Sunday, May 20, 2018

ENDING THE YEAR... Odds & ends (Part 167d)

ENDING THE YEAR… Odds & ends (Part 167d)

Things settled down as the afternoon wore on with the examiners working on their first full projects and I was able to tackle some regular bank work. Before they packed up to leave for the day I reminded the lead examiner that they’d have to vacate the Board room by 2:30pm the following day. Melissa, the woman I’d had a ‘run-in’ with was standing right beside him as I made my point. The look she gave me was definitely not a friendly one. It told me there would be more confrontations before the examination was over. I gave some thought to trying to have a talk with Woody but in my present frame of mind decided not to. I was hoping the following day would be less stressful. It wasn’t.

Previous examinations had taught me to get to the bank early. I’d been ‘ambushed’ one morning in the parking lot by one of the examiners and it wasn’t fun. At least, while in the bank and at my desk, I had built in ‘escapes’. I arrived at 8:30am or so and settled in to make sure I had everything I needed from J J for the mortgage committee meeting. I figured I had a little time to sort things out and before I really got started there was Melissa standing by my desk. I quickly looked around to see if more of their audit team had arrived and saw no one. That’s when I knew I had a ‘buzz saw’ assigned to me. I looked at her and asked what she wanted. I was ready to bite my tongue if she wanted to go back to the same topic she’d attacked me with the day before but it was something new. She’d been assigned to check how the bank had handled the transition from ledger cards to being on-line with the service bureau.

I’ll admit that until we got started with the service bureau I had no idea of just how much paper would be generated by them. The bank was already short of storage and we (I) had to come up with a solution. Some of the reports had to be readily accessible for at least six weeks. Then I had to find a ‘home’ for the older reports and keep them at least two years. I had two choices… the attic or the sub-vault in the basement with neither one being a good one. The accounting department chose the attic. The one good thing about that was it forced J J to go through all the mortgage forms that were stored there, cull out the obsolete ones and then to find a new home for those the department still used. That process freed up most of the shelves that had been built there many years before. However, getting the cartons of reports up there was a problem because the stairs were narrow and a bit steeper than normal. Mike, the messenger/custodian was tasked with getting the boxes up there and Bret or I would go up and periodically organize them. The request from Melissa meant either one or the other of us would have to go up to the attic to find the reports she needed to do her audit. Bret hadn’t arrived and the doors weren’t yet open so I ‘bit the bullet’ and headed that way.

The only access to the attic was through the second floor bathroom that was pretty much designated as for the ladies. When you walked in the door the toilet was right here to the right with the sink next to it. But the door to the attic was straight ahead. This arrangement had created some embarrassing situations (me included) when someone was up in the attic and a person using the facilities would close the door and forget to reopen it. The person in the attic upon returning would reach the bottom of the stairs and have to open the door, sometimes only to find someone on the ‘throne’ or in some state of undress. I’d put up warning signs but like I’d been told, “Who reads signs?” With Melissa following me I headed up the stairs. Once there I tried to find the specific range of reports she wanted. It entailed removing a number of cartons from the shelves and then going through them while they were on the floor. Once she saw the way the reports had been boxed combined with the poor lighting she became ‘testy’ and impatient. I don’t remember how many cartons were on the floor but when she couldn’t readily find what she was looking for she demanded that I arrange to have all the boxes taken down to the Board room. I’d been ‘biting my tongue’ up to then but that request was totally unreasonable and I let her know my feelings. I surprised her with my brusqueness and she took a step back. In so doing she tripped over one of the cartons and I stood and watched her fall backwards. It only took a quick second and there was no time to reach out to try and catch a hand. I, myself, had to step over a partially opened carton and in the few seconds that it took I could see she wasn’t moving. I also saw that the way she ended up was flat on her back on the floor with one leg splayed out to the side and the other still draped over the carton that she’d tripped over. There was one other thing… a patch of pale blue intermingled with some white on top of the grey material that was her skirt. I swear I didn’t pause for more than a split second as I climbed over her to get to her head. I could see she was breathing but she definitely wasn’t conscious.

The bank had a fairly well stocked first aid kit in the bathroom right below where we were. With so many of the Board members up in in age it was felt that it was appropriate to locate it outside the Board room. Knowing this I headed down the stairs to fetch it and to get the smelling salts I knew were inside the kit. I never gave the closed door a thought. All I wanted was that kit and to get back up the stairs. I pushed open the door and there was ‘upstairs’ Sandra with her skirt up around her waist trying to pull her blouse down. I don’t know if she yelled or not but I do remember telling her to get the lead examiner right away and then bolting back up the stairs. Melissa hadn’t moved. I, again, made sure she was breathing and then popped open the kit. The capsules with the smelling salts were right there and because I’d witnessed someone breaking one open had no trouble doing it. Just about the time I was putting it up to her nose the lead examiner popped his head through the floor opening. It took Melissa a few seconds before she started shaking her head to get away from the scent of the salts and that was what I wanted to see. I stood up to let the guy in to talk with her and as I did I stepped back. In thinking back on the scene I’m not sure what she was trying to do but what I do know is that after she got her one leg off the box she sat up and pulled both her legs up to her chest... and I didn't look away. The light blue color I'd seen right after she fell were her panties and the white was her slip.

