Saturday, January 30, 2010

If you lived in the 60's

We just finished a heck of a cold snap here, with temperatures staying in the teens for the last week. The other day the wind was whipping through town as a front came through, but then things calmed down. Fortunately, Tank and I did not have to contend with much wind on our walks. I did keep it short, though, since he doesn’t have a very thick coat.

I took him for a bath again on Saturday, this time just the two of us went. I had reserved the shower room at the dog wash place. We have the routine down pretty well now. They give you about a half gallon of shampoo and they expect you to use it all. I applied his medicinal shampoo after the oatmeal mix they give you, so he is super clean right now. His coat is repairing itself well , such that unless you know where to look, you can’t see the former bare spots. Later, I cleaned his ears and brushed his teeth, so he’s ready for his close-up.

My goals at work on Friday were a) Leave early, b) Get my email cleaned up and c) Get control of my desk. I accomplished all three, but not in that order. Ever since the Great Flood, I’ve felt out of control, with papers strewn everywhere. Fortunately, most of what I found had already been handled and could safely be recycled. I got my email down to about two inches worth of screen.

Grandson Max stopped over on Saturday for a visit for a couple of hours. Max discovered a Lego set that had never been touched—I think he took it with him. He did goof around with a some pieces of something for a while, then he and I watched cartoons while he had a lunch-snack. We watched something called “The Kids Next Door”. After a while I thought the show was getting a little out of hand and I remarked, “I wonder if we should be watching this…” and Max responded by saying, “It’s OK. It’s funny violence—like Tom and Jerry.”

On Saturday night, we all went to Bonefish for my brother in law's 60th birthday celebration. The waiter wasn’t the sharpest, it was crowded, we had a crappy table, but we still managed to have a good time. My contribution to his birthday booty was a CD of Procol Haram, a group from the 60’s that he liked. It was interesting talking to a twenty something sales clerk in a music store, trying to explain what I was looking for. His manager wasn’t any more hip, as he confused the group’s big hit “Whiter Shade of Pale” with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter”. Jeez—where do they find these people? I told daughter Ann this story and she said, Oh yeah—the Bangles’ song. No—you have to go back a little further.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Woo-hoo! Burning through a four day weekend

Four day weekends are the way to go. Kathy and I both took Friday off last week, and I had MLK Day off. We had a nice day on Friday since it had stopped snowing and warmed up a little bit. We ran errands, went grocery shopping and then went out to lunch at Outback.

One highlight of the errands was taking Tank for a bath at the dog wash. This time we used the shower room and it went much more smoothly. Kathy was there this time, though she practically had an anxiety attack over the prospect of bathing the beast. He behaved quite well and stood patiently while we worked him over with an oatmeal shampoo and then his medicated stuff. He was unperturbed by the all the yap dogs that surrounded him.

I kind of treated Saturday as a work day, though, since I was working on staff evaluations. There is a new on line way to do those things now that is supposed to be “easier”, “faster” and “more convenient”, but I think that just applies to the people in HR. I was so frustrated and infuriated by the new system. At first, every time I tried to open the instruction page, it would freeze my computer. I called the help line at work and of course then it miraculously started to work.

My plan was to do all my evaluations (I have five to do) and then tell the staff to do their part of the evals. I finally figured out that I cannot do theirs until they do theirs, even though the instructions don’t come out and say that directly. So I printed out the version the system uses and then wrote out as much of the evaluations as I could without using the computer. In the end, I was only able to do half of the work. I can’t access the rest of the work until the staff fills in their part of the forms.
The person who is resigning—Sharon, the one who works with the College of Education who broke her arm January 4—was the easiest to write. I just gave her all the highest marks, and wrote glowing things about her, and she deserves it. I really have some good people working for me. They typically don’t cause trouble and do their work well.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Water, water everywhere

We had another bunch of snow this week, such that I was clearing the driveway each night and then the next morning. On Friday they were promising 4-8 inches of lake effect snow, but it never materialized. I felt cheated.

This weekend it’s sort of cold, but the sun came out brilliantly on Saturday afternoon, prompting me to wear sunglasses when I walked Tank. He loves the snow, incidentally. He’ll throw himself into the deepest drift he can find, and enjoys snapping up mouthfuls of the stuff as we walk along. I told him he might find a chewey surprise left by another of his species if he keeps that up, but he was undeterred.

In other news, we had a flood in the office this week. On Monday we noticed water coming under the door of an equipment room where electrical and heating equipment is housed. The water kept coming until about half our space was covered with it. Several offices had soggy carpeting, the whole career library floor was soaked. It even started moving into our storage room. The housekeeping people came with all their equipment and sucked up all the water, shampooed the carpets and left by 2pm.

They had just left when a pipe snapped in my own personal office, and brown yucky water poured out, flooding the floor and moving into the space outside my door. Now, you must understand that the floor is part of my filing system. Anything on the carpet was soaked, but fortunately, I don’t keep very important stuff down there.

So we called the cleaning people back, and they sucked out the water and treated the carpet with antimicrobial solutions and then left. The carpet was still very stinky, though, so I called them back to redo it. We’ll see how it is on Monday morning, but when I left on Friday, it wasn’t too bad. Someone else’s office that, didn’t even have as much water as I did, had an awful stench on Friday.

It’s all an academic exercise until it’s your own office that is involved. I moved all my furniture out including a big filing cabinet and couch, along with two small filing cabinets and all my chairs. All that is in there is a bookcase and my desk, which is covered with junk that belongs in drawers somewhere. Or on the floor in my filing system. The building engineers have to come back and check their repairs before I can put my space back together again. Every time I look for something, it’s in the hallway somewhere.

Turns out the University thought they could save money by turning off the heat over the winter break. The result was that the water pipe that supplies the sprinkler system froze and broke. My boss had a geranium cutting in a Cool Whip bowl of water in his office sitting on the radiator. The bowl was frozen solid.