Thanks to Trish at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity, today is the day to share a day in our lives. I documented Wednesday of this week, which actually turned out to be a very typical weekday workday. This is totally my life, and because the workdays are long (10 hours) but busy (good busy), the days have been just flying by. Remember how when we were kids it seemed like it was taking forever to grow up? Well, I’m ready for it to slow back down again.
Anyways. As I said, this is a very typical day. My job makes no sense to anyone outside of those of us who do it (all four of us), which means I probably could have just written this post in three words: blah, blah, blah. But in the interest of full disclosure, here you go.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Usually the alarm goes off at 5:30, but today I startled awake at 4:40. Normally I don’t remember my dreams, but this one involved a woman in a black dress and pearls and a cleaver, who was terrorizing a young woman by repeatedly cutting off her head and interrogating her. Yes, repeatedly. The chopping off of the head was not fatal, although the young woman was still less than thrilled that it kept happening. I blame this dream on too many Stephen King books. Since I’m now wide awake, I grab my phone and catch up on my WWF games and Instagram.
5:00 I decide that falling back asleep is not going to happen and get up for the normal morning routine: shower, lotion (because it’s been dry and windy and I have a bad case of the itchies), sunscreen (because also…it’s hot. Today it’s supposed to be 77), hair, some makeup, get dressed.
5:38 Wonder if I should pierce my ear again/some more? I have this same thought every morning when I put in my earrings. It’s a fuzzy pic, but there are seven of them in that ear:
5:40 I decide that today calls for striped socks under the boots. Because stripes make me smile. Really, I’m smiling. And there are stripes under those boots. And I am wearing a sweater because the a/c is always on in my office building,
5:46 All packed up and ready to leave. I eat breakfast and lunch and snack at work, so I have the food bag, the running stuff for after work bag, and the purse.
5:50 In the car and ready for the long commute to work. (Ha ha.)
5:56 2.5 miles and four stop lights later, I’m at work. It’s really dark. I’m actually an hour early, thanks to the woman with the cleaver. My usual schedule is 7-5:30, Tuesday through Friday (with lots of Saturday OT, lately). Creepy work hallway at 6am:
6:00 Today I (I being the J) am reports. (I also just realized I never did the GA Recoupment…oops, better do that today!)
I settle in with breakfast (homemade blueberry bran muffin and a greek yogurt) and open up various programs. Then it goes something like this…refresh, save, save, save, refresh, save, save, save, refresh, save, save, save. Email, email, email. For about an hour and a half. We run reports on various things for various people on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and semi-annually basis. Caseload statistics, placement reports, new applications received, program violations ending, sanctions, full-time equivalencies, cases closing, cases opening, reasons why cases closed…anything and everything about CalWORKs, CalFresh (aka food stamps), Medi-Cal, Foster Care, Child Welfare, and Adult Services. If it’s in a system we use, chances are people want us to extract the data in some form of a report.
6:15 Behold, the first cup of coffee. This is (sadly) one of the highlights of my day, brought to me by our unit mascot (a Keurig). We use this machine heavily. My three co-workers and I are coffee addicts. It’s one of the reasons we all love each other.
6:30 Ear buds in, because no one else will be around for another 1/2 hour. It’s both very quiet and very productive to be in the building when no one else is here.
7:00 The co-workers start arriving. I sit in an open area with three other people. We each have our own space, but unlike the rest of the building, we opted for no cubicle walls because we spend so much time problem solving with each other. And bitching about the problems we have to solve. It’s a good thing I love my co-workers, since we spend so much time in close quarters. (My messy desk is on the left.)
7:30 The regular daily and monthly reports are done, now it’s time to build a new query. It’s also time for more coffee. We get report requests for new reports all the time, so today’s challenge is extracting data on the number of Welfare to Work exemptions we have granted for disability, as well as the number of people under 65 receiving Medi-Cal in our county who are also receiving Medicare. It took me 2 hours to finally successfully pull this data.
10:00 After replying to some emails and chatting with my co-workers and eating a banana, I settle in for a conference call. I skipped my morning walk for this. Conference calls are one of my least favorite tasks. Since my boss is out-of-town at physical meetings this week, I have two calls I need to be on with other counties and the state. Good times (not). My accessory for the next 1/2 hour:
10:30 Time to work tickets. This is the other major part of my job. Our case managers submit tickets via a database when they are having issues with one of our eligibility determination systems. We try to fix the issue. Sometimes it’s a simple data entry error, sometimes it involves a few hours of research and a solution, sometimes it’s days or weeks of trying to come up with a workaround, sometimes the elves magically fix things (swear to god on this…and then last week we even waved a magic wand and sang Bippity Boppity Boo before we worked on a case, because we’re at the point where we do shit like that. The alternative is to lose our minds), sometimes we have to escalate it and send our own ticket to the state and wait for them to either tell us we screwed up, or that they need to fix the system (which can take days or weeks or months). Working tickets is where most of my attitude comes into play. I love the problem solving, but honestly, we get tickets on basic screw-ups that could have been avoided. And sometimes the systems do weird ass shit for no apparent reason and all we want to do is scream. So when I work tickets I get incredibly snarky. My co-workers assure me they love it, but it’s an ongoing battle to tone down my verbal asides.
11:15 I eat my lunch while working. I do this a lot, so I can go for a walk on my actual lunch break. I have no specific time I have to take lunch, so today I work on tickets until my friend Jannine finally grabs me at 12:45 for that walk.
1:15 I spend the rest of the afternoon writing two procedural guides and working more tickets. There was no waving of the magic wand today…for once, the tickets were relatively easy to solve, and thanks to a marathon session last Saturday, we are pretty much caught up for the first time in months.
4:00 I’m excited to get off work early. Because I worked late yesterday on a report for management and I came in early today, I leave an hour and a half early. I had brought my running stuff so I could run on the flatter side of town, but I didn’t feel like changing at work and then walking through the hallways in running capris and shoes. It’s a lot easier to do that at 5:30 when the hallways are more deserted and you don’t have to have as many conversations. So I drive home to change and run.
4:30 Out the door to run. And sweat. It was hot (75 degrees at 5:30) and gritty (it’s been windy, so there is lots of pollen and grime and BUGS, oh my god the bugs, in the air) but I did three miles, and then walked an additional one mile (because mile 4 is uphill…actually, every final mile back to my apartment is uphill, no matter which direction I go). My turnaround spot is the local cemetery. So far it’s just a cemetery, not a sematary.
5:30 Home to cook dinner. Usually I eat leftovers during the week, because otherwise it’s too late after work and a run to cook. But tonight I have some time so I make pasta with chicken and mushrooms. And brocollini. Yes, I eat a lot of carbs.
6:00 Dinner and a book. And a quick hop onto the internet to see when the LA Times Festival Books is (it’s next month, April 18-19). Should I go?
6:30 Clean-up done. Time to hit the couch with a book. And the phone, so I can play WWF. I spend the next few hours planted on the couch. After a full day of being on the computer, I have no desire to open up my own laptop. So once again, I read no blogs and ignore the internet.
9:00 It’s been a long day thanks to that cleaver wielding woman who I can’t forget, so I take a quick shower and go to bed.*
*There have been no more strange dreams this week, although a fly did dive bomb me at 3:30 Friday morning, waking me up so I had plenty of time to type up this post before work. Thanks, Mr. Fly.