Gun-shy

No, this isn’t another post about firearms, firearm safety, firearms laws, or anything like that. It IS however, another post about work.
-Preface over- greetings readers, and apologies for the absence. The campus I work on has reopened after the holiday break and we’re running busy already. The students go home for a month and stock up on their booze and weed, and we spend the next few months taking it all away…until the next break and the cycle starts over again.

So that’s the reason for my absence.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘gun-shy’ – here’s a quick definition:

gun-shy
ˈɡənˌSHī/
adjective
adjective: gunshy
  1. (especially of a hunting dog) alarmed at the report of a gun.
    • (of a person) nervous and apprehensive.

Now, since I’m clearly not a hunting dog, we’re going to work with the ‘nervous and apprehensive’ part.

I’ve mentioned a few times my last job, and how I didn’t exactly….mesh with my boss. He was a part-time employee of the town who would come in and ride around with the day-shift worker. I never saw him at night. He never rode with me on the afternoon shift, and I never had access to him other than via phone if something happened. If I DID see him….that meant there was a problem of some kind. If his car was at the station when I rolled up at shift change, it usually meant that he had something to address. Most of the time it was minor- paperwork changes, requests for followups, whatever. Occasionally though, he’d lambaste me for something or another. I remember getting a dressing down one day about my sense of humor. Another day because I drove too fast to an emergency. (Yeah. You read that right.) …that sort of thing. As a result, every time I saw his car parked at the station, my mind went to “Ah, crap. Now what did I do?”

We parted ways- amicably. He’s a good cop and a good boss, he was responsible for getting us training that we never could get before he got there. We simply didn’t play well together, and we both recognized it. My leaving was honestly better for all. After I left and got hired at the new position, I figured it was all in the past. Over and done with.

…Except it isn’t. I’ve taken a bit of a mental battering that is going to take some time to shed. When I pull up to work in the afternoon, our chief is usually here. He’s a full-time employee of the college, so it stands to reason that he would be. Still though, as soon as I see his truck here, my brain defaults to “Ah crap. Now what did I do?” ….even if I haven’t been here long enough to get into any trouble at all yet.

He’s proven himself already to be a very effective leader, and I’ve been told he’s a cop that looks out for his guys. He’s done nothing or said anything that would lead me to believe he’s pinned a bulls-eye on my back or is looking for a way to put me through the ringer. But I FEEL like he is, only because I can’t shake the mentality I developed at the last place. I’m gun-shy around management.

It’s bad enough that even when the new boss is standing in the ready room with us bullshitting about the last football game, or hunting season, or if we hit the campus dining hall for lunch together, I can’t help but feel like there’s another shoe waiting to drop, and this simply isn’t a healthy way to think.

I know I don’t need to be trying to develop a chummy, buddy-type relationship with my boss, but I shouldn’t have to be walking on eggshells around him either.

I’ve been here nine weeks, so I don’t expect all the training scars and psychological niggles to be quite worked out yet. I just hope it doesn’t take TOO long- since I don’t much care for the idea of being a scared puppy in the presence of leadership. It simply isn’t dignified.

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmic Fate or Dumb Luck?

I’m not a very religious man, nor do I put a whole lot of stock in the idea of fate in general. However, sometimes things happen that seem to  a shred of lend credibility to the fatalistic outlook. Either that, or the Universe is getting its jollies by screwing with me.

I spent yesterday ranting and raving about the knuckleheads in our HR department that dropped the ball on mailing in my enrollment for health insurance, which resulted in our having to postpone an overnight sleep study appointment for our son that took two months to make.
Because the appointment was postponed, I had to come in to work. I’d put in for some family sick time so I could be home with our youngest son, but since that wasn’t necessary, I wasn’t going to burn precious time, so I came in to work.

I went to the locker room, got changed, and plunked myself down at the computer in the ready room. In comes the Chief.
“You need to be here at 07:45 tomorrow.”
“Huh? Why?”
“You’re being introduced at the president’s meeting tomorrow. Sorry for the short notice.”

….I could tell he genuinely was too. I’m working a C-Line right now, until 11. It’ll be midnight before I get home, and close to 1 by the time I get to sleep. Then I need to get up, changed, and out the door in time to get back here by 7:45.

In the mixture of emotions between the joy of picking up 4 hours of overtime and the irritation of short notice like this, I came to realize something.

If HR hadn’t screwed up, I’d have been at home with the little guy until tomorrow morning. If they’d have called me at home and said “Get here.” I’d have been up against a wall. But since they DID bone me, my wife isn’t going to the sleep center with our six year old, so I can get back here and look all nice and presentable for the presidential meeting.

Don’t think I’m letting HR off the hook on this one, I’m still greatly annoyed by the whole thing. But couldn’t one make the case that their mistake was orchestrated by a cosmic being or power to enable me to make the meeting tomorrow morning?

No. They can’t. HR screwed up, and I got lucky. That is all.

….right?

Brutality of Three

The boys and I were wrestling on the floor this afternoon before I went to work. At one point, The Narrator tried to drag me across the floor by the arm. I laughed at him.

