16

Cheeseland Personal Ads

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(Please note that Cheeseland is not responsible for the content of these ads. It is solely the responsibility of the individual to determine the truthfulness of any claims.)

Lonely male lion looking for mate. Must be sleek, fast and good at presenting dinner. Please no mothers with cubs. Send RECENT picture to S231@chz.catz.

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Attractive hog looking for love. Do you like walks in the woods? Snuffling for goodies? Wallowing in the cool mud on a hot day? You might be my dream girl. Contact me at S232@chz.catz.

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Single lady groundhog looking for gentleman to den with this winter. Must be of good character. Possibility of romance. Prefer country living.  S233@chz.catz.

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Good-looking Tom cat looking for a kitty to share fun times. If you like hunting mice, chasing bugs, and lapping a bowl of good cream, we should talk. Not looking for a relationship, just a friend. S234@chz.catz.

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Male moose looking for girl to take home to Manitoba. Must be willing and able to walk long distances. Good home, plenty to eat. Remote location with no hunters. S235@chz.catz

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Female raccoon looking for male who enjoys city living. Likes: tipping garbage cans, dumpster diving, woodpiles and garages. Dislikes: plastic lawn ornaments, metal cans, and people. Sound like you? Contact me at S236@chz.catz.

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Female monkey looking for partner. Should be hunky monkey who’s good with keys. I want to escape this cage and run away on a romantic weekend. Family in another country a plus. S237@chz.catz.

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Hunting dog seeking same. I need a partner for an upcoming trip. Must be able to handle loud humans, bad hunting skills, and poor sleep. Potential for permanent home with humans. Interested? S238@chz.catz.

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Male sloth looking for companionship. I have a good coat with an attractive moss cover. Prefer local female. Would like to meet face-to-face within the next six months. S239@chz.catz.

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Adorable kitty looking for Prince Charming. Should be clean and well-mannered. Must be willing to treat me like a princess and fulfill my every whim. Human responses will be considered. S230@chz.catz.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Snoops and Kommando here – Next Thursday is Remember Me Thursday – it’s a reminder that every kitty deserves a forever home. Please do your part and adopt several cats. Kittens are acceptable.

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6

Dying Sucks

Please excuse my language. I’m not sure “sucks” qualifies as an official bad word, but it doesn’t seem very polite. My mother died a week and a half ago, and I’m in a pretty bad mood.

Her death was not unexpected, but it happened suddenly. The end was not bad, especially considering what had preceded it. Before I go any further, I would like to stress that I am not complaining about the medical care she received. It was wonderful and compassionate. The nurses and aides went above and beyond anything I would be capable of.

They say that from the time we are born, we begin to die. I’m sure there’s a scientific basis for that statement. However, I also know that at some point we begin the end-game. It’s the point when the doctors start weighing the benefits of a procedure against the chances the person will not survive it or will suffer more harm than good from it. It is also the point when they start saying things along the lines of, “For someone your age and with your chronic conditions, here is what we expect …”

I have read many articles about the cost of the last year/six months/final illness of life. I’m sure they are no exaggeration. Since the end of last August, my mother spent one day not in a hospital/rehab center. Additionally, the last three days were in a nursing home. She started with shingles and pneumonia, then went to rehab. She was home one day when she returned to the hospital with pneumonia. She later went to rehab with a week in the middle spent in the hospital. The only reason she got out of rehab was because she “plateaued”, a nice way of saying the rehab wasn’t doing any good.

I did a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as part of my religious studies. I worked in a hospital as a chaplain intern. One of the priests there said that the medical community does not like to talk about death with families. And families do not want to hear it. doctors are trained to save lives, not monitor the end. I think there is a certain truth in his opinion. There was no point in sending my mother to rehab. Her heart and lungs were failing; there was virtually nothing left to rehab.

