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Hot date at the ER

Honey took Friday off to go up to Gatlinburg to be fitted for a tux for our friends’ wedding the end of May.  Following that he planned on spending some serious shop time working on his radio boxes.  Buddy Jim was nowhere to be seen but Honey has a key and started work.

He called and told me that Jeff rolled up to the shop and told him that Buddy’s shortness of breath last weekend was apparently not the nothing he said it was.  Chest pains and poor breathing during the night caused him to take the aspirin and have Wife drive him to the ER.  No need for Honey to drop shop work, he’d call when he knew something.

The next time he called, he told me Buddy’s BP rang the bell and they whisked him upstairs for a dye job revealing serious blockage, called in the roto-rooter guys and ordered two stents.  I was diligent about keeping my phone with me on breaks as well as on my desk as Honey’s Buddy is my Buddy Girl’s honey and we want to keep the foursome healthy and together.

My 4:15 break came and went with no more phone calls.  All went smoothly  and Buddy was resting rather uncomfortably.  As Honey called to tell me it was too soon to go visit Buddy, I was shakily reaching for my second nitro pill because my own chest pain was not going away from the first one.  As he was talking, I was rubbing my left jawbone, my vision was getting slightly dim and sparkly.  As I stood up to tell the closest cubie girl to get the supervisor, I was able to break into the conversation and ask Honey to pick me up and take me to the ER.

Let me skip ahead here.  All ended well to the best of our knowledge and efforts.  By 11pm the doctor could neither confirm nor completely deny a heart issue.

I had been experiencing random chest pains since I lost my HR job in Feb, ’06.  Since I had no insurance, and was depressed, I chalked them up to anxiety attacks and several times would have chosen to check out but no such “luck” at the time.  Some of them doubled me over.  They became mild and continued frequently enough after I found work that my doctor prescribed little nitro pills and instructed that if 2 of them 5 minutes apart didn’t stop the discomfort I was to head to the ER.  This one lasted over 40 minutes with no change.

They parked me in a bed at curtain #17, wired me to the EKG, drew blood for an enzyme analysis, followed by more stickons and wires to the unit to measure heart rate and pulse in green, oxygen levels in blue, blood pressure in big white numbers,  and one funny yellow line that meant absolutely nothing and wiggled when I did.  Doc checked in and came back again in about an hour to tell me the results were all negative but that I had to lay there another 4 hours for another check.  He said he wanted me overnight and have a stress test the next day.  Being cheap, I said I’d rather go home.  Doctors get testy when you argue with them.

In the meantime, neither of us had eaten, there was no TV, and my bum was numb.  Honey went out for a sandwich and said he’d bring something back.  I took that opportunity to call the kids, one of which was eating, the other I left a voice mail.  They both called back, one at midnight, one today.  I called Charlotte whose phone cut out and gave up.  While my scout was searching sustenance in the rain, Jeff comes to visit.  Fortunately I was on my side by then and the blanket pulled up to my chin.  We visited, then he read me a scripture before praying.  The scripture of choice was his favorite for hospital visits, II Cor.5, especially the reference to the tent, knowing that the back flap creates a draft.  No offense taken, you just have to know Jeff.

Almost two hours later, honey walks in with a ginormous Ruby Tuesday chicken sandwich with bacon in it and french fries.  What a honey!  I had to hurry to eat the fries before Doc came back, but skipped the bacon.

Without TV we had the opportunity to talk.  I apologized for ruining his Friday and running up bills.  He affirmed that having a Friday ruined was the furthest thing from his mind and he’d rather have me and bills than money without me.  Sweet, but I still feel guilty.  I had told him to go home and I would stay the night but he wouldn’t do that either.  Still sweet.

This morning we talked extensively.  Had the doctor felt certain this was a heart issue, I’d do the stress test in a heart beat.  Since he couldn’t, I’m instead seeing my doctor Tuesday to discuss prevention, and if it’s GI.  Usually if something walks, talks, and sounds like the proverbial duck, you conclude it’s a duck.  He’s the professional and said he didn’t know for sure.  I’m not the professional and it sure looked and felt like heart.  Now that I have a benchmark of what might be a heart attack too mild to really worry about feels like, I’ll know when to run to an ER again.

As for Buddy, he’s going home today, treated, lectured and resolved to do better for himself as he rests up in the recliner for a few days.

As for Honey and me, maybe next week we’ll try dinner and a movie.

Done?

Dining room.  Done.  We have reduced the dining room to the china cabinet, the table and chair set, one small marble top chest for hot dishes and a plant stand with a lamp on it.  It is so done, we have grapefruit and oranges in a bowl on the table.

Bathroom.  Done but for replacing the light fixture maybe in six months.

Fireplace wall.  Done but for finding something to hang on it.  We’re waiting for our daughter’s decorating talent.  A good excuse to shop.

