Friday, October 25, 2013

What kind of day are you having?

Earlier today someone, quite innocently, asked me how my day was going. Although I truly wanted to tell them, I did not, because I wasn't sure how much more could go wrong, if I started enumerating the problems.

Our alarm was set for 4:45 am to ensure that Annabel got to her basketball practice by 6:00 am. Because she is still really new to the team and the rules are strict about being tardy, I went to bed worried that I might not wake up in time. The less smart thing to do then, is just stay awake most of the night, in spite of using every technique I know to help with relaxation. But if you have stayed awake most of the night, then at least you are already awake when the alarm goes off so you don't have to worry about being late.

I got Annabel to school in plenty of time, which is about an 18 mile trip each way, through downtown Dallas, each way, and returned home in time to get Grace up and us ready to meet the carpool and me to work, all by 7:10 am. It was at this point, not feeling very secure in the outfit I have chosen, I ask Grace, "Do these shoes make my pants look too short?" Of course they did but I chose to default to a 15 year olds stamp of approval to the outfit I am leaving the house in, rather than take the time to try to change. So I realize that she is looking at the clock rather than the length of my pants because she hates to be late, and she quietly says, "No, they look fine". So then I press it a little more and ask if I have on too much black. Again, I see her glance at the clock, not sure of how much longer this barrage of questions will last, and knowing we have a very small window of getting to carpool on time, she again answers, "No, it looks fine too". So  in spite of my best efforts to receive honest feedback, I leave the house knowing my pants look like "high waters" and a color other than black might have been a welcome relief to my Johnny Cash impersonation.

My inability to sleep was also impacted with concerns about the program we were having today at work, a big one on Medicare, with lots of partnering groups to supply services and resources. Of course when you are trying to coordinate lots of groups, something is bound to go wrong and one of the key services had left a message that they would not be able to participate. OK, not the best, but we can make do.

When you are working with older adults, it is very important to have restrooms close by. Well, the closest restrooms were under construction, so we were having to route people down a long hall. An equally important part of any activities for older adults is the food you serve. Generally our catering staff does a top notch job on the food service, but this time completely missed the mark, and we had long lines just for a cup of coffee and trust me, seniors don't like to wait for coffee!

Then within 15 minutes of the start of a 3 hour program, 2 ladies grabbed their stuff and approached me at the exit. They had been sitting behind a man who had a real problem with the government and was being very verbal about it. That had caught their attention, but then when he left the room, but left his backpack behind, they became quite frightened and were about to evacuate, just sure that his backpack contained a means to get even with the government. I did a quick mental scan trying to place the person they were talking about and my mind went quickly to the thought of interrupting the speaker, and announcing a quick break, and for them not to feel alarmed but we needed to evacuate the premises immediately to allow the bomb sniffing dogs in. Thankfully the disgruntled citizen was found fairly quick giving an earful to the Medicare rep and that disaster was diverted when he returned to his seat to reclaim his backpack.

Thankfully our speaker did not miss a beat and continued with the program until the construction in the adjoining restrooms began to include some extremely loud sawing, which overpowered our sound system. Each time the sawing started, the speaker would pause, and the second he opened his month to continue, it would start again. When it finally subsided, the speaker continued until, only 15 minutes later, when the fire alarm went off. There seemed to be only 2 ways that the seniors reacted to that - either evacuate immediately or just sit tight and see what happens. So I am trying to found out if it is a false alarm or if we need to get the 150 people out of the auditorium and my speaker just kept talking.

When the alarm did not stop, I announced a 10 minute break only to realize we are out of coffee, pastries, and everything else that makes up a continental breakfast. I get all my help searching desperately for catering personnel, as I am scrambling to explain that refills are on their way or hoping they are at least.

It was at this moment, someone comes by and says, "How's your day going so far?". All I could think to say was, "Good" as I struggle to keep an eye out for the catering department, my ears tuned for the construction or "all clear" on the fire alarm, and trying to make sure that no one is angry enough at the government to be planting explosive devices. Oh and all of this happened before 10:00 am!

How was your day?

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