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Ice Cream, Unemployment, and Knee Surgery (June 16, 2010 - 7:01 a.m.)

A month and a half later...

A LOT has happened since my last update. I keep saying I'm going to try to write here more often, and then I don't do it. It's not because I don't desire it or intend to...I just don't remember to do it. Then I wind up having to write about months at a time. Well here goes.

First, I'll write about Stephanie.

May was good for the most part. There were a few shaky days in there, especially towards the end of school. She got back into that old thing of not wanting to go to the classroom, standing out in the hall, etc. In fact, one Friday, she even ran away and hid from one of the teachers. She got suspended for the rest of that day. We never really figured out what caused all this, but there was a lot going on in my life and her mother's life, all at the same time, and I think there was a lot of anxiety caused by those issues. Plus, there was this other kid in her class that was causing her some issues.

However, we made it through the year, she passed all her classes, and finished up with at least one straight week with no problems.

As promised in the last entry, we decided that, if Stephanie have two weeks of consecutive "smiley-face" days, we would allow her to have some kind of ice-cream. It's summer break, and we would be the only ones to suffer if it went badly. This past Sunday was the day after those two consecutive weeks, which were successful. So, she got a "Sonic Blast" after lunch. We have had no issues at all with her this week! Granted, it's been pretty easy, what with no school and all, but I have told her "no" a few times, and she's had to wait on some things, and she has been asked to help us a few times with things. No problems at all.

What this means to me is that these enzymes are working! They have helped her digestive system enough that she is able to consume something like ice cream without having meltdowns. However, we have made it clear that, at least for now, the limit is one time a week. And it will still be a while before we let her drink straight milk.

Now for the work story. I have purposefully waited until I got my severance pay and was completely done with the old company before posting this account.

I worked for the same company for almost 15 years (it would have been 15 this coming Saturday). It began as "Special Dispatch," was sold to "USF Distribution," and then sold again to the Yellow/Roadway Corporation (YRC), during which time it was called "Meridian IQ" (none of us got the meaning behind that name!), and then "YRC Logistics."

A little over a year ago, YRC Worldwide started having financial difficulty. It seems they had some outstanding loans that were coming due and didn't have the capital to pay them. They began negotiating with lenders, trading real estate for loans, and other stuff that financially illiterate people like me don't understand.

Shortly before the beginning of 2009, we got word that our pay was going to be cut by 10%. (The week that became effective, a poster appeared over the copy machine that said "Value Our People." How ironic is that?? By the way, I now have that poster, thanks to my good friend, Phillipp.) We were promised that we would get 5% back in June, and the rest of it back at the end of 2009. I wasn't holding my breath. Sure enough, by June, they had informed us that we would never see that 10% again. There were also no raises or bonuses during that time. Instead we got "Value Points," which could be traded for merchandise through their online shop. Of course, anything worthwhile would cost a ridiculous number of points. Also, management had their paychecks cut by a whopping 25% a couple of times, as well.

Early in 2009, one of our biggest customers, Target, pulled the plug. They were worried about the finances of the parent company, and afraid that our doors would close while they had truckloads of their merchandise on the yard. They actually broke contract to do this, so, in an act that gives me even more respect for Target, they agreed to foot the bill for the retention for all employees who worked on the Target account. They may have actually paid the severance as well.

So we hobbled along with 53% less business for the rest of 2009. During that time, we also lost the Guitar Center account (not because of finances, but because we got seriously underbid). We still had Gap, though (Gap being the parent company for Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic).

Let me also say that our success rate as far as delivery and on-time percentages with all of these companies was excellent. We were consistently 100% with complete and on time deliveries for Guitar Center.

We also closed out 2009 as the NUMBER ONE CARRIER IN NORTH AMERICA for The Gap! Not YRC Logistics nationwide, but just us...YRC Logistics in Dallas. Number 1! Our on time and complete percentage was over 99.5% for the entire year.

Our reward for that was that Gap didn't sign a new contract. They strung us along from the beginning of 2010 until we finally got the earth-shattering news in May that Gap would also be leaving. When that news was received, YRC Worldwide decided that it no longer wanted to be in the Logistics business and that our doors would close no later than June 30. Suddenly, many of us were looking at being unemployed within the space of a few weeks.

My last day was May 20. A few others got to work another week, and one or two management people are still there.

Basically, what happened here, is that YRC Worldwide gobbled up a company that was MAKING MONEY (in 2009, the Logistics division was the ONLY branch of YRC that made a profit), and ran it into the ground, sucking it dry to try to recover from expanding too quickly with credit that it couldn't afford.

If I sound bitter, it's because I am. It's a shame when things like this happen. A shame for good customers and good employees alike. I don't blame our customers for running. The blame lies solely on the shoulders of poor management by YRC Worldwide.

I'm still looking for a job (of course it's only been 25 days...I hear the average job search lasts 6-9 months right now, and I know one person who was unemployed for 17 MONTHS!). I got about 7-8 weeks of severance because I had worked for the company so long, and I'll be getting unemployment benefits for the first time in my life. I'm more worried about some other people that I worked for, though. One lady has a husband with cancer. She's terrified about how she's going to get him insured, even when she finds another job. "Preexisting conditions" and all...

Enough about me...

All of that was coming to a head around the time that Stephanie got a little weird at school those couple of weeks. The other thing that was happening around that time, was that Christi was about to have knee surgery. Several years ago, she had her right knee "scoped." This time, her left knee was hurting her. The problem was compounded one day when she tripped over something and caught herself on that leg, tearing her meniscus in her left knee. She literally could not put any weight on that leg for several days. She rolled around the house in an office chair.

After X-rays and MRIs, arthroscopic surgery was scheduled. That took place on Friday, June 4th. The surgery went ok, but the news afterward was not encouraging. It seems the meniscus was torn at the root, making it pretty much impossible to fix. The arthritis in her knee was bad, cartilage being down to bare bone in some places. They did clean it up a bit, got rid of some bone spurs, and did trim the meniscus some.

She is still in a lot of pain, but is walking without the use of cane or crutch. I'm hoping that, eventually, she will have less pain. Her doctor won't consider her for knee replacement yet. Says she's "too young."

So that's everything that's been going on in our lives in the past month and a half.

If you read this far, thank you. Much appreciated. Maybe I won't wait another month to update.

But then again, maybe I will.

TTFN, y'all!

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