There are some weeks that are bad, and it feels like the week from hell. Then, there are the weeks that leave you completely baffled as to how you survived them at all. The last time I had a week this bad was when I was stuck in Paris with only my asthma, arthritis, and migraines to keep me company.
I thought the week of Independence Day 2014 would be a good one, but I was wrong. My two managers were out on vacation, but our supervisor was working. So, we all knew we’d have to ramp up our efforts a bit. I would be covering for my managers and our supervisor would be helping with that. Erica would have to step up in the queue. Ron and William would have to work on patching and help Erica out in the queue as needed. It was going to be Ron’s first week on call, so I would be his backup. I knew it was going to be rough, but it was really worse than I could have imagined.
We started Monday off with an emergency change, which is a pain in the butt to work through and run. I’m not used to certain meetings that I had to attend that week or the follow up work that goes with them. I help my managers here and there with them, but was not used to working through so many of these tasks at once. Erica was drowning in the queue. We got dumb question after dumb question and my supervisor had to have dumb meeting after dumb meeting. I mean, how are you supposed to reply to multiple emails from the same guy saying, “I see where Eric approved in an earlier email, but you really need to get Eric to approve these things. You are not following process.” What the heckin’ crazies are we supposed to do with that?!
On Wednesday, Ron quit. Just like that. He had his reasons and I don’t resent him for that, but it was the worst possible time to quit in relation to what was going on with the team. William took on call for Ron. Erica was his backup because I had alot of family stuff going on in the evenings. When Carla came back to town on Friday, she became William’s backup for the rest of the holiday weekend. In a way, that part was actually easier to handle than all of the, “You did what I told you to do, but you really need to do what I told you to do” junk.
Then, we got to Thursday. Thursday was “Friday” because we were off for the 4th of July on Friday. We had made it that far. If we could just get through the day, the weekend would be great. Because of the holiday weekend, things were supposed to be slow. We could spend the first half of the day tying up loose ends and maybe leave early if things were slow enough.
Around mid-morning, Erica and I noticed a commotion a few rows behind me. There weren’t many people in the office, but two people were running around frantically and looking at the ceiling. Water was leaking rapidly from the ceiling. After some investigation, we realized that the water was coming from the men’s bathroom upstairs. Someone had flushed a urinal and the handle never came back up, which led to urinal water overflow, which seeped into the floor and spread out before starting to leak from our ceiling. When water started dripping on the desk behind mine, I started packing up everything at my desk. I turned around to put my laptop and phones in my bag when water dripped from the ceiling into my coffee cup.
I threw away the coffee cup and worked from home the rest of the day, but the craziness never ended. I was so thankful to finally log off that night.
The ultra protective desk coverings
Oddly enough, a similar thing happened to my dad at work that same day. When he came into the office on Monday, the restoration teams had been working all weekend to get the place clean and working. On Monday morning where I work, the plastic was still covering our cubes and one of my coworkers had standing water by her desk. Everyone’s eyes and throats burned all day. Most of the ceiling tiles were replaced the following Wednesday, but the one above my desk has to wait since it’s attached to the fire alarm.
My ceiling tile
In the meantime, we’ll all just hope that we don’t have black lung as we remind ourselves that we survived The Week From Hell.