Oh, one more work story, only this one is about a particular employee, so I'll make it fictional.
Let's say I work at the Lincoln Log assembly plant. We create pretty houses, desks, spaceships, what have you, all out of Lincoln Logs. The only requirements we have to build these Lincoln Log creations are that you make an appointment to discuss the Lincoln Log piece you want, and that you bring in your Lincoln Logs sorted by color and size in plastic buckets.
So a customer calls up the Lincoln Log assembly plant and says that he wants us to build a five-story house, with a red first floor, a blue second floor, a green third floor, a yellow fourth floor and a purple fifth floor. He needs this house built today, in three hours. We, being Lincoln Log professionals, tell him that the house will take at least six hours to produce by one assembly-person, and that we can't split up the work because we have a Lincoln Log pony, a Lincoln Log rollercoaster and a Lincoln Log helicopter to build for other customers who ordered their creations days in advance, and all our other assembly-people will be working on those projects.
The customer gets very upset, saying that he needs his beautiful house before the Lincoln Log plant closes tonight. We ask him if he's going to move into the house tomorrow morning. He says no. We ask him if he's going to show his Lincoln Log house to his friends and family tomorrow. He says no. What he really needs is to know what the Lincoln Log house looks like, with its unique color scheme, so that he can decide whether we need to take apart the house and re-build it with a different style, shape, and colors. We tell him that perhaps he should just draw a picture of several types of Lincoln Log houses and then come to us when he has a style and shape he likes.
No, he insists, he needs to have the actual house in order to have his vision fulfilled. So we tell him that we can probably build him three stories of his house in the time allotted, given that he brings in the correct buckets of certain sizes of red, blue and green Lincoln Log pieces. He agrees to this arrangement and hangs up the phone.
Three hours before the plant whistle blows, the customer arrives at the door with a huge truckload of Lincoln Log pieces and promptly dumps them onto the floor of the lobby. Red, green, orange, pink, purple, grey, silver, white and yellow pieces of all sizes skitter across the glossy marble entryway, and the customer turns around to walk out the door. Hey, we call to him, there are too many pieces, and besides, they're not sorted by size and color in the proper buckets!
"If I had to take the time to sort them into buckets, I could have built the house myself," he says. "Now I'll have a five-story house by tonight, right?"
Huh? We'd agreed to three stories! We agreed that he would sort his pieces (as was required)! There's no way to even begin to build this house, never mind complete more stories on it than was originally scheduled.
As we're arguing with him, two of his friends show up, each with their own truckload of Lincoln Log pieces, containing an even more varied, unsorted pieces. What's all this, we ask. Oh, just more houses to build. They can be done as well as his house, right?
We all try patiently explaining that he did not follow protocol, that he came in with an expectation that we clearly stated could not happen, and if we couldn't do one house in the allotted amount of time, how could we possibly do three? He agrees that it might be slightly difficult for us (but we can tell from his tone of voice that he doesn't think we have brains in our collective heads), but what can we do for him?
Well, we say, tomorrow's fairly free. We could arrange for him to get these houses built by the end-of-shift tomorrow. Well, he says huffily, if we're going to extend the deadline to tomorrow evening, then we should expect "a lot more Lincoln Logs" to come in. He does not specify what "a lot more Lincoln Logs" means. When we try to get more information, he says that he's very busy talking with the Silly Putty plant and can't discuss this any further. He then stomps out the door.
Miraculously, we finish the five-story house, putting off the other two for tomorrow. What do you think the chances are that he'll ask for an all-white eleven-story Lincoln Log condo and bring in six truckloads of mismatched blue Erector Set pieces?
Hey! I've found the right cable music station to listen to while I write these entries! It's called Retro-Active. According to the info screen, you can "Pogo your way through the synthesized sounds of post-punk and new-wave madness." Sign me up and get me my pogo stick! I'd forgotten the band Blancmange even existed!
This morning, Steph asked me if I was driving home after work. I told her I hadn't planned on it, but that I could see if Laurie wanted to do something close to home.
"That's okay," Steph said. "I can do my laundry at the dorm."
