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July 12, 2014

stepford

any person who says that s/he has NEVER thought about dropping it all (work, family, friends, whatever) and running away is either lying or delusional. that is all.

June 8, 2014

why?

guess who emailed me today?

guess who didn't write back?

May 29, 2014

change in the tides

i would like to summon up the rage of weeks and months gone by, wrap it into a neat little package, and carry that goddamned fiery package with me everywhere i go to serve as a reminder that i am more than this sad sack pining doormat that i have become.

i mean, seriously. what the hell is wrong with me?

work still sucks. people still suck. recent departmental fuck-ups have made me jittery and wary of every sidelong glance. my project ate much of the holiday weekend and will most likely consume most of the upcoming one. work-bff only talks to me when he wants something.

(cam accused me of overthinking today. um. we've been married since 1998 and you're just now realizing i do this?)

the ex-boss dodged important questions, failed to provide support as a boss when he could, and as a friend when he couldn't--never even acknowledged the wrongness of the situation he left me in. wake up. it's not MY fault. i didn't bring this on myself. i have NOTHING to feel bad about (at least as far as he is concerned). i can think pleasant thoughts of his time at the firm--revisionist history at its finest--and permit the mentor his somewhat fond musings (because the ex-boss didn't rip his heart out and stomp on it) without falling into the trap of pretending that nothing happened and we're just two old workaholic friends who are having a hard time connecting.

i will never know the truth--his truth--about what happened. i despair that i will never get out of this hole of workworkandmorework, and maybe it's just my fate to be yoked to an organization such as this one. but surely i don't need to be such a bloody swooning victim about it? where is my rage? i like myself so much more when i'm angry.

dairy disappointments

i don't have the details of what actually transpired, but the end result is that nola ate some bread containing milk and LIVED (yay, nola), and paul is feeling blue and left behind.

my poor paul.

(second thought: WHY THE HELL DID NOLA EAT BREAD WITH DAIRY? KEEP ME BACK.)

nola's reactions have always been relatively minor compared to paul's, and her early bloodwork didn't show a milk allergy, but we made the decision of keep her off dairy in infancy because she developed a rash on her face whenever i consumed dairy products (remember, she didn't wean until she was 5, thank you very much). so i cut out dairy while i was her exclusive source of nutrition--to this day, i only eat cheese maybe once or twice a month (if that) when the kids aren't around.

(giant plug for double rainbow soy cream. LOVE the blueberry. when i first saw the line at whole foods i was compelled to buy some because of the double rainbow shop in rockridge. oh how i loved rockridge. i should have gone to barney's one more time before i swore off meat.)

despite the test results, we have always treated the kids if they had identical allergies. maybe this was unfair to nola, but i refuse to believe that she has been damaged by our choices. there is a life--a world--beyond the consumption of dairy products. ask morrissey!

so. we're going to set up allergy tests this summer, and we'll see where we can go from there. maybe we'll get some good news. maybe we won't. either way, we'll continue as we have been. we don't keep dairy in the house (minus a tiny stash of cowgirl creamery's mt tam... shhh), and i won't make a distinction between paul-safe and nola-safe food. there's just food, and our children are far more than what they can eat.

May 7, 2014

ice cream

didn't hear from him today. surprise!

it is hard to explain what he meant to me. were we really so young and so... idealistic and so stupidly into-the-breach once? i certainly had fewer gray hairs back then. certainly less bitter. CERTAINLY more well-rested.

i thought i had closure, and if i'm not thinking about it, well, it's like he never existed. but if i am thinking about it, it's like someone ripped off a bandage a little prematurely. what do i really need to get past this for good?

May 6, 2014

blood pressure meds

people who think they know everything are VASTLY annoying to those who actually do.

i said it.

May 5, 2014

with every worthless word we get so far away

two months to the day after i gave notice and one month since i last heard from him:

You have time to catch up today? Back from 2 weeks living out of a suitcase and catching up. [mentor] is in NY and just bought me a delicious ice cream. Wanted to see how you are doing and what's going on in sunny California.

speechlessness.

how dare you try to waltz back into my life and act like NOTHING has happened?

you know what's going on in sunny california? the breaking of my heart into a thousand pieces and the painfully slow process of rebuilding it.

i shot an email to my mentor to inquire:
I heard you bought a tall stranger a "delicious ice cream."

he responded in the affirmative, so i went on:
He wants to catch up. I don't know if I can talk to him without tears or rage.

he replied:
Both are good. You might both end up crying, however.

so i girded up my loins and wrote back:
Yes. You know the number.

of course, it was kind of late by then, so the window had passed and he was no longer available. i responded that we could chat earlier in the day later in the week.

omfg. omg. why now? did the mentor prod him? did he gently suggest that speaking to me was something that he needed to do?

March 15, 2014

a story, attempted

i just realized my last post may have given the wrong impression. THIS was sent to my boss on the thursday morning before he quit. he just beat me to the punch, and i don't even know if he turned in my letter to the proper authorities before he took off. the other email was meant to be something he could share with others--this letter was for him.

i am at a loss now. his departure means previously unthinkable things, and i have no idea how this will shake out. part of me is ready to accelerate my own departure. another part of me is sobbing that part of my own acceptance of enough being enough was based on the fact that he would still be there for the department. i don't know.

i am grieving. i don't know what to do. my mentor shakes off my comments about leaving, and we scarcely acknowledge that my boss is gone. my work-bff airily says he wasn't really surprised. I WAS SURPRISED. if that means i was just tremendously unobservant, so be it. it's little bit difficult to be all that close when exchanges are limited to email and the occasional call because his boss is too much of a control/budget freak to let him travel for any other reason than to see him.

but i am happy for him. it's a brilliant move and i wish him every success.

I regret to inform you that I will be leaving [firm] once [project] goes live and I am comfortable that the current remaining staff can handle the basic demands of the system.

I would not be entirely truthful if I said that I've enjoyed the past 16 years. It hasn't been all bad--some of it has actually been rather stellar--but the fact remains that I've spent a goodly part of the last several years thinking:


  • I can stick it out for one more year

  • I can't let the team down

  • what will become of my team, my work-children, if I leave?

  • when is it my turn to be protected?

  • my family won't mind if I'm absent/distracted/cranky

  • my family won't mind that we never go on vacations

  • my children won't mind if I miss another event/party/movie/meal

  • I'm a failure because delegation is not my strong suit, and maybe if I give up sleep in order to meet deadlines no one will notice that I'm doing all the work myself

  • I'm an ungrateful bastard because I don't understand that all of this work I'm doing is allegedly for MY benefit

  • I'm a terrible person because personal loyalty to beloved colleagues just isn't enough

The last few years have turned me into a whiner and I don't like what I see. The last few years have shown me that a reputation for being "nice" and "efficient" means I get left on my own to hold off the angry mobs while people of higher rank either scatter or passive-aggressively fight amongst themselves. The last few years have proved to me that I must be a pathetic dinosaur with no sense of what it takes to survive here with wits and sanity intact.

Years ago we joked that when I don't end an email with "thanks!" something is wrong--that I don't complain often, but when I do, people should take notice! I've spent the last year(s) complaining about [project] and the unreasonable demands on my time, and the response I've received has been sighs, superficial expressions of sorrow that I have to work so hard, pressure to make on-the-spot wide-ranging decisions during large-group conference calls, and tighter deadlines. I've complained about the way other departments push work to me, the way higher ranked people in other departments have completely lost any sense of boundary where I am concerned. I have done my damnedest to get to know these products, understand these processes, put aside my resentment, embrace change--and I'm tired, and my family is tired.

Because it's typical of [firm], I expect the overall reaction to this announcement to be "if only she knew how to delegate," and after all of these years there is really nothing more I can say about that. But I do wish you every success in locating a replacement with that very valuable skill.

Thank you.

a story, denied

i was writing this to send to my boss when i got the news that he quit. can't leave it in my outlook drafts folder forever, so i'll post it here instead.

when i was in high school, i was a proud staffer on our weekly newspaper. i learned about meeting deadlines, investigating leads, taking responsibility for one's own words. when what you write goes under your byline, you can't really hide.

every thursday night we went to press. every friday afternoon we held a post-mortem for the newly published issue. we gave feedback and talked about things that worked and things that didn't. at one of my first post-mortems--a nervous sophomore--i pointed out a typo, thinking that my adviser would be proud that a mere baby was showing a keen eye.

she looked at me and asked sharply, "where were you on thursday night?" if i had really cared about the paper and its staff, she said, i would have shown up the night before and helped proofread. maybe i could have used that keen eye to catch that typo before the paper was delivered to the printers.

in my own way, i've always tried to live by these rules: never show up on the fringes of something the day after and complain if you had every opportunity to get in the middle and HELP. don't pass judgment on the people doing the best they can. you only deserve a voice if you're involved, but make sure your involvement is justified. don't be the problem. don't add to the problem.

it wasn't until this past year that these loosely linked statements crystalized "where were you on thursday night?" into my mantra. i'd chant it to myself under my breath after conference calls and frustrating meetings. i had them tattooed on my wrist as a reminder.

there are plenty of like-minded people at work. or rather, maybe there used to be, and that's why i find myself almost constantly swinging on the pendulum between despair and rage. there is so much pressure and so little help. people nosing their way into things that they can't or won't grasp. blame being passed around more freely than praise. respect, a thing of the past. but i sucked it up and pushed it down because i cared.

i was, figuratively speaking, always here on thursday nights. but those thursday nights soon non-figuratively bled into friday nights and monday nights and saturday at dawn and sunday after breakfast and then every night when the kids went to bed. yet the more i did, the worse the pressure (and the behavior around the firm) became.

so i coped by working later, sleeping less, drinking more, and crying at every opportunity.

this is how the firm treats the people who care. THIS has become our firm culture. i don't believe there is a turning back, and this is why i am choosing to leave.

February 16, 2014

matriarch

it would REALLY be nice if my mother didn't still have the power to destroy me with her aura of judgment.

January 22, 2014

do your own job

i have tremendous resentment towards those who know exactly what i go through at work--and yet still expect me to go out of my way to help them. it's one thing when it's someone i don't work with closely or regularly, but if you know what my days and nights look like, you're just being a selfish lazy prick... and i'm a stupid, stupid enabler.

happy day after birthday to me!

January 17, 2014

zoned

DOES ANYONE GET PAID ENOUGH FOR THIS GUILT?

i responded to tokyo and kiev on their time, but snippily ignored singapore.

September 27, 2013

work sucks

i miss sleep.

August 10, 2013

role reversal

my mother just said the most half-assed excuse to me, and all i could think was, "i hear this stuff from my kids every day; i didn't realize that approach had become your forte as well."

May 26, 2013

con artistry

i hate writing reviews.

i know i should feel grateful i only have to write eight--my boss writes more than 20, i think--but it's so hard to write reviews praising the above and beyond when there is precious little above and beyond upon which to wax rhapsodic (not their fault; just the normal business flow).

the biggest issue, of course, is the glaring lack of honesty, the feelings hidden with the self-consciousness of faint praise. as i write certain reviews i find myself deleting and rewriting, deleting and rewriting, continually lamenting that i can't even mention the below and within (which wouldn't be a surprise because it's been discussed in most, if not all, cases--i wouldn't blindside an employee like that), but that shit can't be put in writing lest the powers that be read it and decide that eliminating the position--rather than replacing the individual--is THE best way to handle any employment situation. because they would.

April 16, 2013

not cute

please: "inbox" is not a verb.

March 23, 2013

unexpected encounter

at a park by a climbing thing:

nola: [about to start climbing while a little girl is still climbing up]
me: no, nola, wait for her to get to the top.
girl: [stops, turns around]
girl: yeah, i don't speak chinese.
me: [speechless]
girl: [looks at me, looks at nola]
girl: i don't speak chinese or japanese.
me: [recovering tongue] neither do we.
girl: [continues her climb]

WHAT THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT?

cam: who was it?
me: that little white girl with the purple shirt and orange skirt, about 5-6?
cam: oh, dora [referring to purple shirt].
cam: of course.
cam: she speaks spanish.
me: [eyeroll]

NO, REALLY, WHAT THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT?

(to ease cam's mind, i will state right now that i wrote this poorly and that he didn't mean that the child looked hispanic, he was referring to the shirt. i thought i said that, but clearly i'm stupid and i DON'T speak english.)

August 22, 2012

dear john-ish

i don't know if i'm going to kiss lfc goodbye, but until i decide, i've decided to use it to store all of those messages i start to write to my boss and then chicken out of sending.

exhibit a:

"because i was glued to my computer all weekend because of that monster project, i realized around 7 pm that all day i ate nothing more than toast, coffee, and some popcorn. when you come to la, you are going to feed me, and feed me well. GODDAMMIT."

this could be cathartic. i might need a new category for it.

[ed. "did that sound bitchy?" -veronica sawyer
or merely unintentionally flirty? gah.]

August 20, 2012

momwork

yesterday paul and i argued over a homework assignment. or rather--i tried to be helpful and supportive, he made snide faces and disregarded advice while still whining for it, i sharply told him i was done and made a halfhearted grab at his notebook, he shouted NO and stomped off to his room, declaring he would stay in his room FOREVER AND EVER AND I'M NEVER LEAVING AND I'LL DO THIS ALL BY MYSELF.

to that, i shrugged and said to myself, "what a good idea."

because the bitchery doesn't stop there, i proceeded to do my own version of his homework assignment ("write a story about an emotion you have experienced" or something along those lines):

emotion: frustration
triggering event: paul won't do his work.

My son Paul just started the 4th grade this past week. Because he is now going into the sixth year of his education, I had high hopes that he had finally acclimated to the school environment. However, these hopes were dashed as early as the night before the first day of school.

As we sat around in our living room on Monday evening, talking about what he needed to bring to school the next day and how we'd have to get used to the old schedule after a two-month break, we suddenly realized that one, he was woefully under-stocked in the way of school supplies, and two, he had apparently "forgotten" to do his summer reading log even after regular reminders over the past few days (which is when he actually remembered the assignment).

My overwhelming feeling was frustration. Sheer and utter frustration. I know he's a great kid. I know he's a brilliant kid. But I also know that he is a perfectionist, paralyzed by decision. I know he is more than occasionally lazy and unmotivated by anything other than what fits his comfort level and current interest. Reading is fun. Recording the fact of reading--proving that one has read--is lame and boring. Lectures are ignored. Questions are answered by silence, stares and sometimes even an insolent quirk of the lips that I feel must mask childish rage and misery. Paul and I are often at odds. I'm a short-fused individual, even under the best of circumstances.

The school supplies situation was annoying but fixable. He claimed to have a shopping list that must have been lost--WE must have thrown it out. He swore he left it on the tansu by the front door. If it wasn't there, well, it was clearly our fault. We were perfectly content to send him to school the first day with a pencil and a folder. His new teacher would send a shopping list home, we were sure of it.

The summer reading log was a different story altogether. His father had printed a few log sheets for him earlier in the week, and Paul heaved a world-weary sigh every time I asked him if he had worked on it. Monday night he finally sat down to do it, and Monday night he melted down at the concept coming up with TWO MONTHS' WORTH of reading data. (I sound like a jerk here because I could have/should have been following up sooner, and I acknowledge that. I was a self-starter, more or less, as a child, so I am probably not as attuned to his needs as I should be.)

