Friday, July 24, 2009

Blog Therapy

I am so angry, and I’m about to put myself through blog therapy, so feel free to walk away now.

It could be because my house flooded this morning, and it could be because I’m experiencing my first passionate disagreement with our new director, and it could be because I’m terrified my dog is still sick and might have a seizure disorder, and it could be because my mom’s mental illness seems to be worsening, and it could be 100 other serious problems I am dealing with all at once, but I don’t know why I’m so agitated.

Someone left the water on in the bathroom sink downstairs. I woke up this morning to find an inch of water in the bathroom and water under the laminate in the adjoining dining room. The sink cabinet was so super saturated that it was already warped, and the drywall and woodwork is all blackened and stinky around the bottom of the room. I foolishly went to work and left the house in the hands of my mother, who called the insurance company and then proceeded to clean up the entire house with Lysol and bleach. My brother told her not to touch anything, but she wouldn’t listen, and now we have bigger problems.

Everything that was in the bathroom she put into a big plastic bag, some of which she went through and others she just threw into the bag. She opened boxes and took items out, then threw everything separated into the same bag, meaning all the bandages were individually removed from their wet boxes and put into the bag with the wet boxes, as well as medications and soaps. Seriously, she emptied the trash can into the bag first, then she started piling the wet stuff under the sink into the same bag, so my boxes of contact lenses were opened, the containers of the lenses separated from the boxes (which marked what eye they went in and when they were purchased, so I knew which prescription was what) and they were steeped in water-soaked garbage that contained used menstrual pads and tissues we blew our noses into. All of my rubber bands and barrettes were in the bag as well, and the only things I could think to clean them with, that would make me feel okay about wearing them ever again were peroxide (which will bleach them) and vinegar, which will make my hair smell like vinegar, so no. She said that the insurance would pay to replace my lenses, and when I asked when that would be, she said the assessor wouldn’t even be out until the middle of next week, and then it would take a week or so to get the money. However, my severe astigmatism means that I have to special order lenses, which I not only have to pre-pay for, but they take an additional two weeks to arrive at my optometrist’s office. So I don’t have my next pair of disposable lenses, and if anything happens to the ones in my eyes right now, I’m screwed.

The stuff in the bag she had actually put in the garbage and wasn’t even going to tell me about it, or let the assessor see the extent of the damaged goods. She threw away everything that wasn’t glued or screwed down. Now we won’t get reimbursed for any of that because we can’t prove we had it to begin with.

I could just scream. But instead I’ve been walking around slamming stuff. It’s all I can do to keep from strangling her.

Boyfriend Extraordinaire is coming to visit in a few weeks, and I don’t know what I’m going to do to protect him from my mother, since she follows him around the house like a child starved for attention. The pressure of trying to entertain them both separately, and keeping her from driving him nuts, is making me feel like my head is going to explode, and he’s not even here yet.

It used to be that I could go to work for an escape from the insanity, but I feel just as insane at work, too. Our new director, who I truly adore, has gone nuts with emergency drills. What’s funny is that we have enough staff related emergencies that we really don’t need extra practice evacuating the building. Whether someone left the coffee pot on overnight or burned popcorn, we get to see the fire department a few times a year already. And living in the Midwest, I’ve had my fair share of tornado alarms, too. What really makes me laugh is the fact that he thinks we need to practice. I understand that some people are dumb as stumps and could be sitting next to a fire without feeling the need to warn others or save themselves, but it’s just superbly insulting to have to practice a fire drill once a month. Or in this case, twice in six days. We did this shit in elementary school and when we graduated and went to high school, we didn’t have to practice something so rudimentary again. What makes me laugh the most is that, essentially, we’re practicing leaving the building. Guess what? We leave the building everyday. We don’t need to practice. We know where the doors are, we know how to walk (or run, or crawl), and we know how to get out. It’s not as if the fire alarm goes off and suddenly everyone stands up and can’t remember where to go to get out. It’s not that I’m complaining about the short recess and getting fresh air. I’m all for that! But it’s insulting to insinuate that we need to practice getting up and walking out of the building. I laugh. What else can I do?

However, there is a down side to the insults and laughter. The patrons are not digging this. We had a woman who had been working on her resume for two hours when the fire alarm went off, and we did not tell people to take the time to save their work or lock their computers – we made them evacuate immediately. By the time she got back in, the timing software had deemed her session abandoned, exited her programs, and freed the terminal up for the next user. All her work was lost. So we could practice exiting the building. Again. Another patron is an older, sickly man, who suffers from a condition that gives him all the symptoms of advanced cystic fibrosis. He cannot leave the house when it’s cold outside, he can’t exert himself, and sometimes just talking causes him to cough so violently, we all consider calling an ambulance. Making him leave the building quickly, then stand around in the parking lot without a chair for 10 minutes, and finally allowing him to enter the building again totally wore him out and he had to call it a day. To me, when a disruption actually causes harm to patrons, it’s not okay. It’s not okay to make patrons do things that make them so sick they have to go home. As a drill. To practice something we do all the time. It’s just not right.

