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Friday at Last…. What a Rollercoaster of a Week

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This week started horribly and went downhill from there. Thursday it slowed down a bit, but today, the ride really got going.

A job opening in the corporate office was posted. It’s a new position and I fit the bill almost perfectly. Decided I couldn’t let an opportunity go to waste, I updated my resume and submitted it last night. Question on my mind is do I tell the boss I applied? After talking it over with Mrs. D and my daughter, we came to the conclusion it was better to wait. If I didn’t get the job offer, then my boss would be none to the wiser.

I was naïve to corporate structure. Got into work and opened up my work email. Bright and early was a response from HR. They wanted to do a phone interview, but before going forward they wanted to confirm I had notified my supervisor of my application. My heart skipped a beat.

A little background on my boss. She’s from New York and Italian to boot. That means she is loud, brash and highly opiniated. Once she sets her mind on something, it takes quite a bit of persuading to get her to change her mind. That being said, she is the best boss I’ve ever had. Detail oriented, smart as a whip and fair minded.

I knew she wouldn’t like me applying for this position, so slowly I went to her office and handed her the job description and said I had applied for it. She gave me a long look and asked why I thought I qualified for the position. Then she stated that she had the right to refuse to let me take the position. I did not know that and my heart skipped another beat.

Remember I had said that this week was stressful. Turns out she has been giving me more and more responsibility because she is grooming me for more of an operational manager role in the company. Here I thought I was just getting dumped on and taken advantage of.

She didn’t want to lose me as she sees me as a terrific asset to the company. I held my ground and told her I wanted to pursue this opportunity because if I didn’t, I would always wonder. She gave her okay for me to interview somewhat reluctantly.

A few hours later, I had the phone interview and it went well. They told me that they would submit my resume and notes they had taken to the Regional Logistics Manager which if I get the job would be my immediate supervisor. It would probably be Monday at the earliest before I heard from him.

Meanwhile at lunch time, my boss came to me and started talking about an incident in the warehouse with the shipping manager. Funny thing is, the whole approach was completely different from what I had experienced before with her. Instead of talking to me as boss to employee, it was more of like peer to peer talk. I thought it was surreal.

Then to top off the day, right after lunch, I get a message that the Regional Logistics Manager wants to schedule a video interview with me. That was quick! I take it as a good sign that my resumes and phone interview impressed him enough that he doesn’t want to waste any time. However, he is going on vacation next week, so the interview will be scheduled for the 16th or 18th.

Time to get a haircut.

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Relief

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This week has been probably one of the worst weeks at work since I was going through chemotherapy. No real reason for it, but it’s been hugely stressful. The past few weeks I’ve been clocking in thirty minutes to an hour early just to try to keep ahead of the work. I told my co-worker that I was seriously considering calling in sick.

This morning, I started to get dressed to get there early as I usually do, but decided that the heck with it. I’m going to be at work on time, not early. I spent the extra hour relaxing and drinking coffee. Then got ready for work and headed out the door.

Holy moly! Traffic is ten times worse at this time. It’s been so long since I left this late to go to work, I had forgotten the huge difference in traffic. Ended up being 10 minutes late to work. Boss asked why I was late and I simply replied, “Traffic”. My co-worker for the first time since he started working there was at work before me. His first thought was that I went ahead and called in sick.

The corporation I work for has this mantra, “A day’s work in a day”. Today, I lived up to that mantra and did my work for the full day and didn’t worry about what I didn’t get done. It’s amazing how a simple change in attitude can make a work day so much less stressful. I felt good about the work I had accomplished and how my day went.

Will I do that tomorrow? Probably not, as I don’t want to go through the traffic mess again to start my day. However instead of being real early, I’ll probably be fifteen to ten minutes early tomorrow.

My Belief In Humanity Is Restored

After a pretty stressful day at work, I angrily left at the end of the day. Seriously thinking about calling in sick for the next two days. Let them deal with all the crap I deal with every day. I jumped into my car and headed down the street so I could get on the expressway home. Still fuming, of course I caught a lengthy red light. Finally it turned green and I turned left and about fifty feet in front of me I saw what is actually a common occurrence here.

Three geese were crossing the road. The lead goose had it’s neck extended and low to the asphalt while the two behind were calmly sauntering along behind. Traffic stopped while the geese crossed. I looked in my rear view mirror and the traffic had actually blocked the intersection I had went through.

Amazingly, no one honked their horn. We all sat patiently waiting for the geese to finish crossing the road. My anger and stress dissipated almost immediately as I was amazed at my fellow drivers. The trip home was a pleasant drive.

When it all comes down to it, it helps to stop occasionally and watch nature around us.

Tuesday Is Monday’s B****

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Some weeks it seems like Monday never ends. The stress and headaches from working and trying to do everything at once is draining. Even though my boss knows that I need help, she keeps on giving me even more work to do. Being the perfectionist that I am at work, it’s stressful when I can’t do everything.

