Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nothing personal

The crown on a tooth broke. 

I loathe going to the dentist.  Loathe, detest, despise and overall hate it.  Nothing personal against dentists - heck, I'm related to one. 

I admit that things have improved since I was a kid, when the dentist would stick all of his fat fingers in my mouth at the same time and then ask how I was doing in school.  I always knew he would find a cavity and my teeth would be numbed up, picked at, drilled on, and filled up.  The well water I grew up drinking (no fluoride) + my genetics, providing me with deep dental crevices, + probably not brushing enough as a kid (and floss?  What's floss?) = lots of cavities.

Then about 3 years ago, I experienced The Hack Dentist from Hell.  We'll just call him The Hack for short.  I went to him because insurance was going to cover more of what he had to do than my regular guy. I will NEVER do that again.  I had a crack in a crown and I wanted to get it taken care of before it got painful.  I didn't like The Hack's "bedside manner," but that didn't bother me too much.  But then he tried to talk me into doing more to my teeth than what I needed.  That should have been my first clue.  Then his dental assistant delivered my new crown.  Before I realized what was happening, she had drilled around on it, and completely screwed it up.  The Hack tried to make it work and couldn't.  (He tried to put bonding on a crown!  Even I know THAT would never work!!)  He ended up drilling out that crown, the one next to it, and replacing everything over the course of a couple months.  I had to get 2 root canals because of what The Hack did to those teeth.  He finally became exasperated with me (HIM with ME!!!), gave me my money back for the original work and sent me packing.  I was grateful.  I found a wonderful dentist, who fixed everything.  Well, until now.  I could have sued The Hack, but it would have come down to his word against mine and I didn't keep very good records of what happened during every single visit.  I did file a complaint with the state, just to make him as nervous as he had made me.  He no longer practices here in town.  Go figure. 

So now, the crown that The Hack put on a tooth 3 years ago has crumbled.  Here we go again.  I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.  This time, I will not be going to a hack, but the scene from The Marathon Man will forever run through my mind every time I walk through the doors of a dentist's office.


Monday, July 19, 2010

one of the seven deadly sins

I've been thinking a lot about pride lately.  If one "deadly sin" can be worse than another, I think this is it.  I will try to explain and not be specific.  Don't want anyone getting their feathers ruffled, but then again, this is only my opinion.

For 2 1/2 years, I was a purchasing manager for a manufacturing company.  I was very grateful for the job. I had taken a long career break to raise two kids and this was my way back in.  I had procurement positions in the past, but that was prior to having children, when I could work late, go to dinner with suppliers and go in on Saturdays.  Purchasing is not the easy job some people think it is.  It might not be the same pressure that sales people experience (as John has shown me over the years), but you are constantly striving to get better materials, at cheaper prices, at precisely the moment they are needed.  The thing I always loved and hated about purchasing is that every cent you save, goes straight to the company's bottom line.  Salesmen (sorry, John) can't say that.

So back to the pride thing.  The company I worked for was a privately owned company and it was ruled with an iron fist.  There was a production meeting every day, and while it was nice to have some of the pressure of making decisions removed, it completely sucked to sit by and watch the wrong decisions being made on behalf of my department.  And let me tell you, there were plenty of bad decisions made.  And I believe all of those decisions were made because of shear pride.

Pride veiled everything for G., the owner of the company.  I don't know what happened in the early years of the company, but the last years were very ugly.  Delivery was everything.  It didn't matter what it took or how much it cost - we did not miss a delivery.  I often wondered how we ever made a profit, with all the costly hoops we had to jump through to make some deadlines.  I was not privy to sales contract negotiations, but one of our biggest customers was Wal-Mart.  If you know anything about Wal-Mart, you know they beat their suppliers to a pulp, buy from China and wave the American flag while doing it.  But, G. was very proud of the fact that he supplied America's biggest retailer along with some of their biggest competitors, even though Wal-Mart bankrupted much bigger players.  He was proud of the fact that he employed entire families.  He was proud that he did little things for his employees, like buy them breakfast or lunch once in a while. He lent them money.  He was proud that he had an elaborate Christmas party every year.  He had an RV that was mostly used by the female officers of the company, to travel to Chicago for Christmas shopping trips and by certain employees to go to NASCAR races. He had a company jet - even though he rarely used it himself and constantly offered it to nearby college sports teams to fly to away games.  He gave a very generous donation to a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.  His name is on the wall at Central Catholic High School, as one of their top tier contributors for the newly constructed building.

