Living the Life of the Unemployed

OK, so now what do I do?

The first 2 days I was home were gray and cool. I had planned to spend lots of time outside right away, getting my yard squared away but I'm not too inclined to go out when it's so cool in July, it's supposed to be HOT!!

So instead I started looking into things I need to do on my computer. I have lots of projects I never completed, lots of old scanned photos and slides that needed editing. So I started with that. Very time consuming but good practice if that's to be part of what my future income will be based upon.

Today it finally warmed up so I did a little outside. I had to replace a punctured headlight for a long time, so I got that done today. It still needs a little tweaking but it's in and looks a lot better than the old one that had water in it and was all green because of it. I also chopped some bamboo that was a little thick and had dead stalks.

Doesn't sound like much, hmm. I'm sure I did more but for the life of me I can't think of what right now. Vacuuming, sweeping, dishes, other domestic chores, of course. I'm certainly enjoying not getting up at 5:30 or 6:30. My body just doesn't like that schedule. Tuesday and Wednesday I got up at 9 and today I got up at 8. I think I'm gonna aim to get up at 8 every day, that's a reasonable hour.

I have a list of things to get done, household things as well as stuff I plan to do to earn an income. This week I'm working on strictly household jobs and next week I'll incorporate some of the more immediate money-making ideas I have into my day. Specifically, I'm gonna go visit some funeral homes to see if I can leave my card for them to supply to people needing DVD's made for their services. I'll also put a listing or two on Craigslist for the same purpose. I may also look into getting another car to resell at the auction on Sunday. I'll have to check the list to see what's interesting and if anything will make me a few hundred bucks profit.

Tomorrow I'll mow, edge, finish up the bamboo and maybe weed some of the gravel, or at least spray weed killer on the weeds. I could also relist my Montero that I have to sell as well as my van. I'm actually doing pretty good at knocking things off my list, now that I looked back at it.

So, so far unemployment has been pretty productive. That's what I was hoping for.

Last Day at LaCroix

Monday was my last day at work. Wow.

It began with an early cycle ride into work with Rick. Traffic was light, weather was good. It was gonna be a good day. And I had an exit planned.

It was very nice to not have to run to Scott's every beck and call. Actually, he realized that it wasn't worth becking or calling and therefore pretty much left me alone. I did as much as I could get done before he even arrived at work so I could concentrate on my front desk, the one I was hired for, accounts payable and receivable. The few times I did go back there were mostly just to demonstrate once again how to perform certain functions in the Boeing Exostar system that no one else has dealt with as yet to any degree. I would have at least 2 people watching and someone recording my actions in a video format on Scott's digital camera. I hope they got it all.

I had already completed the big projects that Bernie needed done for his end-of-the-month and end-of-the-quarter taxes, etc. So I focused my attention on getting the simple day-to-day jobs caught up so my replacement, Dana, won't start out so far behind when she barely knows how to do anything anyway.

Fairly early in the AM Bernie announced that we were gonna have a pizza day and asked what my favorite pizza was. I reminded him so he made sure to order 2 of those (really, I don't eat that much!), the spicy italian model, mmm. So we had a nice lunch in my honor! Wow again!

Because I got there early with Rick I was leaving early also, about 2:30. Bernie made sure I had all my paychecks and a pretty nice letter of recommendation to take with me. Here's what his letter said:

To Whom It May Concern,

Sue Hill has been employed with La Croix Industries for 10 years. Through this period of employment she has performed a variety of tasks associated with accounts payable and receivable, bank account reconciliation and many other general office duties.

She is particularly proficient with computer use. With standard off the shelf software she is capable of combining their functions and developing custom formats for special applications.

Sue’s attendance has been excellent through the entire time of her employment. Her presence and skills will be missed.

I’m confident she will be a contributing factor wherever she is employed.

Not too overboard but not bad either. I'm happy with it.

Now for my exit, it wasn't that spectacular, but it was an exit. Since I rode in with Rick I had all my leather biker gear and I brought a red halter top to wear under it. So I changed into my biker outfit, my alter ego you might say, and went back in for one last goodbye. Everyone got a kick out of that, especially sweet, quiet Dale. He just laughed and laughed! I told everyone it was good knowing them and left with Rick. Bernie followed us out to once again tell me how he appreciated everything and to let him know how my new venture turns out.

Yesterday I spent about 4 hours working on instructions for my replacement and emailed them to scottthedipstick at his email at work, there were 8 pages of instructions. Today I got a reply from him:

That looks like a lot of stuff. Should help her lots. Thanks
How come she gets one and not me????
We got 50 poc's and 60 new po's last night
Wooo hooooo.

