Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Starfish story starfish story STARFISH STORY

The rescue I volunteer for asked me to contact a woman who had called them looking for help TNR-ing the cats in her neighborhood.

WARNING:  Some of the pictures that follow are NOT easy to look at.  These are the kinds of situations that arise when the low cost spay/neuter programs in an area are limited and the community cat populations get out of control. 

I headed over the the neighborhood this morning.   One of the property owners was feeding the cats in his backyard and providing them with rudimentary shelter.

One little kitten had an eye so badly infected that I wasn't sure it could be saved.

The two other kittens in the litter had eye infections as well, but not nearly as bad as that little one.

As soon as I got the okay from the rescue, I scooped up the worst kitten and took it to the vet.  It turns out that the eye is savable!  It's just a really bad case of conjunctivitis, which is treatable.  As soon as the rescue moves some fosters around to make room, all three of these wee ones will be going into foster care.  The rescue is stuffed to the gills right now, but we'll make room for these three.  And as soon as vet appointments can be made, I'll go back and start trapping, to get the population on this block under control. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Where It's At

Well, on Sunday morning, I called my supervisor.  I told her that due to the 12-hour shifts and the fact that I would be working virtually alone on evenings and weekends, I would not be continuing in the position.

On Sunday afternoon, I stopped by the rescue to help out because they were shorthanded, and the volunteer who had originally notified me of the job opening and flagged my resume for consideration was there.  Awkward!  She asked how it was going, and I explained the situation.  She said she completely understood, and felt bad that it didn't work out, and mentioned that she knew of a couple of new openings in the system for the same position, but with no nights or weekends and no being alone in a walk-in.  She said she'd message me the ID numbers when she was back in the office on Tuesday.

Hmmm, okay!

Long story short, I spoke with a company recruiter this morning. She suggested two positions that would be a good fit for me, and I have applied for both, with the rescue volunteer promising to put in a good word for me.  No one seemed to hold the walk-in thing against me, and I am hopeful that I many be able to work with the company after all, just in a different location with different hours.

Of course, I'm also applying (many) other places, to get my resume back out there in the fight again.  Is it discouraging to be back in the same place I was a month ago? Of course!  But I KNOW that job was not right for me, and now I'm hunting for something that's a better fit.

Am I depressed?  Yes.  Am I tired? Yes.  Do I have to keep plowing forward? Absolutely. And when this is all said and done, I SWEAR I am going to get some terribly tacky tattoo to commemorate this. :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Long story short, I'm walking away

So,  I completed the first week on the new job, and it will be the last.

There are many factors going into the decision; one of the main reasons is that it turns out that after 5 p.m., I would  be handling the walk-in alone.  As in, I would be the only person staffing the walk-in. There would be a nurse there, but as far as initial patient interaction, it would be me alone.  I stayed until 8 last night to see what it's like, and ... no.  No no no.  There is no hospital emergency room within 30 miles of this walk-in, meaning this walk-in is the only game in town, and ... no.  nope. nope. nope.

Today, I talked to two people whose judgment I trust implicitly and discussed the situation, and they both said to walk.  If either one of them had advised staying, I would have, but a two big thumbs down from trusted advisors is enough for me.

I will call my supervisor tomorrow and let her know of my decision.  And maybe then I'll finally be able to get some sleep. And stop crying.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


So!  The new job.  This is my first week in the office.

and ... things are not as they were represented to me during the interview process.

I was told that while 12-hour shifts were required, they would never be back-to-back.

Turns out that's not quite true.  One of the women there is working THREE back-to-back 12s this week, and she says it's not unusual.  Oh, and that it's often more like 13 hours, depending on the patient load.

I am confident in my ability to learn the position, and I'm told that I'm doing great so far, but there is NO WAY I am doing multiple back-to-back 12s, which sometime turn into 13.  The intensity level for the position is quite high, and I KNOW I'd be burning out by hour 10. 

So!  I am going to talk to my supervisor the next time she is in the office, and tell her that unless the schedule can be altered, I am not interested in continuing in the position.  There are simply too many other admin jobs out there right now for me to commit to that kind of a schedule.  I don't see the point in me burning myself out for a job that, frankly, doesn't pay all that great to begin with.

I'll let you know how it goes ...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Y U so stressed

Oh my God it has been a week, I'll tell you.

Monday and Tuesday were orientation, and while I can't divulge a whole lot about my new place of employment, I will say that the HR department is SERIOUSLY mucked up.  It was a frickin' circus of malfunctioning Powerpoint presentations, screwed-up software, and disorganization.  Holy cow.  I could have committed identity theft about forty times over, just by a stack of paperwork that was left RIGHT NEXT TO ME while I was completing online training.

And I had to get yet another TB test, because reasons, and when I went back to get it checked this morning, oooops!  There weren't any nurses readily available to check it.  IN A SEVERAL  HUNDRED BED MEDICAL FACILITY.  eeeesh.

Then, THEN, I went into work for what was supposed to be a couple of hours, and ended up spending seven hours putting out fires left and right, because, GUESS WHAT?  The company still needs a full-time admin assist.  And I was there for one day.

