Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

I think I have spent enough time on this here blog hashing it out over things that have to do with my biological father. In fact, I was perfectly content with just ignoring the whole situation and going on about my happy little life. But. I feel some sort of need for closure and before I go and do something REALLY stupid like call that SOB up and start screaming, I figured I'd try to get some thoughts out here. I apologize if they are incoherent.

I sincerely hope that he doesn't celebrate Father's Day. I hope no one gives him a card or an ugly necktie, I hope there are no special BBQs planned in his honor, and I certainly hope no one thanks him for being a father. I especially hope that his step-children don't celebrate with him on Father's Day because THAT is a slap in the face I can't endure. I hope that he feels sheepish when people ask him what he did yesterday, that he gets that red-faced, uncomfortable feeling that comes with knowing you're a jerk but are trying desperately hard to hide it. I hope he's honest when people ask him if he has children. No. He does not.

I finally read the letter. The one that should never have been sent because he read something that he was never meant to see. The one that arrived months before my wedding at probably THE most stressful time in my life thus far. The one that I hid in a drawer for an entire year before convincing myself to open one night when I was home alone and half drunk on champagne. And now I wish like hell I hadn't read it. That's the truth. I wish I could take that knowledge back and return to the place where I was angry and self-righteous and judgemental but also a little nostalgic and hopeful, to the part of me that on good days would day dream about reconciling. But I can't.

At first I delayed reading the letter because I was angry and quite frankly I wasn't ready to be forgiving. I have held on to my hurt and anger for so long that I was literally terrified to let go of it. Then I procrastinated on reading because I was afraid he'd play the victim. It's HARD to be a dad when you live so far away... It wasn't HIS idea to get divorced... Blah, blah, blah. I'd heard it all before and I was NOT buying it. I have several friends whose fathers live on opposite coasts from them who manage to make it work. Frequent flyer miles and long distance calling plans exist. You have to want to use them though.

I was in no way prepared for the judgemental, insensitive and just plain cold detachment I found in that letter. I wasn't prepared for "holier than thou". I wasn't prepared for HIM to be angry with ME. I wasn't prepared to hear such childish excuses and half-hearted attempts at joking, JOKING about how distant our "relationship" is. I am not sure what I was expecting in that letter... But it certainly wasn't anything like what I found.

So you know what? I'm glad he's made peace with himself, with God and that he feels forgiven. But if it were me I'd be a little more concerned with making peace with my family and in actually seeking true forgiveness for the pain I've caused. You can't use God's love for you as a salve every time you hurt some one's feelings. That whole "I can be a jerk as much as I want but God forgives me" is a highly suspicious sounding argument isn't it? But maybe that's just me, my feelings, my projections. I've decided to just put him out of my head. Not like he's dead, more like he just doesn't exist, which as far as I'm concerned he doesn't. Not to me.

Also? I DO NOT forgive you. And I am at peace with myself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I have been really good lately at keeping my life in perspective and being positive. In fact, I feel like I've become a regular Susie Sunshine over here. I'm proud of this fact because at the end of the day... my life doesn't suck. So I try and keep that in perspective and chose my attitude every day. And it has been working.

Except today.

Today I feel like I am irrationally angry at anyone and everyone but also like I might burst into tears at any moment. In fact I HAVE burst into tears once already today and was quite successful at the rapid blinking back of tears on a couple other occasions. Y'all! This has got to stop! Unfortunately I know there are a few factors at play here and I feel like I might just have to wait this moody mood out.

Factor #1... I have quit smoking. Again.

Now I know I have said this before and never actually managed to quit for good but... if I'm being honest my heart was never into it before. The fact is I like to smoke and thus far it has not kept me from doing anything I want to do. I still run semi-regularly and hike and wakeboard without even the slightest wheeze or cough. But I know I can't do it forever and recently a couple friends have quit which was inspiring... But the clincher came a few days ago when TheBoy mentioned to me that he was concerned with how much I had been smoking and y'all, HE HAS NO IDEA! It's not like I keep it from him or anything but I would guess I do a majority of my smoking away from him so for him to be concerned with the amount of my smoking in front of him then I must have gotten a smidge out of control! So today is day five of me being a non-smoker (and I mean a REAL non-smoker, no casual social smoking for me either - for now) so that might have something to do with my all over pissy mood.

Factor #2... I have slept maybe one night in the last four or five.

