The last few days have been very unusual, so I thought I'd share... and yes, though I'm a writer, no, I'm not making any of this up :)
1) STEWARDSHIP AND THE SINGLE IPOD
I don't know if Apple still throws in free engraving on your iPod when you order direct at apple.com, but that was definitely the best choice I ever made. You see, for almost exactly 3 years I've had my trusty iPod mini, on which I spent all my Christmas money that year and had my full name and cell phone number engraved on the back. I don't want to watch videos on such a small screen, nor do I need a color display. This iPod mini's held up and done everything I need - keep me amused on my weekly Sunday train trips to Fullerton, mainly - and I never once misplaced it... until around Thanksgiving. Because of bad rains, I didn't even notice it was gone until last Saturday when I went to do my weekly recharge. I tore the apartment apart looking for it Saturday night. No one at church came up to me Sunday saying they'd found it. I checked at work Monday and it wasn't in my desk and reception hadn't seen it. I even bothered to ask at the Chinese restaurant I'd had to eat lunch at several days the previous week, but their English wasn't good enough to get the point across and they kept thinking iPhone. :P
So I consigned myself that the iPod either was going to end up getting sold for parts (I mean it's engraved with a name and contact number, one would have to be pretty brash to fence it directly) or someone kept it for themselves and used one of those outer wrapping casings to hide the engravings. We'd been talking about stewardship and ownership at church recently and decided that the iPod had lived a good life, and depreciated enough in 3 years that it wasn't that huge a loss, and maybe I didn't even need to replace it. Out of curiosity, though, I did at least wonder the iPod's fate - so I wrote an email to the church secretary (also following up on a press release I did for them and just sent out) and mentioned the iPod. Just after I sent it, I found a voicemail message waiting for me on the Blackberry... as I'd been sending, the church secretary had tried to call to let me know the head janitor had just brought in my iPod and they knew it was mine from the number on it. God works, that's all I have to say about it. And it really got me thinking on how material things aren't always all that important. I could live without the iPod if I really had to. But now I know where it is and I'll get it back next weekend.
Now if I only I could do a similar kind of engraving to my Blackberry... but what would I put, my home number? I mean, I can't suggest that people call it! ;)
2) NOTHING LIKE A LITTLE FIRE FOR SOME COMPANY BONDING
This afternoon, I get up from my desk and decide to take a restroom break at work. We have most of the floor, and but the one set of restrooms are off in one corner away from most of our part of the floor. The most efficient way for me to get there is to go through the elevator area since my desk is way in the far corner of the whole office. Anyway, I never make it there. As I'm walking across I watch the DOORS START TO CLOSE IN FRONT OF ME AND A LOUD NOISE START TO GO OFF. Even though we've just had a fire drill 2 weeks prior and I know what the sound is, I still go all deer in the headlights knowing the other doors behind me have just done the same thing, meaning I'll be trapped! Fortunately I had prescense of mind enough to turn and see one of the staff right by the door grabbing it so I can jump back through. So I evacuate with the others through the nearest staircase, which is unfortunately NOT near my desk, which means my personal Blackberry is all I have on me... my money, ID, bus pass, jacket, etc are all back at my desk.
As we go to our evacuation area, we see smoke - a fair amount - pouring out of the parking garage. Also, I've never seen so many fire trucks in my life. I think there were six in all by the time we were done (four engines and two paramedics), plus at least two police cars. Apparently someone's car caught fire in the underground parking but I never did get full details. After a while, somehow we are told we can go back in and everyone heads back only to find the strobes still going and the announcement kicking in. Some of us go back out and wait a while longer. When most people don't come back, I finally decide to brave it and retrieve my stuff though the strobes still seem to be going, people are coming and going from the building and not being stopped. (I think there were some communication issues). Came back upstairs to learn they DEFINITELY DID NOT WANT US BACK IN THE BUILDING until they were sure all the smoke cleared out - about 30 minutes or more. Used the opportunity to grab my things and dash out the exit door near my desk.
In the end, a bunch of people who needed to wait it out went to a sports bar down the street, and even though I'd just be heading home (since they decided to let us going being 5pm) I joined them and made a dinner out of very good bar nachos and iced tea. About 30 of us in all, apparently this place is normally really quiet. Great opportunity to get to know a lot of coworkers better. Though I laugh about it now, I'd rather not do that again anytime soon!