I avoid the banana only to be covered in ink. If only I could find the jet pack!
The Useful Duck!
Contribute to my Vacation, please...
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Not sure how I feel about that. If I was really enthused I'd use my real name. In the early days of this blog it was all people on the other side of the country and the world. I was not really hiding, I just have never used my real name on the internet.
But, I digress...
Groundskeeping at my little slice of heaven can be a bit frustrating.
I'm not sure how to say this politely...
So here's the way it went.
There are key places that need to be mown. (or is it mowed, as in he mowed em all down with a Tommy Gun ratatatatata....)
But I digress again...
I suspect the "key" to the key places is the proximity to the person on the staff with seniority. Here is how it works.
I am told I need to make my own decisions about groundskeeping since I really don't know what the heck I am doing.
This means that they hope that I will groundskeep exactly like the person telling me I need to make the decisions but that they will not tell me this because if you love something and you set if free if it loves you it will return, (when it is hungry)
So I wanted to mow what was dry and get it done since I lack seniority and I'm stuck with this ancient mower
This is fine as long as the ladies with seniority are using the good mower. In fact, they can use it on my day to run it, because all my ground is wet, but the second they are done with it then my ground is of course quite dry.
And they bring me the mower out of gas...
So someone reports me to the supervisor and he shows up. But, I have preempted this by appealing to the person authorized to train me and we are looking at the lawn in question when the supervisor shows up.
What happens is that I spend an hour waiting for the mower and moving things around while the person that most likely ratted me out finishes up her very important section.
I remind myself, it all pays the same, I go home at 5 p.m.
I didn't go home at 5 p.m. because the work study student who volunteered to wash the mower didn't get it clean enough (He volunteered and he tried and he is a really good guy and I like him) and I had to clean two mowers and take one back the main building for service before going home. People love to pass off mowers to me at 3 p.m. when it is time for their service so that they don't have to wash them.
But, as I said before, it all pays the same...
At 6 p.m. the neighborhood had a meeting to discuss how to stop the country from putting in a park on our road. This is a whole post in itself.
1. The fellow across the river who is mobilizing us knows what he is doing.
2. My neighbors want to complain about the park and convince each other how terrible it will be.
This is great for them because it gets them all emotional and they get to see that their other neighbors care about them. We got to talk about how much we care about each other as neighbors and how perhaps we should have a BBQ. This is kind of BS. Several of them don't like me and I don't like them. I don't want to hang out with them. If I wanted friends I would advertise on craigslist or go to farm meetings or wave at people. They would do the same. They don't want to be my friend they want to commute home from work and not be bothered.
3. Everyone wants to impress each other about what they have done but no one has the balls to really stick it to the county.
Meaning: It's a Mr. Smith goes to Washington group. They think that if they really care about an issue and if they make a good speech with lots of facts and studies and photographs and impassioned and tearful statements the county will give a rat's ass. The county doesn't care. They want a park somewhere and they don't care if anyone visits the park or if it is a good idea or if it is infested with tweekers. They have followed procedures and they have built a park.
On the the next project or next job or whatever....
Sure they well remember you when it comes time for a building permit and then it is "screw you..."
4. No one will commit. I decline the offer to be president. I should have accepted.
The organizer left. The guy who already sold out to the county starts talking about compromise. The ladies start talking pain and suffering, we accomplish nothing.
5. Nothing will get done unless we follow or advisors instructions. I tuned out for part of it but I think it is as follows, Organize a political acton thing, elect a president, secretary, a treasurer and something else. Have regular meetings. Contribute money and buy a newspaper ad stating our position.
Wait for repercussions...
These folks don't understand politics. It is not about right or wrong it is all about pressure.
In conclusion, two things:
1. I don't give a rip about the park but I hate the dump. Since everyone I respect is dead, I'd open a RV park and sell beer at my Uncle's Store. But, I'm not really part of that operation so I'll just go to work at my local college and hope traffic has thinned out by the time I go home.
