Liar Liar, Pants on Fire

So what do you think of a person who lies frequently? No, I’m not talking about our illustrious leader who is becoming increasingly more famous for the habit. No, I’m talking about your average Joe or Jane, be he/she among the rich, the middle class, or the poor. Do you know such a person? I am happy to say that I have been successful in avoiding such creatures most of my life, or at least avoiding them enough to where I’ve never been caught up in their lies.

Lets back up here a bit. I’m getting ahead of myself. In my opinion there are several levels of a lie. The most innocent being the little white lie told to protect someone’s fragile ego. In my opinion the worst is the lie you tell with the sole intent of covering your own ass at the expense of someone else.

The kind of lie I have been having to deal with falls somewhere in the middle. Most of them are the kind told to make the person hearing it happy only to go to the next person, the person lied about to the first person, and say something entirely different. Yeah, that happened to me and a coworker.

The most harmful lie in the workplace is the lie that costs the company money. Telling a guest that a portion of the business is closed, when in reality nothing is closed as long as someone is awake, is a pure sign of laziness. Of course, that laziness is most visible when the boss sleeps most of every afternoon. Another form of this is competing with your guests, selfishly no less. Fishing was kinda hard this summer, but when he wasn’t sleeping he was taking his wife fishing, at least most of the time. He’d come back with fish and he’d show them off to his guests who maybe weren’t so lucky. Talk about rude.

Telling your employees that he must depend on the income from the lodge for living expenses for the rest of the year, is a very colorful half-truth. Of course, if daddy has cut him off, that might be more true than false. However, he uses that excuse to avoid hiring more help, which would be nice, and my first choice personally, or giving pay raises, which would also be nice since the cost of living out here keeps going up every year, especially the cost of gas. Of course, I’ve been living off a summer’s wages for many years now. If he has problems living off of the profits from the business, he needs to make a few luxury cuts and get a mite more realistic. I’m not sure he understands that though.

Last summer was year number three of five daddy gave the apple of his eye to make a go of his first real business venture, and after watching more than half of the guests go away actually angry, and three quarters of the rest of them go away less than happy makes me wonder if the business will survive another two years under his leadership. Take a guy who has never had to work for a living in his life, buy him a business, well established with a full complement of established guests, and just say, “Here you go,” is like the worst thing you can do to that business. Years one and two were under the guidance of the previous owner, but did he make any effort to learn anything? No! At the end of last year, he found out he had to bill all his guests again because he never mailed in any of the credit card receipts (or whatever those papers are called), and that was his second year. This year was his first year to open the lodge on his own, complete with three out of four brand new staff. If it wasn’t for the chef being something of an old hand, we would have had a lot more problems than we did have, and those were trouble enough.

Ah but I’m getting away from the purpose of this post – lying

Lying hurts. It hurts you and it hurts those around you, and it hurts anything you try to do. I prefer not to lie, though I can’t claim to be perfect. Most of the time, I’ll keep my mouth shut, but if you ask me my opinion, I’ll give it as diplomatically but as honestly as I can. It is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it is also my belief that you can’t get better if you can’t face the truth. I learned this being a writer. Tell me what is wrong with what I write, so I can learn not to make that mistake anymore. Tell the truth to your employees so they can better work as a team. And for God’s sake, hire a people person to run the lodge.

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Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 6:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

Sardines with a Pricetag

Things you do and don’t do if you’re trying to run a fishing lodge.

Fishermen are a pretty patient bunch of people as a whole. I mean, you get the kind who are high maintenance, and some who are kind of hard to keep track of, but that’s just the name of the game. As the ‘owner’ or ‘manager’ that’s what you do. You cater to the high maintenance people and try to keep track of the rest of them. Finding a lame excuse for not doing that is just lame. Charging your guests for just about everything is also kind of lame, but he could claim that it’s expensive getting things out here, and it is.

Charging for water, even bottled water, is something he and I don’t see eye to eye on, but I don’t say anything because I’m not paying for this stuff, nor am I paying for bringing things out here. I just think that water is the most basic item of survival and it should be made freely available to everyone. Wine, beer, soda – that’s a different thing; if you want to put all that crap in your body, you are welcome to pay me for the privilege of letting you do it.

