Sunday, September 28, 2008
Yesterday was my last game with this group. I have accepted another position in my department, and will be transferred in about 10 days. The drink tent is really just frosting on the cake, a very small part of what I have been doing. The rest of it is really too boring, personal, or potentially politically damaging to post about too much. I manage multiple retail units on campus...that is what I have been doing for the last 4.5 years. Seven of them are retail style stores and two are small restaurants.
Before that I was the manager of the main retail food court/restaurant at the student center that also houses a Chick-fil-A. In fact, I was the manager there when the decision was made to bring CFA into the fold, it was the first outside franchise on campus. What a huge growth experience that was for me personally and professionally! When retail expanded to East Campus with a new food court/restaurant, I was asked to go there and start it up. It has been a small but growing operation since it's inception. They threw the C-stores and the Faculty Center in for good measure, and it has all kept me very very busy. And I have had a great time.
But now the original location is expanding again. I thrive on new things, growth, expansion. It will be a promotion for me as well. This was not handed to me. I had to work hard for this opportunity. And I know it is best for me, even though it will keep me slap crazy for awhile.
A good way to get Haitian adoption and other worries out of my head for periods of time, anyway.
I will have the same boss I have now, who is pretty new. It is nice to be supported by her, and we worked together years ago, so we already have a relationship. My former boss left under duress early in the summer, and although we had a good relationship for many years, he was doing things he should not have been doing, and I knew it. He did not like that I knew it, and during his last year he tried pretty hard to throw me under the bus. It was very devious and the only thing that saved me was alot of prayer, my awareness of how the system worked (due to the amount of time I have been here) and my best friend and assistant manager Lynda, who kept me propped up when I was scared and discouraged.
The only downside to all of this is that Lynda is upset. It is hard for me to watch and I don't know how to deal with it. I am a person who thrives on change, and she is a person who doesn't like it much. So, that is where we are at. But it's not like I am going that far away. We can still see each other at work. We are still in the same department.
Another adjustment is that I will lose some of my freedoms. Because my locations were so spread out, I could just get in the van and go. It has been hard for my superiors to breath down my neck 'cause they have to catch me first! HAHA. So now my boss will be right across the hall from me. However, she is on the go herself. Alot.
I am looking forward to getting my old office back, which will be private...right now, mine is Grand Central, and that is unavoidable, but it drives me nuts sometimes. I look forward to turning in my corporate cell phone, which I have had in order to be reached all over the place. (I hope they are going to let me turn it in, having 2 cells pretty much sucks, in my opinion) So aside from a raise and new challenges, these are some extra perks.
And somewhere in the middle of all this, I will be bringing my little girls home :) I hope soon.
Here we are in the heart of the SEC season, and there was alot of build-up for this game. ESPN carried it, and taped "Game Day" on campus. Night games are always interesting, and somewhat difficult. So many fans on campus, all day long! Plenty of drinking, which of course we are not allowed to participate in. Watching it is great sport, though!
Southerners love to make fun of themselves. We realize people tend to stereotype. We play on it. Part of the pre-game tradition is to trade jokes and insults in the days leading up to the big event.
- What do they call reruns of "Hee Haw" in Alabama? Documentaries.
- A new law was recently passed in Alabama: When a couple gets divorced, they are STILL cousins.
- A guy from Alabama passed away and left his entire estate to his beloved widow, but she can't touch it 'til she's 14.
Corny stuff, and all in good fun, so if you are from Alabama do not be offended because we know you use these same jokes and just replace 'Alabama' with 'Georgia'! I have figured it out though. One reason we do this is to get people to underestimate us on purpose. Then we rout 'em with a smile on our face and polite 'yes sir' on our lips!
Yeah. More like 'ROLL TIDE!' They routed us 41 to 30. OMG, an SEC upset!
Not the only one. Ole Miss beat Florida 31 to 30. Unbelievable!
And such is life on Saturday during the college football season!
Nick from IT stopping by the tent on his way to the stadium...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Second In Command
The (supposed) Warriors
Recently I started hearing some *suspicious* activity at night, under the house and even in the walls. Immediately my rational mind told me what was going on. Some other part of my mind went into denial, i.e. "I have a feisty cat and she always takes care of this stuff" and "if this is what I think it is, I don't want to deal with it so maybe it will just go away". That second mind quote is a particularly disturbing quirk of my personality that I *work* on constantly. Seems like as soon as I have it mastered in my professional life, or my personal life, it springs up again in my REAL life (or some other place) and takes me by surprise.
