Friday, April 20, 2007

What a week....

It's just been a pisser of a week....

But first off..... Anybody want a mutt??? We've got two of them..... They're both housebroken, sweet dogs.... Rather insistant on not being ignored when one is typing on one's blog or reading the blogs of others.... In fact, in the last minute & a half, I've had both of them come up beside me and push their noses up under my arm (one each side, Puck prefers the left, Jenny prefers the right) and remind me how much they want my undivided attention. As I said, sweet dogs..... Anybody want one???? ;)

And thanks for all the funny & sweet comments over the last post.... Yes, I do feel the urge to put a brick on DD's head, sometimes. Gotta say, that was never something I was threatened.... Instead it was jokingly (thank goodness) proposed that a stretching rack might do me some good. ;) Not only does she need new shoes, of course, but she's also going through clothes like nobody's business..... As the bus was pulling up just a minute ago, DD ran up to the computer-room window motioning at her leg, so I pull up the sash, and she's yelling that she can't feel her leg (she RAN across the drive to the window, from where she'd been tossing the football around with some of her buddies) and she's torn her pants..... Sure enough, good khaki's, torn in the knee now and all smudged up with dirt. Told her that there was NOTHING I could do about it at this point (the bus was stopping right in front of the house, as we were "discussing" this) and to get her hind end on the bus. *wry smile* Good night.... That kid is one rough & tumble tomboy. I suppose I should at least be grateful she's not a prissy-missy who's afraid of breaking a nail. ;)


Anyway, so back to the "pisser of a week".... Obviously the V-Tech massacre tops the list, and I won't dedicate this blog entry to discussing what went wrong and what could have been done better. That's been done to death. I had the chance to explain to DD this morning about what happened, as soon as our moment of silence at 8 am (Alaskan time), I was asked WHY we were keeping quiet for a minute and remembering college kids in a University across the country. (Evidently it was origionally proposed in VA by their governor for noon Eastern Standard time, and as we're 4 hours behind, we observed that moment at 8 am to be sharing that minute with others across the country and possibly the world.) Anyway, so I did have the teaching moment with DD, explaining to her about all the people who's lives were lost, who's children were killed, who've had their lives abruptly altered in ways not even possible to imagine unless you've been in that kind of situation.... Tried to explain to her that this Cho was in so much pain that he decided death would be the only way out, but not only did he kill himself but he also took the lives of other people, those he imagined as a threat to himself. That as sad as one should be by the pain he must have been in to do this, we shouldn't forget that in his pain he's caused innumerable amounts of pain for others. And while war, it appears, will always be with us, we must do our best to not ADD to the pain of others, but to help where we can, and to teach other options when we can.

On Monday, also, my Mom found out that her best friend has Multiple Myeloma (cancer in the plasma of her blood, if I understand correctly) and was given 3 years to live. J. is only 50 years old, with a 21 year old daughter, and also lost her hubby to cancer 3 years ago. Maybe this isn't tragedy on the scale of V-Tech, but it's a tragedy nonetheless. She will be undergoing chemo, from what I understand. And evidently "3 years to live" is an old number, 5 years is closer to the average now possible, and some with this form of cancer have lived 10 years past their diagnosis date. J. has already suffered 6 or 7 (mom couldn't remember the precise number) broken ribs.... Broken in activities one would not generally assume very strenuous.... Like the rib broken while J. and Mom were sunbathing, when J. rolled over on her beach-blanket and heard her rib crack. So, any prayers and/or positive thoughts, candles lit, etc, for a recovery for J., and for more time for J & her daughter S. I'm sure would be appreciated.


Monday also brought a verbal ass-chewing by my coworker, KO, over how many "windows" I had opened up during my shift at the check-out desk. We've recently gotten receipt printers, and are no longer stamping books with the due-date, unless specifically asked. Well, at the same time, it is harder to see if a book has been previously checked out by a patron, so we must actually zap the book under the laser to get a glimpse of the book's status. If the book's barcode reads "on shelf" we know that the book is NOT checked out and must be checked out before that patron can take it from our library. If it reads checked out to so-and-so, then we know that it IS indeed safe to let the book leave with the person. So, I keep my check-out window (the one used to charge books to people's accounts), my check-in window (used to check in books on the ever-present cart of books in a lag between patrons), and my "check item status" window open, each in their own little corner of my screen. It works for me, and I'm well accustomed to using multiple windows here at home. I'm not a complete imbicile when it comes to computers, and I've got no qualms about using that knowledge at work as well.

