Saturday, August 27, 2022

Saturday

The weekend is finally here again! This has seemed like the longest month ever at work. I can't believe we haven't even made it to September yet--the year is practically still just starting. If time flies when you're having fun, I guess the opposite is true, too.

I'm keeping my head down at work. I've seen a few friendly faces from the district office who've visited the school for one reason or another, and that's been a comfort. I'm well-liked by a handful of higher-ups in the district, so hopefully they can vouch for me if I ever need it. I checked into the transfer process, and that's a process that the district doesn't allow to begin until January at the very earliest. So unless something dramatic happens (and I hope it doesn't) I'm stuck for this year. Next spring can't get here soon enough!

We're still waiting on the results of Gregg's biopsy.  He was at the hospital cleaning aquariums yesterday and got someone to call and check, and they were told that "Dr. Wofford has a pile of test results sitting on his desk that haven't been read yet. He won't be back at work until Monday so it will be a few more days". Monday will be three weeks! That's just ridiculous. I still think everything is going to be fine, but I know it's a nagging worry at the back of Gregg's mind and he won't rest easy until he gets some answers. 

I'm tearing down the summer garden tomorrow. I think the tomatoes are pretty much played out (so are the peppers) in the raised bed, and it's time. I also want to start planting fall vegetables next week. I'm thinking of trying more lettuce, spinach, turnips, mustard greens, and maybe a very early (quick) variety of carrots. We have a long growing season and our average first frost isn't until early November so there should be time for most of it. The zinnias in the bed in front of the porch are still going strong, and the butterflies and hummingbirds are still having a very good summer.


Since yesterday was National Dog Day, I tried to get a pretty picture of Poppy standing by the zinnias. She was not impressed with my efforts. None of my dogs ever have been!


There's little chance of getting a picture of George by the flowers. Unless we're hooking him up for one of his twice daily walks around the neighborhood, he prefers to be either inside with the a/c or on the porch under the ceiling fan. George is definitely an inside dog!
 


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Oh, deer!

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I bought a crabapple tree late in the winter and planted it in our front yard. It arrived as a bare stick (dormant) and for a while this spring we were beginning to wonder if it was really alive. Then, finally, hurray! A nice flush of tender new leaves popped out and we knew it was alive and growing. More and more leaves started to pop out and I was so excited!

Then one morning I got up and all those pretty new leaves were gone--had just disappeared overnight. We'd been seeing a couple of young deer hanging out in our neighbors' yards and I couldn't think of anything else that would have stripped the leaves from a waist high tree like that. I was upset, but I could see new little buds further down the stem getting ready to open. And open they did! Another flush of leaves opened up and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Until about a week later. The same thing happened--all the new growth disappeared overnight.

This has happened three or four times now. Every time the little tree struggles to put out a few new leaves, they promptly disappear. I read somewhere that apple tree foliage is a favorite among deer. What on earth am I going to do? I don't think the little tree will continue to survive if it can't keep leaves for photosynthesis.

I wish I could think of a solution. I'm considering putting some kind of wire cage around it or some netting over it, but of course that's going to look ugly as hell in the front yard! If anyone reading this has any suggestions to deter hungry young deer (that won't look too ridiculous) please share them with me!

The ironic part of all this is that part of the reason we decided on a crabapple tree in the first place is so that the fruit could one day be food for the local wildlife! At the rate things are going, those deer will never see an actual crabapple...and neither will we!

                                              Centurion Crabapple Tree


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Rescued goldfish

 Here's a video I shot this morning of the goldfish we brought home from school a few weeks ago. As you can see, they're enjoying their vacation on the porch!



Saturday, August 20, 2022

Forget I ever said anything

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” -Maya Angelou

Forget every good and positive thing I said about my job and my boss in my last post.

The woman has issues. Clearly.

I (along with three of my colleagues) were subjected to a tirade yesterday the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a manager at Pier 1 Imports and the regional manager would get drunk and call the store and rant and rave and curse if our sales were down. I never expected to be treated like that at this job.

It was so bad one of my coworkers (I'm not sure which one, I only know it wasn't me) called the district office to complain. They sent someone from HR to try to diffuse the situation. It was honestly the most terrible day I've had since I started working there 5 years ago. One of the people subjected to the same treatment later told me that in her 21-year career with our district, she had never been attacked like that. It was all seriously unhinged.

