Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spark is the New Len

For the past 7 years, my workplace was located inside a multi-story building.

It wasn't the greatest building. The elevators broke down frequently. The plumbing was unreliable. During the big 2003 blackout, the emergency lighting system failed completely. Fortunately we were able to scrounge up a couple of flashlights, or we would have had to evacuate down several flights of stairs in total darkness.

Three years ago, a private post-secondary school moved into the building. They offered diploma courses, including some in the medical field. Those students were required to wear scrubs. They would hang out outside the building behaving badly. People visiting our business often assumed that they were our employees, because of the scrubs.

"We saw a couple of your nurses out by the dumptster smoking weed!" That kind of thing does not create a good impression. We were happy to move away from them.

However, some days I think I'd rather move back, because I miss Len so much.

Len was the building maintenance guy. He was included in our lease. We slipped him $100 Christmas bonus every year to go the extra mile for us, and he did. Anything that was wrong with our suite had one solution: Call Len. Lightbulbs need changing? Call Len. Toilet clogged? Call Len. Someone trapped in the elevator yet again? Len'll fix it!

In our new building, there is no Len. Or rather, I am the Len. When things go wrong, everyone turns to me. This is not something that I'm comfortable with. I'm not a handywoman. I don't use power tools or change washers. I do not feel that I'm above plunging a toilet, but it's useless to try. I don't have the knack. When I plunge, I can't seem to get suction. I only succeed in further stirring the disgusting toilet soup.

There is no shortage of things going wrong in our new building. So far I have dealt with a leaking roof (twice, one leak source still unresolved), a broken ventilation fan, an infestation of drain flies, a bad smell in the storage room, half a dozen plumbing problems, a non-functioning fluorescent light ballast, false security system alarms triggered by a rogue motion detector (I think we may have a ghost setting it off overnight), fire alarm testing, and probably more but I'm tired just thinking of it all right now. And that's just since we moved in, six weeks ago.

I really, really miss Len. I miss Len even though one of my staff went to see him once in his little office/closet in the basement and swears she caught him reading Hustler. I miss him even though he used to come and lear at my staff every chance he got. I miss him even though his parting gift to me was a skeezy kiss on the neck.*

*(It was moving day and I was flying around at 120 mph. I had one chance to eat lunch, on the bus in between our old location and the new one. That would be the only time I had to sit down and stop working for 15 minutes. My plan was to wash my hands at the old office and buy a sandwich on the way to the bus. I ran into Len in the foyer. "Well, this is goodbye," he said, offering me his hand. Damned if I was going to eat a sandwich after shaking his toilet-plunging, lecherous hand, and I had no time to go back up to the washroom, so I offered "Here, give us a hug" instead. Instead of the gentle social hug I was expecting, he stuck his face under my ear and kissed my neck. Eeewwwwwwww. *shudder* However I maintain that it was the most hygenic option.)

Here at the new building, we still have a post-secondary school on the premises. It's a specialty school for police fundamentals. The students dress in fake cop costumes, I mean uniforms, which I find amusing. I went into the cafeteria at lunchtime to find the whole place filled with uniformed students, watching the World Cup. I said to the owner, "Gee, this place looks like the G20!" He thought that was pretty funny, until I suggested that I could smash his glass window to round out the similarities.


Jenski said...

Love your good-bye to Len story!!! Can you get him hired at the new place? Of course that would have made the hug unnecessary, but you wouldn't have to plunge toilets anymore.

Anonymous said...

Oh c'mon. Len's just a friendly guy. You know he means well and he's gonna miss you. Can you really blame the guy?

DarcsFalcon said...

You know, that was probably the closest he's been to an actual female in years. ;)

If you can't get Len, can you hire another maintenance man for the building? Or discuss it with the other building tenants who may want one also? They might be willing to split the costs.

Sparkling Red said...

Jenski: I doubt Len would want to leave his current job to come work for my rather demanding landlords. I think he's pretty comfy where he is.

WIGSF: Yeah, I bet he'll miss me alright. :-p

DarcsFalcon: I already share a pay-per-hour handyman with one of the other tenants. When he shows up to do work for one of us, he checks in with the other to see if we need anything. But I don't think there's any way I'd be able to swing a full-time maintenance guy with an on-site office. Someone would have to be his legal employer, along with all the obligations that go along with that relationship, and there's no one business that has enough motivation to take on that responsibility.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

If Spark is the new Len then you need to get your subscription to Hustler forwarded to your office quick.

E. Gorst said...

You are The New Len. I like this nickname.