Monday, June 23, 2008

taking a stand.

I guess I'm ready to sit down and write about this now. I was thinking that maybe I wouldn't, maybe I would just let it go and move on, but now I am hearing that my good name is being drug through the mud, so here I am.

It's coming out, ALL OF IT:

I have been a loyal, dedicated employee of the Laff Stop for almost 4 years now. I was hired on as the "Office Manager" in 2004 under Pete Prelli. Pete as you all know, had his issues, but that's another story entirely. I came on to work under him and within 6 months had taken over the operational aspects of everything in that business so that he would be free to come and go as he please, or be there at night, or whatever excuses were made as to why I was doing all the work all the time.

THEN late in 2006, as has happened with so many others, I got into it with Pete and I quit. While I was nice enough to stay on for a couple of months to ease the transition, I was gone by October of 2006. In December of 2006, I got a call from Jeff McFerrin (the silent partner in the Laff Stop) begging me to come back on, offering me a raise, and letting me know that he was getting ready to out Pete from the club completely, and that he needed me to take over fully when Pete was gone. So of course, out of obligation to the Laff Stop, the comedy scene, and the sheer magnitude of the opportunity itself, I said "yes".

I came back, suffered through 6 more months of tyranny with Pete, keeping Jeff's little secret, and waiting for my turn. Finally the time came, Jeff cut the cord with Pete. Jerry and I lost friends, we had to have security around at all times due to the dangerous situation Jeff put us in, but we powered through. Jeff did not send Pete to jail for embezzling over $300,000.00 over the course of 3 years, nor did he seek ANY punitive damages from him. In fact, he PAID Pete an additional $10,000.00 just to shut up and walk away. Does that make sense to anyone??

The next 3 months were indescribable. I lived in fear for my life, I screened ALL of my calls, and I never went anywhere alone at night. I was too afraid. Jeff had left too many loose ends with Pete, and I knew that I was the 1 target. But guess what? I kept moving forward. I had to. The comedy scene needed me, the Laff Stop needed me, and Jeff McFerrin needed me. So I kept booking shows, I kept trying to come up with new ways to cultivate the comedy scene, and I always entertained ideas from the local comics to help get them involved in "their" club. I worked nights, I worked weekends, all in addition to my daytime 9-5, just to get the club moving on the right track again.

At the beginning of 2008, after I had been giving my heart, my soul, and my LIFE to the Laff Stop and to Jeff, I was told it was being considered for sale. Honestly, I didn't worry much. The Laff Stop has been "in the red" for about 3 years now, and only an idiot would sign on to take that kind of financial obligation over. I mean, the rent is $15,000/month alone. Then factor in comic fees, taxes, payroll, and all the other bills and expenses, and you're looking at needing $70,000.00 a month in INCOME just to BREAK EVEN. We've been averaging about $15,000 a month in income, so you can see where this is going...

In another attempt to ease my nerves, Jeff promised me that he would make sure that no matter what "he could still shut down and pay rent & severance of a few months' salary to me and still be in a better situation." So I felt pretty good... even if the club couldn't make it, at least I wouldn't walk away empty handed. So I carried on, business as usual. He kept me posted on what was going on, but nothing was happening and we weren't getting any bites. Then Don Learned shows up. Don and Jeff start having all these meetings, and all of a sudden I'm getting a really bad feeling about things.

Next, they come to me and reveal the plan. Don's pretty much broke, so he can't BUY the Laff Stop outright as planned. What Jeff has decided to do is bring Don on (like another "Pete" arrangement) where he would be running the club and Jeff is still the owner. They start talking about downsizing, closing the office, firing everyone and "starting fresh". They talked about closing down Open Mic, canceling the contest forever, and kuput to all the showcase shows. I lost it. They weren't even going to let me tell my 20 some-odd employees, they wouldn't let me give them ANY notice OR compensation at all, and then they pulled MY severance package. That was the last straw.

I laid it down to Jeff in an incredibly unflattering email. (Unflattering for him... if you wanna read that too, let me know I'll be happy to share it.) Sure, it was harsh, it was pointed, and it was every "civil" attempt at chopping him off at the knees that I could come up with. I reminded him of what he would be facing if I left, reminded him that the staff is going to lynch him, and and reminded him of his "promises" that, coming from Jeff McFerrin mean absolutely squat.

He didn't even bother calling me back before he changed the locks on the club.

So, I was "fired" for standing up for what I believed in. For trying to get some severance to spread meagerly around to my employees, and for trying to get this "Loyal, Fair AGGIE" who supposedly lives by the credo of "AGGIE integrity" (maybe he should look that word up...) to stand by his word as a MAN, and as a leader. Sucks huh?

So yeah, I fell on the sword... in hopes that others would be saved, and even more would be educated. It has been nothing but detrimental to me, I mean, come on, I'm jobless, I've got a wedding to pay for in 2 months, we definitely won't be taking a honeymoon now, and on top of that my name is being smeared by someone who doesn't even deserve to speak it. So yeah, I'm speaking up to anyone who will listen. And when I go to bed each night I PRAY that nothing but misfortune befalls Jeff McFerrin, Don Learned, and the Laff Stop.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the wind.

I feel like this today...

I listen to the wind,

to the wind of my soul.
Where I'll end up well I think,
only God really knows.
I've sat upon the setting sun,
but never, never never never,
I never wanted water once.
No, never, never, never...

