Management…hamburger style

Currently, at the building across the way, there are some gentlemen hard at work putting a new roof on the two-story structure.

Roofing has got to be some grueling, backbreaking work, and they’ve been toiling at this for a few days now.

About an hour ago, all work went quiet over there. I thought maybe they were on a break. They weren’t on a break.

It appears they were having a little conference. What they’d call in the corporate world, a “root cause analysis”.

I suspect they discovered what, or rather, whom was at the center of the mistake, because I could then hear the supervisor of this project having a one-on-one mentoring conversation, loudly, with his employee.

Let’s keep this a family friendly post…for all the instances of the eff word, I will substitute a more appropriate word.

Oh let’s have fun with it, let’s use the word “hamburger.”

Here we go, a faithful recounting of this clearly very hands on and empathetic manager as he guides his employee through a big error.

Remember: hamburger = eff word

“You hamburgered up. You hamburgered this whole thing up. I didn’t hamburger up. All the rest of these hamburgering guys didn’t hamburger this thing up. What in the hamburgering hell were you thinking? You weren’t thinking and you hamburgered this hamburgering thing all to hell. What the hamburger, man?! What the hamburger happened?”

: sound of employee mumbling, trying to explain his reason for hamburgering everything up :

“You what? You what? Who the hamburger told you to do that? I sure as hell didn’t hamburgering tell you to do that! Now this whole hamburgering project is running behind and that costs hamburgering money? Do you get that? Do get that you’ve cost every hamburgering one of us some hamburgering time and some hamburgering money?”

: more mumbling :

“Aw man, what the hamburger. Get back to work!”

And with that, all the machines started up again, the smell of tar once again filled the air, and the team of folks got back to roofing.

This, among the many reasons why I feel so fortunate to be able to work a white collar gig. I’m pretty hamburgering sure that if my boss ever talked to me that way, I’d have a pretty good hamburgering lawsuit I’d think about.

Use ’em or lose ’em

Everyone has certain skills that exist within them like muscle memory. You know how to do a thing like the back of your hand, or more appropriately, like riding a bike.

You know, executed perfectly, without thinking.

And then there are some skills that you gotta keep using or your abilities will diminish.

Last week in New Mexico, I was faced with this problem.

Yes, I was disheartened to see my dexterity and skill in one particular area has deteriorated.

Here’s the story:

I had occasion to be down in Las Cruces to visit my best friend and my two goddaughters (and goddog and godcat too…I love those fuzzies!).

So Friday, we decided to go stay at the home of my best friend’s parents in El Paso. They are my adopted folks, and I love them like crazy, so I was thrilled to get to spend some time.

I had a rental car, and my best friend loaded her own car with her two kids and we caravanned along I-25 to I-10 and then, because it’s so much easier and quicker, we took the Anthony Gap to get over into El Paso.

Sure, easy peasy. Taken it a bunch of times. No problem. So off I went, following my best friend off the interstate and onto two-lane state road.

Two lanes. Just two. Yes.

Living in New Mexico, it’s not terribly hard to find two-lane roads. And on two lane roads, it’s not terribly hard to find someone driving slower than you’d like to go.

Which means you gotta either give up, or you gotta zip over into the oncoming lane and pass that other car.

And this is where I met my Californian laziness square in the eye.

As we approached a slow moving work truck, my friend, just ahead of me, drifted over slightly, assessed the scene, changed lanes, hit the gas and passed with ease.

You know, back in the day, I was *really* good at passing on two-lane roads. It was like an art and a challenge to me. I LOVED it because I was so g’darn good at it.

But on Friday…I balked. Yes, it’s true. I hesitated.

And then, mad at my hesitation, I just went for it, clumsily changing lanes, not stepping on the gas smoothly enough. The automatic transmission in my rental car scrambled to find an appropriate gear. It finally kicked in, gave me some speed and I made it, but not before I was staring down the headlights on an oncoming vehicle, trying to calculate how long until impact.

Ok, fine I made it safely, but passing didn’t feel as smooth and easy as it used to. I overthought it. I felt like a scaredy cat.

This is not me! I’m the girl who would careen down the two-lane road between El Paso and Carlsbad in a beat up ’79 Bobcat, passing people like they were standing still!

Ok, to be fair, the manual transmission in the Bobcat did help in that whole passing thang, but still.

Is it that I’ve been living in the Bay Area too long? Or that I’m getting old and tentative?

I don’t know. But it makes me wanna take the Jeep out on Highway 1 and pass every car I see, just because I can!

There but for the grace of…

Every once in a while, you hear about a car accident where someone has managed to get onto a highway going the wrong way.

Generally, the driver is drunk and the consequences are pretty bad.