THEN I get home to discover a voicemail - Evidently my titer did not reveal sufficient immunization from measles, so I'm going to have to get re-vaccinated.  Hopefully that won't affect my start date, which is ... MONDAY.

Oh lord.  I am so tired right now I just want to collapse.  And I kept wondering, why is this stressing me out so much?  When I got thinking about it, most of the major stressful situations in my life previously were of my own choosing.  When I left my abusive ex and got a divorce, that was my call.  When I bought the house, that was my call.  When my Mom died, of COURSE that was not my call, but it was not unexpected.

And then ... this.  Almost completely unexpected, with very little notice, I had to find a new job.  And as Becs mentioned in her recent post, once you are of a certain age, finding a new job is not easy, even if you've kept your skills updated. Add in that I do best when I'm in control, and this was just ... hard.  Terribly hard, and terribly sucky.

And now, starting Monday, I will be going through two more weeks of training at my place of employ, although THANK GOD it will at the office where I will actually be working, instead of the place where the mucked-up orientation was held.  I keep telling myself that I'm getting there, I'm making progress, and very soon, things will get easier, and six months from now, I won't even remember how stressed out I was now.

Onward!  *sob*  Send me some peace, somebody!

Monday, May 15, 2017


Today was the first day of orientation for the new job, and it was ... long.

Orientation is held at the core hospital for the health care system for which I will be working.  And there were lots of malfunctioning Powerpoint presentations, and lots of stuff to learn, and some pretty f*cking depressing videos.

The "active shooter" video was not easy to watch, in particular since there WAS an active shooter situation with multiple fatalities in my little town not that many years ago.  The gist of the active shooter training seemed to be, well, RUN, unless you don't where the shooter is or how many shooters there are (which would seem to be the situation most of the time, I would imagine), in which case you should HIDE, which was presented as a pretty piss-poor option although it was the one I can most imagine myself picking, and if all else fails you should FIGHT LIKE HELL.  FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.

yeah, no.  I'm not going up against anybody with a semi-automatic, excuse me while I cower in the corner over here.

And then there was the video about a 17-month-old toddler, admitted for trauma, who died as the result of a pharmacy screw-up.  Complete with, I sh*t you not, a photo montage set to Garth Brooks' "The Dance", like, yes, a baby dying because of a completely preventable error isn't already sad enough, let's set it to a heart-rending song.  I don't even HAVE kids and I was crying.  Christ.

And then it was time to learn more stuff, and absorb more information, and Round 2 is tomorrow.  Onward!  Hopefully the presenters tomorrow will be a little better with the Powerpoint.  And I'm thinking the actual job is going to be a piece. of. cake. after I get done wading through all this.

Oh!  And I got my ID badge today.  I'm official.  :) 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More walking photos

These past couple of weeks have been really weird - I've been hired, but I haven't actually started the new job yet, as I still have to go through orientation and get tested AGAIN for TB before I can start work in the clinic.  I've been working some hours at the old job, studiously avoiding doing anything productive around the house, and walking. Lots of walking.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Marching-band Camel-bladder. Yes, it's a thing.

Today I had to go for my pre-employment physical for my new job.  Because I'll be working in a medical facility, I had to provide proof of vaccination for, basically, every disease known to man.

Amazingly, I still had the little vaccination booklet that my mom kept for me as a child (thanks, mom!) (keep in mind all my standard vaccinations were done far, FAR before the computerized medical records area).  There was one vaccination (measles, I think) that I didn't have adequate proof for, necessitating a titer, and also I didn't have any recent TB testing, which might mean a brief delay in my employment until I can go through the required, two-tests-a-certain-amount-of-time-apart TB tests.

And then it was time for the drug screening, meaning urine test.  I've given urine many, many times before at my doctor's office (ewww, sorry) for various things, so I figured, sure, no problem.

Except, I was not prepared for the sheer AMOUNT of urine (gross) I would have to give for the drug screen.  I flunked on the first go-round (not enough of a sample), so they tossed that sample and I was told that I had three hours to tank up on water, wait for it to move through, and then produce an adequate sample.  And I had to stay right there, in the office, and if I could not produce a sufficient sample in the three-hour time span, it was Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Get Job.

No pressure.

And here's where the Camel-bladder comes in.  Back in high school, I was in the marching band, meaning a lot of travel to "away"football games and band competitions.  Via school bus (no toilets).  And once we got to wherever we were going, the lines for the bathrooms at the destination facility were always LOOOOOOONG,  not to mention that at the football games, the "facilities" usually consisted of sketchy port-a-potties.

So I learned to "hold it" a very, very, very long time, is all I'm saying.  And not that it actually comes up in conversation a lot, but many people over the years have remarked on how long I can go without needing to pee.

So.  Three hour time limit, no pee and no job.  And I can hold it FOREVER.

Oh snap.  Time to chug.  I estimate I drank AT LEAST a gallon of water, if not more, during the first hour.  Then I waited.  And waited.  At that point, the facility was getting ready to close(!), and I would have to return the next day, first thing, to try again if I couldn't produce.  And I still didn't have to pee.

Well, damn! 

