Errands

Today was an atypically busy day that got going rather early.  And, typically, since I can never seem to get to bed early when I have things to do the next day, I didn’t go to bed until 12:30 this morning (that’s AM for those of you keeping score).

With the Coronavirus going on, the state where I live has been very kind in letting lapsed car inspections go unnoticed (and unticketed) by the various police agencies.  But since that’s not likely to be a situation that’s going to go on forever, I thought it was time to get the vehicle inspected, and on the right side of the law.  I could have had it done a multitude of places, but figured since it was the first time since we leased it last year, I’d get it done at the same ‘flavor’ of dealer where it was gotten (it’s a Nissan, so it needed in my mind to be inspected at a Nissan dealership).

Too, it’s been over a year since we leased it, and we’ve driven it a little under 6000 miles so it was time for an oil change as well.  In theory, it probably should have gotten it a thousand miles ago, but that was over 90 days ago, and coronavirus so, it got pushed back.  Since it is lubricated by synthetic oil, I figure there wasn’t much (if any) problem with waiting for another 800-900 miles, and as it turned out, there wasn’t any mention made at the dealership about the time frame.

Needless to say, when I called last month to get an appointment, I honestly didn’t think they were going to schedule me two freaking weeks ahead.  And of course (timing) it just so happened to be on the day we were needing to go to the chiropractor.  Fortunately, they had an appointment as soon as they opened the doors (8 am) so that’s what I snapped up, since I was going to have to drive 25 miles to get there.  And I’m rather used to being up that early anyway.  So it all worked out.

Usually with this particular dealer, their service department takes it’s sweet time getting things done.  Even relatively straightforward things like oil changes and state inspections.  But with the current situation, there are fewer people around, and less time for doing other things other than work, so I was in and out in just about 30 minutes.  Certainly a record.  And since their labor cost is an ungodly $135.00/hr, I can’t complain about that either.  I was actually back home in under two hours, even with a stop at my local McDonald’s for breakfast.

Round two was going to the chiropractor, in another county up the road.  The route we take is quite scenic, KLWT-map-2020-wineries-only 6meandering up along the east side of Keuka Lake, one of the New York Fingers.  Seeing as I was antsy about being back home in time to collect the wife to get to our appointment, it just so happened to turn out that we had approximately an hour or so between the time I got back, and the time that we had to be leaving.  It’s about a 40 minute drive there, and as it’s summertime, there’s bound to be some construction of some sort on the roads, so we always leave a bit of leeway in travel time.  As with any doctor, there’s bound to be some waiting time, but the way that we manage things, our wait time is never more than 5-10 minutes.  Which is pretty sweet.  Needless to say, since my birthday had been a little while ago, I was due for what they call a ‘scan’, which is a computerized image of my spine, though non-invasive.  I’ve been having them since I started with this chiropractor and they’re a good tool for him to use over the course of the following year to see how well he’s doing with his adjustments, and how well I am doing with my progress in getting better with his assistance.  It doesn’t hurt that my insurance through my union pays some of the cost of the therapy, so all in all, I’d call it a win-win.  Though I’m not terribly sure what I’m going to do when he retires!

Finally, I had a call from the service that my union utilizes for medical issues, that I have to have every month.  Last month I wasn’t able to have the call, since there was a conflict, so it had been rescheduled for 7 in the evening, which wasn’t terribly convenient, but sometimes you just have to do what you can with what’s available.  Beth has been calling pretty promptly, and we’ve developed a rapport over the past 7-8 months we’ve been talking to one another.  I like her style, in that she seems interested in getting me along with the program, not just reading from the book in front of her; she takes notes and follows along with my progress, asking me pointed questions and not just doing things by rote.  With her assistance I’ve managed to lose about 15 lbs, and I look forward to talking to her in the future, and she’s not judgmental.  She understands that there are peaks and valleys, there’s going to be times when I’m not losing weight, or hitting a plateau or whatever, and she’s ok with that.

All in all, it was a pretty full day.  I managed to get to bed at a decent hour, since I needed to be to work the next morning at 8.

Work Ethic (or lack thereof)

Something happened at work today.  Though I was aware it was going to happen, I wasn’t there to witness it.  One of my co-workers got fired.  For cause.  And it was most definitely avoidable.

Joshua (*not his real name) wasn’t exactly what I would call an exemplary worker.  If anything he was fairly typical of his generation, at least from what I’ve observed over the past month or so.   While he was able to show up to work on time, once he got to work, he needed to be led.  Always.  He honestly did not appear to have any ‘get up and go’ or the ability to think on his own.  He expected someone to tell him what to do, and if he didn’t do something correctly, once it was explained to him he merely said “Ok” and it was never seemingly clear that he either understood what he did wrong, or was interested in changing it.

