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Posts tagged with: fire

Fighting for Your Salary Rights?


Over the last week, our local news channels have been covering the grocery workers threat to strike. I’m not going to jump into whether or not I agree with the strikes – or unions at all for that matter – but I do want to talk about appropriate times to strike.

The last time this grocery union went on strike was in October 2003. No, I didn’t look up that fact, I remember it… CLEARLY.

If you type ‘southern california october 2003’ in Google, you won’t see anything about a grocery strike, you’ll see page after page about the horrific Cedar Fire that killed 15 people and destroyed over 2,200 homes.

In the middle of that October night, I got out of bed to see why there was a bright orange glow shining from my window and stared dumbfounded at the flames ripping up the mountainside. A short while later, the fire chief drove up the driveway and told us we had to leave – NOW.

We grabbed what we could, put the dogs in the car, and left.

We drove around for a while, stayed at friend’s homes… until they were evacuated too, and eventually ended up in a Ralph’s parking lot. Now, call me crazy, but the first thought that crossed my mind wasn’t, “Well, these folks are on strike. Maybe I should drive to Trader Joe’s.” Weirdly enough, it was more, “I’m thirsty, the dogs are thirsty, it’s hot, I’m going to get water and ice.”

I loaded the goods into my 4-Runner, gave the dogs a chance to walk around, and decided to drive to yet another friend’s house who hadn’t been evacuated. As I tried to leave the parking lot, the strikers (wearing masks to protect themselves from the huge chunks of ash falling from the orange sky) blocked the driveway to the street. I threw my arms up in frustration and one of the strikers faced me, flipped me the bird, and screamed obscenities as if somehow, I were the most vile human being in the world for shopping at a union grocery store.

That was the day the Southern California grocery store workers lost any hope of support from me then or ever.

Here we are, nearly eight years later, and I will be shopping at Ralphs – and ONLY Ralphs during the strike. If this union didn’t care about the community in its time of need, I simply can’t find the obligation or desire to care about them.

The moral of this story?

If you feel the need to strike for more money, benefits, etc., be cognizant of what is going on in your community – otherwise, you could lose any chance of support.

And trust me… people will remember for a very long time.

Probationary Review…


I received my probationary review at work today. My boss reviewed the scoring range and talked about what areas employees are graded on. ‘Now, before I talk about your score, I just want to make something clear, your score is not average.’

Great. I’m going to fail this review – I thought

‘When you first interviewed with us, I told the committee that I could see you had a bright future. I put my neck on the line for you…’ he said.


‘And I’m reaping the rewards. Your performance has been unparalleled. Never, have I given a probationary score this high’ he said while smiling.

There are five Rebekah’s in this department. Obviously you’re confused.

‘I have never seen such a high level of organization…’

You call it ‘organization’, my doctor calls it a case study in obsessive compulsive disorder

‘…You are well liked by your peers and HR has only praise for you…’

You’d be amazed at the power of homemade cookies and good old fashioned gratitude to others

‘…and you are always willing to put in extra time to get projects done.’

You fired someone… IN FRONT OF ME… if that doesn’t put a fire under someone’s pants, nothing will

In an environment of so much insecurity, it was nice to get a pat on the back. I didn’t think he had noticed – and was pleasantly surprised to realize he had. This review doesn’t guarantee my job (no one is guaranteed a job) but I’m glad to hear I’m doing something right.


Summer Vacation Memories are Free


As my husband, my brothers, and I leave for our summer vacation today, I can’t help but remember some of the best summers of my life growing up. My brothers and I have always been close friends – and always up to no good.

When my brothers (John & Mike) and I were 13 and 15, one of my dad’s oh so responsible employees showed us how to build a potato gun – because everyone knows the combination of pipe, potatoes, a bottle of WD-40, and a flame tool are landmark in safety and you should share them with teenagers.

We spent our afternoons launching the potatoes into targets… *cough* the pool deck… *cough* the new trees… *cough* the house siding… (sorry ‘bout those dents dad)

On a particularly hot day, John filled the chamber up with a combination of Rave hairspray and WD-40. The fumes filled the air as he quickly spun the cap on and pulled out the matches. He touched the flame to the side and a loud BOOM exploded into our ears. Mike and I looked down to see John on his back, his shoes smoldering, and the lawn burst into flames.

He hadn’t spun the cap on tightly and instead of launching the potato, the force rocketed the cap and the flame onto John’s shoed feet.

Responsibly… Mike and I laughed hysterically at John.

We laughed so hard, we overlooked the fact that the lawn was still on fire. About 60 seconds of laughing at John’s smoldering blackened shoes went by before we suddenly became aware that the fire was growing. If mom saw the fire, she’d never let us shoot another potato again (though I’m not sure she ever truly ‘approved’ it in the first place).

Mike ran for the hose while John stomped out what he could.

Fortunately they got the fire out (hence the reason they are such good firefighters… they started young) but there was still a huge problem…

There was a black spot of charred lawn directly in front of the screen door that mom surely wouldn’t miss. We couldn’t think of a believable story for the burn spot and we certainly weren’t going to tell the truth sooooo…

We dug out the lawn, tossed it across the fence, threw on some fresh dirt, then went inside and told mom the dogs had dug a patch of the lawn.

As for John’s shoes? ‘Pssshhh. Mom, that’s a fashion statement. Don’t you know style?!?!’

My best summer vacation memories were never about where we stayed or what kind of expensive things my parents bought, they were always about the fun times with my family.

Sure, we aren’t going somewhere nice this year, but we’re going together – and that’s the best part.