As any of you long time readers will know, I have always had issues with insomnia here and there. BUT! This is the first time that my insomnia has gotten a helping hand in the form of a snoring husband. TheBoy has always snored, ever since we met, but I used to be able to kind of run his tummy or, if it was really bad, nudge him until he rolled from his back to his side or stomach and it would stop. Or at least it would stop long enough for me to fall asleep. Well not any more! Now that boy snores no matter how he sleeps and no amount of tummy rubbing, nudging or flat out shaking his ass awake will help. I am at my wit's end y'all. Its enough to drive a girl to hurt someone... What is spousal murder anyway? Spousicide? I'm just saying is all.

Factor #3... I really, really hate this job/commute.

I know it is the responsible adult decision to make, coming back here. The money is better, the benefits are better, its stable and they freaking love me. The rational part of my brain knows that, really it does. I thought I could just sort of grin and bear it and know that I was doing the right thing for me and my family... But on days like today? I just can't! Days like today remind me of all the reasons I left this commute and this industry and swore I would NEVER come back. It might be time to start out on those working from home days STAT. And I feel silly complaining about it, I do. I know that my job isn't the most stressful on the planet. I know that other people have longer commutes than me. Hell, I used to know a guy whose commute was two hours plus WITHOUT traffic. That is WAY worse than mine! And I know I'm not the only person out there who hates their job. Its just that I had a job I loved. And now I miss it.

So send me positive thoughts today guys. I need them. Positive thoughts, a huge glass of wine after work with a friend (yay happy hour - the sole redeeming factor of being back in corporate America) and to get a good night's sleep tonight. Even if I have to lock myself in my car to get it!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Critical Mass

When I decided to come back and work at the bank there were many factors to be considered, including the fact that I no longer fit into any of my old work clothes. All kidding aside I have exactly three pairs of slacks and two dresses that are both work appropriate and fit without making me look like an over-stuffed sausage. Its sad times y'all. I guess working around food for the last eight months and being able to wear casual pants and t-shirts to work ended up being a bad thing as far as my figure is concerned.

So when faced with a wardrobe crisis AND the knowledge that TheBoy doesn't think "I'm too fat to wear a bikini" is an acceptable reason to not go wakeboarding I decided maybe, just maybe, it was time to get re-established on a diet and exercize routine. I dusted off the old running shoes, dug some weights and DVDs out of the closet and decided to join Weight Watchers. I have known several people who have lost amazing amounts of wieght on WW including a friend's fiance who has lost more than 30 pounds so far and my best friend's mom who has lost 60 (!) pounds, so I know that the system works.

At first I joined the online only version of WW because with the hectic summer schedule setting in I couldn't figure out a good time to go to any of the local meetings. I entered my info, signed on and started counting points. Now, as a long time calorie counter I found the transition from counting calories to counting points to be a little difficult, especially when eating out. TheBoy and I eat out a lot because for awhile I was cooking for a living and didn't feel like doing it when I got home from work and also because TheBoy can not cook. At all. Except maybe canned soup or Top Ramen. I'm just saying. But since we go out a lot, and we generally go to the same places over and over, I had figured out what on the menu I could order that would be low cal AND delicious. But these items did not necessarily translate into being low in points. For example, two grilled fish tacos at a local Mexican place here in town I had calculated as being about 500 calories. Imagine my dismay at discovering those same tacos were 14 POINTS!

WW and I got off to a rough start but I was determined to give it the old college try because I know it works and have seen it work for tons of people with my own eyes. The first week I gained two pounds (I blame those damn 14 point fish tacos!) but I was still not discouraged... I was slowly getting the hang of the system and I was getting better every day. The second week I lost those two pounds I had gained the previous week which while somewhat exciting (woo hoo 2 pounds!) basically just meant that I was back at my original start weight. But still I was not discouraged! I didn't gain this weight in two weeks so I can't expect to have miraculously lost it in two weeks right? So I trudged on, measuring out my 2 point glasses of wine and trying to eat things that were WW approved. In the third week I lost a half a pound. ONE HALF OF A POUND. Now I was getting discouraged.

But! My friend's fiance (the one who has lost 30 pounds) goes to meetings! So I looked up when the next meeting was I could go to and scheduled myself in. That meeting was last night.

So the meeting was held downtown and I managed to get there, even with traffic, the required 30 minutes before the actual start time. I parked my car and followed a group of other women who obviously knew each other around to the side of the building to the enterence. Y'all there was a LINE out the door to register. For some reason this made me feel better because while I hate strangers and would pretty much do anything to avoid speaking to people I don't know I figured all these women must be at this meeting because it works right? So I took my place in line and tried not to look like I was evesdropping on the women chatting around me. That should have been my first clue... all the women there seemed to know each other and were super chatty and friendly with each other but no one said anything to me, the nervous looking new girl in line. Not even a friendly smile was offered in my direction.

