Your roots are showing, dear…

With a major construction project underway for my laboratory, many offices have been relocated in a “musical chairs” dance that was underway before i arrived in my new job last June.  We have now reached the steady-state condition for the next two years, which has all of the “Management-Like Objects” working out of modular offices, located in the parking lot. 

Trailers*. These are the things that are rented out as temporary offices, classrooms, or as construction site headquarters. Ours are quite nice, but have been around the block a few times. Literally.  They are not new… but they are cushy!  

It’s a “Quintuple-wide” — five modules, with over twenty individual offices, a kitchenette and a conference room!  i was mostly excited that the ladies room has THREE STALLS!  Of the twenty managers/tech advisors in the modular offices?  There are only three women – we can each have our own toilet! Luxury! 

Recent events, however, have truly exposed my trailer park origins to my new colleagues.  If they weren’t sure what they were dealing with before?  They are now… 

Incident A:  The Wednesday before Christmas Eve, there were only a few of us in the office. Our Division Admin, Allen, had brought in a 12-pack of Sam Adam’s finest lager to celebrate the holiday. As the five of us gathered in the kitchenette area, we realized we didn’t have a bottle opener. Rooting through the kitchen drawers, i found a couple of cork screws, some old plumbing parts, but no bottle opener.  

“Wait?  Plumbing parts?”  Looking again, i saw what it was…  a small bit of tygon tubing, attached to a copper “L-joint”, which was covered by a plastic bag.  Oh shit.  i knew what it was.  Without thinking, i pulled it from the drawer, pulled off the plastic bag and took a sniff… A one-hit pipe.  Loaded with burnt weed!  SHIT, SHIT and DOUBLE SHIT!  

Of the five of us assembled, only Allen realized what i’d just found…  we had to explain it to the other guys, and then figure out what to do with it.  My fingerprints were all over it, so the initial thought of putting it on the boss’ desk was discarded quickly.  Obviously leftover from a prior occupant, we disposed of the contraband, but not before ol’ daisyfae got tagged as “worldly”.  

Incident B:  Returning to my trailer office after a lunch hour visit to the gym, i was surprised to see a gaggle of nerds huddling outside the adjacent office.  There was an adorable young man in the middle of the pack, furiously wedging a piece of plastic in the door jamb.  “VK has locked his keys in his office, and there is no spare”.  Dropping my purse, shoes and coat in my office, i went to look.  The adorable young man was from the facilities office, and had managed to get his personal ID card wedged in the door attempting to slide open the lock.   

With the modular offices, each door lock system was different, so i went to find a similar door lock on an open office.  Getting the ‘lay of the door’, i then went to the supply cabinet, looking for a long, flexible metal ruler.  Striking out, i found a workable piece of hard plastic. 

Adorable Facilities Boy and i jimmied with the lock a bit, but it still wouldn’t budge.  The “manly men” were now arriving, with screwdrivers and pry bars and were planning to somehow disassemble the door.  Regrouping momentarily, one of the nerdier guys, RD,  and i went back to look at the other door… 

We realized we’d have a shot at going “up and over”, through the drop ceiling with a coat hanger to open the handle from the inside.  But it was a “pull down” handle…  Rather than up and over?  Under and up!  Scavenging a couple of metal hangers, i built the tool quickly, as the testosterone-level outside the door was rising at an alarming rate… they were prying the door frame… 

RD and i stepped up, and i informed them to turn down the “Man Factor” momentarily, as we were “going MacGyver on that bad boy”.  Laughing, one of the guys looked at his watch and said “You’ve got 20 seconds before the bomb goes off… GO!”  Fifteen seconds later?  i slid the coat hanger under the door, hooked it, pulled down, and popped the door open – under the direction of RD, who was peeking through the window.  

No blood, no guts, and no permanent damage to a rented trailer.  Adorable Facilities Boy high-fived me, and suggested we keep my tool as a “spare key” if needed again… 

But it was the comment i dropped this morning at the staff meeting that sealed it… 

Incident C:  There have been serious budget cuts over the past year.  With the start of the new year, our janitorial services contract has been scaled back.  We are now responsible for “Self-Trashing”.  Rather than have our custodian empty our office trash cans, we are expected to tie them neatly, and take them to a central covered office dumpster, which will be emptied weekly. 

Naturally, there was a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth over this, but we all know that it’s not negotiable.  My suggestion:  “Can’t we just throw it on the lawn?  It IS a trailer, right?” 

On Bubba, On Billy Bob...

* For the past year, on all planning documents, they were referred to as the “Wind-Relocatables”, or “METH LAB Division”, for “Modular Exploratory Technology Housing – Labs and Bureaucracy” Division. i placed the ceremonial “Pink Flamingos” beside the door on my first day in the trailers…

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30 thoughts on “Your roots are showing, dear…

  1. Did you say three stalls and three female workers in the complex?

    Hummm. Now I’m wondering if I see a custom name tag on the outside of each stall door.

