resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
The church is hiring a new custodian. I'm not officially a part of the hiring process, but as the person who hands out the applications and takes them back when they're done, I'm in a position to make a few observations.

1. If, in the time it takes you to fill out an application, you make the entire office smell like stale cigarettes, you are unlikely to be hired for a cleaning job.

2. I cannot emphasize this enough: follow the damned directions. If the ad says "Apply Monday through Thursday," don't show up on Friday, and definitely don't show up on Saturday and then leave a phone message that says, "I done banged on all the doors and I cain't raise nobody." If the secretary says, "Please sit down here and fill out an application," don't just stand there and stare at her as if she's said something profoundly confusing. If the secretary says on Monday, "I don't know what the committee's timetable is, but I'll be contacting everyone when they've made a decision," don't call on Wednesday and say accusingly, "Nobody got back to me."*

3. Don't talk about how you left your old job because you "didn't agree with the way they treated women" and then pause for applause. Don't talk about how proud you are of your kids and then pause for applause. Basically, if you waste half an hour of my time patting yourself on the back about non-job-related things when you come in to fill out an application, while I attempt to get on with my workday, I'm going to assume that any relationship we might have would continue in that vein -- and, guess what, I'm going to weigh in against hiring you.

4. On the other hand, if you ask questions about the job, you may discover that the person who's being replaced is sitting right beside you and very eager to tell you things. There, you see? Curiosity pays off.

* Yes, this was all the same guy. If the committee chairwoman asked me to put the applications in preference order, I'd put him after the convicted sex offender.

We had one guy come in, arrive at the top of the stairs, and politely remove his hat -- revealing another hat underneath!
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Fine thanks)
The list of Things That If I Mention Them You Are Encouraged To Shoot Me For My Own Good has expanded:

  1. Church cookbook
  2. Custom Christmas cards
  3. Any supposedly fun luncheon activity that starts with a blank jigsaw puzzle

We probably have impending drama at the church office -- Pastor Vague has exhausted the patience of people far more patient than me (almost everybody is more patient than me) -- but in the meantime, potlucks and supposedly fun luncheon activities go on.

Tomorrow I get to buy twelve pounds of ground beef and make four tres leches cakes!

All this civic-mindedness is cutting into my smut-writing time, damn it.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
When it gets frustrating to solve the same problems over and over, sometimes there's nothing you can do but make a bingo card.

Click to see the full version )

(Yes, the one who spills her lunch is me.)

This is the polite version, the one that doesn't make fun of anybody who actually works there. The impolite version would have squares for:

The Head Monkey bitches about the White Sheep
The White Sheep bitches about the Head Monkey
The White Sheep bitches about her governing board representative
Little Trouble bitches about her governing board rep
Little Trouble makes a racist remark
Little Trouble disapproves of other people's work ethic
The Head Monkey sits at my desk and talks for more than thirty minutes
The Head Monkey loudly takes a phone call while sitting at my desk
The Head Monkey tells me at great length about: his collectible car, his granddaughter the state-champion athlete, how smart his adult son is, or how his daughter has a master's degree plus XX hours but no common sense.
The Spontaniator* sits at my desk and talks for more than thirty minutes
The Spontaniator leaves my desk and talks to someone else for more than thirty minutes
The Spontaniator gets halfway down the stairs and then comes back up to talk some more
The Spontaniator complains about how much work he has to do
The Spontaniator changes the music for Sunday any later than Thursday morning
The Hilarious Bastard** bitches about the White Sheep
The Hilarious Bastard bitches about his governing board rep
Generalized bitch session about Pastor Vague

* The Spontaniator is our music director. He's the bane of my existence partly because he can't bear to make a decision, as that would close off other possibilities, which seems to cause him actual pain (hence we're still learning our Easter anthem on Good Friday) and also because he does nothing but talk.

** The Hilarious Bastard is our organist. He's very hilarious, and I love to talk to him. He's also the same personality type as me (INTJ, if you follow that sort of thing), but he's ... immature, and doesn't believe that there's any good reason not to share your insights. He knows the better way to do everything, and He Will Tell You.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Fine thanks)
Dear Pastor Vague, here are the facts.

  1. You are not very good at graphic design.
  2. I am very good at graphic design.
  3. What's more, designing all the church's publications is my job*.
  4. Obviously, therefore, designing all the church's publications is not your job.
  5. Many things that are your job (such as strategic planning, developing lay leadership, coordinating various groups so that they don't duplicate one another's work, making an effort to see to it that our old and homebound members still feel bonded to the community, etc.) are things you can't be bothered to do.
  6. Therefore, just bring me the information about the new program and ask me to draft a flier. Do not provide me with a sheet of centered type, all the same size, with little boxes drawn on it, all the same size, where you want me to put certain specific color photos from Wikipedia, I swear to God, and then tell me which color paper to print it on while trusting that mysteriously the red background isn't going to affect how the color photos look, all right?????

