Friday, March 28, 2008

Adios Amigos

So this will be my last post for about a week and a half because I leave tomorrow for my trip to Tanzania!!!

But while I'm away I promoise to be thinking of some new topics to discuss here!
See you April 8th!
~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Deeds From 9 to 5

There is a catalog we have at work where you can order livestock and farming supplies for third world countries.  A few months back the Fun Committee sold raffle tickets, raise $500 and bought a cow.  I thought this was awesome.  

So we decided to do it again.  Some people wanted to buy another cow.  I like to mix it up a bit so I looked through the catalog and found the coolest thing in there.  A pond.  A earthen pond that they would fill with Tilapia for people to raise, eat and sell.

So today we held a used book sale.  For the past few weeks employees have been donating books to sell at the sale.  I think when I left work today we had already sold $200 in books.  How cool is that?

I know my dad is smiling down, laughing because now poor people will get to enjoy his favorite past time: fishing.

So if anyone is looking for a good way to raise some funds for a good cause, try a book sale.  It really worked!!!

The Office Scribe

Monday, March 24, 2008

Please leave a message, not your life story

Things have been a bit crazy in my department lately. We are only 8 people but we are 8 really busy people. Between the holidays, illness, personal issues, and business trips I don’t think all of us have been in the same office at the same time since January.

So as team lead I have been checking more than just my own voice mail for about two weeks solid. And after listening to message after message I have learned one thing: people don’t know how to leave a proper voice mail message.

I would have to say that a normal voice mail message should be about 10 seconds or less. You know, enough time to say your name, why you are calling, and your phone number. I would also have to say that the average time for the messages I have been checking lately are clocking in around a solid minute. I actually had one last week where the woman spoke for 2 minutes and 35 seconds. (Yeah, I clocked it. I was curious.)

Apparently people think they need to tell you every single detail of why they are calling:

Awesome and needed, but best when spoken clearly and not muttered so I have no idea who you are and thus won’t call you back.

Time of call
Don’t most VM programs tell you this? And why do I care if you called at 9am or 9pm? I’m going to call you back in the order your call was received anyway.

Why they called
Here is where things go horribly, horribly wrong. I don’t need to know the whole background of your life or why you are calling. A simple “I’m returning your call” or “We need to speak” or “I want a cheeseburger” would be great. If you go on for longer than 5 seconds you are talking too long!

These aren’t necessary if you wouldn’t talk so long! I know my memory might be less than stellar, but don’t recap you two minute message. If I missed something, there is a great feature where you can listen to messages again and again and again if need be.

Phone Number
Similar in importance to the name it should also be spoke clearly and not like you are seeing how many M&M’s you can fit into your mouth while talking on the phone. Seriously, last week a guy gave me 8 numbers for his cell phone. Eight? Really? If you don’t know your own number I feel pity for you. In my house that was the first thing I learned so if I was lost I could contact someone who cared.

Sign Off
So after telling me a story longer than the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter Saga strung together you have the cojones to say “Call me so we can discuss the details”. What else is there to discuss? You just told me everything! I have no reason to call you back except to demand the precious minutes back for my time you wasted with your long-winded message!

Luckily I think everyone is supposed to be back in the office tomorrow so I can stop checking their messages. Now if I could only get clients to fix their e-mails….

The Office Scribe

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To Work Or Not To Work, That Is The Question

My company does not close often.  Major holidays, sure, but other than that we are all about work.  Sitting in our happy little cubicles, pounding the keyboards, chugging more caffeine than the human body can handle.

But this Friday is an interesting thing.  As many of you know, it's Good Friday and most normal offices are closed.  But at my office we had a choice.  It's what's called a half-staff day.  You have your choice if you want to work or not.  If you don't work, it's a paid holiday.  If you work, you get another vacation day to take at another time.

Personally, I always work Good Friday.  How many people actually do something that day?  And who in their right mind would rather take a Friday off in March than wait for a gorgeous weekend during the summer to have a long weekend?

Well, I'm starting to rethink my choice.  The weathermen are predicting 4-10 inches of snow tomorrow.  WHAT THE HELL MAN?  It's March 21st.  Where's my global warming?  Al Gore lied to me, and because of that I am going to have to get up at 6:30am and shovel my car out of snow, drive to work, and repeat it in reverse at the end of the day while some of my co-workers get to snuggle in and sleep until whenever.

I hate you Al Gore, I really do.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Calgon Take Me Away

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is one of those days. You know the kind, where from the minute you walk into the office a cloud seems to descend upon you and you just know it is going to be miserable.

