Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I decided to avoid the rush, and have my Monday on a Wednesday

I have said jokingly to a number of people (though apparently not here. I just did a search and came up empty) that it wasn't going to hit me that this townhouse of mine was really mine until I locked myself out and realized there was no one else who had keys for the place.

Guess what? Running around like a nut this morning, trying to make the 7:25 bus, I lock the doorknob, slam the door shut behind me, and swear profusely. The keys are on the kitchen table. I put my forehead to the door and say, "You're mine. All mine. Damn it."

Two doors down, I can see the flickering of a TV behind mostly closed curtains. I knock, introduce myself, and ask to borrow a phone book so that I can call a locksmith. Fellow invites me in. I've already met his wife and the dog--little cute loud fluffy thing, who growls and barks and then, if you decide to pet him, wags so hard his feet lift off the ground. His name is Scooter, but I think a better one would be Fizzgig. That's who he reminds me of.

I choose a locksmith at random, call, get their answering service. They say they'll call someone who'll call me right back. I hang around at the neighbors' for a little bit and chat, mainly about the upcoming annual owners' meeting, which is the first Sunday of November. Then I decide I've intruded long enough, thank him for his help, and go back outside in the bitter cold to sulk. I call work and tell our receptionist that I'll be in later.

I get off the phone with her just in time. The locksmith calls right then, saying he's 45 minutes away, quoting me the price for a home lock-out, and informing me he'll need proof that I live here either before or shortly after he lets me in. I have my ID on me, and luckily I've gotten all the address and voter registration stuff changed months ago, so this isn't going to be a problem. Next I call a member of my team to let her know what's up.

"Oh, Vee!" Lana says. "And it's such a cold morning!"

"Yeah. Well, my neighbor said I could stay there til the locksmith shows up, but I didn't want to impose."

And so I sit on the edge of my flower bed (the wooden logs the inspector said I should replace. Haven't gotten that far yet. Still sorting out the inside of the house) and read the book I have in my purse. Until my fingers get too cold to turn the pages, that is. Then I wander around looking at the flower bed itself, and do a little bit of impromptu weeding.

45 minutes and $55 later, I am in my house. Grab my keys, head to work.

And the day goes downhill from there. Today is the start of what our tech services people call "life cycle," which means some of us get new terminals, and all of us get new images for our workstations. They have some sort of order that they do this in, starting with the folks who get new equipment, and then moving on to reimaging. I'm on the equipment list this year. So most of the morning I wait for the tech guys to get to me (I guess they stopped by first thing, but I wasn't there. They need me to log in so they can check some things before they shut everything down and cart the machine away), then the rest of the morning I wait for them to go away. Only they don't go away, because the new CPU keeps freezing during start-up, and Jay can't figure out why. At 11:30, he unplugs everything, tucks the CPU under his arm, and announces he is taking it back downstairs to reimage it. He'll be back after lunch.

Whose lunch? His? Mine?

He shows up again about quarter after one with the CPU again, plugs all the cables back in, and we have the same problem. He fiddles around with stuff and gets it to work. He leaves to go set someone else's replacement in motion, and I start to do my part--restoring things from a back-up file I made the day before--when Windows kicks me out and reboots. And freezes. I chase Jay down, bring him back, and he fiddles around again, trying to figure out what is causing the problem. Gets it to work. I go back to restoring, and then at the end of everything Windows has a ton of updates to install. After that, the system needs to restart again, and three guesses what happens next. Yep. Freezes. It takes another half hour before he figures out it's a bad cable connecting the CPU with these two little USB ports on the side of the monitor. He pulls that, and everything is fine. He's going to find me another cable, but it's not something I can't work without.

It takes until about 2:30 to get everything back the way I had it, and then I finally can do some work...uh-oh. I can't find the files for the database we all use to catalog. I call over one of the tech liaisons (people in my department who've been trained to handle the more minor tech-update stuff, so the tech services people can move faster), and he can't find it either. So I go off in search of Jay again.

I find him in the head of the department's office, talking her through setting things up on her terminal (she was on the new equipment list too). He notices me in the doorway and says something like "aaaand there's Vee, trying to get my attention."

"I miss you," I reply.

"I'll be over in a minute."

I finally do find what I'm looking for on my own--it's not a folder, just an icon. Once I click it, a whole bunch of stuff gets downloaded, and then I have a folder. I jump up and call to him as he's coming down the aisle, "Nevermind! Fixed it myself!"

I settle down to work, and am reminded by my scheduling program that I have to be somewhere in ten minutes. Sigh. One hour-long meeting later, it's four o'clock, and I'm firing up the cataloging program, only to find that I have to do the same thing to that that I had to do to the whole computer. My preferences have all vanished, along with the custom toolbar I made a while back. Argh.

It's 4:45 before I get anything worthy of the word "work" done. Quitting time is at 5. I stay until quarter after 5, because I was an hour and a quarter late, and you can only apply vacation time in half-hour increments.

They sure didn't get their money's worth outta me today.


Just Me said...

I used to hate when the county did their equipment upgrades.

The worsed was the big, fat server that cost tens of thousands of dollars that kept crashing, mainly because something in the system couldn't handle all the "Big Brother" software installed on it to keep a watchful eye on us websurfing, slacker County employees.

Quite often, the only functioning computer in the building was the stand-alone machine I used to submit data to the state EMS office. It was paid for with State funds, but our IT Department kept wanting to tie it into the network anyway so I could get updates and whatnot. More than oncce I told my favorite tech, NFW, keep your paws off the state's machine. Glad I did.

Months of hassles, lost files, inconvenient downtimes, and they finally ended up replacing the ENTIRE NETWORK, server and all.

Your tax dollars hard at work.

Anonymous said...

stacy says:
You need to drive so you can lock your keys in the car. You only have to do it once. :)


--V said...

I'm pretty sure 45 minutes in the cold and a $55 fee to let me back into my own place should be enough to make me more careful.

Just in case it doesn't, I've stashed a key here at work.