In the complaint department

Disclaimer: Today might be a good day to skip over reading my journal, especially if you are, like me, not particularly fond of whiners. I’ve got a couple of complaints. It is no big deal, really. I am an exceptionally fortunate person with little about which to complain. So read on at your own risk.

I have a lot of compassion for older workers who feel threatened by technology. I’m no luddite. There are technological innovations that have made my job much easier. The new digital sound system in our sanctuary has reduced my work load quite a bit. Basically, we just turn it on before worship and turn it off following worship. Once in a while we switch batteries in microphones. That’s it. It really works nearly flawlessly. It is so much better than the way things were as recently as six or seven years ago. And I’m very attached to using an iPad for all kinds of tasks. I read many books on the device. I use it almost exclusively for my worship notes. I can have hymns and prayers and everything else I need all together in a compact and very usable package. It is superior to a laptop for taking notes at meetings.

But technology consumes my days in ways that are unexpected and often disrupt what I consider to be more important tasks. Yesterday was a good example. I was trying to work out some problems with our building’s guest wi-fi network early in the morning to make sure that it would be functional for a meeting scheduled for 10:30 am. I wasn’t having much luck, due, in part, to the fact that I don’t really understand how our network works. It is, in my opinion, unduly complex. That is in part due to the use of paid computer experts, who seem to build complexity into all of their systems as a kind of job security. They believe that the system should not be fully understood by the consumer so they can possess special knowledge that makes them necessary. At any rate, while I was working, the fire alarm system went off. I rushed to get the key to silence the system. We are not able to cancel fire trucks once dispatched, but I called the alarm monitor station to ask them to inform dispatch that there was no fire. When the firemen arrived, we were unable to reset the system due to a malfunctioning smoke alarm. I put in a call for emergency service to the company that services our alarms just as the first of 40 preschool children were arriving at the building. They got the bonus of getting to see the big fire truck and the firemen in their bunker gear. The alarm system was serviced later in the day. I also had a technician dispatched from our Internet provider who came and helped me debug part of the wifi system. In addition, I made an appointment for next Tuesday for a network technician to complete getting our system up and running. In the early afternoon as I headed to a meeting having not had time for lunch we finally had wifi working in the building.

Then, at the other end of the day, just before 10 pm, the fire alarm went off again. This time I was at home and received the call. I rushed back to the church where it was discovered that there was a glitch in the system of unknown origin. A church member and I went through the system and cleaned every smoke detector. The system seemed to be operating normally when I finally headed home to bed. Like the office network, I really don’t understand the fire alarm system. It is a lot of lights and wires and sophisticated technology and when it works it is wonderful. When it doesn’t I call trained technicians and the problem often still is not solved.

Sigh . . .

My other complaint has nothing to do with technology. Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t written about paddling or rowing yet this year. I am usually on the water as soon as the ice is out of the lake. Paddling is an important outlet for me. It brings me into contact with nature, gives me much-needed exercise and allows me space to clear my head. I frequently write about the inspiration I draw from a canoe or kayak on the lake and watching the sunrise from the surface of the water.

I have, however, spent enough time outdoors and on the lake and have very light skin and have reached the age where some of that is catching up to me. My dermatologist discovered a spot of squamous cell carcinoma on my left elbow. After reviewing treatment options, I took the doctor’s recommendation an had it surgically removed. The result is a beautiful row of tiny dermatologist sewn stitches right in the fold of my elbow, with the skin stretched tight to cover up the space where the tumor was removed. I am not able to stretch my arm out all the way and have limits on how much I can lift for at least the next couple of weeks. Paddling and rowing are both out of the question at least until the end of this month. The long term outlook is very good. I’ll have to be examined by a dermatologist more frequently for the next 5 years, but other than that, I’ll be back to life as normal by early summer.

I really don’t have grounds for a complaint. But I do miss paddling. I need to discipline myself to taking hikes and walks to replace the exercise, contact with nature, and head-clearing. But I’m putting in a few extra hours at work to get prepared for an upcoming sabbatical, so I talk myself out of taking time out of my work days and, in my profession, most days are work days.

So there you have it. No paddling pictures yet. Please be patient. And, it probably wouldn’t hurt to pray for my patience as well. I know I am.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!