I've been waaay busy the last few weeks. My office moved, and it was not the best of experiences. Packing was already the usual bitch. Then the brain trust decided that this was the perfect time to check and update all of the case files, and purge older files to remote storage, as well as check everyone's office for recently closed files not yet put in the locked closed files cabinets. In doing so, we found some folks had stuck closed files in odd drawers, nooks, and crannies in their offices - and did not close them on the database. Some of them years old - BIG OOPS! These are confidential legal files for Federal disability discrimination cases, supposedly in secure storage. If we had been audited by the Feds - woo hoo!
Guess who got blessed with the office-wide file fiasco fix - during move week! Guys, NEVER get known as the miracle worker for your office...I got stuck sorting, evaluating, grouping, database updating, and physically filing over one hundred case files. While moving my own office, helping sort out other folks' non-file related doo-dahs and wig-outs as deputy chief of staff/designated miracle worker, fixing computer problems ("There, push THAT button to turn it on. And to save an email before you send it, click on the button on the screen that says 'Save'" - and they think I'm a Frigging genius) and simultaneously writing new office procedures to (hopefully) avoid future screw-ups (just firing all the incompetents wasn't an option, since they included a department head).
Then I go on a Cub Scout camping trip last Friday night, late from work so we're setting up in the dark after two weeks of this, bust ass all weekend on a conservation project (yes, bad back and all), come back early Sunday barely able to move so I can go in to the new office to finish setting up so we will be 'on the air' Monday at 9 AM. The phones are not on, but the phone company says they will be on Monday at 9 AM. Monday - 9 AM - no phones. None. Dead. All dressed up and nowhere to go. All frikkin' day. At least we get all the furniture placed & files in. But by the way - no personal items, please - the semi-retired founder/consultant's decorator wants to observe the new office for a while before deciding on an image statement. And suits - we must now wear suits every day, or the female eqivalent. No casual dress Friday, because that is "SO passe'." I bring a change of clothes to move heavy sh*t, and the fashion fairy has a fit. I say "Fine, so do I have to wear high heels if I change back into my skirt?" "Skirt?" "Yes, it says in the dress code, 'Suit or equivalent,' and women get to wear skirts - why can't I? Are you endorsing gender-specific sexist behavior?" (her also being the official officious office PC Nazi). She doesn't think I'm funny. I do.
So I move stuff in khakis, change back into my suit, change back, move boxes of files, change back. But I am NOT ruining a suit to be fashionly correct to please someone who can't sharpen a pencil because it might chip a nail - and is one of those folks who love humanity - it's people they can't stand. Some days this woman makes me want to vote for George Bush, she makes all Liberals look so bad. She's the poster girl for Rush Limbaugh's "Incompetent egghead Liberal elitist hypocritical tax-dollar waster." But she means well. And I mean that in the nicest way.
Tuesday - two lines to the two front desk phones work by noon. All week - phone techs show up, tap dance, leave, show up, leave, go play pinochle, show up, blow up the server, leave, show up, turn phones on by randomly plugging them into the switchboard so extensions don't line up, leave, show up, watch "Beavis and Butthead," make fake farting noises, graduate to real farts, pick their noses, leave. Fax works. Stops working. Works with different incoming number. Attorney calls group of clients, requests faxes, takes day off, nothing comes in, she comes in, finds out what's wrong, cries. Network doesn't work. It doesn't even net. Attorney is in conference with a judge & opposing attorney - his phone goes dead because Jim Carrey, Jr., the cable guy, accidentally severs a cable while d*cking around. Judge has his secretary call. She gets disconnected. Other attorney calls - he gets sent to the workroom. Judge Dredd calls personally, I get the call. Not fun. Voice mails go to the elephant graveyard to die. I hear their faint screams as they perish in the dark. But their ghosts come back to haunt.
We run data around by Mark I Sneakernet. Computers go up, down, round and round. We take incoming calls on the working phones, write down messages, then run them to the appropriate recipient, so they can call back on their personal cell phones. Our 800 line goes down with the message that "This line has been disconnected," so across the entire state of Georgia, mental hospital and nursing home residents try to call to report alleged abuse, freak out, and inflict chaos on unwitting nursing staffs. Drug company profits up 10% after Thorazine sales skyrocket. A riot breaks out in a state prison after a mentally-ill inmate tries to call, flips out when he can't reach his advocate, and starts a fight with guards which spreads. Film at 11, somehow our dead 800 line is missed as the cause. Then a bug goes around the office, with folks calling in sick (or lazy, take your pick). Murphy goes over the wall, Nurse Ratchet calls me to complain.
My boss takes a 'personal day,' since she can't take anymore, so I'm in charge of the entire staff and all outgoing correspondence Thursday. The day one of the attorneys has to go to the hospital with a fever of 104 (hearing scheduled for Friday to be cancelled - same judge - I have to call), the interpreter for the deaf person interviewing for an advocate position cancels an hour out from the interview with the Director (so I get to practice my ASL with the candidate, while the Director is late coming in - at noon!), the big local newspaper calls us for comment and I waste ten minutes trying out versions of, "It is SO nice of you to call, but I can't answer any questions. You need to speak to the Director. No, she's not in. No, I can't reach her. No, she's REALLY not in. No, I don't know anything about that. No, no, no. But we love you, and please don't shove the broken Coke bottle up our butts on page 1 just because we're not commenting. And PLEASE don't blame me. Oh, and my name? It's...ummm...hey, I just had another call come in! BYE!" The database crashes three more times, a board member drops in to see how it's going, someone spills coffee in their lap. Wolves howl. Shadows cross the moon. The theme from "Nightmare on Elm Street" plays in my head.
Today the receptionist calls in sick. The office manager calls in sick. Three advocates call in sick - the last one at 11:30 ("Oh, I just woke up..."). My boss shows up, hides in her office with paperwork. Peasants riot. Buzzards cirle overhead. The Director shows up late, leaves for a meeting. The temp quits. Half the staff flees before 3 and the voice mail goes down again, so I'm frantically jotting down messages, as other calls wait. Callers curse or commiserate as I get to them. Judge Dredd calls, gets put on hold, is NOT happy. I'm happy I'm not going in front of him anytime soon. I function as receptionist, office manager, mail clerk, big brother, lay analyst, cook, bottle washer, and rhinocerous toenail-trimmer deluxe. Simultaneously. Then I crawl around, shell-shocked, shaking down the few people left in the office to buy the incredibly-overpriced popcorn my son has to sell for our Cub Scout pack, since it's due tonight, I forgot all about it in the chaos, and I can't let the kid down. I write down fake names to make it look better, and write a big personal check to cover it. I make 5 PM mere seconds before the KY runs out.
So, how was YOUR week?
P.S. - Tarty, long time, no rant. Hope you enjoyed it (*G*).