An RL Dog's Breakfast
Let's start with drama and intrigue as only Dawn Felagund can provide. I reported my workplace to the Fire Marshall last week. That's always exciting. Why? Well, our building has three doors that allow entry into the ground-floor level of the building. Each door is on a different side. There is the public entrance at the front; there is an employee entrance on the opposite side from my office where one must scan an ID to enter. (My ID doesn't work in it.) And there is a door on our side of the building that one needs a key to enter.
Of course, we use this third door, as it is literally right outside our office, and we all have keys. However, building security doesn't like that we use this door because they like "to know everyone who's in the building," and since we don't have to be scanned in, then we are permitted to exist without their knowledge.
Now that third door--the one we use--is an ordinary glass door. One side is locked and the other is an emergency exit only with a push-bar and alarm. But in addition to the glass doors is a sliding wooden pocket door that I suppose exists primarily to keep hooligans from tossing bricks through the glass after-hours. (My office is not in a nice neighborhood.) After hours, the wooden pocket door is closed and padlocked from the inside.
Well, it had been happening lately that security was opening the wooden pocket door later and later each day. At first, it would be closed when I got to work at eight (so I'd be buzzed in by the correctional officers at the basement entrance), but would be opened shortly thereafter. Then it got later and later. Well, last week, come 10 a.m., the building is full of employees, and the wooden door is still padlocked. In other words, if there was a fire, our one emergency exit is padlocked shut with a heavy chain, and none of us have the key.
Well, Becky (the office secretary) was starting to get annoyed at all of this, so she calls maintenance to remind them to open the wooden pocket door. They blame security; say it is their job. So she calls security. They blame maintenance. It is going on 10:30. She calls DGS Police and finally gets someone to come down and grudgingly open the door.
Okay, I'm a bureaucrat, so I understand a pissing match as well as anyone else collecting a guv'ment paycheck, but it generally isn't a good time to hold a pissing match when dozens of employees' lives and safety are at risk, k'thanks?
Becky, meanwhile, washypothesizing that DGS Police didn't want to open the door because they don't like that the four of us in the Administration Office use it instead of scanning in across the building and making our presences known to Big Brother. Well, I was not quite ready to stoop to believing that a police officer would be enough of a control freak to endanger lives just to have that modicum of control, but I made note of it.
Next day--Friday--I come into work, and the door is again padlocked shut. Now I'm annoyed. I'm alone in the office this day, so there's no one to report it (since I don't have Becky's endless wealth of important peoples' phone numbers at my fingertips), and truthfully, I'm fed up anyway, so before I do anything else, I do a Google search for the Baltimore Fire Marshall and email him about our little "problem."
I get a reply back that he will send out an inspector to check it out.
Four hours later--nearly noon--the door is still locked. I hear voices in the hall: the chief of DGS Police and the fire inspector. The fire inspector is inquiring as to why the emergency exit is blocked with a padlocked wooden door. Okay, I'm intrigued. I listen in, and since I'm tucked away in my office--out of sight but not earreach--then I hear every word.
The DGS police chief replies that the pocket door is opened every day at 6:30 a.m. Then, once the employees start arriving, it is closed and locked again so that they can't use it to enter and exit the building!
So it seems Becky was right. My jaw is on the floor.
Well, the fire inspector told him that this wasn't allowed and reminded him that this was his fire exit too, if there were to be an emergency. I mean ... wow. In this modern era, do we even need to specify that emergency exits can't be blocked and locked? What is this, the Triangle Shirtwaist company? Or WalMart??
Anyway, bet that I will be keeping a good eye on that door, now that the Baltimore City Fire Marshall is in my address book!
Moving on, for once, Murphy did not strike. In fact, Bobby and I were smiled upon by the anti-Murphy, if such an entity exists. On Sunday, temperatures dropped, and we got ice here in Manchester. The next day, we were due to travel to New York, so we were nervously watching the weather because--if temperatures stayed low--it looked like we wouldn't be able to make it.
But things warmed up ... well, if the mid-40s can be considered "warm." But it was warm enough to melt the ice, and we made it to our New York trip.
The next day (Tuesday), temperatures dropped precipitously again, so a day earlier or a day later, and we might not have made it.
Meanwhile, New York ... it has become something of an annual tradition in the Felagund family that we go to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular in NY and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Spectacular here in ol' B'more. My dad literally orders tickets for both in the summertime so that we get good seats. So Monday morning, Bobby and I got up at an ungodly hour to take a bus north with the rest of the insane Family Felagund to NYC.
Bobby and I always break from the rest of the pack on trips like this. It's not that I don't love my family but ... well, let's just say that we don't have the same travel styles. They deliberate much more than Bobby and I do. We just go. If we get lost ... well, we would have found a new place then, won't we?
Besides, we had most awesomest plans for the first half of our day in NYC. We got to meet heartofoshun for lunch! Oshun was the first online friend that I've met in real life (and now someone can testify that I really am who I say I am online! :^P) Every other meet-up has fallen through. We had a great time. Oshun is just as cool in RL as she seems online, for those of you who haven't met her yet. And it is really, really great to be able to talk about writing and Elves with a live human being. Also, I got the latest LJ drama news from a person for once rather than from a flist post. Interesting, that.
When Oshun had to depart to babysit Baby Fingon, then Bobby and I headed back to Saint Patrick's Cathedral--where we went last year, and it didn't burn down at sight of us, so we figured we were safe again--and ogled the architecture and stained glass for a good half-hour. Then we browsed around some stores and headed back to the music hall for the show, which was excellent as always. There was a lot of new material this year since it's their seventy-fifth "diamond" anniversary.
Then we went home.
It was funny because the Ravens were playing Monday Night Football that night. So on the bus ride home, the driver first put on Snow Day to keep us quiet (which I'd seen once--and that was one time too many--already and really didn't need to see again, but the Book of Lost Tales 2 that I brought ain't a whole lot of good on a pitch-black-dark charter bus). Then, the movie ended, and everyone got restless. You could almost hear it beating in our blood: Raaaavennsss. RAAAAvennsss.
The driver must have been a Bal'more boy because he knew that to keep a bus full of Bal'morons content, one must only put on Ravens football. So we watched the Ravens play the
Speaking of football. Hearken. Especially you, tarion_anarore. I am about to say something that I never thought I'd say. Quick, screencap it before I edit the entry. I am rooting for the Steelers this week. Yep. There it is. I said it. The Steelers are playing the Patriots. I would rather see the Steelers win than the Patriots. Can't believe it? Neither can I. I used to like the Patriots; actually, I was half a supporter, until it was uncovered that their head coach was cheating and he got off scot-free, added with the myriad convenient calls always in their favor. As Bobby often says--and I heartily agree--while I support my team totally, even when they suck (like this year), then I can't stand the NFL. We should have won that game on Monday. The officials lost it for us. And no, I'm not a conspiracy-theorist Bal'moron spouting the usual, "'Cause they hate us, hon, for stealing them Browns from Cleveland!" No. Sports writers are taking note of the number of games lost because of officiation. Ravens fans have been talking about it for years. We're not a popular team in the eyes of the NFL, and whether that means were more vigilant or more prone to confirmation bias because of it ... well, either way, we've been complaining about the officiation for some time now. And conspiracy theories aside, it sucks when the calls always go against you, even if that's just a coincidence.
So. *ahem* *squeaks* Go Steelers.
Now excuse me while I go pump an entire bottle of antibacterial soap into my mouth.
Okay, I'm back. So, after we returned (late) from NY, we had Tuesday off from work with nothing pressing to do. I got caught up on online and creative stuff, which was a good thing. Then came the inevitable return to work. It's always depressing to end a four-day weekend when I can remember too clearly bounding in the door on Friday afternoon with four whole days stretched in front of me, seemingly as long as eternity, and lots of fun stuff to fill those days that--I suddenly realize--is all past tense. What do I have to look forward to? Finishing up research on an additional 1200 cases that some honcho decided he needed? Warrant investigations? Oodles of Noodles for lunch and tepid tea for a treat?? Bleh.
There was snow in the forecast.
When it came time to wake up, it still hadn't started, but my half-a-weatherman husband was tracking the storm online and said it should begin around eight, i.e. when I was due to arrive at work. Now snow in Maryland is an interesting thing. I know that the states north of us laugh at us. Laugh away! We deserve to be laughed at because we are utterly incompetent when it comes to driving in or dealing with snow, even though we usually get a few heavy snowfalls each year and so can't plead inexperience. Then again, I'm talking about a city that sees an increase in accidents because the sun is too bright or it's drizzling. We can't deal with weather, period, even if the weather forecast sounds something like, "We expect that there will be air today ..."
So Bobby and I, sadly, were both "sick" on Wednesday. I'm actually quite comfortable driving in the snow, if I have to. But. But. Note the "have to." Going to work, to me, is not a "have to." Death and doom do not descend upon us if Dawn misses a day of work. Sorry, but it's not worth risking my life and property so that I can sit at my desk and read Book of Lost Tales and run databases that a monkey could manage.
And while I am fine with driving in snow, the majority of my Bal'more brethren are not. If Baltimore drivers did stupid things to start, multiply that by ten to see how they behave in the snow. I remember my first experience driving in a snowfall in my old station wagon Louis, coming home on the Beltway, watching drivers in giant SUVs careening willy-nilly across the lines because, well, the snow covered them a little, so clearly, drivers didn't need to mind what lane they were in. Or this morning, when the roads were still covered in slush and I was doing just the speed limit (heaven forbid), and the driver behind me had to zip around me first chance he got because I was clearly exercising too much caution in the presence of slush and ice by driving the speed limit and coming to a full stop at a flashing red light. That is why I don't drive in the snow unless I absolutely have to.
Funnily, the forecast was calling for only one to two inches (2.5-5 cm). Know how much we got? We got seven inches (17.5 cm), by official measure, here in Manchester. It was a soft, light snow that made everything gorgeous; it was still draping the tree branches when I came home this afternoon, and as I drove up the street, I realized that my town looks like something off of a postcard. The sun was setting scarlet; the snow was pale in the gloaming. I wanted to be nowhere else, in that moment, than going home to my husband and puppies. It was really nice.
Speaking of puppies, Lancelot loved his first snowfall, and we can barely keep Alex indoors for wanting to go outside and eat snow and ice or play with toys that are now so much more fun that they're frozen. But then, living in the apartment last winter, it was often our unfortunate experience that Alex would want to go outside to pee, so we'd leash him up and take him, but he'd eat as much snow and ice as he'd peed out, so a half-hour later, he'd have to go again. I got a lot of exercise, last year, on those three flights of stairs. Now, luckily, we just shove him out the door when he starts his shenanigans and hopefully remember to let him in a reasonable amount of time later.
But at last, today, I had to go back to work. I even sort of wanted to because I couldn't imagine the backlog I would have after three days' absence. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I finished researching those 1200 names by ten. I only had nine warrants to research once recalls had been pulled and detainers had been filed. I had a lot of recalls, but that's a good thing: those are cases that we don't have to worry about anymore because someone else has arrested them.
And ... that's been life lately. Now, I have some emails to catch up on quickly, then it's movie- and bed-time!