Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did I scare you?

We've all noted that none of us has ever seen Special K enter the restroom here in crazyland, aside from the one time that L caught her in there blowing her nose after the Long Haired One instructed her to do so. This is a particularly amazing feat when one considers that she commutes well over an hour each way to get to work. So to top off the numerous skills and special qualities we've mentioned, Special K can apparently "hold it" for at least 12 hours at a time.

I, on the other hand, find myself in the ladies' room periodically. And so when I was exiting the ladies' room and encountered Special K just outside the door, I didn't think that much of it. Except that she got a deer in headlights look, completely froze, and stared me down for a couple of seconds before blurting, "I am so sorry, did I scare you?! Excuse me."

I couldn't really manage much more than a look of disbelief and a slight shake if the head. No, Special K, you didn't scare me. I realize that I work in a small office, and that being the only one who works downstairs, I encounter the others less frequently than most people probably do in a normal work setting. Still, I recognize that I might just run into someone every now and then.

Maybe I should just learn to hold it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eureka, Redux

We had a situation here a few weeks back: the sole scanner in our organization broke. As it happens, it sits in my office, along with one of two color printers we possess. Without giving too much away, a scanner is integral to the work we do here. To put it in GRE terms, Pabst Blue Ribbon is to a dive bar as a scanner is to Crazyland. We just gotta have one.

I warned the Long-Haired-One a few weeks before its demise that our poor device was on its last leg. An action plan was formulated at that time, to deal with the scanner’s impending death. S was in on the deal, working tirelessly, calling for advice from our IT contractor, comparing prices of recommended models and checking in occasionally on our dying model’s prognosis. We were all worried sick.

During one of our weekly, bi-weekly, postponed staff meetings, we discussed the next scanner step, with each of us being asked what our scanning needs were and how they might best be addressed in the new model. We all gave our input, and Special K nodded furiously with every response, taking notes like the famed fiddler plays in the “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” It was finally decided that two machines would be purchased since the old one may have died from overuse.

This was a relief to us all. Of course the potential two new scanners were discussed at every weekly, bi-weekly, postponed staff meeting for weeks after, and when the old machine finally took its last breath, we all secretly celebrated the new order. One scanner has since arrived, with the next one, a larger, more impressive one, to come in the new year.

So it makes perfect sense that Special K would wander into my office today with some documents to scan for the Long-Haired One, inquiring if the scanner still worked. I recall that is was she who took delivery of the box, beaming as she came to tell me that our new device had arrived. When I informed her that we had a new scanner that definitely worked, she shook her head incredulously and inquired why we didn’t just get two scanners. “Wouldn’t that be easier?” She asked.

She returned about an hour later with the good news: we will be getting a second scanner!

What can brown do for you, you ask?

Although we get really wrapped up in the weirdness that is Special K, we have some other odd characters around here. MACK has been mentioned before. But there's also a rather creepy UPS dude who totally has the hots for our sweet little intern, A. I allowed her to guest blog here about him--partially because she has just been hired on as my assistant. It's only right that we all share the crazy around here.

Well let me first say that it’s an honor to be guest posting here on TheDailyFaxEmailBlog. The cult following is growing.

My story begins as I am diligently working here in Crazyland as the resident gopher (aka intern). You can call me A. M and I work on the bottom floor, the only two employees down here, condemned to work next to the cold and blustery warehouse. We also have the annoying job of having to answer the front and back doors when any visitors ring (of which there is a weird assortment every day), even though there is a buzzer system. For some reason K, and the outsiders sometimes, cannot seem to figure this out because we still have to open the doors while she runs down the stairs (I don’t want to be there the day she falls down them… ouch). The added luxury of having a video surveillance monitor on her desk must be too mind-boggling. Any who, it is on one of these trips that I let in the Usually un-Pleasant Suspect (Mr. UPS) and receive, along with a package, some creepy vibes. It begins with “the look,” accompanied with a smile too eerie for words, and is usually followed by some scheme to find out my name. This time he straight out asked for my FIRST name (I know how deliveries work and its last names you ask for) and hopefully just pretended to punch it into his little scanner machine. Yuck. Then on the way out he playfully asks me if people call me by A___ (nickname), to which I responded with a blank “sometimes.” Double yuck. Just the most recent chapter in my soap opera affair with the UPS guy. Another time, he told me he liked girls with curly hair (guilty as charged). He then proceeded to tell me a long story about… I don’t really know what, I tuned out. But since then, I do not regret waking up an extra hour early to straighten my hair. Maybe if I’m lucky, the next time he comes we’ll have a nickname connection!

I am also the recipient of a brand spanking new 6-month contract here in Crazyland. Thanks for the warning M, S, and L!

Can I just say it's so cute to watch her cringe as he gets all googly-eyed and smiles at her, and Special K flits down the stairs to see who the f*@k she just let in the door?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Special K rocks Christmas sweaters every year, which is awesome in and of itself. But this year, we're going to play along--S, L and yours truly are going to show up next Monday wearing tacky Christmas sweaters. And necklaces. And turtlenecks. And whatever else we can find. I can only hope Special K happens to be wearing one of hers on the same day...

For those who think this is a little mean, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, y'all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Put these nuts in your mouth

It's the beginning of the holiday season, of the onslaught of edible gifts that will line our kitchen counter and tempt us all. Well, not really, given that few people seem to like us enough to give us gifts these days. But, anyway, we got our first package today, which was from a company that sends a big assortment of nuts each year. I'm always tempted to email them and say "Thank you, but next year, think chocolate!" Special K, however, seems delighted:

To all Staff:

This is to alert you that a Christmas snack was delivered (via UPS) this morning to us from That Company That Still Likes Us. The snack has been placed on the kitchen counter and is available for your eating enjoyment. Please feel free to snack on these delicious nuts. Happy holidays and thank you.


Special K

Um, I gotta go enjoy myself in the kitchen now, snacking on delicious nuts...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who's The New Guy? None of Your Beeswax!

Tomorrow marks a momentous occasion: our new accountant starts. I have yet to embrace this, even conceptually, because I adore our current one. And though she is retiring and will be enjoying her life, I find her sass an integral part to keeping my sanity around here. The way she says the word "bitch" is down right inspiring -- a little southern twang, a little grand dame. She is, in essence, a beacon of logic is this tempest of absurdity.

I also have not jumped on the new accountant bandwagon because I'm having to share an office with him or her. Yes, that's right, I have no idea who this person is! Now, I won't make assumptions about how your company operates, but at my old place of employment an email was sent to the entire office when a new person started. A brief bio was included (along with name, duh!) so that on your first day you couldn't help but be bombarded with questions about your hometown, your Alma mater or those nerdy activities you listed as "hobbies" on your resume. You were a minor celebrity for a day, or until you figured out which people you ultimately didn't ever want to talk to. As it should be.

Around here you get nothing. The Long-haired-one did clobber into my office on Monday to tell me that "the new person" would be sharing my office for a month and half, but gave no mention as to whom, nor even indicated what sex this person is. When I asked who the "new person" was, she said, "oh, it will be the new accountant." Is it that she hasn't decided yet, and will wake up tomorrow and deem this person employed? Perhaps it is someone famous so she doesn't want me to tip off the paparazzi? I just don't know.

And further, it was like this when our most recent employee (who has yet to contribute to the blog) started. One day you show up and there is someone new, and you don't know if it's someone you should just ignore (*MACK, I mean you) or someone you should take the time to introduce yourself to.

I guess I, and everyone else, will know tomorrow.

*See previous post regarding MACK and his weirdness.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've been a little under the weather, which makes me a little less observant. I had already gotten to work, signed in, turned on my computer, drank some Emergen-C, made some tea and gone over some invoices with our accountant before I returned to my desk and realized that I hadn't noticed Special K flitting around making weird grunts and faces this morning.

I was just sitting down to start checking my morning emails when I heard the door from the warehouse open loudly. I turned just in time to lock eyes with Special K as she breathlessly, robotically blurted "I'm in!!" I nodded and said "Yeah, we're fine here, no worries" to which she replied "Metro! Crazy! I'm in!"

I then heard her greet the Boss Lady on the stairs with "I'm in!" Boss Lady seemed equally dumbfounded about how to deal with the (bizarre) statement of the obvious.

Um, I'm late to work every once in a while, but I have never felt the urge to run around to tell everyone "I'm in!" Next time, I'm going to go greet everyone with "I'm here! Did you miss me?! OMG I'm late! But I'm here now!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Afternoon Delight: Meeting Special K

We have the rare treat of having a guest blogger here, one of the few outsiders to gain entry into our realm of secrets. While I am happy that my relative was treated with kindness and respect by the office-- well except for L who took a crowbar to his kneecaps for no reason at all!!! -- I can't help but be disapointed he didn't get "the full crazy."

