Post #146 – Perhaps, I shall execute it in blood…

LUCKY ME, a recruiter named Lisa with Reliance Consulting spied my resume on Monster.com and called me about a job at the corporate office of a well-known bank in their mortgage department. Doing what exactly, I don’t know. The job description is very vague, but I assumed I could find out more in an interview.

For the sake of simplicity, this financial institution will be called Mega Bank. After a brief Q & A with Lisa, my resume was shuffled through cyberspace to Mega’s HR department.

Three days later, Mega Bank offered me the job simply based on my resume! WTF? Ya know, I get I’m totally awesome, LOL, but I wouldn’t hire me without at least a 10-minute chat on the phone. I could be a complete moron who paid a lot of money for a really sharp resume. However, since I REALLY didn’t like the temp job I was on at the time (don’t even get me started on that), I accepted the position.

Then, of course, comes the real fun. I spent 2.5 HOURS completing the online application for Reliance listing every single employer for the last 10 years along with their address, phone number and email. AGAIN – WTF?

When I reached the bitter, bleary-eyed end of their cyber forms, I had a little panic attack because I didn’t have the email addresses or phone number for 2 of my previous supervisors from a decade ago because I’d lost touch with them. I emailed Lisa explaining I had to put incorrect information – because I couldn’t complete this pre-employment malarkey without putting SOMETHING in the field for phone number and email address.

Lisa got very confused and emailed me that neither of the supervisors I mentioned were ones I’d given for references. Though I explained via email and voicemail that I was talking about managers from a decade ago, I never got to discuss this issue with her. And I’ve been concerned for 2 weeks that I’ll be accused of providing FALSE info. No red flags yet, but I still don’t have a start date for this new job, so who knows.

Then, the next day, I received an email from Lisa with a .pdf attached of YET ANOTHER APPLICATION!!! No, I’m not making this shit up. Apparently, all the online documentation was ONLY for the background check. For the actual application for Reliance, I had to PRINT OUT a paper app in 6 POINT FONT  with tiny little boxes about 1/8″ tall where I had to HAND WRITE my entire job history AGAIN and answer 22 questions in regard to my favorite work environment (large or small company)/preferred hours, etc.  And, no, t’was not the kind of .pdf you can type upon. The recruiter requested that I write legibly and to scan/email it upon completion.

This is unbelievable! I should write the damned thing in crayon!! YES – NEON BLUE fucking CRAYON! Or better yet…I’ll bet I could get enough blood out of my thumb to write it in my rare vintage of human vino, and it’s such a lovely shade of RED!!!

I could use a toothpick, dip it in a little puddle of blood, and use the toothpick like a QUILL. Is that not brilliant? And that’d be a lot easier than using a pen, given the space restrictions.

Why the hell can’t they just email that list of questions and allow their applicants to email the answers back? That’s how I gave them my references. They could print out/scan the answers if they want this info to be on their database or whatever, which they’ll have to do with the paper app – instead of trying to explain why I left each job in a box that was barely 1 1/2 inches long.

And though this job pays considerably more than the job at the Publishing Company, which didn’t work out (long story), I have to wonder why they need SO MUCH INFO? Do they really think that being so thorough in their selection process is going to stop me from quitting, or weed out the undesirable employees? I think not.

And I’ll bet astronauts don’t fill out as much paperwork when they apply to NASA!!! Or maybe they do, but they’re going into space, people, SPACE!

I’m going to be a paper pusher, living in a cubicle. When I worked for Household Finance in ’99 as an account executive, we did everything. Outbound sales, taking loan apps for mortgage and personal loans, processing all the paperwork required prior to loan approval, and we churned out all the closing docs as well. The application for that job was ONE PAGE, accompanied by a personality quiz that took about 20 minutes. And that was it.

Household was a revolving door of employees and probably still would be if they added a couple reams of paperwork.  One girl went to lunch during our 2nd week and never returned. And not to worry, she didn’t meet with foul play. I saw her wedding announcement in the newspaper 3 months later. I guess Household Finance’s get ‘em to sign on the dotted line or die tryin’ attitude was just too much for her. Couldn’t blame her there. I hated that job, and, t’was not unhappy when I got laid off 6 months later.

ANYWHO, at this point, you’re probably thinking that’s the end of this pre-employment nonsense. Um…NOT. So. Much.

When I went to Reliance’s office downtown to complete my tax forms, I couldn’t find their office, and NO ONE answered the phone. And I let it ring 20 times! When I finally found it, the receptionist said they’d been having issues with the phone system, and he had no record of my appointment. AWESOME. Ten minutes later, he talked to someone in their Chicago office, and I was given the I-9 and the W4.

