Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Saga of the File Cabinets

Ever have a simple project turn into a big ordeal? For example, before we moved into our current house, I told Jason I wanted to repaint the dining room. Seemed like an easy enough project - the room was empty, four square walls, not a lot of trim. Shouldn't take more than a couple of hours per coat. I headed to Lowes, bought the supplies, got all set up and went to work. I like rolling the best - trim is a lot of time with little progress, while rolling covers a lot of ground in little time. Plus, I get so anxious to see what the wall is going to look like with the new color that I can't help but to roll first. So I was rolling away, pleased with my speedy painting, when something awful started happening - seems like former owners of the house had painted over several layers of wallpaper. I thought I was painting just over paint, but I was mistaken. And as my thick paint soaked into the wall/wallpaper, the wallpaper started peeling off. I had two major realizations at this point: first, my work up to this point was for nothing, and now I had a mess on my hands as I had to deal with painted wallpaper falling off the walls. Second, before I could continue painting, I had to strip all of the remaining wallpaper off. A few hour project turned into a few labor intensive days - what started out so simple turned into a big project.

I had a similar experience at work over the last month. From last school to this school year, we had some major changes in our program. Our office moved buildings, and we had some turnover in staff. In the midst of the move and staff changes, some file cabinet keys were lost. Since our student files are mandated to remain in locked file cabinets, this presented a big problem, because we are utilizing all of our file cabinets to maximum capacity. However, some of our other files don't have to be locked; unfortunately, as I unpacked boxes this summer and moved files into a file cabinet, I picked a file cabinet that did not have a key. And since I needed a deep drawer file cabinet to hang our files in, I couldn't transfer the files to other file cabinets with keys because those file cabinet drawers weren't deep enough to hang files from the side. We kept the classroom door locked at night, but really the file cabinet needed to be locked. So when school started in August, the directive was given to me to get the situation fixed however I could and to call whomever I needed to call. I thought I would go the route of least resistance first. I called maintenance, and they tried to swap out the drawers - the shallow drawers to the unlocked cabinet and the deep drawers to the locked cabinets. Unfortunately, the shallow drawers fit in the unlocked cabinet but the deep drawers did not fit in the locked one. So we went to Plan B - let's switch out the locks. So we called back maintenance, and they jiggled and pulled and shoved, but the locks would not come out. Plan C - I got a box of wire file hangers - the kind that you have to manually put together with a screwdriver. That was an exciting afternoon for my social work intern - she really felt like she was diving into the social work field. We put together four of them, switched all 168 files out of the unlocked cabinet into the locked cabinet and hung them on our newly assembled wire hangers. This solution only lasted a day, though, because between the weight of the files and the number of times those files went in and out of the cabinet throughout the course of the day, our wire hanges collapsed, and now all of the files were laying on their side in a mess in the drawers. So I had to resort to Plan D - I called Peerless and ordered two new keys to two of our unlocked file cabinets. No problem, the lady from Peerless said, should only take a few days. "We can stand a few days of these files being a mess," I thought. The date was September 12. A couple of weeks pass, and no new keys. I'm getting dirty looks as people get into our file cabinet to find their files. "I haven't heard from them," I say in my defense. Finally, I call. The lady says the keys shipped out on Friday, it's now Wednedsay, she expects them any day. This past Tuesday comes, I call again. Yes, the keys are in, she's sending them over tomorrow (yesterday, October 11.) Wednesday comes, the keys arrive. I eagerly open the envelope, excited to organize the files, and I take the two keys to their respective cabinets. Yep, the one works. I put in the second key in the second file cabinet, the one I had reserved for student files - and nothing. The key won't turn. I look at the number on the lock. 103R. I look at the number on the key. 103E. You've got to be kidding me, I must have ordered the wrong key. I look at the invoice - nope, it says 103R on the invoice. I guess the company messed up. I called Peerless, explained the problem, and they said they would overnight a new key. I went to lunch. When I came back, there was a message from Peerless saying that 103R and 103E are interchangeable. I'm feeling key inadequate at this point, so I grab the key and try it again in the lock. I jiggle it around a little and can get it to move slightly, but then I realize the problem. When maintenance was trying to swap out the locks, they knocked it loose, so neither 103E nor 103R is going to work in this lock. I called Peerless back, explained the situation. Sorry, the key has already been overnighted. But now here's a new solution - Plan E. They can send over someone to look at the lock. But he couldn't come on that day, maybe tomorrow (today.) He didn't come today. The saga continues...


Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

You missed small group to blog? I mean c'mon, Deb, think of the free therapy you could have had and the frustration that you could have vented...I can feel the tension in your writing. Hey, I'm tense for you! What a frustrating saga.

October 12, 2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger Anon said...


October 13, 2006 7:49 AM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

Sounds like a nightmare for you. Good luck with the saga!

October 13, 2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I agree with Jaena! We missed you!

October 15, 2006 3:36 AM  
Blogger Terhune family said...

This sort of reminds me of my house... In a sick sort of way, I'm glad someone else has issues, too. :)

October 15, 2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Great blog! I should read it more often. You probably don't know me but I go to CWC, teach English at Oak Hill and had your mom at IWU. I like your thoughts on things.

October 18, 2006 9:32 AM  

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