Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Well Shit! I'm a Victim -- or is it Violator -- of Osha!

Okay, so I'm back...returned last week! I feel like I was on a three hour tour -- ergo, I packed for two weeks and by week SEVEN during Ramadan in Kuwait -- I was ready to poke my eyeballs out with Bamboo shoots!   Plus, let's just say...I think the entire Embassy was READY for me to leave...NOT because they would ask me daily when I was leaving -- I'm sure they were just curious -- but because I distinctly think that the lady with the brown hair the Embassy burned in Effigy at that last happy hour looked DISTINCTLY like me ...and after the week of what appeared to be voodoo barbie dolls with pins in their head left on my desk during my last week there gave me the "impression" that maybe  they were as ready for me to go as I's over.   Let's just leave it at: "Kuwait during Ramadan at the end of Summer" is a-CLOSE-ED for Michel...

HOWEVER, I'm have a little bit of trouble  adjusting to working and living in the US too! Why, you ask?? WELL, I'll tell you:

So, I'm at work..pretending to work for literally 8s of hours of a day after I get back...right? (FYI, if you're not a literature major, let me just assist you here - I'M the protagonist in this story..the VICTIM, if you will...) So I am trying to HELP others after I get back, right??

I'm from the Government: I'm here to help!!

And I realize that my office is totally not feng shui - and it is bringing down my Chee -- or maybe my cheech -- or even my chong -- so I call in Dana and ask for her "professional' advice on decorating....(She's in her 20s, ergo, an expert!) and we both come to the obvious conclusion that my furnture needs to be moved.

SOOOO, I send an email to the secretary to let them know that I think i need to move my furniture -- you know, kind of like when law offices publish notices in the paper that they're about to file a lawsuit and you better step up if you wanna be part of the team -- I'm not a TOTAL idiot....(okay, yes...yes, I am)

So I give it at least threes of days for the elves to show up and move my furniture (NOBODY shows...Apparently GSO is in charge of this shit too and have likely received my previous "DEAR GSO" letters...and, also apparently, don't share my sense of humor...WHATEVEs...that shit was funny!)   SOOO, since I'm not a prima donna and am too lazy to write yet another email to the secretary - Dana and I decide we're moving that shit on our OWN! We don't need no stupid GSO to help us!!

(those of you who have experience with Federal office buildings are likely screaming, NOOOOOOOOOOO!)

So, we start trying to move furniture. 

Turns out,  my office is furnished with some sort of fake cherrywood that needed to be screwed together.  ALSO turns out, no diplomats carry screwdrivers around with them...SO, we call the Washington version of GSO.  I say, "HI! This is Michel....(trying to lull them into a false sense of security with my cheery-ness) my secretary called you a few weeks ago to ask you to move my furniture....and well...It seems to be bolted together..  I need some sort of tool to get it apart.  It's kinda big..." (HINT HINT...get your ass up here and move this shit!!)

So this large burley -- constructioney looking man brings me a screwdriver....and then leaves.

Whatever GSO! Who needs you freaks!! How hard can it be??!?!

We couldn't get the screws undone.

So I went to get some of the guys in the office.  However, and this may shock you - so once again prepare yourselves -- State Department men are ALSO not NavySeal type guys - they're more brainey-like...(which, frankly, when you're moving furniture - NOT SO HELPFUL!!)  However, we find someone to unscrew my screws.

Because he's a smarty-pants, he points out that he doesn't think I'm allowed to move my computer by myself. So in an effort to be CORPORATE and a good federal employee (for a change) I call the computer mafia and tell them I need to move my computer and asked whether they actually NEEDED to be there.

Extended silence on the line.

"When are you planning to move your computer?"

"What? now! That's why I'm calling you?"
"NOW!?  Did you say NOW!?  WHO IS THIS?  What office are you with?? Who gave you permission!?"


"Do you think this is funny?"
"Well, kinda...."

"WHEN is this move?"

"NOW! That's why I'm calling you!! Geez! If you don't want to do it, I can totally move it.  The cord seems like it's long enough.   I have a screwdriver. Whateves...It's no biggidy?"

Extended silence.

"where are you?"

So I hang up - and bitch about how unhelpful the "help desk" is.  They really shoud change their name to the "random accusation desk!' -- SHIT !Now that I've renamed it,  I could totally run that place!!! I throw out random accusations all the time!!!!

SOO, Dana and I start moving furniture...and -- because I'm a responsible manager -- I get a plastic cup to keep all the screws from the desk in...and we turn around...

NO SHIT! There are literally no less than 17 people standing outside my office -- the ringleader is holding a clipboard!! And not just ANY random clipboard...a clipboard that has that protecitve metal know to protect their notes in the event of a fire and/or terrorist attack - his form I-407 is safe!!!

So the ringleader tells me he is from "facilities" and starts to lecture me on OSHA regulations and how I cannot possibly move my desk around because it would block the exit of the doorway for a disabled person.

Naturally, (because I'm an ass and can't control myself) I say: "that's okay, I don't hire disabled people here! they clog the exits in the event of a fire" 


and he starts writing in his magic clipboard...

 So now I'm scared...because SHIT! I don't have any PLI because who's gonna sue ME!? I'm a big ole nobody...but now the clipboard holds the key to my in order to save myself..I'm like...

"DUDE! That was a joke. I'd totally hire a guy in a wheelchair...or crutches...even that scooter....I mean...he's not going to sit at my desk...OR SHE ...SHE is not going to sit at my desk and need to get out the door in the event of a fire...HE/SHE will make it...I've instructed the contractors that they're not REAL people and have to wait to confirm all us REAL fed workers are safe before they try to escape this asbestos ridden death trap...."

More writing in that damn clipboard.




So after a circa 2.7 minute lecture on Osha regulations and workplace safety (apparently, the furniture they buy will kill you if given the chance...seriously! don't relax in any federal building.  the furniture is just waiting to take  your ass out.  I think it might be an al-Qa'ida sleeper credenza....just waiting...) the end of the day, the "facilities" guys have informed me that they will return on Friday with a computer generated plan -- or mock terrorist training camp -- for my new office furniture -- apparently, nothing from the old furniture can stay -- it has to be up to the new codes....

WHICH MEANS....the facilities people will likely send a $14,239.98 bill to my boss for my "new furniture."  And I'm going to have to explain how al-Qa'ida was behind this...

I JUST wanted to move my desk to the other side!! 

SHIT.  Maybe I should go overseas again!! I'm obviously not cut out for washington politics....