The lead examiner had his hands on her shoulders and was shaking her trying to get her to talk. I was torn between looking at her crotch and trying to hear what her reply were to the questions she was being asked. It only took a few minutes for a bunch of other people to show up. Realizing the examiner was fully focused on Melissa I took charge and asked for all the others to go back down the stairs. I’m not sure how long it was before he decided that she was OK to be led down the stairs but when he did I knew it was going to be somewhat difficult with how steep and narrow they were. It took a fair amount of time to accomplish the task and once there we sat her in one of the plush Trustee chairs. It was decided to have one of the other examiners drive her to the emergency room at the hospital (back in those days we didn’t have EMT’s) rather than to call for the ambulance. By then it was after 10am. What a day! And it was still morning. As they helped her into a car I had no idea that it was the last time I’d see Melissa. The only thing we were eventually told was that she was sent home “to rest”.   

To be continued...

Friday, May 18, 2018

ENDING THE YEAR... Odds & ends (Part 167c)

ENDING THE YEAR… Odds & ends (Part 167c)

There were a lot of things that annoyed me about work at the bank but nothing more than having to face three audits of the bank’s ‘books’ and operations each and every year. One was by the Federal authorities and another by the State. The third, and most irritating, was one that the bank had to pay a private accounting firm to do for it. The latter one really ‘burned’ me as a waste of time and money. I’d observed how they did a lot of their investigative work… reading and using the reports generated by the other two audits. The audit team's arrival was always unannounced which created undue stress on just about everyone at the bank. I’d have to, at a moments notice, provide a dedicated work space for them, usually between nine and twelve people. Then, their first job was to count the cash of each teller as well as the cash in the vault. This process created a delay in being able to wait on customers which, of course, made them unhappy. Since they were there to audit all areas of the bank they would end up interrupting many employees doing their daily work to answer their questions. Back in September the accounting firm hired by the bank had arrived and started into doing their work when it was discovered by their lead person that they failed to realize we’d gone to an outside service firm to do the actual processing of our savings accounts. Not knowing this before they started meant they didn’t have the accounting records that they needed to use as their base. They should’ve sent staff to the service bureau to get copies of the saving account ledger before the bank opened to the public. The lead person, upon finding this out, aborted the audit and left. The end result was that I’d have to face them again… and this was the day.

It was a different lead person than the last time and, thankfully, he realized his people would not be looked at in a favorable light. There were two places they could operate from… the Board room or the work area on the first floor that had been where our bookkeeping (computer?) machine had been located. The caveat to the Board room was that they would have to vacate by 2:30pm the next day so the mortgage committee could meet. The decision was to use the Board room. The easiest way to access it was the back stairs. That way they wouldn’t be walking through the mortgage area every time they needed to get downstairs to the operations area. I, as the main office manager, had the responsibility to get them settled and to provide for their incidental needs. Of the group assigned to the project there were three women, one of whom was the assistant to the lead person. She was the one I had to work with. A typical accountant type wearing a pinstripe grey suit (skirt), prim and proper, I was not looking forward to my time with her. I would’ve much preferred to work with her boss. It didn’t take her long to establish that she was all business. By the time she got through her list of needs and I’d addressed most of them it was late morning. I was not pleased as I approached my desk for the first time that day.

In pulling my chair out from under the desk I saw an envelope on the seat. There was also a pile of papers that Joanie had put on the desk to be signed but I, curious as to just what the envelope contained, chose it first. Opening it up I pulled out a folded lined yellow sheet of pad paper. As I unfolded it four one dollar bills fell out. Looking to the bottom of the page to determine who it had come from was I somewhat taken aback that the signature revealed it was from Woody. She had signed it with her given name, Sandra, and that concerned me, a lot. I’d been standing when I opened the envelope but seeing her name I had to sit down to read it. It was hand written in cursive and somewhat readable. Expecting the worst I scanned it looking for the dreaded words “I’m resigning”. But, to my great relief, I didn’t see them. I know I took a deep breath as I to read it, word for word.

I regret not having kept the letter so I’m going to have to use my memory to reprise it. The thing I remember most about it was how disorganized it was. It was as if she had one purpose in mind when she started and then thought of something else and then another. It encompassed an apology for creating “trouble” for me and for disappointing me. She went on about her being “a little girl” about the whole thing with Trish and the costume and when I got to the part when she asked if she could “have another chance” I even smiled. As I’d written in earlier posts she would sometimes surprise me with her maturity but, then again, her youth and naivety would pop up. There was one thing she wrote that I didn’t really understand. It seemed like she was trying to explain her ’accident’. There were some other things that needed to be addressed with her, one on one, with the primary one being I needed to know that she and Trish were ‘OK’. My immediate problem was in finding the time for her.

