Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 is going to be a good year.

2011 is going to be a good year. My sweet truck drivin' husband was named Prime's 2010 Flatbed Contractor of the Year. That is an amazing recognition. He deserves it. The company's recognition has been incredible. A double "WOW" kind of recognition. It makes me want to work for Prime.

2011 is going to be a good year. In January, my older daughter (age 28) had a baby. Our first Grandbaby, a girl named Isabella. She's a dandy. I won't even begin to list all the baby names I call her.

2011 is going to be a good year. I have finally settled my legal action with my former employer. Since part of the settlement says I won't ever, EVER say a thing about what happened - I think it's best that I release my anger to Karma. I picture myself standing on a hillside with a bag of paper confetti. I take a handful and release it into the wind. I release it to Karma. Karma is a bitch. She never forgives and she never forgets. My mental image of Karma is a black dog, sitting at God's left Hand. She is the inforcer and the protector. Karma is a bitch. She never forgives and she never forgets. I know that whatever has happened at the F place will be addressed and handled by Karma. ahh. release. yep, 2011 is going to be a good year.

I may have to comment later about attorneys, but for now, I'm in a good mood. Life is good. The sun is out. It rained and my garden is started. I am humbled by my Good Karma. Thank you God for all of your Blessings.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Get Real

This memo is for all the treee huggers out there that are working SO hard to save the wild mustangs. I'm sorry but you've been watching too much TV. Wild horses are NOT native to the Americas. The indigenous people (or the first immigrants to the area) did not have horses. Horses were introduced by the Old World invaders - most notably, the Spaniards. Horses are an invasive species.

Hello? Anybody listening? Horses are an invasive species. Like kudzu or the nasty little clams trying to attach themselves to your boat. Or Formosan subterranian termites. Horses cause a TON of damage to the ecology. Just look at any pasture that has horses in it - torn all to h*ll. Nothing but dirt. And that's what happens when they are allowed to run wild - they like to go back to the same spot and turn it into dirt. The western ecosphere is way too fragile to allow the uninterrupted consequence of wild horses. All the "wild horses" - call that feral horses, need to be gathered up and taken care of.

Now you may be weeping and moaning and gnashing your teeth at the idea of gathering up the feral horses. Just like feral cats, this would be a better life, or end of life solution to a massive problem. I'm not suggesting that this land would be better used as pasture for sheep or cows - not at all. It takes years for the land to recover after horses. Give it a rest, then decide what to do with it. Restore the native grasses and let nature take it's course.

Now anyone that's had a horse for more than a minute will tell you - they need tons of care. Their feet need to be maintained. Their teeth need attention. Nutrition for elderly horses is ghastly expensive. Stallions will fight to the death. Mares reproduce like bunnies. The wild horse lifestyle is not all running with the wind in their hair. Adequate forage is difficult to find, shelter in harsh weather is non existent. As a custodian of the earth, these animals need to be gathered up and taken care of.

The next problem that needs to be resolved is slaughter of horses. Again with the weeping and wringing of hands. I'm not saying that the way it's been handled in the past is appropriate. ALL livestock needs to be treated with dignity and respect. Cows included. Chickens included. Turkeys included. But eliminating the slaughter of horses has had some unexpected consequences that the tree huggers need to be aware of. In the past, the slaughter of horses gave a floor price to the value of a horse. Even the most miserable, bad tempered horse was worth "x" dollars a pound. If a horse bit or kicked or had no teeth and was loosing weight, the slaughter house would take it. The value for the worst horse was at least $500. Let's be realistic, there ARE bad horses out there. And the poor animals that end up in a riding stable would be better off with an adequate end of life solution.

An old horse needs incredible amounts of calories in order to maintain their weight. Senior horse feed is pelletized for old horses that can't chew hay. It runs $15 -$20 a bag and an old horse can go through 2-3 bags a week. For an old, sway backed, past it's prime, no use, lawn ornament. I knew a lady that had her son's first pony, still on the farm, sucking up senior feed. Her words? "D*mn thing is 32 years old and just won't die!" Multiply that times thousands, hundreds of thousands, MILLIONS of old horses, left out in the field to slowly die, their owners unable to afford the expense of special feed.

