Man, you hear somebody say "So there I was..." and you know a good story is inbound. So there I was, early Wednesday morning, all ready to go back to work. And by ready, I actually mean "resigned to my fate", but what do you expect after four days away? Yes, four, I did have to go in for five hours on Black Friday. Still, four days plus some, means yeah, I really didn't want to go back to work. But like any good adult, I gathered myself together and began to make my way to the Duckmobile. As I did, I looked upon the fresh fields of snow covering the parking lot and an overwhelming urge took hold of me! An urge... to snow angel the *hell* out of the lot!
Not quite the "snow angel" I meant.
Ignoring the stares of the neighbor or two nearby, I promptly began angeling like a little kid. After a minute or two I realized something interesting... I was actually comfortable! Like lying on a really soft bed, lying on the snow in Pond Central's parking lot was... well, it was a little cold, but yeah, I was comfy! Reveling in this strange and wonderous feeling, I just continued to lie there. I could almost doze off, I was so comfy... or hypothermia was setting in, one of the two. Anyway, it was really nice until the snowplow came.
How could I have anticipated that showing up? There aren't any rails in the parking lot!
I immediately found myself thrown high into the air, landing in a snowdrift and rapidly covered with more snow from the plow. Some time later, I managed to half-dig, half-drag myself to the surface where I discovered I'd been surrounded by a bunch of Greenpeace-like people, all yelling about protecting the rare and endangered Snow Manatee. A loud cheer was raised when they spied me struggling to gain my feet, and then they began to pelt me with more snow.
When I asked them to stop doing that, they replied that the rare and endangered Snow Manatee needed to be kept covered with snow, lest they dry up and shrivel away. I pointed out to them that I'm not a Snow Manatee, I'm just a guy trying to get to work, they laughed and pointed out that the rare and endangered Snow Manatee was known to have a great sense of humor. "What a kidder, Snow Manatees don't have jobs!"
On Thanksgiving, I noticed that the forecast for Saturday night called for a little bit of snow, maybe as much as three inches. By Friday, the snow had moved to Sunday afternoon/evening until Monday morning, and maybe six inches in the worst case. "Cool," I said. "I've got Monday and Tuesday off anyway!"
What we expected. We were fools.
By late Friday night/Saturday morning, winter weather advisories had changed to winter storm warnings, and then to blizzard warnings. Four to eight inches were likely in Duckford, but heavier to the south. The very worst of it was going to be in a narrow band that'd surely miss us. Indeed, the storm coming was so narrow that people 20 miles north of the city were not expecting any snow at all, or a dusting. They were right, that's all they got. That's all they got.
What actually happened. All of these idols are now dead, buried by snowfall.
By 4pm Sunday afternoon, there was already a couple of inches on the Duckmobile, but it looked like it was only flurrying anymore. Piece of cake! Then the sun went down and I was unable to see what happened next... Duckford experienced snowfall rates of up to two inches/hour for a while overnight, and it never actually stopped snowing until about 6am Monday. The official snowfall amount at Duckford International Airport was 11.7"... and that measurement was taken only a couple of miles to the west of Pond Central. I assume the narrow bands sorta moved a bit to the north. Oopsie!
I am fortunate. One of my neighbors decided to take it upon himself to shovel the sidewalks clean and start removing snow from cars. He had my car pretty much cleared off before I even woke up today. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about the parking lot, which hadn't been visited by the Snowplow Fairy yet, and wouldn't be until about 2pm.
All this caught Duckford by surprise. It was much heavier than expected by anyone. Anyone, that is, except for the National Weather Service, at least two different TV stations in town, and the newspaper. I'm still not exactly sure the tertiary... quadiary?... road Pond Central is on has been plowed yet... or even if it will be at all. But then, what do you expect when this was the heaviest snowfall ever recorded for the month of November in Duckford? And not just by a little bit: the record was just over six inches on a day in 1996. We nearly doubled that.
All the schools in the area were closed today. Many businesses never opened... it looked like almost everybody who lives in Pond Central's building did not go to work today... and I have no idea if the mail was delivered or not. And now it's snot-freezingly cold and windy outside.
