I was so excited to have a great First Friday with my best guy
friend, Bill! You can check out probably over a dozen stories
about the ‘Man Who Knew My Daughter First!’ We have good food,
deep conversations and ‘pick up where we left off’ thoughts,
at our monthly gatherings. We had poor weather, gusts of up to
37 miles an hour (meteorologist, supposedly, “fact”) so we did
not go walking around downtown Delaware, Ohio.
We started right into Bill’s favorite subject, Music!
I am a rather musical person, a mediocre history of attempting
to play the clarinet for over 8 years, in all forms of ‘bands.’
I was a member of the Pep band, Concert band, Symphonic band,
Bay High marching band and both North Olmsted’s elementary and
Bay’s middle school bands. I know music, can “Name That Tune,”
many times over, but I have a ‘tin’ ear when it comes to
actually playing the clarinet from memory or using my left
hand on the piano!
Bill introduced me to a bright and witty singer from Australia.
On Youtube, on his cell phone, sitting in his car, that is!
Her name is Courtney Barnett. She has a huge following from
the UK and America, but is an international ‘star.’ She is
funny, irreverent, including lyrics that are just so far out
you may burst into laughter. She uses a ‘dead pan’ voice,
seemingly without any energy, but her creativity makes it
exciting, anyway! Bill was sitting in my parking lot a half
hour early, never letting on he was there, listening to her
song called, “Avant Gardener.” This young and talented singer
was born in 1988. She has been ‘around’ the musical circuit
since 2011. I feel her cleverness outweighs my ‘need’ to hear
a beautiful voiced song of perfection. Her lyrics included
her yard being a mess, supposing neighbors may think they run
a ‘meth lab,’ all in a video you may find on youtube with a
group of tennis players lobbing balls all around her.
When we got on the road to dinner, we talked about work. I was
disheartened by a really ‘poor monthly review’ at my dear old
Advance Auto. It all arose from my saying three weeks’ ago,
as I was leaving, off the clock, to a manager who exclaimed,
“You are leaving at only 8:30 A.M.!” (We usually work, while
it is a regular schedule, four nine hour days and a four hour
Friday. I had worked only from 6 a.m. until then. Two and a
I exclaimed, using what I felt was a rather light hearted tone,
“Yeah! I have to go to the bank and withdraw savings lately to
pay my bills.”
But, really, this is considered the slow period, where we work
less. I know this, going on six years there… I was not
really complaining! I like our slow times, since if you have
followed me since last summer, we usually work 10-11 hours in a
grueling hot, non-air-conditioned warehouse. I store up my extra
overtime money. I save it like a squirrel and his ‘nut’ but I
don’t like having to dip into it so regularly.
At my monthly meeting, I heard that this said manager had gone
into his Friday meeting complaining that he needed people like
me to work with his department. Why didn’t I volunteer to help
them out? Why wasn’t I a “Team Player?” They are ‘cheap’ at my
company and don’t hire temps in receiving area, where they
are scrambling to add merchandise, preparing as they annually
do, to get ready for the Rush Season! Cars are repaired in the
Spring, Summer and Fall!
But our Winter has held on to us, this year, particularly.
I have only been asked once to work over, personally, for the
department of receiving. I told them that I had a special once
a week lunch waiting with my best girlfriend, Jenny, who is a
retired teacher. I even go so far as to add, that I get treated
to crab salad on croissants or German Chocolate pancakes with
a gooey, delicious cream cheese ‘syrup’ concoction. I could
NEVER give up my afternoons with Jenny, (unless heading North
to Cleveland over Easter weekend to see my Mom, for example.)
In my review, prepared by my boss’ boss, I was given ‘average’
scores almost all the way down. The only compliment given,
despite my ‘production rate’ of 106 % and my quality control
‘score’ of 100 %. (Where we can get a 95 % in the first area
and a 98 % to be “acceptable” and get our raise.)
I was quite dismayed to see my monthly review was not present
on my boss’ desk, where I make between a 2.8 to 3.0 (perfect
I read aloud, “2.2? Why?”
He said, I was not volunteering for other areas of overtime,
I was not volunteering to be one of the two positions on the
safety committee, and that I had been ‘complaining’ to someone
This was not like my best two young bosses in my lifetime
history of reviews.
Jake would have said, “You do an awesome job of going wherever
we tell you to go!”
Katrina, (whose grandmother passed away so that is why she was
not here to do this monthly review, one on one…) said just
“You are a positive person who helps others and keeps us all
feeling better being here.”
