Where do I even start? February 2017 proved to quite a fucker, hence the lack of blog posts since before the shitstorm started. In all fairness, the month was challenging, but, I know that I’ve got it better than a lot of people, so I am very thankful, despite the challenges February continuously fast-pitched at my head. February felt something like being locked in the back of a police car, locked in and not able to get out, with a drunk toddler in the driver’s seat. Since I couldn’t manage to get more than a few words written before shit hit the fan the entire month, here’s the reader’s digest version, for your enjoyment (and my sanity).
2/3/2017 – I got notice at work that one of my coworkers was being reassigned and the position was not being refilled. Which left a caseload of 30 to be distributed among the remaining four of us. We would also be seeing a huge influx of new arrivals, as the “budget crisis” had everyone scrambling to justify expenditures (including my work site and my job). In good (?) news, myself and my 3 coworkers would be approved to work 2 hours of overtime per week, every week, in an effort to attempt to keep things afloat (and keep the union from getting involved in the workload / position vacancy concerns). Overtime scheduled to begin 2/13/2017.
2/4/2017 – Attended funeral services for a close friend of the family’s father. He was a teacher and had enriched lives for years prior to passing. It was heartwarming to see so many older adults that were once his students to be in attendance. I was reminded, again, of how precious life really is.
2/5/2017 – I accepted a contract on UpWork, uploading books to Amazon’s KDP. The most important part of the contract was the deadline – the work had to be completed between 5am and 11:30pm on Tuesday, 2/7/2017. In an effort to continue building my UpWork profile for the future, I accepted the contract and decided that I would be “sick” from work on 2/7/2017 to complete my contract.
2/7/2017 – I woke up at 5am, let my boss know I wasn’t coming to work and got started on my UpWork contract. Our internet speed severely impacted my ability to move as quickly as I wanted to and it was taking me literally 6 – 8 minutes to complete each task and I had 100 tasks to do. I started worrying and getting pretty frustrated. I expected to spend a few hours on the contract, not all day, evening and night. It wasn’t until around 10am, after working for 5 hours, that I found a much quicker way (that was not at all in the job instructions) in order to complete the contract. Thanks to my new method, I completed the contract at 12:33pm, nearly 11 hours before the deadline.
2/8/2017 – I was at work when I got a phone call from Josh at about 1130, reporting he was having pretty severe chest pain. While he refused to take an ambulance, he agreed to go to the emergency room. (This shit freaks me out. I lost my dad when he was only 48 to a massive heart attack. When it comes to chest pain, I don’t play.) I immediately left work, picked him up at his office and drove him to the closest hospital. After a barrage of questions, answers, tests and vials of blood, the doctor recommended that Josh stay at the hospital, at least overnight, so they could keep an eye on him overnight and so he could participate in a stress test the next morning and get a better idea of what had happened or was happening. The weather forecast was calling for 8″ – 12″ of snow overnight. And I’m petrified of driving in the snow. Fantastic. I called work and let them know that I wouldn’t be coming in the next day. (In leaving work early, I missed two pretty important meetings in the afternoon, which would end up brewing quite the clusterfuck in a few days.)
2/9/2017 – It snowed it’s ass off overnight and I woke up to a winter wonderland. The dog loved it and I white-knuckled the journey to the hospital in Josh’s truck. Josh went for his stress test and returned to the room about 2 hours later. We waited for the results and talked about needing to make changes to our lives to be a little more mindful of our health. Josh decided that he wanted to get more active and had been researching Kung-Fu studios the evening before. We also decided that we would both change doctor’s offices to an office closer to our house since we never changed it when my insurance changed carriers in January. The stress test results finally came back. The doctor said there was nothing of concern indicated on the stress test but that she wasn’t really sure what had caused the pain. She instructed Josh to follow up with his primary care doctor within 5 to 7 days. We broke him out of hospital-jail and headed home. I called our selected doctor’s office, confirmed they would accept us as new patients and scheduled Josh’s follow-up appointment for 2/16. I fired up the computer, went to my insurance companies website and changed both of our doctor’s. I laid awake, worrying about what I didn’t get accomplished at work during my (nearly) three unplanned days off. Sometime around 3am, I fell asleep, mentally exhausted but too tired to worry anymore.
