Friday, February 17, 2006

Stay true to your soul

Okay, let's face it. I have a sign outside my door that says Church Secretary. I have a phone extension, too, for those seeking out the church secretary. I sit behind a huge desk that houses lots of manilla file folders, notebooks,and a black phone with lots of buttons on it; and I even have my own stapler. I have a day -at -a -glance calendar on my desk, too. Those are the clues that a professional works here. Then, there are the other clues. The clues to truth. The clues that say who REALLY resides in this space.

The sign outside my door that reads Church Secretary has in italics underneath it in a lovely slanted font, " visitors are always welcome". What busy Admin church secretary in her right mind would invite more chaos into her realm? uh, that would be me.

My phone, clearly a tool for business conversations and transactions, has stickers on it where the extension numbers used to be. My boss has a treasure chest sticker because he is a gift .

Another friend/worker has a kitty sticker because she loves them and her heart is as soft as a new kitten.

My boss boss business admin boss has a big car on his extension button because he drives a big car and he walks fast and his inner motor runs fast like a big car.

The receptionist extension has the three mice who helped Cinderella repair her dress because the receptionists are the best friendly supports one could ever have in this place.

The friend who works down the hall who is gifting me with her kind and funny spirit and who shares her family with me has Cinderella's two best friends on it, the ones who said, " hubbada, hubbada, happy birthday!" in Cinderella, because she is a birthday present every time I talk with her.

The other pastor has a blue bird on her phone button because she is always in flight, but driven like a blue bird is, and she is beautiful and bright,

and the other friend who works down the hall has a flower on hers, because she is in full bloom and brightens the church on even the dampest day. Those are things on my phone on my desk that looks like a real desk of a real admin asst but now you are learning the truth. More clues:::

Manilla file folders.... Real Admin assistants have folders that say things like Admin board, presidential notes.... Mine say FRONT DESK IMPORTANT WORK, or THE THINGS IN HERE GO OTHER PLACES, or STAFF STUFF, and AVON. ( my avon folder is my own clue for where I keep the info on people who ring our doorbell for assistance even though we don't have a doorbell, it feels like it when people walk in for help, so I call it AVON.)

Desk equipment. .. I have a stapler that has "DON'T EVEN"written on it and even though I thought that might be a little rude when i first labeled it that way, I must say that in the one year I have now been playing office, of the 4 staplers i have purchased for replacements, not one has been mine, because no one has dared to take mine because it says, "don't even" and somehow,those words cross language and culture pretty well. My three hole punch also has a label that says, "I live on the church chick's desktop. Please take me home if I wander. Thanks, ACCO model 20." I'm thinking people may wonder if my desk top tools are alive, and maybe that is a little scary? Could they be hostile? i think not, but then, that's just me.

On my shelves are two very important notebooks. " Personnel handbook, no doubt" you may say. or " The Book of Discipline", umm. nope.
Well, not exactly. I have a notebook labeled, Melanie's How to do the job book DIRECTIONARY, VOL 1, and, MELANIE'S DIRECTIONARY, vol 2. These notebooks guide me through my days.

When I review these eccentricities, I realize that my true nature is firmly planted right out there in clear view. Knowing this, I can enjoy the moments when I have felt like I've been able to get away with that knowledge and still perform the job in a sort of satisfactory way. My most favorite part of the job is telling the Pastor that his next appointment is here. I just love that.

He thinks it odd, or at least he used to, but he being such an accepting soul has now accepted that and he tries to let me announce even if he's standing within reach of said appointment. He's good that way. Supportive.

Only once in all this time have I lept over my desk to get to his appointment in time to announce. Only once, I'd say that's pretty good. The two men were standing in the hall, one coming from outside to see the Pastor, and one heading to his office to wait for the appointment.

I heard the footsteps and knew right away that an intersection was in the process, so I ran out into the hall and threw out my arms to create a block between the two men. I asked the one, " ARe you here to see the Pastor?" He stood before me, bewildered, since he could look just over my shoulder and see the Pastor as clear as day. " uh, yeaah." Then he pointed as if I maybe didn't know who was standing right behind me trying to get around my dodging and dashing fancy footwork.

A quick jump around and I faced my boss. " Your appointment is here to see you now." A demo of his true acceptance of my good intentions, he reacted with calm and grace. " Okay. Thank you." and then it was all over. It was several days before the opportunity came within my grasp again. part of the problem is that his office is the first one you come to as you round the corner, then mine. I'd think about changing out with him, but then, where would the birds go? My bird friends are settled in and I would not want to make them relocate......

