What to Do When the Abuse of Power Comes Whipping Through the Library

The administrator who drives me crazy with her micro-managing was at it again this week.  (Probably because her temporary gig as a senior admin ended with the return of that person, and the intensity hadn't died down yet.)

Thursday morning--already running on adrenaline because the primary grades' show was premiering that afternoon--she pounced on me in the library during my prep time.  

At 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, after an all-day back-and-forth email saga about one student who didn't have all the information about accessing textbooks online outside of school, after I explained I did not have (and was not keeper of) the login info for each subject's textbook--and in fact I was NOT the person who created and shared the initial Google spreadsheet doc set up for the kids to fill in that information for themselves, her response was "the student needs to go to each teacher and get the information."  

Which is what I had told ALL the students in September when they made their own copies of the doc.  Most of them at the very least had started typing in what they already knew.  O.K., fine, my work here is done, I thought that Wednesday afternoon, and went home fairly happy.

But NO.  For some reason, the following morning she consulted with the tech coordinator who WAS the creator of the doc--who told her the same things I did--she still didn't get it and came roaring over to the library, all wound up.

"You should have made sure they all did it.  This is your baby."

Wait, my what!?  

Oh, the eff it is, lady.  Don't you even dare tell me what my "baby" is.  You may have forced me to teach computer classes, but that doesn't make them my "baby."  I hate that expression, but if there's anything that's my baby in my job, that's the library.  And because you don't know anything about me outside of here, you don't know that my writing would be above all that.  And speaking of possessives and work, I'm pretty sure my co-faculty would think I'm stepping on their toes demanding all the information that's really between them and their students.  I don't need to be involved in any of that.

All those thoughts ran through my head at the same time I'm trying to control my face so my eyes don't bug out.  I had to think of a way to respond like a good little soldier.  So I said I'd talk to the student about getting the spreadsheet filled in.  That's the best I could get out while my trying to keep my head from exploding.

But after she flounced away, my head was pounding and my fury was aflame.  I may have used very bad words when my co-librarian asked what was up.  Those feelings stayed with me all day, and I went home and curled up on the sofa with the cat on my lap.  I just wanted to block out everything and everyone from that day.

The worst part was, while I'm standing out in the cold drizzle the following morning (as is my duty to see that the arriving students make it to the door O.K.), she walks up to me and starts talking about how excited she is that it's Friday and so on.  I had the sourest feeling inside as I listened to her go on about how her family is currently the stop for their parish's traveling shrine for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It feels horrible to want to claw someone's eyes out as they're talking about the Blessed Mother who is one of my greatest spiritual confidantes among saints and holy people.  But I did want to.  Very badly.  It seems so ridiculous that someone who claims to love Jesus so much also loves to be so condescending to me.  So I plastered a smile on my face and just waited for it all to be over.

All that absurdity and anger was rolling around in my head as I sat in Mass this morning, and then the homily started.  About today's readings which remind us we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we are to pray for those who persecute us.  So I decided I needed to do better in the face of this adversity.  I'm going to pray for this person that bugs me so badly that I can't stand it.  I will pray for her.  Every day, one Hail Mary.  And ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to make it all better.

And keep me out of trouble for now.




The Only "Woo-Woo Stuff" I Believe in

If you've been following the blog for a while, you might have seen me mention Mercury Retrograde at least once (or several times).  It's pretty much the only "woo-woo" kind of thing I put stock in.  

O.K., maybe the "full moon makes the library patrons crazy" thing, too.

You might have noticed I didn't post much during December.  Part of it was that I worked nineteen days straight--two weekends in a row at the public library in addition to two full weeks of school.  I didn't even get the usual half-day leading into Christmas vacation from school, as we went all the way to the Friday before.  

The first weekend at the public library I'd taken as a favor to another reference librarian who had relatives coming in from out of town earlier than expected.  It snowed that Saturday, and because it wasn't in my power to close early, I had a white-knuckle, white-out drive home in the dark.  Not fun.

But that was mild compared to the following weekend.

The next Saturday, about an hour before closing, there was an incident.  I'll spare you the details but a guy did something pervy (involving saliva) to a female patron who was minding her own business seated at a computer.  The guy left before the police could get to the library (stuck down the street dealing with Christmas shoplifters at a store).  And I spent two hours with the police and had to go to the station to give a statement.  It was going to be difficult to catch the guy because we don't have security cameras and I wasn't close enough to describe him in great detail, but we all did the best we could and our director commended the staff on how we handled the situation.