So I offered to type one up for him (admittedly motivated by guilt), and that's what we ended up doing. Together we fudged a summer of reading logs. Part of the way through he decided that he wasn't going to finish it, and I nearly chewed off my tongue in frustration:

NO. I AM NOT PROLONGING THIS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT BECAUSE YOU REFUSE TO FOCUS.

NO. I WILL NOT HELP YOU IF YOU REFUSE TO DO THIS NOW. YOU CAN WRITE IT ALL BY YOURSELF.

After constant prompting ("Then what did you read? For how long? From what page to what page?"), we finally completed it. He turned it in the next day. The teacher sent it back with a note: Nifty spreadsheet. So we saved him from his own procrastination AND made him look like a computer wizard at the same time. Great.

Maybe one day he'll learn how to do the things he needs to do without fuss, avoidance and tears. Maybe one day I'll learn to understand his modus operandi without the soul-knotting that trips my Hyde switch. Maybe one day we'll "get" each other. I just never thought that I'd have this kind of kid, and worse, I never thought I'd be this kind of parent.

i wonder how old paul will have to be before he can read this without needing therapy?

June 2, 2012

longest post ever, or why i'm amazed i haven't quit yet

late summer last year i wrote a long post about why i love my job.

i reread it today. the calm before the [latest shit]storm. i sound SO young.

i read back even farther, and was astonished to realize that i never even fully described the situation that changed everything in my life. sure, i've made some comments about work from time to time, but i never really explained why things were the way they were. as i type this, i remember, rather vaguely, that i had made a decision to not write about it because, well, management, but in retrospect i suspect that the outlet possibly could have helped my sanity.

just under three years ago, my boss' boss and the head of hr told me by phone--while i sat on the floor of my bedroom (it was paul's first day of first grade, i think, so i took him to school)--that they had just laid off my boss. in the same breath: would i be interested in taking his place with regard to my department? (my boss oversaw--nominally--three departments. he had been with us since late 1998, but picked up the other two within the last few years.) speechless. um, YES? but i wasn't really taking over... i was getting a salary bump, but my title would remain the same (supervisor). and three members of the department would be spun-off into their own little group for the boss' boss to oversee.

whatever. as my assistant said, "congrats! you've been promoted from supervisor to supervisor!"

we managed to survive the first year (september to september), and sometime into the second i realized that i wasn't half-bad at this management shit, and life settled down. i grew a thicker skin and developed a combative streak. also at some point into the second year my former boss' boss--now MY boss--became a micromanaging jerk, stopped being a micromanaging jerk, and became my friend. we settled into the roles and learned how to play them, but then he got promoted, and our time to connect dwindled to almost nothing. it was frustrating enough having a boss on the opposite coast, but having a boss who suddenly needed to hold HIS boss' hand 24/7 meant that there was no one to even consider holding mine when i needed it. (for that, i learned to rely on the other members of my trinity.)

i'm not a needy female. but sometimes i long for some support, maybe a little validation.

the second year brought me two of my greatest successes--one, the turning a longtime enemy into a staunch supporter and friend, and two, the reuniting of the two separate groups of the department under my management. it also signaled a beginning of a trend i couldn't have foreseen: the loss of one of my researchers (to a transfer).

the third year brought me the painful conclusion of that trend: the loss of two more employees (to a reduction in force). and because of the timing and several previously scheduled projects, i couldn't immediately regroup to reassign their duties--so i took on the bulk of them myself.

it worked, off and on. when things would slow down, i'd catch up. when things sped up, i'd get behind. when things were good, i did things like... sleep. i started taking a lunchtime yoga class with some of my employees. when things were bad, i did my best brit impression and downplayed my unhappiness.

but then things got very very bad.

my relationship with my boss has been rather complicated. he's a nice guy, an awesome drinking buddy, and we openly do the work-wife/work-husband thing. (yeah, so i'm the favorite work-wife, but what does that mean? he has at least three.) he's hardworking, a creative thinker, a convincing speaker, etc. etc. etc. but he's so busy he doesn't have the time to think about the things he says he'll think about, much less do the things he says he's going to do. his follow-through, both personal and professional, sucks. and yet... because he's been so kind to me, and because he's been so [occasionally] helpful, i feel like there's a debt i can't repay. logic tells me this is stupid, but i can never fully shut down that feeling. even after everything has gone to hell and i'm livid and hysterical and shouting at cam that i owe my boss nothing, well, he'll call and tell me something he did for me, and i all but fold and whisper that my love for him knows no bounds. and if he shows up in person, forget it. cam says it's like magic. he's like an anti-depressant. he shows up, the sun shines, i feel sassy and optimistic. it usually takes a week or so for the feeling to fade, but in a life of lows, a temporary high can be... worth it. to this day, he calls, i roll my eyes, but he brings a tiny sunshiny spot in a dark day, even when i know he's not saying anything substantive or even realistic.

for a long time, i scoffed at the idea of leaving because i couldn't bear the idea of leaving my group. the spun-off group, they could survive on their own, but the others are my children. but after the worst year ever, i finally admitted to myself that maybe they would survive under new management, but if i kept at this pace without support, i wouldn't survive my own. my work bff has been ranting for ages that what i've been doing is just not sustainable, which i know and understand, but all this ranting ever does is frustrate me or fill me with despair.

paul is usually too obsessed with himself or his dad to notice that things are bad with me, but nola notices when the "nola, please" moments increase in frequency.

nola: let's play a game.
me: okay.
nola: you ask me to play a game.
me: okay--nola, let's play a game!
nola: [turning away, pretending to type on a blackberry] no, please, i'm working.
me: oh my god.

i often felt torn talking to cam about his work situation because he was clearly unhappy enough to have an actual quitting timeframe (the end of a project), even though he was supportive of me leaving my job. i never wanted him to feel trapped by my misery. i felt that his situation was possibly worse because the pain came with one person, and it came on fast. i reasoned with myself. well, my descent into hell has been slower, so i can bear it. when things came to a head, i felt entirely comfortable telling him i thought he should quit. i'm glad he did. i do think his situation was intolerable in a way mine wasn't.

right now we're coming off the worst month of my working life. i thought nothing could beat october, but i was so totally wrong. may was so amazingly, astonishingly awful, so painful, so sleepless, so alcoholic, so... wearying and soul-killing and heart-sickening. i almost quit on thursday, the very last day of the month. little sleep, lots of coffee, lots of tears. there were so many different projects, emergencies, problems, challenges, issues. most of them probably would have been fine on their own, but the combination was overwhelming. opportunistic hiring, planned hiring, contract hiring, new business, training, teaching, an injury to one of my employees, another department overstepping boundaries.... it wouldn't end. the lack of support from higher levels felt even more painful than usual.

in retrospect, i feel like i sound melodramatic and trite, but i was probably averaging 14-15 hours of work a day, 6-7 days a week, for weeks. sometimes (and this covers the last three years) i get to the point on weekends that i need to get out, but i spend much of that time glued to my blackberry in tears so it's almost a total waste. this past month was no exception. nights didn't belong to anyone but work, but i struggled to try to at least pretend there was balance. one night i remember (and it was a weeknight, so i felt decadent) agreeing to go for a 15-minute walk with cam and kids sometime before 8 pm, and i spent the entire time pushing nola's tricycle and barely noticing where we were going because i was looking at my blackberry for most of the time. i think i even mentioned to someone that i was on a walk, feeling guilty that i was on my blackberry and not on my computer, knowing that everyone else was sitting in front of a computer.

after one particularly wretched day, i told the senior member of my trinity that i would quit when the latest project was all over. then i said something similar to my boss, who kinda sorta talked me off that ledge for that moment. but then on the next to last day of the month, something else happened that put me teetering on the edge again. someone was hired in another office to perform a function my department without my consent or even my input. i sent a very politely questioning email in response. i told cam that if it was just a misunderstanding, i'd shrug it off and not worry about it, but if it wasn't a misunderstanding--if i actually did have an accurate read of the situation--it was a fucking quitting offense and to hell with them. i saw the email come into my inbox in the middle of the night, gritted my teeth and refused to look at it.

of course it wasn't a misunderstanding. the next morning, i read the email, burst into angry tears and forwarded it to my bff. then i sent it to gc and waited. he indicated that he hadn't been asked to approve the situation, which immediately put all the burden on my boss. then, true to my sense of him, he very rationally laid out reasons why we should let it work. i knew he would respond that way, and i rely on him to behave the way he does. it's balance. then he told me to call him, and he proceeded to fill me in on an entire year's worth of crap above my paygrade. and he made me promise to not quit that day.

with the bff's help, i wrote another very polite email--this time to my boss to express my disappointment. (i originally wrote "resent," but he made me change it.) i set it up to be delivered at 6:30, so my boss possibly wouldn't get it until the next morning. but he got it immediately and responded that it was news to him. the next morning, he called and said that he understood my concerns and shared them--and also talked about how he had voiced the same concerns when talk of the hire had originally come up, and how he had essentially shouted down the proposal initially, so he, too, was totally surprised that it had gone through.

so off the ledge i stepped. my boss has the amazing ability to make me fall in love in him while simultaneously hating him for what feels like years of neglect. it's a skill. he will go far, if he can ever get out from under of the thumb of his boss.

i also found out that my boss sort of lied (omission? or did i believe what i wanted to believe? so heathers.) to me about my role with the spin-off group from my department. how and when did i find out? when i logged into the review system so i could start drafting annual reviews. well.

the hits, they kept on coming.

so what to do? who fucking knows. but the ledge gets narrower and narrower, and i suspect that it's just going to get harder and harder to keep me from stepping off, and maybe if i continue my current trend of whining like a wee baby when times get rough, those who care may cease to care at some point.

May 14, 2011

frenetic

what a madcap freaking fracking week. soon to be capped off with a weekend of work

never even got around to my mother's day recap. will have to do that one of these days.

April 20, 2011

talking myself up

i am in self-review hell.

April 9, 2011

unpleasant truths

a few days ago, i was speaking to one of my employees about a slight revision to his schedule.

after he had made a few smartass comments about his coworkers, i mildly interjected, "i asked you a question. if the answer is no, that's fine. there's no need to badmouth the others."

him: i'm not badmouthing the others.
him: it's not badmouthing if it's true.
him: it may be unpleasant, but it's true.

yesterday i lost my temper and delivered some unpleasant truths to a friend. yep, i badmouthed a friend to himself. oy.

a little background:

for reasons that are not entirely clear (the reasons given to me are really conspiracy theory, so i am suspicious, but recently divulged history gives me more to work with than he realizes), a longtime work-friend has been looking for work since january. i understand that it is only april, but his job-hunting efforts have not exactly set the world on fire.

and for other reasons that are not entirely clear, i have allowed this friend to lean--heavily, extensively, overwhelmingly--on me. i have been his sole confidante. i revised his resume (multiple times) and cover letter. there have been countless emails, texts, instant messages since january. to complicate matters, he is in love with me. i have discouraged him as gently as possible, but the prolonged "secret" (to his family and friends--not secret to cam) confidences have probably given him the idea of a tighter bond than actually exists.

he has an interview on monday. i am delighted because i am exhausted. it's partially my fault for enabling this man, but surely he should carry some of the blame because he's a needy mess. it's sad how such a good working relationship and friendship has come down to me constantly thinking, "JUST FUCKING LEAVE ALREADY. OKAY? OKAY."

well, on friday, i made the mistake of mentioning that my boss wants to hold a meeting with his old boss. that started a minor flood of self-righteous invective. since i have grown weary of his hatred of our firm, that started a tickle in my throat that i tried to swallow. then he started talking in an overconfident fashion about monday's interview (with one of our biggest competitors) and smugly pointed out that he had received a callback from another firm. i couldn't take it anymore. frustrated, i essentially told him that he hadn't been trying hard enough to do anything but come up with excuses. obviously i used more words than that.

him: [in disbelief] are you beating me up?
me: yes, because no one else will do it because you won't talk to ANYONE.

he left my office, and i ranted to cam via im.

two hours later, i almost repeated that rant to my friend verbatim--via text. at first he tried to blame me (he declared he wouldn't have said anything about the firm and his old boss if *i* hadn't brought it up), then he tried to solicit pity ("i guess i am not as strong as you may think"), and then finally he decided to agree and apologize.

cam told me to turn off the phone, but i left it on so i could listen to music.

this morning i received a conciliatory email thanking me for pointing out these issues and wishing me a good weekend. cam wanted to respond to it for me, but i declined his kind offer.

friend, i do wish you well, and i feel a little guilty for unloading on you in that fashion, but i do believe you needed to hear it. i'm sure you're not reading this because i never told you about this blog, but if you are, i have one last message for you:

grow a pair. PLEASE.

March 26, 2011

surrogate

my cousin's son is an adorable little boy. he's a little younger than nola, a little taller.

nola is crazy about him--more in theory than in practice, anyway. the other day she put two hello kitty dolls in a little box, claimed it was a car, and then declared one was her, the other, him. but today we met up at the cemetery and she wouldn't look at him for at least 15 minutes.

i like seeing him. i really do. he's a cutie, and he seems quite fond of us. but good lord, whenever he has to accompany his grandparents on an outing involving us (be it to my house or the cemetery), why do they give him to me?

hello, do i look like i need more kids?

yet they hover close enough to make me feel uncomfortable with any kind of discipline. how many times can i gently say, "share, please," before i start to lose my patience? and please, throwing rocks at a tree is not a good pastime for tiny uncoordinated people.

(on the bright side, nola sat in a high chair at the restaurant for an entire meal just because he was sitting in one next to her. amazing. almost three and she's never done that before.)

i know you guys enjoy your chats with my mom and other family members of a certain generation, but this reminds me a little too much of when i was a kid and expected to watch my little cousins. i must ooze responsibility or something.

March 19, 2011

are you effing kidding me?

once upon a time, people annoyed by the comments/rantings/blatherings of others would say so.

x: blah blah blahblahblah!
x: and then i realized that i wasn't wearing any shoes!
y: what the hell?
y: you wasted half my day to get to THAT?
y: that wasn't even a good punchline.

i'm not sure when this happened, but i've noticed in recent months that no one goes to that much effort anymore.

x: blah blah blahblahblah!
x: and then i realized that i wasn't wearing a shirt!
y: really.

or

x: blah blah blahblahblah!
x: and then i realized that i wasn't wearing any pants!
y: seriously?

i oversimplify--those aren't so much statements or questions as semi-questions, but i can't figure out how to describe the intonation (or the punctuation, for that matter). there's also a certain expression that accompanies these words, somewhere in the happy space between contempt and disbelief.

we often use this when describing the inane/insane actions of others.

x: and then he told me to run a report, but he expected me to figure out the criteria.
y: seriously?

x: she got upset when i called her out on her shit, even though she's been riding me constantly for what she considers MY shit.
y: really.

i ranted about this trend to cam a while back, but recent exchanges have shown me that i am as guilty of it as anyone else. embarrassing! (but cam does it, too. har.) so now we are trying to buck this trend and return to fuller, more descriptive language.

easier said than done, i'm afraid.

those two little words used in that way have eaten their way into my vernacular, so i suspect that i'll need some big guns to get them out again. a catchy replacement might work, but it would have to be extremely catchy to make me say X number of words where previously one would do. any ideas?