Evidently, she'd brought her laundry to the office, hoping I was going straight home after work. I IMed Laurie, asking if she wanted to go to On the Border tonight after work, which is right near my house. She replied saying that it was funny I should ask, since she was just thinking of On the Border.
I told Steph that Laurie and I were going to OTB, and she could either come along for some dinner, or we could drop her off at her house along the way.
"Never mind," she said. "I'll just go back to my dorm."
She seems awfully depressed lately. I think she and Susan are having fights all the time, probably because Susan is mad at her for staying at the dorms over the weekend. I wish there was more that I could do to help, but Steph digs her heels in and insists that everything's fine. (Sound familiar?) All I can do is be there for her. I'm not her Dad, I'm not Chris. All I can do is be her Uncle Patrick and offer to be there when she needs me.
After work, Laurie and I did indeed go to On the Border, where there was "at least" an hour wait. It was claustrophobic inside, so we sat outside with our little beeper-coaster, shivering and bitching about work.
Fishbone! I love this station! Sorry, back to your regularly-scheduled programming
While we were talking, I noticed that the "outside" area of the restaurant (actually a closed-in porch-like area) had some empty tables. We never eat there, because during the summer they open the windows, which lets in heat and bugs, and we prefer our dining experience to be air-conditioned and insect-free. But it being winter and all, I figured we wouldn't have to deal with all that. I asked the hostess if there was a wait for the outside area. She said it was all self-seating, so I grabbed Laurie and we snatched a table. The waitress immediately rushed over to us and said that a group of people had been waiting for a table for awhile now.
"But isn't this self-seating?" I asked. "Why didn't they take this table before? It's been empty since I saw it."
"They're actually waiting for two tables together," said the waitress.
Since the table next to us had just started on their complementary tortilla chips, I figured that it would be awhile before the party got two tables together anyway, and said so. The waitress backed down and told us that we could have the table. Nice of her, since we were already taking off our coats and sitting down.
She was perky and apologetic while she served us, but she wasn't the best waitress in the world. Still, we finished dinner in the time it would have taken us to get seated in the main dining room. We tipped a little too generously for the service, and I dropped Laurie off at the Consulting Company to get her car, and we headed to our respective homes.
I just did my taxes online through H&R block's free e-file program, and I'm getting back a substantially larger federal refund than I thought I would. So much that I can afford the digital video camera (I'm not looking for a professional one, just something good enough to make decent-quality videos that I can edit and see if I want to go the indie-director route) and have money left over for a still digital camera...or airfare to Cancun.
Did I mention that I'm going to Cancun? The Ususal Suspects is holding its annual convention there this year. Since I've lurked on the boards for years, and recently started posting more often (and know quite a number of people on the boards through journalling), I thought I'd go and mingle with people.
I booked the hotel yesterday, and put out the word that it only costs an extra $35 to have another adult stay in the room with me. Was anyone interested in bunking with me? Nobody private-messaged me to say they would go in on a room with me for $35 a night (which I think is a good deal, but as I said, I've only been a regular poster for a month or so now), so I e-mailed Mary Ellen and asked her if she'd like to share the room. I figured it'd be nice to have a friend to pal around with, and besides, Mary Ellen has fairer skin than I do, so we can find all the caves and jungles and shady spots there are in Cancun and leave the rest of the folks to bake on the beach.
She seems pretty psyched about the idea, and is going to get her passport asap (the trip isn't until June, but it's good to be prepared). I have to dig my passport out of storage, which should be an adventure. (It's in a box, but one of the boxes I've labeled "miscellaneous papers.) I have a Travelocity-bot and an Expedia-bot searching for the best fares to Mexico, and expect that I'll snag something decently-priced sometime in the next month.
Roman Holliday...man, I'm going to get this station at work somehow, I swear.
Since the convention is from Thursday to Monday, and I'll have my "weekend" from Tuesday to Thursday of the next week, I may see if my return flight can be a stop to Austin to visit a certain journaller who I've been promising to visit for years now.
Cancun and Austin in the middle of June? I'm going to burn into a pile of ash. Maybe if I start going to a tanning salon now, I can have enough of a base tan to require a simple SPF 95 and a parasol to get around.
Patti Smith is on the tv radio now. I'm going to pogo my way to bed.