dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I present to you: A dramatic re-enactment of an email conversation

Customer - 9:46 AM (46 minutes after the deadline):

Oh goodness! Oh gracious! Here's is my very important order, that I am counting on to feed myself and my mother all week. I know I am a few minutes late, but that's better than the hours late I've been every week thus far, right? Is it acceptable? Can I have my food even though I am a few minutes late?

Yours truly - 10:38 AM:

Thank you for your order! It has been received, and even though your order was almost an hour late, I can send your groceries as requested.

Customer - 10:41 AM:

Yeah! Glory be! You are a wonderful person and I am truly happy.

... Can I add four grapefruits to that order?
dreaminghope: (Apple Picking)
One of my favourite customers called today, as she does every second Monday, to find out what's coming in her fruit and vegetable bin tomorrow. Most of my customers do this on the website and make any changes there themselves, but Laurie's a little older and she's doesn't have a computer.

"Without any changes, your bin this week would contain one pound of bananas..."

"OK."

"A head of green leaf lettuce..."

"Maybe take the lettuce out."

"No problem. One pound of red potatoes..."

"OK, I can use the potatoes this week."

"Three concorde pears..."

"Oh, I have to tell you, the bosc pears in the last bin were just so wonderful! They reminded me of the pear tree we had in the backyard when I was a little girl. It was a bosc tree, and it produced the biggest pears. Just half of one was enough. It never produced a lot of pears - just a couple of dozen a year, I think - but they were so good.

"My father would wait until just before the first frost to pick them, and then he would wrap each one in newspaper and store them in this cold storage he made in the basement. Those pears were ugly, with that dull, rough skin, but they were so sweet and juicy. And the aroma! They smelled so good.

"My Dad packed them so carefully in those newspapers, on the shelves in the cold room, that they would last and last. Whenever we wanted a pear, we could have one just like fresh-picked, even in December or February, all the way through to the spring.

"Oh, but just listen to me go on! Those pears just brought back such fond memories, and I wanted to be sure to tell you how much I enjoyed them. I'll try the concorde ones this week."

"I hope you'll enjoy them. In your bin this week, we also have a pound of royal mandarins..."
dreaminghope: ("I hate everything")
"Has anyone ever told you that you have great phone manners? You always sound so cheerful. Must be how you got the job, right?"

Second customer today to tell me how great I am. To tell me how cheery and sweet I sound.

Damn it!

I really am having a bad work day if I'm overcompensating that much.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
There are stories to tell.

There was an afternoon at Quest spent cleaning up rodent droppings and re-shelving hundreds of dented cans and dusty pasta packages with a recovering drug addict. She had just moved to Vancouver to enter her father's treatment center, and she was looking forward to having spaghetti for dinner.

There's the new website at work, and the long list of complaints and struggles and other associated annoyances. And there's my assistant, The Kid, who sure gets sick a lot and should maybe start investing in large bottles of Pepto.

There's the deck... well, the deck isn't so much a story as a saga. The project sounds reasonable: remove the poorly made railings, yank up the rotting plywood, replace any rotten boards in the structure, then put down new plywood, treat with a deck finishing product, and put up new railings. Simple. But our deck is almost 300 square feet... a small Yaletown apartment.

If you've been through East Van lately and noticed some any weird(er) behaviour, it's probably my neighbours, high on the fumes from the deck surfacing. Russ put on three undercoats and one topcoat, which made for some pretty intense fumes. And since houses are pretty close together here and our deck is seven feet up, a lot of people were getting whiffs of our deck. Luckily, our neighbours on all sides are kind and tolerant. Mostly, they are just teasing us because the project's now four weeks old and not yet complete.

There was the 3-Day Novel Contest. I only wrote just over 17,000 words, and the resulting story – Dream in Toner – features a magical photocopier, a bunch of pigeons, and Bananagrams.

And there's my new love: a Rigid Heddle Loom. I bought a assembled-but-never-used 24-inch Ashford from a neighbour a couple of months ago. Since then, I've made a couple of scarves, a set of place mats, and a whole lot of dishcloths.



