Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Perfect Storm of Stress and The Romper Room Rant

I’ve been buried the past couple of days. It’s one of those times when all the crap hits all the fans while all the rest of the crap is flowing downstream at the same moment. The perfect storm of stress.

I have been:
Forced to participate in endless conference calls with representatives of the company that acquired the company that owns the company that is one of my biggest clients. I have done projects for this company for 20 years. I’m known for being early on deadlines and under budget – routinely, consistently. So what are all the calls for!? “Let us discuss how projects can be done quickly and cost effectively”. OK John J. Junior Exec – you incredibly ignorant slug. Please do tell.

I have been:
Trying to collect from a client. They owe me over $12,000 for months and months. For projects I did for them last year. 5 weeks ago I was told the check would be cut in a week or so. Yep! – It’s in the mail, it’s on the truck. And I walk a tightrope with these collection attempts. There is a small determinate number of clients giving out work to a large number of vendors. Can’t really piss them off while trying to get paid. Whores in shark infested waters – my new company slogan.

I have been:
Juggling minimum amount due dates and extensions on extensions. Funny – the fact that my client hasn’t paid me in months doesn’t seem to impress my bill collectors. Seems that only large corporations can get away with non-payment.

I have been:
Vocally and passionately fighting with the big-ass-asshats at the big-ass store. Seems that sales associates are now supposed to clean the store. Not a little dusting or tidying – we already do that along with lifting, carrying, stocking, boxing, folding, unfolding and hanging. We also clean the fitting rooms. Of course this is in addition to actually doing our job – ya know – sales! Well now we’re supposed to polish shelving and stands. Clean “on, around, and under all displays”. Really!? If I wanted to be a cleaning person I would be a cleaning person – and I would earn $30 an hour off the books. Since I’m 52 freakin’ years old with a bad back I am NOT cleaning your fucking hell hole of a store that hasn’t been professionally cleaned in 20 years. I’m certainly not cleaning it during the same hours that I am supposed to be helping customers. And I’m not cleaning it while the temperature in my work area is 87 degrees (I bought in a temp gauge that disappeared the next day) because the AC unit is too old and the duct work is bad. And I’m not cleaning while you continue to cut the hours of the cleaning people – you know – the ones who took the job knowing they’d be cleaning! It is not that I think I’m too good for cleaning – one of my many 2nd or 3rd jobs over the years was cleaning office suites all night. NO! I’m not going to clean because you just can’t suck any more labor out of me for a few bucks an hour. NO MORE! And if you keep pushing there’s going to be news crews and labor people crawling all over your filthy store.

So in the midst of this – well – my stress level has been a wee bit high – just a tad. But I am glad to report that I never lost sight of the bigger picture. I never lost sight of the fact that the $12,000 I’m waiting for is a years salary for many of the folks I work with at the big-ass hell hole. I never lost sight of the fact that my home is not in foreclosure, that I don’t have small children, that although I can’t pay for it on time – I do have health insurance.

And not losing sight of the big picture is a big deal. It helps us focus on the real enemies, the true threats. It strengthens us and gives asshats like Bushie Boy and his ‘All Corrupt, All the Time Choir’ less power over us.

And it left me enough room in my heart and soul to rejoice in my nominee for President actually, finally being called the nominee he has already been for weeks.

I’m also managing to maintain my sense of humor. I called a friend last night to ask some labor law advice and some collections advice. During the conversation I mentioned that some of the cleaning people at the big-ass hell hole call me “Miss Dianne”. (another story). This lead to the Romper Room Rant.

Lawyer friend: Miss Dianne!? Makes you sound like that bitch from Romper Room
Me: I always hated her.
LF: Hated her? That’s strong.
Me: You know how I am about perky.
LF: You would have done a great job on Romper Room
Me: Me? Romper Room!? Only if it was Adults Only Romper Room
LF: There’s an idea. Did SNL do that?
Me: Maybe or maybe I just dreamed it during a twisted moment.
LF: Miss Dianne and her Warped Wand see all …
Me: During the one hour Comedy Central Special – Romper Room Rant
LF: I’m still in the office – I can’t laugh
Me: I see Billy and Bobby – Billy stop sniffing the glue; it’s for your school project
LF: Laughter is not permissible in the halls of corporate justice
Me: Bobby go warn Mommy that Daddy’s home – don’t be scared – the pool boy isn’t hurting her
Me: I see Susie and Sally – Susie honey you can’t keep vomiting and then eating more Ring Dings
LF: Ahhh – eating disorders are always so funny
Me: Sally – Sally - Miss Dianne knows what you’re doing! Make sure to always have extra batteries
LF: You know how loud I laugh
Me: Fuck em, it’s after hours
LF: It’s never after hours. Not in the world of greed and despair.
Me: Well that brought me down
LF: So you’re stable now?
Me: No.
LF: Good.