[pant pant pant]

* On the other hand, things that are not my job include teaching you repeatedly how to upload a photo to Facebook (which I do anyway because it would take longer to argue) and arranging to get your lawn mowed (which I will not do no matter how often you hint).
resonant: Seal doing facepalm (Seal of Disapproval)
Dear fund-raisers, retreat facilities, and others who supply to churches:

Your calls came over my switchboard the week before Easter, and you all seemed very surprised to be told that the pastor and the youth director really don't have time to chat with you about your publication or your lakeside cabins or your church directory package.

Funny thing -- turns out that in Christianity (you know, one of the religions you market to?), Easter is kind of a big deal.

Given how many of y'all there seem to be, I'm guessing there must be serious money in marketing to churches. Maybe learn a little something about us before you show up holding out your cup?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I've been confident for some time that Pastor Vague is a space alien, attempting unsuccessfully to use observation to fit in among humans*. Today I discovered evidence that his date of earthfall was sometime in the 1990s or later.

He's working on a book about a clergywoman he admires, and occasionally (because he's too vague to use Amazon successfully) he'll ask me to order a book for him. Today he said, "The title is 'Right Wing Women,' and the author is D-W-O-R-K --"

"Oh, Andrea Dworkin?" I said.

He frowned, perplexed. "You've heard of her? What is she, an important historian or something?"

Somehow I have a feeling the book he's writing is not going to be a very good book.

(A couple of months ago he asked me if I'd ever heard of an author named (phonetically) P.G. Woad-house, who was pretty good.)

* You may not be surprised to learn that this sort of thing is much less sexy when it comes from people not played by Benedict Cumberbatch.


We're going to Disney World on Sunday! The spouse's parents are sending us there for the kidlet's 12th birthday. "I don't know what we've done to deserve a gift like that," I told my mother-in-law, and she said, "Well, you're pretty good kids."

So you may not hear from me until I'm completely exhausted. Possibly even sunburned. Have a good time while I'm gone, and keep fandom warm for me!
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I worked my first church supper yesterday, under the watchful, migraine-watery eye of the Chairwoman of Sighs. There's a lot I don't know (for instance, evidently the One Right Way of folding tablecloths is one of the Secrets of the Fellowship Committee), but I think I've got the cast of characters figured out.

You've got your Cheerful Workers. You've got your Friendly Socializers, for whom a hot pan can't stand in the way of a hug. You've got your Improvers, with a kindly word of advice for everyone, at all times, whether anyone asked for it or not, and particularly when it's already too late to change things. You've got your Volunteer Martyrs, who come in despite poor health because they can't bear to let anyone down, doing baffling things because they're not feeling well and thus not thinking well. You've got the fluttery-handed Willing But Helpless ones, who stand in the path of traffic and wait for someone to tell them what to do. You've got the Single-Minded, who choose one small detail (the cleanliness of the fronts of the cabinets, the latching of the back door, the supply of pepper in the pepper shakers) and see to it fiercely, oblivious to all else.

Me myself, I aspire to be an Invisible Hand when I'm in a kitchen not my own -- the one who notices when the pan of potatoes you're dishing out of is empty and whisks a full one into its place between the lifting and the lowering of the spoon. My mother and I used to cook together before I moved away. I miss it.

I believe the Chairwoman of Sighs thought I was going to be Willing But Helpless. At the end of the dinner, she said, "You've never worked with us before, so I wasn't sure, but I knew you'd be OK when you showed up with your own knife* and started smashing garlic cloves."

The first dinner I'll be in charge of is in January, but since it's the Annual Meeting, the menu is traditional (you might almost say it's liturgical) and the procedure is well-honed. My real test will be in February. Oh, the checklists I will make and the pre-chopping I will do! It's an odd thing to admit, but I'm looking forward to it.

Maybe if I get started, I can find some fellow cooks who sing.

* Best way to transport a big knife that doesn't have its own blade guard? With the blade stuck between the pages of a cookbook.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Social)
Congratulate me; starting in January I will be the chair of the church's Fellowship Committee.

As this person is chiefly responsible for planning social events, I've been considering asking to be referred to as Empress Covered Dish, or maybe First Vice President of Fried Chicken.