Where people thankful of G's generosity?  Heck yeah.  Was that generosity given for the right reasons? Probably not.

And every time his company got too deep in debt with a supplier, I was instructed to find another.  Be done with the past; be a big shot to a new guy.

I believe that this pride is what brought G. down.  I honestly think he would do anything to save face.  At some point he got in too deep, a scheme was born to get through it, but no plan was ever made to STAY out of it.  He devised a ponsi scheme of machinery to keep the pride going, and it didn't stop until he was forced into bankruptcy - after being in business or  25+ years.

So now, I try to stay reminded every day of how far, how deep and how wide pride can go; where it can start and how it can become a monster; how you can fudge on something and end up in jail for fraud to the tune of $250 million.  I think most people doubt you can get from point A to point B through just hanging onto your pride.  I truly believe G. did, and the ramifications stretch well past whatever generosity he ever extended.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Can I tell you how sick I am of hearing about LeBron??!!  Oh. My. Gosh.  Really.  Back the hell up.  Does anyone really get how ridiculous this is??!!


So I'm sitting here with John, Jim and Abbie and we are supposedly on pins and needles, wading through all the BS interviews,  just to hear where he will be signing with for the next few seasons.

Whoever his agent is is a genius.  Marketing at it's abso-freaking-lutely best.

and he just said he's going to Miami.

Bad for the Bulls.  Bad for the NBA as a whole.  I'm not just saying that as a Bulls fan.  It will be very bad for the whole league.

"I can't make an emotional decision"  Are you kidding me?  This game is ALL emotion!!!
Stop talking about yourself in the 3rd person!!!
Please don't say "at the end of the day"  It bugs me.
"To my REAL fans..."  Real fans?  Like, the fans that don't want you to leave Cleveland?  

So, ok.  I can understand that if Michael Jordan, back in the day, would have said 'screw you Chicago, I'm out of here' I would have been very upset.  I get that.  Leron doesn't understand that if he would have stayed in Ohio, he could have brought good players to him.  He could have built his dynasty the way MJ did.  He could have held those fans in the palm of his hand forever.  He could have been a One Team Great.  Am I too old to appreciate the exceptional player that sticks with one team?  A player that has the talent and ability to be able to do that for a whole career?  These days, it takes a hell of a lot of talent to be able to do that.  After all the money you could possibly spend in 10 lifetimes, don't you want your legacy to mean something?  Don't you want to build your collection of championship rings on what you would consider your own terms?

NOT ONE MAN DOES A TEAM MAKE.  And I would say that where ever he went.

Whatever.  At least it's over.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Best holiday ever

Over the years, Independence Day has become my favorite holiday.  There is so much baggage that goes along with all the other holidays!  Who hasn't griped about all the Thanksgiving/Christmas hoopla?  Who doesn't get worn out buying presents, decorating the house, sending cards, baking...?

When did Thanksgiving just become the day before Black Friday?  When did the birth of Christ turn into Maxing-Out-The-Credit-Card Day?

Sorry.  I won't get on that tangent in the middle of summer. It stresses me out just thinking about it.

Our July 4th was great.  We had told people that if they wanted to come by, great - if not, we would see them another time. (No pressure!!)  We bought food, made salads, cleaned up the bathroom, sorta ran the vacuum - my kind of holiday prep.  Family and friends came over.  We grilled.  We had a few beers and Arnold Palmers - my new favorite.  We walked over to the park to watch the fireworks, walked home and called it a night.  What makes it even better is that I have July 5th off this year.  I think I might give myself a mani-pedi.

So that is my kind of holiday.  And to the first moron from Hallmark that feels the need to sell 4th of July greeting cards - please, PLEASE, PLEASE leave it alone!

P.S. John and I went to Funk's grove for a hike and a picnic on Monday, which made it even better.  Picnics are severely underrated.