Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Bad Day

I’m OK now but last week I was in rough shape.

Isn’t that how Rodney Dangerfield used to start his act?  In my case, it was two weeks ago.  It was a bad week. 

First, as you may or may not know, for the last 5 years I’ve worked in what’s called, “COB,” or Continuity of Business.  Basically, it’s to make sure our company’s offices and branches can continue to function in the case of disaster, be it weather-related, structural, or zombie apocalypse.  We do a lot of disaster preparation activities and systems testing.  Anyway, this was the biggest part of my job until May, when I moved to another position within the same department.

Unfortunately, we haven’t hired a new ‘me’ yet, so when my former boss went on vacation two weeks ago, I had to fill in.  Naturally, that was the week we had an earthquake AND a hurricane strike.  Lucky freakin' me.

Because we could see the hurricane coming, I knew I’d be called into the fray to conduct conference calls between our office and field personnel, and report information back up to Corporate COB and our own company management.

The earthquake was unexpected to say the least, so in the middle of hurricane prep, I had to start gathering information on possible earthquake damages, report to management and have a “What to do in an Earthquake” memo sent to branches across the east coast.

Along side all of this, Pinky had been lobbying my apartment managers to get us a new dishwasher.  I was fine with the one we have but she said it was too old and the maintenance guy agreed.  So that week, when the guy came to install the dishwasher, somehow the pipes shot water all over the kitchen floor, which destroyed all the boxes my dishware set came in.  (These are the boxes that I’ve been carrying around for almost 27 years; I use them to repack the dishes every time I move.)  I hoped that at least the water drowned all the ants that had been swarming over our kitchen trash lately. Between the ants and the other bugs that have been showing up lately, I should have been collecting my own rent… I’d be rich.

They got the water cleaned up with towels, but when Pinky put them in the dryer, the dryer broke.  It would just hum and not do anything.  The dryer, I might add, did not come with the apartment.  The washer and dryer are mine, so the landlord would not be of any help.  I believe it was the day of the earthquake that it happened.  I didn’t know what to do about it at the time… I’d bought the washer and dryer in Albany and moved them down with me.  I had no idea who to call to fix the dryer.  Pinky said her landlord had a handyman she used and had called him, but he was out at the time.

I was not amused by this turn of events, because from my perspective, it was the dishwasher that started the whole thing… a dishwasher that I didn’t think needed to be replaced in the first place.  But yet, here I was, with a nice steaming turd dumped on my lap.

So, back to work…

One down side to working for a giant company is that there are “bosses” everywhere, even if you don’t report to them.  Our corporate COB Overlords are a giant pain in the ass about wanting updates 10 minutes after something’s happened.

So the middle of that week, with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the east coast, and while I’m trying to compose a hurricane prep memo for the field that my (real) boss’s boss requested, Corporate decided they needed from me a list of every branch we have that might be in the storm’s path, including address, internal building number and head count.  Oh, and they wanted me to provide it on an 11:30 conference call.  (It was about 10:00.)

Now, we have no such ready-made list, to my knowledge.  I would have to assemble it from a number of sources.  The target locations would probably run over several hundred.

So I made an “executive decision” to tell them to pound sand, and that I was working on something to actually help people, rather than to provide fodder for some report that helped no one.  (Don’t worry, I was much more tactful in my actual message.)

Normally I try to accommodate, I really do.  But I had to prioritize here.  There was only one of me and I could only do so much at a time (at a job that’s no longer even mine.  I spent zero time on my actual job that week.)  I really didn’t need that stress.

I really just want to get the prep memo put together.  I had one email sent to me with material that had been used for HR people, and another email containing information from the FEMA website.  Both sets of information were valuable so I was trying to cobble them both together into some kind of coherent message.  But the problem was that I kept getting booted off of Outlook. 

See, whenever I set up a meeting announcement on Outlook Calendar and someone forwards the invite to another party, I get booted off email.  Fucking Microsoft.  So with the wide email distribution I had for our hurricane prep calls, I was getting booted about every 10 minutes.  It gets annoying after the 7th or 8th time when you’re trying to actually WORK in Outlook.

Eventually I got the memo assembled, polished and sent to our Comm group for distribution.  And suddenly, it was lunchtime.

For the first time since I can remember, I decided to go get a sandwich and eat at my desk, forsaking my customary crossword puzzle in the cafeteria.  In emergencies, everyone has to make sacrifices, I guess.

So I went down to the deli across the street and got a club sandwich with mustard, no mayo.  They make really good sandwiches there, so I knew I’d at least be well fed.

When I got back to my desk and cracked open the sandwich, I sat there stunned.

Mayo.  Gobs of it, all over every piece of bread, which had been cut into quarters.

The earthquake.
The hurricane.
The water on the floor.
The broken dryer.
The ants.
Fucking Corporate wanting their fucking updates.
The fucking buggy Outlook calendar.
And now, mayo.  I fucking hate mayo.

{Snap!}

Knowing I now had to go all the way back downstairs and wait on another sandwich, I did something drastic.  I took the napkins out of the bag, to make room to put the sandwich back in and in a fit of pique, I fired the wad of napkins against my cube wall.

In my quest to release a little pent up steam, I forgot about the torn rotator cuff tendon. 

But I was quickly reminded again by the stabbing pains shooting down my right arm, as I bent over in my chair, clutched my arm and silently screamed “Fuck!  Fuck! Fucking bloody hell!  You stupid fucking idiot.”

In one small loss of control, I undid three months of physical therapy.  I hope to hell I didn’t tear it any further.  That would the final insult to injury.

People have been laughing at me when they hear I hurt my shoulder A) over mayonnaise and B) throwing napkins.  All I can say is that it was just the last straw, the final insult, the final “wafer-thin mint,” that did me in. 

