Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Apple Household

We are almost a completely Apple household.

I am completely Mac-driven at this point. I have a PC in my office that hasn't worked right in years so it is essentially an enormous paperweight (and no, I did NOT brick it - that is not my style); I have my 2007 PC laptop (a Gateway), but we will be moving all that stuff to the Quad server (so named for the QUAD CPU inside, but I like the name, it's fitting)  and reformat it for Raquel, the woman who takes care of my mother when Ray is out, she has little money and could really use this for school. It is old, outdated and very low on memory and space, even though I bought as much memory as I could fit in it back in 2009. That is me. She won't use it nearly the way that I do, which is heavy image usage, music, etc. And I save tons of things, where she likely doesn't.

Luis has computers... is like saying a die-hard Hummel collector has a a few "nice" pieces. This is a tipping invitation. Don't just walk away, run! He has Quad, of course, and two more running in his office (there may be a third that I am unaware of). We each have our own laptops (at the moment I have two but that will change) and Luis loves his Toshiba (I think it is a Toshiba) and had to show me the rental security on it. This is Luis and his "toys" mentality.

Luis originally got an HP tablet, the one that they had the fire sale on. There were two versions, the 8GB and the 16GB if I'm not mistaken - it may be that I am mistaken. At any rate, HP released these things at a completely ridiculous price point, then realised that at $300 and $600, these things would not sell, period end of sentence. So he waited, heard about the fire sale, debated long enough (less than a day) to lose out on a good size - the 16GB, now $150 - and ended up getting the 8GB for $100. Well, he sort of got it... it took a long bloody time to get its butt here. He ordered it the beginning of August and did not receive it until the end of September. It was an outrage. And for a company that cut out the tablets, it not only got rid of them out there in the sale, it paved the way for HP to make more to keep the sales going. Unbelievable.

When he got this thing, I had to laugh. The iPad two was out and this thing was a doorstop! It was huge, which considering that most people want smaller for less space, this was just too weird. I wondered if the other one would be physically bigger and/or heavier. (Yes, these are the things that go through my mind...)

I have had my iPad since last Christmas (2011) and I love it to pieces. It is beautiful and streamlined and is like artwork. I won't say it again, since I have more than made this clear. Of course, next to Luis' enormous thing, mine looked like a credit card in its thinness and a 5" x 8" piece of writing paper in great colors while Luis just had this massive creature erroneous called a tablet.

And then I got this lovely creature, this gorgeous laptop and I think I am one for a long time with PCs. We both used to always say we'd never live in a Mac household, but our words have come back to haunt us.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Undercover Boss - Diamond Resorts

This is not a show that - like with movies - I would have picked out. Luis did (big surprise there, right?) and got me to watch it one night. I was resistant. I honestly thought that, in the grand vein of reality shows everywhere, that this would only serve to get employees in trouble. It turns out, in case you don't know, that this show puts the CEO into different area stores/hotels/etc, so they can get a direct feel for what their businesses are really doing, what it is like to do basic jobs in the industry, and where improvements can be made to their businesses.

Here we have the owner of Diamond Resorts, who went to the first place as a client staying in a suite; then a maintenance man in the Palm Springs resort, then a dance instructor in another place and now as a hair stylist (yikes). I suspect he may go onto one more job, but maybe not; four is usually the maximum amount of jobs that one person can hold considering the average one-hour show is (now) 38 minutes long. The bigger irony with that tidbit is when I watch old DS9 episodes, they are 45 minutes long. But commercials are so ridiculous, we are down to 38 minutes of telly - that is 22 minutes of adverts! And you wonder why I object so much to adverts.

This poor guy is getting a crash-course in how many issues there are within the structure of the business. He's currently in the Mexico resort )I'm not sure what part of Mexico and how many resorts he has there, but he us unable to contain himself when he encounters a huge no-no and tells the employee who he really is. They are not actually supposed to do that, but I can see why he's out of his head with anger. The training that his staff is getting is shit - it is incorrect, in some cases illegal - and he knows it! And why shouldn't he?

Of course, I have had managers who did not know the various ins and outs of the handbook, but that was why I did annual training. And while I wouldn't expect the average CEO to know the rules like this guy, I had some who did (yes, Kevin, this does mean you!) but most did not - and did not care so long as we in HR did. I try to understand but really can't - a manager should understand hiring and to some degree termination laws and get immediate input on those things that they may not know - but I always expect a CEO to take a huge interest in really, truly understand how these rules work, what is company policy versus legal ruling, either state or federal, and which may take precedence. (In case you are wintering, federal normally trumps state policy except where salary is concerned. Then whoever is more generous trumps the other. So while states like Kentucky still show minimum wage as $2.00/hour, they must suck it up and follow Federal ruling which currentlhy stands at $7.50 - that is still too low, but beats the hell out of $2.00. Damn rednecks... setting up a minimum wage that wouldn't support a 14-year-old living at home!

