Why Are People Like That?

I am thoroughly annoyed. The situation is this: at work, a large handful of new transferees who came here against their will when their own facility was closed down. Some of them were not already members of the union, and I was in the position of giving them the application form. After they realized that our local is not the same entity as the local connected with the facility they've just been booted out of, several of these nonmembers actually came to me and asked for the form! Now, tonight, one of them comes back to me with, "Oh, I'm not so sure now I want to. I've been finding out some other things and I don't like what I hear."

Okay, here are the facts, doofus:

The APWU and the USPS have a national collective bargaining agreement.

Article 3 of this NCBA states, pretty bluntly: "Management has the right and obligation to run the daily operations of the facilities."

This means: The union does not make staffing choices.

This also means: If management screws up, then the union can file grievances. However, the union cannot file grievances based on some rumor you just heard that XYZ is about to happen and it'll be something you really don't want to have happen.

This also means: Don't be a doofus and listen to random rumors! Most of which, these lately days, have been planted by management in order to keep you new people on edge and suspicious!

Oh, for crying out loud. For crying out loud!

The hard part is that this guy is right not to trust the union... but we are not the APWU local which disregarded and poorly represented him and his fellows in their former facility. We are the APWU local (a separate entity, a totally distinct 501(c) non-profit business) that is trying to deal with the aftermath of how badly the other local didn't stand up for them, plus deal with the incompetence and deviousness of our current management structure. Yeah, he's right to be upset at the union! Sort of! I am, too! But we aren't those other people! We aren't! And he's a sucker for falling for rumors this easily.

Feh. Could probably be that our local is going to be better off if this guy doesn't join. Sounds like he wouldn't improve our intellectual gene-pool much.

I can say that. He's an old friend. In fact, he still owes me five dollars. I started out at that same facility. I transferred out, voluntarily, eleven years ago. I know him. He knows me. He was kind of a doofus then, too. But now I'm the secretary/treasurer of my new local, and I don't feel happy to have to put up with this kind of naive dithering.

Okay. I've vented.

I think I maybe managed to keep my head well enough (despite feeling highly disgusted by his foolishness) to convince him to come to the meeting next Saturday and bring his application form with him. Talk to the people involved with all this, then you make your choice. It's up to you. I did say that. I wanted to say, how can you fall for stuff so easily? wow, is management here ever going to like having you around! such an easy mark!

He has the right to choose his own actions. He has the right to make bad decisions. I have the right to be disgusted and amused by them!

(All the while, I was so wishing I could just out and tell him the Whole Story of the behind-the-scenes crap... and then he'd truly see who the Bad Guy is in all this. And it isn't my local. But I can't. It's confidential at this point. But, whoa, would that have felt satisfying. Yeah. I'm human!)

Smooth

I must say, being pain-free is a joy.

The shoulder pain has left me. I have been highly cautious about turning onto that side as I drowse off at night, for fear that I will damage it again by sleeping on it -- which is probably what happened the first time. I am now able to lift my arm over my head, and I don't feel twinges when I do the arm exercises. I am incredibly grateful to a benevolent universe for this blessing.

And happy that I don't have to turn to Extra-Strength Tylenol to get me through each day, too. Always kept worrying that the next time I took them, I would feel no difference at all. Such drugs have never worked the same on me as they do on the general population.

Palpable, Yes.

Somehow, the pain pills and the resting and the overall caution (and terror, lest soemthing I do make it even worse and then I'd be caught feeling that crippled and still being constrained to drive to work on Friday), today I eventually woke up with the palpable sensation of the relative absence of pain.

And I can turn my head to the left.

And I can reach out to pet a cat, and not collapse upon myself with the arching agony of it.

I'll go see somebody about this rotator cuff. But, for now, I'm thankful that the crisis has eased back a little bit.

Physiology

Pain can make a person nauseous. I bet that's a concept that might be argued against by those who have never felt the kind of pain that actually can make you nauseous. The kind of pain that I am feeling right now, and have been feeling for most of the past six days.

I seem to have a problem with my right shoulder's rotator cuff. It feels as if there is a knife sticking in my back. This is not good pain. This is the kind of pain that indicates that there is something wrong at its site.

It can make a person nauseous, and make a person's hands and arms tremble. It can make a person on the autistic spectrum that much more unable to cope with environmental sensory input. And it can interfere with that same person's ability to translate thoughts into verbalized items that can be spoken or written.

I'm there right now. I don't know how much longer this will last. Before, it went away by itself. This time, I think I will need to go ask for some help.

Pain can make you nauseous. For cryin' out loud. Who'd have predicted that.

Catalpa Trees Fill My View

Today is Tuesday. On Saturday, I was pondering the lush spring we've been having, and wondering why the catalpa trees did not flower. I imagined that they may have come to flower during a drought week, and so flowered only sparsely and I missed it because my mind had been on other things and I'd failed to look for them.