There are plenty of stories, but I just haven't had the right words. But if I wait for the words to come to me, I'll never write. So here I am again, trying to tell a story with what words I have.
dreaminghope: (Cute but Deranged)
My Most Annoying Personality Trait

When I first get into work on Sunday mornings, I turn all the highlighters cap down, make sure the pens and scissors are in the correct slots in the desk organizer, flip the ruler so it sticks out the left side of the file holder, and return the stapler, post-it notes, and calculator to the correct spots. My Friday assistant always shifts things around when she uses my desk; I need everything in its place before I start to work.

***

"I have a plan. I always have a plan."

***

It was like something straight out of a Judy Blume novel (Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, to be exact):

"Everyone take two pieces of paper and write your name on them both. On one, write Good Things and on the other, Bad Things, or Not So Good Things, if you prefer. Then we will all write about each other’s best qualities and worst qualities on the sheets."

I took the leader's Bad Things paper first and wrote on it in my big handwriting: "I think this is a passive-aggressive exercise and if you have anything to tell me about my personality, you can tell me to my face." As we all grabbed papers at random in the half-hour that followed, I always knew who had that paper because they would look at me and chuckle.

At the end of the exercise, I stuffed my papers into my purse unread. At home, I dropped them into a desk drawer and forgot about them. I came across them months later while looking for something else.

I don't remember anything from either page except for one Not So Good Thing entry: "Sometimes you get a little 'my-way-or-the-highway'."

"Just a little?" I asked.

***

"There is a plan. Don't fuck with the plan."

***

I am going to start training a new assistant at work tomorrow. Wish him luck.

Orange highlighter for the customers with changes to their deliveries. All the grocery codes are written in black ink: a four letter code, one space, a slash, one more space, then the next code. Circle them in blue highlighter. Notes to the customers are highlighted in green; packing instructions in yellow; packing instructions in pink. Bin counts in blue pen. Office notes in red pen.

I have very specific ways of doing every tiny task. I always have a reason for doing things the exact way I do, but sometimes my reasons don't seem important to other people. I seem controlling and obsessive...

***

"Just stick with the plan, and everything will work out perfectly."
dreaminghope: (Cave Gargoyle)
Not too hot; not too cold. A pretty perfect Vancouver day, really. But it's a Monday; seeing the sun through an office window or warehouse door does put a damper on its beauty. The mood seems drab even if the weather isn't.

"Do you have any fruit?" comes a call from the gate across the front of our warehouse. It's a pretty routine request. The neighbourhood women know that if they come by in the morning, while the warehouse manager still has all the produce out, they'll get an apple or banana.

There are a number of different women who come by; they are all addict-thin and tottering on heels. They all walk the same way: like a poorly-controlled marionette, with arms and legs that move as if they aren't quite connected to the body.

The woman at the gate holds on by one hand and swings, loose-limbed. She is so thin that she looks pre-pubescent; her hip bones are visible above her skirt's low waist and her ribs are visible below her midriff shirt. Her face ages her.

The warehouse manager, The Brit, grabs an apple and heads to the gate.

"How are you doing?" he asks her.

"Can't complain," she says cheerily, "Thanks!"

He watches her trot away, munching her apple, back to her corner.

"'Can't complain'," he shakes his head.
dreaminghope: (Cave Gargoyle)
My workplace couldn't receive any deliveries yesterday afternoon because our whole block was cordoned off.

Vancouver has recorded its fourth homicide of the year after a 64-year-old man was found shot Tuesday in an illegal booze den he operated in the [xxx]-block of [street name].

Inspector Tom McCluskie said friends found Richard Bezanson lying in a 600-square foot basement suite at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27th.

There was no indication when the shooting occurred as no one reported hearing shots fired.

The premises contained a number of tables which police believed were used for after-hours drinking.


That murder took place directly across from where I work.

The Boss used to fight with Bezanson over parking spaces.

A couple of cops came to talk to us today to see if we'd seen or heard anything. We hadn't. Just as we didn't see anything when someone burned down the suspected crack house down the street this past summer.

"Sometimes, with all the crap we deal with, we forget that there are legitimate businesses down here," one of the cops said to The Boss as he left.

Well, as The Brit said: "On the plus side, between the arsons and the murders, this neighbourhood will be empty pretty soon."
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
This week, electronics hate me. I am only using my laptop with great caution. I feel like I should be wearing a lead apron; not to protect me from the computer, but to protect the computer from me.

