Friday, November 30, 2007

work nora

[ I wrote this Friday, I don't know why I didn't post it]

Work has not been smooth sailing lately. Nothing specific, just a combination of things. I have not had the usual spring in my step and first one in and last one to leave spirit lately.

Today started out to be the same. I raced in to work, with seconds to spare. I attended a meeting that I thought was ridiculous and a bit of an ambush - and I'm afraid that I didn't do a good job of hiding my feelings and impatience. Part of of the ants-in-my-pantsiness was that the wheels were falling off the place. Not one of the nine heating units was working - seriously, what are the odds? We had one of our busiest catering days ever and the catering director and I were in the meeting. Today was graduation day for the students and we'd soon have 120 guests in the building.

I sprinted out of the meeting in to the fray of the day. The HVAC problem was so dramatic the owner of the company was on our roof with his workmen when I stuck my head up there. I spent time in the kitchen helping to made 150 box lunches, loaded up the van and ran to my office to check messages. My phone rang and I croaked out (I have laryngitis) a greeting. It was the mayor's office, asking what time the deputy mayor needed to be there for his gig as the graduation speaker. I replied "noon" and there was a long pause at the other end, "Okay, I'll try to get him there." Crap. The next telephone call was the minister slated to give the invocation - not coming. Holy Crap.

I looked at the agenda on my desk and realized that the DM was not scheduled until 1:00, called the mayor's office back and told her 12:45 would be fine for DM's arrival. She seem relieved and I mentally put the DM back on my Christmas card list.

Talked to the HVAC guys and learned that a power surge or something had fried parts of all of the units, heating and air-conditioning. Asked what the chances of getting the unit over the dining room going. They managed it with a zip tie, toggle switch and me saying the Rosary as I ran around.

On one of my sweeps through the kitchen snagged a volunteer to do the invocation. I've spoken at his church the last two years and he was happy to do it.

My dear sister Beth helps us with graduation logistics. The men living in one of the homeless missions volunteer to be the servers. She and I had a quick exchange of information in sibling shorthand, I gave her the agenda and off I went. I swung back by a few minutes later when it dawned on me that the men were not there yet. Double Crap.

Beth was doing a great job of getting 120 salads and desserts on the tables using the students. I plopped a few on the tables, made a phone call and learned the guys were on the way. The lobby was filling up with guests, but I didn't want anyone seated until the tables were all set. I gave the 'thumbs up' at 11:55 and the crowd poured in. The volunteer servers arrived and they looked like a motley crew. Typically they are dressed in white shirts for this event and look a little more presentable. They was wearing sweat pants and lots of cologne. I stopped to thank them as I walked by, and one of the men said "Hello Nora." I said hello back to LL and snapped by head back - wow! LL was a guy that was living on the street years ago and I'd helped out a little bit, letting him stash his stuff at the coffeehouse and visited him at the hospital. I had not seen him in years. He looked great and was in a year long Life program at the mission. He pulled me aside and told me how much my friendship meant to him. Wow.

The graduation was in full swing, I took my plate to the reception desk to wait for DM (you need to be buzzed in to the building). He arrived in the nick of time and did a great job. He said something really cool during his talk. He called me one of his spiritual advisors. He said he always does what ever I ask him to, and it is always a worthy cause. Wow.

Sometimes I need those obvious signs to remind me why my job and involvement in the community are important. In this case it was a guy with a teardrop tattoo under his eye, the DM was icing on the cake.

Here's a bonus photograph, DM playing a Madonna's Borderline at the Tonic Ball.

...and I think I lead a bit of a double life....


Teresa said...

What a great post. Nora, you are a Christmas Angel if I ever saw one. One of my goals for this year it to meet you in person.

Granny Annie said...

You are one in a million. I hope you will always be appreciated for the good work you do.

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

That is a great post. Being called spiritual advisors getting a volunter to do the invocation - you might be right about leading a double life.

Kim said...

This post is reason #14,378 why YOU RAWK, Miss Nora.

Sorry about the laryngitis. I have a heinous cold myself. It is indeed the suck.

Jamie Dawn said...

Well, I hope you're back to your healthy, spring in your step self now. With my voice disorder, I kind of live with what sounds like laryngitis all the time. It is frustrating to the max!! I hope your voice has returned and is strong again. You need to be able to yell and boss people around.

Jerry said...

I don't know how you do it all, like you do. I hope there's a big Christmas surprise sitting under your tree this year.

You know, first impressions are always hard to get past. I was wondering how the DM would look in a suit and tie. Of course, most people haven't seen me in farm clothes either.

Take care.

CresceNet said...
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GeL (Emerald Eyes) said...

Informative and people helping people; that's what makes the world go around.
Great photo of you two!