Monday, April 02, 2007

I'll Never Wear Lilac Panties Again....

I'll be a teenage idol, j*
just give me a break, I*
I'm gonna be a teenage idol, n*
no matter how long it takes, Y*
You can't imagine what it means to me, I*
I'm gonna grab myself a place in history, A*
A teenage idol that's what I'm gonna be... ("*
(*
("I'm Going to be a Teenage Idol", Elton John)

*

It's beginning to look like spring...and I especially love all the colors. And the glorious dogwoods are beautiful but they don't last long...

You know, I always wanted to be a teenage idol.

But that did not happen.

As you know, I became a nurse instead---and now I'm a nurse "boss". And being the boss is definitely not very much fun because you have to be responsible and "on-call" all the time. You have to work weekends a lot, whether you're "on-call" or not, and.....sometimes....you have to fire people.

What's even worse about being a boss is firing somebody you care about, which happened last week when I was forced to fire Geena-Lou.

I won't bore you with all the details, but it all boiled down to her trip to Houston. While she was gone, it so happened that Jane-Anne was in the hospital. This severe shortage of staff meant that one of the owners of our company came up to my branch office to help me out with the managerial duties, mainly Geena-Lou's office management stuff.

And when that happened, I think that Geena-Lou realized that the jig was up.

By that, I mean that it was discovered that Geena-Lou was horribly behind in her work---and if I had to be truthful about it, it was because she was goofing around a lot ever since Lu-Lu left. She was so far behind in her work that we found stuff from December in hidey-holes all over the office--- stuff that she'd hidden so that nobody would "know" how behind she was.

Actually, the owner later admitted that she had used Geena-Lou's absence during her trip to Houston as an excuse to come over and "look around"---because she had been suspecting for awhile that that certain problems were amiss. And innocent me---I had no idea. Because Geena-Lou had heretofore been an excellent office manager and had always done her work very thoroughly and in a timely fashion. But somewhere along the way things went awry.

I can't for the life of me figure out why Geena-Lou didn't realize that she could only hide her delinquency for so long---papers have to be filed in order that the company gets PAID, ya know? And I don't know why Geena-Lou started slacking. Maybe she was resentful about the the fact that she knew I planned on bringing my best friend, Belinda, on board. Or maybe it was that Geena-Lou has always tended to have a little bit of the "martyr" in her---in fact, one of her favorite things to say was: "I have to do all the work and yet it's the RN's who get the BIG salaries".

Which definitely isn't true by the way. Because RN's have TONS of work to do, too. Believe me, there is no inequality in the work load between nurses. We all work our tales off, RN's and LVN's alike. Although I do not think that it's fair that LVN's get paid less than RN's, I don't have any control over that.

Anyway, maybe Geena-Lou was just tired of home health. But I sure wish she'd just have come to me and been honest about it instead of doing it in a way which forced me to fire her---because it turned into an unpleasant incident and now she's not speaking to me. If she'd just been honest about things a long time ago, I'd have understood and been fine with it. I respect honesty and don't hold grudges about the things people decide to do with their careers or personal lives. If she'd have said she was "burnt out" and wanted to leave, I'd have said fine, wished her well, and we could have stayed friends.

In fact, it KILLS me that it happened the way it did. As you all know, I cared greatly about her, both as a co-worker and a friend. But I guess there's nothing I can do about it now.

And I have learned a valuable lesson about being the "boss"---which is that I've got to be attentive and "check on" peoples' work habits instead of just blindly trusting that all the necessary work is being done. And incidentally, I'll admit that I'm just a LITTLE pissed off about the fact that I've now got to do all the "catch up" work that Geena-Lou left for me---THANKS A LOT, GEENA-LOU....

Oh well, life goes on. You know, I wasn't always a "responsible boss". In fact, I'm going to make a confession here....

(Get ready....)

I'm a recovering alcoholic now. But in my drinking days, I was quite a wild girl. Although I never took it to work with me, my personal life was in shambles, the product of a rebellious, willful, hard-drinking, biker chick. Whoo-doggies, was I wild and undisciplined... *

I*

In fact, I went to jail a few times.

Y*

Yes, it's true---I've seen the inside of jail a couple of times...and I'm highly ashamed to admit it. (And I must say that the experience was somewhat boring every single time. I don't care to go back there unless they let me take a few good Pat Conroy novels and some knitting supplies. )

The first time I went to jail was because I threw my purse at my second husband. And he deserved it. Ok, I'll admit that I have a temper (must be the Scotch/Irish blood in me) but he really could be a horse's patoot sometimes and my purse really wasn't all that heavy. In fact, I missed my shot and hit the wall beside him. I'd been drinking wine at the time and so my aim was off.

