Tag Archives: work

From Rebecca: Top ten list of things I miss about working with Joe

Hi, Joe’s readers. It is a new year, and it feels so weird not to be spending Wednesday mornings with Joe anymore. We worked together for nine years and did a lot in that time. It was the right decision to stop, but I miss Joe and a bunch of other things. I came up with six or seven to share in a blog entry, then broke a couple up to reach ten items. I hope you enjoy my list. Hi, Joe!

#10. My Cat Naps weekly engagement calendar book. Every year I got a new one and used it to keep my special date reminders, my work hours, my appointments, and Joe’s appointments. I loved those cat pictures. This year I have a smaller pocket calendar from the bank which works just fine but is not them same.

#9. Going to the library and the bank after work. It was so easy to leave Joe’s place and walk to first Schlow Centre Region Library and then to my bank. I would get a week’s worth of books at Schlow, before taking my paycheck to the bank and get a week’s worth of money. I would take a CATA bus to and from work downtown, so parking was never a problem! I have worked out other times to visit both places, but it is not as convenient.

#8. Joe’s cat Princess Josie. I am not as close to PJ as I was to his late cat Keekee. But I think I would have gotten closer to her with a few more years. I was looking forward to watching her mature into an older cat.

#7. Joe’s friends. Over nine years of meeting Joe at his apartment building, I have gotten to know a lot of the residents – some only by sight – that have come and gone. Joe is a friendly and generous man, so he has been close friends with a lot of them, and I have gotten to know them through him. I will miss exchanging hellos with them, especially the women he goes to breakfast with most days.

#6. Bear Spring Camps. This one is odd, since I have only been to the vacation spot in Maine only through Joe’s descriptions, but I will miss being connected to it through Joe, and hearing about his trip when he gets back every August. I will miss taking care of his cat while he is away (though last year I was glad that his friend Smith helped with this as I couldn’t get there every day Joe was gone) and giving him updates on her. I will miss the vacation folder I have added to every year so that now it is thick with details of hotel rooms, rental cars, and dates, and we would use it to book that year’s hotel rooms and rental car. ( I will have to tell Joe where I stored that!)

#5. Organizing – the files, mail, appointments, etc. I have already mentioned some of my organizing routine with the date book and the vacation folders. There were many folders over the years, and many pieces of paper and mail that needed to be sorted and either stored or thrown away. I also kept two sheets of paper with weekly To Do and Tasks Done lists. They came in very handy over the years.

#4. Writing and editing with Joe. He would dictate as I typed and then we would edit his writing. It was so fun searching for and finding the right word or phrase. During editing, it is like magic to take a sentence that isn’t quite working, and make it good. To make it smooth and say just what we had in mind. It is the best feeling.

#3. Goofing around with my friend. In between tasks or when we finished early, Joe and I would talk about TV shows, world events, things in our past, and just in general take a work break. We laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company. We still talk and text, but it isn’t the same as being in the same room every week.

#2. The blog entries. Between the two of us, this blog site has been updated an average of twice a week since late 2011. I typed Joe’s dictation for most of this site’s 871 posts. We covered a lot of subjects. I will miss doing this form of communication every week.

#1. Visiting with Joe and catching up on his life every week. Joe has been my friend since high school, and I enjoyed working for/with him. As I said above, it won’t be the same not being in the same room with him.

Life is full of changes, and many times those changes are abrupt and shocking. Joe and I ending our work relationship is one the planned changes and it is okay. Joe and I built a lot in his apartment office in nine years, and I am proud of what we accomplished.

From Rebecca: I will miss working with Joe

Hi, Joe’s readers. Joe and I will have our last work day together next Wednesday and I am feeling sad. It is the right decision for us, I know it is, but I will miss so many things about working with Joe, including helping him write for this blog. It has been nine years since we began working together in October of 2010, and those years were full of words Joe dictated to me as I typed on his two different laptops. It has been such a privilege for me to work with Joseph Kockelmans, who is a sweet, decent, loyal, old-fashioned man. It has been my honor to assist him in writing his books, stories, and blog entries.

