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