Monday, April 30, 2012

The curious incident of the pissed off priest

Sunday mornings. Church. These are supposed to be calm and peaceful, a sort of zen-centering exercise while your child eats donuts and learns about Jesus in Sunday School.  (What about Jesus? I don't know, but I hear he's a pretty neat guy. 8 months of this you guys and this was her big takeaway. Ahem.) Who knew that the very act of sitting in a pew could trigger such a rage in your spiritual leader? It was either that or his favorite vestments were at the cleaners; really hard to say.

Since we are still in the Easter season (which I believe runs through Pentecost at which point we revert back to Ordinary Time - cut me some slack; it's been a while) the Mass starts with the priest blessing the congregation with holy water using what looks to be a whisk.  Or a feather duster.  A light sprinkling, some signs of the cross and voila! Holy Spirits-R-Us.  Except yesterday when Father Hobbit wielded the Holy Featherduster with a grimness I've only seen in Lord of the Rings, those closest to his righteous rage received more along the lines of what we like to call 'a shower' because holy dripping feathers Batman.  I of course was sitting next to a friend and when the first deluge hit, we looked at each other with wide eyes, mouthing 'WTF'? (It's okay, we got a pass; it's like instant dispensation.) (I kid.) Father Hobbit stalked around the church blessing everyone with extreme prejudice before finally finding his center (or running out of water) and the service started.

He's one of those speakers who styles himself after the dearly departed Billy Mays: very loud and twice as excited.  I don't have to struggle to hear him as I do with the others who read from prepared notes in a very soft monotone so we take what we can get.  At the very least, there was no danger of dozing off so one less penance to do.  I'm all about looking on the bright side of life.

Mass was moving along, peace, goodwill and fellowship were flowing like a river until my friend abandoned me and the Holy Featherdustershowerhead was thrown into veritable insignificance by Father Hobbit ascending the pulpit and shouting in essence 'YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING COMMUNION WRONG!' followed closely by 'AND YOU NEVER, EVER, EVER GRAB THE HOST OUT OF MY HAND! THAT IS BAD, THAT IS WRONG, THAT IS DISRESPECTFUL AND I SHALL SMOTE YOU WITH MY RIGHTEOUS FURY.' (Yes, I'm paraphrasing a "bit" but the sentiment was there.) With us properly cowed, he strode back to his seat, turned around and said, "Everyone have a good week" the context clearly being 'I'm glad that we had this little talk'. 

We left, a bit stunned having been roundly chastised by an indignant hobbit over...something.  I assume that getting it out of his system made him feel better; I didn't stick around to find out.

Next week Father Mulcahy-Shatner is on the pulpit so we are guaranteed the dramatic interpretation of the Mass.  At least he won't yell at us. I hope.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's quiet. Too quiet....

Hey y'all.  Posting is gonna be a bit light round these parts this week.  I've got training classes to attend, a yard sale to prep for, taxes to file and oh yeah, try to find some time to do my actual work and feed the fam.  Lots of good stories and musings to share so there's that to look forward to at least. (I'm such a giver.)

Catch you on the flip side and stay classy Baltimore.

Friday, April 6, 2012

And now for something completely different

Wow, that was a lot of self indulgent navel-gazing those past couple of posts.  You know what we need around these here parts?

 The Bunny Rescue Squad of course.  Their mission, should the choose to actually fulfill it is something with saving water animals from...something. They were a little vague on the details.  Let's meet the team.

First up is Captain Princess Noelle Bunny:

She makes this look good
 She sets the mission parameters, dictates which animals can be saved (penguins are good, whale sharks are bad.  It's very draconian.) and generally bosses around Private First Class Noah Bunny:


He's the muscle of the operations and can be a loose cannon at times.  Swimming is a big part of their missions.  Too bad neither has had lessons yet.

I'm not an expert but it might be easier to stay afloat without the sword.
Rescuing animals is a dangerous business. You have to have state-of-the-art equipment, nerves of steel and a really big boat.

Bonus points if it's pink.
But the work is never truly over; you never know when disaster will strike next !

In the end, they emerge victorious and are ready to greet their adoring public.

Now all water animals can sleep well knowing that the Bunny Rescue Squad is ready to go at a moment's notice.  Except you whale sharks; you're on your own.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

And then there were four...

