Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Waiting, waiting, waiting….

Have been waiting on phone calls all day.  I wish people would tell me exactly when they’re going to call and then call at that time instead of “after” or “around” a time.  That makes me end up sitting here miffed because I could have been doing something else but they’re the one who wanted to talk to me and asked me to be available.  Really not in the mood for this right now….

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Leave the bear alone you hillbillies!!

All day I have been listening to the local police scanner.  I keep it on because if there’s an emergency that isn’t being broadcast on the local news channels, I can usually get some information from the scanner.  Plus after years of having worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and disaster preparedness/response person, I’m just addicted to it.

So today’s noteworthy broadcasts have been about a small black bear that has wandered into town.  It’s not hurt anyone; it’s not gone into the residential areas; and it’s trying to find its way back to the woods.  At first someone thought it was a dog when it was near a residential area but it stayed over by the local airport (not an overly busy one).  It has been wandering around and I’m not worried about it coming over into the area where I live because it would have to cross a large Interstate highway plus the busy traffic at the intersection that crosses over it.  The state conservation agents have been working with the county law enforcement to track the bear and make sure that it keeps heading towards the woods.

Sadly, though, all the yokels in town have been coming out in droves to see it — especially after the story was aired on the local news.  Now the police are being called by the businesses in the area next to the Interstate highway because people keep trying to get closer and closer to the bear so they can take pictures of it.  Some have brought their dogs with them, like the conservation agents need that little bit of “help” with a bear that really doesn’t want to be where it is in the first place.

Right now it’s up a tree next to the local Pizza Hut.  It wanders between one of the banks, the Pizza Hut, a furniture store, and a Captain D’s restaurant.  I’m sure it smells plenty of trash from that area it would love to eat.  Hopefully the conservation and law enforcement agents will get rid of the crowd before the bear hurts itself.  The poor thing just wants to get back to its home (with a snack to-go if it can grab one).

Here’s an idea — if you want to see a close-up photo of a bear, pick up a book!  If you want to see a bear in person, go to a zoo!  If you see a bear in the wild, then lucky you — but for cryin’ out loud, stop trying to get in its way!

Well….at least now there’s something else to listen to.  Some drunken fool is chugging a Mountain Dew and whiskey outside a local grocery store and has pushed carts into the major 4-way intersection of town.  Now that sounds more like an average night.

A nice, uneventful day

Today I’m very thankful for a day without too much happening.  It’s been very stressful since this time last week and I’d like for the stress to remain at bay.

Of course, I have my appointment with my therapist tomorrow, so we’ll have to see how that goes.  And I’ve got more questions to answer in regards to my ERO case that I’ve filed.

Hopefully Youngest Son will have learned a little something over the past week so that I can maybe give him a privilege back.  Never give it all back at once.  I make my kids earn them since they’re the one who did something stupid enough to lose it.

So, off early to bed tonight.  If we get thunderstorms again like last night, I just hope they don’t wake me up again.  It was nice to know that it rained last night but I could have waited until the morning to see the wet ground and been just as happy.

Memorial Day — You’re doing it wrong!

On this Memorial Day, we sit out on our decks and party.  Three days we’ve got off from work with burgers on the barbie.  But if you take a moment to reflect, away from your party scene, the radio will remind you what this day truly means.

It’s time to save, I said SAVE, on a waterbed!  It’s time to buy a great mattress at an even greater price!  I’ve got two words for you — It’s “Tire Sale!”  We’ve got rock-bottom prices and the time is running out!

You’ve got one full year, that’s right — one full year!  No interest!  No payments!  This could be the Memorial Day Weekend you enjoy for years!

Oh, yeah, and something about guys who died for our country…..  (“Memorial Day” parody by Heywood Banks)

Sadly, that song which was written as a joke to show just how out-of-touch we are with what Memorial Day really means is truer than you think.

I’ve seen and heard lots of people talking about their holiday weekend.  The “fact” that it’s the first weekend of summer.  About how much they’ve enjoyed their mini-family vacations and days spent on the lake or fishing or perfecting their barbeque techniques.  I’ve also seen a lot of people posting photos/cartoons and statements thanking veterans for their service.

