been spent settling in, getting to know the lay of the land, and looking for a job. It was the latter of which that had me so perplexed, and I'm still a little surprised by what I've found.

I know that in past posts, and in my general conversation, I've mentioned to anyone who will listen that the news has regularly reported that Ohio was the state hit hardest by the recent economic recession. And while I've only relocated to one state since the market upheaval, I must say that the bleak picture in Ohio is an accurate one when compared to my new homeland. Around here, while people talk about the recession, and jobs aren't exactly overabundant, the fact is that there is work out there, and much to my shock and dismay, people are actually willing to do what they can to help a sister out!

Imagine my utter awe at making one phone call and being instantly given three outlets to search for jobs by someone who doesn't even know me. Imagine my jaw hitting the floor as the woman later emails me with two more possible contacts for me to pursue without a moment's hesitation. Imagine my complete astonishment when my cousin gave me another person to call who may or may not know of anything I can do, and upon talking to her for a mere five minutes she's asking me whether or not paid benefits would be a deal breaker. Am I really that good? Or is it just freakin' AWESOME down here? Now, yes, I've had a fair amount of people giving me the cold-shouldered brush off, (FUCK YOU AIG, I DIDN'T WANT TO WORK FOR YOU ANYWAY, YOU BAILOUT-NEEDING, COMMON-MAN-ROBBING ASSHOLES!!! I just didn't have the bad manners or the heart to walk away after the poor sweet little underling grabbed me out of the crowd and tried to get me to talk to her snake oil salesman of a manager.) And I've gotten plenty of the "Well, you need an appointment to meet with anyone in HR, and to do that you have to apply on our website and wait for them to call you," But the fact is that I really do love it down here, and I love that people are friendly and helpful, and that I've got people to talk to at the end of the day, and it's not Ohio... All of which is AWESOME!

Who am I now? I'm all happy and shit... If I don't start busting out Debbie Downer news, you all are going to start wondering what the hell happened to the old Lizzle and leave me! (Well, you wouldn't leave right away, you're still waiting on the conclusion of the Poop House Chronicles!)

I'm telling you, if it weren't for all of the McCain/Palin stickers all over the place, I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Hey everybody! I made it safely to my new home in the South, though I must say, the trip was an interesting one! One involving cars spinning out into the median despite near perfect road conditions, and several inches of snow causing traffic snags, and sleeping in the cab of the u-haul when the roads got a little too ridiculous... It was a harrowing journey, and making it through Tennessee was a white-knuckled ride to say the least! But I'm here, and settling in.

Since I'm no longer an Ohio resident, I apologize to all the people who do live there, but I just gotta say, OHIO SUCKS ASS! I mean REALLY REALLY SUCKS ASS! For those of you who don't live there, don't go! And for those of you who do live there, I'm sorry but you need to think about moving... Soon.

And I will say that even though I've only been here for a couple of days, and those days have been spent primarily with my family, everyone I've talked to seems really optimistic about the economy and my quickly finding a new job that doesn't involve cashiering, or doing restroom checks, or fetching carts from a sub-zero parking lot, or cleaning up someone else's explosive diarrhea, or going into poop houses, etc.

I have a good feeling about all of this!

I'll check back soon, until then, stay out of trouble, and make good choices!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

...And then I shit my pants...

So I, literally only moments ago, just got a phone call from The Admiral. The landlord apparently contacted her because she found a new tenant... And the new tenant wants to move in March 1.

Today is February 19.

I have no job nor place to stay in my new city yet. But I have to be out of here by March 1... So that was roughly the point when I shit myself.

I am continuing to shit myself on a fairly constant basis since that phone call.

Anyone got any helpful suggestions?

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Poop House Chronicles (Part Eleven): You don't even have to go in for it to ruin your day...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been remiss with regard to a few things entailed in my position as a social worker. It should come as no surprise to you that these things escaped my attention when we had more pressing matters to address, such as the deplorable living conditions of these people in modern day USA... Conditions which one state in particular seemed to be entirely too eager to approve of and allow. The propagation of the animals and bugs seemed pretty important to mention too... But you need to learn a little more about the background of the employer in order to really get a complete picture of the appalling bullshit that I had to put up with during my time shoveling shit in hell.

First off, I need to address the wage I earned for all this torment. I've told you that it was a paltry pittance... I wasn't lying. I've talked to friends about my income and they have always been beyond shocked at the measly sum which qualified as my paycheck. Since my company was sub-contracted by the state to do all THEIR leg work, the most reasonable thing to do would be to compare my wage to theirs. Since state case workers have government jobs, they get all the state benefits. They still get what we would call the lowly social worker wage, but they get health insurance and 3 weeks paid vacation from day one. They also get all kinds of state holidays off. Meanwhile, my company elected to keep us on the poverty line by paying us roughly $10,000 less annually than the state workers, (YES, you read that right, we're the ones doing all the hard work, and the get $10,000 LESS...) and they gave us NO paid holidays, unless of course you really WANT to work on Christmas day, (without receiving any bonus compensation,) 1 week of vacation earned only AFTER you've been there a year, and to be used over the course of your SECOND year on the job, (and if you bail out before the end of your second year, don't count on getting those unused vacation days in your final check, because that won't happen.) Let's also keep in mind that the state case workers only have to see their clients once a month. Meanwhile I'm fully expected to go into the poop house EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. $10,000 LESS for seeing the clients 25 times MORE... Figure that one out.

If you're not appalled by the wage described for the job you already know about, you should be.

