Saturday, October 18, 2003

Well, I've completed my first three days at the new assignment, and WHAT a difference! I've already mentioned how much nicer the commute, the people and the atmosphere are. The work content is also *infinitely* better. There's just no comparison between the two positions. I'm more glad than ever that I shifted over to this new assignment. The pay cut is a SMALL price to pay to preserve what's left of my sanity, believe me!

I guess I'm still emotionally "detoxing" from the Norristown job, though, because thoughts still crop up at random times of things that happened there. Like the one call I made that left me *extremely* sad by the time I hung up... judging from the conversation I had while trying to reschedule the repair appointment, I am positive that the man who answered the phone has Alzheimer's. :o(

It was his wife's name on the service order, but he answered and said she was out. There's nothing unusual about that, but under those circumstances it's normal for the spouse to either reschedule the appointment himself or take the 800 number and let the wife call back. This poor man was unable to do either. He couldn't decide if he would be able to reschedule or not. He had the calendar in front of him but seemed to be having difficulty making sense of it. It was at this point that I said, "Let me give you the 800# so Mrs. ___ can call back when she knows what her schedule is like".

Unfortunately, this was no easy task for him, either. He tried to write, only to determine after about five seconds that the pen was upside-down. I recited the number slowly. He repeated the numbers back to me as (I thought) he was writing them, but something told me to ask him to repeat the phone number back to me when he was done. Almost none of it had any relation to the phone number I'd just recited to him. "Eight... fourteen... three... [the correct first three numbers of the phone number]... twelve... vacation... umm...". It was extremely clear that he was frustrated and embarrassed by the problems he was having understanding and carrying out the request to write the phone number.

It was at this point that I said, "That's OK, Mr. ___, I think we should call back in a little while when Mrs. ___ is in. Then she can reschedule because she'll know what her schedule looks like". He seemed relieved at the suggestion and agreed to it. I felt sad for a very long time after I hung up from that phone call.

Anyway, on to happier things. My family is celebrating my dad's 65th birthday tonight. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to miss one of the RARE Phantoms Saturday-night home games, but such is life. (Of all the doggone Saturdays for the team to schedule a game, they had to pick this one! Murphy's freakin' Law strikes again.)

I've already notified some of my friends who'll be at the game that they are going to have to bring some extra luck to the Spectrum for me, since I can't be there in person to do it myself. But I did the math and it was a no-brainer: 40 home games for the team this season. ONE dad, who is gonna have ONE 65th birthday in his life. Um, yeah, I'll be sending the Phantoms my good thoughts long-distance, and going with my family to the birthday dinner at The Pub in NJ.

I can't believe he's reaching the big 6-5. Of course in a few weeks. I'll be reaching the big 4-0, and then it'll be HIS turn to think "Where did the time go?" ;o) I just thank God that my parents and the rest of the immediate family all seem to be going along in good health. Ditto for Mark's side of the family: everyone there is all right, too, thank the Lord.

Stability in the BIG things in life leaves us with more energy to deal with the small stuff... such as the little situation we've had with our next-door neighbors' visitors, lol. We have an elderly couple living next door to us, and lately they have had some younger relatives stopping by to visit on a regular basis. Fine. However, at least two of them smoke: one man and his daughter-in-law. They both stand outside the house to smoke... which I wouldn't worry about except that Mark and I have been finding cigarette butts all around the steps and all over the lawn for the past few weeks. The final straw came yesterday when I found one in our hedge: it's obvious that at least one of the visitors was just flinging the butts any old where they pleased when they were finished inhaling carcinogens.

I was especially ticked at finding the discarded butt in our hedge, since IMO that's a potential fire hazard. Mark was none too happy about it, either. Since today is the neighborhood's annual "Packer Park Cleanup Day", Mark decided to take matters into his own hands. He took a large empty coffee can, labelled it "For cigarette butts", and went next door. He spoke to the man who visits our neighbors, who answered the door. The man apologized and said "Yeah, it must be my daughter-in-law doing that. We'll put them in the can from now on". Then later this morning, Mark was outside our house and the daughter-in-law was there. She told Mark "It must be my father-in-law doing that". LOL, I don't care WHO it was, as long as they discard the mess in the coffee can from now on.

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