And how in the hell was I to know that the damn neighbors would hear my purse's THUMP on the wall and call the cops? The idgits. Haven't they ever gotten mad and thrown something before?

I've thrown lots of things in anger, I can tell you---hairbrushes, trash can lids, pot holders, dish-rags---usually whatever thing I had in my hand at the time my hsuband pissed me off, ya know?

Anyway, in that particular county, which is Overland Park, Kansas, there is the strangest law you ever heard of. It is this: if you do ANYTHING of a violent nature in a "domestic dispute", even if it is something so stupid as throwing your own dang purse at your own dang husband, you WILL go to jail.

And I did go to jail, dammit.

And for that matter, goddang!!! What kind of world is it when you can't even throw your own dang purse at your own dang husband??? I ask you!?! Isn't that a wife's right?

Well, I had never been to jail before, and so I really didn't know what to expect. The cops seemed nice enough. I took their niceness as a cue that going to jail really wasn't all that bad. In fact, once the cop driving me to jail realized that I had written a thesis on a psychological topic, he told me all his psychiatric problems---all the way to jail. By the time we had arrived, he said he felt a lot better.

And then they put me in a GLASS holding cell!!!! My God, GLASS, mind you! I asked the cops what in the hell I was supposed to do if I had to use the toilet in there---because I would be on display for all to see---and they replied: "You just have to use it."

When they shut the holding cell door, a lady cop had the decency to ask me if there was anything else I had to say before they locked me in there.

I replied: "Yes, I'm a little parched. Could I have an orange juice or something?"

She replied: "Who the hell do you think you are, Private Benjamin?"

I didn't get any orange juice.

Okay, my husband came to bail me out about an hour later. And for that sin, I got a year's probation for "Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct", including the requirement of going to a class called "Anger Control".

The day I arrived at the Anger Control Class, I sat down next to a friendly-looking lady and thought I'd be chatty before the class started.

"What'd you do to get here?" I asked her.

"I went to bail my husband out of jail," she replied. "And when we left the police station I hit him with my purse on the police station's steps. They arrested me for hitting him with my purse."

WHAT IS IT WITH OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS, AND THEIR THING ABOUT WIVES HITTING THEIR OWN DANG HUSBANDS WITH THEIR OWN DANG PURSES?

As I said before, GODDANG! What kind of world is it when you can't even hit your own dang husband with your own dang purse???? I ask you!?!

Okay, I sailed through that year of probation with no problem and never thought of it again.

But .... unfortunately... I had not learned my lesson about my alcoholic drinking yet. I kept drinking and my behavior continued to be ....er...not always the greatest. And then I committed a really BAD sin.

I drank and drove.

Yes, I admit it, and I take full responsibility for this terrible, terrible thing that I did. And I will print all negative comments on my blog site for those who want to scream at me for it. It was a criminal thing to do and I thank God each day that nobody was hurt.

Luckily, it wasn't a big accident. It was at a stoplight and I lightly bumped the guy in front of me when we both stopped for the red light. There was no damage to his bumper but there was a slight dent in my Jeep's fender (and it really was "slight" because it only cost $60 to fix.)

Unfortunately for me, there was a cop sitting there watching the whole thing. And I was busted.

He made me do the "walk the white line" thing on the road. You know, that thing where you have to stand still and touch your fingers to your nose---and then walk straight on that white line?

I did the finger-to-the-nose thing great---in fact, I was so confident that I even started getting a little fancy and started saying sassy things to the officer like: "Ya want me to do my eyebrows, honey? Wanna see me do my nostrils?" , all while dancing around him while touching my fingers to God knows which part of my face. I think I accidentally put one of my fingers into my ear but I tried to make out like it was "on purpose" by saying: "Betcha thought I couldn't do THAT, Officer! Wanna see me do the other one? Told ya I was SCONE COLD STOBER! "

He didn't say anything about the "scone cold stober" remark. He just bided his time. Because he knew.....

He knew I couldn't walk the white line. And I couldn't---BUT NOT BECAUSE I WAS DRUNK, dang it!

I have a relatively severe case of Meniere's Disease, an ear disease, and thus my equilibrium and balance are ALWAYS off. I couldn't walk a straight line if I were dead sober.

