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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

what next?

is it september already? yesterday it was july.

the dog sleeps contentedly on his blanket on the ReStore floor. he's a happy little guy. with occasional exceptions (like when he ate 10 inches off the corner of the love seat's cushion while i tried to hang some shelves in the bathroom) it's hard to imagine life without him now. this is a rare moment of calm... no customers at the store (no staff either, but that's another story), the phone not ringing.... a bazillion things i should be doing, that i'll get to.... but first, i'll savor the calm.


began with a holiday.... at least that was the plan. but just a few days before the scheduled departure date, for a trip to the Kootenays with a girlfriend, a staff member became very difficult, shouting at me on the sales floor, in the presence of customers and other staff (and my new puppy, who was terrified by the verbal violence and kept me up all night with his crying over it - the night before a live spot on a local morning radio show.... but that's another story). the employee was reprimanded, the situation was discussed, solutions to grievances were sought, and i thought we had the beginnings of resolution.... and the employee promptly repeated the performance in a matter of days. so, as i had suspicions that he was going to quit, and as he was the only remaining management staff while i took my holiday (which was very badly needed.... burnout impending.... was NOT cancelling or postponing) .... i opted for staying home for my 'holiday'. to be available, just in case.

then the fellow who'd assured me that he could do some renovation work on my condo dropped the ball. left me with a heap of old kitchen cabinets piled in the middle of the kitchen because they were too heavy for him to move. so i moved them. had to make room for the new ones. and he left a hole in the bathroom floor which he'd cut to check for dry rot and didn't have time to repair. so i repaired it. and a whole pile of other work that he assured me he'd do wasn't done. so i did it. over my 'holiday. 12 or 14 hr days of drywall mudding, sanding, painting, laying laminate, coordinating plumbers, electiricians, etc. ...and walked the very energetic (read 'psycho puppy') dog. by the end of the 2 weeks 'holiday' i thought, "i'll have to go back to work for a rest".

on my return to work on the 17th of August, there was immediately a series of days dealing with the aforementioned difficult staff member... sort of. he didn't come in to work, didn't answer calls, etc. and the new guy who was working under him came in to say he'd just taken a stick in his leg swimming in the river (12 stitches) and couldn't work. this got infected, and he was off for 2 1/2 weeks. also on the day of my return, my construction supervisor for our Habitat build gave 2 weeks notice. he'd accepted a plum job in Edmonton. and, of course, it was the end of summer, so the summer students would be gone in no time.

leaving me with one 1/2 time employee to run the ReStore (usually 3 staff plus myself) and complete our Habitat house.... organize volunteers, orientations, work shifts, meals, trades, donors, teams, services connections, yadayadayada for a 2 unit semi-detached house for occupancy by the first of December.

then, just as the summer students were leaving, they passed on the killer cold. i've been so sick. but interviews had to be done, new staff had to be hired, volunteers have to be recruited, scheduled, and kept on track. i should be jailed for spreading this monster bug around.... and i know i have......

haven't been to see my very elderly parents for several weeks because i don't want to bless them with this bug.... they've been in and out of the hospital all summer.

and just when i thought things couldn't get much worse, i found a notice in my mailbox telling me the electricity is going to be disconnected.... good grief!! when's the last time i paid the bill?! the summer is such a blur..... i can't remember.... must be a while! so i got it all paid online immediately, called to tell them so, and they disconnected me anyway.... because my bank doesn't give a transaction number for online payments, and they had no proof i'd paid.... i went to the bank personally to get a transaction number, as none was given at the time.... and was told "we don't do that." "what then," i asked in bewilderment, "is the point of making payments online, if i have no proof that i've made the payment?" this was met with stony silence, and will soon be rewarded with a letter to the branch manager.

bloody hell. it's cold here at night now. and dark. the dog - now a boisterous 25 lb of teeth and energy - doesn't like the dark, so i have to carry him up the dark stairs to his bedtime kennel.... it's that or drag him by the collar. he doesn't like those dark stairs. and i'd just bought lots of lovely groceries in celebration of the new kitchen. the fridge was full to burstin' with delicious things.... which have all spoiled. and more than anything else, i want a nice hot cup of tea to soothe my poor raw throat before i climb into my cold bed with my hot water bottle. fortunately, unlike the electric stove , fridge and tea kettle, the hot water is gas powered, so i comfort myself with lots of hot baths. it's a week today, with no power..... i was told 1 to 5 business days.... and of course there was a long weekend in there......

as i walked the dog the other day, i wandered down a new trail, and found myself in a neighborhood sporting houses all in excess of 4000 square feet. beautiful stone and brick work all over the place, perfectly manicured yards, 3 and 4 bay garages with numerous brand new vehicles parked in front of them. and i thought "i wonder how many of these people have ever had their power disconnected. or ever gone without anything at all..... and i felt a wee bit sorry for myself. but as i went a little further, and found myself back among the glorious autumn foliage of the trees along the creek, with the smell of the wild cranberries sweetening every breath, i remembered that i lived for years without power, by choice, in a log cabin along the Yukon River, and didn't consider it a hardship. and i thought of the millions of people in Haiti and Pakistan, whose lives are endangered by circumstances they have no responsibility at all for. all things are relative, after all, and my small inconvenience is, sadly, self-inflicted, and gladly, not life threatening and only temporary.

the fellow with the stitches in his leg is back at work now, but my 1/2 time worker just called in to say she has a Dr's note saying she has to stay home all week.

i'm starting to think i should just stay in bed tomorrow morning. if the power isn't on when i go home tonight, i'll be sorely tempted to do that..... till the dog needs a walk......