My heart beat with anticipation; after years of speaking to Special K on the phone, I was finally going to meet her. No longer would she only be a weird robotic voice that I always think is a voicemail prompt, I would finally be able to interact with this mysterious being in the flesh. Plans had been made for me to swing by the office for lunch, and I was filled with excitement walking through the chilly November air from a public transportation stop to the office.
I pressed the buzzer cautiously as I played scenarios in my head of what could occur. Would she bar me entry to the office? Would she question who I would visit there? Would she attack me like a caged monkey? After a short wait, the door was opened for me and I entered the threshold. Surveying the area, I surmised that Special K would be descending from the stairs, much like God to the huddled masses. She then appeared – for so long Special K was a character of legend and now she stood before me. I tried my best to be on my p’s and q;s as to not startle her with my shifty ways. She spoke and asked me how she could help me. I replied that I was there to visit S. Her response to me was “and you are?” I could see her eyes widen and suspicions to my character raised. I quickly tried to quell her xenophobia by informing her that I was a relative of S. As if we were old college chums, I was greeted with warmth and shuffled up the stairs to S’s office. Special K warmed up to me and seemed…..almost……lifelike.
The true surprise of my visit came from meeting the Long-Haired One. Apparently she took quite a shine to me. I can’t help my irresistible charm to the ladies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prank call awesomeness

Ii just introduced a new reader to the blog, suggesting that he should consider prank calling Special K to shake things up a little on this Wednesday afternoon. He was kind enough to do so, and provide a transcript (names have been change to protect the guilty):

JB: Hey there, this is Jay Bruce calling about your email problems there.
SK: My email?
JB: Your company's email system is all messed up. You got anyone there with last names that start with C or X?
SK: See what?
JB: Last names that start with C or X. Yeah - their email is not going to work for the next fifteen minutes. The whole damn C and X systems are down.
SK: [silence]
JB: Alright, please tell anyone there with those emails that it's all messed up.
SK: [silence]
JB: Okay, you take care. Bye now.
SK: Buy what?

[end of transcript]

I went to share this with my coworkers and we were all about to pee ourselves. And since I AM, indeed, an employee whose last name begins with one of the aforementioned letters, I came back to my desk and called Special K to tell her I was having trouble with me email and asked if she was having problems with hers. She said no, and that she had no idea what was wrong, but that sometimes in the morning she has problems opening hers up and that it can be slow. She suggested I let S know, because she's our resident "expert" (you know, like she makes BCC fields reappear and other magic like that). I said I had, with no success. Special K told me that if she had any ideas, she would email me.

Then she came downstairs about two minutes later and asked if I was sure mine wasn't working, and said she had opened hers, and "there were a couple of icky ones waiting for me--you know, about sex." But that she gets those all the time.

My sides hurt from trying not to laugh, and it's taking all my willpower not to sign her up for gay porn now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Employees of Crazyland Not Allowed To Choose Their Names

I'm not sure if this is a worthy post or not. I'm a rather willful person, so this could just be one of those things that gets under my skin, but really isn't a big deal. Whatever.

I shorten my name like many people in the world do -- you Kates, Jens, Beckys and Robs know what I'm talking about! I use my full name on my resume, it's on my business cards because that's how they came to me, and my father calls me my full name from time to time, even when I'm not in trouble.

Nearly everyone seems to go along with this system pretty well, and have for years now: I introduce myself, they call me by the name I call myself. Fairly standard.

But the Long-Haired One just doesn't seem to understand this concept! Although I have never introduced myself by my full name, nor have referred to myself by it (not that I would talk about myself in third person like some megalomaniac douchebag), she insists on introducing me by my full name to members of our board, business contacts and contractors. She even goes as far as addressing me in email by my full name, but when she calls me, she'll used the shortened version. Why? Why can't she just use the name I call myself?

And in case you're curious, it's not like I'm asking to be called Trixie or Peaches or Sparkle. My shortened name is equally as respectable and business-friendly as my full name. Perhaps she finds it offensive, like her ex-BFF has the same name and I bring back terrible memories of fighting on the playground? Maybe she has a nemesis in our industry with my name that hates her guts? I just don't know. I suspect she just wants to control me or drive me crazy. I think the latter is winning.

My dentist keeps weird hours

I just want to preface this entry by saying that my dentist--who is now dentist to S & L--has the most awesome name in the history of the world. Unforunately, I can't type it here because even though I make fun of retards, I think it would be wrong to put his porn star-like name here for all the world to see. Let's just say it's sorta like "Dr. Adonis De Milo."

Anyway, I recently had to go to visit Dr. Pornstar to get fitted for my sexy new night guard. I suspect that it's a result of having worked here for more than 3 years, but lately I have started to grind my teeth down to nubs in my sleep.

I made an appointment, and they called the office to remind me of said appointment. However, they called early enough to avoid having to actually speak to anyone (one can only assume that they have had the misfortune of calling before, only to have to go through Special K to reach me). Special K checked the voicemails upon her arrival and left me this note:

Thurs. 11/6/08
(8:55 am)
A Telephone message was left for you on the answering machine.
8:23 am
It is a courtesy/reminder/confirmation call for:
Monday, November 17 in Dr. Pornstar's office at 1:00 (pm?). No telephone number was left in case you need to make a change to this plan (I also left this message on the answering machine in case you need to review it).

Special K

Ok, a few observations:

They left the message on THE ANSWERING MACHINE. are you sure it wasn't YOUR MACHINE? There are so many machines here, I am glad you clarified...

"It is a courtesy/reminder/confirmation call"? Which one is it, Special K?!

Monday, November 10 in Dr. Pornstar's office at 1:00 (pm?) Nope, my dentist keeps weird hours. It's 1 am. Dentists now do this really cool middle-of-the-night scheduling. It's convenient.

Yeah, I'm a bitch, I shouldn't be so critical. But man, it's so annoying that she can't just leave a message that says:

M-Your dentist left a message reminding you of your appointment at 1 pm on 1/17.

Or Monday...

Just to continue the previous post, we arrived at our desks yesterday morning to find a message sent by Special K at 8:57 am.
To All Staff:

Good morning to you. This email is to alert you that NO STAFF MEETING will be held this morning (Thursday, November 20) in the conference room. The staff meeting will instead be held on Monday morning, November 24 – beginning promptly at 9:30 am. Please plan to attend, and also let me know if this day or time conflicts with your schedule.

With best wishes,


Special K

It doesn't conflict with my schedule because I'm out on a work trip all next week, suckas. But you know what? I didn't let her know. I just feel like ignoring the last line of her email, so I shall.

Oh, and S & L, I would like you to send Daily Fax Emails to my Crackberry while I'm on the road. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Bi-Weekly Weekly Meeting Every Wednesday That Takes Place Thursday

As you may know we have bi-weekly Wednesday staff meetings that occur at 9:15 sharp in the conference room.

And these meeting more often than not take place on off weeks, or every week, any given day of the week, at whatever time the boss lady feels like it. We either sit around waiting with our notes, or else we are surprised and unprepared.

It's just another example of how retarded daily life is here. And why it's understandable at times why Special K-- or any of us, for that matter-- have trouble keeping up.

Sent Tuesday 5:45pm:

To all Staff:

This is a brief reminder that a Staff meeting will be conducted in the conference room on Wednesday, November 12. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:15 am promptly. Please plan to attend.

Special K

Sent Wednesday 2:06 PM:

To all Staff:

We will not be conducting a Staff meeting this afternoon – replacing the Staff meeting that was scheduled for this morning (it was to be held in the conference room – beginning at 9:15 am).

A Staff meeting will be held in the conference room beginning at approximately 9:30 am on Thursday, November 20. Please plan to attend, and let me know if this particular date or time creates a problem for your attendance (at this meeting).

Thank you,
Special K

On the upside, M just ordered us a econo-pack of keyboard cleaner!... I wish I had a father....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alphabet Deemed Too Nebulous

My day to day work around here is pretty similar. In fact: I do the same damn thing every day. So whenever a new project comes around, I know the ins and outs of what my responsibilities will be. It's easy and mind-numbing, but whatever. I still get paid the same.

As I have mentioned before, documents I work on get passed around for edits, both in and out of our organization. This can be confusing, so I save the pertinent files, in their various forms, on our common drive. I never know when I'll be responsible for something that was deleted 17 edits ago, so this is smart!!

Usually, only I need my files, but on occasion the Long-Haired One will call upon me to produce some document, since printing is a skill that neither she, nor Special K seem to posses with much deftness. I have been asked to go into the Long-Haired One's office to simply open a file when she is inexplicably unable to do so, so this should come as no surprise.

Today, Special K needed to use my office while I was at lunch, presumably to get in on that fancy color printing I can do. I was simply thrilled that I had gotten out of this duty, and I skipped away to lunch. My joy would be short lived.

When I returned, I had a K-scrawled note on my chair (which was written on two 3 x 5 cards affixed with scotch tape) requesting I print several documents for the Long-Haired One "because she will be using this information." I had also been instructed to change the name of my files that contain the most current edit, lest one's basic reading skills fail in retrieving this information from the current document name. Annoying, but no biggie. I change the pertinent names to Current Project A, Current Project B, etc. What can I say, I'm creative!

Within minutes of hitting the send button on the email proclaiming this illustrious task complete, I get a phone call from the Long-Haired One. Apparently, K found it too confusing to look under "Current" for the necessary document, so I was to change the name, yet again, to make it easier. "I just don't think she is used to looking under 'C' in the files." Ok. So even if I tell her where the information is to be stored, and tell her the *NEW* standard for the file name, it's still too confusing to look under a different letter in the alphabet? Does anyone see a problem here?

Well, anyway, I'm sure you know I went and changed my files and they now say Project A Current, Project B Current, etc. I'm not the boss of me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speaking of things things that are here, then just go away and sometimes (please, dear god) come back again...

First off, I have to admit that I am still cold and cranky and probably will be until at least April or so. I am probably allowing my bitterness over the premature end of fall to impact my extreme hostility towards Special K at the moment.

