Category Archives: Business

Do It Myself!

I have always been a “Do it myself!” sort of person. When I was 2, I got mad if my mom dressed me, so I would take off the clothes she put on me and put them on again by myself. I know. I have control issues.

I am currently the only full time psychologist at my agency. One person does psychological evaluations twice a month at our agency  via telehealth from her office in Florida.  Another guy comes to my agency from the Human Service Center in Bismarck once a month to do sex offender evaluations.

Once every other week, the Human Service Center in Bismarck sends a young woman psychometrist to our agency to administer and score the tests for the other two psychologists. I administer and score my own tests. My agency has lost positions due to budget cuts. With only me full time, we can’t justify a psychometrist just for our agency.  My supervisor, who works at the Bismarck agency, is always encouraging me to have the Bismarck psychometrist score my tests on the days she is here to prevent me from burning out. Sometimes that works. Usually, I prefer to do it myself, because I can do it when I need them scored and I don’t have to wait for her to come and do them.  Last week I agreed to have her take some tests to Bismarck with her to score. That was a big mistake.

The psychometrist is a bright, bubbly, and bouncy young woman who drives me crazy with her bumptous, blundering ways.  She doesn’t think before she speaks or acts, doesn’t read situations well, and often barges into my office when she is here, asking me in a very breathless fashion to do rather inconvenient things to help her and the other two psychologists out without checking what my schedule might be for the day.  “Could you do a IQ test right now on Dr. X’s patient!?  We don’t want to inconvenience him to come back to have it done another day.”  (All hands-on testing like IQ tests have to be done by me, since the telehealth psychologist can’t reach through the screen to administer tests like that).  Of course I couldn’t. I was booked solid the whole day.  It takes an hour and a half, on average, to administer an IQ test.

Last week she took some tests to Bismarck to score, and then put the scored tests in the office inbox of the psychiatrist who works at the Bismarck Human Service Center and who also comes out to our agency.  She asked the psychiatrist to transport my scored tests to me the next time she came out to Dickinson. We often have Bismarck folks transport things back and forth between our agencies. She didn’t check with psychiatrist in person. She just left her a note.

Today I phoned  the psychometrist to ask where my testing was.  She told me about her brilliant plan involving the psychiatrist. I informed her that the psychiatrist wasn’t coming to our center for another 3 weeks, and that I needed the testing immediately and that the psychiatrist  came here only once a month, not weekly, as she assumed. She then went on a wild scramble to find the psychiatrist and the tests. She called me back in a panic and asked me if I miraculously knew where the psychiatrist might be, since she wasn’t at their agency but was supposed to be seeing clients from our agency.  I told her I had no idea where the psychiatrist was. She finally tracked the doctor to her home in Bismarck where she sees clients at our agency in Dickinson via telehealth, and then got the testing from her and scanned and faxed the tests to me.

I think I will score my own test from now on. I don’t need this aggravation. I know. I have control issues.

Tell about your most annoying coworker. Tell about your best coworker. How do you cope with annoying coworkers?


Attention Span

While I was standing next to my car last week, filling up the tank, I realized that the screen embedded in the fueling station didn’t just have some pop-up ads showing but an actual video stream of a basketball game. TV.

At my gym, there is a speaker OUTSIDE that plays music as you are approaching/departing the building. Equipment like bikes and treadmills all have individual tv screens and for the weight-lifting machine there are big screens hanging from the ceiling.  There is even a TV in the locker room.  In most airports you can’t find a space that doesn’t have something blaring at you. With everyone glued to their phones these days, it seems a waste of electricity.

It made me think that we have become a society with such a limited attention span that we need 24/7 entertainment. There are several folks here at my office who use earbuds all the time – even when they are away from their desks and I often see people walking along, looking like they are talking to themselves, but of course they are on their phones.

In college I had a professor who had memorized all of Paradise Lost by John Milton.  Today he’d have it downloaded to his phone so he could access it whenever he wanted!

What the largest thing you have memorized?

Rez Cars Explained

Last week was a very trying one for us, as Husband’s truck froze in the extreme cold up on the Indian reservation and wouldn’t start. It was -36  with -45 windchill Thursday  night.  He planned to come home Friday morning, but there was no way that truck would start in such cold.

Husband  works in the main town on the reservation, where Tribal headquarters and the biggest school and the  medical services are. There are two much larger towns, Minot and Williston, about 70 and 80 miles away respectively, which  are not on the reservation and offer all necessary services. Minot even has a  university.  There are also smaller,  non-reservation towns within 30-50 miles that also have a wide variety of services.

After unsuccessfully trying to get the truck started, and even putting in a new battery with the help of a friend who works in Tribal maintenance and who has a degree in car mechanics, Husband phoned the number for road side service affiliated with our car insurance.  The nice insurance person in Tennessee regretfully informed him that after phoning every tow service in the region, none would take the job.  No one wanted to drive to the reservation. There is no tow service in the reservation town.  There is no auto repair shop, either.

Our friend helped Husband get an electric magnetic heater, like a heating pad but really hot, to place under the hood.  They plugged it into an outside outlet where  Husband stays.  Husband got some nasty frostbite on his pointer fingers while getting it all set up. The heater sat on the engine block all day. I drove up to the reservation later in the afternoon on Friday. It was after I arrived that Husband and friend  discovered that the outlet on the outside of Husband’s place didn’t work, so the heater hadn’t heated up at all.  Once they switched it to another outlet it started working.

