Fighting Fires

Autumn Years Rest Home: Saturday night.

“Well, look who’s here. It’s the Fox! Where have you been girl?”

“I’ll never tell, dear sister Wolf. Besides, what business is it of yours?”

“You know what Fox? Don’t tell me. I am sorry I asked. Besides, I always knew you were Mom’s favorite.”

“Mom didn’t have favorites. She loved all of us kids, even you.”

“Nope. You were the favorite. You always had everything you wanted.”

“Don’t be a silly goose. Just because I am better looking than you, that didn’t make a bit of difference to dear old Mom.”

“Oh yeah, then how come you got to take dancing lessons and I got stuck going to church with Ma.”

“She wanted you to be a nun, dear. She knew it was your only hope for some kind of life.”

“Well, so much for that. I got kicked out of the nun house.”

“You never did tell us why. Pray tell, Sis, what really happened?”

“I helped Father Jack set up a brewery in the basement. And we got busted smoking pot, when the damn thing blew up.”

“Why did you have to get involved with brewing and weed? Don’t you remember what happened to Daddy? He went to the big house for years over that kind of stuff.”

“I couldn’t help myself. The devil made me do it.”

“Well, when you came back home, Mom and I made a pact.”


“We decided you should work for the phone company. It was the next best thing to being a nun.”

“I will have you know, I made one hell of an operator.”

“Of course you did, Wolf. Mom and I knew it was the right choice for you. I mean, what else could you possibly do? You were homely, banned from the church and hated going to my dancing recitals.”

“It always gets back to you, doesn’t it Fox? Look where dancing got you. The oldest living pole dancer in Pennsylvania. And I hear you got a pole installed in your room at our rest home. Why?”

“Practice makes perfect, dear Sister.”

“Is that why all the firemen are hanging out in your room?”

“Oh my yes. They love to put Vaseline on their legs and slide on down.”

“Just where were you today, anyway? Fess up.”

“I ran into Father Jack. He was looking for a new career. We had a few beers and shared a joint, and I talked him into applying for a fire fighter’s job.”



Enhancing my image

“How was the work week, Wolf?”

“OK. Not bad. Ran into Sue, the panty lady. She did it again. She put on her jeans and forgot to take her panties out and they were dragging behind her.”

“History repeats itself.”

“Yeah. I laughed it off and told her that at least she would always have an extra pair with her, if she needed them.”

“Good grief.”

“And let’s see, oh yeah, I called a customer and dialed the wrong number. Nice lady from Virginia answered. She was sleeping when I called. We hit it off and had a lengthy chat. I told her I would call her later to see how she is doing.”

“Why do you do these things?”

“I loaded up my candy dish, to see if I could lure people to my desk. I love it when people stop by. It makes me look popular.”

“You know the only reason they are there is to eat candy.”

“So what? It enhances my image.”

“Who are you trying to fool, anyway?”

“We ordered Chinese food yesterday and I blew up into a bloated gasbag.”

“Why even mention that?”

“Oh, and I kept getting emails from someone in our call center in a foreign country. I guess he got pissed off, because I didn’t immediately respond, so he called our VP and tried to get her to help him. She couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying until he mentioned my name. She transferred the call to me. He went on and on about why I hadn’t answered his emails. At least I think that is what he was talking about. Anyway, come to find out, he was calling the wrong facility. I told him: Wrong number, partner. But he continued on and on. When he finally understood that he had barked up the wrong tree, he hung up. Then, 2 minutes later, I got another call from the VP. He’s baaaaaaaack. She transferred the call to me, and he said, ‘Do not respond to my emails. OK? Do not respond. Ok?’ No problem, buddy.
Have a nice day. And if you need to talk to me about this again, call me directly. OK? He said, ‘Kindly do the needful thing. Do not respond to my emails.’”

“What the hell?”

“Then I got on a nationwide training webinar. It was going along routinely, putting most everyone to sleep, when I heard the Banana yelling. She said, ‘I am on a company webinar. No, I can’t deal with the lawyer right now. I told you (and by now she was screaming) I am on a conference call.’ The trainer said, ‘Hello’ and the Banana said ‘Oh wrong number’ and hung up.”

“Who was she talking to?”

“She has call waiting and answered it, but she pushed the wrong button and her comments were heard by the nationwide audience.”


“Yeah, she is afraid everyone knows she was the screaming idiot. But we all knew that anyway.”

“Sounds like a pretty normal week.”

“My cell phone is ringing. Sorry Minnie, I have to take this call. It’s the lady from Virginia.”


It’s Friday

It’s Friday. Are you out celebrating the end of the work week? Are you thinking about the 2 days that you can do what you want, without any obligations? Are you ready to kick back, relax and do your own thing?

No deadlines. No need to get up at 6am, take a shower, pack a lunch and commute. No phones to answer, reports to prepare, punching time clocks or rushing around frantically to get everything done before the bell rings.

You go out to dinner tonight. Yahoo! Let’s have one more drink. Ok. Two more. It’s midnight. Geez, where did the time go? You feel giddy, but hey, it’s Friday. Last call for alcohol. One more for the road.