This is blog number 870, and I am proud of my From Rebecca posts in that number. I enjoyed sharing with you, Joe’s readers, on those occasions, and I thank you for reading my thoughts along with his. Looking back at a list of my posts, I am so proud of so many of them. I wrote about such a wide range of topics: About Joe’s performances here in Addison Court, as in this example; I wrote two entries about one of my favorite places in the world, Schlow Centre Region Library, the second of which is here; I got to share my thoughts on entertainment, for books, movies, and television; about things going on in my life, both personal, and in my hometown; it has been my pleasure to write about my family and good memories, as about my mom, my childhood, and these two about Joe and my husband Darren. Joe was always generous allowing me to have a voice on his blog, and I am grateful. I enjoyed it very much. I intend to write a few new blog posts next year.

Joe, with my typing and editing assistance, wrote and self-published two books of short stories, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, a book collection of his blog entries, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, and collaborated on a novel based on his play, Kimberly, with my husband Darren Taylor, called Four’s a Crowd. Plus 870 entries so far on this blog. We have a lot of which to be proud.

I have been coming to Joe’s home office every week for nine years, and we have talked about and shared so many things in our working friendship. I will miss hearing his voice, seeing his face, talking about the events in our lives on a regular basis. We will talk on the phone and on Facebook, but it won’t be quite the same.

On a happier note, I have known Joe since high school and we have been in each other’s lives off and on since then. As we go forward in the new direction for our decades-long friendship, I know that this is by no means the end of it.

From Rebecca: Joe is flattened by back spasms

Greetings, Joe’s readers. When I got to work today I found Joe walking bent over and in pain. He tried to ease his back spasms by lying down for a bit, but he said he couldn’t find a comfortable position and felt like a Mexican jumping bean. Next he tried walking it off by going up and down the hallway, which seemed to help a little. This is the worst spasm he has had in years, kicking off a pain every few seconds. I hope he feels better soon. He asked me to write the post today, because he can’t sit down or focus long enough to dictate it.

When I come to work every Wednesday, I set up a card table to put his laptop on for me to use to type dictation. Joe is sitting at the table now, seeing if leaning forward in a different chair will help. So far no success. He is looking for that one magic position that will get it to stop. As we only work together one day a week now, this is really putting a crimp in today’s progress.

I am actually amazed by how much Joe can do on a day to day basis with all the physical problems he has. It keeps him from doing some things he really wants to do, like write for a few hours at a time, but he is able to do a lot of things he needs to most of the time. A day like today where he is stopped by his body is a good reminder of how well he usually does.

——————-

Joe got his back to calm down at least enough to try to dictate a few paragraphs.

Hi, readers. Thanks to Rebecca for getting this one started. It took two Aleve and a big swig of NyQuil to calm this spasm down. This was probably the worst back spasm in a couple of years. If I only knew what I did to make it start. I was just sitting at Panera taking my meds. Yes, my body has a mind of its own. Like Rebecca said though, most days I can get by with no problem.

Something else is weighing on my mind, which unfortunately I cannot disclose at this moment, but suffice it to say that prayers are needed for a good friend of mine on a couple of levels. Prayers for her would be much appreciated. Tyvm.

We have enjoyed several beautiful mornings in a row; a little unusual for State Cloudy, Pennsylvania. I’ve heard the forecast calls for rain overnight and tomorrow morning, but I will take every nice morning I can get.

Traci’s sister Roni is scheduled to meet us tomorrow morning at 7:00 for coffee at Panera. Hopefully it will not be downpouring then. Friend Smith will also be there and is eagerly looking forward to meeting Roni. It should be a very pleasant gathering.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. Again, thanks to Rebecca for getting it started, and you will be happy to know that finally at 11am the back spasm seems to be over. Thank God!

I’ll dictate another entry on Sunday, so until then, have a wonderful few days, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Tis a strange day, it is

Greetings, readers. It seems as though, recently, when Rebecca and I start our work day, it is taking longer for us to get down to brass tacks. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I have a feeling. With my low motivation factor for work right now, I think I am just putting it off as long as possible. We’ll talk about politics, the weather, or last week’s blog numbers, but both of us have come to the conclusion that it is taking longer to get down to something called work.

Last Thursday, near the end of the work session, Rebecca and I tried a dictation test on a possible work project to see if Rebecca could keep up with me as I acted out my script. To my delight, she could. Yay, Rebecca. 🙂 There is some talk on the grapevine that we will have to close down operations at the end of the year or thereabouts, but if I can get this new work project going, working together will still be a viable option. The pressure is still on me to work on something that will quickly sell. Therein lies the problem. Any TV script or play that I write will require several drafts, an agent or a publisher, and will probably take years. I’m not sure if we have the finances for years worth of paying Rebecca.

Ta da! It is now after Bill’s meeting and we have to reinitialize our thought processes. Princess Josie has been sprung from her time-out box and is proudly prancing about the apartment. It is true; this is really her place and she allows me to live here. Haha. Princess Josie has calmed herself down over the last couple of months, and is beginning to learn right from wrong. Her only big issue left is not jumping up on my computer table when I am working. That is a big no-no. I’m sure in another year or so she’ll have all the ins and out of a being “good kitty cat” under her belt.

On a very serious final note, prayers go out to the victims and their families of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. Why can’t we have more love shown in this world of ours? It seems to me that we are surrounded by more death and destruction than joy and unity.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. I’m planning some major changes in the apartment and those plans will be revealed to you tomorrow as part of the blog. So until then, have a great day, say a kind word to someone, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Things to do before the new kitty cat get here

Greetings, readers. One week from today my new kitty cat Princess Josie will come home. She was supposed to arrive this Friday, but there was a slight delay. Actually that’s all right with me because I was not too keen on getting her home late on Friday afternoon and having to go back to work Saturday morning. That would’ve left her all by yourself in a strange place; not exactly the ideal situation.

This week I’m going to go to Target and pick up such things such as food, kitty litter, treats, and other feline supplies. At some point before next Wednesday, I’ll have to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a new litter box. I will gladly accept all the chores that come with owning a pet. I’ve already been imagining the new routines we will form.

I’ve not decided if P.J. will have the whole run of the apartment just yet, or whether I’ll keep the bedroom door closed to allow her to get used to the place one area at a time. I am planning on getting a cat bed, which is something I did not do for Keekee. If Josie wants to sleep on me, she may do so. We’ll see if she takes to her bed.

On to other news now. I am still debating on whether or not to take the summer off for my fast food job. I don’t want to lose the money, but my feet are hurting me more and more. I know I shouldn’t complain. I know everybody’s feet hurt. Perhaps it has something to do with my cerebral palsy, but at the end of the day I feel half crippled. When I first started almost a year ago, I was told by family and friends that my feet will adjust, and won’t hurt so much. Well, I have yet to see any improvement.

I was told by one of my managers that lots of folks from work read my blog. So, after today, probably more than one person will know I’m thinking about taking time off. If I did take the summer off, I would use it to rest my feet and write. I have family coming in about a month from now, so if I decided to take time off, it would be between May and late August. I would come back for the Penn State football season and the beginning of the new school year. If there was no job waiting for me when I returned, that would be my own fault.

Finally, I’m going to undertake a massive effort today and tomorrow to clean up the apartment and take care of chores which are long past due. I must tend to my banking, and pay off a bill. With my short-term memory issues, making a written list of everything I must do is going to be essential. I’ve got a notepad just the right size for such a list. I also need to stop at the pharmacy to see if they have a pill splitter. My new heart medication must be taken a half tab at a time. Here I was slightly overdosing two days in a row. I’m glad I caught my mistake early.

