Beyond This Door

“There is a door that leads to beauty and light wrapped in great mystery,” the prophet said as she stood in front of the yellow door. “Follow me. I can take you there.”

A small crowd gathered around the soothsayer, listening intently to her words.

“Beyond this door there is freedom,” she promised. “There are worlds yet unclaimed.”

“Have you been there?” a doubter from the crowd asked.

“Yes. I have seen what lies beyond and it is sweet. Together we can see this place. Together we can leave this mundane existence and experience a better life.”

IMG_8792

This may sound like the beginnings of a freakshow you’d see on Netflix or something you’d witness any night in Time’s Square, but it actually happened in my basement. As we built out the large room that holds my pool table and JB’s dance floor, I got a set of bi-fold doors for our storage room which allowed me to leave the opening five feet wide. Lately, this opening has been the source of family controversy.

I always know when JB has been down there because she leaves the fan on. A few weeks ago, I went downstairs and found the fan blade turning as well as one of the storage room doors open.

“JB, you left the storage room door open!” I hollered.

“I didn’t go in the storage room,” she replied.

Round and round the blame game went and as usually happens, no one emerged victorious. The blame game has no winners besides anger, spite, and sometimes bitterness.It’s really a game left to professionals – amateurs only wound leave marks.

A few days later my lovely wife left the door open and I chided the whole family for their negligence.

“The cats could get lost or hurt in there,” I reminded them. “The walls aren’t finished so they could get to the water heater or into my workshop and who knows what could happen!”

The next time we found it open I was the only potential culprit and innocent though I was, I heard a great deal of murmuring. Rightfully so…

The mystery grew until we postulated that our curious cat had figured out that she could put her paw under the bi-fold door and pull it open. I scoffed until one day I found her sitting contentedly on my workbench with sawdust stuck in her whiskers.

I held the doorknobs together with a rubber band, but the little criminal beat that one out too. She could pull it enough to get in, but the doors closed behind her and she couldn’t get out.

IMG_8450Now we have a child-lock on the doors. We often find her perched staring at the doors and more than a few times, her curious feline minions are watching. Sometimes we hear banging as she tries to bulldoze her way into the promised land, but she hasn’t figured out the system yet. The lock seems to be working, but after the past few weeks, I’m not betting against the prophet.

Under New Management

Think of your best boss and then consider your worst. You likely have a mental picture of both right away. One makes you smile and the other grimace. Management is hard.

I started my professional career with a very good manager who took me under his wing and trained me for about six months before he fell victim to the dreaded, “personal problems”. When you’re twenty-two, you don’t understand what’s happening when your boss starts coming in late and looking like he slept on the sticky beer-floor of a frat house. I had no idea what was going on until the rumor mill swirled with talk of infidelity, divorce, and scandal. Finally one day, my formerly conservative boss came in to collect his last paycheck on his motorcycle wearing an earring and a leather jacket.

The next boss was only about three years older than me. He had no management experience and no discernable people skills. He had somehow caught the eye of the CEO and was completely out of his element. If we weren’t half my size he would have attempted management by fear. Since he was a little fella, he ruled through paranoia – often sneaking up on us to see what we were doing. Like all paragons of business, rather than coach us during the year, he decided to surprise us with our insufficiencies during our performance reviews. One of my coworkers actually walked out of her review never to return and the rest of us found new jobs within a month. I wonder what that bonehead is doing now.

I’ve had bad managers since those days, but I’ve mostly been blessed to work under some very good ones. Being a manager is difficult because it relies on people working hard toward a common goal. A good manager knows what motivates his or her employees. But in the end, people are people. We are terminally flawed and often self-seeking.

I hope this new guy is good.

We have new management.

IMG_1277They say dress for the job you want and not the job you have. While we were shopping for a new collar for Stanley we found this number with a bow tie. The minute we put it on him, he assumed the reigns. It wasn’t so much that he took over; he just looked so qualified that we gave him the promotion. But now, he’s turned into a little tyrant.

I used to think it was cute that he followed me around, standing behind me when I made coffee or got him food. Now I feel like he’s just watching me to make sure I’m doing it right. Before his rise to power, I loved to hear him squawk. Since he got promoted all I hear is him bellowing orders.

And we can’t call him Stanley anymore. With his new air of formality, we have taken to calling him Mr. Stanley.

He seems to like this new role and as long as we keep feeding him, following orders, and giving him salty chips to lick, he usually stays out of our affairs. No one else seems too concerned, but I’m your basic slacker here at home. So I feel like since he is always watching, my performance review has the potential to be negative. But that’s okay. I assume he will put me on some kind of notice before he terminates me.

I will say, I used to love how he purred and wrapped his little tail around my leg as he passed. But now, having the boss constantly rub your leg is quite disconcerting… like I’ve stepped into a 1950’s secretarial pool.

Sorry, Mr. Stanley, I was blogging… I’ll get back to work now.