Posts Tagged ‘Insanity rules’

It’s All Over But The Shouting

December 18, 2012

My mother-in-law had a rule for her boys.  Well, actually, they had a lot of rules, but the one that stuck out was this one:  If you tell a lie, you will be strapped.

They actually used that word.  “Strapped”.  I had a few spankings in my childhood, but no one ever used the word “strapped”.  My in-laws, on the other side of the same coin, never used the word “spanking”.  As far as I know, those boys never got strapped, but they certainly told some lies.

The thing about this rule that was most prominent in my mind was this:  You had to have a rule for that?

Everyone knows that lying is wrong.  You had to have a rule with consequences?  I still shake my head in disbelief.

Perhaps it was the difference in the cultures that we were brought up in.  I really don’t know the answer.  Really?  A rule that you will not lie?

The harder part became determining that a lie was told.  In other words, you got caught.  What if you didn’t get caught?  The rule couldn’t apply to you, because in order to be strapped, you had to be caught in the lie.

I told my mother-in-law once, “You had to have a rule for that?”, which was only a rhetorical question.  I’m still shaking my head on the whole matter.

Here’s where I’ll insert my disclaimer:  I’m not a perfect person, and I struggle with my imperfections.

But I grew up with a different set of expectations and rules.  The rules were unspoken.  You just knew what they were, and for little children, the rules were just understood.  Don’t lie.  Don’t steal.  Don’t cheat.  Don’t fight.  Be nice to your little sister.  (That last one was just for me.)


Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to change jobs and work at the spay/neuter clinic.

Do you ever think that you can predict the future?  I mean simple things that are predictable because you have been in similar situations before and know how things play out.  If I drive too fast, and I get caught and get a ,ticket, and I don’t pay the ticket, what will happen?  Frankly, I don’t know what will happen because I would pay the ticket.

That’s just me.  I’m scared of stuff.  I’m afraid of consequences.  I don’t like it when I don’t know the rules.

So I decided to change jobs because I had concerns about the viability of the veterinary practice that I worked for.  I read the future.


I was in for a rude awakening.  I knew the folks at the spay/neuter clinic.  I’ve been using that clinic since they opened about five years ago.  I wanted to make a difference, and I love the concept of spay/neuter.

Jumping forward about 90 days after my hiring, I was released from employment.

I applied for unemployment benefits.

(Insert jumble of paperwork, a hearing, weekly paperwork, phone calls, and the interminable job searches.)

After six weeks I received a notice that I was disqualified for benefits.


Do you  see that part?  Click on the image to enlarge.  THAT part.  The part that says I LIED?

So now the state of South Carolina has it on file that I am a liar.

I went to the unemployment office and filed an appeal.

I went to see an attorney.  He requested the file from the state so that he could determine which part of my application shows where I freakin’ LIED.

I received another notice that there would be a telephone hearing between an officer of the state, my employer, and myself and my attorney.

The employer, during his testimony, stated that I had mispresented myself and that he told me during the interview that I would need to perform two specific procedures, and that my resume and my application both stated that I could perform those procedures.  Yet, strangely, my resume does NOT state this, and my application (of which I do not have a copy, because who does that?  Who keeps a copy of their original application before they turn it over the the potential employer?), had it been produced by the employer, does also NOT state this.

I never even had an interview.  I never had an evaluation or exam.  I never had a  working interview.  I never received a job description.  I was never asked if I could perform specific functions in a factory setting.

Initially I asked if the clinic had any openings, because I was reading the future and decided that I could not stay at my present employer.

I was told that there was an opening, and I asked for consideration for this position.

I was asked when I could start, and when could I take a urine test.

I’d like to insert here that people know me.  They know what kind of person I am.  My reputation precedes myself.


 The hearing is over, and the matter is in the hands of the state.  It seems clear to my attorney that I will win the appeal.

Because really?  I want that “LIAR” part removed.

So Now I’m A Gatekeeper

November 15, 2012

Yesterday I was called a “gatekeeper”.  The tone of voice with which the message was delivered indicated disgust.

I’m always, ALWAYS surprised in the tone that people take with someone they don’t even know.  It’s everywhere, and seems especially prevalent on faceless entities like FaceBook and the comment section of newspapers and blogs.

I’m hardly a gatekeeper.  I’m more of a facilitator.  It’s true, I took the test.  I want everyone to play nice and to get along.  I personally get my feelings hurt fairly easily, especially when it’s delivered with a message like, “Oh, toughen up.”

