Thursday, September 23, 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

It's been a busy few days... My head has kind of been spinning... 

I've been off from work for the past few days... A good thing because I've had time to scramble around trying to figure out what to do. It is all up to me. The ball is ALWAYS in my court. So okay. 

Tony showed up at our door and we had a fantastic visit! It just did my heart so much good to see him again. I know he's a man now, he's doing his own thing. I just really miss the days when he was always around to talk to and to laugh with. I have missed him.

He seemed pretty pleased to have some of my chicken fried steak and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

He blew in with pictures and stories of his adventures in Alaska and then blew out just as quickly... have not heard from or seen him since.

The next day was busy also as I went to donate plasma and went to pay my car payment, a couple of stops looking for work, then home to get Wally and go back out grocery shopping... Oh dear heavens, I hate grocery shopping. It's really no fun grocery shopping when you have to count every micro-penny.  

Yesterday I had an interview. Not really a big deal, it was just at the temp agency. I was sweating it anyway. 
It turned out to be all good as I've worked there before, everyone knew me and I have a great reputation there. I was instantly re-hired.

That is good. It isn't dependable income but in the past it has been what I needed to get by. 

I can't tell you how relieved I was to just be treated so good, welcomed in...( how do you take your coffee, have a seat, let's catch up!) ...  and given a job assignment before I even left the building. It was different... it was nice. 

Now today? I really wanted to rest. I have a totally full weekend coming up. But there are other things that I have to deal with... like, we really need to move because I just can't afford to stay here. 

Once again I went to donate plasma and then Wally and I went apartment hunting. 

It was an experiment in futility... We stopped at FIVE complexes.. Not even one of them had their office open. They were all out to lunch until 1pm... but wait... it was after 2pm! We started joking that they must have all gone out to lunch together! HA! ( I want THAT job!) 

We tried calling.. you get the ol' automation system run around... 

It will be a pretty crazy weekend for me. I work tonight. Then tomorrow night I will have leave home at 12:30am to go bake and then go straight from my job at Twilight, out to the cereal plant to pull a twelve hour shift there. Should get home around 8pm, then I'll have to go back in to bake at Twilight at 2am. 

From there? I intend to sleeeeep!  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Out of the mouths... of boys...

I've had my ups and downs the last few days, that's for sure.

My days and nights just blend into one. There just isn't much difference to me. Sometimes I think I'd like to have a regular schedule... you know, like getting to sleep all night every night, get up in the morning (at a decent hour, like anytime after 5am) and work all day, come home in the evening.. yeah... and repeat that... yeah... Maybe that would be nice.  

Then I start thinking that I probably wouldn't adjust well to that anyway. I'm too used to having my schedule all messed up.

The last couple of nights were interesting. I am training my replacement... I guess... I figure I'm on my way out the door, one way or the other.  

Anyway, the new guy is a really nice boy. He's a friend of Newbie's. I like him. 

Hmm... well he's a young man... not a boy... it's just that I'm old enough to be his mother. 

It's so odd getting older... when a grown adult in their twenties or thirty's seems so very young to me sometimes. But I'm YOUNG too! Really I am! Yes, in my head I am young. 

Which reminds me... I wanted to tell you about Newbie, who has now been threatened to be written up for not doing something that is not his responsibility, just like I was. The whole thing isn't setting with him very well either. He's going to refuse signing any reprimands if he gets them. I told him that I'd been written up three times already for this.  

I have paved the way... He gets to be smarter about this, handle it better and not let the same stupid thing happen to him that happened to me... at least I'd like to think so.

I had another note from the boss that morning and it had upset me. Newbie's advice was to ignore it.

Why should I ignore it? Why should I let him blame me for things that are not my fault? Yes, there was a time when I would've just blown it off, but what happened when I did? Formal written reprimands, false accusations, suspensions... geez man, a world of freeking trouble!

Then Newbie told me that I should ask to have those reprimands taken out of my records because it would make them look stupid... them?...What?... It would make "them" look stupid?... what?

Who has he been talking to I wonder?  

I started thinking of last week when Newbie flat out remarked about my last name and asked me if I was "Spanish", or "Latino"... I answered, "No," He seemed puzzled, "Well, what kind of a name is it then?"

Well, what kind of a question is that?

I explained that the name is Portuguese. I have taken my husbands name. Where am I from? 

I'm from Florida. I lived there for many years. 

Well, okay, I was born in West Virginia, grew up there. Who am I? Well, okay, I'm English, Dutch, Irish and German with a bit of Cherokee thrown in.... What the heck?

Where did THAT come from I wonder? 

