January 18, 2007

I have changed the date on this journal entry literally 5 times over the past week as I tried to write and was always interrupted before I could get anything accomplished. 

Life has changed yet again.  Independently, my GFORCE ladies started talking with one another (without the others knowing of the conversations going on) about the idea of starting a morning exercise group after the kids are dropped off for school.  (So 9am)  Since I have a pretty well stocked gym from all of my weight loss failures, I offered up my house to do it in.  So far, we've worked out three days this week for about an hour at a shot.  The first day, we did the Biggest Loser Workout DVD with the low intensity cardio.  The second day, sore from the first day, we did Suzanne Deason's Yoga For Weight Loss DVD all the way through.  Today, we did the Biggest Lower Workout DVD on the Bootcamp level.  It's so much easier doing it with other people, especially people I know rather than a class of strangers.  I actually look forward to the workouts every day.  My goal is to lose 50 pounds by July and 100 pounds by New Year's Day.  That's around 2 pounds a week, so it's not beyond the level of reason.  One day at a time.  This way, I'm guaranteed to get 4-5 days a week of good exercise.  I'm trying to do it and not think too much about it as the days pile up that I've gotten it done.  I've already lost my 2 pounds for this week, so that's nice to know.

Tomorrow, we start our monthly bingo nights to benefit the school.  The Fire Safe Council extended their nonprofit status to us so that we're legal and we after that were off and running.  It looks like it's shaping up to be a fun night.  We plan to have bingo the third Friday of every month.

Yesterday, as I drove up to the post office, I had an incredible feeling of finality that I did not expect to feel.  It did not feel organic to me.  I did not have any bad thoughts or negativity about the job; I just felt done.  It was like a door closed audibly.

As I was going through the motions of the job, sorting the mail and doing the things I do almost every day, I could feel with every movement, "This is the last time I'll do this."  I felt a great deal of peace about that.  The post master chewed my ass because I didn't see a note that she'd put a bin over, but she's a fairly angry, hateful person a lot of the time in this weird bi-polar way.  A lot of the time, she's fun and quick and smart and funny.  About 20% of the time, she just goes apeshit out of control over the least little thing.  As anyone who knows me knows, I don't do well with unpredictable behavior.  I have no interest in my friends and the people around me being boring, but I don't respond well to someone just going all feral on me out of the blue; especially if it's someone with whom I've set up a reasonable trust. 

Delivering the mail is about as simplistic as you would imagine.  I can't say how it is elsewhere, but in my post office and, to a greater scale, at Eric's post office, it's a fairly tight and uncomplicated system.  The actual postal employees (civil service folk) sort out the big bins of mail that come in to the post office into route bins (me/Eric) and PO Box bins.  They then sort the PO Box bins and put them into the PO Boxes while we sort the route bins into the mail cubbies, then rubber band it up and take it out for delivery.

Like I said, pretty simplistic.  It's a matter of numbers and names and getting everything in the right hole.  Just like every now and then a cash register doesn't balance to the cent when the restaurant closes, just like every now and then, you file a file folder in the wrong place...sometimes, there's a misthrow.  A misthrow is when you accidentally put an envelope in the wrong cubby.  It can happen because you have a brain fart or because the names/numbers are really similar (I only have 50 boxes on my route, but I have two Johnstons and two Wells') or because one letter sticks to another and you pick up both at the same time and don't realize it.  It happens.  Since I started the job on November 15th, I have had exactly 5 misthrows.  That is through handling literally thousands and thousands of pieces of mail, especially through the holiday season.  Eric has about 200 boxes and has misthrows as well.  Often, we will find mail in our route bins that belong to the PO Boxes.  Misthrows happen.  My post master, however, just goes batshit ranting any time I make a mistake.  She doesn't just bring the piece of mail over to me and tell me, "So and so brought this in.  It was put in their box by mistake."  That wouldn't bother me at all.  God knows I'm not perfect and I am comfortable with the fact that I am going to screw up sometimes.  She, however, goes into detail telling me how the patron was "hysterical" over the misthrow (I, of course, said, "Hysterical?  They were hysterical over getting a wrong piece of mail?  Really?") and how I have to be more careful and how people DEPEND on getting the right mail. 

I am in the post office anywhere from 1-2 hours doing my "casing" and during that time, I invariably hear people come to the front counter and casually tell her, "This was put into my PO box by mistake."  She says, "Oh, sorry about that!" and it's over.  My few misthrows are treated as felony status. 

As an independent contractor, Eric does not work for the post office or the post master, but for the postal service directly.  I, in turn, work for Eric...or rather am an indentured servant to Eric.  Whoda thought that after all the years of me giving him the "You are not the boss of me" that he'd suddenly be the boss of me?

So here is this not-in-my-chain-of-command woman yelling at me like I just took a shit in someone's mailbox.  If I try to defend myself, speaking calmly, coolly, admitting, "OK, I made a mistake, it happens to all of us...can we just move on now?" then it just escalates her hysteria.  If I stand my ground and really come back on her with the, "Look, back off, OK?" then it gets even worse.  It's weird to watch and as irritating as it was, it was not a factor in my knowing that my post office time was over. These were actually two different situations.  Although I was once at a time when people did not get a second chance with me to lose their minds and scream me down, I have since amended that to a "three strikes" rule.  I figure anyone is entitled to go insane once or twice.  Three times is a pattern of behavior and oops!  I'm gone.  This woman just had her 4th strike because I let her go into extra innings out of respect for the fact that I have to work with her 5 days a week (I work with another gal on Saturdays, who I just adore).  So on her 4th strike, she is officially "outside my realm of influence."