One of the outcomes is that I won't be doing two jobs anymore. The HR person they sent to diffuse the situation confirmed that other schools always have at least two people doing the work I've been given. My boss asked (not me) and that was the answer she got. Sounds good, right? Now I can relax and do one do-able job, right? Wrong! 

Last night I got copied on email sent to someone in personnel, asking her to start "looking for alternative placements and possibilities for Barlow". Then my boss called me at home just to say, "Are you okay, Ms. Barlow?" in a sticky-sweet, fake voice. This was all beyond bizarre. When I insisted on clarification about the "alternative placements and possibilities" line, she seemed embarrassed and finally said I'd stay on to do one job and they'd hire someone else to do the other, but I don't believe her. I think she wants me gone. 

I've already started reaching out to friends in the district, looking for a new school to transfer to. Even if I can continue where I'm at, I don't want to. I can't work for someone who behaves like this. I can't have my job threatened on a whim when I haven't done anything wrong. I can't take that kind of stress and I know I deserve better! Yesterday I couldn't eat all day, couldn't sleep last night, was just consumed with anxiety. I can't live like that long term.

So yeah, forget all the good stuff I said.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

This and that on a Thursday afternoon

Happy Friday Eve! (As a coworker of mine used to say)

It's been another long and busy week. My new job is absolutely crushing me at the moment. There's so much to do, and not enough hours in the day to get to everything. Most afternoons I end up staying over anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour beyond when I'm supposed to get off. I don't get paid overtime, either. 

On the bright side, I'm learning a lot, and my new boss has had nothing but praise for the job I'm doing. She's been very friendly and kind, which is saying something because most of the staff is terrified of her! She's already demoted and fired some people and threatened to fire others. It's obvious she came to our school with the intention to "clean house" so to speak, so I'm grateful that I keep getting more responsibilities, not less! She's told me that I'm valuable to her and that she has faith in me to do a good job. She shows she means it by leaving me strictly alone to manage my own workday and tasks. So far, so good...although I'm still nervous about her. It's hard not to be when almost everyone else walks around on eggshells all the time! Hopefully she'll settle into her new job soon, and then everyone will be able to relax a little. 

Gregg had his colonoscopy on Monday, and it turns out his oncologist had also ordered an endoscopy to be done at the same time. The colonoscopy was all clear, but the endoscopy showed a "nodule" on his duodenum. The doctor took samples to biopsy and we probably won't hear anything until the middle of next week. That's kind of scary. The doctor was careful to not say much of anything about it one way or the other, and was out the door in less than a minute. There's nothing to do but wait and see. 

What else? I spoke to Prophet (Little P.) and his mom the other day! They're both doing well, and we've made plans to have dinner together one night next week. I sure miss seeing them both at work, though!

I don't know how to end this post so I'll just sign off with a picture I just snapped of Marco T. Barlowamusing himself with chewing on an ink pen while I type away at the computer. He's still up to his devilish bird business, just like always! 


* Marco will be 15 years old next month! I was thinking of having a little hatchday party for him...but would that be too weird?! I could invite all his favorite people over, and we could have birthday cake and deviled eggs (hahaha!) and wine, which he also likes. What do you think?

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Three days off

 A good Sunday evening to everyone! I'm right in the middle of a three-day weekend, so I've been pretty lazy. I've messed around in the garden, cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeder, and spent some time in the hammock with a book. As of 4pm I haven't even gotten around to taking a shower yet. It's been nice!

The reason I don't have to work tomorrow is because I have to drive Gregg to a colonoscopy appointment. Since today is his "prep day", he isn't having nearly as nice a time as I am! At least he's no stranger to the procedure. He's had at least three others that I remember so he knows what to expect. 

I was pleased that my boss didn't seem to mind me taking the day off. When I sent her an email reminder of it the other day she responded by wishing Gregg well and by saying that I would be missed at work. I still can't figure her out, but so far so good.

I took a few more butterfly and zinnia photos today. 





We have seen other types of butterflies, but I never manage to get good photos of any of the others. I'm in love with zinnias this summer; I'll definitely plant more next year (and I hope some of the current ones go to seed and resprout, too). The butterflies and hummingbirds and bees all seem to love them.

I'm off now to figure out what to do about dinner. I hate the thought of eating in front of Gregg, since he can't eat anything today. I may see if a friend wants to go out and grab a bite later, or I may just go get some Chinese takeout (not Gregg's favorite) and eat at the table by myself. 