The truth is, I HATE rodents. HATE THEM. I don't want to deal with them, they completely gross me out. And it's true, my kitty has always been a supreme rodent warrior. However, at 12 years old, she has apparently slowed way down. Bummer for me.
I know that another part of my mind was trying to deal with this reality because in retrospect I realize I was ticking off some options in my mind;
Q: Get another kitty?
A: NO! House too small for all we have now!
Q: Put out poison?
A: Remember that time you were at your friends house and they had poison (hidden) and your Corgi found it and ate it for dessert and you had to rush him to the emergency vet on a Sunday? And they gave him the doggie version of IPECAC and.....
Q: Put out traps?
LOGIC (not) THAT FOLLOWED: Why don't I have a man around right now that can take care of this stuff? How about if I don't think about it, it will somehow magically go away! Maybe my cat will get her act together! And what's up with those two (supposedly) ratter dogs I have? Why aren't they doing something about this???
Another thing that is so illogical. Why am I so terrified of something that is a fraction of my size??????
Sunday evening, LG and I hopped in the car to go get some gas for the lawn mower. We had to go to 4 gas stations to find gas, but that is another story. When we got back home, we spotted the enemy. In broad daylight!!! Those little *bastards* were poking their head out from under the back steps, 3 of them, little heads bobbing up and down. Actually, they were not so little as I imagined, although they were not dumpster rats either. And thanks Sarah for helping me to feel free to call them what they are!!! (She was talking about chipmunks and squirrels, but vermin are vermin in my book!) In fact, I called them something a whole lot worse which I will not repeat on this blog (but did make my teen-age son giggle). I felt such a rush of disbelief and anger! Anger at them, but mostly at myself for my silly silly denial. I also immediately went into attack mode. I let LG out of the car and told him I was going back to town for the artillery. I put the Jeep in reverse and tore out of there. When I got to Lowes, I chose my weaponry with a calm precision driven by a sense of purpose and deep hatred. Back home, LG had already taken matters into his own hands and shot one with the BB gun and stomped another ***I was imagining Munson style, with a hobnail boot. Yay! Two down, and how many to go???? That was the scary question.
So, three days later, and let me give you the rundown in case you have this problem...we live surrounded by woods and trees and farmland. Have plenty of wildlife that we enjoy, like the deer (except when they garden) the family of foxes that lives across the street, the wild turkey, the raccoons and the 'possums and all the birds. And the rodents, the squirrels and the mice which I do not enjoy. The ultra sound repellers that I plugged into electrical outlets worked the best quickly. It doesn't hurt them, it just drives them out of places because they can't stand the noise, which is at a frequency indiscernible to humans, cats and dogs. The package says it can take 2-3 weeks (depending on food supply) to be effective, but I will say it moved them immediately.
Yay for us!
I put the block bait outside under the steps (where we actually saw them), behind some shelving on the screened porch, in a couple of cabinets in the kitchen when I strongly suspect they were partying at night (noise levels gave them away) and one behind my dresser in the bedroom. Places where the Corgi Warrior cannot get to them, or Silly Sidney the Terrier Terror, for that matter. Hopefully the enemy rodents will not stagger out on their deathbeds where the ratter warriors will decide to ingest them IMMEDIATELY (cause that is what ratter dogs do) and we do not have to make any more emergency trips to the vet.
The traps so far have been completely ineffective.
I have yet to call a commercial exterminator, and here is why. Last time I did that at work, for an old building where we were storing a small amount of food, the exterminator would only put out glue traps. The culprit was caught a few days later in the glue trap and one of my employees took it to the dumpster. That was Mr. Commercial Man's solution. So I thought I would try it my way first.
I don't want to get too cocky...but so far the surge is working!
"Larry Munson, Voice of the Dogs, Retiring"
You just have to be a local football fan to appreciate the monumental headline that is. Larry has been the announcer for the Dogs since...forever! He is 86 years old and had surgery for a brain tumor last year. After that he came back and announced home games only. This year he made it 2 games and has suddenly called it quits. So, no good. Fans and players will do "Blackout" again this Saturday, to make a statement.