And then we drifted into talk of all our less than stable moments and the hilarity that usually ensues.

It sucks that I missed Peace Blast but I try to blog for Peace in my own way all the time so I’m letting myself off the hook on that one.

And hopefully I’ll be finding some more Project Blue soon.

Back to work now – I have so many projects that I’ll never get paid for to finish.

Note: Romper Room – for all you youngins - was a children’s show during the 60s – I don’t remember what they did on Romper Room other than the perky annoying bitch who hosted the show would hold up this freaky whirling pattern wand and “see you”. She never once saw me! And that pissed me off. Then again, I’m sure her head would have exploded had she seen me.


Bob-kat said...

You sound just like me at the moment. It must be the week for extra crap and stress! For what it's worth, I hate perky too, especially when I am stressed and dealing with crap. Your list of crap is enough to send anyone off the deep end. I hope things look up soon.

Raven said...

Go Dianne! That store you work at sounds like it is run by fools. If they aren't careful they are going to put them out of business. Why don't people get that treating employees well is good for business.

I love your rants. They are so brilliant and wise. Hope you get your $12,000. I hate having to ask people for what they owe me. And I hate being lied to as well. Grrrr.

Anyway, sorry you are in mega stress. Hope the fan shifts direction and blows some of that shit back where it came from.

Meanwhile I'm sending good thoughts and positive energy your way. I'm sure the rest of your fan club will be sending good vibes too.

bobbie said...

"Miss Dianne"? Really? Please don't tell me they are black. when I was very little, my mother had a cleaning woman who was also to become a very close friend. Her son and i were good friends then, and on into teen-
age, but the mother always addressed me as "Miss Joanie". Just couldn't break away from that old time habit. It creeped me out, even as a child.

Noooo! You would never have made it on Romper Room!

Dianne said...

awww thanks bobkat - while it sucks that yoy're stressed too it does make me feel less alone. heres to easier days for both of us.

thanks Raven - your Peace post actually helped me a lot. the Dali Lama (probably spelled wrong!) quote really made me stop and take a breath.

bobbie - "Noooo! You would never have made it on Romper Room!" that's the nicest thing to say LOL
I'm going to post about the cleaning people soon - their story so needs to be told.

Shelly said...

I snort/laughed on the last part about exploding Missy on TV. In fact, I snort/laughed so loud I scared the dog...thanks...I needed a giggle, sounds like you do too!

Tammy said...

I'm sorry, stress is really crappy. I'm too young for Romper Room, but we has a children's show when I was little and the women held a hand mirror without the glass in it and did the whole "I see Billy and Bobby and.....", that shit was annoying.

Dianne said...

shelly - a snort laugh is very healing.

tammy - thanks - stress is crappy! your show sounds like my show :)

Leighann said...

Aww I LOVED Romper Room until that psycho b*tch "saw" ME!! I about pissed myself trying to figure out where the spy cams were!


Dianne said...

leighann - I KNEW we were related! Wanna be on my adult version Romper Room? I'm going to ask Jo to produce and direct.

Leighann said...

Oh you know I want in on that!!

Mahala said...

That preschool pied piper tried to hypnotize the little chil'ren of America with her strange little swirlies. I never liked her either.

Jay said...

Calling you "Miss Dianne" would be a term of affection here in the South. Maybe not so much up there.

Hope you finally got those cheap bastards to pay up!

karey m. said...

your first few sentences about people owing you $12k? really makes my blood boil. as did the rest of it.

but your last three lines? i am still laughing! it's good to keep your sense of humor...but it would be even better to get that money, too. grrr.

Quiet Rage said...

I don't mean to sound trite, but I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU'RE MAD!! Your angst was my laughter for today. It's just that I can sooooooo relate to what you're experiencing.

Jo said...

