25 May 2007

Crazy Land In An Uproar

When I walked through the patio this morning, I saw Money Man looking out of the kitchen door (which is downstairs). I knew. I saw his daughter and The Information Superhighway (I don't think I've mentioned her before, but you know I'll get to it sooner or later). I knew they were standing around having a bitch fest about the cats. I've been very in touch with my anger lately. As I walked through the adjacent building where the cat food is, I thought,

"I should just go in there and say, 'Bitching about the kitties?'"

I thought better of it and calmed myself down until I was walking into the main building (where the bitching was, in fact, taking place). "I know you're talking about the cats," I thought, I need to walk in there and say that. I calmed myself down again.

Let me just cut to the chase here. I didn't know until I got here this morning that one of my co-workers (hmmm....what to call him...I know, "Lying Boy") sent out an email yesterday afternoon, complaining of how he has taken on the burden of martyrdom by withstanding the onslaught of fleas that come into his office in throngs. Obviously, they come from the cats. He's tired of carrying the weight of that mantle. It came to such a point that he had to (at great personal expense) de-flea his own cat and his whole apartment. Even though he loves working with such great folks every day (nudge, nudge), Lying Boy just really can not tolerate it any more. (He is called Lying Boy for events not related to the Kitty Catastrophe.)

I then noticed that I have an email from Owner, telling me we need to talk about the cats. Want to talk about the cats? Well I don't want to talk about it anymore. Ever. I went from zero to full fledged Psycho Bitch in two seconds. Even the Italians can't produce something that accelerates that quickly. I walked into his office and closed the door.

"First of all, I want you to know I'm having some mood issues lately." Understatement is one of my many appealing qualities. "I don't know why I'm having them, but I need to tell you that because I'm furious."

"Sit down," Owner said, "Are you mad at me?"

"No. And we don't need to talk about the cats. I'm going to let them fucking die," (I don't know. Maybe I should start referring to myself as "The Drama Queen"or "Alec Baldwin" maybe.) I took a deep breath and calmly said,

"You have done everything you can. You have spent a ton of money. I understand that and I want you to know that I appreciate everything you've done." This is where the tears started welling up in my eyes. I composed myself again.

"I'm tired of dealing with it and you shouldn't have to. I'm going to stop feeding the cats. They can fucking die and then, when the rats and the fleas continue to proliferate, my beloved co-workers can get back to me on how it is exactly that the fucking pests are still here." There may have been more uses of "fuck" or some permutation of that word. I know it was sprinkled liberally throughout my discussion with him.

Long, long rant here (about 20 minutes worth, in fact). The upshot is that I'm sick to death of this. "We'll just let them die. I'm going to go in there and let them know that. That'll make their fucking day." (I really like to use that word when I'm angry.)

Owner told me to stay where I was. He proceeded to get on his own high horse about the situation. He doesn't know why Lying Boy is here full time. (In case I haven't mentioned it, Lying Boy is Money Man's son. Money Man has a daughter who works here, too, but I haven't picked out a name for her yet. I will, though, and I may think of it before I get to the end of this post.*) Owner said that he went downstairs to Lying Boy's office and sat there for an hour yesterday waiting for a flea to hop on for a late afternoon brunch. None showed up.

Owner re-read Lying Boy's email and decided he didn't like the tone of it. He immediately sent a snotty email to Lying Boy, requesting that, when he has a problem, Lying Boy should come talk to him instead of sending out an email to everyone in the fucking office. (Yes, the "fucking" is mine. Sigh.)

Somewhere in the midst of our mutual rants, I said that it's my belief that nothing will make those assholes (yes, I did, too, use that word) happy short of the cats dying. I was still ready for confrontation with every single one of the Assholes.

"Do you think so?"

"Yes." I not only think so, I know so. Furthermore, after the cats, they will find something else they can inappropriately displace their anger onto. There are many reasons why that will happen. I won't bore you with it right now.