I’m not going to get any tougher than I already am.  Telling someone not to be so nice does not add to the teller’s charm.  Rather, it makes for the opposite effect.  If you are going to talk crappy to me, then I’m not going to talk to you at all.  I’ll give you one chance past your initial crappy remark, and if you fail that chance, you weren’t that much to lose.

Yesterday, I was helping out the BabyBoy at the grooming shop by hanging around and generally being useless, and occasionally answering the phone if he was otherwise engaged, like bathing a dog.  As luck would have it, the phone rang, and the caller ID showed that it was a toll-free number, meaning solicitor, but I answered the phone anyway.

Sure enough,  a young gentleman, and I use that word loosely, asked for the previous owner.  I replied that they sold the business, so the g-man said that he wanted to speak to the current owner.

It must be a sad sort of existence to have to make those kind of phone calls for a living.  It would probably make you desperate, and angry at your fate that has fallen so low, and it could possibly make you lash out at the very people that you want to buy your products and/or services.  A true fail/fail.

I replied that the owner was absentee, so then you and I know the next step is for the g-man to ask for someone in charge, a manager, or a decision maker.  He assumed that I was not in charge.  He’s calling a small business, and if he had done his homework, he should know that lots of people in small businesses wear many hats, and they might even, God forbid, answer the telephone.

While it’s true that I’m not in charge, I do have some influence, and I have been answering the telephone in an office setting since 1972, shortly after we stopped using the two-cans-linked-with-a-string method.  I really do know what I’m doing, and I know that telemarkets pollute the circuits, and tie up phone lines, and whatever his service is, the grooming shop probably doesn’t need it.  There’s a good steady business now, and if your service is to make our website get more hits, why would we want more hits?  Global hits don’t translate into business for a small town pet grooming salon.

If someone is grooming your dog, do you want them to step away from the personal attention they are giving your dog, which would mean possibly leaving your dog unattended, and take an unsolicited sales call?  That’s such a ridiculous question on my part because you, faithful reader, ain’t no fool.

I told the nice young gentleman that our decision maker was bathing a dog and could not talk.  Of course, the gentleman wants our decision maker’s name.  Does a reasonable person give out such information?  Hmmm, thinking, thinking…

YoursTruly:  You have not yet identified yourself or your company or your purpose for calling.  I do not give out information to unsolicited callers.

Gentleman:  My name is Thomas, and I am calling from the world’s largest web-hosting service.  (I kid you not.  The world’s largest and he doesn’t identify it by name.  Wouldn’t the largest not always be the largest, because those rankings are fluid and dynamic and ever-changing?)

YoursTruly:  Thomas, I’ll take your phone number, and if he wants to, he will call you back.

Gentleman:  (with tone of disgust)  I hear that story all day long from *gatekeepers*, and they never call me back.

YoursTruly:  (Silence because I’m trying to digest that he just called me a gatekeeper.)

YoursTruly:  I don’t even have to talk to you.

Gentleman:  (Loudly)  Well, I don’t have to talk to you, EITHER!

At that point I stopped talking, and hung up.  I didn’t want to hear him singsong, “Nah nah nah nah, nah nah.”

I have been in the customer service field for many years, and yet I am not familiar with this new sales technique of call/vilify/piss-off the customers.  What purpose does that technique serve?  My caller DID go to enough customer service training that he absorbed the words gatekeeper and decision maker.

And from wikipedia, the definition of a gatekeeper.

In the past I would have drafted a letter to the company, but I have embraced new technology.  I’ll just BLOG about it.


October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!

Sharpen up your pencil and your wits, and join thousands of others who will write a novel in one month.

Sugar listened to an interview on NPR last week about John Grisham, and Sugar was happy to share that it takes John Grisham ONE YEAR to finish a novel, so how can I write one in ONE MONTH?

I never said it was going to look pretty.  It’s about output, not editing.  You simply write, and write, and write some more.  Editing is for later, like after November.

That’s the formula, and it’s tried and true, so why not?  We’re not getting any younger.

Want to know more? Click here.

We start tomorrow!  Or if you are in an earlier time zone, you are already writing!

(Good grief.  I don’t even have a category or a tag on this blog about writing.  What kind of slacker blogger am I?  Don’t answer that.)

The Charter School

July 31, 2012

There’s a charter school coming to this county.  You can read more about it here.