My absolute favorite way to watch Georgia Football is with the TV on (at my friends house), the sound turned down, and the radio UP with Munson in full form. The only problem is the television broadcast always has a five-minute delay, so Munson calls the play and then you have to watch for it...makes for interesting viewing!
Check out this video ( this one loads slow: wait for it) to see Larry Munson in action. Also, guy #2 has a real strong southern accent, and even down here you do not hear that much anymore.
In adoption news it appears we are in for a slow down. This is never good news, but it is unavoidable. MOI stands for "Minister of Interior" and this is the stage we are in now, the last in the Haitian process. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were close to exiting. But MOI , if I understand correctly, is about archiving. I hope I am stating this correctly. They don't just deal with adoptions. All the flooding and so many deaths has slowed down the other office work. And how sad it is. So we wait.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I realize I have some readers that do not reside in the US. Just to let you know, we have another name for our Presidential Election cycle, especially as it nears November. It's called the Silly Season. I'm sure I don't have to explain that to anyone. I went to the swap meet/flea market today and I saw this. Yes, the sign says "Ex-Felons Can Vote"
I honestly did not know there was such a thing as an "Ex-Felon", but apparently there is. I thought you either were one, or you were not.
There are a few things people who have been convicted of felonies CAN'T do. They can't own a firearm (duh). Doubtful that they will become adoptive parents. There will be certain places they cannot work..for example, the University of Georgia. International travel is restricted, (Canada, you are tough) and it used to be taken for granted that they could not vote...(not allowed to help make the law if they are law-breakers) .
So, here is the deal for Ex-Felons in Georgia. These are not federal laws, they are state laws pertaining to voting.
Georgia denies the right to vote to:
people who were convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude
while the person is in prison, on parole, and on probation
which includes the payment of fines, fees and restitution.
Once a person has completed all of the terms of their sentence, the State automatically restores the person’s voting rights.
The ACLU is still fighting with the state over the definition of moral turpitude.
I had a strong crazy impulse to walk over there and register as a republican, even though I have been a registered independent my entire adult life. I resisted the urge, thinking I might get beat up. Seriously. This flea market attracts a large percentage of folks operating outside the (societal) margins. Which was why the sign was there in the first place. Which struck me as pandering. Which bothered me enough to contemplate my crazy impulse.
Yep, it's the Silly Season. I'm just saying.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I miss him alot and wish he would come home and visit! He said he would come in December. A bunch of his friends moved out there at the same time, so he is not lonely. I think he does find it much more difficult than he thought it would be. I find it interesting that he identifies himself as a Georgian in San Francisco, when he was born less than 30 miles from where he is right now. Interesting in a good way.
I wrote yesterday that I wanted all my children to be all they could be. I was thinking of all of them when I said that, but perhaps more so this one. This child is VERY independent and he is also VERY bright. He is doing alot of exploring. He says he wants to travel more seriously next year. He wants to go to France. (I encouraged him to go to Haiti with me next time, but he ever so politely declined, lol) I wish he would have gone to University first, but he absolutely did not want to. He is very artistically talented, and I encouraged him to go to art school, but he vehemently resisted any further formal education. We thought about forcing it on him, but after talking to alot of other parents who have gone thru this, felt like it would backfire. Like it would be complete waste of opportunity, time, and money, and then he would never finish or go back or learn anything. I am hoping that at some point he will realize that further education will help him in life, and go for it. Experience is a great teacher. But right now he believes it is all just so bourgeois.
Sigh. Little kids can be tough on a mom. So can big kids.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I love student work. It is so amazing and innovative!!! My work tends to be more structured and I have to fight to break down those walls sometimes. So I always admire a younger mind-set.
This work actually does look like something I would do. Which reminds me that structured is not always boring.
