Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My Brother

I've waited till I regained my energy for this post, for all of it was drained from me from the hours of 9:30p.m. Thursday night until well into mid-morning on Friday. Allow me to recreate this story for you.

WARNING: This is a very very long post... and infuriating once read... but as always it is entertaining (in a rage-creation sort of way) It's my brother. Oh and it may border on profane every now and again - so don't be offended... or something.

THURSDAY:
It's Thursday night and I am happily watching my Must See TV on NBC, a great relaxing and exciting time for me (as long as no reruns are on) well, I am in the middle of The Apprentice when my sisterinlaw IMs, now for the last few weeks I have been ignoring her on the IM-World because all they want me to do is sell sell sell more of their stock... BLAH I don't want to! So when she IMs me and says "I need to talk to you" I roll my eyes. Then she says she needs to speak with me on the phone NOW! Ok - at this point, I am a little freaked out... maybe my brother had finally met his match with a deer crossing the road, or had been eaten alive by their 6 dogs, or she was pregnant (that was actually my first thought. DEAR GOD!) So needless to say I am a bit freaked out. I find my phone, which had been on vibrate, and I see that there have been 4 missed calls. It rings/vibrates again... and I answer it. The conversation progresses as follows:

Jennifer: Derek has just been arrested.
ME: WHAT?!??!?!! FOR WHAT? WHEN? HOW? WHAT?!?!?!
Jennifer: 2 Sheriffs came to the door and said they had an arrest warrant and took him away.
ME: An arrest warrant for what?
Jennifer: For writing a bad check.
ME: To who?
Jennifer: Bottineau Oil Company.
ME: When did you write it, how much, did they tell you it bounced?
Jennifer: after freaking for about 3 minutes and babbling incoherently,I'll spare you all of that
ME: THAT CAN'T BE LEGAL!
Jennifer: Well Derek is in jail.
ME: Did the bank send you notice of a bounced check?
Jennifer: No. Well, I usually give Derek that stuff, so maybe they did.
ME: I'm calling the bank. You trash the house and look for ANYTHING from the bank, Bottineau Oil, etc..

So we get off of the phone and I call my mother - my dad answers the phone. "Happy Birthday Dad, your son has been arrested so he won't be able to call you and wish you a Happy Birthday."  So I request that I speak with mom, who handles the mail. She hasn't gotten anything either. So together we call the bank (she's on his account, I am not, I need her to authorize my prodding of the account for information.) Together we call the bank--- long and the short of that conversation: The check was rejected only once on 2/3/05. No other checks on his account had bounced since October.

I call Jennifer back, get the number to the Sheriff's office. I speak with Deputy Jim. Deputy Jim is real nice and Slooooowly explains the events of the night, reads the complaint that was filed by the owner of Bottineau Oil to me (only flubbing a few words, such as thus, plaintiff and De-FEN-DANT) and allows me to speak with my brother. I ask Derek if he wants out or if he wants to just sleep there for the night (cost to get out is $400, plus the charge amount of $313.99) He said he would prefer to get out. Deputy Jim gets back on the phone and I request to speak with the Sheriff when he gets back from Chaperoning the local dance at 1 am. It was Midnight at this point in North Dakota.

So I try for the next hour to find anyway to get money to Jennifer. The Jail will not take a check (HA! that's for anyone not just those arrested for writing bad ones) and will only accept a money order, cash or a wire transfer (which can only be done during banking hours) So I go on a search for a close Western Union in hopes that the Sheriff would be kind enough to go pick it up... (Remember: Jennifer cannot drive Derek's truck and especially not with 2 feet of snow everywhere.) I try to load the Western Union Website... IT WON'T LOAD!!!!! It takes 15 minutes to finally get up and running and the closest site for services is in MINOT! 60 Miles away, I wasn't even going to attempt to get it that way. Derek's account has a $300 limit to pull out of an ATM and Jennifer's separate account the same. They would still be over a $100 short. Derek was in jail for the night.

The Sheriff called me a little after 11:00 my time and gave me the details of what Deputy Jim had already explained to me... blah blah blah. He suggested that Derek just plead guilty and be done with it. I said that is not something that you should suggest in any form, until Mr. Phlem* has a lawyer. My tone I believed scared him and he stuttered for a while and went back to talking about the dance he had just come from. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE DANCE!!! I then ask when Derek can speak with a lawyer. He said after he is arraigned. I said NO, there's that little thing called the Constitution and funny enough, although your town is 13 miles from Canada you're still in the jurisdiction of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! God Damn it. I was pissed. Anywayzzzzz I had him fax over the complaint and arrest warrant to my work so that I could see it in the morning... And really there was nothing more that could be done at that point, Derek was sleeping, so we just left him that way... I got the name of the D.A. that was on in the morning and the phone number and said good night.