It was my responsibility to train him to be my backup.  To work on my days off, and when it came time, to do my job while I was on vacation.  From the beginning, I wasn’t really certain he was going to fit in the job.  Even so, I did my very best to give him the ‘bones’ of the job, explain how to do things, the order they needed to be done and so on.  When it came to the technology aspect of things, he was all ears.  When it came down to nuts and bolts, to the physical side of the work, he wasn’t so much interested.  His lack of enthusiasm was immediately apparent, but he seemed like a good kid (he’s 19), and I did my level best to train him appropriately.

As time went on though, there were things that he wasn’t doing correctly.  He’d be called on them, corrected, he’d say ‘Ok’ and then go ahead the next time and do it wrong again.  When asked why he did it wrong, his stock answer was “I don’t know, I just wasn’t thinking.”  Too, he had a routine I could have set my watch by.  During a six hour shift, within an hour of first arriving, he’d need to use the bathroom.  And his bathroom breaks would last 15-20 minutes.  Midway through the shift, he’d have a 20 minute break.  Early on in his employment, he’d be gone only about 22-23 minutes.  Over time, he’d manage to stretch it out to almost a half hour.  And on off days, he’d disappear for large stretches of time, then without warning or asking ahead of time, he’d leave for the day anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.  One of the meat cutters mentioned it the other day.  He had work for him to do, and he just wasn’t there.  He’d left without saying anything.  Which is absolutely both irresponsible and against company policy.

For me, the last straw was this past Wednesday.  On the day previous, we had a load come in, I’d done most of the work that needed to be accomplished and left him with the remainder to put up and enough work to keep him occupied.  One of the responsibilities in the job is to mark down product that’s close to it’s throw out date.  Typically, Joshua was never good at recognizing these items, would miss a lot of them, and that would constitute loss for the department, as they’d have to be marked down at a greater degree the day of, rather than less so on the day before.  I’d mentioned that many times to him, attempted to impress upon him the importance of why it needed to be done, but either he didn’t care, or just expected me to get it for him the next day.  The other part was that he just didn’t bother putting out the product that was empty on the sales floor.  He would wrap the meat that was freshly cut (and occasionally mark it inconsistently) and then wander around the store doing nothing instead of his job.  The meat cutter that was working with him isn’t the sort that likes to chase after people for not doing their job.  If they’re not, he just lets them fail, and shrugs his shoulders expecting them to hold up their end.

The store manager got involved yesterday when I had a long talk with MY department manager about Joshua.  I was pretty adamant about the fact it wasn’t fair for me to be busting my keister to get things done and on my off day for him to drop the ball and expect me to fix everything the next day.  I quite honestly had had my fill of it, and he agreed it was time to do something.

My department manager spoke to the store manager about it, after having had a chat with the assistant store manager the day before.  Originally, it was going to be a ‘write-up’, where Joshua would be counseled and informed that he was still employed, but he needed to really pay attention, buckle down and do his job.  The fact that he’d been leaving work without permission (far too many times) sort of put the whole thing over the limit and the decision was made to separate him from employment.  He wasn’t yet a member of the employee union (he hadn’t worked there long enough) so that wasn’t an issue.

No one likes to see someone else fail.  But when they don’t seem to care one way or the other, I can’t even fathom what that’s like.

 

New Neighbors?

In the past 20 years, we’ve had a Hogan’s Alley variety of characters renting or living in the house next door.  Some have been quiet, some have been extremely noisy.  At the present time the house is empty, but last week I talked to the woman that owns the property and in the coming weeks, there’s going to be a new tenant.  Tentatively.

At the very least she says that the new tenant isn’t going to be a problem (too much) as it’s going to be her daughter.  But of course with this family there’s always been some form of drama, as the daughter is in the process of divorcing her husband, and I was warned he may come to the property in the coming months as the divorce drags on.  Naturally she mentioned to her daughter that we next door are ‘good people’ and someone she can count on, which means at some point we may have a crying woman at the door with a couple of kids in tow asking if we can call 911 for her because of something happening at the house.  I can see it already.  Sigh.

Honestly, if I had enough money, I’d ask her if she’d be willing to sell the house and I could put someone in the house that would be suitable for us, but that’s unlikely to happen.  Or just knock down the house and barn and add it to our property.  But that’s not a good scenario either as the house next door is a buffer to what’s happening on the other side of the street.  But that’s….another story for another time.