I have been hesitant to tell you about the 13 weeks of insanity we recently experienced at work while a coworker was out on maternity leave. That was until my boss (who reads this blog..Hi Boss!) and I were talking one day about the blog and I told her I'd had requests to blog about our "Temp" experience but wasn't sure if that was a good idea. We talked a little while longer about it and by the end of the conversation she said "It would be really funny and you do protect identities so go ahead, oh and don't forget the part about how she creeped me out every time I walked by." Ummm have I ever told you that my boss rocks? Yeah she does...totally.
So about this Temp....wow. Prior to her going on maternity leave my coworker whom we'll call Mrs. Pickle and I met her the day she came in for fingerprinting and she seemed a little strange but nice, based on the approximately 4 minutes we spent with her. And really since all we needed was someone who would show up every day and be able to answer the phone, she'd be fine.
The plan was that Temp would start a week or so before Mrs. Pickle went out on maternity leave so Mrs. Pickle could train her and show her the ropes, etc. As you may know, babies do what they want and wouldn't you know it, Mrs. Pickle's baby came early foiling the plan. She's such a cute baby we couldn't hold it against her. The following week Temp reported for duty, clueless as to what her responsibilities were and how to do them. Turns out the clueless thing wasn't just first day jitters. So yours truly got to step in and get her acclimated with her systems and duties, which trust me were very minimal. It was about an hour into Day 1 that I realized it was going to be a LONG 13 weeks. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that as all throughout our office you could hear the ding of Instant messenger saying things like "is this lady for real?" or "where did they find her?" or "did you hear that?". Oh just kidding about that Instant Messenger in our workplace is STRICTLY use for business purposes only. Since I'm becoming quite the experienced bloggist I knew that first day that this was going to make blog material some day so I started a list at my desk. But by the end of the 2nd day it became quite clear that since I already had a full time job I gave up on the list. Oh but the memories remain.
First let me start by showing you a picture of the Temp......
Seriously, the only difference is Temp wore glasses and didn't wear a cape. From here on out we shall call Temp, Grandpa Munster. No disrespect obviously it's just an observation.
So here are a few items as they were written on the notepad in my office from her first several days of employment:
"Bowing"-On her first day, she was having issues getting logged on to her computer. Her boss came out of his office and took the CAPS Lock off and viola! she was able to log in. That happens to the best of us sometimes, no big deal. But then when he went back into his office and she logged on, she walked to his office door and BOWED to him saying "Thank you thank you kind sir." I don't know about your workplace but bowing isn't a typical way to show appreciation where I work, you know given that we aren't located in, oh I don't know, China or something.
"Man Among Men"-She was having trouble operating the fax machine one afternoon when the Technology guy happened to be nearby and helped her out. She said loud enough for the whole office to hear "Jim, you are a MAN AMONG MEN." I think a simple thank you would've sufficed given the look on Jim's face.
"Pink"-This may come as a surprise to you but I have a fair amount of pink in my office. I know shocking right? So she walks in, looks around and says, "You like pink." I nodded my head and politely said, "Yes, yes I do." And then she said, "And do you know how I know you like pink? Because you have that pink thing and that pink thing and that pink thing (as she points out various objects in my office)....." Wow, thank you Mrs. Obvious, that was very observant of you. But really I like purple I was just trying to throw you off with the pink thing.
"Hooah"-The same day as the "Pink" visit she walked in again later and noticed a picture of GI Joe and I from the military banquet and said, "OHHHHH...your husband is in the military?"
"Yes, yes he is," I replied thinking to myself (what gave it away the haircut or the uniform?). She asked what branch and what he did, etc. I told her and then she said, "Give him a big HOOAH for me!" I looked at her, slightly puzzled and said, "Ummm I think that's a Marine thing, he's Army." And I'll be darned if she didn't stand there and give me a 7 minute argument about how the term Hooah was universal to all branches of service and EVEN SPELLED IT OUT FOR ME ON A SHEET OF PAPER. I asked her if she'd ever been in the military and she said, "No, I worked with the Red Cross but we worked very closely with the the military men." Wait a minute...the Red Cross? Oh yeah I remember how the Red Cross "works" with the military (see here: http://hillbillyhilarity.blogspot.com/2009/06/red-cross-we-have-emergency.html), No wonder we weren't headed for a life long friendship. So here was Miss I Worked for the Red Cross trying to tell Mrs. Army Wife of 12 years what's what in the military. You'd be proud because I exercised great self control and let her continue "hooah'ing" right on out of my office and for the rest of the day every time I walked past her desk. Then I picked up the phone and called GI Joe who confirmed what I knew all along, that it's a Marine thing and that Army really doesn't love the whole Hooah thing.
Aloha-Her main purpose for the 13 weeks was to answer the phone for a gentleman in our office, Mr. Pill, who is kind of a big deal within the company and has even bigger deals calling him constantly. That was her MAIN responsibility people...answering the phone, everything else had been delegated out or put on hold til Mrs. Pickle returned. Shortly after she started Mr. Pill went on a long vacation to Hawaii. (Coincidence? I think not!) I wish I were kidding when I tell you that pretty much every time she answered his phone during that two weeks, this is the greeting she used, "ALOHA!! Mr. Pill's office!" I can only imagine what the big wigs on the other end of that line were thinking, probably thinking they could really use a fruity drink w/ an umbrella in it right about then.
