Sunday, December 31, 2017

How not to handle a customer experiencing greif

     So I have been driving around a rental car while I have been waiting for the airbag to come in for my Nissan Versa as part of the massive Takata airbag recall. I got a call Monday as we were on our way to put my wife's dog down that she had had for 18 years and was suffering from seizures from congestive heart failure and was shaking most of the day because she did not know what was going on. It was a very difficult decision for my wife to make and a very emotional time for my family.

     On the way to the vet I received a call from the local Nissan service representative that the new airbag was in and that we needed to get our car in soon to get it replaced. I told him that we were on our way to the vet to put our family dog down and that now was not a good time to talk and his response was that Nissan would not continue to pay for the rental and started to list times and days I could bring it in. I again stated that we were heading to the vet to put down the family dog and to please call back tomorrow, but he again went into essentially you need to do this as soon as humanly possible. I don't know exactly what he was saying because at this point I hung up on him and did not answer when he tried to call back.

     Someone would call back every day and I finally answered on Wednesday and said I don't know who called last time and I know you are trying to get these recalls done as quick as possible as the rental cars are an expensive line item for your company, but the manner in which the previous person spoke with me was not acceptable on any level. To which I was met with the same cold response of we need your car in and Nissan is going to stop paying for the rental if you do not get it in. I felt personal assaulted at this point. I had just told this person on the phone that the last person had handled this situation very poorly, but I understand they are under a lot of pressure. A simple i'm sorry for the way the previous person handled the call or that is not the way we want to present ourselves and I would of felt better but instead I just felt numb and hung up the phone again do to the callus nature of the caller.

     My wife had Friday scheduled off so I called Friday to schedule the car for its airbag replacement. I scheduled an appointment for 14:00 then said to do a oil and transmission fluid exchange. They said it would take 45 minutes to an hour for everything. The time rolled around and my wife was not feeling up to dealing with Nissan so I ended up taking the car and working from their waiting room. They took just over 2 hours and that was the end of it. We took back the rental and are now done with the whole ordeal.

     I have been left numb and disappointed in this whole ordeal. I know it is a lot to ask for some compassion of people working diligently trying to do the job, but I live in the Midwest where it is almost expected of people. What if instead of her dog it was her mother who passed away two years ago. Would they of had some leeway in the schedule to allow for her to plan and attend the funeral? Anyway I am done with this rant, but unless I need to I will not go back to the dealership for anything if it can be avoided at all cost!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Yesterday was ruff