Spoke with Jennifer and my parents one more time to give them the status of what was going on and went to the computer to research the statute under which Derek was being charged. It looked sketchy to me at best, but really nothing I could do at that point... So I went to my VCR and watched the rest of The Apprentice & ER and around 2am attempted to go to sleep because at 6:30a.m. I had to get up and call the D.A. who would be arriving to his office (Derek was to arraigned at 10) I slept like crap, maybe 2 hours... I was just worried about my poor little brother, his stranded wife and this BASTARD that had him arrested without EVER contacting him to say "HEY PAYMENT WAS SHIT! PAY ME!!!"

FRIDAY MORNING:
I woke up at 6:30 - I called the D.A., he wasn't in yet. I then proceeded to call Bottineau Oil (couldn't hurt to see if he would just drop the charges right?) He wasn't there, he was in some W-State where cell phones had not been discovered yet and would be there till Tuesday. So I waited a bit, called the D.A. back, he still wasn't in. I then decided that this was going towards arraignment, so I wanted to call and talk to my brother to make sure that he says he wants a lawyer before he pleads AT ALL. They wouldn't let me talk to him. I said he never got to make his one call, have him call me before arraignment. The Bitch on the other end said not till he goes to Court. So I start cold calling any lawyer in Bottineau, that didn't take long because there were THREE - two work for the D.A. and the third was out of town through next week. I then called into Minot just to get some legal advice over the phone to my brother in ANY form (I cannot provide it even though I know exactly what he needs to do.) NO ONE was in their office... So I call the D.A. again and he's there- He's really nice. I ask him is this necessary to prosecute? He said he has strict liability. I respond, no under the laws of the United States you have prosecutorial discretion. He didn't like the fact that I knew big words, but was still calm and appreciated that I was concerned. I then further expressed my desire to speak with my brother, told him of Bitch at the Jail and he said he'd put a call in to have Derek call me before Arraignment. I said thank you and hung up.

It is now 9:45 in Bottineau, having no call from my brother, I call the jail AGAIN. Bitch answers the phone and said he was taken up to court. I said did you get a call from the D.A.? She says: "Yeh, I have that message right in front of me... too bad."
WHAT THE HELL!?!?!?!?!?!?

My brother is being arraigned for all I know, with several Sheriffs having spent the night saying just plead guilty it will all go away, and NO knowledge that he has a right to request counsel BEFORE the arraignment. I sit nervous and wait for Jennifer or Derek to call me with the status.

RESULTS MID-MORNING:
The D.A. picked up on the fact that Derek was going to be requesting counsel whenever he had the option and therefore did not have him arraigned per say, but had a deferment hearing set for 3/4/05. THANK GOD! I was so relieved, but then a new disaster hung in the wait... What about his Top Security job with the USFA? What would they do to someone that was supposed to have a blemish FREE record and had just been arrested? Sooooo nervous and worried for him. He get's out of jail and has to go see the 1st Sergeant (that is really bad... that's about 3 levels up.) So all morning, lunch with Shannon and into the evening I am worried, as are my parents, Jennifer, Loving Husband, my Bosses & Shannon-- that he is going to lose his job, get an Article 15 (drop in rank and/or pay) or something else horrible... and we WAIT.

FRIDAY EVENING:
Results are in - the USFA is just as annoyed, pissed and wanting to pound Bottineau Oil as Derek is. WHEW. Granted he did lose his badge so he will be limited on some of his duties until this mess is cleared... but otherwise his job is standing. (He had only been issued his badge for about 5 weeks now, it takes a long time to process, OBVIOUSLY.)

FRIDAY NIGHT:
Derek and Jennifer almost celebrate to a large degree just that the military didn't have him killed or something and drive to Minot for a nice dinner. Derek at this point tells me everything that went on in the jail... how the Sheriff and Deputy Jim were really nice, the jail was PINK. Pink bars, Pink walls, pink beds... a bit odd... He said that jail was no worse than Basic Training, but the food was horrible.

TUESDAY:
Today I mailed out a nicely worded letter including an apologetic, an explanation of Derek's side of the story, a plea to drop the charges and a Money Order in the amount of $313.99. Derek never had knowledge that this check had bounced. To the best of his knowledge it simply had not been cashed yet. The first notice that he had that there was a problem was with the local Sheriff showed up at his home to arrest him. What kind of business conduct is that?