You fall into bed, feeling great. I can sleep late. And you do. It’s 10am. Let’s have a nice breakfast. No, I feel a little goofy. Do we have any alka seltzers? At noon, you drive to the grocery store, load your cart, drive home, unload your car, put your stuff away.

It’s 3pm. What’s for dinner? Who cares? Besides, there is nothing to eat. Let’s have a glass of wine. Tastes great. Let’s open another bottle. What’s on TV? Nothing? It’s 8pm. Off to bed.

Yes! It’s Sunday. A day of rest. What the hell? It’s 11 o’clock. I never sleep this late. Geez, I have to clean and do the laundry. Oh to hell with it. Let’s watch a movie. What’s for dinner? You order pizza. Are you ready for the work week?

I don’t know where the weekend went. I should have taken Monday off. You decide to clean the house. You get through at 11pm. You are exhausted. You are depressed. Tomorrow is Monday.

5 days to go, until it’s Friday.


Living in the past

“Hey Minnie, do you remember what it was like before we had computers?”

“Yes, Wolf. Why?”

“Today, at work, we had a nationwide system outage and we had to work without the internet, system programs and email.”

“So what did you do?”

“I got off my ass and rearranged files. I organized my desk, and I actually had time to talk to some of my co-workers. I participated in 3 conference calls, and paid attention to what was going on. I didn’t multi task, answered every phone call on the first ring, and took lunch. And, I must say, I felt guilty.”


“I am used to the fast pace, the continuous emails, the instant messages, the urgent requests, and the need for immediate responses. I felt disoriented, out of touch, isolated. And not a bit of stress.”

“Kind of a mixed blessing?”

“I’m not sure. It was like I was living in the past. And the past isn’t good enough for today’s environment.”

“Are you saying you didn’t enjoy the day?”

“No, I’m not saying that. It was just that it was reminiscent of the past. And I don’t know if I could be happy reliving that way of life again.”

“Are the systems back up now?”

“Yeah. Thank goodness. I don’t think I could stand another boring day.”


Self imposed?

“Anything exciting happen today at work, Wolf?”

“Yeah. I saw Denise sitting on the floor, filing. She looked pretty comfortable until she tried to get up. You know how it is. The mind thinks it knows how to raise itself from a sitting position, but the body won’t budge. She grabbed onto a handle of the file cabinet and the whole thing collapsed.”

“What’s with these people who invent these torture chambers? Filing is a horrible experience if you have to get into that bottom drawer.”

“Well, I guess it’s ok, if you still have the flexibility to stand on your head and not fall over, but it seems that the people who are doing the filing are the old or infirm folks. And they drop like a bomb, when they sit down, but they have a hell of a time getting back on their feet.”

“Is she ok?”

“Oh yeah. But now she has to file everything all over again. She said she is taking a lawn chair with her tomorrow. One of those adjustable jobs.”

“Is that Denise’s job? Filing?”

“Yes, for now. She only has one hand.”


“Yeah, and she has the other one in a sling.”

“What the hell?”

“She got hurt and was out on workman’s comp. But the doctor said she could return to work.”

“She got hurt filing?”

“No, I don’t think so. I think it was from lifting heavy boxes. She decorated our Christmas tree every year and I guess those decorations are wildly heavy. And, to top it all off, she tried to put an angel on the top of the tree, but she was too short, and she jumped up like a gazelle, and threw herself into the tree.”

“What happened?”

“The decorations broke in a million pieces. But the angel made it to the top. Unfortunately, Denise ended up looking like a porcupine. Her whole body had those little tree thingies stuck in it.”

“Is that when she went on workman’s comp?”

“Yes, but the doctor said she could return to work, after her face healed, but she was not allowed to talk. She was put on limited duty. Filing.”

“Didn’t she protest?”

“She couldn’t. Her jaw was wired.”

“So how did she hurt her hands?”

“Nobody knows. I told you, she can’t talk.”

“Denise sounds like she is a walking accident.”

“You got that right Minnie. And I took a good look at that lawn chair she is bringing in tomorrow. I will guarantee the damn thing will collapse on her, and her legs will be messed up.”

“Do you think some of these accidents may be self imposed?”

“What the hell Minnie? Are you in cahoots with these doctors?”



Wolf continues with her newsletter, highlighting another special person at work.






Eats like there is no tomorrow.

Thin….and I mean thin.

A great resource to just about anything you want to know.

Proud Mom.

Soon to be Mom again.

Always freezing.

Constantly chomps on ice chips.

Will not eat anything that is green.

Great decorator.

Loves to say “So sad”.

Always willing to help.

Bounding with energy.

Would look good in a paper sack.


And a chicken butt.


This job is killing me

I love working with drama queens. It is so much fun to get them riled up. I say things like, “Hey what’s that on your face?” And they go nuts, and run to the rest room. When they come out, they say, “What? What was on my face?”

I reply, “Oh, it’s gone now.” For the rest of the day, I see them looking in the mirror, making sure they don’t have “it” on their face.

