The Headaches of Scheduling

I sit this morning looking at what seems to be an insurmountable number of schedules, re-schedules, post-it notes with reminders, and emails detailing some upcoming task or another.

But the crux of it all is the single sheet marked “April, 2014” of the calendar handing next to my ‘desk area’ which is just my seat at the dining room table with some extra papers piled in the corner.

On that single sheet is a comprehensive schedule for the next several weeks…and its complete. After months of planning week-by-week for several part time jobs, school, and other important obligations, the entire month of April is set in concrete. My tech work, ambulance work, and part time police department schedule are all lined up. Any conflicts in work have already been cleared with respective bosses, The Narrator’s school schedule is worked in there, as is his birthday and a very important meeting with the fire department.

The sheet is practically dripping with sharpie ink of various colors, and as I set up my google calendar to correspond to the written paper, I realize that I am looking at a nice, full, rigid schedule for the first time in so very, very long.

The peaceful and solid schedule of April is something to look forward to, especially since March doesn’t seem to be going out without a fight. Yesterday, for example, I had to take a day off from work so I could make a pre-employment medical examination for the PD. I drove 45 minutes to the appointment, only to be told I was in the wrong location, that the office I was in “Couldn’t do that exam” …although the reasons were not made clear to me as to why.

See, the company that does the employment health screenings has two locations. One 45 minutes from me (where I was) and the other… twice as far. Civil Service had made the appointment for me, so as soon as I was kicked out of the office by a sneering receptionist who clearly hated her job- I called them. Lucky for me we live in a small county so I immediately got a hold of the woman who had made the appointment for me. She told me she had specifically requested this location from the company, and was given the “A-Okay” from whomever she talked to. The lady apologized profusely to me, which I dismissed, it hadn’t been her fault. She called the manager of the medical company, then called me back, informing me that they’d rescheduled me for TODAY at the other location. Good news is that I don’t have to wait 2 more weeks for an appointment, bad news is that another day at work had to be missed. Fun side fact, the Civil Service lady was told by the manager that she spoke to that there was no reason the the location I’d been scheduled for and had gone to couldn’t do the examination for me.

The bottom line is, the ball was dropped somewhere, and I’m out two days of per-diem work this week.

When I was in the police academy, I was taught that my communication should be clear, concise, and accurate at all times to avoid getting in trouble or muddying the waters any. What my instructors had failed to do was let me know that expecting the same from anyone else was to invite disappointment and chaos.

Lesson learned.

Another lesson that I’m learning fast, is that scheduling any sort of personal activity takes an act of congress, especially if you’re looking to meet up with friends. We had a weekend set up to meet with a college friend that we haven’t seen in some time, but they had to cancel due to the husband’s work. Rechecking the schedule, there is no time at all to meet up with them for at least another month. Aligning schedules is like aligning planets.
These same sort of circumstances are creating a bit of tension with my in-laws who live an hour and a half away and are getting a little bit grumpy at the fact that we haven’t been to visit them since New Year’s. Checking availability for the next month….yeah, not gonna happen for at least another month. Oops.

The long and short of it though, is that as fouled up as personal activities go, at least my work schedule is something that I can anticipate and plan around again. There are a few (very) long days, like the ones where I work 7am to 2pm at one job, then do 3-11pm with the PD…but they’re few and far between, and the point is that I know they’re coming so far ahead of time that I can make sure there is a bottle of wine available for my wife after bedtime for the boys happens.

So, fingers crossed….no surprises April. Please, no surprises.

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