Currently Making my Life Hell…

Imagine, if you will, that you’re a mechanic. Not the world’s greatest mechanic by any means, but a decent mechanic who earns a decent wage fixing and tuning cars and trucks.

One day you get a call from someone wanting you to come out and tune up their car. So you hop in your van and drive out to their address. On arrival however you discover that it’s not a car.

It’s this….

Image from

Before you have time to react, the Captain whacks a hat on your head, says “Welcome aboard! You’re our new Head Engineer!” and drags you down to the engine room.

Which looks like this…

Engine Room
Image by Bodvar Eggertsson

Mistaking your look of horror for one of mere concern, the captain says “Don’t worry, the manuals are right here…”

Image by _sgj_

You pick up one of the decaying books at random and open it. Every single page looks like this…

Image by Damian Cugley

The Captain continues “All set? Your tools are over there…”

Image by Benchilada

“…and we think the forward port engine is about to fall off. Have fun!”

Through strenuous effort (and a lot of desperate banging on random pipes) you manage to keep the ship in the air. You even manage to accommodate some of the crew’s requests, such as restoring the air conditioning and halting the gradual detachment of the starboard mess hall. Buoyed by your apparent competence the crew send in a flood of new requests for things such as hot tubs and mood lighting, some of which you can manage and many of which you have to ignore.

Making matters worse, through all of this the Captain insists on a weekly meeting at Airship HQ in Zurich. Once a week you have to fly to Zurich and sit in a small room staring at a list of requests and upgrades. After about an hour the meeting is declared a success and you fly back to the airship to continue banging on pipes.

You find yourself entertaining thoughts of sabotaging the engines, or at least ignoring the more desperate maintenance tasks so the ship will fall out of the sky and (as long as you survive) you won’t have to deal with it any more. But your professionalism wins through, you take a deep breath and get on with tightening a valve that you think will correct the water pressure on deck three. Maybe.

Not a Good Start

Went into work early today since I had lots to do, and a meeting at 10:00.

Walk out front door at 6:30. Five minutes later struck down with agonising stomach cramps. Stagger to train station, wait 12 minutes for train in various states of severe discomfort. Board train, can’t get seat. Stand at end of aisle, trying not to pass out and sweating like have malaria. Get off train at Perth station, stagger up to “City Place Rest Centre”, pay 50 cents for admission and spend next 15 minutes in toilet stall apparently expelling all major internal organs into bowl.

Stagger out to pharmacy to buy to Buscopan. Not open until 7:30. Go buy water at Trainstop Bakery. Slam finger in door of fridge. Endless agony and subungual hematoma. A distraction from bowels at least. Pharmacy finally opens, scoff down Buscopan like candy.

Get to work, only one in office. Mail server is down. Troubleshooting procedures fail. Phone call after phone call from disgruntled clients.

All things considered, decide to cancel my meeting.

Work-a-day Blues

Client: This order didn’t go through the checkout properly! Help!

Me: Yes, you’re right. OK, we’re troubleshooting it and will keep you posted.

Some time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work!

Me: Yes, we’re still trying to sort out the problem with the checkout. We’ll let you know when we’ve solved it.

Some more time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work! We need to get this order processed to balance the books! It’s hurting our business!

Me: Have you had problems with any other orders since?

Client: No, every other order is coming through fine, but this one keeps failing every time I put it through!

Me: OK, we’re still working on the checkout issue, but you can use this tool to edit the details of the order – that way you can correct the erroneous details, process the order and get your books balanced. Try it out and let me know how you go.

Time passes…

Client: I put the order through again and it still failed! Are you taking this issue seriously? We need to balance our books.

Me: Did you edit the order like I suggested, or put through an entirely new one?

Client: I put through a new one! You need to fix this!

Me: I know we need to fix it, we’re working on it. In the meantime here are the instructions again on how to edit one of the failed orders so you can get the order processed and squared away.

Later on…

Client: I’ve tried putting the order through again, and it still failed. We are seriously reconsidering our business relationship with your company!

Me: Do you mean you edited one of the orders like I showed you and it failed?

Client: No, I put through a new one! The checkout needs to be fixed NOW!

Me: We’re working on that, it’s a very complicated issue and it’s taking time to resolve. You haven’t received any other problematic orders and if you follow the instructions I sent you can get the order corrected and processed. Let me know if you need a hand with it.

This morning…

Client: I put the order through again and it didn’t work. You need to fix this NOW!

* * *

Is it wrong that I’m having fantasies about heading over to this client’s place with a rocket propelled grenade launcher?