I was figuring on working the last of my overtime hours this week but that might not be possible. When I got to work on Monday, I only had 9-1/2 hours of overtime left to work and planned on knocking 7-1/2 of them out the first three days this week, then working the final 2 hours on Friday from 3:30 - 5:30. But then about noon on Monday, management sent around an email saying there were 25 hours of overtime up for grabs and asking who might be interested.
I know, I know ...I was whining just last week about how exhausted I was and how much I was looking forward to not working overtime anymore. But time and a half, you know? There are still a lot of things on our wish lists and this opportunity only comes around once a year at the agency. So I'm thinking I should take advantage of it.
I replied to the email that I was willing to work up to 12 additional hours of overtime. All of the overtime hours have to be completed by Friday, August 19th. Since my original 67 hour allotment would be completed by this Friday, that would give me two full weeks to work the additional 12 hours. Working only 6 hours each of those two weeks, it would only be half as grueling as it has been and the extra extra money sure would be nice. I know at least two other people were willing to work additional hours and unless they set very small limits on how much they wanted, I will probably not get the full 12. But extra is extra and I am sure I can find a good use for the money.
That was the plan and it seemed like a good plan until about 2:50 this afternoon when the power went off. Not just in our office but in the whole business complex and we later found out, for several blocks around us. It seems an apartment complex about a quarter mile northeast of us had a fire. It wasn't just a kitchen fire either ...four alarms and seven buildings damaged or destroyed before it was under control. Thankfully, there were only minor injuries, mostly firemen due to heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, but the property damage is quite extensive. I think the fire had been burning about 30 minutes when the decision was made to cut the power to homes and businesses within a certain radius of the blaze. When the lights were still off at 3:30 and the news was saying the blaze was still out of control, management made the decision to close the office and send everyone home.
The only downside to getting sent home early in the afternoon is that the agency doesn't let you work overtime if there are any 'anomalies' in the regular work schedule that week ...i.e., a holiday, sick time ...or, in this case office shut down due to neighborhood fire and blackout. I already put in 2-1/2 hours of overtime yesterday. If overtime is not approved for this week, that means I'll have to count yesterday's 2-1/2 hours of overtime toward my regular 40 hours and I'll have to go home early Friday. Oh darn. I hope they make an exception and let us put in a little more overtime this week, especially since I just signed up for 12 more hours.
The weather forecast was 107 degrees for a high today with a heat index of 112. I am here to tell you that it was every bit of that at 3:30 this afternoon when I had crawl into my car. I have one of those windshield shade things and I use it faithfully every morning. I also crack all the windows a half inch or so to let as much heat as possible escape during the daytime. But it was still well over 100 degrees in there when I got in. You could see smoke on the horizon behind our building and smell charred wood on the breeze. I'm sure the recent extreme temperatures and the almost constant breeze we've had for the past several weeks were negative factors in how quickly the fire spread. Fires are always devastating to the people whose homes are involved. I hope the reports tomorrow will confirm only minor injuries.