But, to be sure there are still some heroes in life, and they deserve their moment, so alas, I proceed to throw myself under a bus or worse yet become a blogging spectacle for the sake of the hero.
And for heaven's sake if there still might be one of you out there who is under some sort of misconception that I have anything together, just decide right now to stop believing the lie and yes you are hereby embarking on a story that will make you laugh your head off, then sigh dreamily at the chivalry.
Monday afternoon I had an order that was completed and normally my customer's come to the office, (picture garage with huge door open) to pick up their masterpieces (my word, not theirs). But government agencies have lots of rules and procedures when it comes to their orders. PO's and unchangeable quotes and specs and procurements and blah, blah, blah. Well it makes total sense to me when it comes to weapons and exploding things and such, but seriously embroidered shirts?
Anyway, I am all about following the rules. Wait that is a lie, I have no trouble following the rules when I want to, but sometimes I have trouble with the wanting. But, if I want to be paid, I have to follow the rules here. The last time I did an order for this particular department, silly me, I delivered it to the one that placed it. She seemed perfectly thrilled over the service and gave me no indication I had mis-delivered or whatever.
Then about 60 days later I called to find out about the payment and was transferred here and there and got a near scoulding for not following procedure and told that the order should have had a PO and some other top-command purchasing approval and delivery to a second location, not the orderer lady.
Though I wanted to say Paaaaleeeeese into the phone as loud as it was going off in my head, I know government agencies have GPS and tracking technical things, so I calmly and humbly apologized. Mostly because I wanted them to pay me, and not because I was feeling at all bad about my delivery instincts. Anyway...fast forward 6 months.
Friendly-government-agency lady needs more shirts. So I submit and invoice, wait for the PO, complete the order and want payment, so get in the car and drive to "friendly's" office parking lot with shirts. My memory kicks in just in time to save me the walking inside, and I get back in the car and head ACROSS TOWN, clearly 10 more miles and I am not in the mood for a drive, but in the mood to get paid.
Parking the car, I get the 3 bags of shirts, when 2 bags would be heavy enough for my hands, but so glad I am doing it right this time and didn't need to be reminded by high ranking staff again. Walk in the door to the reception desk where I proudly announce that I have an order to deliver, because I want to follow the rules and all.
TWO women behind the counter look at me like I am from another planet and have no idea where to send me. Well, it was the lunch hour, so I am chalking up their confusion to the idea that they are probably just filling in for the regular receptionist, who, knowing the rules, would praise me and give me that knowing look that says, "No wonder you are such a successful business woman and your family is so lucky to have you!"
SRs (substitute receptionists) "Who are they for?"
SBW (me,successful business woman) "VACE and TDC"
SRs "They aren't in this building, they are on the other side of town"
SBW "I know, but (inside: I'm getting frustrated already that you aren't praising me) I'm supposed to deliver them here. (smile-maybe kind of a snarl smile, but so far so good)
SRs look at each other in confusion...so I take over.
SBW: "I think I will just take them up to purchasing then and go that route" (inside:because it is really frustrating when I know your procedures and you DO NOT and was to be praised here!)
So, I take a deep breath because it is good to keep plenty of oxygen on board during these government maneuvers. Up the elevator, around 3 or 17 corners (part of the top secret stuff to be sure) to a lunch hour abandoned desk. Double Dang!
Anyway, I sweetly called out "hello". It may have sounded more like a lot of self restraint sort of squeek, but followed by a smile or at least squinting eyes...well you get the picture. Out from a government issue cubicle is the angel that is going to praise me for following procedure and hand me a check and probably offer me a job. Except that she started to get that same look that the SRs had downstairs, like why are you standing here with those things in those bags?
Deep breath oxygen load...SBW: "I was told to deliver the order here rather than to the person that placed the order." Her: "Oh, no you need to take these to the warehouse back on the other side of town. They will check them in and do all the paperwork so you can be paid. We can't accept them here". Double oxygen load. ME: "Oh, I thought I was supposed to bring them here with the invoice & PO" Her: "Oh, we will take the invoice & PO, they will process everything at the warehouse, on the other side of town".