Going out to get some lunch was out of the question. Trish, who usually went home for her lunch, hailed me as she approached the gate to leave the platform to say she’d be back in about 20 or so minutes. I immediately called out for her to come over to my desk. I asked her what she was doing for lunch and she pointed over towards the luncheonette. I asked if she’d get me a grilled cheese sandwich knowing that they kept making them one after another and it wouldn’t take much time. I’ve never been a big fan of grilled cheese but as soon as I spoke the words my mouth began to water. No sooner had she disappeared through the gate when Melissa, the lady that had been assigned to work with me, appeared with a number of additional requests. I could see she was going to be a royal PITA (pain in the ass). One of the requests was for information that the Federal examiners had asked for in their last examination… and that reinforced my belief that this group was using old examinations for their ’direction’ rather than to actually go ‘digging’ to find something new. In this particular case, I’d been unable to locate the requested documentation and told her so. I’d seen the final report from the FDIC citing that as a deficiency and challenged her as to why she was bringing it up again. I’ll admit, my attitude was less than cordial in talking to her so when she ’stormed’ away I knew I’d hear about it.

Lobby traffic wasn’t all that bad and the backlog that had built up after we’d opened the doors had dissipated. However, it seemed like a steady stream of people were appearing at my desk with most being from the accounting firm asking for different things. Some were so mundane that I took it upon myself to go find the lead accountant. He was talking with one of his staff but pushed away to see what I wanted. I told him I was concerned about the trivial nature of some of the requests being made by his people and that brought forth a bit of a smile. I didn’t think it funny but didn’t say anything about that. He apologized and explained that over half the people he had with him were either on their first or second full examinations and were “green”. I wanted to say something negative but, again, didn’t. As I returned to my desk to a cold grilled cheese sandwich I remember shaking my head. The bank was being charged good money to have an audit be done by neophytes who were using previous audits as a basis for their final product. Unbelievable!

To be continued...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ENDING THE YEAR... Odds & ends (Part 167b)

ENDING THE YEAR… Odds & ends (Part 167b)

On Sunday, even though I’d committed to going to church with Elle and the kids at the 10am service, I wanted to be there at the 8am service to let those who showed up know that the undercroft (basement) and toilet were closed due to the mishap with the oil burner. The church smelled like fuel oil so when I arrived I opened the windows to try and air it out. It helped but not much. With the basement closed and no toilet facilities the minister called off Sunday school so Elle stayed home while I went back to do the same job of letting the parishioners know of our problem(s) at the second service. In so doing I was pleasantly surprised to see the young woman who’d answered the door when I was delivering the Thrift Shop clothes to be washed coming up the walk. I greeted her as if I knew her but she didn’t respond. It took a few seconds after she’d gone inside for it to register in my mind that dressed as I was I didn’t look anything like I had the previous day. I had to explain the situation about the explosion at least 15 or more times and, even with that, had to stop a number of people from trying to go down the stairs to use the toilet. During the service I asked another vestryman if he knew who the woman was. He didn’t and as she wasn’t sitting with anyone that might’ve given us a clue he could only shrug his shoulders. I told him about delivering the clothes to the house of one of the parishioners but that didn’t help him. When the service was over I watched her leave and visualized her wearing a pair of the panties I’d seen on the clothes line the previous day.

There was a quick meeting of the vestry to decide what to do about the condition of the basement. The soot had coated everything. We’d made stab at cleaning up what we could but when we wiped down the walls we seemed to just smear the black stuff around and turned the walls a streaky gray. Re-scrubbing didn’t help so what we had to decide if we wanted to paint them or not. I just plain didn’t have time to devote to it and no one else stepped up. The only painters we could come up with were known to be expensive. That’s when I remembered the incident at the house next door to Elle and I and the guy who’d been hired to paint the bedrooms. Andy, the realtor told me he was new in town and had wanted to give him a break. So I volunteered to get in touch with him to get a price.

Andy had told me where he lived so took a chance on finding him home. I found him to be a little ‘dense’ but he seemed to be a nice guy. His name was Johnny and wanted go look at the church right away so back we went. I guess it was worth it as he offered to wash the walls he’d be painting with a solvent to make sure the paint would stick and not charge for it. I was impressed with the offer and volunteered to buy the paint. The cost to the church was to be, give or take, around $100. We talked for a bit about his moving to the area. It had to do with a relative of his wife living there. I don’y know how we got on the subject of stock car racing but he mentioned he was a big fan and had gone to races near where he’d lived. When I told him I was a part owner of a car he went sort of ’nuts’ wanting to see it. By then it was close to 2pm and all I’d had to eat since I got up at 7am was a toasted English mufffin with strawberry preserves. Before leaving he said he’d be able to start cleaning the walls the next day. I told him I’d get the paint and leave it at the church on my way home. That had been about the most productive thing that had happened all day.

The next morning at work I went out of my way to avoid Woody. I’d thought about her and the panties I’d left for her to try on before the whole thing with Woody had come up. I’d asked that she not say anything about them to anybody but, now, after Trish had compromised her by telling me about her ‘accident’ I was a bit concerned that she might not honor that request. However, I tried to ease my mind by going through the employees that she knowingly was friendly with. Being new, not living close to any of them and riding the bus to and from work gave me some bit of assurance that she probably wouldn’t bring the subject up. In fact, the only person I could come up with was her friend at whose house she was staying who she might share it with. The only time I saw her where there was an opportunity for our eyes to meet was when she came to Bret’s desk for him to countersign a Teller’s check on a withdrawal. I pretended to be busy so didn’t make eye contact with her. After that I pretty much put it out of my mind.

All the costumes were collected and I had Mike, the messenger/custodian deliver them to the dry cleaner by the end of the day. As I watched them being carried out I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I closed out the day by making a call to Stan, my stock broker. The last stock I’d bought had gone up in value and I wanted to know what had been the reason. Lynda, his assistant, answered. I liked Lynda but I liked her more when I could see her. I’d had the benefit of a number of panty peeks when visiting the office which always enhanced the visit. The last time I’d seen her she was struggling with the fact that her husband had been called up to active duty. It had been a bit emotional and I didn’t want to reprise it so tried to keep the conversation about my stock. But Lynda knew how to ‘push my buttons’ and wanted to know why I didn’t come over to the office. I don’t remember what I said but what I do remember is that she said that even though it the office was closed she’d wait if I wanted to come over. There was no doubt I was tempted but I managed to put her off promising I’d get there in a day or two. I could tell from her voice she was disappointed but did connect me with Stan. He couldn’t give me a specific reason for the ‘action’ of the stock but did say that he thought it had a way to go to reach it’s potential. That was good news and I immediately thought about taking some money from our savings to buy some more. Since the market was closed I didn’t have to make the decision right there and told him I’d get back to him. On my way home I decided I’d go over to the office the next day. That would accomplish two things… see Lynda (and possibly get a panty peek) and get some detailed information on the stock. I left work looking forward to the next day.

I stopped at Sears to buy the paint for the church and headed there to drop it off. I saw Johnny’s truck was still there and when I went inside was almost overcome by smell of the solvent he was using. I asked if it didn’t bother him and he just shrugged his shoulders. Im meeting him I’d thought he was a bit ‘dense’ and stood there wondering if that wasn’t because he’d inhaled too much of the smell of the solvent. He was just about finished and was picking up his drop cloths. The first thing he asked me had nothing to do with the job but was to ask when I’d take him to see the race car. When I told him I’d do it on Saturday he seemed disappointed. As I took a look at the walls he assured me the paint would adhere and look great when he was done on Wednesday. I didn’t believe him but he assured me he’d be gone by the end of the day. I was impressed.

To be continued…

Monday, May 14, 2018

ENDING THE YEAR... Odds & ends (Part 167a)

ENDING THE YEAR… Odds & ends (Part 167a)

It was a typical weekend… mostly chores… a trip to the landfill, yard work and the like. Elle had delivered the last of the donated clothes that I’d picked up in the city to the Thrift Shoppe at the church and around lunch time I was curious as to how those things had been accepted by the public so took a quick trip down to the church. For the church I was like Rex at the sailing center… the unpaid custodian/repair man. Any time I was at the church I’d make a cursory check of the grounds and building. There usually wasn’t much to be concerned with during the Summer but with colder weather there was usually something. With the extra money coming in from the shop we’d gotten back in the good graces of the heating oil company and they were there to do preventive maintenance on the “new” old oil burner. There were probably a half dozen people there looking at the clothes when I walked down the stairs to the undercroft. I took a quick look around and it seemed like the piles of clothes were reasonable so I asked how they had done for the day. The minister’s wife who had taken charge of the shop answered with a smile and said it’d been “a good day”. It was like that statement set off a chain of events that ruined my day… and created a major problem for the church.

The mechanic working on the oil burner yelled out at the same time I saw a big flash and heard a long ‘pop’ come from the room that housed the burner. It was instant panic. There were only two ways out of the basement and one was right there… three stone steps up to the back door. The other way was at the far end of the room and it was a narrow flight of stairs into the church itself. The one thing I remember vividly was yelling for everyone to get out of the room. I also remember the mechanic emerging from the room that housed the oil burner and with his face completely black. The people nearest the door headed up the steps as I headed for the other end of the room. The two women who were there were panic stricken and, in spite of my yelling at them to open the door right by where they were standing they just stood there. Getting to them I grabbed the door handle as well as the arm of the woman who was closest to it and shoved her through the door. The other woman was just standing there with her eyes bugged out. I yelled at her to get moving but she didn’t. That’s when I grabbed her and sort of half lifted her towards the stairs. But the other woman was now lying on them and not moving. I didn’t know what to do.

I looked towards the back door and could see the mechanic standing in the open doorway. I do remember not seeing any flames but I did see a lot of black smoke. I yelled for the mechanic to come help me. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the old vaudeville days where the performers would put black on their faces to perform, that was this guy at that moment. I still had the one woman by the shoulders and told him to grab her legs. When he got her feet off the floor I headed for the back door. Outside we lay her down in the grass and headed back for the other one. I don’t really know if she had passed out or not but when we got to her she still wasn’t moving.  The guy climbed over her and grabbed her shoulders while I grabbed her ankles. It was while I was carrying her that I actually took a look at her. I didn’t recognize her but, with the shop open to the public that was to be expected. A guess would be that she was around forty. Thankfully, she was fairly light weight. It was while we were going up the stairs that she started talking and moving, wanting to know what we were doing. When we got her outside we laid her down next to where the other woman was now sitting. As soon as her butt hit the ground she started to swivel around to look at the woman and as she did she pulled her legs up to her body. I’d squatted to put her down and, unexpectedly, I had an up close and personal view of her flowered panties as I was trying to get her to respond to my question as to how she was feeling. When she heard me she turned back towards me and realized that she was in a compromised position. All of a sudden she pushed herself up to a sitting position and started screaming at me with a burst of profanity. It happened in a matter of seconds and it was a total shock to me. The oil burner mechanic was now right behind her and started yelling at her to calm down. In just a few more seconds we were all standing and the woman was still yelling at me like I’d physically attacked her. It was at that point I that realized what was more important was that there had been an explosion inside the building and ran back inside. The mechanic followed me as we headed for the door to the room where the explosion had taken place. Thankfully, there was no visible fire.

