Thursday, November 16, 2006

Opportunities Abound

A couple new ones hit my email today! 'Been on the phone all morning!

It's going to be a great day. I am hopeful with regard to an interview tomorrow morning, and then it's off to the attorney's office afterwards. (Simply to have my severance paperwork looked over.)

In other news...

An odd thing happened, and I hope I handled it right. I am a firm believer that in any relationship at all, it's not necessary to disclose everything.

But at the same time, I don't believe in keeping any secrets from a spouse that can be considered major things.

There is probably a fine line between there.

An ex-coworker of mine used to be fairly flirtatious, which is not a problem. He'd joke about going on business trips together to hook up. It seemed very much like he was referring to needing to do something as outlandish as hook up to make business trips in our industry palatable, if that makes any sense. Our industry is not glamorous, and trips to plants can be long, dry, and boring. So that's how I took it. And it was dismissed as common office banter. Same as when he and others would crack jokes about things like asking me for help since I was a woman engineer and all, and everyone knows they are less competent. The would say something like that with a tone that shows they are really mocking the tone of the industry for being so stupid and chauvinistic. We typically work in such a stuffy environment that if you don't joke around and become good friends with one another, the tendency for one to wish to hurl him/herself out a fourth story window onto an active freeway below is unavoidable.

The ex-coworker wrote to me. Post lay off. And he propositioned me. In very serious terms. He was very specific. "At least one night... you don't tell your husband, I don't tell my wife... if you think it's good we can keep it going..." And so on with detail.

My first, immediate reaction was a sense of guilt with previous office banter, because it became clear that all through it, this guy was more serious than I realized. And somehow, I felt instantaneously as if I should have known that. But after grasping my reaction with both hands, and contemplating it, it was horseshit. There is no way I had any indication that he wasn't joking around the same way at least 12 other guys did on a regular basis. And the joking around? Sure, it was always a two way street. But I never said anything that I wouldn't say in front of my husband or in front of any priest.

Here is an example of the nature of typical banter...
Me: This stupid routing is like spaghetti. It's never going to all work out. Sorting this out is like splitting an atom.
Male coworker: Your cute when you're pissy. I'll split your atom for you.
Me: Yeah, you appear capable of that level of physics. Shah.
Male coworker: What? You want a physical? Step into my office.
Me: I'd have you for malpractice. But you'd look cute with a stethoscope around your neck and a white lab coat.
Male coworker: Hey, man, as long as you "had me" some way, it'd be cool. But seriously, good luck with your routing issue.
Me: See ya.

This whole conversation would carry on with smiles and a joking nature. There is no physical contact. Sure, maybe it's sexual harassment, but I've got news for the world out there who hasn't worked in automotive - this is as good as it gets. So you make the best of it and adjust if you want to work and be prosperous. And on that same note, being a super-prude is not an answer. Not only is it not in my nature to be super prudish, the environment is so political that you sincerely can't risk being an outcast from the boys' club even if you would prefer it. I'm a very relaxed, outgoing, flirtatious person by nature.

But I would never cheat on my husband.

So here is the dilemma that I carried, heavy in my heart, for a couple days. Do I tell my husband about the proposition? What if I don't, and he wants to know why we never made plans to go out with (insert this coworker's name and his wife) as we had talked about in the past? (They live near our house.) What if I have to mention it then and he's hurt I kept it from him? I played all sorts of scenarios in my head... What if we see them at a movie theater or restaurant or shopping mall and my husband doesn't understand why I keep things really distant and don't carry on making plans with them as he'd expect? Will he possibly wonder what the tension is all about, and perhaps wonder if I really DID have an affair?

On the other hand, what are the odds of that. Is this something he really needs to know? I was very sure he wouldn't take it with a grain of salt. He'd be offended at the thought that this other man tried to breach the perimeter of his private kingdom of marriage. I know I'd feel a little sting of emotion if I came to know that a woman from my husband's place of employment was actively pursuing him sexually. I'm not a jealous person by any far stretch of the imagination. But I take the marriage thing seriously. My husband is my safe place. We belong to each other. That means no sharing of naughty bits with other people. So we can both feel safe and comfy in that trust, and not worry about catching cooties. And even better than that? The sense of purpose from knowing that we are each the sole person to satisfy the other's every need. That's hands down one of the best parts of marriage for me.

I eventually told him. Just so I could stop thinking about whether or not I should or shouldn't tell him. And, because I decided that I'd want to know, if the tables were turned. His response? Really angry. I hope I didn't make the wrong choice.

But I do feel like I kept the lines of communication open and didn't keep it locked away.

Would you have told him? Or kept it private and just dismissed it?

