Saturday, November 7, 2009

In which there is frostbite and the urge to smite

So Larry has this new job where he works in a warehouse.  Usually he's telling a bunch on non-English speaking guys what to do, but sometimes he has to do the work.  On Thursday, he had to deal with a forklift problem.  Seems that the forklift was out of fuel and had to be changed out.

And Larry got right on this.  Sans gloves, of course, because he is 21 and his blood is not supplying his brain so much as other things.  (Mostly the one other thing.)  But he's trying. 

Question - did you know that many forklifts run off of liquid propane?  Neither did I. 

Larry was changing out the tank to put a new one on. He thought he had closed the valves down.  Apparently he didn't close them all the way, because when he pulled the hoses off, the liquid propane sprayed out all over his hand and arm.

Liquid propane is a liquid because it's frozen.  Very.very cold.  Larry's little fingers got very very cold too.  Fortunately, he was wearing a long sleeved shirt, so the only bare flesh affected was his fingers.

At first it just hurt and his fingers looked kinda white.  But by yesterday, they were really hurting.  So Larry trucked himself over to an urgent care facility and had his fingers looked at.

Diagnosis - first and second degree frostbite on his thumb and first two fingers.  Ow.  Pretty impressive for the middle of fall in Georgia.  I'll bet the doctors here don't see much frostbite - must have been a novelty to them.

So now's Larry's got silvadene creme and some bandages for those appendages, plus painkiller.  Frostbite is more like a burn than anything.  He's not griping too much - mostly about the fact that he'a lefty and is now having trouble typing.

(If you look at the picture above, you'll see an issue of Bony magazine in the background of the urgent care place.  Hee.)

On to part two - the urge to smite.

Strangely enough, this does not involve one of my children.  I know that seems hard to believe, but it's true.

I manage a group of IT folks.  I'm a extrovert, a rare breed in the IT world.  This also means I have pretty good people skills - hence, the management job.  Normally, managing is pushing paper and dealing with my user community, along with technical issues.  But sometimes other things crop up.  And I have an on-going problem child in my employ.

Said Problem Child (PC) is a contract employee, not a regular full time person.  She is very young - and she has a humongous chip on her shoulder.  She gets away with this because her mother is very close friends with my boss, therefore she is somewhat protected.

PC is not a bad worker.  She's quite good at her job - no complaints there.  But she does not communicate well.  One of the things we have to do is document things we do on our job, regular functions.  This is in case something happens (like illness), someone will be able to read the doc and perform that needed function.  PC does a particular function that I need real documentation on - something in a Word document, not scribbled on a piece of paper.  PC is very capable of doing this.  I've asked for this doc on many, many occasions with no luck, and I asked for it again this week.  And she again flat out refused to give it to me, telling me to talk to my boss about it.

PC does not recognize that I am her supervisor.  Since she is not a full time employee, I can't write her up.  And since her mama is friends with my boss, I'm screwed.  I have no leverage.

And - get this - she thinks my repeated requests for this are out of line and she is justified in refusing.

Plus, she deliberately mispronounces my name.  Grrr.  Fingernails on the chalkboard grrr.

So, now we come to the urge to smite.  Hard.  Do you see what I mean?

(Actually, most of Friday I just wanted to bash my head on my desk repeatedly.)

Then I thought about one of my favorite cartoons.  What would the Dilbert characters do about this?


So, if no one was watching, could I smite PC and put her out of my misery?  Push her down the stairs?  Would that be "wrong"?  If Helen Keller was alone in the forest, and a tree fell, would it make a noise?

Alas, common sense prevailed.  And I'll have to take this issue up with my boss on Monday.  Which should make for a FUN day.


  1. This young girl sounds like some of the students I had throughout my years of teaching. It's too bad that her mom is your boss's good friend, but maybe that won't matter so much.
    I once taught my principal's grandson. My principal was blind to the things that this darling child did. His parents came to talk "AT" me once, notice I didn't say "TO" me. It just happened that earlier in the day this kid had written (so I had evidence) some really nasty stuff as a class assignment. He got caught. His parents left red faced to say the least. Perhaps you can show your boss somehow just how rude and insubordinate this girl is being. Do you have a witness?

  2. oooh...warm (heh) wishes to Larry on those fingers!

  3. Again, you crack me up. I, too, am in IT and have experienced the same PC type of problem. All I can offer is, "This too shall pass" and you'll still be there and she'll be long gone never to be thought of again. Hang in there. Oh, and thanks for the Dilbert cartoon - gotta love it.