In order to work at Mega, you have to get fingerprinted/have a BCI check done because of all the confidential info you’re privy too. So, I left my temp job and drove as fast as my silver bullet could manage in 4:30 traffic to Mega’s branch near OSU where I’ll be working, and the security guard who runs the scanner had just left 2 minutes prior.  Sigh. The next day, I snuck out of my temp job early and made it to Mega by 4:44 this time, and lo, and behold…I was told…

“Sorry contractors have to go to our Gateswood location.”

Are you FUCKING kidding me? GROAN and insert angry EXPLETIVES here! :) Especially since the both the northside location and the one at Gateswood mall are 20, yes TWENTY, miles from my house. Compensation for gas anyone? Um. No.

I quit my temp job so I could finish all this pre-employment crap, and I drove to Mega’s Gateswood location the next day. The security guard, Ms. Weatherby, had trouble getting my prints to scan. I don’t know why, but I always have this problem. When I applied for a teaching job at Hilliard Schools, their scanner couldn’t read my prints either. And I had to drive all the way out to London, Ohio – 30 miles away. And the fingerprint scanner at the tanning salon I frequent acts like I’m invisible. But anywho…

“You may have to go to the northside,” said Ms. Weatherby with a sigh.

“I was told that all contractors have to get fingerprinted here.”

So, she called a supervisor for assistance who could see the scanner remotely. She kept scanning and kept clicking OVERRIDE, and 10 minutes later, my prints were in the system.

“It’ll take 24 to 48 hours to get the results,” Ms. Weatheryby said, i.e. verifying I don’t have a criminal record.

THANK GOD cuz I’m running out of cash, and I still haven’t gotten my first unemployment check from getting laid off from Jeans, Inc. (another long, tedious story).

Four days without a word. I called Lisa who said they were still waiting on the BCI check.

On day six, I emailed Lisa that if I didn’t hear something soon, I’d have to seek employment elsewhere. Five minutes later, she called me.

“There are questions about your background check.”

“What do you mean?” I asked in a panic. For chrissakes, the only time I’ve ever gotten arrested was when I was 17…yeah, funny story…feel free to check it out at…

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/08/29/blog-30-%E2%80%93-an-ode-to-barboursville-and-the-days-of-yore/

She gave me the phone number for Andrew somebody at Mega in New York.

“We got a reprint request on the 13th and the 18th. The scans weren’t good enough to run your prints,” Andrew explained.

Then, why the fuck couldn’t they have told someone at Reliance before now?

Holy fuckballs. It was snowing like a bitch, and it was 4 degrees. But I hauled my ass back out to Gateswood yesterday, and a younger blonde named Emily took my fingerprints this time. Again, my prints were persona non grata. I explained my problem and requested that she not override the scans. After 20 minutes, we were still struggling to get my prints to “pass”. I called Andrew again, and I said,”We’ve got the images for my fingerprints up to 90% and some as high as 96%. Is that good enough?”

“What’s the problem?” He asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe, because I have really small fingers, and my pinkie fingers are crooked, which makes it difficult to get them to lay flat.”

“I see. Well, you can’t get blood from a turnip,” Andrew replied in a jovial tone. “That should be fine at 90%.”

So, here I am WAITING again. Hopefully, in a couple of days I’ll have a start date for the job I was offered 15 days ago!

To top it off, get this, Ms. Weatherby, who sent the crappy prints off to be processed, was Emily’s SUPERVISOR.

And after all this pre-employment FOREPLAY, these faceless corporate units aren’t even going to buy me lunch, much less dinner!

Last night, I decided if this job doesn’t work out, maybe, I’ll just go work at McDonald’s or UDF (United Dairy Farmers, a convenient store/gas station chain). I hear they’re hiring, or maybe, I’ll just walk down to the exit ramp from I-270 and panhandle like this one guy who was “hungry” and needed “help” – according to his homemade sign. Although one night, I saw him walk over to the parking lot beside Denny’s and climb into a very nice Nissan Rogue that looked brand new. So, that’s always a career path to fall back on as well…

~Ciao!-

TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting HIPPIES

TB/ks

 

Post # 145 – Good news…bad news…and you can’t be f’ing serious?

So, I’d forgotten how exhausting job hunting can be! And I cannot believe the fuck-ton of cyber paperwork that is required for a job paying $10 fucking dollars/hour. Yes, folks, I said $10 – a scant dollar and some change more than minimum wage.

It’s hard to get used to coming down from the $25/hour (sometimes $30) I get for freelance work anyway, so $10 is a bitter figure to accept, much less the insane volume of forms and the like.

And why would moi/proud owner of a college degree and 20+ years’ experience in the cesspool known as the workplace accept a job for such a paltry pittance? Well, boys and girls, I can answer that in 4 words –

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

It’s a PUBLISHING COMPANY!  While I’d be working in the call center doing customer service, it is my foot in the door at my MECCA, after all. I’ve wanted a job at a publishing company since grade school. And though I’ve done freelance work for 2 different publishers, ’tis not the same as being in-house, and everyone has to start somewhere.