This new "newbie" is a breath of fresh air. (The one I am training now.) I thought I could hear a southern twang in his voice, but then I thought I must be wrong because it appears that he's gone to school with all of these people and has been here for a while, if not his whole life.  

As we worked together I found that he was very easy to talk to and yes.. I was right about the twang. "I'm from the South," he said with a big, bright smile. It took me by surprise as I said, "So am I!" and we both started in asking questions at the same time. Where in the south? Do you know where such-and-such is? Oh have you ever been to... ? How long has it been since you've been?... home... 

Ah, but it isn't my "home" anymore and won't be again. 

I'll be calling him "Twang" here. No, he is not Asian, haha! Why do people have to be so silly about names? He's from Georgia, but did go to school here, returned to the south then came back here. He's a cool kid and really... meeting him made me ache for my son.

Tony got back into town from his job up in Alaska day before yesterday. I did get a message from him. I returned his call but never got a call back. 

I started to lose hope I guess... things here between us all were really messed up when he left... I started to figure that.. yeah he went his own way... and yeah... he's going to keep on going... 

Then he showed up at our door tonight!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Push and Pull

I want to curl up in a little ball and hide today... Yeah... Why can't I just do that?

Why does everything have to be so hard?  It.. really.. should.. not.. be.. this.. hard.  

I'm tired, I'm scared, I'm frustrated and I'm worried. I don't want to have to fight anymore for what should be given to me without question. I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired of being pushed. I'm f*cking tired of it...

I've been having big problems at work pretty much since the day I started the job a year and a half ago... beginning with a verbal agreement about wages, which turned out to be horse-dung. I was told, "Oh, gee, I don't remember ever saying that,"

Even the set wages for a "Baker I" according to The Union were ignored. The Union would not even return my calls. I'm not sure why.. maybe they were on vacation spending the 6 figure incomes they earn, or maybe it was because I owed them dues and they knew I had already received letters threatening to terminate me from my job if I didn't pay.

I earned minimum wage for the first three months I was there. I was NOT prepared for that. That was NOT what I was told I would earn. 

What would that do to YOU financially? I know what it did to me. It ruined me.

Day before yesterday... I was okay... I was ready to drop being upset with my boss. But...

I got another "note" from him yesterday morning. 

Then I checked my schedule. *sigh*... My hours have been cut even more. I have less than others that have less time in than I do. This is a violation of Union policy. I have some seniority, not a lot.. but some. I should get more hours than "newbies"... There should be no question.

I have gotten many notes from him. I have written notes back. I have spoken to him in person. I have taken it to other management. They know that he's offended me. I have made it known that I do not deserve, nor will I put up with his angry notes. 

I have gotten in return, verbal and written apologies, shrugs, and then....  been bitten in the hind-end and had even more pressure applied to me.

Then the fun started in with my starting time as soon as I bought my car.. in at 10pm.. in at 12 midnight.. in at 1am... in at 2am.. doh!... Back to 1am... oh now it's 2am.. Doh!  Back to 1am... Nope make it 2am.. What will it be next? 

It's been like having daylight savings time happen once a week! SO much fun!

Mine is that only schedule that is flopping like this... The 4am baker is in at 4am. The clerk is in at 6am. The boss is in at 7am. The decorator's are in at 8am. The mid-shift clerk at 9am. The closing clerks at 2pm.

Why does MINE have to be different every week?  

Since my grievance that was filed from the Union was dropped, ( The false accusation that I showed up to work intoxicated... drug and alcohol tests proved that I was not) they put me under the gun for tardies...

They had to dig back nine months to find another day that I was late... it fell like two days within their limit. Can you believe it? I was freeking awestruck... Yougottabekiddingme... 

I was written up and told that if I was late one more time within the next nine months I would be suspended for three days without pay. If I was late AGAIN after that, within that time frame, ( nine months) I would be fired.

So, in the meantime this other crap is going on. I have been given more and more to do with less time to do it in... so okay... Then my schedule is cut.. and cut.. and cut... I have not been able to pay my rent.    

I have brought my hours to my bosses attention.. I've gotten apologies, excuses and he fixed it. I got more hours...  for that week... Then the next week I get even less hours... Then it is repeated.. "oh so sorry! Honest mistake!" he gets fixed... and then it was repeated again... and again. 

Wally and I have had many conversations about my workplace and I realize he's upset at the way that I've been treated and the way everything's been handled. 

When I came home yesterday and told him that I got another "note" and my schedule has now been cut down to 20 hours he had a more than a few things to say about it. 

Now Wally's words from yesterday are ringing in my ears...