“I’m a little heavier than you are you know. Think of it this way. If you AND your brother were combined, I’m still heavier. In fact, another you and most of one more of your brother is what it would take to weigh as much as I do.”

Then, to myself I said “My God, I’m a fatass.” To which, my three year old replied:

“Yeah….we know.”

Thanks kid.

 

Snow Driving

scott-driving-snow-3

Flashback: Winter, 2001. My buddy Greg was hosting a small party at his apartment. With us was our friend Jerry, and two girls who worked with me in lift operations at the local ski slope. Jerry had taken a shine to one of the girls, and had offered to be their ride home at the end of the party. His plans changed when the object of his affection announced she had a boyfriend, and he decided that getting too drunk to drive anywhere was a better idea.
I had to work the next morning, so I wasn’t drinking. I offered to bring the girls home when we wrapped up, it would only be a fifteen minute drive.
As the night went on, and we enjoyed ourselves inside- outside started to get snowy. Very snowy, so much that by the time we decided to call it a night, it had reached blizzard conditions. The girls didn’t want to stay, so I made good on my promise, and loaded them into the old Ford Taurus station wagon I was driving at the time. Off we went.

Until that time, I’d never really done much driving through really bad weather, but…what the hell. I had two lovely young ladies depending on me to get them home, and I was young, fearless, and fairly stupid. Most of the trip was uneventful, albeit slow. The final, major challenge would be a notoriously long, steep hill, which they lived near the bottom of. Starting down, I knew right away it was going to be…interesting. We crawled down, our juvenile banter and my awkward attempt at flirting with the single one of the two dried up as I focused on the task at hand. Then, it happened. I stepped on the brake, and the entire car went completely sideways. The girls screamed, but somehow….I managed to pull out of the spin/skid and straighten up. I got them home without any more incidents, although I wasn’t going BACK up that hill, and ended up taking another way home, a ten mile route that took me close to an hour. I got a kiss on the cheek for the ordeal, but more than that I took away a sense of confidence that’s stuck with me to this day.

Driving in inclement weather doesn’t rattle me that much. If I know the car I’m in, and I know the road I’m on, I’ll drive where others won’t. I’ve had my driveway cleaned out better than the road I live on so I could get out and make it to ambulance calls if necessary. Perhaps I’m still fairly stupid- but I don’t really see it as taking chances if you’re cautious, capable, and just a little bit lucky.

Since that night with the two girls in my dilapidated old station wagon, I haven’t had any major incidents on icy roads.

I will admit, that there’s something awfully creepy about being on a snowed-over country road at night, with nobody around you. All sounds other than that low pitched squeaking of your tires packing the snow around you are muffled. Your headlights play out over a road where there are no lines, just- if you’re lucky- tire tracks from adventurous predecessors.

But there’s a shot of adrenaline too. Senses are heightened. You’re forced to pay more attention to the road you’re on and anything around you that could pose a hazard. Every sound, sight, and sensation in the wheels and pedals are magnified, and all of a sudden the drive is dynamic rather than boring.

Plus, there’s the sense of victory when you arrive at your destination, made more potent if someone there can look at you and say “Are you f-ing crazy??”

In general I love to drive. Long-hauls, night drives, spur of the moment trips…all are so very much fun to me. A college friend and I once drove fifteen hours straight from Northern Virginia, to Central New York to drop my sister off at college, then three hours back to where we lived in eastern NY. We still talk about that trip.
Driving in conditions that make a trip a challenge though- adds something to it.

Maybe I’m a little insane, who knows. But chances are, if you see one car on the road when everyone else is smart enough to batten down the hatches- wave. I’ll wave back.

 

 

 

 

 

Judge My Judging

Good evening. Shift is about over, and its slow, so I thought I’d throw up an update. Work’s been steady, and we’re about to have some major schedule changes, but more on that another day.

If you’re a regular, you’ll recall that my brother in law had been having an affair, the entire time carefully laying out the groundwork for the breakup with his wife. A bit of a control freak, he’s had all this all planned for months.

In my last post, I mentioned that he’d told everyone in his family about it- literally everyone except this guy’s wife knew he was screwing around on her. Shockingly, my wife’s parents were ‘okay’ with his giant ruse. His younger brother was not, nor was my wife.

My wife essentially told him “Tell your wife, or I do.” ….and she did after he made no move to do so himself.

Then came the phone calls. Her father basically told her that she had no right to do so, and she she owed her brother (the cheater) an apology.
Her brother (the cheater) called her and told her that he was going to tell his poor wife that she had made a mistake, gotten some bad information, or lied….whatever. Either way, he was denying it all.

In the end, she got a text back from the soon-to-be ex-sister-in law thanking her for telling her, that she’d figured out the truth.

The lid has been blown off the matter, and now the chips need to fall where they will.

I’ve had a few conversations with my youngest brother-in-law and we’re on the same page, but we both agreed not to talk about it anymore since it not only doesn’t concern us, but we’re far enough away from it all that anything we do say is basically conjecture, and not helpful to anyone.

