Friday, November 23, 2007

My Longest Post Ever !!!

It has been a very busy and stressful couple of weeks for me, not much of it having to do with the holidays. Most of my tension has been coming from work. That is not the norm. I still love what I do, but I do not love working for the guy that I have been working for. I had to do something to end this relationship that was heading for disaster.

This guy gave me a chance in this business when others would have made me wait. Sure, he made me start at the bottom, but he moved me up the ladder very quickly. I am grateful for that. I got a late start in this career and don’t have a bunch of time to burn “paying my dues”.

I became his assistant about a year and a half ago. He got me involved in just about everything there was to do about being a superintendent. A lot of these things I have done for years at previous jobs, so it wasn’t hard to pick up. Payroll, budgets, employee reviews, processing invoices and bills, daily work schedules, overseeing the work on the golf course, I did it all, all in the name of “my training”, that shit only flies so long when then the boss is putting in a 30 hour work week.

I also think he has a personality disorder. I don’t hold that against him, I don’t think he can help a lot of what he does.

I am very much a “ducks in a row” kind of guy. I like things organized, and I think my crew does too. He seems much more comfortable when the crew is spread all over the golf course, trying to get ten things done at once, never completing anything. He likes the chaos. It is also a nightmare for the foreman or assistant to try and be in all these places at once. I love my crew, but that old saying “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”, rings true with even the best of employees.

Then there are the human resource issues. He has made female employees cry. Everyone is afraid to approach him when they would have requests. He actually shook an employee buy the shoulders when she couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell her. She was too afraid that she would lose her job if she reported him, so she didn’t. I didn’t hear about it until after she was no longer an employee. She was very shy and quiet, that must have scared the crap out of her; it really pissed me off when I heard about that.

A few months ago Nelson and I reported him to HR after he had made one of the female employees cry. She didn’t even do anything. She was mowing a green like I had told her to do. He stops her. He gets on his radio and tells me it was a stupid idea to put her on a greens mower, that she can’t handle it, while she was standing there. About 80% of my crew doesn’t speak English; I guess he didn’t realize she was in the other 20%. I came to the green that she was at and drove her to her new job, she cried the entire way there.

I believe he got written up and I believe HR made him take an anger management class. When Nelson and I talked to the general manager, his immediate boss, I told him to look more closely at the maintenance department. He needs to ask more questions. He needs to be more involved. There are other things going on that are not HR issues. I’m sure the GM didn’t like me telling him how to do his job, but my boss did whatever he wanted to do and was held accountable for very little.

Nelson and I have been holding things together for a long time. We have been keeping problems “in house”, but things have been snowballing for a while and it is getting out of hand.

On November 1 a vender came into my office with an invoice for $24,000 worth of 41-0-0 fertilizer. He wanted my signature saying that we had received it. That’s fine we received it, but on October 1. I signed it with great reservation. I confronted the vender about the date change. He said that my boss had arranged for the change of date on the invoice. I asked my boss the next day about the $24,000 invoice with my signature on it, “Hey, who knows about this invoice?” “Just you the vender, and me.” he replied.

October 31 marks the end of our fiscal year. That $24,000 will now appear on the books for 2008 instead 2007 where it belongs. Want to guess who is on a bonus program? It is not me. I have known about this kind of bullshit for a while, but now I’m linked to it. I could loose my job for this. He has put my family in harms way so that he can make a fucking bonus. I’m glad that he thinks I have the same ethics that he does. That playing with the books to make a bonus isn’t stealing. I’m sure my employer isn’t very attached to that 20 or 25 thousand dollars he may get when he makes his numbers.

So a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t sleep. It just hit me that I couldn’t let this go on any more. It was 2:30 in the morning when I got up. Sherri knew what I was going through. I woke her up to tell her that I was fine and that I was going for a walk, I just couldn’t sleep any more. She asked me, “What are going to do?” I answered, “I’m taking down my boss today.”

There was a small problem, who do I tell. I didn’t trust the GM. I’m sure his bonus is contingent with my bosses bonus. For all I know, he knows all about it, or just didn’t care to know. I told someone who didn’t answer directly to the GM. I told the controller our accountant. I told her about the invoice I had signed and gave her a few other venders to look at.

I knew my boss knew what was up. I’m sure the venders gave him a call. He didn’t talk to me much. He spent a lot of time with the bills and on the phone. I think he was trying to clean up his paper trail and get all his buddies on the same page, but I’m sure they all folded when my employer told them they weren’t paying them unless they fessed up to their arrangement with my boss. All I could do was wait and see how this would play out. Oh, did I mention this was all going down 3 days before we reopened from our over seed?

I figured if something was going to happen it would go down on Thursday of that week. The VP of the company that I work for had a scheduled appointment to be in town. He showed up on Monday, unannounced. My boss resigned the next day.

Now I am dealing with the aftermath of my decision. My employers have hired outside consultants to give the facility a deep anal probe with no Vaseline and unclipped fingernails. I’m sure the GM is pissed at me; nobody likes a rat. I’m sure they are not done looking at the GM too. I think he is a “dead man walking”.

I was hoping I could get my boss promoted and that he would recommend me for his old position. Now I have no reference to use on a resume since I basically screwed the two guys that I have worked for in this business. I think I could be the superintendent here, but the VP told me that they really aren’t interested in hiring an assistant for this position. That’s really rich, my boss had a very nice pedigree and look what that got them.

So it looks like I’ve set myself back a couple of years while I reestablish my reputation. I’m sure my old boss is thrashing me. The word is out. I got a call two hours after my boss quit from some guy wanting to know what happened and how he could apply for the job. This call came on my cell phone, I didn’t know who he was or how he got my number.