"They walk all over you because you never stand up for yourself. You just keep taking it," he said. 

I was shocked... Of all people.. He knows what I have been through and how I have fought them. Or maybe, he doesn't. Or maybe, I have just lost my mind... 

So, okay.. he said this after I told him that I just don't want to fight this.. 

I have gone through a cycle with this in the past couple of years... 

Sometimes I feel strong and I fight tooth and nail. Then I get numb to it all and really want to ignore it. Then I get weak and really reach out, bad enough to ask, even cry for help... and when it is not there I get angry... Then the cycle starts again and I'm ready to fight because I have no other choice.

Right now I'm at the numb part where I really want to pretend this isn't happening.

At the rate I am going, I will NEVER have enough "extra money" to file Wally's paperwork so he can get his SSN and start working in the states. This just isn't going to happen. 

I clearly realize that nobody is coming to rescue me. I have no safety net. No one can help me.

I just don't want to get to the weak part again... 

Why couldn't I be one of the lucky one's and grow up to be a housewife?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Think I'll Write A Note

I am calm now...


I got a lot of rest and a lot of sleep. I needed it. I find that I end up getting run down and then wonder why I freak out. A good meal, a hot shower and a restful sleep can fix it all.

I also got my chocolate, so yes, all is well with my world.

I did do a lot of research into this states labor laws. It appears that I don't have a leg to stand on. Employers here can do anything they want to. They can fire you for no reason. They are not required to provide you with a reason. They can deny you merit raises even if you are preforming well.

NOW I understand why people out here think they are lucky to be Union Members. The Union is our only real protection... and the Union stinks... sorry... but it does... it's not good protection but it's better than nothing.

I'm going to give a lawyer a holler anyway.

I've decided to take it easy on my boss... but the notes?... The notes really must stop.

I figure the best way to deal with this is to write him a note.

Excuse me... I just fell off of my chair laughing!

I guess I am just going to have to adjust. The people I work with love writing notes. They did it when they were in high school together and they still do it today... soooo, when in Rome... yeah.. (you know the rest...)

I could probably get the man in real trouble, but I just don't have it in me... If I had done what I was thinking about doing, he probably would've lost his job.

I know he doesn't care about me, my kids, or my job stability... that much is obvious. The minute he found out that I bought a car he cut my hours.

It seems to be part of the backwards way they process thoughts out here. Oh good, she bought a car so she's back on her feet again... don't need to schedule her full time.

Hellooo! A car means an additional payment per month. I need the hours...

I just... I do not want to be like the people there. I do not like most of the people there. Don't get me wrong some of them are really cool... but most are not.

That in itself is very odd for me to say.

I have met all kinds of people, from everywhere, from all over the world and from all over this vast country of America. I really love people.

So I'm in a weird position...

The people in Twilight just seem to hate me. I didn't go to school with them. I'm from a big city. I don't fit in.
All they want to do is gossip and badmouth each other and I don't want to participate in that.

Most of these folk are farmers and I can certainly understand that. I came from a family of farmers... but then again I can't understand...

About a year ago I was taking a break outside with a couple of girls at work. One was trying to give the other directions to her home. She did not know her address and could not remember the name of the ranch she lived beside. She had lived there all of her life. She was 22 years old.

We were all sitting on the tailgate of her truck and then she spat. She spat like a man! I was shocked but did not say a word. She was a beautiful young woman... I no longer wondered why she wasn't having much luck getting dates.

I learned how to spit too. I was five. My brother taught me. I was good at it too but I never did it in front of anyone else! It ain't proper... just ain't proper I tell ya! (not to mention that was 1969 and now it's 2010)

I do feel like I am being mistreated and I rarely stick up for myself. I always start out feeling like I must deserve the treatment that I am getting. Then I start trying to figure out what I did wrong. When I can't figure it out I start getting angry.

My biggest mistake is letting it all go until I explode.  


Monday, September 13, 2010


I'm cuttin' right to the crap today.

I am being HARASSED at work.

I have been singled out, and continually poked with a stick for a year and a half. 

I am like a large wound that has a big tough scab on it and THESE PEOPLE keep picking at this scab making it sore... but they won't leave it alone.. oh noooo... they just keep picking and picking at it. 

Now it has started to bleed. 

I went in this morning to find a nasty note from my manager. This is not the first note that I have received. I have gotten many.

I'm not sure if I can really talk about the contents of the note. My head just might blow off...

I know... for now I'll just put it like this... the note was ORDERING me to do a task that another manager had just ordered me NOT to do anymore AND that I'd signed papers for TWICE acknowledging that I understood the procedure and this certain task was the bakery managers responsibility to complete.

