Thursday, 22 December 2005

The Simplest Things In Life are the Best!

There are a lot of wonderful things in life to enjoy: a good dinner out; wearing jeans to work; a walk on the first brisk autumn day. But one of the best things in life is to have my hair washed.

You may be thinking, "Eeeeeewwwww, don't you wash your hair?" Of course I do, and every day. People with hair and skin as naturally oily as mine cannot go overlong without washing. That is not what I meant. I mean when I have my hair coloured and cut, the woman who does it washes it and it is... heavenly.

I sit in the chair, put my head back and close my eyes. The water comes on and is adjusted - hot, please, I hate having my hair washed in cold, cool or luke warm water. She rinses out the left over colour and then lathers up a bit of shampoo and then she digs in and scrubs my tingling scalp. Ah, that is amazing. It is relaxing and invigorating and makes me feel great. It is a very personal thing to wash someone else's hair. One is not accustomed to allowing others to invade his or her personal space in so close a manor. It is a lot to allow someone you don't know such access to your most vulnerable area (next to one's midsection). But to have your scalp massaged and washed like that is just incredible. I really love having it done.

My grandmother used to wash my hair when I was a kid (in the days before menarchy and the overabundance of oil that now pervades my hair) but the experience was one I always tried to avoid. I suppose it was positioning and the fact that Johnson's Baby Shampoo does in fact sting when it makes contact with one's eyes. Standing on a stool in the kitchen with my head bent forward and down does not make me feel particularly nostalgic. Of course, my grandmother washed my hair like Attila the Hun on a conquest... it was done with her usual brutal dispatch.

But I look forward greatly to having my hair coloured and cut and most especially washed. That is something well worth waiting for!

Friday, 9 December 2005

There Is a Perfect Ass Print on My Chair

Bet you are wondering what that means!

It doesn't mean nearly as much as you think, Cowboy. It means exactly what it reads. In a plainer sense, it really means that this is more mindless rambling as opposed to any serious topic. I'm just going to aimlessly write and whatever comes out, well, there it is. No specific topic.

There actually really IS a perfect double semi-circle there on my office chair (the one at home, noodnick!) and there is a simple and completely non-shocking reason for it. Very often, I will sit down at my computer right after showering in the altogether as it were. I use baby powder to keep things fresh and dry and it leaves a pattern on the chair. That's it, folks. Nothing amazing or abberant there.

Although it is funny, one of my coworkers called me a freak (she was, in fact, referring to my eating habits more than anything else) but she was dead-on with that description. Funny, after lunch she came to my office and apologised. There was absolutely no need to - it was actually quite funny! I certainly wasn't offended... it would be as true as pointing out that my hair is dark! I would not take offense to that. Actually, it is fairly hard to offend me on a personal level. I am the first to admit that I am an... offbeat, odd person, not at all the prime respresentative of "normal" humanity. Thank the gods. Who wants to be so... plebian?

Now, I am a freak, but I am a freak who loves to learn, loves using as many varied words as I can, loves the sciences, reads forensic journals for fun, finds amusement in everything... not a bad way to live, really. I am happy. I suspect only "freaks" really are the happiest as we are not tied into being the "standard" or normal human being. That just would not be true to myself. If I am going to be anything, it is true to myself. Let everyone else hang!

My eating is not good. Forgetting that I eat too much, it is really what I do eat - the list is limited - and how much healthy food I don't touch. No veggies - almost none. Some fruit but too lazy to actually prepare anything. I do not cook. I prefer my poultry and other formerly living proteins to be as they appear on my plate. I would not, for instance, buy a live chicken and watch it go from running around pecking people to dead to defrocked to cut up and prepared - ugh. Give me the finished, ready-to-eat product, please!

Not that I am about to give up my carnivorous ways. I am not a vegetarian, I am most certainly not a Vegan (possibly they are from another planet). Give me my ham, my eggs (preferably scrambled or as an omelet), give me my cereal in milk! Hand over the bacon, baby! Plants are living things too. You think if they had vocal cords, they would not utter a protest at having their leaves or fruit plucked, their roots removed? Of course they would! So you may as well stop eating entirely. All life lives at the expense of other life. This is nature. Red in tooth and claw.

