Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stupid Stick

Today I got hit with the stupid stick. Repeatedly. And hard. Below is just part of the many things that went awry.

First, a little background: Normally, I don't work summers. Or, to be exact, I work one day a month in July and August to protect my benefits. Before you get all, Oh it must be nice!, remember that those "days off" are reflected in my paycheck. This year I am working Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August. Nancy is sticking with the we-don't-DO-summers plan (oh sure, she says it's because of Ken... ahem... okay, it's because of Ken).

Because it's summer school, the kids are only available for a shortened day. Also, I'm down to about half of my classes. Of those, not everybody is ready yet.

I've got a buttload of jobs waiting to be done. Big jobs. Short turnaround times.

So my sense of urgency was already heightened. Add to that the employer who was giving jobs to two classes today couldn't get their stuff ready until after 10:30.

Once I had the first job and was heading out to Chino, another employer called. She was desperate. I stopped on the way.

After getting the second job from the first employer, another class called. She had paperwork ready. She wanted work. She was desperate for something to do with the kids since her class had been "grounded" by the department head.

I stopped and gave Desperate Teacher the job from Desperate Employer. Then I was on to the "second" class. Their day was almost over. They'd been looking for me for almost two hours.

At that school I had to drive my personal vehicle onto campus. Because of construction, I had to go about a quarter of a mile out of my way to get in and to get out.

This is relevant, why?

Because half a mile is about how far I was from the nearest gas station when my car display started flashing, "Pull over safely now. Pull over safely now." And then it died.

Sure, my car has a gas gauge.

And yeah, it was showing, "60 miles from E" when I left home this morning.

Mm-hmm, it is about 45 miles from my door to Grandma's.

And yeah, that first school in Chino and the one at the end of the day are roughly 28 miles apart if I go straight from one to the other.

So there I sat in my hybrid on the side of the road, calling roadside assistance through my cell phone company.

"Yes ma'am, how can I help you today?"

"I need the stupid service, please"

Clearly nervous about heading in the wrong direction: "Uh. You... you me... you mean you need yoouurrr... keys... your... uh... car... unlocked?"

Pondering the fact that there are a multitude of stupid services and wondering how long before I try them all... again: "No. I need gas. I have a hybrid and I ran out of gas anyway. And it has a display to tell you exactly how many miles until you're on E."

Not sure why I always have to make sure the person on the other end knows the depth of my idiocraty (yep, now I'm making my own stupid words, too), but I do.

Apparently I was contagious, because she contacted a service company that was about 30 miles away.

While waiting, I rolled my windows down only part way because I needed to make a bunch of calls. Some work-related. One to Mom to see if she could get Corey to his counseling appointment at 2:45.

Once the seven minutes of electric power turned off after the car died, I couldn't get the windows down any further. It was 95 degrees outside and I was stuck on a major thoroughfare in a no parking zone.

When the guy finally arrived in all the glory of his seven hairs and three teeth, he asked, "So, the gauge not working on that thing?"

"Nope. It's fine. I just got hit with the stupid stick."


"Yes, exactly."

When I finally dragged myself back to my office this afternoon, I passed by a conversation in progress between my boss and someone else.

My boss said, "She has doctor's appointments! Three of them!"

I breezed by saying, "And they're all mental health, too. What do you expect? I've got a teen, a toddler, a puppy and a new house. I'm doing the best I can, people!"

Next up was the reason I even went to the office in the first place. Mileage for June had to be submitted today because it's the end of the fiscal year. Last month's mileage was my biggest ever. We can really use that money right now.

But apparently we'll have to wait, because I noticed that I didn't change my entire address on the mileage form. Everything is correct except the street name. Guh!

As I was trying to resolve the mileage problem, my cell phone kept ringing. The second time it was Mom, I answered it.

"I just got a call from Corey. He's already almost done. His appointment wasn't at 2:45, it was at 2:15."

So the good news is this: I got my car washed. I made it through the day. And I am off tomorrow! Yay hooray!

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