However, KO is not terribly computer savvy and completely shuts out of her windows each time she has to open a new one. It takes her forever (esp. considering she's nearly blind and has to hunt for the correct key to open the correct window). So, she came out at the end of my hour to relieve me of desk duty, but even though I was actually still helping a patron, KO started closing out my windows and ranting at me (in front of said patron) over having too many windows open. I kinda laughed with CM (another coworker) about it when I got back into the work-room, and let it go. It was funny, but it wasn't a real problem.

At least, _I_ didn't think it was a real problem. I got in Tuesday and had desk-duty immediately. Not 10 minutes after I start my desk-shift, Boss Lady comes out and, observing my 3 open windows, told me that KO had complained that I was using my "check-item-status" window to spy on people's records and steal their information. *SHOCK* EXCUSE ME?!?!? (Now, Boss Lady wasn't being a byotch about it, but she was following up on KO's accusation, which is just fine.... I have no problem with Boss Lady following up on some question like this, but I do have a problem with being accused of information theft by a coworker.) I told Boss Lady that I am NOT interested in taking a patron's information, but having all 3 windows open makes it simpler for ME to check the item status on a book when a patron asks to have it passed around the gate, saying that it's already checked out to them. I reminded her that we were instructed to do this, as we no longer have date stamps to look at. She was fine with that, but then made the comment that I need to remember to shut all my windows out at the end of my shift, before handing over the computer to a coworker. I told her that I usually do that, but that KO came out as I was still helping a patron and started closing out my windows before I'd even finished with them, pushing in front of me and ranting at me in front of patrons for doing what I need to do my job efficiently. Anyway, so no lasting problem with Boss Lady over this, she accepted my reasoning that multiple windows is easiest for me and that I DO shut out of my windows when I'm done with my shift. But, it still pisses me off that KO is spreading rumors about my intentions while I'm at my job.

I understand about identity theft and all, but sometimes I think the privacy issue is taken too far. We're not allowed to acknowledge our patrons by name, even our regulars who we wind up seeing on a very regular basis. I'm not supposed to remember the name of the woman who comes in EVERY night, 5 minutes before closing and returns 5 audio books and checks 5 more out. I mean, I'm not going to keep track of what she's checking out, that's none of my business, but I can't help remembering her name and face when I see it and her day after day. Or, having conversations with patrons when they're so friendly and see the library as a part of their community, and they BELIEVE in community and knowing your neighbours & those you interact with. Isn't that what we're taught even as toddlers, by Sesame Street.... Who are the people in your neighbourhood???? Why, there's Kati, the library girl. There are Merry & Dana & Sue, the grocery store ladies. And Terry, the guy from Burger King. And oh that's, Miss Robin from the craft store.....

And that kind of thing was appreciated and encouraged when I worked out here at my local library. The librarians were always asking me "Kati, what's Joshy's Mom's name???" and "Who is that little boy with the striped shirt & green eyes, what's his name???" And the conversations & knowledge that these are the people you share your town, your life with. That we all live here and therefore all kind of share our days & our lives & our business, and that's what makes a small town work.

