Finally, ten months and one week since Michael broke his ankle, he is now back at work. He had to go for a meeting last Thursday to discuss his return, during which the bakery manager said they would get him some new and more comfortable work boots as his ankle is now slightly out of shape; ie bigger on one side than on the other, and also he would have some gel insoles. On Monday this week he went in to try the boots and discuss a ‘going forward’ plan, and yesterday he went in for a couple of hours to see what he feels comfortable with and capable of doing. He’s also been told that if his ankle starts giving him grief and he needs to sit down for a while then he doesn’t need to ask, he has full permission to rest as and when he needs to.
Today and tomorrow he’s back on the evening shift but only for three hours from 7pm until 10pm, then next week he’ll work three day shifts but only for four hours each time. From then on he’ll be on alternate shifts with his daily hours increasing over several weeks from five up to the full 12-hour shift. He said he’s a bit apprehensive about going back as he’s been away for so long but on the other hand he’s glad to be going back, and he knows he’ll soon get back into the swing of things once he gets started. In a way I’m glad too that he’s going back as his morale over the last few months has been a bit low at times, but I’ve got so used to him being around for most of the time that I’ll miss him when he’s not here!
Although the ‘locked in’ bit didn’t happen to me but I still had to deal with the aftermath.
Being a key holder at my evening job, and the last to leave the premises, means it’s my responsibility to make sure that the building is locked up in the evenings and all security measures are in place. This evening the boss and another guy were both working late in the boss’s upstairs office and five minutes before I was due to leave I went to give them a gentle reminder; they soon packed up and went downstairs and a few minutes later I saw the boss’s car leaving the car park. With his office locked up I went through the building turning off all the lights then set the alarm and locked the front door on my way out – only to see the other guy’s car still in the car park.
At first I thought that for some reason he’d gone with the boss in his car but then the alarm went off – somehow he was locked in the building. I unlocked the door again and there he was; it seemed he’d gone to the loo on his way out without informing me, was in there longer than he meant to be, and with his own office light out and no noise from anywhere I’d assumed he’d gone out and I’d locked the door accordingly – and his walking through the building had activated the alarm. Unfortunately for me though, it isn’t simply a matter of inputting my code number and stopping the alarm, I have a whole load of rigmarole to go through when it’s been activated.
The premises are monitored by a security company who will alert the police if the alarm goes off – if the police attend and it turns out to be a false alarm the company get charged, so to stop that happening I have to ring the security company, give them a password and tell them what’s happened so they don’t take any further action. Then I have to ring the firm who installed the alarm system to get an alarm reset, which involves me standing in front of the panel while I’m on the phone and putting in various numbers as instructed. On the odd occasion when the alarm has gone off before it’s been a reasonably straightforward process but this evening it wasn’t.
For some strange reason the guy at the security company said that neither of my passwords were recognised, which was odd as I’d used both of them before with no problem – and without the right password he couldn’t not take action, though he gave me a few minutes grace to see if I could find an alternative. I ended up phoning the boss’s pa – who was in the middle of a keep fit class! – and getting an old emergency password which fortunately worked when I rang the security company back. With no action taken on the alarm I was able to get a reset from the installation firm and eventually, half an hour later than usual, I finally left the premises and came home. And all that because someone went to the loo without telling me!
This afternoon while I was in town I decided to go and clean at the accountant’s offices just on the outskirts as it would save me going in first thing on Monday morning. Now to put you in the picture the building is in a long row of what were once Georgian-type terraced houses which have all been turned into offices, and where each enclosed back yard would have been is now an open parking space for two cars. Four steps go down to the back door which leads into the kitchen and the kitchen window, protected by a wrought iron grille, looks out onto the parking space which, because of the steps, is almost at my shoulder height.
So there I was, minding my own business and washing up some mugs at the kitchen sink when a movement outside caught my eye and I looked up to see a scruffily dressed young man walking along the back street beyond the parking space. He disappeared from view, obscured by the dividing wall between the accountant’s and the offices next door, then a few minutes later I noticed him walking back the other way, but again he disappeared from view. I carried on with what I was doing but when I looked up again I was confronted by a face staring straight at me through the window – it was the scruffily dressed guy, bending down to look inside, and if it hadn’t been for the grille over the window his nose would have been right up against the glass.
Now I consider myself to be fairly unshockable so I wasn’t shocked to see the face, nor was I scared as I was safely inside with the door locked, but I was rather surprised to say the least. I just stared straight back at him though and after a few seconds he moved away and wandered off back along the back street. It was when I left work a while later that I realised something – out of all the offices in that row my van was the only vehicle parked along there so I can only assume that he was going to try breaking into it, and seeing lights on in the building was looking through the kitchen window to check if there was anyone inside who would see him.
A quick check all round the van showed me that everything was okay so if the guy had thought about breaking into it he obviously thought again – I don’t think he expected to see me staring straight back at him! I know one thing though – his face is now firmly implanted in my memory so I would have no hesitation if I ever had to pick him out of a crowd!
Some of you may remember the post I wrote a while back about the slide-out shelf falling out of the kitchen cupboard at the boss’s house while I was doing the cleaning, resulting in several mugs and glasses being broken. Well since then I’ve been extra careful about using that shelf, to the point where sometimes I’ve actually held my breath as I’ve pushed it back in – in fact to be honest I would rather have not gone near it at all but so far it’s been okay, however….
