This post is part of ThinkKit by SmallBox.
January 2, 2016 prompt: "Give us the 30,000 foot view. Or hone in on a few highlights. Let's bring last year to life before moving on to what's ahead.”
To Everything There is a Season: 2015 Was the Season of Upheaval.
This would be a time when keeping a journal, or blogging on a regular basis, would come in handy. Since I do neither I’ll have to wing it.
The major changes at work include my Director announcing she will be moving! When she first arrived I thought she loved our Service. That's what she said anyway. But then she started hacking away. I am convinced she wants to abolish it. I've seen Directors come and go and when I saw what she intended, I figured I would have to lay low, keep my nose clean, and endure her for two or three years. Unless this was her last assignment before retiring. Then she might stay longer. During the Arizona VA problems her focus was diverted and she didn't do too much damage to our service. During the last six months she's been a bit more focused, resulting in a resurgence in the damage. Without warning her intention to leave us February 2016 was announced. I'm ecstatic and hoping the majority of her remaining two months she will once again be other-focused.
In addition, my supervisor was promoted to my Service Chief. I am thrilled she now has better things to do than try and micro-manage me. When I reminded her that I have been highly successful, as evidenced by my previous evlutions, because my former supervisor (who was also and our former Service Chief) empowered me to work independently--and then allowed me to do so--she backed off the micromanagement for a while. Unfortunately, her need to micromanage was stronger. The good news is, now she's micromanaging my new supervisor.
I really like and respect my new supervisor. She it new to the VA, so she's having to learn the VA way of doing things, but she's bright and catching on quickly. So far she has listened to those of us on the front lines and has supported us when she could. She has made some unpopular decisions, but I think she is fair.
After being without a weekend-float, we finally hired John. He came to us with no case management experience, so we knew it would be a while before he would be up and running independently. Over the months I could see he was struggling and not happy. He called me constantly. I don't mind that at all. One of the things I love most about Nursing is the teaching aspect, so mentoring comes second nature to me. I never understood the concept of Nurses “eating their young.” He eventually rendered his resignation.
Because our new supervisor listens to us, she asked if we would rather not have weekend coverage until someone else was hired and trained (a minimum of 3 months--which has lasted a year the last time). Or, would we rather suck it up and work overtime on the weekends. Our former supervisor made the decision for us and we just about died on Modays when we had the work of three days to do all at once. I immediately told the group I would prefer weekend overtime, otherwise Mondays are killer! Especially on my very high turnover ward. Everyone agreed. We had been killing ourselves every Monday for the past year, and with the five of us, our weekend rotation would not be bad. We did that through Thanksgiving and Christmas and then he rescinded his resignation. At least until he has secured another position.
In addition to the upheaval at work, there has been Family Drama. My Family in Florida continues to not speak to me since the death of Daddy the year before. While I was there, placing Daddy first in the hospital, and then transitioning into hospice, over what was supposed to be a fast and furious long weekend trip, I ended up having emergency surgery and remained at Mama’s during my recuperation. As horrid as emergency surgery 850 mikes away from home is, it allowed me to be there when Daddy died.
Unfortunately, my family is dysfunctional when it comes to funerals. We've been fractured since a fight that could have been avoided if we had acted with an ounce of maturity. This past year I only saw Mama, my Nephew, and my Great Neice. And the visit was brief.
In Houston, my elderly Aunt and Uncle need to sell their home and go into Assisted Living, but are extremely reluctant. Their Son, my favorite Cousin, received a liver transplant; however, in early December he succumbed. I've been making the 3 1/2 hour trip a at least 1-2 weekends a month for most of the year. In the process, I've neglected chores I need to do, writing, and most importantly, the rest of my Texas family (who are also aging).
I took no epic vacations this year; however, I did rent a cabin in the mountains of northern Georgia for a week during November. It was my plan to finally finish the long stalled novel I've not been writing. I purchased a new laptop, bought the same Windows Professional program I use at work, and had it installed. It may say it's the same, but it's not. Trust me. It doesn't even look like my desk top at work.
I transferred the novel files to the new computer. I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was set. But for some reason I couldn't open the files. And the new laptop does the same thing the old one did--I'll be typing along and out of the blue the text evaporates! Someone told me recently that's a glitch with laptops. Really?! I don't remember my original laptop doing it until after it got a virus. If that's a problem with all laptops, I wonder if plugging in a real keyboard will alleviate the problem? Something I'll have to look into. But back to the cabin...