I think that sums it up rather well...  

Then I went to turn on my fryer only to find... that it didn't have ONE DROP of shortening in it. 

SOMEONE had opened the valve ALL THE WAY and drained all of the oil into the straining pump reservoir underneath. Now it was hardened WITH all of the pump apparatus IN IT of course. 


There is NO WAY for this to have been an accident or equipment failure. Someone opened that valve SOOOOOOO far the damn knob was ready to FALL OFF... 


Thanks guys... THIS is REALLY funny. 


I went ahead with normal production.. muffins in the oven, bagels, kaisers and danish prepped and put in the proofbox, donuts set-up and put in the proofbox as I pondered what in the hell to do about the fryer...

I had to take care of this FAST... not make a mess... and do it safely... God forbid if I should ever get seriously hurt in this retarded place.. ME??? I'd get SPECIAL treatment. I'd probably get verbally reprimanded by 10 different managers, written up, threatened to be fired, suspended indefinitely without pay, and denied worker's comp while laying in the hospital with third degree burns... I can see it now... 

I cranked the fryer up and dropped in a bit of fresh shortening to get it started, pulled the reservoir all the way out, threw cardboard all over the floor and donned goggles, my burn sleeves and thermal gloves to start digging the hardened grease out of the reservoir and get it into the fryer. 

I soon discovered that just dropping it into the fryer like that was not safe and also back breaking. So I started heaping it onto donut screens and lowering them into the fryer... We're talking about 50 pounds worth of shortening here... so it took me a couple of minutes... heh... yeah...

By the time Newbie got there at 4am I was frying donuts and tears were starting to fall... He's a kid (and an alien from the world of Twilight Zone) so he seemed quite puzzled by me. Wut?

I got home and started writing letters... Everyone in the world is going to hear from me. There is a lot more to this than just a few angry notes from my boss...

I was falsely accused and suspended for three weeks in February. I didn't do anything wrong. It was proven that I did not do anything wrong. They have refused to compensate me at all for that. My Union filed a grievance but that was dropped because the company threatened to fire me if it was pursued.

I been written up for things that are not my responsibility to do. I have had my time card taken from me (and LOST) by store management. I've been stopped while I am off the clock to be verbally reprimanded. (I will no longer grocery shop at my store for that reason.) I have been threatened so many times about losing my job that I am numb to it.  

I want to sue the company. I want to file formal harassment charges.

I am completely OVER this... I am done.

I have to go in to work tonight at 1am to do a whopping 5 hour shift. ( yeah buddy, THAT will pay the rent!. pfft...) Then I have two days off... to get things done. 

I'm going to start seriously looking for other employment and look for a lawyer. 

Freeking A-holes...

Now.. *deep breath*.... Where is my chocolate? 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

She's Got Legs

I woke up tired this morning. I hate it when that happens...

I was also feeling rather blue. It was raining, cold and dark at midnight. I was dreading going in to work... one of those days where I was thinking about just driving away... just chuck it all, pack the car and drive away. 

I started my drive towards work in a dismal mood. I'm tired. I'm tired of this job. I'm tired of everyone there treating me as if I just fell off a turnip truck. I'm tired of having to fight for everything I want, for everything that I need. I'm tired of feeling like a schmuck because sometimes I am just too darned tired to fight.

I feel old, exhausted and completely used up. 

When I got out to the main road to head out of town and into Twilight I realized that I really couldn't see the road very well due to the rain, so I switched on my bright lights. 

That's when I saw LEGS!

I instantly hit the brakes hoping I wouldn't slide and my first thought was 'what in the world are people doing crossing this road at THIS hour?'... 

By then I was going slow and had gotten close enough to see that they were deer... two beautiful doe just meandering in the right hand lane. 

I was at a stop... really didn't matter... there was nobody else out... so I just sat there for a moment to watch them. 

The deer here are really quite tame. They don't seem to be afraid of people or cars.

They walked back and forth, nosed each other, looked up at me, then went back to walking again, almost as if they were putting on a show. 

I was in awe... What an incredible sight!

I wasn't grinding my teeth anymore. My headache had gone away. I no longer felt old. My thoughts were free of aggravations. 

It was like a moment of clarity came over me, (or perhaps insanity, ha!) as I just got this overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to see this today. 

Even when everything is totally rotten, a small glimpse of beauty can change the way you see your world. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Yep... Heat Rises

It's the anniversary of the Twin Towers crumbling as we all watched in horror and that in itself set a somber tone for today... 

My day started at two this morning as I walked into "The Twilight Zone". I call it that because it is the strangest place that I have ever worked. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a different planet surrounded by aliens... They look like regular people, but they aren't. 

