Funny the World...


April 6, 2000

Angst.gif (449 bytes)Well, I did it. I blew up today. The final straw finally hit the camel's back and I told Debbie I was definitely thinking of quitting my volunteer job at the Homeless Shelter...and why. They called me to come in today in addition to my regular day, tomorrow, because "Debbie has another special project that needs to get done right away." Well these were, more or less verbatim, my instructions:

"I need you to check if all the information is entered. We can't tell. We discovered the problem. When you call up the thing there are three of them and two of them look like they're working, but they really aren't." I hadn't a clue what information she was talking about or what "the thing" was. When we finally got that figured out, Debbie was in conference with one of the social workers. We were five of us in a 12x12 office in 70+ degree heat with the windows closed and the fan shut off. I sat for 25 minutes while Debbie continued to talk to the social worker because she hadn't defined what it was she needed me to check--the desk and the floor were heaped with piles of papers in no order whatsoever.

Finally she showed me what she wanted me to do. I had the same problem I had last week--you can enter information but there is no way to tell if the information you've entered was picked up because when you call the same database entry back up again, everything is completely different from what you just entered. Debbie went on making excuses and finally I just started ranting (not screaming, but ranting loudly) that I was sick of coming in each week and doing the same thing over and over again and discovering the next week that whatever I'd done the previous week had somehow been screwed up, etc., etc., etc. Debbie kept trying to explain that she was under the gun and that the programmer was supposed to do this and that...and I KNOW she's under the gun but HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ANYTHING IF THEY DON'T GET THE BLOODY PROGRAM FIXED?????

I finally threw up my hands and said I'd do exactly what she told me and if the computer wasn't calculating the information that was their problem, not mine. I got about 1/3 of the way into the job when she came back with yet another rush job. This time we needed to run a database query so she could find out how many clients have used services in 1999 and what services they had used. This meant the programmer had to walk me through how to write a query on Microsoft Access over the phone. It took us half an hour to get it exactly right. Finally we had it! It gave the numbers! I printed the report, gave it to Debbie, she took one look at it and said "this is no good; we'll have to do it by hand." Why was it no good? Because THE DAMN PROGRAM IS NOT PICKING UP THE INFORMATION THAT IS ENTERED IN TO THE SYSTEM, THAT'S WHY!!!!! I've been saying this for MONTHS. There is also considerable operator error and omission, since so many people use the program, not all of them with much computer knowledge. The upshot was that our 30 minutes designing the query was for naught.

I went back to doing what I was doing before and finished that and Debbie gave me some more. Only then I discovered that the system now won't take duplicate entries. If John Smith is a client in 1998 and we have all his information about why he came and why he left and then he returns in 1999, the system tells me that I can't enter duplicate entries. At that point it was 10:30 and I told Debbie I had hit the wall and I just left. I haven't decided if I'm going back tomorrow, my regular day to volunteer, or not.

I went to the supermarket and did a week's shopping, bought flowers, went to the cemetery, put the flowers on the kids' graves and had a mini meltdown. So I did the only logical thing--I had potato chips and Snickers for lunch.

But the day got better. A few days ago I reported here that Tuesdays with Morrie was the book I enjoyed most last year and that I'd enjoyed it so much that I'd bought it four times and kept giving it away to friends. Today the doorbell rang and there stood the mailman handing me a box from containing a copy of Tuesdays with Morrie sent by my friend Laura, who had read this journal. Is that a sweet person, or what?

I decided to take a short 30 minute nap this afternoon...the transcription I was doing was putting me to sleep. I swear the telephone is somehow wired to my brain waves. I can sit here all day long every day, day after day, week after week and never get a phone call. But let me close my eyes and actually fall asleep and the phone rings. It never fails. Since I almost always fall asleep within 1 minute of closing my eyes, I can say with fair certainty that today the phone rang 6 minutes after I fell asleep. And of course by the time you get up and answer the phone, you are no longer sleepy, so kiss that nap goodbye. It happens with such consistency, it's almost funny--if it didn't make me so cranky.

The day ended well. We had been invited to a reception for the installation of our new mayor, Ken Wagstaff. The reception took place at a Mexican restaurant, where they served hors d'oeuvres, fajita fixings, lots of guacamole and chips, and a delicious strawberry shortcake for dessert. We sat with Ellen and Shelly, the organizers of the No on Prop 22 campaign and the organizers of Davis' Gay Pride Day. We laughed a lot. At some point a cameraman came to take a picture of our table. Ellen was sitting next to Walt and the photographer asked her if Walt was her husband. She said yes, and then told me "It was easier; I'm borrowing him." So when he went to take the picture, she cuddled up to Walt and I put my arm around Shelly. I figure this photo is good for all sorts of gossip around town!!

Now I have to go to bed and decide if I'm going to work at the Shelter again tomorrow....

<-- To previous page

To next page -->

To Bev's Home Page

created 4/6/00 by Bev Sykes