Farewell Service Club for the Blind

So last week, June 17th, 2020 I got terminated from my job. I’m a little confused, very angry yet also a little relieved. There were only 2 paid staff members and we were both terminated. We have 89 clients that we service and I’m confused about what will happen to them. I know the business is not closing. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmm. Instead of eliminating our positions or whatever they want to politically correctly call it, why didn’t they put us to work doing fundraising, getting a plan together to do that? No fundraising has been done in decades!

I have been there for 13 years, been through 3 different president’s, witnessed some amazingly lackadaisical business practices and “management” and heard the most incredible amount of gossip and back-biting ever.

I reckon I’m a fairly good employee. I follow rules, I go the extra mile and I’ve never had a bad evaluation. Work ethic in the USA is very different to what I was used to in South Africa. Even job hunting in the USA is very different. Here, if you don’t have a degree (any degree) you are placed on the “nah, not now” pile of resumes. In South Africa, experience does count. Secondly, if you are not American it can be a little sketchy. Then add the fact that you may be over 50 – they say they can’t discriminate, but well, you know how that goes!

Everything about this termination annoys me, the timing of it (during the Corona pandemic), the way it was handled (telephonically) – incidentally I was on my way to the post office to collect the office mail when I was called, and the total ignorance as to how the business will be run going forward.

Nonprofits are made up and run by a Board of Directors. You’d hope that this Board of Directors would have a ton of business knowledge to impart or have business connections in order to solicit donations, have major fundraising experience. They are volunteers who are unpaid with no other aim except to govern and direct the running of the business. In order to remain in operation, they HAVE to do fundraising, solicit bequests and donations and of course, meet the needs of the clientele they are serving. Has this Board done any of that? Oh hell no!

What will I miss (besides a pay cheque and health insurance)? Well, I will miss my book club group the most. I’ll miss the Christmas shopping day, I’ll miss decorating the Christmas tree for every occasion during the year and I’ll miss having a laugh with my colleague. What won’t I miss? I will not miss the gossip, back-biting and the indecisive decision making and lack of business skills, lack of ethics, laziness, ignorance and the attitude that “someone else can do it”.

Unfortunately the blind community seem to be their own worst enemy. It’s a catch 22 situation. They have some good ideas but due to lack of education, business and experience, they deliver it poorly and are not taken seriously. Their expectations are irrational. Most blind people who want to study further and gain business skills are not given the opportunity due to discrimination or an unfair assumption that they are unable to perform a duty. Missouri is a state that chooses to give a “help out” instead of a “help up”. Even the Missouri School for the Blind does not seem to provide adequate social and living skills to their students. Gone are the days when blind people would be taken seriously and do everything and anything to provide for their family. I’ve heard stories of blind people going door to door selling brooms and mops, take many forms of transportation to get to work that was located miles away and get involved in making a difference. This is how the Service Club for the Blind was formed in 1934. It had the potential to do great things and be well known and appreciated in its neighbourhood. Instead, when I mentioned where I worked, I’d hear “I never knew it was there and I’ve lived here all my life”. I had so many ideas and thoughts of what I would have liked to see us do there. Fundraising ideas that are always knocked down.

So why are they terminating us? Who knows! We were told the Board was restructuring. That could mean anything. Personally, I think they wanted to get rid of the sighted people. I know the Board members are not very computer literate or business savvy and few (if any) of them have had jobs in the corporate or business industry (or any real job). It’s very much a self-serving Board, reeking of conflict of interests. Their hearts are in the right place. They want it to work, they want it to prosper, but they want someone else to do it. For many years, they’ve gone round and round making decisions that are irrelevant to the general running of the place, due to their lack of experience.

2 years ago with new leadership I thought we were starting to head in the right direction and I could see change on the horizon, but then fear and panic kicked in and too much “he said, she said” started to raise its ugly head, and I could see once more, that the renewed positivity was taking a downward dive. When you’re dealing with blind Board members who have seldom held down a full-time job in the business world, they do not understand how an office is run. In the 21st century everything is done on the computer. EVERYTHING! So, when I sit at my desk, I’m working.

To terminate the only 2 staff members while the business is closed during a pandemic with no severance package, when they have done nothing wrong, is vindictive, personal and irrational. It’s a 501(c)3 Private Foundation. Go look online at their investment and financial documents. You’ll see they are not hurting. We, the ex-staff on the other hand, are.

Unfortunately this is the last charity I will ever support. I know their background. I know they do nothing substantial for their clients. I would advise you to do the same. Please make sure you all lose my phone number and email address. Don’t ask me for anything.


Cats are smart!

Cats are really smart. Whether you like them or don’t like them, they are still smart. Ok, let me expand on “smart” in this context. We have 3 cats: Aggie (12), Sylvester (11) and Bear (12). We’ve had Aggie and Sylvester since they were kittens, and we inherited Bear from a dear neighbour who passed away several years ago.