So if we "Get Real", a few things would happen. Humane slaughter of horses would begin. The wild horses would be rounded up and given new homes, the old, infeeble, would be taken care of in a humane fashion. The horse market would return, the value of a horse would return and the slow miserable starvation of horses would end. It's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sorry about the delay...

To my fan,

Sorry about the delay in posting to this blog. On the advice of my attorney, it was recommended that I keep my mouth shut and not use "The F Word"....(Frito). But upon reviewing my past blogging, it's too late for that. I think I just about said my piece when it comes to the Frito empire and it's management. Nothing like a year (or in this case 15 months) to put a little distance on it. Now it's in the hands of the attorneys and I just hope that it's not wasted money.

Out here in the woods, it's summer. and not like any other summer y'all ever saw in California. It rains here in the summer. Then it gets hot. Then it gets real, real, real green. And bugs. Lotsa, lotsa bugs. I am caviar and filet mignon for insect invaders. Bugs like to bite me. It looks like I have measles. Not ticks so much, since the woods are too overgrown to hike in right now, but chiggars (little suckers that dig under your skin at the sock line), mosquitos, and biting flies. The biting flies are the worst, since they bite right through fabric. When you feel the bite - too late, they've had their meal and off they go. Itchy, itchy, itchy!

But the green is amazing. My little garden is running amuck! I planted canteloupe, gourds and butternut squash in a newly reclaimed area of the chicken yard - and the stuff is growing up the fence and out into the cow pasture. The gourds are so cool - all mixed varieties, and just so cute! I hope the livestock doesn't eat them before they get mature - they are supposed to the proper size for birdhouses. When they are mature and dry, you cut a hole with a drill bit for door knob holes and shake out the seeds, paint them white & the martins will use them for nests... or so I've seen. The good thing about this, when the martins leave for the winter, you simply throw away the bird houses. Regular martin houses have to taken down and washed out every year - ugh, don't like to clean bird cages, did it enough as a kid! Martins are supposed to be a very beneficial bird, as they eat flying insects. They do make a wonderful little chirpy noise as they swoop and fly around their bird houses. So, overall, I think I'd like to have some houses out for them, just not the maintenance of bird apartments.

I have watermelon growing, I planted this for my family. I'm not particularly fond of watermelons, they don't agree with me, but the family loves them. I planted these on the side of the driveway, out in full sun. I do have a dirty horse that has decided she like canteloupe vines and is pruning them back at the chicken yard, I sure hope she doesn't notice the watermelon - I actually have a lovely melon about the size of a basketball & I sure don't want it's vine munched by this stinky filly. I've never grown watermelon before, so this is kind of neat to watch it get big.

enough for now, I have to do something with the zucchini I've picked. I wasn't getting much zucchini, the yellow crookneck was doing way better. Until we had some rain and it pushed the leaves around and then I saw them. Moby Zucchini. Three of them. Probably the first ones that started, hidden under the leaves. Zucchini has to be picked daily, if they are allowed to fully develop, you don't get many. So here I had the 3 originals. 2 feet long, 20 pounders. ugh. pitched them over the fence for the cows to eat. I did have 1 great white shark size which will be shredded and baked in bread. been putting that off - why would I want to start the oven in this heat? I did see one recipe for fried shredded zucchini - looked pretty good. I may shred, squeeze out the water and freeze some of this stuff. just to get it out of the refrigerator and off the counter. Green beans are starting up and those I want to keep. It frightening to see how many big lovely green tomatoes are out there - I will have to can those guys when they are ripe, I still have some frozen ones from last year! I think I'll try to can some salsa, THAT I'll eat, just add the cilantro after I open the jar, since I don't want to cook it during the canning process.

yep, nothing like train of consciousness blogging. hehehe. multi tasking thinking: gardening - freezing - canning - food processing all in 1 paragraph.

my next task is to get photos posted. just have to figure out how to get the camera to talk to me, or maybe get a newer camera that has directions...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Good Deed goes Unpunished

So, life is most interesting when it takes a right hand turn when you are going straight. God in all of God's wisdom is gracious and kind. Praise Allah. Thank you God. Just when a person thinks they might be going out of their mind, when you pray, "Dear God, help me here", and step back and let God get on it, well, amazing things happen. Might not be exactly what you thought was a good answer, but God moves in amazing ways.

