Friday, August 31, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster

Well, it's no wonder I haven't posted in ten days...I'm a blithering idiot right now. It's been a busy, emotional, sad, happy, frustrating, successful ten days. Let's take it in order. And by the way, no photos today--the camera has been replaced but now the USB drive I use to port photos is missing--see what I mean about this past couple of weeks?


My friend Ruth passed away on August 17. Ruth was one of my oldest friends, in terms of relationship length, not age. Ruth was 57 when she died, still tiny, cute, redheaded, and feisty. I met her in early 1986 and over time, she became a very strong influence in my life. I knew she had cancer but believed she would beat it--unfortunately, it beat her. Her husband Richard called me the following Tuesday to say that the service, in Virginia, was the following day, Wednesday. Because of work challenges at The Big Corporation (more later), I couldn't jump on a plane, which was my first inclination. But the reality is, Ruth is gone. It wouldn't have made any difference to her at that point--the only person who would have felt better was me.

Ruth was always there for me and with me, no matter where "there" was. She walked me through a separation, divorce, relationship ups and downs, kid crap, changing careers, selling my house and leaving Virginia, relocating to Georgia. I walked her through love affairs, deaths and adoptions of her beloved dogs, remarriage, giving up her dream business and changing careers, taking on stepchildren and learning to be a parent at 40-something. We held each other up and cheered each other on. We even loved the same mystery writers (Elizabeth George, James Lee Burke!). I will never forget her. I sent some thoughts to Richard that night and he later told me he had read part of my letter at the service. Here's the part he read:

Life Lessons From Ruth:
(1) Husbands come and husbands go … none of them are worth drinking over. (With apologies to Richard, Bill, Malcolm, Ken, and all the others, hers and mine, too numerous to name.)
(2) You just can’t have enough dogs.
(3) The right house always has two separate master bathrooms.
(4) If you’re little and cute and redheaded, you can say something mean about someone and they’ll forgive you. If you’re not, you may have to run for your life.
(5) Integrity is key.
(6) Sometimes you just have to live through crappy situations.
(7) Grammar counts. People who don’t use proper grammar really ARE scum-sucking trailer trash.
(8) Most people don’t want to hear your whining, but a true friend will always listen politely (at least for awhile).


My baby sister was in Norfolk last week, visiting her son and daughter-in-law. Of course, I planned to go there to see her. I wasn't about to miss being with her on one of her rare trips east, and I planned to drive to Charlotte on Thursday (the day after the funeral I couldn't attend), then drive to Norfolk with my daughter Kelly for a day or so. My other sister and her daughter were going to be there, too. Stop me if this is repetitive, but I couldn't get leave approved to go because of those same issues at The Big Corporation. Anyway, I'm flexible, I swear I am, I really am, so I drove up there Friday night after work.

The trip was miserable, at least the driving part. It rained torrentially. I knew I couldn't drive 9 hours that night so I had planned to get about half way and stop at a motel, but I only got about 200 miles before I had to stop. Got up the next morning, drove through more rain, got a speeding ticket, got lost, and finally got there about 4 hours after I wanted to.

But I had almost 24 hours with my sister. I love my sisters, and this time was really precious to me. I left there in tears. So, mixed blessing. Two of Deirdre's friends were there at the same time (my sister, my niece, and my daughter and grandchildren had left before I got there) and I hadn't seen them in years. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know them again, to spend time with Deirdre and to see Andrew and Sarah's house. (And, of course, to play with their pugs, Rudy and Sugarplum. They are step-siblings of my Lightning and Bluto, so it was family time.) We even went yarn shopping in Virginia Beach. Deirdre picked out yarn for felted clogs for Andrew and Sarah, with Andrew's help. I came home with some beautiful chocolate brown Regia sock yarn, because I don't have enough sock yarn.

Anyway, back on the road, weeping. Rain, more rain, rain. The 9 hour trip took around 12 and I got home around 1 am on Monday. Of course, I had to be back in the office on Monday because of crap at The Big Corporation. But at least I reasoned, I was home safe, and what more could happen that would be worse than that drive?

The Big Corporation - Part A

Laid off, 10 am Monday. I suppose I should feel honored that the CFO himself took the time to lay me off, that I didn't have to wait for the axe with my fellow employees, but that seems rather weak to me. After all, he needed me to have my head together for the following day when the other 899 employees who were being let go would be told. My boss was also laid off. Our last day will be December 21, after we've helped to clean up after all the other layoffs and site closings. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

The Big Corporation - Part B

Tuesday was another hell day. I felt like I was living in the movie "Groundhog Day." You know the one where Bill Murray has to relive the same day over and over and over? Well, since my position is security-related, I had to sit through as many of the "break the news" sessions as I could--the others were monitored by my team. So I sat there 5 or 6 times over the course of 6 hours, watching an executive and an HR person tell the same story to yet another group of shell-shocked employees. There was little anger displayed at that point, except in a couple of isolated cases. In the last day or so, that anger has blossomed and bloomed, and I hope we can get through the next few months with no incidents.

TBC gave a generous severance package, and notice ranging from 2 weeks to 4 months prior to last day worked. Ironically, my former manager at The Small Corporation, which was swallowed up by The Big Corporation in 2001, was the person who initiated the package they're still using and it demonstrates her empathy for the impacted employees. So, it's not about money, as much as it is about sadness for what our company has become, and seems likely to become in the future. If it has a future. If my bleak predictions for TBC are correct, I'll be much better off separated from the company, but it's still sad. And I'm definitely nervous about looking for a job at my, er, advanced age.

Positive News

So, I took today off from work, because, after all, what's the worst they can do? Fire me? Nah. And I've got leave. I stayed home and finished MS3. It's finally complete and, unblocked, looks like what Claudia would call Boiled A*&. Maybe it will look better when it's blocked. I mean it's beautiful but it doesn't have much structure in its current state. I'm SO glad I lengthened it--I think it would be WAY short on me otherwise. In any case, I'm VERY proud of it--just proud of completing it, and if I never wear it, it will make a great wall hanging.

And Much More Positive News

Deirdre called me last night to say I'm going to be a Great Aunt. Andrew and Sarah are pregnant. I guess they suspected it when we were there, but they wanted to be sure before they told us. (Well, me...they told Deirdre before she left.) She is over the moon and I'm very excited for them all.

Good news: I'll have time this spring to knit for them. No more excuses about not having time because of work. No one will be telling me I can't drive to Norfolk to see my new niece or nephew. The silver lining.

And you know what Ruth would say: "Jobs come and jobs go -- none of them are worth drinking over."


rebecca said...


I'm so sorry.


atriana said...

Hang in there.


Janice in GA said...

Wow, lots of major suckage in a short period of time! Take care of yourself, and take it easy.

Sheri said...

That sure was a crazy period for you! Sorry about the bad, congrats on the good.
I moved from RI to GA in 1991 - going back is always meloncoly.
Sheri in GA

Ms. Packrat said...

Well, that certainly makes up my mind about TBC ... hang in there.