Let's now address the working environment. This is a company which SPECIALIZES in providing therapeutic mental health services. And they constantly lecture to the workers that they should find outlets to deal with the job. (Of course, when they randomly drug test, and keep us on call 24-7, the most obvious outlets are out.) They then get upset when the workers hang around the office talking to each other, and they get REALLY upset when the workers are at the office talking to each other about anything work related, ("Because you never know who is walking around the office. And we don't want to offend any clients." ...More on that in a moment.) The logical solution to the problem would be for the company to provide an outlet for the workers, right? I mean it isn't like they don't have therapists available. But no, if we wanted to talk to anyone on a professional level about how to cope with the mental toll of the job, we were expected to PAY FULL PRICE to meet with anyone... And the mental health services are not covered in the crappy insurance plan that you have paid for out of your aforementioned tiny paycheck. (Unlike the state, who provides therapeutic services for their social workers free of charge.) *It should also be noted that the crappy insurance plan also doesn't cover birth control, despite the fact that if there was ever a job that would drive a person to want birth control in any and all forms, this is it!

That covers the compensation and benefits portion of our program, but there was an important point buried in there somewhere.

Oh, yes... "We don't want to offend any clients." That's a REALLY important point.

To normal people, like us, we find it pretty easy to stay on the right side of the law. We have stayed out of jail for the most part, (aside from perhaps a paddy wagon ride for some drunken/ disorderly conduct, or other misdemeanor shenanigans.) Those of you in my readership who are parents, have managed to maintain parental control and guardianship of your kiddos as far as I know. Congrats! To my knowledge you do not beat them, molest them, neglect them, or use drugs around them, (or while pregnant, ladies). At the office we were constantly told that the clients that we deal with are generally the bottom 1% of the barrel. So we're not offending 99% of the population by default, simply because they don't walk in the door, largely because, much like you, the upper 99% don't abuse their children. (I would include myself in that statement too, but I have no children.) But despite the fact that we are dealing with a tiny fraction of the population, and that this tiny fraction of the population is only in contact with us because the state has AT LEAST somewhat substantiated allegations, though in most cases SIGNIFICANT PROOF of abuse and/or neglect, we are expected to go out of our way to NOT OFFEND them.

Absorb that for a moment before we move on.

I mean I understand that it is important to establish a rapport with people that you have to have a working relationship. I understand that it's important to go through life doing your best not to offend people in general, (though sometimes it is an incredibly good time to be offensive). But we were fully expected to go above and beyond, often to the tune of defying natural biological responses our bodies volunteered. This means that if you are forced to sit in a room with a known child molester while he visits with his kids, despite the rage you can feel building within you, you are not allowed to beat him into unconsciousness and then kick him in tender places so that he won't be able to molest anymore. It also means that if you walk into a house so foul that your body spasms and you feel that there is no doubt that you will wretch and vomit, that you have to control that involuntary response, and you have to choke back anything that might come up... Because if they are willing to live there, you being so repulsed that you have to vomit would likely offend.

We were constantly told that we had to do any and everything possible to avoid offending this tiny insular group, even though the behavior that landed them on our roll call is highly offensive to anyone with even the most remote sense of decency. And as a bluntly honest person who is rather used to just telling it like it is, this is the task with which I struggled the most... Well, that and not blowing chunks every time I had to set foot on the premises at the poop house.

So when payday rolled around every two weeks, and I looked at that measly little figure that had been added to my checking account, my day was ruined without ever setting foot in poop house territory.

But when we left off, I was confronted with a clog in the poop house kitchen sink consisting solely of dead roaches. And although it's been more than a month since that last poop house post, let's really contemplate how bad a roach problem has to be that you have SO MANY roaches running around that your sink is SOLIDLY, INEXORABLY, and UNFATHOMABLY HOPELESSLY clogged with NOTHING BUT DEAD ROACHES. That's a little bit beyond a significant roach problem.

So when I contacted state case worker "Dave" he basically had the same reaction as you fine folks... But then brushed it off in a way that I was beginning to find all too familiar when it came to the state's manner of handling this case.

"...So he plunged the sink and nothing came up but dead roaches... and he said they've been working on plunging it for something like three days, and it's still totally clogged. They can't do dishes. It's revolting."


"Yes, that's one way of putting it."

"So other than that, how's the house looking?"

"Are you kidding me? Their sink is clogged with dead roaches, they can't do dishes because their sink is clogged with dead roaches, and you think there's going to be improvement elsewhere in the house? Have you gone mental?"

"Well, I thought I'd take a shot."

"Poor choice of timing on that shot."

"So, how does her room look?"

"It's every bit as sad and repulsively-smelling as the rest of the house... My concern is that since they are having plumbing issues that they will collectively bathe less than usual, and that's a rare enough occurrence as it is."

"Hmm... Yeah."

"Well, as helpful as this conversation is, that's really the most up to date information I've got for you... Oh and she doesn't have cancer, so they dodged that bullet."

"Oh, good."

"Have a nice day, Dave."

"You too!"

As I hung up, I marveled that this was his response, and that this lack of response and lack of action made considerably more than I did, and he only had to spend about a half an hour with them once a month versus my daily trek into hell for hours on end at times.

Clearly there is a gross inequity in there somewhere.

Without ever stepping foot on the grounds, my day was once again ruined.

But then again, it was a working day... I would still have to go there. I would still have to figure out how to fix this plumbing issue... Man, I must've missed this in the brochure.