I am just in shock. That sort of charge is not even legal in California. In order to be ARRESTED for writing a bad check you have to intentionally defraud someone -- but in North Dakota, all you have to do is bounce ONE check and they can haul your ass to jail.

Moral of the Story: Don't write checks in North Dakota.

*Named changed to protect... well... the guilty ;-)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Shopping

Oh how I love shopping and today - we were BFF! 3 pairs of shoes later and a fabulous pink jacket I am not lacking color at all in my wardrobe. :-D

Thursday, February 10, 2005

DOF

So today I met with the kids (what are they 5 years younger -if that- than me?) from That College. I also met Lisa, who I have been communicating with via email for the last month, the department chair, Dean - and the Academic VP - Jon. Yah lots of people - but it went well because this was the email that I just received from Lisa:

"Thank you so much for your time. It was great meeting you. Your expertise in debate is SO evident. I personally feel that you are the best person for the job both from a talent standpoint as well as from a theological one.

I hope this relationship works out. Again, I will keep you posted on our budget situation--that will be the deciding point for the extent to which your team can really participate.

Thanks again for your time here at That College.

I'll talk with you soon."

Excellent - now let's hope that the budget comes through and in my favor. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

A Raise!

So it has been a full week since the "incident" ... the firm is doing fine. I spent the last week simply combing the office and rearranging everything - simply so that I can find everything. Heidi was not a professional anything - so the filing was horrible, the organization was nonexistent and pack rat is not even a term that comes close to describe so much held onto crap that was in that office. However, after a week of sifting - it is starting to look like a law firm.

Today, Scott's sister-in-law came in to answer phones, and help further sift through nonsense in the office. Her help is welcomed - because now, I don't have to stop what I am doing and run to the phones. Also today Scott gave me a raise! He said I am going to be doing a lot more stuff now that Heidi is gone... and so I went from $10 an hour to $13 an hour - which is oh so excellent!

I wanted to share with you:
My Top 10 List of Why the Hell Was This Kept For So Long

10. 28 phone message books dating as far back as 2001.
9. Candy that was inexplicably OLD
8. Lawyer Directories 1998, 1999, 2000 (we have the current 2004)
7. Water damaged file folders - nothing in them, just saved-empty folders.
6. Documents of John's Ex Girlfriend of 6 years ago (closely filed near documents held for the current GF)
5. Jury Instructions from Arkansas - Neither Scott nor John has ever had a trial there.
4. 5 computer monitors (one might work.)
3. 2 HUGE boxes FILLED with unsolicited clothing catalogs - at least 500.
2. Parking ticket from 2001 (wonder if it was ever paid)
1. Pizza Hut Coupons - expiration date: 2/24/95

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Work D-R-A-M-A

What can I say - DRAMA. I had lunch yesterday with Shannon and Jess, which was fabulous... we should do it again soon, but at that time I was telling them about how my boss was driving me nuts - he was annoyed and mad that we hadn't mailed out a document, our response was that we didn't know that it had been finalized - he said yes it had been. Well, I put it back on his desk to verify that fact, that was soooo obvious to him - and what do you know, he sent it back with ADDITIONAL corrections. Does this sound like finality? GRR so I was annoyed as I left for lunch. No biggie, by the time I got back to the office it had rolled off my back and wasn't bothering me.

I continued to work on my project for the day, which was putting together a slideshow presentation for a little 8 year old boy that had died in a horrible car accident (a semi truck ran into them at 45 miles an hour, without EVER breaking.) Poor kid never stood a chance. Sad times...

Well, the day progressed as normal as any other - until the phone call around 2pm - another law firm was calling to confirm an inspection for Thursday at a client's home. Heidi, who took the call was like, umm we don't have that on calendar and I don't remember notice for such a thing. She looked and looked - and could not find the original notice, nor a copy of it. Called BACK that office and said we don't have it - they respond well you signed for it. She asks Scott, who starts to look. She then calls back the lady and simply asks her to fax another copy (this is standard procedure and done all the time, no big deal.) says a few other things about what else was with it - and it turned out that it was delivered along with some discovery (all those horrifically boring questions that suck up mine and our client's time.) Well, in the search for the inspection notice - Scott finds on his desk a copy of that said discovery. I get called into the office.

Scott the proceeds to yell at me about how I need to follow protocol and whenever discovery comes in the mail it is calendar, copied twice, 1 copy to Scott, 1 copy to client, original to file. I let him yell. I couldn't get a word in edge wise and funny enough, I know it's a bad idea to yell BACK at your boss, regardless of who is in the right. So as he is yelling at me, he is also looking through this discovery and FINDS the inspection notice. He then hollers to Heidi, "I found it." So what does she do? She proceeds to call this secretary back and I quote: "You no longer need to fax that inspection notice to us, it's been on Scott's desk this whole time."