I finally made my way up to the main table where there were three women sitting. I assumed these women were the leaders of the group as they were stamping some sort of books that everyone seemed to have and welcoming people to the meeting. I went over to the woman on the far left when it was my turn and said to her that I was new and had been using WW online but this was my first meeting. She sort of looked me up and down and announced, very loudly, "You don't need WW! You need a treadmill!"

Um... excuse me?

So I laughed it off and kind of smiled since I wasn't sure if that was a compliment or an insult or an invitation to tell her my stories of exercise woe or... After a brief pause (which felt like AGES and also like every woman in the room was staring at me) she stood up and said, "Well I guess we can weigh you in." Now, on the WW website it says that during meetings you will have a confidential weigh-in each week. If your definition of "confidential" means the scale is in the corner of the room and not in the center and that there is another meeting monitor (or whatever they are called) standing right behind you waiting to weigh some other poor woman then I suppose yes, I had a confidential weigh-in. Also, I was a good 4 pounds heavier than I had been on Monday when I weighed myself at home which made me feel awesome. AND the woman waiting to be weighed behind me wasn't even subtle about the fact that she was checking my weight out because as soon as I stepped off the scale she announced to the room, "Wow! Your start weight is my GOAL weight!"

I have never prayed so fervently in my life for the floor to open up and swallow me whole. Now not only did I FEEL like people were staring at me, I could hear a few of them whispering... I was literally fighting back tears as I followed the monitor lady back to the table. I don't know what I was expecting of the WW meetings exactly but I think I was hoping for a more positive sense of community... You know, a place where we could all go and share stories about how hard it freaking is to lose weight and encourage us all to not give up or something. I certainly didn't expect to find myself in the biggest clique I've seen since High School and one that I was decidedly NOT invited to join.

The woman who was supposed to be helping me get started was even trying to talk me out of joining! She keep saying things like, "you know WW is really for people with significant weight to lose." So now I'm not fat enough for WW?!?!? Seriously? She sort of half-heartedly showed me a few different packages I could purchase and waved a hand towards a table loaded down with various WW cookbooks and then left me standing alone near the door, presumably so I would have time to make my decision. Well I did. My decision was to leave, I stopped just short of running, and to never, never go back.

Folks, it looks like WW and I have to break up. I guess I'll just go back to counting calories. Though I think I might take that woman up on her advice and look into buying another treadmill. So the evening wasn't a total waste afterall.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You're Fired!

This morning on the way into work I was listening to the local country radio station and the DJs were discussing how someone at their station had been fired the day before. As these things are want to do, the conversation quickly turned to whether they the DJs had ever fired anyone and then ultimately they invited listeners to call in to share their stories of having to fire someone. There were the funny (one girl had to fire her sister) and the scary (someone got fired for cutting another co-worker's brake lines) and the just plain illegal (hiring your buddy for the sole purpose of staging a fight and firing him so he could collect unemployment).

This of course got me thinking about the two times I have personally had to fire someone. Neither time was particularly pleasant for me, but no one got hurt and generally speaking I think both people I had to fire handled the situation much better than I did. Turns out I might just not be upper management material because I take it to heart when I have to let someone go, deserved or no. I can't help but feel sad for them, for their families and so on. I also tend to be the eternal optimist insisting someone can change and do better even in light of damning evidence to the contrary. Its a personality flaw. I've accepted it.

The first time I had to fire someone I was fairly young, maybe like 22, and as the paralegal/office manager of a small law firm I pretty much did everything from ordering supplies to taking out the trash to making sure the whiskey stashed in the boss' desk drawer was always full. I was quite literally horrified when the boss called me into his office one afternoon after everyone had gone for the day to tell me that our receptionist had to be fired and it was my job to do it. I forget now what her offense was, she was also young and this was her first office job ever (after spending several years with a giant coffee company that shall remain nameless). I can tick off a list of her faults, dress code violations, too much time spent on the internet, too many personal phone calls, taking advantage of the office's lax lunch hour policy... But I'm not sure which of these doomed her. I also remember her being very cool and collected even in the face of a screaming client (or boss) and that she kept the front office immaculately clean.

The boss decided we should let her go on a Friday and my stomach was in knots all week counting down until Friday at five. I can't remember how I opened the conversation, I remember I didn't ask her to go to a conference room but that I just stood in front of her desk while I fired her. She didn't cry, she didn't even act particularly suprised, but she did make a few angry comments about how she felt she deserved better after putting up with our crazy boss (which I could not deny). I remember she calmly packed her things, took her keys off her keychain and left them on the desk, and walked out of the office. I remember watching as she walked to elevator and then as she put her box down and came back in to give me a hug. I never saw her again and she never listed us as a reference, though I would have given her a good review.

