Saturday, June 27, 2009

Do Dreams Have Meanings?

I had a strange dream the other night.....

Cooper was outside and I went out to look for him.  I called him and could hear his bell on his collar as he came running to me, but in the other direction I hear a cat meowing.  I turned around and there came Strat.  He was skinner but looked great.  He came right to me and I picked him up, scolding him for being gone for so long but hugging him all at the same time.

What made the dream strange was the reality of it.  I could actually feel him when I touched him.  When I woke up, I could remember that touch and I felt as if I had actually been with him.  It made me happy and sad all at the same time.




Monday, June 22, 2009

Stress, Stress, Stress.....

I'm so very tired.  I've been working 10 hour days trying to get everything in order.  1600+ side tabbed files needed to be made and I think I have about 150 to go - it gets old real fast.  One of my co-workers is in the process of putting the paperwork in order; and she and I are trying to come up with an easy filing plan.

You may ask how filing can be so hard....our old system was like a carousal.  It rotated and brought the row to you, you pulled out a draw and filed.  This system is like the one in doctor's offices - it's shelving.  It means you're either up a ladder, standing or sitting on the floor.  There's these shelves that pull out but they don't provide much work space and the pull-out shelves are only in the standing position thus making them useless for the ladder or floor position.  In a doctor's office you can go down the schedule, pull the files for the day, and then return them at the end of the day.  In the correction business that's impossible, we would have to go in - run the jail listing and pull 425+ files and then return them at the end of the day....plus that wouldn't include the tons of paperwork that comes in for files that are already closed or archived.  It's impossible.  Filing will take 3 times as long to do if we can't come up with a plan.

Why, you may ask, did we opt for this type of system?  We didn't.  From the start I insisted this was not the kind of system we could use productively.  However, the architect was responsible for the plans and the company for this area and he never talked to any of us and none of the higher-ups said anything.  Construction started, and the company shows up for the filing system and this is the only type of system they sell - so we were basically told - this is what you're getting, make it work.  So here we are, trying to make it work.

Did I mention that besides the filing system, we also have shelving around the walls of the room?  This turned out to be a good thing as if we didn't have that, the filing system would be full.  This seemed odd to a lot of people since the salesperson said it would hold 3 times the amount our old system did.  That may be true comparing it to the old system; but apparently she overlooked that there was another system just like it back the hallway and that there were dozens upon dozens of boxes of files stuck in any available corner.  She was shown all that, but apparently was off in her calculations.

Very stressful days ahead.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG Day

I don't normally blog at work, but it's technically my day off and I've been working my a** off, and well I needed the break.

The move has been hard.  It took almost all day Thursday just to get the files moved and in place.  The plan was to do that on Thursday, but "someone who shall be nameless", screwed everything up.  One - he had the inmates start moving file boxes and didn't make sure things were kept in numerical order.  We got one box unloaded and were faced with boxes upon boxes of numbers that didn't follow.  Where were they?  In a trailer - way in the back.  Nothing was kept in order and time had to be taken to separate the boxes by year, then put those in order.  It was a nightmare and very hard work.  My arms, hands, legs, feet - who am I kidding - I ache all over!!  Instead of waiting for that process to be done, they went ahead and started moving offices - starting with mine.  It was hard to deal with the files and try to watch what they were doing between my old and new office.  Nothing got lost, but some paperwork got messed up...but I'm working on that!  I've put in overtime Thursday and Friday and here it is Saturday and I'm at it again.  I thought one of the other girls was coming in but she must of changed her mind.  The boss was here for a few hours but he just left.  Everything is in chaos and well, regular work must go on too.  Fortunately by late afternoon yesterday we had phones and computers again!

On the plus side....once we're all settled I think it will be nice.  The lights come on automatically when you walk into an area.  I'm noticing this alot today being the only one here.  If they don't detect motion they go off after a time period.  Since I'm sitting in my office the outer area goes out.  I did notice in the file room that when you're in the filing system, the motion dectector can't detect you - so it goes off after a time period; so I had to walk out into the room to get the lights back on - lol!!  It'll take some time.

And how am I doing not having the penthouse?  Actually pretty good.  Since I spend lots of time in the file room, the larger office was unnecessary and everything I need does fit in this office.  I still have a window (same size as in the larger office), which I really am enjoying as are my plants!  I was somewhat concerned that the new furniture coming for this office was not what I needed.  We were each allowed to pick our stuff and it was designed to fit the office...so my choice of stuff is no longer mine; but when I came in this morning, I pulled out the plans and did some measuring and it will give me additional storage and a little more surface space - so I should be alright.  Actually...none of us ended up in the offices we were originally assigned...so I don't know if anyone else has thought about their furniture of choice - since they won't be getting it!!  Minor issue that'll need worked out.  Anyway...some office photos:

                  
Above is my old office.  First shot is from the doorway looking in; next one if from that back corner towards the door. 