Stolen from the Lovely Heather

1. FIRST NAME? Espresso Bean :o)
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes. My parents got my first name from a celebrity that had the same name spelled my way, and my middle name is my Grandmother's middle name too.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Hmmm. I don't remember.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It's okay. I've seen better, I've seen worse.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Tofurky. If I have to pick an actual meat, it would be honey turkey.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Either Kashi or Frosted Mini Wheats.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. Except my running shoes.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? In all ways except physical.
14. SHOE SIZE? 6.
15. RED OR PINK? red.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My friend Anna.
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Green fleecy pajama pants with snowflakes on them. Cozy.
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A grilled chicken panini sandwich with sauteed veggies.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The stupid television making the static feedback noises from interference with my PDA. So annoying.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? The soft smell of my husband when I snuggle against him and kiss him right under his ear. And the smell of real lavender.
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? I guess mannerisms. The way a person carries himself/herself.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? A favorite blogger who I admire.
27. FAVORITE DRINK? a good red wine.
28. FAVORITE SPORT? To play or to watch? To do myself - running or scuba. To watch - hockey.
29. EYE COLOR? blue.
30. HAT SIZE? small.
32. FAVORITE FOOD? veggie stir fry or veggie lasagna
34. 34 is missing, so I'll make one up. If you could meet anyone you wanted posthumously, who would it be? Either Katherine Hepburn or Princess Diana.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. I live in Michigan. Winters are horrific.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Key lime pie
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Preparing for the LSAT.
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nothing. I don't often watch any television.
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My husband's voice, the coffee pot perking, rain falling on the roof, Christmas carolers.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Hmm. I think the Bahamas.
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Keeping sanity in the midst of chaos.
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Michigan.
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I stole it from Heather the wonder mom.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The smell of.... roses?

Good Lawd this is exhausting. Tuesday my interview was in a town that is surrounded by nothingness. The town itself is really nice. Extremely affluent town. But it's sort of separated from the next town by cornfields, farms, and grazing cows. Yes, cows. I saw many. No holstein cows though. Those are my favorite. I guess in all fairness I shouldn't say it is surrounded by nothingness. I just happened to enter it from a direction that requires passing through an area of nothingness before you get there. Still, cows.

This morning went well too. I think I rather prefer the position I interviewed for this morning over the position I interviewed for yesterday, but I'll see what materializes. I'm not unrealistic. I may not get a shot at either. And that's okay. There are other things coming to fruition too.

Something very strange happened today. Time slowed down. Go ahead. Raise your eyebrows and think I'm nutty. You might be right. Nevertheless, time slowed down. This is the first day in over five years that I have seriously not had to run as fast as I could to try to beat the clock as time evaporated from my day like steam gets sucked out of a newly opened bathroom door after a super long, hot shower.

I had time to get a refill of coffee after my meeting this morning. Time to organize my papers in the car before rushing off. Time to sit and organize the best way to go about the day. Time to not rush the service people everywhere I went - the bank, cleaners, several retail stores, etc. In fact, I stopped at the mall to pick up some cards I needed, and when I didn't find exactly what I wanted, I didn't have to find an immediate substutite and run out like the fire alarm had just sounded. I even took the time to take a jaunt down to Tiffany's just to look. I had no gifts to buy or any other business there. Just to look. Pleasurable window shopping. It was blissful. And it only took about 30 minutes out of the day. But it was amazing.

I feel as if I've traded my life in for someone else's. Someone who still fits in my clothes and has the same standards for what constitutes a good hair day, but someone who isn't racing the clock every day. And usually losing.

I got a heap of crap done today. And in true standard form, planned on a second heap for the evening. But family called, and I ended up having a glass of wine with my mother and looking through some old pictures. In part, unfortunately, to begin picking things out for bulletin boards for my grandmother. Not a happy thought, but still part of life. And it seemed to help her to not go it alone.

I guess this is what stopping to smell the roses is. Not bad.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A bit late, if you ask me...

Automakers to meet with Bush tomorrow

November 13, 2006


Today, Michigan's Congressional Democrats urged Detroit's automakers to take a firmer line when they meet with President George W. Bush tomorrow on their top concerns, saying the administration needed to pay closer attention to Detroit's troubles.

The heads of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group will sit down with Bush about 1:15 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room for a 45-minute discussion whose topics will include health care, currency concerns and alternative energy. In addition to Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and economics adviser Al Hubbard will also attend.

While little action is expected to result directly from the meeting, Michigan's newly empowered Democrats say they hope the meeting will lead the administration to reassess its approach to the domestic auto industry.

"We want to see a change of attitude by this administration," said Rep. John Dingell, the Dearborn Democrat who will likely become chairman of the House's powerful Energy and Commerce committee next year, after a meeting Monday with representatives of the Detroit automakers.

