Category Archives: work

Bonding over Books

This morning at the library, as I was picking up my held books, I overheard a budding friendship in the next aisle over. Two five-year olds had an extended conversation about what books they were getting, visiting their grandparents, puppies and like all good Minnesotans, the weather.

I met my best friend on April 16, 1983, in a small room 4 floors below the IDS Center. It was my first day at the soon-to-be-opened B. Dalton IDS. Since I was new to B. Dalton, there were several training modules that I had to read through and then take corresponding tests. Sara was transferring over from another store and needed to do some paperwork as well.  We talked while we worked, about books and pets and husbands and boyfriends – probably the weather as well.  Then we went to lunch across the street at Eddingtons where we discovered we also shared a deep love of bread and cheese.

We’ve been friends ever since, through weddings, divorces, parents’ deaths, kids, home purchases, health issues, money issues – you name it. I can only hope that the kids at the library this morning can continue a friendship that started with books!

Where did you meet your BFF?

Springtime Plumber

Since February we called the plumber three times to fix leaky pipes, faucets, and toilets. We are lucky to have a very competent plumber who works evenings and weekends and doesn’t charge extra.  He even likes our cats, who try to help him as much as they can.

Tell about heroic repair people you have known.  Tell about when repairs haven’t worked so well. 


VS’s Opioid Crisis

I had a tooth pulled on Tuesday – one of the big, two-rooted ones. Along with the gauze and pamphlet about after care, the oral surgeon wrote out a prescription for four Vicodin.  I was a little skeptical but since I’m not known for my stoic-ness where my dental work is concerned, I decided to get the prescription filled, just in case.

As the pharmacist was going through all his required drug implications, I suggested that I was hoping not to use any of the four tablets. He was very serious and said I should probably take one right before bed so that I didn’t wake up at night in pain.  “Stay ahead of the pain” were his exact words.

By bedtime at 9:30, all the Novocaine had worn off and with a few ibuprofen, I was actually doing OK. Remembering the pharmacist’s words, I thought maybe I should try the pain killer for overnight but couldn’t bring myself to take a whole one, so I took a half instead.  I slept really well.

Unfortunately, when I got up I had an upset stomach and was pretty woozy. Clearly I should have slept several more hours as that’s how long it took the drug to work its way out of my system.  I felt a little incapacitated at work and decided that all math and emails needed to be either re-figured or re-read to make sure I wasn’t spreading my idiocy throughout my world.  Even after the wooziness subsided I still felt a little wiped out. All of this from one half of a tablet.  The instructions on the side of the bottle say “1-2 as needed”.  Sheesh, I’d be in a coma if I had taken 2!

When were you woozy last?



New Horizons

On July 1,  my agency,  along with all the other State-run Human Service Centers and the State Hospital are switching to a new electronic record system. It is totally different than our current system, which we have had for about 15 years.  There is anxiety and uncertainty leading up to the start date, especially since many aspects of the system are still being developed. It will be a good change and will reduce some paperwork demands.

Change is hard, though, especially for people who pride themselves on doing things correctly the first time.  We have to accept we will do things wrong for a while until we master the system.  Some of my colleagues are panicking. Some are just resigned to the inevitable chaos. I just want it to start so we can get a new normal.

What changes are hard for you?  What have been some big changes in your life?



Defeated Efforts

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

I made a big mistake. I decided to paint plastic stackable lawn chairs to match my flower boxes, shutters, and screen doors. I spent three days painting them. They looked great and I loved having everything match. The first time I stacked them, most of the paint peeled off. I was disheartened after all of that work.

Not to be defeated, I googled “How to paint plastic chairs”. Off to True Value to buy a special cleaner, primer, sandpaper, a scraper, and a quart of paint closer to the color I wanted. Then, I set upon laboriously scraping paint off one chair. The first one took 1.5 hours. I decided that since these chairs only cost $5 each, I’d just order six more. $5 dollars aren’t worth 1.5 hours per chair!

In the background are 70 bags of cypress mulch. I’m still trying to find some guys to spread them. My age is catching up to me, and after 15 years of doing this myself, I really do need help! Spring on the lake is labor-intensive and I can’t keep on top of it anymore, hard as I try. I’ve learned to ask for help. This winter, I couldn’t find my cell phone in the house. My neighbors are all in Florida for the winter, so I walked out to the county road and flagged down a car. I asked the man to please call my number. I lost my car in a parking ramp, walked to the door and asked the first person out, “Are you in a hurry to be somewhere?”. She kindly drove me around until I found it. I guess that with age comes with people who feel good helping me?

Now, I’m looking for someone to shovel up a dead, maggot-filled raccoon on my yard.

Do you ask for help?

Not a Good Fit

Many years ago I had a 3-week job in May planting trees in Superior National Forest. This year I am in the midst of a 4 ½ week job scoring standardized tests. Can you guess which job is a better fit for my personality?

The current job is basically sitting and staring at the computer. All the time. Besides breaks and lunch, there is absolutely no need to get up and move or look at something besides a screen unless you want to stretch or go to the restroom. I keep thinking about the tree-planting job and wishing I could do something like that instead of what I’m doing now (although my body would probably have a harder time planting trees all day for three weeks than it did when I was 18). I told a co-worker about the tree-planting job and she said something about not having to think very hard at that job. And I thought to myself: you may think it wasn’t that stimulating mentally, but my thoughts were free because I could think anything I wanted instead of focusing only on 3rd grade English essays – and what can be better than all that fresh air and exercise? This current job is slow torture for someone like me.

What things do you do that are not a good fit for your personality? Or that are a good fit?


All in a Day’s Work

I blew through four cashiers this afternoon!

It’s straw bale time at my house – I’m doing the conditioning of the bales right now, which means I need to add fertilizer to the bales twice a day for six days. This morning I used the last of the bag of fertilizer so needed to stop at Bachman’s on the way home.

Just one bag of fertilizer. The first cashier was clearly just starting out and got hosed up trying to enter my “frequent buyer” number, so enter cashier #2.   When I handed her my Bachman’s charge card (yes, that’s what I said), she looked at it a bit and then swiped it.  The register clearly didn’t like that and I commented (nicely) that for the Bachman’s charge, they don’t swipe it.  This didn’t help so she called over a third cashier who took the card.  I mentioned again that it doesn’t get swiped, but he swiped it several more times but this time pushed some other buttons and got a completely different error message.

All of this was combined with profuse apologies from all three, who appeared to be high school students. Finally they called someone on a walkie talkie.  An older woman came over and immediately said “Oh, with the Bachman’s charge, you enter this here and this here… you don’t swipe the card.”  More profuse apologies.  I was not in a hurry and wasn’t really bothered by the wait and the confusion, although it was really hard not to smirk and say “I told you so” about the swiping of the card.

What was YOUR first job?