Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All in a day's work

I forgot how fun and how funny it can be working in a library. Some of my favorite moments are the most face-palm-worthy questions from students. And when I say favorite, I of course mean my favorite stories to share with others. I like watching their faces go slack as they realize the craziness of the question and ask themselves, "Can someone really not know the answer to that question?!" 

The other day I had just such an encounter, of the funny variety that is. A student brought two books to the circulation desk. It was like pulling teeth to figure out what he intended to do with the books: returning, checking out, renewing? When we finally landed on "checking out" I got his ID and scanned it and the books he wanted to check out. 
"Your books are due back on March 8th," I told him. It wasn't just him--I tell everyone the due date. 
He gives me a blank look and asks, "Uh, can I bring them back before then?"
I hope my face didn't look too confused. I replied, "Oh. Of course you can." 

It was almost as good as that time in Gettysburg when a student came up to the reference desk and said, "This is a really dumb question but,..."
Ever the encourager, I interrupted with, "There is no such thing! What can I help you with?"
"Can I check books out of the library?"
I don't remember what my face did, but I really hope it was kind and not mocking when I answered, "Yes. Yes you can."

As amusing as these situations are, they are few and far between. A typical question is, "Can you help me find this book?" or "Can I get some staples for the stapler?" or the increasingly common one, "Can you come look at the printer? I think it is broken."
And course, my favorite moments aren't just ones that I can turn into amusing anecdotes later. There was one last night: a group of 6 athletes came into the library to study musical theatre history. Granted, they were a bit boisterous and a teensy bit loud, but I mean come on. Hearing deep voices talk about and listening to musical clips? Hilarious! And adorable! 

I know I haven't been posting a lot here...but I have been super busy at my book blog over the last few months! So if you want, go on over and check it out. I'm attempting to play catch up with my reviews. So far, it is the only drawback I have found to reading so many books so quickly! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cry for help

Do you ever have a week (or month...or year...) where you just say to God, "Look, I don't know what's going on here so you HAVE to help? I mean, I really don't know how all of this stuff is gonna work out." 
It's really easy for me to get caught up in the issues of every day life, trying to take care of "small things." You know, taking care of the easy things that God shouldn't have to worry about. Silly me for thinking I'm helping God out. And then, the little problems become big problems and, I don't know about you, but those moments of desperation are what snap me back to reality. 

I've had two in the last week. 

Last Monday, I dropped my car off at the garage. The water pump had started leaking and it needed to be replaced. By Tuesday afternoon (right, and I mean exactly right before work), I was $400 poorer with a new water pump and thermostat. Did I mention that my car had been inspected (and passed) just a few weeks ago? Anyway...from the inspection I knew I needed new tires. On my way to work on Tuesday I said, "God, I don't know how I'm gonna swing inspection AND the new water pump AND new tires, especially with all the other stuff going on right now. I just don't think I can do this." 

On Thursday I finally made an appointment. I knew tires, good tires, would run me just about another $400. I figured they would probably last me for the rest of the life of my sad old 1995 Jetta. I get home, exhausted and ready for my weekend. There, on the kitchen counter, was a card addressed to me. In it was a check that would end up more than covering my tires. I stood in the kitchen with tears running down my face. How in the world...but then I stopped. Because I knew. I knew. "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." Isaiah 58:9.

And then...there was the epic Sunday. Due to circumstances way outside of my control (and comfort zone) my work schedule got shifted. So instead of the usual noon to 8:30pm (getting me home in time to watch Downton Abbey with my mom), I was working 3:30 to midnight. Not a huge deal, just not my usual Sunday. Everything went like clockwork, despite my slight whinging about it the previous week, and I was home shortly after 12:30am. I was up, sending emails and watching White Collar when I hear my mom get out of bed. I pause everything and put on my listening ears, just in case we've got a case of illness that I need to hide from. I'm not proud but my exact thought was "If mom has The Sickness, I'm packing up my stuff and living out of my car until she is better." Hey, I'm only human. I don't like being sick. I'll take a wild guess and say you don't like it either! Anyway, it's not The Sickness, but she is in an incredible amount of pain. Dad crawls out of bed about 30 minutes later, in pain and slightly nauseous.  It's about 1:30am and I've herded everyone to the car: we are off to the emergency room! They are both checked in by 2:15am and are diagnosed and being treated by 3:15am. I take the keys out of my newly-medicated father's hands and drive the babies home. After seeing them tucked into bed, I finally crawl into bed sometime after 4:30am, not even sure where I am or what day it is. I think back on my 20 hour+ day and I think, "God, if I had worked my normal shift this would have been 10 times harder. And I can see it, so I'd better say it (even though I don't want to!!!) : thank you for making my schedule change so I would be better equipped to deal with this. Really."

And then I was finally able to go to sleep, realizing that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to have it all together.