Thursday, October 25, 2007

24 hours in the life of nora

midnight-6:00 am - blissfully sleeping.

6:00-7:00 - I started laundry, read emails, listened to the news (a man was run over on the train tracks that run behind the Second Helpings building -- I worry about the homeless folks that sleep back there) and caught up on blogs.

I read the always-hilarious Crabby Dad's post about bathroom troubles, and thought "Amen, brother!" A disproportionate part of my job is spent dealing with the bathrooms at work. Plunging is my main activity. No one hesitates to tell me if there is the slightest whiff of trouble in there. Now, if one of the coolers is down or there are sparks flying they forget to mention it until I'm ready to walk out the door. This has lead to many an evening of Nora and an earning-overtime repair man bonding. I've written lots of articles and blog posts at my desk while Roy the repairman is in the cooler.

7:00-7:30 - Let the cat, who has been meowing at the window for ten minutes, in. I fed him and took a shower. Wore pants, socks and shoes for the first time in months. I'm the queen of skirts and dansko Mary-Jane's. As I laced up my shoes, I looked at my biker boots longingly -- they are much more comfortable.

7:30-8:00 - Stopped at Posh Petals and left them a goody bag of treats and a thank you note for the flowers they sent me two weeks ago at their back door. Drove to work, thinking that world peace starts with turn signal use. Listened to my my friends on the Bob and Tom show on the radio.

8:00 - walked through the back door to be greeted by one of our employees that is good at pointing out the problems, I keep telling her she needs to spend equal time coming up with solutions.

K: Guess what Nora?
N: You won the lottery?
K: No, what do you hate hear first thing in the morning?
N: There is a problem in the bathroom?
K: [laughing] Yes!

I slowly opened the bathroom room, looking down. Yep, water in the floor - and it was clear, a good sign. I heard creaking and looked up. Four of the ceiling tiles looked like over-filled water balloons. I decided the best thing to do would be to break them up and get the inevitable over with. I looked in my office to find something to poke the tiles with and spied a cane belonging to one of our volunteers, perfect but probably not a good idea - especially if I was caught. Like every good not-for-profit director I keep a mic stand behind my door next to a picture of Joey Ramone. I used the mic stand to poke at the ceiling. There was a resounding crash and I was soon covered in bits of ceiling tile and water.

Lately the restroom has become my nemesis. I love the wall colors at Second Helpings. The bathroom was trimmed in a deep eggplant and the walls were dark mossy green. I always found it to be a nice oasis of calm, even when I was plunging. Our new CEO wanted the restroom to be cheerier and I admit to having a bad attitude about it, and was not very helpful with coordinating the painting or colors. A group of volunteers came to paint the bathroom walls this weekend and did a horrible job. The yellow-ish color is not enough to cover the dark paint. And the high school kids slopped paint everywhere. So now the walls look like a manila folder threw-up on them. So now the restroom has a crappy paint job, is covered in ceiling tile bits and water. All this is missing is the locusts.

8:30 - I called our handyman to see what he thought. The wet tiles followed the water line that goes to the water heater and a re-circulating motor (don't ask why the water heater is in the ceiling or why there is a circulating pump that constantly moves the water so it never gets quite hot enough --I didn't design it, I just have to deal with it), so I guessed it was a plumbing problem but I wanted to make sure. I decided not to go to the off-site Harvest committee meeting (dang). I mopped, picked up ceiling tile bits and made signs for bathroom doors -- Caution wet floors...and ceiling. Yes, Chicken Little the sky is falling.

9:00 - Checked on my phone messages and new emails. Helped get a group of nursing students started in the kitchen [yes, guys --student nurses, you can be jealous]. I realized that Dad was not here (he's a regular Wednesday volunteer), his friend Dale said that Dad "got a better offer.
Hummm, wonder what that means.
9:30 - Dennis (volunteer handyman) came in, crawled up in to the ceiling to and confirmed it was a plumbing problem (there are also HVAC units up there, the last leak was caused by a birds nest that was clogging a drain line).
10:00 - Called plumber to explain problem. Said they'd have someone get back to me. I started this post while I'm waiting for them to call. Worked on setting up interviews for an open staff position. BM, owner of the cane and one of our volunteers sat in my office talking about his new teeth, cat, people on the bus and insisted on showing me the sore on his nether regions. I applied antibiotic ointment (and thought of Jamie Dawn's Butt Paste) and called his mother. BM is my age with some clear mental handicaps and he was an alcoholic that drank every thing he could get his hands on including rubbing alcohol. I have taken BM under my wing and find little jobs for him to do, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much.

