Thursday, July 31, 2014

Facebook Asshatery - Over Cute Dog Pics - Seriously

So, I went onto Facebook and was informed of my "notifications". Four of those notifications were for the water company's Facebook page (it took about 3 months, but we're finally getting a couple of likes). So I went and took a look at these comments from some random person whose name I didn't recognize.

The first one I went to was a post that I put up on Tuesday. I had a picture of Libby and was being a bit silly with the post and in all honesty, who doesn't enjoy a random dog picture? Apparently the woman commenter doesn't. (I'm dog-sitting for my parents this week while they are away for their anniversary).

Photo: Libby's Random Water Fact: There are over 59,000 community public water systems. 
Come on, who doesn't love a cute dog pic once in awhile??

"Libby's Random Water Fact: There are over 59,000 community public water systems."

This woman's comment was, "Dogs Like Water Toooooooo......."

Well, yes, they do. Just like us they need it to survive. I was a bit weirded out by her comment but I moved onto the next. The next post she commented on was from earlier in July when I posted a friendly reminder about a board of director's meeting that night.

"Friendly reminder - our regular monthly Board of Director's Meeting is tonight at 7pm at the Community Center on Blah Street."

Her comment was, "Is everyone invited? Maybe not......"

My response was, "The regular monthly meeting is open to the general public for comments, questions or any concerns; however, business and any voting is done by shareholders. The next meeting is August Blah at 7pm."

Now, prior to the current board/staff, not all board meetings were public. They also weren't always posted publicly. For the record, as a Mutual, we are governed slightly different than a normal water company. I've done some homework. It appears that anyone who wishes to attend a public board meeting is supposed to RSVP. Seriously. They are supposed to call in advance and let us know they plan to attend. Also, we don't have to have public meetings. However, we want our residents to be better informed of what's going on. They all believe they know more about the system, how to deal with the issues, how to replace the 60 year old infrastructure and in what order, yadda yadda yadda. What they fail to realize is that they are part of the problem. In the past 60 years this system has been around, no one has ever invested anything in the infrastructure. Anything that was repaired or replaced was done because they were absolutely forced to - as in, they had no other choice. Here's another picture: For the past 15 years (or more) one of the two river pumps has been broken. They've never replaced it because they had a working one. What they failed to realize is that if that good pump had failed, they wouldn't have been able to deliver water to their customers in the summer. Also? Similar situation with one of the two pumps at the treatment plant - one works well and the other one leaks oil like crazy, so we can't use it. If the good pump failed - again, no water would be delivered to customers in summer. We've replaced both. Well, one of them is at a pump shop, but the one is already replaced and working well.

Anyway, only shareholders are allowed to conduct business at the meetings. But we do open the regular monthly meeting to the general public so they can ask questions, share any concerns they have, or comment on what's going on. And, the agendas for the meetings are now posted one week in advance in 4 locations, plus it is now in the newsletter I started up and began putting in with bills in July. Can't tell me people aren't notified.

 Moving on, the next post she commented on was the one the day after the board meeting. The meeting got a bit out of control.  The meeting had garnered a lot of interest as I had started putting a newsletter in with the bills, we'd made some changes to the rules, and we were enforcing the rules. This had ruffled a lot of feathers. Residents kept interrupting with their questions so that it was difficult to get through the agenda. When we tried to move on, people would shout out, "We have questions!! We should be able to ask questions!!" Seriously. Even when we explained that would get to them at the end where it says, "Public Comment" at the end of the agenda. Then we'd quickly get off topic because one question would lead to another that would lead to another and so on. Even I had to shout to get people to be quiet. Once more than one person starts talking in that room, you can't hear anyone - it echoes horribly. Trying to decipher shit from the recorder was very interesting. Anyway, here's my post:

"We would like to thank everyone that came to the Board Meeting last night. We had an excellent turnout - approximately 25 people (which by the way is a huge turn-out as we usually have zero). While we understand all the topics discussed were "hot items", we would also like to remind everyone that those who come the meetings should always be respectful to everyone at the meetings - Board, Staff and Customers alike. All of us care very much about the Water Company and want only the best for it. Please remember that. We are happy to talk with any of our customers who have questions or concerns about any of the changes or problems with the Water System - but again, please be civil and respectful. Rudeness helps no one."

My reason for such a post was that folks were quite rude that night. I spoke with a couple customers the day after the meeting who were upset by how the meeting was handled - by everyone involved. I told them that yes, it could have been handled better and that I would speak with the board members about some basic rules of conduct for meetings and such and that hopefully, we can all learn from that meeting and move forward. They agreed and we very happy that I took time out of my day to meet with them and hear their concerns.

Her response was, "Civil....Respectful....I think that considering the circumstances a little rudeness may be appropriate here. I live in NC and already am aware of the lawlessness involved in the way you run this company. Go back on disability for heavens sake and give your community a chance!"