October 18, 2010

creeps

after watching last week's glee, i had "lucky" (jason mraz/colbie caillat) stuck in my head. i thought quinn and sam performed most cutely.

mentioned it to cam, and he suggested i buy the track off itunes. okay, not a bad idea. i already had the original, but, like i said, the glee version was cute. so i spent a few minutes browsing the glee catalog.

oh my freaking god.

people who post excessively negative reviews of glee songs because they feel they don't measure up to the original are people who need to get a grip. okay, say the song is lacking something, it doesn't quite have the charm/spark/tune/feeling/whatever of the original. fair enough. but because you feel that they butchered a song that is near and dear to your heart, you think the show/people behind the show should leave/die/owe you an apology?

Glee is so lame! They don't sing their own songs. The show is so fake. The actors aren't even teenagers. They're all in their 20's. This show takes place at a high school. WTF? You ruined a song by my favorite band. Screw you. You guys are one of the reasons music is almost dead.

or this:

overall, GLEE failed, butchered on[e] of my favorite songs, the stupid girl has no emotion. srsly, how do ppl like Glee???? ... GLee itself is one big epic FAIL.

i have the hardest time understanding this. maybe it's just the culture of the internet -- anonymity creates bullies, yay! but really -- you don't like, don't comment! does it make you feel like a big person to say, "yeah, the reason why this song is 4.5 stars instead of 5 is all me, baby"?

August 21, 2010

crowded

generally speaking, fans are irritating.

i'm sure that lots of people would disagree with me, but i firmly believe that crowded house fans are among the most annoying people in the world.

this is due in large part to the sheer longevity of the finns. when you have a musical legacy spanning multiple decades, you are bound to have fans with multiple-decade-spanning fandom. those fans show up at concerts and talk incessantly about the last show... or that amazing show back in the 80s or the farewell tour or the show where neil wore that shirt or had that haircut or when they sang that song and omg, where were you when you heard that paul died? by the way, did you know that he was really short? oh, and the new guy, matt, well, i waited for hours to get his autograph and he came out the back door with these two girls wearing dresses that were THAT short and he just had this big happy shit-eating grin and you could totally hear him saying, "i'm with the band!"

ahem. one-upmanship is alive and well.

cam and i went to see crowded house at club nokia last night, and it was a great show. musically. the fans i could have done without.

April 22, 2010

bosslady

i am at a place in my life where i have to be able to say -- with absolute sincerity, "i'm sorry i didn't think of EVERYTHING."

February 26, 2010

flooding my inbox

can i just say that whoever invented "reply to all" SHOULD BE TAKEN OUTSIDE AND SHOT?

February 21, 2010

in-home care

cam, paul, nola and i have been sick for what feels like years.

paul has been in and out of school. cam has spent quite a few days working from home. (my mother guilted me for going to work while nola was ill.)

everyone coughs, snuffles and swallows painfully.

i had pinkeye!

these past few days have been particularly galling because cam and i seem to have gotten worse (although it's been okay today) instead of better. i'm losing my voice for the second time in two weeks, and the illness is completely different from what it was then. nose, please stop dripping.

must we run through the entire gamut of potential colds/flu before this winter is over?

January 20, 2010

bicker

life is both too short AND too long for stupid feuds.

December 27, 2009

weird timing

my boss is on vacation, yet he has still managed to negatively affect my holidays. the hell? what makes you think i want to think about departmental goals on the morning after christmas?

December 2, 2009

learn, live, accept

the veneer of pleasant is wearing a little thin, but i have to work at maintaining it -- just because i got a response i found a little flippant doesn't mean that it was necessarily meant that way. i'm letting past history get in the way. i just need to suck it up and take it at face value because i'll drive myself insane otherwise.

November 14, 2009

harsh conditions

this has been an extremely trying week.

(apparently nola is having a trying morning. she just grumped at me because she was having a hard time shoving obama back into the barack-in-the-box (which i understand is a collectible and not a toy).)

work totally kicked my ass. early mornings, late nights, high-stress/high-profile projects, misery. people were difficult. there just weren't enough hours in the day. of course, i was a little chastened to realize that part of my unhappiness could have been, ahem, pms-related (goddamn female hormones), but there was enough crap flying that i think i would have behaved the same way regardless.

i hope next week is better. my boss will be in town, so i suspect it will probably be worse.

November 8, 2009

overstepping

i wish my mother would stop competing for nola's attention. whatever her motivation is, whatever her reasoning might be -- i don't care. just stop it. stop trying to persuade her to go to you. when i tell you not to let her do something, don't encourage her to do just that. you may have brought me into this world, but your ties to my child are a little more distant.

August 22, 2009

killjoys

children, i love you dearly, but sometimes you really know how to suck all the joy out of an outing.

but i concede it doesn't help that i am also in dire need of anti-anxiety meds...

August 18, 2009

at the very least, it's tacky

after a friend confides in you that a long-awaited vacation has gone belly-up because of a completely unexpected and ill-timed plumbing failure, shouldn't there be some kind of reasonable mourning period -- you know, longer than A DAY -- before you can bring up your own fancy vacation plans?

go on, rub it in my face! thanks for emailing me a link to your newfound tropical paradise!

(yeah, well, this did happen a few days ago, but it still rankles.)

August 11, 2009

changing plans and priorities

we finally made our plans to visit cam's family in hawaii. it finally seemed like the right time. cam found a nice package including air and hotel, and we were set.

but then our plumbing suddenly went to hell. completely and totally to hell.

we lived in a weird state of limited water usage for well over a week. as the plumbers worked to fix one thing, they'd find another that needed work. jackhammers at night. plumbing repairs by moonlight. turned out the plumbers worked swing. that made it less upsetting that they didn't show up until late afternoon each day.

we cancelled our hotel and got vouchers for the airfare. (i don't even want to talk about that debacle.) we got an emergency loan. we grumped a lot. yes, my mom's house has a perfectly nice little bathroom, but having to use it in the middle of the night made me feel like i had an outhouse. (they were able to restore water to her house earlier than to ours.)

so. no hawaii, so we're going to take a few days off and go to san diego. legoland and assorted museums. it's more a paul trip than a family trip, but at least it's something. maybe we'll go to hawaii in december or something. christmas in hawaii sounds nice.

June 4, 2009

need new pants

i heavily resent the lining of the dress pants i'm wearing for giving me panty lines that i shouldn't have.

May 29, 2009

so-called day off

there's a partner at work with severe boundary issues. since he works all hours, we should work all hours. i told him i was off today, and he emailed me twice to call him. um, no?

so i called his assistant instead.

(had nola's follow-up appointment today -- four shots and bloodwork, plus a re-weigh. she weighed exactly the same as she did two weeks ago, so the doctor is not as concerned. my poor tiny pincushion of a baby.)

May 28, 2009

my life in pictures

so. my high school life has been laid bare on facebook. part of me finds it funny, but part of me is so freaking horrified that i don't know what to think.

May 27, 2009

highway robbery, or ungratefully photogenic

yes, i understand that pictures are worth a thousand words, etc. etc. etc. i know that i will be happy to have so many pictures of paul as a kindergartener because he'll one day be an adult and i will cherish my fading memories of him as a tiny boy. yes, yes, yes, yada yada yada. i know all this is true.

but that doesn't mean i want his school to push photos on me at every opportunity. tell me, why are there two picture days a year? (the first one, i understand -- but the second one? how dare you send home $45 worth of pictures and then tell me just to simply send back what i don't want. how can i return pictures of MY son? SHADY.) why is there an expensive custom classroom photobook? stop trying to appeal to my mommy heart while stealing from my mommy wallet.

May 22, 2009

littlest girl

since nola's doctor's appointment last week, i've been talking to people a little bit about nola's size.

i don't care how big nola is, where on the charts she falls. all i care about is that she is happy and healthy. as long as she doesn't have the dreaded "failure to thrive" label slapped on her, i'm perfectly content. i can see why the doctor is concerned (her weight did take a dive on the charts), but i also live with the child and see that ever since she learned to crawl, she has been racing around at three hundred miles an hour.

so far i've found myself thinking about three different opinions.

one: "at least you won't have to buy new clothes very often -- she'll fit in the same ones for a really long time!" very prosaic, very practical. i liked that.

two: "guys like short girls. and short girls can wear the cutest shoes -- the best ones tend to have three-inch heels, and tall girls can't always wear those." only a tall girl would tell me such nonsense. rock those heels, tall girls. don't be ashamed of your height. as for guys liking short girls, why should i care about that? what if my short girl doesn't like guys?

three: (said with some heat) "those charts are for average american kids, right? they don't take into account kids who are three-quarters' asian!" this bothered me a little bit. what is the average american kid? am i to assume that the people behind these charts only measured white kids? (if so, why is kaiser using a chart of whiteness to measure children in a not-so-white area?) and here's a thought: should i move to a land of three-quarter asianness so that my children will appear tall? this is where we live. it's a melting pot. southern california is a place of all races, all sizes. to me, this is "average america" and we are what we are. my children will go to school with and be friends with kids of all colors, and they may be bigger or smaller than them. whatever. do i want nola saying, "i don't fall where i should on that chart because the chart-makers didn't measure people LIKE ME"? why make excuses?

when i bring up nola's size, it's partially because i think it's kind of hilarious. yes, my daughter is still solidly in 6-9 month clothing at almost 13 months. yes, i can still wear her without pain in the baby bjorn (i don't think i lasted even a month with that thing with paul). she's a wee thing and absolutely adorable. i'm not looking for comfort. if something is seriously wrong, then please, i might like some comfort then. but now? i don't need someone patting my hand and uttering soothing shit because she's little.

April 15, 2009

right?

i hate people who have to be right, and i hate people who get so stuck on the hows and whys (and how and why they can never be wrong) that they lose track of what it was they were trying to do in the first place. GET OVER YOURSELVES ALREADY.

April 10, 2009

get well or die

i used to take off every friday because i had an overabundance of benefit time that i needed to use up. but... a combination of circumstance, illness and incompetence has been forcing me into the office for the last few weeks.

today is the last weekday of paul's spring break, and someone else's illness meant that i didn't get to enjoy any of those days with him. cam and i had briefly discussed disneyland for friday, but we wouldn't have ended up there anyway because the crowds this week (being spring break and all) have been monstrous.

STILL.

fine, don't give a shit about your health. fine, make lameass excuses to yourself about why you are the way you are. fine, ignore everyone who has ever made an effort to care about you. but goddammit, it's not fair that your inability to take care of your own business means i have to miss out on my child's life.

paul: since you're not going to work tomorrow...
me: no, sweetie, i have to go to work, i'm sorry.
paul: oh.
paul: if you didn't have to go to work, you could dye eggs with us.
me: oh.

i hate you sometimes.

February 25, 2009

sharp bits of metal

i HATE superfluous staples. what kind of people think that two or three staples is necessary to attach a single sheet to an already stapled document? would it kill you to use one instead of two or three? would the universe implode if you -- dare i say it? -- removed the existing staple and then just used one to fasten the whole stack?

a week or so ago, my boss and i were joking about having to cut back on office supplies in light of slashed budgets. he said he had a pair of tiny pliers in his office specifically to straighten out bent staples. i now have a burning desire to give each person in the department a single box of staples with a pair of tiny pliers -- and say, "hey, dudes, that's it for the year. use it wisely."

February 18, 2009

bringing us up to date

maybe i'm just not friendly enough, but i don't get why so many people here, upon returning to the office after being out a day or more, feel the need to update everyone on their lives for an hour or so before getting to the work they missed while they were out. seriously? what part of "your sick/vacation/personal day doesn't extend to THIS MORNING" do they not get?

January 25, 2009

concatenated

i think sweaters look quite nice over collared/buttoned shirts, but i don't like the trend of sweaters with attached dickeys and cuffs. sure, it's a lot less bulky (i don"t know too many women IN NEED OF excess bulk) and you don"t need to worry about the shirt getting twisted under the sweater, but i think it looks really cheap. a few days ago i saw one labeled with the word "swouse," and i agree that it's the perfect name for such a perfectly ridiculous garment. swouse. pfft.

January 22, 2009

oft-heard refrain

sometimes i hate, nay, utterly despise, my job. it's a cliche, but it would be great if it weren't for the people. some of them, anyway.

January 6, 2009

polite acknowledgments

since paul is now in kindergarten and is writing in a regular basis, i decided that this would be the time for paul to learn how to write his own thank-you notes. i printed out some lined paper (complete with that cute little dotted line in the middle) for him to use. he is supposed to be doing some writing practice over his winter break, so i figured that this would cover it. we'd just send photocopies of his work to his teacher when school started again.

sounds like a good idea, right?

can i just say that this is one of the most painful activities i have ever invented? jesus h. christ. watching him futz and fiddle and generally waste his time and my time while trying to avoid doing anything is seventh level of hell kind of stuff. what's worse is that we can't simply abandon this project because that would show him that it's okay to 1) be ungrateful, and 2) be a brat about things he doesn't want to do because we'll "save" him from it. bullshit. so on we trudge, with threats of returned gifts and gritted-teeth encouragement for the stuff he does grudgingly write.

that said, his letters are fabulous. i would be THRILLED to get one.

December 14, 2008

half empty

when it comes to how much milk i've left nola for her daily rice cereal, i'm an optimist and my mom is a pessimist.

me: i left you about two ounces.
her: no, that was only one.
me: it was almost two -- more than one and a half.
her: no, it wasn't.
her: it was closer to one.

knowing how emotionally and physically draining all this milk production and pumping is, couldn't she just humor me a little bit?


November 22, 2008

beast of burden

motrin's new ad campaign baffles me. i saw a anti group on facebook regarding the ad, so i checked it out.

good freaking lord. how offensive. so... babywearing moms do so to make themselves look like "official" moms? it's the trend that moves us? bullshit. i don't doubt that there are mothers who do this because it's currently a popular thing to do. the easy availability of slings and carriers of all types certainly would indicate that people are buying them. supply and demand 101.

but if you are doing it properly, babywearing should not be painful. (about half of the coworkers i met while out and about with nola asked me the same thing: "is that comfortable?" i always emphatically said yes.) definitely not painful not to make you cry and take painkillers! however, after a day with nola at the backup daycare, i was pretty sore -- and i realized what they should have emphasized instead.

babywearing does not hurt. but because you are carrying your child hands-free, you might try to carry too much stuff with those available hands (and shoulders)! in addition to nola, i had my big heavy work purse, a big stuffed diaper bag and my lunch tote. i looked like a burro or something, panniers at the ready. when we got to work that morning, cam rearranged the diaper bag slightly so he could put my travel coffee cup in one of the bottle pockets. thank god he opened the door for me.

see, motrin, if you perhaps focused on the overachieverness of babywearing -- the self-inflicted packhorse syndrome? -- maybe you could have earned a few wry grins, maybe got a couple sheepish "yeah, that's me" comments. maybe some moms would have thought it was cute (unlike those brooke shields' "german engineering" vw commercials. wtf is up with that?). i'm already not a fan of motrin for other reasons, and damn, this certainly doesn't help.

November 6, 2008

mailers

it's clearly that time again.

i am freaking drowning. sure, flipping leisurely through a catalog is one of my greatest joys in life (it's certainly less likely to cause the glassy-eyed surfing-the-interwebs face), but who has time? and who actually enjoys seeing those holiday edition catalogs pile up by the front door through november and december? so here i am, typing catalog after catalog into catalog choice and feeling irritated by how many companies have circumnavigated no-mail requested by simply issuing a new customer number. i have almost 200 catalogs on file with them, and yes, the number of catalogs i receive has dropped significantly.

but wait until thanksgiving...

