Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Riddance Dorothy

I had not seen Dorothy since my last day of work at SAT TV.  Even though I'm now again working in the same building I haven't seen her in weeks.  Until this morning, that is.

I saw her in the lobby while waiting for the elevator.  Her shift starts a half hour before mine so she must have been running late.

She saw me come into the building and the moment she saw me her face changed.  "You don't belong in this building!  What are you doing here?  You don't belong here."

Before I could even say anything, she went over to the security office and persuaded one of the security guards to come to to escort me out of the building.

"There she is.  She doesn't belong here.  Her job was terminated."

The security guard started to chuckle.

Dorothy's face grew red.  "Why are you laughing?  Throw her out.  Call the cops.  Do something."

"No, I won't do anything."

"She doesn't work here anymore."

"Yes, she does.  She found a new job."

This whole time I had stood there saying nothing.  I knew security knew I worked here again.  When the guard said I had found a new job, I just nodded my head, tossed my hair back and walked to the elevators.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Executive Assistant

First day of work at my new job.  I dressed up a bit, considering it was my first day and I'm an executive assistant now. 

Like at SAT TV, my desk is located near the boss, but unlike there I have my own little office and it sits off to the side of Burt's so my back is facing a wall not his office door.  I have privacy because no one comes that way unless they are going into Burt's office.

The former assistant is this little old lady.  She finally decided to give up working to spend time with her grandchildren.  For the next couple of weeks she'll be training me.  That's a lot better training than I got at my last job.  There, Dorothy sat with me for three hours, maybe less, and then I was on my own. 

All the people I met today were helpful and very nice.  I hope it wasn't all just an act.  I want to look forward to working here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Interview

It's been a long time since I've had an interview.  I'd been at SAT TV for a long time, too long, but nevertheless staying there meant I didn't have to have an interview anywhere else.

I was so nervous meeting with Burt.  I had practiced interview questions with Bill but there was always that possibility that I would get tongue tied or forget.

Burt is an older guy, probably close to retirement or beyond.  He started his company in his garage and it got larger and larger.  Today, he has this corporate office and a distribution center.  His flower and vegetable bulbs and seeds are sold in stores and on the Internet.

He explained to me that he needed an assistant who could screen his calls, answer emails, type correspondence, organize his schedule, prepare reports and do miscellaneous other things.  He asked me a number of questions about my job skills and a bit about what I did previously.  Thankfully, he didn't ask me any weird questions like where I would see myself in five years or what animal did I feel describes me best.

He told me what the salary and benefits were and asked if they were acceptable.  Acceptable?  They were better than what I had been getting.  I concealed my excitement.

Finally, he stood and extended his hand.  "Welcome to Burt's Bulb and Seed."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bill to the Rescue

When your boyfriend says he has some news for you that you can use, it's best to listen.  Bill came over straight from work, all excited.  I was on pins and needles waiting to hear the news.  Maybe he got a promotion.

But it wasn't that at all.

"There's a place in our building that's hiring.  Do you remember Burt's Bulb and Seed LLC?  They have their corporate office on the top floor."

I inhaled sharply.  "Well, not really.  I didn't know all the companies in the building."

"Well, I know Burt because I did some freelance work for him a while back.  He owes me a favor, so I got you an interview."

"Really?  What's the job for?"

I had a feeling of nervousness overcome me.  I didn't really want to go back to working customer service. 

"It's nothing fancy  --  it's an executive assistant -- but it would be enough to pay the bills until you finish school and get a job somewhere else."

An executive assistant.  Hum.  I stood a little straighter.  A job with some responsibility to it.  But would I be able to handle it?

"When is the interview?"

"A week from tomorrow.  I'll help you get prepared so you're not too nervous."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Granny's Day Out

I was surprised to see that it was Granny, of all people, who made the trip to the city to visit me.  She called ahead and made plans and told me she would take me to lunch.  I was thrilled but cautious.

"I'm sorry, Fran, I've been so hard on you in recent years.  I really think you have a lot of potential if you try."

"Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and nothing good is happening.  I'm still stuck in the mud."

"Well, life isn't always easy.  I was a single mother when it wasn't the in thing to be.  It was hard finding jobs that paid me well enough to support us.  Employers though the best position I should ever strive to achieve is secretary."

"I thought you enjoyed working."

"No, I did it because I had to to survive.  For years, that's what you did, too, Fran.  You worked to put a roof over your head, to pay for a car, to put food on your plate, but you weren't happy."

I hung my head and Granny went on.  "Turning 30 wasn't the end of the world, Fran.  It was a new beginning.  Now you can let all the foolishness of youth behind and do what you want to do to make yourself happy.  You can take all the life lessons you learned and use those to make your dreams come true.  And I hope you will."

"I want to, Granny."

"Make your dreams come true, Fran, because no one can do it for you."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Take The Toliet Challenge

The things we do for money.

This week I am taking the toilet challenge.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I am taking the toilet challenge.

What is the toilet challenge?  I have to try out a new brand of toilet paper and, after I've used the entire package, write a review of my experiences.  Then I'll get paid.  It's not a lot but it's enough to pay a bill.

So far, I have to say I am thoroughly disgusted.  This paper breaks apart and feels like sandpaper.  Who do they really think is going to buy this?  Outdoor woodsmen who have never used real toilet paper before.    It makes me sick just thinking about it.

And my butt is sore.  I feel like crying.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unemployment Seminar

They call it a one day, unemployment seminar focused on establishing skills for future success or something ridiculous like that.  I call it one day, torture in loserdome.

The paperwork I received in the mail said this was a mandatory program for everyone on unemployment benefits.  When I got there, however, I learned it wasn't mandatory for everyone.  Only those whom they were convinced would exhaust their benefits.

So I'm one of those losers they think will exhaust benefits.  Great!

We spent the whole, entire time talking about resumes and how to respond to job ads.   I already know how to do that.  I want to know how to find the open jobs.  That's what I want to find.  But they didn't touch upon that, not once.

What's worse is that I have to go back in two weeks for a one-on-one session.  What a tremendous waste of my time.

If they want to help me, they could start by boosting my self-esteem not breaking it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Killer

My phone was ringing off the hook.  Well, if cell phones had hooks.  I let them all go to voicemail.  I still didn't want to talk to anyone unless I had to.

Finally, the calls stopped so I listened to my messages.  I had several and they all said the same thing --  to watch the news.

So I turned on the local news.  What was so urgent I would never understand.

Across the bottom of the screen it said, "Suspected serial killer arrested."

And there was my old neighbor and my old house.  My old house?  I turned the sound up.

The newscaster was saying, "Police have yet to name the suspect but he owns these two properties behind me.  Police finally made an arrest after their investigation suggested several missing women throughout the state were last seen with the suspect. 

"After inspecting the home, investigators found the belongings of several women along with the remains of a number of individuals.  A large tub that police suspect was use to dissolve bodies in was also found.

"The chief of police will hold a press conference in about an hour."

I sat watching the newscast for sometime.  I heard the same news over and over again but didn't believe it.  So Hoss really had been a serial killer?  I wasn't just being paranoid; he really was.  And what was he using my old house for?  I shivered.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sad, Sad

I'm still feeling very depressed.  All I seem to do is sleep and cry.  I feel lost and hopeless.  In this economy, how am I going to find a new job?

I haven't even wanted to see Bill although I will take his phone calls.  I won't take anyone else's calls, though.  I don't want to be seen or heard.  But, for whatever reason, I had the overwhelming urge to call Mama.

"Mama, I have horrible news," I said to her when she asked how I was doing.

"What did you loose your job" she said, joking.

"Yes, Mama."  I started to cry.  "And my surgery scar still looks like Frankenstein and ... "

"Fran, what surgery?  What are you talking about?"

I apologized for not calling or emailing like I should have.  I told her the whole story and I felt worse than I had before. 

"Well, if all else fails, Fran, you know you're welcome to come home."

Come home?  The last thing I wanted to do was come home.  I'll probably have nightmares about that one for weeks.