I think the biggest farmer on our road is a total arsehole and I think it is funny if his 15 combines back up 10 tour busses. Or if his big tractor gets in an accident with a busload of school children. (as long as my child is not on the bus) But on the other hand I don't want a park at the end of the road just because I don't want one. I'm opposed to any compromise and will happily follow Pickett.http://www.historynet.com/picketts-charge-gettysburg
2. I think I will have to make my blog an invitation only or you have to email me to belong or I will lose my job.
3. Have a nice evening... I'm going to bed and I'm not proofreading...
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
It is my goal to carry every essential piece of groundskeeping equipment allotted to me in my cart at once.
I'm getting better at it.
(Note how cleverly I have obscured anything that would identify which local private college I work for.)
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Someone said it will be a,good year for the roses.
I replied, "the lawn could stand a little mowing, funny I don't seem to care."
Everyone just stared at me.
I guess they thought I had low morale.
It would seem my fellow grounds crew members do not have the same cultural influences as I.
To change the subject a bit. I pruned a plant called winter creeper," last week.
For the life of me I can't remember what the plant looked like, I just think of yoga pants...
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
I got so angry today I had to go take a walk.
I was raking leaves outside a classroom with an open window. I was trying to be quiet so as not to disturb the class and so I kept catching snippets of the lecture.
The Professor was talking about ethnic groups (of course) which helped to build America and how they were exploited.
Of course most immigrants were exploited and treated poorly. Migrant and foreign laborers were mistreated. We all know that. Everyone looked bored.
I wandered off and started pulling weeds.
The talk continued on to the exploitation of those said ethnic groups and the terrible indignity of the mislabelling of ethnic foods and their absorption into "American" ideas of what certain ethnicities would eat even though they don't. An example of given of how adding one spice and a label made something an ethnic food even though it was not. This was met with the appropriate laughter.
I got to thinking...
Chalupa's at Taco Bell. I mean really. If that is high enough on the list of cultural indignities then we really don't have that much to be offended about.
And that is when I started to get annoyed.
I've been working with Mexican immigrants who actually went through a lot to come to America. They had to learn English, they were exploited by their employers, they suffered racial bias but they are not victims. They are working to better themselves and their families in spite of odds which are against them. They are succeeding.
My family and I watched a show on PBS last night about black people moving into Portland. They worked hard, they built a community, they were exploited, treated poorly, but they built their houses and business and they were not victims.
The city of Portland did its best to treat them poorly. The old folks who did all the work are not victims but their kids seem to be.
So now that we have had 40 years of affirmative action and countless improvements in the social structure, in awareness of race issues, of discussions about race, why now are all the second and third generation people feeling exploited?
Chinese laborers were treated very poorly but they came here for opportunities they didn't have at home. Irish immigrants were treated like slaves, some were slaves, the prejudice remains to this day. The stereotype of a drunken Irishman is racist.
Of course people suffer hardship and injustice. Live is cruel and unfair. Look around the world and see the absolute racism and intolerance in other cultures. America (unless you were a Native American but that is another subject) has been about a chance for self betterment.
What we are supposed to do is to band together and focus on our commonalities as Americans and move together. People will not ever get along perfectly, life will never be perfectly happy or equal or fair. You just do the best you can do and put one foot in front of the other and if all else fails riot.
But I digress...
Those kids in that classroom are the ultimate in entitlement. They are given preference based on race, they are given scholarships, they come from money, they all have some kind of advantage. That teacher was given advantages because she is female.
But, yet they laugh and bite the hand that feeds them. They are setting in the classroom being taught to feel oppressed or feel guilty for have an ancestor that they have never even met who oppressed someone.
Meanwhile, I'm out there raking flowerbeds. There is such a lack of priority for things that really matter in the country that a farmer can't make a living raising food but has to work for the entitled classes so that his kid can go and get a piece of paper that grants her access to a higher social class. And in the process be programmed against everything her father has ever worked for.