As for the automakers, "they are going to have to be more forceful" in making their case to the administration, Dingell said.

White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters Monday that Bush would "express his support for the American auto industry" and listen to their concerns.

Of the three main topics, currency could play the largest role, since Bush is scheduled to meet with Japan's prime minister later this week. The Detroit automakers contend Japan unfairly suppresses the value of the yen, boosting the profits Japanese automakers make in the United States and giving vehicles exported from Japan a price break.

"There's been an indifference here that needs to end," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak. "They make good cars. We need to make good policy."

Fostering Cats and Losing Sanity

I should update on the previously mentioned cats...

First, they got sick. I mean SICK. Upper respiratory infection, or "URI" as they apparently call it in the vet business. When I brought one of the foster cats home, I noticed a couple sneezes. I thought it was from the sprinkly stuff I put on the carpets to help lift the pet hair and make sure it ends up in the vacuum cleaner instead of buried in the carpet fibers. So I stopped using the sprinkly stuff for awhile. Coincidentally, the cat also stopped sneezing.

But then, another cat started to sneeze. And eventually another. Soon, all four were sneezing and wheezing, and then, yes then, my Chloe got very ill. Visibly ill. She's a big, fluffy calico who is 18 years old. And she was sick to the point of seeming half dead. She went from fine to horrid in less than 24 hours.

So off to the vet we went. All four of them. Two at a time, because I have two cat carriers. So two trips. Examinations and medication all around. Grand total for that first visit? $400. No kidding. Chloe had subcutaneous fluids and everything. The vet was not surprised it hit her harder than the rest, or that it happened so quickly with her.

For well over a week, I had Chloe with me every waking hour I was home, and thankfully, her spot to sleep is next to my pillow, so she wasn't far when I was asleep. Every morning I'd clean her eyes and nose, and hold her in the bathroom for at least an hour in the steam. Every night - same thing. After about a week, she started to improve.

Twice a day I separated doses of canned cat food with smashed pills mixed in. I haven't had time for bubble baths in over 6 months, and here I was trying to make time for 3 hours a day of cat duty.

It was so entirely possible that Chloe wouldn't make it through that. I'm so glad she did.

What happened, in case anyone is curious, is one of the cats either had or was just carrying the cooties for the infection. Bacteria. Nasty. This cat came to me on anti-biotics. So the cooties were likely almost killed entirely, but not far enough along yet so as not to pass them on to others.

I won't even discuss the total of vet costs at this point in time. However...

Guess what else happened at the vet?

It was discovered that the pregnant cat that caused all the commotion - isn't really pregnant after all.

I hear this is common. And in this case, two vets and three vet techs said she was pregnant. They had to put an ultrasound on her to see what was going on in there. She had swollen organs and some other issues that had been overlooked by everyone until that point because it was believed it was all symptoms of pregnancy, not a treatable issue. So we got her all taken care of.

I am still with all the cats. Unfortunately. They eat me out of house and home, I tell you. I still haven't managed to partner with a rescue to show them and adopt them out. I had several snarky calls and emails from the person who initially covered the neutering of one of the cats, which incidentally, I think is likely equivalent to a week and a half of food for this cat, before we even talk about what the cooties cost to rid. I'm likely out a good $700 by now. And no prospective homes for the cats to boot. Great, eh?

But wait, it gets better. Are you sitting down? All the contact information for the people I've dealt with in all of this, including the snarky woman who covered the cost of the sterilization for one cat, were in my corporate phone and computer. Both of which have been turned in. I have no idea how to find this woman ever again. And now? The odds are I'm moving out of Michigan. Soon. I can't very well waste time searching for her, she can't foster anyway, and I have no way to just leave the cats behind, so it looks like these cats may be heading for future adoption in another state.

A special note for MyQuestioningMind - Go ahead and laugh. I'm laughing with you. This is all hysterical. And I'm not surprised that they do that with rabbits. In fact, I'm less surprised by the rabbits than I was about doing that with cats. But as you said, if someone came and offered to take the babies, it would likely be an okay thing. That makes all the difference in the world.

Interesting Article

If anyone has time - this is a very interesting article.

Week in Review

Only because this week went by faster than I ever imagined it would... I want to take the time to reflect back and see where on earth it went.

Monday - victimized for 20 seconds in mass layoff, then assessed the situation and rejoiced. Drove immediately to the Post bar to join fellow fallen comrades and hung out until nightfall. (Don't imagine a bunch of sloppy drunks sitting around a bar on stools. It was more a group of folks in suits sitting around a large table reminiscing, sharing stories, lifting each other up, and sharing an equal bout of smiles and tears.) Went home, fed the animals, cuddled with the dogs, and went to sleep.