The taupe paint for the living room is being stored in its can until we recover.

We have to plan meals, vacuum one more time, dust, and set up a spare bed.

Other chores are finding a dress for next Sunday, something for my friend’s wedding and a few summer pieces.  I hate shopping for clothes since my figure has, in Mom’s words, “settled.”  Nothing settled.  Everything puffed up like a blow fish.  I wish it would settle.

Tuesday is Passover, Wednesday we launder, Thursday we go to choir followed by a quick late supper and pick up the kids at the airport.

Hopefully I will fire up the camera and update the FlickR account with new happy faces from the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, work has taken on a new shadow — the headset tether to the telephone.  I can work with a new system.  I can adjust to my job getting complicated, changing into something unrecognizable with no pay adjustment, and changing my lunch break time.  Being a sharp old bird, I can do all that easily.  But the headset was not in the new team job description for which we all applied.  Surprise…..!  What could be a real road block is that I can’t wear a headband or eye glass frames for more than an hour before I get a throbbing headache.  Why should a headset pressing on one side of my head 8 hours straight not do that?

We’ll see how it all goes down by noon tomorrow.  Maybe it’ll rhyme with “pick-up” as in a four wheeled vehicle.  Speaking of Obama …..

who is spending our grand-children’s wealth, released embryonic stem cell research after research has shown that adult stem cells work and embryonic doesn’t, put a tax cheat in charge of our treasurey, okayed we pay for international abortions, fired a private citizen from a private company, threatened CEOs from private companies with “I’m the only person between you and a pitch fork”, gave control of private companies’ executives’ pay scales to Europe at the G20 conference, sent his toadie to the supreme court to ask that he be allowed to ban books during election cycles that speak negatively of candidates, slipped a clause in the first money balloon that nobody read!!! that sets up computer control in less than 5 years on how and if you get your meds under the heading “Meaningful Use”, and now congress has a bill that would grant him control and oversight of the Internet.  So much for the first amendment.

Let us not forget his stand on abortion.  I guess we did forget.  At the least, the 7 million evangelical Christians that tipped the scales in his favor forgot.  Did anyone stop once to ask exactly what the change was?

Don’t blame me.  I voted for Palin.

Perfect purse

I have 29 in the closet and drawers, 8 rejects still round somewhere, an unknown quantity trashed, and miscellaneous wallets, change purses, and cell phone pouches.  They include a 4×4 shopping-only size to sparkly for dinner size to compartmentalized to no compartments to 2′ wide shoulder totes, most are black and I hate them all.

I have not found the perfect purse.  It does not exist.  Continue reading

Angela came to my house today

The breakfast almost didn’t happen.  We were there but the food wasn’t. IHOP was supposed to cater but thought we were going to pick up the food.  We thought they were going to deliver it.  A couple of phone calls later our sort of warm eggs, which I shouldn’t be eating, with the biscuits and gravy ,which I never order, and the fruit cups arrived.

The meeting of the elders’ wives and the prospective minister’s wife went well.  She talked, we listened.

We dropped a chair off at the wood shop, filled the gas tank, and came home.  Stan worked some more on the end tables he built for the kids in Minnesota while I hopped onto the Track.  I was relaxing on the sofa and decided to call my friend Donna who was down with a bad back to find out what the doctor was going to do with her. 

As we talked, I looked out the front window to where Stan was watering the bushes and saw a blond woman run onto our porch and sit on the bench, sobbing.  “Hon, come out here, we have a situation.”

He beat me.  He choked me and kicked me.  A man shouldn’t hit a woman and I don’t want to go back there ever.  It’s just not right.  He kept hitting and hitting me!!”

It took a while to pull the details out of her.  We got the kleenex, a glass of water, led her to the back porch and eventually into the house.  As she babbled and repeated the same stuff plus more, and still did not manage to regain composure or cohesiveness, it became clear she was not a full deck.  Words like custody and phrases like group home again and hitting myself crept into her explanation.  As for the kleenex, it was disregarded in favor of her shirt collar.

We took her story af face value and called the sheriff’s department, assuring her that she would not have to go back to that house, the authorities would know what to do to protect her, and, being 19, she could indeed live with her mother instead of her dreadful uncle who had beaten her.

After an interminable length of time, the deputy rolled into the driveway.  He was gentle, matter of fact, attentive and patient.  He took pictures of her scrapes and scratches.  He assured her that he would put her uncle in jail for at least 12 hours, that she could take her belongings and go anywhere. I want to go to my mommy’s house.

She couldn’t remember the phone number or the address.  She called her brother-in-law where he worked at Shoney’s and wrote the number down wrong.  When she called back, he’d clocked out.

I’m special. My mind is slow.  I don’t want to go back there!  I don’t want to see his face again!