"Thank you, Mama.  I'm just sad, sad, sad today."

"I know, baby, everything is going to be okay."

But is it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

You're Out

There I found myself at ten minutes to quitting time on a Friday, sitting in Dorothy's office, listening to her tell me my time was up.

"I'm sorry, Fran, but your services just aren't needed here anymore."

I stared dumbfounded, not convinced what she was telling me is true.  "What happened?"

"We work in an at-will state so we really don't need to have any other reason besides not needing your services."

"But I just got back from surgery.  I have bills to pay."

"The decision was made before your surgery.  HR will not contest unemployment when you call to file."


"Go clean out your desk."

I could see that Dorothy had a smirk on her face when she told me.  It was awful.  Next, I found myself being escorted to the lobby of the building by security as if I were some criminal.  It was humiliating and I felt so sick.  It was as if someone had died.

I drove home and sat staring at the wall of living room for I don't know how long.  I can't stop crying.  What am I going to do?  I'll never get a good reference.  I'm ruined.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I am out of surgery, and thank God am alive.  I thought for sure I was going to die.  In fact, I think I did die.

I saw a bright light and a tunnel.  There was elevator music playing.  There were voices all around me.  I saw the faces of people who are no longer alive.  There was Grandpa Fletcher and numerous relatives I have only seen in pictures.  I was floating.  I felt both hot and cold at the same time.

Finally, someone told me it was not my time to go and that it was time to return to the recovery room.  When I woke up, I was in my hospital bed and nurses were around me.

I told them I had had a near-death experience.  They didn't believe me.  They said a NDE was impossible because I didn't come remotely close to dying.  The procedure had gone quickly and with no complications.

But I know what I experienced.  You believe me, right?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Pain, The Pain

I've had a persistent pain for days, on my right side.  I was convinced it was nothing but a pulled muscle but it continued.

This morning the pain was intense but I went to work anyway because I was afraid what would happen if I didn't.  But I was also concerned about this pain.  Some of the women at work had heard or saw I was in pain and stopped by to give me their diagnosis:  tumors, cysts, intestinal blockages, ectopic pregnancy.  No matter what their suggestion was I was dying.

At lunch, I promised Bill to see the doctor if the pain persisted to the weekend.

About a half hour later, though, the pain was very intense.  Finally, it was so bad I couldn't walk.  I let my co-workers convince me to allow an ambulance to be called.

They took me to the hospital where it seemed several thousand uncomfortable and invasive tests were taken.  Finally, a diagnosis came back.  I have appendicitis and will need to have surgery.  The surgery is schedule for, well, forty-five minutes from now.

I'm scared.  I don't want to be cut open.  Help.  I don't want to die!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pizza, Pizza

Bill took me on a food date tonight.  It was an opportunity for us to learn to cook together.  I'm all for a man who can cook for himself so I told him it was a fantastic idea.

The pizzeria the lesson was affiliated with was swanky, a little too fancy for someone like me.  They took us back into the kitchen which was squeaky clean.

We started first, obviously, making the dough.  A chef showed us how to make the dough and then later how to shape it.  It was very sensual.  Bill stood behind me and together we kneaded the dough into a circle.

"It still seems kinda thick to me,"  Bill said.

"Well, some people like a thick crust.  I'm okay with it."

"I'd like to try something first."

Bill picked up the dough and began throwing it up in the air like we've seen people do on TV.  The chef didn't seem to like it but he didn't stop us either. 

Bill tossed the dough higher and higher.  One toss went higher than he intended and the dough came down on his head.

I gasped and threw my arms up in the air.  The chef came running and pulled the dough off of Bill's head.

I was beyond mortified but Bill was laughing.  I started to laugh, too.

"I'm so sorry, sir," the chef said, "I should have stepped in and said something.  I'll speak to my manager about a discount for the inconvenience."

The chef left the room. 

Bill smiled and whispered in my ear, "If I had known that, I would have burned myself and would could have got the entire lesson for free."

We started laughing again.
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