Now for the new one:

                
From the outside looking in and then from the doorway.

                
My window and from the desk looking out.

Technically, I should apologize for the moving mess - but who am I kidding.  I work in clutter!! 
    


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

D.C. Gay Pride Parade

Polt and I attended the D.C. Gay Pride Parade this past Saturday.  A regular time for him - totally new for me - but hey, what woman can resist half naked men even if they are gay?  We had a very good time.  One of the people on one of the floats threw me a t-shirt which said "Your girlfriend likes my apartment."  We got a good laugh out of that!  The only annoying thing was for a small time period a man, woman and their daughter were behind me.  Their daughter was actually next to me in order to get the candy, beads and such they were tossing; at some point I picked up on their conversation, which went something like this:

Woman:  We could of made a banner and walked in this parade, apparently that's all it takes.
Man:  No kidding.
Woman:  I thought this was going to be like Macy's Parade
(**note** does anyone know of a parade comparable to Macy's?)
Man:  It's a far cry from Macy's.
Woman:  OMG!!  You are not going to believe this.
Man:  What?
Woman:  That policeman back there is smoking a cigarette in front of all these people!!
Man:  Where?
Woman:  Right over there!  That totally makes me mad.
Woman:  I'm going to take a picture and send and report that to someone.
They leave!!

If people only knew how ridiculous they sound; good thing they left cause I was about to tell them to move along.  Anyway, some photos (Valerie Harper was the Grand Marshal):


























No Penthouse For Me

I gave up my penthouse office.

It's been so stressful - let's just say that I'm very surprised that people would destroy friendships over windows and office sizes.
 

The office I've been assigned since the plans of 3 years ago turned out to be the largest (mind you, none of them are large to begin with)..it has caused so much hate and discontent.  Today I finally walked in the one girls office and told her I'd switch, she in turn went into a "I don't want you mad at me" speech which led into her telling me she's getting additional duties and the Warden wants her in the larger office...okay so why didn't he just tell me that? or just assign offices? Rather he put her through the stress of doing it, but I saved her of that by making the decision beforehand. Now the other lady has offered to take the small reception area and let the other girl have the other large office (which is the only one that lacks a window)  - this makes sense, except I know the other girl will whine over the window thing.


 


So basically what I've ended up with is 2 feet smaller in each direction, but will have the same desk and filing cabinets; so I really don’t understand why the Warden thinks extra floor space will give her more surface space????  They never think things through.  I'm just going to hang some Kevin Spacey pictures, look out my window and close my door.

We start moving tomorrow, if I don't have to stay late, one of the deputies is taking me out for drinks afterwards (yes, my husband is aware of this).

Pictures from Saturdays D.C. trip are coming....



Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Must Explain

I complain somewhat a lot in regards to my job and co-workers.  I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression, I truly do love these people.  But like with anything else, the day-to-day grind gets to you.

I'm a team player.  I believe in teams.  I like to cross train and help someone when needed.  I'm the one they come to first with computer questions and such.  I'm willing to drop whatever I'm doing to help another employee.  I don't believe the terms "That's not my job" and "I don't do that" belong in a team.  So I guess you can somewhat understand where I'm coming from; especially since during office meetings I hear "We work together and help each other out; there's no problems" and then well, reality sets in.

Two of the women in my office have worked there 20+ years.  They are both very good at what they do.  One of them doesn't accept change to well, frankly she doesn't accept it at all; the other would, but she tends to get drawn into the attitude of the other.  I've been there 11 years and the other lady has been there 7 or 8 years.  I'm the youngest of the group, but not by too much.

One of the reasons I get projects such as the "furniture" is because I don't mind taking on new things and it can be handed to me and they don't have to listen to me complain about it to everyone else for the next few days.  Contrary to what a lot of people think, cross training and willingness to take on new responsibilities can be a deal breaker in a downsize.  I worked for a company that had to eliminate one office position at one point; everyone was assuming it would be me as I had least seniority; but they downsized the person with the most seniority.  Why?  Why should they pay her when they could pay me less to do my job and her's both?  That's a terrible thing, I know; but I work with two people that think that seniority will carry them through.  So I've learned that seniority really means nothing anymore.