Well for me, the cloud descended as I left my house. The epic battle known as “March In Chicago” is playing out and each day is more irritating than the next. It’s like winter has a death grip and is refusing to give up to spring. So the weather her is alternating between balmy 55 degree days and bitter 30 degree days. Sometimes the wind blows and cuts through you like a knife, other times it smells like flowers and dirt. Yesterday it was suppose to rain and we had snowflakes fall the size of cotton balls. Today it is all grey and basically reflects my mood.

I know I was all bubbly when it came to my job the other day, but hell, they had just given me a trip to Tanzania. But other than that small ray of sunshine, things around the office have been crazy. The person I am the assistant to has been in and out of the office for a few weeks, dealing with a personal issue. I completely understand. But do our crazy clients?


While some people have been like “That’s okay, have her call me when she gets back” most of the calls have been like “Well where is she?” or “Why isn’t she in the office?” or “So who’s gonna deal with this now?”

It’s basically getting to the point where I don’t want to answer the phone anymore. When I came back from lunch I saw my message light was on and I wanted to run back to the cozy, though sometimes stinky, confines of the break room. (Luckily it was just my mom.)

I think tonight I am going to make an advent-like calendar, counting down the days until I leave for Africa. Because if anyone has ever needed to get the hell out of Dodge, it’s me.

The Office Scribe

Monday, March 17, 2008

Guest Blogger

Thanks to one of my many friends who wanted to share this nice little anecdote about how sometimes soap scum can be the least of your worries while taking a shower....

What kind of omen is it when you find a spider in your shower in the morning? Yesterday I was mid-shampoo when a black fuzz caught my eye on the other side of the tub - and then I realized the fuzz was crawling. Spiders don't actually bother me that much, but the idea of taking my eye off it and then suddenly finding it inching up my leg was not too appealing. I decided that squishing the spider would ruin my hygienic cleansing experience, and my best bet was to wash it down the drain.

I gingerly rise up on my tiptoes and attempt to redirect the relatively stationary shower head towards the back of the tub. I'm having trouble, and for a minute think maybe the Europeans have it right with their detachable shower heads, but then I recollect my many unintentional floodings of European bathrooms.

I finally manage to hit Spidey with the water, and, as if in slow motion, it begins floating towards the drain - and my toes. My careful adjustments of the shower head to redirect the spider's path seem very much as if I have arrived at The Dalles and decided to caulk my wagon and float it down the river to Oregon. [Your wagon has hit a rock. You lost: 30 bullets, 2 sets of clothing, Jimmy (drowned.)] But I triumph! The spider vanishes down the drain with my toes intact and untouched. I say a brief prayer for the repose of the spider's soul and in regret that I have killed one of God's creatures, and start wondering what else this day has in store for me.

- Friend of The Office Scribe

Nice Oregon Trail reference! Makes me want to wear my "You have died of dysentery" t-shirt!

~The Office Scribe

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I Suddenly LOVE MY JOB

Okay, every once in a while something happens at work that makes me go “Hmm, I’m glad I work here.” Examples might be: free key chains from visiting sales people, my co-workers similar sense of humor, people accepting my ever growing shelf of toys.

But on Wednesday, when I got called into my boss’ office, I got some of the best news EVER!

She asked me what I was doing on March 30, because they wanted to know if I would like to go to, ready?, TANZANIA! I’m finally going on a trip paid for by my company! Excitement has been pumping through my veins ever since I found out. Safaris, cool game lodges, animals. I am going to see it all.

But then I had a moment of panic earlier. See, going on Safari in Africa is not like going to Disney World. Or even Europe. How would I know? Because I have been to Disney World, Europe, and actually Africa. To travel on Safari, you need one important thing: Yellow Fever Vaccinations.

So, you think to yourself, I’ll just call my doctor and she’ll shoot me up like a heroin addict in a back ally. Except that there is a shortage of Yellow Fever shots, only about 50 places in Illinois have it, and most places like you to make a reservation to come in 1-2 months before travel. Note 1-2 weeks.

I must have called about 20 places. Mostly I left message for people to call me back. But when people actually answered, the conversations went something like this:

The Office Scribe (TOS): Hello, I’m leaving for Tanzania in two weeks and I need a Yellow Fever shot and anything else you’d recommend.
Idiot Medical Receptionist (IMR): Wait, where are you going?
TOS: Tanzania.
IMR: And that’s where?
TOS: Africa. (Not going to lie, I started to panic a bit. These people give travel shots for a living. Geography might be important so I don’t get vaccinated for, oh, Tasmania instead…)
IMR: We have an appointment in May.
TOS: I leave March 29.
IMR: Do you want the appointment?