Memorial Day is not the day we say “thank you” to our veterans.  EVERY DAY should be a day we say “thank you” to our veterans.  But for those who can’t be bothered to do that every day you see someone in uniform or someone wearing a hat or jacket showing they were one who promised to put their life on the line for our country, then at least say “thank you” on Veterans’ Day (11 November).

Memorial Day is when we should stop what we’re doing and remember that it’s the day set aside to say “thank you” to those veterans we CAN’T thank in person anymore.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields, wherever they were.  And we remember those veterans who have passed-on and the service they so proudly gave to our country.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was started by Major General John A. Logan from Southern Illinois and the GAR, the Grand Army of the Republic.  The GAR was an organization of Union veterans.  Three years after the Civil War, in 1868, he said that on May 30th all the graves of our war dead should be decorated with flowers (which would be in bloom across the country at that time).  In his orders, he stated:

We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners.  Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

This was done because in many areas immediately following the Civil War, only those of either Union or Confederate forces were being remembered and the graves of the “enemy” were falling into neglect.  One of the first records of equal decorations came in 1866 when women visiting the sites of the Confederate dead from the Battle of Shiloh near Columbus, Mississippi, noticed the graves of Union casualties being ignored and desecrated because they were they “enemy.”  Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the ladies placed flowers there as well.

Many Union or Confederate Decoration Day ceremonies are still held every year.  Memorial Day, however, was made a Federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1971 and the last Monday in May was selected as the date in order to be fairly consistent with the orders given by Maj. Gen. Logan as well as coinciding with the local/regional celebrations that had been occurring since.

Every grave in every national cemetery will have an American flag placed upon it today.  Some are placed by soldiers, some by civic groups such as the Boy and Girl Scouts.  Many family members will also decorate the graves of their loved ones in national, state, and private cemeteries.  Speeches will be made and politicians will “pay tribute” across the country today.  But it shouldn’t be just them making an effort.  And it shouldn’t be just the veterans who were able to come home to their country and families and who live with the memories of how their comrades gave the ultimate sacrifice.  It should be all of us — every single person who enjoys the freedom for which those brave men and women laid-down their lives.

It’s not about the sales; it’s not about the picnics; it’s not about a day off with or without pay.  It’s about gratitude; it’s about honor; it’s about those we can never say “thank you” personally to again.

How bored am I today??

Got a chance to sleep-in a bit this morning.  Mostly because I forgot to set my alarm and Celeste realized I was sleeping soundly and didn’t want to wake me.  Sadly, that made me late for taking my medication.  Oh, it wasn’t so late that it made me ill or have a bad reaction — it just meant that the time I would be zonked-out because of the side-effects would be much later in the morning and could have screwed up my schedule for the day.

But then I remembered, I didn’t have a schedule for today.  Laundry was done by Husband (THANK YOU!) and the dogs and cat were watered and fed this morning by Youngest Son.

So, what have I done today?  Sadly, I’ve sat and watched a marathon of The Pink Panther, Return of the Pink Panther, and Revenge of the Pink Panther.  If I wanted to, I could switch the channel at the moment and watch A Shot in the Dark — the funniest of all of the “Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau” movies.  Actually, my favorite characters are Cato and Inspector Dreyfus.  Burt Kwuok was hysterical and Herbert Lom perfected the nervous tic that showed just how insane Clouseau made Dreyfus.

I remember watching the early “Pink Panther” movies on television (since I wasn’t born when they were made) but the later ones I remember going to see in the theater.  Of course, as a kid, I thought the slapstick was hysterical.  Now that I’m much older, the same things don’t make me laugh but I still get a big chuckle out of the jokes I didn’t understand years ago.

Classic movies are the ones that can stand the test of time.  I worry, though, that these classics will soon be removed from the “classic bin” because many people today would not get the jokes and/or cultural/current event references made in them.

ZZZzzzzzz….