First of all, this job is through Pinnacle Temps. Fine. No problem. I am a dyed in the wool veteran of the temp to perm contract gig… however, the first OMG – you’re shitting me moment was when the recruiter named Brenda informed me I had to make a fucking 35-second video to introduce myself to perspective employers! Ya know…hi, my name is, and I have a background in BLA, BLA, BLA, and you should hire me cuz I’m broke, and….

Seriously, put down the crack pipe, people! What the hell is this, SPEED DATING? If I’d known I was going to be videoed, I would’ve rethought my wardrobe choices. I was wearing a very bright cobalt blue cowl-necked sweater and matching blazer with black pants cuz I don’t care if it’s Queen Elizabeth, this chick ain’t wearing a dress on a 4 degree day (okay, maybe for HER, I would – but anywho).

And though my fashion entourage was fine for the temp agency, and though a fellow applicant complimented my Anne Klein bag that matched the shoes, sweater and jacket perfectly, t’was a horrible ensemble for video creation.

I probably looked like a talking head atop a gigantic undiscovered neon blue, 5′ 8″ PLANETOID-ish blob! Or the clients may not get past how enormous my boobs looked since the camera was no less than .05 inches from my person, and Brenda assured me t’was only my face and shoulders, but it seemed to be aimed at the middle of my ta-ta’s. . Despite the recruiter’s overt reassurances that the video was “fine”. It was great. I beg to differ!!

And if that weren’t bad enough, when taking my drug test, I not only peed all over my hand, but I soaked the damned cup, which dripped all over the beautiful ceramic tile in the bathroom (en route to the shelf behind the toilet).

The time I spent trying to clean up the spatters of urine on the floor and trying to wipe off the cup, probably seemed suspicious. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brenda thought I’d spilled some fake urine I’d smuggled in (or I was trying to heat it up with my lighter – since manufactured piss will not be a balmy 100 degrees or whatever) cuz only crack heads take that long to “go” in a plastic thingy!

Then, I was mortified when I realized the cup was still quasi saturated when I deposited my specimen on the shelf where I assumed she would retrieve my sparkling hot pee! SHIT AND DOUBLE SHIT (or pee as the case may be).

However, before I even washed my hands, she knocked on the door saying I could throw away my ala carte au natural TINKLE because, apparently, the container not only had a temperature sensitive strip embedded in it, but it does all the work of 3 lab techs instantly with a readout on the pee-covered paper on the outside of the tiny beaker indicating I was not gobbling down buckets full of heroin, etc.

HOW JOLLY AWESOME…tell me something I don’t know.

But as to the phenomenal volume of documentation required to work at this publishing company, I have to take an assessment that will take 45 minutes, which luckily, I can do at home.

I had to answer 32 inquiries about my customer service skills and/or job preferences (i.e. best work environment)…additionally, I also have to spend 30 minutes registering online for the temp agency itself answering the same damned questions I’d already supplied via the actual paper app at Pinnacle’s office, i.e.repeating my address, telephone numbers, etc., and God Knows What Else!

And that doesn’t even include the 11 pages of application material I had to complete, sign, date, scan and email back to another consulting firm for another job that is 20, yes, TWENTY miles from my house/ a 30-40 minute commute but does sound like an interesting job, the one mentioned in my last post/starting on 1/19/15.

Holy fuck balls. Maybe, I’ll just work at MCDONALD’s. Surely, their interviewing process is not so laborious…and if it is – no wonder those fast food gurus flipping our burgers are often so surly and/or screw up our orders! If they had to go through the rigorous documentation regime I had to deal with today on their salary of $8/hour, I’d be surly too.

All of which makes me tired just thinking about it. So TA for now, boys and girls!

~TB and her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #144 – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! There is no crying uncle here…

This year, my sister, Fiona, received the Merry Christmas, “your job has been eliminated” speech as her box of wonder from her employer in mid-December after 17 years of faithful service. Awesome, is it not? The joy of living in America. Absolutely, give us your tired, your hungry, your poor and/or a dedicated workforce, so we can shred their livelihood after they’ve devoted their blood, sweat and blood to helping a f’ing corporation grow ITS business and/or make it a better place.

And, then, another family member, Mitchell, also got the congrats, it’s a shiny new pink slip for Christmas along with 78 other devastated individuals! And such was allegedly due to a downturn in profits. However, the black and white of it indicates according to the Wall Street Journal –  profits were up 32.9% at XYZ, Inc., where Mitch had been working.

And this kick to the curb occurred not 6 weeks after Mitch received a mega promotion, and one of his now disenfranchised co-workers had also gotten a leg up the corporate ladder as well not 2-3 months ago that included a nice increase in salary. Thanks for that, f’ing bastards!