At work, over the course of this week, the website kept going down, the computer would stop being able to print, all emails sent to me bounced back to the sender, and the computer kept freezing. At home, my emails wouldn't be able to download and the Internet was up and down. LJ kept making me re-post comments.

There's a saying I've heard: "The thing all your dysfunctional relationships have in common is you" - that's me and computers this week.

Friday: The computer froze. Since I listen to the radio on the Internet, the radio became stuck on one drum beat.

dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah- etc.

I always hope the computer will magically un-freeze, so I decide to do something else while I give it a moment. I turn on the adding machine and start adding up a long list of prices.

dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah- etc.

I get through three-quarters of the list before the adding machine stops responding. It just stops. Hitting the + doesn't do anything. Hitting the = doesn't do anything.

dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah- etc.

There's only one thing on the adding machine's screen: P

The adding machine is sticking its tongue out at me.
dreaminghope: (Squinty Puck)
I try to read my future in the spill of elastic bands and paper clips across my desk. All it says is "you will keep working", which I already know.

So I settle for telling the fortunes of my paper clips:

"In your future, I see that you'll be holding together a bundle of papers for the accountant."

"I see you going to the bank with Monday's cheques."

"Don't worry, you'll be used again soon," as I return a shiny clip back to the box of its brethren.

It's Sunday, and I'm training the new girl. She's going to be great, as soon as we get in some practice. I didn't realize how complicated my job was until I started trying to teach it to someone else. I’m worn out from thinking about what I usually just do.

I restrain myself from telling her what colour of pen to use and to use semi-colons instead of dashes. There's enough for her to remember without my neurotic need to always use the same colour of highlighter for the same task.

I also don't tell her that the paper clips like it when you talk to them.
dreaminghope: (Giggle of Death)
I'm tip-tapping my way through my work day, and all is going tickity-boo.

I ask my computer to print something. It does so.

Then I ask it to print something else:


Computer: I don't have a printer.

Me: Sure you do. You just printed with it.

Computer: Nope. There's no printer.

I look at the printer. It winks helpfully; there's power; it's turned on. I try to print something from a different program.

Computer: Stop it! No printer!

I wiggle some cords to see if I've kicked a connection loose.

Computer: That tickles!

It still won't print. I ask the server computer to print something.

Server: Yes, Ma'am!

Me: See, Computer, Server can print. Why don't you just give it a try?

Computer: La-la-la! I can't hear you! La-la-la!

I open the printer's settings: no printer listed. I try to reinstall: my printer type isn't listed.

Computer: Told you! No printer. I've never had a printer. You're a poo-poo head.

I put the Computer down for a short nap. When it wakes back up:

Computer: What is this nonsense? There is a pending print job; would you like me to print that for you?

Me (sarcastically): Yes, please.

Computer: Well, here you are then. There is no need to get all snippy with me.

Naps solve all things. I think I'm ready for one now.
dreaminghope: (Cute but Deranged)
From my little office, I just watched my co-worker glide across the warehouse on his wheeled office chair, come to a tidy stop in front of the water cooler, fill his cup, execute a 180 degree turn and glide back to his desk.

The wheeled office chair is highly under-appreciated. Graduating to a job that allows one to sit all day seems to bring with it a certain seriousness. Also, most offices seem to be carpeted, which interferes with the smooth rolling of chairs. Carpet is so known to be problematic for wheeled chairs that they invented little plastic mats with sharp studs to compensate. However, they are usually small mats, unsuitable for gliding. They do facilitate chair dancing, however, so all is not lost.

Chair dancing, in case you are unfamiliar, involves grooving so hard to your music that you cause your chair to start bumping and grinding right along with you; excellent ab workout. Depending on your work environment, it might be best done after everyone else has gone home, unless you are fortunate enough to have an office door.

My own office has an excellent surface for gliding: linoleum, leading to a cement warehouse floor. However, it lacks other crucial features: clear paths with suitably placed push-off areas. The lack of a clear path requires clumsy navigation, reducing the enjoyment of flying freely over the office floor. Lack of convenient push-offs means that longer glides require walking your chair some of the distance; not nearly as much fun as shoving off of desks, walls, photocopiers with your hands and feet.