My dream for all my children is that they will become in this journey we call life, all they are meant to be. It takes a certain kind of courage, from us and from them. We may not like all the choices they make. But the plan for their lives may be for the greater good. And it they don't do it, who will?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I was surprised because
a.) The parent(s) lives in Port Salut, which is at least 5 hours from PAP, and from what I understand there has been alot of hurricane damage to the roads. Under the best of circumstances, travel in Haiti is not that easy.
b.) I have friends much further along in the process that still do not have the birth parent interviews. It's frustrating and I feel bad for them, because it is holding up the end process.
I don't know if the girls parents are still together or not. I don't know if their father is still in the picture at all. I don't know how many other brothers and sisters they may have, if any. I do know they were and are loved. They have that foundation. I have long worried about them seeing their birth mother (Claudette) at this interview. I can't imagine the emotions, the confusion, the joy and the heartache and the leaving again. I do know that whatever the story, I am humbled by Claudette's strength and love.
This picture was part of a series that was taken by a French mom the first week the girls came to the *O*. It was buried in boatload of Snapfish albums and I did not see it until after I met the children and made the decision to adopt them. Her sad eyes shocked me profoundly when I first saw this. This was not a look I had seen on her during our first visit, or in other photos. Unfortunately I have to say I have seen it up close and in person since that time. It is the look of abandonment and the pain that accompanies. The first trip, when I left, she was just mad. The second trip, it was "I can't believe you are leaving me here" and crying. The 3rd time, it was this same stonefaced pain with tears, only more so. There cannot be a 4th time.
And so....I thank God, Marie, Claudette and whoever else was involved for making the interview happen. That is one big obstacle out of the way. These kids need to come home.
Things got worse, much worse, than I could have imagined. My assistant manager and my night-time supervisor both went into the hospital on the same day! (Tuesday) My day-time supervisor had a long planned vacation to NYC and Shea Stadium set up for the end of the week, which I had approved long ago. So not only did I end up working everyday, I pretty much ended up working ALL day. I have 9 retail units scattered all around our large campus. Two of them are restaurants. This time of year we are open 7 days a week, 7am to 10pm.
Under the best of circumstances it's complicated, but I have been blessed with a capable team that does most of the *heavy lifting*...most of the time I just go to meetings, make decisions, fret with endless amounts of paperwork that I hate and therefore delegate as much as possible, and ride around in the van checking out all the units and making sure everything is up to standard. I generally work about 40 hours a week, sometimes a little more, and during the slow months sometimes a little less. With my management staff pretty much wiped out, it's still up to me to make it all happen, regardless of handicap. I do have one assistant manager left, and a student manager. Somehow with the help of some really loyal employees, we have remained operational. We're tired!
This is the first time that anything like this has happened, where the bottom just fell out, and there was not a thing that could be done about it, except what we are doing. I hope it never happens again. I worry about being away from my son day and night, as I should.
I am concerned for my assistant who is still in the hospital. She is also my friend. She ended up having arterial blockage that required 2 stints. She is 47 years old.
I'm searching for the silver lining. I know it must be here somewhere :)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Please contact your state elected officials, urging them to use their voice. Read the letter below. If you are American do not forget that the US pays approximately 38% of the operational budget of the UN (more than any other country) using your tax dollars; you certainly have a voice in this.
***Word from Haiti:
Ike rained and blew all night on poor Haiti. This morning it is still raining and blowing. While we are safe on a mountain in Port au Prince, the northwest of Haiti is experiencing a natural disaster of unimaginable proportions.
Tropical Storm Hanna flooded Gonaives and claimed more than 500 lives in the past week. Now Hurrican Ike is dumping more wind and rain on the battered region. This morning we received a first hand report of a missionary there who said, "Forty children in the orphanage are eating flour, because they have not had food for five days." This same missionary is using bleach to purify contaminated well water for drinking. While human and animal cadavers float in the flood waters surrounding the facility. They have no other choice though as the UN is NOT DISTRIBUTING RELIEF.
The UN received 33 tons of relief for the region yesterday and it is warehoused in Gonaives, to date they have not distributed any of it. We received a message from a Haitian pastor in Gonaives who said his wife walked 18 hours through mud and flood waters to get food for her family. She returned empty handed, even with cash she could not find food; BECAUSE THE UN IS HOLDING THE FOOD BACK IN THE WAREHOUSES. It is rumored they will sell the relief after the storm.