When we first got Aggie we went to see her at our vet, held her, bonded with her and she purred and nuzzled up to us and we couldn’t wait to get her home. The vet told us that she’d been returned to them twice as she didn’t get on with their other pets (a sign we should have paid attention to!). She was roughly 12 weeks old! She is a grey and white tabby. We got her home, opened the carrier and she shot out of it like a bullet from a gun. She took off at top speed around our apartment, leaping over couches, under couches, over the bed, in and out of every room. I would have loved to have had a radar gun to measure her speed! We were gobsmacked. Where was that loving, purry, nuzzly kitten we’d just held? We hadn’t even sat down yet, we just stood by the door and took it all in. We grew to love her though – a lot. We named her Agatha CATrina because her approximate birthday falls on the day Hurricane Katrina hit – how apt!! We lovingly refer to her as Hurricane Aggie. Aggie has been through everything with us and yes, she is spoiled rotten! We moved into our house in 2009 and after a settling in period, we decided that she needed a friend. It had taken her 2 ½ years to start to calm down!

When we were ready for a 2nd cat I went back to my vet and told them we were ready! The next day I got a call “we have some kittens that you might want to look at” so I hot footed it over there to check them out. The vet is located next door to my office. Sylvester was estimated to be about 7 weeks old. It was the first time I’d heard the term “tuxedo cat” and he was true to form. Big green eyes, long white whiskers, big ears and a tiny black and white body. I fell in love immediately, went home to get Greg, took him to the vet and once again, as soon as he held him, there were purrs and snuggles and Greg was sold. He came home the next day. He was a boundy, playful, social, cute-as-a-button darling. Aggie immediately hated him! We kept him secluded in the spare room for a few days while Aggie hissed and growled outside the door. Sylvester didn’t care. He’s everyone’s best friend. On “meet up day” we opened the door and Sylvester bounded out and leaped down the hallway to investigate his new home while Aggie wailed, hissed, scratched and yelled at him and us. She refused to be near us, went off her food in protest and was determined to make us pay for bringing in another cat. We were mortified but determined to make this work. After several months (ok at least a year) Aggie finally realized that Sylvester was no threat to her great Alpha-ness. He has no desire to be a boss. They are not necessarily friends, but she will tolerate him and doesn’t get all huffy if he’s around her.

Fast forward to 2014: I used to take care of a dear neighbour’s cat when she went on vacation and ultimately when she got sick and was in hospital. After her passing her cat was still alone in her house while her family was sorting it out and I would still go there twice a day and feed him and play with him. After a while of doing this we discussed with the family that we’d take Mr. Bear (as she called him) and keep him with us until we could find a good home for him. Well, it’s 6 years later, so I guess he found a good home! Bear is awesome! At first we had him in the spare room separate from Aggie and Sylvester. Aggie went into defensive mode and hated him immediately. Back to hissing, growling and yelling outside the door (but this time we were on to her antics). Sylvester was so excited. He definitely sensed Bear’s pain and grief and camped outside the door quietly. After several days we opened the door and Sylvester shot inside. He jumped up on the bed and he and Bear started at each other, nose-to-nose for about 10 minutes not moving, and then they both jumped down and disappeared under the bed where they sussed each other out for about half an hour. After that, they came out from under the bed and have been best buddies ever since. At first Bear was definitely grieving the loss of his previous owner and his move from his old house, so Sylvester snuggled up next to him to keep him company. Bear never really learnt to play but now that he is with us, he’s developed an ardent love of the laser dot. He is the most lovable cat ever. He loves to snuggle and just be with you. He has the biggest, deepest purr ever. He’s not big on exercise, but he loves food in any shape or form, so he’s a big cat. Aggie was not at all happy about the addition of another cat. She and Bear are constantly vying for Alpha-ship. Aggie thinks she’s the alpha but in reality, Bear is the alpha. She has never accepted him and still growls and hisses at him. They have agreed to disagree, and we have a fairly calmish family.

Cats are smart! I sometimes feel like I have a school yard of kids. They all want attention, then they all don’t. They all want feeding, but they want what the other one has even though it’s exactly the same. They all want to play with whatever the other one is currently playing with, until they get the toy then they don’t want it anymore! People ask us why we don’t have or want kids. Who needs them when you have cats! They have regular birthday parties and we sing happy birthday to them. There’s cake and candles and presents. They celebrate Christmas with us – yes they get presents under the tree. We have conversations with them and they answer us. They do need jobs though!

Yes, cats are smart, but not so smart as to make us think they need jobs!

I washed my car…

Yesterday I washed my car! I’ve had my car a little over 3 years and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never hand washed her. I’ve taken her through the automatic car wash (admittedly it’s been a while) but never hand washed her. Why, you ask? Well, I have a height problem. A lack of height! I can’t reach the roof properly, nor the middle of the front and back windscreen. I could go inside the house and down into the basement and get my step-up stool and drag it upstairs and use it to clean the hard to reach places, but I really can’t be bothered.

