I spent last Friday at work discovering just how much of an appalling mess our shelf list and card catalog are in. I spent literally all day trying to file cards and in general finding five cards to refile in the correct place for every one I filed initially. And now I get to figure out a way to diplomatically put the elderly volunteer who filed those cards out to pasture.
For those of you who are trying to dredge up from the dim recesses of your memories how card catalogs work, every book at minimum has three cards - author, title and shelf list, the shelf list being the list that reflects the order of books on, well, the shelf (there are also cards for each subject heading, and series, and artists, ad infinitum. Basically any way you would want to find a book, you need a card. But of course, since creating and filing cards takes time and space, you're always constrained by not wanting to create any more cards than necessary, even though since you can't do a keyword search, they're the only way you will find a book. Do you begin to see what a revolutionary thing the computerized catalog was?). But as I was going through the catalog, I would find all three cards shoved in together in the shelf list, so instead of being able to look up a book by its title or author to find out where it is on the shelf, you could only find a book by already knowing where it belongs on the shelf. This is... not helpful.
The volunteer who was doing such a creative filing job hasn't been in for the past six months, and while he was going to come in that day, we weren't expecting him to do any work. So when I mentioned to my manager that he shouldn't file cards any more, she said that it probably wouldn't be an issue. Instead, after catching up with my manager, he came over to me and asked if he should start filing some cards. Argh! I said something non-committal, and my manager asked him to help double-check her accounting with the petty cash, avoiding this issue for that week. But he's planning on coming in next week. Double argh.
Volunteers are a great thing for any cash-strapped organization. But the problem with them as opposed to a paid employee is that it's a lot harder to fire them for incompetence without feeling like an absolute heel. He's a sweet man, and I really don't know how to say that we don't want his help any more. I'm cravenly hoping that my manager will be the bad guy in this.
On a completely different topic, tonight's dinner (recipe courtesy of a Facebook friend) didn't taste exactly like the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, but it was darn tasty, and surprisingly quick and easy. It helped that I've been trying to be better about meal planning recently, and doing things like making meals that can use the same ingredient more than once, so I can cut up a bunch of potatoes or cook up a bunch of chicken to use over a couple meals and have ingredients ready when I go to cook.
Note: this recipe makes a tankload of soup. I cut it in half and still had to use two pots when one was getting overfull. I would cut it down to about a third if you don't want leftovers for the next five years.
3 (14 ounce) cans of chicken broth
9 cups water
3-5 pieces bacon
1 lb italian sausage, loose ground
4 large russet potatoes; skin on and cut into bite sized chunks
1 large white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup half-and-half
1/2-11/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/2-1 Tablespoon black pepper (to taste)
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
2 cups kale leaves, chopped (optional)
1. In a large stock pot combine the water, chicken broth, salt and potatoes and set to a low boil.
2. In a separate pan fry up the bacon until lightly crispy and set aside; save the bacon grease.
3. In the same pan used to cook the bacon add the Italian sausage, onion and olive oil and simmer on low until the sausage is browned and the consistency of hamburger.
4. Chop the bacon into small shreds and add to the cooked sausage, then add everything into the soup pot.
5. Mix the garlic, powders and half-and-half into the soup pot and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
6. 5 Minutes before serving mix in the chopped kale leaves.