The queens usually come in each morning like they are half dead. They limp into the office, complaining about how they are really sick and should have stayed home. They just don’t know how they are gonna make it through the day. For the next several hours, I hear grunting and groaning. They ask, “Is it hot in here? I feel like I am burning up.”

I tell them, “Not really. I am quite chilly. Do you think you might have a fever?”

They love that comment. Now they have confirmation.

“Maybe you should have stayed home today,” I say.

“Are you kidding me? I come in here all the time feeling sick. If I reported out sick every time I feel like this, I would never come in. My back is killing me. I had that awful train accident 17 years ago and I have been in constant pain ever since.”

“Whoa. I am so sorry. It must be awful.”

“You don’t know the half of it. But I have a high tolerance for pain and nobody really knows the agony I am in. Here. Look. I have pictures of my latest MRI. The doctor says I am a walking miracle.”

“Gee. I hope you make it through the day.”

“Me too. I have so many things to do tonight. I have to help my sister move into her new apartment, go to the gym, play soft ball with the kids, rake the yard, and paint the bathroom.”

“You better take it easy with that bad back.”

“Yes, I know. I think I better just sit at my desk today, plug in and listen to my cds.”

“Yeah. You need to take it easy.”

“No kidding. This job is killing me.”


Lightning never strikes twice

“I love old sayings, don’t you Minnie? Like ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew.’”

“You must be hungry again. Let’s go to dinner. And don’t fill up on stuff you know you won’t eat. It will just lie there and eventually be thrown out.”

“It has nothing to do with eating. It is a philosophy of life. Don’t take on more than you can handle. That’s what it really means.”

“No it doesn‘t. It means your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”

“That is a whole different story. That has to do with gluttony.”

“No way. Why are you reading stuff into sayings that have lasted for hundreds of years. These things are meant to be taken literally.”

“Literally? That is where you are wrong. You have to dig down into the true meaning of these things.”

“Yeah, well, what about a penny saved is a penny earned? Who gives a rat’s ass about a penny these days?”

“It doesn’t matter if you say penny or dollar or hundreds of dollars. That’s not the point.”

“Hmmm. Ok, Ms Smarty Pants, what about a stitch in time saves nine. You really should sew that button on your grey pants.”

“Wrong. It means take care of things before they get out of hand. If you don’t, then you really will have a mess on your hands.”

“I don’t get it Wolf. If you are so smart, why don’t you come up with a saying that is relevant to modern times?”

“Ok. Here’s one: The Lottery: If you don’t play, you can’t win. And if you don’t play, you can’t lose.”

“Then why did you buy tickets for the Mega Ball?”

“Because a fool and his money are soon parted.”



Have you ever seen a beautiful woman? I do, every day. A knock out, a blonde bombshell, a petite gnome. She is stunning. And, I don’t think she knows it.

I sit by this bomber, and hear her on the phone. “Ok, I will take care of it. Thanks.” or “Hello? Yes, I got it. Give me 10 minutes.”

Nothing takes this woman over 10 minutes. She whizzes through life with a flourish. She says things like, “I love life.” “A leopard knows his spots.” “Life is good.”

I get a call, and for the next 45 minutes, I try to say what this woman says in 10 seconds. She puts me to shame.

Energy? Oh yeah. She has it. Knowledge? Yes. She doesn’t flaunt it, but she knows. I see the guys stop by her desk. They drool. She smiles and goes about her business. She can’t be bothered. She is probably so tired of the whistles that she can be choosy.

She is unpretentious, down to earth, and yet, she tells me she is too selfish to have kids. I don’t believe it for a minute. Some day, she will make a wonderful mom. But I hope she takes time now to enjoy her life.

She is a hoot. Very funny. A wise cracker, but never malicious. I have a feeling that she is easily hurt, but she never shows it. I saw tears one day and I asked, “What’s wrong?” She said, “Nothing. I am fine.” I told her she couldn’t fool mother nature and she sure as hell couldn’t fool me.”

But I would never probe. Besides, she would probably say, “I love life. Life is good.”

My wish for her is that life will always be good for her. She most certainly deserves it. We all love her and are watching over her ass.



Wolf continues with her newsletter, highlighting another special person at work.

Working with E is a joy. She is smart as a whip, has a soft heart and can breeze through the toughest assignments with ease. I love to watch the way she interacts with others. She makes all of us feel special, and treats us with respect. She is no pushover, and will stand up for her rights. She is a champion of diversity.

She loves kittens and dreams of the day when she will have one. That will be one lucky kitty.

I have seen her frustration and the effort she puts into solving problems, and she always comes through with flying colors. She is consistently successful and it shows. Her account is one of the most demanding, but most profitable accounts in the company.

Her relationships with others is remarkable. She connects with everyone and they respond in kind. She is a loyal friend, an enthusiastic supporter and is always willing to lend a hand. I find myself going to her when I can’t figure out what the heck to do. Somehow, she knows.

She is just a kid, but wise beyond her years. She is a very special person.