Mr. Smelly

My first class of the day today had us using the ole Mr. Sketch markers of elementary school fame. I used to call them Mr. Smelly markers, because aside from the black ones (licorice), they smelled amazing. When I was presented with them today, I chose green (peppermint), yellow (lemon), and pink (strawberry). And then I sat through the first four hours of my day uncapping them and sniffing. So I spent part of my day sniffing markers, and it was glorious. 

Pretty awesome weekend, if you ask me! (Sooooo sad we leave tomorrow.)

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Five Things Friday: 5/19/17 Edition


I’m living such a surreal experience this weekend, and I can’t even fully explain why {publicly}. But to give you a little hint, the guy who got the job I was up for a couple months ago was in a training session with me this morning and afternoon and let’s just say I was underwhelmed by him. Maybe it’s the fact that he asked what his actual job responsibilities are in the middle of class. Or maybe it’s that every time I looked over at him, he was intently drawing on a notepad while the rest of the class was rapt with attention. Or, more than likely, it’s the fact that I just found out today that the dude couldn’t hack the job and just gave his notice. Whatever the reason, I was not amused.

There is sooooo much more to this story, but it’s way too early to tell it. Let’s just say I was suddenly thrust into a lot of peoples’ attention tonight and I was shuttled around and introduced to all the different volunteers in that chapter after dinner and I’m not quite sure how I should feel about that. Back to the era of uncertainty, I guess. Yeesh.

  1. Currently Reading: I’m not working on it very quickly, but I started reading Naked At Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World, by Mark Smith. In all honesty, I was looking for Naked Lunch, which is an entirely different book, but that one wasn’t available and this one was. So far, I like it more than I’d expected. We’ll see how much time I have to devote to it this weekend.
  2. Currently Eating: Well, eating is not quite the word, but a friend and I hit up the liquor store and went halfsies on some spiced rum and diet ginger ale. We didn’t sign any sort of residence life document, so we’re living it up. Everyone knows where the party’s at tonight!

    Aside from rum, eating cafeteria food… but it’s actually not bad. Tonight I had tilapia and vegetables; for lunch I had a bunless burger, fries, and a salad. Tastes pretty good (and it’s free).

  3. Currently Watching: Season 2 ofĀ Master of None. I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit more than season 1, which is nice.
  4. Currently Loving: This weekend, which is a rarity for me. Normally I despise weekends because it’s just work on top of more work. And I guess technically I’m doing some sort of work this weekend, but it’s the kind of work that I love and want to do, so it doesn’t count.

    I’m especially loving the camaraderie within this organization, even among chapters who I’ve been told resent us (“Pittsburgh gets all the funding”). As expected, everyone I’ve met has been fantastic, and I’m so glad I’m staying the weekend so that I can make lots of new friends. Lots of networking going on, too. ::wink, wink::

  5. Currently Anticipating: The rest of this weekend – one of my favorite people arrives either tonight or tomorrow, and I’m already so excited!

    Outside of volunteer stuff, I’ve been informed I have at least two business trips coming up most likely. One is coming up the first full week of June, to a place I’ve never been before (though it hasn’t been confirmed), and the other is back to my old friends in Birmingham in July (also not confirmed). I’m pretty jazzed about both!

    Oh, and Memorial Day weekend is coming up! More days off! Huzzah!!

That’s it for this week! Time to go back to being a social butterfly and schmooze with all the people! šŸ™‚

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Dorm Livin’

Dorm Livin'

Oh man, today has made me miss college so much, and this weekend is only going to make that feeling stronger.

I’m at Slippery Rock University this weekend for our Regional Disaster Training Institute (known as “the Institute” or “RDTI”). Last year, I drove up on Saturday morning for a class I needed to take in order to be promoted and then drove straight to work afterwards; this year I was personally handed an invite the day the dates were finalized back in December and asked to request off for the entire weekend (in a nice way, not in a “you have to do this” way). It doesn’t officially start until tomorrow morning, but I finagled my way into the small group of people arriving today. Technically, I’m the “back-up IT guy,” but in reality I just bummed a ride, a dorm room, and dinner.

Before we left Pittsburgh, I made a pit stop at Page Dairy Mart for some fresh blueberry soft serve – I figured I’m taking days off of work, so I may as well make this as much of a vacation as possible, right? It was delicious, as always, and I’m glad I went the little bit out of my way to get it.

