Friday, March 20, 2009

Easter flowers

The bulbs decided they couldn't wait another minute and they have started coming up and showing their best faces.
I've decided these are to be reminders that Easter is coming instead of Easter is here.
Next year, both sides will have purple and white added and the right side of the church will be finished out so both sides are overflowing with color.

For a first try, they look pretty good. They've done a great job of growing and I'm proud of their efforts to restrain from blooming.

I'm antsy now to add something so we can continue to have color welcoming you when you come to the church. I've been fortunate that the church has allowed me to expand my job description to include dirt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Name tags

I have become a wiz at making the best of what I've got and celebrating the small successes in office university(this is on the job training). This week I learned how to do nametags -kind of. I kind of got ahead of myself and it went to my head a little bit.

Boss was having a meeting and I decided on my own that a real secretary would make name tags. My boss didn't even ask me. I just decided to figure it out.

So, I did. I went to Publisher and said, "Publisher, help me make name tags." An hour later, I was ready to print. While the printer was spitting the newly perfect nametags out, I stopped by my office buddies' office and said something like, " I learned how to make name tags. la la la la la "
They ignored me which should say something about how much faith they have in my announcements.

I picked up my name tags from the printer and there were 12 pages of labels with one name in the left hand upper corner of each page. sigh......

I came back to my desk and tried again. I printed again. 12 more pages came out with 30 Tom Smiths on the first page and 30 Joe Brown on another and .........

I felt defeated. and name tag label paper shy.

So, Jiminy Cricket in my pocket , I made the best of it. I cut out the top left corner tags and then paper clipped them to boss's meeting stuff. Wow. well, almost wow.

By then, the others came by to see the fruit of my announcements and i held up the sheets with the corners cut out. They were able to withold from releasing their amusement. Then I held up the sheets that were full of the same names. This was too much for them to bear.

Here comes boss. "OOOHHHHH Let's show these to Pastor Boss. He'll be so impressed that - la la la You can make nametags!! la la la "

I stepped in front of them and gave him the packets. He looked at the seemingly benign tags and said, "oh. okay." Then one of my "buddies" held up the partially sliced out sheet and the other held up the full sheets. and then he got it. They were laughing so hard I thought they'd need to call for "Cleanup on aisle 5". Obviously, I am not graduating from office university yet.

I went home.
I came back to work the next day.
The story isn't finished.

I came in and one of my buddies was already in, waiting for me. " Oh, Oh, church chick, I've got to tell you this. Boss came in the hallway last night during his meeting clutching the name tags you made for him. He looked panicked and I asked him what was wrong? and he said that when he set up, and put people's names at their places, he decided to , oh, what the heck, go ahead and put his on and realized that they were printed on the wrong side. so the outline would stick, but not the name part."

I turned around and started to go back home when i ran into him. 'Hey, it wasn't anything, we got the publications guy to do it, but struck me funny when I got everything set up after all that you went through to make them, murphy's law not helping you any, and then they were printed on the wrong side."

Well, I'm glad he can laugh about it. Clearly, I've got more name tag practice in store for me.
oh, good grief.

I keep seeing the unfortunate truth

I never said I was or could ever be a real secretary. I was clear about that from the start. In my time here, there have been many, many, many forgiven mistakes. and there have been even more forgiven Melanisms.

It took me forever to figure out the phone. I used stickers, one for each staff member, animals and such to help me know which button was who.

I empathize with and personalize the office equipment. Bizzy is our new copier. She is the Anne Taylor version of Biz, or maybe a sex change was involved somewhere down the line. She is sleek and stylishly black and white. Verynice.

I send out reminder notices and sometimes send out UN-invitations the very next day.

I could keep adding on mistakes, but I've written about many and yet, I am still employeed.

The thing is that I work very hard at getting things right. It is important to me. I'm not a perfectionist by nature, or by genetic marker, but I strive to be better than messy. The truth is that I'm not right angled and i am messy in my thinking, in my work and in my hobbies. I like gardening. What could be messier than that? I like knitting and crocheting. Both are knotty hobbies. I am compelled to write and that flows like a mountainstream over bumpy rocks and silty soil. My nickname Messy Chef is true. Not so much in how I cook, because I like cleaning up as i go, but more in what I cook. None of these "skills" are neat. But all of them are me.

There have been many things going on in church and out of late. I've worked hard to work smart and strong. This week I saw a perfect example of how swimming against our natural current can slam. I planted daffodills and crocuses in front of the church this Fall . I loved it. It balanced out my duties, and gave me peace. I felt lucky that my bosses were open to and allowed me to stretch my job description in this way. I was so careful planting. I watched my lines, and I followed the beds.I spaced bulbs just so. I planted the crocuses in front of the daffs so they, being the early risers, would be seen first. I was careful.

I mulched, fertilized, mulched, mulched,mulched. I tried to keep them down until the last minute hoping they would welcome Easter with their yellow blooms. I knew with Easter late this year, it would never happen, so I shifted my expectations and decided when they bloom, if they bloom, they can act as a reminder to the congregation that Easter is COMING.