Unfortunately, in my inebriated state, I said just that to the cop.

"Sir, I have Meniere's Disease and I couldn't walk this stupid white line if I were sober."

He took me to jail. And this jail wasn't as nice as the Kansas jail. And that is because Texas jail is SERIOUS JAIL.

They actually take all your clothes and then give you "jail clothes and shoes" to wear. When they were handing me my jail clothing, I decided not to be intimidated by their mean attitudes.

Hell, I'd seen "The Shawshank Redemption"---and so I felt well prepared to endure the guards' "mean guard attitudes" depicted in the movies. Hah, I thought to myself, they weren't going to scare me, the dang turnkeys...

And then the clothing guard handed me a pair of jail flip-flops to wear. And the stupid things were three sizes to big. And as anybody knows, flip-flops that are three sizes too big are just NOT good, okay? Poor dumb guy just didn't realize that he had not heard me correctly when I told him my shoe size.

"Uh, Mr. Guard, sir?" I began politely. "I'm afraid that these flip-flops are way too big for me...."

And then I realized my mistake ("Shawshank Redemption", remember?) and so I quickly tried to reverse my blunder and hurriedly blurted out: "Oh, I'm sorry---my bad, I forgot---you guards don't give a shit if my shoes fit, right? Okay, that's fine, sir---this is jail and I'm a lowly prisoner, right. Don't worry about it, sir---I will 'fit in' with everybody else and wear those big flip-flops."

He looked at me incredulously---and then at his co-worker---as if I was the STUPIDEST GOON that ever walked the earth, but I determinedly held my head high and kept on going through my "processing" phase of entering jail with no loss of dignity. As I said, I'd seen "Shawshank Redemption", right?

Next they took all of us newly-arrested idgits to our cells. It was about 3 am and I asked a guard when breakfast was served. She replied: "In about a couple of hours. You might as well go to sleep--and you'll have to freeze because we don't have any extra blankets."

I shivered on my cot for awhile, dreaming of breakfast time. My cell mate snored away, unconcerned. But I lay there, unable to sleep---hungry---and entertained myself by imagining how warm and cozy the jail cafeteria would be, where I could have one of those tin jail trays you see in the movies--- with some nice scrambled eggs, maybe some bacon or sausage, a biscuit, and some hot coffee....

But then suddenly, at about 5 am, I was frightened out of my wits by the sudden flinging of two flattened brown paper sacks into our cell. I saw straight up on my cot and said: "What in the HOLY HANNAH was that?"

My cell mate, who had awakened at the noise of one of the sacks landing in the sink, yawned and replied: "That's breakfast. A balogney sandwich, an apple, and a milk. If you don't want yours, I'll eat it."

Later in the day, two similar flattened sacks were again flung into our cell.

"Let me guess," I said to my cell mate. "Lunch?"

Anyway, later in the day we were all taken to see the judge, where he would "set our bail". They chained all of us females together in one line, and the males in another. And then a guard led us to an area where we would sit and wait until it was time to go before the judge, all chained together. The guard left us briefly to go check the courtroom to see when it was time for us to come before the judge.

And of all the bad luck, I had been chained on one side to a sarcastic, sullen, street-wise girl named "Flash Cat". I didn't mind being chained to her, but I was trying to be a "good girl"---I didn't want any trouble. But stupid "Flash Cat" kept sassing and goading the male prisoners, making smart-alek comments, showing off for them, and generally drawing negative attention our way---which made me very nervous.

And then....of all THINGS...."Flash Cat" suddenly and expertly "picked" the lock on the handcuffs that shackled her arm and mine together---separating us!!!! Oh my GOD--- I thought I'd DIE! I thought FOR SURE that this infraction would get both of us more punishment than just that of the DWI. I was frightened out of my wits!

And then... you know what that jackass "Flash Cat" did when she got her arm free from the handcuffs? She started showing off again for the males sitting across from us, showing them that she had unattached herself from our "chain gang" handcuffs---and she started waving her free arm up and down to show them that it wasn't shackled!! (In fact, just the the thought of her doing that made me put a picture of a silly spotted donkey here to show you what I thought of her actions....)

(I hate donkeys...)

(And don't be fooled by spotted donkeys---they always try to masquerade as paint ponies...")

Anyway, this crazy girl's behavior panicked me. Lord, I thought---that's all I needed, for the guard to return and think that I had something to do with getting loose from those handcuffs---risking myself having an "attempted escape" added to my DWI charge!