October 21, 2008

the unwilling telecommuter

am working from home today. it is not supposed to be THIS MUCH HARDER to work from home than it is to... work from work. god. what a day. i feel like i got nothing done.

October 14, 2008

deeply felt

i'm sorry that you have a very serious illness, but being sick doesn't give you the right to shit all over other people -- especially people who have always been loyal friends to you. being sick doesn't give you the right to say things that could be extremely hurtful just because you don't care anymore. (were you trying to get back at her for something she said to you once to try to snap you out of your doldrums?) just because you're miserable doesn't mean that everyone else should be miserable, too. we loved you for years, but if you do this to her again, will i even regret your passing?

October 12, 2008

lowlights

about a year or so ago we received a little subscription request notice from highlights magazine. (we had subscriptions to turtle and humpty dumpty -- and nick jr. magazine at one point -- so i guess our names were in the great big kids magazine subscription system in the sky.) because i had super-fond nostalgia for highlights magazine from my childhood, we signed up for a subscription (even though i thought the magazine pretty much sucked by the time my childhood subscription ended -- the ones from the late '70s were really much better).

now i don't know if things were like this before. i didn't get the mail (was i tall enough to reach the mailbox?), so i don't know if highlights has always had A THOUSAND different spin-off "clubs," each with their own publications/invoices/account numbers. maybe they did and my parents wisely tossed them. in any event, we are not so wise: i signed paul up for one because he seemed interested. cam signed paul up for another -- in fact, paul painstakingly filled out part of the invitation card himself.

after about four months, i cancelled both of those club memberships. stuff was coming faster than paul could read it; i felt like i was constantly sending them money. and to be honest, some of these activities were a little old for him. maybe at some point in the future we can resume his memberships, but until then, those membership invites are going into the recycle bin the minute they show up in our mailbox. I MEAN IT.

October 9, 2008

hairless

i am so over this postpartum hair loss thing. SO OVER. the other day i was thinking my hair looked a little greasy after washing, so i took a closer look in the mirror. it wasn't greasy -- it was thin. thinner than thin. it just won't stop falling out. there is hair all over the floor. when loading and unloading the dishwasher i spend too much time picking out the hairs that have just spontaneously fallen off my head. i think i need bangs to help disguise the fact that my hairline appears to be receding. the feeling of a single hair falling on my arm is enough to start the inner boil (or the inner tears). will this never end?

October 4, 2008

slippers at dinner

a few weeks ago we were somewhere (a restaurant, maybe?), i can't remember where, and these two nicely dressed old people showed up. the man was dapper in an old brown suit, his female companion pretty in a blouse and pants -- but then i looked down. the woman was wearing white flipflops. at that point i shook my head (and in my head i was shaking my tiny fist) at the overcasualization of american society. i don't care if they are covered in diamonds, flipflops are not dressy shoes!

August 27, 2008

hungry baby

when a extremely-recently-previously-exclusively-breastfed baby refuses a bottle when you think she should have one, that does not count as a "hunger strike."

SHUT IT.

early alarm bells

can i just say that it sucks to get up at 4:30 am for work? of course, since the grass is always greener:

coworker: [dramatic sigh] i wish i could get up at 4:30.

yeah, yeah, i know you get up at 4, but please, you live in egypt.

savior: the return

i've been back at work for a few days now and the attention is driving me MAD.

i can deal with the omg-we-missed-you-so-much.

i can deal with the how's-the-baby-do-you-have-pictures-what-a-cutie-how-is-big-brother-doing. i can send pictures. i can chatter inanely on how i'd rather be home.

i'm not having the best time dealing with the hints and sometimes flat-out comments about how the firm needs me and goddamn-your-boys-were-failures. they did the best they could, okay? but what makes me me is not what makes them them, and it's not really fair to expect me-level service but not allow them me-level leniency. (i miss something, i'm just "so busy," they miss something, they're "not on the ball." growl.) this was not an experiment in job security. the firm did not come crashing down so it sounds like life, in the grand scheme of things, WORKED.

that said, i worried about my guys because i didn't think they fully understood how busy it was going to get and how much pressure they'd be under. i'm sad to say that i was right.

x: we got KILLED.
y: the first six weeks were the WORST six weeks i've ever had at a job.

they already know that they didn't do quite the job they should have done, all right? but cut them some slack -- they did what they could. so please don't greet me with "our savior is back!" or talk about the chaos that ruled the earth in my absence. a simple "welcome back" and "congrats to you and your family" will suffice. i don't need to feel guilty that i was gone so long or defensive that i didn't train my guys enough, or worse, that i sacrificed them to prove to the firm that i am irreplaceable.

August 24, 2008

orange and white

i am SO sick of hearing cries of "nemo!" around clownfish exhibits.

August 23, 2008

pumps

three lashes.

i am at fault because i didn't inspect my new breastpump right away. i go back to work on monday, and here i am, waiting until almost the very last minute to refamiliarize myself with the product. i used a medela pump-in-style at work for 13 months, so when cam brought the pump-in-style advanced home just under three months ago, i didn't bother checking because i knew it wasn't all that different from the original. when i opened it last night, all seemed well. then when i went to pump this morning, i discovered that the ac adaptor was frayed and "repaired" with electrical tape. i dug up the adaptor from my old pump (the pump died after hard usage) and cam noticed it was a different voltage. cam also noted that it was missing the battery pak AND the pump face looked dirty. huh. he called medela (and left a message with their answering service), then called target. even though the pump is clearly labeled as being non-returnable once opened, it was pretty damned obvious that the one we had had indeed been returned. the target rep cam spoke to told him to just return the pump since it was still within the 90 day returnable period, so he did and got me a new pump (he inspected it at the store and was satisfied that it had all the parts). much to my surprise, the new pump and my old pump use the same ac adaptor, so the one in the previous box was just wrong.

target is at fault not just because they accepted a return on something that they should not have, but because they put it back out on the shelves. excuse me, this is for a breastpump. these things are supposed to be non-returnable for health reasons, not because of a final clearance sale or some shit like that. they had no choice but to accept the returned item yet again (from us) because we bought it in good faith that NO ONE else had ever owned/used it, but if they had stuck to the freaking policy in the first place, we wouldn't have had to bring it back. just cluelessness. they wouldn't be the first store to have employees not fully cognizant of what it is they are selling.

to the person who returned the breastpump in the first place: i don't even know what to say. i know pumps are expensive, but how dare you even try to return a single-user item? i am so horrified. and what was the deal with the missing pieces and ac adaptor? frayed wires messily wrapped in a knob of electrical tape? you have got to be kidding. cam told me that the manufacture date on the pump he returned was in 2006 (the new one he brought me was made in 2008). did you buy and return this one just so you could swap out the pieces you needed? i hope you realize you are feeding your baby milk tainted with lies and selfishness.

jesu christo, who would have guessed that there would be so much drama involved in something like this?

August 10, 2008

tape is a boy's best friend

for a while now paul has been playing a game called "____ hunt." it might be a bug hunt, a spider hunt, a natural disaster hunt, a sea creature hunt -- but whatever it is, the game involves hiding pictures of whatever all over the house, and then dragging cam along to show him where said pictures are hidden. and then pictures are taken. (unless you're talking about a bug hunt or spider hunt outside the house -- those involve dragging cam outside with a camera to take pictures of said items. and then there is all the fun of cropping those pictures! yeah, i don't get it.)

in the early days of these hunts, he used to hide plastic spiders, pictures cut from magazines, drawings by adults in his life. lately he has taken to doing his own drawings and they are surprisingly good (says his mother). there has been another change -- in the beginning these hunted items were just lying around. now they must be taped down with blue painters tape. i now have a purple starfish (which i drew and colored at paul's request) taped over my bed.

paul loves the blue tape and is constantly asking for tape loops so he can stick stuff up. (yesterday he taped something to a plant. sigh.) we currently have at least three rolls in use and i am trying really hard to keep them out of paul's hands. i've stored them (along with other rolls of tape) in a box on a shelf, but cam keeps getting them down for paul and then forgets to put them away. then they have the audacity to ask me where the tape is. um, same place where your MIND is hiding?

this evening i was forced to do almost all of the drawing. i had to draw a megalodon, a starfish and a reef shark sans fins because he wanted to draw the fins himself. then i had to cut them out because he couldn't remember where his safety scissors were, and then i had to get the tape and tear off little pieces so he could make loops. he kept asking me, "what sea creature should i draw?" but i guess he actually meant "what sea creatures should you draw?" (the other day he had us draw shells and he piled them up on a balled-up blanket and declared it was a coral reef. it was cute for about a minute, then he started whining when i dared to lift nola off the boppy because apparently she, too, was a denizen of the reef.)

i'm getting sick of the taped stuff. in the past, i could pick up the volcanoes/spiders/worms/fish-spitting-out-an-ostracod myself and put them in an envelope in his room. but the taped stuff... if i even suggest taking them down or moving them, i get shrieked at like i just stuffed his best friend in the dishwasher. or god forbid, suggested he eat what the rest of us are having for dinner. we have a firefly squid taped above the linen cabinet, a clam on the floor, a tinier clam on the tansu, a whale above the alarm keypad, a reef shark taped to the bedroom wall, a giant squid on the fireplace, a humboldt squid taped to the computer room doorframe, etc. etc. etc. i am constantly finding these damned things all over the freaking house. i don't mind the hunting games, but the tape, the blasted tape...

July 31, 2008

in defense

was reading something today in which some folks were bashing our stroller (no, not our stroller specifically -- god, grace has the worst stroller -- but the make and model, if you will), and i got rather irritated. i mean, jesus, what has bugaboo ever done to you?

i know a few days ago i wrote something which could have been taken as anti-stroller, but i'm not really anti-stroller. i do love our frog. we bought it in 2003 and we took good care of it. we're not getting a new stroller for nola -- i'm considering purchasing a new custom hood just because i want to doll up the navy blue a little, but that's it. it looks great (paul was never really a fan of riding once he became a toddler, honestly) and it still steers like a dream. yes, it does have some drawbacks -- the fold is a little awkward, it cost more than we would have liked -- but it's been very useful. we didn't buy it because it was trendy or fashionable or because someone on "sex and the city" had one. we first heard of it when we read a mention of it in baby bargains (it was a negative mention, obviously). out of curiosity, we did some research. eventually CAM was the one who chose it. he liked the steer, he liked the feel, he liked the design. i had been leaning towards an inglesina zippy, i think, so i was pretty horrified by the price difference. (oh, you should have seen my pregnant tantrum when i realized cam bought it without using ebates or any other kind of a discount program!) regardless, it's a fab stroller and i do look forward to using it once nola's a bit bigger and babywearing becomes a little less comfortable.

just because a lot of people have sold theirs doesn't mean it's total crap. who said every product had to work for everyone? and even if someone bought a bugaboo because it was trendy, if it makes that person happy, what's the problem? egads, parents can be so judgmental. don't you just love mommy drive-bys?

June 14, 2008

zero tolerance (the aftermath)

paul: you're going through mommy's stuff!
my mom: [defensively] oh, sorry.

lately i've been challenging my mother -- okay, baiting -- about reading my mail, but i hadn't really thought about paul taking notice.

oops.

that said, it was still an absolutely freaking hilarious moment.

May 12, 2008

zero tolerance

i don't know why, but i am having the hardest time dealing with my mother now. i know i can be thin-skinned where she's concerned, but damn, life with her is a freaking hot mess right now.

the last straw came when i realized she was reading my mail.

her: [defensively] the envelope was already open.

i was also less than pleased to discover that she was perusing the contents of my desk. apparently if it hasn't been filed, it's fair game. what a snoop. i haven't nosed around her paperwork since i was a teenager (i still remember the time with great amusement when i came upon my parents' marriage license and realized it was dated five months before my brother's birthday. (oh, snap.) to be fair, it's not like they were necessarily hiding this fact from me -- and both of my parents were in their 30s already.). i already lock my file drawers because i don't want paul pulling stuff out. i had no idea that it would also be a mom-deterrent.

one time her reasoning was that the stuff she was looking at was from the credit union we both use. sure, but it's not your account. did i ask you to review my refi papers? are you now a mortgage broker in your spare time? give me a break.

May 1, 2008

just do your job, please

what a stressful and crappy kind of day. it was not the restful family-oriented day i was hoping for. instead i spent far too much of it trying to get my insurance situation squared away for paul's upcoming trip to the dentist. i thought we were all set -- it wasn't until the dentist's office contacted the carrier that we discovered that my employer hadn't updated our records. minor hysteria. oh well, at least i can say that the benefits people at work are now VERY AWARE of my existence.

April 28, 2008

suffer

why is everyone sick?

April 12, 2008

unseasonably warm

it is unpleasantly hot. dammit, i thought that i scheduled this pregnancy to avoid southern california summer heat.

March 25, 2008

momentary terror, lasting annoyance

last night when cam and i came home from work, my mom's car was gone.

how odd, we think. they're almost always home when we get home, and if they aren't, we always know where they are. huh.

i start to walk up the stairs -- and the front door is open! i yell down to cam, who insists on going inside first. empty. we go to my mom's house. also empty.

i ask cam to call my mom's cell. no response. cam sits by the window while eating a small snack. no dice. since he has a headache, i send him to bed.

about half an hour or so later, my mom calls cam. they're downstairs in front of the house. i go down to help her bring paul up. i am seething. i see paul's left eye is swollen. she claims his eye was fine when they left her friend's house. i let her ramble a bit. i let paul show me his purchase (a little ladybug chocolate). then i tell them, "you guys are in trouble." paul, of course, bursts into tears, so i have to tell him he's not really in trouble. my mother is incredulous. i knew she would be offended that i am not happy that they weren't home when we got home, so i focus solely on the open door. she seems to think that the fact that she remembers slamming the front door closed should make up for the fact that the door was actually open. she gets so upset about it, i just give up. i just sigh heavily.

hours later, i am in misery. gnats are flying all around me. it's a lot worse than it's ever been, and i had already noticed recently an increase in bug activity inside the house. (as a result, the phrase "raised in a barn" has also seen increased activity inside the house.) even when they aren't actually on me, it feels like they're on me and i want to cry and scratch. i know bugs aren't a big deal -- we could have had raccoons and possums in the house instead. stray cats and dogs. things could have been stolen. they were gone for THREE hours, after all. but bugs on a pregnant woman with frayed nerves are just not cool.

my mother just called to randomly apologize about paul's eye and "all that other stuff." am guessing now her conscience is clean. i wish my house was.

February 14, 2008

pregnancy etiquette?

coworker: hey, you're getting bigger!
me: uh, yeah.
coworker: when are you due?
me: first of may.
coworker: [knowingly] oh, you have quite a ways to go still...

yeah. never stop a pregnant woman on her way to bathroom, especially if you're in the mood to comment on her size.

December 30, 2007

inconveniently snooty

i resent the fact that my new babystyle t-shirts have dry clean instructions. maternity clothes should be wash and wear. sure, there are some articles of clothing that can be worn, aired out and worn again and again (wool cardigans, for example) before dry cleaning, but t-shirts? bah. if i weren't so desperate to have something to wear, i don't think i would have gone this route.

December 20, 2007

fatso

just because i'm bigger than you think i should be doesn't mean i'm having twins. how dare you.