That was what I missed out on, that was my job - wooo hooooo!

This AM I got a call from Bernie again thanking me for those instructions and how they already helped him. I had a little humor thrown in and he enjoyed that as well. The confusing directions for using a dos program is what he actually called about, they're all "Alt F, then C, then 'enter' all the was down, then shift+tab, tab, tab, then enter" and such. Yes confusing but helpful for Dana, I'm sure.

All in all, a very pleasant way to leave a job.

Getting Something Off My Chest

Sorry, this is a little sick but it's just been eating at me and the only way I know to make it stop is just to blog it.

Monday, July 7, the day my boss chewed me out for the last time (actually he got in one more dig) I was feeling jubilant on my way to Rick's house that I had made my decision to quit. I was on top of the world. Then, on my usual route to his place which runs parallel to a railroad for a mile or two I saw a group of police and a K9 unit hanging out on the tracks near an intersection where I'd be stopping for a red light.

When I was approaching I saw 2 of the officers holding up a sheet which could only mean one thing, they were shielding a body from our view. There were a total of about 5 units there and they seemed to be mostly looking at the body laying just off the side of the tracks. When I got close enough I peered behind the sheet as good as I could and couldn't make out anything human, just blob, mass. Then when I stopped I was at the foot end and definitely saw legs in blue jeans and feet with boots, laying in a normal position.

When I got to Rick's I mentioned the Dead Guy (as we have come to call him) and he had seen the same thing about an hour earlier. But the item was under the sheet, was
on the tracks and there was an Amtrak train stopped right nearby. But what was under the sheet didn't look human, it was merely a heap.

Rick did a little research on the local news websites and could find only information mentioning that it was a suicide and had been witnessed. The witness called 911.

Being that this was a local event it ended up in our local newspaper, the Auburn Reporter. This is an excerpt from that article:

"A 40-year-old Auburn man was struck and killed by an Amtrak passenger train Monday afternoon on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks at 3700 B St. N.W. in Auburn.

The Auburn Police Department said the man took his own life, so the Auburn Reporter is not disclosing his name.

Eyewitnesses told police the man had been watching the tracks at the stoplight at 3:25 p.m. when he approached, laid his head on the rails and was struck by the train traveling at 70 miles per hour. A passing motorist saw what happened and called 911. Valley Regional Fire Authority firefighters responded and found the man dead north of the intersection next to the tracks."

I'm sorry, I told you it was sick. I can't imagine a creepier (although it's probably about the quickest and most painless) way to do oneself in.

I feel for the witnesses, Dead Guy's gone but they have to live with his death in their mind's eye the rest of their lives. Eww.

Hmmm - What could it Be?

Is it a middle-age crisis? I think I'm just a little too old for that. What is it? Could it be the empty nest syndrome? Maybe that's it. My youngest child just graduated, the next older one is looking hard for a new place to live. My full house is becoming emptier and emptier. And my family responsibilities are becoming fewer and fewer.

What could cause a 50-something to (temporarily) give up her religion and thus all her friends? To find a new love in her life? Then, finally, to Quit Her Job!!!??? Just what could it be? Maybe it's a touch of temporary insanity? Maybe it's permanent insanity? I hear it runs in the family!

Yes folks, you heard it right. I guess I can't stand lemonade (see previous blogpost). The job just got to me. So many at LaCroix Industries are frustrated to tears and threatening to look for work elsewhere. But I - little old me - I put my 2 week notice where my mouth is!

All that sugar Phil poured on me didn't sway me. Even the slight hint dropped by Bernie of a possible $4 raise (I wonder if he meant to slip that in - hmmm) didn't do the trick. I made my decision Monday when Phil chewed me out unnecessarily - now a daily part of the job - to be chewed out by someone. I made up my mind and I stuck to it!

I am getting high-fives from nearly everyone at work, it's amazing. Bernie complimented my job over the past 10 years and told me they wish nothing but the best for me. NOW I feel appreciated. Why couldn't they spread some of this good will while I was there being miserable? Being chewed out instead on a daily basis? Being told my work is garbage? Why did they have to wait for me to quit? Alas, it's all good.