The cabin was cozy and relaxing, and since I wasn't writing, I spent my time there doing nothing except cooking and watching cable, and the fire. And watching out for bears. And locking myself out in my nightgown. And running out of water when the pump ran dry. But, because I'm such a good sport, I'll get two free days on my next rental. And this cabin is definitely one I want to return to! It's cozy, constructed of hand hewn logs, has a gas fire place and jacuzzi tub inside, a wrap around covered and screened porch with a wood burning fireplace outside, several uncovered decks with a hot tub, and fire pit--all in a very natural wooded area, that feels secluded when in fact their are nearby neighbors--and it's dog AND cat friendly. And a picturesque town to explore just down the mountain.
After I made the cabin reservations I found out my Second Cousin and his Wife (who work for the Forest Service in the Virgin Islands) have recently purchased a house in the next town over--just 15 miles away! The last time he lived stateside, he lived next door to my Mama in Florida. They were actually in town because they come stateside for her medical treatments once every three months. Her Mother lives just down the street from them in a very nice gated community. I was Not their only visitor--a bear visited the night before. We know this because we saw the remains of several bear-demolished bird feeders--theirs and a couple of their neighbors.
As for me and the FurKids, we are getting older. Bandit and I are slowing down. This was the first year we didn't make a quick dash to NOLA to walk in the Barkus Parade during Mardi Gras. And we also didn't make it to the Atlanta Braves Bark in the Park game. The trip from Texass just seemed too much this time around. We continue to boycott the Texas Rangers dog game since the last time we went they stuck us in seats that I clearly told them were in full sun--not acceptable for a hairless pup (they argued with me, and said the seats would be in the shade during the game because of the time change. I again disagreed, but went ahead and reserved the seats because they said they were the “only ones available” in that section and the section I had requested had been “full for weeks and weeks.” We arrived, the sun was full force and there was NO shade in the entire section they had us in. When the sun became unbearable, we stood under an awning for the remainder of the game. I fumed as I counted dozens of shaded seats in the section I had requested!) Although I love the Rangers I've given their dog day game bad reviews ever since.
While Bandit and I are slowing down, the rescue kitty is picking up speed. Moggy was rescued in October 2014 and started out being a sweet white kitty with three black spots on the head and around the ears. They almost, but don't quite, form a Micky Mouse head. The only other markings are rings of black at the tail base that turn into a solid black tail. Because of the darker ears I thought there might be some Siamese; however, the green eyes indicate otherwise. As I researched cats with similar markings I came across a Siamese website that talked about Moggies--the British slang for Maggie which is the equivalent of a feline whose parentage is unknown. I had been leaning toward “Pip” as a name because of the black dots. Pips are the dots on die or domino tiles. But “Moggie” was a pretty cool name as well. I decided to combine the name and ended up with “Pip de la Moggie” as the pretentious name on the Vet records. Until the Vet rather gleefully informed me that she was in fact a he. Pip de la Moggie is now re-named “Pip-Moggy.” Think Gangsta. And he's living the gangsta life.
Moggy has recently started terrorizing Bandit. I yelled at him earlier this week and informed him, “Bandit is number one! Always!” He settled down for all of about a minute. I've had to swat him a couple of times now for biting. I will not tolerate biting. When he pounced around corners to pounce on our feet it was cute and kittenish. Biting me, or especially my baby Bandit brings out the mama bear in me. That behavior will not be tolerated. So I've started popping him when I catch him biting. I abhor hitting an animal and it's something I never do. Positive Reinforcement is my mantra. But the cat is not responding to PR. So swatting it is.
We’ll see if my girl-cat-who-is-really-a-boy-cat-whose-name-(in polite society)-means-fatherless-cat-named-Spot lives through the end of this year.
This past year has been one of upheaval and change. Even though I've had to curtail some of my leisure time in order to travel to Houston frequently, I still get in an occasional game of cards or Bunko with several of my social groups. I'm thankful for great friends who keep me sane and talk me off the ledge from time to time, a job I truly enjoy and excell at, and FurKids who like to snuggle and sleep late.