As the emails cascaded, like an incessant rainfall, I checked my Outlook Calendar and noted an odd appointment entry. Within seconds, it all came flooding back. My ‘new’ time management attempt with blocking off portions of one’s calendar to organize, strategize, prioritize, delegate or what have you. All I had entered was ‘Fall 2010 Planning’ with a tidy one hour time period allotted to the ‘appointment.’ Pretty cool, I thought, as I carefully cleared less pressing items away and stepped into this ‘new and improved work style.’

Close outdoor pool. Wrap up construction project. Chiller shut down. Garage clean. Window clean. Roof Anchor inspection. Seasonal décor. Ramp cable testing and more hung precariously in a ‘yet to be defined’ schedule. And when are the holiday schedules that must be respected for various religions? Well, fine, I thought. Let’s arrange the Outlook Calendar settings to reflect various holidays. Yes. That works.

The unfamiliar noise caught my attention. Odd. Subway? Mmmm. A weird mechanical hum, rumble or something. Unusual. My chair (on wheels) then started to move and my mind raced quickly forward. Did the subway just hit a wall near my underground office space? Did something just explode? Am I having a seizure? Am I moving or is it the chair? What on earth? As ‘my chair and I’ rolled back a few inches to the centre of the desk, I grabbed the desk instinctively to stop the movement. &Phones started ringing.

I answered one line and heard a resident reprimanding me for allowing such noise to be made during her nap and permitting so much construction related drilling that her bed moved and awoke her some 20 floors up. I paused, pondered and agreed to look into it.&

Fortunately, my Super is quite familiar with me and responds well under duress as I spoke firmly into the walkie talkie. ‘Cory. Lobby. Now. And I mean right now.’ I heard his ‘on the way’ as I ran out the door with the Emergency Plan, keys, flashlight, cell and walkie talkie in hand.

It did not take long to determine that something outside the building caused the disturbance. Earthquake!? Well, fine. No Problem (NP). Sirens roared north and south on Yonge Street in a chaotic frenzy. The Super was quickly dispatched to check mechanical equipment. The Lobby Guard studied cameras. The Patrol Guard was assigned to scan the perimeter and sweep the underground. The Administrator was assigned to the telephones with a quickly written script to read. The Board President was called. The fire panel was scanned for trouble alarms. A quick elevator review indicated all in order. A hurried email from my Blackberry to engineering for a site review. &Emergency responses seemed to fall into place quickly as the lobby filled with concerned residents.&

Side note: They teach us all about earth quakes in the great RCM courses. Yup. NP. I wonder, on days such as this one, if Registered Condominium Manager should be amended. How about Rugged Condo Manager? Rocking? Ricocheting? LOL

A short building wide intercom announcement set minds at ease and residents slowly returned to their homes after sharing stories with each other. Despite some stress in the air, a pleasant calm evolved as folks took comfort in their mutual experience. An Owner’s Info Meeting followed shortly thereafter to discuss the slight earth quake damage and the very new security services provider that had quietly excelled under an emergency condition with their defibrillator certified guards and a patrol crew at the ready.

A good natured resident posted a make shift, but appropriate, large brown paper notice on a tarp in the Party Room declaring the area an “Earthquake Zone”. Well, hand written notices are quite unsuitable and lack the cohesive site image one strives for; but, in this case, it just fits and remains posted. I am hard pressed to remove it until works are complete. Somehow the mini disaster served to bind the community even closer together and a reminder of what caused this is always suitable, in my opinion.

And so, as I returned to try and apply time management techniques, I decided to adjust every day for an hour of “The Unexpected.” Effective? Time will tell. It always does.