Ya gotta wonder what their mindset is when these execs/upper management, whomever decide to chuck their employees when profits aren’t down. Did they suddenly realize that a 28%/30%/35% profit margin isn’t enough to bid on that third world country they’d been lusting over on Ebay? For fuck’s sake, they can’t have that. What would the neighbors say?

But after Enron and the Bernie Madoff debacle, and the like, we shouldn’t be surprised by corporate deception and greed, right? However, that doesn’t mean we have to LIKE it and doesn’t revoke our right to BITCH until writer’s cramp or a croaky voice prevents us from bitching anymore…

But I digress, as Fiona revealed the details of her occupational severance on Christmas Eve, she started crying/then sobbing (understandably so) and apologizing for ruining my Christmas!

Holy Fuck Balls, no one says the holidays have to be all candy canes and mystery Santas bearing Porsches! And if nobody cries on Christmas, it just ain’t a success, doncha know?

Otherwise, Hollyweird wouldn’t churn out so many dramas about turkeys that never get cooked because bizarre typhoons appearing from nowhere on dry land on Thanksgiving, or someone forgetting to thaw the damned turkey and/or Kim-Kim showing up in the not-to-die-for dress made of bamboo and Guatemalan mud that Jane wanted to wear but couldn’t fit her fat ass into… sigh.

I tried to convey to Fiona that she has every right to blubber her damned eyes out because I know how devastating it is to get downsized because such happened to me twice in 2005, and the first layoff was from a position teaching English at junior college where I’d been for almost 5 years, a position I really loved.

And the immense frustration of watching someone you love having their life decimated for reasons that make no sense – certainly explains why so many folks go ballistic and begin spraying bullets in the general vicinity of those who had wronged them. However, Fiona is not that kind of person AT ALL.

Regardless, losing your job after 17 years of dedicated service and lots of overtime, and occasionally getting to work at 5:00 in the damned morning?! That fucking blows-PERIOD!

And the thing is, little did I know at the time that I was also about to be sans employment. Yep, I too lost my job as a fraud specialist at Jeans, Inc. a couple weeks after Fiona’s employment cessation. And get this, I found out from an announcement on the company webpage.

Yes, the end result is the same whether my 12-year-old manager delivered the news or t’was broadcast via the company web. Okay, so he’s not really 12. I believe he shaves and everything,  No offense to Mr. Haynes, my former supervisor. He’s a super nice guy…but I gotta get the laughs where I can, n’est-ce pas? And such was the first time I’d been canned that my manager had not been the one to convey the news, so that was odd.

With me, however, it’s not as earth-shattering to be cast adrift in the ugly waters of unemployment as it was for Fiona because I had only been at Jeans, Inc., for around 6 months, so I wasn’t as invested. And I completely understand why I and 100+ people were let go. Business was down so much that on my last day, they sent me home before I even got logged into my computer. And there were times when we had 8 or 9 orders to work with probably 75 people working. So, unless the phone was ringing, there was nothing to do. But when such isn’t the case, ya gotta wonder…

Plus, fortunately, my wonderful hubby makes enough coin that we shall not be worrying about keeping the lights on, but our cashflow will be a might pinched. Additionally, I tucked away some cash that will help fill the void should the scraps of government alms not suffice (i.e. unemployment compensation) until I find something else.

That said, Fiona, Mitchell and I are intelligent, capable, talented individuals, and we will OVERCOME.

That said, why am I so confident about Fiona and I rising from the ashes of cubicle hell? Well, let’s review our track record. Between the two of us, we have –

1) Obtained college degrees, which were financed largely with our OWN cash – though student loans, et. al. did help enormously.

2) Said FU to Cancer and won.

3) Tangled with the biggest bully who ever lived and.. WON big time (i.e. check out  http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/07/20/blog-24-evicting-the-squatter-part-i/ – about evicting my drug addict brother from my Grandmother’s house )

4)  Survived 4 or 8 or 9 divorces (we lost count – okay, so maybe I’m really just talking about me, but you get the NOTION).

5) Survived being cheated on (by those who may or may not have been spouses).

6) Moved to New York City alone with no job in hand, less than $300 in the bank and a 2-year-old in tow and only one human to call a friend in that wild-assed, incredible and somewhat overwhelming metropolis.

7) Defied the laws of fashion because we just don’t give us shit.

8) Married a rock star or two and/or frequently went home with a guy in the band if frequently means once or twice ..:).

9) Held the title of DIRECTOR or VP…

10) Made more than $75K/year – which isn’t astronomical on a world scale, but ’tis nothing to sneeze at, and in West Virginia where we hail from, that sum makes us royalty/rare birds in the earnings department – especially because we’re women!

