When I was hired for this job, I was told all I had to do was answer the phones, and some light office duties. My sell was I had a blog, and so I MUST have some digital age skills. (Wink, Wink, Cheshire Cat grin.) I forgot to mention the part where I’m clumsy, I bleed a lot and easily, and I’m a bit accident prone.
I have been working on welcoming change at my job at the church. If it were up to me, I’d do the same routine everyday. Eventually I’d get good at it. Learning something new for me, as seen in college, volleyball, parenting, cooking…. takes me a ridiculous amount of repetition to actually get something close to right. I mean to really grasp the concept. Throw in technology and my fellow church community depending on me and I’m done for. So, I’ve been learning the process of our church newsletter for several months. Maybe a year by now.
Coordinating a church newsletter, and every single submission missing their deadline is pretty much the easy part. Let’s get real, here. I can’t point fingers because I don’t have that many. Besides, we’re in the God business. People dying, sick folks, prayers, needs, petty stuff like that takes priority over newsletter deadlines. Or so I’m told.
Getting the newsletter edited and approved is a bit of a hassle, but I’m down with effective communication and all, so we get through it. Printing the newsletter might be my favorite part. I like the tangible action of getting it done. Next is getting volunteers in to stuff, fold, tab, and label the newsletters. That’s my favorite part because it’s fun to have the volunteers in the office willing to help and they’re just fun anyway, so it’s fun to hang out with them.
The sucky part that I still have a hard time learning is all the technical stuff. First I have to get the labels printed. I have a step-by-step list of how to navigate the database. Think green screen. One false move of a key stroke, and there’s no going back. I get a little baffled. When the labels are all done, I also program the digital version of the newsletter to be emailed out. That’s a little more Leslie-proof, but not much.
And finally, to mail out all the newsletters that are not emailed, I navigate one more programming piece – scheduling the bulk mail. That’s on the USPS website and it involves math and code. Blech. Sigh. For the love of my church, and also for the security of my job, I’ll do it. The issues are me and my skewed learning curve, and the fact that it’s only once a month that I’m doing this repetition. I’ve been trying to do this stuff on my own. It’s inevitable that I depend way too much on my fellow co-worker trying desperately to pass this one off, as she’s about to leave this job. Somehow she managed to be gone on the days I needed to program the labels, the email blast, and the scheduling of the bulk mail.
Call it Godly intervention, or the power of prayer, for the good of others, somehow, I got it all done. You are welcome newsletter reading universe. I did it, all by myself – no co-dependency. Totally independent and despite my own professional hang ups, I did it. Somebody’s picking up on new learning skills: This girl! Once it’s all done, I take the newsletter to the post office on the scheduled day to go out.L ike printing the newsletter, the trip to the post office is an easy and tangible task. I grab the carton of newsletters and head out to my car.
And then the most extraordinary 20 seconds happened.
As I approach my car, I realize I can’t set the carton of mail down because it’s the windiest day ever in Omaha. If I set the shallow carton down to open the car door, the bulk mail order form and all the newsletters (organized by zip code as required by the US Postal Service) will be delivered by extraordinary airmail. An act of God if you will. It turns out our members really want to read their newsletters.
I opt to use what I got and shimmy up a hip and a raised knee to balance the box while opening the car door. But these hips don’t lie and they tripped up the carton. Like, the whole carton of 250 newsletters. They all drop to the ground. I drop the entire box of newsletters. All of them. They did not land in zip code order, as it turns out. At current, Omaha is in a “wind advisory alert” with wind gusts up to 40 mph.
Newsletters fly everywhere.
I drop down to some sort of 40-year-old volleyball stance (it’s a bit different than a younger volleyball stance. Trust me on this one, America.) and use my now empty box to cover the majority of the newsletters at my feet so that they don’t blow away. I start grabbing newsletters from under the box and off the ground, shoveling them into my car. I’m assessing that I can’t go to the post office, I’ll have to take these home and re-organize them by zip code. I grabbed as many as I could and then noticed bright fresh blood on my newsletters. Where the hell is the blood coming from? Is this an updated story from the book of Revelations?
I have either paper cuts or cuts from my fingers scraping the asphalt when I pick up each newsletter. I lick my fingers, go to pick up more, and then realize I’m bleeding on another finger. Now I’m vampiring it, licking the blood so I can grab more newsletters that are kind of strewn all over Pacific Street. Because bloody finger prints weren’t in the design for this particular newsletter. Four fingers bleeding. And they’re the necessary ones – thumbs, an index finger and I think maybe a ring finger but I just really don’t have the time to assess the details. Some of these look like they’ve been sent from a murder scene. I’m a bleeder. I’ll have to send it tomorrow after I re-organize them and probably reprint a few with blood on them.
I’m not sure if I’m impressed with myself on the quick thinking to lay myself and the empty mail carton over the newsletter pile or if I’m impressed with God and Karma and Mother Nature because in the mere seconds that I jumped down to protect the mail from the wind – my knee must have hit the lock button on my key fab pretty perfectly. Then the wind shut my door, but only after I threw my lunch bag, my satchel and my keys in the car. Once I got the majority of them in the car I went around to get the ones that flew away under my and a minister’s car. That must be when the car door shut with my keys inside.
Thankfully I had my purse still attached to my body which contained my cell phone and my office keys. I walk back into the church and find one of my favorite co-workers still at her desk. I’m bleeding and my hair is dissheveled in it’s natural state, but the wind has had an impact as well. I’m pretty sure my new stupid mascara is running down my face because did I mention it’s windy out? Wind makes my eyes water. Said co-worker and pal looks up when I say,
“I’m not sure I can put into words what just happened in such a small amount of time.”
Well now she thinks I just got mugged. Close. But no, I did this all on my own. It’s as if I just mugged myself, realized I had no money and ran. I explain as best I can and then go to call Ricardo to come pick me up. I’m pretty sure this is my explanation to him, “I was carrying out the newsletters, and then there was wind, and I’m bleeding, and HOLY SHIT, the kids! Can you go pick up the kids at school!?”
Ricardo just says yes to everything. The guy knows me. Shit like this happens all the time. It’s like he’s married to I LOVE LUCY, and it’s pretty funny to everyone except him. He’s kind of like Batman, Just sits around and waits for the BatSignal. If I’m able to form odd sentences and dial him, he knows I’m okay. He picks the kids up from school, and comes to my rescue…again.
I come back to the office the next day and re-organize the newsletter mail out. A fellow co-worker walks in and makes the mistake of asking what the heck happened. So I tell her. She hasn’t made eye contact with me since. I count 20 bloody newsletters. I poll the staff and all disagree with me that my blood on their newsletters will be a fantastic marketing tool. I mean, it is the season of Lent after all. Sigh. Fine. I reprint fresh newsletters and hand write addresses because I’m not about to go back to the green screen and print out labels. What code is that anyways for 20 bloody newsletters?
The newsletter went out a day late. Everyone is okay. My sweet (liable) boss has asked me twice if I’m okay and to fill out an incident report. So, here it is. File it somewhere. I’m betting the insurance company just stops and prays on me. Because really, sometimes, that’s just all you can do. Or laugh. Feel free to do either at my expense. I sure have.
Song of the day: