Monday, June 23, 2008

Busy busy!

My niece (cdroses2.blogspot) and I traded daughters for ten days. She took mine on a mission trip into Idaho and now I have her 11 and 14 year old girls staying with me. We ride horses every day and then I feed them dinner (noon meal for you unRednecks out there) and then I go to work. Randy & Jack are going to take them to the zoo on Wednesday while I go to work. I'll check back in here then, hopefully with pictures.
Happy blogging everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Janitor Interview Part 2 (See 6/6 post for part 1)

HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR (HRD): Tell me about yourself.

APPLICANT (APP): I have been involved with janitorial and maintenance work for the past 21 years. Prior to that, I was a volunteer janitor for a large company and I worked for them in some very messy conditions in a foreign country.

HRD: And what do you think you can contribute to the cleanliness of our office environment?

APP: The depth of my experience in the field of building maintenance gives me a vast array of skills and knowledge which will enhance the office environment immensely. My friend, it’s obvious that the previous janitor was unable to accomplish complete cleanliness for this office, although it appears that his efforts were somewhat hindered by a lack of cooperation within the office and by personal friction caused by malicious gossip.

HRD: And exactly what would you do to improve the conditions such as the dusty desktops, the overflowing trash bins, and the streaks on the windows?

APP: I can see that you have intelligent people working here, so given the proper tools, (dust rags and a can of Pledge) it is not unreasonable to expect them to be able to dust their own desks. Trash bins will need to be emptied regularly by my staff and the trash hauled away in an expeditious manner. And I do windows, which should eliminate the streaks.

HRD: Some of your colleagues in the janitorial field have indicated that you are somewhat of a Maverick. How would you respond to that?

APP: Well, for one thing, the proper definition of the word “Maverick” is an unbranded steer. While I may have been branded by some of my colleagues, with all due respect, I am most certainly not a steer – I still have a pair.

HRD: Thank you. We’ll be in touch.

From the Front Line

I have been moved to the 3 PM to 11 PM shift at HV and the after dark customer base sometimes defies description. But there is one young man who regularly stops in around 10:30 PM when he gets off his shift at the neighboring steak house. Yes, I’m stereotyping here, but he is an exact replica of Keanu Reeves in the movie “Parenthood” or “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” And he’s usually tired by the time he gets to me, so I like to think that in broad daylight when he’s wide awake, he would be a little more coherent.

Anyway, the other night he got in my line and watched as I was checking out the groceries of the lady in front of him. I scanned a small package of soft goat cheese – the kind that comes in a little square cellophane bundle - and my tired friend said, “Whoa. What IS that?”

“It’s gorgonzola,” the lady answered. “Goat cheese.”

“Dude,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” And then he yawned.

She and I chuckled a little. As I was handing her the receipt, I offered her my usual, “Thank you. Have a good night.”

The young man finished his yawn and added, “Yeah. Have a good night.” Then with a big sigh he said, “I’m sorry I looked at your cheese.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How I got my “cushy” job…

OSM readers, you know who you are. In the states and abroad…I am going off the reservation on this one, but I wanted to tell you all a story. My story. Why? Well, a recent exchange with LaDawn on her blog led me to ask a question. Something she said and a word she used in particular, “Cushy” referring to my job made me ask the question… Am I snobby? Do I have a “Cushy” job and look down on others? Do I mistakenly consider myself a normal, everyday person despite the fact that I get to travel the world and see some interesting things. Do my posts, which I mostly ridicule what I consider crazy policies in the world and the US, lead you to believe I am a rich snob detached from reality? Well of course my answer to that question is… I don’t see myself that way at all. Do I sound like a complainer? Absolutely NOT! That’s easy for a Snobby Complainer to say… Do cushy jobs requires you to spend about 2 months per year away from your family? That's part of the price I pay.

I know who I am and where I came from. I don’t consider myself to have a silver spoon in my mouth now and never have. If most people were presented with, and took advantage of, the opportunities I’ve had, would they make the most of it? That’s all I am doing, so why impugn me for it? As most everyone, especially those of you reading this, I worked very hard for what I have. I’ve had a little luck along the way, but I met that luck with good preparation. That being said, I thought it best to let you judge for yourself who I am. The 20 questions intro post was fun, but I feel the need to share with you where I came from and essentially what I am made of. I’ll try not to hold anything back. I’ll have to do this in several parts. You may or may not find this interesting, so sorry if I am boring you.

1. Family Background and Early Childhood
I was born on Feb 8th, 1973 to Joseph and Maria Barabas. My father fought in WWII (was drafted to the German Army in 1944). He was in the Austrian Ski Patrol, was wounded and captured by the US and sat the last 9 months of the war as a US POW. 1945 – 1950 was not clear, but I know he joined the US Army in 1951 and went straight to Korea to fight for the US in order to become a US citizen. My mother was born a very poor peasant (for lack of a better term) in Honduras near the Capital of La Ceiba. If you can believe it, my mother is one of 22 (you read right). Several of her sisters and brothers died as infants or at birth. To this day, I have uncles and cousins in Honduras I never met.

My parents have been divorced since I was three (don’t know exact date). I have one sister of both my parents all together I have 6 sisters and a brother. In order Sari, Kathy, Julie, Lisi, Myself, Danny, Karen and Neri.