Ok, ok, wait. Now there are several things that are wrong with this statement, and several more that go wrong after this statement... but first of all... there would have been NO HARM AT ALL TO SIMPLY LET THIS WOMAN FAX OVER THE COPY THAT HAD ALREADY BEEN REQUESTED. Unfortunately - Heidi was mad that it HAD been on Scott's desk the whole time and chose to express that in a nonconstructive, passive aggressive way.

Scott hears this, in the middle of yelling at me... (although at this point his yelling at me had turned to a more Charlie Brown teacher, kind of yell...) and says "HEIDI GET OFF THE PHONE!" She puts the secretary on hold and says "WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME?" his response "GET OFF THE PHONE AND COME HERE!" Now Scott's office like most office only have one door - I was sorta in the middle of being reprimanded and I didn't feel that it was appropriate to make a dash for the door... So I sat. In the middle.

Heidi comes to the door - Scott asks, calmer "Why did you tell her that? That is NOT what you tell someone outside of THIS office." Her response, still more agitated: "WHY IT'S TRUE." His response, agitated again "IT DOES NOT MATTER. YOU DO NOT GO AROUND EXPOSING THIS OFFICE TO LOOK BAD." I am continuing to sit. She then goes on to say well I am tired of having to cover the ass of this office because of shit piling up your desk... etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah. At this point she moves out of Scott's doorway and so I make my mad escape because we are clearly done lecturing ME on following Discovery Protocol. Scott follows.

He then proceeds to scream something about that it is her job to cover this office's ass and to make the firm look good, no matter what is going on inside of it. She responds "DON'T TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME!" His mature and professional response was "I'LL TAKE WHATEVER TONE I WANT." Sigh - and then one of them moved and I was once again literally stuck in the middle of this banter. It went on for another 4-5 minutes of Y-E-L-L-I-N-G... a couple of times Heidi screamed "STOP TALKING TO ME." Scott screamed "I'LL TALK TO YOU AS MUCH AS I WANT, YOU WORK FOR ME." -- I am standing in the middle unable to move, my only option besides standing was to shrink into a ball on the floor and hide - so I remained standing.

Ultimately, this ended with Heidi yelled at the TOP of her lungs "F--- YOU!" and stormed out of the office. Yah he kinda followed her out as she left, but then turned and just went into his office. I, who was relieved to be able to move from the spot that I had been standing in, remained there for a moment just awe-struck at what had just transpired.

A. Blatant disrespect for a superior in the office.

However.

B. Blatant lack of professionalism in handling an insubordinate act.

Which is worse, I'm not sure - I just went back to working on my presentation.
Scott went to go talk to John, who came in at the tail end of the fighting.
Heidi called John's cell phone and instructed him to let her know today if she had a job or not.
A moment or two later I call Heidi and she says she thinks she's going to quit.

Suffice it to say, I was just in awe - I had been being yelled at for something that was A. NOT MY FAULT and B. Scott had told us to break "protocol" and give HIM the client copy because the client was coming in and he could just GIVE her the documents. I knew this the entire time he was yelling at me about protocol, but he was on a soapbox - he needed to get it out. I let him and then after he finished talking to John, I pointed out that I had done as he had asked. I was not there for calendaring to take place, but that we had followed his wishes. He apologized for yelling, but still reinforcing the protocol. Fine, I already do, so no sweat to hear the procedure again, if it makes him feel better. So I felt well enough in handling MY professional berating for the day - although anyone would pat themselves on the back when the immediate comparison has a final thought of "F--- YOU!"

So that was my Tuesday.

Donald Trumps Favorite Phrase...

"You're Fired!" And like several contestants on The Apprentice - Heidi heard those very words, or some softer variation (because John is too nice to be blunt) last night.

I will miss her friendship in the office, but I will not miss the overtly negative atmosphere that was created because of her lack of desire to continue employment with the firm. For the last 6 months she's talked about wanting to quit the job because she's just not happy - and because of that littler and littler things have been bothering her.

It will be extremely weird to go to work tomorrow- she's been there (one month shy of) 6 years. I'll miss her for advice, covering each other to take longer lunches, little things like that. However, I think the firm will advance quicker and go further without her. I just feel bad for her.

I just finished talking to her (why I was waiting to post) and she's relieved. She realized that she never would voluntarily get the ummph to just quit or give notice - so even though it ended on a bad note... it was a clean break and the best thing for her, in her opinion. Although she is hoping for utter failure of the firm. At least there's no bitterness, right?

So tomorrow - I am off to work SOLO.