For the most part, today sucked.
It started at 6:45 am, when I left the house on time and discovered the weekly produce delivery on the porch – a delivery that I’d forgotten was going to be made and had therefore not gotten modified, so it included kale (aka: chicken food) – and the putting away of this produce made me ten minutes late getting to the park-and-ride.
Those precious ten minutes meant that the two regular lots were full and I had to park in the overflow lot around the corner, costing me a few more minutes in my commute.
I arrived to work a half hour late, which isn’t too bad but it set the day off on the wrong foot.
The next three hours passed tolerably well, with only minor fires to put out as my staff finally realized that when I said our medical plan renews on October 1st I wasn’t joking when I warned everyone that this meant our old insurance cards would no longer work as of yesterday and despite repeated reminders over the past couple of weeks that it would be a week or so before we got our new cards and to not schedule any medical stuff for this week if possible, a surprising number of people went ahead and scheduled doctor’s appointments and prescription renewals for today and tomorrow and now are freaking out because they “have no insurance”. My reassurances that the new plan will be retroactive and there will be no gap in coverage fell on mostly deaf ears.
The day really started to slide at 11:40, when I was helping a coworker with our new accounting software and suddenly noticed a solvent-like smell in his office. It was similar to rubber cement or Sharpies and so I didn’t say anything at first. Two minutes later, I became suddenly dizzy and I looked at my coworker, who was looking at me, and we both said, “what’s that smell??” and jumped up to see what was going on – only to find twenty or thirty people doing the exact same thing. Gas leak? Exhaust from the parking garage? Five minutes later we were getting light-headed as invisible fumes filled the office. We called the property managers and evacuated our office. Repeated phone calls to the property managers finally revealed that the roofers on the building were putting down roofing glue… and apparently nobody thought about the HVAC units on the roof sucking all those fumes directly into the building.
The property managers sent out an email (which I got on my phone, because we were all standing outside), apologizing for the smell and suggesting that everyone just go to lunch until the air cleared. A four story office building, and we’re all just supposed to go to lunch? It’s not like someone burned toast; we were getting poisoned with roofing glue fumes!
Another fifteen minutes or so passed before the building engineer arrived to shut down the HVAC system.
I went to lunch with some coworkers. That part was ok.
I returned at 1pm, and the buildings guys had set up fans in our suite to vent the air out into the hallway and the exhaust ducts, but it was still too toxic to stay. My sinuses hurt and I got a headache, and most of us left again to work from the coffee shop across the square. A couple of employees went home, unwilling (rightfully so) to deal with the fumes.
At 1:30 most of the smell had been vented, but a couple more employees went home with headaches and nausea; even with the odor greatly reduced, there was enough toxin left in the air to make people feel ill. My head throbbed and my sinuses burned, but I stayed so I could deal with the situation. One of our design teams missed a deadline due to the two-hour evacuation, and we lost a bucket of billable hours. I took some ibuprofen, berated the property managers and roofers for their incredible stupidity and lack of care, tallied up the cost of the lost billable hours, and tried to get some actual work done.
Round about 4:45pm, I heard someone come in the front doors and our admin assistant talking; a minute or so later she came into my office carrying a cake box and a card with a “5” written on it.
In an ultimate show of irony, our property managers had arranged to have a cake delivered today to celebrate our anniversary as a tenant. It doesn’t matter that today is not our anniversary, nor is “5” the appropriate number of years anyway; the incongruity that they send a cake on the very day they attempt to kill us all is mind boggling.
The cake was disgusting, a grocery store monstrosity of waxy frosting and fake chocolate.
We ate it anyway.
Shortly after 5, I left to go to my committee meeting; hustling through rush hour pedestrians, I tried to calm myself and clear my mind from the day’s stresses. On the way, I was waiting at a busy intersection and noticed a blind man beside me trying to orient himself at the corner. He was very close to the edge of the curb and buses hurtle along the road at alarming speeds, and so I said, “Sir, you might want to take a step backwards; you’re very close to the edge of the curb.”
His response? Not a thank you, oh no – he said, “As if I couldn’t figure that out for myself.”
You’re on your own, dude.
So, Universe, you can pretty much take today and stuff it. This extra large glass of wine I’m drinking? Doesn’t even come close to making up for it.