And it’s ironic when Arms talks about how he can do any drill he wants, any time he wants, having the green light from the director to drill the hell out of us at his discretion. It’s ironic because he was hired to protect patrons, but the constant drilling is going to actually hurt someone eventually. We already have patrons who don’t want to go because they are fed up with the drills. They drag their feet, take their time leaving, and it’s turning into a cry-wolf situation. One day it’s going to be a real emergency and our regulars will not leave. Not because they’re stupid and can’t remember where the exit doors are, but because they’re sick to death of having to practice, and then we’re going to have a far more serious problem.

Finally, it’s a bitter pill to swallow that we would have to practice a bomb threat so aggressively when it was only a short time ago that we had an actual bomb threat, and the former director and the assistant director (our current director), had such a difficult time deciding if we should close the library for that one. Seriously? You people told us you didn’t know if it was WORTH IT to shut the library down for the day of the bomb threat, and now you want us to practice getting out of the building if there is another one. For the fire drill, Arms, jacked up on the power trip, stood around taking notes in a notebook and timed us in the evacuation. We were later told very different times it took us to evacuate, so while we all managed to get out of the building as we have practiced everyday, that challenge of using doors and all, they couldn’t figure out how to time us properly. So, if they’re going to cry bomb threat and expect us to hustle out of the building, all I’m going to be thinking about is how long it took them to decide to do the right thing with our last bomb threat. We are far more logical and decisive than they are! We know how to save our lives! Let’s think about this: next time, will I run out and help them feel like we’re improving our evacuation time, or will I take the time to grab my keys and my bottle of pop so I can sit in my car while they count heads and chastise people for not moving faster? Hmm…

No mental relief at work.

So, I come home from work and curl up on the couch with my dog, and I watch him so closely, analyzing everything he does, looking for signs of brain damage or sensory damage from a seizure I don’t know he had. Oh no, he just tripped going up the stairs! Does this mean his vision is poor now? Crap, there are people outside and he’s not barking! Does this mean he can’t hear them? He’s asleep again. Is he sleeping more than he used to? Did he forget any of the tricks we’ve taught him? Is anything swollen on his body? Is he breathing normal? Does his heartbeat always sound like that? Will I ever relax around him and feel like he’s okay again? Probably not.

When all else fails, I go to the gym. The gym has a new owner. She’s a nice lady, but she’s very into the business of running the gym, which is completely the opposite of the last owner, and she’s trying to get me to bring in friends constantly. First she got me to join a competition that she has going over the summer, which I haven’t participated in at all, and now she’s grilling me about my friends and why I can’t get them to come with me. My serenity has been disrupted. She’s fucking up my mojo. If she doesn’t knock it off, I’m going to find a new gym, which will suck because this one is perfect. Other than her. But what am I going to do? I even started going in later hoping to avoid her, but she’s always there. She has never asked me about myself because she already owns my money. She only asks about my friends and family, wanting to know who she could recruit through me, and I feel a little like this has become the gym Amway. I know the economy is bad. I know people are probably canceling their memberships everyday, and getting new sign-ups is all but impossible, but dude, this isn’t the time to be pushy. Back the fuck off.

Sigh. There is no escape for me right now. And by no means am I truly in a bad position. No one in my life is sick or dying that I know of, I have a job, I have a boyfriend who loves me, I have friends who support me, and I have a brother and dog who I look forward to spending time with each day. Certainly, it could be much worse, but it’s just enough irritation to make me feel completely chapped, everywhere.

I need some kind of spiritual lotion.

Where does one by that?


Megan said...

I am so sorry you're going through a "Kicked in the teeth" phase. That really sucks. Hopefully, things will resolve themselves.

Sometimes, it helps if I take a nap or go to bed really early. I need that time to sleep, where I'm NOT thinking and over-analyzing everything. I feel a bit more refreshed when I wake up.

Good luck.

PaintingChef said...

Spiritual lotion? Is that on the same aisle as the rum or the cake?

All joking aside though, I'm so sorry things are so shitty right now. Maybe when Boyfriend Extraordinaire comes to visit you two could get out of there for a long weekend or something. A change of scenery might do you a world of good.

Or just put on a pair of those gorgeous earrings you make! I smile everything I shake my head and those little stars twinkle. As a matter of fact... I think I need another pair.

See what you've done?

Sending hugs my dear.

Anonymous said... spiritual lotion and it's free.....can't beat that

Anonymous said...

My dear, so sorry for all the crap you're going through. My mom was a nut job too and that is such a burden. In my prayers, in my thoughts, and my imperfect love to you.

Kate P said...

Lousy times. The closest I've gotten to spiritual lotion these days is my cat's saliva as she licks my forehead while I'm lying on the living room floor trying not to worry about things like jobs, money, and getting older. . . so I say, keep cuddling with the dog. Few things top the love of a pet.

Leelu said...


Would you like me to send you brownies? Take them to your gym and smoosh them in pushy-lady's face. :D

Magnoire La Chouette said...

Sorry about you having a little black cloud following you. I decided after 4 years of leaving my library partly cuz of Admin and partly cuz of my and my Mama's health.
I think you need to just kick the snot out of the gym lady.