Cicero Sings said...

My goodness and I thought life was rough! What a summer you have had. No wonder you haven't posted much about Maestro! Surely it can only get better from here on in ... right?

Cicero Sings said...

P.S. Have I expounded to you the benefits of Oregano Oil (I buy Joy of the Mountain but I'm sure other brands are good too) for the warding off of colds. Works great if you take it before the cold/flue really takes hold. I've averted nasty colds by doing so. Doesn't taste the greatest but hey! Also works on insect bites to take away sting and pain (mosquito and wasp that I've tried).

Seraphine said...

you are a most self-sufficient woman!
as someone somewhere once observed: if you want something done right, you'll have to do it yourself.
here's the solution to your power bill: most utilities have an "equal-payment" option-- call them-- they'll average your bill and let you make equal payments every month. then go back to your bill-pay account and set your power company to automatic payment. voila- no more missed payments.
i like that you have a name for your truck. i have a friend who do the same thing. he calls his car 'the pinata."
i don't know what i'd call my car. it doesn't seem the same to me as naming a puppy or goldfish. pinata is already taken. rudi the dark-gray ranger doesn't fit either. maybe i have no imagination.
i like comfort too well to live in the yukon, power or no power.
do i have a vote? i vote you take a holiday the first chance you can. go someplace warm and tropical, right after the fall colors have rekindled your weary soul. do it after your cold gets better, after you visit your parents, after you have the shop looked after.
let a cabana boy worry about refilling your mai tai while you read a favorite book.
and chew on a lounge cushion if you feel like it.

susan said...

Geez, wotta lot to go through in one month of August. I'm so sorry you didn't get to take the holiday you'd planned and sorrier still to hear about your having to deal with a staff gone wacky or just plain gone. You really are a remarkably competent woman.

Sera's advice is good so I'll just do my bit and suggest you follow hers. May your cold disappear soon :-)

gfid said...

cicero - i've heard of oregano oil.... must give it a try. eucalyptus oil is my usual cold remedy - the bug always seems to settle in my lungs.

sera & su - the problem with utility bill wasn't the amount - it was just not looking at the mail when i took it out of the mailbox, setting it somewhere and it promptly disappearing in the chaos that was renovations... things moving and changing almost every other day. and i've had several bad experiences with auto withdrawal things - from people continuing to take payments out long after the amt was paid, to 'accidentally' doubling the amount of a car payment every month, to setting up another family member's insurance pmts from my account w/o authorization. in each case they pretended to be amazed that such a thing could happen, but, clearly, it's all too easy to do. and my nerdy kids tell me to NEVER believe that anything computerized or online is secure. the problem really is that i'm overloaded and my brain is short circuiting. the cold / flu is mostly gone, now, thanks. a holiday sounds good.... i'll work on that. tried to get my board to give me a 4 day work week - they gave me a raise instead. i wasn't fishing for more money. i really wanted the 4 day work week.

power was back on yesterday, so i'm enjoying a lovely hot cup of tea. cheers

Seraphine said...

a four day work week sounds like heaven. especially if you can have four days off the rest of the week.

i used to play in our toilet. i got in trouble all the time for sticking my foot in it and flushing. my mom would get so mad at me.
my sister debbie did it too. i don't know why we did it.
i don't remember my brothers doing that.

gfid said...

sera - i like the 4 days off idea better than the 4 day work week..... 4+4=

i think you and your sister were reverting to an earlier life as mermaids - your tail fins felt dry... in fact, i think i have portraits of the two you on a scarf i won @ Phantasythat

lindsaylobe said...

You have those periods when everything seems continually to drift off track but I hope by now your feeing much better and have resolved many of the previous frustrating issues. What might be next I trust are a few pleasant surprises and maybe you need to put your foot down to negotiate either a 4 day week or more back up to reduce the daily stress.
Best wishes

gfid said...

lindsay - yes, things were way out of control for a while there..... my brain going 'snap, crackle, pop'..... but they've settled somewhat now, and i'm feeling almost sane.... i'll work on getting great staff, to take some of the load, then try again for the 4 day work week. thanks for the good advice.

susan said...

We were so darned glad to find a proper place to live once we got here we allowed our rent cheque to be debited every month - but nothing else. Well, maybe the cell phone but they insisted too...

Mermaids really don't like having dry tails - it interferes with their fluidity :-)

clairesgarden said...

many blessings GF, and hope I can find time to find beauty in the world around me as you have in the midst of everything.

gfid said...

Su - Earl has left, you didn't have to move into the apartment from hell, and i'm sure there are mermaids in the nearby atlantic.

Claire - thanks for the kind words..... it started as a whiny rant.... when i read it over, i was so disgusted with myself that i edited.