The crocuses got the word from Mom Nature to pop up and check out the chill air. One by one they came up and then started to bloom. The daffs weren't far behind. This week the daffs have started to bloom. I stood at the entrance and gave it all a look and what I saw horrified me.

On one side of the door, we have a stream of yellow crocuses and daffodills. On the other side, we have a lovely bed of yellow, white, and purple crocuses and daffodills. They don't match. Not even.

Dagnabit. Criminy!

Next year, I'll add some white and purple color to the other side and add a few where I ran out.
But darn it all. I really tried hard on that. shoot.

This week has been crazy around here. My boss has not spent a minute inside his own head, he's been full of everyone else's troubles. and yet- his sense of humor lives on. It surprises me.

He came in in a rush asking me to google First Baptist Church in smallville. So I did. The map came up, I printed it. I had been working all morning printing forms and envelopes for confirmation. Just as I was printing, he asked me to quick quick look up an artist with an odd name. We googled it, and finally found it. This took only seconds. I wrote down the information for him and reached for the printer to pull off the map. The map had printed on an envelope,so only a fraction of the information was on it. "Oh, Good Grief" I said, and quickly googled First united methodist smallville church in smallville so I could print another map. Nothing came up. He laughed. "You are so funny" he said. I stopped and looked at him. "What is the name again?" He humored me. "First Baptist...." He was smiling.

Good gosh. In the span of 30 seconds, I had completely forgotten and changed denominations. I typed in the right one, put paper in, and printed it. He seemed fine. It was as if I was teasing him, but truth was, I was middle-aging on him. I was four daughters losing my mind- on him. I was time change spring falls forward an hour i cannot afford to lose on him. and it seemed okay.


After he left, I continued on with my project and promptly printed a lovely confirmation certificate on an envelope. Rats.

Now I will say, in my own defense that there are more multitasking opportunities in this office than most. I love that about the job, but sometimes, my everready runs out, and I print wrong, or change denominations on maps. These are the times I count on forgiveness and hope that the bubblegum and nuts will bail me out.

Oh, sure, they could hire a real secretary, with real secretarial credentials, stamped and embossed. But maybe having someone who befriends the machines and tries harder than Avis to be a safe and comfortable presence in this wild and crazy place is what they need right now. I sure hope so.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A sure sign of the times

I went to the Dr. for a checkup, a year late, last week.
I like the practice I use, partly because i don't use them often and partly because they offer an environment that is un-clinical. They are located a mile from the nearest medical facility meaning they are far from the aeromatic germ free-ness that floats in the corridors of hospitals.
I like that in a practice.

They have doctors and physician's assistants on staff. I like that, too. I used midwifes during all four of my children's births, and I hold PA's second on that high list of preferred providers.

There are plants in the waiting room, that are alive, too. That says a lot about a place.

Beaded doorways create a calming clicking when you are moving from one area to another.

They feel "today". and I like that, too. I have an intense fear of "yesterday" types of medical facilities, but that's just me.

So, I was pretty calm when I went in, dragging a trusted friend with me. Because it had been so long since my last visit, I had to fill out the "form" again. The question form. The 347 questions form.

So I did.

The questions covered just about everything from age to health history, to sexuality.

Being divorced for 5 years now, and still struggling greatly with the aftermath of that, i have no interest in dating of any sort, so when the question asked if you are sexually active, I answered,
Not any more
and when the next question asked when i had last been active, i answered, before time began
and then came the question that really slapped the reality of how things have changed in the -Dr's office question form -world.

Please specify- sexually active with: ___men ___women___both.

Both? " are you kidding me? Both?" I looked at my friend and showed her the question.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe this. Both?" I realized that the shock I felt was in having such questions asked of ME. any of them. I felt a little bit privacy lean. My feelings of how other people answer are carefree.

A lady sitting across from me shifted in her seat. " I heard that. " she said.

I didn't really know what that meant. Had I shuddered or gasped and missed it?
Had I offended her because she might have checked all three? or added an additional choice, perhaps?

I glanced over at her. "I'm here in my pajamas." she said. She wore a robe, bedhead, and zoo animals flannel. This told me more than i really wanted to know, so I just nodded and scooted closer to my friend.

Later, a nurse skated through the form with me. I was waiting for her to come to that "both"question. She made note of my cobwebbed answer to recent sexual activity and yet, proceeded to ask me if I used contraception. I hesitated. I mean, really? REALLY? Despite my answers, and my age of nearly 54, she still wondered?

Then, I decided that her intentions were only good, and so I answered accordingly. "Yes. Abstinance".
She looked at me a little cock-eyed, head tilted.

" Okay, that's great, then!" and we continued on with our Q&A.

She walked me into the exam room and told me the PA would be in shortly. The rest of the check up was as expected.

I left that day feeling like I had just stepped out of an altered universe. I wonder what new questions will be added the next time I go?