Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boo-hooing About Boo-boos

I'm waiting for a fax to come in, so I thought I'd take a break. I did the same thing last night, and I've had to force myself just to stop and take a little walk around the office or the building or sit back and stretch for a moment. The body - along with the mind - is taking a beating lately.

My hands probably have it the worst. I cannot tell you how many pieces of paper I've touched over the last 3 weeks. And, if you've had the same experience, you know touching lots of paper = dry skin. So, I have a lotion bottle stashed in my desk drawer. Seems like it doesn't help much, but I know I'd be worse off if I didn't have any lotion.

Then, of course, there's the fact that I did my usual in burning myself this morning. Everyone around here knows this is a common occurrence for me - usually from something on the stove or in the oven. But, today, in my rush out the door, I absent-mindedly grabbed the flat iron when I went to unplug it. I don't know why I did this. But, I have a two inch red painful mark to remind me to ponder over the situation.

And, to top it off, I'm still healing from a few paper cuts. Know what is worse than a regular paper cut? A cardboard cut. Yes... a big gash in my skin, gained through my efforts of quickly ripping open a box. I've had flyers and brochures and magazines and booklets pouring in from all of our new partners and insurance carriers, and a couple of days ago, I just ripped open a box and ripped open my hand at the same time. Know what's worse than a cardboard cut? A paper cut on top of a cardboard cut. Yes, it's true. Just a double treat which a special person like me can have.

My hands have never looked great. I regularly hide them behind my back - especially in pictures. But, lately, they look worse than ever. Thankfully, God has allowed me the use of them, and I'm thankful he's blessed me to use them more than ever in the recent weeks when I've really needed them here at work. They help me type... rip open boxes... pick up my "nieces"... extend my hugs through the tips of my fingers... dial the phone... play the piano... and, of course, eat - among so many other activities.

It's just that they need a little more TLC than usual right now. Of course, a few aloe vera plants (otherwise called "burn plants") have been sitting at Sister Elaine and Brother Tom's house for weeks - just waiting for me to pick them up. They sure would have come in handy today. And, of course, I'm wearing one of these right now for the paper cuts.

Ever seen one of these? On the package, the following words are included:
Highly visible
Metal detectable
Water resistant
Flexible foam
Latex free
Sterile adhesive bandage

You may learn more about our industry than you ever wanted to learn. But there are a few reasons why regular band-aids are not allowed on our site and why these are required (and available within out site first aid kits) here at our business and within the food industry. When creating our flavors, the production staff must not wear anything that might fall into the food batches. (No jewelry except wedding bands or medical alert tags.) Therefore, if a bandage must be worn, it must be VISIBLE! There's no way that this could fall into something we make and not be seen. Also, when our flavor batches are packaged, they are run through a metal detector to make sure no foreign objects have contaminated the batch. Therefore, if someone accidentally dropped one of these, the production staff would see it long before it was sent to our customers. Thankfully! (I just wish the world had detectors for other things that fall into food!)

So, if you ever come to the site for a visit, be sure to ask me for one of these doozies! I'll probably already be wearing one or two.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plumb Wore Out

Most of you know I've been working some long hours. For instance, so that I could cover all 3 shifts when the employees came in to accept their offers with the new company, I worked 24 straight hours from Sunday to Monday. Not all days are like that, but the hours have been adding up since I received this new promotion and since we've started the mad dash toward the official start of the company this past Monday.

I'm tired.... or tahrrrrd, to some of you might say. Tuckered out. Plumb wore out, to others. Sleepy. Exhausted.

I wish I could say the work days have become shorter over the past two months, but, clearly, that has not yet happened. Thankfully, I'm not feeling like I'm going to fall asleep at work or while I'm behind the wheel. Instead, it is more of a mental exhaustion. So, I'm needing a break so that I can continue with focus.I have hope that it will happen soon... but probably not for a few more weeks. I will be looking forward to a vacation in May.

I know I've spoken about this before, but I always like having something to plan toward. So I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of where I could go on a little trip? Know of any special places that would be relaxing and a great location as a "getaway?" A sunny beach? Or a place you always go for a treat?

I realize I'll probably be going by myself. And, it doesn't matter if I have to take a long road trip. So, let me know if something pops into your mind.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Out of the Old, Into the New

In the last few weeks, I've missed a lot of my routines. I've missed many meals. I've missed hours - even nights - of sleep. I've missed hundred of phone calls and have desperately tried to return them within normal calling hours. I've missed turns I should have taken but was too distracted to notice. I've missed concerts and events I very much wanted to attend. I've missed keeping up with American Idol. And, of course, I've missed my blog friends. I'm trying to keep up, but work has had to take the forefront for this time. I know it won't go on and on for months, and I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light is still far away, but at least I can see it now. Thankfully, I have friends who have helped me get a meal, feed my cats, pay my bills, check on other errands, escort me on my way home, and take a pulse on what's going on. And, I've needed each of these. The recent weeks and months have been a blur, and I pray the merry-go-round will slow over the next two weeks. I'm sure the number of posts will be very telling.