We had chosen a very nice nursing home (they still use that term). My mom liked it, we liked it, and it was only a couple of miles from our house. Mom would have been much happier there in my opinion. The staff is very interactive with the patients, and we would have been able to visit much more frequently. However, due to the amazing amount of paperwork involved, it is much easier for the hospital/rehab to get a transfer than for a family to request a bed. (This is the case in Michigan; I do not know about other states.)

However, the rehab my mother was at was not particularly cooperative. The home had a bed on December 27, but the rehab didn’t release her until January 10th, the last day her insurance would cover them. At that point they told me that our chosen place might no longer have an opening but that she was welcome to stay where she was as a cash patient.

My mother has been sick for a long time with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. When my dad died in 2012, both the doctors and family were surprised she had outlived him. The next year and a half was a slow, steady decline both physically and mentally. My dad had been her caregiver to a point she had not realized at the time. He was always there when she needed him. She missed him horribly and there was no way to fix the problem.

Her memory had been bad for quite a while. But, as you may know, dementia has a tendency to slither in and gradually increase. She knew the four of us at the end, but confused the names. Phone conversations were a challenge. None of us lead very exciting lives, and calling every day meant a struggle for things to say. She wouldn’t want to hang up because she was lonely, but dead silence is a little creepy after a couple of minutes. I guess there was some advantage in her not remembering most of what we talked about, since we could repeat the same things several times.

Her hearing had been decreasing for quite a while, although she only admitted it recently. Even toward the end, I wondered how much of that was hearing and how much was mental. I’d have to shout to get her attention, but if we had a conversation in the back seat of a moving car, she would participate from the front seat. I think she may have been having trouble connecting words with their meanings. Regardless, in the end, it was a lot like talking to my teenagers.

She couldn’t read by the end because her eyes got too bad. She always had the TV on, generally to news, but didn’t seem to be aware of what was being said. If I brought up a major news story, she generally didn’t know what I was talking about. So she basically sat and thought about how sick and lonely she was.

It was a lousy way to live and a lousy way to die. At least she knew I was there at the end. (At least I think she did; her breathing calmed significantly when she heard my voice.)

She was jealous of the way my dad died. He drove to his last doctor’s appointment (and drove well) and was mentally sharp to the end. We saw him on Sunday in the hospital, he went into ICU on Tuesday and was basically unconscious until he died  Thursday night/Friday morning. The more she suffered, the more I understood the jealousy.

2

Everybody Talks Too Much

 

 

I once worked for the Wicked Witch of the Great Lakes. She had hired me to work at one of those nationally-known human resources consulting firms. After I was hired, I realized that my job really was to sell people very expensive consulting they didn’t really need and leave before the results actually became apparent. And to suck my soul out of me. Luckily I escaped before I became too bitter. 🙂

Back to my point. One day, we both came to the conclusion that I did not belong there. At the exit interview, Ms. Witch kept asking me if there was anything I wanted to say. There really was no way to explain what was wrong without becoming equally vile, so I kept quiet. For some reason, my silence totally enraged her. I didn’t realize that following the adage “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all,” could have that type of positive karmic repercussions.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people seem to follow the practice. Perhaps “Better to be silent and seem a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” is more appropriate for the present times. I have been trying to think of the last time I heard someone say something nice about someone else at work. I know I’ve complimented people to their face and to the managers (because I’m perfect, remember?), but from the shocked looks I get, I’m guessing it’s not just my perception that it’s a rare thing.

I unload the pallets first thing in the morning with people from another department. Our stuff is all mixed together. so it makes sense to work together. Most of the time, I enjoy working with them. One day last week, things got a little ugly. There are three of us who regularly work together. We were working when a manager came by and asked where a fourth person (Employee X) was. Apparently the load comes in at his “lunch time,” so I had never seen him there. The manager paged him and told him he needed to get to Receiving.

