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Welcome to BBMI, Ink., where you'll always get a fresh dose of opinion mixed with a little humor and love.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Good Boss or How I Met Your Father

About 24 years ago this month, I got a new job.  Little did I know when I started this new job that I was also embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. 

I was hired as a trainee for a large insurance company.  I won’t tell you the name of the company because past experience has told me that if I mention it, some of you will stop reading and go to the comments to tell me how said company did you wrong.  Let’s remain friends and leave the company’s name out of it. 

In the course of my training, I was assigned to a unit in our Northland office.  It was a bit of a drive, but I soon realized it was worth it.  I felt like I’d come home when I started working with this group of people.  We all shared the same sick sense of humor and you knew someone had your back whenever, wherever.   

I really liked the boss.  He was The Good Boss, by all accounts.  He was a nice guy, early thirties, demanding of his employees but never in a belittling or demeaning way.  He was easy on the eyes, too; but, alas, he was married.  As a single gal, I had such a high respect for marriage that I never gave him or his nice looks another thought like that.  That was just inconceivable to me.   

Eventually, my temporary trainee assignment turned into a permanent claim representative assignment and life as an 8-to-5 corporate employee cranked on.  I had a boyfriend or two, but nothing that really stuck.  That was okay.  I was content to work hard, laugh hard, and wait for the Mr. Right that God had planned for me. 

About a year after I’d been toiling away, The Good Boss announced to us that he was soon to be single.  His wife no longer wanted to be married and he had little choice in the matter.  This came as a shock to everyone.  What looked great from the outside wasn’t so much.  We rallied around him, helped him move from his house to an apartment, and made sure he knew we had his back. 

Months past.  I was often in the habit of staying after hours in the office.  I’m not a morning person and could get a lot more done after 5pm then I ever hoped to accomplish between 8 and 10am.  Besides, I wasn’t dating anyone, I was living alone and didn’t so much as have a cat.  So no one was waiting for me on the other side of my apartment door.   

The Good Boss was staying late as well.  I assumed since he was in the same single row boat as me, it made perfect sense.  We’d chat after everyone left about what we’d be having for dinner.  I’d tell him my plan was a) Lean Cuisine, or b) Cereal over the sink, or c) Pop Tarts and Diet Coke.  (Actually, answer “c” was what I usually ate at my desk in the mornings for breakfast, much to his disgust). 

He took some kind of personal offense to my dinner habits and would tell me I needed to eat a more healthy diet.  He also mentioned something about needing some stuff for his apartment but not really knowing his way around the local Wal-Mart.  So one night, as we were standing in the parking lot, chatting about eating more fish and retail therapy, he said, “Why don’t you go to Wal-Mart with me and then I’ll fix us dinner?”
So that was that.  Our first date.  Yes, to Wal-Mart.  We bought an ironing board and a lot of other stuff.  And about thirty minutes into it, I realized I was crazy about this guy.  Yes, I was falling for The Good Boss.  Cue the ominous music, please. 

We started dating on the sly.  Well, we thought we were dating on the sly, but I think our co-workers knew from day one because we couldn’t really contain our giddy happiness.  After a few months, we decided to go public.  I’ll never forget what he told me:  “If they fire you, I’ll help you however you need it until you get another job.”  He had my back. 

Our bosses were great; they recognized that happy people make happy employees and moved me to another building and another claim unit.  That date to Wal-Mart set in motion quite a commotion.  But everyone involved was truly happy for us and very supportive.  You guessed it.  They had our backs. 

Twenty-one years ago this Friday, October 12th, The Good Boss and I got married.  No, we didn’t hold the reception at Wal-Mart. But he still works for the same company, we still shop at Wal-Mart, and we eat a lot of fish.  And this I know for sure:  He still has my back.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be -

I’m embarking on a new personal journey on this Wednesday, October 03, 2012.  After years (and by that I mean YEARS!) of saying that I wanted to write on a regular basis, I’ve finally gone and done it.  I’ve committed to writing on a regular basis. 

