We had been warned for days that a HUGE storm was going to hit the area. People were advised to stock up on supplies and stay home if they could. In the early hours of the morning, I could hear the wind howling, the rain pounding, and the tree limbs scratching the roof as they were whipped around. When I woke up around 7 am, I went out the front door to see just how bad it was. The newscasters for once weren’t exaggerating. The wind was blowing hard and the trees on the street were protesting. There were limbs down all over the place, including large ones behind my car. And the rain was coming down in sheets. I went back inside, turned on my computer, and emailed my boss that I would be working from home that day. Fifteen minutes later, the power went out. My partner had already decided the kids weren’t going to school. It looked like we would just ride this out safe and warm inside the house.
Then the phone rang.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Erin? This is Bill. We wanted to put some news updates on the site about the storm. What time do you think you’ll be in?”
“I already emailed Wendy and told her I’d be working from home today. There’s a huge tree limb blocking my car and I really don’t see the need to come in when I can do everything from home.” I didn’t mention that my power was out. I was the web manager at a public radio station, and Bill was the station manager. Technology was not his strong suit and he was a bit behind the times when it came to utilizing the web.
“Oh. Well, Jim and I would really like to talk to you about putting some special storm coverage on the home page,” Bill said. Jim was the News manager and clueless when it came to many things. How he came to be the News manager is beyond me.
“That’s not a problem Bill,” I replied. “Just email me what you guys want and I’ll update the site.”
“Well, we aren’t really sure what we can do on that page. We really wanted to sit down and talk to you about it,” he said.
I was now rolling my eyes and wishing I hadn’t answered the phone. I had been plagued by this kind of idiocy for most of my tenure there. When I was hired, I was told I’d have complete control of the site. What a lie. They really had no clue how to utilize the web site to promote the station and had proven that time and again. And even though I was the expert, I was often ignored.
“Bill, I’m not really sure I can even get to the office. There are several large limbs down behind my car and more in the street. And I really don’t want to risk injury trying to move them in this weather. It would be a lot easier if you two sat down and decided what you wanted and just emailed me. I can make pretty much anything work on that page.”
“I know this is an inconvenience, but I had tree limbs down too and managed to get here. It would really help out if you could find a way to come in,” Bill said. He was starting to get snippy and I was getting tired of talking to him. Clearly, the man just wasn’t going to get it. And seeing as how I didn’t want to get fired, I really had no choice.
“I’ll see what I can do Bill. Even if I can get the limbs moved, it’s going to be awhile before I could even get to the station.”
“Ok, just let me know if you won’t be coming in,” he said. I grunted some reply and hung up the phone. I then swore up a storm as I got dressed.
My partner was less than pleased with the situation, but also knew we couldn’t risk me getting fired. So, I went outside and proceded to move two very heavy and large tree limbs to the side of the driveway. Nevermind that I pulled several muscles doing so. I was supposed to take one for the team!
Knowing that my car sits higher and that the wind gusts were up to 60 mph, my partner insisted I take her car instead. So I moved my car into the street, got into her car, and slowly made my way to the office. There was virtually nobody on the road. Power was out. Streets were flooded. Trees were down everywhere. It took over an hour for me to drive 15 miles. I got to work, pissed off and still wet, and went to my desk. I then walked to Bill’s office and told him I was available whenever he and Jim were ready.
The three of us sat down and I’m sure I looked as pissed as I felt.
“So, what can we do to highlight our storm coverage?” Bill asked.
“Well, what do you want to do?” I replied. I was sick of these meetings where they wasted my time. If you want to talk about something, come in with ideas.
“We aren’t really sure what we want to do,” Jim said. “What would be really handy is if there was a way we can turn on some sort of area for emergencies like these and I can update the site. Couldn’t you just give me access to the home page for that?”
Oh, hell no. The last person who was going to have that kind of access to the site was Jim. “You know, something like that requires major changes to the database and the page itself. What would be easiest is if you just tell me what you want featured and I can add it to the page.”
After 30 minutes, they finally came up with what they wanted. I went back to my desk and had it done in another 20 minutes. But seriously, this could have all been done without me leaving the house.
The irony of this whole adventure: when I got home, an even bigger tree limb had fallen where my car would have been had I NOT gone into work. Go figure.