I am the big spender in the company. I rack up hundreds of thousands of charges without batting an eyelash--EXCEPT that the boss lady is a penny-pincher, and thus I scrutinze every invoice that crosses my desk, knowing that if I don't she'll call me out on it later. Raw material costs went up since you created an estimate for us 4 years ago? She doesn't care, she thinks that we should be invoiced exactly what you quoted in 2003. The cost of fuel has gone up and therefore affected shipping charges? Well, it just so happens that we don't acknowledge fuel surcharges here, so can you please delete that line item? It's retarded. But I am used to retarded around here.

So on Monday I was doing my oh-so-favorite task of reviewing and coding invoices to pass along to our accountant, including one with a couple of charges that were actually the responsibility of a partnering institution. So I carefully marked up one copy of the original invoice for accountant, telling her exactly what to pay, and exactly what amount of foreign currency to order a check for in order to settle the bill. The other copy of the invoice was to be submitted with our payment, so again, I carefully marked it up to show the subtraction of the contested charges.

Our accountant ordered a check in foreign currency, then carefully explained to Special K that when it arrived, she was to:

1) make a photocopy of the check for her records
2) give the check and the marked-up invoice to me

This shouldn't require explanation, we do it very frequently and have for years, but we know what we're dealing with here...

The check arrived when I was at lunch, and Special K dutifully photocopied the check, and left the original (AND a copy of the purchase order for which I have utterly no use) on my chair. But no coded invoice. I thought perhaps our Accountant had forgotten to give Special K the invoice, so I went up to her office and explained that I really needed that copy back to send with the check, since it was critical to understanding why we were submitting payment for less than the full amount of the invoice. Seh said that K had been instructed to return it to me, and sent me back to Special K, who first claimed to have given it to the Accountant, then claimed to have given it to me, then shrugged and said it had just mysteriously disappeared.

I have actually asked her to call the foreign currency check issuer to see if she might have somehow handed it off to their courier (which would not be surprising--although I would expect her to randomly hand off odd pieces of our mail with it). So far that has turned up nothing. I also requested that she go through the various "files" on her desk (not really files, per se, as they have absolutely no order other than being an assortment of colored folders into which she inserts papers in an entirely random fashion). I even told her to look through her trash, since I have seen her sitting in her chair for long periods over the past few days and randomly tossing papers into her bin--I am quite certain that she is probably tossing critical financial records, and holding on to old annual leave requests from 1996. But alas, no luck.

I guess it's time to give up and request another from the issuer of the invoice, but as we all know around here, the second I do, the one I have been seeking will probably mysteriously appear on my coworker's chair. Grr.

The Bcc field teaches S something about life and loss

I was at work late last night, along with D and Special K, and after a particularly arduous and annoyingly hectic afternoon, was waiting to smoke a much-needed cigarette with D out back. I went to get him and found him hovering with Special K over Her Machine-- she seeming very flustered. Seems that Boss Lady had asked her to send an email with a "Bcc," and the "Bcc" field was not just not there. It was late, so I can only imagine how long after work hours Special K was trying to figure out this conundrum. I restored the Bcc field for her, she asked me how I did it, and I showed her, slowly, all the while knowing this information would never be retained. In any case, I assured her that this just happens. The Bcc field can go AWOL. It happens to everyone, it's not a big deal, and it's not her fault. Then she started mumbling and rambling about how things are here and then they just go away and sometimes they come back again. And sometimes they don't. And it happens to her all the time. Things are here one day, and gone the next. And it's not anything she does and is beyond her control and understanding.

I found this pretty profound, poetic, and telling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The heat is supposably working

In many offices, the office manager would be aware of things like "there's water dripping through the ceiling," "our security cameras don't seem to be working" and "damn, it's downright arctic in here since the heat won't come on." Not Special K. It took having Awesome Accountant coming in and mentioning "Special K, it's pretty cold in here, have you turned the heat on?" for her to say "My, but is IS cold" and scurry off to figure out whether the fact that it's been about 65 degrees may have something to do with our heating system.

Numerous phone calls and several days later, she finally managed to get "our" heating guy in yesterday. And yes, we request the same representative of the company each time because apparently if we don't, it's like "trying to reinvent the wheel" (this according to The Boss Lady, not Special K, as Special K hasn't figured out wheels yet). So "our" heating guy came in and (according to Special K) determined that--like last year--birds somehow destroyed it? Somehow this seems treatable, and like something you might think to monitor, or at least think of when the heat fails to turn on for the second year in a row. Instead I imagine her sitting outside watching flocks flying into our vents and saying "ooooh, birdies!" while clapping her hands.

So "our" heating guy returned with an assistant today. They fiddled around, and things seemed to be working upstairs, at least. However, this also happened to be a morning where we had a large shipment leaving the building, which necessitated leaving the exterior doors open for several hours. It's about 45 degrees outside, with 45 mph gusts. The end result? It's freezing. Inside. Like 57 degrees cold (ok, that isn't freezing but I am from a warm climate, deal with it). Not cool.

However, when I asked Special K about it this afternoon, long after the truck departed and the lack of heat was quite, quite clear, she announced that "supposably" they fixed everything. Oh really? Is this why it says it's 57 degrees downstairs? And my fingernails are purple? And despite the fact that I have gone scavaging for abandoned sweaters and odd articles of clothing to layer upon myself, I still cannot feel my extremities?

Then Special K admits that she wouldn't let them really test the downstairs heat control, so she didn't know for sure whether it was working. This is where I get really frustrated. For the past several months, I have had a temperature-sensitive consignment stored in our building. Thus I very, very clearly explained to Special K that the temperature MUST remain between 68-72 AT ALL TIMES. I made a post-it and stuck it to the thermostat, lest she forget. I was impressed that she seemed to be handling it well, even going so far as to leave a large, hastily scrawled note for our cleaning person to let her know not to adjust it.

But alas, Special K didn't QUITE grasp the whole memo. In her mind, the temperature could not go above 72. Somehow realizing that it must also stay ABOVE 68 degrees was entirely too much for her to take in. Thus she warned "our" heating guy not to touch my thermostat for the downstairs temperature control. I told her that I put it on 80 degrees and "ON" rather than auto, and no fan had come on. So she called the company and they announced that "our" guy couldn't come back until tomorrow. Then she came down to check for herself, standing in the adjacent warehouse and waving her little hands around in the cold air to see if maybe she'd catch a draft of warmth and be able to claim the heat was working. During this special little heat dance, I went upstairs and told The Boss Lady that it was freezing, I was miserable, the shipment I had been storing was made vulnerable to the TOO COLD temps that Special K couldn't seem to acknowledge. So I got permission to have Special K call the company and announce that this situation was dire, and called for extreme measures--we could have someone besides "our" guy return.

The phone rang a moment later, and Special K went scurrying past me and suddenly a great blast of warm air started surrounding my office. When I asked her what had happened, she explained that the assistant to "our" guy--the one who was fishing for dead birds in our building's vents--had turned off the downstairs "system" this morning. And despite the fact that the whole point of their service call had been to turn the heat on for us, he didn't think to flip the switch before leaving.

Part of me is so grateful for this newfound warmth that I want to hug Special K. The other part of me wants to slap her for spreading her stupidity to "our" heating guy's assistant. Seriously, in the spread of the retard virus, another one bites the dust.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Knock-knock. Who's there? Me. Knock-knock. Who's there? Me. Knock-knock...

I frequently use my designated lunch hour to get some exercise. We are lucky to have a access to a decent running trail here at Crazyland, so I like to get out and get some fresh air, and if I'm lucky, forget the screwy work load I'll be returning to. It's a bit cumbersome to take my key fob with me -- I'm clumsy, and I'm apt to lose it -- so for the past few months I have been ringing our buzzer and waiting for Special K to buzz me in. I can see how this might be an imposition for her. After all, she could be busy responding to dinner invitations (see previous post) or taking medication (diddo), so who am I to take time out of her busy schedule with such an arduous task? It seems way better than constantly losing and replacing my key fob, so I burden poor K with this job a few times a week. I have yet to ask her how she feels about this.

Anyway, the very first time I enacted this procedure (out of necessity, actually -- I had forgotten my key fob), I buzzed, was let in, and then met by K speeding down the stairs, hand over her palpitating heart, spewing something about "not knowing who I was." Fair enough. I'm sure the view from the security cameras doesn't give you an accurate picture of my cute mug, so it was probably a good precaution to confirm my identity. I nodded my understanding (remember: always nod) and went about my business.

It probably doesn't surprise you that this happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I go running. Without fail, I buzz, am let in (sometimes I even have to buzz twice) and am met by Special K, always with the hand over the heart, always with the look of grave concern about who she may have just let in to our ultra-secure environment. I usually say something along the lines of "oh, just me!" or "ooops, sorry to scare you!" Lately, I've become more assertive and have asked, "didn't you see it was just me, K?" or the kinder, "oh, just little ol' me....same as yesterday."

It's not that I doubt the thief-dressed-as-runner-scenario -- I'm sure it's happened more than once in this world. It's just that idea that it might happen every single day, by the same woman (who waves, joyfully to the camera to facilitate her identification), at the exact same time. I mean really.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New calendars for the office can be a real mindfuck.

