Thursday, March 11, 2010

Living on the Edge...

of pure chaos!  Recently someone asked me what song would be the soundtrack of my life.  It would be hard to pick just one, although Storyhill accompanied me through most of College and in the last five years.  But that is another post.  Lately, the song that gets stuck in my head is "Livin' On the Edge" by Aerosmith. 

While the lyrics convey that living on the edge is something bad and out of control:

We're livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' on the edge
You can't stop yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge

I beg to differ, although I could see how this would be a response to chaos and uncertainty.  I prefer to think of living on the edge as an adventure.  But not just any old adventure, this adventure of mine is hilarious.

I know I have written plenty about my job, but since it is what I spend most of my waking hours doing, I will write more.  I really enjoy my job for many reasons, but primarily the fact that NO day is ever the same as well as the general attitude of positivity that is shared.  Someone who likes structure, predictability and peace and quiet would lose their minds here.  Someone who views challenges and frustration with anger or impatience would go crazy too.  My time here has taught me a lot about the most constructive way to solve problems and the best way to approach utter chaos.  Which at least for right now is patience combined with a heavy dose of humor.  Sometimes all you can do is laugh.  It sure beats being angry.

The misadventures of my workplace have become so crazy lately that I feel like we are operating on the edge of complete chaos most of the time.  But it will serve no one to get frustrated, so seeing the humor and moving forward in problem solving is essential. 

Last week I arrived on campus at 7:00 am to bear witness to a flood in one of the buildings.  Now, a "flood" might be a toilet that overflowed, a sink that was backed up or a leaking water heater.  No, this was a lake.  Visualize three inches of water covering the floors of two classrooms, two bathrooms and a hallway.  Floating trash cans, books and recycling bins.  This was not caused by a simple leak or clog, it was a catastrophic malfunction of the water heater.  I suppose you could get mad or sit down and cry.  Or you could stand in the middle of the lake, water sloshing over the top of your shoes, and laugh.  You could find someone to blame, or you could get started with fixing the problem. 

My colleagues are nothing if not resourceful.  Throughout the morning, the standing water was pushed out the doors with brooms and snow shovels.  When the water mitigation company arrived later that day, they still removed over 50 gallons of water from the carpet.  I spent two quality hours outside on the playground supervising some highly distracted 3rd and 4th graders as an army of parents moved the entire contents of both classrooms to our only remaining open spaces on campus.  Which means, I kid you not, if you want a quiet place to meet or make a phone call, you go outside or into the bathroom. 

It was an exhausting but funny day.

Pushing tidal waves of water out the door with snow shovels.  Priceless.  We have pictures. 
Oh, we have to replace the sub floor because it is waterlogged.  Expensive and complicated, but so ridiculous it is worth a laugh. 
The drywall needs to be replaced too?  Haha.  You don't do that everyday!

And to take the cake, watching semi trucks drop two halves of a modular classroom into our parking lot this afternoon.  It won't have plumbing and I have no idea where the electricity is coming from, but if one building is trashed, just order a new one!  I know the financial realities of our non-profit, so I am not trivializing the expense of fixing this major issue.  Merely a way of coping with a terrible situation. 

I could go on and on, but that is for another time.  I guess word to the wise, you'll sleep better and stress less if you can laugh at the absurdities and chaos around you. 

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