Quickly, (and since the alcohol was wearing off of my foggy brain), I came up with what I thought was a good solution to the problem....

And so I started waving my free arm in the EXACT same way that she did--- in order to make it appear that we were STILL shackled together!

If she threw her arm upwards, I threw my arm upwards. If she thrust her arm downwards, I thrust my arm downwards. If she swung her arm back and forth, I swung my arm back and forth in tandem with hers---and I looked perfectly ridiculous doing this. The other prisoners looked at me like I was insane...

The prisoner guys across from us started laughing their asses off at me for this stupid scene. And as I sat there panicking--- and doing my mad marionette arm movements---stupid "Flash Cat" had the audacity to laugh at me too. But to my great relief, she finally fixed the handcuffs, re-shackling us together--- and I was able to breathe a HUGE sigh of relief--- just in time, too, as our guard suddenly reappeared.

Anyway, I saw the judge and received my charges (misdemeanor DWI). My husband at the time (my third husband, the biker) bailed me out of jail shortly thereafter. For my crime, I received a punishment of 18 months of probation, mandatory classes on substance abuse, and mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous.

My third husband, the biker, wasn't impressed at all with my jail adventures. He had been in jail so many times that he could give you a complete and tasty-sounding review of every jail house's food from here to Las Vegas.

"Abilene has the best food," he'd say. "They give you biscuits and gravy for breakfast there."

(His sarcasm and devil-may-care attitude didn't piss me off so much as the time, right after we got married, that he used one of his old jail ID cards in order to prove his identity when I signed us up for Sam's Club memberships. That embarassed me no end...)

Anyway, when it was all over in the jail and I was bailed out, I was allowed to go back to the processing place and re-claim my regular clothing, thank GOD. The procedure in Texas jails is that you have to call out each piece of clothing's color in order to ensure that it really is "your own" article of clothing. The guard calls out the piece of clothing and you call back it's color.

The guard said: "Jeans..."

I had to say: "Blue..."

He said: "Shirt..."

I said: "Navy blue with stripes on it..."

He said: "Socks..."

I replied: "White..."

He said: "Panties...."

I dutifully replied: "Lilac..."

Suddenly, it was as if a bomb had dropped. Every single person in the entire jail clothing room stopped dead in their tracks to stare at me as if I'd just grown 3 more noses. It was worse than the flip-flops incident. The silence was deafening and you could have heard a pin drop.

The clothing guard and everybody else looked at me as if I were the reigning Queen from Planet Looney Toon.

"What?" I asked indignantly. I was getting a little tired of them looking at me like I was weird all the time. But then I realized my gaff....

"Oh for CRYING OUT LOUD!" I exclaimed, exasperated. "PURPLE panties, dammit---are ya happy now?"

Shit Fire and Save Matches, but those idgity lunkheads had either never heard the term "lilac" before or they had absolutely no color sense. But my saying of the word "purple" must have satisfied that stupid guard because he then handed me my lovely lilac panties (after fondling them for a second, which irked me no end---the pervert.) And believe me, they were true lilac, NOT purple.

(And if I may say so, they were quite lovely panties indeed, being from "Victoria's Secret".)

(End note: Alcoholism is a miserable, hideous disease---but it is the alcholic's complete responsibility for getting the help they need to stop drinking, which includes ABSTAINING COMPLETELY from anything--- alcoholic or narcotic pills---which produce any kind of "high" or other alteration of the central nervous system.

Drinking and driving is a very serious crime and those who commit it fully deserve their punishment. Because of my drinking days, I have paid an extremely high price for my alcholism, both financially, legally, and personally. Although I may seem to be joking about my alcoholism here in this post, it's not meant AT ALL to make light of drinking and driving. When I went to alcoholism rehab, I used to sing the song "Tears of a Clown" because, on the inside, I perpetually hold the ongoing heartbreak and guilt of what I've done in my past---and it will be with me till the day I die.

I pay for the sins I committed while drinking every single day of my life, believe me. And these days I am wholeheartedly committed to being sober now---at the price of completely changing my entire life style--- which for me means having to avoid restaurants, people who drink a lot of alcohol, and avoiding situations which "remind" me of alcohol. In fact, I can't even walk down the booze aisle at a grocery store.

But it is a small price to pay for being sober. I am sober today---instead of dead. And let me tell you, the way I drank, it would have killed me, just as it killed my father and grandfather (and other relatives in my family.) But I chose to live. And I am lucky enough to have a good job and friends. Some of my family has forgiven me for my past---but not all.