Of Turkey And Overtime
Remember that six-day weekend I mentioned a while ago? Well, throw a half-day of work in there on Friday. See, the Powers That Be, in all their wisdom and glory, decided that we needed to work eight hours of OT this week. "Well hey," I hear you say, and that's impressive because I'm listening to some electroswing at very high volumes at the moment, "that's less than the usual 10, that's great!" Sure, if we were doing it in the normal five days. This week we're technically only open three: "...but you're welcome to work on Thursday or Friday if you'd like."
However, instead of doing 32 hours in three days and killing myself in the process, I've decided that I'm going to work a half-day on Friday and curse my employers the whole time. Who needs holidays? There's claims to push! I'm not the only one somewhat discomfited by this, it needs be said.
Who knew PSB could do "angry"? Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. A hurricane hasn't blown my house away, a forest fire hasn't burned down a quarter of my city, this is just griping about having a job. Yes, I know how whiny that all sounds. Tough. I want my holiday time, dagnabbit.
"...work Thursday/Friday if you'd like." No I wouldn't. Nobody would, except people truly desperate to escape family events. Gah.
Plans? Nope. We're both working Friday so tomorrow it's just "veg out, have a big dinner, maybe watch a movie on shiny platter."
A guy I interact with sometimes on Twitter who listens to Public Service Broadcasting gripes that they were better on their earlier records (the attitude a lot of people have about "back when they were good" annoys me greatly, as anyone who's followed along this year's writing project on my site knows) and I'm thinking, dude, have you listened to Every Valley? Because this is a band that's taken their winning formula and are asking themselves, "okay NOW what?" And so far it's been interesting to watch/hear. I don't think they've quite sussed out where to take their sound next but you can tell they're working on it.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 21, 2018 08:24 AM (rKFiU)
Bummer. I wish your job situation were better. Do you at least get paid for the OT?
No exciting plans for us. Just the usual family get-together. I don't actually like getting together with my extended family bc they're all loud and annoying. But it's non-optional if I want to avoid drama, which I do.
Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at November 21, 2018 12:27 PM (rWZ8Y)
Normally I'd say "yes" on getting paid for the OT, but! Since there are two paid holiday days, I don't think I'll be getting the OT bonus.
See, OT is considered everything worked over and above 40 hours... and holiday hours aren't considered as having been "worked." So I'll be paid, yes, but only at the normal per claim rate... but the holiday hours are paid at my so-called "base rate."
Which is somewhere around $11.90/hour. I don't know the exact amount, and right now I don't think anybody in payroll or HR knows, either. See, an e-mail was sent out just today notifying us of our annual "raise", which is just an increase of my base rate... and according to the e-mail, my base rate was, and I quote, "$0."
Just so I didn't feel lonely, similar e-mails were sent out to many of my fellow employees. Many voiced their consternation in a fairly loud manner, but I did not. Why should I get angry at something that's pretty clearly a mistake, and not something the boss had anything to do with.
I sent an e-mail notifying her of the problem, and went back to work. About a half-hour later, another e-mail was sent by HR, ostensibly with the base rate corrected... and mine was $0.07 less than it had been before the "raise."
In the three-and-a-half years I've been there, my payroll has been goofed up twice. Each time it was fixed and the additional amount deposited within a few business days. I'm not worried, is what I'm saying. Just amused at the reaction of my fellow cow-orkers.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 22, 2018 01:39 AM (k1bsf)
I work for the govt, which exempted itself from all the rules private employers are subject to on wages. So I am a systems engineer who leads teams and also an hourly employee. And I don't get paid OT for the nights and weekends I put in. (There are certain employees who are on a different pay schedule who do get paid OT and night/holiday pay, which I did for about a year many years ago when my job duties were different.) But we do have generous flexibility, tons of leave (I just had my 15 year service anniversary, which brought me to 26 days of annual leave a year, on top of my 13 days of sick leave, which I use because the kids get sick a lot. Annual leave can accumulate up to 240 hours, and sick leave has no cap), my role allows me to work from home, and we can get comp time. So overall, I don't have any complaints.
Well, time to make the casserole. Those mushrooms won't dice themselves. Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at November 22, 2018 07:23 AM (rWZ8Y)
Nothing stopping you from looking for a better job. The best job searches are when you're still employed because there's no pressure to take a bad offer.
Posted by: Mauser at November 22, 2018 09:51 PM (Ix1l6)
A Late-Discovered Icon Passes
Roy Clark died today at the age of 85.
