Monday morning, we were early! Having set everything up on Sunday, to ensure the smooth transition, all that was left to do was to see if we could work in our new environment. I could not! We were trying out a new form of wifi, to which I could not connect, and so my efficiency level was down by a considerable percentage. Living without social media for a day was not particularly difficult, but I was having to answer work related emails from my tablet, using a stylus as I could not find a clear space, on my fabulous new desk, upon which to set it down. However, the early start, and late finish enabled us to clear our workload before heading out to 'shop' for a few more items to make us proficient! A fridge was a necessity. We had discarded the old, small unit with the anticipation of a nice, slightly larger, newer model. The 'freezer' compartment in the old model was a little too 'literal', and just 'froze' whethere there was anything in it, or not. The day after defrosting, it would be so packed with ice that it was impossible to put anything in there. However, when something already frozen was placed in said section, it would melt as rapidly as the ice around it formed! I needed a new fridge! Also on the list was a microwave and a new work laptop, to save my old yet trusty machine from being transported back and forth each day.
The sales assistant in the 'Do it Yourself' store was rather vague. Apparently, if all we were looking for was a fridge with a small freezer, the one we selected was perfect. I erred on the side of caution and confirmed that all we were looking for was a fridge with a small freezer. Dana, however, was less astute, and asked, 'What else do you need from a fridge?' The 'show and tell' part of the sale started, and as the enthusiasm of the salesperson started to grow, Dana was introduced to the spaceship models, that will freeze, defrost, and probably cook your meals, should the need arise, and looked like they had a function to drive you to the supermarket for a restock, which would be very convenient as their price tag was more than that of a small car! I left half way through the performance to check out the microwaves, which appeared to have very similar functions! After a while, I chose to come back and rescue my husband, who now knew the attributes of the entire refrigeration department. 'We will take the first one, please', I announced, in a firm, but kind, manner. Unfortunately, the only model they had was the one on the shop floor, and this could not be delivered until the following Monday. After a slight haggle, we agreed on a price, and booked a time for it to be shipped across the freeway to our new office.
The computer selection was much easier. I chose a simple screen model, that had various outlets for various accessories that I am sure I will not use, and other drives that I currently have on my laptop. The assistant who came to help was not as knowledgeable about her wares, as was the gentleman with the fridge, but fortunately, the display notes sufficed! 'Would you recommend this one, as opposed to this?', was responded to with the words, 'I can see if they have a box to put it in out back'. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and considered that the ear piece she was wearing prevented her from hearing my request, and repeated the question. Looking slightly concerned, she called another assistant to help, and repeated that she was sure there was a box 'out back'. Her colleague was, indeed, much more helpful, and our purchase was made once they had found the box 'out back'.
We drove to Joe's Tuesday morning, and enjoyed a cup of coffee and twenty minutes of 'putting the world to rights', before battling the rather heavy traffic back to the office. Unfortunately, the trip back puts us in the middle of the 'into' town path, but once the 'downtown' traffic had veered to the right, the road was quite clear. We were able to hurry up and were only four minutes late! A mental note was made that we needed 30 minutes for the return journey and an earlier start would be in order to ensure an enjoyable third of an hour meeting, perhaps twice a week! Samantha had made a 'final' appointment with the 'wedding venue' for Tuesday, and we set off at 10am, so that we could do some 'essential' shopping on the way. I found a very nice microwave in one store, and picked up some frames in the craft store for (yet more) pictures. We got back into the car, and were two minutes away from the nuptials location when she realised the appointment was for the following day. I suggested she call and see if it was possible to 'fit us in', as I was not going to be able to take another two hours away from work. Fortunately, the young girl with whom we were to meet was available, and willing to 'fit us in' for a quick final rundown. I am sure she was confused as to why we needed a quick final rundown as our questions were a repetition of those asked in all previous meetings. She did agree, however, that if anything went wrong no one would be any the wiser!
Dana and I did not leave the office until after 7pm. As I exited our rooms, I was greeted by a very friendly neighbour, who introduced herself and welcomed me to the building. I was rather grateful that she had not seen me five minutes earlier, when I had exited the ladies restroom with a washing up bowl and drainer full of dishes. As we do not have running water in our unit, the washing of cups and crockery has become an art form. The ladies is equipped with large sinks and tall taps. At first, my concern for hygiene was high, but it appears that I am not the only one who is tasked with the au pair duties! All dirty objects are placed in one bowl, which I then take to be washed. I then put the drainer in another bowl, and once washed, place the dishes on the drainer. The water then runs into a bowl, which I can empty into my plants. Recycling at its best!
I did not go into work early on Wednesday, as I had a nail appointment. Instead I spent the couple of hours before leaving the house, preparing (again) my spare rooms for visitors. I left the house with fifteen minutes to spare. Fortunately, I was far enough away from my manicurist to be able to speed up, and maneuvered in and out of the traffic in full 'taxi driver' mode. I had forgotten how busy the freeway gets after 7:30am. After having my nails transformed into cherry blossom trees, (she is a genius!) I went to the office supply store to retrieve a reorder of envelopes. It is amusing how 'compliments' can come in strange ways. The lady behind the desk was what my grandmother would have called a 'handsome' woman. Not unattractive, but well built. She took one look at me and said, 'He has sent you!' The heavy boxes were loaded on to a 'dolly', by said handsome woman, and lifted, with ease, into my car. I was most grateful for the help, and the backhanded compliment.