I have one mini-glide I am working on perfecting: push off from my desk with both hands, to glide backwards to my boss' desk. The goal is to stop just past the drawer that contains the petty cash and the cheque book, without hitting wall, desk corner, recycling bin or shredder, collect item from drawer, then use a single push to glide back to home again. I practice when my boss isn’t in the office, as the risk of collision is high. I'm not very good yet, with only two years of daily practice, but I am improving. I get far fewer bruises now.

My boss is considering moving us to better office space within a year or two. I've already put in a request for a south-facing window (for light and to allow satellite radio). I think I'll add a request for lino floors; I would hate all this practice to go to waste.
dreaminghope: (Firelight - Cinnamonsqueak)
I am obsessing about the Silver Spiral Mabon dinner. I should write a ritual too, I suppose.

This past weekend, I wandered through the Strathcona/Cottonwood Community Gardens on Sunday afternoon. They are less then two blocks from my house, and they are beautiful. It was warm with the golden sun of a late afternoon in the fall, and the bees from the nearby hives were buzzing about. There were tomatoes and grapes and squashes every which way, and it smelled like good dirt.

On the weekend (Saturday morning), Russ and I also did the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up with my work. It was quite fun, scrambling along the rocks for a couple of hours, picking up beer bottles mostly. It was cool and cloudy out, we got sprinkled with a little rain, but it was nice not to get overheated. And there was a vegetarian bar-b-que after. I've never been an Yves veggie burger fan, but they are OK grilled with lots of fresh veggies piled on top.

The rest of my weekend seemed to have been spent in Rona (the hardware store), so I don't want to think about that.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
Yesterday I discovered a cannoli in my fridge that Jamey had brought me the day before and I had forgot about. It was still delicious!

And I love corn season! I haven't had any yet, but I love that Green Earth has corn delivered in a box the size of a hot tub, which then sits in the middle of the warehouse, looking tempting. I want to climb in and play with the corn.

Hmmm... I can steam corn in my electric steamer!
dreaminghope: (Thinking Zoey)
I am in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

A man in the U.K. wrote me a letter. By the handwriting, he is probably elderly. It is a request for information about a tea that our Toronto office carries. I emailed the Toronto office and asked them to write to the man in the U.K.

The man in the U.K. wrote me another letter. It is almost word-for-word the same as the first. I assume that he forgot that he already wrote to us, or that he was worried that the first letter hadn't arrived. I discard it.

The man in the U.K. wrote me another letter. It is identical to the first two. I pin it to my bulletin board.

The man in the U.K. wrote me another letter. It is identical to the first three. I pin it to my bulletin board.

The man in the U.K. wrote me another letter. It is identical to the first four. I pin it to my bulletin board.

When the third letter arrived, I concluded that the man in the U.K. probably doesn't know that he has sent this letter so many times before. Having seen Alzheimer's and similar diseases in family and neighbours, I figure it is probably something like that. I think I'm going to write back, letting him know that I can't answer his questions. Maybe a family member or caregiver will get the letter and realise what's going on.

It just makes me a little sad. He just wants some tea, but even if he received it, he might not realise that he got what he wanted.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Joel (warehouse manager) and I conclude a conversation:

Me (Canadian accent): "cool".

Response (Australian accent): "tah".

Repeat about a dozen times a day, 5 days a week.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
I got the oddest compliment from Dan (my boss) today. We're both working away on our own projects, bopping along to The Fox on the radio, when he says: "You know, it's great: you don't do anything that annoys me."

That's good, but what a weird compliment! Anyone else get odd things like that?
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
([livejournal.com profile] fruitkakechevy, I am hoping you in particular have something to say here...)

I am doing a little research for work. I want to introduce natural cleaning products (laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, bathroom cleaners, etc.) to my company's offerings, but I want to find out which ones actually work first. Anyone who has tried a natural dishwashing liquid only to find out that it runs like water and doesn't actually seem to clean anything will understand why such research is necessary.

My distributor has the following brands available, if that triggers anyone's good or bad cleaning memories: Nature Clean Household Cleaners and Laundry Products, Seventh Generation, Vancouver Only Household Products. I will take other brand suggestions as well.

Finally, I'm trying to find out what Nature Clean Cleaning Lotion is. I couldn't find a company website. I'll check out some health food stores when I have time, but I don't shop a lot, so if anyone knows what this product is, I'd love the info.
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
So traumatizing to turn on the Internet yesterday morning and have an LJ error message... glad to have my fix back!