I'm really glad to have tomorrow off work, even though it's too bad that it's at Gregg's expense! I'm going to take a book with me to read while I wait. Hopefully, we'll be home by early afternoon and the rest of the day will be free. 


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Playdate

 Martina got a new puppy! Today she brought him over for the first time so that he could meet Poppy. His name is Harker, and we hope they can be good friends. (I kept George inside for this first visit, but later on we'll work on introducing them, too).

I took this video within a few minutes of Poppy meeting Harker. They liked each other immediately and spent a good hour and a half playing! Isn't he a cutie?




Sunday, August 7, 2022

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Week two: settling in

Week two of work is now done. Despite the fact that each day flew by (there's so much on my plate now) the week seemed terribly long. The students came back to school on Monday, so the new year started for real.

I still don't know what to make of my new boss. On Monday afternoon I noticed that three of the office women had little arrangements of flowers delivered and sitting on their desks. I asked the secretary, "Those are so pretty! Who sent them to you?" and she said, "Miss (principal's firstname)!"  She had flowers delivered to the secretary, the bookkeeper, and the student data manager/registrar. Guess which "office lady" didn't get any flowers? Yep. I was the only one. I didn't know what to think. It's weird for her to send flowers for no apparent reason to a few staff members in the first place, but then to leave me out was not only strange, but rude. My feelings were hurt. I wondered what it could mean. Then I decided, to hell with it. If she wants to be weird and rude and to play favorites, I guess that's her business. My business is to do the best job I can, to learn a lot of new skills, and then to move along at the end of the year if I'm not valued where I am. I let it go, but I still think it was shitty of her. 

Then, to really make things confusing, on Wednesday night she sent me an email. She said, "I just wanted you to know how proud I am of the wonderful job you're doing getting the permanent records back in order. Excellent work!" Honestly, I'd rather have validating words like that than flowers, but it sure seems like a lot of mixed messages. I guess time will tell.

I do like the challenge of my new job duties. By the time I left yesterday I felt like I was finally beginning to gain my footing a little bit. I've made a good start and I've learned a whole lot already. I miss working closely with the students and really getting to know them, though. A few kids asked what had happened to me (since I'm no longer at the desk in the lobby) and came and found my office to give me a hug. One was a trans boy named Nick who's living in a foster home. We've been special friends since last year and I try to be loving and accepting to him--something he desperately needs.  I was genuinely so happy to see him, and he knows it. We spent a good ten minutes catching up before I sent him on to class. Another day, I was in the cafeteria at lunchtime and heard someone say, "Hey Ms. Barlow!!" I turned around and it was another boy that would sometimes stop by my desk and talk last year. He'd grown a tiny little wispy moustache over the summer (!!) so when he came over to hug me, I said, "Caleb! Look at you! You've grown about a foot taller over the summer and you have a moustache now, too!" He smiled shyly and said, "I have a beard now too! But I shaved it." Haha! Judging by how wispy his little moustache was, I doubt he has any serious need to shave. I pretended to be impressed, though, because he was very proud. Isn't that adorable? So, I'll definitely miss the close relationship with kids after this current batch of returning students move on to high school. That won't happen while I'm  tucked away in an office somewhere, of course.

So that's it for me this week. I've been reading blogs on my lunch break and sometimes after work, but now blogger won't allow me to comment on most blogs when I'm using my phone. I still regularly have to go retrieve "good" comments from the spam folder, too. I know blogger is a free service, but I really wish some of theses issues would get resolved. I've been really tired these past two weeks but that's starting to get better. When I left work yesterday, for the first time this year, I felt like I was finally starting to get my footing a little bit with my "new" jobs. I'll try to *blog about something else besides work going forward. I'm sure it's getting boring.

Have a nice weekend, my friends!

*Tuesday will be my blog's 12th birthday!! I can't even believe I've been at this blogging thing for that long! Read my very first (very short) post here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Surprise!

 We're having a surprise for supper tonight! 😁 

I pulled this frozen entrée out of the freezer (because there's nothing else to eat in the house at the moment) and I have no idea what it is.

It might be chili! It might be spaghetti sauce! Hell, it might even be beef stew!   Only time (and the defrost function on my microwave) will tell. 

This passes for excitement in my house these days. 😩😅