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Thursday, November 01, 2018

The call from a weighted branch of desperation

As 2018 rolls toward an end, the church year is gearing up. High Season is fast approaching, and every day the pace quickens around here. Inquiries become urgent, needs are NOW, and patience falls short. This time of year is full of days that end with, " I'm pooped. What exactly did I do today? Too many things to count." 

These are the times I look for glitters. Tiny seconds that have nothing to do with the chaos and spin. 
I caught the first glimmer of this yesterday. I was in a very fast informational meeting in my office. The air was thick with syllables. Trying to use my mouse while checking the calendar against flying dates was a challenge. I watched my own self and thought my  computer mouse was moving so erratically that it resembled something  trying to catch a mosquito with no luck. Click slide right no left- click go back no- go ahead. Busy minutes. 

A couple of needs outside the threshold of my office pulled me out and the elastic holding me to my seat kept pulling me back into my chair. Busy, Bzzy minutes alright. 

In the midst of this, my phone rings. 

" Church chick, may I help you?"
" Um,Yes ma'am ! I need 40 service hours, and oh! I'm a college student."
" Okay. What do you need to do?"
" Well, all I really need is for you to take some letterhead and write on there that I have worked 40 hours of Community Service. I need that letter today and I'll do the service time later." 
Well, now, isn't this interesting? Hmmmmmm. My momness hummed. "Are you a member?"
" No ma'am."
" You need that letter today you say?"
" Well, yes. My court date is tomorry."
Ohhhhh my. Really? Reallly???  I felt my smile spill a  sprinkle of guilty tonic into the phone. "You're calling random churches looking for this, aren't you?"
Shame and dread-at-being-caught answered, "Yes, ma'am, I am." 
"Let me see if I've got this right... You are a college student, who needs 40 hours of Community Service before tomorry, you don't know us, and you are not a member but you want me to write you a letter on our Church Stationary that says you have done your hours here, and you want me to give that to you, a stranger that I don't even know, today?"
"Uh, well, yes ma'am." whispered the phone. 
"I'm sorry, I don't think I can do that for you." 
Resigned to doom, he replied," Yes ma'am. Thank you for your time."

Best call I had all day...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Helpful hints for entry into the Land of Nod

Quirks we creatures carry make life interesting sometimes.

Sleep, for instance-

Some can ride it for hours at a time. Some of us dip in and out of it, and others have trouble getting there, but once there, they can pretty much finish the evening troll. People like me are a little of both. I need a jump start and I dip. The deep dips often take me to the bottom and pushing off to the surface can turn into a gaspy wake up.

I used to jump into sleep, because I knew in two hours I’d be up again with sweet baby girl #1, then there were two, then three and with four in tow, sleep just wasn’t on the to do list.

I’m aged now, elderly, older than ramen noodles, and I’ve been assembling a bag of sleep tricks that has replaced my  now-ragged bag of parenting tricks.

READING…. This trick of the sleep has not been very helpful as I get interested in the story and don’t want to let go til the end.

WHITE NOISE… a fan helps me stay down longer. Sometimes I worry that I won’t hear the burglar when he comes in, but then, it is probably better not to know til too late anyway.

ROKU: I listened/watched Forensic Files until there weren’t any more. Cold Case was a close second to helping me ease out of my day and into the blissfulness of crime and murderous mayhem. The no commercials bonus added extra flowfulness.

PODCASTS: They worked for a while, Murderinos, Criminal, Criminology, but they fed the fear factor a bit much, and one can only have so many locks on doors and windows, bells on doorknobs.

And then….. I discovered You Tube!!!!!
First, I searched Police interrogations. I found the segments provided great quality second only to the white noise of the fan! In real life, the video footage of police with criminals was quiet, sedate. I mean, when you think about it, the criminal doesn’t want to make a scene most of the time. Yes, they can be loud and rowdy, but typically I found the suspect to concentrate so much on his story of lies, that the moments were relatively quiet. The interrogator also uses his inside voice and can be pleasantly accomodating. The authorities tip toe around the suspect saying the word.... LAWYER.