2/10/2017 – Friday. Pay day. First day back to work after being off, unexpectedly, for (nearly) three days. My inbox was busting at the seams, guys were pounding on my door before I even had my coat off and the voicemail indicator on my phone was lit solid red instead of it’s normal, casual blinking. While wading through my e-mail, I noticed a recurring theme of “what the fuck” e-mails pertaining to one of the meetings I missed on Wednesday. Put them on snooze, kept my head down and plowed through everything else. I had an appointment to deliver 300 toothbrushes to a non-profit organization at lunchtime but couldn’t make it out of my office so I had to reschedule (which I felt kind of bad about.) To top things off, today was the first day of my boss’ surprise two week vacation during which no one would be covering his work duties. I vaguely remember the sun still shining when I passed out on the couch.
2/11/2017 – Highlight of the month: We made a last minute decision to go to “family game night” at Josh’s dads to play Cards Against Humanity with Josh’s grandparents and assorted family members. The beer tasted good and laughing felt incredible. Maybe February would relax.
2/12/2017 – Healthy meal planning, grocery list making, grocery shopping and food prep to ensure we stuck with our new “healthier” lifestyle.
2/13/2017 – The power went out at 2:40am. I got a text message from our electric provider at 3:05am indicating there was “widespread damage” and the restoration time was unknown. Monday, first day of overtime and no shower before work. Ugh. I spent most of the day worrying about our power being off and our fridge and freezer full of “healthy” food spoiling. They finally restored our power at 12:27pm. (And thankfully, nothing appeared to be ruined.) Monday’s are my late night at work, so I was at work until 8pm.
2/14/2017 – Valentine’s Day! Josh made an incredible dinner of filet mignon and lobster tail. It was heavenly. I mention that first because it was the highlight of the day. Work provided me with a meeting with my boss’ boss who decided she “didn’t like” a multi-agency project that’s been a time-suck for me for the past 5 years. (I was volunTOLD that I was participating in it, but, busted my ass to see it succeed.) Summary of the meeting: she didn’t like the product the the multi-agency committee produced and has been using for the past 7 months, so, we’re scraping it and starting over, so, how about all these ideas of grandeur that will most assuredly add hours of work to everyone’s week? PERFECT. (This would be the first part of the missed “what the fuck” meeting manifesting itself.)
2/15/2017 – Josh had an appointment at a local Kung-Fu studio at 8:30pm. He decided he liked what he heard and signed up to take classes for a month. He also got a pretty snazzy kung-fu uniform and was assigned required reading (of a book that isn’t offered in electronic form).
2/16/2017 – I worked 8am – 4:30pm in order to attend a meeting that I had been requested to attend (in order to start volunteering my time for a non-profit organization that “needs help”) from 3pm – 4pm. Josh had his follow-up doctor’s appointment at 1pm and then started kung-fu class at 6pm. Dinner was a bowl of cereal on the front porch while the dog wondered what in the hell kind of schedule his humans had recently adopted without his approval. I checked the mailbox and found a letter from the PHRC regarding my complaint. The letter indicated that it was my turn to offer a rebuttal to the respondent’s denial of everything in my complaint. My rebuttal (and evidence) were due 14 days from the date of the letter, which was 2/8. (Why did it take a letter traveling less than 10 miles 8 days to make it from point A to point B?) Making the deadline for the entire rebuttal (and evidence) due to the PHRC investigator by 2/23. I guess it’s a good thing I have zero experience in writing a rebuttal. Hell, I didn’t even know what rebuttal meant! But, that’s what Dictionary.com is for.
