Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Long-Awaited Update

As has been routine for me, I'll blog for a while and disappear off into the ether, sucked into real life and whatever drama is getting dished out to me.

So... the last time I blogged was in August when I was making the best of my time in Package Purgatory and waiting for training sessions that seemed to never come.

By September I had accepted that I wasn't going anywhere. When October 1st came around, I had resigned myself to another few months trapped in Purgatory because the powers that be don't normally put people into driver training so close to the holiday rush.

On October 7th, I was happily snoozing on the couch after working another punishing day of slinging packages when my phone blew up. "You might be driving tomorrow, if you don't hear anything..." went the text messages.

I was excited but scared at the same time. And I felt cheated because I wasn't given a chance to say goodbye to my coworkers. The next day I started my training. Worked one shift, was laid off for several days. Worked one shift, was laid off for several days. And on it went. Once the training supervisor had set me loose and allowed me to start doing the route alone, I found myself lonely and stressing out during lunch breaks.

I'm terribly sorry to the two or three people who got to hear how I was getting my ass handed to me routinely for 20 workdays. I appreciate all the pep talks, support and Give 'em Hell's that came my way. You guys really made my days more tolerable.

That said, in the end, I sucked. Got called into the office and told very nicely that I just wasn't fast enough and that I was being sent back to my old job.

I had feared when the day came that I would cry and embarrass myself in front of upper management. I knew it was coming. I had been so frustrated the day before that I had spent my lunch break sitting in the truck crying because nobody was answering my texts.

And so back to the early morning package slinging for me. Which I did for about two weeks before they started bouncing me back and forth between shifts. As an on-call driver, that's just the way things go sometimes. I landed back on driver shift for most of December, delivering out of a 16' rental truck. I could go on and on about the misery of delivering out of a rental or the misery of having a loader who just randomly threw shit throughout the truck but I've decided to let it go for now. Next December will come soon enough.

Now that the holidays are over, I'm back to my old shift with my old coworkers and my old miniscule paychecks. I'm trying really hard to not have a second job this year. I can't seem to figure out who would hire me and give me a schedule that won't conflict with my DOT Hours or on-call schedule.

I went to Portland with a small army of Bruce Campbell fans for Portland Comic Con. I'll be blogging about that soon.

In the meantime, I'm trying to re-adjust to my sleep schedule. I'm trying to wrap my brain around the drama and misery that Package Purgatory can be sometimes. I'm going to do whatever I can do to back up the people who've had my back when I needed them. I'm trying to keep my head down and shut my mouth and do my job.

And I'm still going to take my job too seriously and too personally. And I may still invite people out for drinks even if I am too much of a loser for people to ever want to hang out.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Musical Guilty Pleasures

As I alluded to in my last post, my coworkers now all hate me for bringing in an mp3 player load of the world's worst music to torment them with each and every morning.

Not that I consider any of that stuff bad music, I just work with a much younger crowd. They have no idea what most of the songs are. And the older crowd (read: management) don't get the eclectic mix of country, 80's pop, 90's punk and whatever indie stuff I'm playing at any given time.

Hey, diverse taste in music is a sign of a well-developed intellect. Oh wait, I don't get paid to think!

So I may as well confess to some of the things I've been subjecting the coworkers to lately...

Yes, I posted this in the last blog post too, but The Bee Gees are my jam right now. I will never skip this track and I always turn up the volume one way or another, even if I'm at the other end of the building. Sorry, not sorry. I love this song even if nobody else does.

Anything by Brand New will never get skipped and will always be turned up loud unless it's so bassy that my little stereo can't take it. Not The Sun, Degausser and Soco Amaretto Lime are my usual jams, but anything by Brand New gets turned up. Again: Sorry, not sorry!

Country. Particularly this song. Hope You get Lonely Tonight will never be skipped and always turned up loud. In fact, I like to start the shift with this one as loud as can be at least once a week.

The one guy who's close to my age actually recognized this song. Not that I didn't hear groans from the peanut gallery when I turned it up with a big sideways grin as is my routine when one of my jams comes on! Never skipped, always turned up loud.

Some of the younger coworkers actually tolerate this one. This is another that I never skip and always gets turned up loud. This is one of my first songs of the work shift as well. I have to start the day with this at least once a week.

Roseanne Cash. Yup. I had this on vinyl when I was a kid. This is seriously my jam right now. Coworkers really don't get this choice at all. Midlife crisis jam? Who knows? I love this song! Always turned up, never skipped.

If there's one person I work with who knows this song other than me, they really need to come forward. I love this song. Always turned up, never skipped. Get over it, guys! I love this so hard!

Here's a gem that I'm sure nobody gets but me. Underappreciated 1990 hard rock, right before the grunge revolution made everyone who dug stuff like this into "buttrockers" in the eyes of their peers. It's for that one person who I really adore but fight with all the time.