I... do...NOT... fit... in... So, I try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible and just do the best job I can. 

It was a nightmare this morning. There were thirteen racks full of finished product still sitting on the floor... freaking racks everywhere... which poses a couple of problems for me. The first thing I realize is that I'm going to be short of racks. I need EMPTY racks. The second thing is that I have to find a place out of the way to put these. 

They are all covered with thin plastic rack covers so I need to get them away from the ovens. Once I start my morning bake, 450 degree racks will be coming out of the oven. I can't park them beside racks of finished product that're covered with a large PLASTIC baggies... you know?

Newbie came in at four. He's an apprentice baker and I am trying to train him. He's a nice kid. I really like him even though he... is... also.. an.. alien.

I was frying donuts when one of my oven buzzers went off. I had a rack of danish and a rack of croissants in that one and they were ready to come out. I'm the "senior". Newbie is the.. umm.. "newbie", so he gets to go fetch. (answer the oven)

I had moved most of the covered racks into another area but there were a few still on the floor. There was space. I had warned Newbie about putting any hot racks too close to the covered racks. It was all good. 

A few minutes later I walked by those racks and... immediately turned on heel to go back to the production area. "Newbie, WHAT did I tell you about where to put the hot racks this morning?"

He gave me this huge, stupid grin and said, "Yes! That's why I made sure I left at least six inches of space,"

Six inches of space... yeah... That's when I led him back up to the ovens so he could see what he'd done.

You see, there is actually a lot of science involved in baking. Heat rises. A lot of heat radiates from these racks when you pull them out of the oven. The rack covers are open on the bottom. So, of course what happens when they are too close to a heat source? 

They balloon. 

This one had ballooned enough to touch the hot rack, melt instantly causing large holes in the bag which then sucked the melted plastic right back in on top of the product.

The look on Newbies face was so priceless that there was just no way that I could be angry anymore.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just An Ordinary Day

A new blog for a new time in my life... 

Hey what can I say?... I couldn't remain at LiveJournal since they want to force commercials upon us. Also, I cannot be "KZ's Window" anymore. I'm still nuts, but I'm no longer KZ... As times are changing, so am I. 

Sorry about the white font and the oh-so-busy background... I will fix it. I promise... I'll make it easier to read as soon as I get used to this new format.

I have missed writing... It has always been such a huge part of my life. I'm glad to be back to it.

I am dreaming again, so I must write again to sort my dreams out and figure out what to pursue. 

I am still upset over yesterday and the ordeal at Dani's school. I still cannot believe that the people here can be so ignorant. How can anyone   ( with half of a brain) mistake M&M candies for drugs? How could they just go right on and tell her she was expelled, and call me and tell me what is happening, before they knew any facts. How could they call the police in (to look at the candy) before they even smushed one to discover... chocolate?

Don't these people have kids? Don't these people work with kids everyday? Shouldn't they have a finger on the pulse of what teenagers are doing today? 

Doesn't everybody know the difference between an M&M candy and a tablet of Extacy? 

It's just so stupid I want to vomit... AND write a nice long note to Washington State's School Board. 

You know, sometimes I am glad I never went to college. It seems like some college educated people have mashed potatoes for brains... ( of course I am kidding... I always wanted further education and that's a sore spot for me.. but still... it is a thought that I've had more than once)

Dani was rather tearful as she got home yesterday. We pulled her out halfway through the day. She was to be marked as if she was present for the entire day. We will see. They probably cannot figure out how to do that.  

She's an excellent student and really wants nothing more than to graduate high school and proceed to college... ( oh dear.... well, maybe she'll get some knowledge and NOT lose all of her common sense in the process.. I'm hoping.) 

I worked last night and really it was so boring it's not worth talking about. 

Friday's are usually a nightmare. I walk into a disaster area, looks like a bomb went off in the bakery, nothing is clean, and then I have to unload a palate of frozen food by myself. (20-50 lb boxes, in a 4 foot square stack, 8 foot high) to get to what I need to start the day. What I need is ALWAYS on the bottom. 

Today? Yeah a bomb had dropped, but I didn't have to do a major workout this morning. They had brought up our frozen stuff and put it away all nice and handy. I was sooooo happy. It made the day go really smooth.

I'm dreaming of the Oregon coast... I want to see it... maybe even move there. I've been Googling it. 

Google rocks. 

I just feel like I'm done here... There isn't adequate work here (for what I really do) and we're really struggling. This town is dying... The people here don't realize it yet, but it is... so I'm thinking perhaps a tourist town on Oregon's Coast?