I listen to my words but
they fall far below.
I let my music take me where
my heart wants to go.
I swam upon the devil's lake,
but never, never never never,
I'll never make the same mistake.
No, never, never, never...


I remember being 7 years old and sleepless. That's how far is goes back.

Back then, it was more normal. What kid can sleep for any length of time when they're all wired up about Christmas morning? However, it is not usually like that for me. It's usually a dark restlessness. An inner twitch that electro-shocks my brain into frenzied thought and laborious worry.

Since you've been gone it's really been more along the lines of a physical pain keeping me awake. My heart uprooting from its otherwise happy state and groaning as it rolls over in my chest- deflated by your absence. Of course my mind worries about you- we've all heard the civilian horror stories of Nick Berg and the like. We are very aware of the prevalent danger.

Aside from the obvious, I have felt the never ending concern that can only come from little or no contact with you. I've tried patterning my days to coincide with yours. I know if I can stay up past midnight, you'll be awake again to correspond "live". I know around 2 or 3pm you're getting ready to go to bed. Coming in from the bases you've been at all days, settling in, and checking the web one more time before bed.

When you send me the most touching, heartfelt emails, it was all I could do to stop myself from gushing back a response. Instead, I fire back a quick "I LOVE YOU!!" An effort made if only in the hope that across the ocean we would be connected for even a moment. A gesture made to let you know "I'm here, I'm up, and I'm thinking of you at this exact moment." The little black letters on my white screen the only voice I have to you in the night...

Tonight, I lie awake, it is again after 2am. Instead of the lonely sadness that washes over me as I stare at your empty side of the bed, I am anxious. In less than 12 hours I will be in your arms once more!

I am 7 again.

Tomorrow is Christmas morning, and what awaits me on the other side of this night is far better than a pair of roller skates or a shiny new bike.

It's you. My love. Coming home to me again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

how can i tell you?

Jerry is in Kuwait, and I just keep listening to this song over and over, wishing I could talk to him. :(

"How can I tell you that I love you?

I love you, but I can't think of right words to say...
I long to tell you that I'm always thinking of you.
I'm always thinking of you, but my words just blow away...
It always ends up to one thing honey, and I can't think of right words to say.

Wherever I am, I'm always walking with you.
I'm always walking with you, but I look and you're not there.
Whoever I'm with, I'm always, always talking to you.
I'm always talking to you, I'm sad that you can't hear.
It always ends up to one thing honey, when I look and you're not there.

I need to know you,
Need to feel my arms around you.
Feel my arms around you, like sea around a shore.
Each night and day I pray, in hope that I might find you.
In hope that I might find you, because hearts can do no more...
It always ends up to one thing honey, still I kneel upon the floor.

How can I tell you that I love you?
I love you, but I can't think of right words to say.
I long to tell you that I'm always thinking of you.
I'm always thinking of you...

It always ends up to one thing honey, and I can't think of right words to say."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

wonder and such.

"Your life is an occasion. Rise to it." --Mr Magorium

I have decided that it is time for me to rise. I have been waiting for someone else to DO something in my life, so that it makes sense to me. No. No more. "Wait and see" gets me nowhere. I have been "waiting and seeing" for quite some time now, and have finally figured out why.

Maybe, if I "wait and see" long enough, I won't actually have to DO anything. Eventually, someone else will come along and make a decision for me. I will never have to suffer any consequences or commit to anything important. And then, when I've "waited" long enough, and teetered on "maybe" for my fair share of time, something will fall in my lap. I've spent 26 years waiting on something to "happen." Things don't just HAPPEN. They ARE because you make them so.

Now that I have had some time to think, some quiet time in my own head, I realize this is truly the case. No one can live that way! At least, no one like me can. If I want something, I am going to go out and TAKE IT! I am not going to wait on promises that may never fabricate. I will not "hope" that things work out the way I would like them to. They won't! My dreams cannot come to fruition without some serious action on my part. They NEVER will unless I take proactive steps to make sure that they do. No one else is looking out for us. No one else cares what happens to us in the long run.

So I am. I'm done with playing games. I'm done with relying on someone else to hold up their end of the deal. I'M holding up the deal. I'm done taking peoples "word". Your word means absolutely zilch to me- I can see straight through you, you self-serving sycophant.

I am rising to the responsibilities in my own life.

I will rise to take care of me, to take care of my loved ones, to do the things I want to do, the way I want to do them, in a way that makes me happy.

I'm getting married! I'm ecstatic! Then I'm going to have babies! I'm even more ecstatic about that! Then what? I dunno... maybe we'll move to Costa Rica and lay on the beach and make souvenirs out of shells and coconuts to sell to the stupid American tourists. And learn to surf. Or maybe we'll move to Europe. Just backpack it around for a couple of years. Learn enough French so the French don't hate me, and learn how to make the best biscotti you've ever had in your LIFE, as well as an assortment of hand made pastas and the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea. Having fun, loving each other... seeing the world. It doesn't matter, because we'll be happy and we'll be IN CONTROL of our lives.

I am done with helpless. I am done with being at the mercy of others. I am done waiting for someone else to GIVE me what I need. I am done living someone else's mistakes. You made them, you deal with them. All I was trying to do was help in the first place. I will not let you walk on me because you can't stand to look at yourself in the mirror. That's not my problem. I am done trying to convince others that I am important, that I am worthy. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK!! I am seizing my life by the throat and taking control.

It's about time.