Fishing tackle, shirts, and jackets are also available for sale here, and I know the jackets were imported, so the price tag on those is right up there. This kind of thing is all normal, but when you charge a guest for a stretch of line – no knots, no hook, no nothing, just about six feet of line – you’re going to piss off your guest. He did that, and that guest was VERY pissed. I don’t care if you charge 5c, that is just SO wrong.

Another guest asked him face-to-face if he could buy something from the tackle shop, but since they were outside (right out front) and since it was somewhere around 11 in the evening. “The tackle shop is closed,” he said. What??? Closed??? He’s awake talking to the man. Take him into the building and let him buy his lures, but he didn’t want to.

Another thing you DON’T do is forget to book the flight of a departing guest. He gets all packed up, comes in early for breakfast, and learns that there’s no room on the flight for him so he’ll be leaving in the evening. What if he missed an important flight because of that? These people all come here from Switzerland or France or wherever over there, Germany, Austria etc. missing a flight is a very big deal.

Going fishing in a boat while your guests walk is also another bad thing, unless you go somewhere else. Coming back with more fish than your guests is – at least here – considered bad manners. But the ‘owner’ also has an export business so he has to catch fish to take home (he goes home to Switzerland too). This looks very much like his guest are competition for the fish – a very bad deal.

He is also highly reluctant to make any improvements here around the lodge. Now I can understand needing to work within a budget, and the recommendations I make… Well, I try to consider the cheapest way to go about it, but making your guests feel like sardines that are only worth the dollars in their pocket is the wrong way to look at them.

When this lodge was built (I have no idea how long ago that was), the cabins were set up as do-it-yourself houses. They are well-built little houses with a tiny kitchenette, a few shelves, and room to sleep two or three people. When I first came out here over 20 years ago now, those little kitchens were not in use anymore. Now, in some of the cabins, beds have been added, and in a couple especially, they have been added right in front of the little cook stove (remember, these are never used). Everyone understands why the beds were added – most fishing parties now consist of 2 to 4 people, so putting them in one cabin is desirable. Removing the useless kitchen counters etc should have been done a long time ago.

I brought this up last fall. I explained the need for room and how it really looks bad to have a bed stuck in front of the kitchen. His excuse for not fixing at least one was not lack of time, or too expensive, or any other good excuse. At the time, we had the lumber (still do) and we had the time – we could have done at least one. His excuse was that the wood would be a different color that what was on the rest of the walls. He went on to say that the people come there and all they want is a place to sleep; they don’t care what it looks like.

That is true, as far as it goes. A cabin is a place to sleep, but when it looks like you are only in that cabin because they want to squeeze a few more dollars out of that cabin, you are subconsciously made to feel less welcome to stay, but it is what it has been for years, so no biggie, just me wanting to make things better – make the effort at least

As if that’s not bad enough. Like I said, most parties are 2 to 4 people, but when you DON’T put more than one party in a cabin. For a stretch of 2 days, he had 3 parties in one cabin. That only added up to 4 people, but if that doesn’t make a guest feel like a sardine, I don’t know what does.

Enough about the cabins, lets talk about the food. He refuses to pay for a plane to get supplies out here. Now the flying service is pretty good about bringing stuff for whoever if there’s space on a flight coming out, and most of the time that works just fine, but once in a while, we need stuff and there’s just no room. This happened two or three times this summer. The cook puts in an order, and then a week later he puts in another order and the guests are wondering why there isn’t any of this or that. We very nearly ran out of coffee, no less. A plane costs what one guest pays to stay here – he could have bought a flight to get his supplies out here.

Another thing that is happening is the guests are using up more bait than we are bringing in and we have already had to buy bait for them to use. This cost was also about what one person pays to stay here, but he won’t pay for more bait – “they can just use lures,” he says. – So we have a guy here who has been coming for 20 years now. For his 20th anniversary, I guess he paid nothing to stay. I’m sure that wasn’t my boss’s decision. Anyway, so we’re running out of bait, this guy tells my boss that he’ll pay for the bait. My boss is going to let him pay for the bait!!! He’s letting an old time guest pay for bait for the whole lodge full the people. Who does that sort of thing?

My boss is SO concerned with his profit margin, he’s not seeing the big picture. Unhappy guests don’t return. Unhappy guests tell their friends how unhappy they were. AND as I understand it, all these guys are big fishing club guys back home so these clubs get the word and this place will sink pretty quick. Right now it’s floating on the momentum of past success.