So where is all this leading? Well, after being "Best of the Best" for Frito in February, less than a month later, I was suspended and terminated. Caught me waaay off guard, sort of. My prayers to God had included, "Dear God, PLEASE get me off this truck before I do something crazy" and my prayers were answered. again, not exactly like I thought, but hey, who am I to argue with God? or God's will?

So in Crazy Land, or more closely Frito Land, when you request, then DEMAND accomodation under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) you get fired. Question: Is this legal? Answer: Not so much. Especially when the termination is for something that you were taught to do by your former manager, who is now dead from a car accident, so he can not either confirm or deny that's what he taught you to do. complicated? not so much. I was taught to take product from inventory by doing a zero dollar ticket. ie: take a bag in, then defect it out. This is the standard way to get out of date product from truck or bin inventory (out of date product is a BIG no-no, it means you screwed up & weren't rotating properly or ordered wrong). So to get it out of inventory, you create a zero dollar ticket for a cash customer. Standard practice. EXCEPT if you are a pain in the ass and demanding your rights AND are an agressive female AND you are over 50 (ALL considered a "protected class") so what the hell, right?

I was suspended from my route on April Fool's why does that seem appropriate somehow? Then terminated the following Monday. I guess the management (read Zone Manager, bloated bag of ego, Tony Klote - ouch... is that a lack of respect? ) Poor Tony, he's gonna get the worst of it, but I imagine there will be fall out when all of this is said & done. I hope my boss, Monty doesn't get too much shit - I warned him that when the shit hits the fan, he's the one standing closest to it - I guess it was my way of telling him to document everything, on how he was acting on Tony's instruction, since that's where the blame lies. Tony doesn't like assertive (or agressive) women - I guess he must have a castration complex - you know, where all agressive women are coming at the boy parts with a knife... and it would really explain why his #2, Sandy Hance, who seems like a nice woman, always seemed to give me a "mixed message" - I had a hard time getting a read on her - but then I recognized what it was - passive-aggressive behavior on her part. Passive as hell around Tony, her real self when she wasn't. I didn't know what was up until all this blew through. Had several "epiphanys" - (moments of enlightenment).

Anyway - during the time I was suspended (prior to termination) Frito gave me the opportunity to get on line & do a little research. Seems that to terminate a person when they are requesting accomodation is called "retaliation" and is quite illegal for a company to do. Again, my thought, Tony Klote is dumb as a box of rocks. but I was wrong, he's DUMBER than a box of rocks. Where the hell was personnel? Human resources.. whatever. so the blame for his stupidity really should rise upwards. (again an epiphany - ahh, whose fault is it anyway?) where is HR in this? where's Tony's boss in this?

well, we shall see....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Testosterone and the Frito Empire

I work in a particularly Masuline environment. and yes "the Masculine" needs to be capitalized. There are 125+ route sales reps (these are numbered routes, the swing or weekend person is not named). Of the 125 named route reps, there are 4 women. yes, I said four. In the name of diversity and inclusiveness, I was informed by our human resources manager for this half of the US, that governement standard for this portion of our industry is 5% female. So we only need to have 6 women in the route workforce to meet minimum, and that to do more than that could invite a lawsuit. Gosh it's good to work at a place where the motto should be, "We do as Little as Possible". So understanding that I am outnumbered by gender 30 to 1, this entry is dedicated to the testosterone levels of my reality.

