Friday, April 18, 2014

Disorganization

Forgive my lack of daily participation in the blogosphere - it's a month out from our event and now, en masse, people who have been signed up since January are all seeming to say, "Oh fuck! We need to get going on this and get our shit together!"

So what happens is I get a flood of calls, emails, even texts from colleagues who apparently think that they have a hall pass to my cell phone, and everyone wants something RIGHT FUCKING NOW. This includes people I have been trying to work with for months at our local chapters, who have ignored all of my communications and offers of help, but now, suddenly, they feel it's time to panic.
Since when did technology allow us to become so pushy? I'm in a meeting and when I am meeting with someone one-on-one I think it's rather rude to pull out your phone to check email, so I don't. Three emails to my office from the same person. A phone call in my absence. Then texts. Then another text, "Are you in the office today?" All in the space of 45 minutes. 

One of my friends told me last week, "You don't want to believe this, but there are some people who are just stupid. Even if they are employed."

But you do expect - or at least I did expect - some level of organization and thought from some of the people I'm dealing with. I'm not trying to be a bitch. But we typically have 3,000 people at the event. I am a one-woman show. You do the math.

Example A: Someone signs up for the event and I send her a personalized email with a link to the event FAQ. She calls me and asks a question that is answered in the FAQ AND is right on the website that she used to register. I ask politely, "Did you read the email I sent you?" She said, "Oops, I do need to go look at the FAQ, don't I?" Then she proceeds to email me another question that is also in the FAQ.

Example B: A participant calls me and says, "The website isn't user friendly." I ask why. She replies that she is trying to make donations from other people using her credit card and doesn't understand why the other peoples' names aren't showing up as the donors - only hers.
 
So for instance, she is Amy (not really, but just the first name that popped into my head) and she wants the donation to show up as coming from Bob, but uses her own card and is then shocked that her name shows up as the donor. Has anyone heard of fraud? Do I really need to explain this?

Example C:  I tell everyone every year, over and over, that someone who isn't good at computers shouldn't be signing up an entire team of people online. Guess what they do? Guess who they call to unfuck things?

Anyhow - several people have told me after reading these that they'd never want my job, but it is really a wonderful gig to be able to go agitate for the good and get paid for it. There are just a few times a year it gets challenging...for some.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

And now we kick ass

As you know we had an event this week and as you know, weird shit happened! I got good feedback with the exception of one petty (IMHO) email from someone I have helped professionally. Yes, she came and ate the $30 lunch, didn't donate, and proceeded to write an 800-word email to me and my boss bitching about everything she didn't like about the event.

Everything else aside, it was her reasoning that made me hurt and angry - and that actually inspired this post.

In the mental health advocacy world, like every other civil rights movement, there are factions of people who don't think others unlike them belong, or should have a seat at the table. And it is why, as my keynote speaker noted at the event, we're not even at the back of the bus with mental health - we're under the fucking bus. It is a civil rights battle that we are waging right now, and with the petty infighting, we are crippling ourselves.

This person said her comments were from "a peer's perspective" - a "peer" being someone who lives with mental health challenges - and among many other pointed comments, she said the event had too many family members speaking. Our emcee has nieces with PTSD; one speaker has a son with major depression; one speaker lives with multiple mental illness diagnoses and has a son who does as well.

And that is what I reacted (privately) somewhat viscerally to.

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all, right? Or in my case, if you don't want to use the word fuck in a work email, don't write back. So I haven't - yet.

What I wanted to tell her - and maybe one day, calmly I will - is that her attitude is the biggest thing holding us back from progress. That the us vs. them attitude gets us exactly nowhere. That so many of us are both peers and family members - and even if no one identifies as either one, we still need their help. We have to stop labeling ourselves and others if we want to fucking get anywhere.
No civil rights movement has ever accomplished anything without allies working together. Mental illness touches all of us in some way - 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children lives with it. There is no "outsider." There is no "other." There is no "them" - only us.

Only when we come together and stop worrying who is in the front row of the debate will we move forward and truly convince people that just because the illness is in your brain, it doesn't mean you should be ashamed. That it is OK to ask for help.

Only then will the super high, heartbreaking suicide rates in this country begin to plummet.

Only then will people no longer feel alone, isolated, hopeless.

I took a helpline call at work this week from a sister advocating for her adult brother. He has been shuffled around by the system, has no health coverage because of a bureaucratic SNAFU, and his mother said, literally, "I guess we are just helpless." And the sister said, "No, we aren't."

So she called my organization. And we are advocating for them. Amazingly, I have been assured that the state's insurance program will rush his application this week.

Does it matter how she identifies? Or how I identify? Or does it matter that we are fighting for this person's right to proper treatment and human dignity?