Tips is one indication of things going sour. They have been incredibly slim this year. A guest asked me yesterday how the tips work here, making it very clear that he wanted to tip us but not my boss.

There is another man here – a friend of my boss’s father and fellow investor, I think. Guests have been complaining to him – it’s all in Swiss or whatever language so I don’t understand more than a word or two here and there, but enough to understand how unhappy they are. Something about how many fish a guest caught or didn’t catch or what he wanted to do with it, I’m not sure. And the thing about the fishing line was a big deal.

Don’t get me wrong, my boss is a nice guy, but him running this lodge is a very bad business decision. I hope the other man, and the other investors see this and do something about it.

They (my boss and the lodge assistant) were joking the other day and I tuned in to hear, “…well okay, I quit,” from the lodge assistant. My boss laughs and say, “Okay, I quit too.” You know what came out of my mouth a second later. “Does that mean I inherit?” I have no clue how to run a business. I’ve never done it before, but I’m certain I could do a better job in a heartbeat.

My future looks bleak – wish me luck.

 

Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 4:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

Do You Stay in Touch with Family?

Dear family on notice;

I have come to the realization that I must belong to one of those groups of people that are shunned by everyone around them for reasons never admitted out loud.

All though school, I weathered that, telling myself that there was nothing wrong with me; if they didn’t want to be my friend then it was their loss. I never really realized that my family treated me the same way. I think mom never let me see it or perhaps I was just selectively blind. I certainly know I can be that way easily enough.

However, over the last few years, the reality of it all has chiseled its way into my consciousness. Here is a list of your crimes:

Several years ago, I asked my family for a little financial help and justified the asking with ‘it would help us be able to make a living better, longer and above all, easier’. We could pay the loan back in a year or two. I was highly reluctant to ask because I was under the impression that, though you all were living comfortably, you weren’t rich. A certain inheritance has caused me to suspect that my family might not be as poor as I had assumed.

Over the years, I would call mom about once a month and she would give me all the latest updates on all the happenings around the family. She would tell me about all the cute, dorky, little things happening all around, about the births and even about the deaths of those I knew – all the latest news about the family and around the hometown. We would have a good laugh or share a tear together. Mother has died and she was put in the ground so fast that I wonder if her body even had time to go through the different stages of rigger. Morbid, I know but I watch a lot of CSI so give me a break. Be thankful I’m not taking the time to use all the upper-case number symbols people like to use instead of cussing.

Ever since her death, even though I have had the same phone number since we moved here, when was the last time anyone in this family has tried to get in touch with me? And I’m not talking about all the little funny emails that go back and forth. Do you realize that the ONLY reason I have ANY of your email addresses is because I copied them off of those generic emails sent to everyone. That’s how I discovered that one brother had a new email. No one bothered to tell me. Yeah, I know, phone calls can be expensive and frankly my phone sucks so bad now I don’t bother to turn it on most of the time, but emails are easy and free. I may not even buy another calling card since apparently I have very little reason to have one.

My son was stationed in Kansas for a few months. I call my sister and have her spread the word that he’s in the area “Here’s the phone number. Call him. Make him feel welcome.” I mistakenly assumed that the family would be thrilled that he was anywhere within reach, but does anyone call or visit? Not on your life, you couldn’t be bothered. You haven’t seen the kid since he was about 12, and you couldn’t even send him an email thanking him for serving his country; how cold is that?

I hear a rumor, through MySpace no less, that my niece and her family is moving to Phoenix. There’s even a far fainter rumor that there’s a baby on the way somewhere. Hell, the kid is probably in school by now for all I know, not to mention whose kid it is. You all pop each other emails often enough, is it so much to ask for a personal note pointed in my direction now and then? I don’t care what it is, how dumb and ordinary it is, but I would love to read about it all and do the same in return. The only personal email I got wasn’t even sent TO ME. It was sent to my daughter-in-law, Ccd to me; how personal is that?