At that point I handed her the paper work and I believe I squeeked out a thank you before I started my reverse downstairs manuever, involving just a little attitude. Probably for sure at least just a little or tons.
Back in the car, I had a full 10 miles to talk to myself about my prediciment and the looming truckload of attitude that I was trying to drown with the extra oxygen intake. When I found the road, I noticed I was just a teeny bit outraged that the warehouse had no address on it and so was difficult to see since it wasn't actually on the street, but set back from it, say oh maybe completely behind another building. I should have known then that staying in the car and going home and calling a messenger service for 20 hundred dollars was a better idea than all the other things that were screaming in my mind. Did I mention I am 48 and could be experiencing some peri-menopausal symptoms?
I got out of my car, retrieved the 3 bags of shirts and stepped just inside the huge warehouse door. No reception type desk, no people in sight, no bell to throw against the wall to announce my presence. Oxygen load.
"Hello?" nothing. "Hellllllo...o!" nothing. I guess even though I could hear voices in low volume conversation somewhere, it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to hear ME.
Helper head sticks out of office. "Can I help you?"
Me: "Yes, I need to deliver these shirts".
Helper proceeds to move towards me, staring at the 2 bags I've set down, with that same curious look on his face that SR's and purchasing lady had.
I have abandoned the oxygen intake tactic. No number of deep breaths are going to make this any better than it is destined to be. Helper asks me who the shirts are for and I tell him. Helper: "They are located at..."
ME:calmly "I know, but I was told to deliver them here" steam, smoke, hormones.
Helper picks up 2 bags of shirts and turns to walk away. I think that means I should follow him with bag #3, containing 3 ladies shirts, here-to-fore knows as "evidence".
We enter the office. Helper #1 looks at helper #2, while Mr. Takecharge (Mr. T) asks me what I have.
Me: "Shirts for VACE & TDC, I was told to bring them here"
MR.T: "By Who" (and no, it wasn't a question, but command #1).
Now I am not going to say he was yelling, but very possibly making himself appear a bit larger than life and certainly larger than me, with his big outside voice.
ME: "I don't remember her name, but at the main office on the Avenue, she said I should deliver them to you and you'd know how to check them in and do the paperwork and..." interrupted my MR. T.
Interrupted...let me just tell you, I have a THING about interrupters, add a dose or two of hormones, this is going to be......well, not-a-blessing.
Mr.T: "Where is the paper work?"
Me: "They kept it"
Mr. T: "Who?"
oh no...I can feel something really ugly in my insides.
Me: "I don't know her name, (again). She said you would know what ......" INTEEERRruppppptttttted AGAIN!!!
The only intake right now that will save this, is chloraform...and looking back, it would have been most wisely administered to me because that ugly was swiftly working its way to the surface. Me:"I have a copy of the PO in my car but..."
Mr.T: "Well Go Get It And We'll See If We Can Help You!" Interrupting and using his outside voice for command #2.
History will report that, that was just too much for me, because I didn't even take 2 sec or a deep breath before "ugly" took over and responded to rude and condescending and telling me what to do instead of asking. And in that instant "ugly" apparently determined it would be much too much for me to carry that 3rd bag of shirts with me to the car so I needed to throw them in his direction for him to hold while I followed orders and went to the car!
Yes I did. I know...but I did. Got my copy of the PO and headed back to the office. Helpers 1 & 2 had disappeared and Mr. T was ready for me when I got back. Picture 60 year old, tall, grey haired man, red in the face and sticking his finger in my face while he says "If you ever throw anything at me again, I will have you arrested for assault!" Don't I just wish "ugly" knew when to sit down and shut up? I wanted to say but, but, but...you were supposed to help me and praise me for following procedures! Instead I said "Seriously, 3 shirts in a plastic bag felt threatening?"
That's when he grabbed the PO paper out of my hand. I told him it was my only copy. He told me he "WOULD MAKE A COPY AND GIVE IT BACK!" That's when I finally took a couple of deep breaths and felt like a complete jerk and humiliated and so wishing I had paid the 20 hundred dollars it would have cost to have someone else deliver the shirts. But, too late for do overs. So this is the best I could do in the moment.