There were more tears running down my face from time to time. I hate it when that happens. I'm pretty sure that, if I'd had a confrontation with my co-workers, I would have been able to stick with the rage. I'm not certain, though. When I'm in my right mind, I might be able to see some tactical advantage to crying, but it's a fundamental part of my stoic personality; I do not let those people see me cry. I don't usually let Owner see me cry, either, though.

Owner convinced me that I shouldn't go to each individual office and have highly charged personal meetings with my friends here in Crazy Land. You know I don't send emails. I also don't talk behind people's backs, like some whiny-ass cowards I see every day. If I have an issue, I will talk with you, face to face. Some may pee their pants, but that's not really my problem, is it? Let them rush over to the local convenience store and get a supply of Depends. Apparently, there's some crack available next door if they think that will help them.

He got up to leave for an appointment and gave me a hug on the way out. I started crying again. Owner suggested I use the side door through another office instead of going out into the foyer where the fucking assholes could see me.

I called my mother to vent, alternately raging and crying. She asked me if I yelled. I didn't yell, but I did use an elevated tone of voice from time to time. Perhaps some of the assholes heard me.

So here we are. I'm in my office, venting to cyberspace. There is, once again, a deathly silence in the building. Though the phones are somewhat busy, no one is relying on me to help answer them, as I sometimes do. It seems likely that people did hear part of my conversation with Owner. Excellent. They should come on over and talk to me.

That, my friends, is the latest Crazy Land catastrophe. I'll be out of the office on Tuesday so I can see if we can detect any cancer cells. One last thing before I go, though. Fuck you, you idiotic, cowardly, bitter, narcissistic fucking assholes. Did I adequately convey my contempt? Probably not.

Thanks for the comments, guys. As you can tell, I've been a little busy. See you on Wednesday.

*I don't know why we don't change the name of the company to Money Man and Company.

24 May 2007

Things I've Learned By Writing This Blog

I'm not sure I've learned anything writing about myself in my breast cancer blog, but maybe I don't want to know anything more about myself in that regard.

I think this will be an ongoing, sporadic accounting of epiphanies, not in any particular order.

*I'm verbose. Very.

*There are a lot of very kind and thoughtful people out there in the cyberworld. Unfortunately, I don't work with any of them. Or actually live in the same city.

*People who read this blog know me better than anyone else on earth.

*My work life doesn't just make me angry, depress me or make me feel like a failure. It entertains me on a regular basis.

*I have no idea why everyone else doesn't find me as fascinating as I do.

*I no longer hate myself when I write. I no longer consistently hate what I write. It's okay to not be T.S. Eliot.

*Anonymity is liberating. Honesty about my life is exhilirating.

*I need a Thesaurus and dictionary more than I used to before I started taking Tamoxifen. Or went through chemotherapy. Or both.

What have you learned since you started your weblog? I find you every bit as fascinating as you do. So tell me.

23 May 2007

That One Tiny Cell

"I'm back." It was only a couple of weeks ago that I had that epiphany. I might even be better than I once was in some respects. I seem to laugh more easily. I joke with people and poke fun at myself. It seems I'm more chatty, more friendly and less anal. Yet another medical marvel brought to me courtesy of the new medication I'm taking.

Underneath the new, better me is the Watcher. She hovers just under my consciousness, ever mindful of the fact that a mastectomy, six months of chemo and seven weeks of daily radiation do not in any way guarantee that all the errant cells have been killed. The Watcher is the mad woman in the attic. She's extremely irritable and the closer I get to my three-month blood test, the more easily frustrated the Watcher becomes. I can hear the annoyance in my voice as I talk to someone while I'm struggling to get the batteries out of my wireless tracball. Everything demands more from her than she has to spare.

The Watcher notes every unusual physical experience. What is that itchy spot on my upper left shoulder blade that I keep forgetting to show someone so I can get some reassurance? As if anyone could reassure me. Is that a new mole on my face? I have a new cough. That's particularly troubling to the Watcher. She knows where breast cancer will metastasize and, even though the rational mind remembers we're in the middle of allergy season, the Watcher knows she needs to keep track of how many times I cough every day. My radiation oncologist told me months ago that part of the carcinoma was very close to the chest wall. The Watcher remembers as if it were yesterday.