Gah, I'm sorry for your stress...but as usual you're handling it with great restraint--good thing they can't see you frantically stabbing voodoo effigies of them. We deal with clients not paying on time (I think that's the norm), fortunately hub usually talks to them b/c when I do we REALLY don't get paid.

Good for you on taking a stand with the suck-ass-store! Let me know if you want me to boycott anyone or play with their company logo in Photoshop for your buttons.

The Romper Room witchy-lady used to call out names through a mirror frame for us...that's the only part I'd watch & I wiggled my bottom at the TV if she didn't say my name LOL!

the walking man said...

Perky has its place...chained nekkid to a saw horse and spanked back to reality.

I am thinking of starting a collection agency, Our agency will be named "You Will Pay Detroit one way or the other LLC."

The idea is to send an ex felon(play to your strengths)from Detroit in a three piece suit, stinking of the best cologne, to the debtors place of business or residence.

The nationwide D rep should be enough, if not there is always Detroit Love to consider. Collecting on money owed is still an art form, we would simply raise it to another level...

My neighbors call me "Mister Mark...damn that, I am white not some overseer. Anyone who calls me Mister mark can not work for Detroit collections llc.

We also will do labor negotiations but this can't be our primary business seeing as how there is no more labor power here...we negotiated it away. But we still know the lessons Henry Ford taught about negotiating 80 years ago or so. Beat the shit out of the laborers...Oh wait that would put us on the managements side...hell if they pay the bill...


tt said...

I can vividly remember wanting the Romper room lady to see me....she saw my friends....but she never saw my sister or me either. Mom told me she only sees 'good' children. Hummmm...
I'm thinking we need to see if 'Vinnie' and " Guido' can visit the clients that owe you the $$. I bet I can find a couple mullet-wearing-cowboys to use as standins if necessary.
Have a good weekend kiddo. Cheers!

Odat said...

I see Diane.....
and she's not a happy camper....but she's a grateful one and I like that.

Dianne said...

Leighann - I KNEW you'd want in. You will be our star performer ;)

Mahala - "preschool pied piper" - that's a double snort ;)

Jay - they haven't paid yet but we shall see what today's mail brings. I think the mailman thinks I have a thing for him cause I'm always running out there soon as I see him.

karey - thanks for the support, it truly helps. And I always work on keeping the humor - you just have to.

quiet rage - doesn't sound trite at all! I love to be funny, I love cutting edge sarcasm. It fuels the fires of survival. You're incredibly good at it too! I always relate to you as well.

jo - oh you could be our union organizing fairy! they'd all fall in love with you while we were taking over behind the scenes. and you'd be adorable wiggling your bottom at a boycot.
And don't forget - you, me, Leighann - Adult Romper Room. I was thinking of asking Jay but he has to wear his helmet on screen.

Mark - Oh how I LOVE your solution to perky!! and I think the collection agency is a great idea.

tt - your Mom and my Mom must have read the same books. Hugs my buddy.

odat - always grateful because it is so much better than it was years ago and it is so much better for me right at this moment than it is for many, many others. Peace.

Knight said...

I used to be the sole collections agent at my current company so I was constantly calling huge advertising agencies about checks bigger than my salary that they kept "forgetting" to sign off on, like it was nothing. That pissed me off so much.

One of my very close friends recently told me when she has kids they will have to address me as Miss Carly. I told her that makes me uncomfortable but she doesn't care. I also have to use the same term with her mother but she can just call my mom by her first name. What the hell is all that about? I will never understand.

I have no idea what this Romper Room thing is but it sounds terrifying. I think it would have made me a very paranoid child. I would love the adult version though. Don't worry, I have extra batteries in my purse right now and yes, that is exactly what I bought them for.

Knight said...

Oh, yeah, and about Obama. I had an ear to ear smile when he gave that speech. I can't even describe the feeling.

Mary said...


Many companies now expect their staff to do the job of the cleaning personnel. I don't think it is right. As you say, the cleaning staff are having their hours cut and they expect you to do the cleaning, which is not your job. However, people are doing it because they want to keep their jobs. I hope you are able to refuse.

I remember Romper Room. My daughter watched it when she was young. I bet she would hate it now as well and maybe she did then. LOL

Take care. I will pray that your $12,000 is paid to you.


Matt-Man said...

Romper Room was great, but I think the lady who hosted, was child molester...I have no idea why I think that.

Have a great weekend Di, and Cheers!!