Circle of Trust



hysterical post master

If your monitor screen has a different resolution than mine, that above graphic probably makes no sense at all. 

Last night, I told Eric about my feeling that I was done.  I told him I'd helped him through the holiday season and now that things were slowing down and I'm investing an hour a day (minimum) into fitness, I'd like to stop doing the mail and devote that time to my writing and to the house.  He looked like I'd plowed over him with a tractor.  He was surprised and felt that my timing was bad because he is in the process of straddling the two worlds, working on a couple of construction projects and delivering the mail and I guess adding the extra 1-2 hours a day would overtax him, so here I am.  He was very understanding about it and said that he felt he had not let me know how much he appreciated what I did.  He has, of course, been very forthcoming with the thanks and that wasn't really the issue.  I guess I just didn't realize that he was depending on it.

So now my day looks like this:

5:45am - Get up and rouse Delena to get ready for school, make her lunch and wait for the bus with her.

6:15am - Delena leaves.  I either go back to sleep for another hour and a half or do chores or check email.  Lately, it's been frantic dish washing, floor mopping, turtle-pond cleaning, clothes folding, etc.  No one should do those things before 7am.

8:00am - Announce to the boys that it's time to get ready for school.  Make eggs, toast and coffee for Eric.  Get kids packed up and out the door.

8:30am - Eric leaves for the post office.

8:45am - Boys get on the bus.

9:00am - GFORCE ladies arrive and we work out.

10:30am - GFORCE ladies leave and I hurry and dress.

10:45am - I get to the Post Office.

12:00-12:30 - I finish mail route and come home

12:30 - 4pm - This is my "free time" to go to town and get provisions, do whatever household chores still need to be done, pay bills, etc.

4pm - Kids are home.  Eric usually comes home some time between 3-4pm.

5pm -  Get kids started on homework, begin making dinner.

6pm or so - Dinner

From this point on, the night is a blur of putting out family fires, still working on housework, cleaning up after dinner, etc. 

It's definitely an aggggh especially since I've been sick as a dog for a week now.  It's some kind of sinus infection, head cold, ears ringing/aching, coughing-up-a-lung/bronchitis type thing. 

Now, Scrubs has begun and Eric and I have a date to watch it.

Which means I'll post this during that sacred 6:15-8:00am window tomorrow.

God help me.

January 19, 2007

Didn't make the sacred 6:15-8:00am window.  Delena woke up with a fever, so I went back to sleep until 8am, which was blissful.  I actually slept through the night, which was nice as well.

Andrea (the GFORCE lady who faithfully comes to work out) and I did a Yoga *burn* DVD today and really felt it after about the 5-6 fluid sun salute.  Burn was definitely the right word for the title.  The entire workout from warm up to cool down was only 30 minutes, which is the shortest workout we've done so far.  I can tell you after only four days of workout this week that wow, those extra 20 minutes or so really make a difference.  I'd always been told that when it comes to fat burning and conditioning, anything over 25 minutes was a waste.  I beg to differ.  I am definitely seeing better results with the added time.  I have already lost 3 pounds this week and I'm a lot better toned, stronger and more flexible after just 4 days.  I also can't say enough (having never done it before now) about working out with a friend.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Admittedly, there is a bit of competitiveness or I guess you could all it automotivation between us.  I'll want to quit or drop a position and I'll look over and see that Andrea is holding in there or better yet, holding in there better than I am and I will keep going.  It's easy when I'm on my own to just say, "OK, I suck, I'm skipping this one," but with Andrea there encouraging me and telling me I can do it, I have definitely taken myself further than I normally would.  I'm so happy that she has held with this and come ever day.  I'm going to miss it over the weekend.

After I finished writing last night, I cried it all out to Eric, who was wonderfully supportive and sympathetic.  God bless'im.  That made it a lot easier.  I really am not bad at confrontation when it needs to happen (although I still don't like it), but that is when it's happening with normal, rational people, not crazy, hysterical people who are bringing baggage into the situation that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own mess.  After getting a good bit of rest and thinking things through, when I went into the post office today, I took a stack of business cards I'd made on Eric's behalf (without his knowledge, I might add) that say:  Eric Rasbold, Senior Rural Mail Carrier, Grizzly Flats & Somerset, California and gave his cell phone number and email address.  I handed them to the Postmaster and told her if anyone, ANYone had a problem with how I do my job, to hand them a card and tell them to contact Eric.  Since Eric takes absolutely no shit off of absolutely no one, that is quite a fortress in front of me and sissy or not, I'll take it.  His name is on the check, so he can take the heat.  She started trying to give me some shit about how she is in charge of the route and I told her that, nevertheless, Eric is my supervisor and absolutely any problems or praise is to go through him.  Period.  We didn't speak for the remainder of the hour I was there (as far as I am concerned, any conversation on her part can also go through Eric - I'm done) and that was fine with me.  I got my work done a lot faster and was out of there.

I'll definitely continue to be cordial, but refer to the above diagram (askew if you have a different resolution) to know how solid that circle of trust actually is. 

Josh and his family are coming up again this weekend and bingo is in 4 hours, so I should get crackin.  The next time you hear from me, with any luck, I'll be another pound or two lighter and not peeing my pants every time I have a hacking cough attack.

Be particular,


Artist: Josephine Wall

Graphics: Enchanting Designz