     Yesterday I get a message from my wife that her dog that she has had since she was 16 has been having seizures off and on for most of the night and now most of the day. When she is not having seizures she is shaking (scared), having difficulty breathing, and cannot walk more than about 15 feet before collapsing and it is time to call the vet and schedule her final appointment. We had known this day would be coming as she has been going down hill health wise recently and she was around 19 years old. She had her first seizure three and a half years ago and that was when we discovered she had developed a minor heart murmur and a small tumor on her chest.
     I first met Marina when my wife's mom brought her over to her apartment for a visit one of the times I was over. It was also the first time I met my wife's mom Lou. I don't know if this was something she had planned, but it was also the introduction into meeting her giant family. My wife is the middle of 9 children and comes from a large family. One of the things my wife used to judge dates on was how they treated animals and especially dogs. The first thing that I usually do when I see a dog is offer it the back of my hand to smell, then I try to pet and play with it!
     After having dated awhile it was finally time to take the next big step and introduce our two dogs to each other. Her schipperke and my rottweiler. My dog was only supposed to stay at our house for a few nights as my aunts friend had him at an apartment that allowed dogs up to 45 which he quickly exceeded and they gave them the option of getting rid of the dog or moving out. So a few weeks later I was getting his shots and registering him. He was a giant of a dog and looked very menacing, but was just a giant teddy bear. He at his biggest when we were walking everyday and playing fetch with his "stick" (a firewood log) was 128 pounds of muscle and drool. When I used to answer the door for solicitors he used to lay down beside me and as soon as they saw him they would freak out and run the other way. When I would invite people in he used to terrify people because he would come running straight at them with his jowls flapping and drolling as he ran flopping over on their feet tongue hanging out the side of his mouth belly up to them waiting for his belly rubs.
     Now as for Marina she was rescued by my wife obviously, but she was dumped for being the runt of a litter, and probably dumped for not being able to be sold. My wife would find her at her summer job where she worked at the marina at one of the local lakes. She would find the sad small dog shaking under one of the garbage cans having just spending the night there after a bad storm overnight. This would be something she would never get over and something we would have to help her with every bad thunderstorm going forward. She took her into the marina and kept her under the register and let her get comfortable in an unused life preserver. She would take her home and bring her back for the next two summers as she became a dock dog helping to keep the geese and other birds off the dock and following my wife around the dock. She was happiest just being close to my wife and chasing down the geese.
     Back to the day we introduced our dogs to each other was mostly a non event. We were really worried about it because neither of us wanted to re home our dog to be able to live together and in the end they never had a problem. They didn't necessarily like or enjoy each other, but they were able to live together without issue. Introducing little pink monsters was another story though. At this point I had become very sedentary and so had my dog so he had lost most of his muscle mass with me and we had both gotten a bit of a pot belly on us. However once they kids started to get big enough to knock food off of the high chair fast as lightning marina was there to snatch it up. She went from a health 12ish pounds to a balloonist 16-18 pounds. Once the kids were better about getting the food mostly into their mouths she would get back to her proper weight, but it was just funny how predictable it was that she would get so round when each child got to that toddler age.
     Not to long after our first child was about a year old we would bring in our 3rd dog into the household. Bella was a puggle who had been so abused she was severely emaciated and terrified of everything especially men. Between our two dogs she found her place and eventually became comfortable with our dogs, children and part of our family.
     My big dog was getting older and was not as quick and spry as he used to be. I could tell that he was starting to have hip pain ( a common problem with the breed) so we had had him on glucosamine for a bit and he was maintaining himself fairly well. That was until he got a tumor on his paw. It had grown and blistered and broken open in the span of just a few days. By the time we noticed it and were able to get him into the vet the recommended removing it and doing a biopsy, but due to his age they wanted to take an x-ray of his lungs first. I will never forget seeing the films from those x-rays. He was more tumor than dog. When I looked into his eyes I could see that he was not just a bit slower than he had been he was in pain and had been hiding it from me. It was a heavy blow because he had been my buddy and pal since I was 15. at 26 I thought it was not fair for this to happen to such a sweet dog that had been with me through so much and who was just happy to sit next to me on the couch and watch movies. So I made the difficult decision, but first wanted to take him out for one last hurrah. I got him a few burgers and took him to his favorite park. once done we went back to the vet and I sat next to him with his giant head on my lap and i pet him and cried until he was no longer in pain.
     Now I was going to need to help my wife through the same thing with Marina. I called the vet and scheduled an appointment. On the way home I picked up our daughter from school and told her that Marina had not been doing well. Our son was already home from school as he had been sick that day. We talked to the kids and told them what was going to happen that day. Both of them where around for when this had happened for Bear, but they were too young to understand what was going on. So the time of the appointment came and we asked if either of them wanted to come with us. They both declined so we had them give her lots of pets and her favorite treats. I then set them up with a movie to watch to help keep them distracted while I took my wife and Marina to the vet.
     When we arrived we were imitatively taken back to a room and they explained to my wife what was going to happen. shortly thereafter the vet tech came in and put in an IV line on Marina. They brought in a thick blanket for her to snuggle up in and for us to pet her and comfort her. When they started to inject the drugs her heart beat one last big beat and then that was it. she didn't struggle she didn't panic like some dogs do during that final moment she just quietly drifted off. She was likely in the final stages of congestive heart failure. We then left and went home and ordered pizza and cried as a family for a good number of hours. We watched fantastic beast and where to find them as a family and spent time loving on our now 2 renaming dogs.
     it has been a little more than a day since Marina has left this world, and it is still hard to think that she is still not here. this morning when letting out the dogs I had to remind myself that their are only two and I don't need to go get one out from under the bed this morning. It is difficult to see my daughter breakout in tears because she misses a dog that has been a part of her life her entire life. Our son is a bit more stoic or better able to hide how he feels, or maybe it will hit him latter. My wife who has her grandmother, grandfather, mother, and now dog in the last four years is now hopefully done with loss for awhile. And then there is my already dealing with depression trying to hold myself together so I can be there for my family in their time of need. I have lost it a few times over that darn dog. Over the last 12 years I have become attached to the little bat dog. I will try to find a good picture of Marina and put it in a from with her collar for my wife so she can remember her and see her. We had even used our dogs in our wedding announcement photos as the sad dog people we were. But, now both of our pre marriage dogs have passed and we must look forward. Remember the good times and the joy that they brought us and the wonderful lives they lived. It is sad that they are gone, but soon to this heartache will pass, and we/I can just look back on the good times and enjoy the memories we made with these special creatures we bring into our lives!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I can haz mental breakdown