As far as the new office sizes go, the two smaller ones are actually "cubicle size" and anyone that works everyday in a cubicle knows what I mean.  Unfortunately, everyone walks in their office and imagines their current furniture in them.  They seem to overlook the fact that the new furniture is designed to fit the offices.  If anyone knows how to downsize, it would be me - I bought a house that is half the size of the last one; at least two of them will have to learn that.  At present, I have the smallest office and it's a triangle type space (not square or rectangular), the filing system is in there with me and takes up a lot of space; I've quite a bit of stuff and well the office isn't big enough.  So I'm looking forward to my new office and the file room being separate.

I'm not looking forward to the attitudes and grumbling that'll come with it.  I've decided the best way to handle that is to just go to work and not speak unless spoken to, pack my lunch, eat in my office, look out my window and just enjoy.

This evening I'm heading to D.C. with Polt for some blog worthy material!!



Thursday, June 11, 2009

We Now Interrupt This Blog......

Before I get into this post, I just want everyone to know that I *do* really enjoy my job.  I enjoy the people and the daily grind, but it does get to me at times.

As I've mentioned before we're moving into new offices which involves new furniture.  I've been working with the Asst. Warden on this project, not because I volunteered, nor because I wanted to control something, nor because I was trying to avoid my work nor because I was sucking up; it was basically because I'm his secretary and well, that's why!!  Anyway it's been a long process and we're finally at the end.  Unfortunately it won't be ready for the move, but should be in within a 5 week period.

Anyway, when this new office planning began, no one really asked us exactly what we did or what we needed.  They just accepted the plan presented to them.  As a result, at least two of the offices are of very minimal size.  The one being the reception area.

This area is about the size of a closet, to satisfy the occupant they added a window.  The office next to it is a good size, but lacks a window for some reason, the next one again is closet sized but has a window, and the last one is well, the penthouse and belongs to your's truly.  It's sized well and has a window...and sits next to a very large filing room also with a window.  So do you see the problem????

So the occupant of reception office (#1) hasn't said too much as she's known for sometime the office would be small and there's also the fact that she probably won't end up there but rather back the hallway in another office away from the rest of us (how lucky can one person get?); but none-the-less, at present, that's her office and I opted to share the plans the furniture people had designed for her space.  They did actually well, she was unimpressed, why?  Because she has no overhead units.  The reason for that - THERE'S NO WALL SPACE TO PUT THEM.  It's the reception area, there's a huge window for people to walk up too, oh and remember that window you insisted they put in for you?  Yep, that's hogging another wall......

Now we have the no window office occupant (#2).  I went to show her the office furniture plan; she refused to look at it because "It will be whatever it is and I'll just have to live with it, so it doesn't matter."  Gee, she got everything she asked for.  She then went into a rage about the office space for #1 - how everyone should be ashamed of themselves for thinking she could work in such a small space, etc.....  #1's office has #2 more upset than it does #1.

Okay, I move on to #3 - another small office,  They had to do some fancy footwork to get this one to work, but it's seems to be accommodating her needs.  Since the construction is complete and they're just doing minor details now, #3 and I opted to go over and take a look.  Unfortunately she invited #2 to go along, well then #1 came too.  Two others that will be in the area further back the hall followed.

We walk in, immediately #2 says "Can you believe I've worked here over 20 years and I still can't get a window?  And how they EVER expect  #1 to work in that small space is just ridiculous!"  #3 goes in her office, I follow with her plans and we're taking it all in....but #2 continues "Once that stuff is in here, you won't be able to move."  I then pull her plan out again for her office and ask if she'd like to see it, she grabs it from me and stuffs it in her pocket and says "It doesn't matter".  So I walk over to the penthouse and it's then that #1 and #2 lose interest in reviewing office plans.  At the same time, in walks the Property Officer, she wants to see the file room, which is conveniently located next to my office.  I take her in, she then starts..."You should just put your desk in here and free up that other office, etc...."  When I inform her the scanner and possibly the copier and shredder will be in there, she shuts up and says "Well yeah, there won't be room for you."  ****Note - this particular individual when making the comments was doing so jokingly because she knows of the issues this has caused.****

Can you see why I may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown right now???  I deal with this EVERY DAY.  I'm so sick hearing about small offices and windows, I just want to look at #2 and say "Shut the f*** up"! 

