This has been a day. I mean, a true blue DAY. I have kind of ignored blogging for a while, because I feel like 1) I have a pretty boring life that not many people are interested in reading about and 2) I have a pretty boring life that I'm not interested in writing about.
But today - dear gracious - today was a different story altogether.
Because of the sensitive nature and confidentiality requirement of my job, I have to be very careful with how I share this story. I do feel, though, that I've just GOT to share this story. The names and places have been changed to protect the confidentiality of those involved, but the story remains the same.
Today started a little differently. We had an employee meeting at 8:05 that didn't get underway until 8:25 and lasted until 9:25. You know how those go. I heard a lot about "key component" and "success" and "driving force". Those words were key components and the driving force of the success of the meeting. Just saying.
After the meeting, my work day started pretty typically. I went up to my office and ran some reports, sorted through the mail, did some account maintenance, and sorted through some filing. Then the reminder popped up on my Outlook calendar. "Ship ashes to Bob." This was not a task I was looking forward to.
Earlier this summer, one of our clients passed away. In her possession were the ashes of her sister and her husband. Unbeknownst to me or the current account administrator. The news kind of flopped out at the funeral that at some point, the previous administrator decided to store these remains in the office.
That's right. In the office.
After the funeral, and because the son of this woman had mentioned he wanted these ashes, we raced back to the office and looked EVERYWHERE. Every nook and cranny was combed over meticulously - because Bob wanted these ashes so he could have a family ceremony and spread the remains of his family members so they could all rest in peace together. And they were nowhere to be found. Insert panic here.
Lo and behold, the ashes - two boxes - were in the storage facility we had previously rented for the client's estate items. Once we found them there, the administrator brought them in from the storage unit and they were, in fact, kept in our office. The cremated remains of two individuals. In cardboard boxes. On the other side of the wall.
Today was the day I was supposed to ship them to Bob's residence where he lives part time. He divides his time between two eastern states, and I had to time the shipping of the packages accordingly, so they would get to the appropriate location during a time he would be there.
I grabbed a plastic bag from the custodian's closet, placed the boxes inside, and tied off the bag. I verbally affirmed, "This task makes me slightly uncomfortable." I borrowed my boss's credit card, loaded Auntie and Pops into the car, and drove across town to the post office. There was one other customer in the post office and one employee behind the counter. When the person in front of me was done, it was my turn to approach the counter. "I need to ship these cremated remains, and someone said something about insuring them?" "No, they need to be registered." "Okay....how do I do this? Ship these, I mean. How do I get them where they need to be quickly and safely?" As the employee was helping me get situated and giving me labels and forms to fill out, other people were milling in and out of the post office needing to be helped. She was taking breaks to assist them and leaving me to fill the paperwork on my own, which I was totally okay with.
Then he walked in needing to pick up some certified mail. He was dressed nicely, clean cut, and appeared to be normal. I can assure you, however, he was anything but.
The postal worker excused herself to go to the back to search for his mail. He took this opportunity to make a new friend.
"Hi. How are you doing?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Do you have a company?"
"Yes, do you have a company?"
"I see. Well where do you work?" (as he leans forward to peer at the insignia on my shirt, which is located ON MY CHEST.)
A bank. (said while turning and moving backwards out of his reach.)
"Oh one of the banks in town? I can't get a business loan. I told one banker, 'I bet if I wrote ECCENTRIC BANK on the application you'd give me the money!' HAHAHAHAHA! What do you think about that, huh?!"
Well.....I'm not sure.
"I have a credit score of over 800."
Good for you.
"And it's an amazing product. I don't know why they won't give me the loan. Electric bicycles."
But aren't bicycles supposed to be pedaled?
"Think about it!! A family with two vehicles - gets rid of one. These bikes can go 20 miles per hour. I mean just FLY! I've lost 12 pounds." (as he moves his hand to accentuate his profile.)
I live in North Dakota. There's no way I'm giving up a vehicle to take my daughter to the babysitter in the middle of winter on the back of a bicycle at the top speed of 20 miles per hour. Even if I would lose 12 pounds.
It was at that moment the postal employee came back with the gentleman's mail. Thank you, Jesus. I kept looking around just waiting for some hidden camera crew to come out and say, "GOTCHA!" but no, this guy was totally serious. And weird.
The postal worker had to have him sign on the electric pad three times - you would have thought she asked him to perform neurosurgery for how confused he was about how to operate the "pen". She got his signature, and he was gone. Not a moment too soon, either.
I was in the post office for 45 minutes trying to get those ashes shipped to Bob. When I went to pay with my boss's credit card, they wouldn't let me use it. I had to pay for this entire experience out of my own pocket.
I couldn't wait to get home and tell Brent, "I had two dead people in my car today that I mailed to another state, then I talked to a guy who wants to use electric bicycles as a weight loss regimen. And how was YOUR day?"