But, at the library where I work now, it seems as if I'm discouraged from being a real person. I'm discouraged from seeing anybody else as a real person. And I hate that. I've got coworkers at the library I'm at now who don't allow any personal interaction, they limit it solely to their job. But, they also tend to get grumpier attitudes from the patrons, they get grumpier WITH the patrons, they don't get any respectful reactions from the teenagers when the teens are asked to bring their volume down a notch. I find that people respond SOOOOO much better when I'm a real person, and remember that they too are real people. The teens know that I'll wish them a good day, with a smile, just as I will any of the adults. When I ask somebody to stop shaking the trees, I generally get a chagrined look, an "I'm sorry" and I thank them in return and smile. It helps to remember, and be reminded, that NONE of us go through life alone, and we really DO need human interaction in order to function properly. Ironically, nobody likes the answering systems where one types in 1 for this option, 2 for this option, 3 for the next, and so on.... And yet we do away with casheers at the grocery stores. We seem to expect the people that DO handle our daily business to be completely impersonal automatons. And I can't stand that. And too many businesses realize that the best impersonal automaton is in fact a computer scanner and not a human. What a shallow, sad life it will be to go through our daily business without making any human contact unless we absolutely must. What a colorless existence...... Makes me dread the next 50 years, if automation becomes the norm, instead of the exception. Makes me hope for the sort of economic collapse suggested by those in the most fervent Peak Oil circles. At least we'll have to rely on fellow humans and learn to be nice again, instead of just computers for all our daily interactions.


Tuesday, got home to find that Puck had once again pulled the carpeting up, outside DD's bedroom door, and shredded the padding underneath. And he'd evidently shoveled all of the food OUT of the dog dish, into the water dish, decided he didn't like it THERE either, so he proceeded to dump it back out of the water dish, all over the floor..... So, now he's back to spending his days outside in his kennel. When nobody's home, that is. And thankfully it's getting warm enough that he can do so. Of course he gives me an utterly pathetic "I'm so neglected & unloved" glare as I pull out of the drive on my way to work. But, if he's going to tear the house apart while I'm gone he's not going to get to stay in the house. That's all there is to it.

And of course, Jenny must go into her kennel as well. At least Puck's got the outdoor kennel & room to get out and move around. Jenny has her indoor doggy kennel. Which she seems to not mind. But it kinda annoys me that we must keep them cooped up so long on some days.


Wednesday, my coworker AH left. She's decided to take a position as airport security, so Wed. was her last day. She'd only given notice on Monday (as far as I can tell) so we didn't know that this was in the works. We had a small party for her, though, as a farewell.

And my coworker ME will be leaving in the next couple of weeks as well. She's decided to get her Masters of Library Sciences through an online course, and realized that she'd have a full enough plate between her schooling & raising her daughter, that she would be best off quitting her job. So, we're going to be left short-handed by two until we get some new people in those positions.

Also, one of my other coworkers interviewed for a Library Assistant 1 position that'd come up in the Reference/ILL department, so she may be leaving us as well. (Really, I hope so. I think she'd do good at that position, though I DO like her, so I'm not just wishing her to be out of my hair. And another of my coworkers who only has 14 hours a week, at this point, would like EC's 40 hour position, if EC gets that reference/ILL position.)

So, a lot of changes taking place at work. And more to come as we get into summer.... One of the Tech assistants will be retiring in June, which means another Library Assistant 1 position will be opening up. I'm getting in on that one. The job entails purchasing books for the library's collection. Even though I don't get to pick the books to be purchased, I certainly don't think I'd have a problem doing that kind of job. It also entails 2 nights a month of Circ-desk-duty. Which is something I REALLY want, as it'll help if I ever have a chance to work back out here at the NP library. And I've made it known to Boss Lady, my former boss out here at NP, and even the boss of my former boss that I'd love to be working back out here closer to home, if and when the option arises. They all seem amenable to that possibility, and I get along well with G (NP Boss Lady's boss), and with the librarians out here at the NP library. So, we'll see. With a new library building being built over the next few years, it may open up more options for more employees out here. (Currently there are 2 librarians, 2 library assistants who do pretty much the same job as the librarians anyway, and 3 pages. With a bigger library, there will likely be need for more staff.)


So, it's been a busy, somewhat turbulent week, all around. But, also been some small good things. Like the ham I made last night. *drool* We'd gone in on a pig from a local butcher/processor this past winter, with our next-door-neighbours. Well, we got a couple of good size (BIG!) hams and roasts out of it, as well as bacon (which I don't care for the flavor of), and pork chops & steaks, and sausage. So I finally got around to making one of the ham's yesterday.