I search shopped and looked at  murder confessions and believe it or not, Ripley, serious murderers have little or no affect which translates into a deceptive lull that sent and still sends me to sleep.

A variety of searches work well for folks such as myself, the often- estranged- from- falling- to -sleep. Serial Killer interviews, Serial Killer sentencing, murder sentencing, court verdicts, and any mixture of the same family of searches.
On occasion, the true true crime You Tube scenes bring about curiosity and many times I’ll look up the name of the suspect to see how his or her case concluded.

Not sure how I stumbled into depositions, but man, they do the trick nearly every time these days. Depositions are comprised of highly detailed questions that find minutia where it lives and hides. 8 ways of asking the same question about any and every detail becomes just noise pretty quickly. The camera is on the deposed and you  hear the voice of the deposer and sometimes see a hand from behind the camera hold up a document to show and tell the severely deposed. I like it. Every now and then, I’ll catch an entertaining case such as-

A partner in a two man business of some kind of service like maybe security systems.
Interviewer: “So tell us your name and business.”

Unsub: "I am or was the partner with John Doe in Acme troublemaking, Inc.”

Interviewer: “Did you file taxes last year?”

Unsub: ‘Which year?”

Interviewer: “Any year.”

Unsub: “Not for a while now”

Interviewer:  “And why is that, sir?”

Unsub: “Because I haven’t had any income. I haven’t paid myself in my business because I wanted to be able to pay our employees first and so I have gone without since we started. Not a penny for my own self. I earn commissions on sales, and every single commission I have ever earned has gone right into the business for the sake of my employees.”

Interviewer, holding up a page for unsub to view. “Do you recognize this check? Written to you and signed by you for several thousand dollars? Actually, we have several checks like this one.”

Unsub: “Well yes, I have expenses and since I don’t pay myself anything at all, I write checks off the business so I can live."

PAUSE AND RUSTLE HERE

Interviewer: “What kinds of things do you pay yourself for, sir?”

Unsub: “Well, I got a new car, and for gas and maintenance on it, and of course I got a house, and food and stuff like that. I mean, I’m not paying myself, sacrificing for my employees, so it’s the least the company can do for me.”

Interviewer: “Sir, Can you tell me what the Stripper 66 Club is on this receipt?”

Unsub: “Oh yeah, that was a business meeting at a club.”

Interviewer: “Do you typically have meetings at a strip club?”

Unsub: “When we have a sale, we like to celebrate with our employees, but we only buy the first round of drinks, and they have to bring their own dollars.”

Interviewer: “Do you think it is inappropriate to use work email for personal purposes?”

Unsub: “Absolutely! We don’t allow it! I won’t have it! That is unprofessional!”

PAUSE, SIGH, CLEARING OF THROAT BEHIND CAMERA

Interviewer, holding up another doc: “This email was sent from your work email address to your administrative assistant’s work email address. Do you recognize the picture on this email as your genetalia?”

Unsub, perking up a bit: “Yes! Exactly! We work together so that’s a work email!!!”

Interviewer: “THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER”


Could not sleep through that one, but I sure found it entertaining.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Never a dull minute, thankfully

Over these years, as I’ve learned more about my job,I have merrily passed on that knowledge for the benefit of those who come after me. Discovering tasks that a churchchick is expected to do flavors the work.  The  list grows, even now. File this under job description/miscellaneous….possibly staff support.

I got a call from my boss. He was in the car with his wife on their way to a funeral.

“ Church chick, Bobbie- the -mailman stopped us when we were pulling out of our driveway. He frantically waved us  to roll down our window and he had a tight grip on a hand full of mail. He was so up set, and worried. He said he had just delivered mail to a house that had a strong and peculiar odor. He’s afraid something very bad has happened there. He’s terrified. I told him not to worry and that I’d take care of it.”

“Hmmmm”, 14 years on the job said.

“So, you saw Bobbie-the-mailman and he’s afraid something horrible has happened there? The odor reeked of treacherous: scary, awful?”

“ Very, very bad. He was panicked!”

“ And you told him you’d take care of it?”

“Yes, and that seemed to calm him right down.”