Growing up, I was too cool for Roy Clark. Why, he was on Hee-Haw, that hick show for hick people! Overall wearin', dirt-farmer soundin' redneck...
Then one day, something strange happened. I was walking around my favorite music store, Appletree, and I stumbled over a new album by Mark Knopfler. Great! I'm a huge Dire Straits fan, Money for Nothin', Sultans of Swing, y'know right? But who's this Chet Atkins guy?
Wait. Wait. Waitwaitwait. That's... oh my god, I bought a COUNTRY album??? But... but... this guy Atkins? He's pretty good! Maybe there's more to this than I thought...
I'm not a country music fan. Most "modern country" is really just pop/rock music with a twang in it occasionally. And most Country & Western music is really still kinda cringeworthy to me. But I can tell talent when I hear it, and there's a LOT of skilled musicians in countrymusicland.
One of them, maybe one of the best, was Roy Clark.
Sure, he's kinda muggin' for the camera there, but there's no denying that being that good on three distinctly different instruments means somebody's got talent in spades.
That he can stand next to Glen Campbell on guitar and not come off looking like a stooge is a pretty good indication that he's got chops... and not just on the side of his face.
This has got to be one of my favorite clips from Hee-Haw that I've ever seen. That's bluesman Clarence Gatemouth Brown he's playing with. Gatemouth wins, but it's not a runaway. I'm more impressed that Hee-Haw put him on, actually. But in my mind, Roy Clark was and always will be a banjo player.
What it really comes down to isn't that I was too cool for Roy Clark... he was too cool for me. My loss.
Mugging for the camera while turning in three successive virtuoso performances on three distinctly different instruments. Yegods. "Go on, break my concentration, if you can." The man looked like he was having the time of his life in all of those clips, really. Respect.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 16, 2018 08:00 AM (rKFiU)
If you look for it, there's a clip of his guest performance on The Odd Couple where he is playing so intensely, it's amazing the guitar held up.
Posted by: Mauser at November 16, 2018 08:12 PM (Ix1l6)
Mauser, indeed there is. I didn't use it because it's so easy to find. It's also not country, and thus didn't really fit the theme of the post. But yeah, it's pretty swell. There are moments where I'm surprised he didn't just cut his fingertips off like the guitar was a giant cheese slicer.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 16, 2018 09:44 PM (I6x9S)
I still have fond memories of Hee-Haw, though I doubt I could sit through a complete episode today...
Posted by: J Greely at November 19, 2018 07:27 PM (LGSd2)
Crud, I forgot the rule about not posting links. Sorry, video here.
Posted by: Thomas at November 21, 2018 12:55 PM (mSIXR)
And now the internet hates me. One more try, then I'll give up with my heartiest apologies.
Posted by: Thomas at November 21, 2018 12:56 PM (mSIXR)
I Have Been Lax
Apparently the combination of "being quite sick" and "muscle relaxer" and "total silence for two days" is enough in this day and age to make people who read The Pond somewhat... jumpy. I'm not sure why.
I'm okay. I'm back on overtime... apparently my being bad was a one-week aberration. Or since we're approaching end-of-month, they want to shove as many claims out the door as possible and recognize that I manage to at least do that much. One of the two.
Thanksgiving is coming, and it'll be a six-day holiday for me. Yeah, I hit the jackpot on the lottery at work. Literally. To prevent EVERYBODY asking for Christmas Eve off (for example), time around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is blocked out so you literally can't request it. Then everybody who wants to take some time off has to submit an e-mail to the boss, stating what your Top Three Picks for time off would be. I actually requested some this year, mostly because Christmas and New Year's Day are on Tuesdays this time around. I requested Dec 21 and 24, because five-day weekends are good, Nov 26 and 27, because six-day weekends are even better, and Dec 31 and Jan 2, because hey, why not.
I got TWO of my choices, Thanksgiving and New Years. I'll take it! I dunno how many people got two selections, probably not many... I guess being a lil' angel at work pays off. Which doesn't explain why I got in the greatest sick burn dude on my Big Boss today. Big Boss? Yeah, my original boss got promoted to overseer of the entire building, so she's now Big Boss, and her replacement is now my boss. ANYway. Big Boss and I have always gotten along well... Cubs fans, y'know? When they won the World Series (did I mention that the Cubs won the World Series?) she texted me to celebrate because she knew I'd still be awake... we've gotten along well. She was at the office late tonight, didn't leave until nearly 9pm, or a half-hour before I left. While she was waiting for the multifunction photocopier (which is next to my cube) to spit out something or other, we were bantering away, blah blah blah Spartan pig Saracen dog blah blah blah, when she said "I used to be a good time once." It was totally in context with our conversation, really. Without even stopping to think, I come out with... "That's what all the writing on the bathroom walls said, yeah."