10:30 - Still waiting on the call, so I figured I'd help it along by leaving my office for a bit. Mopped a little more, checked to make sure all of the food made it out the door (2900 meals!) and chatted with volunteers. BH another volunteer stopped in my office. BH has made it clear that he's smitten with me. He even came in to the Red Key Saturday. Too bad he's 68 and married. As usual BH pinned me between my desk and chair. I'm getting pretty good at swiveling to avoid the big wet kiss he tries to plant on my lips. I automatically grabbed a tissue to wipe it off my cheek and told him once again "that I didn't want to be his queen."

11:00 - Our founder and chairman emeritus of the board stopped in. She's one of the few people that I'm intimated by. So, of course I'm holding a mop when I see her. The plumber called and he'd be there within the hour. I returned phone calls and email messages and worked on employee files. Today is payday (yippee) so I signed paychecks. I unjammed the printer and reminded everyone that it was not a cube steak -- don't pound on it. Another one of our volunteers with a disability spent time in my office telling me about his job at Camp Atterbury and every detail of what he does (which I've heard every Wednesday for six months). I also spent time explaining who Chicken Little is to several of our culinary students. I was reminded of a statistic that just blows me away. Middle class kids get read to at least 1000 hours before they go to school. Low income kids only average 25 hours. No wonder there is such a disparity in reading skills.

noon - The students called us for lunch. I'd just gotten my food when the door bell rang. I seem to be the only one who can hear it at lunch time. A woman was at the door donating grocery bags and 5 pounds of rice. I filled out the paperwork (what is the value of grocery bags...that we don't really need?). I sat back down to time to hear the door bell again and meet the plumber. Dennis and the plumber climbed up to the ceiling. I stood on the ladder, head in the ceiling to talk to them. They told me it was safer up there than on the ladder, but my fear of heights would not let me make the leap to the little room. They would have to build stairs to get me down. While I'm on the ladder (and being grateful for my choice of pants) BM and another two other volunteers with mental disabilities were circling the ladder and bumping in to it, thinking I was talking to them, not the plumber. The plumber confirmed the problem (bad fitting) and we also talked about some other issues. I liked that he talked to me and showed me what was happening, even thought I refused to step off the ladder. He needed to order a part and schedule a time when we can turn the water off for a chunk of time.

12:45 - I sat down to my cold meal

1:00 - Plunging time again! Checked emails, returned phone calls and looked through resumes for kitchen manager opening. Made handouts for the culinary class I'm teaching about line cooking tomorrow. Printed out directions and details for the talks I'm giving starting at 5:45 tomorrow.

2:00 - Met with director of volunteers to map plans for next week when she is gone and check on the status of the 80 volunteers we need for a big event next Friday. I took a potty break and was looking up at the ceiling as I um, tinkled. Something fell and I assumed it was a chunk of tile. EKKKKK! It was a freaking bug...wait bugs...they must have been enjoying the warm damp dark space. I was stomping my feet trying to squash them and started laughing out loud. I realized that must have been what Senator Craig was doing when he was tapping his foot. He was squashing bugs! I drug ladder in to bathroom and sprayed an unnecessary amount of bug spray in there, killing bugs and a few more of my brain cells.

3:00 - Talked to plumber to try to figure out when we could turn the water off to the building to repair the leak. Looked at more resumes and typed minutes from a committee meeting.

3:30 - Headed to retirement reception for one of our board members. Arrived during the speech phase of the party. I spied my friend CC, who writes for Indianapolis Monthly. CC and I caught up on local news and gossip. I ate a big piece of cake (it would have been rude not too, really) and mingled.

4:30 - Answered two cell phone calls from the United Way staff person that is in charge of the account that I'm speaking to the the morning. The main gate will be locked, and I was thrilled to know where I was to go. Returned a call from my dear friend Ann and caught up on godson Ben and her family.

5:00 - Home, and at a decent hour - for once. I puttered around the yard for a bit. I tossed some summer plants in to the compost pile and plunked mums in to their pots. I drug my living room rug out to the clothes line and pounded on it with a stick. Went back inside coughing and sneezing to take an antihistamine. I'm like the boy in the bubble, its a wonder that I survived my farm kid childhood.

6:00 - Make a delicious dinner of mac and cheese and did dishes and more laundry. Thought about bringing fall/winter clothes up from basement and putting away spring/summer clothes (my new house only has one closet) and ignored that thought.