The deputy called for backup to pick up the uncle.  While the first deputy was filling out paperwork, the backup officer was scoping out our collection of movies.  Don’t take me back there!  If she would go with them, they wouldn’t let her out of the back seat of one car until the uncle was safely locked into the other car’s back seat.  No. I don’t want to go back there.  He’ll beat me up again.  Could we leave her with you folks and come back for her?  Of course.

She jumped a foot in the air when Stan or I went in or out of the doors so we locked them. No thank you to popcorn, don’t want to see a movie, I don’t want to go back there and get beat up.  Men shouldn’t beat up on girls.

When the deputy came back, he brought Angela’s mom with him.  After mother and daughter left, he gave us the whole story.  Apparently Angela is bi-polar and has the mind of a 7 year old.  She hadn’t taken her medication, went over the edge and it took her uncle, a sister, and a brother-in-law to subdue her.  During the struggle, she got away and ran.  The marks on her and the other three bore witness to the story.

I was comforted that we did the right thing by taking her in, calming her down, and believing her.  While waiting for the officer to return, for a small moment, she wasn’t fearful or wiping her nose on her shirt, or telling me he beat her or showing me her scratches, and she thanked me for being nice to her.  I told her we were Christians and were supposed to be nice to her, that it was not problem.

I was not comforted by the deputy telling us that when there are not marks, he doesn’t jail anyone and if the story doesn’t “wash”, he doesn’t jail anyone.  Neither is there a trip to the station for an order of protection.  Hmm.  So, in East Tennessee, if you’re in a dangerous relationship and there are no cuts or bruises, run.  Or call a different deputy.

After he left, I realized if Angela, at 5’1″ and somewhat pudgy and out of control, needed 3 young adults to force her to the floor ………..

Well, we did it right.  We’re fine.

Job Fair, part two and whew!

The job fair / cattle call / meat market people called me back the next morning for the purpose of choosing a shift and setting up training. The man who interviewed me, if you want to call it an interview (“It looks like you’ve answered my questions on your application so let’s make this short”) said that NOVA would have no problem with my pre-scheduled vacation week August 14-18. The man that called me the next morning said the six weeks of training could not be interrupted. So….. he suggested I start after I got back.

When I looked at the calendar, two things jumped out. 1. The August start date was precisely when the unemployment ended so that if NOVA and/or I didn’t like the situation or if I failed training (not likely, but I’ve been unpleasantly surprised before) I had no monetary cushion to use while starting a new job search. 2. If August training started when I think it would have, that would be the day after 14 hours in the car. Snoring through one’s first day at the company is not a good first impression.

I tried to call back but the receptionist wasn’t answering. I drove there, walked into the lobby and asked to see HR. Heather confirmed that the vacation would have to be postponed until after training well into September and very close to the preparations for Honey’s company’s annual festival for which he is in charge, so that was not high on the choice list. Now we were looking at October. Vacations can be rearranged and Honey said that was perfectly fine, but
he would miss his 40th class reunion. That was still ok with Honey, but if an adjustment could be made, I wanted to make that adjustment so he would be able to see all instead of just some of his high school buddies.

Heather mentioned that another opening was available at a somewhat lower pay rate than Customer Service Representative which was the meat market call. I tested for that one, achieved 44 of 45 correct answers in significantly lower than the 15 minutes allowed and an interview was set up for Wed July 5. I thought it went rather badly especially when he threw out the O word, overqualified, a nearly certain death blow, stating that I was sooo goood, I would be bored and leave them. Apparently I danced well because I was offered the position, Data Processing, at almost the same pay level as the CSR, and with better hours. CSR was 2:30 to 11:00pm. This one is 9am to 6pm, 1 hr lunch, and flexible.

I am to report Monday morning. Benefits are great and eligibility is August 1, not 90 days out.

Did God arrange this? Did I get ahead of Him? I don’t know the answers to the Left-Turn-Right-Turn-in-His-Perfect-Will scenario. I never have. I think I made a logical decision based on the data and opportunities available to me. I’m still open to change, I could still hear from the state, but this choice is made for as long as He says ok.

Joyce Meyer says that once when she was agonizing with which way to go, she felt she heard the Lord say, “Do what you want, Joyce. If I need to find you, I’ll know where to look.”

Maybe in most cases, we put too much intensity into our perfect locations when His goal may be that whoever we are associating with in whatever setting or place, that we be His ambassadors first and forever. In the meantime, I’m being responsible and will be earning money to pay the bills, at the same time thanking God for the unemployment compensation system.

It’s these situations that keep us listening and seeking in case He wants us to turn left or turn right.

Job Fair, part one

fair2
n.

  1. A gathering held at a specified time and place for the buying and selling of goods; a market.
  2. An exhibition, as of farm products or manufactured goods, usually accompanied by various competitions and entertainments: a state fair.
  3. An exhibition intended to inform people about a product or business opportunity: a computer fair; a job fair.
  4. An event, usually for the benefit of a charity or public institution, including entertainment and the sale of goods; a bazaar: a church fair.