Now technically, yes, I could give my office up - but what have any of these people done for me???  I've been told "I don't do that" and "That's not my job" when I've needed help getting paperwork together.  My job sits when I go on vacation....really now - why should I give it up for any of them???  Technically I could for #3, but she doesn't seem to care...so, oh well, I'm keeping the penthouse.





Monday, June 8, 2009

Work, Work, Work

Sometime between now and next week the office move will happen.  We're getting somewhat prepared.  The other 3 ladies went in last Saturday and boxed up some of the older files.  I was unable to get that overtime due to my DC trip already being planned, but I did thank them each individually as I've no doubt there was "Laura bashing" going on as well as the "that's not my job" talk (I did get confirmation on that this week).

The new filing system will involve side tabbed files rather than the top ones which we are currently using.  The old files will stay as is, but the current year files will need converted.  Fortunately, I was able to pull a listing from the computer of everyone there in 2009, transfer it over into Excel, and then use it to do a mail merge onto labels in Word.  Worked perfectly and now we need not type 1600 labels!!  They *do* need put on the files however that seems like a good overtime job for this week......as well as filing, which I will be doing today.

Unfortunately the new office furniture will not be in in time for the move - it'll come later.  The final plans for furniture were to be faxed to us for signature on Friday - we've never seen it.  However, the guy in charge of construction knows the top guy at the furniture place and put in some phone calls - let's just say, now the furniture place doesn't like us to much.   I wish they would sign a waiver and let us get it from a local office place.










Sunday, June 7, 2009

The National Zoo

The National Zoo hasn't changed at all since my last visit, some 20+ years ago.  Oh, they're creating an elephant walk area, but they've apparently been doing that for years and it isn't complete yet.  This is the first time I got to actually see the pandas out and about (though I don't know if that counts as they aren't the same ones from 20 years ago).  The zoo is built on a hill, so you walk down from the parking lot and when it's time to leave...you have to walk back up; keep that in mind!!!  But the zoo is a fun place and worth a stop if you're in the area.

It was the first time however, that I was in a zoo and felt somewhat different.  It hit me when I walked into the elephant house...it just seemed unnatural and just not right.  I then felt sorry for all the animals - they really should be out in their natural habitat.  (off my soapbox now).



















Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Natural History Museum

One of the two museums the schools were always famous taking us to (the other is The American History Museum), The Natural History Museum is a popular attraction.  This one houses the dinosaurs, gems (you'll find the Hope Diamond here) and an insect area.  Again we're on a time limit, so we stayed to the first floor in the dinosaur, mammal and ocean area.












Monday, June 1, 2009

To The Smithsonian

On the way to the Smithsonian we passed the Pentagon:



For those that have never been to the Smithsonian....it's actually more than one building.  Alot of people go expecting to see one big building, but it's a combination of several and there's lots of walking involved, you also cannot possibly go through all of them in a day.  So plan your trip into several if you live nearby or plan for several days if you don't.  There's lots to see in this area.

We arrive at the Smithsonian and because the trip also involves going to the zoo, we have to make quick decision on the small amount of time we have.  We decide to walk to The Holocaust Museum .  Though not considered one of the Smithsonian museums it is within walking distance and is worth the visit.  If you're planning a trip make sure to include at least 4 - 5 hours for this; we missed alot due to time constraints and only spent about 1-1/2 hours there.

The Holocaust Museum is free, but when you arrive, stop at the desk and get tickets (also free) to go thru the permanent exhibits.  They time these to prevent the area from getting too crowded.  Everyone receives an Identification Card that tells the story of a real life person who lived during the Holocaust.  Someone had told me, once you go thru the exhibit, you then find out the fate of the person on your card...this is not true (it may have been once, but isn't now); the little cards are a very short read and they tell you the fate right in the card.  Mine is on Bertha Adler who was from Selo-Solotvino, Czechoslovakia.  She was 15 years old when she was gassed at Auschwitz.

I must tell  you that this is a very depressing museum to go through.  No pictures are allowed, so I have none to share; but I do think everyone should visit here.  In the gift shop Miriam Winter was there signing her book "Trains".  It was a very interesting chat and my cousin bought her book and had her sign it.

Anyone interested in this part of history?  Then I recommend the following movies "Defiance" which is a true story and "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas" which isn't.  Both are very good.

Next stop:  The Smithsonian's museum of Natural History.

The Reception

Same place...still very cold.....












After about ever possible photo was taken anyone could think of, I suggested the obvious "Lauren, I want a photo of you with your Mom & Dad."  Ahhh, yeah...the photographer thought that was an excellent idea (well duh...it was quite obvious we all got along):



And before anyone asks: