Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Anatomy of a bad day.

So, there I was...

It all started with a Monday. Monday was a good day, or so I thought. It turned out that Monday was actually one of those days that is friendly to your face, but then starts a rumor that you actually have both male and female parts when your back is turned. On Monday, I went to work. I received one set of keys, and was told to do maintenance on three houses. First, the one I had keys to, then the other two, which would be unlocked by the time I got there.


So I go to the first house, 16049, and take care of business. It went fairly quickly. Well, that was the only time I needed that key, so I put it in the maintenance bag, and went on with my day.
Second house: 12107. The painters were there, which was pretty obnoxious, but I worked around them, and moved on.
Third house: 11404. Got throught that in all of an hour or so, and my day was done! What a good day. Right?


So, Tuesday starts with me being 5 minutes late to work after being told to be there at 6:30 SHARP. Not a BIG deal, but... Well... just wait. So, I get there, and they immediately ask me "Hey Joe, what'd you do with the key we gave you yesterday?". I think for a moment, and tell them that I left it in the maintenance bag. So, they look, and don't find it. Well, maybe I left it in the box with all the lightbulbs? They check: nothing. I shrug, and say I must've dropped it at one of the houses. At this point, I wasn't particularly concerned, but I could tell that the mood had become anxious and worried... apparently, keys are a big deal in this business. So, we check the Civic, through and through. Nope, not there either. So, I go back to those three houses I did Monday, since I had to do carpets there anyway. Before I leave, we all listen to the voicemail that Phil received last night about one of the painters going to the hospital. Then, we depart.

I go first to 16049, house of the missing key. Nothing - I look everywhere. Ok, no big, it's probably in the second house.
I go to 12107, the second house. Nothing... not there either. A slight chill runs down my spine as I recall how the others were taking this news. Surely, it's in the third house, I tell myself.
I go to 11404, the third house. With shaking hands, I search the house, my soul wavering with every moment I DON'T find it. Alas, no luck. I relay the depressing news, and am told as a response that my priority today, my ONLY priority today, is to find that key.

... But where? Surely, I've looked everywhere.

So, I drive to and search those same three houses a second time, just in case, praying to St. Anthony all the while. Again, nothing. Well, I figure, I may as well get some work done... Maybe the key will turn up. So, I set to work cleaning 12107. I vacuum the entire house, shampoo the upstairs, and brought the shampooer downstairs to clean the bottom floor. Apparently, something magical(evil) happened during that descent, because when I went to turn on the shampooer, nothing happened. I felt the power button snap on something, then hang loosely, like a broken arm.

...Are you f'ing KIDDING ME?!

So, I relay that news as well. The response is "There's nothing you can do. Find the key." Great. I'll get right on it. So, I drive all the way back to Phil's, check the civic AGAIN, and check his garage. Then, I drive all the way home to check my pants from Monday, even though I knew that I never put the keys in my pockets. Well, I was right: they weren't there. I went back to Phil's, and - get this - dug through his garbage barrel. Through the old Long John Silver's meal, through Monday's leftover air filters, and through the shattered glass and broken window. Even that was to no avail. As if that wasn't enough, when I relayed THAT information back to Phil on my way back to the houses, he informed me that I wasn't being paid to drive around looking for something that I had lost. So, not only is this the most stressful day of my job, I'm not even getting paid for it.

Ohhh fun, fun, fun.

So, if I might sum up, the rest of the day sucked. I searched until 4:30, and then I was told to go home. I continues to stress for a while, but Phil DID tell me to be prepared to work hard on Wednesday, and I got from that "Well, I guess I still have a job. Weird."

Day three: Today. I show up at 6:30, and Daniel and I search together for the key until 7. That's when the phone rang.
It's Phil. Daniel puts it on speaker.
"Hey Joe."
"Did you lose any sleep over that key?"
No, I think to myself. "Yes."
"I did too. I just got off the phone with Frankie, the painter. He asked me, 'Hey, did one of your boys lose a key? I found one in 11404.'"

I start to shake, but with tears, relief, or rage, I am unsure.

Of course, Frankie was in the hospital all day Tuesday, and couldn't be reached when Phil called all his employees, asking if they had picked up the key. But thankfully, that blow to the head didn't put him in a coma, or make him forget that little key that changed our lives so drastically. That put bad day and good day side-by-side. That caused Daniel to pump his fist and shout "I AM VERY EXCITE!!!" That made the theme from "Last of the Mohicans" play through my head the rest of the day.

The rest of Wednesday went much, much better after that. Got a bunch of work done, planned out tomorrow, and looked forward to the weekend. I have other topics to cover, but we'll save that for next time. See y'all then...

'Till next time.


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