Friends, co-workers and family know nothing about The Watcher. As far as they're concerned, I'm fine. The minute radiation treatment ended, I was officially fine. My mom thinks I should have a positive outlook. I do. I just wish someone would figure out that worry doesn't end when radiation does. The fact that it doesn't makes me feel like a hypochondriac. I feel silly and embarrassed.

The Watcher knows it's not silly. Just under the level or ordinary consciousness, she reminds me about that one cell.

(Garbled Garbled) Hurt Guy

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I hate doctors and I'm sick of seeing them. I'm just going to have my teeth cleaned, but it's all the same to me. I've got appointments coming up with my dermatologist (for my annual skin cancer check) and my opthamologist (for my annual macular degeneration check). I don't have firm dates, but I always see these doctors in June or July. I know they'll be calling me soon. I have oncology appointments in June and August. (I love that word "oncology." It sounds so much better than saying cancer.) I don't understand why I can't simply call a temporary halt to any further medical examinations.

Here in Crazy Land, I've already waded deep into the jungle of absurdity. I got a call from one of my local hurt guys while I was having a conversation about the database with The Shunner. Now that's the way to start your morning. No hesitation, no procrastination--just full throttle nutty right off the bat.

The Local Hurt Guy (as opposed to the Hurt Guy With Crappy Law Firm in another state) injured his ankle over a year ago and only recently reported that he's still having pain from it. He went to the nurse's station at our client's site on the day he hurt himself. I reported it to our insurance carrier and they decided to deny the claim. Hurt Guy also went to a local clinic to have them look at this ancient ankle injury, but they sent him back to work with no restrictions. That day. I'm guessing that's at least part of the reason the claim was denied by Carrier.

The clinic people, like all clinics and doctors these days, thoroughly understand the love affair our country has with litigation. It's like a national hobby. Therefore, they passed him off to someone else who could more definitively say whether Hurt Guy has an injury. And so he could sue them if it came to that. The doctor referred him to an orthopedic physician (or surgeon). This is where it all gets a bit murky. Either the original treating physician ordered an MRI or the orthopedic doctor ordered one...or something. Somebody wanted a damn MRI.

I'm guessing that our insurance carrier declined to pay for that, too. When the Hurt Guy called me this morning, he said he'd gotten "a whole buncha" letters from the insurance company and another "whole buncha" letters from the State Workers' Comp Commission. I was a little puzzled as to why he was calling me. But you know, being perplexed is a daily feature of my life here in Crazy Land.

"Well, if you can't understand what (carrier's rep) is telling you about it, ask to speak to someone else. I don't know why they denied the claim or even if they denied the claim." I said that in a much gentler tone than it seems when I see it here on the screen.

"I'm at the (garbled garbled) clinic. (Something something) Julie."

"Well then tell Julie to call them." I said

Then he starts in again on the "buncha papers" thing. Eventually I managed to get him off the phone. Just so you know, the closer I get to blood work day with my oncologist, the more irritable I become. When I hung up the phone, I did not rip it out of the wall and throw it across the room.

That was lucky, because I needed the energy for more aggravation. Hurt Guy decided to drop by the office with some paperwork from the (garbled garbled) clinic. Crazy Employee buzzed me from the front desk, informing me that he was here. She told me that he was scheduled for an MRI and he'd been referred to a podiatrist.

"Wait," she said to me. I hear more garbled, unintelligible (what I believe to be) speech from Hurt Guy. "He's not scheduled for an MRI..."

"I'm coming," I said. I actually hoped that, if I talked with Hurt Guy in person, I could figure out what the hell was going on with him. I know. Ever the optimist. Or the lunatic.