    Think carefully before you put Queen Daisey Fae on one. The question is, which one of the three is your choice.

    Sweetness at work is your own stall in the restroom.

    TAG

  2. I am by no means “trailer park” or even remotely have a PHD but what ever happened to good old common sense. I would have been with you all the way on A and B but C I would have been cracking up laughing at you. That is just pure genius. I couldn’t have come up with that wise crack if my life depended on it.

  3. Oh man, you ruined their opportunity to bust down a door? I would be pissed. There’s nothing more satisfying then breaking something at work, especially a door (or a big window, or maybe a copy machine).

    I hope they forgive you…

  4. sounds as if the trailers are an enginerds paradise of things to play with, fix, and otherwise build kluges. and you are proving yourself the goddess of them all.

  5. TAG – in engineering facilities, built in the 60’s, there are rarely more than ‘single seat’ ladies rooms. in the summer, when we have an abundance of students? we are often waiting in line as we would be at sporting events and concerts! but THREE?!?! One EACH!?!? decadence!

    savannah – only the easy ones. can’t pick a deadbolt. that requires skill and training. my older brother trained me on the basics of B&E, as well as how to peel a steering column, when i was a kid. it amused him to have his little sister trained as a juvenile delinquent…

    hisqueen – they laughed like hell. especially because i was wearing my “Rocket J. Squirrell” slippers at the staff meeting… they’re starting to loosen up around me!

    writerdood – oh, crap! i hadn’t thought of that… they were getting some serious chubb as they dug the tire irons from their trucks. i stole a moment. curses…

    gnukid – the pipes froze last week, too. got them thawed quickly. there is definitely an aspect of ‘roughing it’, that we are certainly playing up to the proletariat working troops back in the main building…

    chris – it’s kinda fun to be ‘multi-lingual’, isn’t it? drop a little lingo from some random sub-culture and see who gets it! instant bond!

    madcap – they were left over from my “trailer park” musical this summer. and when i say “left over”? i mean that i swiped them after the show closed…

  6. At least your trailer park roots came out in helpful ways, rather than in the form of you waving a loaded gun from a lawn chair. Unless you’re Tag Larkin, they usually call HR on you for that.

  7. archie – agreed. my next move would have been to just drill the core. they can be replaced. but those boyz were set on knockin’ out some door!

    renalfailure – for the summer, i’m planning to get a rocking chair (a webbed, folding one) with a sign on it that says “Hey, you kids, GET OFFA MY LAWN!” i’m guessing they might call HR on me for that, but i’m not sure i care…

    manuel – let me know if she needs some, uh, re-education. if ya know what i mean…

    hereinfranklin – yes, the beers were successfully opened. the car doors would have been an option, but one of the engineers had been a boy scout, and invariably came up with a swiss army knife! PBR? i had suggested “Schlitz” but they gagged at that thought…

  8. syncopated eyeball – not wonder woman. just a redneck. we have our own brand of super powers… i can tow your car with duct tape and pantyhose, too.

    blaznscarlet – it really is mostly ‘exposure’ rather than skill. i come from a neighborhood of ‘entrepreneurs’, shall we say. and we could generally figure out most any barrier….

    nursemyra – oooh! shall we pop some locks on Lesbos?

  9. Oh aren’t they something – the Testosterone Boys and their manly desire to rip a door from its hinges. $20 bucks not one of them would know how to put it back on.

  10. Is it so wrong that I still have my Pink Flamingoes?
    Snow covered at the moment, but displayed proudly on my lawn.
    Oh, and in my house.

    I love them. 🙂

    METH Lab?
    HA HA HA HA HA
    That’s fantastic!

  11. mongoliangirl – Put it back together?!?!? Whaaaaaat?!?!?

    syncopated eyeball – yes. we are redneck women. we are legion…

    blazngscarlet – oh, i like them quite a bit. for spring? we’re looking for an old toilet to put out front that can be filled with geraniums!

  12. Great stories daisyfae.

    I can relate as I personally find it quite amusing to surprise and even shock people, especially co-workers, with the breadth of my experiences and talents which are normally hidden from view and shared with a great degree of miserliness.

    I cultivated this particular approach a while ago when I learned it was far more advantageous to remain an “unknown” quantity for the most part. Why? Because people are far less likely to fuck with you. And I like it that way.

  13. This made me laugh and laugh. How many genius-types does it take to screw in a light bulb, if it takes 20 of you to get in a door and just one “worldly” older babe to ID the grass???

  14. babs – glad you got a good chuckle! the guys are still telling the tales, and as they do, my heroics seem to amplify! i’m not gonna set the record too straight… oh, and we contract out the lightbulb changing. it would be fun to watch, though!

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