Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Epic Conclusion (Moving Days R)

In the days since I left the "Liberry," life has proceeded as usual over in Tri-Metro. I know this because I've been back for several visits. Most of these were in the days prior to us fully vacating our house in Town C, when the wife was still living there as she wrapped up her medical residency, but I've made a few since. In fact, one such visit of mine was made specifically because of her residency.

Each year, the hospital holds a mini-graduation ceremony for all of its residents, giving out graduation certificates to each class as they either pass into a new year of their residency, or, as in the case with my wife, fully graduate and pass into the real world. Now, unlike most graduation ceremonies, which tend to be pretty boring affairs, these residency ceremonies are great because there's an open bar, massively tasty hors d'oeuvres beforehand, followed by a catered buffet dinner with dessert and then what amounts to about half an hour's worth of award-awarding, which is usually a pretty fun time because most of the people giving the awards are friends and colleagues and very funny people who know how to make such ceremonies interesting and fun. (Or, maybe I've just been to the open bar one too many times to know otherwise.) This year's ceremony promised to be very similar, only this year the wife was the major honoree when it came to graduating third year residents. Actually, she was the only graduating third year, not to mention she's also chief resident, so it was even more of a focus on her. Unfortunately, the graduation ceremony fell on June 12, a day I was already committed to being at a conference for a non-profit organization I am a member of, in another part of the state. Not only that, but this was a conference for which I did the majority of the planning and at which I was obligated to be in order to help get things set up. The date had been set in stone for literally the past year. The wife wasn't happy that I couldn't get out of it, nor was I, but she said she understood that that's the way things had rolled.

As the days went by and the conference date grew closer, it occurred to me that it would be the ultimate surprise if I was somehow able to get out of the setup portion of the conference and turn up at the wife's ceremony after all. I get so few opportunities to surprise her without her managing to spoil it in advance, so I thought this would be a great choice. I kept completely mum about it and didn't actually make the final decision on whether or not to pull it off until two days shy of the conference itself for fear of my big mouth letting something slip early. The longer I waited, though, the more I knew it would be gold. None of the wife's family was going to be able to come, so she would be there alone. I knew it had to be done. After making arrangements with a trusted colleague to take over my setup duties, and with a trusted colleague of the wife's to run interference if need be, I officially decided to slip in and surprise the wife.

On graduation day, I snuck out of Borderland and hit the road for Tri-Metro. I had to head over early, to pass some of my setup materials on to someone headed to the conference, so afterward I had a few hours to kill before the ceremony kicked in around 6. So I headed over to the "liberry." The alphabet squad was happy to see me. Mrs. A even had me go around and mark all the shitty shelf-ends with tape yet again in preparation for the delivery of the brand new non-shitty shelf ends. Mrs. J had already been given instructions not to touch the tape.

Around 5:15, the wife called me on my cell phone to ask how the conference set up was going. I told her that it was hectic but going as smooth as could be expected. She said she had just arrived at the hotel where the graduation was to be held and was about to start eating shrimp. She was real sorry I couldn't be there. I told her I wished I was, cause I could use some shrimp, too. We said lovey goodbyes and as soon as I hung up I jumped in the car and zipped over. I was already clad in my "going to graduation" finest and ready to go.

Much liken unto a ninja, I snuck into the ballroom to find the wife with her back to me as she spoke with the very colleague I'd asked to help. I slipped up behind her, then almost directly beside her and just stood there smiling, holding a bouquet of roses, waiting for my presence to be noticed. The wife followed her friend's gaze, turned, saw me, made a funny confused expression then realized what I had done and burst into laughter. She absolutely had no idea I'd been planning it and was, for once, truly surprised.

The ceremony was great, not only for the food and the open bar (which I was unable to partake of, as I had a two hour road trip ahead of me still) but because much of the night was devoted to the wife. It was fantastic to see the respect and love her colleagues and friends in the program have for her and to hear how much she had been a positive influence on the overall direction of the residency program. They even gave her an extra award she wasn't expecting for her work with the rural health system (which is part of the reason we went to Alaska last year). It was a great evening.

But I digress...

As I said, life continues on at the "liberry." Since my departure they've purchased a new photocopier to replace the devil photocopier we've had for years. They've also bought a new fax machine to replace the devil fax machine we've had for years. And they've continued sprucing up the place rather nicely, aided, I might add, by the arrival and installation of the good shelf ends, which, after a whole YEAR, the contractor finally decided to send.

My vacancy has even been filled with another guy, this time a high school student I'll just call Mr. R who belongs to one of the families of long-time beloved patrons (all together now: "Me belove you long time!") who I've known since I started working at the place in 2001. He's a great choice for the gig. And the last time I visited, a couple weeks back, I saw yet another familiar face behind the circ desk in the form of a seemingly long-lost former employee. No, not Ms. S or Miss E or Miss F, Miss Nightranger or even my prediction of Miss K. Instead, the long-lost employee is Miss Temp who left our fold for a more lucrative job in a southern state prone to hurricanes. I didn't get a chance to talk to her, so I don't know why she's back or for how long, but Mrs. A seemed very glad to have someone to plug into the job who was not only already trained but very good at it to begin with. Evidently, I've left the "liberry" in good hands.

And so we bring to a close the tale of the move to the new building. Naturally, there are other stories I could tell about the creation of the new building, being as how there was a a LOT of politics on both at state and local level that went into it, not to mention a handful of people who not only tried to stand in the way but, at one point, tried to stage an outright coup. I've decided it's probably best not to tell those stories, however. I've only been privy to peripheral details in the first place and, in the intervening months, have forgotten a lot of the solid facts I once did know. The way I see it, the "good guys" won the day, the "bad guys" had to suck it and in the end that's all that really matters.


Kerry said...

I think that one of the sweetest things about the two of you as a couple is how you're always surprising each other! Congratulations to Ashley!

J said...

Stop being such a great husband! You're setting the bar too high for the rest of us! (jk)

It looks like with some smart hires, the place will be able to get along well enough, but it certainly lost some of its joie de vivre.

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.