I try to sprinkle the dorky stuff through my books, blithely thinking that my family is the model family, we’re so close and so supportive of each other – well maybe, if you don’t count me in the mix. You know, I actually expected that you all would run out and buy one of my books, just so you could tell your friends that “My sister wrote a book, see here it is” or “My aunt is an author, see.” None of you have bought a single copy, have you? Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll apologize. It didn’t matter to me if you never read a single word of it. I know it wasn’t mom’s cup of tea, but at least she read it. And I know it wasn’t my sister’s thing either, she couldn’t make it through to the end. That’s fine; there is no way in creation a single type of book can please everyone, but still. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve managed to work myself into a bit of a temper. It shows itself once in a while. That too comes out in my books upon occasion; would you even notice?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can tell me you’re all busy. Well, I am too, but I’m never too busy for family or friends. You know, the only person left that I call ON THE PHONE about once a month, is a friend – the one and only friend I’ve ever had since junior high school, and the only reason I call her once a month or so is because she calls me once a month or so.

After one Christmas of trying to catch everyone at my sister’s house so I could catch a chat with everyone, an effort that failed, by the way, I decided to try an experiment. What would happen if I didn’t call ANYONE at Christmas? NOT A DAMN THING. For all you care, I could have fallen and broken my neck, and because I live in the 10th century and I couldn’t afford to pay a runner to make the 100-mile trek to the closest phone and call someone, no one knew. Now I’m a paraplegic and living in a rest home, my husband shot himself in the head and my kids are living on welfare. Will any of you read this close enough to know if it’s the truth or not?

Before I get too much more pissed, I’ll finish this with this one time warning. Much more of this cold-shoulder and I’ll loose your addresses and your phone numbers and screw you all. I’ve happily clawed my way in life out here for the last 20 years; I’ll, by damn, claw my way into my own ranch house by myself before I die and without any help from any of you.

Sorry, I do get mad like this once in a while. None of my family will ever read this. All I’m saying is, take a moment and touch a family member once in a while.

Published in: on April 14, 2014 at 8:14 PM  Comments (2)  

Quiting Smoking

I’ve lived with a smoker all of my life, not counting a college roommate or two. I’ve even tried a few as a teen, but really, inhaling smoke on purpose was something I could never bring myself to do. I mean really, it just seemed like a stupid thing to do. Being downwind from a campfire is bad enough, though I did next to no camping as a kid.

But I’m not talking about me quitting; I’m talking about my husband. I feel sorry for him. He’s going through such a very hard time. I don’t know what is in cigarettes, but I do know that it’s much more than just nicotine.

Over the last few years he’s tried to quit, and he picks this time of year to do so on purpose. If you can’t get to the store or the post office, you can’t buy any tobacco. Usually we get some to get us through the need to cut our first tree or so, or whatever early fall chore that may need doing, but this year my last order of supplies was never ordered. I order most of my supplies through the lodge and I was trying to spread out my orders between paychecks; it turned out there wasn’t going to be another order – I screwed up (sorta).

In the past, we also stocked up on things like Nicorette gum or more recently, some little mints that do the same thing. They help, but only some. It’s the other toxins he’s withdrawing from that have him so badly screwed up.

He gets dizzy. He runs a fever in waves. He can’t think straight. And those cause him to be short tempered to say the least. The Nicorette helps some with the thinking, but that’s about it. It keeps his brain happy(ier) while his body still goes through contortions.

This year, he’s run out of it all, so it’s cold turkey, and sometimes I’d like to strangle him. I think there’s a reason why guys make poor patients in hospitals (so I’ve heard). There are times I wish I could put him in an artificial coma for a couple months.

All day he’s moaning and shivering, and whining and complaining. Not that I begrudge him that, he’s miserable – horribly miserable, but then some of the things that come out of his mouth really make me feel guilty. He’ll say it too. “It’s all your fault. You’re killing me. Just shoot me. I’ll just go find an iceberg.” And others along the same vain. Supper comes around and he’ll complain about that for one reason or another. Here lately, he’ll eat what he can, hand me the plate (mostly empty), and then ask what’s for dinner. Yeah, I know, a lot of people who quit smoking gain weight, but he just ate a whole supper (minus the crunchy stuff he can’t chew). I’ll ask him what he wants. I’ll fix it for him. I’ll do whatever I can to make this ordeal easier, but he won’t say. He just gets snippy. I know and fully understand; he’s probably not really hungry, but yet again, he is. His stomach is full but his brain isn’t satisfied and the only thing he can think of is food. The real satisfying agent isn’t to be had.