Today, M, L, and I were discussing the unique challenges that each of us face in selecting a 2009 calendar for Special K to order. We should ponder our individual work scheduling needs, weigh the office supply options available to us, and request the appropriate item from Special K. Done, and in real-world time, would take all of 5 minutes. Given that we work very differently here, the annual calendar-ordering process began at least 2 weeks ago with a hand-written note from Special K on a print-out of an office supply emailed ad that circulated with the mail.

From L: I just had to endure a 10 minute rant about ordering a calendar. I had marked which one I wanted and confirmed said information within the first 45 seconds of [my] conversation [with Special K], but it still isn’t enough. Oh no! Because I had to hear about the ordering process from The Supplier, the availability of calendars, the some-timey nature of a few of the customer service reps she deals with, the myriad options for calendars, our staff’s usual calendar picks (ahem, she said some people order TWO). She even tried to get me look at the catalogue to see if there was another one I might prefer. NO!!!!

S: Oh, the calendars…. Sigh. I order two. A book planner and a desktop. Sorry. That’s how I roll… decadence. Deal.

Special K said that the customer service reps she speaks to—and seriously again, she must be THE ONLY person to CALL Office Supply mail order companies. What office doesn’t just order online? Oh, and she mentioned that she’d requested a catalogue of more 2009 calendars, but that wouldn’t be available till December. "Just an FYI." They really push it, huh? I asked her, well, what about online? She had not looked, nor thought of that, but I’m sure thanked me profusely for the suggestion.

(I honestly think that Special K has not fully comprehended that they produced and sell 2009 calendars prior to 11:59pm, December 31st. Cause you just never know, but it's none of her business anyhow if this "2009" we speak of is really going to happen. 2009! Can you imagine?!? She also has not absorbed the fact that online catalogues have truly taken the place of printed ones... or that online catalogues, well, exist.)

My issue yesterday was that, since my usual desktop calendar of choice seems to be no longer available anywhere. I know, I know. It's really fine, and I'll be ok... I picked out a different one online and even forwarded her the link with item number. Well, she was VERY concerned when it arrived—she’d removed it from the box and examined it. Like a chimp might, turning it upside down, shaking it, poking at it with a stick, etc. It is a bit “fancier” than my old one. But, hey, I like to live it up. She grilled me as soon as I walked in the door from lunch as to whether this was, in fact, the actual item I wanted. It went on from there, and took a longer time than it ought to have to assure her that this was indeed the item I had wanted, from the link and description I had sent to her, that it was all ok, and-yes- I would like to please keep this new "controversial" calendar.

And speaking of controversial calendars, M doesn't need to order one this year-- you know why? Because she has a FOUR-YEAR calendar! Can you believe it? According to M, "I caused a tizzy last year when I decided to order a calendar that was good for 4 years—and therefore was more expensive. I don’t think that Special K understood that you could even do that..." We imagine her thinking, "you mean you can see the DAYS in 2012!!?? You can see THE FUTURE!!??" Come on, it's enough to blow anyone's mind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

L Promoted, Rest of Office Totally Jealous!

I was promoted today.

In the midst of an otherwise particularly mundane work day, I was assigned a task whose importance and impact are so great that I may be considered next in line to The Boss Lady. I was dispatched to measure the parking lot. Like so many unexpected accolades one receives (Paul Krugman, I'm talking to you!), this one happened when I was totally engrossed in something else. I was busy, even!

The Boss Lady -- whose heavy gait rivals that of an African elephant, despite her small frame -- stampeded into my office and asked me to help Special K. With what, pray tell? The alphabet? Tying her shoes? This mission was far more important, though, and I felt a special sense of honor and dignity as I was handed a measuring tape and told I was to help K measure the parking lot. Evidently, despite having no money for raises or other "benefits," our company is going to outfit our parking lot -- seen only by our 7 employees and a couple dudes from the company next door -- with a glorious flower bed. Special K and I were charged with the job of determining how much space this back yard botanical garden will take up.

The gripping conclusion to this story is that S overheard our accountant and The Boss Lady questioning our suggested figures, with the accountant insisting that she get out there and measure in order to obtain a more accurate number. Let's just say I didn't execute the most exacting procedures in quantifying our parking lot space.

Good riddance.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Incorrectly-typed email addresses haunt S.

“Someone” here recently sent out a mass internal email that included several incorrectly-spelled and very often-used staff email address. We all know the Special K does not know or have saved anywhere the email addresses of the 5-7 staff members here-- see previous post by L --but let me clarify this recent small snafu by noting it wasn't the staff names that were misspelled here - it was our company name portion of the addresses.

I have to ask yet again: a) why are our internal addresses not saved in contacts? There's not a whole hell of a lot of them, they follow an standard, easily-comprehended format, and are used by each of us about a billion times a day?, and b) why don’t the correct addresses just automatically pop up for her when the name is typed?… that requires no effort. Negative effort in fact. Outlook takes the work away from you. I'm going to speculate here Special K doesn’t trust The Machine and therefore simply refuses to allow it to complete an email address. That's so Special K.

Now here’s my problem, when this affects me. Since I did a respond all to these incorrect emails, they are now all saved and pop up when I compose an email to these staff members, whom I, again, email about a billion times a day. Since just their names, and not the addresses , pop up – I have to guess each time which ones is the correct one – with about 50% shot at a bounce back, re-send, start the fun over. Yes, this comes off as minute, and it is in the grand scheme of everything that is stupid here, but when my work day consists of frantically shooting emails left and right, having a 50% bounce back (and even having to check the accuracy of the email addresses as I send them) is a real bitch. (For the record, I investigated Outlook help to correct this, and after several minutes of searching unsuccessfully, I got mad and frustrated that I had to do this and gave up.)

And back up here: if the incorrectly-spelled email address is coming up as “Person's Name” and not the incorrectly spelled-out email address, does that mean the Special K actually has it saved wrong? Is it more baffling that she would know how to save a Contact?

It feels like my trusty steed of a computer caught her retard virus, and is now functioning at a remedial level.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Calling NASA to find out what time Safeway closes

Yesterday boss lady came back from her trip and the first thing she does is sneak up on me in my office and say, "I thought you were cleaning up in here." (Yes, I have A LOT of old file boxes in here, but it isn't something I'd planned on doing, nor been able to tackle lately.) Thanks for the hint, mom. Second thing she tells me is that Special K has been unable (for approximately 3 or 4 months) to figure out where she can order a specific office supply, and would I look around? Now if Special K can't find said office supply in office supply catalogues, an online search, or "traveling far and wide in search of office supplies" -- please see her yearly review sheet-- then how am I supposed to help? (I mean, beyond the fact that I do know what "Google" is?) (And why am I next in line, honestly?) Boss Lady must have got this from the withering look I gave her, so she said that I should call [a very prestigious national institution] and ask someone there where they ordered said office supply -- because she had seen it used in one of their mailings. Soooo, I am supposed to randomly phone a wold-renowned institution and ask what would be akin to, "I was just curious about where you buy your post-it notes?" I imagine it would go over as well as calling NASA to find out what time Safeway closes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The get-out-of-work-free "note." Praise be!

Transcription of scrawled handwritten note from Special K found at the entrance to our office this morning:

Friday 10/3/08 (message was left on our answering machine)


Special Computer Friend [SCF] called to say that one of their email/webservers are "down." The (our) system may be "down" for a couple more hours or all day -- SCF wanted to let us know. If anyone has any questions, please contact him on xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thanks.
(Name of computer company here)

As 99.9% of my work is via email, I am pleased that I am simply unable to do my work. I am impressed that we were informed by the company that the server is down. Usually when it is "down," and I call them, they claim that no, it is not... uh, it's not up for debate.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

K Labels Scrap Paper As Scrap Paper

I've mentioned before that I print quite a bit. Since I usually have to go through several drafts of my work, (so The Boss Lady can change a phrase or word to another similar phrase or word that usually is just a superficial edit and then change it back while not realizing it is exactly the same as the original) I print on scrap paper. Recently I went into the library, which holds the stockpile of scrap paper, to retrieve more materials for my hyper word-smithed work.

The scrap paper sits in 2 1/2 foot pile on a lower shelf in the library, conveniently labeled "Scrap Paper" in Special K's scrawl. I took some and finished my printing job. For no particular reason, I turned over the paper, to see what mysteries of our company might be revealed on the other side, and I saw I was using old letterhead, with the name of the former director who was gone before I got here. On this particular sheet, his name had been crossed out -- perhaps a reminder to K not to use it? I'll never know. Curious, I looked at the other sheets of paper in my pile -- they all had the name crossed out too. I checked in the library, and the entire 2 1/2 foot pile of paper had the name of the former director crossed out, I assume so that we all knew that it was scrap paper. Since, you know, that initial sheet on the top and the fact the guy doesn't work here anymore isn't evidence enough.

I wonder how long it took her to tackle that monumental project.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

L Asks the Time, Finds Out How to Build a Watch

I just found out yesterday that I have to have dental surgery; I am not looking forward to this. I was expressing as much in the staff kitchen* with my boss, the Deputy, when he informed me that Special K recently had dental surgery. If I had any questions, he thought I might benefit from asking her. Yes, Deputy, I will benefit, only in ways you would never have imagined...