I have no catalpa tree on the property I rent, but I see them all along my drive to the main highway, and then on the back-road short cut that I take from the other end of the main highway to my work site. There are little ones alongside streams, big old ones near houses, many catalpa trees, yes. Several years ago I learned that there are two sorts of catalpas: they have different blossoms, and they blossom at slightly different times.

This was Saturday. I was thinking that I'd missed the catalpa trees' flowering.

Monday, it was as if every blossom on every catalpa tree had gotten the signal (was it moisture content? was it temperature? was it sunlight duration?) and had POOFed into bloom at once! I drove past tree after tree that was totally in flower. Wow.

I think the blossoms' differences have to do with one being upright, the other being much less so. They bloom about a week to ten days apart. But I think both kinds are in bloom right now.

Puffs of white all over these lovely trees. It is a sight.

The Kids

My cats are four. The oldest is Osiris, who thinks his name is Buddy; he is solid gray, gentle and blameless as any cat I've ever met, and much too heavy. Two summers ago, I commented on cat-scratches on my dental hygienist's hands, and by the end of the cleaning I had agreed to adopt two ten-week-old kittens from her and her sister, who'd been feeding the strays and ended up with kittens... some of whom met ill ends. These two little ones turned out to be tiger sisters, one gray and swirly-striped, the other brown and typical-striped, both with white feet and incredible amounts of kitten energy. My big guy was quite startled at first, but within a week was cuddling them and washing their ears. They, in turn, squealed in delight the first time they saw him, and proceeded to climb all over him (hiss! he replied, rattled) and play with his tail (which he was switching annoyedly! such a great kitten toy!). These two are Quicksilver and Mercury, because they are so alike, and so full of life. The grey is now Silver, and the other is "the little tiger," because she is very small, and also adorable, and loving, and -- I confess -- my favorite. My fourth cat was a porch orphan, softly grey tabby with spotted stripes, who quickly grew very large but still has a retiring demeanor, and never speaks except quite rarely in a tiny, kittenish mew that I still can hardly believe comes from him. His name is Fog. Yes, after the Sandberg poem.

It has been hot these past three days, and I gave up and turned on the air conditioner in my bedroom window. My tiny, second-floor bedroom. There is a cardboard box in front of that window. The kids jump up on it now and then. Two nights ago, Silver (who has taken to being a total cuddle-cat with me at bedtime, which is fun, except when it is this frickin' hot!) stood on my futon and perked her ears at the air conditioner, then hopped up onto the box -- and ducked, as soon as her ears and head entered the stream of cool air! Then she cautiously put her head back up... quickly ducked again. Did this again. Jumped down, looked back up at the place her ears had gotten suddenly cold, then hopped back up and did it all over again. I was laughing much too much to grab my camera. Then she did the same thing last night. Such a cat. Meanwhile, the little tiger was standing there looking at her: "Huh? What's goin' on??"

The little tiger climbs things. Like, door-jambs. She weighs only about four or five pounds, so can still support herself on claws alone, it seems. She climbs the bedroom door's jamb, then somehow gets herself on top of the door, then I look at her and say, "Now what you gonna do, huh?" And I swear she grins at me. She climbs the curtain I have hanging the open bedroom doorway: up she goes, just like Tarzan climbing up a rope. Once at the top, she drapes herself over between the hanging-tabs, head and front legs on one side and tail and back legs on the other... and then she starts grabbing at her tail around the side of the curtain. First few times I saw this, I was afraid she'd fall on her noggin. Never has happened. She seems fully balanced up there. Also seems to enjoy this mightily. If she's in finest form, she'll grab her tail, then somehow claw/walk herself around the side of the curtain and back up over the top of it again... several times in a row. If I had a video camera, O, if I only had a video camera.

The little tiger is the softest cat in the house (Buddy and Fog are softer than you can imagine, but she's even softer). Her fur has splashes of orange here and there, with the tip of her tail orange stripes instead of brown stripes. And she giggles. As she runs, when she comes in view and sees me looking at her, she giggles in the "murmur" language that cats make back in their throats. She has many phrases. When they were still kittens, two summers ago, I was reading in bed and the little ones were playing in the wide space outside my door (it's a farmhouse built in about 1840 -- upstairs has an odd configuration! top of the steps is a wide area that can actually be made to serve as someone's bedroom). As I heard her calling to her sister, I got a silly idea and called back to her, managing to imitate that particular murmur-call quite nicely. And she burst into the room through the curtain, giggling all the while, and pounced onto me, giggled once again looking me right in the face (such a grin!), then hopped off and ran back out to play again, giggling all the while. I laughed. Such a cat. I practiced her calls, after that, and we have had many nice chats.

