Friday, January 06, 2006

Fiddling while Rome burns

Copied from my LJ 5/17/05
Mom has been on oral antibiotics for a few days and her doctor hopes to avoid hospitalizing her. She sounded pretty bad on the phone today. Ridiculously enough, they still don't have the results back on her chest x-ray from LAST WEEK. It's troublesome to me that she is at the mercy of services provided by the sorry excuse for a hospital in my little hometown. I wouldn't trust them to treat a case of jock itch myself. When I worked as an RN at the regional medical center in a nearby city, we often received patients transferred from Podunk Memorial. Too often we'd find signs of sloppy, substandard care, important symptoms overlooked and other stupid mistakes. Any diagnostic testing that had been done there was considered meaningless and repeated by our own lab. So I worry they'll bungle the important tests Mom has to have soon, causing her doctor to miss something important. Or worse yet, that she'll end up admitted there.

At work, the shit froze in midair and continues to hover motionless mere inches from the fan. As yet, Lamont has not been castigated for the 31 canceled orders. Durwood had little to say, except to be astonished there has still been no hissyfit from Buzz. We know that Buzz is aware of the initial 9 cancellations. But he was in our department today acting as though nothing was wrong, chatting all chummy with Lamont, who just about busted a gut guffawing at his stories. (That was hard to watch.) So Buzz may not know the full scope of the problem yet. Or he knows and prefers to let Lamont twist in the wind until such time as he's ready to lower the boom, except he isn't cunning enough to manage that. Or he knows and has decided not to make a big deal of it, certainly the least likely of all scenarios. So probably he just doesn't know. Meanwhile the client has started to cancel orders that aren't even due yet.

Lamont told me and Paul he has decided to leave whether or not he gets fired. He's sick of the long uncompensated hours, the lack of raises and pay cuts, the abuse. I imagine (or hope) he's also sick of smiling impotently at people he despises. He's punching up his resume and looking into a job with the printing company where he used to work. Which begs the question, why did he even bother putting in so many extra hours trying to catch up? And more importantly, will I have a job there after he's gone?

Later on, Lo came in and told me something truly shocking. She was highly pissed that she came in on Sunday and spent her day off scanning documents while Lamont, Tracy and an employee from the print shop spent all day printing and binding a "private, off-the-books" job for cash under the table. Lo is, shall we say, prone to prevarication, so I wouldn't have believed her if Lamont hadn't already told me himself he has done this before.

I guess I can see how he might rationalize stealing from a company that has screwed him over for years. It's the timing than amazes me. At a point when we're buried under unfilled orders and in panic mode, Lamont spent a day using company supplies, machinery and labor to print something for himself. Supposedly he was paid $1100 for his trouble and Tracy made $200. But if you feared for your job, would YOU do something that could get you fired in an even bigger hurry? Maybe he decided he might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb.

Paul is fond of making curious, surreal declarations. I wish I could supply an example but it's late and I'm drawing a blank. Anyway it's one of those uniquely Paul habits and strangely endearing. Lately his love of the surreal has manifested in found objects he places on the sill above our kitchen door. I hesitate to suck the magic out of it by describing it, but here goes anyway. It started with the wishbone from the last turkey I baked, which seemed a normal enough thing to have above your kitchen door, at least where I grew up. Then one night there was a black and white fifties era school photo of some anonymous girl in pigtails behind it, a joker from a deck of cards, a dollar bill, and a pod of okra, forming an odd little altar. If I didn't know he scoffed at all things religious, I'd have sworn he was binding some sort of spell. He never mentioned it and had little to say when I commented on it, so I left it alone. Occasionally I'll find the okra has fallen to the floor, and Cleo has nibbled on it a bit but decided it's nothing all that palatable. Tonight there's a red paper "buddy poppy" from some veterans group up there, along with a bit of dog biscuit, a scrap of paper with some random letters on it, and a sprig of wilting vegetation I can't identify. I wouldn't have noticed, but when I opened the fridge for some cold water the dog biscuit fell off and hit my nose.

I took my first stab at gardening this year. A couple of weeks ago we filled one of the beds fronting our house, filled the window box and the planters on the porch, and added some hanging baskets. I planted pansies, violas, and ageratums. Everything I chose was purple or a combination of purple and some other color, save for the black-eyed susans. Maybe that's a silly affectation but I do love purple. We wanted some herbs for cooking, so yesterday I set out some sweet basil, parsley, rosemary and spearmint. I added a half dozen lavender bushes to the opposite bed in front of the porch. I imagine they'll be both lovely and fragrant, scenting the air on warm summer nights. I have planted just about everything I'd hoped to grow except some sunflowers, which will go at the side of the porch when I find them. If this experiment isn't a total failure, I may try even my hand at vegetable gardening next summer.

Music: Nikka Costa-can'tneverdidnothin'
Mood: Contemplative