11) And ONE OF US met with and pitched a screenplay to members of Warner Brothers/CBS/Disney/Bad Robot Prod Co (who produced the TV show Lost and the Transformers franchise) and countless other execs from Tinseltown. And such was done without a trace of nervousness, which was no EASY TASK!

12) And we did not hesitate walk on cracks, skip school, chew gum in church, rip tags from mattresses, occasionally talk back to parents/teachers/cops and in my case threw up on (yeah – check out

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/10/04/blog-35-the-birthday-assaultaka-the-date-from-hell-part-2/

…not to mention we don’t hesitate to ask Santa for the big SHINY TOYS.

And we occasionally imbibed alcohol during school hours, got arrested and lived to tell about it, jay-walked at WILL, sweet-talked the guy from the electric company into not shutting off our electric with a Coke and a smile (and it didn’t hurt that I/we happened to be wearing a bikini at the time…:) cuz that was back in college), and wore gaudy fedoras sporting big maroon feathers one Christmas despite the pleading of others not to do so.

In other words, we’re kind of FEARLESS…

However, if we’d known we were going to accomplish so much, Fiona and I might’ve chosen different togs for the photo below…
steph and i - pine tree 73 8

And if that photo doesn’t convince you that, nobody is putting BABY and her sis in a corner…I don’t know what will.

So, go ahead universe, BRING IT the fuck on…cuz we’re on the mound waiting to bat – no matter how big or bad the bullshit you might chuck our way! And this blip of joblessness is no exception in the scheme of our lives.

And I shall sign off by saying, well, guess I buried the lead. I just got confirmation that I have a new a job starting 1/19/15 – provided I pass the background check (hmmm…keep you posted on that).

So, stay tuned, boys and girls cuz in the infamous words of Bachman, Turner, Overdrive –  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…:)

Love and chocolate chip cookies,

Tenacious B and her band of truth-spouting hippies

~TB/ks

Post #143 -Alive and well despite my suffocation…

No, I was not nor have I ever been in danger of suffocating. T’was a joke, you know. However, the corporate prison I’ve been living in for the last five weeks does make me feel somewhat claustrophobic.

For those who weren’t aware, after a couple part-time gigs doing customer service, I took a job as a fraud specialist for a mega-huge retailer, my first full-time job in nine long years. Unfortunately, due to the monumental credit card debt we accumulated while Nana was living with us has necessitated this drastic change in employment status.

Oh, how I miss the days when I was freelancing full-time, and I could get up at 8 a.m., eat breakfast, exercise, then park before the alter of my laptop and spend the next 5 or 6 hours writing…insert big, BIG sigh.

For the purposes of this blog, I shall refer to said new employer as Jeans, Inc. While I like the job itself, I’ve begun to loathe banks all the more due to the nightmare of trying to disentangle one’s self from various phone trees and speak to a PERSON while trying to confirm someone’s credit card info in order to prove or disprove whether an order is fraudulent.

And, ironically, the most difficult cyber wall/phone maze to crack are often the small banks, the credit unions and the like. You practically have to break your index finger punching nonsensical numbers before the damned things will finally allow you to segue into the wonderful world of being on hold.

I got so frustrated yesterday, I suddenly had the urge to stand up and throw my chair across the room. However, I’d rather not join the ranks of the unemployed because some really stupid people at Wells Fargo kept transferring me to the wrong department.

Meanwhile, the poor customer who lives in Argentina that I was trying to assist was racking up gigantic long-distance charges thanks to the morons who kept kicking my call into yet another mechanized black hole that led to the system where one could verify whether a customer had a checking account or not–so helpful when one is trying to verify a someone’s MASTERCARD, which was an actual MasterCard, not a debit card.

However, funny thing, one of the largest banks I’ve dealt with frequently is Chase Bank, and you’d think given the fact that they’re like the 3rd largest bank in the world that their phone network would be a guarded by some sort of cyber bear who wouldn’t let you speak to a person unless you had an oozy AND did the hokey pokey via Skype… :).

Instead, their electronic telephone menagerie is the most user friendly, believer it or not. If you press # and 0 two or three times, hiss – bang – boom, you’re on hold for a voice that actually has a pulse!

And that’s all I have to say about that..cuz – I must dash. I’m due at work in less than an hour. As a parting gift, I’d like to share the hilarious card that I gave my beloved Charlie (my husband) last week for his birthday…

PHOTO OF CATS - LITTER BOX BDAY CARD TO TONY

And inside it just says:

Hope you’re not too pooped to enjoy your birthday

with a few mushy words from me to the old man…

HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL, and don’t let the phone trees and dumb asses in the cyber cubicles (or actual cubicles) …get you down!  :)

TenaciousB

And her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #142 – Jim was just hanging out of what?