I will start applying at other courses as the opportunities arise, something I really didn’t want to do until now. Maybe someone will take a chance on me, but that means I will have to leave a course that I take a lot of pride in, and group friends I love to work with.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How Are Frogs Like Sponges?

…They dry up when you leave them out of water. It takes about 8 hours and then they will shrivel up and die. What’s really cool is if you put them back in the water they will rehydrate, just like a sponge, but unfortunately they don’t start living again.

How do I know this great stuff? I have my friend Nelson to thank for that.

Back in August I took a little vacation. Nelson agreed to look after the small zoo that lives in my home. We have two weenie dogs (Splinter and Mia), two goldfish (Sally and Hammerhead), and one toad (Rosie) that Alissa and I found on the golf course.

I had promised Austin that we would go out and find a toad for him too, but that never happened.

Alissa loved that toad. She was about the size of a nickel when we found her. Like we know if it was a female. We fed Rosie small crickets and kept her in an aquarium with plenty of water. She was about the size of a 50-cent piece at vacation time.

Well I get the call from Nelson on the way home that there had been a death in the family. While he was cleaning out the aquarium he forgot to put the water bowl back in. When he came back, he found the dried up remains of Rosie.

Good guy Nelson went to Petco and purchased Alissa a frog, not a toad, to replace Rosie. He also bought one for Austin. He said that it might pass for Rosie, but that we could decide on what to tell Alissa. Rosie 1 was all gray. Rosie 2 is green with red spots on her entire underbelly. Then there would have to be an explanation for Rock, the frog he bought for Austin. I’m not sure what he was thinking.

The guys at work told me later that the poor dude was pitifully looking all around the golf course for a toad to replace Rosie. It was the running joke at MVCC for weeks. I thought Sherri had the best one though. Nelson called to talk a few days later and Sherri answered the phone, “Hey Nelson, my dogs don’t come to their names anymore.”

When we got home from vacation, the first thing Alissa wanted to do was check on Rosie. We didn’t say a word. Who knows, maybe she wouldn’t know. I thought it was working until “Mr. Helpful” Austin comes in the room, “That’s not Rosie!” The boy almost died that night.

The story we told her was that Rosie escaped while Nelson was cleaning the tank.

So how do I know that it takes about 8 hours to dry up a frog? Rock met the same fate that “Rosie 1” did this morning. Austin did exactly the same thing Nelson did. He fed Rock before he went to bed and forgot the water. You wouldn’t think they would dry up so fast. You also wouldn’t think my kids would think if they put him back in water he would come back. They did, and Rock puffed back up, just like a sponge. Close, but no banana. I got to flush Rock when I got home from work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Malathionman's Yard #2

On Monday MVCC will be back open for business. It has been 5 weeks since we closed for over seeding. In those five weeks we cut 150 acres of grass down to dirt, spread 48,000 lbs. of fertilizer, dropped about 110,000 lbs. of seed, and threw about 36 million gallons of water. Since I consider this golf course my yard, it seems like a good time for another edition of Malathionman’s Yard!

In this installment of Malathionman’s Yard I would like to share with you, The Malathionman Entourage, some information about fertilizer.

When talking fertilizer, you have to know the symbols N, P, and K. N is the elemental symbol for nitrogen, P is for phosphorus, and K is for potassium. These three elements are very important for good plant growth.

Nitrogen will promote fast growth and green foliage. Phosphorus will promote blooms on flowering plants and strong root development. Potassium works on both roots and foliage. So you could say N is for the top of the plant, P is for the bottom of the plant, and K is for all the entire plant. This is a very basic interpretation of what these elements do for the plant.

Now you may ask,” What do those 3 fricking numbers on the fertilizer bag mean?” Well I’m going to tell you.

41-0-0 is the fertilizer we threw before we dropped our perennial rye seed. Remember that fertilizer, it may come up in a later post. 41-0-0 represents the percentage of the elements N, P and K that are in the bag. This bag is 41% N, 0 % P, and 0% K. If the bag weighed 100 lbs, only 41 lbs of it would be N, the other 59 lbs would be filler. If the 100 lb. bag of fertilizer had 15-15-15 on it that would mean 15% of the bag was N, 15% was P, and 15% was K. That’s 15 lbs of each element, 45 lbs of actual N, P, and K, and 55 lbs of filler.

We went with a fertilizer high in nitrogen because we were trying to grow things as fast as possible.

Now I’m only going to add one more thing to this post, not everyone finds fertilizer as exciting as I do.

FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BAG. Some fertilizers recommend mowing before application or not mowing before application. Maybe you are supposed to water before you apply, but usually you water in. Always use the recommended application rate, more is not always better. It is amazing how well things work if you just follow the directions.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Giving Is Better Than Receiving

Who’s stupid idea was it to wait until November before we set the clocks back an hour? I had trick or treaters knocking on my door at 9 o’clock. Maybe it was me but it seemed like every other candy seeker was a teenage mother with her infant child that was asleep in the stroller. There were a lot of adults too, not in costume, just showing up at the door, “Trick Or Treat!” I wanted to say, “Grow the hell up my candy is for the kids,” but I figured they couldn’t resist the cute little fairy giving away treats at my door.

We started going door to door at dusk, which was about 6:15. Alissa got really cranky and tired fast. She only lasted about an hour, but when we got home to hand out candy she got her second wind. She had much more fun handing out candy than collecting it. About 8:30 we ran out of candy, but that didn’t stop Alissa, she started to hand out the candy she had received that night and earlier in the week. At first I was all for it, but I finally stopped her so she would at least have something to eat for breakfast the rest of the week. :)