Tuesday - woke up to an eerie sense of detachment. No computer. I turned it in. No cell phone. I turned that in too. No electronic ties to the outside world. Then, I realized how beautiful the silence was. Since my husband was driving back to Michigan that night to vote, I literally had the entire day, until 6:30ish p.m. to be at home and just exist. So I got up, put on Anchorman for background noise, and went to work cleaning up. I was vacuuming the cobwebs out of the ceiling corners of the upstairs bathroom when I turned around to see my sister's head floating in the doorway of the bathroom. I jumped, shook, shouted, and all the other reactions you commonly would have when your silence is interrupted that way, complete with racing heart and headrush. My entire family had parked outside apparently fearing I was dead inside the house. Nice, eh? At 7 we went to vote, then went to dinner to celebrate my parent's 31st wedding anniversary. Before leaving the house, however, I was bombarded with the news of all the people trying to contact me that morning already. I didn't even have a resume prepared, and honestly, though this may sound terribly lazy, I had no intentions of doing it until the upcoming weekend. (And BTW, if you thought that did sound lazy? You haven't worked your tail off for four years, never once using all your measly allotted vacation time.)

Wednesday - Spent the entire day on the phone and Internet. Literally. Then to my parents for dinner. Got a call shortly after getting home - my dad couldn't find his keys to one of my cars. (His is being fixed, so he's using mine.) Searched the house for spares. No luck Told him to get some sleep, and I'd give him a ride in the morning.

Thursday - Learned that I may not be cut out for children after all... Was at my parents at 5:30 am to give my dad a ride to work, then back for coffee with my mom, then took my brother to school at 7, then back to pick him up at 10:30, then to get my dad at 2. Sat in the parking lot for awhile, and eventually called him to see if I was in the right place. Turns out, my mother went and got him, and they each thought the other had called me, while nobody did. Headed over to their place for coffee, and while walking up to their house, my dad stepped out on the porch. I was about two feet away and saw something shiny in the grass. His keys. After my mother had taken the car title to the dealership and had new ones made. Murphy's law....Went out to Dave and Busters for an organized pity party. We had a nice turn out. Then home to bed. Started feeling like I had a scratchy throat and sore sinuses.

Friday - Sicker than a dog. Stayed in bed and search jobs all day. Hardly had a voice. Went out for a bowl of soup when the hubby got home, enjoyed a hot toddy, and headed home for bed.

Saturday - Veterans Day! Thank you, vets! Spent some time with my hubby and dogs, then rushed our chow in to the vet for grooming and a check-up. Headed to a college football game at Ford Field. Eastern Michigan vs. The Naval Academy. (How fitting for veterans day, eh?) There were some serious Navy guys there. Some with hats from serving in Pearl Harbor. It was nice to see them. After that, headed to the vet to pick up the dog, home to drop him off and feed them, and out to the mall in search of the perfect Interview Suit. Stopped at my parents to say hello, then headed home.

Sunday - got up, organized laundry, and headed for the Lion's game early. Saw some friends there. Headed directly to another mall, and successfully found the perfect Interview Suit. It hangs in my closet now. Stopped on the way home for some more of that special chicken noodle soup at the local pub and another hot toddy to combat this horrible cold, and then home to bed.

Today... - Got up, ironed clothes for my man, sent him off to work at 6:30, made some tea, got online, and my dad called to go out for breakfast. Apparently he has the day off in honor of Veteran's Day, so we went to our favorite breakfast spot - and had excellent pancakes. :o) I also got another job call while at breakfast. Now here I am. I'm thinking some ideas over for how to revamp my resume a little, and then I have three places to send it out to. I'm going to relax until 1:30, then get up, clean the kitchen, go get my nails done, and head home to prepare for tomorrow. It will be a very early morning, since this interview is over 2 hours away from home. At least it's drivable, and I don't have to fly there.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Canned. For Freshness.

Okay, not really for freshness. Nevertheless, canned. Fired. Laid off. Not quite dooced, but the end result is the same, eh?

I have not shed a tear, and I likely won't. This is the best gift that they could have given me. Wooot! As I type this, I'm sitting in my pajamas with wonderful coffee collecting severance pay.

And, the universe has bestowed a gracious merciful wave of kindness over me. I already have two prospects. Certainly, it's possible neither will pan out. But to have two prospects before even getting a current resume together? I'm flabbergasted and honored and shocked all at once.

Wish me luck! I'm about to find an environment where I can be happy. What would make me happy? Glad you asked. Sanity. Time to breathe. A chance to actually interact with friends and family members. Expectations to fulfill that involve doing the work of two people rather than 5 or 6, which is what my previous job had become.

You can't see me, but I'm dancing a jig in the living room. Join me. Go on, get up and shake yo bootie. Woo hoo!