This same family said, they "are waiting for death." This is not an overstatement of the situation in Haiti. We need your help now. You can go on line and find the name of your Congress men and you United States Senators with their phone numbers. Call them today and tell them that the UN is NOT DISTRIBUTING RELIEF IN HAITI. That you know the situation is worsening by the minute and thousands are at risk, in fact 600,000 Haitians have been displaced without food and water for days now.
As of Sunday morning, aid had arrived in Gonaive but due to fear of rioting, it had not been distributed according to missionaries in Gonaive. People have been without food AND water for 6 days now. Orphanages in the area have children without food and water.
The UN that is suppose to distribute the food and water. The US, Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, and other countries supporting the UN should demand that this food be distributed!
Another missionary, Licia Zachary Betor with Real Hope for Haiti, in the village of Cazele said that at 3 AM on Sunday morning, a wall of water swept through the village of Cazele. There is a small, shallow river that runs through the middle of the village. They are assuming that a mud slide in the mountains caused the wall of water to sweep down and flood the village. It took out the foot bridge over the river and swept people away. Licia heard that the road to the village was cut in half by the fast moving water and so the village is isolated, but she did not know for certain yesterday afternoon if that was true. Go to her blog at: http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/ to read more about the flood.
Please be praying for Haiti. Due to the flooding and devastation, schools will not open until October 6. Your help is needed more than ever to help the Haitian children. ***
I attached this letter to both of my Senators, and added my own brief comments about my personal situation. I let them know that my girls are legally mine, but are still in Haiti awaiting the end process. That when they come home they will not only be US citizens but citizens of the state of Georgia. Will it make any difference? I hope so, but the more of you that do it too, the better chance we have of getting some attention.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Searching for drinkable water
As for our kids, my girls, I'm not exactly sure where they are right now. I'm pretty sure they are still in PAP. What happened is this: they moved the "O", meaning everything but the kids. Moving the children actually means getting approval from IBESR, which was set about the time Faye happened, then Hanna, now Ike...making the roads even more difficult, if not impossible.
You may ask,"what do you mean you don't know exactly where they are?" Admittedly that is a pretty alarming statement, but if you have been to Haiti, you understand that in the best of times phone service, electricity, clean water, are not things to take for granted. Right now it is difficult to get information out of Haiti except for the news service. But the last word I got was the kids were still in PAP and they were OK. The few kids in the other location were also OK. It's the terrain in-between that is not (see first photo).
So again I ask you, please direct your thoughts and prayers towards the people of Haiti.
Lots of activity going on right now, lots of hard work, and no days off this week. Fortunately, I see light at the end of the tunnel (next week-end), and today I actually just feel grateful that I have half a day off! Isn't that crazy?
I have always had a strong work ethic, some would say too strong. It's not that hard for me to fall into work-a-holic tendencies. That can be destructive and a downward spiral, if it becomes *all about me*. I've learned that there are more important things than career. Time, and especially time with dear friends and family, is something you cannot get back. I have matured. I have learned my identity is not all about my career. I fight for balance now. I fight so that my energy does not get completely sucked up daily by my job. It's a big fight. I am surrounded by people that are sprinting to get ahead. Many of them do not have children, and I say more power to them as they pass me by, but what I am most proud of now is BALANCE. Don't get me wrong. I still work hard and am (usually) proud of my work. I still have a job in which I directly effect the lives of others and have to make hard decisions sometimes. I still have a job in which I am virtually on call 24/7. So it's not exactly a cakewalk. And sometimes, like this time of year, just have to put alot of time in.
That being said....I believe in enjoying myself whenever possible!
Georgia 56 vs. Central Michigan 17
A late afternoon kick-off brought all the party hounds out early. And yes, it was HOT outside!
We are set up and waiting for the crowd...
My new boss does not know I took her picture...(hehe)
This is my long-time good friend who really showed me the ropes in the 12 + years I have been here. She is retiring this week, and this is her last game. It's gonna be pretty weird without her.
And, me being me. In a moment of vanity, I decided I hated looking like I did in that last picture to see if I could do better...made the decision I can never be photographed in a sitting position again!!!
Last but not least, some great video of the game itself. The kid they are talking about (#24) may be up for the Heisman Trophy. That's the talk on the college football circuit. Just talk for now. We will see.