I walked up to K's desk and asked, quite plainly, if she had had dental surgery. Her eyes widened -- I think she was excited that I was asking about her! She informed me that she had indeed been through "several" dental surgeries, with more to come. As it turns out, as a "brain tumor survivor," K has to take "several medications daily." I know this, as does everyone else in the office, because she keeps these menacing medication bottles on her desk in plain view. Well, these medications evidently caused her teeth to deteriorate (she originally said "rot" but I suggested "deteriorate" when she decided that "rot" didn't quite describe it correctly). K has to have surgery after surgery to deal with this problem, and what's worse, she can't take the pain medication that is normally prescribed for after the surgery because of the offending medications! Well, that is one dentist says so. The other says it might be ok, if she is very careful and doesn't take too much at once (which she would "never do"). But really, who can trust dentists, K asked me, since they are probably just trying to make money since surgery is very expensive. Not only that, but you aren't even allowed to take the metro or the bus home from surgery, even if you feel alright! The dentist make someone come get you, and they won't even let you just get in a cab!!

I admitted to K that I, too, would have to have dental surgery and she asked if i was afraid. Before I got a chance to answer, K told me that the surgery is very painful, especially without the pain medication afterwards. She clarified this by saying that the surgery I was to have and the surgery she had were probably very different so she couldn't say for certain because she's "no expert." In fact, just last week, our accountant had a headache, and then K had a headache the same week! Even though they both had headaches there is no way to tell if they were related because the accountant's could have been from allergies and K's could have been from a cold, and did I remember a couple of weeks ago when K had a cold? It was probably just a coincidence, the two headaches, unless there is mold in the air ducts or something like that in which case probably more people would have headaches.

At any rate, K inquired as to whether I had any family in the area that might be able to pick me up after the surgery -- remember, you CAN'T take the metro home! I told her that I didn't, but that I had friends and a boyfriend that might be willing to do that job. She then told me that she really recommends asking for pain medication (no worries on that, K!), but that after the surgery I would probably just want to go home and go to sleep. Then she stood up and bade me good luck, and asked whether I should have S drive me there. I had to tell her that my surgery is some time in the future, and not today. She seemed relieved.

I kind of had a headache after that.

*Lest you see me as a belly-aching, senior citizen type that uses health problems as fodder for polite conversation, remember that we have to tell every damn person in the office when we have appointments, so someone is usually up in your business as to why.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Creativity with Standardized Forms

A rant more than a funny story... well, it's at least ceased to be amusing to me.

One of my many charming responsibilities here is keeping certain quarterly reports. Most of the data that needs to be entered by me comes from standardized forms -- the information for which is filled in by none other than Special K.

Said forms are entirely fill-in-the blank and multiple choice. They were created with the intent to be 100% dummy-proof. I mean, I know what I'm dealing with here. Not only are the forms "dummy-proof," but I've asked Special K to alter them in way she wishes to make them easiest on her. These forms have remained completely unchanged in all the years that Special K has worked here.

And yet, it should come as no surprise to you, fair readers, that every three months when I go through Special K's stack of handwritten forms, it's like each and every one is the first one she's ever seen in her life. No two are filled out in the same way. Different information is left blank on each one, Multiple choice options are either ignored, or more than one conflicting option is selected. Incorrect-- and even impossible-- values are the norm. Extraneous and non-sensical notes are added on the side. I've gotten 2 or 3 copies of the same transaction. You get the picture. It's not funny to me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Pleasures

All the pleasure in this note makes me uncomfortable.

Mrs. Money called today to express pleasure regarding the paper announcement. She is so pleased and wanted to thank Crazyland. She will unfortunately be leaving town tomorrow and will not be home for another week until the first weekend in October, but wanted to express her pleasure and thanks.

Well Wishes From K!

This just happened, and S witnessed it! I had to leave the office to take M to the airport, and even though S and I are now the only ones here today, I thought I would tell K where I was going (in case she even knew I was here!).

Her response, when I told her I was leaving and would be back?

"Oh, Ok. Don't crash!"

Said without irony as she hurried around a corner.

K Learns Localized Microsoft Word

Special K has been called many things. Some think of her as our receptionist. I've heard mention of her as our Office Manager, which I suppose is not too far off. Our website declares her our Executive Assistant -- a nice way of saying she's The Boss Lady's slave. I like to call her my muse...

Whatever you call her, you might expect that the program Microsoft Word is the linchpin of her duties here in Crazyville. She uses it on her "machine" to create letters for The Boss Lady, to prepare "faxes" with it, to write her loquacious employee review. And yet it will probably not surprise you that Special K does not really know how to use this program. At least not on her computer.

I once walked into my office to begin another enlightening day of work to find Special K sitting at my computer working on a Word document. Her little legs dangled from my chair with her janitor-chic shoes swaying to and fro. She was propping her head up in her hand, as if maybe this skewed angle would provide the answers to her quandaries with the machine, nay, with life. For once she wasn't apologetic -- and hey, shouldn't she have been, she was on my computer? -- but simply told me that she was trying to insert our logo on to a letter that The Boss Lady has asked her to send out.

My first thought (damn logic!) was that perhaps she didn't have a copy of the logo, a problem I could easily remedy by emailing one to her right away, thus getting her off my computer. She mumbled when I suggested that, something about not needing one and how she would be finished in a minute, moving the mouse furtively, legs kicking in time. After a few minutes, during which I procured coffee, I asked Special K if she wanted me to help her. She went on to tell me that she had been shown how to insert the logo by R, but that now she couldn't quite remember and The Boss Lady wanted this document out a week ago. Yes, she had been working on this a week.

This doesn't explain why she is on my computer.

As it turns out, R had shown her how to insert the logo, but with further questioning I learned that R (who used to have my office before I worked here) had shown her using my computer. So K thought that in order to perform this function, she had to be at the exact computer she learned it. For the week prior, K, most likely, had been attempting to sneak into my office to finish the letter, only to realize that she'd forgotten the lesson. I explained to K that Microsoft Word is the same on all the "machines" and that if she learned it on my computer she could easily do it on her own computer. I'm not sure if she understood that or not, but she left my office nodding and mumbling.

A week later The Boss Lady called me and asked me if I could help Special K insert the logo on the now 2-week-overdue letter. I did it, and now this responsibility has been mine for all letters requiring the logo sent out by Special K, since The Boss Lady doesn't know how to do it either.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Special K schedules a lunch; almost pulls a hammy

Speaking of office lunches, I recall a weekly staff meeting not too long ago, when the boss lady-- in a moment of unusual and disconcerting niceness-- suggests that we all go out to lunch together the following day to a little place the next block over. She asks Special K to make to please make a reservation for all of us for 1pm. This is one of the few occasions that Special K has been addressed in any way at a staff meeting, as she is usually resigned to sit at the far end of the room, making weird faces and nodding in agreement to everything that is beyond her comprehension.

The next day we are all ready and excited to go eat promptly at 1pm. Nothing happens. 1:15... at 1:20 or so someone finally asks when are leaving. Special K replies only that she made our reservations for 2pm. Were they booked up at 1? No. She just made them for 2. Just because. Without telling anyone. (Which ironically would be an occasion when one of her EMERGENCY EMAIL ALERTS might actual have been appropriate -- we were starving!)

Lunch was fine when we finally got there. Afterwards, as we were all together walking that half-block back to our building, Special K, without warning, bolts ahead of us, just booking it like she's on fire and runs around though the back alley toward the back of our building. We all actually hardly viewed this as all that odd and I think a quick glance between a few of us was the extent of our acknowledgment of this weirdness. Then, as we arrive at the front door, Special K is there, panting and holding it open for us. She sprinted all the way around the back to open the door for us... like a servant. I appreciate this act, as not any one of certainly could have been bothered to break a sweat be hauling that key fob up to the door sensor, and letting ourselves in. Like peasants.

Special K declines invitation to top secret pizza party

Since the boss lady is out of town, we are having our traditional lunch hour pizza party. Organizing the party involves asking all 5 or so staff members if they'll be here, and using a telephone to order a pizza to eat. I bravely assume this perilous task, as I place the good of all mankind above my own safety. (Yes, we have been "busted" for this before... you know by now not to ask). Sometimes we have gone so far as to take the pizza boxes -- the evidence -- to another dumpster, well aware that in doing so, we too have succumbed to the craziness of this place.

I invited Special K to join us. She declined, citing something about having an "emergency appointment" (sans card) 2 hours after the party. Well maybe she can't eat pizza today for whatever reason (in fact, I've hardly ever seen her eat at all, nor use the restroom -- see previous post), so I asked her to still join us. I guarantee you she will not. This means she will be quietly sitting at her desk and we will all be in plain view of each other. It is weird. But what isn't at this point.

Wait, I told her about the secret pizza party... does that mean I must kill her?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hoy es la noche de las galerias

Special K received a message in Spanish, which of course blew her mind. So she put it in the mail folder to circulate around with a handwritten message:
Does anyone know what "this" says? (please translate to English). Special K.
Thank God for parentheses--I was about to waste my time translating "this" into Russian!

Office full of sluts

So Special K was ill last week, and proceeded to get the half the office sick by trudging to the office in spite of her germiness. I came down with something cold-like by week's end, which reminded me that I had never bothered to go back to the doctor's office after having some bloodwork done a few weeks ago [as an aside, I am convinced that either my possibly moldy 100-yr-old house is making me sick, or just the general atmosphere of the worplace--I am leaning towards weird workplace]. So I made an appointment for Tuesday.

I reminded K on Monday about said appointment, to which she replied, "Well good luck with that, I hope you're not pregnant."