The night I met Jim (Thompson – see my previous post -http://tenaciousbitch.com/2014/08/04/about-james-thompson-author-of-snow-angels-my-ex-husband-who-died-last-weekend/,

I was waiting tables at the Monarch Cafe in Huntington, West Virginia, when I was going to Marshall University in 1985. I was carrying a tray full of cocktails and a pitcher of beer when a man behind me called out, “Yo, babe with the legs, would you bring me a beer?”

I turned around to see Jim sitting along a row of benches in the pool room with a couple of his friends (who exactly, I don’t remember). He had this big, goofy grin widening across his face, and he was waving at me as if he knew me. Not the quote I would’ve volunteered to my grandchildren about my first encounter with my future husband…:), but I was only 19 years old! He kinda had me at YO BABE (ugh my feminist alter ego YELLS).

I went over and took their order. Later, I caught sight of a couple 8 x 10 black and white photographs on the table. As I walked over to see if he and his friends wanted another round of beer, I noticed one of the photos was of a quarry from a rather high altitude. I recognized it, but I wasn’t sure why.

“You like the photo?” Jim asked, those bedroom blue eyes twinkling.

“Yeah, and it looks really familiar,” I replied. “Where is that?”

“It’s in Ashland by the refinery,” he answered. “Ever been there?”

“Many times,” I said, smiling. “My Dad works at Ashland Oil.”

“Really? So do I. What’s your Dad’s name?”

I told him, and then I asked, “Do you work in the plant?”

“No, I’m a photographer. My Dad was a photographer there too, and he got me the job.”

“Oh, cool. So, how’d you get that picture? Did you go up in one of the towers?” I asked, meaning one of the cooling towers in Ashland’s refinery (where they make gasoline and other petroleum products).

“No, I didn’t like the angle from the cooling towers, so I went up in the company helicopter.”

“That sounds like fun. And it must’ve been challenging to get the photo since the only window surrounds the pilot.”

“The propellers obstructed my view from the co-pilot’s seat, so I laid down on the floor and had Troy hold my ankles as I hung out of the helicopter for a minute or two while I snapped away.”

“Oh, my God!” I shrieked laughing. “Who’s Troy?”

“An intern in the PR department. Should’ve seen his face when I was done, white as a damned sheet,” Jim said laughing.

“No safety harness of any kind?” I asked.

“Now, that would’ve been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask for one,” Jim said, laughing. “And they probably didn’t have one anyway. I doubt the executives at Ashland Oil would wanna hang out of the helicopter.”

“Probably not. Well, I need to get back to work. You guys need anything else?”

“Just your phone number,” Jim said smiling.

“I’m dating someone,” I said.

“I don’t care,” Jim replied boldly with his most auspicious fuck the world attitude.

I laughed and later I gave him my phone number, and we started going out. Frankie, my boyfriend at the time, was out of town at a music festival with a couple of his friends, and things weren’t going well between us before he left anyway.

On our third date, Jim told me loved me, and we were inseparable for the next 3 years…except for the night Frankie returned.

With tears in my eyes, I broke up with Frankie, who said. “I don’t blame you.” Which made me feel all the worse. He moved out that night.

But as the saying goes – things turned out the way they were supposed to because, well, one of the biggest issues between me and Frankie was that we’d never had sex. We’d been dating for five months.  Five months and no sex, tis not normal for your average college kids.

Frankie told me he’d gotten herpes from some girl who had slept with half his fraternity. I suggested using a condom a few times, but he didn’t seem interested. It all seemed rather odd.

So, not surprisingly, Frankie came out of the closet a couple of years later, which was, coincidentally, about the time he crashed mine and Jim’s wedding. But I didn’t care – especially since he wasn’t there to see me. I realized later he had a THING for one of my male relatives, who shall remain nameless for the privacy of all concerned. I guess Frankie was hoping he’d turn the heretofore nameless relative who is rather heterosexual, but that didn’t happen.

That said, for those who knew James David Thompson, Jr, I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that I fell for a guy who seemed absolutely fearless, and the hanging out of the helicopter incident kinda put him in the realm of Indiana Jones or Tony Stark on a small town scale…

But we were very young, and things didn’t work out. We divorced in 1988, and I’ve been happily remarried to Charlie since 2000. While Charlie hasn’t hung out of any helicopters, he’s been known to impersonate a Tesla Coil on occasion (hence his nickname – SPARKY), and he’s an Olympic cutter, who could cut himself in a room full of cotton! :)  And he’s always there when I need him…:)

Over and out from my casa de crazy…

~Tenacious Bitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

TB/ks/lsl

Tenacious Bitch © 2014

Post #141 – About James Thompson, author of Snow Angels, my ex-husband, who died last weekend

JIM HIS DAD OUR WEDDING

From our wedding album – James Thompson and his father James Thompson, Sr., on March 23, 1986.