Best of all he (Odin) liked to sleep.  Sleeping was a very important activity for him.  He liked to sleep for longish periods, great swathes of time.  Merely sleeping overnight was not taking the business seriously.  He enjoyed a good night’s sleep and wouldn’t miss one for the world, but found it as anything halfway near enough.  He liked to be asleep by half-past eleven in the morning if possible, and if that should come directly after a nice leisurely lie-in then so much the better.  A little light breakfast and a quick trip to the bathroom while fresh linen was applied to his bed is really all the activity he liked to undertake, and he took care that it didn’t jaunt the sleepiness out of him and disturb his afternoon of napping.  Sometimes he was able to spend an entire week asleep, and this he regarded as a good snooze.  He had also slept through the whole of 1986 and hadn’t missed it.  – Douglas Adams, The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

It’s a long weekend and I’ve enjoyed quite a nice, long nap today.  I have to sincerely thank Husband and Youngest Son for allowing me to sleep-in this morning.  Well, when I say “sleep-in” I mean that I did get up at my usual time to take my medications and let the dogs go outside for “walkies.”  But, while they went to yard sales I was allowed to crawl back into bed and sleep away a lot of the stresses from this past week.  I don’t usually do that, but today it was imperative that I do so.  Plus, weird dreams when I’m stressed-out happen and if only I could have filmed it.  I would have made a great B-movie (or even worse).

Towel and Star Wars Day — Celebrate both!

No new news on the job front.  My Cadre Manager was supposed to get back in touch with my ERO counselor but that didn’t happen.  I have been given lots of really good advice and had friends recommend a lot of options.  I’m keeping everything open at the moment.  I’ll continue fighting for what’s best for my family and me.

So, since there’s really nothing new, I’ll just wish everyone a Happy Towel Day and Happy Star Wars Day.  Towel Day is for fans of Douglas Adams and his “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy” (all six books) and in memory of his death on this date in 2001.  Star Wars Day marks the anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope in 1977.  35 years ago….wow, I feel old.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read Douglas’ books (not just the H2G2 series) as well as listened to the radio shows, audiobooks, and watched the movies.  Douglas Adams also worked on episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  You can tell I’m a big fan, huh?

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the original trilogy of Star Wars.  I even have the theatrical releases on DVD because I can’t stand watching all of the added on stuff from 1997.  I remember seeing the movies in the theater, when that was the only option, and then recording them off HBO onto our Betamax player (yes, I really am that old) and watching them every day after school.

Hey, when your dad is the principal of your school, you don’t hang out with a lot of people, and you’re focused on keeping your grades high you find yourself as one of the biggest geeks doing what geeks do best — reciting movie lines.  After I’d seen each of the original three over 500 times each, I quit counting.  I still have no idea how many times I’ve seen them all.  In college I could win bets by having people play a part of the soundtrack and begin to act and recite the exact scene just based on the music!  Okay, it was only good for winning bar bets and has never helped me in any sort of career, but it was fun all the same!

So all you hoopy froods, get your towels and grab a bottle of Old Janx Spirit (from H2G2 or SW, your choice) and head out to Millyways!

Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. — Douglas Adams

Can we say “discrimination?” I thought we could!

*Insert loud screaming in frustration noise here*

Well, I just heard from my Equal Rights counselor regarding my long “quest” to find out why I wasn’t reappointed to my job and to try to get it back.  I still have another phone call coming from her when she receives the message of whether or not the person she is dealing with has the right to reappoint me or not.  At the moment, however, I couldn’t give crap one if they try to reappoint me to my old position.  There’s no way I could possibly stand to work for these people after what I was just told they said about me and my disability!

So, quick rundown before I have to go grab another Xanax.  The main Equal Rights Officer I worked with last year to get my reasonable accommodations to have Celeste come to work with me stated that I had proven that I had a disability and with all the letters from therapists, doctors, co-workers, and the trainer of my service dog that I had proven the need and should be allowed to bring her with me.  My assistant Cadre Manager signed-off on all of the paperwork and sent me a memo stating how in the future I was to notify her when I was deploying with Celeste and the rules/regulations that I would have to follow for having her in our field offices.  Basic stuff, all approved, all signed, and copies (both physical and electronic) are saved for my records.

