…which should be round about 9:00 a.m. on Friday.

Tomorrow is my own personal Hell Day. Every month for the last four months, I have been ordered to the small trailer office of the corporate VP, to a meeting in which I must account for my accounts. This delightful invitation is only extended to those Office Managers whose Accounts Receivable Aging is over the acceptable limit. In short, those of us who have billed improperly, collected unsuccessfully and/or pissed off every insurance provider from here to Santa Ana.

I like to think, each month, that this will be the last month that I am blessed with an invitation to A/R Review. My boss/trainer/CorporateConsultant assures me that this time is most probably, quite hopefully, awfully likely the very last time at least at this point in time, that I will make the early morning trek to the little trailer where her boss and mine, sits behind a behemoth of a desk, one hand furiously working her Blackberry and the other tapping a pointed pen on the pages before her.

She’s a tiny woman, this VP who terrifies me. Tiny but tough. Damn good at what she does, and in all honestly, mostly fair. She doesn’t like long explanations, hates excuses and despises being lied to. A small wooden plaque behind her desk reads “Put your big girl pants on and deal with it.” That plaque is quite possibly, the only thing, that kept me from curling up last month in a ball on the floor of her office, and weeping like a baby.

this time I am more and less prepared, which is to say that the accounts we dredged through over the last few months are in order and the accounts we didn’t tackle then, are now questionable. Truth is, I can deal with the devil at the door, and each month, that devil changes up on me.

But by tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the fat lady will have sung and I’ll be fighting my way for highway space headed North…and one way or another, I’ll have survived the interrogation in that tiny little office in that motherfucker of a town and I will be (for at least another twenty-eight days) free.



Seriously. If you tell anyone and they come to me for confirmation, I will deny it until the end of my days. But this morning, at work, I stepped in shit. Sorry Aunt Rosalyn; I stepped in poo. And unlike my home life, where such things happen often enough that we had to coin the phrase “poo-toe” to describe the aftermath, it was NOT puppy poo.

Funny thing is, I was actually tiptoeing around the bulk of the poo, smack-dab in the center of the hall, when I mushed a pointy-toed boot into the people-poo which trailed off unexpectedly to the side. No less than four people gave little yelps and shrieks of horror as I sunk down into it. And I stood there while they wiped my smart black boot down with a anti-bacterial cloth, amazed at how it turned out that of all the people up and down that hall in the fifteen minutes since the pile and pebbles of poo appeared, I alone, fell into it.

Later in the day, sitting out on the covered smoking porch, a co-worker asked, “So how do you like it here?” and I answered honestly, without much thought. “I’ve had it worse.” I said. She laughed and choked out, “really?” And “Yes,” I told her, “My last gig was in an office the size of a warehouse, filled with 8X8 cubicles and supervisors who made treks up and down each aisle every fifteen minutes, looking over our shoulders to ensure that we were doing what we were paid to do.” “Wow,” she said, taking a drag off her Virginia Slim, “the most horrible image just popped into my mind.” And that, I suppose, was when it hit me, that I apparently find a Tuesday-morning-peoplepoo-toe preferable to being locked up in that Super Secret Government Office twelve miles south of Santa Cruz.

Who knew? Sure as hell, not me.



So the HCF where I am now employed is actually a Skilled Nursing Facility, known to those in the know as a SNF (pronounced “sniff”). I am not an acronym kind of person, and so I have yet to actually use the SNF designation aloud. There is a whole language, of course, as in any industry or business or sub-culture. We don’t have Patients. We have Residents. These residents don’t live in our workplace. We work in their home. We are not a place where people come to die, but a place where people come to linger until they are ready to die, at which point, nine times out of ten, we send them to the hospital where they expire. That’s part of the lingo too. Expiring, rather than dying. And we don’t call the hospital “the hospital” either. We call it “Acute”. As in; Mr. Black went to acute last night and expired early this morning. I will tell you, up front, that the first thing I learned in my first week of work is this; there are worse things than dying young.