Yesterday I received the sad news that my ex-husband, Jim Thompson, died in some sort of accident a couple of days ago. I don’t know all the details. I haven’t spoken to anyone in his family yet. He was the author of Snow Angels and five other novels.

Jim moved to Helsinki, Finland, in 1997 or ’98, and we’ve had no contact since a heated argument via email in 2003. However, he and our son, who is in college, have kept in touch, and Jim visited him here in the states last summer.

It was difficult to break the news to our son. And, naturally, he was rather shocked. I assume they will have some kind of memorial in Kentucky where Jim grew up, where many of his relatives still live.

Despite our differences, he was a very talented writer, and there will be a literary void without his future books.  But what many people don’t know is that he was also a very talented musician. He moved to Boston after our divorce and became the lead guitarist in a rock band, whose name I don’t recall.

Eight years later, he and his third wife, Many (pronounced money), moved back to Kentucky for a short time. They lived on some farmland Jim’s family owns, which was about an hour from my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, where I was still living at the time.

I’ll never forget one particular incident when I went down to Kentucky to pick up our son when he was around 10. It was in the middle of the summer, and they didn’t have air conditioning. Though there were numerous fans whirring, it still seemed swampy inside their small but orderly house.  After I walked in, Jim stood by the front door smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke rings into the screen door behind him.

I glanced about the room at the modest but artsy furnishings and noticed a dead squirrel on the Formica-topped kitchen table. And it was all bloody! Jim burst into a fit of laughter seeing my look of revulsion at their recently murdered entree, so to speak.

He grew up hunting and fishing and the like, and my childhood was marked by ballet and gymnastics classes, playing tennis and lounging by the pool at a middle class country club. My parents weren’t wealthy, but we lived comfortably, and the country club cost less than a family membership to the YMCA these days.

“You’re welcome to help me skin that squirrel if you’d like,” he said, grinning. “I know how you love that sort of thing.”

Our son giggled, and I smiled.

His tiny wife rolled her eyes and gave him a smiling smirk. In her thick, Finnish accent, she said, “Pay no attention to him. He does not seem to understand that not everyone is accustomed to eating the critters from the yard.”

“He knows he’d have to be a lot harsher than that to offend me,” I replied amiably.  However, I thought her attempt to alleviate the awkwardness was very kind, but I honestly didn’t care that Jim was making fun of me. He and I always attempted to get along – especially when our son was around.

Aside from killing creatures of the forest and playing guitar, Jim was also an excellent photographer. He was working in the photography department at Ashland Oil when we met, but that was never his first love. I always thought music was his true mistress, but he found a new passion when he moved to Helsinki. And I’m glad for him that he found success writing novels.

He and Many divorced when our son was in high school, and Jim got married again 3-4 years later to a lovely lady named Annika, whom I’ve never met. But my son has shown me photos.

It’s my understanding that Jim developed some serious health problems, probably a decade ago. He had headaches so severe that he often couldn’t work or do much of anything. The doctors in Finland had run dozens of tests but never determined the exact cause from what I was told. At least now, though his life was truncated way too soon, his family and friends can take solace in the fact that he’s no longer in pain.

Many prayers to my son, Jim’s widow, and all of Jim’s family and friends.

Rest in peace, JT. Rest in peace and may there be lots of biscuits and sausage gravy, pie and pastry, White Castle hamburgers, Kim Chee, and dark beer wherever you’ve landed in the next life.  And I hope you and your friends, family and your fans will enjoy the photos below from your days of yore…:)

~TB

JIM AND I - WEDDING PHOTO

JIM AND BABY CHRIS - 1ST DAY IN ATHENS OUTSIDE OUR APT

Jim and our son, Chris, in front of our apartment the day we brought him home from the hospital in Athens, Ohio, where we both attended Ohio University for a year.

CHRIS AND JIM - WHEN CHRIS WAS LEARNING TO WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JIM AND TOM - WEDDING PHOTO

Jim and the best man at our wedding, Tom Hodges, whom Jim has been friends with since junior high, I believe.

JIM AFTER WORK - HARD HAT

After the birth of our son, Jim worked construction, a job he hated (not that I blamed him). But it paid the bills until he was able to go to Berklee School of Music where he was a student for a short time.

Post #140 – No, I don’t drink wine – I drink Merlot, and what’s that in your hand, Nana?

While visiting Nana Maude down South last week, I took her to Olive Garden, one of her favorite restaurants. I’m not a huge fan of the Garden, but their spaghetti and meatballs are okay.

However, every single time we go there, Nana scowls at the server whenever he or she asks if we’d like a glass of wine because Nana grew up Pentecostal. If you’re unfamiliar with this fundamentalist religion, Pentecostal folks do not partake of spirits.  Additionally, many members of the Pentecostal church equate alcohol with crack, heroin or crystal meth.