She couldn't stop laughing for at least five minutes. So I entirely expect to go to work tomorrow, clock in, and be totally fired. Like, epically, get police to escort him off the premises fired. I mean, c'mon, the 13th Amendment makes it illegal to own people like that, I wouldn't blame her in the least.
But man, it was sweet.
Speaking of going to work tomorrow, I've got to. So I'm going to bed tonight. Good night!
My tongue has an auto-bite feature that was installed at an "emergency sexual harassment all-hands meeting" back in the Nineties. Saves me a lot of trouble these days.
(the "emergency" turned out to be our director going on vacation that weekend; really poor communication from his admin...)
Posted by: J Greely at November 15, 2018 01:37 PM (LGSd2)
One of the "interesting" aspects of my 40s has been the steady deterioration of the brain-to-mouth filter. I used to be quite circumspect! But now? Yikes. Soon I won't be fit for human interaction, at the rate I'm going.
Big vacation weekend, HUZZAH! Enjoy, good sir.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 16, 2018 08:09 AM (rKFiU)
That Was... Unpleasant
Early Saturday afternoon, I started to feel... not so swell. I think I had a low fever, but by the evening I developed... not chills, exactly, but sort of an intermediary state between chills and non-chills. My left side, from the back of my head all the way down my back, would feel shivery, while the rest of me felt fine. This is nothing out of the ordinary, I've had that exact feeling since I was a kid. Everybody is different, y'know?
Sunday I definitely had a fever, but watching first the F1 race, then the Bears game, in real-time with friend Ben from Midnite Tease who is in Illinois for some training thing, distracted me enough that I kinda didn't notice until later. Around 5pm I took a nap... if you can call a sleeping period that lasted six hours a nap... woke up feeling not terrible, then went to bed a couple of hours later (stopping to post the PSB thing below, of course).
That was a mistake. I woke up this morning with a brainsplitter of a headache, definite fever, chills, the works. I called in after trying to convince myself for a while that I was fine. Failing in that, I took a shower and realized I just felt worse. That's when I called in. Like any good patient, I decided to do very little for a few hours, then go back to sleep.
Why I wound up watching two-hour long replays of 24 hour livestream events by a person who appears to be the go-to guy for GTAV racing mods. There's apparently a huge community of GTAV players who don't actually play the game, but have modded it into a racing "sim". Then I wound up watching a LIVE livestream event by my favorite racing sim driver... he takes it seriously, but not TOO seriously. Oh, and along the way he's been noticed by actual broadcasters and provides commentary for one simracing championship or another. He recently was in Japan for a stop on the tour there, and got to tell a great story where it turns out he was invited to Macau to do some of the coverage there. His response was "I'd love to, but I'll be in Monaco then." Just once, I'd love to be able to say that and mean it. "Gosh, I appreciate the offer to work at Bathurst, but I'll be doing the 24 Hours of LeMans that weekend."
Eventually I did go lie down for a nap, around 430pm or so. Nothing. For five hours I laid in bed, remarkably vivid thoughts of being a sim driver in GTAV and just sucking at it running through my head. And oh my stars and garters was I hot. I don't know if I was hot because I was running a fever, or if it was because the heater was turned up and all the windows closed, or what, but it was horrible. I've had this happen before, and I never can tell what the reason is.
Which brings us to now. I'm going to take a muscle relaxer before I go to bed, that should let me sleep... and hope in the morning I feel better. Fingers crossed.
May this comment reply find you far more hale and hearty than you were when you posted this entry!
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 13, 2018 08:33 AM (rKFiU)
" I called in after trying to convince myself for a while that I was fine."
Well, I hope you're feeling better after your rest, and I am glad to find out that your earlier post about not doing overtime for a while doesn't mean you were fired.
Posted by: Rick C at November 14, 2018 06:03 PM (Iwkd4)