Since we weren’t sure that the heater would work and unfreeze the engine, and since it was evening, Husband and I drove the 90 miles back home through oil field traffic.   A few hours later our friend and his wife phoned to say the truck started. They drove it to their place and got up at intervals in the night to start it and their vehicles as well.  We drove back to the reservation on Saturday morning and retrieved the truck and drove home again, this time through snow.

I always wondered why the Native Americans  we know have so many vehicles in various states of disrepair.  Now I know. When you have no auto repair shop, you have to fix them yourself, and when you find one that works and is easy to fix, you keep driving it, no matter how junky it looks.  You also rely on friends and family to help with rides or loan you a vehicle that works. If you can’t fix your vehicles you leave them where they are since no one will come and tow them away.  We are eternally grateful to our maintenance friends, and offered to till their garden in the Spring with our big tiller.  They accepted the offer. It is all a part of helping each other out.

What have you learned about lately? What are some mysteries you would like solved?

The Six-Tripper

You saw what happened to my studio a couple of weeks ago. I got advice from a construction buddy of mine about how to re-hang the shelves so they would be sturdy, to hopefully avoid ever having them fall down again.  As you can see from the above photo, everything is back in order, but it’s a good thing I like the folks at my local hardware store.  It was an epic number of times stopping by before I was done.

  • Trip #1: Bought the new shelf brackets and toggle screws
  • Trip #2: Bought the correct drill bit since I apparently didn’t have that size after all
  • Trip #3: Bought the little washers when it turned out the screws were a teeny bit too small for the holes in the brackets.
  • Trip #4: Bought longer screws when it turned out the first screws weren’t long enough to push the toggles all the way through the plaster and wood
  • Trip #5: Bought 3 more toggle screws to replace the ones that fell down behind the wall when I put the first bracket on upside down.
  • Trip #6: Bought the spackle to fill in the spots where the old shelves had been attached.

I’ve never had a 6-trips-to-the-hardware-store project before. I’ve had lots of 2-trippers and a few 3-trippers, but never more than that.  The worst part of this 6-trip debacle is that each and every step was a different day;  I was working on this at night and every time I realized I needed to go back to the hardware store, they were closed for the night!

If you’ve seen photos of my studio before, it probably doesn’t look any different to you but it feels different to me – all put back together as well as nice and clean now. And I doubt anything will bring those shelves down again – fingers crossed!

When have you had a frustrating project?

Burger & Fries

Once a month, after I volunteer at Loaves & Fishes, I drive east on 98th Street on my way back to 35W to get home. Imagine my excitement to see that the Denny’s there has been sold and will be a new Snuffy’s coming spring.  While the Edina Snuffy’s isn’t actually that far from me, it’s not convenient to get to so I don’t think about it often.

But a Snuffy’s where I have to drive right by it? I’m thinking I’ll be having Snuffy’s take-out once a month from now on.  Veggie Burger, fries and a malt – either Oreo or Brownie or the Dreamsicle.  I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Do you have a favorite take-out place or meal?

Beaded Warthog Pub Fare

The baboons have banded together to open a pub – The Beaded Warthog. Now we need a menu.  Here’s a favorite I’d like to serve:

Toasted Cheese w/ Chow Chow

1 nice slice of bread, maybe sourdough
A couple of pieces of cheese – gouda would be good
2-3 Tbs of chow chow relish (or a nice chutney)

Lay the cheese out on top of the bread.
Toast the bread until it’s toasty and the cheese a little bubbly.
Spread the chow chow over the cheese.

What would you like to serve at our pub?

The Beaded Warthog

Last week Steve commented that he thought there was an interesting story as to why I have a beaded warthog. I’ll let you all decide.

About 15 years ago, I traveled to South Africa to do a site inspection with a client. Like usual, I arrived a day ahead to make sure everything is all set for the client. The next morning, after I had met with the hotel and the ground supplier, I got a call from the States.  The client and the account executive couldn’t get out of Cincinnati due to a huge ice storm.  By the time they would be able get to South Africa, it would pretty much be time to turn around and head home.  Believe me, traveling to South Africa is a long haul, so you don’t want to go there to come home  immediately!

So the next six days were almost like a vacation including great food and even a little shopping time. I had already found a Nelson Mandela t-shirt for YA (this trip was the week after he passed away), but since there wasn’t a client, my driver and I started taking time to stop at roadside stands as we drove around. It was at one of these stands that I found the beaded warthog.

It’s very common to find beaded animals in South Africa. The locals use reclaimed/recycled wire to sculpt the bodies and then use little glass beads to do the decoration. Elephants make up the majority of these beaded souvenirs, but you can also find giraffes, lions and rhinos.  I had never seen a warthog before (and haven’t since either) and it struck me as hysterical because the missing client worked for the swine division of a husbandry pharmaceutical company.  I forked over the money happily and added it to the little store of items I had bought for the client.

When I got back to my office, I called the account exec to let him know that I was doing some good notes and also sending the gift items to the client. Since I thought the beaded warthog was so funny I mentioned it specifically.  There was an awkward pause and he said “You know, she doesn’t have nearly as good a sense of humor as you.”  When I pushed him about what he meant, he broke down and said that she was very sensitive about the pig connection and he didn’t think sending the warthog would be a good idea.  He was worried that this would hurt my feelings.  Ha – just the opposite – I got a great insight into a client I hadn’t worked with before AND now I have a beaded warthog!

Have you ever had a gift go wrong?