Saturday, February 14, 2009

Give me an "H"--make that Ten of 'em

One of the blogs I follow is written by a lovely friend/colleague/peer/clown named Mary. As she explained, "See, there's this alphabet meme going around, where you get a letter from a previous meme-er. Then you write about 10 things that begin with that letter that mean something to you." So, Mary gave me an "H." And here are my ten things:
  1. Hair: I love my hair. God may have made my body a challenge in my life, but He definitely gave me good hair genes. Thank you, God!

  2. 2. House: I love my house. It's cute and small and in San Diego! Everything about it, even the things that aren't wonderful are wonderful.

3. Hot water heater: One of the things about my house that isn't wonderful. In fact, it's leaking...plumber is scheduled to come tomorrow.

4. Home warranty: Good thing I have one so that the new water heater won't be so expensive!

5. Hybrid SUV: My Mercury Mariner hybrid is named Cosmo. Do you name your cars? Cosmo's predecessor was Blanca. Sometimes they're male; sometimes they're female. Talk about anthropomorphism! (the picture in the link looks just like mine!)

6. Hunt: The last name of my best guy friend. He's Handsome, huh?

7. HoJos: A memory from my childhood. Driving along turnpikes in the East with my family and stopping at Howard Johnson's for lunch and ice cream. I never see them anymore.

8. Hugs: I like 'em. I wish I got more of them. I hug my friends, my dog, and sometimes, my trees.

9. Harold and Maude: One of my all-time favorite weird movies.

10. Huntingdon. The name of the town in PA where Bill and Donna live. It's strange that it ends in "don" rather than "ton" but it does. It's a small town, but it's a lot more interesting these days because D & B are there.

Dang! H was Hard!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday blues

Ever have one of those days when you just can't get out of the fog? That's how this Monday is going. It's been raining in San Diego for about 4 days...and for us down here in the world of sun, that's a bit much. I think my mood is starting to be affected! It's about as wet and chilly as the weather. I've been running from meeting to meeting all day and some of the information isn't fun. I'm ready to go home and do something to make me feel better. Which will it be? Macaroni and cheese or a glass of wine?

So, to help put my mood in perspective, you have to know what happened this weekend:

Went to Harrah's Rincon with Connie V and had a fun time, got a free room, and a little bit of money for the slots on them. Of course, I LOST money I really shouldn't have. I started to say "couldn't" but that wasn't true. I could and I did even though I don't like it. I've decided I'm a closet gambler. Good thing I can manage some willpower.

Here's why: Somehow, on one of my trips to the casino's ATM, although I'm POSITIVE I asked for $100, the stupid machine gave me $1000! Now, if I had had $1000 in the account, I wouldn't have been as freaked...but I didn't. I'm sure it must have been rigged (the ATM). Besides that, I thought I had a withdrawal, not only did I have to deal with my concern about what might bounce and how high, I was frustrated that the bank had allowed the transaction. AND, I had to pretend I didn't have all that cash in my wallet after I got it out! That was the real test of my ability to NOT gamble.

So, I called my bank from home when I got home yesterday. Of course, since it was Sunday, no response. I sent them an email (promised response = 3 days), and then realized that I would just call the bank as soon as I could on Monday morning. The bank's corporate offices were on eastern time; I'm on Pacific time. So, at 6:30 am, I was on the phone. Luckily for me, nothing had posted and if I got the cash back to my bank early on Monday, all would be well.

I was at my branch office at 9:05 a.m. and I deposited enough to cover the negative $600 pending balance I had and then some. None of it was from my winnings because I didn't have any of those to deposit. And, when I questioned their policies, they told me I had a $1000 withdrawal limit and that my overdraft protection let them give me more than my balance! Go figure. I guess this is one of the side effects of having a good credit rating. I NEVER before had such a high withdrawal limit! The system sure didn't check the savings account that's supposed to kick in for overdrafts. I know I don't have $600 in there...

Nonetheless, crisis was averted. But, I'm still in a rotten mood, I might need BOTH my comfort crutches tonight. The macaronis and sauvignon blanc are calling me...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lights Out, Matey!

It's 7 pm and I'm still at work, and they just blinked the lights to let us know that they really don't want to keep paying for electricity all night long. I wonder if they ever really turn them out completely? I hope I'm never here long enough to find out.

I have wanted to blog for a few days and haven't made the time. Then, yesterday, something happened that I knew I wanted to share.

On February 4, 2008, Captain Robert Gautier died. I think he was 85. He was a great man, a retired Navy submariner, a pretty good vintner, and someone I will always honor for helping me shape my life.

It was about 1972. I was working as a civil servant at the Naval Undersea Research and Development Center (soon to be renamed the Naval Undersea Center) as a clerk to about 15 physicist-systems analysts-engineer types. The work they did was highly classified and as their secretary, one of my jobs was to check their offices every night to be sure all classified materials were locked up. Of course, sometimes they stayed later than I did, and if they didn't put something away, I would be blamed for a security breach. The Navy had strict rules, and they only allowed a certain number of breaches before they hauled you up for a CAPTAIN'S MAST!

Well, I hit the magic number of breaches and was summoned to visit the captain of our lab. This visit was akin to the lowliest of the low being summoned to speak directly to God. I was terrified. I knew I was going to lose my job or be suspended without pay. Either of those two outcomes would have been catastrophic to anyone, but I was a single mom and had bills to pay!

As I entered Capt. Gautier's office, he asked my supervisor to wait outside (yep, my boss had to accompany me!) and he proceeded to have a major "Come to Jesus" meeting with me. He spoke a lot about responsibility and honor and the importance of the work our lab was doing for the country, the world, and the Navy. Of course, through most of it, I was either crying or thinking petulant thoughts about how it really wasn't my fault, blah, blah blah. At the end of the lecture, he told me that he wasn't going to fire me, but he insisted that I find another job at the lab that had limited high-security information. I had to keep my nose clean for two years to erase the previous breaches, and he wanted to be sure that I had a good chance of doing that. And, when the Captain wanted something to happen, it happened fast!

So, I transferred. My new boss was a senior manager over several other smaller departments: photography, graphics, video, library, and TECHNICAL INFORMATION! As it turned out, Captain Gautier (and God) put me in the exact right place for me to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Because of the horrible experience of screwing up, I began to work for someone who realized my communication skills and in time, he helped me get the training and the contacts I needed to become a technical writer.

Without Capt. Gautier, I know my life would have been very different. My disgrace turned into my salvation. And, as luck would have it, years later Capt. Gautier's daughter became one of my best friends (I didn't realize who she was for a long time!). So, I continued to have Capt. Gautier in my life. No matter how old he and I got, or how many years after his retirement it was, I always called him "Captain." I will always be grateful to him for seeing something in me that was worth a second chance.

Bob Gautier was a great man who will be missed by many friends and family. So, lights out, my friend. I know you're already sailing the high seas of heaven.

Linda O

Linda O
Glamorous Me