I don’t have a strong feeling of love for this car. I’ve always “bonded” with my previous cars. They’ve all had names and I’ve pampered them and loved them. This one just never tugged on those heart strings. I always describe it as a “man’s car”. I’m 5’3” (after a chiropractic adjustment) and everything is in the wrong place for a shortish woman. I’ve adjusted the seat forward, the height of the seat, the height of the steering wheel, the mirrors, the cup holders etc., but it’s still not right. There are big patches of plastic right in my area of vision when I’m turning a corner and those darn head rests are immovable. After 3 years I still haven’t figured out how to change the time on the clock, so it’s permanently stuck on Standard Time. I get caught out on average, about 3 times during Daylight Savings Time, but for the most part I can figure out the time. Now I’m too afraid to ask someone to correct it for me in case I can’t get it back to Standard Time again, so I leave it alone.

It’s a good car, powerful, manual transmission, silver, but it feels too big for me to be truly comfortable, but it recently cost me a fortune to repair, one week after buying 4 new tyres for her. While at the mechanic, I was complaining about, well, everything to do with cars, and mentioned that I wanted to trade her in. The mechanic looked at me, lowered his voice and said “that is actually a very good idea”, so when your mechanic agrees with you, you should pay attention! We are determined to trade her in while we can still get some kind of money for her but I’m in a quandary because of the money I spent on her. I should get SOME benefit from that, right? At the time of purchasing her we managed to drive my old car to the dealer to look at cars and she died right in the dealer’s parking lot, so it was a sign that we had to purchase a car that day. They didn’t have too much in our price range, so we bought quickly and I was so excited to find a car with a manual transmission!

My goal is to own a small, economical car – preferably a hatchback and a manual, and one that I can comfortably reach all the necessary spots and not have my vision hindered by plastic globs of eye candy. Who knows, maybe I’ll hand wash her too!

Day 19,264…

So, today is day 19,264 of my life.

That translates to:

633 months old
2,752 weeks old
19,264 days old
462,336 hours old
27,740,160 minutes old
1,664,409,600 seconds old

Time is a strange thing. It takes time to grow, but it seems to take a longer amount of time to grow UP. You plant a seed in the ground, hope for rain, hope for sun, wait and voila, about 3 months later you’re eating home grown veggies. You try to sneak in a late planting and do everything in your power to protect the plants and hope for no early frost and you may be lucky enough to harvest for a second time. Then winter arrives and nothing grows. You don’t tend to anything so nothing grows… In fact, due to lack of attention (partly) things start to die.

This is my 3rd attempt at writing for the Roggie-Blog. The previous 2 times I had finished the blog and was ready to publish it and clicked on “save draft” so that I could check it, and it disappeared. No idea where it went, but it’s gone. Because I’m 19,264 days old, I can no longer remember what I was writing about so I’m not able to replicate it. The first Blog “almost post” was written by angry me. Too much going on, too much negativity on social media and the news and I was, as we say in South Africa, “gatvol” (fed up). The second Blog “almost post” was written by disillusioned me. A bad start to the week, a couple of days of “gatvolheid” (fed upness) and I just pounded out words. Both times it happened, it made me frustrated. Greg said to me “just redo it”. Redo it? Redo what? I can’t remember what I babbled on about. Something to do with jobs, cars, protests, quarantine, cats, sleep, and the lack thereof, walks, heat, gardens etc. Ok, so maybe it was a good thing those posts never made it to Postville. I am sure they were epic, but alas, we will never know!

This is my 12th week of quarantine! Greg started back at work last Tuesday after considering all the pros and cons and doing an excellent job of preparing his office for the “new normal”. He has been fairly busy and had real conversations with all his clients before working on them. They are all complying with his requests and he is comfortable with working again – for now. But, our local new case numbers are increasing again, which is to be expected with everything re-opening, protests, summer vacations etc. It’s almost like people think COVID-19 has vanished.

During these 12 weeks I have stayed home as much as possible. I’ve washed my hands A LOT, used an obsessive amount of hand sanitizer and cleaned everything possible – I’m still not done (are we ever?). I’ve managed to take care of several projects around the house and planted my garden and taken care of it unlike any previous year where I’d never be this far along. My body, mind and spirit feel more rejuvenated because I haven’t been so rushed to do everything. I needed it. I needed it A LOT. I still have a long way to go but as I find myself again, I’ll be sure to share it.

We’re Back!

Okay, let’s try this again.

The last time I posted anything here was over 5 years ago, and I thought that was a long time. Time really flies… Anyway, Lisa wanted to revive the blog and write regular updates so I’m back at this, too.

Stay tuned for updates to this site. Things will be changing as I figure out what needs to be here and what doesn’t, and maybe I’ll add some features if someone asks nicely. 🙂

The New Roggie Update – maybe…

I decided to play around with blogging and am considering resurrecting the old Roggie Update.

I don’t remember why I stopped writing the old one. I guess life happened and we got busy. Or, maybe Facebook took over and that became the new way to stay in touch with everyone. Or, maybe I got lazy and couldn’t be bothered. Either way, due to the Coronavirus, I’m home a lot (ok, all the time) and have the time and interest in things that I used to enjoy doing.

So, let’s see if this takes off! It might be fun to make a habit of it.

Peace and hugs!