So there is my elevator speech. Next month is our biggest event and I'm raising money again. If you feel inclined, please help me kick ass. No donation is too small and everything is appreciated.

Because we are literally all in this together.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Don't kiss me!

I thought that title would catch your eye.

We had an event today for work. Three different men grabbed me in hugs, and kissed the top of my head. THREE! I kid you not.
Um. What the fuck! Is this a new fetish I don't know about? They like the smell of my shampoo? Sociologically, I wonder what this signifies. So, boys, enlighten me. What does this gesture mean?

And to make things interesting, some highlights from the Book of No Manners:
  • The multiple people who grab me in the midst of managing this formal event with 300 people and say, "I know you're busy, but..." and proceed to ask questions that have nothing to do with the event.
  • The volunteer who asks me a question I specifically have told her to ask the volunteer coordinator, then gets huffy when I redirect the question to the volunteer coordinator.
  • The person who confirms that she will have chicken rigatoni a week ago. Then today, she freaks out because she didn't know rigatoni was made of pasta. (Guess who got a last-minute special entree?)
 The local celebrity who made a grand gesture of writing us a check...that turned out to be for less than her lunch cost. (There was no charge to attend.)
  • The person who kept emailing me at work knowing I was setting up for the luncheon, asking questions about something completely irrelevant and unimportant.
And then there is the sweet older lady who is mostly deaf, who moved up to another table and then looked at my boss and said, "The microphone doesn't work! I even moved closer to try to hear better."

It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard not to laugh at that...but I managed. She even wrote us a check.

And I have to say - having a smart phone is pissing me off. Here I was worrying that things kept popping up on it, and they were all notifications of people Tweeting from my event! I will never understand Twitter. The first four letters sums it up for me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Dumbfuckery

My pal Ms. Crabby Pants has summed it up once again!

After the debacle with the company trying to snatch our sponsorship benefits, they came back and asked for more free shit. No kidding. So Ms. CP suggested this:


Maybe you should remind whoever is in charge over there that your non-profit isn't in the biz of being a public relations firm for their use.  First they want advertising then they want T-shirts. Heck, why quit there...do like NASCAR sponsors.  Get a car with their name plastered all over it and drive around town.  I have attached a possible plate to put on the car as well. 

Note to self: I must appear to have this plastered on my face as well. In one day this week, all of the following happened:
  • Another for-profit enterprise tried to send more people to my luncheon, which is free for guests but costs us $30 a pop, than they offered to give us for sponsorship. I said no. They offered to pay the cost of their meals. (So there wasn't enough of this money for sponsorship, except that there apparently was.) Again, no. Kind of brings to mind that book about Marvin K. Mooney, doesn't it?
  • One of my friends took me out for coffee and being in the car with her freaked me the fuck out. She was in and out of other lanes, laughing at shit that wasn't funny. If I didn't know her better, I'd have sworn she was on drugs. Turns out that she is taking a new diet supplement. "But it's not that," she said, "It's all natural!" No, dipshit, the FDA doesn't regulate supplements, so they can say whatever the hell they want. Turns out her supplement is full of ephedra compounds. "So she is on drugs," my doctor friend said, "just legally."
  • I call my doctor's office after reading the summary of my visit to refill the happy pills, and according to them, unbeknownst to me, 1. I am 100% white, and 2. I have anemia. 
After not finding me in their system several times and asking if I was a new patient even when I affirmed that I have been going there for two years, the clinic's receptionist had no problem canceling out the anemia. But she couldn't grasp the concept of being biracial. Which is an option on their demographic chart. The one, in fact, that I remember checking.

"I'm not Caucasian only," I said. "I'm biracial. Caucasian and Native American."
"Biracial means Caucasian and Native American?" she asked.
"No. Biracial is more than one race. I happen to be those two races."
"Oh, I see."

What she didn't know is that I am on a quality advisory council for that hospital system (oh, the fun things that happen when you work for an advocacy agency!) and that we're meeting again next week.

So I am going to bring it up, but I have to come up with the wording. Do you happen to know another phrase meaning dumbfuckery?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Enlighten me

You know when it comes near event week I have to have a good rant. Not because I dislike events, but because the week before seems to become a formula for massive quantities of stupidity.
So, at random, here are some things I don't understand. Enlighten me if you can explain them:

1. People who tell other people but me that they are coming, but don't the person who is taking the RSVPs. This is not productive. The chickens do not fly in and cook themselves.

2.  People who ask, "Do I need to let you know if I am going?" when I have spammed everyone to high heaven with "RSVP REQUIRED BY XX DATE."

3. The person who asked, "What part of the hotel is the event in?" Were you expecting it to be in someone's guest room? Tips for the uninitiated: the community gatherings are in the community gathering rooms. The hotel guests are in the guest rooms.  Hint: the latter are the ones with the beds in them.

