Friday, February 29, 2008


There is a lady at work whom I refer to as "The Stump". She is short, dark and dumpy, with frizzy brown hair, bags under her eyes and stained, unmanicured fingernails. Her clothes are torn and dirty. She eats cereal and smelly feta cheese burritos at her desk.

Her personality-- well, I contend she is missing a compassion chip. Sometimes she says things that astonish me with their complete lack of empathy or insight. She can be cruel and dismissive. Unfortunately, she is intelligent.

The very worst thing about The Stump is that she is participating in an old, old scenario to get what she wants: she's fucking The Boss.

What does she want? I dunno- I guess she wants things her way. The Stump used to be in my position as Administrative Assistant, but she was "promoted". To what? No one knows her title. Is she a horticulturist? A gardener? A foreman? Queen of the parks department? We remain ignorant. Her position, whatever it is, was created by her with The Boss's blessing. She now has a desk in his office, an extension of her own, a computer, lots of papers piled on her desk, and a truckload of privilege bestowed on her by her boyfriend.

The Stump schtupping The Boss certainly gets her lots of things the rest of the staff does not have. She isn't on-call for emergencies in The Hamlet, meaning when a snowstorm hits in the middle of the night, The Stump stays warm and snug in bed, while the unfortunates on our staff have an hour to get to the shop, warm up the snowplow, and start an 12-hour snow removal shift. The Stump receives compensatory time, although she doesn't work the requisite overtime hours one must work to receive comp time. The Stump does personal errands during work hours, in Hamlet vehicles. The Stump uses Hamlet supplies, such as fertilizer, mulch, etc., for her on-the-side landscaping business.

Being The Boss's girlfriend also gets her toys. She has a GPS system for map-making, which she has never used. She asked The Boss for a greenhouse to be built on our facility property, and it stands empty and unused, without happy little pots of baby plants and seedlings; instead it is filled with dirt, dead plants and nests of Black Widows.

Most alarming, The Stump has The Boss's ear. He looks to her for advice and support when situations in The Hamlet go awry. She is, of course, filled with opinions and ideas which she imparts to The Boss with certainty and authority. More often than not, he follows her advice.

Dad used to say about people like The Stump: "She must be great in the sack." This used to horrify me when he'd say such a thing, but now that I'm older and have gained a bit of life experience, I think he must be right, in his coarse little way. Now Dad's comment fills me with horror in another way-- imagining The Stump and The Boss together... well, I'd like to have that part of my brain zapped with a powerful laserbeam so I can't visualize it again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yeah. Hey. Howaya?

I've been sick with some kind of lung-filling, sinus-blocking, voice-thieving, muscle-crunching virus these last few days. I slept most of last week, wore filthy pajamas, drank water and tea and ate virtually nothing. My voice is taking little trembly steps back to normalcy-- I sound like Demi Moore. Sexy.

Time disappears when I'm sick. It's an odd thought that the world went on while I was in a fever-induced daze-- people went on trips, went to work, planned weddings, worked in their gardens, bought cars, shoveled snow, wrote poems, cooked food-- all while I laid on my couch, inert, sweating, shivering, miserable. I hate missing out on life when I'm sick.

You can only imagine what The Hovel looks like at this moment. I'm longing for spring, where I can open up my windows and welcome in some warm, sweet air. I'll wash my floors, take my curtains to the cleaners, throw out old papers and letters, and start again.

It's been a long, cold winter.