Friday, January 11, 2008

But 2008 Was Supposed to Be MY YEAR!

I'm amazed at the trouble I can get in, just existing in this world. As my friends and family reading this blog are well aware, 2007 was a bit rough. I'll spare the rest of you all the gory details, but there were break-ups, car accidents, failed businesses and financial troubles, to name a few.

I was so sure that the fender bender I had on the 18th of December was my "farewell to 2007" screw up and that 2008 would bring brighter days. I was wrong.

Yesterday, I'm minding my own business, driving my (and I use that term loosely - you'll understand why in a bit) newly repaired car down Washington Ave, when out of no where, a very elderly man in a Chevrolet hurtles himself in the path of my speeding Honda. He had blown through a stop sign, and right into the very place where I would smack the heck out of him with my front end.

It's funny to me that it all happened so quickly and yet moved in slow motion at the same time. One minute I was driving and heard a horn honk and the next I was playing bumper cars with a Caprice Classic. I could see my vehicle heading straight for his passenger side door, and I know I yelled out something and then braced for the impending impact. Things get a little fuzzy after that.

Someone had stopped and was checking on the other driver. Knowing I was only bruised up a bit, before I even got out of the car, I sent a text message to my boyfriend (Aqua Rat), because I needed someone else to share in my disbelief with me. I mean for God's sake - I'd just gotten the car back from the body shop the middle of last week and they still have a few minor things to fix!

Then the fun began. A cop showed up, but wouldn't stay to sort things out, saying only that another car was on the way, as long as no one was hurt. The 89 year old driver of the Chevy was insisting he was fine, but seemed VERY confused and was actually trying to move his car around, even though his tire was leaning more so that the Tower of Pisa. He promptly punctured the tire when he put the car in drive. And I'm sitting watching Violet (my Honda) "bleed out" and die right in front of me in the middle of the street. She was nothing more than a heap of twisted metal and the all the hard work the body shop had just done - gone in 2 seconds. In the end we had two cops, an ambulance and a fire truck and tow truck that "just happened to be driving by" hanging out, along with a gaggle of witnesses. It was quite an ordeal. My body shop sent a tow truck and the towing company's owner, remembering my name and car from the last accident, showed up on the scene, to drive me to the body shop himself. In his Jaguar. I've gotta say - that's service!

All of this and the car isn't even really mine. It belongs to my parents. They've been kind enough to loan it to me, while I get my financial house back in order (When I left the job with the free car, they made me give it back. Funny how that worked.). Once the shock wore off and the paperwork at the body shop had been signed to "readmit" Violet, I did all the right stuff. I called the old guy's insurance company, only to have them deny me anything until the "determine fault," which they have 30 days to decide upon. They were quite ugly about it again today and as a result, I had to involve my parent's insurance company in the whole thing. Please God hear me now - don't let State Farm drop them! Now I have no car (again), the body shop thinks Violet is done for, I have a sore neck and 2008 isn't looking so good after all. And this was supposed to be MY YEAR!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Wish I'd Never Asked!

Have you ever asked a question in a group and realized very quickly that you wished you hadn't? I was reminded how that feels for the zillionth time in my life again last night. My company hosted a regional meeting at a restaurant near by and even though it was really geared to the "creatives" and what I call the "grunt workers" in the organization, I was invited to speak about my role in the company and to try and foster some new connections, so we could get some "team" synergy going (goodness, I think I just used every consulting catch phrase I know).

In any event, 3/4 of the way through the meetings, the folding wall between the two rooms was opened up to now include the creatives in our discussions. When asked by the meeting's leader if anyone had a question, the room fell silent. Uncomfortably silent. I'd had a question brewing for the creatives for a while, so I pondered it for a bit more, phrased it as best as possible in my head and raised my hand. And shortly thereafter, the trouble started.

I was asking about using the work of the creatives, at the request of my clients, while doing my work. Really, it means using the craft they produce at my client's locations while they are working for another set of our clients (we have several "layers" of clients in my organization), to help us gain more business from my group. You would have thought I asked them for nuclear weapons or to bring back bubonic plague.

And of course the most vocal "opponent" was sitting right in front of me. The "moderator" (and I use that term loosely, because he himself is on the creative team and seemed to enjoy the debate that ensued), let them go and rant and rave and argue. Our new 10 week old CFO, who had flown in to see what these meetings are all about and congratulate the top producing region on a job well done in 2007, sat silent.

Remember the zombie movies of old, where the zombies get the victim that was walking innocently through the cemetery at midnight on the ground, simply because the person tripped on a tree root? And then they swarm her and start to come after her, closing in closer and closer, until the screen goes to black? That's how it felt. I was pretty sure at one point I was going down. All the while trying to be empathetic to their cause, while getting my question answered and not distancing myself too far from my stance. All in all, I was told I handled it very well.

The CFO finally stepped in and called off the zombies. They announced the bar was open and dinner would be served shortly and the zombies headed off in other directions. I was left to catch my breath and chat with the grunt workers about what had just happened. One of the zombies/creatives, the one that was most vocally against me, came up and apologized and we ended up buddies by the end of the evening. He even offered up a piece of his work, that we discovered is being highly sought after by one of my clients for their use. Crazy.

But I can tell you, I'll think twice next time, before I head across a cemetery at midnight for sure!