My response was, "We are not "lawless" as you claim. We're attempting to make up for things have not been done for 40 years. By getting things accomplished, we are ensuring that we can get grant funding to upgrade an ailing and aging system. We realize that all of us (board and residents) could have handled our last board meeting better. We can only move forward and hopefully become better. None of us are "going back on disability" because we weren't on it to begin with."

It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around this comment because the last bit really makes absolutely no sense. Firstly, I totally understand that the residents at the meeting had every right to be upset. What no one enjoyed was them trying to run the damn meeting, talk over each other, yell at all of us for something that happened two years ago when none of us were employed or on the board at that time, attempt to throw us under the bus for things previous board and staff did or didn't do, or tell us how to do our jobs. Now, not everyone was a "Negative Nelly", we did have supporters in the crowd. But the naysayers were the loudest. Granted, members of the board could have handled things differently . . . or better . . . but like I said, it's something that we can learn from and hopefully improve. The last dig about "go back on disability for heavens sake and give your community a chance!" - that's what is confusing. If we "go back on disability" (which ain't gonna happen), and leave, the company will go under. Without a licensed operator (Boyfriend), the state will more than likely step in and take over and their rates will quadruple at best. The board has told me that more has been accomplished in the 7 months since Boyfriend's been employed than in the history that they know of. They same the same to me about me in the 4 months I've been at the office. But just up and leaving, we risk condemning the company to utter failure and ruin. And we care too fucking much to let that happen. Also, the "lawlessness"? I'm the one that discovered our company had been operating without worker's comp insurance for a year and a half - previous board/staff allowed it to get canceled due to non-payment. I had to haul ass and fix that shit fast. We're covered now, just an FYI.

And my personal favorite. I had posted this on Monday - again, I'm dog-sitting and often when I have the dogs, I will take them to the office with me so they're not stuck at home all day (except for Wednesday, because I had to go to the other water office and I couldn't take them with me, plus I had to run to town for deposits). They make me get up every couple hours to take 5 minutes or so for a quick walk outside, but otherwise, they don't disturb me and prevent me from getting my work done.

Photo: I have office buddies this week! So far, Libby has been a good "alerter" of knocks at the door, but otherwise, they're both kinda sleeping on the job! lol  ;) 
Sleeping on the job. But they're cute.

"I have office buddies this week! So far, Libby has been a good "alerter" of knocks at the door, but otherwise, they're both kinda sleeping on the job! lol "

Her response was, "Hey W (meaning Boyfriend), or your girlfriend or your mother......Is this really what Lewiston CA residents pay you to do? Time to get back to business. Do you not realize or appreciate that your community is in crisis? Ummm...."

My response was, "Office buddies or no, things are getting done - business was not interrupted. If you're curious about the things that have been accomplished, we'd be happy to let you know. You're welcome to email us at or give us a call."

I had warned Boyfriend of backlash from the community for hiring his girlfriend to be the office manager; although, she's not currently in the community. All of us (board, Boyfriend, me) were concerned about nepitism, but overall, it's turned out well. Boyfriend spends very little time in the office, so I'm alone much of the time to work at my pace. I've accomplished a lot in the office, even though some days it feels like I don't. About the mother bit - the office pays my mother mileage once or twice a month tops to come up and help me learn some of the ins and outs of running a water company; it's cheaper than paying her $20/hr. She's an excellent contact being that she worked for a water company for nearly 25 years. She's been a big help!

Now, I did a bit of digging. I didn't recognize the woman's surname, and by her own admission lives in North Carolina. So, unless she's from here and knows folks here, in our service district, she wouldn't know much. So I clicked on her friends list. And there it was - the office gal before me who up and quit in January with absolutely no notice. The same person who couldn't answer anyone's questions without changing the subject or crying or getting angry. The same person who flatly refused to work in the office and keep any kind of business hours. The same person who didn't want the company computer at the office, but instead she wanted to keep it at her house. That's where she's getting her information from. From someone who doesn't see the big picture and hates Boyfriend. From someone who makes shit up and spreads the word (people 'fess up that they've heard it from her).

Now it all makes perfect sense.

But I'm still pissed.

And some days, I just really want to tell folks what I think of them. Some days, it just makes me want to cry.

And then I remember what a PR nightmare that shit would be, so I keep my mouth shut.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Better to be the Shamer, not the Shamee

I have officially shamed three people into deleting their comments or posts that are wholly inaccurate and ignorant rants. Being located in a small rural area, I understand that the rumor mill runs like wild fire. That is still no excuse for not doing your due diligence in getting the facts. Which usually means going straight to the source.

The first was in April, shortly after I started at the water company. Some guy on Facebook tried stirring the pot by saying that the reason our water company has to issue a Boil Advisory is because we're out of water.

