Crazy Days and Lipiness

I’m particularly happy to see the weekend! Crazy week, it was!

Most of the craziness was work-related. Over the past year, our small department of three employees has become increasingly busy, sometimes to the point of  being overwhelmed. We were thrilled when it was announced a couple of months ago that we were finally given the budget to hire additional staff – two new Account Analysts, like us, and an Support Specialist. We were getting help!

The newbies started on Monday and there was a plan for getting them acclimated, which was swept aside when one of our automated processes decided to act up at the same time. We didn’t realize it at first. I was looking for reports that should have generated for some of my clients but they were nowhere to be found. This odd little quirk soon revealed that something bigger was amiss. We spent all of Monday researching what had gone wrong and how to fix it. Thankfully, the newbies could keep pretty busy completing their Human Resources requirements.

By Tuesday, we had a better idea of how to get our process back under control and the newbies could start getting their feet wet. As might be expected, with the doubling of our department staff, we had to change a few things. The seating arrangement was one of those things. We three seasoned veterans used to sit in close proximity to one another. It was an easy way to maintain communication and teamwork, but it also occasionally contributed to a lot of unnecessary conversation. I’m all for friendly chatter, but with as big as my to-do list often was, this became a dilemma for me. I mean, there’s really no nice way to say, “Please go away. I don’t have time to hear about your son’s new tattoo right now.” I developed many coping mechanisms to discourage casual visits to my desk when I really couldn’t afford the time for them. But there are some who just can’t seem to take a hint.

Before the new staff joined us, we were informed that there would be some rearranging of our cubicle assignments. There was some dismay about this, because two of us would have to relocate to an aisle that’s somewhat of a main thoroughfare. I wasn’t concerned. I can tune out general noise. It’s those direct interruptions I have trouble combatting. I was happy to move, or stay put. I was only hoping that the changes would give me a small bit of distance from a frequent distraction. I sent an email to my boss saying that if it made the decision easier, I would happily relocate to one of the new locations if it allowed one of my less willing associates to stay put. In the end, I was the only one to remain in my existing “home” while the others were moved over to the busier aisle. All of the new people would be located in my aisle. I’m not sure if any of the assignments was intentional or entirely random, and not everyone was happy about it. But I got my wish, so all was good with me.

Of course, new staff means lots of questions. And since I’m the closest of the three “experts,” many of those questions were addressed to me. It was a challenge to maintain focus on my projects while trying to accommodate the new staff’s needs, for all of us. But it was a good problem to have. The new people are already proving to us that we made the right choice in hiring them. The week was intense, but I’m sure next week will settle down some, and soon we’ll all be in a new groove.

2014-10-09In non-work news, I had a spot on my lip taken care of on Tuesday this week. I noticed the spot about a year or so ago and first thought it was a blood blister or something. When it didn’t go away, I ignored it. Because that’s a good plan of action with weird facial stuff, right? Few others could see it, but a couple of times recently, someone noticed and asked about it. Suddenly, it seemed bigger, darker, and I was now certain it was a cancerous mole in my lip. I couldn’t stop looking at it and worrying. Finally, I had my doctor check it out and I was relieved when he assured me that it basically was a sort of blood blister. He said I probably bit my lip somewhere along the way. I’ll bet my hyper dog was responsible, considering the number of times she’s chucked me under the chin in her excitement to welcome me home after work. He told me I could have it lasered off by a dermatologist. And since I have some old HSA money in a use it or lose it account, I decided to do it.

At the dermatology clinic, I was treated by the youngest looking doctor I’ve ever met. Couldn’t help thinking, “Doogie Howser.” Though he was definitely more of an adult than Doogie was. And if he’s not already married, I’m sure he experiences no shortage of attention from the opposite sex, if you know what I’m saying. After he presented all of my options, we agreed to the laser treatment and I got three relatively painless zaps to the lip. Dr. Doogie told me to expect a bit of bruising and slight swelling, but that the spot would likely fade within a week to ten days. And if not, I could come back for more zapping.

For the first few days, I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my lip, which is funny, because I took this that selfie at the height of the elephantness, and clearly, I might have been overreacting just slightly. And I’m happy to say that the spot is definitely fading. But if it doesn’t completely disappear, I’ll be happy to go pay Doctor Hottie Doogie another visit.

 

@

I have a coworker whom I really enjoy working with because he challenges my brain. MC is genius smart. I mean really. Genius.

I’ve had a lot of opportunity to work on projects with MC and I always come away feeling as if I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits. It’s a great feeling to know you can still learn things you honestly thought you could never grasp. I don’t even want to admit how giddy it made me to learn how to create and use pivot tables in Excel.

MC has a unique personality. He’s uber polite, professional, extremely proper, almost old-fashioned in some ways. So it surprised me when I realized he has a fun side too. A while ago, I received an instant message from MC. There was a project I was expecting and I knew he would be providing some details in this message.

“Agent Terri,” began the message. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

It made me laugh. I told MC he was now responsible for the fact that the Mission Impossible theme song would be stuck in my head for the remainder of the day. I told him I accepted the mission.

Since that time, MC has often addressed me as Agent Terri, in person, in emails or in instant messages. Which is kind of funny, now that I think about it. MC does not allow anyone to refer to him by the nickname commonly associated with his given name. He prefers to be called only by his formal name. Yet I remain Agent Terri.

Lately, some of MC’s email messages to me have begun with the “at” symbol. Since we are jointly working on several items, there is a lot of email communication between us. The first time one of MC’s emails began with the “at” symbol, I assumed that he had simply composed his message in a rush. He’s a very busy guy. You might even say that his workload is overwhelming. It’s one of the drawbacks of being the person who knows so much and possesses such a variety of talents.

Several emails from MC lately have begun with or contained the “at” symbol. I wondered if it was symbolic of something, kind of like the way a colon, dash and parentheses are combined to make a sideways smiley face.

This morning, I met with MC to discuss another project with which I was helping him. As we concluded our meeting, he stated that he would email some instructions to me along with a spreadsheet to document our findings. True to his word, later that morning I received the details he had promised. And upon opening the spreadsheet, I saw the two columns he said he would add so that we could each document our findings. One was labeled “MC’s” and one was labeled, “@’s.”

That’s when it dawned on me. “@” wasn’t symbolic of some sort of smiley face. “@” was symbolic of me! I am @. Agent Terri. AT. @.

I’m trying to figure out if it’s funny that it took me this long to realize that I am @, or if it’s funny that MC assumed I would automatically know that @ is code for Agent Terri.

Either way, I kind of like having my own symbol! Move over, Prince!