December 19, 2007

stapler etiquette

would it kill people to remove a staple or two from a document before stapling more crap to it? this morning someone handed me eleven sheets of paper with FIVE staples at the top. jesu cristo. some days i spend more time removing excess staples than i do, you know, working.

November 19, 2007

bellyachin'

i know that my pregnancy is really obvious now and i know you're really excited, but that does not give you leave to TALK TO MY STOMACH. my entire life is not just one big inside joke, got it?

October 11, 2007

i AM the fuddy duddy

just because it is after 5 pm and a lot of people have left the office (earlier shifts), that doesn't mean that any of you have the right to turn this floor into party central. shut up and have some fucking respect for the people who are still working.

October 9, 2007

glowing

my hair is falling out faster than i can grow it. my chest is pimply. i've been told that the bridge of my nose has spread. my lips are constantly chapped. i suspect that the much vaunted pregnancy "glow" is nothing more than excess oil production. isn't this supposed to be one of the prettiest times of my life?

September 26, 2007

sugary

upon hearing that my mother is diabetic, the nurse at my prenatal registration class casually said that i should have my glucose level checked. fine, we said. don't eat anything after midnight the night before, she said. fine, we said.

saturday morning we showed up at the lab at 7 am, thinking it would be a straight shot to the techs and back out again. fine, we thought. no, not fine. i wasn't here just to get a fasting reading taken, i was here for the one-hour glucose test. our reaction to the lab tech at the counter must have amused her very much.

so i obediently downed an orange soda and planted myself on a chair in the waiting room. since i wasn't even supposed to walk around, all i could do was look helplessly at paul as he pestered cam to take him someplace else. they walked and walked and walked, much to the unhappiness of a poor tired cam, who had been up half the night dealing with the leaky roof.

a nurse called to tell me to report back to the lab this upcoming saturday for the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. i can't believe i'm dealing with this again so early in the pregnancy. isn't this normally done much further along? i don't have a good feeling about this.

September 16, 2007

big league chew

if this keeps up, i'm going to need to start carrying a spittoon around with me. disgusting.

September 8, 2007

jobhunters

i've been wrapped up in the hiring process lately because i'm getting another assistant. been meaning to chime in now and again with some comments on some of the resumes i've received, but between work, family and health issues, well... yeah.

all you schoolyschoolkids out there, here are some tips from someone who has never had any sort of hr training, but has looked at an awful lot of resumes:

get a separate email address for the jobhunt. something simple, like yourname@gmail.com or something. (there's my gmail plug.) don't put your crazy fun personal email address on your resume because 1) i don't need to know you think you're hot or funny or evil or whatnot, and 2) you don't necessarily want me to find out what you've been doing/drinking/screwing on social networking sites. i can find a name, sure, but names are common enough. an email address nails you.

speaking of social networking sites (and the interwebs in general) -- be smart. i'm not saying that you need avoid things like myspace and facebook or blogs (god forbid), but this might be a good time to maybe make your profiles temporarily private or (as suggested above) swap out your email address. i don't know. you may whine and bitch about how your private life is your own, but sweetie, if it's not private at all, then how can you be mad if i stumble across it? surely you looked up the companies you're wooing, right? looked for the good, the bad, the ugly -- the stories of bad treatment, bad salaries, great benefits, bad bosses, etc. my research is the same thing.

(re blogs: a young woman recently wrote many amusing things about her experience as a summer associate at a big firm -- hangovers and harry potter -- on her blog. she may have thought password-protecting it would save her, but google cache is a bitch.)

objectives are pointless.

correctly spelling the name of your potential employer is a wise move. look, face it, we're all naturally self-centered. when we read anything possibly relating to ourselves, we look for our own names. since you're not putting our names on your cover letter, our firm name will have to do. if you didn't have the courtesy to get our name right, why should we have the courtesy to read your letter any further?

apostrophes can be your friend if you use them properly. if you don't, then one day a bitchy old english major is going to laugh at your sorry ass and consign your resume to the NO pile.

don't be cute with your skills. oh my god, how else am i supposed to know you're an enthusiastic-punctual-motivated-self-starter if you don't list it on your resume right next to your proficiency with various microsoft products?

i don't care about your high school activities unless you just barely graduated from high school (in which case i understand that you have nothing else to write about).

spellcheck doesn't let you off the hook. proofread.

don't give me all the details of your former jobs. if you were an assistant in a previous life, saying you provided administrative assistance or worked on administrative tasks is actually sufficient for me. say clerical if you mean clerical. also fine. but don't tell me that you answered phones, made photocopies, calendared meetings, typed letters, faxed documents. believe it or not, i kinda guessed that you might have experience in such things. if you did something a little outside of the scope of what would be considered a typical administrative task, by all means, tell. if you were picked to train incoming assistants, that's fab. (note: training your replacement does not count.)

if you are in school, i'd like to know where.

if you went to a good school, but then spent the next ten years or so in temp jobs and admin jobs without a whole lot of variation in duties, then we are going to speculate that you are an out-of-work actor.

if you want to work at a law firm as staff, don't include in your cover letter/email that you hope to work there as both staff and eventually as an attorney. this may make attorneys smile and think fondly of your work ethic, but as staff, i find it a little irritating. when i see this i think the following: he's a short-timer, he'll leave soon to go to law school, he's already feeling superior (like he's the first guy in the world to ever think that learning about the back door would help him get in the front door), and quite possibly i don't want to spend my time training someone who is going to leave in a year and then WANT to come back in a few years to treat me like shit. now, it's perfectly fine to say that you're law-school bound or that you're interested in seeing how law firms work from the inside because you're thinking about law school. the dept. likes people in transition. i'll still think you're a short-timer, but at least i won't suspect that you have plans to squash us like the little bugs you think us to be.

learn to type. at least 35 words a minute would be nice. tell me, what are they teaching kids in school these days? how can young people have such busy social lives online when they can't even freaking type? i understand that there was that irritating misspelling/random capitalization trend a while back where it didn't matter if you could type or not because you had to work at looking haphazard anyway, but i thought that had simmered down a bit. how can you get through school without typing? i had to take a typing class in the ninth grade. it was called "electronic keyboarding," and man, how that room hummed. we did accuracy tests, speed tests and, my personal favorite, the alphabet test. 18 years later, this is still one of the most valuable skills i know.

if i seem a little fixated on the school thing, it's because my assistant job was posted to a student/alumni job site (you have to get the password from your school, i believe).

aside from typing, if you're applying for an office job, consider actually stooping to learn some of the skills required by one. basic office skills, like alphabetizing. see, before i get to interview anyone, hr administers a series of basic tests (including typing). if you don't pass, i don't even meet you. now, maybe you botched the tests because you were nervous and anxious. hr understands this and may permit you to take the tests again. my current assistant didn't do so hot on the typing test because he was a little nervous (and in a suit jacket). a kind woman in hr told him to take off the jacket and he did fine after that. maybe you deliberately failed the tests because you realized that this environment wasn't for you. okay, fine. maybe you blew off the tests because you had nothing better to do than put on a suit, drive downtown and be laughed at by people possibly less educated than you. who knows?

out of the armload of resumes i saw in the past two weeks, i've okayed four people for interviews. out of the four, i met TWO. luckily, the two were great, but i'm shocked by the fact that two college-educated adults could not pass a basic skills test. (i've heard that the former head of hr, baffled by the fact that so many people were failing, took the test home and gave it to her 8-year-old son. he, of course, passed with flying colors.) if you can't pass these tests, how am i supposed to take you seriously?

grumpity

it's almost 4. i've been awake since just before 3. guess i went to bed too early? ah, sweet, sweet nausea and heartburn.

cam: how was your day?
me: i've been telling you all day.
me: does the word "crappy" sound familiar?

August 31, 2007

impunity

i need to dial down the bitterness that permeates my being when discussing (or even thinking about) certain people.

"don't hate the player, hate the game," says my assistant without a trace of self-mockery.

but what if you can't help but hate everyone and everything? some days i consider hanging myself with my mouse cable.

August 24, 2007

dear coworker

contrary to your belief, typos and poor grammar do not make us think, "wow, that poor guy, he's really under a lot of stress." oh noes. instead, i'm almost certain that THIS is the common reaction: "what an asshat. it is SO not fair that he gets paid more than we do."

thanks,
me

August 20, 2007

rashy

the heat is getting to us. paul scratches and scratches. we went for a walk. he scratched his wrist where i held it. before long, he had a bumpy rash beneath the slippery sweat.

but he doesn't seem to care. he just itches and scratches almost absentmindedly. he doesn't like hydrocortisone cream, though. prefers aquaphor.

i muttered to myself in irritation as i scratched my own arm. paul looked at me. "poor scratchy mommy," he said sadly.

August 8, 2007

roman

god save me from touchy-feely co-workers. i gave you a hug because i haven't seen you in a while, not because i wanted to give you the opportunity to cop a feel. let go already.

July 26, 2007

nonsensical

yes, please, let's talk really loudly about how nice and quiet it is here early in the mornings. i hate the cube farm outside my door.

July 24, 2007

email foolishness

what part of "please do not reply to all" do people not understand? jesu cristo.

July 19, 2007

seething undercurrents

there is always drama at work.

a doesn't like b, b hates a and c, c doesn't trust b, d thinks a and c are crazy, e hates a and c and occasionally b and d, b and d hate e, f is caught in the middle because everyone more or less likes him (but e thinks he's kind of slow)...

it honestly wouldn't be such a big deal if they all just LEAVE EACH OTHER THE FUCK ALONE. but no, they all have to be saccharine-sweet and pretend to like each other (or work from home), then badmouth each other when they think they have found a likeminded audience. i am so sick of it.

July 12, 2007

jinxed, i tell you

as i was leaving the office on wednesday evening, i happened to run into a coworker by the elevators. i was hoping to exit quietly, but because she saw me, i was forced to be social.

well, during the elevator trip and the subsequent walk to the doors, she talked about her general inability to get a good night's sleep. now here i am, wide-awake at almost 1:30. i've got to be back at work before 7 am, so this totally, earnestly, horrifically sucks.

July 9, 2007

paper-pusher

i like to describe my job as "glorified data entry." of course it's more than that, but i think this glib little phrase sets forth the core, the seed of my job that sprouted into a gazillion other things. i mentioned this to a friend/co-worker once (one with a much more lofty-sounding title). "hardly glorified," he sniffed.

smiles vanished.

at that point i realized that jobs are kind of like siblings. NOBODY can make fun of them except the owner of the job (or sib of the sib) in question. ain't nobody can talk shit about my brother or my job but me. you can mock what i do, but don't you dare do it in front of me.

that said, you are free to mock my coworkers and my brother's friends all you want, either in my presence or out of it.

June 18, 2007

divorce court

my hormones have been completely messed up for over a week now. i jump back and forth between either being absolutely-smooth-sailing-happy to pissed-off-enough-to-rip-heads-off-and-eat them. either that or i'm crying.

today i was freakingly angry over a co-worker's treatment of her husband. her husband had done something thoughtless, certainly, but her reaction raised hackles i didn't know i had. it would have been fine if she had just told me and that had been the last i had heard about it, but no, she had to tell the story over and over. by the end of the day, i would have cheerfully run her over with her own car. it wasn't even so much that i agreed with the husband -- i just hated how she had to be right and how she had to convince the entire fucking world of her rightness.

i hope these hormones simmer down soon. i mean, pms isn't supposed to last half the cycle, is it? i'm not even expecting my period for more than a week. good god. i could hurt somebody.

June 16, 2007

world leader pretend

i don't mean to be overly sensitive, but the phrase "welcome to my world" really grates -- especially when spoken by one particular person (who is, in fact, the only person i know who actually says that). at first i thought it was funny and actually rather appropriate. now, that old chestnut gets trotted out almost every bloody day whenever someone else dares to share a tidbit of their lives that might bear a passing resemblance to hers. good freaking god. WE GET IT. your life sucks. get over it.

May 2, 2007

take everything

there's so much drama at work right now, and i feel like i am yanked in too many directions at once (well, i guess that's much more flattering than being merely torn in half). people need help, need direction, need instruction, need work product, need sympathy, need empathy, need an ear -- who the hell decided that i should be on the giving end? and yet, worn as i am, i still find myself wanting to force confrontations and talk, talk, talk it out. i'm a coward; i know i can do that only if the problem isn't mine.

how's that for cryptic?

February 23, 2007

rose-colored glasses

people at work (cam, too) have been making me really paranoid about pinkeye.

a friend has pinkeye, and she came to work the day she woke up with it. her daughter has had it for over a week -- it cleared up and then came back. when my friend stood in my doorway and announced that she too had it, i warned her to stay away from me because god help me, that's the last thing i need. we laughed.

when another coworker came in and discovered she was sick, he exploded and pissed her off enough so that she went home. cam couldn't believe she came to work.

the next day, i had a flaming red eye and i was grumpy for half the day... but both were due to the fact that i had managed to sleep half the night with one eye half open. regardless, i anxiously checked my eyes every time i found myself near a mirror, even though i had no symptoms.

after a few days i was satisfied that i wasn't going to get it, but i do still peer at my eyes from time to time, wincing at the slightest bit of red. it's been an irritating week, both for my eyes and my spirit.

February 22, 2007

pay attention to me

i don't like bossy, look-at-me people. i also don't like bossy, look-at-me applications. when i'm working on something and something else just decides to steal the focus (always happens when i'm typing -- it must just be for spite), sometimes i get irritated enough to just stop dead and make faces at the computer. GROWL!

February 8, 2007

me me me

i have a friend who is a total worrywart. total. i'm shocked that she doesn't have ulcers up the wazoo. i have another friend who is similarly fussy. he frets over anything and everything. these two are the most self-centered people i have ever known.

even though these two are generally nice folks and i do count them among my friends, sometimes i find myself venting to cam about the sheer me-ness of the conversations i have with these folks.

x: me. me. mememememememe.
me: oh no, that's too bad.
x: me. me. me. me.
me: i feel the same way. when ___ happened to me...
x: ME. do you not remember we were talking about ME?
x: MY PROBLEMS.
x: MY LIFE.
x: your life does not compute.

i was feeling crappy this morning because one of these people seemed to be going out of their way to point out that NO MATTER WHAT, her life/her situation was always going to be WORSE than anyone else's. she insinuated that because my child is being watched by family and not by a daycare facility, i have no right to be sad about being a working mom. furthermore, my son's separation anxiety just didn't have the same resonance because -- after all -- he was being left with family. um, thanks. luckily, by lunchtime, i didn't care anymore about what she had said... but i was pretty hurt at the time.

February 2, 2007

bizarre timing

does anybody else find it strange that a hat -- a colts afc championship cap -- purchased from nflshop.com just minutes after the conclusion of said championship should have an ETA of february 6th? nflshop! of! all! places! (that's my james t. kirk impression) should understand the desirability of having that hat in the purchaser's hot little hands within a day or two after the game. there was some good hat-flaunting to be had these past few days, and at the very least, it would have been nice to be able to chew on it in sheer nerve-and-gut-wrenching agony during the superbowl if cause for such feelings arose. alas.

January 31, 2007

dirty screens

am the only person on earth who can't put on a goddamned screen protector cleanly? good thing i don't do window-tinting for a living.

January 19, 2007

violin concerto

my assistant was out sick today. i'm glad he took the day off because he's been looking pretty lousy for the past couple of days... but it sucked for me. it totally sucked because it was busy and everything was happening at once and i was completely alone. there wasn't really anyone i could turn to -- at times i couldn't even turn to myself because everyone else needed help and i. am. that. anchor. so i dealt.

first one in, last one out.