Not true - one has nothing to do with the other. Our Boil Advisory is due to the age of our system (60 years) and no longer meets the current California Dept. of Public Health regulations in two ways: 1) Our surface water treatment plant doesn't meet current state regulations regarding how long our water sits at the treatment plant in contact with the disinfectant and 2) the cloudiness of our water; our treatment plant puts out like .5NTU where a modern plant will put out .1NTU (please don't ask me what NTU means because I have no idea lol), and the state's concern is that bacteria can potentially hide in that cloudiness. Therefore a Boil Advisory is issued as required by state law as long as we're using water from the river. Water from our wells does not need to go through the treatment plant, therefore, in winter, we can issue a "stop boil" notice to our customers. This year, the Boil Advisory started in mid-March and we dated it through the end of October. We don't run the river every day, but every two or three days as needed and it would be such a pain the buttocks to issue notices all the time. I'd never get anything else done.

The second and third were just tonight.

On Monday evening, we had what turned out to be a water main break in our little subdivision which is our service area (we only have about 167 connections). We had to turn the main off the entire street for about 16 hours or so. When they built our system 60 years ago, they used an odd size pipe that, today, is difficult to find things like repair clamps that fit our size pipe. I went and notified people twice - the first time to tell them that it was a service line that broke (which we thought at the time) and the water would be off for 3-4 hours, and a second time to tell them the bad news that it was a main that broke and we'd have to run to Redding in the morning to get the special clamps that fit our pipes. When I got into the office this morning, there was a message from KRCR News Channel 7 (at 3am!) saying they were getting reports that the residents were without water. I finally caved and talked with one gal who really wanted to come up and have someone speak on camera. Well, Boyfriend was like "No way!" because he was grubbed out from working on the main. Plus, that's not really his thing. Soooo, I agreed to it. The gal came up, put a microphone on me and sat in front of me with a  scary video camera and asked me maybe a dozen questions about the drought and how it's affecting us. I told her honestly what our situation is and what the worst case scenario is. I showed her around the treatment plant and one of our wells. Well, my parents said they saw the clip on the news (which I am SOOOOOOOOO mortified about being on the local news! ACK!!!) and they said I "looked so cute!!" To which I replied that I probably had food in my teeth and that my bangs were standing straight up. lol

This afternoon I saw a story on KRCR's Facebook page about a water main break in Happy Valley, just a half mile-ish from my parents house. Some gal commented that "the city needs to focus on pipes but instead they build juvenile centers and stuff." I totally paraphrased but that's the gist. I commented on the story with, "The city (I think you mean Redding or Anderson) isn't paying for CCCSD's water main repair. The money comes from the water district itself, from funds they have set aside for upgrades and/or repairs. That money is generated from their customers." This evening, her comment no longer existed.

The third was this evening. Our neighbor (who is also our Operator-in-Training), called us saying that they had just seen a comment on KRCR's Facebook posting of the story - a comment that was plain mean and completely ignorant. The comment read: "Don't believe the lies. They're not even mentioning the 2.9 million dollars they have because they want to spend on themselves. And they're installing meters before they do anything to the pipes or the system. Fishy fishy fishy." Again, I'm paraphrasing because I can't remember everything verbatim. There were also comments like, "they're surrounded by water", "pull it from the river", "they probably don't even have water rights", and "they have two lakes and a river and they're running out of water?"

Oh. It's. On. As for the main comment and I addressed everyone else, too, I wrote a very long comment explaining everything. Firstly, the 2.9 million dollars was awarded to the Community Services District, which is the other water company in town - which is a completely separate company. And when awarded grant funding, it's public funds, which means you have to account for every single dime that's spent - especially because it's typically awarded for a specific project. I also explained that while, yes, we have two lakes and a river - we can only pull a certain amount out of the river - BY LAW. The two lakes/dams are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and are part of the Central Valley Project. We do not draw water from the lakes. You can read my Facebook comment and others here. Or you can read some additional comments on the actual story here.

Within the hour, the dumbass who started it all deleted his comment. HA!! Take that.

Look, I hate being a bitch and I hate writing what I had to write. Literally, my heart was pounding while I wrote my response to that person. It makes me so angry that people just assume they know more about our water company, how it operates, how it should operate and what our situation is. It's entirely possible the person I was responding to lived in the nearest town, Weaverville and has nothing to do with our system. I put it in my response that if they have concerns about our system that they are welcome to come our Board of Director's meetings, which are open to the public, and to refer to our Facebook page, they can email us or give us a call.

There's absolutely no excuse to be so rude and accusatory.

Also? You accuse me, Boyfriend, our staff and/or Board Members of lying - BOOM!! - it's on. I will shame your dumbass for being an asshat. 

I absolutely DO NOT stand for being called a liar and/or a thief.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Relay for Life!!