Like The Bee Gees, I can't help but love this song no matter how much people laugh at me.

I love Luke Bryan so much that it's not even funny. I'd give up every fangirl mancrush I have for Luke Bryan. At least the nearest coworker to me and passing managers have a taste for country. Doesn't matter the song, Luke Bryan always gets turned up and never skipped.

It's official, I just love so much weird stuff that I can't even start to cover it here. Besides, youtube doesn't have most of my obscure favorites so I can't share that stuff with everyone in cyberworld.

I'm like Debbie Hunt from Singles. I have all these things that I love which nobody else does...

And no, I don't have that MXPX song on my playlist. You know, this one...?

A Note On The Last Blog Post...

I sure blew it. Wrote a big heartfelt goodbye to people who I thought I wouldn't be working with too closely anymore.

Well, after over a month, I'm still in my place in Purgatory. Guess the company thought they were being proactive by overtraining.

I'm okay, still working, just not getting as much money or work as I had expected. Told the bosses I was going to do whatever I had to in order to make my quality time in Package Purgatory fun.

I started taking a radio to work. My coworkers don't like me anymore. The most common greeting I hear lately is "What the hell is this crap?" with "Thanks for turning that shit down!" coming in a close second.

I don't really care too much about what they think. I'm playing by the rules. No cursing or they'll take away my radio privileges. No misloads or they'll take away my radio privileges.

Supervisor came over and made fun of me for jacking up the volume when The Bee Gees came on. "I haven't heard this song since yesterday. And the day before. And 1970!"

Sorry, I've kept a clean playlist, but it's full of my guilty pleasures and you're going to deal with it! Sorry, not sorry!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Open Letter to my UPS Team:

I'm getting sent to a training session next week and I'm filled with mixed emotions. I work with a good quality group of people who I hate to leave, but the opportunity for advancement is too tempting to pass up.

An open letter to my UPS team:

As I’m headed off for week-long training, I wanted to take the time to thank you all publically for putting up with me this past seven months. I know I can be a challenge to work with and for your patience, I commend you.

Elaine: thank you for taking the time to answer all of my sometimes redundant questions. I ask a lot of questions because I have a serious craving for knowledge.
I know the process of getting me into training has had a few bumps. I appreciate the fact that while I was stressing over minor things, you always held the belief that things would work out. This opportunity means a lot to me and while I’m a bit nervous, I intend to give my best effort to prove you right.

Jeff: you recognized quickly that I had a good grip on the business end of things, not simply the routine I was expected to follow. You always made me feel welcome even if my previous training didn’t always mesh with the way we do things here.
Thank you for always being approachable and being a fair and reasonable manager. I’ve worked with several people in your position and you are one of the best.

Ryan: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you angry. You had faith in me even when I was struggling and I’ve done my best to prove you right in my transition from a different style operation.
At first, I thought your hands-off management style was just a symptom of not caring. Seems to me now that the reason you leave me alone is because you trust me and I appreciate your trust.

Tom: you really made me feel welcome when I nervously returned to the company. I didn’t think you’d take me up on it when on that very first day I told you I wanted a third car because I wasn’t being challenged enough. Oops.
I appreciate it that you enjoy my twisted sense of humor, but even more than that, I appreciate that you’ve always had my back. If I told someone else that I needed a stop moved or there was an issue, it would sit on the back burner for who knows how long. You got things fixed for me when I told you what I needed to be successful.
While we’ve butted heads a bit, I hope you know that kicking you out of my work area wasn’t a personal slight, but simply because I needed to concentrate on the task at hand.
I trust you, even if we don’t always work well together.

Matt: I still don’t exactly know what you do. That said, your twisted smile as you ask me if I’m ready for my add/cuts every day always makes my day a little better. You tied me into things that have helped me to be more successful in my position and those insights are much appreciated. I also appreciate that you know enough about the building I used to work at that we can talk about the differences in the operations.

Philip: We haven’t worked together a lot, but I appreciate your intelligence, your common sense approach and your sense of humor.

My drivers: thanks so much for putting up with me as I was dealing with rookie mistakes from having to learn a new operation. I’ve always tried to have your backs first and foremost, after all, we are a service industry. Your feedback has been very useful to me and I appreciate your good attitudes. I don’t want to name you all personally, but we can all wink and nudge about false walls and add/cuts on the 9000 shelf.

Cecilia: thanks for making me feel welcome and helping me with the safety training I missed between positions with the company. I appreciate your including me in safety even though I’m not an official committee member. I also really appreciate the fact that when I was worried about learning the material for the upcoming training, you went out of your way to get it for me so I could practice.

Crew members: I can’t name all of you separately, but each and every one of you has had an effect on my success. Thanks for making me feel welcome, and for your smartass comments when I really needed a smile. East side, West side, doesn’t matter. You guys rock!