I think this was her trying to be funny, but I thought it a little strange. Is she implying we're an office full of sluts?

"Travis's" are the thorn in the side of society.

This blog has been picking up steam and acquiring new readers and fans. For that, we applaud ourselves, and, well, Special K too. For years, I have had friends who liked to ring me at work to hear Special K's robotronic phone operating procedure. There is a renewed interest among friends and friends of friends in calling the office now.

Probably taken aback by the voice ("you mean that's a person???"), the caller asks Special K if "Travis" is available. Special K, in her signature monotone, answers that "this is a business, not a residence." Caller tries then get directions, which then just flusters Special K to the breaking point.

But let's back up. Special K's immediate response to the request for "Travis" implies that no one named Travis could possibly be employed. A "Travis" could only be at his "residence." Because, you see-- as I've now come to learn-- the Travis's of the world are never gainfully employed. A "Travis" is at home all day on the couch eating cheetos and watching Tyra all day and sucking away at our tax dollars. Damn Travis's! Get a job, Travis, and for god's sake do something with your life! (And quit giving out our number!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Funny Email Chain

This email exchange took place today, and I got a good laugh out of it. I sincerely wanted Special K to have retained and understood basic aspects of the English language and also the particulars of our place of business. Alas, I was disappointed. I guess all the punctuation is correct. That should have been my first clue.

To all Staff:
I have enclosed a copy of the email (or "fax") that was sent to The Boss Lady yesterday, summarizing our daily office events. She has provided a response to most everyone's comments. Please read the information below that corresponds to you and provide her with the necessary information. Many thanks. Please let me know if you need any assistance.
With best wishes,
Special K

-----Original Message-----(from L)

I think the correct use of quotations (and the realization that there is a difference between an email and a fax, and that calling the email a "fax" is, indeed, incorrect) should be celebrated. I think our little girl is growing up....

Then again, The Boss Lady probably drafted the email and just forwarded it to her. We could celebrate that she was able to cut and paste. That's pretty hard too!

-----Original Message-----(from S)

Now, slow down L -- cancel the pony rides. That first pasted blurb confused the crap out of me until I realized it was written by me in a fax from 2007.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Special K has special friends

In addition to Special K, we have a regular motley crew of contractors who make their way through our doors. Included is a really special computer person, Mack.

Mack is pretty awesome, really. He lives at home by himself with some pet snakes. When I mentioned to him that my mother was sick, he told me he'd pray for her--then assured me he was really devout, and really meant it (uh, PC? I think not). He has breath that challenges garlic cloves for its potency factor. He can't pronounce the names of ANY of our projects. And in general, has a sex appeal that is so completely nonexistant that one can't help but make jokes about it whenever possible. Once I had to have a "one on one" session with Mack, and S found jokes about lighting candles and playing music to set the mood rather irresistable. Today L was sitting in my office chatting when Special K came down to announce that Mack was on the line and wanted to talk to her.

I waited a few moments, and (knowing that L was on the phone with him) sent her an instant message saying, "Mmmmm, Mack."

Her response?

MACK. I can just picture your sausage-like fingers tap tap tapping on my keyboard..

Your bloated whale-neck craning at my computer screen.

Your seductive use of such words as 'pacifically' in place of specifically, and of course 'suposably'

So yeah, we're evil. But you knew that already.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Special K Does What She's Told, Special K's Nose Does Too

It's funny. I've never seen K use the Ladies Room. We're a small office, so you expect to run into someone every once in a while exiting or entering the loo. And so it came to pass that I was in the downstairs (first floor, ground floor for you Europeans) restroom, changing into my gym clothes when in walked K. Woah! She was sniffling, and had been all day, breathing out of her mouth and wiping her nose on her sleeve with so much grace. I said hi, which was an invitation for K tell my why she was entering the restroom, as if she needed an excuse. "Oh, sorry! I'm just getting some tissue so I can blow my nose! The Boss Lady just observed that my nose was running, and sure enough, it is! So I'm just going to get some tissue so I can blow my nose and then maybe that will make me feel better."

K was out sick the next day, but not before she trekked all the way to work and was "observed" as sick.

K Teaches Me a Thing or Three

The following email graced our inboxes this past Monday morning:

To all Staff:

This is a reminder that the building alarm (the alarm that is located at the back door) must be turned on by the last individual leaving the building. Please let me know if you need instructions on how to set the alarm or need the code so that the alarm is in an “on” position while all employees are away from the building. I will be happy to help you.

Special K

With a case of the Monday blues, I lingered in M's office--a respite from the upstairs crazy sometimes--and inquired how to use the alarm. Like most alarms, you enter the code, press another button, and, Bob's-your-uncle--it's set! I then realized I would missing out on a great opportunity if I didn't ask K to give me a lesson, as she claimed she would be happy to do! Also, M and S dared me to, so I had to.

K showed me where the alarm was, and even pretended to press the buttons as she told me the code--how sweet! She also informed me that if I were to enter and forget to turn the alarm off, the building would be very quickly surrounded by firemen, the police and ambulances, and that I would be "very uncomfortable." Uncomfortable like cramps? She further explained that the alarm is absolutely necessary "because of what we do here" (does that mean she actually knows!!??) and, to that end, each and every day she locks the front door. She even took me over to the front door and showed me that it was locked, and demonstrated how it locks AND unlocks!

The building is secure! I can't wait for another lesson.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Secrets of the Server Room and the Trouble with Keys

Every single day since the dawn of time here, the backup tape for the network server is changed daily. This illustrious job has been handed down from staff member to staff member until finally settling on me. Every day might seem excessive to you, but we are actually an extremely productive office, outputting a lot every day (not evidenced by out attention to this blog), and, well, as you know by now things get deleted, misplaced, destroyed, etc. Our server has completely crashed before and we were saved by these daily tapes.

Now, the server is located in a back closet, "The Server Room," which also houses the security camera tapes. This room remains locked at all times. I must use a key each day to access The Server Room and change the daily tape. I had done so for at least a year, diligently and responsibly, with no conflict or cause for concern. Then one random day, I go to open the door and find my key no longer works. Odd... When I went to ask our old co-director about this, he simply said "I had the lock changed. That's how it has to be." Uhhh. Huh? Did I abuse my access to The Server Room power somehow (like the time I took too many liberties adjusting our thermostat-- servicing 3 people, myself included-- that it was suddenly locked as well? Clearly, I am drunk with power). I could not get out of him why he no longer trusted me with access to that room. I mean, if he tought I would even care enough to say tamper with the security tapes or the server, he could certainly have easily verified that this never occurred. Special K would now hold the key to The Server Room and that was that. Ok, so I tell the directors that as key-holder, Special K needed to change the tapes each day. They wren't too keen on her doing it. Or anyone doing it for that matter. And I had to make a grand case for why this should continue to be done (um, remember that time the server crashed? And we would have lost EVERYTHING? Remember last week when Special K deleted a folder? And I got that back?) It was then decided by the higher powers that the switching out of a tape would simply be too much for Special K to handle (and to be fair, they were kinda right), so I would continue to do it each day, and each and every day get the key from Special K and return it to her. We still do this routine to this day, and not a day goes by that I do not lament how retarded this is. Procuring The Server Room key also allows me at least one irritating exchange with Special K each day. Now, we do this same song and dance-- and have done so-- without variation for the past several years. And I'd say about 85% of the time Special K is completely caught off guard when I come to get the key at approximately the same time around the end of each work day. She appears to have no clue why I am there, so I ask her for the key. I ASK. Every day. She mumbles, grumbles, and looks in her desk (it's never there). It might be inside a heavily rubber-banded wallet of hers, or it may be in another bag of hers in the library. If the key in the library, she will rummage for it for at least 5-7 minutes. If I am lucky, she will produce for me the correct GREEN-coded key! Success! Fairly often I am handed a differently-colored, differently-shaped incorrect key, or a medium-sized binder clip.

Pardon moi, speaky-vous le English?

Special K came down to my office last Friday, walking with that brisk pace that suggests someone is chasing her. With her usual "I'm so sorry to bother you..." she launched into explaining to me that a foreign contact of ours has recently departed his position, and our Director wanted to know his replacement. Since I am the one here who can "speak French," she asked if I could make a call this morning to try to ascertain the name of the replacement.

However, in Special K speech, this went a little more like "Well, I tried calling this number, but it was wrong. And I called this one. It was wrong, too, and they told me I should call this one. But she didn't speak English very well, and it was hard to understand. And I wrote down this number. But don't call that one, or that one. Call that one. The one I drew an arrow to. Not the one that is crossed out. Oh, and that's France, that's why I asked if you could speak French. So that's a country code. Don't ask me! I don't ask any questions. But if you could call, that would be wonderful. And this is what you should ask. But call with this number. Not this one. Thanks. Sorry to bother you. Sorry. Sorry. Thanks."

I called the number this morning, and I attempted to see if I could get the receptionist to speak English, but ended up having to use my rusty French to carry out the conversation. I can't stop laughing thinking about Special K trying to have the same conversation outlined above with someone who doesn't even speak English. And people wonder why Americans have the reputations they do...