That is just a sampling from my notepad but there are other examples of the craziness. Let me tell you, Mrs. Pickle received numerous texts throughout her maternity leave that said things like "Are you sure you need 13 weeks? Just bring baby in, we'll set up a playpen." or "We miss you, we REALLY, REALLY miss you." She was amused and felt sorry for us but still insisted on taking her full 13 weeks...whatever Mrs Pickle. :)
Remember how my boss reminded me to tell how she got creeped out every time she walked by Grandpa Munster's desk? Let me tell you about that. There are 2 doors into our area, one right behind my office that goes out into a hallway, and one that requires you walk the length of the department, past some desks and the Munster Mansion to get out. By the door farthest from my boss and I (the one that you have to walk by Grandpa Munster) is our coffee bar. Every time my boss, Sharon, would make the trek to the Coffee Bar, Grandpa Munster who would be sitting at her computer with her back to where Sharon was walking, would spin around in her chair, and just stare at Sharon as she walked by. EVERY. TIME. If you ever meet my boss ask her to demonstrate this to you. She's demonstrated numerous times to Mrs. Pickle since she's returned along with telling her, "Don't do this to me (demonstrates chair spinning) or I'll have to fire you!" It got to the point where Sharon was so creeped out by Grandpa Munster's chair spinning/stalking that she began taking the outside hallway route just to avoid walking past her office.
If you read the Monkey Madness post (http://hillbillyhilarity.blogspot.com/2009/05/monkey-business.html) then you know that we go all out for birthdays at work. One guy in our area, Jeb, who we have nicknamed the Chicken Farmer, celebrated a birthday. Because we are 10, we decorated his entire desk and space with chickens and plastic eggs hanging from the ceiling. Grandpa Munster was oblivious as to why we had chosen that decor for Jeb but that didn't stop her from saying things like, "This SHELL be a day he'll never forget" or "Have an EGGCELLENT day." Seriously.
One day Mrs. Pickle and her husband who also works with us, brought Baby Pickle in. Grandpa Munster acted as if she'd known the Pickle family forever and talked about the baby as if she'd endured the previous 9 months of Mrs. PIckle's pregnancy with the rest of us. Odd. As we oohed and ahhed over the baby I noticed Grandpa taking all kinds of pictures. I thought perhaps Mrs. Pickle had given her the job of photographing Baby Pickle's first visit to work. Imagine how baffled I was when a few days later a 4 x6 glossy print of me holding Baby Pickle appeared on my desk. I called Mr. Pickle and thanked him for the picture to which he responded, "Uh that wasn't from me, I think Grandpa Munster did that, I got one too." That was borderline Hand that Rocks the Cradle. I bet she's got a framed picture of Baby Pickle proudly displayed in the castle somewhere.
Back to Grandpa Munster's stellar phone skills. Given that answering Mr. Pill's phone was her main priority and really the reason for her existence at our workplace she took it very seriously (and loudly). One day Mr. Pill had gone to lunch with a vendor when his boss called. Instead of just taking a message or advising him to try Mr. Pill on his cell phone Grandpa said, "Hold on one second, I know he'll want to speak to you, let me just call the restaurant where he went to lunch," and promptly put Mr. Important on hold. I could NOT believe my ears when she dialed the restaurant and said, "Yes, I'm looking for my boss who I believe is dining there, his name is Mr. Pill. Oh no one's there right now? Hmmmm...wonder where he snuck off to then?" Just about then Mr. HIll walked in the door and took the call, oblivious to the fact that the restaurant he'd just left had been questioned about his whereabouts. Speaking of tracking Mr. Pill down she stopped at nothing (besides calling his cell phone which apparently was foreign to her) to find him. One day Mr. Important called and wanted to speak with Mr. Pill right away. Grandpa Munster started traversing the entire building looking for him. She caught McDreamy coming out of the men's bathroom and asked him to go back in and see if Mr. Pill was in there and if he was to please send him out because he had a call from Mr. Important. I can only imagine the look on McDreamy's face, I'm sure it was less than dreamy, and his response. Needless to say, McDreamy did not locate Mr. Pill for her.
I've barely scratched the surface of the insanity we experienced for a 13 weeks but I think you get the picture...Grandpa was C-R-A-Z-Y. On her final day of employment she came into my office to thank me for all of my help (I really was nice to her, well except for writing this entire post about her, but I'm calling that therapy), and as she left she said, "Goodbye Pink Princess, goodbye," and then BOWED. I have no words.
I'm not a real touchy feely type person especially in the work place but don't think I didn't do cartwheels all the way down to Mrs. Pickle's office and give her a big ol' hug on her first day back, cuz I did and I'm not ashamed to admit it. You would've too if you'd just survived the longest 13 weeks known to man. We even had a treat day to celebrate. I think it made Mrs. Pickle feel good that she was so missed. We told her we were totally fine with her bawling at her desk all day from having to leave her baby and that she was free to yell at us and be mean if she wanted, as long as she didn't start bowing and saying Aloha.
To Mrs. Pickle-Welcome back and please, we beg of you, don't ever leave us again!!!
To Grandpa Munster-Thanks for the blog material and best of luck in your next gig. Universal Studios may have some openings for a Grandpa Munster stand in. Hooah!
To the Monkeys In Support Group-We made it and we lived to blog about it. Now we'll have to find alternate entertainment such as baking cakes in the microwave and celebrating made up holidays like Jeffukah.