Longtime splitters on the bottom belt: thanks for being my neighbors and being so damn fun to work with. This goes for everyone I was clustered with at peak.
Posse on Broadway forever.
Oh, and you never need to apologize to me about blow-by’s. We didn’t even have those in my old building. As long as it’s not an Over 70, I don’t give a crap, it’s minor in the big scheme of things.
Oh, and thanks for calling out the irregs and bikes for me. And for laughing when I holler “NO!”

Everyone: I know I’m snarky as all heck and can be kind of a loudmouth at times. I also know that the way we did things in my old building are markedly different compared to how we do things here. Yes, it really is customary for hourlies to kick management out of their work areas where I’m from. We also weren’t allowed to talk to each other during shift, nor were we allowed radios. If I’ve seemed a little antisocial, it’s simply because the routine of not talking to anyone has been trained into me so heavily that I’m not used to carrying on a conversation except during downtime.

I know that having come from a different building in a specialized position, I’ve had some really great successes in identifying problems. I’ve also fallen flat on my face quite a bit. It’s sad that now that I’ve finally integrated a bit that I have to leave.

I’m going to genuinely miss all of you, even when I’m doing a happy dance that I won’t have to desperately find a place to cram 47 bicycles once a week or have to deal with the almost daily containment issues on one or many of the routes I load. I know I’ll see you all briefly in the mornings once I’ve returned from training, but I’ll still miss the hours of watching the cardboard masses come down the belt and the sunrise from the loading dock on nice days when the bay doors are open. Oh, and the heaters in winter. We didn’t have heaters where I came from.

Best to you all,
That Girl You Keep Around For Entertainment Value

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Degausser (Brand New)

Another song I've had stuck in my head. As with the previous post, giving a video and lyrics highlighted to emphasize the ones that most struck me as fitting these days.


Goodbye to sleep,
I think this staying up is exactly what I need

Well take apart your head
Take apart the counting, and the flock it has bred

Goodbye to love,
Well it's a ride that'll push you up
Right against the wall

(Right against the wall)
Chew it up and swallow it

You're brought back but you're running
I'll find sleep in the end tonight
I can't shake this little feeling
I'll never get anything right

Goodbye you liar,
Well you sipped from the cup but you don't own up to anything

Then you think you will inspire
Take apart your head
(and I wish I could inspire)
Take apart the demon, in the attic to the left.

(goodbye my love)
You're brought back but you're running
(goodbye my love)
I'll find sleep in the end tonight
(goodbye my love)
I can't shake this little feeling
(goodbye my love)
I'll never say anything right

I'm on my own, never say anything right
I'm on my own, never say anything right
I'm on my own, never say anything right
I'm on my own, never say anything right

Well take me, take me back to your bed
I love you so much that it hurts my head
Say I don't mind you under my skin
I'll let the bad parts in, the bad parts in
When we were made we were set apart
Life is a test and I get bad marks
Now some saint got the job of writing down my sins
The storm is coming, the storm is coming in

You're brought back but you're running
I'll find sleep in the end tonight
I can't shake this little feeling
I'll never get anything right

I'm on my own, never say anything right
I'm on my own, never say anything right

Take me, take me back to your bed
I love you so much that it hurts my head
I don't mind you under my skin
I'll let the bad parts in, the bad parts in
Well you're my favourite bird and when you sing
I really do wish you'd wear my ring
No matter what they say, I am still the king
And now the storm is coming, the storm is coming in 
I'm totally not going through insane amounts of stress and a huge midlife crisis. Really. I'm just fine. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

"Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" (Brand New)

Every once in a while, I get stuck on a song. Really stuck.

I'll listen to a song repeatedly for days or weeks on end without exception... unless I'm somewhere where I can't help but hear something different.

So I'll share my current obsessive earworm. Found this after some random poking around on youtube, looking for a band name I couldn't remember. The song title had me hooked before I even listened to it and I was pleased to find the song was even better than the title.

I can relate to this song on so many levels, so I have gone to the trouble of highlighting the most meaningful lyrics to illustrate my point.

Tommy Gun. Yes. Win-win.

I am heaven sent,
Don't you dare forget.
I am all you've ever wanted,
What all the other boys all promised.
Sorry I told. I just needed you to know.

I think in decimals and dollars.
I am the cause to all your problems,
Shelter from cold. we are never alone.
Coordinate brain and mouth.
Then ask me whats it's like to have
Myself so figured out.
I wish I knew...

I hope this song starts a craze.
The kind of song that ignites the airwaves.
The kind of song that makes people glad
To be where they are,
With whomever they're there with.

This is war.
Every line is about,
Who I don't wanna write about anymore.
Hope you come down with something
They can't diagnose, don't have the cure for.
Holding on to your grudge.
Oh its so hard to have someone to love.
And keeping quiet is hard.
Cause you can't keep a secret
If it never was a secret to start.
At least pretend you didn't wanna get caught...