The minister’s wife had been one of the first to leave and had run around the outside of the building and run up the steps to the church office. Inside, she called the fire department. While the mechanic and I were looking in the room we heard the sirens of the fire trucks and within a few minutes they arrived. I recognized the first men there and they told us both to exit the building as they rushed in. Outside, I finally asked the mechanic if he was OK and he sort of nodded that he was. I looked around for the two women we’d carried out and both were gone. By then there were any number of other firemen there and I watched as they took the mechanic away for attention.

I have no idea how long all of that had taken to unfold. When the firemen started to leave I was told there was no structural damage. By then the minister had arrived as well as a few other vestrymen and we took a look at the mess we had. It was mostly soot. One of the men was familiar with oil burners and suggested that it had been a “backflash” and that the burner itself was still probably useable. Cleaning the soot up was what we had to face. That was when I looked at the piles of clothing on the tables and knew there was a big job ahead. It was then that I refocused on the two women who I’d helped to carry out of the building. I thought back to the verbal attack the one woman had thrown at me. Here I’d just carried her out of a building that had experienced an explosion and she proceeded to cuss me out for an inadvertent look up the hem of her dress. There was no “Thank you” for helping her… just a verbal barrage. It was another experience with a female that just added to my not understanding how the feminine mind work.(68)

The afternoon was spent attempting to clean the basement up. All the clothes had to be removed with the real problem being that we had no place to put them. Calls went out for volunteers to take the washable clothes and to wash them and I ended up delivering piles of clothes to a couple of them. It was an annoyance that I certainly didn’t need… until I drove up one driveway. Right there in front of me was a clothesline with a bunch of panties and bras blowing in the wind. There were both bikinis as well as full brief panties there. I wasn’t sure who lived there and when I went to the door I was greeted by cute girl. I immediately associated her with the bikinis. She didn’t know anything about the clothes I’d brought so left me standing there to find someone to help me. I recognized the woman who then came to the door as being an older parishioner and she told me where to put the clothes. Initially I was disappointed, hoping that the full brief panties belonged to a younger woman. But, at least I got a view of some panties.

To be continued…

Saturday, May 12, 2018

KEEPING UP... Busy, busy, busy (Part 166y)

KEEPING UP… Busy, busy, busy (Part 166y)

By being patient and not insistent on ‘playing’ with her in her soaking wet package I got the ultimate ‘reward’ as we undressed for bed. I won’t say we’d drifted apart when it came to sex but it wasn’t as much of our routine as it had been. Of course, being married for ten years and with three kids had more than a little to do with that. Choosing not to press for a picture, especially with the camera being handy, was hard… but I resisted and ended up happy for my ‘sacrifice’. In bed and ready for sleep my mind kept going back to Woody. I was concerned as to how she’d be at work the next day. With Trish stressing how concerned Woody had been about damaging the costume my plan was to take it to work and give it to Trish so that she could show her there really wasn’t any damage. I really thought that would put her mind at ease.

The mind of a female is unique. My guess is that there is some sort of mutated wave length between the way a man and a woman look at the same problem that almost always guarantees that the man will be wrong. Elle wrapped the clean costume up and put it into a shopping bag with handles (they used to be common, back in those days). I was at work before Trish and just put it on the seat of her chair. I knew she’s still be miffed at me from the previous evening so chose to just observe her. Bret had the desk between the two of us so I could see her actions without her knowing I was looking at her. I wasn’t surprised that she put it along side her desk but wanted to see what happened when she took it to Woody and what her reaction would be.

I saw Woody arrive and go right to the drive-up window pretty much ignoring other people. It was coming back from my coffee break time that I saw Trish over in the drive-up area and figured she was probably showing Woody the costume was OK. With that I thought that whole incident was over and done with. However, I did have to get the costumes back to the guys at the advertising agency so gave them a call. I knew the Rabbit suit and Mad Hatter things needed to be dry cleaned and wanted to know if they had a preference as to which dry cleaning business actually did it. I was waiting on the phone when I saw Trish, with a definite frown on her brow, headed straight for me. She was by Bret’s desk when she emphatically spit out “It’s your fault!”. I knew from the way she left the previous evening that she was upset with me but what she was exhibiting now was pure anger. I hadn’t spoken to her since arriving and was at a loss auto why she was this upset. I still hadn’t connected with either of the guys at the agency so put the phone down and made a ’What’s the problem? gesture by putting both my hands up with open palms. Bret had certainly picked up on it and turned to see what was going to happen. With customers in the area I certainly didn’t want this continue right there so got up and told her I’d meet her in the Board room and started walking back through the work area. I glanced over at the drive-up and saw Lillian operating the drawer but didn’t stop. I could hear Trish on the steps behind me. I just couldn’t imagine what had triggered her anger.

