Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Working out at work

Just to let you know, I am currently pushing 11 hours of work today. Not that it's really anything to brag about. I had a four hour "retreat" at work today, which means that I got to listen to interesting people speak and eat good food instead of being trapped in the "dungeon." (The "dungeon" is the nickname for Special Collections in the library--it's 50 feet below ground and there are no windows. It's one big cement block).

After walking back to the library from the Conference Center (no, that wasn't my workout), I noticed that the AC/Vent guy was there working on the Cold Vault. The CV, as we affectionately call it, has been acting up lately. It's supposed to be a micro-environment for photographs to help preserve them, but recently the humidity has been sky-rocketing.

Sometimes I feel that not a lot of people take me seriously. The last few days I have phoned or emailed the AC/Vent guy at least 2 times a day telling him how the humidity is going up and up. Finally this morning he told me that he'd come and look at it.

*****

Apparently he's now fixed the problem. Before he left he warned me: The alarm will go off as it normalizes. Just switch it off and then it will sound again to let you know it's been reset. Switch it back on.

I thought I could handle that. I did, but his statement was the understatement of the year.

Soon after he left, the alarm went off, just about scaring me out of my wits! I got up from my desk and went to the alarm. I switched it off. I waited for it to sound again and then switched it back on. There, I thought, that's that. And I walked back to my desk.

No sooner had I sat down then the alarm went off again. I walked back over to the alarm, and repeated the same procedure as before, except when I turn it back on, the alarm immediately sounded again. I turned it off, it beeped. I turned it on, it beeped. I turned it off and on and off and on. Finally, I thought it had settled down a little.

I started walking back to my desk. It went off again. Annoyed, I stood by the alarm for more than 5 minutes turning it on and off, on and off, on and off. Finally, a student walked in and I asked her to stand there and flip the switch whenever it sounded while I phoned the AC/Vent guy to be sure this was normal.

She did, but do you know what? That crafty little alarm didn't go off at all the whole time she was there. The AC/Vent guy said that that was normal and to just continue flipping the switch.

I sat down in my desk, thanked the girl and got back to work. No sooner had she left than the alarm went off.

I got up from my desk and walked over to the alarm, turned it off, waited for it to beep and then turned it back on. I waited for a few minutes, but it was silent so I went back to my desk and sat down. And then it beeped.

I got up and turned it off, waited for it to beep and turned it back on. I waited for a few minutes, went back to my desk and sat down.

One of my students came into work. Amazingly enough, the alarm didn't go off the whole time he was in the room. I kept glancing at the alarm to make sure the gauges were reading correctly and waiting for the alarm to go off. It didn't.

My student left the room...I was sure the alarm was going to go off as soon as he left. I looked up at the alarm. It didn't go off. I looked back at my screen...and the alarm went off.

I walked over, turned it off. Waited, turned it on. Waited, walked back to my desk. Waited, walked back to the alarm...and repeated that about twenty times before my student came back into the room.

By this time the alarm was going through one of its crazy fits of constantly turning off and on so when my student walked back in he got to witness the little relationship the alarm and I were having. I was glad because I was starting to think I was crazy.

At this point it became more of a game. Who could get up to turn the alarm off faster?

The alarm would go off. He'd be up by the cabinet and reach over and turn it off.

The alarm would go off again. I would already be up out of my desk at the sink and could turn it off.

The alarm would go off again. We were both at our desks. Who would get to the alarm first?

I started losing it, and by "it" I mean everything: concentration, sense of humor, reason, etc.

I don't think I have ever been happier for 5:00 to roll around. As I closed up for the day, I turned the alarm off one last time, waited for it to reset and then turned it back on, turned off the lights and closed the door.

I'm sure that a nice high-pitched screeching noise will be the first thing to greet me in the morning, but I should look on the bright side: at least I got my exercise quota for the day!

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