There was one small problem.  There was no school campus.  The charter school was offered the use of an elementary school campus that was abandoned, and it would need to be renovated.  Sugar had heard that the building had been vandalized and stripped of things that could be resold, like air conditioning units and copper wiring.  We were out and about a few weeks ago and took a side trip to look at the new campus.

It turns out that the old buildings were in such disrepair that they could not be brought up to code in time for the school year to start.  So trailers have been brought in.  Sugar said he thought that the trailers were cheap, but I reminded him that the trailers were possibly better than some of the homes the children live in. 

Here’s a little photo session of the past and the future.

Yes, all these photos were made out the car window, thankyouverymuch for asking.

We Interrupt This LawtonFest Due to Thievery!

June 8, 2012

We’ve been a bit busy lately, what with the long Memorial Day weekend, I had a job interview, and we were planning for the upcoming LawtonFest.  Suddenly it came to our attention that ALL the downspouts from the gutters at the grooming & boarding business were gone.  Ripped right off the building, brackets and all.

That’s right.  Gone.  Missing.  AWOL.

This is a poor county.  We all know that our economy is struggling right now.  Folks have resorted to making extra income by selling scrap metal.  Copper is especially valuable, which means that air-conditioning units are being stolen at record rates. 

Here’s the weird part:  the spay/neuter clinic next door still has their downspouts intact.  And none of these are copper.  They are ordinary, run-of-the-mill metal downspouts. 

I really have nothing more to comment about this except *WOW*.  Just wow.

Precious Paisley the Problem Cat, Part 3

April 12, 2012

Paisley has issues.

Sugar’s BabyDaughter, a/k/a the Boarding Specialist at the Grooming Salon, decided that Paisley was much too cramped in her quarters in the cat condo.  So she made a little play area for the Pais.

A playpen for Paisley.

Paisley: "Halt! Whoeth goeth thereth?"

You will notice the choice of litter boxes, one with pine pellets on the left, and one with ordinary clumping clay litter on the right.  It looks encouraging, doesn’t it, those little footprints left in the clay litter?  There’s also a bowl full of food, and a colorful water bowl.  The crowning touch was the bed in the foreground, draped with the prerequisite pink blankie. Boarding specialist.  You got that right. 

What really cracks me up is that this little exercise pen arrangement is only two feet high.  That’s right, *TWO* feet high.  What cat is going to stay contained in this, when all she has to do is leap out and go sit in the windowsill? The correct answer is, yes indeedy, the Princess Paisley. 

Paisley proceeded to take a bath during this entire photo shoot.  She did not pee on her blankie or on the floor, but she has been doing just that for the last 5 days.  She’s even peeing in her bed and lying in it.  I say that we need to give her a chance to detox from the fleas that she’s been infested with for the last two years so that she can clear her feeble little mind.  Sugar says she needs to go to the vet.  I think Sugar’s going to win this round, especially since he offered to pay. 

My feeble attempt to hold the camera over Paisley at a different angle equals a sad focus, but you can still see how rough and patchy her fur is.

Lady Macbeth would be impressed.

This cat is just not right.

Paisley the Problem Child.

So is she insane? 

Getting Up and Going On

March 27, 2012

Before you read any of this post, you might as well be warned that I will lapse into a remembrance about a pivotal point of my life.  So if you don’t want to read any further, then don’t.  Nobody is paying you to be here, unfortunately, and neither is anyone paying me to chatter on, so proceed at will. 

Not to sound cold or indifferent to your presence, but rather to say that I’ll just put an invisible pen to invisible paper and record these words for what it’s worth.

Eleven years ago, I moved to this part of the country with my husband, my daughter in college, and my son in high school.  The weather had turned cold, much like it is this week, and we arrived at night with all our worldly goods in a rental truck towing a car, and a pickup truck towing a Uhaul trailer.  The next day we found out that our mortgage had not been processed, had indeed not even been begun, and we had nowhere to live.  Because we had nowhere to live, we had no address, and could not prove that we lived here, and could not enroll our son in school. 

The move had not progressed well, and there was problem after problem, but I had no idea of the problems that were about to happen in a year.  Almost exactly a year to the day of moving, my husband announced that he was leaving, and he packed up a few things and left in 45 minutes. 

