…stole my favorite kitchen implement ever, my orange peeler! The niftiest thing ever invented for a consummate citrus lover. I left it with an orange to chill in our (fortified and limited access) dispatch room’s refrigerator and when I returned a couple hours later, it, my orange, several salad dressing packagers, and a bag of carrot sticks had been snatched.
In spite of the jokes and sitcom stories of this sort of thing, this is my first incident of food being stolen in nearly 3 years of office work. Also, what sort of ruffian steals healthy food from the office fridge? Aren’t the soda cans labeled “Property of T-Dawg” and the “secret” candy bars in the freezer usually the first to go?
So, orange peeler thief, you’re on notice. Either return it unharmed and be spared, or suffer the vicious voodoo curse I am prepared to unleash on you!
“That’s disgusting…thanks for taking one for the team.” “But I don’t want to take one for the team. I want to leave the team to its moldy fate.” – Student employee, C.
One of the downsides of working at a university is that everything is time is cyclical. The wheel of life and work turns by semesters and even though you are out of school, you are directly affected by this fact. For example, I do most of my hiring and firing of students at the beginning of new semesters – kids graduate, have tough schedules, or sometimes even drop out and have to be terminated or replaced. During Fall and Winter terms I’m involved with projects related to various athletic seasons. When Spring and Summer terms roll around I, and others, will be beating our heads on our desks for whole weeks at a time for lack of work – you can only reorganize the supply closet, update your all of your forms, and rearrange your staplers so many times before you’re quite longing for heinous crimes to be committed.
But there is a sneaky week or two in the middle of every semester, after you’ve finished hiring all of your new students and finished your major projects, and just before you have to start ordering next month’s supplies and prep next term’s spreadsheets, that you are stuck.
It is at this soul numbing point that I start wandering about the office begging for work. Susie is usually pretty good at giving me some filing or shredding, or handing one of her own projects over to me if she is swamped, but even her ideas can give out. And so it proved this mid-Winter.
I had my annual employee evaluation and told her that since I began working here I’ve tried to streamline and improve processes and I’ve been successful – to the point that I regularly don’t have enough to do, especially during mid-term deadlock. When she asked what sort of small project ideas I’ve come up with, I listed the various tasks I’ve given myself over the past year and declared without guilt that the idea well has run dry. After a moment she said she had a job that needed doing but didn’t want to offend me by asking. I told her I didn’t mind.
So today I spent an hour on hand and knees cleaning out the two refrigerators in the break area.
And let me just state for the record, there are mothers all over the United States today, wringing their hands and weeping as they try to figure out where they went wrong.
I pulled seven one litre bottles of soda that were up to a year old (and fermenting), three packages of cream cheese that had turned teal (and grown eyes), almost an entire pizza that had dried out months ago (and fossilized), and several tupperware filled with various rotting mush (that had apparently evolved highly enough to invent a rudimentary form of communication). Let us not speak of the fish I found. Really. Let’s not.
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” — Marilyn Monroe
It’s official, poodles, winter turns your friendly household C. into a blithering idiot. I suspect I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder – come the cold and dark I get moodier, need to sleep longer, and can stay on the sofa for hours doing nothing and seemingly only half awake. And my brain turns to mush. I am sure of it.
We got another coat of snow last night so when I finally managed to pull myself out of bed (which is not exactly an easy feat when your SAD-affected mind and body are yelling at you, “If you’d just give in you could have a nice little bout of depression and not have to go into work today. Come on, just because it takes you months to pull yourself out of it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Give in just a little…”), I reached for my trusty Hunter boots.
Stuffing legs and trousers into them haphazardly, I clumped about the flat grabbing fruit and granola bars (and maybe a couple of chocolate chip cookies) before J. and I dashed out into the cold to scrape off the car and gun it for work.
But midway to the office, I was hit with the nagging, suspicious feeling that somewhere in the vastness of the universe there was a Being chuckling at my expense.