Honestly, if I were the one in charge, I would not have let me do this. It's questionable to have a staffer be a member of the church, really darned risky to have a staffer be married to a member of the governing board, and borderline insane to have a staffer head an important committee. (Also, of course, it's rather odd to put an introvert in charge of social events, though on the other hand you can guarantee that an introvert won't schedule unnecessary meetings.)

It's also borderline insane that I want to do it. But for as long as I can remember, the committee has been headed up by a woman who's an Olympic-level Sigher, one of those people who would rather be put-upon than ask for help.

And apparently the easiest way to make me want to do something is to stand where I can see you and do it badly.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I'm contemplating a Cynic's Version of the Psalms.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like a freaking miracle, that's what it is like.


Mar. 10th, 2010 09:36 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Because describing the rest of what's going on at work would just depress me, a Head Monkey story instead.

A guy from the electric company comes in to read the meter. It's the Head Monkey's day off, so the guy says, "Well, when he gets back in, tell him we'll be playing softball on Tuesday nights this year. He's always interested in the team I coach."

"OK," I say, jotting a note. "Tuesday night softball with -- what's your name?"

"Well, my name is Percy, but he thinks it's Felix, for some reason. So just tell him it's from Felix."

So I tell the Head Monkey about this when he comes in the next day. And he gets this hurt, baffled expression on his face and says, "I've known Felix for ten years! He never told me his name was Percy!"
resonant: Rodney McKay: My mind and welcome to it (My mind and welcome to it)
I've long contended that spam contains a philosophy -- that you can look at it and gather what impossible dreams people are dreaming. Our world's philosopher's stone and fountain of youth seem to be larger penises, money for nothing, easy weight loss, and reliable Microsoft Windows.

I wasn't aware until I started working in a church that churches get their own kind of spam. (For one thing, in our version of the Nigerian scam, the person who needs help getting her husband's money out of the country is the widow of a pastor.)

The top three impossible desires of churches, based on the spam index:

1. A redesigned website.
2. Cheap health insurance for part-time employees.
3. Recruit volunteers with the click of a mouse!
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (zen fen)
If this were a story instead of real life, it would actually be finished instead of just inspiring me to speculate. But it's a pretty cool story anyway.

St. Sapient is involved in a lawsuit with the city. It's a long story, but to sum up: in the 1950s, a parishioner gave the church an adjacent lot with a house on it; the church didn't have a pressing need for the land and didn't have the money to tear the house down; in between, the neighborhood became a historic district, and now tearing down anything requires permission from the city's historic preservation commission; and they say no way.

So the house sits there, costing the church several thousand dollars a month in utilities and security and the sort of minimal repairs necessary to keep the roof on and the raccoons and drug users out, while the lawyers try to persuade the city to allow it to be torn down.

Pastor Fixit has left the church and is now a chaplain at the local hospital, but she has to stay in touch because she's heavily involved in the lawsuit. Meanwhile, we hired a sweet but slightly corny retired guy to be our new interim: Pastor Singalong.

So Pastor Fixit stopped by yesterday to give us the latest lawsuit update, and the Head Monkey dragged a dusty, smelly box out of his office and said, "This might interest you."

The box contained two old-fashioned leather binders full of mostly hand-written pages. Here's the story he told about it.

Read more... )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Overheard)
Mostly just because I'm lonesome and want some company.

The White Sheep: She totally brought me into her voodoo crazy-lady world!

The White Sheep: This place is like a soap opera. The Old and the Senseless.

Me: It's a cruel world.
Kidlet: Which one?

Things you never expect to hear come out of your mouth: "Of course not. No one means for Harry Potter to wind up in the toilet."

Read more... )


Jan. 6th, 2009 10:00 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Overheard)
Pastor Fixit: "Here's a Lent calendar for you."
The White Sheep: "Is it going to be depressing?"
Pastor Fixit: "Yeah. He still dies in the end."

Kidlet, looking at mirror on floor: "Oh, look! A door into another dimension!"

Read more... )

Guess I should introduce the White Sheep next. She's the Christian Education director: A nice young woman who's apparently from a very naughty family. Her conversation is peppered with phrases like "my mother's fifth husband ..." and "the last time I talked to my sister when she was sober ..."
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I'm horribly late at announcing these, but:

- Cybel Harper has done a podbook of [ profile] kinseyx's podfic of my Harry/Snape story, The Familiar, with cover art by [ profile] barbana.

- [ profile] luzula has done a podfic of my Due South story, American Way.

for those who've been wondering:

Updates on the cat, the school fire, the job, and the midlife crisis inside. )

And what's new in your worlds?

August 2017

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