Friday, May 23, 2008

New Job vs. Old Job

I'm really enjoying my new job. The atmosphere is so much calmer and quieter than the vet clinic; it's the complete opposite. There are only two phone lines and they only ring three or four times an hour instead of four phone lines ringing constantly (although there were usually two of us to answer them).

The phone calls are calm, too. No one calling frantically becaue their cat has been vomiting and having bloody diarrhea for five days, what should they do? (Duh, bring it in right away -- "Oh, I don't have time. Can I just stop by and pick up a prescription?") Or the people who think the slightest little thing is an emergency (it isn't) and want to come in RIGHT NOW.

Of course most of the clients were great (but not as much fun to write (or read) about. I met some interesting people, such as a certain artist who is famous locally and nationally. He was so down to earth and funny and friendly. And the people involved in animal rescue, particularly the ones helping the feral cats with the Trap, Neuter, Release program, are true angels.

So things are much calmer at the new job (although there was that four-foot-long snake that tried to get into my car Wednesday, but more on that later). There are only five of us in the office -- Chuck L, Chuck M, Loretta, Tillie, and myself -- and one woman who works back in the warehouse/garage servicing the vehicles and doing whatever else she does. There are four superintendents who come in and out regularly and numerous construction workers who only come in once a week to pick up their paycheck.

It can get a little crazy, when we're putting together multiple copies of bid proposal packets the evening before they're due, but the craziness is occasional rather than constant. It was funny on the first few days when Loretta, the Office Manager, was apologizing to me for how crazy it was, and I said, "This isn't crazy at all," while thinking to myself, "You don't know what crasy is." She's very nice to work with, as are all the others. Tillie works here part time in the office; she's Loretta's sister. Chuck L is the President; he was the VP until last November when his father, the President and owner, died. Chuck M is the Project Manager for northern New Mexico. He's very funny and rides motorcycles. It gets a little confusing having two Chucks, especially when someone calls and asks for Chuck. I have to ask which one (using their last names) and usually they know which one they want, but not always. The "regulars" who call a lot know to ask by the full name.

Oh yes, the snake. Wednesday afternoon, after I got back from lunch, Tillie left to pick up some lunch for herself and Loretta. Right after she left, the phone rang. It was Tillie. "Beth, get Loretta and come outside, quick!!" We went outside and she pointed to the ground. It was a four-foot-long snake! It looked like a rattlesnake. Both Chucks were gone, so Loretta went back to get one of the construction guys. As she left, the snake began heading right for my car. By the time she and O. came back a couple of minutes later, the snake had crawled through one of the holes in my hubcap and into the wheel of my car! A few minutes later, it started to come back out again and O., wearing gloves of course, grabbed it and tried to pull it out. The snake held on, but stronger muscles prevailed and eventually O. was able to pull it out and tossed it away. He said it wasn't a rattlesnake, it was a bullsnake. Bullsnakes are good to have around; they aren't venomous and they eat rodents (many of the rodents around here carry hantavirus and/or bubonic plague). I don't mind having bullsnakes around; I just don't want one in my car!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Last Friday, May 9, was my last day working at the vet. Tomorrow, May 12, I start my new job, as Administrative Assistant for a large construction company, LCI2. It will mean more money, more hours, and normal hours -- Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 (with an hour for lunch). The 11-hour days at the vet were really getting to me, as were some of the more psycho clients (I loved the animals, but some of the owners were difficult to deal with). I will miss all my co-workers. We were a great team, always helping each other and always thanking each other, particularly after an especially hard day. We all dreaded the same psycho clients, and some of us were better at dealing with some of them, others better at dealing with other ones.

I'm working on another project, too, a freelance editing project. This time it's for a private individual, a retired history teacher from Illinois. He has written his memoirs, for his children and grandchildren. As he explained to me in his first e-mail, he didn't write it for publication, but he wants it to be up to publication standards. He also wrote it "to learn things" so I explained about Microsoft Word's "Track Changes" feature, so we're doing it that way, so he can accept or reject my changes. So far, it's been fascinating. He was born about 1930 and grew up in Baltimore. I'm still in the chapters about his early childhood and the details he remembers and writes about are very interesting. His use of language is great, as well (much better than mine is today). There's one brief paragraph describing an old wooden rowboat that is absolutely one of the best pieces of writing I've read in a long time. I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

What's new with everyone else out there? Let's see some more contributions to the family blog.