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Paperwork, karma and patience

Submitted by on Friday, 9 January 2009 No Comment

I owe Big Guy’s school nurse a big honking apology.

No, that’s not enough. She deserves down-on-my knees groveling and a box of chocolates, too. Maybe even a dozen roses.

And I owe her a form verifying that Big Guy’s had the pre-kindergarten dental exam required in California. I found the paper this morning, in a mad rush to send for the third time paperwork someone else has lost.

Karma’s biting me in the butt on this one. Because if I’d just taken care of that poor nurse, I’m sure I could have avoided my own trauma this morning.

I’ve been trying to take care of my particular document since November, when it was handed to the first person who asked for it. He copied it, filed it, handed back the original and sent me along my way.

Monday morning, the original requester called. No one could find the copy, so could I please bring the original to the office right now. At least he said “please.”

I yanked a protesting Boots out of the bathtub and took off.

Tuesday morning, a person called from another office. They didn’t have the document and needed it right now. Could I please fax it? At least she said “please.” No, I don’t have a fax and an email would be quicker anyway if you need it right now. Can I get your address?

Document scanned, attached and sent. The recipient confirmed that she received it. Whew! At least that’s over with.

This morning, the calls started at 8 as the guys and I were walking to school. By now, they no longer were saying “please” and had started throwing out threats. If they didn’t have the document right now, I’d be forced to rename both guys John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

I still didn’t have a fax machine or even a pen, pencil, crayon or lipstick to write down a fax number – they were refusing to take an email at that point. I wondered vaguely what they would have done in the days before cell phones, when they couldn’t have reached me during a walk to school to say that they needed the document right now.

I dropped off Big Guy and rushed a protesting Boots to Kinko’s, where we waited an hour for the fax to send to numbers that were perpetually busy. I bought Boots’ patience with penguin stationery marked 50 percent off, and that tells you how frazzled I was because I never buy good behavior.

Finally the fax went through. Whew! At least that’s over with.

But, of course, you know it’s not. An hour after we got home, another call came. If they didn’t have the document right now, I’d be forced to rename both guys Sue.

By this time, an online friend had turned me on to e-fax services, so at least I could stress from the comforts of my home. I re-re-re-re-sent the document, this time twice to each of two numbers. The verdict is out on whether it got to the people who need it right now this time.

Frustrating? Yes, on a number of levels, though I’m now laughing as I imagine how perplexed someone is going to be in a few years when he discovers eight copies of the document. They’ll probably call and threaten me with renaming the guys Billie Jean if I clog their system like that again.

I am completely sympathetic to the poor schmuck(s) who keep losing the document. The only thing that comes close to being as bad as unemployment right now is still having a job and being forced to triple-time it to handle to load formerly carried by now-empty desks. Plus the survivors have to deal with an increasingly cranky public stressed out and looking to tee off on an anonymous someone on the other end of the line.

But what I don’t understand is why it has to come to threats. Goof-ups happen, and sometimes they even happen four times. That doesn’t mean someone’s slacking. Take a deep breath and it will be resolved eventually.

But I do understand how the guys feel when I start throwing out the threats, a bad habit I’ve fallen into lately. “Pick up the toys or the TV’s not coming on.” It’s parenting by fear, something I’d vowed to avoid.

Note to self: Find a better way.

And take that paper to the poor school nurse while you’re at it.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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