The second time I had to fire someone it didn't go quite as smoothly. In fact, I almost got fired myself because of it! I was not much older than the first time I had to fire someone, I think 25. I was working as a store manager/customer service trainer for a now-defunct laser skin care center. The company had lots of problems, the least of which were multiple lawsuits (sexual harrassment and medical negligence) and ended it ended up getting sold to a competitor right before a couple of the higher ups landed in jail for tax evasion and investor fraud. It wasn't the best job I've ever had but when I took it I had no idea what I was getting into and I was looking for something fun and different.

It didn't take me long to figure out that things weren't exaclty legitimate. For the most part I kept my head down and tried to run things as smoothly as possible in my own little store. The main problem was that corporate would go on these massive hiring sprees and then just assign new people to my store whom I had never met nor had the opportunity to interview. This was only mildly annoying at first, until they sent me two new sales people who quite clearly hated each other from day one. This resulted in maybe not the best work environment. One was a middle-aged female, mother of two, newly divorced, highly plastic and very, very high maintenance. She would show up to work in totally inappropriate clothing (highlighting her new... erhm... enhancements courtesy of her ex) and say insulting things to the other women who worked there, to say nothing of her hard-sell, scare tactics with the customers. The other was a younger male, maybe late 20's, scruffy looking, starving musician with what I would describe as a laid-back life attitude. They were like oil and water.

One day the female employee crossed the line. Someone called me to complain about something she had said to them in their consult and as they said the magic buzz-word "lawsuit" I had to get corporate involved. I thought for sure she would be fired then but no matter how many calls I put in to the corporate office I could get no resolution to the matter from them. Did I mention she was the top seller in not just my store but in the entire district? For all of you out there who say you hate pushy sales people I present evidence that those people are successful. Anyway, a few weeks passed and I finally got a call back from the district manager who instructed me not to fire the woman, but to fire the man. Apparently while she was in telling her side of the lawsuit story to corporate she took the opportunity to complain about her co-worker (and competition). I never learned what she said exactly about him but it was enough to have him black listed internally and my orders were clear - she was staying and he was to be fired. Immediately.

I was devistated. Granted, she was the higher producing sales person but she was insufferable and extremely high maintenance. He was popular with the patients and always showed up on time for his shifts with little to no complaining. I couldn't see why we should reward one employee who was being threatened with a lawsuit and fire one who was responsible and hard-working. And I said so. Loudly. To whoever I could get on the phone. When I realized my district manager was adament about the firing I called the regional manager, then the customer service manager, then the CEO. The CEO told me that either I could fire this guy or they would let me go and hire someone who would. Point taken.

I decided to just do it as soon as he came in for his shift that afternoon, I couldn't see waiting and torturing myself with anticipation. I invited him to my office, everyone in the store watched us walk back there. I had never met with anyone alone in my office before, in fact normally I didn't even sit in my office. He was angry, for all the reasons I knew he would be. He wanted to call the district manager to get the full story direct from him but I declined to be a part of it. I figured he had his number and could call from home if he wanted. He turned in his security info and left rather quietly, head down, not speaking to anyone. I sat in my office for the remainder of the day crying. A few short weeks later I got wind of a brand new scandal coming down the ladder from corporate and quietly handed in my resignation. A few years after that I got a check in the mail from some law firm stating that as a former employee I was entitled to a settlement from the company's dissolution. I held on to it for months and then figured they owed me for emotional distress and cashed it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer, summer, summertime!

Hello June!

I don't know what it is about June that makes me giddy... It must be a hold over from the whole being in school and summer vacation starting in June. It most certainly isn't because it is warm and summer-like out today on the first of June. In fact, it was more summer-like in March when we were having that crazy heat wave... Today I wouldn't even go so far as to say is "warm", more like it is "not cold", but I digress. Just the mere thought of it being June makes me happy and we all know a happy Tiff is a good thing.

Of course the fact that today is June 1st also means that it has been like 6 weeks since my last blog post. Awesome. I know I owe you (the rhetorical you, is anyone even reading this thing anymore??) posts about my fabulous trip to Mendocino, the best girls' weekend ever in DC, the fact that I am no longer working at my dream catering job but am instead back commuting to my mortgage banking job that I swore I'd never go back to, or how about a post about how I have joined Weight Watchers so the end of the world as we know it is imminent.

Stay tuned my friends, stay tuned. There have been a lot of changes going on in the Land of Tiffy. Some good, some less good, but I am determined to stay positive and upbeat because it could be worse. It could be so much worse.