Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holiday Curse

Busy day yesterday. I didn't start until four but could tell immediately what'd been going on: lots of business and the phone ringing off the hook. It continued until closing, when we had a classic scenario: group back in DVD who had to be told we were closed after multiple PA announcements, then when they came to the desk the one trying to check out (after a computer was turned back on to accommodate her)had a big fine on her card. One of her friends checked out instead and had a more reasonable fine (one that didn't block her check-out) and wanted to pay it, but we'd shut down the cash register already: it was well after nine pm at this point. I don't know what it is about a holiday that guarantees mayhem the next open day, but it seemed as though every transaction involved lengthy discussion/complications/oddball circumstances. I was on the phone so long with this one nice elderly lady that when I hung up my ear was sore. SHE wanted to know if the gift shop had a cart of hardcover books out for sale. Well, no. For one thing, it was 8:55 pm and the shop was closed, but I'd seen the cart and it's all children's videos right now, which she wanted to discuss in detail after I'd confirmed that there were no books for sale that day. She wasn't, like, trying to be impossible, but my word: the circular, endless conversation/speculation about the cart and when there'd be what she wanted on it and how often did it change and why wasn't the store open all the time: yeeeesh. She decided to call back today and find out if there were hardcover books on the cart at that time and will get to talk to someone who isn't me as I won't be there: I'm going to Cuyahoga Falls. Thank God.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


A little boy who apparently meets his tutor at the library has become more and more troublesome lately: in the building for hours on end; loud, hyper....he's obviously disabled in some fashion and is very, very odd. Creaky little voice. Bounces off the walls. Nice enough kid.... probably shouldn't be at loose ends, but that's really none of our business: we don't provide supervision to minors. At least he's here during the day and not after school, when I wouldn't trust our regular crowd to treat him appropriately. Yesterday the decision was made to ignore him unless his behavior was overly disruptive, then, if need be, we're to ask him for his parents' name/phone number. There was a certain amount of discussion about whether or not he'd be capable of relaying the information and/or becoming overly upset by being approached (truly, he is a strange child) but that's the plan.

This morning as I was slumped morosely over a cup of coffee while my bath filled, regretting the decision to take a sinus caplet at bedtime the night before (always a trade-off: is it worth it to be able to breathe if I can't sleep?) Nate came in from his run and told me he was going to take the van and get a mile-check on how far he'd gone. Even though I was already pressed for time, I said I'd ride along. Ten minutes into the drive, I heard a familiar voice calling a dog, and who do I see out my window? Our unattended minor, standing on the porch of a little blue house. I made note of the address and was able to figure out his probable name and phone number....just in case. Poor lamb.

I was filling Nate in on why this little boy had caught my attention, and he asked what he'd looked like. HE'D stopped by the library Thursday night just in time to see our security guard (Larry. He's great) boot this smart aleck out and wondered if it could be the same kid. After I'd stopped howling with laughter and slapping my thigh- the same child! Well, no. That would be too much of a coincidence, and besides: drop by any time and you stand the chance of seeing some wanna-be delinquent mouthing off to Larry. This child is something else entirely. He's not deliberately doing anything "bad" (unlike the brat Nate observed being ejected. He had quite a bit to say about this child's behavior) and isn't trying to draw attention to himself, which makes it harder to know what to do. Too, there's an I-know-we're-not-providing-baby-sitting-service-to-this-kid-but-how-do-we-stand-by-and-ignore-the-obvious-benign-neglect-going-on-here issue: we run into this rather more frequently than we'd like. If this child were mine and I assumed he was behaving appropriately while out of my sight, I would want to know if he wasn't. On the other hand, I've put a lot of thought and effort into giving my own nutty child what I hope is an appropriate degree of independence and wouldn't want anyone else second-guessing my decisions....unless she was behaving imappropriately while I wasn't around. Hmm. Hmmm. HMMMMM. Well: not our responsibility.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday Again

Had a nice run of almost-too-busy last night: good. We've had some suspiciously quiet days lately but I figure people are just getting used to the decent weather and will return. Summer Reading's coming up, too, which brings in the hordes. We had our last Sunday hours until Labor Day this past weekend, which is great, free-timewise, but a bit of a blow to the budget. I'll miss that time-and-a-half.

I dropped the kids at school today, finally doing our part to conserve gasoline. My van is more efficient than the wagon and the kids can walk home. I'm still debating walking to work vs. driving: this seems obvious: my workplace is two blocks down the street from my house, right? But I have kids at school, which means that when I get that call ("Mom, I threw up." "Mom, I'm in violation of the dress code." "Mom, I forgot my _________." "Mom, my glasses broke. Again.") I have to return home, get my van, and THEN deal with the problem. I'd be more willing to roll those dice if this hadn't already happened to me more than once. At least then, I was paging and could leave: circulation's not like that. I've had a nice long streak of not having to deal with child-related "emergencies" while at work- knock wood- since I moved behind the desk, but I still worry.

Speaking of: Hannah was trying to bum a pencil off Sarah in the van this morning. That girl is going to be the death of me: a day late and a dollar short, all day, every day. Sarah didn't have one to lend (by "lend" I mean "never see again") so I don't know what Hannah's going to do. I keep repeating my Hannah mantra ("this is not YOUR problem........not YOUR problem......nnnnooooott.... yooouuuuuurrrrrrr........proooooooobbbbbblllleeeemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...") but I can't help but be concerned and irritated: if she gets into trouble for not having a pencil, that's a moronic reason for being called on the carpet. HER problem, though, and not mine. Nooootttttt.....miiiinnnnneeeee...........