I wish I could get my hands on the person (or people) who decided to put whatever into (or onto) tobacco that makes it so addictive. If someone were to go on a shooting spree, why is it they never go to the tobacco places? I’d sure shoot me a few of the chemists. My husband tells me it’s WAY worse than quitting any of the hard drugs and I guess he’s tried his share of them. From what he tells me, he’s tried them all, and when he got tired of them, he just quit and that was that. But this, this legal drug, is running him through the ringer, quite literally.

Oh and this second hand smoke that I’ve lived with all of my life, that I blame for my bronchitis, why am I not going through the withdraws too? Probably because I’m just getting the smoke. Everything else was left behind in the other person’s lungs. Then again, the air quality overall isn’t all that great, but you won’t catch anyone blaming lung cancer on air pollution regardless of how many nonsmokers die from it. Nope, that’s all secondhand cigarette smoke. In a closed environment – maybe. Overall – I don’t think so.

I could probably go on but rant over for now. Gaaa

Published in: on September 27, 2013 at 9:02 AM  Comments (4)  

Religion – It’s all bad

Yep, that has come to be my conclusion. All religion, as it is interpreted today, has become bad. Man is, by nature, a selfish creature, and he has sculpted his religions to suit his nature.

Thanks to an argument between friends of mine, over Muslims, I have reached my limit on tolerance of religions, the Muslim religion as taught by the Koran, and the christian religion as taught by the Bible in particular.

The argument revolves around good people vs extremists. Yes, good people abound in both religions, but in truth good people don’t do anything to change what they know is wrong with their religion. Not doing evil is simply not good enough. Condoning wrong is not doing good, it’s looking the other way.

So, let me compare these two religions as I have come to understand them, and bear in mind, I have done some research on both sides, but I am not a scholar of either side, so if there’s something I’ve missed, I extend my apologies in advance.

Christianity: I can see Jesus looking around at the religions of his day and seeing the wrong in them, so he managed to create his own religion. It became so popular that it turned into a major religion even today. His first followers then compiled a collection of his teachings into what is known today as The Bible. The foundation of this is the ten commandments, and they are:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

> as copied from http://www.godstenlaws.com/ten-commandments/#.UjOCYbzHRMg <

But then there was Muhammad. As I understand it, he wrote the Koran supposedly as Allah told him.

As it turns out the Koran has very similar commandments:

  1. There is no God but one God
  2. There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him
  3. make not God’s name an excuse to your oaths
  4. Be kind to your parents if one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not a word of contempt nor repel them but address them in terms of honor.
  5. As for the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands, but those who repent After a crime and reform shall be forgiven by God for God is forgiving and kind
  6. They invoke the curse of God if they lie. (and) Hide not the testimony
  7. If anyone has killed one person it is as if he killed the whole mankind
  8. Do not come near adultery. It is an indecent deed and a way for other evils
  9. Do good to your parents relatives and neighbors (Saying of the Prophet Muhammad, “One of the greatest sins is to have illicit sex with your neighbor’s wife.”)
  10. When the call for Friday Prayer is made, Hasten to the remembrance of God and leave off your business

> as copied from http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0705-3281 <

But without knowing more, and with what I do know, I believe that these are not the only commandments in the Koran. I read an article the other day where an eight year old girl was killed by her brand new husband, not by his hand, nor in anger, but by his having sex with her with no regard to the fact that her tears and cries were of very real agony and not just little girl fears. To put it bluntly, he gutted her with his penis. Further in this article it was mentioned that the government tried to make it a law that girls could not be married until they were seventeen, but one of the priests put up a fuss saying it was against Muhammad’s teaching. Guess what, the law was repealed, not that the majority of the populous would have followed it anyway, nor would any of the enforcers have enforced it.

It is a known fact that Muhammad was what is called today a pedophile, but to indulge his sick craving for little girls, he wrote it into his Koran; he made it law. Those who chose not to follow this teaching were therefore less holy.

There are other places where killing is blatantly printed out in the Koran. In order to attain heaven, something apparently incredibly hard to do, one must die a martyr. One definition of a martyr is “a person who is killed because of their religious beliefs”. How can you be killed because of your religious beliefs if you are not fighting a religious war? And who could you possibly fight a religious war against and keep it a religious war? Why, the Christians of course. Pick a ‘big’ enemy so you can die a grand martyr taking out many of the infidels with you – the more the better.