Then, the counselor contacted my Cadre Manager and his assistant to speak with them on why I wasn’t reappointed to my job.  He stated that he’d heard my name but didn’t know who I was.  He also stated that he knew that there were issues last year with me bringing Celeste and problems at the office (which there weren’t any from her, just from others who wanted to pet and play with her) and that she was not a “service animal” but was a “comfort dog.”  Really??  Since when did he become so educated on what constitutes the difference between a SD (service dog) and an ESA (emotional support animal)??  And this is a man I’ve only ever spoken to once since I started working for him in 2009 because he never returned my emails or phone calls and I always had to go through his assistant.

And speaking of his assistant, she was very quiet throughout the interview.  I have her signature approving my request for reasonable accommodation but she told the counselor that all of that was handled at headquarters by the ERO officers.

I was right!!  They were discriminating against me when they didn’t reappoint me.  The Cadre Manager stated that my “comfort dog” would cause a problem and I couldn’t be deployed or retained because of it.  Also, he said that he had to drastically reduce the number of people he had employed but he only released two people in my section.  I guess all of the people who I trained last year will be able to go on to have full employment and success now.

I’m not expecting to get my job back because he said he’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation for me (which was the easy-out option given if they weren’t going to keep me) and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want me back anyway now that I know what I know.  But, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m shocked.  I’m flabbergasted.  I can’t believe that someone would be so bold to basically state outright that my disability is the reason they didn’t keep me — especially since this is a FEDERAL position and there are FEDERAL laws to protect the disabled.

You can be sure I’ll keep things updated as more info comes in.  However, for anyone who thought I was just uselessly chasing a dream, I’m not upset and I’m not going to dance around with my tongue sticking out and my fingers in my ears saying “I’m right and you were wrong!”  I’ve always had a tenacity to grab hold of something and see it all the way through to the end, regardless if I’m right or I’m wrong.  I’m glad that I have that now because I have proof that I was right this time.  And anyone who feels that they’ve been wronged should be brave enough to stand-up for what they believe in and fight for what is right.  I hope I’ve been a good example.

Now I need to try to relax before I pop a vein in my head.  That would kind of make going on to a formal complaint process difficult.

Accepting suggestions on “training” a teenager!

Again!  I can’t believe I have to go through this crap again!  The kid is 13 years freakin’ old — how much longer will it last???

I had to go to an appointment today.  Usually I can trust Youngest Son to be on his best behavior (or something like it) while I’m out for a little while.  I come back and what do I find?  I find one of the premiere rules of the house broken and him lying to me about it.

We have a very strict rule about the computer.  Because of the questionable content out there and the threat of viruses, worms, and Trojans, we do not allow our children to access the computer unless we’re with them or we give them a five-minute window to check email or Facebook.  We did it that way with Eldest Son and we’re doing it that way with Youngest Son.  Even though he has a computer in his room, there is no Internet access to it (not even Wi-Fi) and he’s not allowed to turn it on without our permission.  I have a special key that allows Internet to be connected if he needs to work on a homework assignment but either Husband or me is in the room with him while he’s online.  Usually, though, he wants to use our main household computer (from which I also run my online business) because it’s newer, faster, and has more programs.  Again, though, he must be supervised while using it.

I was gone for an hour and came back to find that not only had he been on the computer when I was gone and without permission, he’d also accessed the Internet and even looked into the history folder for our web browser.  That threw up red flags all over the place because he could have been to a site we don’t allow and deleted the information.  So, I asked him what happened while I was gone.

Nothing.  He gave me the standard teenager shrug of the shoulders and a monotone “I don’t know” as an answer.  I started listing the items he has privileges to use and/or owns and which ones he would be losing as he continued to feign an inability to recall anything he may or may not have done over the hour that I was away from home.  Finally he said he looked at the history to see if we had bought him a birthday present online.

He must think I have “stupid” written on my face because I don’t believe that for a moment.  And I told him that as well.  His birthday is over a month away and I certainly wouldn’t purchase anything this far in advance, mostly because I never know when he’s going to pull a stunt like this and end up grounded again.