That being said…..I made a judgement call.

Essentially, I want nothing to do with my wife’s oldest brother. (the cheater)

Now, I FULLY understand that marriages fail. People change, grow apart…whatever. Relationships aren’t always blessed with prosperity and happiness. I get that, and that’s not the issue.

The PROBLEM I have here, is the execution of his scheme. He’s been fooling around for four months, controlling every little detail of this, to the point where he was going to flat-out LIE to his wife about my wife’s telling her the truth.
This is not how one should act. To me, this entire thing smacks of cowardice. If things are bad at home, be an adult and address them properly. Don’t go sneaking around on your wife- who by the way, was willing to go to marriage counseling and fix whatever might have been broken. He lurked in the shadows for months, completely willing to manipulate his wife just because he was ‘happy with the new girl,’ never intending to tell her the truth.

Everyone deserves to be happy, for certain. I just don’t think that anyone has the right to take that happiness at the emotional expense of someone else- especially not your spouse.

This is where you come in. Am I judging the matter too harshly? I refuse to talk to any of the family about it because it isn’t my business, but at the same time I’m completely willing to write this guy off as a coward and a liar, demolishing any credibility and respect he’s had from me.

Do I mellow out, accept that his wife (whom my wife and I adore and will CONTINUE to be a part of our lives if we have anything to say about it.) has been wronged, will go away, and everyone will move on? Or, do I have a bit of justification in my ire towards him?

At this point in time, I have nothing to say to him, nor do I care to find any reason to have a discussion with him about anything at all. When he was visiting for Christmas with the rest of my wife’s family, I was distant and cold towards him, and I have no problem continuing that.

From where I sit, on the outside looking in- the man screwed up and played emotional games with someone who cares for him, the whole time looking for love and happiness elsewhere. As much as I understand that things can fall apart, I can’t condone this. I can’t respect him, and I sure as hell don’t want any part of him and his new girlfriend.

Am I being too harsh? Or should I be glad that he’s ‘finally happy?’ (his words)

 

 

Race For the New Year’s Kiss

I proposed to my wife nine years ago on New Year’s Eve. Since then we’ve been through some amazing, and some not-quite-as-amazing times. That near-decade has seen the births of our two kids, career changes, moves, and more.

Ever since we’d been dating, we had spent New Year’s Eve downstate with her family, which was always a lot of fun. We’d make homemade eggnog, and play cards after the kids had gone to bed, waiting for the ball to drop. It was always a loud, elaborate affair.

This year was the first year it’s been different. Not only are things tense with her family right now, thanks to her bone-head brother actively demolishing his marriage in the most cowardly and idiotic way possible, but I had to work both last night and today.

So, for the first time since we’ve been together, New Years Eve would be just US.

That is…if I could make it home from work in time.

I work what we call ‘C-Lines.’ 3PM to 11PM….and I have a 43 mile drive home. On a good night, if the weather cooperates and I don’t get stuck behind someone too scared to drive at night, I can make the trip in 49 minutes since the entire drive is on state highway, posted at 55 miles an hour.

We really didn’t have plans for the night, but given everything that’s been going on with work and family, I really wanted to be there for stroke of midnight and get my kiss…hell, its ALL I wanted.

I left work with my GPS telling me my ETA would be 11:42PM. Awesome. Perfect. Except I had to stop for fuel. Coffee that is. I had plenty of gas in the car. I grabbed a cup of coffee and hit back on the road.

New ETA: 11:48. Lost 6 minutes in the gas station. Off I go, and IMMEDIATELY get stuck behind not one, but two cars traveling ten miles an hour under the speed limit. By the time one turned off and I passed the other one at a blistering and possibly unsafe speed, my time had been moved up to 11:50.

The first leg of the trip screamed by. I wasn’t speeding too much- the road is famous for long, sweeping bends and sneaky deer that use the road to commit suicide all the time, so I was being cautious. Still, I made up a few minutes, I was back into the 11:40’s.

The second half of the trip I get stuck behind MORE drivers who apparently had nowhere to go. So….I did the worst thing imaginable.

I tried an as-yet untested shortcut.

And got lost. Turned around actually. I had to double back and get back on course with the time closing in, and my swear words getting louder.

I missed a turnoff and had to go to another street, adding more time.

I got stuck behind third car.

When I broke loose from it, I DID get sort of a heavy foot, but in the end I made it with ten minutes to spare. At 12:00 I got my kiss, and by 12:10 we were in bed after the most quietly intimate New Years Eve we’ve ever spent together. As much as we love our respective families, we cherish little moments like this one together when its just ‘us.’

Happy 2016 everyone, and I hope your celebration- no matter if it was intimate and simple, or as elaborate as donning adult diapers and drinking your face off in the crows at Time’s Square- was as fulfilling and happy as mine was.

I have no idea where this blog will go in 2016. But I’m hoping like hell you’ll stick around so we can find out together. See you on the next page.

~AD