When I got there to do the cleaning this morning I was confronted with a couple of mugs, a few small tumblers and some shot glasses on the worktop above the cupboard; they were all clean so I thought it rather strange that they’d been left there but then I saw the shelf. It was minus its wire front and sides and the whole lot had been dumped on the floor in the corner of the kitchen – it didn’t take a genius to work out that it must have fallen out of the cupboard again, but again it must have missed the plates and bowls in the bottom as when I looked they all seemed to be intact.
It was when I emptied the dishwasher and put all the crockery away that I realised just how much had obviously been broken as the number of mugs and glasses was greatly reduced compared to previously, though with nowhere else to put the clean things I just had to add them to those left on the worktop. I won’t see the boss until Friday so I don’t know if he intends to fix the shelf and use it again or get rid of it completely and find another home for the mugs and glasses, but I’m just so glad that this latest disaster happened to him and not me!
Today I was cleaning at the boss’s house when I had the mother of all disasters.
Four months ago he moved from a modern detached house with a large kitchen and modern units to an old bungalow with dated kitchen units and nowhere near as much cupboard space as in the previous house, but as the bungalow will eventually be demolished and an ultra-modern eco-friendly house built in its place it’s not worth him replacing the units. One of these is a cupboard with a drawer above it and a slide-out shelf inside, with the shelf having plastic-coated wire sides and front rather like a freezer shelf, and it’s this cupboard where the crockery is kept – plates and bowls on the bottom and cups, mugs and glasses on the slide-out shelf. I’ve often had my doubts about putting breakables on that shelf but with limited cupboard space there’s nowhere else for them to really go.
So today I emptied the dishwasher, put all the pots and pans in their rightful places and the mugs and glasses on the shelf, and it was when I pushed the shelf back in that disaster struck. Somehow – and I really don’t know how as it happened so fast – the shelf came off its runners, tilted forwards and crashed down into the bottom of the cupboard, depositing most of its contents in a heap on the kitchen floor. Fortunately most things survived the drop but several things didn’t, the breakages totalling 3 tumblers, 2 mugs, 2 large cappuccino cups, 2 beakers, an espresso cup and a half-pint beer glass – luckily the shelf had missed the plates and bowls in the bottom of the cupboard otherwise the damage would have been a lot worse.
It was while I was surveying the carnage that my phone rang – it was Michael with the immortal words “Are you busy Mum?” “Yes Michael, I am a bit – I’m standing in the middle of Andy’s kitchen wondering how the hell I’m going to tell him that half his pots are in the bin”. Now when Michael starts a conversation with that sentence I know he wants something, this time he wanted me to check online for flights to Ireland so I told him I’d do it when I finally got home and I set about clearing up the mess. The front and sides had also come off the shelf so I fixed those back on, checked that the runners weren’t broken and put it back into place, then with the surviving mugs and glasses also back in place I gingerly pushed the shelf in and closed the door on it.
I was just about to ring Andy to tell him what had happened when someone else rang me; the conversation was long and tedious so I decided to see Andy in person instead and I called up this evening after work – and the conversation went like this – “I’ve come to confess my sins and I just hope you won’t kill me” “Why, what have you broken?” “Well let’s just say you won’t have as much washing up to do now”. When I explained what had happened with the shelf he told me that he wasn’t surprised as it’s been playing up for a while, and there was still lots of stuff that hadn’t got broken so not to worry about it.
Breaking things belonging to other people isn’t something I make a habit of doing, especially not on that scale, so I’m glad Andy was okay about it. And just for the record, when I finally got home this afternoon I checked the flights for Michael and he’s off to Ireland again tomorrow, coming back next Thursday – it’s alright for some!
In my years as a commercial cleaner I’ve come across all sorts off different signs and notices stuck up on the walls in various parts of various buildings. Mainly they are informative or instructive but sometimes amusing, and one which always made me smile was above the staff signing in/out log at the local advice bureau – ‘If you are coming in please sign in, if you are going out then sign out – if you don’t know whether you’re coming or going then join the club!’
The most recent one to make me smile was this one which I found stuck to the wall in the works canteen yesterday –
Self-explanatory really. I know who recently left the firm, a nice guy in middle management who divided his time between the offices and the works. I can understand him being a bit narked, I think I might be too, but maybe the note was a bit too strongly worded? Whether it was or not, it still amused my quirky sense of humour enough to take a photo of it.
While cleaning in the kitchen at work this morning I moved the large kitchen bin to mop the floor underneath and saw what I thought was a small bit of paper down in the corner. I was just about to bend down and pick it up when it moved – it wasn’t a bit of paper at all, it was a tiny baby frog not much more than in inch long and so pale that it almost blended in with its surroundings. How it managed to get there is a mystery as the kitchen is quite a distance from the works entrance and it was so small it could easily have been trodden on by someone’s big work boot. I couldn’t leave it where it was though so I caught it and took it outside.
The works building is surrounded on three sides by woodland and on the right there’s a bank sloping down to a stream, so I thought that would be an ideal place to release my little friend. Walking halfway down the bank I placed him gently on the ground near the base of a tree then waited and watched – sod work, I wanted to make sure he was safe. He stayed still for a minute then with a couple of hops he was gone, disappearing under some damp leaves a few feet from the tree. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of him as I didn’t have my camera with me, which was a shame as he really was the sweetest little thing – fingers crossed he stays safe, finds some friends and lives a long and happy life somewhere in the woodland.