If You Want To Get Technical…

Hopefully the end of the refrigerator saga is near. It couldn’t be delivered earlier because we had to have a plumber come in and install a new water line. One of the benefits of working from home is I don’t have to take time off from work to meet technicians—I’d rather save my time off for things I actually want to do. Also it gives me an excuse to get away from them while they’re working. When I took time off from work I was never sure if I should stay around and watch them work or just go to the farthest part of the house from wherever they were and do nothing as quietly as possible. And they always seemed to want my input on whatever they were working on.

“So it looks like I should use a Feiser wrench to attach the flange to the output lever. What do you think?”

And I’d say, “Yeah, that sounds great,” while thinking, look, just because I’ve got a Star Trek t-shirt on doesn’t mean I know anything about engineering. Granted the one time I didn’t get asked what I thought was the summer we had a couple of guys install a new furnace. They spent eight hours in the crawlspace hammering and clanking away while I stayed upstairs doing nothing as quietly as I could. A few months later when it got cold and the heat came on we discovered they’d neglected to hook up a pipe correctly and the furnace was pouring carbon monoxide into the basement. By that time the company they worked for had gone bankrupt so we called in someone else who not only told us it should have only been a four hour job, at most, but the guys who’d done it had put it in backwards. Then he turned to me and said, “So we’ll get that fixed, and do you want the Spangler switch to be set to process secondary outputs on the two-twenty readout?”

“Yeah, that sounds great.”

What’s always fun, though, is when they ask me what I do. I tell them I work for a library and sometimes they’ll ask what exactly I do for the library.

“Well, I input metadata so users can access citations from a variety of aggregators through a graphical interface. So, anyway, what do you think, should we be using a proxy server to provide IP authentication for off-site users?”

I’m guessing that sounds great.


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  1. M.L. James

    I’ve wondered a time or two what you do at the library. I always figured it had to do with computers, but wasn’t for sure, for sure. I figured if you really wanted us to know, you’d tell us. Now you have. Soooo… you work for a library, huh? Because I still don’t have any clue what you do except that it is technical and has to do with inputting metadata (that sounds computer-y) which is way beyond my capacity to understand. I don’t Capisce, capiche, capische, or capeesh, but I’m glad you enjoy the work. Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona, I purposely put that in the most technical way possible but I can simplify it greatly: a large part of what I do is, if someone has trouble accessing an online resource the library provides, I figure out what the problem is and do my best to fix it. Sometimes it’s as simple as downloading a PDF of an article and emailing it to them. It’s pretty straightforward, from a technical standpoint.

  2. Allison

    I’ve noticed that people don’t want to know what I do so much as they want to know what they should do based on knowing what I do. Like, they want me to explain Medicare to them. And I gladly do.

    My husband hates dealing with the repair people, but is far more mechanically inclined than I – so I do it, but then I get the incredulous, “You didn’t ask if the wobbler input is compatible with this model of fringus plinker? How could you miss that?”

    But I make sure Christmas cards get sent out to everyone – so, we have our strengths.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s funny that my wife is more mechanically inclined, and experienced, than I am, but I still get to be the one who deals with the repair people. I guess it’s because I’m more outgoing–like you said, we have our strengths, and we play to them. And I’m glad you’re willing and able to explain Medicare.


    That does sound great, Chris, but you always sound great in these posts. When workers are here, they rarely ask me questions. I try to let them know that even though I’m a woman, I know what’s what.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s amazing that I can sound great because most of the time I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’m glad it all makes sense to you, Ann.


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