04 January 2008

how frustrating is it to run errands when you work shifts?

reposted from myspace...

For those of you who have no idea what it is like to work night shift and then try to do the normal, every-day, run-of-the-mill, simple, routine, ho-hum, blah blah blah tasks that we all sometimes get on our "lists" well by all means read on and I will give you a little idea what my week has been like so far (by the way, I'm on my Tuesday even as most of you are on your Friday).

OK, my car has been "popeyed" for over a month and I was sweating where and when I would be able to take care of it. I changed my oil a few weeks ago and the guy said it was a special bulb and I could only get it from the dealer so far, and oh by the way "it's like a hundred eighty bucks!" So given my average daily financial flushuity I put it off a while and then finally decided to bump it up on the list this week. First stop, the nearest dealership which the navigation system said was on South Tacoma Way.

So I zipped over there on my day off a few days ago and they said the car was so new the part wasn't in their inventory yet, but they needed to order some (as I wouldn't be the only one needing one this winter) in and they would be there Thursday. So I dropped by after work on Thursday but apparently too early, they said come back in an hour. Given my sleepituidedness I chose to go home and come back today.

After several constipated looks and a few odd noises and impulsive exhales the younger guy at the counter finally asked for help and the guy took one look at me and said "oh" and picked it up from his desk and brought it up, then showed the kid where it was in the computer (apparently next on the list, but they never let us see what's on their computer screens so we can help!).

I asked if the lamp was definitely the kind I needed as I had already run around how it is a special kind that I've already been told is only available from the dealer and was surprised they only had ONE type for me to choose from, not to mention this one is only ten dollars. He assured me it was, as far as he knew, and then said I could take it back if it was not. He also said the install should be a piece of cake.

I got home and consulted my owners manual and flipped to the page that explained the steps involved in changing lamps. Sure enough, HID lamps are only to be serviced by the dealership.


So I am waiting for a call back from the service department because they are busy and from what he was saying it could be a 2 1/2 hour procedure! I'm shocked. I understand from the manual that the reason for my not doing it myself has something to do with the wires being live regardless of my switching off the engine or turning off the light. Still, you would think all that is involved is a simple disconnecting or grounding of the harness prior to removing the bulb. Certainly that isn't a 2 1/2 hour process!

Now I am beginning to see how it might end up costing me close to two hundred dollars. Oh well, it needs to be done. I work nights and these days it is dark when I go to and from work!

Number two on my list is getting my eyes checked. I had wanted to wait until the first of the year because I understand our insurance coverage was going to improve for vision slightly, but certainly noticeably enough to justify waiting another month.

Of course the optometrist I found nearest to me was closed a few days ago when I was off. According to the sign on the door they are open 3 days a week, yesterday being one of them (but also being the day I needed to sleep pretty much all of, and believe me, my eyes wouldn't have been right if i'd have gone that morning, even if he could have squeezed me in). So I am about to give up on going to the local optometrist and head over to the mall and go to one of the ones that works in the chain stores. I suppose I should just make an appointment and wait to see the smaller independent one but the main issue when you work nights is convenience. It works best to schedule all appointments first thing in the morning and when someone is only in three times a week that makes it harder to work around.
I have other things I am working on, such as putting up a curtain rod. I was able to pick that up on my day off though so no big deal. Of course I had to go dig through the storage unit twice to find my drill and then the charger for my drill's batteries. I still haven't put it up, but at least the batteries are charging. Next on the list is measuring the window and picking out the right curtains.

Why do I need curtains when I have blinds? Great question. Come over someday when I'm trying to sleep between shifts and it is bright and sunny outside (regardless of the actual temperature). It'll come to you.

I could go on about some of the other things on the list. Generally anything you might find ordinary becomes complicated when the business hours are more restrictive. Grocery stores are open very early and late even when they are not 24-7, but pharmacies are not. So waiting for the pharmacy to open so you can drop off might involve waiting an hour and a half with nothing else to do in the mean time. If you have to drop off the prescription it might mean coming back another day so you don't have to wait for them to try to verify it, but that just means waiting the next day also.

Barber shops and Salons also generally open later and the earliest you can make appointments at many medical and dental clinics is about 9 as well.

Basically life isn't meant for those of us working nights, it's for the rest of you. So why do we do it? Well, someone has to do the work because you expect to be able to be taken care of if you call 9-1-1 at 3 AM with chest pains and shortness of breath or find yourself in an automobile accident on the way home from the casino. It just wouldn't do to sit in the triage room and wait for the doctors, nurses, and other specialists to show up at 9 am to actually begin taking care of you.

In other news, I am happy that after a shift meeting with our interim boss I was able to get about 15 minutes alone with him to discuss some of my thoughts and feelings about work and the shift. He was quite receptive and it seems that we think more alike than I do with some of the others I work with. I didn't feel like bring up those ideas in the general meeting with them because I knew at least a couple would just argue with me and it wouldn't be productive at all.

However, I do feel that I was heard and he seems to agree with me. I actually feel that many of the people I work with would go along with the things I think we should do to fix things, but they lack the ability to go "big picture" long enough to see how all the pieces of the puzzle would fit. Then they are quite vocal about their objections often before you have a chance to explain what else the change would entail.

It isn't just, do this thing and that's it. Generally in order to restructure one thing, you have to realign several others and each of them would require quite a bit of change themselves. I think this person has the ability to see the big picture though and he might just be able to convince everyone to play along long enough to get enough of the puzzle together for them to be able to see it too.

Well, we can hope. Of course I let the cat out of the bag somewhat regarding my never-ending pursuit of a better shift and he seemed concerned that I may be a short-timer. I said that if we get things moving I can survive the night shift for a bit longer doing 7-10's and when Rachel comes back from Holden I could commute from Seattle (if that's where she ends up) or seek employment up there at that time.

Then again, I think if an ideal day shift position came up in Seattle with UWMC or Harborview I would have to take it now regardless of what kind of mess it might leave behind here. UW offers tuition exemption because you work for the state and nobody can beat that! The best offers I've seen are generally 3-5K/yr which could be full if you don't mind stretching it out for several years, but you have to study something relating to healthcare and I'm not convinced that any other healthcare careers are right for me.

So night shift still and no word on when I can start working ten hour shifts just yet. UGH. Well, I did put in for 2 weeks off at the end of March. LONG OVERDUE!