A board member's wife asked me to join the local Relay for Life team a few weeks ago. It's something I've wanted to get involved in for the past few years, but just never actually did. Probably because I didn't really know how to get involved in something like this. Being that I have family and friends that have been affected by cancer, it's something that means a lot. Everyone knows someone who is battling or has battled, survived or lost. Both my grandmother and my aunt have been diagnosed with it. My BFF recently lost someone very close to her after a long battle with breast cancer. One of Mom's best and longest friends is just now starting her battle with breast cancer (hence the Go Team Dot button).
I've never asked anything from my blogging buds out there, except maybe advice or emotional/moral support. What I ask now is that, if you can, please donate to my Relay for Life team. Even if it's a dollar. I believe that it's important to help people get diagnosed, receive treatment, and research ways to kick cancer's evil ass. I don't want to force this on anyone and believe me, I understand not being able to give money. I'm sure some of my long-time followers remember my issues with the United Way campaign at one of my old jobs. But if you can.
I'm walking for Dot, Granny, my Aunt, the person my BFF lost, an old high school classmate, and all the other people in my life that have battled cancer.  Below is my link to my personal page. If you're unable to donate, you can also dedicate a luminaria.

Thank you.  :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

It looks like I have my weekends back

Life has been crazy busy. However, as of this week, it will be slightly less crazy busy. I received an email from the company I work for on weekends, saying that Pro Plan, the pet food that I have been representing for the past year, has decided to suddenly cut back on their Pet Nutritional Consultant contract they have with the company I work for. Effective July 12, over half of the PNC's are technically out of a job. Myself included.

Since I had taken Saturday, July 5th off for a wedding and Saturday, July 12th off for a family BBQ, my only day to work would be Sunday July 6th. Payroll ends on the 5th, so it just wouldn't be worth it to get only $60. So I emailed my district manager and said that I wouldn't be working on Sunday. Basically I tendered my resignation after technically being laid off.

Either way, now I will have my weekends back. For the first time in a year, I will have my weekends free to do whatever I want. Pretty sure I'll be cleaning house or baking cookies or hanging out on the lake.

I had been contemplating quitting the weekend job for at least a month as I've been spread so thin between it, the two water companies and my grandparents publication. And at least half of what I made from the weekend job went to gas.

So now, I have my weekends back.

Also? Boyfriend put an offer in on a house. Eeeeeekkkk!!!!

And what did we do with my first weekend off? Drove to Fall River to see my cousin get married, bummed a night in my parents 5th wheel, had "brunch", drove to my parents house to visit with my aunt and cousin from Georgia and Granny, got groceries, came home and put groceries away and promptly went to Lewiston Lake for a couple hours before coming back home and cooking a yummy dinner of BBQ chicken, beans, garlic bread and salad. 

It was a good weekend. :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Indie Chick Lit Book Tour!


When love won't show you what you want to see, you will do whatever it takes to make a relationship meet your expectations, even if it means sacrificing your well-being, and throwing yourself down a rabbit hole of denial. Instead of being proactive and building the life you deserve, you settle for the one you have. Why? Because it's easier to try making the pieces fit, than it is realizing you're putting together the wrong puzzle. When it comes to love, the only advice worth listening to is the raw, uncensored truth. How else are you supposed to move on from a toxic relationship? How else are you expected to make sense of the pain and confusion you feel in your current relationship? Rainbows and butterflies won't have the answers you're looking for, but this book does. Take the wishful thinking and get rid of it, once and for all. It's time to take control of your love life again. Think of me as the awesome best friend that finally comes to the rescue and helps you get the romance you deserve. Fight the sugarcoat. You can take it.

I've only ever read a couple books in my life that would fall into the "self-help" category and I have chosen wisely. None of them were the coddling type, but were instead blunt, humorous and honest. And that exactly what Chiara delivers with her book. So, if you're looking for a coddling book and can't stand the brutally honest truth, this may not be the book for you. Although . . . in reality, it's probably exactly what you need. Chiara takes a step-by-step approach through every kind of relationship and potential problems and lays them out matter-of-factly with a bit of humor tossed in. She begins with "you are your own worst enemy" which can definitely be true - because we are also our own worst critics. She also says that "love is not a punishment". She has a list of things no one should give up to be in a relationship. While relationships require work and effort by both people, they shouldn't drain us or make us feel obligated. No one should stand for any kind of abuse and she lists hotlines for those that are in such a relationship. While we have all had horrible break-ups or relationships that may still scar us - this book will people realize they can find love - a love that they truly deserve. Something I liked was that I felt like she was literally sitting in front of me, speaking to me.  I definitely recommend this book if you have had troubled relationships and/or break-ups - I'm pretty damn sure that Chiara will straighten you out!

Find Chiara's book at the Indie Chick Lit Bookstore