January 16, 2007

manic tuesday

although three-day weekends are generally pleasant things, i don't always like them (by the time i return to work, of course) because some weeks i feel like i need every minute of the five-day workweek to get everything done.

a friend was complaining today how she had forgotten today was picture day for the new edition of her office directory. "i would have worn my hair down because i put it in a ponytail the last time and my face looked fat," she fussed. the problem was, she declared, that these occasions should never be scheduled for the day after a weekend. "they should plan them for a tuesday or something."

me: but it is tuesday.
her: you know what i mean.
me: they should have scheduled it on a technical tuesday.
me: the second day of the workweek.
her: exactly.

in retrospect, i know she worked yesterday -- in fact, she worked all weekend -- so she shouldn't have been as forgetful as she was. but then again, she was multitasking so hard she didn't even have time to take her picture today, so in the end it really didn't matter.

today was vicious. we were two days behind the foreign offices and they seemed busier than usual, which meant that we were twice as busy as usual. by the time cam left work, i was ready to scream. loudly. very loudly. if tomorrow isn't any better, i'm going to see if cam can pick me up early and i'll work from home just to get away from my office.

January 11, 2007

silently voiced

is it possible to tell a friend that her husband is a putz? i guess it depends on your level of friendship.

i have a friend who has not yet lost all her baby weight from having a daughter about a year ago. her schedule is really hectic, but she recently joined a gym for lunchtime workouts in order to try to get back into prepregnancy shape. she knows she's not at her best, appearancewise.

her husband is very critical. she has, he tells her, let herself go. "he's really shallow about some things," she admits uneasily. her weight really bothers him. when she told him that she's been asking around and that nobody thinks she's fat except him, he tells her that she must be asking the wrong people. go ask a thin person, he said.

well, shit.

if cam had said such a thing to me, i would be writing a nice condolence note to his parents. "kiss my fat ass goodbye," i would scream as i drove over him with his beloved audi. (but this isn't about cam, obviously, because cam would never, ever say such a shitty thing.)

now, i don't know her husband. i've only met him once and i didn't get much of a sense of him in that one meeting. i've been told he is a fitness junkie, so it does seem plausible that he could say such a thing... but i know there's a long road between a guy who is just concerned about his wife's health and the guy on "maury" who slips diet pills into his emaciated wife's food. and i know that sometimes we all say things we don't necessarily mean, especially when it comes to touchy subjects.

that said, i do believe that a man who could say such a nasty thing to his wife -- in the heat of an argument or otherwise -- has earned the right to be called a schmuck by his wife's friends. and my dear friend, i may not say this to you in person, but man, the husband of yours? is a putz.

January 1, 2007

t-shirty

i cannot be the only person who finds american apparel to be the enemy of the short-waisted. the way those long t-shirts fit me is absolutely criminal, but i have no choice -- all of the cute graphic tees i have/want use american apparel shirts. feh.

fashion is such a funny thing. when i was a kid, it was all big shirts and leggings. then came cropped tops, which i loved because they fit like normal shirts on my poorly proportioned frame (hip length, roughly). there was no such thing as low-rise, so the cropped shirts were supposed to hit you at the waist, which is exactly where your pants/skirts began. maybe if you were daring, your tops were a bit more cropped than most. a bit of exposed midriff was rather risque. fast forward a zillion years. i cheered low-rise jeans because i finally wouldn't be getting clipped in the ribs whenever i wore jeans. they were initially kind of exclusive, but soon it seemed like either you wore mom jeans or something considerably lower. rises dipped. everywhere you went, you were treated to unsightly bulges (love handles on even the skinniest) and vast expanses of skin. once perfectly normal fitting shirts were suddenly too short. t-shirts started getting longer and longer, tunics regained popularity -- but vests and sweaters and jackets were suddenly cropped again! odd. so women wear low-rise jeans because they elongate the torso, but then they proceed to wear long shirts paired with short shirts to cut themselves in half. what a mess.

i'll stick to eileen fisher -- and cam's xl t-shirts.

December 30, 2006

tgi-over

i have had a hell of a week. it was supposed to be quiet. i was supposed to do some paperwork sorting and clean-up in my office. i was only supposed to be sort of half-helping out a friend on vacation (but amusingly so bored with his family in the midwest that he was checking email -- via blackberry only -- every few hours). i was going to try to work from home for a day or two to take advantage of cam being home. but no.

no no no no no.

parts of this week were absolutely wretched. i didn't get as much done as i had hoped because the work kept rolling in. i spent far too much time on my friend's work. and i worked in the office each and every day. at least i left the office a bit earlier than usual each day.

i am hoping that maybe next week will be quiet.

December 20, 2006

the horror

a while ago i resuscitated my old handspring visor with the intent of being a more organized human being. cam downloaded the newest software and i was on my way.

it was going pretty well, even though my purse looked pretty stuffed with a big wallet, a blackberry, a cell phone, a card case and my visor. oh well, all the more reason to buy a bigger purse. i had all kinds of info stored in the visor, not the least of which was my very neat and tidy christmas gift list.

i let far too long go between hotsync sessions. in fact, i only did it once. the second time i tried it, my computer acted like i had never done it before, so i filed that away in my head and planned to have cam look into it before because i clearly must have messed something up the first time.

the other day i reached into my bag and pulled out my visor. it wouldn't turn on. i don't remember how i got it to turn on, but it finally did -- and all my info was gone, gone, gone. i was practically in tears.

but i managed to get by without it until last night when i realized i had several tiny boxes of candy and no idea who my intended recipients might be. almost in tears yet again. i had been thinking that i was just going to change the batteries and hotsync every night, but i just decided that i no longer trust the visor. it's silly to take out my frustrations on a tiny electronic thing, but i never claimed to be wholly rational.

December 19, 2006

grouch

my assistant is out for the second day in a row, another co-worker is out on a personal day, i have a meeting i'm not prepared for and i'm exceedingly self-conscious because i'm couldn't find a bra this morning to go under my camisole under a sweater. this is going to be a hell of a day, let me tell you.

December 12, 2006

i am NOT rick james

my department's sudden affection for dave chappelle-isms is really getting on my nerves.

just like teletubbies

okay. i know that the party on saturday was rad and all sorts of madness took place and that some people weren't in the office yesterday to participate in the post-party roundtable, but really -- i am so freaking tired of the retread. could we please talk about something other than a certain coworker and his grabby hands?

December 4, 2006

outbursts

it is not a good sign that the word i think and say most frequently these days is "crap."

stressed

why is it that i can make millionaires -- very high-powered people -- do things for me (wonderfully mundane things like sign forms and approve changes), but i can't make a toddler PUT ON PANTS without a fight?

November 9, 2006

ham and jam, part 2

just saw another spam email with my email address as the display name. grrr.

November 8, 2006

ham and jam

at work we have a decent spamblocker. not great, but decent. i'd say it's somewhere in between gmail's (fab) and hotmail's (awful). i'm actually glad that it isn't more effective because it's somewhat satisfying to be able to immediately reduce a pile of new messages by 5-10 as soon as i open up outlook in the morning.

anyway, this morning one bit of trash got through that completely irritated me. every once in a while, i'll see one with a display name of my first initial and my last name. you just kind of have to shrug at that. but today the display name on this one was MY WORK EMAIL ADDRESS. and it went to a bunch of people at work. gah. now that's just rude, dammit. it's like paul millander using grissom's prints at a crime scene. don't toy with me, spammers.

September 25, 2006

showy displays

on sunday my mother, cam and i attended a funeral service for one of my mother's friends. she had recently died after a long struggle with cancer. because she had always been kind to my family (and had showered paul with little gifts), i felt like going to her final hurrah was the least i could do.

my mother had always talked about how her friend's children had long been a source of sadness for her. her two children were estranged from each other for reasons that my mother claimed her friend never knew. they did not talk to each other, they did not visit each other, they did not have any contact with each other at all. all my mother's friend wanted was for her children to mend this rift and be a family again.

knowing this history, i wondered what was going to happen at the funeral. imagine my surprise when her son mentioned (while at the podium) that he had told his mother upon her deathbed that he was going to make things right. apparently, she then relaxed as if this was the moment she had been waiting for in order to die peacefully. after telling this story, he invited his sister up for a hug -- much to the pleasure of the people in the chapel.

okay, i don't have anything against deathbed promises -- what you say to people at the end of their lives to make them feel better is your business -- but i felt like this was the most show-offiest, most pretentious gesture i had seen in a long time. here, he was saying, i am the best child. i am making the effort. and i am doing this before all of you so that you can see that i am the best child.

i understand that i am not the best judge here -- i don't know the full story. everything i have is filtered through my mother's lens. i watched this scene with something akin to contempt. it felt like smoke and mirrors and oneupmanship. i was sure that my mother would have the same feelings about it. it felt fake. faker than fake.

on the way to the car, my mother and a friend (who had carpooled with us) talked about how great it was that the children were reconciling. i inwardly sighed.

August 29, 2006

less than four years old

we need a new tv, it appears. that's what we get for buying an xbox-ready tv. cam says we'll never buy rca again. it's just a pain in the ass because tvs are so wide and slim these days and we have this huge entertainment unit -- which i do really like because i think it's very attractively mission, plus we have crazy high ceilings in the living room so i think this grounds it well -- that will probably look a little weird with a different style of tv in it.

i swear, one of the main problems with having a house is that everything is listening. the tv probably heard me talking about new window treatments for the living room and thought, "i need some attention. what's the best way to steal the show from the windows? i know -- with fuzzy pictures and messed up closed captioning!" bastard.

August 14, 2006

could've been

i am constantly being smitten by online stores. i'll be googling something in particular and the next thing you know, there's a store that i can't keep away from. then i browse their inventory until i either become totally sick of it or come to terms with the fact that i may never order anything from there. you can occasionally track this via my del.icio.us account. one day a store will be there, one day it'll be gone.

there's a toy store i discovered a while back when i was on the hunt for kitchen toys. it was really cute and charmingly set up, so i bookmarked it and would occasionally root around through all the cuteness.

well. i placed a gift order today and i very stupidly made an error in my billing address. (i won't go through the details because this could turn much rantier than i want it to be.) i realized it immediately and sent them an email pointing out my error and apologizing for it.

now... customer service can make you or break you (to use a cliche that i abhor but find embarrassingly useful) as a business. i removed this store from my del.icio.us bookmarks about half an hour ago, but i won't name it because it's still a nice little store. but really, this was just plain irritating.

when i received my confirmation notice after the order went through, i sent them an email, referencing the order number their system provided to me.

about half an hour later, i got an email from them, but it was just an acknowledgment of my order with a different order number. raising an eyebrow, i responded within five minutes, pointing out that i had just sent them an email -- cutting/pasting the text from my previous email -- and mentioning that i had listed a different order number.

an hour later i got an email to call them.

so i called. the girl was nice enough. very cheerfully she launched into her little spiel about the problem with the billing address. when she paused for a break, i pointed out that i had already sent them two emails and did they not receive them? she umm'd and uh'd a bit and admited that they hadn't checked their emails since this morning. but, that said, they had had the time to CALL a phone number i had listed (the phone number of the intended recipient -- yay, surprises). not that i have a problem with phone calls, but i had clearly contacted them before they contacted me. she saw the emails, recovered from her embarrassment and very cheerfully said that all was well and she'd make the corrections. at least she didn't play dumb and say she never got them, which i appreciated. however, there are so many online toy shops out there, so i probably won't frequent this one ever again.

now look, i understand that this is probably a small operation. it's not target or amazon. but when you have an online store, doesn't it make sense to check your email?

August 7, 2006

cup

read an article today about a report showing how in-hospital breastfeeding rates in l.a. county hospitals are behind the statewide average. of particular interest to me was the fact that the hospital where i delivered paul had a 23.2% exclusive bfing rate. the statewide average is 40%.

well.

it doesn't really surprise me. one, i don't think the nurses there had adequate breastfeeding education. two, i don't think they had enough staff to really be as supportive as they could have been.

i read in the article that other local hospitals scored even worse, so i shouldn't be too harsh -- but as a first-time mom who planned in advance to exclusively breastfeed for my son's first six months, i felt at times like it was a true test of will to stick to my plans and not bitch-slap some nurses into oblivion.

when i first mentioned the article to cam, he said that our hospital was great and really pro-breastfeeding, which they were, but when i clarified that this was about the post-delivery time, he totally agreed that, well, they were worse than useless.

we called in someone to see if it looked like i had a decent latch. she took one look and very kindly said yes, sure, then left. but i didn't, but i didn't realize it for a few days until i actually got to see a lactation consultant. i didn't want to hurt this nurse because she just didn't know, but it was a little irritating to realize days later that she wasn't as helpful as she thought she was.

one nurse was great, except for the fact that she once returned paul after some testing (hearing, i think) with the offhand comment that she had given him a bottle of formula because he seemed a bit hungry. um, thanks for making me feel inadequate -- and did i say you could give him formula?

the worst was a night nurse who seemed to take it as her god-given duty to force formula down his little throat. when he'd cry, she'd come running. she would accuse me of starving him. she'd grab him, wrap a little towel around his neck and pour formula into his mouth -- with a cup. she would pull a stack of medicine cups (like the kind that come with nyquil) out of her pocket and talk about her great skill with cup-feeding. we'd try it, reluctantly, and she'd hover, impatiently. feeding with a cup, she'd say, was better for babies (avoiding nipple confusion, i guess). we called her the cup nazi. i'd see her and i'd feel like crying. we managed to get through one night in the hospital without her assistance -- and she came to see us at the end of her shift, insulted that we hadn't called on her to feed paul.

when we checked out, they gave us a ton of formula. the expensive premixed stuff. and a big stack of cups.

how are new mothers supposed to feel confident about breastfeeding when you feel your efforts are being undervalued and sabotaged? why would you want to continue breastfeeding when you're exhausted, insecure and in pain and the supposedly pro-breastfeeding people there to help you are sending you such mixed messages? i can understand that perhaps they don't want to appear judgmental -- new moms who want to exclusively formula-feed shouldn't be made to feel small for their choices -- but once they learned i wanted to breastfeed, why didn't they support me in that? why feed my son formula when i'm not present? why bully me into feeding my son formula when i'm so obviously trying to get my milk to come in? why make me feel like i couldn't possibly know what it is i'm trying to do? the frustration... we were so ready to come home.

the thing is, though, that i think they were business as usual. they weren't trying to be mean or difficult. they weren't trying to intentionally make our post-delivery experience a negative one. they were just doing their jobs. keeping the crying down. keeping the babies fed. when one is feeling rational again, how can you blame them to just doing their jobs? but that in itself is a problem -- maybe their jobs need to be redefined. maybe they need more training. maybe the hospital administrators and staff need to step back and remember that what happens in these first few days can influence a lifetime.

August 4, 2006

disposable

dixie (i think it's dixie -- if it isn't, i apologize, dixie people) has a commercial that really bugs. according to this commercial, it appears that families can only experience true closeness and togetherness when the task of dishwashing is eliminated. so... paper plates are the answer. if you use paper plates, you can have all sorts of family fun time because you don't have the stress of dealing with dishes.

huh? i'll need to remember that. when it seems like i'm losing touch with my son and my husband (and i need to "make a memory" or whatever the hell it is the voiceover lady says), then all i need to do is introduce some paper products into my home. interesting.