I can hear the township happily (I guess) plowing away. They were not on the ball today - usually they are plowing with the first inch of snow, especially on my street. I have the pleasure of being the closest member to the squadhouse and that is usually high on the priority list of whom to plow first - emergency services! Not that we need it for the rig. 14,000lbs of sheer ambulance and four-wheel drive ensure that I will get to almost any location I want. It is getting the cars in - no one else has the pleasure of walking across the street and poof! I'm there.

My friend Flyboy is coming over and we are going out to lunch. Yay! It is cold but lovely and sunny - rather ironic as just three hours ago it was snowing like it would never stop! It was a hellacious storm - it dumped five or so inches of snow and then left the way it arrived - with great alacrity!

Our weather typically comes from the west and marches east over us to head out to sea. In the winter, however, it comes out of the north (sometimes) and the south (frequently) and what North Carolina brews in rain gets to us in the form of rain, ice, or, more often, snow. It is a crapshoot with us. Parsippany is often right on the cusp of the rain/snow line. It may be rain and it may be snow. This particular system was snow, through and through but that is not usually the case. Personally I find that snow is prettier but both, for driving, are just as deadly. People suddenly turn into morons when confronted with adverse driving conditions...

Well, it is nap-time at the OK Corral, so I need to zip across the street, get cat litter and clean out the litter boxes while the out-law is asleep and not around to pester me. But that is a subject for another day!

Thursday, 1 December 2005

My Other Vehicle is an Ambulance

Before anyone says anything, I know it's not MY ambulance. None of them are. But aside from my husband's car, I only drive either 66-3, 66-2 or on one freaky occaision, 66-4. Those are the ambulances of the Rockaway Neck First Aid Squad.

I love riding. And I love driving, and patient care, and I am good at dealing with the patients. I can't lift much which is a detriment, but I can do everything else - write reports, check vitals, do trauma assessments, be comforting to the patient and family, take charge when needed, do CPR, use the equipment. I have been on a lot of minor calls and some major trauma and dead people and heart attacks. I have not yet delivered a baby - but that is a matter of time. So is a gun shot wound (something I am admittedly curious to see).

I love the people I ride with. I am not friends with all of them and I'm not popular (I was nominated for two e-board positions but not voted in - which wasn't a surprise although one cannot help but feel some small disappointment). But they are pleasant to me and all are a pleasure to ride with. We work as a team. We do what needs to be done. Volunteers are a special breed and I am working with incredible people. And it is always, always interesting! Never a dull moment!

Well, maybe there are some dull moments but mostly, no matter what information the dispatch gives, it is not enough or not accurate. This is not necessarily dispatch's fault, often family members labour under the misconception that we will rush or be more inclined to go to their aid if they make it out to be something a little more urgent and time sensitive. Not to disappoint, but we have to respond with alacrity to all calls - there is no picking and choosing.

Someone took off a finger with a snowblower. That was not my call and I'm sorry I missed it. Before you roll your eyes, keep in mind that we aren't standing around thinking or saying, "Eeeeewwww, gross..." How effective would we be doing that? We are all excitement junkies and all somewhat or totally unbothered by blood. It certainly does not bother me. It hasn't yet, anyway. After three years, it is a safe bet that for the most part - 99.8% of the time - it won't. Mostly the calls are in the superficial to moderate range. Every once in a while there is something severe or serious. Many calls are for drunks, mentally ill or altered mental status (as we call them) pateints. It can be altered by almost anything... drugs. Diabetes. alcohol. Mental disabilities - retardation or whatever the PC term is now. Or they are depressed. Suicidal. It covers the whole range. The other most common call we have is difficulty breathing. More often than not, the patient has a patent airway. Or there are the ever-popular lifting assistance calls. Someone is on the floor and needs to be put in a chair, in bed, whatever.
All in all it is exciting. And I love it.