Made me so mad I got in my golf cart and drove around parking lots picking up trash..
AND then I realize what I was doing... Picking up trash thrown carelessly down on the ground by kids who are programed with words such as sustainability and they won't even pick up a Starbucks cup. I'm not feeling victimized I'm feeling angry enough to start a mild revolt.
The only thing that keeps me sane is my work study students who are not entitled and have had to work for a living. I have a girl, a white guy, and a black kid who was the only black kid in a hicksville high school. They are awesome kids. Perhaps there is hope for humanity.
I like to point out that we are sweeping the President's path in the rain. I ask them if they think the President could do the job they are doing. I tell them that he has to take a crap every morning just like they do. I suggest that manicuring lawns so that a bunch of stuffed shirt academics won't trip on a pine cone is a pretty good incentive to study in school and get a good job. I point out that the Professor who is lecturing them about things they already know probably couldn't make it driving a truck and that they can be better than that.
They can live their lives on their own terms, make their own decisions, find their own sources on information.
Then I get distracted and start quoting the lyrics to old country western songs and realize their eyes have glazed over long ago.
But, I digress...
And one more thing,
I probably know as much or more about any random non science subject as any one of those Professors and even if I didn't know that much I bet I could teach their class for a week and they kids would enjoy it more. I'm not sure they could do my job for a week.
I do feel better now.
I suppose more educated and philosophical people can now feel free to find the flaws in my own confused ideology.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
I was asked what I'm driving at work. It is an old Gator painted school colors. It is pretty gutless and has no power dump.
It also is not much of a hill climber but does pretty well in the mud.
I don't care. I'm not in mucj of a hurry.
The motorbike is what I've been riding in nice weather.
I need to fix the brakes on the Honda.
(I have obscured the college logo to cleverly hide my identity.)
Monday, February 15, 2016
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Monday, February 8, 2016
Friday, February 5, 2016
Thursday, February 4, 2016
A short post because my MacBook pro won't start up. I call it semi-pro, perhaps I should downgrade it to amateur
But I digress...
It is raining, actually pouring.
We discussed diversity for an hour at the morning meeting.
So far, every other grounder has either texted me or thanked me in person.
One hour out of the rain is taking happiness where you find it.
So... I'm working on a flower bed in the pouring rain. I get mixed up on a simple pruning situation. Because my brain is failing. So I get in the passenger side of my cart and attempt to look it up on the internet.
Of course the phone won't work because my fingers are wet.
I look to my right.
My supervisor has walked across the grass and around the building to ask me what I'm doing.
I show him my phone.
I say, this looks bad doesn't it...
He says yes, someone will complain to me later.
I look at him. He is soaking wet.
I think I am no longer "Jimpated"
Later I told the Hispanic guys who have been training me and they laughed at me, then the whole break room laughed at me and started giving me info on secret warm and dry places to play with my phone...
I could add that the plant I was looking up was Oregon Grape and it's a weed. I wanted to see if I could get it to go up and not out and if it would do bushy at the cuts. This is a dumb question and I did not want to reinforce my incompetence to other groundskeepers.
Now it will be brought up by the super in morning meeting and everyone will laugh at him for not knowing what to do with the plant.
The joys of a real job...
UPdate: and then I heard the blare of a car horn. I jumped. It was my wife with a metal water bottle of scalding hot coffee and chocolate. A handwarmer.
I felt loved...
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
There has been excited talk in the break room about this event for weeks. Everyone wants to be challenged, encouraged, and just generally feel really good about the school and the whole core values concept that we all support and care about.
Sustainablity and diversity are much better than tired old catch phrases like "Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity" or "Give me Liberty or Give me death," or even "Old Tippacanoe and Tyler Too," although I do have a soft spot for 52-40 or was that "54-40 or fight," or was it "if I were 52 I'd be a deck?"
But I digress...
