Walking on Gravel Roads

IMG_6802

My husband tells me I complain too often about too much. And it’s true. About five years ago, my New Year’s Resolution was to complain more often, a promise that has expanded to unimagined heights.

In fact, I once complained about the number of clicks involved in an online shopping pay-you-back scheme, and the only response I got was from a young ‘un who said: “Old people. Always complaining.”

But here’s the thing. I like to walk. When I lived in town, I’d take a three mile walk in the morning before work and a three mile walk in the evening after work. Kept my stress levels under control. Gave me something to look forward to every day. Loved the endorphins.

Plus the chance to march through my neighborhood, waving to people I knew by sight, stopping to visit with friends.

But in 2000, we moved to the ‘country.’ And I thought, yippee, great place to walk.

I was so wrong. The exurbs do not come with sidewalks. Dogs–some friendly, some not–wander about. Walking on gravel is not pleasant. Easy to twist an ankle or foot. And the dust … Good heavens, either wear a mask or turn your back when a car or truck goes by.

Three years ago, maybe four, Jim got tired of hearing me complain. He went to the county commissioners and asked if our road could be treated with dust control, preferably a chip-and-seal.  That would’ve given us a smooth surface for walking and reduced the dust by about 80 percent.

Our commissioner promised everything and gave us nothing. So here I am, 18 years of walking–not very often–on gravel roads. And yes, I have a treadmill (boring), and those walk-in-your-house DVDs (irritating). I could drive six miles to walk around the lake, but then there’s the cost of gas and the hassle of taking the car …

I guess I do complain a lot.

Worst Boss Ever: Second Runner Up

BlueClouds-IMG_5376

This boss arrived after the departure of my worst boss ever. More about her next week.

At first, he was a breath of fresh air. Super positive guy. We’d had a tough time, but now he was here, things would be–well–wonderful. Yes, he knew nothing about our industry, having worked in some other industry for his entire work-life. But not to worry. He was a fast learner and–after all–he had us to help him.

My mother would have called him a cockeyed optimist. He always smiled. Every problem had a solution. Life was amazing. The team was the absolute best. Things just couldn’t get better.

Right until he called me on the carpet over a conflict with one of the sales people.

Long-story short, putting proposals together wasn’t in her wheelhouse and she wanted me to take on that part of her job. I said no.

Whatever it takes, my boss said. I don’t have time, I said back. What do you want me to give up? His reply to me was crystal clear. Give up nothing. Do it all.

The dark side to a perpetually positive person is that they rarely say ‘no’ to a request. And this guy never said no. As his ‘big project’ person, I was hit hardest. I have lots of fond memories. Working till midnight every night. Working every weekend for months. Spending 60 hours on more than one three-day holiday weekend to get a ginormous proposal written. Never getting comp time. Never taking a vacation. In fact, when I finally decided to retire, I had three years worth of vacation time owed me.

Did he get me more help? Eventually, although he explained that the need for extra staff was due to my failure to manage my time.

I think positive people are great to be around–unless their positivity makes them blind to reality and the constraints of the 24-hour day.

I still have nightmares…

Next Thursday, worst boss ever.