At this point I would just slowly hang up.

Luckily, I got a call a few minutes ago from a lovely lady who was almost as excited as I was from the local hospital who told me to come on in next week and she would hook me up. Okay, maybe she didn’t use those words exactly, but that was pretty much the gist of the conversation.

So on those days when work has really got you down, just remember, things can sometimes really work in your favor!*
The Office Scribe

*That doesn’t really mean I think you’ll be going to Africa, but you never know. You never know…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Just Love This Picture

It's Creed. From The Office. Second Half of Season 4 Starts April 10th.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Forward, Fall Back (Asleep)

So yesterday, everyone (with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii, and parts of Indiana) did their clock-ly duties and flipped them ahead on hour in honor of Daylight Savings Time.

This practice both confuses and infuriates me.

First off, I am not sure why we do it. Yes, I have heard experts explain about getting more hours during when it is light out and how it will help people. Still don’t understand why we have to do this. There is nothing like throwing off the schedules of millions of hard working Americans by forcing them to go to sleep when their bodies aren’t ready for it yet.

I generally go to sleep around ten or so, depends on what is on TV or if I am in the middle of writing. (Note: Nothing on TV has kept me awake lately because I won’t have cable until next Monday!) So I put on my PJ’s, brush my teeth, get a drink of water, settle down in my comfy bed and proceed to spend the next hour staring at my ceiling. I was in bed, but I wasn’t really tired yet.

Secondly, it isn’t until you have to change your clocks that you realize how many freaking clocks you have in your life. Yesterday I changed, in the span of the day:

Clock on Fridge
Clock on Microwave
Clock on Cellphone (turned it off and turned it back on)
Clock in car
Clock on Alarm
Clock on DVD player
Clock on radio
Three watches (one of which I still don’t have correct and need to pull the direction book out)
Guinness Clock

And those are just in my one bedroom apartment. I still have to venture up to my lake house and see what all needs to be changed up there!

But out of this grief did come a bit of humor. A friend of mine e-mail me this morning and asked if I ever have other people write for this blog, because she would like to contribute as Asleep On My Desk, since she fell asleep at her desk this morning. After laughing as I got the mental picture in my head, I told her that I am always up for having others contribute crazy work stories to share with others.

But now I have to go back to being confused about why it is nearly time to leave and still as bright out as it was at noon. Somehow I want to blame the Weather Channel

The Office Scribe

Friday, March 7, 2008

Weekend Movie Suggestion – PCU

Sometimes I find myself missing college.

And then I remember the following things about college and that feeling goes away:
- 3AM fire alarms
- Noisy sex from neighbors
- The freshman 15
- Tests
- Lack of personal space
- Basic Cable
- Realizing that people are filthy creatures when it comes to bathrooms

But still, sometimes I like to be reminded of a better college experience. So I turn to movies. Classics such as Animal House, Van Wilder, and Urban Legend help me feel like there are colleges out there that were better than mine. (And by “mine” I mean the three I went to. Yeah, it took me 6 years to get a BA.)

But last night, I watched one of my favorite movies about college life: PCU. If you don’t have Comedy Central, then chances are you may not have seen this gem.

The basic story is a young kid goes to visit Port Chester University as a pre-frosh to see if it will be the college for him. But the moment he steps off the bus, he realizes that college isn’t all it is cracked up to be. From being pared with a 7th year senior (Jeremy Piven) to being chased by all the politically correct kids on campus, one day in college is hell for this kid.

The story itself is kinda lame, but what I love is the characters. Piven is the leader of a slacker group who lives in an old fraternity house. David Spade is the head of an uber-conservative underground fraternity. George Clinton makes a cameo. Jon Favreau, who has gone on the be a director, is a stoner house member. It’s just an all around fun movie.

So check you basic cable listing to see if it’s being played 700 times this weekend on Comedy Central or move it to the top on NetFlix and kick back with a college experience that most likely looks nothing like what you went through.

The Office Scribe

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Things Are Slow

For the past couple days I have been trying to find something to write about. But as I look around my office, nothing is inspiring me. Everyone seems kind of run down and blah. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the economy. Who knows?

So instead, I will take the time to wish Dave a Happy Birthday! I know he reads this on a regular basis. So have a great time! Celebrate like you have never celebrated before. Get arrested and provide me with some fodder for this blog!

The Office Scribe