Forty-five minutes.  He drove away, his black pickup truck making the turn out of sight like a black snake sliding away.  None of this made sense.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on preparing the paperwork for April 15.  I started finding alarming evidence.  He had cashed in two life insurance policies and his IRAs, and he had depleted the checking accounts, the savings accounts, the college savings fund that had over $45K in it, and his investment accounts.  He had gotten a second mortgage for $25K on the house we had sold in NC, and had forged my signature.  He had gotten a loan at the local back, and had the monthly repayment drafted from the personal checking account, the account I now had in my possession, and because my name was not on the loan, the bank would not release any information about it, even though the repayment was drafted out of an account with my name on it.  There was a credit card in my name with an unpaid balance, even though I had never applied for a credit card.  There were other credit cards with large unpaid balances.  And he left all the paperwork behind.  Am I forgetting something?  Probably.  It was a lot to deal with.


So now I’m ten years past the separation.  The divorce came 2 years after the separation.  I have an awesome life now. 

I love puzzles, and genealogy is a puzzle to me.  When you are applying to join a society that is based on heritage, you have to provide “proofs” of your lineage, like a census record, a baptismal record, or a court record.  Divorce papers are a great example of a court record, and it will be forever recorded that the judge confirmed that my then-husband was guilty of adultery with an illegal Hispanic woman who worked for us.  Never screw around on a genealogist. 


After he left, I knew that I would need extra income, because there was no way that I could pay the household bills on one income alone.  I got a part-time job at a luxury boarding kennel nearby.  Every Sunday morning I went to work at 6:30 AM for an eight hour shift.  On Tuesday and Thursday morning, I went to work at the kennel from 6:30-8:30, went home, cleaned up, and went to my regular job at 9 AM.  One of my responsibilities on the morning shift was to walk the dogs, then feed them.  Some of the dogs were nervous, or anxious, or whiny, or worried.  I found myself talking to the dogs like someone needed to talk to me. 

“You’ll be alright”.

“Stop worrying.  Here’s your breakfast.  You’ll feel better after you eat something”.

“It’s not going to do any good to cry about it”.

“It’s not the end of the world”.

“If it makes you feel better, cry about it.  But it’s really not helping anyone else, and you might as well get over it”. 

And that little job as a kennel tech led to a promotion to assistant kennel manager then kennel manager.  Then I went back to college, and cut back on my hours, and then I found a job closer to home at the veterinarian’s office.  And now I’ve finished college, and I still get to work with animals, and I’ve helped open the grooming business, and I’ve established a feral cat colony, and I’m finalizing a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization. 

I learned if you curl up and die, you lose.  There were times when it felt like it would be easier to stay down.  But in memory of those ancestors who went before and paved the way, really, you have to get up and go on. 

Because you might just end up on somebody’s genealogy tree someday, and Lordy, won’t those proofs look good.

The Picnic Table Wars

December 1, 2011

Last week was my birthday, and Sugar surprised me with a birthday gift, a mammoth picnic table.  Really, the thing is HUGE.  You could sleep on it.

He brought it over in his pickup truck on the day before Thanksgiving, and we opened the large double front gate, and he backed right in, and we unloaded the monster.

I have wanted two things in my adult life, besides peace on earth, that being a screened porch (or is it screened-in porch?) and a *picnic table*!

Georgia the cat has been feeling challenged by Ozzie the cat, who likes to stalk her a bit, and she’s been spending much of her time outside the front gate, just hanging out by the driveway.  Once she saw the picnic table, she made a beeline for it.

Georgia: "Mine. Mine. All mine."

The next morning, she was still at work protecting her picnic table.

Georgia: "I've been protecting my picnic table all night. Let the word go out into the city, Ozzie is nothing compared to the greatness of Georgia!"

Georgia: "And if Ozzie comes around again, I'll stretch myself up really tall and big, and I'll show him my scaryface."

Georgia: "I sense with my superpowers that something foul is afoot."

Georgia: "Get BACK, you dogs, or I will. cut. you!"

Georgia kept up this vigil for twenty-four hours, and then suddenly we had a game-changer…

Sylvia: "Anybody want to say anything now? That's right. I thought not."

To Catch A Dog

November 7, 2011

This post is a continuation of an earlier thread that actually began about a year ago.

Sugar was feeding a dog on his postal route.  She looked like she could have been a hunting dog that got lost, perhaps, and delivered a litter of pups in a rural neighborhood.  The dogs were living in a culvert at an abandoned house.

