Bulletin Board Drama

So, apparently, someone creates a collage of sorts and uses the bulletin board in the back hallway of the office to thank the volunteers who work here all summer. This year, I get to do it.

You might think this is a simple task, but it’s the opposite. In previous years, they have taken mug shots of every volunteer and just stuck them up there with some sort of “Thank you!” message. This year, nobody remembered to do this until July, so the volunteers were scattered throughout the park. At first, I tried tracking them down, but this proved to be time-consuming and tedious.

Sometimes people wouldn’t let me take their pictures because they were too sweaty/had bad hair/didn’t do their makeup that day and so they’d offer to come into the office later. The ones that did usually came on my days off, so that didn’t help. Some of them didn’t live in the park and some of them didn’t work that often, so tracking these folks down turned into a fiasco.

So, instead of killing myself trying to hunt everyone down, I thought I’d do a more fun board and use fewer pictures. The plan was to involve a couple group shots of volunteers at the visitor center and at their campers, but I was informed by one of the secretaries that if I didn’t include ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE, people would get angry.

ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE includes a list of names that’s three pages long.

Seriously? Over a bulletin board that most people don’t even see? Are these people five years old? If this summer has taught me anything, it’s that as some people get older and older, they tend to act younger and younger.

But apparently it’s a big deal, and if I include one I have to include them all. I was stumped for a while until one of the girls I live with came into the office and suggested I include everyone’s name and just forgo the photos.

Eureka!

So here I sit, tediously cutting out letters to spell out “Thank you volunteers!” and trying to figure out what I’m going to do. And if anybody has a problem with the finished product, they can come “Down Under” and complain directly to me.

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Outsmarted by an inanimate object…again.

I walked into the office a few minutes ago after returning from a much-needed long holiday weekend. This morning had been a flurry of emails and “Oh yeah, I need to do that like, right now.” But after the noon hour and running a couple errands, things had calmed down.

That’s when the secretary spoke up.

“Oh Anna,” she said innocently, “I need your timesheet.”

The timesheet; the bringer of death and mathematics. The killer of souls and keeper of time. The timesheet.

Pay weeks are weird here, and so you have to remember your hours aren’t just counted on a normal 7-day, Monday through Friday work week. Instead, it usually ends up with a week and a third or two weeks and a couple days being on one timesheet while the rest filters over onto the next pay period, and then numbers and Satan get together and make you forget which days were on last week’s timesheet and…have I lost you yet?

I thought so.

For once though, that wasn’t even the problem. I had kept track of the work week and filled out my timesheet correctly, but the universe had found a way to screw it up again. The secretary’s mention of the dreaded timesheet made me remember that right before leaving for the weekend I had put it in one of my desk drawers. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, but my desk is old, wooden and magical. It oftentimes uses its magic to selectively lock some of the drawers and won’t let me into them until it feels like it.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

So, I went “Down Under” and proceeded to try and break into my desk. I pulled upwards, downwards, left and right until I was almost sweaty, but the drawer wouldn’t budge. Mind you, other drawers on my desk remained open with no problem. It was like the stupid piece of lumber and nails was giving me attitude because it knew I was helpless.

I gave up. One of the guys upstairs said he had a hammer and other supplies that I might be able to use to get into my magic desk, so he got them and we returned to see what damage I could inflict with tools I didn’t really know how to use (He had something called a kitty wrench? Or something? Such an odd name for a tool…). As we approached the big, hulking piece of wood, he said, “Did you open the middle drawer?”
“What?” I asked.
“The main middle drawer, like right where you sit?”
“Oh…no?” I answered confusedly. “Why would that matter?”

By that time I was already at my desk and had proceeded to open the empty middle drawer. I was in the middle of still being confused as to why that mattered when I tried the magical locked drawer and it opened with a sad thud, revealing my timesheet.

“Sometimes, if you shut that drawer in the locked position, it locks every other drawer in the desk,” he explained kindly.

I’ve never felt so stupid in my life. I’ve always considered myself slightly mechanically inclined – I’ve taken apart and reassembled too many strings of Christmas lights to count, I can put together desktop computers, I know the ins and outs of hot water heaters, I’ve installed my own headlights and windshield wiper blades, and for Pete’s sake, I’ve sat at desks before. But this stupid piece of colorless wood outsmarted me. I am humbled.

Living Down Under

Let’s talk about my office.

I absolutely love that one of the seasonal volunteers coined it “Australia” because it’s “Down Under.”

You’ll see.

The guy who showed me to my office immediately got this sad, apologetic look on his face when he realized who I was.

“It’s in the basement,” he said as he led me down a twisted, skinny hallway.

That’s fine. I don’t mind basements.

That’s when we turned a corner and were met with a dark, descending set of skinny stairs. I was still on board because, hey, I got a freaking office! But the guy showing me the place appeared to be getting more and more uncomfortable.

“You don’t have to spend all your time down here,” he said. “The laptop can pick up Wi-Fi all over the building, so you can come upstairs whenever you want.”

When we reached the bottom of the stairs, I realized that I was standing next to an old bank vault door that proudly read “Cottonwood State Bank.” For a terrifying second, I thought my office was going to be in an old bank vault, but thankfully he opened the door opposite it.

“I’m sorry,” was all he said.

But I didn’t know why. I have an office, and that’s really exciting for a 20-something college student. Granted, it’s dark, cold, and has no windows. I’ve also been told that its former inhabitant was a hoarder, which is apparent by the amount of paper bits and rubber bands scattered around on the dirty carpet. Its most endearing feature is the mouse trap in the corner; it’s not loaded with anything and has been obviously set off by something.

But I have an office! Cool, right?

I have to say that my bosses have been really nice and said that I’m free to roam wherever I want to work and that I don’t have to stay “Down Under,” but to be honest, I kind of like it down here. I’ve always been a cave-dweller of sorts – my bedroom growing up was in a basement with no windows and I always have a tendency to sit in chairs that reside in corners so that I have walls to my back.

In a way, this office makes this job even better. It’s like they knew me before I even showed up for my first day.

Now, I suppose I should reset the mouse trap…