4. People who don't seem to like any food at all, period, but insist on coming. They sigh, and sulkily say, "I guess I'll just have a salad." How about having the salad in your nose? I think loudly.

5. The companies who do minimal sponsorship for the main event, and then try to crash this free one, which costs us money, with as many people as they can get away with. Then none of them donate.

6. People who RSVP without having any of the details, get the details from you, and then say they can't make it.

7. The event planner who sent out an RSVP reminder email without the time, location, or date of the event. Yep, that's me! And the proofreader didn't catch it either. We're a couple of geniuses. Does stupid get absorbed by osmosis? Maybe I am a sponge.

Or maybe - just maybe - I need a ribbon to chase, and all will be right with the world. Play this with the sound on. *I forgot to mention that these are my boys and Mr. RK did both the chasing and the video!*


Friday, March 21, 2014

Feather boas are not for me

At a meeting yesterday, someone referred to a local adult shop (I don't know how this came up, seriously!) making a joke that, "I've heard that there's a place called..." Mr. RK bought me a bracelet from that shop that says "Bad Kitty." I wear it when I'm annoyed. (You ask, do I sleep in it? Shut up.)

Which brings me to the adult shopping experience. (Disclaimer: all family members should stop reading now.)

Never mind how odd, or how scary, some things may look. What I want to know is this: don't any of these people have pets? (Here's a useful hint: no.)

Why do I ask? Yes, I am crazy cat lady. So when I see anything with feathers - boas, little wands with those on the end (What are those for? Dusting?) my thought isn't, "Ooh, that's kinky," it's, "Man! The cats would totally tear the fuck out of that."

Seeing something with any kind of ring or loop: "They'd totally chase that around:"

Seeing anything edible: "They'd totally get sick if they got into that. Should that not be kept under the sink?"

Yes, this is me getting old. Or maybe people with actual children, as opposed to small furry ones, have these thoughts as well?

Another thought is that maybe adult toy manufacturers and cat toy manufacturers are one and the same? Inquiring minds want to know.
PS Fred Phelps - I was hoping it would be more drawn out and painful.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday nincompoopery

The second word is courtesy of my brother. It basically sums up some stuff over the past few days, and of course today, because I was 1. tired and 2. have cut back even on the tiny bit of decaf I have and 3. it was Monday and 4. I had to work this weekend.

So I ask you, is it me, or...?

Scenario A: I have to email someone who reports to me multiple times, telling this person to hit "reply all" when scheduling meetings with two of us in the other office. No dice. Thus a meeting I am supposed to lead got scheduled and I was not in it.
Then I inquired about why we hadn't set up a conference call and was told "Oh! Person X forgot to hit reply all that time, too."

Finally I wrote, "Please hit 'reply all' when scheduling a meeting or phone call with both of us. Otherwise, one of us will not be included.'" Really. I did type and send that email. Hooray! We have a meeting scheduled.

Scenario B: The person that went out of their way to send work stuff to my work email, "So I wouldn't be thinking about work outside of work hours," and then, when we met to hang out, proceeded to spend nearly 90 minutes going on about my work. What, exactly, doesn't compute?

Scenario C: The person who is really nice but really chatty. I have told this person politely on several occasions that this is definitely my busiest time of year with two events coming up within five weeks of each other. And additionally, this year, I am managing another program that we added.

This doesn't stop said person from 1. making inane, nonsensical comments that distract you from your work because although I am a brand of crazy, I don't do stupid talk, and have to sit and say, "WAT?" and 2. asking, "Do you have a minute?" every little bit when I clearly do not, and 3. doing a bad Irish accent because today is St. Patrick's Day, and telling me I'd be in deep shit if I was in old day Ireland, because I was not wearing green, and getting pinched "really meant going to the hoosecow."

I looked up and informed him that as my family was Jewish and Protestant, we'd have been wearing orange (this is true - Catholics wore green by tradition), and how did he know I wasn't wearing something orange that he couldn't see? That shut him up.

Scenario D: One of our outlying chapters, which has a whopping 13 members (most chapters have membership numbers in the hundreds), was left quite a generous gift and has subsequently decided that they're going to try to incorporate because people in our great sprawling metropolis "could take our money." Newsflash: you don't have a bank account, so we already have your money! It's in a protected trust for you! And why, pray tell, would we "steal" your money?
"People from the metropolis could stack the committee."

Right. People from this area don't give a fuck about what goes on in Bumble Fuck Egypt, let alone coming up with the bright idea of robbing the rural chapter.

Well, you could say these people are old and set in their ways. Unfortunately, they have just selected a man with dementia to keep tabs on their memberships. No, I am not making this up.

How about you? Any nincompoopery going on in your neck of the woods?