What will I do now? Well, at the end of last year I made a decision to combine all my talents in the photo - software - DVD creating areas to try to make enough money to live on. I'll also buy cars from the nearby auction and resell them for a small profit. If need be I'll pick up a part time job maybe. But I'll take some time to work on my own projects and see if I get any interest. If nothing goes anywhere I'll find a new job maybe closer to home. With gas prices as they are I was spending $200 a month just to go to work. And that's a fairly close job in a smallish car.

Whatever happens, I'm going to enjoy my summer. Just the fact that I don't have to wake up earlier than I'm comfortable, drag my butt over to that office and get yelled at for working overtime at warp speed will be enjoyable in itself.

Truly - as Rick put in his blog - Suzie Stuns the Crowd!

Peaches Turn to Lemons

I have loved my job for nearly 10 years. I have always described it as a "peachy" job. I get along well with my coworkers, especially my boss, Bernie. Overall the first 5 or 6 years at LaCroix had been slow with occasional fits of frenzied work, due to a special Boeing project or a prototype such as the Spaceship One that was shot up in the Mojave desert a few years ago or the Eclipse airplane that is now in production. Those projects made the job fun, an unusual bit of rushed work for a year or less, just enough to keep us from falling asleep at our desks (which I nearly did a few times in the beginning).

Well, back in early December I noticed our Boeing work beginning to ramp up. We had 300 Boeing purchase orders on 12/1 and by the end of the month it was almost double that. Considering that I'm the one who prints and starts the processing of the Boeing work, I found myself suddenly scrambling to keep up. We had a new project called the 747-800, a special freighter I believe, for the large cargo freighter that is used to transport the 787 parts around the world. That was just the beginning. As of last month we had approximately 6000 separate shipments to Boeing needing to be processed.

I'm not the only person affected by this increase, needless to say. The whole office is working constant overtime and are at each others' throats due to this sudden eruption of work. Here is Rick's description of what has transpired:

"If there ever was an office of people that was one step from "going postal" ours would be it. It has been going on for some time now, and shows zero sign of abating. There is a never-ending circle of lost paperwork, misplaced paperwork, wrong paperwork, no paperwork (when there should be), incomplete paperwork, duplicate paperwork... It's got nerves frazzled beyond belief.

They keep accepting the jobs for parts that comes down from Boeing because that's what we do--We make parts. The trouble is, we have far exceeded our capabilites. We are having to "farm out" work to all corners of the area. We are so overloaded that there are at least 4 different machine shops in the Seattle area that are doing work for us full time. Okay, the shop has exceeded its physical capabilities and the result has been having every Tom, Dick, and Harry that owns the right machinery to subcontract for us. That works for the shop. What about the office? The paperwork can't be farmed out to anyone else. We have to to do it. We have no system in place whatsoever to track the flow of parts and/or paperwork. No barcode scanning system--No "system" of any kind to enable us to keep up with our workload. As I've mentioned before, they are pencil users in a computer world.

The brothers La Croix can't be totally oblivious to what's going on--They must have a reason for not doing anything to rectify it. I have been speculating that perhaps they plan on selling the company in the very near future? There is no indication of such a thing, but if they were planning to sell, what better time than when business is climbing at a dizzying rate? They are both old and there is nobody to succeed them. It's an interesting notion..."

Tuesday morning the older LaCroix brother, Phil, took me into the conference room to discuss with me what's been eating at me, that I appear to be not a "happy camper". He did a very good job of building me up with constructive criticism, he's very good at that. But, the way I'm looking at it, all he accomplished was throwing a little sugar into the mixture - hence only creating LEMONADE.

The Final Graduation

Well, here it is. The final graduation. The last of my brood.

Keith's Graduation was the day we got back from our Toppenish trip Father's Day. The day was beautiful, as I already described in my previous blog. Rick's parents were out on their front porch watching all the chaos and listening to all the proceedings. All the other kids showed up and did a good job of screeching out an appropriate hoot at the announcing of his name. I, on the other hand, was busy running around making sure I got the best shot possible. Well, such a beautiful day meant that the background would be very bright and the graduates would be in the shade, thus the picture would be very contrasty. I did my best and ended up having to photoshop it anyway to make it visible. Got more to learn about metering to get those contrasty pictures better.

Afterwards, when I finally managed to find him in the crowd I asked if he had plans and he said he was going out with his friends. So Rick and I opted to just go grab some pizza. While I was standing in the line and Rick was in the john I was looking around and found Keith and his friends in the banquet room! So I went in and did some geeky thing to embarrass him. Then I'd planned on smashing my face against the glass to embarrass him some more but his group left.

In spite of the poor photography though, it was Keith's day and he can be proud of his achievement.

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.