Nope. Didn't work. I still don't know a damn thing about what's going on with him. (I can hear you laughing, so stop it.) I took his papers from him and made some copies to fax to the insurance carrier. He held out his hand for me to shake and it was that limp, barely touching you shake that gives you the willies. You know, if you don't really want to shake my hand, then don't stick yours out there in my direction. I told him thanks for stopping by.

I did not go back to my office, pick up my computer and hurl it across the room. As a matter of fact, I didn't throw anything. Instead, I made the rounds to all the offices in Crazy Land, being disruptive and causing general hilarity (but not about Hurt Guy-- he's not funny at all). I dropped by Owner's office to distract him from whatever he was doing. He wanted to know what the good mood was about. "Anxiety," I told him.

He made me promise to go back to my office and settle down. But he wants me to drop by his office tomorrow and Friday. I'm irresistible when I'm aggravated.

22 May 2007

Hurt Guy in Crazy Land

It looks to be an exciting day at Crazy Land. Loathsome is here and I should probably just take a break and go find out what's up with him.

I did. Can you even believe it? Then, in the middle of our conversation, I got paged. I remember now why I never talk to Loathsome. I didn't find out anything amusing. Total waste of my time. Don't say I never did anything for you. This was a major sacrifice solely for the sake of your entertainment. No need to thank me.

The page was from our office in another state. One of our boys got hurt and we filed a workers' comp claim. He and the insurance company got together and they took care of his bills. Now it seems he's filed a personal injury suit against someone. Hurt Guy got a letter from an attorney. (Hurt Guys' name was misspelled a couple of times in it. What level of legal representation are you getting when they can't even consistently spell your name correctly?) He then gave the letter to his supervisor on site. The supervisor brought it to our office. There is absolutely no indication of exactly who is getting sued.

The woman from our other office said she called our workers' comp carrier, who told her that she should write a letter to Crappy Law Firm, informing them that it was a workers' comp claim and, therefore, all correspondence should be directed to the insurance company. Given the way things have gone so far, I shudder to think what action that information will lead Crappy Law Firm to take. We can only hope that, whatever action is taken, they will finally figure out the correct spelling of Hurt Guy's name. Or maybe they'll just refer to him as Hurt Guy. I wonder if I could get some kind of monetary compensation from them if I called up Crappy Law Firm and made that suggestion. All future clients could be referred to Hurt Guy #2, Hurt Guy #3...wait a minute. That should be Hurt Person so there won't have to be any further distinction between male and female hurt ones. No need to add more complexity to an already confused Crappy Law Firm. I should get extra money for the upgrade.

Anyway, I'm cc'd on all the correspondence, so I should be able to keep up with the Out-of-State Crazy Land situation. I'm all aflutter. What fun.

I spent about 45 minutes this morning with The Shunner, trying to get some more specific information about exactly what he wants in this massive and complex database I'm trying to build for him. The fact that I use the words "massive" and "complex" is just to indicate his level of expectation and my sense of being overwhelmed. It has no bearing on whether you have to be intelligent to build it. Because not necessarily, I think.

Shunner and I have two completely different styles. He's very extroverted and hyperactive. You know me--introverted and overwhelmed by hyperactive. I may have to sit in my office here for the next four days just recovering from that 45 minutes.

I'm clearly having way too much fun now. I guess I should get on with the database development. I knew you'd wish to know, at the very least, any fun news from Crazy Land. Oh yeah. Before I start? I'd like to just get five dollars from each of you as payment for that whole Loathsome interaction.

21 May 2007

In Case You're Interested

I'm working on an enormous relational database project for work. You know that's one of the few things I actually enjoy doing here, even though it can be exhausting and sometimes baffling. The co-worker I'm doing this for (The Shunner) and I don't necessarily communicate all that effectively. Very, very different personality types. I think I get what he needs. We'll see.

On the up side (yes, there always is one), I finally finally got cable Internet, so maybe I can summon the energy to post something longer in the evening. Lots of thoughts rolling around in my head. Lots of stuff going on to talk about.