Needless to say, when X returned he was not happy. He told the other two guys that they were not to touch the stock for the week’s sale. They were only allowed to touch the non-sale boxes. The guys were not happy and commenced to complain about X and his need to control everything. Later X complained about the guys’ inability to do their work in an organized manner. I’m never quite sure what to do in these situations. I let them vent, but no one seemed any happier for the opportunity. So the day began.

Then the chickens arrived. I think I’ve talked about the chickens before. Large quantities of them appear (seemingly) at random and take up space in my cooler. I had room for them (more or less) so they stayed. Later, the team leader was complaining to one of the deli stockers (Stocker A) that no on ever told her when there was deli stock in the cheese cooler. It started as a complaint that she had found three ham dinners from Thanksgiving still in the deli cooler. That is the cooler physically in the deli where they keep their meat.

From there, the team leader complained about how the other stocker (Stocker B) wasn’t doing his job. She might have to hire a third stocker. (Or get B to do his job?) The general consensus is that B is lazy. However, one of the deli people (Employee Y) doesn’t like A because he got to come back after quitting with no notice, when one of her friends didn’t. It seems that the friend had also broken down and tried to hurt someone. Y’s friend also doesn’t like A because she thought he was lazy when he was employed previously.

B was not scheduled this day. Earlier in the week he had posted on Facebook that he was scheduled for Friday which would make a long week for him, Friday through Wednesday. He was really unhappy about it and would have to look for another job. When he had found out about working Friday, he refused to talk to anyone. He has been complaining about how hard he has to work and how it isn’t fair.  I think it’s his first job.

Near the end of the day, someone told me that the late shift at the deli has finally been busted for not working. As long as I have worked there, the day shift and the night shift have argued about who is doing less. Recently it has become apparent that we had a winner. Leadership was receiving complaints during the evening shift about not finding anyone in the deli or waiting in line while one person worked and the others talked or used cell phones.

It seems somewhat appropriate that the end came for them when someone took pictures on a cell phone to show what was going on. Of course, there was much talking and wringing of hands. There wasn’t a lot that could actually be done. No manager was there to document the situation. The team leader decided she should work more evenings, which traumatized the entire second shift. She told one employee, and within five minutes everyone knew.

So what does any of this have to do with me? Absolutely nothing. I may have wasted more time that day than I have the entire time I’ve been at the store. The funny customer stories are good for dinner conversation. Who wants to listen to me recount the employees crabbing about each other?

I have looked everywhere on Amazon for a negative energy neutralizer or maybe a black box that would suck it out of the air. So far, no luck. I wonder if spraying the air with ginger or peppermint or lavender or something would work in a space that big?

2

Meet My Most Obnoxious Ex – Mr. Technology

At one point, we were very close. I even considered changing my life for him. I had begun my career as an employee benefits analyst/consultant. Then I met him on a new project. We were going to create a benefits administration system.  Before I knew it, I could write business requirements and do data diagrams. I designed phone trees. We became serious when I joined a software company as a business analyst.

Then something happened. We seemed to plateau, and we both knew we weren’t meant for each other. So we went our separate ways. I still run into Mr. Technology, but he has developed some very irritating habits.

My doctor works out of a clinic with one general phone number. When I call to schedule an appointment, the nice voice on the phone tree tells me to listen carefully to the menu because the options have changed. I’m not sure when they changed; they’ve been the same for the past year I’ve been calling. I press the number to make an appointment. Another nice voice tells me that I am caller fifteen with an expected wait time of twenty minutes. My call is important to them and they appreciate my patience. While I wait, I listen to on ongoing advertisement for the affiliated hospital and medical centers. The nice voice deserts me.

I ordered Christmas presents on-line last year; there were two things from one vendor. I got a very nice message back thanking me for my order and giving me an expected delivery date. Sure enough, my order was delivered on time. Unfortunately one thing was not what I ordered. Instead of cute flannel lounge pants for my daughter (size small), I got an XXL fishing t-shirt. I emailed the company, and they gave me directions for returning the item in exchange for what I wanted. They asked if I was sure I didn’t want the shirt.