It goes as high as the vp for the area. His morale booster is the story of the college professor introducing his overachieving students to the concept of "The Big Rocks". This parable has the professor place large stones into a glass jar and asking the class if the container is full. When the class shouts, "yes", he proceeds to place gravel into the jar. Is it full? no. The teacher places sand into the jar. Full yet? no. As a final demonstration, the professor fills the jar with water. Now the jar is full. The moral of the story, you have to start with the big rocks first. So what does this have to do with potato chips? You got me. I have yet to figure out how a story that focuses on the important things in life, your family, your children, your significant other, what has that to do with potato chips? Now for the testosterone spin. We are urged to think of our big rocks in our job. accompanied by a picture of a rock that looks like an erect penis. when I asked to have a different picture rather than that phallic looking thing, it got giggles from the men in the meeting. even worse, in my neck of the woods, "Big Rocks" refers to testicles. "Y'all got some big rocks to be trying that... " We are having a round table with the vp that thinks this is an important point in goal setting, his "Big Rocks" campaign. I wonder what he will think if I tell him during the round table that big rocks refers to a man's "boy parts" and that last time I checked, I didn't come equipped with those. for God's sake, use some stupid sports analogy, would ya!

Then in the grandest display of male peacockery, we have the "Market Tour". In the insult to my feminine integrity, the men go forth and take all the temporary displays and put them out, filled to brim with chips for a 15 minute tour by upper management. This display of "Mine is Bigger" can take 3 days to set up, taking my manager out of the field, the route specialist out of the field, and all the cardboard for displays out of our district. The cost of hotel rooms, food, gas to get to a remote area, all for a "Mine is Bigger" extravaganza. A Dog and Pony show. and I'm supposed to respect upper management that doesn't ask a key question. Just one simple question, please. "How much does this account sell in a week?" at all the accounts that they tour. so if the Dollar General has a $4000 display sitting on the sidewalk when they sell $300 a week, that may be a bad, BAD use of our scarce resources. ya think? especially when those chips sitting outside start to sprout legs and walk away.

have I ranted about this before? I guess the idea of a presidential round table has gotten me all riled up again.

I guess I'm just a frustrated old woman who gets entirely irritated when I am ignored. I came back from a broken arm. told them in March of 2008 that "This is NOT the route I bid" - and gave them a list of the stores that had closed and the lost revenue to the route. Then I got to argue in Jan 09 with the same hr guy about my income and was told that it was "below Frito standard" - well, No Shit Sherlock. That would be the point of telling the zone manager, the zone business manager and my district manager in March 08. Told them there was a safety issue - was ignored and tripped. blew out my knee. my fault? I think not. I have been telling management that I need assistance in down loading the 14 foot tall stacks of chips - that the lifting to down load puts too much stress on the plates in my arms. Using the "bin stick" - a pole with a hook, to download only works if you don't use it much. Continual use of the bin stick is causing tendonitis in my elbows and carpal tunnel in my wrist. I need assistance because I have 3 plates and a dozen screws in my left arm, and I am very grateful to have it, since a hook is just SO unattractive on a woman. When asking for help, I am told that I can't have it. When I inform my district manager and the zone manager that, OH YES I CAN have some help under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), also known as an accomodation, they act like it's a big surprise that I'm not 100%. Dear God Almighty. I have never, ever said I was 100% upon my return to work from the broken arm. I told them right up front that I was handicapped. They told me that if I couldn't do the job that I'd better go back to disability. Well at the time, my inventory was stored in a trailer on Skid Row. That's right, the name of the street was Skid Row. old man Turner sure had a sense of humor. The city has since renamed it Turner Parkway. anyway, the trailer had an 8' ceiling. no worries about product being stacked 15 feet in the air here. So I worked away until we moved into our new facility. Now there's a problem. I just cannot downlift 50 pounds over my head. It puts too much pressure on the plates. The muscles bunch up and catch at the edge of the plates and cause a cross between a muscle spasm, a cramp and a charlie horse in the arm. When I try to shake it out, it makes a tendon in the wrist catch on a screw. no winning here. What I need is some help for about 15 minutes, one day a week. Official response? "We can't do that for you since we would have to do it for everyone". ok you dumb jackasses. how about you only do it for people with 3 plates and a dozen screws in their arm? again. Dear God Almighty. Please help me with the ignorant, for they are stupid beyond belief. so I am looking at a worker's comp claim for tendonitis and carpal tunnel when I have notified my management about a safety issue. and it will be my fault for continuing with the bin stick when I know it causes a problem. so my option is to just pull everything down and let it fall on the floor. I guess. I am thinking it's a testosterone, thinking inside the box issue. I am going to notify the zone safety manager this week and let him know there's a problem. no winning here. just stubborn male insistance on everything being the way it was in 1960. when there wasn't anything as ridiculous as women working as route sales reps. hmmp. women should be home baking cookies for goodness sakes. they should know better than trying to do a man's job. they get what they deserve. there are men out there that need this job so they can support their families. oh yeah, it's there. I feel it. I know they are thinking it. God is punishing me for being Prideful and Stubborn. yep stubborn as hell. I won't let these sons of bitches keep me from this job. even though Frito management has tried from the very start to get me to quit. but that's another day's entry.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rise and Fall of the Frito Empire