Me: "You're right and I'm sorry, I never should have tossed the shirts at you. I was really frustrated because I was trying so hard to follow the rules and sent all over town and then here. The main office said you would know what to do with the shirts and I expected that you would help me. (should have stopped here probably) but instead you were rude to me and commanded me to go get the PO instead of asking or trying to be helpful, so again, I'm sorry."
Mr. T didn't calm down one bit, but by this time I dawned on me that he probably interpreted the shirt tossing as a sign of disrespect instead of a sign that I wanted to engage him in a really fun tossing game.
So he kept rambling and steaming and fuming and stayed all red in the face and I could only imagine him having a heart attack and me being the only one around to give him CPR, because helpers 1 & 2 were still MIA. And that would have totally be God's sense of humor.
Anyway, I left the premises shaking and angry at myself until I started imagining the headlines and then the court room reinactment. I though how it would be a shame to have the 3 shirts confiscated as evidence and that would mean I never would get paid for the job. I swore to myself I would never tell another soul how completely inappropriately I had handled myself.
That lasted about 4 hours until I went with Dot & the Deeds to the Fire Station to see D. After about 20 minutes my conscience got the best of me and I just blurted out "ok, I almost got arrested today!" That was followed by my retelling the whole story to Dot and D, while the Deeds used up all his patience waiting to go back on the fire engine.
Chapter 27(I'm just guessing)-the next day D comes home from work looking a little macho and puffed up. I mean he had hit his head and nose on something garagedoorish, but it was more than that.
D: "I paid your friend a little visit today"
Me & the pitcher: "What, you did? What happened? Is that how you got those cuts?"
Now from here on out, just incase we ever have to do the court thing on this, well, this isn't word for word from D, but to the best of my remembering, nearly exactly what he said, so help me God.
"Yep, I went to the warehouse and stood in the big doorway just like you did. I couldn't see anybody either and started saying "hello". Some guy stuck his head out and said "can I help you?". He didn't look like the guy you described, so I went back to the office and stepped inside. "I'm here to talk to the guy that talked to my wife yesterday" and the guy you described chuckled and told me to sit down. But I said "No, I don't want to sit down" I am here because you were rude and threatened my wife."
Mr. T: "I know, she threw shirts at me!"
D: "Well, I know that she did and I'm just wondering, what with all 5'3", 105lbs of her and those 3 shirts that hit you, are you ok?" (I'm sure he used just the exact amount of sarcasm to make Mr. T wonder if he was serious)
Mr.T: "I know, but there is a sign right there that says if anyone throws anything they can be arrested for assault!
D: "Right, and she apologized to you for doing it, but you continued to be rude and threatening. So, I'm just here to tell you "if you ever treat my wife like that again, I'll have you arrested." (and I think he was using his outside voice, I just wish he could have had the added hormonal dose too)
I can hear the cheering coming from every women ever born or will be born in all of history!!! Amen! He is my hero and here is why...
I was wrong and he still defended me. My frustration was founded, my actions were not. But he didn't defend my actions, he defended me and my value as a person and a woman. Why? Because I belong to him, cause he's my protector even when I misbehave. Because I don't have to be perfect to be loved. Because he would rather let that guy vent on him, then take a chance he would ever vent on me again. Because when I am mistreated, he feels mistreated and to the best of his ability he will get in the middle to make it stop.
What's more...I have never known a man like that in my life. There were two who were supposed to be that for me. One died before I knew whether I was worth it or not, the second was as likely to be the threat as the protector.
Jesus is willing to do that for us, he is the example of protector, even when we misbehave, but I have never seen it acted out in person. I was never convinced I was worth that to a man.
So today, on this post I gladly trade in my pride. You aren't too surprised anyway, that I get myself in some sticky situations. But seriously, the treasure in hearing D tell me what he had done for me is priceless and today I feel just a little more worth it! Bless him, Lord! And I hope the neighbors don't mind the white horse tied up out front.