The Everything Update Post
Welcome back, dear readers, to another exciting episode of "As The Castle Turns". Or, as I like to call it, "let's see how fast Shepherd K's head can spin". I had great intentions and plans of writing an end of year summary post, posting a nice little homage to my beautiful wife for our anniversary and a few other little things like a rant against AT&T. Yep, you can see how well that plan worked out. Life apparently has a spy in the castle, got wind of everything and decided to toss a monkey wrench my way.
Before I get to far afield into the massive life update of doom, I'd like to take a moment to welcome a couple of new followers. Mandyfarmer and Odysseus have taken the plunge in the baptismal font here so to speak. Thank you both for taking the time to follow me. I can't promise greatness (go read Brigid's work if that's what you're looking for) or consistency, but I can promise I will respond to comments as soon as humanly possible and occasionally make you spew coffee on your monitor.
As to the rest, I suppose I should take things in chronological order so that I don't forget anything.
Wednesday, December 28
This was The Queen's and my eighth wedding anniversary. We had originally planned to take a road trip up to Missouri to visit some friends over the New Year's weekend as a little combination getaway and anniversary celebration. Unfortunately, little Miss M&M comes with strings attached. A leash actually. We can't leave the state without prior approval from CPS, the court and the Lord Almighty apparently. I could understand not being allowed to take her out of the country, but across state lines seems a little restrictive to me. What are we going to do? Go to Arkansas and change her name to Cletus?
We didn't have enough time to get the necessary permissions to take M&M across state lines before it would have been time to leave. So, we had to come up with an alternate plan. The initial plan was to check into a nice, local hotel for a little romantic getaway to celebrate the anniversary. Reservations were made at a nice place on a nearby lake? The reality struck. More on that in a moment.
Thursday, December 29
My last day at my old job, and the beginning of four days of being blissfully and technically unemployed. The whole outprocessing process was a bit of a goat rope because I was one of the first ones in the company and the first one for my claims center to leave the company since the remote worker program had been initiated. No one knew who was on first, what was supposed to happen or when it had to be done. Being a remote worker, packing up the office was the exact opposite of what most cube drones experience: all your personal stuff stays and you box up all the company items for removal. We determined that I needed to have all the computer equipment delivered to the local underwriting office on the other side of the metroplex from the castle by 3:30. Due to lunch plans, that meant that I had to stop working at 12:00 take have time to box everything up, get to lunch, and travel across the world to deliver the stuff on time.
I managed to get everything more or less in it's original packaging (when retained), loaded into the van and promptly delivered ahead of the deadline. Thus ended a little over six years (on this, my second, go round) with that employer.
The Queen asked me if I had any sad feelings about leaving after all that my bosses has done for me during her mystery illness. Honestly, I was too excited about he new job to feel sad about the old one. My bosses at the old job are good people, and I wish them the very best. I just have not been happy in that position for a long time.
Claims operations in major, publically traded companies have all pretty much evolved into the same bureaucratic nightmare that is soul killing and mind numbing. An adjuster is supposed to be a professional level position where you are paid to bring certain investigative and analytical skills to the table and to use those skills to make decisions and resolve claims. The profession has descended into a pseudo professional, clerical/data entry position with no respect or authority thanks to the meddling of uncounted middle managers fresh out of MBA school looking to make a name for themselves by creating some useless process or form that then becomes institutionalized. That discontent with seagull management was the main reason behind my decision to apply to law school. I had to make some effort to break loose from the rut.
Friday, December 30
The sun dawned on my first day of unemployment. I was not awake for that blessed event, but I have it on good authority that it occurred during my peaceful slumber since the sun was shining when my eyes opened. I might have gotten up to feed M&M sometime in the night. I don't recall at this point. We had a quiet day of things that I no longer remember at this point.
Saturday, December 31
The Queen and I decided to make the trek out to the brother in law's place to check in on The Queen's dad who has been fighting some health problems here of late. My father in law is a good man with a bit of a stubborn streak. He's not been near a doctor in over 40 years, and he's become a bit of a germaphobe as well. I suppose that's understandable after a long career as a self employed janitorial services provider.
At any rate, it has been painfully obvious that he has been dealing with an enlarged prostate for several years now...something which he has heretofor adamantly denied. Starting a couple of weeks ago, he started having to pee much more frequently, having nausea, etc. He tried to pass it off as having the flu or something.
Well, it didn't get any better; and, in fact, got worse. He lost his appetite which led to him getting weaker. He also refused to go to a doctor. Despite the pleas of pretty much everyone, he was bound and determined not to go to a doctor...all the while telling us that it felt like he was dying. When we got to the house and saw how bad things had gotten, we decided to spend the night at a nearby hotel (which necessitated us canceling the first night at our romantic getaway hotel) as my brother in law and his family where going to spending the night at a friends house leaving my father in law and mother in law to their own devices (not an especially wise idea under the circumstances). We went to the store and bought the makings for some homemade chicken broth as well as chicken and rice soup based on the broth.
We were also successful in convincing him to go see The Queen's chiropractor who helped her quite a bit during the course of the mystery illness. Unfortunatly, it being a holiday weekend, we weren't able to be him an appointment until the following Wednesday.
Sunday, January 1
We spent the day with The Queen's parents until her brother and his family returned. Then, we scooted off to our super secret romantic getaway hotel whereupon a lovely dinner was had, some wine was imbibed and we enjoyed a little quality time away from the cares of this world. You don't need to know all the sordid details.