A week later, I called to follow-up. A pleasant young man answered. They couldn’t send the pants until they received the shirt, but the pants were definitely coming. Another week passed. I called back and spoke with another pleasant young man. They had received the shirt, but it hadn’t been entered into the system yet. He would try to expedite it.

Five days before Christmas, I called to ask (less pleasantly) where the pants were. The less pleasant young man told me that they were sold out and I would have to wait for a refund to process through the system. I bought a new present locally; I got my refund mid-January. I did not receive a pleasant apology. They did not receive an order this year.

I utilized several job-hunting sites intermittently over the years before I found my true calling in cheese. Many of them have their own rules for what can be entered as a user name and password. The sites and I worked closely together for awhile, then I would get bored and move on to something else. Reality would set back in and I’d return to the site.

But the site always pretended it didn’t remember me. I’d type in what I thought was the correct identification and get “wrong user name/password” in red letters. So I’d try something else. (Whose bright idea is it that you’re supposed to have a different password for everything you use and not write them down anywhere? Life is much easier now that I use my Social Security Number for all of them.)

Finally I’d break down and admit to the system that I couldn’t remember my password. So it would ask for my user name. And tell me that it didn’t recognize my user name. So I would tell it I couldn’t remember my user name. It would ask for my email address. And tell me it didn’t recognize my email address. I asked for the security questions. And it would tell me there weren’t any security questions for me. Of course there weren’t, you stupid computer. Why did you ask if I wanted to answer security questions when you didn’t know who I am.

After much frustration, I would decide to re-enter my information into the site. When they asked for email address, I would type in the one I use for employment follow-up. It would then tell me that I already had a record on file. I would ask them to send me the password via email. It would tell me once again it couldn’t find my record. I contacted the help desk and received a pleasant response that they had received my inquiry. It was number a62785zb892, and someone would respond shortly. Please use that number for any inquiries.

A few days later, I would receive another pleasant email apologizing for my inconvenience and telling me that everything was fixed. I would go back to the site with much anticipation. Enter my user ID and password. And get “wrong user name/password” in red letters.

My husband told me Mr. Technology is bad for my stress level. I am forced to admit that we are irreconcilable. I hope he’s happy with the choices he’s made.

8

The De-Snarkification of Cat

I received some feedback that I may have been a little hard on the (lack of) thought process employed by some of our customers. While I would like to remind everyone that my thoughts are not expressed to the customer (that’s why they’re thoughts not words), I do understand that some people are concerned with the lack of civility in today’s world. Ensuring that I don’t inadvertently insult someone is a valid concern. We never know when the filter between my brain and my mouth might become clogged and not work anymore. (I have met several people with this unfortunate condition.) So I am trying to come up with some more polite ways to address some issues.

Current: Why on earth do you keep ordering chickens when we have forty cases in my cooler? It’s the cheese cooler not the “I still don’t understand how to order” cooler. Improved: I know it’s really hard to gauge how much food to order, being fairly new in the position. Maybe you should see how much was used last year and increase it by 10% rather than 200%.

Current: It’s called a cheese cooler because it’s supposed to be used for cheese, not whatever you can’t find room for. Improved: If you are going to keep getting too much stock, we should probably find someplace to hide it so your boss will quit yelling at you about it. Or maybe you could arrange to clean out your own space so it looks like you have the correct amount.

Current: Stop being so lazy and clean up the messes you make in my cooler. If you spill boxes all over the place moving a cart, pick them up. Improved: It would really make things a lot easier for me if I didn’t walk into the cooler to find it full of boxes that have fallen off one of the carts. I try very hard to load them safely and would really appreciate you helping me with this. You know you can get hurt tripping on things you don’t see.

Current: Why do you think it’s OK to step in front of me to use the time-clock? Is your time more important than mine? Improved: Excuse me. I guess you didn’t see that I was in line to punch in. Just so you know, you would have clocked in at the same time if you had waited for me.