We're concentrating on falling apart.
We were contenders, we're throwing the fight
But I just wanna believe, I just wanna believe,
I just wanna believe, in us.

Oh, we're so c-c-c-c-c-controversial.
We are entirely smooth.
We admit to the truth,
We are the best at what we do.

And these are the words you wish you wrote down.
This is the way you wish your voice sounds,
Handsome and smart.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body
That works harder than my heart.

And its all from watching TV,
And from speeding up my breathing.
Wouldn't stop if I could.
Oh it hurts to be this good.
You're holding on to your grudge.
Oh it hurts to always have to be honest
With the one that you love.
Oh, so let it go..

We're concentrating on falling apart.
We were contenders, we're throwing the fight
But I just wanna believe, I just wanna believe,
I just wanna believe.
We're concentrating on falling apart.
We were contenders, we're throwing the fight
But I just wanna believe, I just wanna believe,
I just wanna believe, in us.

This is the grace that only we can bestow.
This is the price you pay for loss of control.
This is the break in the bend,
This is the closest of calls.
This is the reason you're alone,
This is the rise and the fall.

We're concentrating on falling apart.
We were contenders, we're throwing the fight
But I just wanna believe, I just wanna believe,
I just wanna believe.
We're concentrating on falling apart.
We were contenders, we're throwing the fight
But I just wanna believe, I just wanna believe,
I just wanna believe, in us.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Abandoning Facebook and Places You Can Never Return To.

Today I decided to abandon Facebook for the foreseeable future. I haven't been posting much over there lately with the two jobs and everything, so I had already had the thought in the back of my mind.

The final straw was realizing the misery I was causing for myself by logging on and looking at the photos and stories of everyone else's happiness, vacations, adventures and general good times.

I haven't had a vacation since I've lived here. In fact, as I was running out to the store earlier this morning, I started asking myself why I had chosen to live in such a miserable place. I know why I did it. Because there's this one little part of town, by the water, which reminds me of a place I used to go during the summers when I was growing up.

I work two jobs, bust my ass and break my body every day just to start worrying about having enough money to make it to the next paycheck two days after payday. And then I tell myself that I chose this life because it's honorable. I did this to myself. I made the choices in this life that painted me so far into a corner that I'll never truly live life ever again. Penance.

So yes, I've left Facebook to avoid having to be reminded that normal people live in nice houses, go on more than one vacation a year and are generally happy. I spent all my happy years ago. I have no idea how to relate other than to rage when I see that photo from someone's vacation in the one place I was ever truly happy in my entire life. The one place I can never return to because I've failed so badly as an adult that I couldn't even afford the gas to return there for a day trip.

I'm nearing 40, it keeps creeping up on me bit by bit. Soon I'll be too broken to continue in the jobs I hold now. And I have no idea whatsoever how I'm going to deal with it when they cut me loose because I'm too old and can't keep up anymore.

I couldn't hack it as a photographer. I see that other photographers I knew back in the day are ridiculously successful. I quit because I couldn't figure out how to make money at it.

I couldn't hack it in broadcasting. I threw myself in wholeheartedly and when push came to shove, I never figured out how to turn contacts into an opportunity.

I really didn't want to be career in either restaurant or retail management. I could have, but I had no urge to live those punishing hours forever.

I went to school for agriculture. Years later and I haven't even come close to paying for school with my work in the industry.

All I have is shitty manual labor jobs. And myriad talents that I could never parlay into anything lucrative.

All my life I've gone head first into those things that I thought I wanted most. And every time, I've burned myself for doing so.

My grandma always used to caution me about burning the candle at both ends, yet, at this point in my life, I have no other choice but to beat myself to death slowly in order to maintain a status quo that keeps everyone happy but me.

Is it too much to ask to go out and have a drink with friends (I have none)? Is it too much to ask to have some of the locals here tell me where the good secret hideaways are after six years of knowing nobody and nothing? Is it too much to ask that I don't have to work every damn paid vacation I may get from my night job just to keep things on even keel while my coworkers are out fishing and waterskiing and lounging on beaches?

I can't even get so far as the damn poultry auction, which is somewhere I need to go from time to time as part of my day job.

I wish I could jettison this life, it's a waste anyway.

So if you don't see me on Facebook, it's because I'm working. All the damn time. Working to pay for other people's happiness. All while I'm destined to be stuck in my own personal hell forever.

I was working on a novel back in November for Nanowrimo. I got pretty far into it before job(s) took me away from the computer. It was intended to be a requiem for the place I'll never return to. And in having not been able to finish the work, I suppose I kept a small sliver of hope alive that one day I'll be able to go back.

That's what's eating at me now. That small sliver of hope that I really need to let go of. Because looking at photos of friends and family in speedboats in that place for spring break is killing me.