Now don’t get me wrong, Christianity isn’t much better. While the Koran teaches to kill the infidel, the Bible teaches to save their soul pretty much at all cost. Those who wouldn’t convert, were, of course ‘saved’ and therefore judged by God. Yeah, rather sickening, but that is the fault of interpretation more than anything else, whereas in the Koran, it is actually written down. Die a martyr by killing all the infidels you can find and go to heaven where you can get all the wine, music, and virgins you want. If you don’t, you go to the Muslims’ version of purgatory and burn for the rest of eternity.

Am I interpreting this too bluntly? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Does everyone follow either religion to the letter? Fortunately no, but do they change anything? Again, no.

Way too many Christians believe there is no hope for those who believe in another religion, no hope at all and therefore see it as their personal mission in life to ‘save their soul’. Any more, most of them will not kill their target if they fail, but they have made it an art to make you feel guilty for being so lost. They simply can’t see that all religions are so very much alike, nearly identical in their foundation, in fact.

Most Muslims are the same. They may be very nice, trying hard to live their lives the best they know how, but do they make any effort to change the things that are wrong? No, not even when it comes to the death of an eight year old girl, not even when it comes to the subjugating of half of their population for no better reason than they might be pretty and someone else might enjoy the view. Not even when wannabe martyrs abound, knowing full well they intend to kill infidels wherever they find them. No, they just look the other way.

Like too many, if not all, of our governments, religions have become corrupt, and like our government, they need to be purged.

I firmly believe that the Muslim religion, as taught in the Koran, is a religion of killing. I also believe that Jesus saw this and was successful in changing things, but then human nature took over and people, hungry for power, perverted that too. Therefore, it is my conclusion religion is bad.

Published in: on September 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM  Comments (2)  

Sticks and Stones

As a kid, there was this saying going around. “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” But we all know that that is not entirely true. Yeah, so words cannot cause physical injury, but they can still hurt.

I have something of an issue with my weight. I suppose if I were to go to a doctor, he would classify me as obese. I say this because my son had to get a physical not too long ago and yeah he’s over 200 pounds and he does have some love handles, but if you ask me, he’s far from obese. Me, I’m somewhat closer, but I still consider myself in fairly good health.

My husband (and me too to a degree) likes to make fun of my weight. I know he loves me and I know it’s just funning. I’m known as a professional anchor, meaning I’m good at sitting in the front of the boat and holding it against the bank, if we’re not staying wherever long enough to pull out the real anchor. This also applies to turning the plane around on our runway. When the plane pulls up the the turn-around of our runway, we go out and hang onto a wing by a rope dangling there for that purpose, while he powers the rest of the way around. When I’m helping, the turn is much sharper.

Back to sticks and stones. Funning aside, saying some such funny remark over and over tends to lose the fun, and eventually such words just hurt. I know he loves me, I do not doubt his intention to be funny, so I continue to laugh or smile, though sometimes I’ll respond with a, “Gee thanks. I love you too.” But this too is in fun. Sadly I have to remind myself that it is fun, that it is intended purely as fun. I have to shed off the hurt and continue to smile and laugh. He has no desire to hurt me in any way. I know this, but it still hurts.

Now that I have that little vent off my chest. For anyone who happens to stumble across this. Watch what you say. Words can hurt, even when fun is the intention.

Published in: on April 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM  Comments (2)  

To Live as a Ghost

There’s a woman who lives in the neighborhood who surely must feel like a ghost, or perhaps she’s just incredibly shy. I’ve known of her existence every since she married her husband, and I’ve known him for somewhere in the vicinity of 15 years. Not that we have ever been on really friendly terms, but we’ve never been on bad terms, not face-to-face anyway. My husband used to call him semi-frequently to get a river report perhaps or some other news. She never answered the phone to my knowledge.

Yesterday, I saw her for the second time since she’s been out here. The first time, I wasn’t sure who she was. Even though we both spoke with her husband briefly, she never approached, merely remaining seated in their boat until her husband had finished getting their plane ready. They went to town.

Like that day, only much closer physically, she never said a word to me. She and her husband, and I and the remaining staff from the lodge were on the beach waiting to meet a plane. Two planes, actually – she and her husband were helping the owners of the neighboring lodge meet a plane, and I and the caretaker of the lodge where I work were waiting to put the last of the departing staff on another plane. Both planes were arriving at the same time and would be parking at the same sandbar.