We met at the chapter at 3 to load our Emergency Response Vehicle that we were driving up, but I got out of loading it because one of our volunteers not going to the institute needed help with something. So really, I loaded my own stuff, buckled up, and then we were on our way. I didn’t reallyĀ do anything to earn my spot. šŸ˜‰

We got stuck in some of the worst traffic ever (what the frick, I-279?!), and ended up taking almost two hours to complete a one-hour trip. It was fine, though, because I love the people I went with and I was neither the one stuck driving nor the one stuck being co-pilot. Again, I’ve been useless on this trip so far.

Finally, we arrived just as the people from other chapters were getting ready to go to dinner. We played musical chairs with peoples’ personal vehicles so that we wouldn’t need to take our gigantic ERV and park it (on-street parking only at the restaurant), but eventually we made it.

Dinner was at North Country Brewing, which was an interesting experience. I’d been there with my family before, and my aunt and uncle practically live there,Ā so I kept expecting I’d see them every time I turned around. I ordered the fish & chips and a fruit beer. I’m not big on beer, so to me it just tasted like college, but it wasn’t too bad. Still, give me a gin & tonic any day. The fish & chips was good, but enormous. Like, really incredibly large. The person beside me got it too, and we couldn’t help joking that we should’ve split one order of it and we still would’ve had leftovers.

Finally, we got back to campus and got our dorm assignments. If I ever start to think that these people don’t treat me like royalty, remind me of this weekend. We’re supposed to be paired up with roommates, so after I dropped my stuff off in my room, I went downstairs to inquire with whom I’d be sharing a room. To my surprise and utter delight, I’m solo. I’m all alone, in a corner room at the end of a short hallway, with no one on either side of me. I have two beds, two desks, two dressers, two closets, a fridge, microwave, bathroom, shower, and sink all to myself. I am in my glory. I was so anxious that I’d be stuck with someone I don’t like (which, I have yet to find anyone within this organization that I don’t like, so I’m not sure why I’d think that), or that I’d be stuck with someone who doesn’t shut up or who snores or who just flat-out annoys me. Now I’m much calmer. I’m a happy kid.

My belly is full, I had ice cream with lunch, and I have an entire dorm room to myself all weekend while almost everyone else is stuck with a roommate. I’d say today has been a good day. šŸ™‚

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Liquid Tylenol

Liquid Tylenol

Originally, I’d planned on spending tonight at the gym and taking some training courses in preparation for our disaster institute this weekend, but I think I’m close to reaching my breaking point. I’ve had a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings, tons of physical activity, and more than my fair share of stress over the last couple weeks. So I made an impromptu decision to take the night off tonight… well, almost. I’m technically on-call as a supervisor and I had to field a few calls tonight (and I did a lot of volunteer work while I was on calls at work today), but I don’t have to go out tonight unless it’s a really major situation (and even then, I’m still probably staying home and coordinating things with computers and phones).

So instead of going to the gym, I went a few doors down to the liquor store and bought some black rum and some white rum. Then I went to the Walmart across the street and bought cream of coconut and pineapple orange juice. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with everything, but I knew I wanted rum, I wanted it to be incredibly strong, and I wanted it to taste like I’m at the beach.

I ended up with a strong iteration of a painkiller cocktail – 4 rums + cream of coconut + pineapple orange juice + ice. I had one and I couldn’t feel my legs (which was good, because they’ve been sore from all the running around I’ve been doing). Then I made another and had to stumble through the kitchen to reach my phone when it rang with a disaster call. Needless to say, I drank the second one much slower, and I chased it with dinner.

I feel pretty darn fine right about now, though. Aside from pretending I’m at the beach with a frou-frou drink, I’ve enjoyed watching some movies from Redbox – I just finished Hidden Figures (loved it!) and now I’ve just started La La Land. I have the rest of the week off from work, and my only obligation for tomorrow is to show up at the volunteer chapter in time to load our ERV and road trip to the institute with the 3 other people from our chapter who are going early to set things up. I think I can handle that. šŸ™‚

Cross your fingers that we don’t get a disaster call overnight (I’m on-call until 6 am), and that I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour and stay asleep for once!

