Have you ever had a spell in which it seemed like every possible thing in your life is out to annoy the ever-living stuffing out of you? That has been my week.
I had been dealing with fatigue and a bit of brain fog from a recent “bug” going around – a home test and a $189 co-pay quick trip to an urgent care facility confirmed it was not COVID, this time.
So, my internal calendar has been off schedule for a while. When The Boss strolled in on Monday and asked if I was ready for this week, I gave him a side eye and responded this week would be a breeze, but next week would be chaotic due to our convention.
He blithely responded, “convention is THIS weekend.”
Not only was I a week behind schedule, but there is a ton and a half of prep work which needed to be done. Both at work and at home.
Since then, I have been frantically scrambling to get everything accomplished. This of course when the “office gremlins” arrived, bringing their buddies, “universal irritations.” Office gremlins generally make certain that nearly every piece of office equipment suddenly needs some sort of random repair.
The copier reconfigures documents, so they are not copying correctly, the ink cartridges leak everywhere, the phones sound like a demon is screaming in the background, the postage meter eats the mail, and the computers start glitching. Yesterday, the power went out for a time, just as I finished a large data base – before saving it. A shipment of supplies has disappeared.
Universal irritants are everything else that can go wrong. For example, while doing bank deposits, I made a detour and picked up a frozen ice cream treat. When I opened the lid, it sort of blew up in my face, ice cream on my clothes, steering wheel, car seat, the whole nine yards. The teller at the bank saw the whole thing and he was amused by my dilemma.
When I ran out of the emergency napkin stash in the car, I grabbed a package of baby wipes. Apparently, they had been in the car for too long because when I wiped my face off, they dissolved into basically a wad of fluffy lint which was sort of sticky and hard to remove.
This is of course, when my telephone rang for a Facetime conference call with colleagues from our international office. We had an entire seven-minute conversation during which I not only had a glob of chocolate on my forehead and on the end of my nose, but the rest of my face had what looked like a coating of fuzz. Not exactly the way I wanted to present myself.
On the way home that evening, I stopped off to pick up a couple of items at the store and made a terrible discovery. According to young store clerks, I am old. I was having a hard time finding panty hose and a slip, and when I asked a clerk where they had been moved to, she looked at me blankly.
She had no idea what I was talking about. I had to describe those items to her, and you could practically see the lightbulb in her head come on, right before she said, “oh yeah, my grandma wears those.”
The store did not have any in stock. Neither did the next two. I finally discovered panty hose, but was left wondering, what the heck are women wearing under their skirts when no seems know what a slip is?
Convention set up begins today, and of course this morning, the dashboard on the car lit up with a message telling me to check engine, check tire pressure, and refill the washer fluid. It was like synchronized timing for maximum irritation.
I am certain that for our event attendees, everything will appear to go smoothly and without a hitch, which is how we want it to appear. Then next week will be spent dealing with event aftermath.
However, for the next couple of day, there will be a battle of wits against gremlins and irritants and our small team will be scrambling to make certain everyone leaves the convention feeling like they received good value for their time and resources.
Even if, behind the scenes, there is a whole lot of duct tape and prayers holding everything together.
A longtime newspaper columnist for the Circleville Herald, Sarah Roush may be reached at email@example.com