Now, I’m making simple errors that I never should have made. Easily correctable, but a blow to my ego nevertheless. I need to keep reminding myself that I’m not superman. I’m pushing 60 for gawd’s sake and running rings around guys that are half my age. My biggest failing is that I don’t want to ask for help. To me, that means weakness, failure and a sense of doom.

Yes, it is not rational at all. I never said I am a rational being. I can’t help it most of the time. What’s even more stupid is if I get irritated or pissed off, I work twice as hard as I normally do. Guys at work have learned to recognize this and steer clear of me. I don’t blame them.

Maybe I need to blast this song in the warehouse all day long on a continuous loop.

Well here’s to a better day tomorrow.

Weekly Writing Challenge #36 – The Experiment

Prompt – Just push the button.

Prompt suggested by mlwattsupp

Slowly I opened my eyes. I felt so tired. Had I been drugged? I’m lying on a bed, somewhat comfortable, but a tad short for my tall frame. I look around and everything is white. The bed, the table with one chair, the floors and the walls, all blindingly white.

What is going on? I sit up and see that the room I’m in is about fifteen feet by fifteen feet. There is a small kitchen area with cabinets. All white of course. There are two doors on opposite sides of the room. White, with white doorknobs. I look down at the floor and there are two white slippers. I’m wearing white pants and a white shirt.

The whole damn room is white! Except, there in the corner, a big red shiny button. I approach it with trepidation. There are no notes or signs indicating what the button is for. I wonder if I should push the button, but decide that until I know more, I’ll keep my hands off of it.

A disembodied computer voice says, “Welcome Harry Gruen, to my little experiment.”

“Who’s that? Is that you John? What the hell is this?”, thinking that only John Ang could come up with a diabolical experiment like this.

“This is the white room.”

Shaking my head in disbelief, “Well, duh! Why am I here and how do I get out?”

“Harry, you may leave at any time. All you have to do is push the button, but before you do, I must explain the consequences of pushing the button.” the voice intoned.

Smacking my lips while thinking furiously, I knew there was only thing to do. I reached over and pushed the button. A loud alarm immediately shrieked and the lights turned red. Slamming my hands over my ears in agony, I fell to my knees. The alarm stopped abruptly and the lights went back to normal.

“Dammit, Harry! I didn’t even get the chance to explain the consequences. You’ve screwed this whole experiment up!”

I laughed, “John Ang, find yourself another gullible fool to experiment on. I’m out of here.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

All stories of Harry Gruen is now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.

Weekly Progress Report #48

Success! I managed to write every day this last week. Fantastic writing? Not so much. Getting back into the groove of daily writing will mean some days are going to be meh. I tried a few different styles of writing this week. Mostly to expand my writing. Still haven’t really settled on one genre, but I’m thinking I’ll never be able to be pigeonholed that way. That can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Quite a few authors write in a distinctive style and genre and build up an audience. If they go out of the prescribed style, then it usually isn’t received as well. Building an audience with an eclectic writing style is pretty hard to do. I do love a challenge!

This week, not only am I planning on posting everyday, but also start editing. I’m still not a fan of editing, but it is a necessary evil. I do know if I ever hit it big with my writing, I’m definitely hiring a professional editor. To me that will be money well spent as it will save me hours and hours of going over a manuscript. I’d rather be writing than editing and revising.

Health wise, I’m doing pretty darn good. I have about 80-90% mobility back with my shoulder. My last physical therapy session was last Tuesday. I had been scheduled for 3 more weeks, but my shoulder has responded to the therapy very well. I’m doing daily exercises to get that last bit of mobility back. But found out that I’ll need to continue the exercises probably for the rest of my life to keep the shoulder from freezing up again.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Top Five Pleasurable Activities You Can Do With Your Clothes On

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Presented in reverse order of course. Your top five may vary.

5) Smoke a good cigar

I’m not talking about gas station cigars, but ones that are really good. Some say that the Cuban cigar is the best. I have to disagree with that. I had one Cuban cigar when I went to Columbia, South America. Truth be told, I liked the Columbian cigars a lot better. Cuban cigars are overhyped due to the embargo on Cuban goods. Of course, some may say that you need a good brandy to go along with the cigar, but I think it is pretentious. I’ve had good brandy back in the days of my drinking, but wasn’t impressed. A simple fresh cigar that is hand rolled with exquisite tobacco leaves is hard to beat.

4) Eating a big slice of Triple Chocolate Cake

Oh the decadence! The pure richness paired with the deliciousness of not one, not two, but three types of chocolates. The sweetness combined with the texture of cake and frosting is simply wonderful. With a little dollop of vanilla ice cream beside the cake makes it even better. I’ve been known to swoon after eating this.

3) Walking on the beach with your loved one.

Walking hand in hand, listening to the sound of waves breaking on the shore with the cool feeling of damp sand beneath your bare feet. The ocean breeze wafting your hair this way and that. Knowing that you are experiencing this with your loved one is an intimate way of connecting with each other.