A Magickal Experience

This is a company that I worked in from March to July of this year. I haven't been there for almost six months and it is not likely that I will be back. That is not a bad comment on me, it just strikes me as a one-time experience. And what an experience! So, it is time to talk about it.

I first heard of this company while I was still working for Universal Solutions. I knew that USI was eventually going to terminate its HR staff - it wasn't at all hard to see THAT writing on the wall - and I had the agency out searching for something new for me. I really wanted to put in my notice first. As it happens, everything worked out very much for the best.

When I first heard about this company, it sounded ideal. I wanted in. They manufacture fragrances and flavours, and this was for the Liquid Compounding department, which made only flavours and specialised in liquid flavours, like for soups, beverages, whatever. Tell me that doesn't sound completely fascinating.

They were slow to move for the position, so it was not really heading anywhere. USI beat me to the punch and on 10 March 2005, I was told that I was doing a great job but USI was heading in a new direction and my position was being eliminated. OK. I was upset - who wouldn't be? But I took it in stride and off I went. And five days later I had an interview with this manufacturer! I was downsized on a Thursday with a nice little severance and on Tuesday I had the interview and aced it - Lee wanted me to start the next day!

That was the best interview I ever had. The moment Lee and I shook hands, I thought, this is someone I want to work with! And after a five minute conversation, I was right - and he definitely thought the same thing! We were right on the same wave length. I can't explain it in anyway that would make any sense except to me. I did not have the hots for him, I wasn't interested in Lee in any illicit or sexual nature... he was just the nicest (a truly nondescript word, I should find something else...) - the most genuine, completely likable, every day kind of man. Super intelligent, excellent people skills - he should have been in HR. I always told him that he missed his calling in HR. And working for him for the short time that I did was... magickal. Just amazing. I raved about him to my crew, my friends, my family. And my parents met him and just loved him! I think about him a lot. I miss him and I miss all the great experiences I would have had working with him.

It was not all Lee, either. Like I said, he was an amazing person. And he was smart enough to surround himself with amazing people. His team consisted of Chris, Bob and Chip, all of whom had been working with Lee for YEARS. No one really worked for him, we worked with him. With him and with each other. And he was the best person to work with. Sure, I reported to him, but I looked at him like a colleague more than a boss. The word "boss" wasn't right. And it was a delight. We did not talk about a lot of personal things, but we saw eye-to-eye on almost everything professionally and really worked in great harmony.
Lee was one to reward employees as quickly as to take corrective action when needed. He gave me a basket of lovely bath items, as a thank you for a lot of work I did on the reviews. I was treated to a dinner out with my husband because of a report I edited heavily based on a file of notes. He was lavish with his department and fair with everyone. He knew where the problems were and my advice and council was prized because I saw the same issues and was determined to fix them.

His supervisor on the third shift, David, was also great. He is on another shift now and seems to be doing really well - but Lee knew he would. And Lee always wanted to give the best shots to the best employees. Everyone worked hard for this department and it was a good, cohesive team. It wasn't perfect, who is, but I have worked with teams that were much, much more dysfunctional than that.

Lee went out on leave just six weeks after I started and he died on 10 July 2005. He was 49 years old. It is criminal. I think about him a lot. I think about the team a lot. I miss it there and I miss Lee. Last night I had a dream about just walking around and telling him about the job I am on now. And I wanted to cry when I realised that he is gone.

I don't have the hubris to assume I know that people go to Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Valhalla, or whatever afterlife place you want to believe in. I don't know if we are reincarnated or if this is it and we are just dead, nothing more. I would like to think that those who died have spirits and have gone onto what they did believe in - Heaven for most, I suppose. I would like to think that they look in on me to see how I am doing. I miss my grandfather, Pop-pop (James Trebilcox); my friend Steve Sudol; my other friend Talon; and Lee. There are not many people that I miss the way that I miss these four people. They all had a huge impact on my life. And I have dreams about them and they are up-to-date conversations and I'd like to think that this is their way of telling me that they are still looking out for me from time to time. I miss them lots. And I love it that I dreamed this about Lee. It makes me feel good. Happy. Like I have my own cheering squad!