Buddy is very vocal, too. I have had him for about ten years, and in that time have come to know his phonemes well. He likes when I mimic them to him. He's a very gentle, very responsive cat. I saved his life when he was four months old, he and his sister and brother (sister Bear lives with my dad, brother John-Boy went to a friend with two kids and six other cats), and then saved his life two more times since then... but that's saddening, no details here.

These are the kids. My pals. We like each other a lot.

It Is June, and Hot.

I write amazing LJ posts in my head during my hour-long drives to work and back home again.

Something that is happening right now is too big to be written about -- and I also don't want to risk anyone getting tipped off before the final actions have been taken, either. Not much chance that any of the wrong people would find this site, nor know me from the screen name, but still. I might end up using a unique bit of phrasing here and have that end up on someone's search-results page.

Nope. I'm not being paranoid. This involves my employer and a very large quantity of harassment incidents. I'm both the recipient of several, and -- right now -- the point of the knife that is trying to get an outside group a good enough parcel of documentation that they will come in and look things over with fresh eyes for us.

I just got done copying a file from a coworker, which I knew would knock me down if I read any of it while I was copying... and it did. I am disgusted at the fact that anyone who openly despises women, openly despises people who are not fully able-bodied, and openly plays favorites among their workers with the ones who share their own interests... why do these people keep taking home a paycheck? Using the job for a social club? Cutting people down at will, not even caring if there are witnesses, because the "in group" out-numbers those of us who don't have a supervisor in our hunting-buddy posse?

Why? When the law clearly states that this is not to be the case?

I will never stop asking.

It is too hot to have to deal with forcing one's-self to sit down and think these things through well enough to write rational, useful, coherent statements about them. It is just too damned hot for this.

Returning

In the scheme of things, one life may not amount to anything. One gap of over a year between journal entries may not amount to anything. Small confusions may be forgettable... but only to those whose confusion it was not.

My life doesn't not amount to anything.

The gap between my last entry and this one didn't not amount to anything.

And my confusions color my entire understanding of the world, as well as my interaction with it.

I had clicked on a link of my username, only to be told by the system that there was no such account to go to. Therefore, I attempted to create a new account... which went right nose-first into a stone wall and no further. What the heck? Try five or six times. Still no go. So I gave up (surrender is always an option, retreat is always an option).

And here I am, having found the actual doorway. Good for me.

Blatant Place-holder

I have forgotten the interval. How long can a person go between postings, before losing one's LJ page...? Apparently, I didn't pass that mark yet, for here I am.

At a loss for time, at present. Life is full of confusions and opportunities. And kittens. Twelve of them right now, most of them black (some with white-tipped tails, aw cute), and many of them with extra toes -- yep, polydactyl. The back-porch cats got visited by Tom just a few months before I had the chance to make them appointments to be spayed, so now we have kittens.

Spay and neuter your pets! It's the only humane choice! What good is there in putting healthy cats and dogs to death, simply because nobody wants to adopt them?

Thank the universe (and the innate goodness of humankind) for no-kill animal shelters. I'm on a waiting list.

It Has Teeth!

In 2001, I had two lovely and expensive crowns put into my mouth. The "lovely" part was when it was all finally done. The "expensive" part was everything leading up to that, and I refer to much more than just the money it cost me.

The time, the pain, the confusion, the annoyance, the illness. All of that was expensive. It took a lot out of me.

The original crown had been one tooth, not two. A former dentist had botched it. First, he missed the fourth root of that tooth during the root canal, and ended up sealing infection into my jaw; then, he let an inexperienced assitant put the crown into my mouth, and it did not fit, and when it did not fit he himself simply sawed away at the tooth below it (a good tooth, a fine tooth) until I lied that it felt great, you can stop now. This ill-fitting crown ended up exacerbating the TMJ problem I'd had since my youth. Excruciating headaches that snaked down my neck and into my arm and back... dizziness, disorientation... till another dentist recognized it and performed an "equilibration" that basically, finally, put the problem to rest.

He also fixed the botched root canal. Then sent me to a specialist to have it done right. By then, the adjoining tooth was also bad, so it too had to have the procedure.

After a year and a half of all this, I had the two new crowns fitted... after I had to bite the plate of putty to make the impressions on which they would model the crowns. I have a horrible gag reflex. I do my best with it, but it is a reflex, not a reaction, and I cannot control my autonomous nervous system... sigh. I will not dwell upon those incidents. They were difficult.

I got the two new crowns.

This past week, one of them came out of my mouth in pieces.

It turns out that the material they were made of was a brand-new and exciting one, in 2001. From 1999 to that year, in fact. But, as it turns out, this material is good only for bicuspids, because it is not strong enough to take the mechanical stresses to which molars are regularly subjected.

I go in Friday to get fitted for new crowns -- for the third time.

These will be gold, not porcelain.

Wish me luck, re biting the plate of putty.

(Things could be an awful lot worse, too.)