A friend (I hesitate to call her an “old friend” because she’s only a few months older than me!) and I have challenged each other to reserve time each week for creativity.  I’m going to write.  If you’ve ever seen me attempt to create something in the arts and crafts realm, you will understand why I choose to write.  Even if I wanted to do something crafty, my husband does not allow me to touch the hot glue gun.  In fact, I think he’s hidden it from me.  I may or may not have glued my fingers together, so he felt it was in everyone’s best interest to make it disappear.  Yes, it is possible to do that with hot glue, and yes, it hurts.  Badly. 

But I digress.  You see, from my earliest memories, I wanted to do two things.  Those two things are recorded for posterity in a little keepsake book that my Mom collected for me.  If you know my mom and me, the fact that there are any keepsakes around from my childhood is amazing.  We just aren’t “keepers.”  We tend not to attach sentimental value to “stuff,” so we just don’t think about keeping the treasures that most people hoard. 

But, Mom kept this little book for 13 years and dutifully updated it or helped me update it year after year.

It contains grade cards from every year as well as my school pictures and some pictures of my teachers.  On the front page of each grade year, Mom recorded important information like School, Teacher, Height, Weight, etc.  On the second page, there was space for New Friends, Activities, Achievements, and Awards.  But the part that entertains and yes, even stuns, me now, is the section at the bottom of the second page.


 This “When I Grow Up I Want To Be” section continues through sixth grade.  I guess the makers of the book figured if you didn’t know what you wanted to be by seventh grade, you were a loser.  They probably didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to check off a “Loser” box.

First, we must make note of the blatant sexism on display.  You’ll have to forgive the publishers.  The copyright year is 1965; I launched my academic career in 1967.  Gloria Steinem hadn’t founded Ms. Magazine and the words “women’s liberation” hadn’t entered the public consciousness.  It just didn’t occur to them to offer little girls the options of Fireman, Astronaut, or even Cowboy.  I’m grateful that women like Sally Ride and Condoleezza Rice didn’t stick to the rules. 

Second, let’s examine my signature.  Not bad for a Kindergartener, if I do say so myself.  It’s actually hilarious to see how my handwriting evolves over 13 years.  You can tell in my Junior High days that I’m really ticked with my parents for not naming me something with an “i” in it so I can dot it with a heart or smiley face.  You see, kids, that’s what we did before emoticons.  We dressed up our handwriting.  We were ever so cool. 

But finally, and most importantly, do you notice the box I checked?  Mother.  At the age of 5, I wanted to be a Mother.  That was probably not unusual, but if you stick with me on this writing journey, you’ll see that checking the Mother box was the easiest step in becoming one.

But let’s look a little further into the book.  Each year, as I progressed through elementary school, I marked a different box.  First grade, I marked School Teacher.  In Second, I pulled a “write in” and scrawled “Scientist.”  Apparently, Women’s Lib had arrived at Bingham Elementary School, and I decided it was time to choose something outside of the 1965 pre-determined roles.  Good for me, Eight Year Old Self!  However, if you knew how completely laughable me as a scientist would be, you’d roll on the floor!  I’m not sure what prompted that declaration, but I’m still happy about it.

In Third grade, I didn’t mark a box.  I think I must have been taking this career choice thing a little more seriously now and didn’t want to make a rash decision.  But in Fourth grade, let’s see what I marked:


Yes, I pulled a write-in again.  It looks like I wrote “Writes,” but I think in my heart of hearts I was declaring to the world (and most importantly, myself) that I wanted to be a “Writer.”

 I’m guessing it began to occur to me about that time that women were good and even great writers.  I had, by then, read all the “Little House” books and had visited the home in Mansfield, Missouri where Laura Ingalls Wilder had written the books.  I can remember being somewhat surprised that books could be written anywhere:  You didn’t have to live in big, unattainable places like New York City or Paris or London to be a writer.  This was news to me.

So, for about 45 of my 50 years, I wanted to be a mother.  And for about 40 of those years, I wanted to be a writer.  Eleven years ago, I became a mom.  Can I call myself a writer now?  I don’t know.  I probably won’t make it official until I see my name on the cover of a book, but with this blog, I’ve started down that road.

What do you think this girl would say to me now?  (I mean after she said, “When the photographer says, ‘Lean a little more to the right’, don’t do it,” what would she say?)