I’ve always wondered, honestly, how in the hell that could happen? I mean, even drunk, how could you take the wrong ramp for the highway? Isn’t it very, very obvious?

So, I’ve been a bit harsh on this topic. That is, until today.

Today, distracted, but perfectly sober, in broad daylight, I managed to swing onto the wrong side of an onramp/offramp for an expressway.

I’m still not exactly sure how I managed to do this. It is a weird intersection, but that is no excuse.

I’ve driven this intersection plenty of times. I’ve always navigated it fine, but today, I swung the left turn, picked the wrong side of the road, and found myself facing traffic coming head on.

Thankfully, I was able to take quick evasive action and no one was hurt, no accident happened, and I escaped shaken but fine.

But my mind is totally blown by this little event.

So maybe it’s not so hard to get going the wrong way on a major highway.

I’m not excusing the devastation caused by the people who were driving drunk and managed to cause a lot of injury by making this mistake.

But maybe I understand it a little better now.

Style tips you can use!

Today, I learned something about how to conduct my life from a most unlikely source.

Real, powerful lessons I look forward to applying as soon as possible.

So this afternoon, I had the honor privilege task of taking The Feline to the vet. She’s having ongoing ear troubles, so back we went to see the same guy who cut the tumor off her little nose last year.

Needless to say, not really her most favorite person.

But our vet is the owner of nine (yes, nine) of his own cats. He’s got a real firm but friendly touch with my cat who prefers it if you’d never actually *touch* her.

As I wrassled that pet down so the good doctor could examine her, I watched how the feline worked.

First, she simply tried to walk away. Vigorously.

When that didn’t work, she began this low-in-the-throat growl. Very menacing. In fact, I’ve never heard her use this growl on anyone BUT the vet. He’s a very kind man, really, and no one else can cause my normally bulletproof pet to make that sound.

So with the long growls and face-finger* looks, we were put on notice.

Next step was to use her paw to push the vet’s hand away. Firmly. No claws, no biting, just firmly shoving with her paw flat against the palm of his hand with all she had.

Finally, when the doctor persisted in looking in her ears, and after trying walking away, growling, and pushing, The Feline went to code red.

Meaning: The cat freaked the f-word out.

The vet, not a petite man by any account, threw hands up in the air, backed right off, and looked a little skeered, actually.

Twelve point one pounds of fury.

Oh yes.

She never had to get violent. No blood was drawn. I think she might have peed the tiniest bit, but not enough to make a mess.

But let me tell you, that animal was no longer messed with. Nope. We both let her be.

In fact, the meaner she got, the kinder the vet became. He started out calling her “big girl” in reference to her heft. (As a “big girl” myself, I was sort of offended on behalf of my pet!)

By the end of the visit, he was calling her “little one” and practically cooing to her in Peruvian.

See, this is good. The smallest, most vulnerable one in the room got her way.

I can learn from this!

First, if you don’t like it, walk away.

If that doesn’t work, get vocal. Make your displeasure known in a firm but not offensive way.

It that doesn’t work, be firmer. Don’t be afraid to physically push the trouble away. No need to be violent, just be direct.

And if you really, truly have to, freak out! Including a little pee, but only if really necessary.

Once the trouble is over, give everyone a face-finger, walk away with tail held high, and loudly demand food the moment you set paws in safe territory.

I can’t wait to try this at my next mammo visit!

Look at her now…all sweetness and light….hmph!

*i.e. a dirty look. As in, giving the finger, but using your face.

"My life is like watching the Three Stooges in Spanish"

A fave quote from the movie Untamed Heart. A now *coff* sixteen year old movie.


Ok, so maybe my life isn’t like The Three Stooges in Spanish. Maybe more like The Three Stooges with the sound off.

Lot’s of running and jumping. Quite a few people getting smacked around. Zany faces. Screwball circumstances.

But without the volume, it’s hard to understand why all the commotion.

That’s me. Sometimes I don’t understand why all the commotion.

I think the answer is, simply, “that’s life.”

This week, I watched an episode of “No Reservations.” You know, the show with Anthony Bourdain? It was a rerun from last season, I think.

It was a “lost episode” from when they were filming in Beirut in 2006. There they were, clubbing, eating, sunning, and within the blink of an eye, things went bad. The country became unstable, they were surrounded by gunfire and air strikes. They had a terrible time getting out, eventually, they were rescued by US Marines.

Now that’s a hell of a commotion.

Look, I’m just fighting the forces of corporate confusion, middle age weary-induced crisis, and changing seasons.

You know, I have it pretty good.

Sometimes The Three Stooges in Spanish is a lot of fun. Despite all the commotion.

(That’s me in the center)