I had never heard quite these simple, but encouraging words in
my very positive years of teaching annual reviews. I had told
first, Jake, who was in his twenties, my first boss at the
warehouse, meaning every word:
“You are the best boss ever! I love the idea of potlucks and
your monthly meetings are very short and helpful.”
Katrina was given the same level of compliments, after I
received hers. It was a mutually beneficial experience for
the two of us.
I was ready to weep at my almost below average review!
Bill told me, in his warm and helpful way, to ignore Mike’s
comments, to move forward, and try to volunteer for something
more. I told him that I had written in the comments’ section
of the review that I was willing to be trained to do “E-Comm”
and to learn how to pick orders in the “Master Mod.”
(E-commerce is one where you pick what someone who logged onto
Advance Auto orders for their home or car. Master Mod is what
we call this new structure that you have to pick specialty
orders in a master module.)
Bill said, “That should do it!”
But, ever the worrier, I told Bill,
“We have our annual review this month! If Mike does it, I
may not get my raise! What should I do, if this happens?”
Bill, who was a bins manager, shipping manager and has
worked there for 41 years since he was only 20 years old,
suggested I just let it go. I would ‘keep my job.’
I wanted to go above him, find someone who would look at
my hard job work record and reward me. He and I hope to
have my immediate boss’ review. But, so far, she is back,
but the other guy is doing them!
Here is another musical connection that we made! We both
used to listen to Nickel Creek. I listened since my kids
were teenagers. He had listened because he had heard a
recommendation from Allison Krauss. This young group earned
five Grammy awards and have five albums out.
I told Bill they have been playing since they were very
young, having been trained in stringed musical instruments
by the same fine teacher. They are now, in their thirties,
but, when they started, were only around 8-10 years old!
Their first ‘gigs’ were playing in a pizza place in Carlsbad,
I would wish you to listen to their earlier, very sweet and
melodic voices that are accompanied by guitars, violin and
even a mandolin! I also encourage you to listen to Nickel
Creek’s newest album, “A Dotted Life.” In it there is a
wonderful song called, “Destination.” Ironically, it was
featured on CBS Today (Saturday, April 5, 2014). You can
watch the show or check out their songs on youtube. I also
liked the fact that they are coming ‘back’ after a seven
year hiatus. They had felt burned out after all the years
playing together. This trio will break your hearts, with
the tugging of the stringed instruments. They will rouse
you with joy, sounding like angels harmonizing. The song,
“Destination” has the only female, featured singing. The
song, “Rest of my Life” has one of the male voices being
chosen to lead the song. The names of this fine group are
Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins and Chris Thile ( The mandolin
player; along with the others knowing all kinds of stringed
In our conversation, Bill and I talked about his friends,
Denny and Rick, who play together with their guitars and
sing. Bill has sung and played since a teenager and got
some of his musical talent from his parents, but also liked
rock and roll in his little high school band. He has many
talents, including art and the ability to understand the
challenging subject of philosophy. He is my ‘zen’ and I
(he says) am his ‘rock.’ Bill told me that Denny and he
were working on some of the popular Everly Brothers’ songs.
He said, “All I Have to Do… (is Dream)” was one they really
harmonized well on. I asked him if the three of them were
going to ‘play out,’ anytime soon? He told me it may just
be Denny and he playing together at local spots.
An interesting set of facts, how our lives have been tightly
intertwined for years is, I have known Bill’s friends forever!
I knew Ricky and Danny first from Denny. Denny and his wife,
Cathy, have a son, Shawn, who I babysat during those ‘stay at
They set me up with a man named “Danny” who I call, “Daniel”
in my month of dating 3 Dan’s. I have known Rick and Danny,
also, through my four years as an Activities Director at a
nursing home. I knew their parents, was there at both their
memorial services and funerals. Interestingly, I didn’t notice,
but Bill was there at them, too. Denny and Cathy’s son, was in
my son’s kindergarten class. Three of Bill’s children have known
two of my children… since the 90’s!
Not only does music go ’round and ’round, but life seems to,
The final song, I wish to impart with you, has been recently
sung on “American Idol” television song, by Alex Preston. He did
an outstanding job in his performance! This is One Direction’s
“Story of my Life.” The words are running constantly through my
head, at work, as I walk and sometimes right before I settle in
to sleep. For some reason, despite the fact that I feel it is a
‘rushed song’ with some lack of real emotional ‘connection’ to
the audience, I love it! The way it is sung, is like a recitation
of life, including a difficult love affair. The Irish-British
band has had the song playing since October, 2013. It resonates
with me, on a deeper level, due to the lyrics.
Does anyone else find this to be true?
What songs are you listening to recently that have touched you,
to the very core?