I did have a little fun the next day when an officer came by to check in, and upon seeing the officer engaged in a conversation with me, a mildly irritating patron who had been attempting to boss me around suddenly turned into a pussycat--ha ha!  But overall, the experience left me completely drained and not very interested in celebrating Christmas.  Really terrible timing, not that there's a good time for something horrible like that to happen.

So why am I talking about this now?

Because I found out this weekend that they caught the guy. Specifically, the patron--God bless her, she's a nice person and very cool for not avoiding the library afterwards--happened to be at the library the other day and that jerk came back in.  She followed him out to the parking lot and got a good look at his license plate to report it to the police.

Mercury retrograde often has you revisiting things from the past--sometimes good (like resolving a previous problem situation) and sometimes bad (running into a ex).  

I'm glad it was the former with this case.


Winter Headaches, Including a Hit-and-Run

Yet another snow day.  Yes, sixth day we have been shut down thanks to bad weather (or bad weather cut off the power as was the case last week).  We now have lost a noon dismissal before Easter vacation in April, and two in-services that would have been days off for the students are now moved to afterschool meetings.  Hooray.

On top of that, Friday as I was trying to leave work and traffic was unusually backed up (first day people were out of the house following the ice storm, I guess?), this old guy acted as if he were letting me come out of the school's driveway onto the main road--then sped up and hit me.  Hit me again.  Backed up--miraculously did not hit the car behind him--then made a swatting gesture at me and DROVE AWAY.

I stood there, stunned for a moment, when I got out of my car after backing it into the driveway again.  Co-workers stopped as they were on their way out, and saw me on the phone, car still running, giving a partial license plate and a description of the car and driver.  One teacher waited with me until the police came.  I was starting to get furious as I looked at the bashed-in bottom of my driver's side door.  How could he have just waved me off and driven away?

God bless the guy in the car behind the other driver--he called the whole thing in as well, including the full license plate.  I had two nice police officers who made sure I was all right.  They were even kind as I realized I had forgotten to put my new insurance card in the car just yet (started Feb. 1 but thankfully the same policy as before).  Then I was told it was a waiting game as the other car was registered to someone in another township and that township's police had to contact the guy.  (Yeah, I don't quite get that.)

So I spent the weekend feeling angry and frustrated, and then the past several days playing phone tag with the police after I got a message Tuesday afternoon that said they talked to the other driver and "he has no recollection of an accident Friday and only vaguely remembers being in the area that day."  And I'm thinking, what, the guy blacked out?  That's an O.K. response?

Finally I talked to someone at the police department who knew what she was doing.  I told her I didn't want to keep leaving messages for the office who kept calling at dismissal and then was off the clock so I couldn't call him back.  I just needed to know if the incident report was done and how I could get a copy for my insurance.  I'd just given up.

Didn't the officer show up yesterday morning at my school with a copy of the report?

And then he tells me his partner was the one who went to the other driver's home on Sunday and he was elderly (85+) and had bruises all over his face as he had taken a fall on Saturday.  She was nervous watching the guy back the car out of the garage as he seemed iffy doing even that little amount of driving.  So she stopped him and went in to look at the car.  Scratches all over the bumper, but he could explain them all--except for the new one which was dark paint like my car's.

Wow.  I was stunned again.  And instead of being angry with the old man who hit me, I felt bad for him, and concerned.

They didn't issue citations, but they did require a driving re-test for him.  I didn't know they could do that, but it sounds like a good idea.  I'd hate for him to lose his license, but it would be awful if he did more than just bang up a car, possibly hurting himself or others.  I hope there is someone looking out for him.

I guess someone was looking out for me, too.  I mean, I'm not thrilled to be dealing with a door that's difficult to open and close and makes my car look shady, but it could have been worse considering how awful this winter has made the roads.  If this is the most that happens, I am totally fine with it.

I'm still going to be paranoid about driving until Winter's over, however.


I Guess It IS Possible for Me to Live with Another Person

In this case, people.

My parents' house (and about a dozen neighboring houses) lost power early Wednesday morning.  They had hot water, but no electricity, which meant the gas furnace didn't have a starter.  At first, it seemed manageable--their neighbors across the street who did have power fed them dinner and let them boil water for a thermos so they could make tea--but it got old (not to mention COLD) when the outage stretched into the second and third days.

