Thursday, June 05, 2014

There's No Easy Way...

I got "one of those" e-mails from Boss Lady. I just picked up the phone and said, "Tell me now."

Our campus is closing. We are a regional site, which costs about $300,000 to run. Don't gasp. We BRING IN over ONE MILLION DOLLARS in credit hours. 

But someone saw that we "could save" $300,000 if we shut down this campus, given that some other decisions were made on the main campus which renders one speechless and doubting the wisdom of those at the top of the food chain. 

So. After 8 years. I'm essentially out of a job. But wait. It gets better.

We're closing as of the end of THIS calendar year. So we have 6 months to stew about this. 

And we're not guaranteed positions elsewhere in the organization. We get "preferential treatment" but we have to apply just like the average outside person. 

Yes, I'm used to this kind of shiv in the back. This isn't my first rodeo. My first Master's thesis was on what to do with the SURVIVORS of a RIF (Reduction in Force) -- no matter what you call it, and its names are legion, someone loses a job. 

So let me list the names I know of: RIF, down-sizing, corporate realignment, layoff, and (my personal favorite - NOT) right-sizing. 

Basically, the main campus made some decisions which, when coupled with a slow return to full growth, made someone Upstairs start to clutch their pearls. They saw an opportunity, and rather than let us work on finalizing some details on partnerships which would have been VERY profitable, they threw us under the bus. 

I'm not naming names or the school. I'm just very disappointed because we're all supposed to be mission-oriented, and above all, SMART. When the math doesn't work, it doesn't work - and in this case, it's very short-sighted (and I would have said that about any of our other regional sites, given this set of circumstances) to bail before you have a chance to really see the long-range plans come to fruition.

Even one of my colleagues said, "Hang on - I've only got an MBA, but $1,000,000 - 300,000 = $700,000. Seven. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. In profit." 

Yep. But we're still being closed as of the end of the calendar year. 

Mind you, this is my fourth or fifth RIF (they all blend together after a while), so while my colleagues reeled, I was  -  well, actually, pretty cold-hearted about it. They were all "Whaaaaaaaa??? Do you have jobs ready?" and I told them not only did we NOT have jobs, but if we wanted to stay with the school, we had to reapply just like anyone else. Well. You could've heard crickets in the room. 

I finally said, "Look, folks. I've been on this ride before. The shiv I feel in my back is just like the other ones. You get used to it. This is exactly what happens outside the academic bubble." And my colleague who was still stunned by the lack of logic in the math said, "Yes, but aren't we all supposed to be family?" 

Well, yeah. But apparently, there's a new sheriff in town and the bottom line is the bottom line. Not unlike our corporate friends. 

I did tell my boss that "as of now" I was taking all the comp time I've been accruing - usually I give half of it (or more) up because it's only me and a part-timer and we have to have this place open 6 days a week. She said, "I'd have to holler at you if you do NOT take it...go for it."

So how's that for starting your week out? The "official" announcement goes out Friday, and I expect the "WTH???" e-mails to be backed up in my inbox by Monday morning. 

Not to fear; I have applied for another position. Boss Lady said that, as a matter of fact, she was going to "lean on" some people she knows and make sure that I am looked after, as well as my assistant. She's being so wonderful about all of this. 

So we have the dreary drudgery of making an inventory, finding a home for all the houseplants (with deferred "adoption" till later in the fall) and for me -- finding a home for 8 years of "stuff" that I've used at work that's actually my stuff. Like holiday decorations, art work, some office accessories... It's a lot, and you don't realize it till you have to box it all up. 

Could I retire? No. 

Do I want to? Well, I'd probably LIKE to, but likely would not really WANT to. 

We can't afford it anyway. 

I'll keep you updated as to how things go. But for now? This week rather sucks.


Tilt your head...
How does my garden grow? Remarkably well, thanks. Here's what our veggies look like. Yes, (shhhhhhhh - don't jinx it) we have actually got TWO baby tomatoes. 

The flower garden is equally impressive. The hummingbirds appreciate the color and have been back to the feeders again, which is nice. 

Baby tomato
So this picture above, please tilt your head, is the complete veg garden. At the far left, red cages, tomato plants. In the middle of that same bed are 2 rows of cucumbers. One is for salads and the other is for my World Famous Hand-Cut Pickle Relish. 

The middle bed is carrots - the Heirloom seeds from Seed Savers. And next to that in the same bed are the Seed Savers radishes. Yes, we spaced them out. And yep - looks like every single radish came up!

The far right bed is just every lettuce I planted. Well, Hubby planted. I picked out. They're just about done, at least the loose-leaf ones. I have one or two rows of butter lettuce in head-variety. Those take a tad bit longer to get fully formed. 