Sorry to keep harping on the Rise and Fall of the Frito Empire. When you work 60 hours a week, it tends to dominate a person's thought process. I've worked lots of hours for myself, so the long days seem normal... it's working long hours for so little money that's got my nose out of whack. of course, working for myself was long hours and little pay, but at least I felt like I was building for myself, not for a bunch of out of touch upper managers. Out of touch. yes. I think every manger above a district manager (who actually does physical work with his reps), should spend one day every quarter out in the stores. A person not actively touching product during the course of his day should get out from behind their desk and go see what it's like in the field. the Front Line. (again, 2 words, not one). you know where people get dirty. gosh, that means a manicure could get messed up! and not during a freakin' dog & phony show....err, make that dog and pony show - although both accurately describe the ordeal. you know, the circus, dogs running around jumping through hoops, phonies...err ponies galloping around in circles. darn fingers keep wanting to call it a phony show.... Freudian slip I guess, but it is an accurate assessment of the situation. The Frito term is "Market Tour". what a bunch of crap. What happens is a WHOLE bunch of product is shipped into customer locations, tons and tons of displays are set up, upper managers walk through in about 10 minutes and then go eat or play golf. again, what a bunch of crap. The management logic, "team building", "getting product to market", "impacting quarter end numbers". blah, blah, blah, blah. talk about letting the cheerleaders lead the company. When a Senior Vice President of Sales doesn't have the intelligence to ask, "So, how much does this store sell in a week?" while looking at a display that holds 4 months worth of product....for example, a small Dollar General, with towers of displays on the sidewalk, you know, the display that holds $10,000 worth of chips. and the store sells $800 a week, on a good week, with a major holiday. on the sidewalk, where someone has to guard the product to avoid it sprouting legs & walking away. Is that a male thing or what... "Mine is bigger than yours...". and it happens all the time, all over the country. The latest from here in Mid Missouri was 3rd quarter (approximately) 2008. It took all the managers, all extra help, all our temporary displays (the cardboard towers) and shipped everything off to the "bootheel" portion of Missouri for 4 days. So there was hotel bills, restaurant bills, expense reports, PLUS all of our displays for our district, my route, were gone and were not replaced since we were in a budget crunch due to the recession. Recession and we're spending money like drunken sailors to put product out for display for senior vps that should know better. The displays are trash once they are used. PERIOD. to even suggest that they be taken down and used again is beyond ignorant. and that's what happened - "use them again". yeah, right. cardboard tears and potato chips are GREASY. hello? anyone home in logical land? oh, yeah, that's right "Crazy Land." Chapter 3. title: "Dog & Phony Shows".

so our CEO, Indra Nooyi, who gets $12 million + a year, has a blog. "Tales from the Road". nice. and all the little people get to post their thoughts. for about 2 weeks. So I posted this:
"Greetings from the Heartland.
-Core Competancies. What made Frito Lay great? The route representative that took ownership of his route. How has this changed/evolved since the growth of Walmart? The route representative has become a truck driver with less control than ever over decisions for the customer. Rigid adherence to planograms, prescheduled deliveries of products not ordered or wanted by route rep, out of control stale issues. Stack ranking 60% on selling, 40% on "not selling" or stale control. No annual review. Hiring recent college graduates to be managers while passing tenured reps with college degrees. "I read it in a book" mentality. You can't talk the talk if you haven't walked the walk. Back to Basics core competancy, especially in times of economic hardship. Customers are passing on $4 bags of potato chips, Lays = a luxury item. That's just wrong. Lays/Doritos are a comfort food and should be the first in the cart. Thank you."