I grabbed the nurse, said "let's give this a shot, because I don't think I can do this again tomorrow" (water intoxication, it's a thing, guys) and headed for the bathroom.

SCORE.  I had plenty. (yuck, sorry.)  I aced the pee test!  And I swear, it's going to be a long, long time before I voluntarily drink a glass of water again. *urp*

How can people be so, well ...

I was perusing Facebook last night, where one of my Facebook "friends" had posted something that went like this:

"Can't believe the great deal I got today!  One of my neighbors had their driveway sealed, and the contractor had enough sealant left over to give me a bargain price!  Sure, it cost a chunk of change, but it was a lot cheaper than it would've normally been!  Good thing I just happened to be home this afternoon!"

Ummmmm ...

Okay, I'll say it.  HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SO STUPID?!  This scam has been around LONGER than the Nigerian Prince thing, and yet somehow, someway, people are still falling for it.  I just ...

*shakes head*

This is a person who has an advanced degree and a highly technical job with a high-level security clearance.  And yet ... and yet ... some gypsy shows up at her house with a scam story, and she falls hook, line, and freaking sinker.

People, man.  I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Rescue time!

We had severe storms last night, and I woke up this morning to power but no phone, internet or TV.  After running a few errands, which were limited due to the power outages, I headed over to the rescue's adoption center because I'd heard they were short-handed.  Many of the center volunteers and foster families were without power themselves, and were scrambling to find temporary homes for the bottle-fed foster kittens until the power came back on.

I hadn't been there long when a call came in - Workers renovating a house that was vacant because the previous tenants had been arrested on drug charges had found that the tenants had left several cats behind, and the landlord said he wanted the cats out by 5 p.m. or he would "get rid of them".

Well, shit.

Another volunteer and I grabbed crates and gloves and supplies and headed out.  When we got there, the three adult cats had been contained in one room.  But one of those cats had given birth recently and had hidden the kittens in the attic, and of course we couldn't take the mama cat without all her kittens.

The house must have been beautiful once - there was a stained glass window in the attic, for Pete's sake! - but years of being occupied by low-income tenants had taken their toll.

We got the adult cats out of the room and into carriers:

And then it was time to head up to the attic to try and locate the kittens.

The attic:

I will tell you right now, those floorboards were pretty sketchy, and mama had hidden the babies under the floorboards in a far corner - we had to pull the babies out of this crawlspace:

Luckily, one of the workers at the house had long arms, and he was able to reach in and grab out the kittens, one by one.  We did sweeps of the crawlspace with a flashlight to make sure we had gotten all the kittens, and then it was time to reunite the kittens with their mama and get them back to the rescue.


And here is their gorgeous mama:

Here are the other two cats we took out of the house. The female, on the right, has severely matted fur, and at one point someone had taken scissors to her to cut some of the mats out.  Volunteers will work with her and she will be taken to a groomer if necessary to get her looking good again:

The mama with the babies is safe in a foster home tonight where they will be pampered and cared for, and the two adult cats will be neutered and spayed PRONTO and put up for adoption.

And I will tell you what, none of the other rescues in this area, including the local Humane Society who has a paid staff and a budget ten times ours, would touch a case like this with a ten-foot-pole.  But there we were, the crazy ones, the little rescue who could, taking in these cats who were going to meet a bad fate unless they could be rescued today.  Oh, and did I mention?  Our adoption rate is more than DOUBLE the local Humane Society's adoption rate, even though we take in the sick, the elderly, the injured, and the other animals (like these) that the Humane Society would deny or euthanize.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.  All I can say is, it was a heck of a day, and our rescue done good. :)

Monday, May 01, 2017

Walk it over

Last week, when I got offered the position, I was torn.  I didn't know if I should take the job, or wait and see if something better came along.  Complicating matters was the fact that if I turned the job down, I'd lose any shot at unemployment benefits while I looked for something else.  So I did what I always do when I'm conflicted and need to think things over - I headed for the woods.

 Waterfalls always make me feel better.

There were blooming trilliums everywhere:

Entire hillsides were covered in Dutchman's Breeches:

Of course, when you're hiking gorges, you've gotta deal with the climb:

But look at the view from the top!:


Lucifer Falls:

And looking down at Lucifer Falls from waaaaay up high:

Trout lilies:

Purple trees:

And yet more waterfalls:

And it was awesome, because it was the middle of the week, so there was practically nobody else there.  And I thought to myself, well, if I took the job, I'd have days off mid-week all the time to enjoy more hiking and kayaking and less crowds at the popular spots.  

So I went home and emailed the recruiter and told him that I accept.  I'm still uncertain as to whether I made the right decision, and nervous, and anxious, but I keep telling myself, it's not like I just joined the Army, for Pete's sake.  If it turns out the job isn't right for me, I'll just stay there long enough to learn the medical office info I need to know, and then move on.  I don't think there's any way that job-searching for the first time in 30 years can *not* be nerve-wracking, and I need to stop beating myself up about this.  Go in, have a positive attitude, and learn what they can teach me.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll love it.  And if I don't?  It's not the end of the world - it's just a job.