First I put about 1/2 c of orange juice into the bottom of my slowcooker, put the (smoked) ham in next (wanted to have liquid cover the bottom, first). Drizzled a few drops of liquid smoke over top of the ham, then more orange juice. Then I mixed up some orange marmelade & dijon mustard together and slathered that all over the top & sides of the ham. Then cooked for 8 hours on low...... *sigh* Oh dang was that a good ham!!!!! And, I'm not generally big on ham. It's usually too fatty for my taste. But this stuff...... *drooling* I even had to have a ham-sandwich with it while we were watching ER last night. LOL Of course I made mashed potatoes (instant) and asparagus (fresh, barely simmered in lightly salted water) to go with the ham. Just a very yummy dinner. And with all that ham left over and a bunch of asparagus still to be used, I'm thinking I'll pick up some swiss cheese & make a quiche or two. I haven't made a quiche in a year, so it's time. *grin*


Other than that, it's looking like it's going to be a nice slow weekend. I've got some tv shows pre-recorded that I need to watch. I'm going to walk over to the school today to pick up DD, instead of driving. We may or may not be going to get DD new shoes this weekend. (DH doesn't seem to think she needs them, I do. We'll see who wins this one.) I hope to do some baking, besides that quiche. It's been a few weeks since I've made bread. I think I'm due. *wink* Maybe some garage saling tomorrow morning as well.... We'll see. The weather's been beautiful, so I'd be suprised if there aren't a couple of early-season garage sales this weekend. Then DD and DH are going to go to the Outdoor show (bazaar in Fairbanks featuring hunting, fishing, boating & camping goodies for the upcoming summer in Alaska) on Sunday while I'm at work. I like hunting, though I'm less thrilled about camping, and don't like fishing at all, but I rarely get to go hunting, so there's really no point in me going to the outdoor show. It's mainly DH wandering around and signing up for all the fishing charter sweepstakes. Although I did instruct him to buy more Spicy Garlic Mustard if "The Garlic Gourmay" is at the outdoor show again this year. We ran out a couple of months ago, and that stuff is fabulous. Hell, I'll have to tell him to get 2 jars this year, so we have extra and we don't run out. LOL

Wishing everybody a quiet, slow, calm, sunny weekend. Think about the things that make your life blessed, pray for those who's lives aren't so blessed, enjoy the small things, do something nice for somebody (including yourself), and take some time to appreciate the everyday things going on around you.

Have a Blessed Day!


Stephanie said...

I think that is the longest entry I have ever read! lol, You are hearby named queen of blogger. ;)

It sounds like one crazy and craptastic week you've had. I hope your weekend is MUCH better. (I hope I survive tomorrow)

Em said...

Oh Kati...what a week! I'm sorry about all the stresses and strains and conflicts and bad news that you've had to endure. I seriously hope your weekend is the perfect combination of relaxation and fun!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

That is one hell of a week you had! May your weekend be peaceful and full of fun.

Bardouble29 said...

Goodness, that was a blog and a half. I am so sorry you had a week from hell. Hope next week is better.

Kati said...

Thing is, it wasn't me that had the week from hell... I had some crummy events, but not like others have had, I guess it was all just building up to too much and getting me down, even when most of it wasn't about me or my life.

I hope we ALL have a better week this week, and that the rest of the weeks in the year don't contain that much trauma & pissiness. *wry smile*

TurtleHeart said...

Dang, girl! What a week for you! Hopefully this week is more low-key.

PS- I think your crockpot ham sounds divine!

Dirk_Star said...

Ten hours of labor?

We went into labor at 7 p.m. on Monday and the baby came at 5:07 p.m. on Tuesday.

It is a funny story and one I can't wait to share.

Watching my son enter the world was amazing...

FoxTayle said...

Hi! Found your blog through Hearth & Home Witchery.

Totally can relate to the complaint about being "discouraged" from getting to know patrons. I used to work at an independent book seller, and I took the time to get to know patrons, what they liked to read and about their families, then I was able to make great sales because I'd remember things and could recommend other books. People would call and specifically ask for me because of the whole "real person" experience. But then a senior co-worker who didn't like me complained to the never-there managers that I "socialized" too much with the patrons. Whatever.

Keep doing what you're doing, kudos to you for being true to yourself and real to others!