Friday: Cleaned my office. It made me feel better about the state of my apartment. When the dust bunnies are big and thick enough that you can pick them up and drop them into the garbage can, you haven't been cleaning enough! Also, I unplugged everything, untangled all the wires, zap-strapped them into tidy bundles, and re-plugged it all. As part of this process, I made a disturbing discovery:

Everything in my office, except for one light, was plugged into one electrical socket. From that one socket emerges a heavy-duty extension cord. At the other end of that cord is a surge-protector. Plugged into the surge-protector is another surge protector. That one socket and two surge-protectors power two monitors, two computers, one printer, a CD player, a couple of speakers, a space heater, the ADSL modem and several pieces of unused equipment.

It appears that previous office managers, upon finding that a piece of equipment is obsolete, wouldn't unplug and remove it from the office, but would dump it behind the computer tower and find somewhere else to plug in the new piece of equipement. The one time they may have actually removed an item, they left the extension cord it was plugged into plugged in!

Friday night: I changed clothing and got cleaned up at the office, then hoofed it to a quick bank appointment. Deposited money into my RRSP, had a quick sandwich, then headed downtown. I met my boss and my co-workers at a pub, had a drink, watched them have several drinks.

Then, we headed to see Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles - Dan, my boss, got us all tickets as a Christmas present. It was lots of fun. The guys in Rain are very talented (they should be; they've been pretending to be the Beatles longer then the Beatles were the Beatles), and there was a large range of Beatles' music presented, along with appropriate costuming and lighting. And a lot of people in the audience were right into it: singing along, dancing in their seats, etc.

Saturday: Slept in a lot. Hung around the house, reading. I was feeling a bit off, head-achy, so I didn't do much.

Saturday night: Jamey came over to do some work on our computer, then we hung out, drinking lattes and watching Around the World in 80 Days on pay-per-view, then talking until Russ got home from gaming at about 1 am.

Sunday: After a nice pancake breakfast, Russ and I went downtown to the "Taboo Sex Show". It wasn't great, though it was amusing to see how much some very crappy sex toys and badly made fetish wear costs. Upon returning home, Russ immediately pulled out his sketch book and started designing some leather accessories, to be made properly.

No good deals on vibrators, so I'll go back to Womyn's Ware this week... my old vibe is making a horrid squealing noise.

Now I am full of sushi, hanging out with Russ!
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
I got a call from a customer this afternoon, responding to a voicemail I left him about his declined credit card. We'd talked several times before, about his credit card, his delivery, his bin pick up... normal stuff.

Today he asks me how long I've been with Green Earth, and what I do there, and whether I'm just summer help... odd, but some customers just want to chat a little, and since it isn't long distance, I have no problem with that.

Then he mentions that he works for the Cactus Club, in human resources. He tells me that he likes my attitude, and if I ever want to change jobs, I should call him and see if anything's opening up at the Cactus Club.

OK, I am not going to leaving Green Earth, which I love, for the Cactus Club. And I'm certainly not going to leave my job as an office manager to be a waitress or hostess -- I get to sit on the job right now! But it was still really flattering!
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
A quick scan of my life of the last week or so:

- My computer had a virus, but now it is better (probably).

- The Silver Spiral all-night Litha went well. We got some police attention at the ritual, but only because they were worried about the potential fire hazard of our altar candles. Our sunrise drumming was powerful, though I am still "way behind the class". Shannon's berry sauce on ED and I's pancakes (I made the batter, she cooked it up) rocked the sunrise feast, though Russ's lattes were what got many of us through the night at all.

- Many foam and suction cup arrows were shot during the Canadian Election Day party. Conservative candidates were booed, as was anyone who annoyed us. Newscasters and candidates we didn't like got arrows stuck to their chests and heads.

- The credit card program at work is still broken, and has been for about two weeks. I hate running the credit cards through manually. I have probably worked 6 hours of overtime in two weeks due to this problem alone.

- Rob and Linday, our friends and neighbours, are moving. They are staying within the city, but I'll miss having them right upstairs. The moving hasn't been easy from what I've seen of them. I bet our heat wave is not helping.

- I am still really enjoying my new job (except for the credit card problem). But our Toronto "sister office" is going to be annoyed at me when they find out tomorrow morning that I accidently messed their site up while trying to update mine. Sigh.

There we go, all caught up!

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