I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland. My father worked two factory jobs and lived on the East Side of Cleveland. His day job as a machinist was at the Weldon Tool Company on evenings he cleaned offices at another factory. He retired in 1991 and made about 31k the year he retired. My mother also worked, but supported us mostly through child support and welfare. I was in my mother’s custody and visited with my father on weekends. We lived in a housing project on the west side of Cleveland. I love my mother very much, but we were never close.

Like most boys, I idolized my father, I still do to some extent. At the age of 13 I had the ability to make a choice. I chose to live with my father who was never home rather than live with my mother, little brother and 2 little sisters. My older sister, Lisi (who I now call First Sergeant Annaliz Shy) chose to stay with my mother til she was 16. During the summer I had the house to myself, at 13! I would hang out during the day, wait for my dad to come home from work (he got off @ 2:30 pm) and he’d cook a nice dinner (he is a great cook). The @ 5:30 he’d be off to work his part time cleaning job at night. He usually got home at midnight. I always stayed up to wait for him, to this day I am a night owl and don’t sleep much. That is the one thing I learned well from my dad, without him teaching me, is to work hard. I used to always ask him, aren’t you going to sleep? He’d always say.. “I’ll sleep plenty when I die” After coming home @ midnight and having to be at work, we’d spend about a half hour together and I’d go to bed and he sometimes went back out to a bar. So I was home a lot, but I didn’t mind and quickly got over the fear.

Of my six sisters and Brother, 4 actually graduated HS. 4 got their GED’s. 1 got an associates in Nursing and I am the one with college degree(s). Of my siblings, we have 1 Army Seargant, 1 small business owner, a nurse, school bus driver, a receptionist and a TBD (Neri is only 23). Our ages range from 48 to 23.

It was a little rough growing, I enjoyed living with my father (although I lived with neither parent by the time I graduated Highschool) and looked forward to rare quality time together changing the oil, fixing a toilet cleaning the yard together, anything. Every Sunday after church, we did a shot of whiskey together. This started when I was five and continued til I moved away. We still do shots everytime we are together.

I often wonder how my decision to not live with my mother affected the lives of my younger siblings. Especially my brother. I know he idolized me along with my little sisters, I know I was the worst big Brother in the world! That is one of the few regrets I have in my life. Despite how bad and good I was, could I have made their lives better by staying around or was I just lucky to “break out” (will explain this later). This I will never know.
Part two coming soon... Do I sound like a cushy job snob now? Be honest..

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hi everyone.

Computer is completely crapped out, so I'm back to the library and will be checking in a few times a week. I don't know what to do about my home unit. Anybody know anything about replacing a bad motherboard... whatever that is?

On the up side, Lucy is coming home on Sunday. Pray for both of us!

Ladies and Gentlemen;

We have some serious interviewing to be conducting. The job applicants have been narrowed down to just two and they want us to hire one of them to fill the position of President of the United States.

Now suppose, for a moment (humor me) that these two men had applied for the job of… oh I don’t know… say… janitor of your office complex.

If you were the Human Resources Director, during the interview process, would you hire someone who gave the following answers to your questions?

HRD: Tell me about yourself.

APPLICANT: I have big dreams and huge plans. I intend to succeed in all aspects of this position.

HRD: Okay, good. What previous experience do you have in janitorial work?

APP: I’ve never actually been a janitor. Obviously, your previous janitor has failed miserably at this position. Look at the dust on the desktops, the streaks on the windows and the garbage overflowing from the trash containers.

HRD: And how would you proceed to improve this environment?

APP: I would be willing to apply all my energy to changing this environment.

HRD: And how would you do that?

APP: I would do away with the desks, thus eliminating any place for dust to collect. I would replace all the glass in the windows with particle board, which would in turn eliminate the streaks. I would eliminate the need for trash containers by prohibiting any office worker to generate garbage.

HRD: Interesting. Tell me about your education in the area of cleaning and maintenance.

APP: I have no education in that area, but I do have a Law Degree from Harvard and I have worked tirelessly distribute brooms and dustmops throughout the poor districts of my city.

HRD: I see. Thank you for coming in today. We’ll be in touch. Next applicant, please!

(Tune in next week for the second interview)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Sad news

I have to report a death in our family. Our old Black Lab, Cody, died yesterday morning. He was 12 years old. We went through our usual morning routine - he greeted each one of us as we exited the house and then ate up his breakfast. He laid down in his favorite cool spot in the garage while I went for a short ride on the horse. When I got back about a half hour later, he was gone. Just went to sleep and didn't wake up.

I'm glad it was a peaceful end for him. He had been getting arthritic in his back legs and hips so that getting up was slow and painful. I wasn't looking forward to the colder weather in the Fall and winter this year, a little worried we might have to make a hard decision for him. Even so, he was always ready to go walking with anyone, anytime of day, no matter how many times he'd already gone. He loved playing fetch with his favorite squeaky toy. And he had three padded dog bed blankets that he liked to lay on. He'd take one in his mouth and shake it up and down and then drag it to just the right spot in the yard or driveway where he wanted to nap that day.

I had to go to work at 3 PM, so Randy and Jack had burial detail when they got home in the late afternoon. They chose a nice shady spot in the woods behind our house, covered him with two of his blankets, buried his toy with him, and marked the place with a large stone.

Rest in peace, Cody. See you in Heaven!