“And so why are you calling me?”

“Well, I was wondering if you’d maybe go over there and…..”

“Take care of it?”

“ Well, yeah.”

“Ok,no problem, I just want to be sure I’ve got this right. Our mailman (who is a strong and stocky guy who walks miles every day so his stamina is also pretty fit) is freaking out over a possible crime scene across the street and you want me to risk my life to check it out?”

“Yes, and can you call me when you find out?”

I loved the trust.

“ Of course I will.”

I walked across the street to said house. I noticed no sinister wafts. I went up the front steps and there on the ground beside the steps lay a mountain of used doggie bags that were in full sun, and covered with flies and other worse crawling creatures.

“That’s probably what it is.” I said to myself. But what if it wasn’t that?

I opened the mail slot in the door and peeked in. The mail that Bobbie-the-mailman delivered in a mad rush was still half way stuck in the slot, but I could still see through. I didn’t notice anything out of order, but of course, I’d never been there before.

I pushed the mail over and stuck my nose into the mail slot and took a sniff. ….another….Nothing.

“Well, I guess it’s nothing.” and I headed back across the street to work.

Bobbie- the -mailman was just coming out of the church.”Did you notice anything? Anything at all? I mean people can be hurt or die and be left there for days and I don’t want anything like that on my route.” 
His heels clicked sharply. “I’m a mailman who cares.”

“You sure are, my friend. You sure are. I didn’t really notice anything other than the dog poop, but if it happens again tomorry, we can go together to check. That troubling odor might be coming from the vacant house next door that is for sale, or maybe even the house on the other side.”

There we were standing with our heads together looking at the houses in question, when the door of the poop house opened and a woman's head appeared. Crazy gawking eyes looked around, crackling with suspicion.  Her hair was mussed and messy, stressed. She stepped out onto her front porch holding the wrong end of a broom. 

“She sort of reminds me of Gladys Kravitts.” I crossed my hands genie style.

“Yeah, she does.”

" Oh, wow. She's looking pretty freaked out, man"

We turned our backs to her. “Okay, Bobbie, listen. If a Police car pulls up in the next few minutes you may have to bail me out of jail. She’s going to say,”I know it wasn’t the mailman, because he already delivered the mail. It was someone else, I saw a nose. I heard a distinct sniff.”

“ Okay, I can do that. No problem.” We parted ways.

I called my boss to let him know the neighborhood appeared to be safe again, and not to worry. “I knew you could do it.” Such faith. or such something…

No sign of police cars later that day or since, but I have noticed an ADT security systems van out there the last couple of days. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Saving souls is church business

Well, here’s the thing…..
Lots has happened since I last added words here. I mean, I’ve become aged and decrepit, of course,but then some of you have also gotten older, you’ve had some good days and not so good days, too, I imagine. So, it is a little hard to know where to start. Do I put the demise of Calvin behind me and skip rocks? Throw out a few bits as the rock taps the water around here? No timely order? Maybe since I’m not a linear creature, new stories won’t be either. There. All settled.

Church life is a book with endless chapters

Church and saving souls….
I got to have a little pinch of that last week. Work Church is in a neighborhood where many places use the neighborhood area name… Hayes Barton Pharmacy….. Hayes Barton Baptist Church…. Hayes Barton Methodist Church… Hayes Barton neighborhood…..Late Friday afternoon,  I was packing up to leave a very very busy week behind, when the phone rang. I answered. A woman’s voice echoed, “Yeah, I’m down here in the basement, been working all day on this equipment and somebody just came by, turned out the lights and locked the door so now I’m locked in. Can someone come let me out?”

I put the phone to my shoulder and thought a minute. I had not seen any workwomen onsite… I was not aware we had any work that was needed in the basement, but if we did, the room that houses the equipment has an outside entrance that work people use all the time, so I was a bit confused.

“ Hmm. Do you see any stairs near you? There should be stairs that lead outside.”

“ I’m in the DARK and I don’t see a damn thing.”

Her tone had a touch of Hangry in it and I thought to myself, “Well, it’s no wonder if she’s been working all day down there.”