I have been trying to stay sober for 10 years, but I admit that I've had a few slips (see my posting called "Bombardiers and Birdhouses", although that posting may be messed up because some of my archived postings have all their sentences "running together" ever since I changed from regular Blogger to Blogger Beta.) (And I haven't had time to fix them.)

And alcoholism never "goes away"---it is always lurking there, within, waiting to trip you up---and thus I have to be ever vigilant and watchful of myself....

After all this serious talk, I almost forgot to tell you my good news!.....

Remember Bonnie? The LVN who helped me herd the Rickenbockers' cows back to their ranch that time?

Hallelujah, but I talked Bonnie into coming to work for me part-time, thank GOODNESS! So things are looking up. It is mine and Belinda's sincere hope that we can talk Bonnie into some day changing to full-time status.

(Oh yes, one more thing....in Texas nobody thinks twice of a woman throwing her own dang purse at her own dang husband---they don't start talking jail till you pull a gun on him....)

***

(Oh yes, and just one more little thing. You know that old saying that your mom always said: "Don't forget to wear clean underwear in case you're hit by a car?" Personally, I think it might be useful to slightly change this little mom-ism and say something like: "Don't forget to wear clean, NON-LILAC, underwear--- just in case you're hit by a car or have to go to a Texan jail"....) (HEH! Jes' jokin'!!!)

***

12 comments:

The Platypus said...

Terrific story but I can't help wondering: did this lead to any licensing problems with the state board?

& BTW: I think in Texas you actually have to pull the trigger to get yourself in any trouble. Maybe pull the trigger and put him in a hole but I'm not sure about that...

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

Yes, I reported myself. And all my employers have always known everything. (It's in my background check anyway, even if I didn't tell them upfront.)

Cinder said...

Hey Bo,
I'm really glad you decided to live.You sound like a really neat person and an inspiration to me for turning things around.

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

Thank you so much Cinder---this was the most difficult blog posting I've ever written...

lheiserman said...

Poor Bo. Yep, I live in Kansas, so I understand. The only thing I ever threw at my first husband was a box of books. Since I was about 100 pounds then, not now, they didn't go far.

I'm sorry about Geena Lou. At least now you know why she didn't want to go to the field. She didn't want to get caught.

I'm also sorry that being a boss has been so trying for you and thanks for your honesty about your trials in jail and with drinking. I'm sure it can't be easy, but it will prevent someone else going down the same road.

Lisa H in Kansas

girlvet said...

You're brave for tellin' yer story. We all got our past. What matters is now.

Warrior Knitter said...

I was born and raised in the KC area and now live in Lawrence.

That was a brave post and like girlvet said I only know THIS Bo and I like her.

Runs With Scissors said...

Dang, Bo. I'm certain that this was a most difficult post to write - parts of it were difficult to read. BUT ... I imagine it was cathartic as well.

I actually almost spit Diet Coke out my nose, though, when I read about the ex using his jail ID to get a Sam's card. Geez!

Give yourself a break - you're only human, and NONE of us are perfect. I'm sure that we all have skeletons that we'd just as soon leave in the closet till the time is right!

And by the way ... at least you were wearing undies!
~RWS

Knitting Rose said...

Wow what a story!! My Big Texan is a recovering Alcoholic - 15 years now. It is a daily process. I am proud of you. That isn't easy - and yet you still make it sound so fun!!
Not the drinking and driving - but the rest of it. - you know - Jail and all.
good luck with the office.

yorlor said...

Bo [i kind of like that nick name, ever think of doing drag?] cheers to you [with tastey diet coke] for telling your story here.
recently having made a total schmuck of myself in public i am reminded that i will, one day, be able to hold my head up in certain public circles again. it is, afterall, our resilience that makes us what we are.
until then,
hats [and lilac panties] off to you!

Christine said...

It sounds like you've done a great job changing your life for the better. It's refreshing that you're so honest about your past. I do have to say, though, that I'm a little disturbed by your attitude towards wives hitting their husbands. Yes, I totally agree that going to jail is a little overkill, and I know that your comments are meant to be light-hearted, but, honestly, no one really has a right to hit someone else. Should husbands have the "right" to hit wives with their briefcases? Or a stick not wider than their thumb?

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate more visual materials, to make your blog more attractive, but your writing style really compensates it. But there is always place for improvement