what happens when you leave the extra quilt out

Monday, March 30, 2015

toot toot toot!

no, still no Spring photos.
Got home yesterday and drank nearly half a bottle of champagne. I think M was disappointed I wouldn't accompany her to the end of the bottle, but I had reached my limit & I really don't like having a headache for a whole day afterward, and she's the kind who will not refill her glass unless you do too so there is a bit left in the fridge. 
By the time this little celebration was over, it was way too dark to go out and do any gardening. Even with the time change.
Maybe tonight.
Er, unless I stick around here to run the MSI samples, and then stop to get catfood and catlitter. It depends on how busy the sequencer is. If I have to interrupt something to load the MSI, I should really stop back later and reload whatever was put on pause. All that running around sucks up a lot of daylight.
Oh, keeping you in suspense, am I?
What's the point? You didn't even know I was playing the Mixed Promo x4 this weekend.
Yes, that's bridge.
Our theoretical rank was 11th (out of 16), and they pair you up to play against the team closest to you in rank that you have not already played. So we started off with relatively easy opponents. We beat them soundly, and the next team, and then the third team we came off just a hair better than a draw. The next day we had another nice victory before playing the favorites, whom we trounced, and then finished off whoever was left with a good drubbing.
The next round is in 3 weeks, then the final is in Paris in June.
Next year I won't be allowed to do this sort of thing. Just 600-odd points to go this season, and I'll be kicked up to the Honors level.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Maybe tomorrow

yes, I know, spring is in the air, and all I'm posting is boring, work-related gunk.
I'd love to get out there in it. The sun is up now when I have breakfast. I'm wondering what happened to all my pairs of sunglasses. My jacket is too cold for the morning, but my coat is too warm for the evening. And the lawn.
When will I ever get to the lawn?
I mowed about a third of it last Wednesday evening, and since then it's been waiting. And growing. Growing really fast. My mower will be useless against it if the grass gets too long - the stalks just fold down and go under the blades. Perhaps I'll get out there tomorrow, if I can get out of here early.
I'll get out there, and mow the lawn, and turn over bits of the veg patch, get some seeds in there, maybe the potatos & garlic that have been hanging out in the basement so long. And the camellia. Get it out of the kitchen and into the dirt. It is not happy in the kitchen; it is losing its leaves.
What of the weekend, you say?
The weekend is taken up with the mixed pairs x4, in Issoire. I'll have just time Saturday morning to go down to the store for catfood and milk and something to grill for lunch, before it's time to grill something up for lunch and head off to play cards. Then Sunday it's an all-day thing. We'll be home by late afternoon, but knackered.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I must have posted some time ago about the circus of getting the little electronic passes set up to control who comes through the lab doors.
What I haven't been letting you in on is all the fun of moving half the lab into some recently vacated space in the main building. It's been quite a hassle, and certainly contributed to the ambient stress. My part of the lab was pretty much at a standstill for the month of February because of the move, but it's over now. Or nearly.
One thing required of us is to restrict access to our spaces to authorized persons only. So we added electronic locks to the main lab last year, and little chips to our ID tags to let us in. The new space was already equipped with the kind of lock you punch a code to open. Well, once you give the code to someone, you can't take it back. And we have a fair number of temporary personnel, plus even if we didn't, a code can just get spread around totally out of your control with just one leak. Then you have to change the code, which is a huge pain in the ass because there are a lot of people who -do- get to know the code, and they don't all come around every day, and so some bright thing will just stick it on a post-it next to the door...
No, we will have our little chip system, please.
Only, there's only one person in the hospital who can program the little controller thing, and the controller wouldn't hold a charge, and there's no electrical outlet anywhere near the door, and it was vacation time, and...
Four weeks, we just blocked the door open with a bit of plastic.
And now it has come to light that all the difficulty with the controller was just a lack of information on how to use the thing properly.
So now it works.
That's one of the doors.
There's another door, not equipped with anything more than a handle and a key-operated lock that nobody has the key to. We're supposed to not use that door at all, and in fact they're supposed to come and make it unusable. In the meantime, instead of being permanently locked, it's permanently open.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

More stress

So apparently the medical leave for stress is just time off work. Well, I hope that's efficient at de-stressing my technician so she can come back to work and not instantly be stressed again. 
It's not as if any of the deadlines the lab is facing have gone away. They have meerly gotten closer (and with one less person to get the work done to meet them - that's good for everyone's stress!). The internal audits are scheduled and will be done. Our accrediting body wants our dossier to extend our field of accreditation on a certain day, and they will have to have it. We promise results to our patients in a certain time-frame and if they are not ready by that time, the patients will be calling us up. 
What's best about this system is that the person on medical stress leave gets re-evaluated on the last day before coming back to work. This means that I will not know if I can count on her presence until the morning of the day she should be here.
That's just great for planning.
Don't I get some free time off here too? It's really stressful not being able to run the lab efficiently when you never know if this or that person will be out for another two weeks or not. And one of the other techs - I don't know when her kid will get over his cold so she can come back, either. Then the spring vacation season is coming up - do I start cancelling people's vacations?
For long absences, there is a way for us to hire temporary personnel to replace the missing people. Someone off for 6 weeks may qualify, but two weeks does not count. And I only know two weeks at a time, so I can never get a replacement technician. Even if I could for two weeks, by the time the paperwork got through and candidates interviewed and more paperwork, that person would be at work just a day or two before the sick person comes back. Well, if they come back.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stressful biz

One of my techs is out on medical leave, for stress.
I do what I can to keep the stress down, but I think the change I can make is minimal, and how much stress a person feels depends mostly on how they respond to stress. I am obliged to set goals for everyone, and that is a good thing, much better than just having a mass of work ahead - get to it. And the goals have to be similar for people doing similar jobs, or even the very same job, though they are personalized.
So there are goals and they have to be worked at; they're not so low you'll pass them without even noticing just halfway through the year. They're not excessive, either.
We're also flexible. Things come up in the course of the year that can't have been planned for. Goals don't need to be fully attained, either, but have to be tried for. 
In our annual evaluations, though, things are very black and white. A goal is partially or fully attained, but partial is a big bag and explain as I might that we're at 90% here, for some people that's not better than 10%. Then in conclusion, a person can get a B (inadequate in some area), an A+ (super duper gold star clearly beyond what was expected), or an A, which covers everything normal. So if you fulfill your goals without going beyond them, you don't get an A+ (this has been explained and reexplained to me by my own superiors who firmly believe I give out way too many good notes). 
A good tech, with good notes, and she's stressed. A firm A, no problem. But she's stressed, and it's affecting her.
So she goes to her doctor and says she's stressed, and the doc gives her two weeks medical leave to get better. Then at the end of that she saw the doc again and got another 2 weeks.
Now, having some time off can be all you need to regain some balance. You might just need some sleep and relaxation. But I'd like to know what really goes on with this sort of leave. Do you get some sort of treatment? Or just four weeks vacation? Is there some kind of therapy going on, to help my technician learn to deal with stress more effectively? Is she following a program to learn to not internalize everything, but to let things go that should be let go? If all this is is 4 weeks at home, I don't see why it shouldn't be 6, or 8, or the rest of the year. Won't coming back to work be even more stressful, since you should be 'fixed', but really it's all the same?