Monday, January 2
The day dawned with me leaned back in a chair and M&M asleep on my chest after she slurped down a bottle at the ridiculous hour of 5:00am. Oh well. The sun was shining, we had a lake view to enjoy together and The Queen was snoozing peacefully in bed beside us. We had hoped to be able to spend a little time walking by the lake after breakfast; however, such was not to be. M&M was scheduled to have a visit with her bio parents at the CPS offices at one particular location. About 9:30, we got a call from the caseworker asking us if we could deliver her to an alternate location further away as the bio parents allegedly had car trouble. This alternate location just happened to be closer to the bio parents apartment (less than a mile away, but don't ask me how I know that). We agreed to the change (as if we had any choice in the matter) even though it killed off our leisurely walking around time.
We arrived at the CPS office very early to avoid any possibility of meeting the birth parents. Or so we thought. The lady at the front desk had no idea who we were or who was supposed to take custody of M&M. Come to find out, a caseworker from the original location was coming to the alternate to handle the visit. Unfortunately, she did not arrive until 5 minutes before the scheduled visit time. We were all out in the parking lot handing over M&M to the caseworker and updating her on feeding and diaper status when, lo and behold, the birth parents and M&M's half brother walked up and said "You must be the foster parents." Can you say awkward? Did I mention that they arrived in a perfectly functional late model pickup truck? Color me unhappy. I hope they did not notice the fact that my skin was crawling when I said that we didn't want to take away from their visit time with M&M so that The Queen and I could get the Hell out of there. I won't say my true opinion of them out of respect for M&M, but I was hearing banjos.
The Queen and I suffered through a stomach churning lunch during the hour long visit at a nearby location awaiting the caseworker's call that it was time to come get M&M. I don't want to sound unduly mean to the bio parents, but I truly hope they do not get their act together so that we can hopefully keep M&M.
Tuesday, January 3
The Queen graciously took the night duty with M&M so that I could have a full night's sleep for my first day at the new job. I awoke before the light of day to have plenty of time to get ready, avoid traffic and arrive on time. I was successful on all counts even arriving about 20 minutes earlier than required and well ahead of my new boss.
After being let in by the receptionist, I sat in my new office for all of a few minutes before one of my new coworkers whisked me away on a grand tour of the office and introductions to those employees that had already made it in for the day. After that, it was a code of hours worth of paperwork and benefits discussions with HR. I returned from HR to find my swag had been delivered by IT. Brand, spanking new top of the line iPhone and iPad had been placed on my desk. Sweet. Then, we split for lunch. After some good barbecue, it was back to HR for compensation discussion and more paperwork. I was told to go home after that. There are worse ways to start a new job.
Wednesday, January 4
Signing bonus check delivered. Yea, baby. Started getting familiar with the computer, etc. Remember my father in law, e stubborn one who was scheduled to see the doctor today. That was supposed to happen at 2:00. Right after lunch, I get a call from The Queen that she talked to her brother who had helped FIL to the car. FIL was not doing well. The Queen was scared and really wanted to get him to a hospital but didn't think her dad would go. She was asking me if I could come be the voice of reason and put a gun to his head if necessary. I told her I would check on the options and get back with her.
Fortunately, there was a party scheduled at the office for 3:00. It seems I came on board just as the original CEO was stepping down. This was the official transition party. So, I spoke to my boss. He understood and said I could bail out of the party which I'm a little disappointed to have missed. It was quite the spread.
On the way to the doctor's office to meet up with The Queen, I called her for an update. The doc did some of his hoodoo voodoo and came to the conclusion that it might be a ruptured appendix. Fortunately, the possibility of a ruptured appendix trumped any further stubbornness and germaphobia with my FIL. He readily agreed to go to the hospital. I arrived there at about 5:30 after making detours for food and other necessities at The Queen's request.
After much poking, prodding and diagnostic prognosticating, the verdict was what I had been suspecting all along: my father in law's prostate had enlarged to the point that it clamped off the urethra causing his bladder to swell and back up everything to the point of causing acute renal failure. He was immediately catheterized; and, within 10 minutes, he had filled a 2 liter catheter bag and was still going strong. The nurse showed him the bag and said "This is how big your bladder was." Guys, seriously, don't mess around with your prostate health once you get passed 40. The ER folks admitted him for monitoring to make sure his kidneys came back on line (which they have) and for blood pressure monitoring among other things. We think he will be discharged tomorrow or Tuesday.
Thursday, January 5
The only event worth mentioning here is that The Queen now has a chariot worthy of her royal highness. We have been rolling around in two aging but paid for vehicles for quite some time now. With the addition to the family, I had promised The Queen a newer vehicle, and we had been on the hunt since I received the official job offer. We found a really good deal on a gently used Lincoln Navigator. Now my girls are stylin' in a pimpin' ride. This thing has so many gizmos it almost ridiculous.
Friday, January 6
So, there I am at my desk trying to get up to speed on things when a curious email crosses my screen. The company is having everyone dress up in a couple of weeks for formal portraits. Okay. No big deal. The stated purpose is so that the company can send them out to the clients so they can put a face with the name. Also buried in the email is that certain executives will need a double time slot for extra pictures to be used on the company web page, in newsletters, etc. Following that was a listing of those executives who will need the extra time. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my name was on that list. When did I become an executive and why didn't anyone tell me? Talk about an ego boost.
That's the news fit to print from Castle Erickson for now. Tune in again next time when I decide to put up some real content about something more or less important. Maybe.