July 3, 2006

tactless

so... cam and i are fixing up our backyard. my mother decided that she didn't want us to work on the section surrounding her house because... well, i'm not entirely sure why. lack of trust, lack of skill, not wanting to impose, i don't know. she told me that she was going to find out the name of a friend's friend's landscaper.

fine, we said, and set to work on our own section.

not hearing from her friend's friend, she told me she was going to contact a local guy -- one that seems to live down the street from us.

he told her he was going to come by the house on a specific time. soon he contacted her and said he'd be by at a different time. then he called and said he'd be by at yet a different time. finally, the moment arrived and he hadn't shown up. curious, we went to the backyard. my mother was on the phone.

she came outside a few minutes later, fuming. after all of those missed appointments, after all of those friendly phone calls, the guy suddenly turned into a royal prick. he told her he needed to know the square footage of the area and that if it was less than a certain amount, it simply wasn't worth his time. he went on and on about how he had been in the business for a gazillion years and how he had many high-powered clients, etc. etc. etc. the icing on the cake: he told her to check out the local pennysaver for someone more suited to this job.

my mom: [thinking] fuck you.

i'm not entirely too sure what's going to happen next, but i have a feeling that i've got a lot of extra yard work ahead of me.

May 31, 2006

authoritarian

a friend of mine read something today about how ferber will teach your baby to hate life and mistrust you. cio will generally set the child upon a path of emotional destruction. she was practically in tears.

i know that infant sleep training is a hot subject for a lot of people. i understand that people have made lots of money trying to persuade new (and frustrated) parents that their way is the best way. BUT when will people realize that terrorizing brand-new moms and dads doesn't exactly make for the very best parenting experience?

i won't go on and on about our own parenting strategies. god knows they won't work for everyone -- they don't even always work for us -- so i won't sit here and tell you what we believe and what we do as if our approach is ideal and everyone should listen to us. i write a blog, not an advice column.

the purpose of this post is pure rant against the delivery, not the message. i don't wholly disagree with the message -- we didn't practice cio or ferber -- but i am so completely anti about the way the author presented his views. "i am the expert," he declared, "and you are bad, cruel, evil people if you disagree with me." my friend was a basket case after she read this guy's stuff. all she was trying to do was what so many new parents want to do -- a little research. she was trying to do some reading on sleep training and ended up feeling like she was dooming her little girl to a lifetime of therapy. she handed the printout to me and i wanted to throw it away after a few seconds. it was so painfully extreme and alarmist that my second instinct was to find something online to combat it -- some real-life experience. moms talking about babies and sharing their wisdom. i hit my favorite parenting boards and found a thread that i showed my friend. i left it with her and i went back to work.

she stopped by to see to me a while later. the stuff i left for her made her feel a lot better, she said. the relief in her voice was almost tangible -- she finally had some proof that what they were going through was normal. not all babies are the same. some babies are sleepers and some just aren't. you can't judge your own child by your friends' children. it sounds like platitudes, but it's true. when i realized that my moods were tied too much into whether or not my child was hitting the "appropriate" milestones at the "appropriate" times, i put the parenting books away and concentrated on what my child was telling me. i tried very hard to not put too much stock into what so-called, self-proclaimed experts on all things baby had to say -- and eventually i stopped caring about such "expert" advice. there are just so many opinions, my friend lamented, and as a first-time parent it's hard to know what to follow. follow what's best for your family, i said, and do what you need to do. being stressed out and miserable isn't good for anyone. being sleep-deprived and stressed because you are putting your needs below everyone else's is not going to make a mom a good mom but possibly an angry and depressed one. who wants to look back at their baby's first months of life as being filled with nothing but anger and resentment?

maybe i'm just a bitch, but any adult who has been raised in a happy loving household who then chooses to believe that s/he is scarred for life only because her/his parents followed possibly outdated advice on sleep training is NOT TELLING YOU THE WHOLE STORY.

i know tomorrow her sense of well-being might be a bit lowered, depending on whether or not they had a good night. that's what it's like being a parent, right? it's funny how i myself sometimes play the expert, but what i preach is the language of flexibility -- the language of changeability. i can sound confident one day, hopeless and depressed the next. mood swings (sort of) are where it's at. but the ability to accept and deal with change -- that's constant.

May 19, 2006

the seen

discovering the web presence of my family has led me to think two things:

1) the thing i told an interviewee last week (i haven't written about that yet, have i? guess i better explain it here.) still stands.

2) i am positively ancient and prudish.

last week i met with a young man who was interested in being my lackey. i wasn't very interested in seeing him at all because the week before that i had reviewed his resume and was unimpressed, plus i found a less-than-flattering self-profile of him online. but my boss was interested, so we scheduled an interview. all righty then. i met with the kid and he was nice enough, but he wasn't really what i was looking for. so... feeling a bit avuncular (which, i suppose, is somewhat less than maternal), i told him i had some advice for him: be presentable. think of the image you make -- everywhere -- because it's never safe to assume that prospective employers are less than web-savvy. once he closed his mouth, i assured him i hadn't seen anything too bad, but just, please think about what i said. he was so rattled i felt really bad and i stewed over that moment for the rest of the day. (cam laughed his ass off when i told him. others at work said to relax, that i did him a favor and he'd realize it one day.)

there is nothing in this blog that would do much more than embarrass me if someone confronted me about it. embarrass. not humiliate. not get me fired. not make me lose out on a potential job. i have a friendster profile, but it is very lowkey. (my site could humiliate paul when he gets older, but that's my right as a mother.)

i am not trying to be judgmental. i am trying to be practical. my mother once told me that someone told a cousin of mine that she better take down a racy picture before her father saw it. just the fact that my mother knew meant that it had already gone up and down the family grapevine that my cousin had a racy picture somewhere online. call me tremendously old-fashioned, but i pretty much believe in sparing my parents from actual visual knowledge of my private life. i also pretty much believe in sparing my parents from the written proof -- expressly written by myself, natch -- of my wayward, misspent youth.

i am not perfect. i have done many, many foolish things. i used to drink too much. i smoked too much. i whored it up... too much. i also used to shoplift as a child and i have spent far too much time in my life looking at porn. i was in chatroomesque situations before i learned how to type. how's that for awkward, by the way?

x: are you there? why aren't you answering my questions?
me: s
me: o
me: rr
me: y
me: !!!

hunt-and-peck doesn't allow for heavy flirting. how much more fruitful my conversations could have been if only i were more skilled in emoticons and abbreviations back in the late 80s. by the time i hit high school, i could type, but the moment (and many others) had passed. whateveryournamewas, you with the naughty bedtime stories... you must be nearly 50 by now, yes?

the chasm between myself and my family is vast. even though i am only a few years older than the oldest cousin of this particular group, our experiences have moved us very far apart. we grew up in separate times. when i was in grad school, we were just barely trying to figure out how to cite web sources in our papers. i didn't even own a computer when i was in college. i sure as hell wasn't thinking of cutesy ways to document my dissolute ways for all the world to see. my god, the big thing back then was regularly changing your "finger" info to entertain the people "fingering" you. sure, i had a college site. it did nothing. it had a nice picture of me, a flashy background and quite possibly an "under construction" graphic on it.

as a parent -- and as an employer! -- i feel the need to stress the fact that you can have no expectation of privacy online. even if it seems overly paranoid, think as if dear old mom or dad or even your [future] boss is reading over your shoulder. s/he very well might be. (which would then lead one to believe that i shouldn't be writing this on my lunch break. ah, irony.) if i can easily find you without being a member of your online community, then think of how easily others can find you.

as for being ancient and prudish, well, you can certainly see that in what i've written above. already i hear the clamor and clang of a gazillion people saying that i'm just too old to understand. yeah, well, maybe i don't. i like dirty as much as the next person, but vulgar (and stupid) for vulgar's sake... i'm glad i'm "old" if that's what being young is all about.

May 17, 2006

truly cursed

would somebody please just steal the freaking cr-v and get it off our hands? jesu cristo. i'm feeling inclined to torch it myself.

May 13, 2006

so tired already

got to bed by a quarter to 4. got out of bed before 7:30. cam's back hurts. i broke the chainlock on the front door. paul fell in the tub during his attempts to evade hair-rinsing.

this is going to one very long day.

May 9, 2006

overloaded

it's like the workworld suddenly exploded. papers, demands and numbers everywhere. the blast finally subsided. people should know better than to call during the noon hour. not that i eat lunch or anything, but jesu cristo.

May 4, 2006

privilege

there are very few people at work i actively dislike, but i think it's time to add one more to the list. one partner absolutely drives me nuts. i see this name and i instantly want to drop her/his* stuff to the bottom of my workpile (but i don't because her/his assistant has been fair). but while i was out, s/he called my assistant and stormed at him for a while about how i wasn't taking care of her/his requests -- which is complete and absolute bullshit. i hate how a little power can make a person into a raving imbecile.

*see how vague i'm being... protecting the guilty and all that. feh.

April 14, 2006

and they also called me a "rock star"

i don't mean to sound ungrateful, but i get a little weirded out by people at work referring to me as "famous." it's supposed to be a positive thing, i understand -- a lot more people know my name than i realize, i guess -- but it's still a bit creepy... especially when it comes up ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TIME my boss brings me along to a meeting where i haven't already met in person all of the participants. so cringetastic i can hardly stand it.

April 1, 2006

no!

i just heard aamer haleem say that the vh1 top 20 video countdown is no more. next week starts the vspot top 20 video countdown with matt pinfield (is that the guy i used to see on mtv that looked kind of like wallace shawn?) as host. what? no more aamer, no more rachel perry, no bradford howe? i hope this is an april fools' joke. i know i don't watch this show regularly, but... we've been together for years... sniff.

March 5, 2006

splurge

the more i think/read about the birkin, the more discouraged i feel. i don't live close enough to a hermes boutique to visit one regularly, nor do i have the money to build a relationship with a store and its sale associates (by buying smaller items, like agendas, scarves, etc. etc. etc.). clearly, in this regard, it totally sucks to be a normal person.

February 18, 2006

early morning vent

i can't believe i haven't written about this before. i did a search first and nothing, so i guess i must have forgotten -- or i must have thought i wrote about it and mentally filed it (in the circular file). eh.

the driver in our dui hit-and-run called cam a few weeks ago. apparently he had met with the judge and the lawyers (they had a follow-up meeting that cam was not told to attend) and the judge had told him that he could contact us and see about arranging a deal -- like settling on x amount of dollars and calling it a night.

um, excuse me?

first of all, i've been unhappy with the fact that he mails his $100 checks directly to our house and therefore knows our address. not that we are necessarily endangered by this, but still.

second -- tell me, explain to me, please -- why does a fucking drunk driver who hits a stopped car head-on and drives away (to be chased down by good samaritans and police) get the opportunity to RENEGOTIATE his debt with his VICTIM? the hell?

i don't understand. i don't. so this man calls up cam and i am shocked how well cam takes this news. i would have been stuttering with sheer unadulterated rage. or i would have burst into tears. either way, excessive emotion. cam calmly tells him that he will need to talk to insurance because cam -- unlike him -- cannot make such a deal on his own. he also agrees to send the guy some receipts (does the guy think we made up an amount just to jack him?), but cam being cam forgets to send them.

insurance (surprise!) is uninterested in talking to cam. calls are either not returned or no one he talks to seems to have any idea what he's talking about. not quite sure on the timeline here.

the guy called back the other day, so cam rushed to put together the receipts to mail. cam also called insurance yet again and after a couple of phone calls (i'm a little fuzzy on this, too) the insurance people had cam tell the guy that cam's part in this is over and that the guy should now be sending payments directly to them. cam is relieved to have that off his back. i don't quite know what insurance is going to do in terms of this deal. i guess i should have really asked cam before i started writing this. whatever. it's over. insurance, please give us our money.

in related news, cam finally had that honda dealer return his $500 deposit for the civic hybrid. one more nightmare over.

also in related news: remember how we got rearended less than a month ago? there's no clear resolution in sight because the driver was not insured to be driving that particular car or something like that. happy happy joy joy.

and final car thing, i promise: it looks like we are going to have sell the cr-v ourselves because we are going to get absolutely murdered on the trade-in value due to frame damage from the very first time we were hit. who has time? dammit, why couldn't insurance have declared it a total after the hit-and-run?

i ought to go back to bed before i come up with something else to complain about.

February 17, 2006

hmph

to all co-workers making special requests of me today:

yes, you are being entirely too demanding. why are you all behaving like i have no other work of my own to do?

February 16, 2006

bad, bad, bad

yesterday was just a hideous day from midmorning through midnight... and then this morning started off really poorly. it looks like today might just be ones of those days where i have to practically beg for something relatively nice (like the bubonic plague, relatively speaking) to happen to me. argh.

February 14, 2006

shill

uc berkeley, you were a great school and i enjoyed attending you, but please -- STOP TRYING TO HIT ME UP FOR MONEY. i object to the monthly letters and nightly phone calls.

February 11, 2006

exhale

yesterday i happened to be browsing about on ebay. (something i don't usually do anymore.) out of curiosity, i looked up the seller i had dealt with in my last ebay exchange. nothing. the last few times i had happened to be looking around on ebay i had done the same thing with the same result. then for some reason it occurs to me that i haven't been looking in the right place. my sense of guilt/avoidance/whatever had made me less than logical. so i clicked a few more times than usual and bingo, there she was and i was not pleased.

i wrote her an email:

I hope you are well.

I haven't been near eBay in a long time, but I happened to look you up today and see that you are no longer a registered user, but you did have feedback as recently as last November. I was afraid that you had come to grief after the tsunami, but I see that was not the case.

Your silence all this time leads me to believe that my chances for a refund are nil -- is that correct? Seems hardly sporting after the bag was returned and signed for by your relative. Please advise.

Thanks much.

i don't expect a response, and that's okay. but this has just been one of those nagging things in my head and i think i needed some closure on it. it felt good to get this off my chest. some may think i was a total pansy about this -- and you know, i was -- but i thought she was dead or seriously injured. even if she wasn't, then maybe her family was and i felt like i would be the biggest bitch on earth to nag someone in that kind of distress. but i don't see how you could run an ebay business under those circumstances, so i guess she made out all right.

i feel better about this already.

February 10, 2006

branding

i've been wanting a louis vuitton monogram canvas speedy 25 or speedy 30 for ages now. the other day i finally decided that it was time to stop the flibbertigibbing and hit an lv boutique to actually buy one.

well... i just heard that a planned lv across-the-board price increase is starting next week (another source said two weeks). i told cam and he (what a guy, by the way) said that we'd go this weekend. i'm not entirely sure why, but i am now kind of sour about it. i'm sure if we don't go now, i'll probably just end up shelling out the extra cash later on, but... i don't know. guess i'm just annoyed that they do this. obviously the market will bear it and there's clearly a demand for the stuff at never-mind-the-prices, but it's still a little galling.