7:15 - Back out the door and headed back downtown. Hey, wasn't I at this stoplight 12 hours ago? My friend Jeff invited me to the Ryan Adams and the Cardinals show. Thoughtful and generous Jeff also dropped off the latest Ryan Adams CD, two Halloween PEZ and a parking pass. I'd been listening to the CD between plunging and stuff. I loved whipping right up to the Murat and parking. The show was supposed to start at 8:00. I wandered around the beautiful lobby for a while, didn't see Jeff (he was at dinner with the woman he's been dating) and headed to my seat at 7:50. Center main stage, cool. Row A, seat 13. I kept walking and walking toward the stage. Ran in to a usher who asked to see my ticket. She looked at it and pointed for me to keep walking. Row A actually meant row A. Not row A, followed by ZZ, YY, XX, WW....And seat 13 was right smack in the middle. I plopped my happy little ass in the seat and looked around. The theatre was still pretty empty. I checked out the stage. A pedal steel -- woo hoo! From the way the stage was set up I guessed that there was not opening band. A couple sat down next to me. I couldn't believe dear cousin Sarah and her husband John! By 8:15 our row was full of the cool kids. Ryan and the band finally came out at at 9:00 and he apologized for being late, pointing out the time difference and saying that he should have asked Flavor Flav what time it was. He was contrite and funny, so like most boys with guitars I forgave him.
He played a great 45 minute set and was charming with his fumbling with his earpiece (new technology for him) and talking about our downtown mall and the FFA kids in town. As much as I loved being just 10 feet from him and wished I had my camera, the sound was a little weird. We were so close that the the speakers were behind us. No monitors on stage made a difference also. The fifteen minute break turned in to 45. The long break was okay, I got to chat with Jeff, Sarah and John and loads of other folks. Sarah's birthday was earlier this week and I was telling her that I remembered holding her when she was born - I was 12.
The show started again at 10:30. Ryan is clearly brilliant musician and I've loved his music since his days Whiskeytown, the band that turned me in to an alt-country fan. The first couple of songs after the break were what I love about him. Clever, melodic and full off goodness. From there the band played amazingly, and turned every song in to a jam - reminiscent of The Grateful Dead. Which is exactly the kind of thing that makes, well, my skin crawl. I don't know whether I don't have enough attention span or I'm just not sophisticated enough to get it. Either way my mind was wandering. I shifted my "band crush" from the pedal steel player to the bass player. When I started counting seats I knew it was trouble - if I turn to math, that is a bad sign. I scooted out of my seat at midnight.

12:20 - Home and setting my alarm for 5:00, I'm giving at 4 talks starting at 5:45 to a group of trash haulers. 'night.


Jamie Dawn said...

My, oh, MY!
I'm first to comment!!!
I call firsties!!!!

Jamie Dawn said...

That's SOME sechedule!!
I laughed when you said something about any "whiff" of a problem. Eeew!
I also laughed because your post concerns bathroom troubles, and you referred to that one guy as BM which made me think of Bowel Movement.
Butt Paste mixed with CracKare might do wonders for BM's troubles.
I'm SO with you about the pants and socks and shoes thing. Cold weather really sucks when it comes to wardrobe. I like summer clothes much better.
I hope you can get some more rest this weekend.
You deserve a good 8 hours of sleep.

Kim said...

Gee, and I thought I was busy at work!

I change diapers and wash baby bottles, but at least I don't have to plunge toilets all day!

Woman, you need to take a big nap! I'm tired for ya.

BTW, when do you bartend at the Red Key? Believe it or not, neither Wayne or I have ever been there. He's afraid of some strange set of rules he's heard about...I don't drink, so I'm sure I'll behave just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Rachel said...

Reading this made me so tired! Goodness, you are so busy Nora! What a day!! You are a jack of all trades it sounds like. I wouldn't want to be on the toilet with bugs falling at me. No sirree!!!

Jerry is going to send you my e-mail address! He bought my lunch today! :)

Cliff said...

I'm not sure I'll have enough time to read your post on the last day of the month.
Can one fake a sore on his nether regions??
You can be intimate with some one or intimidated by them. But I'm not certain you can be intimated by some one. Well, on second thought I guess Marilyn has done that a time or two to me.

Jerry said...

My goodness, Nora. I wouldn't get that much done in a week. I'm so glad you manage to fit us needy bloggers into your week.

I'm off to take my (and your) nap.