Basically, what had happened was that when Trish gave Woody the bag with the costume Woody asked if Trish had washed it. When she said she hadn’t Woody wanted to know who did. When Trish answered that I’d taken it home with me Woody became very, very upset. It seems that when Trish was helping her get cleaned up she asked Trish not to say anything about what had happened to her. When Trish told her that I’d gotten the costume Woody knew that I knew and it was no longer between the two of them. Wanting to put an end to this whole chapter I asked Trish to go find Woody and to bring her back to the Board room. It took longer than I’d expected (or wanted) and when they walked in I could see Woody had been crying. I ‘cut to the quick’ and directed my remarks directly at Woody telling her that I could understand her embarrassment for what had happened but that Trish had not done anything wrong in telling me about it. I took the ‘heat’ and told her that I’d ordered Trish to explain why she, Woody, hadn’t come out into the lobby with the others. I went on about how Trish had ‘danced’ around the actual incident but in describing it had used the term “scared”. I explained about past incidents where irate customers had made threats to the drive up teller and I wanted to know if this was another one of those times. I made it as clear as I could that Trish didn’t want to tell me but when she told me that the “scared” part had to do with possibly ruining the costume, I became directly involved since I was the one who had arranged to borrow all of them.

Woody had calmed down and the redness around her eyes had dissipated some by then. At that point I apologized and told her I fully understood her embarrassment. I know she didn’t believe me when I said that but in wanting to get her back to trusting me I decided to take a chance. I knew I could trust Trish so I proceeded to tell her about Elle and her incontinence. Based on the look on her face I don’t think Woody had ever heard the term before. I was concentrating on Woody’s expression but did take a quick glance at Trish and my words didn’t seem to get much of a ‘rise’ from her. However, Woody’s eyes kind of popped when I gave her a couple of examples of ‘accidents’ that Elle had endured. To end the session I directed one comment to Woody and it was that Trish was a person she could always go to, no matter what the situation, and know that she could be trusted. I did add that I hoped she would feel the same about me and got a weak smile in return. I left the room and headed down the stairs. It felt like I’d escaped.

It was the first of November, which from the business side of running the bank was a big deal for the accounting department. They had to close out the ‘books’ and prepare the month end statement. I’d not seen much of Moira, the lady I’d hired and placed in the accounting department as well as helping her through some tough times. I knew she was still struggling but after getting her connected with Gee, the Trustee/attorney, to help her about her husband leaving her and her kids as well as the screwing she’d taken on the house they’d bought, I pretty much backed off. She worked on the second floor and not in the main work area so I seldom saw her. When I saw her approaching my desk I thought it was to get some ‘numbers’ so the accounting department could finish up their work but that wasn’t it. She was a stereotypical Irish red head complete with freckles and when she smiled she was an attractive woman… and she was smiling as she sat at my desk. Gee had just called her and the mortgage company that had screwed her (and her husband) had made good and refunded the fraudulent charges that had been made. Today, $900 doesn’t sound like a lot but in 1968, especially when you barely make enough to pay the rent and buy food, it was like a fortune. She was on her way to Gee’s office to sign the release papers but she wanted to thank me for connecting her with Gee. It was a nice way to end the week and to start the month.

To be continued…




Thursday, May 10, 2018

KEEPING UP... Busy, busy, busy (Part 166x)

KEEPING UP… Busy, busy, busy (Part 166x)

I really was concerned about Woody so made another attempt to find out what Trish knew about her absence. She was annoyed that I’d come back to her on it but she did say she was OK and that she wasn’t sick or hurt. In my mind if she wasn’t either of those things then it had to be something minor so I pressed on. It had been a while since I’d witnessed Trish get exasperated but she sure was getting there with me. I guess she realized I wasn’t going to go away so she finally gave in saying that Woody was both embarrassed and scared. This whole thing was getting a bit weird but hearing the term “scared’ bothered me. We’d had a few instances where drive-up customers had hurled some less than kind words at the teller knowing they were protected by the glass but I’d not heard the term “scared’ used when the teller explained what had happened. I chose that path to go down as I pressed Trish for more explanation.