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Tuesday Nights

I work one late night- Tuesday- and it's generally pretty calm. Last night, however, about 7pm, we had a run of wacky interactions that made the last two hours of work fly by: a customer insisted on filing an incident report (after a situation that she seemed to have engineered), another customer found something one of our staff had lost and was determined not to cough it up, another customer tied up one computer with an endless discussion of a fine that she wasn't contesting, necessarily, but refused to comprehend. Then one of our "slow" regulars came in, and...well, maybe you had to be there. (Poor lamb! While I don't particularly enjoy waiting on him, it's got to be better than BEING him.) The entire time, Toastmasters (who'd apparently left the door to Meeting Room B open) were whooping and applauding (after arriving way early and agitating to get into "their" room before the scheduled time. Yes, it did appear to be empty. No, that didn't guarantee that the Scouts weren't gone temporarily. Yes, we realized that they would need to set up. Yes. Yes. Yes! But no: no entry until closer to the time they'd reserved) and the phone was ringing with questions about voting. Someone came to pick up the overhead projector and wanted me to set it up first to determine that everything worked on it. I, only once, back when I paged, was a party to trying to figure out how that !@#$%^& thing functioned, and that time, I was bent over it with my boss and my co-worker Matthew, flipping switches and scratching our heads as the bulb refused to come on. When it did, it did so in a sort of Three Stooges manner, blinding us abruptly. I wasn't eager to repeat this maneuver at the front desk. There was a new bulb included with the projector and she kept saying she hoped she'd be able to figure out how to put it in if she had to. Further discussion had her asking if the machine needed to be plugged in to work. I was losing patience at this point- perhaps she wanted to check out a person to set up the projector as well?- but explained that there were directions printed on the machine itself and that if she really couldn't figure it out, she could call and we'd see if someone there could talk her through it. "I'm bringing this right back!" she insisted, repeatedly. "If it doesn't work, I'm bringing it right back!" Hmmm. You're able to check out- for free- an overhead, who cares. Overall it was a quiet night.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gee, Thanks For Volunteering!

I worked the drive-through (thanks, Trissa and Beth!) the entire shift today in order to avoid contact with the person heading up our Book Sale. I felt kind of sheepish- whenever I'm not in actual contact with her, I have a hard time recalling what it's like when I am- so my presence can't be blamed for her behavior today: she was demanding and argumentative. She was mean to one of our regular customers; a nice man who's.....challenged. She tee-d off on why the sale wasn't attended well (I have my own theory, backed up by what I heard at the grocery store tonight, where I- of course- went right after work. "_______!" I said, spying someone whom I know always looks forward to the sale. "Did you buy some good books?" "Are you kidding?" she replied. "Do you know who was running it? No way was I going there. No thanks.") which, as she loudly declaimed, was the fault of someone other than the Friends of the Library: it was the library itself. We apparently were in charge of publicity and dropped the ball. Hmmm. Hmmm. HMMMMMMM.

Book Hell

Second day of the Book Sale and it's worse than the day before: constant demands by the people running it, who aren't exactly being....concerned....that we have customers to serve. Yes, this organization serves a function, and an important one. BUT: as with every volunteer group with which I've ever had an affiliation, there are volunteers and then there are VOLUNTEERS. The first category seems to be able to keep things in perspective: they see their role as support for the parent organization. The second category....oy. There's a type of person who can't function in a "supportive" capacity and has to push continually to be seen as "in charge." I used to think, "Okay. So these people are annoying and rude. They get stuff done, though." I've since revised this assumption: these people (at least the ones with whom I've had the pleasure to serve) by and large are accomplishing no more than their non-pushy/mouthy/self-aggrandizing brethren: they just create so much noise and activity that they seem to be natural leaders. The end result, sadly, is that less aggressive members of the group begin to quietly resign, leaving only those who're hooked on the perception that they're "important." Pretty soon you're all chiefs and no indians, which isn't conducive to running much of anything.

Sale seems to be drawing a pretty nice crowd, anyway. Yesterday was kind of slow.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Books I Have Known

I'm re-reading Torey Hayden's oeuvre (sp?) right now and have been pleased to see that my daughter Hannah is also picking them up. On her website, Hayden has some follow-up material on some of the (now grown) kids from her books and it's pretty cool to see "what happened" after the books ended. Today I flipped open a book to revise it ("Shelter Dogs") and it opened to a photo that could have been Pepper: ha ha! Ha ha ha! Old Dime-A-Dozen: that's my dog. We see Pepper dogs everywhere: Ms. Ubiquitous. Your basic hound. Sarah brought home this big book of dogs once and looked in vain through all the breeds for Pepper....until the very end, where there was a page on mutts.....and there she was. The illustration could've been her twin.

"The Eyes of the Amaryllis" came in for me today: I don't know how it is that I've never read this, but it's so. Someone returned the movie version of it the other day and I ordered up the book after reading the case. I'm re-reading "Delivery" by Jennifer Chrichton (sp?), which is a nice thick book about a nurse-midwife. I'm also reading "Elephant In The Playroom" and "Born On A Blue Day." Last night we watched the short film that eventually became "Sling Blade" and that was interesting. Molly Ringwald (who, frankly, I don't think is much of an actress) played the journalism student.

No "Friend" Of Mine

Hmmm. The book sale is going on right now and has proved to be....interesting. The person heading it up is abrasive and bossy and there's this climate hanging over it that's just sort of odd. It doesn't help that this woman is my neighbor and has had a long history of trouble with not only me but every person who lives in our neighborhood: what on earth is she doing running a book sale? It's obvious that she's not particularly well-liked by the other members of the organization, and her officious rudeness to the desk staff isn't going over very well, either. Huh. It's an odd situation.

The internet has been down all day today and the place is all but deserted. Spooky.