Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My Terrible, Horrible, Not-that-bad, Still-Kind-of-Good Day at Work

So this was a few weeks ago - my third shift, I think. To backtrack a bit, I had gone in to talk to the office administrator after my first shift and she had told me a place I could park where you're technically not supposed to park (by the dumpsters) because I'm out by 2:30. The second week I drove in and saw the spot I thought she meant, but it really looked like you shouldn't park there, so I parked on the street again and DOUBLE-CHECKED with her that it was the spot she meant. So today, I parked there.

I went into the library. Did I mention that the learn-to-play-ukulele club meets in the library at the recess that is just before my shift? So the environment is less-than-serene at the best of times? But today when I went to log in to the computer, it was stuck in an update. This means I can't check books in or out or look up whether anyone has books out. Did I mention that my first classes are all of the autism unit? Where routine is, shall we say, key?

So, okay. I will roll with it. The younger two classes come in and fortunately the teachers have a record of who brought their book back, so I just write down everybody's name and the bar code of the book they take - the autism classes are small, so it's not overwhelming. This all goes swimmingly. Then the older two classes come in. In the middle of the same routine, an announcement goes out that a black SUV is parked in front of the dumpsters and needs to be moved.

That was me. In front of the dumpsters. Where the office manager told me TWICE to park (I thought). So I tell the teachers I'll be right back and go out and the maintenance guy is standing there looking annoyed and I apologize profusely and say that I was told to park by the dumpsters, and he points to the back of the lot and says "she probably meant THOSE dumpsters", and honestly, as my friend Hannah says, how many dumpsters does it take to run a school ANYWAY?

So I rush back to the library, only to discover that the morning librarian has left and locked me out of the back room, where my purse is, with my key. Fortunately I realized I could beg to borrow one of the teachers' keys instead of having to go to the office and further humiliate myself (yes, I did go home and order a lanyard forthwith).

THEN, during the next class, another secretary asked over the speaker if "The Librarian" was there. I gaped for a minute until the teacher said (to me) "she can hear you" and (to her) "yes, she is". The secretary said there was a call for me on line 2. I went to to the phone. There were no buttons with line numbers. I stood there for a minute waiting for further instructions until the secretary came in and told me I had to come take the call in the office.

THEN, during the NEXT class, I have to throw down with some grade 3 chick over Amulet books. The other librarian who has been at the school for twenty years, has a shelf of more mature books and graphic novels that are only accessible to grade four and up. Did I mention that I have one class that's a grade three-four split? I had more or less determined to stick to the policy, but I haven't gotten entirely comfortable with just saying "because I said so". So one grade three girl tells me she's allowed to read Amulet books (graphic novel series) but she only has them at her dad's, so she'd like to borrow one to read at her mom's. So I say yes, like an idiot, partly because I'm wishy-washy and partly because I know what it's like to be a kid who reads above your perceived reading level - my dad used to have to come approve my books at the local library. Then this other grade three girl gets up in my face because if R. gets to take one then she should too. And I argue (again, like an idiot) that her parents have said she's allowed to read them and she has them at home. And the girl says "well if she has them at home, why does she need to borrow one?" (okay, solid point), so I blurt out (like an idiot, probably violating some kind of confidentiality rules), "only at her dad's!" And the girl says "oh, okay" and skips away happily.

Then there was another incident where a boy checked out an Amulet book, flipped through it and then brought it back in high dudgeon and insisted that I check it back in because of the naked blue man. So I said "oh, okay."

The good news is, ten to twenty years ago this would have sent me screaming from the building, never to be heard from again. Now? Meh. A lot of things went wrong and I handled them with varying degrees of skill, the lowest level being Very Low Indeed. Won't be the last time. I made stupid mistakes doing this kind of work for years as a volunteer. This time I made stupid mistakes and got paid.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Inarticulate Grunt of Exasperation

Why do I keep not blogging? Why? I don't want to stop blogging. I don't care that blogging is dead. I think of things to blog about daily. Then I go to bed and remember that I didn't blog. Then I  think that I'll just write a new post without mentioning the hitherto lack of blogging, but I can't seem to help myself there either. Also, as soon as I started writing this I realized the other problem - I have forgotten to upload pictures relevant to things I meant to post about, but if I go upload the pictures now, well we all know what will happen, right?

So I got a tiny little job. A tiny little job that is perfect for me in location, description and mostly duration (I could probably stand a few more hours, but whatever). For the past years while I've been home with the kids (and, increasingly, without them), I marveled at people with depression or difficult life events who said they liked having to go to work because it distracted them from their problems. I thought if I was having a bad stretch that having to go to work would make things worse.

And now I totally get it. Again, the hours I have to work are few, but whether I'm having a bad week or not, I LOVE going to work. I love doing the work. It makes me feel normal and productive and, wonder of wonders, it distracts me from my problems, real-world or head-type. Even the day where absolutely everything - EVERYTHING - went wrong (actually, I'll type that up and schedule it for tomorrow, for your collective amusement), I was glad to have been there.

Angus is settling in amazingly well at college. Well, okay, not amazingly well, but maybe a tiny bit surprisingly well. I thought he might be a little more homesick. I'm really glad he isn't. Matt and Eve and I went down with my parents for Family Week-end, which was on Canadian Thanksgiving, to watch an exhibition scrimmage game which was basically the team split into Freshmen/Sophomores and Upperclassmen. He was obviously on the younger half of the team, and they lost every game but not always by much, and he played really well.

Obviously we hit the bookstore to outfit the squad in team colours. Eve got a sweatshirt and fuzzy Elmira socks with actual little Soaring Eagles on them. She insisted on posing for a picture with her clothes on holding Matt's mug and sending it to Angus because "he will LOVE it, he will feel SO SUPPORTED."

I'm sure this brought a tear to his eye.


The next week-end he had a break so I drove down to get him and bring him home for a few days. We had a nice drive with some conversation and music discussion - we were playing music off my phone, which has every song downloaded by anyone on our family account ever, on shuffle. This means it's entirely possible to hear Billy Joel, Jay-Z, The Wiggles, Hannah Montana and Yo-Yo Ma within any given half hour. We each had veto power over whatever played next, but we could also ask each other to listen if we thought the song was worthwhile. It was fun. I still maintain that The Wiggles are nothing without Greg.
It was nice and a little weird having him home for a few days. Matt's in Asia for most of October, so Eve and I had settled into a nice little girly groove. I had to cook more stuff. There were Angus clothes in the wash. I had to see Venom (it wasn't that bad).

The kids spending quality time together.

They hated this. Hated it.

Then I drove him back. Didn't even get to use my well-rehearsed "no sir, I have never tried marijuana ever" answer, which is, I don't know, maybe a little insulting? I did declare my Red Velvet Oreos. 

There. That wasn't that hard. Why do I keep not doing it? Sigh. It's the Circle of Blog Life.