Trish was a ‘nine to fiver’ unless  preparations were made in advance and it was now getting close to 5pm. I think I asked just what it was that she was afraid of. Trish screwed up her face and sort of spit out that it had to do with her costume. When we received them we’d been told not to alter them in any way and to be really careful of them as they were expensive. I didn’t like hearing that something might’ve happened to Woody’s costume and asked just what had happened to it and if it had gotten ripped or torn. She shook her head in a negative fashion and I made a motion with my head and eyes that pleaded for more information. I remember Trish looking over her shoulder at the clock on the wall above the rear doors and then, clearly upset with me, said that Woody had wet herself while still in the costume. My immediate thought (believe it or not) was that wasn’t all that bad and even if it couldn’t be washed it could be dry cleaned. Elle had wet enough of her wool clothes for me to know about that. I asked where the suit was and she said the last she saw of it it was on the back of the toilet. She added that she’d helped Woody get cleaned up but didn’t know if Woody had taken it with her or not. Trish was moving away from me towards her desk to get her things when I asked if she’d go check the bathroom. Most of the tellers were still there so there was no way I was going to peek in myself. She grabbed her bag and headed in that direction. I followed as far as the work area and stopped. She was back quickly and said it was on top of the toilet tank. I thanked her and got a terse “Good night!” in return.

Back at my desk I knew I couldn’t just leave it there especially since I was the person responsible for all the costumes. Bret had shed his as soon as the doors were closed at 3pm. Joanie and Lillian had used the Board room as a dressing room but neither had changed until after my little talk. Woody, because hers was one piece and easy to handle had chosen to use the first floor ladies bathroom which was right next to her work station. I waited until everyone of the first floor employees had gone before I headed that way. It was while I was waiting for that to happen that I began to wonder what had caused Woody her problem especially with the bathroom right there. Walking into the room there was no missing the purple and pink material that made up the costume. The head for it was hanging on a hook on the back of the door while the suit itself was draped over the toilet tank. I picked it up by the shoulders and held it up. There was only a single ceiling bulb for light and when I scanned the lower extremities I couldn’t make out any wetness. I grabbed the lower legs fully expecting to feel a cold wetness but didn’t find it. Then I turned it around to the back and there right around where the zipper ended I could see the discoloration of the material. After seeing the results of so many of Elle’s mishaps I was surprised to find it in only the seat area which made me believe that she’d peed herself while sitting down. I opened the door and checked the seat cushion on her work chair and found it was dry. I was truly puzzled… but also starting to get a bit ‘turned on’.

In an effort to cut down on unnecessary vandalism in our town, some of the merchants and the school Board collaborated to have an open house at the school starting at 6pm. Elle had volunteered us to chaperone so I had to leave the bank by no later than 5:30pm. On my way home I had a chance to think about Woody and her ‘accident’ and wondered what had happened to her wet panties. I'd checked the floor of the bathroom and the waste basket but didn’t find them. I had the costume in the car with the intention of washing it if Elle thought it could be done without damaging it. I also wondered what would happen the next day when Woody got to work.

Walking in the door I found the kids all dressed in their costumes and Elle in the processing of getting herself ready to go as a hobo. I had been dressed as a sack of potatoes the previous year and Elle had resurrected it and had it laid out for me. There wasn’t time to eat but she did want pictures before we left. I set the Polaroid up with the timer and got a couple. We’d done this duty the previous year and had fun doing it. The program got high marks from the police and the neighboring school district had decided to do the same thing. Even though I was hungry I was actually looking forward to it as we drove down the driveway.
         

There were a number of parts to the whole evening. There were games for the younger kids and a dance for the older ones. Pizza, soda, ice cream, candy and cake were the popular refreshments. There was a costume contest for three different age levels. The highlight of the evening (for me) was in seeing this woman dressed as an angel. I’m not sure the costume was what she thought it was but I can tell you that the white material was very sheer. When she was standing still, the way it hung from her waist on down pretty much covered her panties. But when she moved, either walking or dancing, it was a riveting sight. When she walked across the stage for the judging Elle caught me staring and smacked me in the arm (hard) to break my ‘trance’. Later I asked if she knew who it was and she had no idea. I asked a couple of other people I knew (men) and they were ‘taken’ by her as well but were also curious as to her
identity.

Elle had worn a “package” knowing it would be  hard to undress to use the toilet while in her costume. We were at the refreshment table when I saw her shudder. I knew what that meant and smiled and immediately thought about Woody. I hadn’t told Elle about her ‘accident’ and the wet costume because there hadn’t been time before leaving. After getting the kids to bed I told her about what had happened and retrieved the costume from the car. I didn’t know much about different materials and how they could or couldn’t be cleaned but Elle determined that the cat costume was washable. It was made of synthetic material, but not nylon, which told her it was OK to go ahead and wash. She asked what had happened and I really couldn’t tell her. I also couldn’t admit that I wanted very much to know the details myself… but had no idea how to get them.(110)

To be continued…




Tuesday, May 08, 2018

KEEPING UP... Busy, busy, busy (Part 166w)

KEEPING UP… Busy, busy, busy (Part 166w)