Dianne said...

knight - LOL and You Go Girl about the batteries!! I just love you. You're so smart and funny for one so young. I would hate to have kids call me Miss - I don't get it either. And Amen to Senator Obama - Presumptive Nominee - on we go!!

mary - that's why it makes me so angry. they're taking advantage of people needing their jobs to get more and more out of them.
thank you mary for your kind words - always means a lot to me :)

matt-man - she certainly gave off more than her share of creepy vibes!

Jen said...

"Sir" and "Ma'am" are staples down south here. I like it - it shows respect. If (and when) I ever have children they will be following the rules of "respect your elders" always. I'm called "Miss Jennifer" by most of the neighborhood kids here. I think it's a southern thang. . . .but it doesn't bother me.

I'm not sure if calling you Miss Dianne is a good thing or a bad thing - as I couldn't tell from your post? I'm guessing it's not too good. I'm sorry about that.

I hate that employers do shepoopi stuff like this ALL THE TIME. I hate that they squeeze everything they can from a good, competent, faithful employee only to save a few bucks, but not the employees sanity. It's wrong. And if they expect more, they should pay more.

At least in my world they should.

I hope things get better. Screw the cleaning - someone will do it; even if they have to PAY them to do it. Just say "no".


CG said...

I really enjoyed your rant. Why are people always trying to tell you how to do your job by stating the obvious?? It drives me insane!

Sparkling Red said...

Ooooh, cleaning duties at your retail job... that is not right at all! Management are taking advantage. Can they even do that, legally speaking? Could it be considered "creative dismissal"? :-p

fermicat said...

Wow. So much stress and you still have a sense of humor it. Not everyone can do that.

SnoopMurph said...

I hope you get your money-that's a significant chunk of change. And you are right, that can be earnings for a year for some folks. Perspective is good.

I did watch Romper Room and my favorite part was when they had the buckets with stretchy bands that they would walk around with on their feet. My grandmother made me a set so I could join in. It is a disturbing show as I look back!

Dianne said...

jen - boo-yah indeed!! thanks for coming by - I always enjoy your comments on all our mutual blogs - I have to visit you directly more often.

the Miss Dianne at work comes from the cleaning people thinking they are less than the rest of the staff and since we only have first names on our badges they do a lot of Miss and Mr and I want them to feel they don't have to.

cg - these latest corporate types are having a ball feeling like the Masters of the Universe with their new aquisition!

sparkling red - yep! they're taking advantage. my lawyer friend is doing some research for me.

thanks fermicat - ya gotta laugh ;)

snoopmurph - "a disturbing show" LOL - that's it alright. isn't it funny how much of what made sense as kids now is just so - well - so disturbing!
the latest on getting my money is that the accountant is on vacation til sometime next week. I'm trying not to blow a gasket.

Tranny Head said...

I'm also sending you good vibes - and pleased to see you maintaining a positive attitude!

And $12k? Damn - I'd have to sell an organ for that kind of cash!

quilly said...

That Romper Room lady gave me the creeps big time. If we all hated her, who the heil watched her? Man, RR would come on and I'd shoot up off the floor and twist the dial on the TV so hard I'm surprised it didn't come off in my hand.

As to the corporate folks slow on paying their bills -- let's pass a law that they cannot expect to receive a payment any faster then they make their own .....

Dianne said...

LOL tranny head - I'm definitely maintaining an attitude!!
as for the 12K - it represents 6 months of work that I completed from October 07 thru Feb 1, 08. And a lot of it was payroll and out of pockets that of course I paid on time.

quilly - I love your idea!! thanks for coming by :)

Richard said...

Dianne, girl you put it all down and got it all out. That should have reduced your stress level bigtime.

The big-ass store thing sounds typical and terrible. What a crock.

Vicki was a collector and we both know how tough a job that can be. Still you need the money and waiting over 6 months is not acceptable, you'd be better off pissing them off and getting payed off than continually waiting on your money.

When I had my own business I had a saying, "If I can't make money on the job then I might as well stay home and drink beer, it's cheaper.

Go get em lady!

I know I should remember romper room, I know I've heard of it, but I cannot picture the crazy lady. I'm thinking I just didn't watch it.

I do remember Howdy Doody.


Diane Mandy said...

Oh, I remember Romper Room! Now I am in a bad mood. Grrr.