With Memorial Day weekend, and my wonderful trip, turning into a distant memory, I had to return to work on Tuesday, and look forward to being 'a man down'. Samantha's dad was coming to visit and she was going to have to take some time off....again!
The week before had been somewhat of a challenge, to say the least, with a computer crash. We had lost part of Tuesday's entries, and three of Wednesdays, and Dana was attempting to 'rebuild the index'. Fortunately, when it comes to an administration disaster, I am able to cope, and from a small database that I created for myself a few years ago, I had enough information to tick over. It was when the expert came in to help recover the loss, and Dana said, 'Well I could have done that on Wednesday, I just didn't want to lose Tuesday's data', did I get ever so slightly irritated!! Having to 'rebuild' a relatively average day's data would have been preferable to re-entering three days work, two of which were, thankfully, manic! However, that was last week and I was not going stress over something that had passed. I had new things to stress about, to wit, managing without my girl Friday!
Our first emergency was easily resolved. We received a call from an attorney who had a paper to be delivered, downtown, that very
morning. It was all very simple; the attorney was at the Hilton hotel, and he needed us to go to the Omni hotel, where the recipient was waiting. I offered to walk the block and a half to collect the documents, and as it was not too hot, and my shoes were not too high, this would be a simple task. I set off a little after eight, and arrived at the restaurant at the back of the hotel shortly after the initial phone call. As the maitre d' had no idea whom her patrons were, she could not direct me to a table. However, I had the phone number of the gentleman who had the papers, and I called. Picture the scene. Four men sitting at table eating breakfast. A woman approaches wearing a dark leopard skin print dress, not too high shoes, and holding a telephone (no bag). One of the gentleman stands, retrieves his wallet from the inside pocket of his jacket and proceeds to take something out. Would that look suspicious? I hasten to add, the woman was middle aged (much as I hate to admit it), and the 'something' was a business card, although that was not necessarily seen by all observing. Obviously, to the waitress, there was something not quite right, as she approached the table, coffee pot in hand, and said; 'Is everything okay here?', all the time looking not at the men to whom she had pointed the question, but at me, through squinted eyes. When they assured her that they were 'doing good', she responded, 'Are you sure?', never taking her gaze from mine. Not once did she offer them a refill on their coffee. Not entirely convinced, she hovered around the area, and continued to stare, as the attorney took a folded document from his briefcase, handed it to me, and I slipped it into the envelope which I had brought with me, to protect the paper on the way back to the office. The comment of, 'that's what I call great service', did little to defuse the situation, and I was shooed out of the restaurant by the eyes that never opened fully. Perhaps it was a little wicked of me to raise my eyebrows, and give her a 'knowing' smile, but I could not resist!
The mayhem continued, and despite being overwhelmed with the additional admin nightmare, I opted to take a trip to the post office. I don't think I would have ever imagined a time when I would have considered such an outing to be a stress reliever! However, as always, there was something to make me smile. I had two items that had to go abroad, one to China and one to Taiwan. After waiting in line for a few minutes, it was my turn to take my place at the counter. Several people wanted to have their picture taken for their passport applications, and the two resident ladies were taking turns in providing their photography skills. One, it appeared, considered the other to be more proficient, as the person whom was posing was shaking her head as the likeness was shown. 'No. Not good!' was the answer, each time. Finally, a compromise was accomplished, and my teller came back to deal with my international. She looked at my envelopes, and returned them to me with a pair of scissors, a roll of 'gum' paper, and a sponge in a bowl of water. Looking somewhat confused, it was explained that I to put the gummed paper over every possible opening of the envelope. Certain that my effort would have afforded me a 'Blue Peter' badge, (sorry, non-Brits, you will have to google!) I stood back behind the counter, and presented my finished product. Unfortunately, like the photographs, it was 'not good'. Although I did not receive a big red 'X', I felt like I was back at school, in second grade art class, but did not argue, and went back to the corner to 'try again'.
Eventually, my attempt was given the 'thumbs up', and I completed the cards to attach, for a return receipt. The lady who had been sitting on the high chair waiting for the perfect portrait, had gone back to her car to, supposedly, pick up her completed application form, but had not returned. With a pile of prints, worthy of a decent vacation collection, sitting upon the counter, it was the general consensus of opinion (staff and customers alike) that the post office employees had, indeed, been duped. The would be world traveller was not coming back to collect! Everyone gave their opinion as to what to do with the pictures, but in the absence of the postmaster they decided to keep them for the 'boss lady' to make the final decision. This tactic was approved by all staff and customers alike! Reluctantly, I left the Austin Soap Opera, wishing everyone a nice day, and thanking the ladies behind the counter for, once again, providing one of the best half hours worth of entertainment.
My weekend, compared to last, has been rather uneventful. Samantha was not around to take me shopping, so I went down to the pool for a delightful afternoon of swimming and reading. I doubt I will ever take this wonderful experience for granted, a sentiment with which my German neighbour concurs. Sitting for hours in the sunshine and leaving the world behind, each weekend, is my idea of paradise. We had taken the dog on Saturday afternoon, in case Samantha and Co wanted to go downtown and have a late night, and I was not happy about Frank being left for several hours, possibly until dawn. (It has been mentioned that I am more concerned about the dog's welfare than my daughters, which is most amusing to all who have known me for decades). Dana was delighted as he was having withdrawal symptoms. In fact the dog was not only missed by Dana, but by our process servers, one of whom offered to pick him up and bring him to the office, and the UPS truck man, who said that he would be glad to pick him up and deliver him back after his days delivery.
As the sun went down on Sunday evening, showing me what a bad job I made of cleaning the glass panels in the french windows leading to my bedroom balcony (completely smeared!), watching a movie, I was reminded that I have another two days of being Samantha (or half Samantha, as Kelly picks up the other half of the slack). I wondered what the week ahead would bring, when my computer screen went black. As my battery is dead, and I have to rely upon the electricity, I checked the outlet, which appeared to be okay. It was the bang that did not seem to be okay! I was rather purtubed. If it was the computer itself, I would have to get another (sounds so easy!) and then worry about everything that was 'lost' on this one (not so easy!) but the large crack in the transformer was the problem, and as you can see, my having to go without the technical advancement of the modern day age will, fortunately, (for all I would guess) NOT be...........another story.