I cataloged myself. Something was missing. Bag, phone, wallet, all present. Gym bag complete with gym clothes, check. Water bottle, snacks, diary, all in their proper places. My hair was done, I had no bra straps on display, I was even sporting a pretty new cardigan and fabulous bright red lipstick. What was it?
Bending down to rummage in my bag again, I glanced at my boots. The nagging, chuckling feeling got stronger. It became downright malicious in fact. Boots, I thought, why would that…drat! Because, naturally, I had not grabbed actual shoes to change into.
Thus, here I sit in sharp black trousers, red lipstick, freshly painted nails, lovely cardigan…and my old running trainers – which squeak badly when I walk. Much to the amusement of my co-workers.
Our department has quite the accumulated dating history and insight. Between the roller coaster romances of our student employees and the dozens of people we caution, cite, and arrest for stalking, we are connoisseurs of crazy love. Here’s some wisdom gleaned in the last two weeks.
(Discussing when to make a move to hold a girl’s hand)
Bebe: You just have to feel her vibe. If she wants you to hold her hand or kiss you, she’ll let you know.
Stuckford: Her vibe, huh?
Bebe: Yeah. Feel her vibe.
C.: Just, ah, don’t feel anything else!
(Know the correct name for foreign foods you intend to order. For example, when desiring polenta do not say…)
Random girl one of our officers went out with: I like Italian food. I’ll have the placenta.
And finally, if you’re married, don’t ask out one of your co-workers! Trust me, that news will travel
Michael: Yeah…the bishop’s going to have something to say about that.
C.: …And God. Daisy: Well, I hit him on the head with a book and said “Begone!” It worked.
“But I feel…I don’t know…” “Daisy. Allow me to disabuse you of this social-moral qualm. It is perfectly all right to not want to go out with a guy who seems to be universally disliked, who’s married and has a kid.” “Ok!” – Daisy and C.
Our department is a pit of intrigue and private vice. Or, rather, it would be a pit of intrigue and private vice if we weren’t so poisonously good and had such marvelous senses of humor.
“One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.” – Clifton Fadiman
Yesterday was one of those days where everything went wrong.
On Tuesday I started a project to audit our records of everyone who is permanently forbidden from campus. I worked on it and nothing else for two days, 16 straight working hours and paid meticulous attention to detail. The product I turned in was exactly what had been requested.
Yesterday I went to talk with the officer who assigned me the project and he told me it wasn’t what he wanted at all (even though when I gave it to him Wednesday and he looked over it, he pronounced it good). Instead of just running an audit to see whether our paper files and electronic files meet up, apparently I’m supposed to create an easy reference guide so that a committee of people can decide whether any of these people should be permitted on campus in the future. Which is not what I was originally assigned and which requires entirely different information than an audit which, not to harp on, I’d spent 16 hours compiling data for.
Then! A volunteer organization we (and when I say “we” I mean “I”) run background checks for started a minor panic with it’s volunteers by declaring that they had never received the results of checks we (meaning “I”) had run.
“Bollocks!” cried I viciously, pulling up multiple emails spanning a month demonstrating that I had, in fact, sent the results off properly.
I have pride issues. I have no problem admitting when I’ve done something incorrectly or correcting mistakes. But when I’ve done my job properly, supplied exactly what was asked, and done so in a fabulously quick manner, only to be told I’m completely in the wrong and/or failed in a basic duty when I haven’t…poor J. gets a long rant over lunch.
“Wait, was this woman scary beyond all reason?” “Oh yeah!” – The Emperor’s New Groove
Freshman year I had a roommate, Georgie, who was awesome wrapped around a slice of fabulous. She wrote a show our entire dorm performed, had all sorts of scholarships, and the good fairy had blessed her with a wittiness of the lung-busting-laughing variety. We’ve kept in touch as best we can, she married now with a little boy and we live nowhere near one another.