2) Eating Donuts

The inventor of donuts should be given a Nobel prize. I’m partial to jelly filled donuts and creme-filled Eclairs. But hands down, the absolute best is the simple glazed donut. When they are fresh from the bakery and still hot it is fantastic. Even when they are a couple of days old, just pop them into the microwave for 15 seconds and it brings the freshness right back. With a hot cup of fresh brewed coffee or even a cold glass of milk to wash it down, eating a donut is pure pleasure.

1)Getting your hair washed at the barbershop or hairdresser.

Leaning back in a chair with the back of your neck on a soft cushion while the barber or hairdresser washes, shampoos, rinses and gently massages your head is the most intimate feeling you can get outside of sex. With your eyes closed, it is an almost ethereal feeling. Well worth the extra money you spend when you go to get your hair done. Since I only get my hair cut at the most twice a year, this is something I look forward to experiencing whenever I go.

Sat down to write with no idea what to talk about and the above five popped into my head. Sometimes you just have to roll with your thoughts and hope it comes out coherently.

Friday Night Lights

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In West Texas, high school football is almost a religion. During the Autumn months, every Friday stadiums are filled with the local townspeople. They may have a son that is playing, or a daughter that is a cheerleader. If their child is in the band, they are there too. But it is not just parents that fill the stadium, it is people who have come to cheer on the local team, sometimes for years. They sit in the same place year after year and enjoy the company around them.

Growing up in New Mexico, only three miles from West Texas, the same spirit filled the stadium every Friday night year after year. Our team never was particularly good, but it was still an experience to go during football season. It seemed a genial atmosphere. A older couple would greet another like they haven’t seen them in a long time. That may have been the case as some would only see each other during the football game.

On the visitor side, one section was reserved for the high school students. It was nicknamed the ant hill. From the home team side, looking across, all the students were constantly moving around looking like very busy ants. As a child, I looked upon wondrously at the ant hill, dreaming of the nights I could be part of that experience. However, since I was in the marching band, not once did I ever get to be part of it.

Instead, we played our hearts out every game. We practiced daily in the parking lot outside the stadium for the half time show. Every year they would mark the parking lot with yard lines and hash marks to simulate the playing field. Our band director seemed to be a genius at designing the half time show. I think we won more awards state wide than the football team ever did.

After moving to Florida, I went to a local game once. It wasn’t the same. The stands were filled mostly with only parents. Usually the stands were pretty small and they still didn’t fill all the seats. High school football in Florida seemed dull in comparison.

Sometimes I still miss going to the football games where I grew up.

On Writing

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What is success? More importantly how does one succeed?

I’ve been a big believer in the maxim of success. Namely, 80% of success is to show up and suit up. Doesn’t really matter what you are doing as long as you show up every day and you are ready to work when you show up. In my day job, I’m always at least 10 minutes early to work and get started immediately. During my commute, I review what needs to be done for the day and what my priorities should be.

Then there are the ones who might show up on time or a few minutes late each day. They need to fix a cup of coffee first and try to figure out what they will be starting on. This may take some time. Invariably, they will spend time gossiping about others, especially the ones who show up and suit up daily. They may get by for a while, but for lasting success at the job, they wonder why they aren’t getting promoted, granted raises or looked upon favorably.

So what’s the other 20%, you ask? Well, 15% is pure determination. Your mind is set on improving daily no matter what the task is set before you. Some days you won’t physically or mentally or even emotionally want to be at work, but the determination that you show in your work will over time make it where you enjoy going to work.

Now, for the 5%. Doesn’t sound like much does it? 5% is talent. You either got it or you don’t. If you have talent and decide that it’s enough for the work ahead of you, you won’t get too far. Talent combined with showing up and suiting up and determination can make you great at your work. Case in point, Michael Jordon, a champion basketball star. There is no denying that Jordon has talent, but what makes him great is that during his career, he showed up and suited up for not only the games, but also the practices. He was determined to be the best. Combined with his innate talent of basketball, Michael Jordon is considered to be the absolute greatest basketball player of all time.

How does this translate to writing? Exactly the same. This hit me over the head like a sledgehammer this past few months. I’ve been told I have a talent for writing. Me being me, I’m not so sure about that, at least until now. I stopped writing at the end of July due to health problems. I had stopped showing up and suiting up. Three months later, I’m back to renew my writing and found out that writing is no longer pretty easy. The words don’t flow and my mind goes blank frequently. I may have talent, but it doesn’t get me far. It’s been a struggle to write.

Now I’m back to showing up and suiting up. I’m determined to improve my writing and be the best that I can be. Each day, the writing gets a bit easier. The words flow easier and my blank thoughts come up less frequently. I may not know what I’m going to write about when I sit down to work, but it’s getting easier to find a topic or story. It’s also getting easier to keep the words flowing. Practice makes perfect.

Two weeks ago, if I had written this, I would have had to take three to four breaks to reorganize my mind in order to continue writing. Today, it has flowed like magic from my brain to my fingertips to the screen in one shot. I feel better about writing today and I know I’ll feel even better next week if I keep on showing up and suiting up.

If you have been struggling with writing or whatever work that you do, I hope that this resonates with you and gives you the little push you need to start showing up and suiting up.