The nice thing about the lettuce is that we can plant that throughout the summer and into fall, like a rotating crop. I like to do that because we'll eat it all summer and can plant, if we have a decent season, through about October or so. We shall see what Mother Nature has in store for us. 

And you noticed all the twirly-birds, right? That's why I like those screens. Otherwise, we'd have a garden of maple trees. 

So the flowers are also doing well. The poppies have popped, and the marigolds just shine at dusk. Our fuschia plants have blossomed nicely, and the Wave petunias are coming along. 
Carrots and radishes

It seems like the flower bed has lots of reds and lots of yellows. Sadly, I haven't seen our foxgloves. Hubby planted 2 more, but they're pale and one looks rather sickly. 

The French Lavender has bloomed a bit. I'm hopeful. 

I have yet to see the Purple Coneflower do anything but grow greenery in mammoth proportions. 

Lotsa Lettuce
The dill is up. The chives? Hmmmmmmmm. Not sure where they went. Maybe a bad batch of seed? I have to also drill some holes into the containers; we had the drainage all figured out, I thought, but not as good as it should be. 


Well, sock #2 of the KAL is coming along, and I've got about 1" on the foot till I can start the toe decreases. This one does look slightly different than the first one, but that's because I did the longer gusset. It'll all work out. 
Icelandic Poppies

I'll actually be happy to get this done. Guess I'm not meant for "marathon" sock knitting. It's taking me longer than #1, which was a record 13 days, but I have had several days of just not being able or wanting to knit. Shocking, right?

It'll pass. I did knit during the Blackhawks games, and I can tell that the tension is different! And I don't even like hockey all that much...

Yes, in case you were wondering, I've been pondering a new project. I think it's in direct correlation to what's been happening at work. I need a distraction. 

Like I don't have what? A dozen of them right now?? Well, I need a NEW distraction. I won't though. I have to at least keep SOME semblance of order amidst all this chaos. 


So the NRA said that those clowns who carried their "long guns" (compensation, much?) into the local fast food outlets were "kind of weird"... and I though, Wowza - the NRA is finally getting some common sense. Someone there has decided to call these morons on their ridiculous "protests" where they're carrying assault weapons (I'm not kidding - automatic rifles. I mean really...) into businesses "on the principle that we have the RIGHT to do this."

Well. That didn't last long. So apparently the REALLY crazy gun nuts are to be appeased because NOW the NRA is blaming the "anti-gun media" (Is that the same as the "liberal media"?? I get confused as to what it's all supposed to be, seeing as it's all owned by like what? Three people? All of whom are conservatives??) for "grasping" at "a staffers personal opinion that wasn't supposed to get into anything published for public consumption. 

What a REAL weasel looks like...
Yikes. Sorry, I am VERY uncomfortable around civilians with guns. I can't tell if you're the "good guy" or the "nutter." And I'm especially not fond of long guns (Assault rifles? Really??) in a commercial setting. Unless, perhaps, that setting is a bona fide target range.

Not a Target. 

Here's the blog entry that started it all. And here's their "Oh, no, we didn't mean THAT" response. I'd say they were weasels, but weasels are kinda cute and they have a purpose. Neither the NRA nor these over-compensating juveniles masquerading as "men" have much of a purpose. 

It's peachy if you have a RIGHT to do something. It's also, in my opinion (and I'm not alone on this one) MORE right that your rights don't scare the crap out of me and mine. I shouldn't have to carry a gun just because the NRA and various conservatives feel like the Wild West should be our milieu. 

I didn't think I'd be facing my elder years (no, I'm not THAT old; I'm projecting) having to be worried about gun violence, since where I live it's a relatively safe place, all things considered. 

Random Picture...

Goofy dog...
Time for some Raisa goofiness... This is the way she greets Kid #2 - she wants to snuggle. Strangely enough, that's how QUINN does it, too, so we're not sure if Raisa learned it from Quinn or if she's just some strange, mutant being.

Quinn did give her the royal stink-eye when she did this, seeing as this is QUINN'S gig... 

I still get the woooooooooo - woooooooooooo every morning and every night when I come home. One of these days, I'll have one of the guys tape it for you... 

Just so you get the full effect, imagine her jumping up there. She then plows her face into his ribs, slides her head along his thigh, puts her butt in his face, and then does a full belly-up move so that he can pet her. 

And her head hangs off the couch. To the point where I'm afraid she'll just slither off the couch. She hasn't yet. 

She'll probably bounce...There's some "Tigger" in there...

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