As you might know, we are now part of the management team of an independent living retirement community. We work for a large, faceless, corporate entity based in the US, and we don’t particularly admire our corporate leaders but we really, really like the people with whom we work, and we really, really enjoy working with the people who live here (well, most of the time. Sometimes, they get a little petulant and needy, but we deal with that and move on…)
Most days roll on from minor crisis to tiny triumph, but today…. OMFG.
Let me say that again, just so you understand: O.M.F.G!!
It began with the Tim Bit sized muffins our temporary replacement chef managed to produce and went on from there to the over easy eggs that took 10 minutes to produce. The rest of the morning was relatively calm – one call for supper and tour this evening, one call I’m pretty sure was a “mystery shopper” apparently looking for a place for their aunt, some little things the residents needed and, oh yes, our cable, internet and phone systems were down all morning.
The phone and cable came back up around noon, but we still didn’t have internet. And for a company that completely relies on email and software systems FOR EVERYTHING (and in this instance, I am not exaggerating in any way for effect or otherwise, I mean EVERYTHING. If it’s not on the computer, it didn’t happen. They say it, they mean it. They are weird. And faceless.), that’s made the day just that much more difficult.
And just as lunch is starting, which means I’m doing tea service, the one part of the job which I loathe and despise above all else, I get three requests, from three different women who want their dinners now because they have doctors appointments at 2:00. It’s 12:31. Did I mention the replacement chef? Uh, huh. That was a fun few minutes.
So then, it’s calm for about 2 minutes, and our enrichment person comes and says a resident has fallen and the spouse, who is in middle-stages Alzheimer’s, is a little confused. Well, d’uh. So Jeff goes with her, and I call 911 and I learn something new: 911 HAS VOICE MAIL!! Did you know that? Which is not to say that I went to a voice mail box, but I was in a VOICE MAIL QUEUE! Waiting for someone to ask me stuff about getting an ambulance to help my fallen resident with the wife with mid-stage Alzheimer’s!
So Jeff & the enrichment person stay with my fallen guy and the wife, while I try to track down the daughter. Whose old business office doesn’t exist any more, and who left her mobile at home (I find out later). But my fallen guy and the wife have a ‘memory board’ in their kitchen with today’s date and the fact that the daughter is at the hospital. Not which one, of course, but I start with the bigger of the two. Talking to the people at the hospital was interesting – first I got put through to Admissions, which is the patient transfer switchboard and then to Admitting, which is where they thought she worked, but no one knew her even though she was on the staff directory (with no extension number) as working there, so then they transferred me to Human Resources, happily called “People Services” at this hospital. And after 8 minutes on hold, they found her for me.
So this whole time, while I’m dealing with the ambulance and the finding the daughter, I have left one of my other resident’s, a wonderful sweet English ex-pat with tons of leadership qualities but who is also 90 years old, in complete charge. “Rob, you have the con.” Rob, a former RCAF pilot, accepted and was fabulous.
So then I sat down to start my lunch for the third time, and I look up, and there’s this tall guy in the lobby. So I get up and go to the lobby to discover that a neighbour of ours is interested in a tour. He was here last Friday, during our wine & cheese, and couldn’t get around, there was so much activity, and decided to come back today. Sitting down with him for a few minutes turned into 30 what with the 12 residents, now finished their lunch, looking for whatever they look for when they really want to see what’s happening in the office, and our maintenance guy stopped back in with info I needed for the computer system (which we’ve just learned is completely fried) and about a washing machine on the first floor and a dryer on the third both kaput, and then wonderful Rob came in and patted me on the shoulder and said “Any time you need anything, just ask”, which is what I’m supposed to say to THEM! And then I introduce them – my lobby waiting, about to tour guy, and Rob – and they discover they have about 90 things in common and Rob does a wonderful job selling the place to him, and we go off and visit apartments.
Then he goes off, and I try to find my lunch, which isn’t where I left it, so I grab another one, and eat it in about 12 seconds, and ANOTHER GUY comes in and wants a tour for his mother who will be moving in in October if they can find the right place for her. So now I’m touring again, with the questions and the selling and the money talk and I’m thinking “I’m breathing onions from my salad all over this guy”, and also I have to pee but there’s no time to stop to do that! And then he goes off with the package of info and I sit down at the desk and I’m trying to make notes in the pass-down book (which reminds me, I have to include something about the “things” that were in Will’s jello salad today. We’re not sure what they were but there they were… and here they are in my pocket…) but the phone won’t stop ringing and Jeff leaves for a few minutes to go put pepper in the sink – something to do with the cat, I don’t know, don’t ask, and a new hire comes to start training and it takes him 15 fucking minutes to fill out his tax forms and I’m going to strangle him if he asks me one more stupid question, although he is very sweet, and Jeff’s still dealing with the IT guys, back and forth, and forth and back, and there is no phone in the mechanical room where the router has been fried, and my NEXT TOUR comes in, only they were booked, so we seated them for supper, and I have to go do the tea service again only now I REALLY HAVE TO PEE.
We have the best working partners in the world and even though it’s their day off, Tim took them around for a look see after supper and jeez, it’s heading for 21:00 and I have no idea what could possibly else could happen, but I don’t care.
I can’t enter any of this in our system because IT’S FRIED and the earliest we can expect a replacement is Wednesday but think Thursday.
This is what happens when you rely on computers.
And underpaid managers.
Good night, and good luck.