So it turns out that this show provides a great amount of entertainment but also leaves one feeling quite warm and fuzzy. In the end, this CEO paid for the dance instructor to go to the Fashion Institute of Design, got her an LA apartment (unaffordable by almost anyone's standards) so she'd be close to work, and gave her some huge sum of money to get on her feet financially. He gave the hair stylist in Mexico $1,300,000 pesos (only $100,000 in US currency) to buy a house, $2,000USD to get her daughter's double hernia surgery, and I forget how much more so she only has to work her primary job and can spend time with her 2-year-old girl. He gave the electrician in Palm Springs $1,000,000USD to begin his own electrical business and agreed to be a 10% partner - the electrician having the 90%. And for the kid in the first job, in Housekeeping who has repeatedly tried to get management to understand what a poor job the staff of that department did, I don't know what he did, but I'm sure it included going to Hotel Management school (I know a couple of South African employees that we had who did this and I can tell you that this is not just six months of training but a full-time schooling program that is at least two full years if not four), gave him X dollars to get up to a level where he can devote himself to the training and a higher wage for working. This show is really worth seeing - and then feeling envious that your boss hasn't come upon you working your butt off, hearing your personal sob story and then giving you piles of money... undoubtedly many will suddenly be seized by the green monster of envy.

But me, I worked for Baltusrol Golf Club. I worked for a place that put in every possible opportunity for all employees to be a part of and I will never regret that. In the almost two years that I have been gone, who knows what else they have done.

"Safety Not Guaranteed"

Looking for a movie that will not be like any other film you've ever seen? Something that brought a smile to my face in many parts, has great music (even the lead, Mark Duplass, did a bit with a zither - an instrument that looks like a flat, thin guitar, but while stringed, that is as far as it is related to a guitar - that was beautiful. Just beautiful) and has an ending that is totally unexpected? You want this movie. You really, really want this movie.

Luis (naturally) found it on Netflix. I had (naturally) never heard of it. That is usually how we find movies, sad to say. While Luis has greatly widened my tastes in movies, I have brought very little to the table in this particular matter.

Anyway, this magazine writer wants to do an article on a guy who put an ad in the paper that reads: WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.

What is the first thing you would think if you read this? Who is this nutter and what is doing broadcasting this bit of weirdness? Why do you need a partner for this insanity? And why would anyone buy into it?

So this writer takes two interns to go find the story on this and the one intern becomes the partner for this. You will have to get the movie just to see this and where it goes. It is completely worth it. And here is the interesting part: this is based on a true story. Some guy really did put that ad in the newspaper (I assume in Oregon or Washington) and still to this day gets responses. How funny is that?

Let me know what you think when you do see it, as I hope you will and get as much as I did out of it.

Living Outside the Hospital

I suppose the doctor lives outside the hospital just fine without any issues. Me, I live with the same issues as in the hospital every day, just on a lesser degree. Well, wondering where I am going with this? Me, too. (Not really, I figured it out...)

The doc was supposed to give me a 14-day Tizanidine script (this drug is the cheap version of Zanaflex). Instead, she gave me a less than two-day script. What a moron. They say doctors are smart but I keep encountering the not so smart ones. Or maybe they are just the distracted ones? Either way, I'm screwed and not loving it. I had multiple issues being released and this one I did not figure out until the wee hours of this morning. That, along with all the other missing pharmaceuticals as well. But those I hope to have today. There is still the issue of getting to the doc's office (in the ice) and the pharmacy to get everything. Great.

I'd best contact the doctor's office to be sure I do get them today. Otherwise it will just be that much worse. If I don't get these, I will end up back in the hospital. But this time I am going to St. Clares. I have to believe that they will do better than Mo'town. But if I do go there and I'm admitted, the crucifix has to come out of the room. That is just the way it has to be.

I can't help but think I will have the chance sometime in the next few months (if I'm lucky) and next few weeks if I'm not.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Approach of The Dreaded Holidays...

20 November 2012

When I worked and was loaded, I looked forward to the holidays, Christmas, really. Thanksgiving has never held any interest for me. I also cannot abide eating turkey, one of the least tasty meals around. If you cook me up a big old spiral-cut ham, that is a completely different story. I'll show for that.

I'm not earning much now. Christmas is not nearly so interesting now. But Luis promises to take care of it, which while a very nice gesture, it is not ideal. I don't care for the feeling of being indebted, even though he would not consider me to be so. I am the one feeling that way. It's not a pleasant feeling.