A couple of years ago he took something of mine and lied about it.  I could prove that he did it and even showed him the evidence.  He continued to lie and for over half and hour he lied and lied until he realized that he was just digging himself a deeper hole of punishments.  And every time he continued to lie or did something else against the rules, we just added the time for that infraction onto what he’d already earned.  The kid was grounded for about six months!  You’d think he’d have figured it out by now that we, his parents, are much smarter than he is and will find out when he does something wrong (especially since he’s not good at covering his tracks) and that just admitting to what he did and apologizing would get him in far less trouble than lying about it.

I don’t know what to do.  Seriously.  This keeps happening over and over and over and I’m sick to death of it.  Right now his “privileges” are to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, do his household and yard chores, and practice his trumpet.  He can read while he’s in his room (he’s got LOTS of books on many subjects).  But there will be no television, video games, computer, MP3, cell phone, telephone, texting, or going out unless it’s to walk the dog or we’re all going somewhere together.

This is my first summer home in years.  Usually I’m deployed away to work a disaster and I’ve missed being able to just spend free time with him.  No schedules; no worries about work or him having to go to school.  He’s only been out of school three days and he can’t keep it together!  I really worry about him in the future.

About what do my dogs dream?

Yes, I noticed that I made sure my title was grammatically correct.  OCD has checked-in for the night!

Anyway, I do wonder what goes through my dogs’ brains when they’re dreaming.  I can look over at the cat who is sound asleep at the moment and she never moves until she wakes up.  However, I can watch either Celeste or Harley and sooner or later they’ll start to run in their sleep, snore loudly, or sometimes even bark as if they’re trying to say something.

Celeste is five years old and has had a lot of experiences with and without me.  She was a show dog and has traveled around the country and also worked as a service dog for a lady in a wheelchair (who sadly didn’t know how to care for her even though she’d had service dogs before).  So, I could see some memories coming back to her mind and perhaps she sees things she remembers.

Harley, on the other hand, has been with us since she was nine months old.  She was abandoned and raised for a month at a farm before they took her to the local Humane Society because they couldn’t afford to keep another abandoned dog.  She’s been on trips with us (vehicle only, no planes yet) and has romped around in the yard or at a dog park.  Most of her time she’s comfortable on the couch and when given the opportunity will watch car races or other dogs running on television.  Harley also lived here with my service dog Cody who passed away in 2010.  She was there when he died.  She also has a lot of his habits and mannerisms because he made sure that he taught her how to act and didn’t let her get too out of control.

Cody would snore loudly and run when sleeping too — but he only came to live with us when he was much older.  He had been a puppy mill breeder dog that had been abandoned on the side of the Interstate when he’d gotten to old to make the owners more money.  We took him in and even though he had no idea how to play or act like a normal dog, he learned commands quickly and was eager to please because he loved being loved by someone instead of just ignored.  And he still had the gumption to put the cat in her place when he came to live with us and she wouldn’t shut up one night.  He just closed her mouth with his and looked at her as if to say, “See?  Quiet is better.”

When Cody would snore loudly and move as if he was running when he was asleep, I could always imagine that he was reliving something that had happened before we had him.  Maybe it was running away from the handlers at the puppy mill.  Maybe it was finally running free when they first got rid of him before he began to struggle to find food and water in the sweltering heat of the summer.  I would always hope that his dreams would include meeting us and enjoying a nice walk or just being cuddled.

I’m watching Harley’s legs move while she’s asleep as if she’s running for her life.  Maybe there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in her dream?  She loves to chase them in the yard, though I don’t think she’d have any idea what to do with one if she caught it.  She’s running and running and you can hear her snorting loudly with every “step” she takes.  Whatever it is, she’s either thoroughly enjoying it or making damned sure that she gets away from whatever she doesn’t like.

I know humans put too much emotion into our pets.  We talk to them as if they’re people and try to read their facial expressions and actions like we do non-verbal communications from other humans.  But I think it would be fun if we could see about what our dogs are dreaming.  Finally catching the ball; scaring a flock of birds; or maybe just laying on the couch getting their tummy rubbed.  Anything could be a fascinating dream for them.

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