This is a year of no raises, short budgets, and no field trips so it was a wonderful break to get Mr. Jim Smith Jr. as a motivational speaker.
Mr. Jim, who claim's "Energy" is his middle name, gave us a rousing pep talk and encouraged us to broaden our horizons.
The "if you are afraid of height's then jump out of a plane," school of motivational speaking has long been a favorite of mine.
It is a lot better than that old 1948 book, "How to stop worrying and start living," by Dale Carnegie that I've listened to on MP3 three times but then lost when iTunes upgraded and I can't find again...
See, I'm kind of negative guy and being told four times (after three close family members died in two months) that bereavement time is not vacation time, I may have been just a little on the peckish side.
But, just knowing that the college was spending top dollars to make us all feel good about ourselves (and reinforce core values of Diversity and Sustainability) made me forget my woes and shake everyone's hand that I could find.
I even did a couple hi-fives. I tried to hug a couple co-workers but they said they were not quite ready for that one yet. I said, push your horizons and show vulnerabilty and I'm thinking they will come around soon.
I'll trying hugging more people tomorrow.
But I was challenged. I'd even go as far as to say I've been "Jimpacted," (unless that phrase is trademarked
Here I was thinking that if I would have wanted to take risks and challenge myself I would have taken a high paying sales position, or driven truck, or done any number of jobs that would have given me more stress and higher pay. Frankly, I could have stayed a farmer and just borrowed more money.
But no, I opted out, I wanted a steady paycheck, free tuition for my daughter, insurance, retirement and a simple job close to home. I expected to work hard and to learn what it takes to do a good job as a groundskeeper. I wasn't thinking about getting much of a raise, I never expected the opportunity to be in management (even if I wanted to) and I thought I really don't need to talk to anyone outside my fellow groundskeeping crew members.
Now, I know that I've been holding myself back... The sky is the limit baby! In fact, that is even wrong, why set a ceiling? To Infinity and beyond. Heck, I'm ready to sell AmWay, Conklin, and Metaluka (or whatever the vitamin sale company is)
I picked up a lot of great catch-phrases like "Jimpacted," and a little bit of that watered down American Christianity with a faint hint of evangelicalism that we all do love. AND I got to hear him mention each one of his books which were of course, "on sale at the back table..."
As he ran around the room and challenged us to share our goals and dreams and be part of a team I just felt my whole world expand. I see my job in a new light.
I don't see weeds and leave blowing and lawn mowing as job, a task, a drudgery, NO! it is an opportunity, today grad green tomorrow the world!
I was able to reveal hopes and dreams to random strangers because being vulnerable and sharing and I do feel special, and boy howdy! we all are special.
The day was capped by the individual training classes. I had a good one one on conflict management which I needed to rationalize myself though the next JIMmpacted session and avoid another trip to HR. I wish I would have saved the speaker's handout but I drew rude cartoons on it and had to throw it away. He had a good acronym which gave rules for presenting and communicating about conflict. I am kind of frustrated that I can't remember half of it cause it was useful.
Lunch was healthy sandwiches with not much meat. I sure hope it was all non-GMO. I should have looked more closely. I got to meet a few more people which was nice because I wasn't required to talk about anything awkward and I could just get to know them in a natural manner.
After lunch we got diversity programming.
I'm so inspired by that section that it requires a whole separate blog post. Perhaps I will have calmed down a bit by then.
I tell you what...
I thought that being a groundskeeper and spending the day with full ear protection would just give me a little peace and quiet and give me a break from interacting with annoying people. After all, the secret to happiness is not telling all your personal information to every Tom, Dick and Harry you run into on the street but rather, CONTROLLED ACCESS...
But, I have been re-educated.
(I'm so not ready for the corporate world...)
(Another stream of consciousness post. You can proof read it yourself)
Here is a link so you can buy a book for yourself or for a friend, or get the whole set!!!
And now for some depressing news. I'm pretty sure my very favorite inspirational speaker has died. Click on my Zig Ziglar link and cry.
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