Yes, this is just what it looks like. After years of training in professional warehouse management (not), sometimes you just have to throw caution to the winds.
Last Friday, Betsy had pretty much had it. Her daughter, Kirsten, had stayed up all night. Then Betsy’s car wouldn’t start. Then she drove out to a major retailer’s distribution center in a U-Haul to pick up a large donation. A large and partially heavy donation. It took so long to load that Betsy lost the help she thought she’d have unloading at CRC World Headquarters.
Betsy is extremely organized. Chaos makes her physically ill. But Friday, she reached her limit.
No, it is not professional warehouse management to throw boxes willy nilly out of a truck and on to the warehouse floor. But it’s quicker than stacking them.
Here it is. A moment you will not likely see again for a very long time. Betsy sitting on chaos. Proud and unashamed.
It is snowing on Nov. 25. Of course, it is. It’s a giveaway day and the dock doors are wide open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are many advantages to the wonderful jobs Betsy and I have. But conducting giveaways in 30-degree weather is not one of them.
The Chicks are prepared for this kind of hardship. We wear long underwear and Chick 1 wears heavy wool socks. Chick II is still young and beautiful so she has not reached the stage yet where she’s willing to look like a lumberjack, even at work in a warehouse. There is hot coffee that may or may not contain just a wee bit of a liquid warming agent. There is a space heater that in no way keeps anyone warm, but if we pretend it does maybe it will be so.
So this is a photo from a couple of years ago when the Chicks were doing flood recovery from a 90,000-square-foot warehouse near the airport. Talk about cold. I called them weather weenies when they asked to get a space heater. They got one and I refused to even come within 100 yards of it. So a couple of years later, I admit I was wrong. Even if the space heater emits a mere promise of warmth, it makes me feel better.
Tomorrow when we get to the warehouse for the second giveaway day it will be a balmy 25 degrees. Oh, joy.
So Betsy is on her European vacation and I am completely reorganizing the warehouse (tee-hee). Not that I’m jealous or anything.
Right now, I’m organizing donated Christmas decorations to give away in December. Without Betsy here to keep me on task, I am straying a little here and there to admire the ornaments, put on the Santa hats and have a few cookies on one of the Rejoice in the Season plates.
And then, as if there were a ghost in the warehouse, sounds start emanating from one of the boxes. Hark! What could it be?
Yes, A plastic and colored light rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Kind of gets you in the mood for Christmas, doesn’t it? Kind of?
So, we get a lot of cool donations at CRC World Headquarters that add value to the lives of the people in need we serve. But then we get kind of wacky stuff and wonder … why? Why did someone feel the need to manufacture the Bear Bryant Table Lamp or the resin figures of vegetables with legs that dangle from a counter or window sill?
Or this: What I am calling the Our Father Key Chain. The Chicks are all about the Lord’s Prayer. But not from a disembodied, mechanical voice on your key chain. So here you go. Your moment of wacky zen.
Rarely, but on occasion, the Chicks have to dispose of a few things. With donations, you have to take the bad with the good. There’s no problem giving the good away. Sometimes, we can even give away the bad. But once in awhile, we get stuck with the bad.
Such was the case with a couple of desks we got. They were…well…ratty. Not in that they were rat-infested. They were just way past their prime, which was sometime around 1973.
So we called the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department to bring out their awesome Jaws of Death truck (my term, not theirs).
How can you not take photos of something like this? Here we go.
You ever get to do this as part of your job? I didn’t think so.
The things the Chicks have to do for our jobs. Yes, most of the time we’re writing grants and giving away stuff, but occasionally we are called upon to do completely wacky “work”. Like last week just before Saturday’s Swine Ball, which benefited CRC. Betsy was completely engrossed in making Silent Auction baskets. The conference room was filled with books, jewelry, purses, scarves, knick-knacks, doo-dads and thingamajigs that all had to be mixed, matched and arranged in baskets. The girl was practically giddy with excitement. She loves this kind of stuff.
I, on the other hand, was in charge of the Bacon Bar. How can you have a Swine Ball without a Bacon Bar? Sadly for me, I grossly underestimated how much time it would take to cook 30 pounds of bacon. As it turns out, it takes four days. Not 24-7, of course. But a good six hours every day for four days. That also counts the time it took to make the peanut butter, chocolate chip and bacon cookies and the pimento cheese bacon crisps. Let’s just say I was concerned about Acute Oven Failure as the poor thing didn’t get turned off much. And, yes, the best way to make bacon is to cook it in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet, 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon. Then it had to cool on a cooling rack in the microwave because if I left it on the counter, the cats would have…well, we won’t go there.