     So I thought I had reached a new low in my depression, but life pulls out all the stops and proves how wrong I can be once again. I work in IT and i work with virtual infrastructures. I am in the process of trying to build a special image for a new technology we are trying to get working and it is not going well as our vendor has essentially abandoned us as we have used all of our support hours and their documentation is crap. So me and another guy have been trying to piece it together. part of this process is making changes to its master image and then deploying it to our prod test environment and then testing it looking through the log files and then seeing if we can find anything in the documentation to help us solve for the error in the log files. In one of these numerous deployments in my already stress riddled state I made a mistake and started to copy this image over the current prod image. We started to get calls from help desk we realized shortly what was going on and had everything back to operational normal within 66 minutes. This kind of things happen infrequently but this was my first big fuck up. It does not help the image names are only 2 letters different and i had brought up my concerns about this before when I had almost done this before but I was going to face a disciplinary action. So my meeting came with my lead and manager... From higher up they have decided to make this a two and a half strike offence, and write this up as a written warning now this is significant for two reasons. One written warnings do not expire or have a reductionary period so as long as I am with this company this will be hanging over my head, and two they have a strict three strikes and you are out policy. So while I have been an exemplary employee for over 5 years for this company receiving several awards including employee of this work site in my first year any small infraction going forward will be a fireable offence!
     I have not been in a good place with my mental health, but I usually take pride in my work it is the one thing I am usually really good at. at 37 my last five jobs takes my back to highschool, and I have never been fired from a job and have only quit one job. all other jobs I have moved up from or moved away from. My home life has not been great recently but i have been working on it and most of my performance reviews it is brought up from my managers that I need a better work home life balance. It is not something i chose, but something that compels me. So hearing this news sucked all the wind out of the room. I have felt like there has been an elephant sitting on my chest and when I got home that night I had to have my wife help put things into perspective to help me from spiraling all the way out of context.
     During that meeting my manager and lead said they would be there to help and were going to help me with some work resources i could use. I asked for those resources to be emailed to me so i could follow up with them. I have yet to hear anything back. And then the topper today only a few days latter was our teams scheduled birthday lunch. we get together every month to spend some time outside of work just to hangout and eat. these are very informal and usually a good time overall and a much needed break from the work week. Last month with the holidays and a number of people out throughout the week we were not able to have one (which included my birthday). today was scheduled for makeup and December birthdays. I have been working in my office and when the meeting timer went off i went to check where we were going because there was not a place listed in the calendar invite, everyone was already gone.
     So i am left to believe that yes in fact this company and the people around me do in fact not really care about me. I have a number of health issues and during my tenure here have been hospitalized twice, diagnosed with severe migraines, debilitating depression and anxiety, and a brain tumor. I know for most people I am the jolly guy that is willing to help no mater what always with a smile on his face, but that smile has been missing for a little bit now and all i feel is heavy sadness. and it seems as if no one other than my wife and therapist even notice or care. people who have worked with me during a building build sometimes 60-80 hours a week side by side do not notice that i no longer have that goofy grin on my face anymore and i think that hurts the most right now that after having said that they feel i needed to take time off to help get myself better, and back in order do not even notice when i am not present in a group of 11 people. i do not know what i was expecting but i was hoping for at least something. i have a therapy appointment this afternoon thankfully, but at this rate its hard to see any light moving forward.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Openly talking about a difficult subject

     So I am going to start to talk about my depression. I know this is a difficult topic for a lot of people. I have struggled with depression on and off since I was eight. The worse it has been was when I had finished my Airframe and Powerplant license and schooling just after 9-11 and wondering what do I do now. I would have debilitating panic attacks and had very dark thoughts even those of committing suicide. But the thing that kept me going as silly as it is was I did not want to put my family through that and I did not want to leave them with a mess to clean up. That is what I was most worried about, someone having to clean up after my lifeless body. So as bad as it gets now I have a lot more to live for now and I will fight through this depression because I have a family and I need to get better.
     I used to write in a journal when things would get bad to help get my feelings out, but I feel that is no longer working. My downward self loathing is getting bad enough it is starting to affect my work. It has long affected my home life and my wife deserves sainthood (a whole book should be written on this), but i am starting to make mistakes at work that i would have never of made before. I am one of those people who has a very difficult time turning off the troubles that are bothering me at work when I get home so my grumpiness there has effected my home life, now this bought with depression has gone on so long that my home life has started to effect my work life and I cannot let this continue or I will push everyone who cares about me away before I can get better.
     My fears have kept me away from therapy / therapist for almost three decades now for not entirely unreasonable reasons. When I was in the second grade I was found to be very intelligent, but very incapable of keeping at the task at hand. I went to see lots of doctors and others, and they eventually diagnosed me with what would be called ADD. After my stroke I would also be diagnosed with Aspergers which at the time was not a known or categorized mental disorder. So it was recommended that I see a specialist to help me to focus and possibly put me on meds to help with my concentration. I had and have very little recollection of these appointments. I can remember some details from the time I was in diapers and could before my stroke remember most of my childhood and most of growing up in some detail. My psychologist was also very practic in the art of hypnosis. He is now serving two life sentences for child molestation. While I cannot recall or remember anything from that time the thought of seeing a shrink fills me with dread and makes my heart race and gives me the feeling of being trapped in a very small room. I have been seeing my therapist now for three months and though I do not feel any progress is being made I no longer stare at the door and window the entire time of our visits making sure I have an escape route at all times.
     So that is me in a nut shell. I have been trying to use this as a place to promote things that I do and I will continue to do that, but i wanted to expand this to a place where I could speak my mind freely. I often times have things to say that don't really fit anywhere else on the web like facebook or twitter, but still want to write them down. I don't know why, but I feel there is something healthy about writing our your feelings for others to read. It is almost empowering to expose yourself to the world in this way. Kind of like challenging the world to say something about it because honestly I don't care either way. And I don't mean that negatively I mean I am happy with myself. I was bullied relentlessly when I was younger and for no good reason. I was just a bit off. I thought differently than others. Was it tough then yes, did i find friends like me yes, and now i am stronger for it. would I change it if I could, of course no child should be bullied, but I am still standing here all of these years latter. So now that I have my first "long" post on here I will try to post here more frequently and I will try to answer questions when asked. so until i write again these are my words and opinions and you cannot change that ;P