Anyway, today I had another slap in the face reality check. I was having an awkward time figuring out how to manage a small something at work- nothing big, I love most aspects of my job, but I was in a quandry because I was feeling uncomfortable and I didn't really know how to voice it. I appealed to my closest Church Chick buddy, who was on the move without missing a beat. She pulled out a dictionary she keeps on an elastic cord right at her fingertips, and found the words that I could use to help explain how I was feeling. Marginalizing. The situation was marginalizing to me. WWOOOWW. I left her office, came back to mine and my boss was in.

I shared my thoughts and he was so understanding and supportive. He said ..."that makes you feel...", and I jumped in with ,"marginated!!" He took my misspoken term without any hint that it was not quite right. He understood what I meant. I didn't realize the faux paux. I felt so relieved to talk with him, I was just so grateful for his demeanor and support of my quandry.

I immediately emailed my mentor and shared the experience. She laughed so hard that her tears shorted out her phone and I had to call her back. We later decided that it didn't matter, and that sometimes, marginated does the job anyway better than butter. and for those who have "met their meat" butter isn't an option anymore.

But it made me remember who I am in this job, and that is just a simple minded soul who wears a church chick toupee.

oh good grief.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cedric has moved in. His cousin Chester was a squatter mouse in my office closet last spring, and before we “sprung” him, he apparently sent word to Cedric that the “eating was good so come on down” Mouse express isn’t as quick as Fed Ex, so I guess it took a while for word to reach the cousin, and then of course he had to tie up loose ends wherever he was and then had to plan the trip down/or up here to Church Chick Central. Welcome Cedric. Hi and Bye.

Chester was a fine fellow, he was grateful for any crumbs he found, any seeds or random plastic lids, odd paper snacks. I can say he was fine , now that he is gone to a better place not-of-this-earth of course.

Cedric is of a different nature. I found a collection of picked through,unopened sunflower seeds on the floor of my closet and became suspicious a couple of weeks ago. I collected the seeds, added a few more along with some d-con to add a little spice. I tossed the mouse salad and spread it back down. There it sits, untouched nearly two weeks later. Hmm. Looked pretty tasty to me. Then again, what do I know, being human and all.

Yesterday, I was organizing my latest collection of desk nut- mix ingredients and noticed that the MnM almonds were open. Chewed open. Yuck. I panicked. What about the candy covered kisses? Untouched. Peanut MnM’s? not bothered. Walnuts? Nope, Cashews? All intact. Tea bags? Ready to dip. Swiss Miss – no sugar added.

GADZOOKS! The bag had been chewed and contents sampled. AHA!! It came to me!! Cedric is a picky eater!! A choosy chooser. A chocoholic. I tossed the bags, and boxed the rest, sealed them safely in hard plastic containers. I guess it is time to call the exterminator again, but I’m hoping that without his chocolate fix,Cedric may just pack up and go back where he came from.
Gosh. It makes me miss Chester. Sigh..

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Spider man birds

The birdfeeder that is suctioned to my office window is a popular hangout for feathered travelers this season. Although it took a long time to draw the flying friends into the lair, the word is out now around town that The church chick has seeds, baby.

The pigeon finally went back home again, or at least he headed out of town, but he has been replaced by a couple of fluffy thugs who fly in several times a day to eat their fill. The younger and smaller creatures have adapted well to the bully birds. They have become spiderman birds as they have learned to scale the brick wall that backs the alley where my office is.

When I look through the window I see the birdfeeder, and just past the feeder lies the lovely red brick wall backdrop. I don’t mind the harsh brick canvas, but sometimes I imagine how it would look to paint a landscape on it or a seasonal scene. I think it would be fun to put a cut-out of a vintage Philips 66 gas station man with his hat on waving at passers by.

People walking by in the hallway could have a brief encounter with the beach or the mountains, along with the birds. Lots of possibilities there. serendipitous ideas, thoughts that pass by from time to time in between baptisms and funerals here at Church Chick work camp.

One day, the bully birds, Bret and Horace, were playfighting during their mid morning snack. A group of small neat winged brown friends headed over for a beak full, but when they rounded the corner into the alley They were greeted by a throw of sunflower shells and they hit an invisible force field or something because they put the brakes on and slammed into the brick alley wall- little tiny bird feet first.

They clung to the wall for several minutes, dazed and confused. Every few seconds, one or another would look around to see if the big boys were still at the trough- Soon as the big birds left, the littles flew over and ate.

Now, this pattern of behavior has become routine. Daily, the cafeteria line starts on the brick. Visitors who venture into the office and sit in my round cozy chair are surprised by this phenomenon. Maybe the birds think the brick is just a very wide and coarse tree. Or maybe they are really a troop of acrobat birds and I’ll make my fortune by charging a fee to watch the show. Or maybe they just had a close call one day, and they learned how to scale brick while waiting for lunch. Either way, the alley is becoming a most entertaining spot to watch.