It was a huge success, the Bacon Bar. The pimento cheese bacon crisps were the favorite. And thank you, Betsy, for making your grandmother’s pimento cheese. It had the perfect processed-cheese consistency that melted beautifully in the broiler.
I don’t know if we’ll add “basket making” and “bacon cooking” to our job descriptions yet. But we just might.
I do not want, in any form, to take away from the Olympic athletes who have won medals during the London games. We are so proud of all of them.
But. BUT. Have they won the Medal of Awesomeness? I have.
Last week, I chronicled my struggles to comprehend the new Emma e-mail system and the huge level of help I got from their very kind staff. I described myself as a moron, which in the world of technology I am. However, the people at Emma think otherwise. This arrived in the mail today:
“Catherine, Mary from Emma Support Team here. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your super funny and kind blog post. As this medal suggests, we happen to think you are quite awesome. Not a moron at all. It is our pleasure to get to work with such great folks as yourself. Please accept this medal and let us know how we can help in the future. Cheers! Mary.”
Well, I just couldn’t be happier. I trained hard for this medal. Let’s see, I goofed up the copying machine so that it won’t print labels. I took videos with my phone when I thought I was shooting photos. And every time I start my laptop this comes up: “The procedure entry point sqlite3_wal_checkpoint could not be located in the dynamic link library.” I don’t know what in the hell that means.
But despite all this, my friends at Emma think I am awesome and have awarded me a prestigious medal which I will proudly wear for the rest of my life. When I go to the Publix or the post office, people will inquire. “What is that around your neck?” And I will proudly answer, “Why, that’s my Medal of Awesomeness.”
Thanks, Emma friends. I will probably be calling you next week with my next technological gaffe. Is there a Medal of Stupendousness I can shoot for?
CRC got a very generous donation of toilet paper today. We re all about the toilet paper. Can you think of anything more basic than toilet paper? Now think of what you’d do if you didn’t have access to it. OK, don’t. But that is the sad situation many people in need face.
Betsy, hereafter known as the Queen of Toilet Paper, faced a unique challenge today accepting the donation at the airport warehouse. Let’s see how sharp you are. What’s wrong with this picture?
See it? No? Maybe you have to do warehouse work. The wood pallet, used here for illustration, should be level between the truck bed and the dock. It clearly is not. Now imagine that the pallet contains a double stack of toilet paper, as the ones in the rear of the truck do. You can see the problem, I hope.
Betsy is a whiz with a pallet jack, which is the tool one must use to move pallets of materials around and about. Here she is in one of our temporary warehouses after the flood moving pallets that probably weighed 500 pounds. But I have to say I do not know how she managed to get those pallets of toilet paper over to the edge of the truck and then somehow up and over to the dock.
I was not at the airport warehouse, of course, or I would have snapped a photo of this miracle. I was back at CRC World Headquarters struggling to lift 10-pound boxes of new athletic shorts gently handed to me by the kindly UPS guy. Age before beauty. I rarely embrace that phrase, but today I did.
One of the greatest travesties of the devastating May 2010 floods was the loss of our beloved flamingos. Betsy and I found their poor shattered bodies washed up against the chain-link fence. The funeral mass was held at Christ Cathedral and was attended by hundreds of mourners, including Mayor Karl Dean, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
Oh. I believe that might have been an exaggeration. Actually, a lie. But that’s what should have happened. In actuality, they were scooped up by a bulldozer, along with everything else in the House of Toxic Poo, and packed off to an undisclosed landfill.
How could we go on? Pink flamingos don’t just grow on trees or from the pages of the Oriental Trading Company. Everyone knows of their rarity. Betsy and I were resigned to a flamingo-less life. Until our beloved accountant, Ceanne, somehow, somewhere, found two replacements. They spent most of 2010-2011 grazing in Ceanne’s backyard while we reconstructed the interior of the building. I understand they were great pets and grew very close to Ceanne. However, I believe Ceanne was ready for them to move once the building was done. Flamingos make extremely annoying noises for such delicate birds.
So, one day a few weeks ago the birds came home to roost. Free birds. Actual free birds because Ceanne provided them to us at no charge. Free to stand majestically in front of CRC. Free to observe the constant stream of concrete trucks that fill up at the concrete plant across the street. Free to watch that strange lady who power walks up and down Visco Drive every day around 11 a.m. Now that they’re home, hopefully they’ll tell the annoying UPS delivery man that if you stick a notice on the door that you are trying to deliver a package and then watch it immediately fall off, that the Chicks WILL NOT SEE IT.
We’re expecting a lot from these birds. They follow in the footsteps of greatness.