Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Greatest Affirmation

     I am the proud owner of a Black Lab that my wife and I rescued from a shelter about a month ago.  He is 10 months old and is a really sweet dog.  We call him Hank.
     When we first brought him home, he was very timid and lethargic for many reasons.  First of all, he was neutered the day before (an important fact to know for later on in this blog entry). For that reason, he was still in a little pain and was probably recovering from anesthesia.  Also, as is common with animals in a shelter, he had a little bit of kennel cough which we treated him for.  Factor that in with the fact that one never knows what a dog from a shelter has been through prior to getting there, he had every reason to be a little scared.  He is now over all of those things and is a fun, sweet puppy.
     The lady who runs the shelter told us, among other things, that even though he was neutered, he still may have "some hormones to get out."  Consequently, we see Hank folding his dog bed in half and trying to have relations with it from time to time.  While this is most amusing,  it is also a habit that we don't want to reinforce because we like our friends and would like to keep them which would be hard to do if they get constantly humped by our sweet, sweet Hank.  If only we could train him to do that to certain family members.......aah, to dream.
     Al of this brings me to last might.  I had come home from a hard day at work.  My wife wasn't feeling well, and I was trying to entertain the dog so that she could rest.  I was sitting on the floor of the TV room in front of the couch.  Hank was in full puppy-play mode, and I was throwing his favorite toy into the next room for him to fetch it and bring it back to me.  This game was beginning to wind down, and I was sprawled out on the floor relaxing.  All of a sudden, Hank starts to climb on top of me which was not too uncommon.  However, I noticed that his front two legs were on either side of my leg.  When I glanced down at him, I noticed that while his front to legs remained stationary, the back half of his body was very rhythmically moving up down on my leg.  I had now become the object of Hank's sexual frustration.  My wife was mortified and screamed for me to not let him do that.  I have to admit that I was caught off guard by this.  How dare he?  Does he not know that I am a happily married man?  Also, I don't know what kind of guy he thinks my Mama raised, but I have way too much self-respect to let anyone just take advantage of me like that.  However, as take aback as I was, I have to admit that I was a little bit flattered.  I just celebrated my 33rd birthday, thus, I am getting older.  I have been married for a year and a half.  However, when Hank's desires came a-calling, he had no choice but to yield to my machismo.  While I couldn't condone his behavior, it was nice to know that I still got it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Late Night Ramblings of a Conflicted Conscience

Today was one of the more stressful and emotionally taxing days that I have had in a long time.  There is a situation at work where I did not have the right answers for someone who needed them.  Along with my normal duties at work, I am also a union representative for my building.  That means that if someone has a question about pertaining to our contract, I can find the answer for them.  However, if they have an issue that may require bargaining with administration, I act as a liason to the union officers who handle that.  So far, I have only really had to deal with contract issues and asking the boss for clarification on a few things on behalf of the workers.  However, there is a co-worker of mine that is in a situation where she may lose her job.  Both she and I have been in contact with our state-level union rep., and this situation is out of my hands - one of the union officers is going to handle the meeting between my co-worker and the management.
Here is where is gets complicated.  My co-worker is not good at her job.  Her colleagues that work with her feel like she is, to quote one directly, "crappy."  However, the boss did not necessarily handle things in a manner that is above reproach.  So which is worse - a boss who clearly wants this person to be gone sooner rather than later, or a co-worker who is clearly not making the grade?  Also, this person is a single mom with a small child at home.  Personally, I have a weakness for single moms being that I was raised by one and know first hand the struggles - both financially and emotionally - that they go through.  Not only is my conscience torn on this issue, but my heart is as well.  The best-case scenario is that she retains her job, but is transferred to another building.  However, it is also very likely that she will lose her job immediately following her meeting with management, and in this job market, that could be devastating for her and her family.  My thoughts and prayers are with her in this matter for sure.
However, the thing that has me really thinking is something that one of my fellow union reps said to me today.  There are 4 union reps in my building, but I was the first, and I recruited the rest.  For that reason, I am often times the first person people go to when they have a question or problem.  The quartet of union reps at my building have an understanding that when something notable occurs, we keep each other informed as a sort of professional courtesy.  After I had informed one of the union reps at my building about this situation, she somewhat sarcastically and rhetorically asked me if I liked this job of being union rep.  I told her that ignorance was truly bliss when I didn't know all the "behind the scenes" things such as this issue.  I also told her that someone has to do this service because it is necessary.  It did, however, get me to thinking about why I volunteer to be a union rep for my building.  Every time I handle an issue or dispense advice, the union president always tells me how I am doing a fantastic job (her words, not mine) as do the people who come to me with questions.  I have had people who came to me with contract questions, and I had to refer them to the Old Polish Proverb - "Tough-ski Shit-ski."  When I give advice, I always give a disclaimer indicating that I am in my 1st year as a union rep, thus, the advice that I am about to give is coming primarily from my butt and to bear that in mind as they are listening to me.  However, it always seems to be appreciated and respected which makes me wonder - Do I do this for the ego boost?  Do I do what I do because it builds my confidence and gives me a warm-fuzzy when people appreciate me?  I would be lying if I said that doesn't play at least a small part of why I am a union rep.  However, tough situations like this that weigh on me make me realize that there are other things at work here as well.  I do not feel an ego-boost by not being able to give someone a definitive answer about whether or not they are going to keep their job.  In fact, I am not even going to be the one to fight for them at the meeting with management.  So why do it?  I guess I am just called to it.  As I look at my co-workers and the situation of our building this year, it is hard to think of anyone else who could fit this position any better.  I believe that I am doing what I am doing because I was meant to do it.
Now here is what stinks about this calling.  Most of the time, if you feel inexplicably lead to do something, it is rewarding at least 90% of the time, and you get to share that experience with people.  The confidentiality involved with being a union rep does not lend itself to much sharing, and when you have situations like the one this one, it is definitely not rewarding.  However, I am realizing through this that maybe a calling isn't a means of insuring non-stop good times.   Not to be trite, but I guess that hills and valleys are to be expected with anything, however, the things that are enduring are the things that we should seek.  Serving others, calling and other such things are things that are enduring.  Much like iron and other metals that can last a long time, a calling is not necessarily forged by rainbows, lollipops and unicorns, but by fire and sometimes shear will.  I realize that I might be overstating the importance of being a volunteer union rep.  I am not changing the world - I am just helping a few people out every once in a while,  but I guess that if I really want to help people, that I must be willing and able to deal with the tough issues as well as the easy ones - even if they keep me up past 2 am on a Friday night.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maiden Voyage

     I am new to the blogging thing.  I had one once upon a time on Live Journal, but I only did that for some college friends.  I just found out that a relative started one here, and inspired by his candor, I decided to start one to have an outlet for my random thoughts.  For any who read this, the thoughts are sometimes funny and bizarre, and sometimes they are little nuggets of recently acquired wisdom.  I am going to try to make this a weekly thing, and if you decide to read my blog, I am going to thank you in advance for being my cyber-listening ear.