Three years ago my division went through a staff reduction of 10% based on faulty forecasting.  Most of the other departments affected lost non-exempt staff and were able to hire back replacements once it became clear that the forecast wasn't as dire as predicted.  All except my department which lost two exempt employees...that were never replaced.  Those lack of trained professional staff in those roles wasn't immediately felt (except by me as one of my best friends was caught in the cross-hairs) but as time went on it became clear that the strain of taking on more work was getting to people.  We were constantly told that we were overstaffed and overhead, a drain on resources.  We brought nothing to the company (unless you count keeping those in charge out of jail but that tends to be overlooked in day to day operations) and the survivors should feel lucky that we still had jobs.  All in all, a nice atmosphere, full of happiness and light and unicorns shitting rainbows.

The year after the layoffs, we lost two more professional staff, one of whom was replaced by another non-exempt hire.  So they could say that we were getting *some* headcount back but no leaders, no one to help shoulder the decision-making load.  Soon the responsibility for the entire lab, three shifts worth of technicians fell to one person with me assisting in the afternoons.  We continued on in this precarious shifting house of cards for sixteen months until our department head announced earlier this year that she was leaving.  That left us with no manager, no lab manager, no chemist and one lab supervisor.  A beacon of light shone in the darkness however, we hired a lab manager and we all started breathing again.

She quit after a week.

Two days ago, another professional member of our decimated staff was terminated, leaving us with four; two of whom have little direct interaction with the technicians.  To say that we are stressed out and stretched beyond our breaking points is putting it extremely mildly.

It's like our very own business Hunger Games but in this contest, there are no sponsors or mentors.  No silver parachutes of relief; no trumpets signaling a victor.  Just a gaping void awaiting a single false step.

Anyone hiring?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sometimes you just need to cry

Noah was sick yesterday of the coughing/hacking/snot-factory variety so he stayed home with his Grandma as Dylan and I just didn't feel like getting the nastygrams from school (of the 'he coughed all during nap time and bothered the other children and you are bad people for sending him today' variety). (I may have paraphrased a wee bit.)  He was feeling better last night and this morning so to school he was a-going.  Now, his generally questionable behavior tends to be, uh, augmented, when he is feeling less than his best so surprised I was not when he declined to eat his breakfast and instead throw his fork across the kitchen.  Gentle redirection and reprimands (the first step) had no effect (shocker) so when I got his attention and made him look at me, instead of fiery defiance, I was floored to see...tears.  Tears forming in his beautiful dark blue eyes

My heart cried out in pain because these weren't the 'I'm hurt' tears or the 'I'm mad and throwing the biggest tantrum in the world see if I don't' tears but were...sad.  Genuine, aching sadness that I in no way expected from my vibrant, stubborn, independent, wonderful two and a half year old. Oh my heart.  I tried to encourage him to talk to me, why was he sad, to use his words. "No! No words an more!" but still with the tears lurking in his eyes.  Even his swats at me were half-hearted (and no, we don't tolerate hitting - that is a time-out worthy offense).  All I wanted to do was wrap him in my arms and hold him to make the sadness go away.

He squirmed and fussed and was generally mad that I carried him upstairs to brush his teeth (No! No brush teef no more!) but we got his hands washed and teeth mostly brushed.  Until I asked him to 'Grrr' so I could scrub his front teeth.  'No! NO GRRR!  NO!' then he melted into a sad, heartbroken puddle on the floor.  I reached for him and he turned and reached up for me, tears streaming, wanting nothing more than to be held. Running late be damned, my  baby needed me.  So we sat down and he wrapped his arms around my neck, sobbing into his shoulder while I rocked him and rubbed his back and whispered, "It's okay baby boy, sometimes we just need to cry".  Over and over again.  Finally the sobs faded into whimpers and the tears stopped flowing.  He sat up straight and looked at me, "Feel better now."  I'm so glad baby, I'm so glad.

He was emotionally fragile when I dropped him off at school today; the tears and sadness were held at bay but I could tell that they were lurking just out of sight.  I gave him a great big hug and kiss and we waved and blew kisses through the window at each other.  He turned to play with a friend and out I walked into the cool morning sunshine knowing that he'll be okay.

Sometimes we all just need to cry.