So that's what I put out there for the whole Frito Lay world to see. and then the blog came down. hmm. wonder what that's all about. I wonder if my comments were too controversial? Dear God, don't let the boss know that there's a problem! send in the cheerleaders!!! STAT! and so the Rise and the Fall of the Frito Empire continues.

ahh, blogging is such a cathartic feeling. doesn't matter if it doesn't get read, at some point, maybe, the obvious will be noticed. good gosh I'm in fantasy land! naive, yes, that's the word, when the obvious is noticed! all I can do is protect myself on the slide down, since that's what I see in the crystal ball. don't buy Pepsico stock! put the 401k in mutual funds! that's the little voice in my head that's seen this type of head in the sand mentality before at Xerox. watched the ole' stock drop with the market share. from $100 a share to $6. free fall isn't fun in the real world.

well off to the 60 hour week plus the 10 hour drive time commute. who needs a life? all for a whopping $5 an hour in a bad week, $10 a hour in a good week. why? to live out in the woods where it is quiet. my happy place. the sound of the "peepers" in the spring. little froggies that don't know any else. the daffodils pushing up in random places where old homesteads once were... the only sound, birds, thousands of birds, jays, turkey, wood peckers, doves. the choir of singing from nature. the happy place, listening to the sun come up, the choir of birds announcing the new day. a rooster here and there, to remind that civilization is at the doorstep.

see, I'm not that cynical - - just can't believe how isolated the decision process gets.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

on tv

So I actually sat down and turned the tv on last night. NOW I remember why I never watch tv! What a bunch of trivial crap! So my plot for Crazy Land is starting to look like it might really have something here. On Friday night we have Howie putting blue paint on a woman's face - how is that funny? another channel features a reality show where a woman is yelling at a man - why do I want to expose myself to that kind of hostility? and then there's Ghost Whisperer - who told J. Love Hewitt she could act? really, really, realllllly lame. and story lines? recycled, reused, boring. Pretty bad when Andy of Mayberry looks like it was better than what's on now.

So Crazy Land would feature one person's story each week. Mine would be the adventure of the worn out truck, and trying to survive. With 10 people, there would be enough for a series.... what's that 20 shows for a season..? and filmed as cameos for the stars, no heavy payroll for star power - just spread the money around. I have casting opportunites for Mike Myers, David Spade, Steve Martin, Will Ferrell, Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser... the list goes on and on. and of course, the stars... Beyonce & Charlize Theron (recreating her Monster role). I can see a scene where the 2 female leads look in a mirror and see the other person as their reflection - on a pure humorous level. The two women could be standing side by side, then their images melding into a single person that eventually becomes me - fuzzy of course since my ananimity (sp?) needs to be preserved. Being famous costs entirely tooo much. The loss of freedom for being a star costs too much of a person's life. The very best acting gig in the whole world is Elvira. Vamped to the max - big wig, unique costume, only has to work 2 months a year - September, October in the lead up to Halloween - big cutouts to use for beer ads - and when the day is over and the warpaint comes off - no one knows who Elvira really is! complete artistic freedom. as long as she doesn't pull a Pee Wee Herman and beat off in public porn palaces. Losing the comic genius of Pee Wee Herman is just tragic. Pee Wee's Playhouse was one of the best kid's programming ever. EVER. and Pee Wee's Big Adventure? one of the best movies of all time. (who's a fan?) Pee Wee II - not so much. But to castigate Paul Reubens for being a perv? - he's not a freakin' child molester for goodness sake. The innocence of Pee Wee is gone, but the memory lives.

so now after that rant - all you tv producers out there - - I have a script idea, with a little artistic control - we could have the next great program. focusing on work insanity and the split personality of working for a major corporation. A King of Queens, but more work and less bitchy wife.

and Sue, thanks for your support! ;-)