All of the above! A meat market that looks like an exhibition at a state or county fair that is nothing less than bizarre!

NOVA handles service calls in the credit card field. I won’t know more than that until after training but I might have to shoot you after I tell you. They put up a banner on the building that could be read from the highway, put an ad in the paper and offered current employees money if a friend was hired. The doors were open from 4pm to 8pm Tuesday. When I arrived at 4:30 there were at least 40 people in the lobby waiting for someone to take 10 at a time to the cafeteria to fill out an application and wait to be called for testing. They reassessed the situation and brought tables, chairs, pens, and applications to the lobby. By the time I filled out another application since they don’t pull even recent apps from the files, and was taken to the cafeteria, there were approximately 225 seemingly motionless, unsmiling people already there. More about that later.

Like I said Monday, the Buick was making a funny rattle noise and Honey determined he would use it for work so he could monitor the noise in transit and network with co-workers (What do you think Boyd, Bill, Larry?) and call around for estimates. The Chevy was by default the better, more reliable vehicle for a woman who listened carefully in Driver’s Ed, studied with Dad who knew how to disassemble and reassemble cars, and has a general knowledge of basic car mechanics e.g. the dealy-bob is connected to the thingy-dingy, etc. I put the little pointy thing on D for forward and R for backward. Once when all the lights came on in the Oldsmobile, I couldn’t figure out why because I did indeed have enough gas. It rolled to a grinding halt and proceeded to smoke profusely. I also know the Chevy leaks, not burns, but leaks oil. However, if one continues to outrun the leak, one doesn’t have to smell it. As long as Stan continues to forget to actually SHOW me how to replenish the oil, he has to make sure there’s enough before it’s my turn to drive it.

Oil was not the problem Tuesday.

The drive to the interview with the company I couldn’t remember giving a resume to was about 45 minutes away so I gave myself an hour to get there allowing for “lost time.” While crawling through the UT campus the air conditioning started blowing hot air, the temp light came on and something was rattling loudly. I’m in the left lane amid heavy slow traffic packed bumper to bumper, and I had no idea how far was the next opportunity to pull off. As I inched along, the light went out, the rattle stopped, the air blew cool, and I kept going. By the time I sat through 3 interminable red light cycles at my turn, the on/off cycle had repeated twice. Who ARE all these people and JUST WHERE are they going and WHY NOW?!?

I did get lost. By the time I made a few wrong turns and consulted a person from another planet who had never seen Earth prior to my inquiry, I found the address and literally rolled into a parking place without the benefit of power steering. I don’t get it, I’ve got lots of gasoline.

The position was for a supervisor (I’ve never done that in the workplace, but I have raised two children and understand conflict resolution. Not all conflicts were resolved, but I understand the concept). The company is a collection agency for medical facilities. Well. We’ll see. Now how do I get myself 20 miles through traffic to the job fair at NOVA?

The car started. Having cooled down somewhat it took only 5 blocks for the temp light to flip on. And of course I was at a red light behind a red pickup with large tires and a substance that resembled smoke or steam was swirling from the Chevy’s hood. As God would have it there was a transmission place straight across the street and an employee who directed me one more block to a service station. Imagine that — a gas station with a repair garage, in the year 2006, not a convenience store, and only one more block away cancelling the need for standing in the hot sun waiting for a tow truck. Although it is immensely difficult to maneuver a car without power steering, I made it. So I sat in the un-airconditioned station in front of a huge fan threatening my already challenged hairdo.

Two hours, one plate of gut-bomb fried food from Food City’s deli, one water pump and one serpentine belt later, I was on my way to NOVA enjoying the air conditioning and hoping the hair spray was holding.

I made it from the lobby to the cafeteria at 5:30. (Where’s the ladies room? If they call your name while you’re there your folder goes on the bottom of the stack.) Now I get to look around the room and discern from the various facial expressions who was holding it. (There’s coffee, water, and a coke machine over there.) Decisions, decisions.

My name was called for testing at 6:30 and I was sent back to the holding tank at 7:30. The interview was 8:15. I think the HR team wasn’t expecting this many full-bladdered people. The interviewer glanced at my application, decided the answers to his canned questions were already there, sent me back to holding for some more coffee to wait for the person who would offer a position and shift choice. Precisely at 8:45 I left a voice mail for Stan that I would be home in time for Letterman. At 9:00 the first group of 10 was called back to the testing room to be told we all were new hires and someone would call tomorrow to discuss training dates and shifts. Where’s the ladies room?

Tune in again for Part Two. We will discuss the options and how they do and don’t fit with our trip to MN to see the family and meet the newby, O.R. Brock.