Arghhhh, me Special K

So Friday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I think great fun could be had by planning out conversations with Special K entirely in pirate-speak. So far all I am coming up with is "Argghh, ye really ought ta' say 'just an F.Y. Ayeee' a bit more, me darlin'"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Company Policies and Procedures: Volume I

Do you receive mail at your place of employment? I bet you do! Maybe a secretary (I think the PC term is “administrative assistant”) opens it, and put it on your desk. Perhaps an office manager drops it off at your cubicle? At my old job we had little cubbies, and once in awhile there would be mail for me in it—just like kindergarten!

Here at the house of crazy, we get mail too. But I’m guessing you already know our mail procedure is just a little off-kilter. Could it be any other way? You see, we get mail, and Special K opens it, and puts it into a file that says “First Class Mail.” I assume this is so we don’t go looking for the pesky “Book Rate Mail” in the same folder, but I’m not sure. This folder is then passed around to every employee (yes, all six of us) and we each sign off that we’ve read it.

Not so weird, right? Wrong! The “First Class Mail” folder is passed around to us with everything in it. The phone bill? Check! Weird jewelry catalogue addressed to a former director with gold-plate and “pink ice” baubles? Absolutely. The riveting page-turner “Plastics News*” which arrives weekly and always appears well read by the time it gets to me? Why not? And don’t forget invoices that pertain to only one or two people, postcards advertising for sales on paper and toner, invitations to events in our industry in Japan, written in Japanese, and course catalogues for “Management Training Centers—Now Holding Classes Near you!”

I can say with certainty that only a handful of mail items weekly have pertained not only to this organization, but to me specifically. I’m considering bringing in my personal junk mail and passing it around too, as it would have the same effect. What’s more, if you forget to initial next to your name—say, you were caught up reading about items in the lawn care catalogue that arrives at least once a month—Special K will bring the offending folder back to your office to make sure you do sign off. Even if the only thing in the folder is a postcard advertising phonecards!! Your compliance MUST be verified.

*Our work in no way is related to plastic or the plastics industry, yet we continue to receive Plastics News every week. I kind of look forward to it now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the fire alarm gets tested, mayhem ensues

what i like best about this one is the intricate detail and the overwhelming concern.

To all Staff:

I wanted to inform you that Simplex Grinnell is scheduled to be here tomorrow morning (Tuesday, July 22, 2008) starting at about 9:00 am to conduct the annual fire alarm test. The test is supposed to last approximately 4 hours. I want to warn you of their (Simplex Grinnell’s personnel presence) scheduled presence because you may occasionally hear the fire alarm sound in our building. I do not want to frighten you of hearing this alarm – I just want to warn you that you may hear this alarm. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Special K

a pertinent email

i feel this should be posted as it sheds more light on our blog's title. oh, and also on k's craziness! it should be noted that k often refers to her appointments as "emergency" even when she tells us about them months in advance. she also once walked her appointment card to each office, to show--with hard evidence!--that she really did have an appointment. makes me wonder what all those other so-called emergencies were about!

To All Staff:

R telephoned this morning and will be coming to work tomorrow (Thursday, 7/10/08) instead of today (Wednesday, 7/9/08), as she is not feeling well. I will be leaving early today (about 10 am) for an emergency appointment – and will probably not be back. My apologies for such short notice. A daily fax sheet is set up for all of you to report a daily summary to The Boss Lady(I will probably not be here to participate in sending this fax via email to her) – please email The Boss Lady with any information that requires an immediate response or information that she should be aware of before the end of the day. Let me know if you have any questions.

Special K

Special K Composes an RSVP Letter

How much do you want to bet that Mr. C's lowly day of sifting through boring "check yes or no" RSVPs was brightened by this thoughtfully thorough faxed response to his organization's dinner invitation? I often wonder if Special K writes just as detailed responses for event declines? I bet she does.*

Dear Mr. C:

This is to notify you that the attached email message was sent to me via my computer requesting the names of the two individuals from my non-profit organization who will be attending the Friends of the XXX Dinner to be held on x date. A total of two people from this organization will be attending this dinner.

Mr. J, [full title] at Our Place of Employment, and The Boss Lady, [full title] at Our Place of Employment, (a total of two people), will by attending the Friends of the XXX Benefit Dinner that will be held on x date.

Once again, I remind you that I have attached a two page email message that was received by Your Organization requesting the names and number of guests from our organization who will be attending the benefit dinner to be held in London on x date.

I have also attached a copy of the dinner invitation that was mailed to us, and the written names and addresses of the two people planning to attend.

Please contact me by telephone (xxx-xxx-xxxx), fax (xxx-xxx-xxxx), or by email to confirm receipt of this faxed information (and invitation). With all best wishes,

Special K

* Special office funtime option: Read this aloud and down a shot every time the number of people attending is noted, the date of the dinner is repeated, or the attached copy of the invitation is mentioned. I'm sure Mr. C did.

while on the topic of toner...

i don't like to brag, but i have a printer in my office. not just any printer--a color printer. this is not the case for all six (6) employees of this madhouse. the truth is i have one because i print a lot, and yes, a lot in color. somewhere in a small village in south america, children are losing their ancestral land so i can print an exorbitant number of color copies for this organization.

as m has touched on before, each of us has a very distinctive roll in this organization, so if you were to ask anyone who works here why i print so many of these precious color copies, the answer would be pretty obvious. but not to special k.

and so it goes that while working on a very large project we are launching, i had quite a bit to print. there were multiple edits of my work, the switching of dates, and other integral changes before the final shiny product was born. and then i printed some more. as per s's observation, special k has acquired the toner and ink ordering duties, so i have to go to her--and often--to order my ink. lucky for me they come in a 2-pack--one tri-color and one black. just what i need!

during this print-a-palooza of late, i happened to order two of these 2-packs. why not plan ahead in case i run out? why not, indeed. k took my order, delivered the product the very next day (thanks, staples!!) and off i went destroying native villages, raping sacred grounds, and printing my color copies. as it happened, i ran out of just the color cartridges that very week. crazy!! but given the nature of our business, it all makes sense. i decide to just order color cartridges, instead of the color/black combo. dear god, what a mistake!

i went to k's desk, and gingerly requested new ink cartridges.

"k, i need two color ink cartridges. i somehow managed to run out of just the color ones and not the black, so i won't need those." see how i make reference to the earlier order, thus making it obvious that i know i just ordered some??

her face falls, and her eyes narrow. she says, "well what happened to the ones in the cabinet?" she has a point. i did not check the office supply cabinet, because although there are ink cartridges for 17 different printers, there are none for mine.

"well, i've never seen the correct size for my printer there, so i didn't check."

frustrated, k rolls her eyes and pushes past me to walk--i presume--to the office supply cabinet. i follow in line, but instead of going to the supply cabinet, we go into my office, where k whisks open my cabinet and pulls out the half empty boxes (remember, the black ink is still there) and asks, "what about these?"

"uh. i used those. that's why i was ordering more. i only used the color. those are black. i need more color cartridges."

i see the light bulb of recognition go off, and then k, incredulous, takes one more inquisitive look in my cabinet-- lest i hoard office supplies--and goes back to her desk.

i got my color cartridges two days later.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The toner incident that shook the nation.

How much do you know about copy machine toner?

Not much if you are lucky. As having once been responsible for ordering copier toner, I know enough to know that different model machines take different cartridges.

I remember a story from years back. Special K had recently been given the task -- a promotion, if you will-- of ordering and refilling when necessary the upstairs copy machine toner. Special K consistently ordered the wrong size/type for this machine. We had tons of unuseable ones lying around for ages. This is especially amazing given that we had a maintenance company that not only supplied us with unlimited, free toner but also sure as hell knew what kind we needed. Was Special K simply procuring her own toner on the black market? They fell off a truck? We'll never know. Or care.

When you try to fill the copy machine using an incorrectly-sized cartridge, to put it as simply as possible, the toner compartment isn't going to open properly, so all the black messy toner powder is going to sit out on top of the copy machine. And that's what Special K did. And a giant line of black powder (interesting????) just sat out in the open for I'd say 3 or 4 days. Of course, during this time no one could use the copier or even make real movement around it for fear of disrupting the volitile black powder line. Special K said not a word about it. Maybe no one will notice? No one said anything either. It was just that weird. Finally someone asked her what's the plan here? She was later found crying in the kitchen... I think I ended up calling the maintenance company and had them send someone over to clean up the mess and bring a new toner cartridge. That was the day that the stresses of the office first broke Special K...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Federal Express is NO JOKE!

Call the National Guard! Another FEDERAL EXPRESS package has been mailed -- to a frequent work contact!!!

K's emailed ALERT:

Dear X:

My apologies for distrubing you, however, I wanted to inform you that I have sent a package via Federal Express and it is addressed to you by your address (FULL ADDRESS WRITTEN OUT). The package is actually for L who will be traveling to Parid the week of XXX. I wanted to alert you that this white box does, indeed, have your name atop it with a Federal Express international airway notification attached to it. The box was picked up in our office September 9th [note: it is the 3rd]. The Federal Express tracking number is xxxxxxxx. Please let me know if you have any questions or inquiries.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Special K

Special K gets an 18% raise!!!!