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Upside Down Day

Upside Down Day

When I went to visit my parents on Sunday, they sent me home with a piece of pineapple upside down cake – it’s kind of becoming one of my dad’s signature dishes and it’s pretty tasty. I finally got around to eating it today as part of my lunch, and I ended up being thankful for the extra sustenance later in the day.

I ended up working from home, simply because I’ve been so darn tired lately and getting home around 1am last night/this morning (ugh, yesterday morning at this point) didn’t help. I left my house to go to our volunteer chapter at around 4:30, thinking I’d have ample time to get there. NOPE. Alllll the traffic happened. It was like rush hour traffic on crack, and it took me over an hour to get there. By the time I got in, set up my computer and the materials I was presenting, gathered the orientation packets, checked in with another volunteer and then went downstairs to collect my new trainees, I was already beat. The orientation went well, and the new trainees asked a lot of questions (which I love – really!), and I got to show them how our disaster texting system works in real-time, meaning there was a text out for a team leader to go on a call.

We ended up getting someone else to go, but since theĀ team was showing up as my trainees were leaving, I decided to go with them. Secretly, I was trying to evaluate whether or not to promote someone, so I did have an ulterior motive.Ā By the time we went, handled the call, came back, and finished up paperwork, it was nearly 11:30. So from around 1 pm until after midnight, when I got home, I didn’t eat anything.

Current status: starved and tired, and just generally dreading tomorrow morning. I feel like my days are my nights and my nights are my days. I’m all sorts of discombobulated.

So now here I sit, trying to figure out what I can scrounge up for dinner. Thank goodness I had that piece of cake with lunch; I’m not sure I would’ve made it so long otherwise!

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Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter

This wasn’t the Monday I’d envisioned when I went to bed last night. I put my phone on vibrate and took a codeine before bed and I’d planned on sleeping in a little. Oddly enough, I felt my Fitbit vibrate with a text and it roused me a teensy bit, but I was mostly able to sleep through the night. When I officially woke up a little after 7, I saw that I had a missed disaster text and a Facebook note from my mom linking to a breaking news story about an enormous fire. After I finally became coherent and got a better look at the situation, IĀ was soooo torn. On the one hand, it was a huge event and we needed people to help. On the other hand, I’m floundering at setting boundaries and putting my real work first these days. In the end, I decided I had to do the responsible adult thing and work, but I was able to keep updated on the progress of the situation as the day wore on and I promised to go help immediately after work.

Without giving too many specifics, there was a very large apartment fire that displaced a lot of people and we opened up a shelter nearby. I arrived at the shelter at around 4 pm and was put in charge of checking new people in (hence today’s [yesterday’s] picture), and then as more workersĀ arrived, I was relieved and got to do other things. At one point, our manager came over and asked if I’d be comfortable speaking with the media if they were to come back (they were already there earlier in the day), and while I wasn’t thrilled about the idea (as few people as possible should have to see this ugly mug), I agreed. That led to an emergency coachingĀ session with our official media spokesperson, so now I know exactly what to say the next time around. The media did return, but by that point I was running errands.

A little later, we needed someone to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for residents, so I volunteered to do that. I didn’t realize that would leave me walking through Downtown Pittsburgh with a big bag full of drugs and wearing a volunteer shirt with a big red cross in a big white circle on itĀ – talk about a target. I was fine (clearly), but it did give me pause.

Later still, I had to drive to Target to purchase breakfast foods for the residents for tomorrow, and that’s when the media came by, so I missed them.

I was excited to finally get to work in a shelter, since we so rarely open them. It was both exactly what I’d expected, and not at all what I’d expected, and I know that sounds stupid but it’s late and I just spent almost 9 hours there. I’m glad I went and got the experience, though; I just wish I could’ve gotten there sooner to be a part of the real action. I’m suffering from extreme FOMO (which is kind of a terrible thing to say, considering some people really lost a lot today).

By the time I left, it was lights out for the residents and everything was fairly calm. I’m curious how long we’ll keep the shelter open (we don’t know yet), and I’m excited to go back tomorrow if it’s still operational. As for work tomorrow, I normally go into the office on Tuesdays, but considering it’s after 1 am, I just now got home, and I need to lead an orientation session tomorrow anyway (logistics nightmare when public transportation is involved), it might have to be another work from home day.

Wish me luck on getting some sleep tonight, and let’s hopeĀ we’re done with theĀ streak of middle-of-the-night fires we’ve been on. Yeesh.

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