Sunday, September 07, 2014

Last Week Countdown Has Begun.

And I know it's going to be crazy. At 56 years old, this is the first time I've ever left a job without light-heartedly clicking my heels and singing "Zippity-Do-Dah!" on my way out the door, or at least with a feeling of not leaving anybody holding the bag. I'm stressed over this departure, NOT because I am sorry I'm leaving, but because I'm feeling sorry for the people who are going to get stuck with the extra weight on their shoulders when I'm gone. (My boss is not among the people I feel sorry for because yeah, he brought all this on himself.) This week is going to be a frantic download of many, many issues in play to the person who has been brought in from her part time gig to "be me," while she has another business she is trying to grow, and this is coming into her busy season. She will of course be able to text me anytime, or call me, and I'll take her out and get her drunk and let her vent at me if she has a spare minute between this gig and her real job. Because this short-staffed and high pressure insanity is just how they roll, and that is why I am happy to go to a company with a real staff again. Yet, yes, I will miss them, I really, truly will. These are good people, and I will miss them very much. But, yes, I'm happy to be moving on.

So, 8:30 a.m. on the 15th I will show up at the new job.

And after three "training sessions" of dubious value at the animal rescue I'm now officially a volunteer, and now I'm thinking I don't wanna be. Not because I don't want to volunteer, but because the very first email I received as an official volunteer was that we have to "burrito a cat" every time we handle one. Um, Whut? Not just for sensible reasons like nail trims, but, yes, every single time we take a cat out of a cage, even if we are showing it to a potential adopter, we have to restrain it in a towel. Because nothing says "This is a lovely, gentle, sweet and purry cat you want to take home with you," like treating it like Hannibal Lecter and wrapping it (in mid-air) into a restraint before letting its potential new family interact with it, because that won't stress the cat out at ALL! The email was explicit: We are not to be seen handling a cat unless it is wrapped.

Like what, these cats are radioactive and these used bath towels are lined with lead? These cats are Dangerous? Ooh, are the donated old bath towels made of some sort of terrycloth Kevlar, impervious to cat claws? (Because yanno, if you volunteer to work in a shelter, you should never expect to be scratched or nipped by a stressed out animal in an unpleasant, unfamiliar environment.)

And as a practical matter, how is this supposed to work, exactly? I'm supposed to do a midair cat wrap while standing on a stepstool and reaching into a small cage, when the very experienced volunteer training me last weekend couldn't successfully demonstrate it with a calm, mellow, friendly cat (who obviously didn't need to be wrapped and wondered WTF was going on). The experienced volunteer shrugged it off. If this is truly mandatory, I'd expect detailed training in how one performs this procedure in these cramped and awkward circumstances. Instead, yesterday afternoon we played silly "games" answering game show style questions about procedures - many of which weren't covered in training. I'm really missing the Asheville rescue where you signed in on a notebook page, and they assumed you were smart enough to handle a cat and clean a cat box without special training.

I do know how to wrap a cat. You do it on a flat surface, and for a purpose, like a nail clip or medications. You don't do it every single time you handle the animal, for the love of Bastet, and you certainly can't do it in mid-air while removing a cat from a cage! It was also not what I was taught in my training by an experienced volunteer just a week ago, at this very same facility. It is not how I have handled cats in my, oh, 45 years of acquaintance with them. I understand sanitation rules. I understand customer service, and I can talk to people and answer questions. I understand all the sane and sensible shelter rules. I will show up and volunteer, and see what it's like in practice. If I am fired for failing to wrap a cat, so be it.

Yesterday my daughter, son-in-law and Miss D made her first visit ever to Disney World, and it was a rousing success beyond all measure! I've put my down-payment on my own Florida Resident Seasonal Pass, and next Saturday we are going to the Frozen Summer Celebration (held over until the end of September, which is still summer here, so shut up). Miss D met Elsa yesterday during the Princess Meet and Greet at the Magic Kingdom. She Who Never Shuts Up was not just struck shy and speechless, but got red eyed and was on the verge of tears, so moved by meeting her idol.

Way back when Miss D's mom was her age Florida Resident Passes were of course cheaper and we always had them, but the park was much, much smaller then too. We had passes when my daughter was small, and we went very often. It wasn't unusual to get up on a Saturday morning and go to Disney. My daughter is so excited to introduce her daughter to something that is part of her childhood memories, and I'm so excited to do the same. I've already offered to "sacrifice" my time as a grandma. If they want a weekend day to themselves, I think Miss D and I can just take ourselves off for a day at Disney. These may be very Growing Up Orlando memories and seem weird to the rest of the world, but yes, Disney is part of our family.


Joan said...

Disney is part of our family too, but only because my husband worked for them when they were opening up in France. One of the perks of the job was free passes for the family! Three year old Amy was too scared to go on any ride other than It's a Small World (now there's an earworm for you) so we spent a lot of time sitting on benches and watching tourists get popsicles stuck to their tongues.

Good luck with the handover. I hope they actually let you leave on Friday evening!

Carolyn said...

I am coming to see this Orlando kid thing is something else altogether. My DIL reported this week that Shiloh was whining that she NEVER gets to go to Disney World. Her, of 2 parents who work for Disney. And well, you know, they use their benefits liberally. Poor baby... Guess she had to stay home and swim in their swimming pool and eat rainbow cake, as pictured on Facebook.

Catherine said...

Yes! Orlando kids (especially with parents who work for one of the theme parks) have no clue how millions of children go to bed every night never having visited Disney ONCE! Or go ONCE in their whole lives, and have to live off that memory! Be grateful for your blessings, you little ingrates! :-)

Carolyn said...


And good luck finishing up the week and also at the new site! Exciting....

Brenda said...

There are some Mad Men era photos floating around here of an extremely excited little red-haired girl and Mickey
Mouse posing just inside the gates of Disneyland. Every bit of carsickness I experienced along the highways between Iowa and California seemed totally worth it at that moment!

Good luck on your new job---

Catherine said...

Well Brenda, if you ever want to fly to Orlando, there is a not terribly comfortable but free bed and breakfast a mere toll road's ride away from Mickey. ;-)