This year has been exceptionally hard. I've been in the hospital far too many times, been sick far too many times. I did change some of my medications and that has taken away the constant vomiting, a symptom I was happy - elated - to say goodbye and farewell to. I will do anything to avoid being physically sick like that and it was so easy to take it away - the muscle relaxant as a capsule made me sick, the tablets did not. Interesting, eh?

26 December 2012


Christmas has come and gone. I managed to pretty much avoid the whole messy thing, just as I'd wanted, and I got the one item I'd wanted most - the big MacBook Air. I've already waxed poetic about it, so there is not much to add to it.

Today is Boxing Day and here I am, still languishing in Mo'town. They are taking me off of the IV meds, which means I get to just suffer with the pain. I'm thinking of asking them to just let me out, since there is no point in just laying here with drugs I have at home. I have two cats who must be missing me like mad and telly shows and other things. Why be here? What purpose is there to it?

I suppose I should make sure that Aetna has straightened out this whole cowardly mess before I demand release. On the other hand, the doctor wants me to do physical therapy and I'd be just as happy not to. That makes me feel more ornery than ever. I don't see the value in it. I've been put through this before and haven't seen any benefits to this.

Someone nearby has visitors and the woman speaking sounds like... uh... well, completely uneducated. She's talking about how she went to college and was able to get a career (I wouldn't want to figure out what career this must be) and she's doing this for her kid(s) and quite frankly I don't want to listen to this overly-loud voice. I also smell someone's cologne or perfume and it is killing me. How much of this crap did the wearer swim in to smell like this?!

This is where my iPod comes in handy. I needn't listen to this garbage while I have music to listen to - at the moment it is Animaniacs. Now it is Thomas Newman's theme to "Six Feet Under", a great show back when it was on HBO. There are three different versions of this song and I like 'em all.

Ray is sick and won't be visiting today. It is a fairly long walk from the front of the building to the Meade section, so I get it. And sick - what fun is that? It is just a head cold, but still - it is amazing how much a head cold can lay one low. Of course, a winter one is not as bad as a summer one, but still, who wants one?

I just looked out the window and it is snow like the dickens! Well! The weather forecast has shown this for today, but every time I looked out, nothing was happening. Finally - a white day after Christmas! I find it disappointing how few white Christmas' we have these days, so getting a white Boxing Day will suffice. According to Ray it is building up on the road very quickly.

Well, they are letting me out today (wahoo) and we will have to stop at the pharmacy tonight to get my Tizanidine for a couple of weeks. By then my benefits should be back up and running. Then I can get loaded up with pain meds and such and order my three-month supplies. Those damn people wouldn't be allowed to do ANYthing to my coverage without speaking to me first. Sloppy.

Well, I guess it will be good that I will be home for the New Year. Not that I ever feel sentimental about the New Year. In fact, I don't care for it at all. Then again, it is a drinking holiday, and I never, ever like those, since I don't care for alcohol in the least. Are you wondering why? It is not because I have something against it, or a religious thing or a cultural thing (shit, I'm Irish - we have nothing against alcohol culturally when we should!): it is because I hate the taste. I really do. It tastes disgusting.

And that is that.

Living in the Hospital, Not Outside of It...

For those of you who read my somewhat forgotten blog, you'll get a chuckle out of the title, as it matches the title of the blog. I haven't actually forgotten it, but it has fallen by the way side thanks to feeling crappy more often than not. However, two things have happened to suddenly bring the sun back out onto my island of writings and musings...

1. I'm in Mo'town (our EMS designation for Morristown Memorial Hospital and there is only so much to do. I have all the telly viewing I could want on my iPad, but since I'm not a telly addict, there is only so much I will watch. And I don't consider playing games to be worthwhile on a computer, so scratch that off the list. Typing extensively on an iPad is not really ideal and so I have never posted anything onto my blog from there.

Which brings me to 2. Luis (how much do I love that man?) got me the one and only thing I really, really wanted for Christmas: a MacBook Air. Oh, yes. And just as I love my iPad to distraction, let me count the ways I love this beautiful piece of artwork in my hands. It weighs nothing; it is as thin as anything could be, it is loaded to the eyeballs with space and fast as the dickens. It is gorgeous. And it is totally silent. It is just magic!

And so that which really wasn't possible on my iPad is now completely possible in my hands - and anywhere I go.