She probably did... however incapable she is of her job, she is an obedient robot servant. To dull the pain of yesterday's shit news, I tried to locate Special K's annual review sheet for a chuckle -- that we each fill out for our Director, as if our achievements and hard work mean anything to her in terms of a monetary reward (or cost of living, for that matter???). But I digress. I couldn't find this year's sheet, but here's Special K's report from last year, saved on the shared drive for all to see:


1) Order office supplies
2) Answer multi-line telephones
3) Respond to email after receiving full response from L
4) Print out daily email messages
5) Travel to locate and purchase office supplies
6) Run off trustee envelopes, labels, etc.
7) Perform duties as assigned
8) Do occasional internet research
9) Warehouse clean-up
10 File clean-up
11) Familiarize staff with office, policies, procedures, etc., when necessary
12) Mail






Thursday, September 4, 2008

a moment of silence

i would just like to have a moment of silence for the raises that i, m, and s did not get today. we had our reviews today--which were glowing, if not down-right gushing--but were not rewarded with dolla dolla bills y'all.

we write on.

if you can't beat 'em, confuse 'em

just adding to the confusing emails; this was always one of my favorites. please understand that these emails are in every way a microcosm of how we operate as a company.

To all Staff:

The management meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 has been cancelled and a date and time for this has not been rescheduled. Also, the staff meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 30 has been moved and is planned to occur on Thursday morning, May 1 (no time change). Hopefully I will send you a reminder that there has been a schedule change with these meetings (no meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 23, and the Wednesday, April 30 is now scheduled to occur on Thursday morning, May 1 instead). Please let me know if either of these changes create a problem.

Thank you for your prompt attention.

Special K

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some Assorted Emails

Just a few standard email notices and responses (when K had one) found on my MACHINE (note, K always calls her computer her "machine." It sounds weirder than you might think. Like it's this box from the future that might control our minds one day.) She also incessantly uses the [non] word "supposably," and the (often-misused -- yes, it IS possible) phrase "just an FYI." But I'm getting off topic here:

To all Staff:

I want to alert you that Ameritel (the copy machine contractor) has been called to fix the first floor copy machine (the machine located behind A). The service technician is expected to arrive here either later this afternoon or during the early morning hours of tomorrow to look and repair our machine. I just wanted to alert you to the appearance of this individual. Please let me know if you have any concerns. Many thanks.

Special K

Responses to a request for a Fed Ex tracking number for a lost parcel -- yes, K is responsible for documenting Fed Ex:


I do not have a Federal Express receipt for this CD – however, that does not mean that it was not sent by Federal Express. I just do not have a Fed Ex receipt for this CD (sent around July 21). [Our Accountant] might have a record of something being sent to – on her Federal Express receipts. I’ll keep looking a bit longer for some evidence.


Dear S:

I do not have any mailing information on this disk being mailed around July 21. It was placed in the mail just a few minutes ago (and will probably be picked up by the postman tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11) and will leave here tomorrow, on Tuesday.


The inexplicably detailed answer to the question, "K, can I get the number of books mailed today?"

Dear S:

We sent a total of seven (7) catalogues out today – five soft cover copies and two hard cover copies. Two soft-cover copies of the catalogue were sent to L’s attention at The ---- Club – London. Three soft-cover and two hard-cover catalogues were sent to T (using her address in Paris) – to her attention at the --- *full address written out*, FRANCE, address (per X). I have called and informed the hotel (The ---- Club) that the catalogues were in route to them and expected to arrive at the hotel on Tuesday, 9/9/08 (international economy). They will hold the catalogues until L’s arrival. I was going to send an email reminder tomorrow (Thursday) to them. Should I send one now? I have not yet sent an email reminder to T, but I will. By doing that, I should have a response from her (hopefully) sometime tomorrow.


Nearly all the other emails I had from her were her forwarding me an email sent to the general company address "for whatever action I deem appropriate." She is always very uncertain as to whether the emails should indeed be directed to me or not. The content of these emails--plus the fact that they are, in many cases, addressed to me by name-- make it very clear that she has absolutely no clue what it is I do here and/or cannot read. Neither surprises me. The rest of the emails are redundant and overly verbose announcements of meetings on scheduled meeting days, or that we will not be having a meeting on a non-meeting day. These only confuse and bewilder me.

I am terribly sorry

We have staff meetings every other Wednesday here in Crazyville. It's no biggie, just something I don't especially look forward to. The concept of "every other week" isn't too terribly difficult to grasp--last week we didn't have one, the week before that we did. That meant that today we were scheduled to have one.

I really appreciated Special K's personalized alert to me--it was sent at 9:25 am.

Dear M:

I just wanted to inform you that we WILL be conducting a staff meeting in the conference room this morning – Wednesday, September 3 – beginning at about 9:30 am (per The Boss Lady). My apologies for the surprise, I just learned that one was going to be held. In any event, see you there. Please let me know if this causes a conflict in your schedule. Thank you.


Special K

I especially like that she gave me the opportunity to let her know whether this caused a conflict in my schedule--and gave me exactly 4 minutes to do so. That Special K, always looking ut for us!

Bye bye, Miss M's files...

In our company, we often work years out on projects that may or may not materialize. There will be a flurry of activity--endless emails back and forth, contracts, diagrams, lists, letters. Then suddenly it goes dormant for months on end. Sometimes we resume it, sometimes we get an email saying "The Watkins project is off. Please give all your files to Special K."

A couple of years ago, we began work on a particularly complicated project. Many contributors, many extra facets of the budget--it was a regular pain in my ass for quite a while, but I kept painstaking records in neatly organized files. It went quiet for months, then The Boss Lady called out of the blue and asked for a particular file. "No worries!" I thought, but then opened our F drive to discover, um, Project Malaysia was gone. No sign of ANY of my Word files existed.

Now, Special K has, on occasion, accidentally moved files around. And hey, it happens. I have accidentally mucked things up before, too--I just call our computer person, D, sort it out quickly, and let anyone who might have been affected know. I debated about whether to put Special K on the spot, but after hours of searching my computer and the entire F drive, it was clear that they were gone.

So I begrudgingly trekked up to Special K's desk, and asked "Special K, do you know if there is any chance that you might have moved any of the files for Project Malaysia?" She immediately got defensive and huffy, saying no, that was none of her business and she certainly would not do anything with those files. I guess that in and of itself was a bit of a sign, so I decided to give up on trying to get a straight answer and called D instead.

D came over almost immediately, and she and I started delving into the stash of backup tapes, going back several months to finally find and recover all the files that had been lost. But in showing her the folder and what I suspected had happened, we made a startling realization. Special K was, in fact, aware of this situation well before I mentioned it to her. Special K must have deleted not only all MY files, but her own, as well. Because in a careful, methodical way, she had been retyping each document from hard-copies for the past couple of months. She still had a ways to go, but when I asked D whether we should just bring Special K up to speed and explain that we could restore them, she rolled her eyes and said, "No, if she wants that, she has to be willing to admit that she messed up."

For the next several weeks, any time I walked past her desk, she was dutifully pecking away at the keyboard with two fingers, looking back and forth between hard copies of letters and her screen. Poor Special K, I almost wanted to be helpful and tell her I understood. I never did.

k steals business card, learns email address

one day--just last month--i arrive at work, and as i walk by k's desk she leaps up and presents a business card in her hand. waving the card around like some sort of hypnotized snake, k goes on to explain that she's sorry (k is always sorry, for everything, even things that aren't her fault), but she has gone into my office and taken one of my business cards. she goes on to say that, although she's really sorry (again) for going in and just taking it, she realized that she didn't have one, and because of that she really didn't have my email address. she explains that she tried to send me an email and that it was bounced back, so she just didn't have the right email address and thus needed a card. hmm. admittedly, i have one of those germanic last names with excessive and superfluous vowels. even i sometimes mix up a few letters!! but, how could she NOT have my email address after working here this long? how could she NOT have a sent email she could consult from the droves of emails she sends me every day? how could she NOT have consulted our *new* website?

i want my card back.

the first hint that something was amiss

as m has stated, i'm the newest member of this three-ring circus. although it became evident early on that we operate in a military-like work atmosphere, (no speaking in the hallway, no outside fraternization, etc.) my first real clue that something was up (especially with k) appeared on the very first day! all fresh-scrubbed and eager for my first day at work, i arrive at 8:45. i push the buzzer and am buzzed into our unassuming little building. k has rushed downstairs to meet me--or to ward off would-be robbers based on her urgency--and without saying hello, tells me that "we don't open until 9." thinking she may not understand who i am, i gleefully state my name and that today is my first day. without a smile, and without acknowledging my announcement, k again tells me that we don't open until 9. puzzled, and confused as to whether i'm meant to walk out the door and stand there for the next fifteen minutes and then repeat this process, i ask if it would be ok for me to get settled in my office, "while i wait."

her grimace says no, but she relents all the same. on to my office we go, and along the way she informs me where The Boss Lady's office is, the library, the bathroom, etc. she leads me to my new office, turns on the light and leaves me to wait for the 9am start time. after i turn on my computer, i realize i don't have the password, so i go to k for this information (i now know this was my first mistake). not one to cut corners, and, say, just tell me the password, she escorts me back to my office to visually confirm that i have managed to turn on the computer and that i do actually need the password. i do. she leans up close to me and tells me that my password and the password to all the office computer is *london. yes, she whispers it. i confirm, "london?" she nods.

she then says, "well, i mean, i've never been there, but that's the password. not that it's any of my business!"

that was my first clue.

*m, s, this is NOT our real password. please do NOT start using it. i will be sending out a reminder email right now, one later today, and one a month from now so that you are better able to retain this information. let me know if you need any assistance in this matter, or if you have any questions. i would be happy to reply (once i have a response). let me know if you have any suggestions.