I spoke with her husband, joshing with him about his new 4wheeler – it looked like a miniature yellow jeep – really kind of cool, with a little tailgate and everything. He was going to be looking after that lodge for the winter, he was helping the owners with all their luggage and such. I got involved because I bought some fuel right then and my little drum was added to the trailer hitched to his baby jeep.

So this ghost woman stood there while I asked for the fuel. She stood there through it all. To the best of my knowledge, she spoke to no one, though she might have spoken to those lodge owners at some point. Like last time, her husband didn’t bother to introduce her, though I admit, before she was nowhere near as close. Surely curtsy should have required her husband to at least make an introduction. Surely he realized we had never met.

What must her life be like? Does she speak to anyone? Does she have any friends out here? I would not consider her husband a gentleman. He is the type of person who thinks they control all they survey, as the old saying goes. Does he control her in the same way? I hope not.

I knew his first wife. Their’s was a marriage of convenience, I believe. Though I don’t know for sure, they were married long enough for her to get her citizenship, I think. To the best of my knowledge, he was good to her. He even helped her build her own house after they were divorced. She used to handle bookings for several of the lodges around. It paid the bills. That place has now sold and she has moved to town.

But I digress. That woman was much more animated, more outgoing. This ghost stands quietly, or sits primly, and is always silent, never a wave or even a glance, let alone a smile. Sad really.

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM  Comments (5)  

Where did Work Ethic Go?

Young people these days. Did parents not teach their kids to take pride in their work? Or is getting paid just to show up the going trend and actually working for your paycheck an annoyance?

I’ve never seen such poor standards as this year. The front house job is not easy; attention must be paid to the details of the job as well as to the customers. If the front house girls pay attention to the guests, we all benefit by getting good tips – something that is shared with all the house staff even if we don’t all go schmooze with the guests personally, we all work hard to see to their comfort and to make the front house girls’ job as easy as possible.

It happens that sometimes things don’t get written down in the right places, but when that happens with wine or beer being sold, someone has to pay for the sale, so guess what comes out of those house tips. This happened so much this year, tips were shamefully lacking. That, combined with the near constant lack of attention to the guests ended up cutting tips by 1/3 at least.

Follow the money – when I normally get tips ranging from $300 to $400 a month and suddenly I’m doing good to get $100 a month. Something wasn’t done right.

Okay, so that’s that part of my rant, now on to the other part of my rant

You get hired to do a job, whatever it is, even washing dishes. Take a little pride in your work and get the job done. If you want to do something else with your time, get the job done quickly and efficiently and lo-and-behold you have free time and you’re still getting paid for it. It works that way ALL OF THE TIME. So, in the case of our front house girls, if the lodge is cleaner (people do notice things like bugs in the windowsill and crumbs etc in front of the coffee pot), people will be happier (happy guests tend to tip, though not always). In the case of the dishwasher. Taking twice as long to wash dishes only means you wallow in dish water twice as long. You’re standing at the sink twice as long. Of course, if you don’t want to go outside and do a little yard work for the rest of your morning shift, I suppose lagging along playing in dirty dish water is an option. But then comes lunch dishes … And then comes dinner dishes. Which would you rather do?

Published in: on August 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM  Comments (2)  

Homesick

It’s one concept I don’t understand. Sure no child wants to leave home. Home is safe. Home is familiar. But by the time a child reaches adult, they should be ready, if not eager, to venture out into the world. When I was 18 I traveled half way across the country to go to college. Being born and raised pretty much in the center of the US, I went north, not far from Canada. Sure I called home fairly often, but I never regretted my choice of location and never grieved for home. There were no tears, no whining to anyone of “I wanna go home.”Three years later I joined the Army and traveled 2 to 3 times as far from home for basic training, and ended up here in Alaska. I have only been able to go home 4 times since we moved here. Homesick, never once. The only time I regretted not being able to go home whenever I wanted was when my mother died. Not that I didn’t try, but she died very close to Christmas time and all flights were booked solid. As it turned out, even if I had been able to book a flight, it would have been canceled or diverted; that was the year Denver was shut down due to really heavy snowfall.