Once back at the office, I took a little time to set up the kitchen area (which in reality is a long storage space at the back). Having placed the microwave on a temporary stand, I called my colleagues to show them 'how clever am I!' Jason immediately noticed the shape, and asked whether I received a discount for damage. In my haste, to get things up and running I had failed to observe that the appliance was buckled. I had assumed that the corners were rounded for effect, and had not noticed that the sides were not even, and did not see the enormous crease in the back. The side of the box should have alerted me but as it was so heavily packed with Styrofoam, I did not give it a second thought! Edward came to the rescue. Bearing donuts and kolaches he arrived at the office shortly after me, and left a while later with microwave in hand, heading to the store to get a replacement. What a blessing!
We were late Friday morning. We left our house at 7:50 am, and were stuck at the lights for a total of four changes. The filter that allows the left turn lane to 'have a turn' only appears to come into action when there is no real need for it to do so. During rush hour traffic, it doesn't work. Unfortunately, living 'next door', we were not able to speed up and arrived a couple of minutes late. At the end of our first week, we had determined that there was no 'happy medium', with the residents of our office. They were either very friendly, and welcomed us, or passed us with their heads down and did not utter a word. 'Good morning' was alien to 50%!
The dog, who is on probation, behaved rather well, and did not bark excessively at everyone who entered our space during the week. He was trapped behind a gate, which also separates me from the rest of the office crew.
We left late, again, Friday evening. Being used to having our own 'front door', I forgot, when I took the Fed-ex to the drop box, which is conveniently located by the next building, that the front door automatically locks after six! Fortunately I did have my phone with me, and had to call to ask Dana to let me back in! I waited patiently for him to complete all his tasks. Driving home for the last three months, Dana has repeatedly told me that we would be home much earlier and actually 'have a life'. As we drove into our complex later than I had hoped, I told Dana, 'Wow, it's only 8:30. If we were officing downtown, we would have been home for over an hour!' He failed to see the humour! He did promise that once he was proficiently set with a few more pieces of furniture (suspended from the ceiling, no doubt, as we have already crammed 1400 square feet into 900) he will be able to maximise his efficiency, and I shall indeed be home before turning into a pumpkin!
Saturday was very welcome! It seemed strange not going into the office, as I had been there for seven days in a row. A break from routine was what the doctor ordered. We thought the 'wiener dog races' at the local park would be a short respite for us. However, when we arrived, there were half a dozen quadrupeds, standing by bewildered bipeds, all wondering, 'where is the show?' As if by some unseen force, all thought to check their androids at the same time, and found the amusement for the morning had been postponed for a month. The quadrupeds did not seem to be bothered, but the bipeds were very perturbed. Frank did seem to be satisfied with a quick sniff before we walked him back to the car. Once deposited at our house, waiting for 'poppa Dane', we continued with our day. Costco was broken! We thought we had hit the jackpot with an empty car park but found out that their generator had failed, and there was no electricity. The consequences of this disaster were realised when we returned later, and found that they had been unable to set up the 'taster' stands, and therefore, we were forced to shop without snacks! After collecting my photographs, we migrated to the baking aisle and I watched with amusement as Samantha attempted to lift the 50lb bag of bread flour into our cart. A spritely, but frail, aging gentleman came forward to help, but I politely declined his offer! I did help load it into the car!
Samantha had told Edward she would probably be home no later than four, as they had plans for the evening. Filing up with petrol at 4:15 was our last stop, and being a few miles from home, we were able to hurry up to get back within fifteen minutes. It took us about that long to unload the car, and she went on her way. The dog was going to have sleepovers with the grandparents, which was not my first choice. However, I believe that the last time I looked at the clock it was a little after nine, and vaguely remember mentioning that it was just gone midnight when I woke for a few seconds to mention that it was just gone midnight. If the dog fidgeted during the night, I did not notice, and if anyone else fidgeted I did not notice. I do not remember the last time I slept so soundly!
Samantha had promised to be over early to retrieve her puppy, and did, indeed arrive early....early afternoon! I still had a few things to clear away in my kitchen but for the most part I was ready to hurry up and get myself ready for work in the morning. Dana has already promised an 'early' start!
I have prepared a list for next week. The first item is to find a key for the electricity outlet so I can turn everything off in our unit by 6, and shout; 'Power cut! We have to leave now'. The second item (which will probably become the first, as the first is probably a little out of reach) is to badger the local authorities to make sure the 'left turn filter', at the traffic lights, is turned on during rush hour, rather than when no one is on the road to use it! I am assured that the second week will be less of a trial than the first, as we start to settle in 'proper'. Our 'Side Show' should turn into a well rehearsed performance before too long, and I should be able to return to finding more amusing quips for .............. another story.