I came to Mo'town around 03:35 Saturday morning, thanks to Don, Brian, Sandra and a newbie who is very nice but I was not in any shape to remember her name (I do apologise, but I am sure she understands utterly). The short story is that I ran out of Tizanidine thanks to a mix-up with Aetna (and we will leave it there) and bad things happen without it - extreme vomiting, pain that is off the charts, etc. And since this is my... what... 12th trip here this calendar year, my veins are for shit. That is the polite version. They did get a line in after six failed attempts, which is miraculous, considering just how bad my veins really are. And then they began loading me up with fluids, the anti-nausial drug which suddenly has escaped my memory and of course, dilaudid for pain. And hte pain would go from ten to maybe an 8 if I was lucky, and after X number of 2-milligram injections, they went from ER to admittance, and here I am.

While I wasn't much to celebrate Christmas this year, this was NOT what I had in mind...

I'm still here, unfortunately, because despite putting back on my own meds orally AND giving me Dilaudid every four hours, I'm still in too much pain. It would be easy for them to send me home like this, but until I'm down to a pain level of 2 to 4, my baseline pain level, there is no point - I'll just end up inconveniencing my crew again and driving the ER people to distraction, only to be admitted. Then I can ring in the new year here as well. What fun.

Every new years, I wish for the new year to be better than the old one. Every time I do this, it bombs - fast. I think this year I will ask for it to be a total shit year and have a wonderful one in which a cure will be found, I will become healthy, strong, beautiful (well, why knot? Might as well ask for the Moon, right?), start working as an HR Manager again and start riding as an EMT too! Shouldn't that work? And maybe then I will get my dream of truly getting a call from NASA who wants to invigte me to the next Moon mission.

If wishes were horses...

Since they are not, however, something tells me that this will not work. So I suppose I will hope for some miraculous event to make 2013 a damn sight better than 2012 and see what doesn't happen. And at the end of January I will be 45. Another moment to ask for the unreasonable.

At least there are some plusses to the who Mo'town experience. The staff are super-pleasant and they are great people - mostly. At night I have problems with the median - no one wants to wake me up at the right time to give me the meds I need and so I wake up later suffering. What a treat. During the day this is much less an issue. But the dilaudid has ceased working, and that is an issue of unreal proportions, as it means I will be here until the cows come home. In New Jersey, there hardly any cows TO have come home, which means I'm stuffed (as the British say).

The other plus is a woman - a nursing technician - named Alberta who is so sweet and wonderful it is like the sun shines when she enters the room. I could talk to her all day. Good thing, because there is a patient across the hall who needs to meet an untimely (or maybe timely) end. I suspect from the sound of the voice that this is one very old patient. And last night, at some hideous hour, I could hear the patient yelling "HELP!" every time a person walked by. I heard one nurse go in and ask what was needed and the patient screamed, "I need to go to the bathroom!" THe nurse told the patient that there is a catheter and no need to go anywhere. THis argument went on for some time. GGGGRRRRRRRR! A catheter just works - there is no need to feel anything or need to "go" as it just does its job without any work on the part of the patient. I've never been catheterised but I certainly understand the theory and the practise, having had patients, friends and family who have been at some time or other. It may not be fun (less for men than for women, for reasons I'm sure I needn't explain) but it is easy and makes urinating a non issue. As for defecating, there is no outside solution, but that was not the patient's issue last night.

Apparently the person had foot surgery. On Christmas. Who knew? I didn't think an elective surgery would be done on a major holiday...

(I'm in the Meade section of Mo'town, which is orthopedic. Isn't that weird? I find it so as well, but I'm just as happy not to be in the Gagnon Cardiac section, with those damn heart monitors on. I haven't any cardiac problems, so it is clearly wrong to have me there. And this week there is almost no one in this part of the hospital. I guess there wouldn't be, but still... on Christmas Eve, there were seven patients here including me. That is some level of care, let me tell you!

Still, given the opportunity, I'd rather be home than here.

The food, at least, is okay. Not great, but okay. OK is better than total shit. I never could understand my mother's constant complaining about the food... but then, she did get the "cardiac" diet as well as the diabetic diet, and so there was no sugar AND no salt. She used to gripe at us to bring sugar and salt and of course we didn't, which made her pissy as all get-out. But Ray and I were less likely to piss off the hospital than her, much to her disappointment.

I get the normal diet, although this visit I've been getting my blood sugar tested before every meal. My fingers are running out of unpricked places and my temper where this is concerned is getting short. Why this? I'm not diabetic. And all the blood tests have corroborated this, so why keep beating the dead horse?

In one post I've gone from riding the horse to beating it after it is deceased... Maybe it is time for me to crawl back into bed and hope for deliverance. Well. I'll hope for lunch - I have a much better chance of seeing that than deliverance, I suspect.

See you all soon, my faithful readers.