January 28, 2006

oblivious

when i am sick, i am pretty sure i retreat to the bedroom, out of the way of the busy household life going on in my absence. i am pretty sure i do not sit in the living room, watching tv blankly while my spouse brings me dinner without regard for the spouse's own hunger, while my child prances around my chair with a chant of "change diaper!"

if i did this, i don't think i would then leave my spouse to abandon dinner cooking on the stove because i was too absorbed in tv to notice that a crappy diaper needed to be changed and that a child's freshly washed laundry (by my spouse, of course) needed to be put away.

but saying i did that, i don't think i would then be so oblivious as to continue to sit in front of the tv while the now-harried spouse then finishes cooking and brings the remainder of the food to me.

no, i don't think i'd do that.

okay, i feel better now.

update: after i wrote this, i stopped by the living room and picked up the remains of cam's dinner. i couldn't help it -- i had to get in a comment. "now i have to figure out something for my own dinner because you left me practically nothing," i smartassed. he looked so sad i felt a little guilty. but i'm sure i'll be over it by the time i hit save on this entry.

January 12, 2006

wintertime blues

somebody, anybody, please explain to me how target keeps track of the seasons. we visited the target near carson mall today and were startled to discover that the toy department was being changed out -- because of the summer stock.

summer? it's freaking january 12. january!

paul and i were looking for a particular toy -- the parents magazine mypod. we headed to the usual spot for parents magazine toys. turned the corner and found a mostly empty row. they were setting up the bins for sand toys, dump trucks, watering cans, stuff like that.

cam went to talk to a salesperson, who explained what was going on. when he came back, he told me. the word summer struck me speechless. amused by my dumbfounded expression, he said he had given the poor salesgirl the same look.

i like target, really i do. in fact, i love target -- but this is insane. i mean, i'd find it odd to see valentine's day stuff at this time, so it's completely surreal to suddenly find myself surrounded by bathing suits and gazebos.

January 7, 2006

sproutlets

maybe it's just me, but i'm not thrilled with pbs kids sprout. "all preschool, all the time." the format is weird (recording thomas episodes got really hard) and i. cannot. stand. melanie. holy cow, i cannot stand that girl. stop that weird dancing and bug-eyed expressions, please. i beg of you.

December 30, 2005

handwriting

when you write anything by hand, sure, you have to acknowledge that other people may not find your handwriting as legible as you yourself find it to be. so... you adapt your handwriting to the audience.

to a friend or relative who has seen your writing a zillion times before, you can get a bit sloppy. i tend to do a hybrid manuscript/cursivey thing (my lowercase gs all but disappear -- guess after 30 years of gs, i got lazy) for those folks.

on forms, you have to try as hard as possible to be intelligible. here i usually write strictly in capital letters. (yes, i type in all lowercase and i write in all caps.)

i recently filled out a form for a family one-year membership to a local educational attraction. this was to be a christmas present from my mom. the family membership covered cam, paul and me, so she sprung for a few extra bucks to add herself to it. she asked me to fill out the paperwork and she wrote the check. easy enough. i wrote cameron t. cam'slastname, grace l. grace'slastname, paul grace'slastname-cam'slastname and porfiria grace'slastname. note the different last names. (have i ever discussed paul's last name here? i can't remember.)

the membership paperwork came in the mail and i was horrified. my name was suddenly grace l. cam'slastname. i also noticed that my mom's name was spelled wrong. i set it aside and planned to email them.

of course, around the holidays, who has time for nitpicky things like that? i was still writing christmas cards which turned into thank you cards which turned into taking down the christmas decorations to today. this morning (took the day off, by the way) i decided to finally take care of this. i pulled out the membership paperwork and saw that paul's name was incorrect, too. jesu cristo.

yes, i wrote everything by hand, but the only understandable error was my mother's name. i wrote to them:

Recently we purchased a one-year family membership. The membership cards arrived promptly, but we were distressed to see several errors on our paperwork. I've attached a copy with the errors highlighted.

My son's name is Paul [grace'slastname-cam'slastname], not Paul [cam'slastname-grace'slastname].

Our additional adult member is Porfiria [grace'slastname], not Porfiaia [grace'slastname].

My name is Grace L. [grace'slastname], not Grace L. [cam'slastname]. While I don't mind having mail sent to me under my husband's name, I do not have a photo ID identifying me as such.

Please send corrected paperwork (and a new membership card) at your earliest convenience. Thanks so much for your assistance!

i wonder how long it will take for a reply?

i just don't get it. changing my last name for me is not a typo. switching the order of my son's last name is not a typo. i can see how my R became an A, so i don't mind that one so much, but the others? argh. how hard is it to copy something from a form directly into a computer? do these people not check their own work? we wouldn't have minded waiting a few days for our paperwork if it meant that we didn't have to contact them later to ask them to correct what should have been done correctly in the first place!!

okay, i've had my coffee. commence cooldown.

December 28, 2005

customer service

my new address labels arrived yesterday. they are adorable and they feel nice and sturdy... but the fact remains that i ordered the fucking things in early NOVEMBER. i received notification when they shipped and was slightly peeved to discover that i should "Please allow up to 3 weeks for the arrival of your package(s) from the date we ship your product."

fine, i thought, three weeks brings me to about thanksgiving. plenty of time for these to arrive in time for my christmas cards.

three weeks come and go. no labels. i write to them and say, hey, three weeks are up, where are my labels? can you track them? they respond with something along the lines of "we mailed them out, and if you gave us the right address and it has really been three weeks since the ship date, we'll send you a new order." i tell them, okay, well, i wanted them for my christmas cards, so please refund my money or if you absolutely must, fine, send me a new order. within a few days i get an email from them saying that they were sending me a new set, but please be aware that your order may take up three weeks to arrive from the ship date.

argh!

so i use my old labels on my christmas cards. i'm not thrilled, but what can i do? i write my thank you cards and send out the first batch with the old labels. i get home from work last night and there are my labels in my mailbox. the shipping carton is flimsier than a shirt box and it's torn OPEN. i'm amazed the labels are still inside and undamaged. according to their email, these shipped on 12/23, a mere four days before i received them. what happened with the first batch? i'll never know, but i do know that i will never use such a lame company ever again. i resent the three-week shipping thing and the inability to even lodge a complaint until the three weeks are up. i've used this company in the past (paper catalog) and things were fine, but maybe offering their wares online made them simply too busy. i don't know.

so typical

i hunted high and low and found nothing at any target vaguely resembling toy cooking/kitchen stuff. last night cam and i happened to be at one and you simply wouldn't believe the stuff they have now. i bought a pot and pan for $4.99 each. they had a wooden kitchen, cutting fruits and veggies, wooden cans and boxes, a freaking stand mixer and blender, potholders and aprons. goddammit. i hate it when that happens.

December 23, 2005

"and i want her to look beautiful if mama meets jesus tonight"

i object to music that is specifically designed to induce tears. i've been a waterworks since i was pregnant with paul. it doesn't take much to turn me into a sniffly, snot-nosed mess. once i even cried while reading about the saddest tv moments. never mind that i had never even seen any of these sad moments. just reading the descriptions was enough for me, thank you very much.

i particularly object to songs that use singing children for effect. there's that dreadful "christmas shoes" song about the little boy buying shoes for his dying mother (i have not yet heard it this holiday season and i don't intend to) -- and there's also kenny loggins' "conviction of the heart," which i think is some sort of earth day song. not my thing.

"butterfly kisses" is another song i hate. ugh, and can't forget "i'm already there." blech.

maybe i'm just grumpy and mean-spirited, but i don't like to be manipulated.

bastards

it's the day before a three-day weekend. one of those days happens to be christmas. so tell me, why do i have so much work to do?

December 19, 2005

cliche

i don't know why, but the expression "no word of a lie" bugs the shit out of me.

December 5, 2005

carpal tunnel

what a day. i feel like hell and my wrists do, too.

December 3, 2005

postscript

i ordered something a few weeks back -- and cam and i decided to do a store pick-up because it was free (shipping was pretty expensive, i think). it was supposed to be available today. i got word earlier in the week of a sale at a store nearby there, so i planned to do a sweep of that area today (manhattan beach).

of course it's not there yet. and of course today is saturday and there is not way in hell it'll arrive on a sunday.

did i mention that attempts to get paul to nap were unsuccessful? i gave up and left him with cam. had to get back to my wine.

someone hates me today.

thwarted

it is a little after one and i am already drinking.

the boy and his father went to the airport. i have been waiting for this moment for hours. with them gone, i could get things accomplished. i planned to work on our mothers' christmas presents (framed pictures -- have i ever mentioned how freaking easy it is now to come up with presents for our mothers now? having a child meant we could dispense with imagination and delve straight into the heart of sickly-sweet sentimentalism. i jest. sort of.), but things went, ahem, poorly.

the printer is low on colored ink. low on ink means low-quality, strangely tinted photos. we need more ink and i have no car.

one frame was so tightly wrapped in bubblewrap that i could have safely dropped it off my roof. the second one, i turned it on end and the frame slid out of the wrap and dented itself on a chair. jesus h. motherfucking christ. mom, i'm sorry, but that one is yours because the damage is due to your own daughter's negligence.

you know, wine is good on an empty stomach.

there are few things more despicable than staticky packing peanuts. those fuckers fly. i was trying to break down the packaging from the frames, but those things kept getting in my way, sticking to my arms, leaping from the trash bag to my hands, cowering under the pedal of the trashcan. if only they could have picked up on my malice -- they would have shriveled and stayed put.

so now i am not really sure what i should be doing. i can't print the pictures. i'm already doing laundry. i've done the dishes. i think i'll drink the rest of the bottle and go to sleep.

November 30, 2005

gritted

sometimes when i get particular callers at work (we have caller id), i force myself to smile before i pick up the phone -- that way i hope the smile comes through in my voice and not the true hair-pullingly angry irritation i really feel.

November 25, 2005

magic realism

in my hunt for toy kitchen stuff, i've determined that americans must really believe in dumbing things down for children. microwaves, toasters, blenders -- almost all of the american toys are either garish plastic or oversimplified wood. now don't get me wrong, there are times when less detail is better. i admit that. there are wooden pieces that i absolutely adore. but in the course of my searching i discovered that many uk stores are stocking toy appliances that are just miniature versions of real appliances. this is so neat! i can get the miele ones at target or via amazon, but what about the super cute delonghi toy microwave? these realistic toys bring a nice touch to pretend play.

November 15, 2005

plastic

i get kind of tired of the joking about my plastic desk. (yes, i have a plastic desk.) it doesn't exactly make me feel like a valued employee.

November 2, 2005

elevation

i could just skip the aggravation of the elevator if only i were fit enough to take the stairs (and i could be fit enough if i only took the stairs more often), but i'm lazy and i'm fat. i freely admit my own failings in this area.

that said, such a simple act -- taking the goddamned elevator -- doesn't need to be such a trial. really. i mean it. it bugs me that i actually feel a twinge of anxiety every single time i need to use the elevator (my office is on the 17th floor) because i know one of the following is bound to happen:

1) someone is going to barrel into the elevator without looking up
2) someone is going to be standing very close to the number pad and won't move to allow me access to the buttons (yes, i just love swiping my cardkey in front of your crotch)
3) someone is going to be standing directly in front of the elevator doors and won't move even as i try to get past -- this happens both in the elevator and outside of the elevator. sometimes it seems like people feel that by sheer force of will a down elevator will be transformed into one going up if they only just stand there.
4) two someones are going to be having a conversation that will continue as one is leaving the elevator -- and then the departing someone will hold the freaking door open while they find a suitable conclusion to their talk.

i swear, sometimes using the elevator is worse than being stuck in traffic.

October 21, 2005

not quite friends 'til the end

a friend (and by "a friend," i mean a friend. this is not a thinly-veiled tidbit about me.) is having a dilemma. let's call her jane. a friend of hers, jenny, said something hateful and unjustified about jane's husband. jane, furious, hung up on her and then didn't exactly go out of her way to meet up with jenny for the next few days.

jenny then emailed her with a hey, what's up, haven't heard from you in a while, hope you're not mad at me...

jane wrote back that yes, she was indeed mad and explained why.

jenny's response was oops, now i know what topics i shouldn't touch on, let's get past this and be friends again.

jane is stewing. her sister tells her that since jenny apologized, they should indeed let it blow over and be done with it, but she's still mad and doesn't know what to do. her husband says that he can't believe that she'd want to be friends with someone who feels so poorly about him. she agrees, but she thinks it's lame to tell someone that yeah, you can have your opinions, but i don't like them so i don't want to be your friend anymore. she wishes that jenny had something like, "i'm hormonal [she's pregnant], i'm sorry, i don't know what i was thinking," because she's pregnant as well and understands all about the emotional ups and downs and the unwarranted spewing of the venom, but the fact remains that she didn't and there's no point in claiming that she'd forgive her if she had only apologized "correctly." i think she is justified in dumping this friend, but i can't say that to her. it has to be jane's idea. all i can say is that in her shoes, i'd dump jenny, no problem.

at this point in my life, if a friend -- even a longstanding lifelong friend -- said such a horrible thing to me, i'd cut him/her out without a regret. there is a huge difference between thinking awful things about one's husband and actually saying them to the wife of said husband. jesu cristo. where was she when god handed out tact? if jenny was genuinely concerned for jane, she could have surely framed her comments better. at the very least, she could have not said something so completely unjustified. i don't know that all of my friends and family adore cam -- maybe they don't. i prefer not knowing. if they love him, great. if they hate him, well, they're doing a hell of a job concealing it and that's cool with me.

jenny, prepare to get kicked to the curb. if i were jane, i would have done it long ago.

aladdin's castle on the cheap

have you been following the jack thompson/penny arcade saga? freaking hilarious. cam is a big penny arcade fan, so he told me about it a few days ago. i now count gabe and tycho among my heroes. (by the way, the harlan ellison incident was absosmurfly priceless. hello, little fuck!)

jack thompson is such a moron, but he can't be ignored -- as if anyone could convince the world (or the united states or even just one single family) to ignore someone -- there are always going to be people out there thinking, "i don't know enough of this issue to have an opinion, so his sounds good enough to me." (or even worse: "yay, let's find someone else to blame!") accountability, people! playing violent video games isn't going to automatically brainwash a person or give them violent tendencies if they had none previously. let parents deal with their children. it's part of being a parent, isn't it? you don't just get the fun -- the overweening egotism, so i've been told -- of creating a person in your own image, you have to guide them carefully through life. i wouldn't exactly hand paul $50 at eb and say, "hey, kid, whatever you want, buy." foolishness.

October 17, 2005

sexist or blind?

my assistant told me last week that he ran into my new neighbor in the elevator lobby. she thought he was my boss. lady, just because he's male and i'm female doesn't mean he's my boss. plus he looks really young. isn't it terribly obvious that i've got a few years on the kid? i know age doesn't really mean all that much -- considering we have baby associates coming in all the time and secretaries can be what, 2-3 times their age? -- but please.

October 7, 2005

asking questions

i pride myself on providing good customer service, and a large part of that isn't necessarily just based on doing my specific duties, but actually having a good idea of who does what here. if someone has a question for me that really isn't for me, i like to be able to say, "hey, you know, that really isn't my department, but so-and-so should be able to answer that for you." and then i do occasionally move things along by sending the question on to so-and-so or maybe even just asking so-and-so myself and then providing an answer to the questioning party. (sometimes the questioners say, "cool, i'll just contact them myself" and then i'm off the hook.)

this seems so simple and so obvious that it absolutely kills me when no one else is willing to do the same. people will say, "oh, i don't know" and i'm supposed to accept that and be happy with it? hello!? tell me someone else can help me. tell me i've got the wrong department. tell me anything other than "sorry, i have no idea." you might as well say, "hi, i'm clearly in a dead-end job and I LIKE IT."

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