They didn't sleep here.  Mom was worried about leaving the cats, and the running water (to keep the pipes from freezing), and adding to the temptation for burglars.  Most of the other families had gone to hotels or relatives' places already.  But I convinced Mom to come charge her cell phone and her Kindle.  She knew how to put books on her Kindle once I linked it to my WiFi.  I'm so proud!  And mostly I felt good that I was able to offer her a place and some time to relax and warm up again, and use a hair dryer after a good shampooing.  Dad's a busy bee, so we just let him go about his business and made sure he got his hot soup when he did come over.

I did have school on Friday, and when I came home I could tell they'd been here.  Not in a bad way.  It was just- Well, they touched my things.  My living room was rearranged.  Someone had "tidied" my linen closet.  My "Nobody touches my things I'M THE MIDDLE CHILD!" feeling lasted only a few seconds, and then I shrugged.  It wasn't the end of the world.  And when I was here at the same time, I kind of liked having other people around, and real reasons to run the dishwasher more often, and doing what I could for them (what they'd let me do for them!).  Tonight, shortly after we'd eaten dinner, one of my parents' neighbors called my Dad to say the power was back on.  A few minutes later, they were on the road (in the snow, again, ugh) heading back to their home to get ready to watch Downton Abbey.  And just like that, my home was back to its usual routine of Sleeping Calico, Typing Library Dragon.

In recent times, I have struggled with and worried that I've been single and living on my own for so long that it would be impossible for me to live with anyone else, especially a significant other, and I'm doomed to be alone for the rest of my life and should just start saving for a bigger place to keep all the cats I'm going to adopt and fuss over.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm not terrible company. I'm not a bad hostess.  And I'm not completely and hopelessly set in my ways.



What I Did on My Second Day Off

Yup, no power at school again today.  The Cat totally thinks I'm a bum.

  • Fielded texts from my sibs asking how Mom and Dad are doing, for quite different reasons.  YS wanted to know if they were O.K.  Older Brother wanted to know if Mom would call him (so he could ask for a favor).
  • Next thing I know, I'm frantically cleaning up because Dad's going to drop off Mom on his way to the gym.  They do have hot water but it's too cold in the house to have wet hair, so Mom did the shower 'n' blow-dry thing at my place.  Also got her Internet fix (went through her overflowing e-mail in-box) and watched the finale of "Top Chef."
  • Mom and Dad had some lunch and hung out, and then Dad was getting itchy to go back home.  Before they left, I put Mom's Kindle (Christmas present from YS, paying off) on my WiFi and she downloaded a new book to keep her occupied (she totally knows how to do this, no help! Yay Mom!).
  • Washed two loads of towels and cat blankies, cooked chicken, and fed half of said cooked chicken to The Cat.
  • Left a message for one of my neighbors who is on a crusade to stop the package pilfering that seems to be worsening lately.  I had one stolen two summers back, and in the past six months I've had at least two packages opened by someone else.  RUDE.  For the most part, I try to have my packages delivered to my parents', but they don't need to know all my shopping preferences.  (I'll never forget the time my mom thought I was into something weird when I ordered a cat brush arch--like this--that came in a box marked "Magic Brush.") 
  • Got a phone call from school saying the power's back on at school and we're starting regular time--turned around and called my mom's cell to say they should feel free to come watch TV/use the computer while I'm at school.  Then got a phone call from my co-librarian who said that she wasn't going to be in tomorrow--no power, no heat, the basement flooded, and she fell coming back into the house after buying supplies.  What a mess.
  • Estimated the number of kids who won't be in because they have no power and/or no way to get to school because there still are other school districts (who provide the transportation) either opening later or staying closed.

Friday is going to be pretty weird.



In Case You Needed a Reminder of This Year's Word

Just watch Evan Lysacek, Olympic figure skater, on Sesame Street.  

(Via Kate Linnea, who finds some really great links.)

(Yes, I am home. AGAIN.  Ice storm knocked the power out at school.  WINTER HATES SCHOOL.)


Yet Another Snow Day

Not that I enjoy rearranging my lesson plans every three days or so, but I am relishing this day off.  I needed the breather after two trivia fundraiser nights in a row (victorious in both!) and then dinner/football/Downton Abbey at my parents' last night.

The (15+ lb.) baby cat at my parents' has been under the weather this week, and I know my mom was concerned about getting him to the vet this morning so let's all say a prayer and think positive thoughts that the snow didn't make it too difficult.

It's a little after 11 a.m. here and the snow is still coming down--big,wet, soap flakes.  Pretty to look at but not nice for driving.

This storm looks huge on the radar map--has anyone else gotten (or is anyone currently getting) a storm?