And just for the record, I grew up Catholic, and I have nothing against the Pentecostal religion. I just happened to believe in – live and let live. I never preached to Nana about going to confession or praying on a rosary, but, unfortunately, she’s bitched and whined about various tenets of the Catholic church my entire life while I sat silently gritting my teeth and waiting for her to take a breath, so I could change the subject or excuse myself from the room. My Catholicism has been in remission, LOL, for a couple decades now, but I still have to endure her temperance lectures. So, I couldn’t help but pull a bait a switch of sorts to shake Nana up when things went a little sideways at Olive Garden.

“Hi, I’m Jenny,” the waitress said with a warm smile. “I’ll be your server today. Would you ladies like to start off with a glass of wine?”

“I’ll have you know that I do not drink, nor have I ever, and my Granddaughter doesn’t drink wine either!” Nana grumbled emphatically in a rather rankled tone, nodding toward me.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to squelch my laughter, which did nothing to ease the suffering of the poor server, a lovely, 22-ish blonde, who reacted with the horrified expression of one who had just been beamed with a  2′ x 4′.

“What’s so funny?” Nana asked, her sharp blue eyes targeting me.

I shook my head at the freaked out waitress with a button-lipped smile hoping to convey the idea that my Grandmother was a cranky old coot, but Jenny was still wide-eyed and petrified.

“It’s okay. You’ll have to excuse my Grandmother,” I said smiling, and finally, Jenny the waitress began to breathe again.

“Excuse me from what?” Nana snapped.

I grinned again, relishing what was about to transpire. “Nana, do you remember those pictures I showed you the other day?”

“What pictures?”

I began digging in my purse for an envelope full of pictures that I’d brought to show Nana as the harried waitress started to get really antsy. I started stacking the photos of my husband’s new truck, one of my cats, whom she loves, and such on the table until I came to a photo of the flowers my husband had given me for Valentine’s Day because Nana loves that sort of thing.

“See? Remember this picture?”

valentine's photo

“I remember the flowers, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?” Nana asked.

“Take a closer look. See that bottle next to the flowers?”

Nana eyes cut from the photo to giving me the stink eye instantly recognizing the bottle of wine, but I just smiled.

“That’s a bottle of Merlot. That was my other gift from Charlie.”

Nana sighed and said, “I didn’t notice anything but the flowers,” she said in an annoyed tone. “And I remember you asking Charlie to buy you some Merlot when I lived with you, but I just thought it was some kind of juice or something,” she mumbled.

I winked at the waitress who finally smiled nervously and said, “So, today we have a seafood linguine with…”

But Nana dismissed the spiel regarding the specials that day by interjecting with…”I’d like a glass of ice water, please, with lemon,” … in Nana’s foolproof method of trying to act as though nothing unpleasant had occurred by creating a diversion…:) in this case, a request for water.

I ordered a Diet Coke, and the waitress replied, “Coming up,” as she disappeared while most likely heaving a big sigh of relief that Nana’s little tantrum was over.

The rest of our lunch was pleasant and unremarkable. Nana ate most of her chicken and gnocchi soup only complaining a couple of times about the “green stuff” otherwise known as spinach in the soup.

I don’t know if she was incensed by the glass of wine question on this particular day because she’s frequented Olive Garden for more than 20 years and just got fed up, or she was in a bad mood because they lost another pair of her pajamas at the nursing home, or what…but if I wanted to be a real BITCH, I’d send her a copy of this photo below…which has graced the pages of my blog previously…

MIMI JUDY CIRCA 63 - JUDY SMOKING

The lady on the left is my Aunt Shirley (my Mom’s youngest sister), and the redhead is none other than Nana Maude holding a cocktail! And I would imagine the martini glass close to Aunt Shirley’s hand was her drink as well.  I love the fact that Aunt Shirley is smoking because Nana loves to say that when she saw Shirley walking out of community college smoking a cigarette, that she threatened to “Yank her out of college right now if I ever caught her smoking again.”

Funny thing, Aunt Shirley obviously didn’t quit, and she obtained an associates degree in legal studies in 1970. However, I don’t remember ever seeing Aunt Shirley light up a cigarette. So, she must’ve quit before I was born, or shortly thereafter unlike my mother who, sadly, was sucking on cigarettes until she died of lung cancer in 2007.

So, there you have it. Yet another day of conflicting realities in the life of Nana Maude…:), and I must go for now because my Merlot is singing MY NAME…:)

And for my wonderful fans who keep emailing me about my memoir, I’m getting close to finite! :)

~Over and out from Tenacious B’s Bar and Grill

TenaciousBitch/ks

© Tenacious Bitch 2014