One thing I haven't missed is my old office. I was able to tell a few of you that I was excited to be moving out of the place in which I've been spending my office time ever since I came to the company. Some at work affectionately call it 'the closet.' There's no ventilation in the room, so when someone has needed to speak to me at length about something serious, it would often get a little stuffy. At least I had room for a chair for someone else to sit down. Of course, if the chair was in its usual spot, I couldn't open my filing cabinet drawers. And, if the chair was moved to the left just 3 or 4 inches, my door wouldn't be able to be shut or opened. But, other than moving around those puzzle pieces, it wasn't too bad. It had been my home for 8-9 hours each weekday for the last five years.
Here's a picture of my office in the midst of my move about two weeks ago. (I hope co-workers can attest that it usually looked neater than this.) I thought I would point out a few of the items in the room for you.

Left side of office: the largest monitor I have ever seen... both in screen size and in depth. It greatly helped my eyes, I am sure, but it took up so much desk space.

Bulletin board: one postcard from our family's trip to Nashville this past summer. Also my five year anniversary certificate with our former company.

Over my printer: one handmade 3-D snowflake... which I've been waiting to take down until we know no more snow is coming. Believe it or not, we're supposed to receive some in the next couple of days.

Back of my office: one painting poster of a farmhouse and land that reminds me of the farm near Easton IL in which I lived as a child. When I came to the site, my boss allowed me to pick out a picture to have framed, and I was so happy to find this one. The biggest difference is that the picture includes bee hives (white boxes - which our farm never had) in the nearby field.

File boxes on the floor: full of new toothbrushes from our dental health provider.

The telltale Aqua box on the right: When we reached a milestone anniversary with our former company, we were allowed to pick an anniversary gift from... Tiffany!!! When I came to the company, I couldn't believe it. This will probably be the one and only time that I have something from Tiffany. (By the way, I picked out the lead crystal candle sticks.)

When I received my change in position, I was also told I would need to move to a bigger office... one that would allow enough room for a conference table and chairs. I was told to order furniture, but I couldn't stand spending a ton of money on new things. So, me - being thrifty me - went out to look for some used office furniture. And, I found something I really like! I haven't found a table yet (things have been too busy), but I hope to find something next month when I have more time. Our maintenance staff was great in applying a new coat of paint and changing the locks on my new office doors, and my new place is pictured below. It is at least four times bigger than my old office, and I don't know what to do with all of the space!
I know, I know. It's too empty. But, I found a 3 piece wooden (oak, I think?) set... with a desk, computer component, and credenza. I have a good black chair. There is a big white bookshelf and small locked cabinet still in there, and when things slow down, I'll be trying to figure out what to do with them. I'll be trying to find the best spot to move my farm picture, too. In light of everything else going, the move isn't too important now and is taking a back seat. Just wanted to show my family and friends where I've been spending most of my time in the past two weeks. Maybe I'll post a new picture when I get everything settled.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Elder Sarber's Ordination

This past Friday, I set out with the Zimmermans to head to Indiana to attend the ordination of our dear brother, Jeremy Sarber. We had been planning the trip for months, and I was so thankful that my friends decided to wait for me to get off work on Friday so I would not have to make the trip alone. We set out at 3 pm central time and expected to arrive at Tracy's parents' home at approximately 10 pm (figuring in the time change.) However, halfway through our trip, we had to stop suddenly on the highway... and we remained stopped.... and remained and remained... Over an hour later, we slowly approached the scene where a semi had gone through the wide grass median of the divided highway and knocked out a tree. We don't know the cause of the accident, but we know that it sure held up hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the interstate for several hours. We pray the driver is not hurt.

After some late-night catching up with the Mikels, our gracious hosts, and some good sound sleeping, we drove down the road to meet with Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church for the ordination on Saturday morning. (If you have not already done so, please see Brother Jeremy's post about the weekend here and here.) Our church members have sure been praying for Brother Jeremy and have been so happy to hear of how God has been blessing him to preach the gospel, and because I am thankful to call him a friend, I was thankful to be present. The charge, given by Brother Jeremy's father, Elder Tommy Sarber, was especially touching. Brother Tommy shared a few memories from Brother Jeremy's childhood and gave testimony to how their family had seen God working in Jeremy's life. It was wonderful to see all of the people who love Jeremy go up to speak to him and hug him and share their kind words of encouragement with him. Long after this weekend, I hope everyone will continue to pray for Brother Jeremy in his service to God... and for all of our elders and pastors who seek to serve the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

This post has gone up a few days later than expected because I have had some troubles with pictures. So, I will not be able to post some that I had hoped to share. But, here are a couple of good ones that I was able to salvage. To the left is a picture of the new sign outside the meeting place of the Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church.

The newly-ordained Elder Jeremy Sarber with his nephews Carson and Alec.
Right after the ordination, everyone packed into the lunchroom to enjoy the wonderful lunch prepared by the Pilgrim's Rest church members. Delicious chicken and noodles and fellowship with loving brothers and sisters.
Tressa and Abi also thought they were pretty yummy!

On Sunday morning, we decided to return to Pilgrim's Rest Church for worship services, and we were abundantly blessed by doing so. Here, Brother Mellott visits with Elder Gary Hall.

I fear the current projects at work are requiring long hours in the office and at home, so I will not be able to write about the moving sermons given by Elder Jeremy, Elder Chris and Elder Gary Hall at this time. And, I won't be able to accurately describe the kindness shown - as usual - by Brother Dave and Sister Wanda in welcoming me to their home and taking time to talk about the most important of issues. But, God was glorified from the pulpit and within the fellowship throughout the weekend, and I came away refreshed and invigorated and at peace after the trip. And, while things have been so busy the last 3 days, I've been thankful to have those memories and sermons to reflect upon. What a wonderful weekend! It is one I will remember for years to come.