2/20/2017 – I was off work for President’s Day. I spent a few hours finishing my rebuttal for my PHRC complaint, gathering documentation and got it submitted (three days before the deadline). I spent a few hours in the company of questionable characters at Jiffy Lube getting my oil changed and my car inspected. I had intended to make it to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed but that shit just wasn’t in the cards.
2/21/2017 – Another overtime day. I worked from 7am – 5:30pm. Josh had kung-fu from 6pm – 7pm. The dog continued to voice his discontent.
2/22/2017 – I spent 3 hours of my life sitting in a “meeting” where nothing got accomplished for this non-profit organization that “needs help.” I attempted to share ideas for improvement and “help” but nothing was decided and no plans for improvement were made. Things were tabled for another day.
2/24/2017 – I submitted my work schedule for the next week and requested to work an alternate schedule (allowed by a union side agreement) so that I could go to Josh’s brother’s defense for his doctorate program on Monday, 2/27. Despite my schedule conforming to my union’s side agreement, it started a riot with the Human Resources department who promptly called and informed me that, essentially, it doesn’t matter what the union contract says, I can’t work the schedule I proposed. Upon questioning, the human resources officer indicated she would make a few phone calls and call back before I left for the weekend (which she never did). My boss’ boss called moments before I walked out the door, giving me an instruction and authorizing me to work my proposed schedule the next week.
2/27/2017 – I went to work at 6am and my boss was back from his two weeks of vacation. I brought boss up to speed on my recent work schedule debacle and boss indicated he would “find out what’s going on” before I had to leave at 10am. As I was walking out the door at 10am, bossman called me to his office and informed me that although my schedule had been approved by his boss four days ago, I couldn’t work it. Instead, I would need to go back to my office, start up my computer and enter four hours of personal time for leaving early today. And, I wouldn’t be allowed to make up the other four hours for today. But, he said, on the bright side, I would still be able to work my two hours of overtime this week! (Thanks, boss.) I ended up leaving work late and in a much more agitated mood that I had wished. I met Josh at home and we headed to his brother’s defense. Highlight of the day: his brother passed his defense and will obtain his doctorate degree in May! It was also Josh’s mom’s birthday, so, the majority of the family got together for dinner at Houlihan’s in Hershey for a combination happy birthday / congratulations dinner. Dinner was great (and so was the cake!)
2/28/2017 – I contacted my union about my work schedule debacle and asked for help in understanding what was happening. (Turns out my employer violated my union agreement and a grievance is necessary. And, as a result, another agency will be monitoring me for retaliation from my employer. I just can’t make this shit up, I swear.) Surprise meeting with the bossman at 1pm, during which his boss decided to let everyone in on her little “scrap it and re-do” idea, which was met by some pretty serious contention from my coworkers. (Co-workers like the product we’ve been using for the past 7 months, want to continue using it, just want to implement some format tweaks.) Turns out, bossman attended the “what the fuck” meeting that I was unable to attend and presented some…non-truths…about the feelings of myself and my coworkers about the product. As a result, bossman’s boss and bossman’s boss’ boss created quite the spectacle at the “what the fuck” meeting, demanding the product be removed from use and laid to rest. Consequently, the “second in command” of my agency was contacted and informed that the project was an epic failure and needed to be discontinued immediately. Approval was given for the product to be discontinued and an instruction was given to come up with an alternative. Except, the people (me and my coworkers) actually using the product don’t hate it and don’t think it’s an epic failure. In fact, all three of my coworkers LIKE the product and want to continue using it, which bossman’s boss was completely unaware of. So, now they’re struggling with how they’re going to “not look like buffons” because they were fed misinformation and responded pretty inappropriately. (I guess “what the fuck” was a pretty accurate reaction to whatever happened at that meeting!)
So…there you have it. February in a nutshell. It’s just a supersized nut.
I’m hoping that since March is my birth month, it’ll be a little more mellow. Fingers crossed but I’m not holding my breath. The good news? Only 4.6 more years to go!