A random wonder appeared inside my addled mind and I asked, as nicely as I could, “ Do you know where you are?”

“ I’m locked in the damn basement!”

“ My mistake, I meant to say, Do you know what building you are in?”

“I’m in HAYES BARTON!”
I started to wish I had a snickers bar for her, but sadly, I did not.
“ Yes, but Hayes Barton what?”
“HAYES BARTON CHURCH!” (you moron was surely on the tip of her tongue, but somehow held back)

“I understand you are ready to leave, and I’ve just thought of something so hopefully, you’ll be out in a minute, and if you aren’t, call me back.”

She hung up.

I called our neighbor, Hayes Barton Baptist.

“Hayes Barton Baptist Church. May I help you?”

“Hey, this is church chick down at the Methodist Church. Have you had a woman working downstairs today?”

“ Yessss, she’s been here all day working on the equipment in the basement.”

“Well,  I’ve had a call from a very weary person who said she’s been down there all day long working on some equipment and someone went downstairs and turned the lights off a while ago and locked the door, so do you think you could let her out before she scratches herself out?”

…... “Lorrrrrrdeeeeee, and I was just getting ready to leave. Thank you so much, I’ll go right down and release her from her darkness!”


Now, if that isn’t soul saving, I don’t know what is.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ch ch ch ch ch changes

 Dear office, we've been friends for such a long time. How can I ever thank you? What can I say? There aren't words enough.

We've seen file cabinets come and go, haven't we? We've been the motel 6 for little mouse Chester and his family every now and then, too.  Remember when your wall was struggling and  strangling from  carrying those heavy burdensome curtains? Remember when we couldn't see that beautiful red brick welcoming the morning brightness in?

You were such a good sport, wavey window, to hold the birdfeeder for so long. How many birds came to see us? Too many to count. How many came inside? a handful at least.
Guess the landscapers won't be blowing  sunflower shells and leaf dust through the window anymore, eh? Remember the cold, colder, coldest winter when the ledge let a beef roast chill on it  so I wouldn't forget to give it to the boss to take home at dinner? What was it then? 20 degrees and windy? oh, yeah.  He was so surprised to see it  sitting outside on the  cold brick when he came asking for it, wasn't he?  You have been so resourceful, friend, and you have held and helped and been a safe place for me, the little folks, and many others.

I hear you are getting an updo. That's fine and good, but I have to tell you that no matter what your makeover looks like, I will always  hold you - just the way you are now- in my heart. When you are new again will you know me? Will you try? Pinkie swear? Love you lots.

*************

Come along now, office door sign that says, "Visitors are always welcome!"
Choose your travel box, doorknob sign that says, "I'm open even when I'm not"
Little folk, we're going on a field trip, so buckle up and hold hands.
Spunky man, there's  a new door waiting to bonk your tummy so it won't close tight.
Twinkle lights , let's go
The plants are probably vacationing  in their beachy bungalow by now. They will be wreaking havoc, no doubt. Hey, philodendron, Christmas cacti, Don't make me come get you, hear me?
Evergreen tree/Christmas tree, get ready.
Therapuke chair, get ready to be a friendly hugging chair, one floor up.
Recliner, we can't leave you behind, that would never do.
Yardsale find wooden stool- you are invaluable, irreplaceable, come on, too.
Nuts and Tom's pretzles, follow super bubble's bouncing balls.
Pin family, staple family members, Directionary Vol 1 How to do the job, speakers that speak old radio shows all day into my work space, it's almost time everybody.
All of you office supplies, stay in your containers, we'll make a train-

Brick wall, thanks for being such a wonderful serendipity to my day, every day. Thank you for your steady welcome of "I'm here, glad you are, too", for the last ten 1/2 years. Thanks for having my back; no, really.
Bye cardinal family, wrens and other little winged ones. I'll miss you so much.

Big changes upon us. Huge shifts, adventures I can't even guess about.  New temp work space waiting to be discovered and settled into by church chick and company.Where will the little folk be hanging out?  So much 'unfamiliar' and 'different' batting about.

I'm still just a church secretary wannabe. Some things never change.