I realize that there’s a lesson for me to learn in there…

I really have to learn how to use my left.

21 comments:

  1. Director’s DVD Commentary:
    Epilogue: My boss backed me on dealing with Corporate and I didn’t accept any Corporate conference calls that week. We got through Irene with minimal damages to our employees and facilities, considering the size and scope of the storm. We’ve had the landlord spray for bugs and they also put in a new oven because that was old too. And Pinky’s handyman fixed the dryer.

    But my shoulder still hurts. Stupid condiments…

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  2. I had a bad day too. And I also HATE mayo.

    Sorry it's all falling apart on you. I hope things get better soon and they hire a new you.

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  3. Jessica,
    Wow, we must be more alike than I thought... is it a 'same birthday' thing? Not only you hate mayo too, you did a 'bad day' post at the same time? Wow.

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  4. Bluz, I'm glad everything worked out in the end, but as far as that week goes, I have only one thing to say:

    Dude, that shit SUCKED.

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  5. Man, what a day. I don't mind mayo sometimes, but just that description, 'gobs of it', makes my stomach wrench. It's like liquid fat, people! This is not something you coat your food in!

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  6. Oh mayo is SO GROSS.

    I'm so sorry your week sucked. If I knew that, then I would have sent you more fun emails to entertain you. If there's one thing I know, I know how to make you smile :)

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  7. That was not an earthquake. Chuck Norris sneezed.

    Sorry you had a crappy week. I'm sure the water main break last Friday was no picnic either. For the record, Compliance sucks at actually complying to COB.

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  8. A condiment catastrophe will send anyone over the edge. Hey Wendy's? What part of no onions did you not understand!

    Good thing Bluz is not a gun-toting Tea Party type. We'd all be reading about that guy in Baltimore who snapped and shot up his office over a club sandwich. Thankfully, even in your angst, you are a peace-loving dude who takes it out on his own rotator cuff.

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  9. Beer,
    I hate globby food in general, but mayo has always skeeved me out, even as a small boy. And the fact that it’s all fat and calories just makes it look like I’m trying eat healthy. But really, I’m just grossed out.

    Same goes for all the mayonnaise-derived salad dressings… Ranch, Bleu Cheese, etc. I used to have lunch with a big guy who was always trying to lose weight by eating salads for lunch. But he’d put on 2 or 3 packets of Ranch or 1000-Island and then wonder why the pounds weren’t melting away. Goofy!

    Cassie,
    You make me smile just by being you. “You are my sunshiiiiine, my only sunshiiiine…”

    Bea,
    The water main break (which closed our building on Friday) was actually quite nice for me… Since my old boss was back by then, it was his problem and not mine. On my part, my 3-day weekend turned into a 4-day weekend. Sweet!

    Carpetbagger,
    It’s funny you mention Wendy’s… I went to one this earlier this summer that wasn’t my ‘regular’ Wendy’s and they messed up my order, after I explained it to them, like, 4 times. And yes, it was onions. I saw them making my burger w/ onions and I yelled back to correct the order. We went back and forth about it and then when I got my sandwich, of course, it still had freakin’ onions on it. I was so pissed, I took the onions off, marched up to the counter and slapped them down, saying, “Here are the onions I asked you to hold.”

    I’ve been meaning to do a post on how the older I get, the more and more I am unable to hold my temper. Perhaps it’s just a growing intolerance for idiots. But luckily, like you said, I remain unarmed. My only weapon is harsh language and an ineffective left hand.

    Mandy Fish,
    Sounds like I should start an I Hate Mayo fan page… I’m garnering a lot of support here.

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  10. That dryer needs a new drum belt. For a fee, I can come up and fix it for you.

    Just the get rotator cuff surgery, Bluz!! Life is too short!!

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  11. Judie,
    Funny, that's what the handyman said, that it was probably the drum belt. He even picked up a new one on his way over. Turned out that it just needed to be "reset." So he "reset" the dryer and while he was in there,cleaned out a buttload of lint that had collected.

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  12. In response to YOUR response from Bagger:

    I totally see it. My old people get more and more ornery and demanding as they age. Sometimes it's warranted, but others? Not so much. They want their water pitcher here, no. No, no, no. That's too far away. Move it an inch. To the right. Your other right. OK.

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  13. Glad he cleaned out that lint! There's nothing worse than butt-lint. If a fire started, it would be the first to burn!!

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  14. Oh my gosh, that was a totally crappy day. I cringed at the napkin throwing. I've had weeks like that, but for me it went ice maker-dishwasher-dryer. Hope your world takes a turn for the better (and by that I mean I hope you can offer tissues to the Ravens fans in your office come Monday).

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  15. Cassie,
    So far, I’m not “there” yet. My ire is reserved for people that can’t follow simple directions or even common sense, and then look at YOU like you have 2 heads.

    Judie,
    I’m sure butt lint is much more flammable than, say, navel lint, probably because of the proximity to methane… Like a cotton ball dipped in kerosene.

    DG,
    Ratbird tears would definitely cure what ails me.

    OR, the tears could be mine and I’d have to write A Bad Day Part 2 – The Sunday Nausea Edition.

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  16. Holy Shit. Did you check to see if Mercury was in retrograde? Because that totally screws me over every time.

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  17. Sherry,
    Fuckin' Mercury. I knew he sold out after working with goddamned FTD...

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  18. holy cats. I would call this "when it rains, it fucking pours". feel better soon.

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  19. Red Pen Mama,
    Oh, it poured all right. But I’m much better now. Well, except for the arm. That’s still screwed up.

    I love it when you say “holy cats.” Cracks me up picturing a bunch of cats walking around with halos.

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