Now I work at a fishing lodge 80 some air miles from Anchorage. It’s a summer job – nearly four months if you work from the very beginning to the very end – certainly not your normal career-type job. Many of our employees are college students seeking a summer job, so many of them are somewhere around 20 years old, give or take a handful of years. Tomorrow one will go home, having been here only since yesterday’s evening flight. After one day she couldn’t take it and wanted to go home. Breaking down and crying most every time she was on her own. I think she was dwelling on what was back home far more than looking forward to the new experience.

Now don’t get me wrong; living out here is not for everyone. In fact, I would guess that few people could handle the months of isolation. You have to be able to entertain yourself for hours on end, and if you’re married, you need to be able to get along with your significant other very well. For long stretches of time you can’t run to your neighbor so they can entertain you, and the only bar you can run to is the one you have in your refrigerator (if you have one of those). But really, 3 or 4 months of work around people constantly coming and going, and working with people that are always there to talk to or watch TV with, or even get drunk with – of course all that is done on off time, can be a lot of fun. There’s also opportunities to go fishing or just lay out in the sun. A summer job here isn’t bad. On the job, you do work hard, but you get to meet awesome people from all over the country and sometimes from around the world. I mean really, not a bad summer job.

So, what’s with homesickness? In all my years I’ve met exactly 3 people who became homesick and one of those people were somewhere around 10 or 12 years old – I don’t remember anymore. I was only a kid myself. The other two were both out here at the lodge. Surprise the heck out of me. Are we no longer teaching our kids to make their own way in life? Do we hang on to them too long? One of my sons has made it all the way to Korea during his tour with the army before coming back to Alaska, and the other one now lives in Arizona. The one I get to see 2 or 3 times a year. The other one I talk to on the phone every so often. I miss them, but they have a life to live, and I wish them the best is whatever choices they make.

Nope – no homesickness in my family. Nothing a phone call or an email can’t cure. And now that I have internet, Facebook is awesome for keeping in touch with family even if they are a whole country away.

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Human Nature

What is it about people these days? Once upon a time man was doing good to survive. One day someone discovered that when you crawl under a pile of rocks, the world is not so inhospitable. One thing led to another and look at what we have now. We now have massive cities, and people live and work in skyscrapers that threaten to pierce the clouds. But we didn’t get there just because someone learned how to stack stones one on top of the other to build a house. It’s human nature to want to have something better for the next generation. Benjamin Franklin gave us electricity and the printed book, and now we have the internet and eBooks. Thomas Edison gave us the light bulb and the phonograph, and now we have the MP3 player. And if it weren’t for Henry Ford we wouldn’t have the world-round transportation network that made building and supporting those massive cities possible. If it weren’t for these men, and others just as industrious though less well-known, we would all still be living in little farming towns and weeding our kitchen gardens.

Recently I was shown a very blatant comparison. When was the last time you looked at Hiroshima? It’s such a beautiful, thriving city, but remember some 70 or so years ago it was a toxic nuclear waste. Now look at this country. Every generation we have all struggled to give our kids the next best thing. We think we know what the standard of living should be, so we pour great gouts of money into our government to ensure no one in this country is below that standard. Of course, it seems like every year that standard needs adjusting. There’s also all the ‘adjusting’ to what people get paid so they can make ends meet and save a bit in order to make that improvement for the next generation.

It’s all a vicious ball that is rotting from the inside. With so many people getting their life-style handed to them, less people are actually working for what they get. Why should they? All they have to do is go fill out some forms and they’ll get a check – problem solved. Did you know – I didn’t – there is no welfare in Japan, and look what they accomplished. Our government needs to get out of the private sector and allow us to manage ourselves. The only problem with that idea is that we are so addicted to government aid that we don’t know how to survive without it anymore. Businesses don’t know what to pay people anymore and heaven forbid people had to pay for their own insurance rather than look for work with the best package. In that same vein, doctors don’t know what to charge anymore either. What is the fair price for all the services out there? Once was the time when people could go to the person or business who offers the best service for the lowest price, thus forcing other people and businesses to keep their prices low in order to compete, but free market and competition no longer exists. Once again, government has stepped in to make sure businesses stay afloat that should really die a painless death or make drastic changes, thus causing far less overall damage in the long run.

But what do I know? I am just a country hick who has managed to drop out of society and become a hermit.

Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 11:28 PM  Comments (2)