She had a theory, one which in my life experience has yet to be disproved, that read thus: any incident may be summed up or perfectly accompanied by a quote from the Emperor’s New Groove. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?
Bad makeup day? “Llama face!”
Crisis of conscience? “My shoulder angel.”
Someone invading your personal space? “No touchy!”
So mad you can’t function? “I gotta go wash something.”
Yesterday Hennessy and I took a break and wandered over to the campus book store on the hunt for calendars (oh the thrilling life of a secretary!). While making our way back we came across her.
The woman was stretched like taffy, extremely long and freakishly thin. Her face was almost pentagonal, her cheek bones jutting out sharply on each side. She’d obviously had “work done” because her skin was stretched taunt over her visage in a way that does not appear in nature, her skull looked a size too small beneath it. She was dressed in something long, tight, and purple. She was accompanied by a large hulking man.
Hennessy and I made it past her without comment but when we were safely out of hearing, she turned to me and said one word. “Yzma.”
I leaked an unflattering snort as I tried to keep from laughing.
“Living proof that dinosaurs roamed the earth,” I gasped.
“What is keeping this woman together?” Hennessy returned immediately.
So far we have also seen, two Avatar people (the blue ones), one Lord Voldemort, and several Waldos (as “Where’s…”). Also a green plastic army guy, a BP oil spill, and the entire Monty Python crew.
And, speaking of clothes, the winner of our giveaway is…
Amanda who said her favorite thing about herself was: “my skin tone. I’m extremely white, but I’ve got enough on my mom’s olive hues to pull off pretty much any hair color. And changing up the hair is fun stuff.”
Congratulations Amanda! I’ll be contacting you to ship your prize to you!
“It occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.” – Joseph Conrad
I was given a project today. One that I’m still trying to make sense of. It can best be summarized by my puzzled response to Lt. Figaro when he gave it to me. At the time of assignment, Susie’s and my eyebrows were having a contest to see whose could climb higher.
“So you want me to run reports.”
“From a database I don’t have access to, using a program that hasn’t worked form months, to organize information that no one can find, with query requests that don’t exist.”
“It’s like saying ‘Macbeth’ in the theatre!” – Grey’s Anatomy
Surviving in the corporate world, even on the rather planktonian level of a University police office, requires certain precautions of the supernatural variety. Whether by occult design or unnatural happenstance, bad things often happen in threes. Whenever one needs a large print job, an obligatory sacrifice of small animals/Freshmen is usually necessary to get its resident poltergeist to permit the entire project to come out unscathed. When discussing hypothetical future events, it is absolutely necessary to pound, not simply knock, on wood to ensure that nothing will hex your efforts.
And you must never, under any circumstances, ever make the fatal mistake of saying that the office is “quiet.” It matters not if it’s dull as tombs, to draw attention to any dearth of activity is to invoke the wrath of the Office Gods who delight in punishing mortals. The moment you mention that you haven’t enough to do, that no one has come to the front desk in some weeks, or that the phone hasn’t even rung in approximately 400 years…le deluge.
Cars start colliding, thieves pour from the shadows and swipe everything in sight, power lines go down and tornadoes spin up.
Friday I made the classic error. Hennessy and I were comparing late afternoon notes on our days when I confessed that the office was dead.
Immediately bellows erupted from Lt. Figaro’s office and echoed down the hall as he and a patron got into it a bit over the phone. And mere moments after that a young lady appeared, asking one of the officers to do something to a report (I didn’t hear precisely what, but it seemed she wished to come off sounding better than she felt the report currently did). She was instantly and brusquely informed that no such change would be made and was bid a stern good day and exited snarling. Every phone in the office started ringing. Lt. Figaro finally hung up on his frothing foe and stormed out to raise havoc in the patrol room.
Seeing that she was next in line for a lashing, I quietly suggested to Hennessy that she and I extricate ourselves from the situation my tongue had foolishly caused. We escaped to do the laundry run.