Current: Why do you think I should come to your department and help you? It’s not like you ever do anything to help me. I’m tired of hearing about how important what you do is. I assume you have no idea how much money my area actually makes. Improved: I’m sorry. I really don’t have time to help. I’m the only one in my section and don’t have anyone I can ask to help.

Current: I know it’s a load of ‘whatever’ when you don’t put a cart in my cooler because you don’t do it as well as I do. It’s insulting how stupid you think I am. Improved: Actually, the way I got to be this good was by practicing. If you spend a little time today working on it, it will be easier the next time you try to put something in.

Current: I know you’re the one who made the mess although you’re playing innocent so I have to clean it up. I’m not working with anything that could spill. Improved: I hate the way those containers of olives sometimes spill over when you take off the top. It looks like that one got some olive oil on the floor.

Current: It’s really stupid to order extra sandwich turkey less than a week before Thanksgiving. That’s the same stuff that’s in those big birds they keep selling across the aisle. Improved: Perhaps it would have been better to wait until some of the stuffed feeling from Thanksgiving goes away before asking people to buy a less substantial version of the same meat.

Current: Yes I am using the hand-held inventory controller. That’s why it’s in my hand and I’m putting numbers into it. You can quit standing there trying to intimidate me into giving it to you. Improved: I’m probably going to need this for another few minutes. I can let you know when I’m finished so you don’t have to keep standing there letting your other work pile up. I’m sure there’s time for both of us to do what we need to do.

I could go on, but there’s really no point. I just hope the brain/mouth filter stays functional.

 

 

1

“Earned” Vacation

So far, it has taken me three months to get permission to be gone five days. In May, I left a note for the previous team leader that I wanted to go on vacation at the end of August. The next day, she tells me she’s seen the note and it looks OK to her but she needs to double-check the vacation schedule. I assume everything’s fine (yes I can still be that naive). She goes on a medical leave for stress, comes back for a couple of weeks and quits. Just prior to her last day (first week in July), she tells me that because the vacation ends two days before Labor Day, I need to have her boss authorize it. He says it’s fine and takes the request (end of the process, right?).

I ran into my (new) team leader in the ladies’ room yesterday. She told me that we needed to talk about my vacation. We work a few hundred yards apart – she waits until now to talk to me? I realize that it’s called a rest room, but that’s just a polite term for what it really is. Once you’re out of high school, who wants to spend more time in there than you have to?

She starts out by telling me that it hasn’t been approved yet. She said she had to approve it (but there wouldn’t be a problem with that), and then her boss would have the option to reverse that approval. I told her that I had already talked to her boss. She said that didn’t matter, SHE had to approve it and would look into it that afternoon. So apparently she signs off, tells him, he thinks about it and says, “Wow, this looks kinda familiar, did I say yes or no when Cat asked?”

I have not taken a vacation in several years. The last time, all I had to do was tell the boss when I wanted to go, when I wanted to come back, and wait for them to say yes or no. At most places, it was just a formality. Who would have thought it would be tougher to give time off to someone who moves boxes and merchandise from place to place than to someone who is responsible for making sure a new client relationship starts out on the right foot? I guess I really am vital to the organization (please do not spit whatever you are drinking at the screen).

I complained about this to a work-friend (sometimes they’re better than real-world friends since you don’t have to spend 10 minutes setting the situation). She says to keep on top of it. One of the other women in the deli has been told that she cannot take a vacation between now and the end of the year because they are under-staffed. They seem to be positive that they will not be adequately staffed at any point during the next four months. (December doesn’t count in retail – no one goes anywhere.) Is it her fault that it’s such a miserable place to work that they can’t keep employees?

I guess I’m probably not being fair. We’ve had people out this summer for a broken rib, heart problems, and shoulder surgery. How can we be sure that no one is going to suffer some horrible accident in the near future and mess up our staffing again? After all, one woman is pregnant, and she’s probably going to want time off too.