Work has been crazy-busy the last few weeks. Actually, now that I really think about it, it’s been crazy-busy for so long, I can’t remember what it’s like to have a few moments of peace between calls. It was bad enough early in the spring. and then with trips to check on Mom and then when she passed away, there was so much upheaval and upset and wackety-do-dah that I sort of forgot what it was like to be able to have a normal day without feeling like a phone-shaped gun was being held to my head all day.
At work, at least. At home, we’re dedicated to relaxing in front of the TV, reading stuff online, fooling with the cat, and tinkering with home decor and gearing up for the big Window Installation Project 2006 in two weeks.
Work is… not Hell, more like Purgatory. All the various teams that have been sharing calls in a sort of network had to break off and concentrate on their own calls, and my work teams’ call volume is the big sucking black hole in the call stats,because no matter if 2 people are scheduled off any one day, 5 or 6 will be off owing to a lot of family emergencies, health issues, and unavoidable absences. And it’s only going to get worse, because there are big changes coming this fall and possibly big increases
and decreases in calls, which will be balanced out by a combination of technological tools (like online booking, which shunts routine calls to a web-based client for bookingroutinetravel) and by adding a few small accounts toeven out the drop in calls once the online tool catches on with our main account (there are a lot of accounts that we handle, but our team currently handles one big one and helps out ona few others).
Yesterday, I broke our pricingand file-finishing software for a while. Stupid, Ginny. Itmay have been someone trying to get it to work for some people that are “helping” us out remotely from another office in anothercity – it’s absurdly easy to overwrite something youshouldn’t iftwo people are trying to do something behind the scenes, andI think that’s what happened. Well, it’s working now.ButI got so frustrated with notbeing able to help the helpers…Today,
though,we had the internal IM client running so I had a constant “help chat”to answer their questions, because they were trained VERY quickly over the phone last week, and needed a lot of coaching at first to get used to all the unfamiliar formats and quirks. And that part worked very well, because I used to run help line chat rooms a million years ago for *cough* Aohell.
*cough*Once they caught on, they were booking tons of records, and I was doing their QC in addition to taking calls and answering their questions, emailing them stuff, faxing them phone lists, and whatnot.
Actually, when things were working well, today rocked, because the extra help gave us very, very good stats for the day, and this is a Good Thing, because for the quarter our stats are in Le Autobus Blanc, and this could have dire consequences. We might have to pay, for instance, our customers back if we don’t maintain a minimum standard hold time. It was cool to take calls, make reservations, answer questions in the IM client, QC the helpers’ records and send them to ticketing, update profiles, and
email things all at the same time without missing a beat. It was not so great later in the day when I was not able to work on my own stuff that I needed to work on, because just keeping up with the QC for the helpers and making sure my own workflow queue was clear kept mehead down and crazy-busy all afternoon. The helpers are inan office in Pennsylvania and apparently they’ve been madeunofficialguns-for-hire in our network(they call themselves the SABRE Missfits, they’re
great).They learn a new account, take calls to help lower the stats for afew weeks or months, and then learn a new account that’sgotten busy and needs their help. They’re likereservations ronin.Nice ladies. I felt good at the end of the day because they were happy to be feeling productive, and I helped them to feel comfortable with what they were doing. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and also dreading it, because we’ll be even more shorthanded.
It’s the weirdest thing, but there’s been a lot of deaths this summer; a lot of us lost our mothers and grandmothers, and it seems like every other week or so a new email makes the rounds from management with “Sad News” as the subject line. Now it sounds like one of my youngest, most childlike teammates may lose her grandma soon. And there’s several people out on family bereavement still, and several of us are recently back from leave, and it’s just… not that helpful to think of how many of us are hurting right
So having the SABRE Missfits taking some of load off is helping us out more than they know.