That’s going to be it for today folks. More tomorrow. I’m not certain whether Rebecca and I will get together for work here in the office, but either way I will dictate the blog entry via the speech recognition program, and Rebecca will edit it. Until next time around, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

My stress test results and ice cream

Greetings, readers. I don’t mention this often, but I am Catholic, and for Lent this year I decided to give up my comfort food. Yes, I gave up ice cream, for a little over six weeks. To my surprise, I actually didn’t miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. In some ways, I felt better.

One oddity took place though. My irregular heart beat began just about the time I gave up ice cream. Is there a correlation there? I’m not a doctor and I couldn’t begin to tell you. I mentioned that to my cardiologist and I seem to recall him saying that he couldn’t figure how that would tie in.

Speaking of the old ticker, I still get a couple of irregular beats now and then, but things seem to be improving. My stress test actually went well. I was able to walk and even jog on their treadmill. I felt like the Bionic Man. I was hooked up to a gazillion leads, getting my heart rate up to at least 150. When the nurse said okay we could stop now, in a panic I said, “Please slow it down slowly. If you just stop the treadmill, I think I will go flying.” I was extremely happy to be put back on the examination table, and I could hear my heart in my ears. I’m quite certain it hasn’t pumped that hard in years. For your chuckle for the day, my idea of exercise is walking to and from a bus stop, plus any lifting of boxes of sauces at work. After the test, they told me my heart was absolutely normal. However, my doctor is going to put me on a five milligram medication to see if it will stop the irregular heart beats. I’m perfectly fine with taking another pill. I’ll just add it to my morning medicine cabinet. Even though the heart is fine, those occasional irregular heartbeats do freak me out. Prayers or good thoughts, please, for a favorable outcome.

Finally, a friend of mine turned 40 years old today. God do I feel old. Let me explain. I’ve known this lady for many years and we’ve been friends for most of that time. When I saw on Facebook this morning that she hit the big 4-0, I felt like the big 9-0 … even though I am only 52. Isn’t it funny how time flies. There is a theory going around that time appears to be speeding up. I have news for you readers: Time is constant but older people just have less of it. Even though I think of myself as a kid at heart, I have to realize that if I’m going to make my splash in the world it had better be soon. The clock is ticking.

Rebecca and I will both be here tomorrow as usual and we will have another interesting blog topic. Until then, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always happy reading.

From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Snow on the ground

Where Joe and I live it started snowing last evening and stopped sometime this morning, for a total of four inches. It is the first significant amount of the season, although I know that many of you reading this got your first snow some time ago. It looks pretty while I’m sitting inside and seeing it through the window. The streets are plowed and treated, and traffic looks like it is moving normally. Darren and I have a stool on our balcony, and it looks like it is standing in a white blanket while wearing a white fluffy hat.

I have a sore throat, that is better today but still there, which is why I am writing this post from home. Yesterday, Joe gave me a handful of Cold-Eeze and the day off today to recover. I slept a little more than usual and am resting, and that has helped a lot.

I can’t think of anything else to write, so I will make this a short piece. Joe might put up another blog entry this week, if he can find the time. (He is finding that the days he works at the restaurant he comes home too tired to do anything else except watch TV and go to bed.) We will work together again next Wednesday and hopefully Thursday to bring you new blog entries.

Until then, as Joe says, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Frustrations with health insurance

Greetings, readers. For the past half hour, Rebecca and I have been calling numbers trying to find out information about my soon-to-expire health insurance coverage. The deadline for the marketplace is two days away and I was supposed to get a letter from the state telling me rather I qualify for medical assistance through them or not. I looked in my mailbox today and got all the mail from this last week; no such letter was in the pile.

This brings me to a problem. I cannot proceed on the marketplace website without said information. Sometimes I think the government does this on purpose. Their mission: give Joe grey hair. Just now, Rebecca and I called three separate numbers; two of them were not the department I needed to talk to and one was a non-working number. Thanks Yahoo!, get your information updated please.

With many of my co-workers sick with colds, flu, and such, I feel like I am going to need my health coverage very soon. I’m praying I won’t have a lapse in the coverage, for knowing my luck, that’s when I’ll get double pneumonia.

