I know it's been a long time, but guess what? I'm still here.
You've probably wondered what's been keeping me from updating the blog like I used to. All I can reply is life. Life has been extraordinarily challenging of late.
When my boss quit at the end of September I knew that we were going to be in for trouble. Somehow most of the people we worked with believed that he single-handedly did all the work and the rest of us were just there taking up space. Me, I wasn't so sorry to see him go. He was a friendly guy that everybody loved, but at least as far as I saw it, his ability to be a good manager was pitiful. I spent the past 18 months getting performance reviews that essentially stated:
- nobody thinks you're working hard enough
- nobody knows what it is you're doing
- and by the way, nobody likes you
By the time he left, I was so demoralized and paranoid that I felt like I didn't know what the point of my job was anymore. I would think to myself, I'm a smart person, a valuable person. Why is it that every time I turn around there's more negativity? There's got to be some way that I can demonstrate my value to the company. But while working for him I never found it.
After he left, I was happy to be able to give up beating my head against the wall. Nothing I could do, none of my projects, and none of the glowing reviews from my stakeholders made any difference to him, especially when he always heard from someone else something negative that I had done. Right before he left, when I confronted him about a list I saw him making in a meeting of my pros and cons (the cons weighing much more heavily than any pros) he shifted from his bogus explanation of why my blogging and photography were showing up on the con side of the list when they have nothing to do with my job performance, to slyly mentioning that someone told him that I had been kicked out of Sigma training for knitting. And then I got to be on the defensive and paranoid because this was a crazy lie. “Sure, I believe you,” he told me. But considering he had never even brought the statement up to me before, had never even asked me whether there was any truth to this assertion, I knew that there was no hope for me with him as my manager.
His parting shot in my midyear review was to say to me that one of my stakeholders gave me good feedback but then let him know off the record, as it were, that if he left me in charge of our department, then she or he said that they would jump off the highest building." If that isn't morale building, I don't know what is.
With him gone, however, I've been allowed much more visibility now that I'm out from his mushroom management. (According to AdoringHusband, mushroom management is the style of management where your manager keeps you in the dark and covered with shit.) I am working diligently to overcome the frequently held belief that I merely provide comedic relief. It's been both exhilarating and stressful. And it's consumed an exorbitant amount of my time.
And then there is the issue of my stepfather. With all of us living at a distance from him, we had no idea how much his cognitive decline was causing his life to fall apart at his feet. Not that he was aware of any of the falling apart, thanks to the cognitive issues. He was scammed out of $26,000 by someone who promised him he'd make money doing something that I've never been able to fully get out of him in a coherent way. At one point it sounded like buying ATM machines but then at another point it sounded like some sort of Ponzi scheme. The net of it is that his money is gone, the credit cards that he charged some of this foolishness on have been charged off, and we discovered recently, that after his mortgage lender changed, he stopped paying the mortgage. He denies having seen any letters or received any phone calls to that effect, but considering his mail on a daily basis is 4 to 5 inches thick with scams interspersed with legitimate mail, it's a wonder he can find anything. So it seems that the house is now in foreclosure.
My sister and I have his power of attorney and have been trying to dig out of this horrific mess. Each day is a new revelation like the fact that the homeowners insurance lapsed for nonpayment or that the car insurance lapsed for nonpayment as well. And then his car loan had not been paid and that car was about to be repossessed. Not to mention that he'd received five moving violations for transgressions such as failing to yield, driving through a red light, driving with a suspended license, all due to his inability to think and attend like he used to.
It became clear that we would have to stop him from driving. He sensed this was coming and tried to scam his way out of having to retake the road and written test. Now he has a fixed belief that his primary care Dr. is what's standing between him and getting his license renewed. But no matter, he had to stop driving. During the week that my brother and stepbrother plan to go up there and get the keys from him, his car ended up being repossessed. The other car, my mother's old car, had to be disabled because he refused to give up the keys. He even tried the old I'm going to the bathroom ploy to try to get around my brothers and escape. But considering they're both cops and had heard that one many times, he didn't get away with it.
His eldest daughter, my stepsister, then stepped in to stay with him and watch him. But after his continued abuse and his attempt to get out of a moving car on a highway because he was mad that she was going the wrong direction (in his mind at least,) and his running away from her down the street trying to hide behind a telephone pole, she realized that she couldn't handle him herself. So now we're working to get a loan modification on the house that will allow us to sell it and move him into assisted living of some sort. In the meanwhile, his daughter’s son is staying with him in the house.
This brings me to the fun telephone call I had come in while I was on a teleconference on Tuesday. I let the call go to voicemail since I was presenting a proposal but then when I had a moment to mute myself I listened to the message. It was my stepfather's grandson calling me to say "Grandpa is trying to get on a bus to go to Harbor City to see a prostitute. What should I do?" I had a total moment of what the fuck, wondering whether I was being punked or something. I won't bore you with the crazy details but let's just say it involved my stepfather's lying to me about how he was going down there for some kind of job when he didn't know where the place was or what the job was going to be. Then his refusing to speak to me after I said that I didn't think he should get on a bus and he didn't know where he was going and was confabulating. And lastly my having to tell his grandson that if he goes to get on a bus, he should let him know that you're calling the police. Eventually he did go home but I lost an hour from my teleconference.
It’s been rough trying to manage this from across the country, to mediate between the divided factions of my family, and over perform at work to demonstrate that I do more than just take up chair space. It hasn't left a lot of time for blogging.
So I'm here. I'm not dead, yet. But I am hanging on. And until I can get back to the usual state of blogging, I hope you'll enjoy some of these fun pictures from Halloween.