He has not seen the mother dog in months, but one of the puppies has stayed in the general area.  We’ve gone over and over a plan for catching her before she becomes a mother herself, and we couldn’t hatch a viable plan.  What to do with her when we catch her?  Where to keep her?  Will she go to the shelter?  Will she even be adoptable?  Will the shelter perhaps put her down?  When can we possibly make all this happen?  The variables were too great and too many, so he just continued to feed the dog by putting food out on the roadside, not knowing if she was going to eat the food before the wildlife got to it.

He came up with the most recent plan out of concern for her health.  We’ll take the ancient trap, set it, go off for a bit, and then come back and remove the trap whether she’s in it or not.

We found her lying in the sun enjoying the warmth, or at least that was what we hoped she was doing, because she was laid out on her side like she was dead.  She didn’t move when we pulled the van in the abandoned driveway and got out the trap.  She still didn’t move when we moved the trap under the trees and set it up.

Suddenly she jumped up and ran off like she was completely spooked.

Empty house beyond. The dog just lives in the neighborhood, mostly in the front yard of this house.

Then Sugar baited the trap with some canned food, and we left her, in hopes that she would go into the trap, because canned food is irresistible to most dogs.  To most dogs, except this one, at this particular moment.

Fearful, fearful.

We left her for about 20 minutes, mostly as a test to see it she would go in the trap.  We drove out of the neighborhood entirely.  When we returned, she was close to the trap but completely ignoring the food.  We reloaded the trap into the van, trying to be quick and cautious because people were out and about and we didn’t want to draw any undue attention to what we were doing.  But really?  White folks in a mostly black neighborhood trying to trap a wild dog?  It’s a pretty tolerant neighborhood if they tolerate this dog living there.  No one has shot at her or tried to harm her, and it appears that some folks might be putting out food for her.

So we’ll try again another day, and we hope that day comes before there’s another litter of pups in the culvert…

Carheart and Errol

September 13, 2011

Not long ago, Sugar heard his dogs kicking up a ruckus at the fence.  He looked out, and saw nothing, and told the dogs to stop.  Being obedient, perfect dogs, they did not stop, but kept barking at Sugar’s van parked outside the fence.

Being the attentive, perfect dog owner that he is, Sugar went outside the fence, but could see nothing.  However, he heard a tiny *mew*.  A very tiny one.

He looked around the van.  Nothing.  (*mew*)

He got the keys, unlocked the van, and looked inside, already knowing that there was nothing in the van.  Nothing.  (*mew*)

He opened the hood of the van, and there, perched down inside the van’s engine, was a tiny kitten.  (*mew*)

So he spoke to her, and she came to him.  And then he put her in a humane trap for safe-keeping until he could decide what to do with her, as if the decision weren’t already made.

Let me insert here that about two months ago, Sugar bought a local grooming business.  The kitten came along right after he had signed the papers and the business was officially his, but not yet open for business.  We decided that she could go stay at the business because there were plenty of cages available (as if she would actually live in a cage), and then we could decide what to do with her.

In the meantime, Sugar fell in love with her and named her Carheart, not Carharrt, because she was found in the heart of a car.  He calls her Car E. (or Karree). 

Car E. then fell in love with Errol the former feral who was also living at the business.  (It was a good thing that Sugar bought a business with room for stray cats.)  Errol is the one with the ruptured lens on his left eye which looks a little wonky but doesn’t slow him down.  At all.

We’ve been wondering about making the cat room more interesting for the two stray kittens who now own the grooming business.  Yes, I did say “Room”, for they are not living in the cages, and if anyone of you out there thought that those cats would live in cages, you must go immediately to the nearest realityometer and have your reality tested.  Both cats showed negative for feline aids and feline leukemia, and it was safe to let them meet.  We looked at those awesome climbing towers at PetSmart, and I cringed at the thought of spending the money when we have boards and lumber in a back room of the grooming salon, and all we have to do is build one.  So simple.

I looked for a climbing tower on craigslist, and found none, so we decided to commit to one at PetSmart.  And as luck would have it, they were no longer on sale. 

But!  We DID find this scratchy-thingy shaped like a letter “S” on its side.  It was a real hit.  Car E dove under immediately to play with the feather that was suspended on the underside, like a mini-boxing bag.

Errol: "CarHead. Won't. Share."

Car-E: "Is this what crack is like?" Errol: "And now I will play the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth".

Errol: "Car-E, can I play with it please? I asked real nice."

Car-E: "I'm drunk."

Car-E stops for refreshments. Errol can't believe his luck.

Errol: "Anybody want my little sister? I'll make you a really good deal."