Yes, it seems the town bug has hit, mainly because of the sudden drop in the temperature. Yesterday morning, I walked from the bus stop into work and said to myself, yep, winter is here alright, even if it isn’t officially here until the 21st of this month. I’ve had to forgo my comfortable hoodie for the bulkier down coat. The pockets are not as deep so I have to my cell phone and keys in my backpack.

On Monday, we’re having a code inspection in the apartment building, starting on my floor around 9am, and the notice said I need to contain any pets. I’ve asked the restaurant manager who hired me if I can work a later shift on that day. I’m hoping she says yes. If not, poor Keekee will either be locked in the bathroom or crated up until I get home. She will not be a happy kitty cat. I used to work the 3pm to 8pm shift, and that wouldn’t be bad. If I was put on the 5pm to 11pm shift … well, let’s just say I’m used to going to sleep at 9:00. My fuel tanks would be running on fumes. I hope to get a response from my manager by this afternoon.

Rebecca is not certain quite yet if she is coming down with something or not. I’m sure she hopes to make it tomorrow but her body might rebel and say no, you need to sleep today. If that is the case, either I will put a blog entry up or Rebecca will from home.

Speaking of the blog, I’ve made an executive decision. Beginning in Feb 2018, I am going to begin to compile blog entries from years two, three, and four for my second blog book. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while, and I was going to call it Greetings, Readers 2, but I think I will use my creativity and come up with a different name. My target date to have that out is mid-April. Between the novel and my new blog book, there are many positive achievements for our creative endeavors coming out before I go to camp in August.

Well, that just about does it for today. I’m going to call it an early session and let Rebecca go home and recoup, if she is indeed catching something. I am going to rest my feet most of the time today and tomorrow before I go back to my fast food job for the Friday and Saturday shifts.

So, until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

A compliment at work yesterday made my day

Greetings, readers. Yesterday I was on the last day of my five-day work week and feeling a bit worn out and discouraged. I was not ready to quit by any means, but the shine of the job was wearing off. Then it happened. As my boss was working on one of the ordering iPads, we got to talking. One of the employees was sent home early because we were much slower than expected. I told my boss that I knew I was not his fastest cashier and offered in the future to be the one sent home. He then told me that I was one of the nicest and friendliest cashiers he’d seen. He said, “Why would I want to send you home?”

That was exactly the shot in the arm I needed for the rest of the work day. I was on cloud nine, knowing that I was one of their go-to people. Now, believe me, the person sent home is no slouch either; she’s been working with an injured foot in a boot and has done a remarkable job. I truly now feel like I am part of the team. Someone whom they know they can count on when needed.

Am I glad for my two days off, today and tomorrow? Oh, yes. As easy as the cash register job has become now, since I’ve learned where every menu item is, it still puts a strain on my feet. Tomorrow I will be purchasing my new shoes. That should help. But after 50-some years of basically sitting around, any kind of long-term standing begins to hurt me and make me stiff.

At the end of my shift yesterday, I met my friend Jim and one of the things we talked about was the TV show Star Trek: Enterprise, which is currently on Netflix. I did not watch it during its first run, but I am enjoying it now. The whole concept of the era before Captain Kirk, which had less technology but better special effects, somehow initially turned me off to the series. The acting is excellent and all the main characters are strong. It is a pity the show only lasted four seasons.

I am still enjoying Out of the Park Baseball 18 immensely. When I manage a game, I like to see every pitch and every play. (There is a one-pitch per bat mode, where every time you tap it the game shows just the ball that went into play and the play’s outcome. Faster, but not what I want.) When I have the time, I really enjoy the realism of a real-life paced game. I am still trying to create my very own fictitious league; several attempts have failed. I would have to rate this game one of the ten best I’ve ever played.

This is a regular work week for Rebecca and me, where we work today and tomorrow; my days off from my other job. I am planning to do a little bit of laundry, a little bit of shopping, and a lot of time with my feet up. Lol. Tomorrow I will have a top ten list for you, so until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.