One thing that I avoided doing was informing Bret that he’d be at the Mortgage Committee meeting as acting Secretary the next day. Knowing Bret, as I did, I knew he’d worry himself into knot over the evening and night. That, and he was already having second thoughts about dressing as the Mad Hatter. My job as a judge for the Halloween costume contest didn’t start until 10am, the time most retail stores opened for business. That needs a little explanation as far as the judging was concerned. The Chamber had designated two levels of retail… “Hard” and “Soft”. Stores that sold products… shoes, hardware, clothes, etc… were considered “Hard”. Banks, restaurants, beauty parlors and the stock broker’s office were considered “Soft”. Since I worked for a “Soft” retail business I was designated to judge the “Hard” retail businesses. So, with that in mind I’d held off telling Bret until that morning. It also gave me the opportunity to see all of our ‘contestants’ in full costume. Trish made the decision to have Joanie in her full Alice outfit until after the judging. I didn’t get to see her try to sit at her desk while wearing the crinoline type slip but Trish assured me there was no way it would work. Eileen seemed happy wearing the White Rabbit costume and enhanced her teller window area by decorating it with fresh carrots. That told me there was no underlying problem with her. A quick peek into the drive up window area made me smile. Even though Woody was basically shy she was having fun with customers and carrying on with them about her costume. Bret was definitely the big attraction as the Mad Hatter. He, Trish and I were the only ones to have seen his hat before he stepped out of the bathroom with it on and when he did the employees cheered him. I had to tell him what he was in for later in the day and he told me he would change out of the costume before stepping in to the meeting. I told him that it was up to him but I thought he’d win some friends among the Board members who didn’t really know him if he walked in with it on. He just gave me a ‘look’ and turned away. I smiled. As I headed out the door for my first stop I was satisfied that the all the effort concerning the contest and the costumes for the bank had been worth it.

There were over 20 participating “Hard” retail merchants in the costume portion of the promotion. I’ll spare you the details of my tour and just say it was ‘interesting’. The overall winner was the son of the owner of the local appliance store who, on his own, managed to fashion an early 1950’s portable TV out of boxes and fit it on his person and then emulated Red Skelton (a popular comedian of the day) through the opening where the tube would've been. I made sure I got back to the bank after the Mortgage Committee meeting had started so that Bret had no choice but to take it. The first thing I did was to ask if he wore the costume and Joanie, with a BIG smile, said he did but only with the urging of just about everybody there. I asked how it went during their own judging and she said she didn’t even know that they had been reviewed. I didn’t understand why because on my rounds I made sure those in costume knew who I was. She said that even without the crinoline it had been hard to get her work done. I just nodded and said that, in the end, it would be worth it. I went to take a peek at Woody who was in the process of proving up her cash and she seemed happy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she tried the sample panties and was wearing one of them right then and there.

They all had to wear their outfits a second day which was actually Halloween. I would like to have seen Joanie wearing the crinoline but it wasn’t to be. The hem of her skirt, without the crinoline, went halfway to her knees. I could just picture where it would’ve been when wearing it. A good memory was that it was definitely shorter than anything she usually wore. My desk was in a position that prevented me from seeing any ‘slips’ she might’ve made while wheeling around on her chair… but it was still nice to see that much of her thighs. Lillian, again, brought carrots to enhance her window area and seemed to enjoy her role as the White Rabbit. As far as Woody was concerned I put myself in an observers position where she couldn’t see me hoping that I might at least get a VPL what with her costume being one piece and form fitting. However, the purple and pink stripes made it too difficult. After a few minutes I gave up on that.

To get in the ‘spirit’ of the day, the bank provided ‘goodies’ in the form of locally pressed cider, pumpkin bread muffins and candy corn at a table decorated with jack-o-lanterns, dried corn stalks and some ghost and goblin paper decorations. I’d fully expected to have heard if the bank had won a prize (or more) by the time the doors closed to the public but no notification had come. I'd decided to let the employees partake of the goodies that were left over and they hit the table like vultures. I stood back to watch and wondered if anyone had eaten lunch. I saw our costumed employees mingle with the others but after a few minutes noticed Woody was missing. I took a look over towards the drive-up but didn’t see her. It was while this was taking place that a call came in for me. It was the head of the Chamber of Commerce with “Good news… and bad news.” The good news was that Bret had won with the best costume. But, the bad news was that he’d won with a “professionally” created one. Someone had complained. I was then told there was a rule that prohibited that type from being judged. I hadn’t seen it. In fact, I’d never even read the rules.

So, it was my job to break the news to him and to tell everybody what had happened. As I gathered everybody at the foot of the stairs to tell them I still didn’t see Woody. Since she was an integral part of the bank’s participation I felt she should be present. I asked Trish to go see if she could find her. I started my little speech without waiting for her to return. Basically, I apologized for not realizing we couldn’t use the things we did but told everyone that in spite of not winning any prizes the public had enjoyed seeing Alice, The Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat and that was what was really important. I think it was about then when I saw Trish return to the back of the group. I gave her a ‘raised eyebrow’ to ask if she’d tracked Woody down. I saw her put up a hand with her thumb pointing down. I was puzzled but went on by telling the group to finish up the ‘goodies’ and thanking them all. Then I asked Bret, Lillian and Joanie to come to my desk before finishing up for the day. As we walked in that direction I went over to Trish to ask about Woody. While still walking and without looking at me she said she had a bit of a problem and wouldn’t be joining us. As enthusiastic as she’d been in playing the Cheshire Cat I couldn’t understand what could be so bad as to keep her from joining in. But, time was running out and I wanted to tell the ‘players’ that they would each get a whole day off. That brought big smiles from each of them. In Bret’s case I knew it wouldn’t replace the $25 gift certificate he would’ve received if not for my gaffe but he seemed OK with it.

To be continued…