As for things at church, that’s not going so well, either. Father Ted accepted a call to start a pastoral care program at a hospital in the Western suburbs, and this Sunday is his last with us. We can’t blame him for needing to do what he needs to do in order to protect his retirement and pension; we could afford to pay him if we shared him with one other parish, but that parish has decided to walk away from the yoking arrangement and dissolve theircongregation(with the large bequest that fell into
their laps last fall going back to the Diocese). Alone, we couldn’t afford to pay Ted’s salary at even 1/2 time for more than about 6-9 months. So he’s taking the new position, but won’t be far. He had a kind of “exit interview” after church last Sunday, and some of the things people said about how he’s been there for them through illness, stress, and death were very moving.
It’s a sad time for Holy Moly; for every new person that came, one or two long-time pledging parishioners would leave, because people could just not get over the fact of Ted and Mark’s relationship as a committed clergy couple. And after a while, new people stopped coming, because there were only about 20 of us that are regularly attending this summer. We’ve tried so many things, and nothing seems to work, because the people who do the most work are exhausted and don’t want more work, and the ones who show up
occasionally of a Sunday won’t take anything on.
However, there’s hope. Another neighboring parish’s priest has offered to come to us on a part-time basis for an early Sunday service; they’re much more modern liturgically, but worship in an architectural twin of our buiding that they have modified greatly from the original design. With them, we have a year to decide what we’re doing and try to find some room to breathe as well as room for growth. It’s possible that some of the people that left over the issue of Ted’s sexuality may come back – or they may not.
If they did, though, I’ll have to work out whether it bothers me or not. At the moment, I think it may bother me to worship with people that rejected someone who helped the rest of us so very much. I’ll have to see.
The eventual goal of the diocese is apparently to encourage all these small, woefully underfunded mission parishes in the northwest suburbs to coalesce into a larger entity. The property we’re all sitting on is worth a lot… a LOT. And meanwhile, we can’t afford to run the furnace during the week in winter, and our former yoking partner couldn’t afford to even turn their air conditioning on in the summer.
I wish them well, by the way, but what a waste of time all those community-buildingmeetings with them were. We could just never overcome the mutual suspicion between both groups, although some of us did try, and one couple is very comfortable going back and forth depending on what time they wanted to get to church. It bothers me that this relationship that started under Marion’s tenure almost 5 years ago is ending in complete and total silence, especially when they ended up with a windfall of several hundred
thousand dollars (and a physical plant that was falling into ruin from decades of neglect). They have full parish status, so there’s some talk that they’ll become an outlier to a big Hispanic parish farther to the west, and an Episcopal charity may take over their education wing and put it to good use for social services to the large immigrant population in their village. But still – not even a fare-thee-well. I guess we could have tried to reach out even more, but we really were done reaching out to them after
sending 6 or 7 volunteers to their fundraiser and helping them net $1000, and they sent 1 volunteer to our fundraiser, and we lost money. Then this winter, just when we were waiting to hear when they would announce they were closing, they got this huge bequest from someone that they didn’t even REMEMBER who had attended 20 years ago, and had been living in a nursing home all that time. Talk about a bomb dropping. And… they didn’t like Ted, even though they were part of the search process, so they made it very
clear to him that their newfound financial solvency didn’t include paying for his salary beyond the terms of their contract with him. I doubt any of them are interested in checking out the new priest when he starts his first early service with us in a couple of weeks.
The Sunday after Ted leaves, a canon from the diocese will preside and lead us in a discussion about our hopes and fears. Look out, loose canon! But no, he’s known to us on the Bishop’s Committee and we like him a ton and a half. He knows our story and how we’ve struggled to try to look outward and do something for the poor and not just remain inwardly focused on keeping the doors open, as we had been for decades before Marion and then Ted came. And the week after that, Father Steve comes. And he’s starting off
with a cookout that afternoonafter churchat his house, so that’s a good sign.
So, not a lot of time for blogging other than grabbing links with del.icio.us and quippy things. And now, I see I have a lot of catching up to do at theHoly Molywebsite, so more work for me to do there tomorrow.
iTunes: Ledward Kaapana: Killing Me Softly: Kiho’alu [5:35]
iTunes: Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah (Live): Live at Sin-é (Legacy Edition) [9:15]