Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ps & Qs

Learning manners is a very tricky process.

As a Young Wanter, you have to go through a progression of being impolite – and being the brunt of impoliteness – in order to learn that people respond more positively to pleasant requests for assistance than they do to demands.

How many times have you (as a Seasoned Giver, a Young Wanter or a bystander) witnessed this exchange:

Wanter: “I want [a cookie/a pony/some other desirable noun]!”

Giver: “How do you ask?”

Wanter: begrudgingly “PUH-LEEEEEEZE.”

If the Seasoned Giver is astute, they will phrase their request politely in order to set a positive example.  For instance, “Could you please ask nicely?” would garner a more expedient reaction, I would think, than a demand for good manners. In the strictest sense, it would be ironic**1 to demand the use of polite manners. But the main point here is that many Young Wanter-hood wishes are met not with the giving of the desired item, but with a response requesting the application of some manners. Only once these manners are interjected does the process begin of garnering what one sought in the first place.

As the Young Wanter begins to age, Seasoned Givers need no longer moderate the requests that escape their offsprings’ lips. The Young Wanter begins taking it upon themselves to ask nicely from the very start in order to avoid unnecessary conversation with adults. Indeed, a “May I please borrow the car?” will get you out the door to your booze-fueled orgy in a much more timely manner, and without as many pesky questions about Purpose of Travel and Intent to Return. It’s almost safe to say that Seasoned Givers ask more questions if you’re impolite, just to create greater inconvenience.

So it stands to reason that, in some time during conception and graduation, most Young Wanters**2 come into contact with and learn the proper application of manners in family, social and educational/professional settings.

And that’s where I get confused.

Seasoned Givers seem to have a grasp of manners, in order to train their spawn in the Polite Ways of the Universe. Young Wanters seem to have a basic understanding as well, in order to escape their Seasoned Givers’ incessant nagging. Somewhere along life’s path, it stands to reason that approximately 85% of the world would have found themselves in a situation where being impolite just wasn’t an option.

So where have all of the miscreants that litter the world come from?

The number of individuals within professional establishments who are unable to request things with even the most sarcastic, curmudgeonly shmear of politeness is mind boggling.

As a small smattering of examples:

“I need you to take care of [verb].”
 For instance: “I need you to take care of placing that order.”

“I need [noun].”
 For instance: “I need Post-Its.”

“[Verb, barked as a monosyllabic order].”
For instance: “Help.”

Sometimes, I’m sure these are meant to be requests for assistance instead of demands for action. Busy schedules can get in the way of manners, as can stressful deadlines, and it behooves one to act expediently and deal with the fallout later.

But, more often, I think that this behavior continues because it is justified by the individuals who allow it to take place.

Think about it:

As a Young Wanter, how often did you receive That Which You Desired if you didn’t apply the appropriate layer of politeness to your request? 20% of the time was my top percentage. Those were times when either A) my Seasoned Givers were busy and wanted me out of their hair; B) I was being monitored by an only-slightly-older-than-me individual who didn’t care what I did or how I acted so long as she got her $20, or C) I was pitching a tizzy to my grandparents. And even in these instances, I only had about a 50% success rate. On a normal day, under normal circumstances, I didn’t get anything I requested impolitely… And outright demands were only met with a warming of my posterior. No chance in hell that I would get what I wanted if I didn’t shine up my niceness and put it to good use.

And yet, as an adult, this behavior of “Demand and You Shall Receive” is not only acceptable… It’s almost expected.

When working with a Polite Asker and a Grumpy Demander, whose project are you more likely to hurry off your plate so a difficult individual will get out of your hair?

The Grumpy Demander. No question.

When face with a “Could you please” and a “Get it done,” which will you tackle first to avoid unnecessary Strife?

The “Get it done.” Again, no question.

Again and again, instances arise where the Nice Guy is pushed to the back burner in order to “handle” the pushy, negative, and rude individuals that plague society.

And all because, as an adult, it’s “Impolite” to request manners from peers.
But don’t think I don't try.

**1 - Ironic: eye-RON-ick [adj] See: Parenting.
**2 – Not all. Some are raised by heathen Seasoned Givers, or by wildebeests.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Really, ReaderFriends?


It's been three weeks today since my last post.


And you didn't say anything!

It's like I'm not talking to anyone.

Or, conversely, I'm talking to a bunch of people who are worried they'll frighten me away with feedback.

Yeah... let's go with that.

SO... We've moved!

We're safely in our new location. I have a new cubicle, far from the madness of my former life.

And it's fantastic.

No, for realsies.

I have four walls, that go all the way up. I can tippy-toe and see over them, but I'm not a rat in a cage on display for my coworkers to antagonize. And I love it.

I have neighbors who whisper their conversations in an attempt not to interrupt my work and what I'm trying to get done. They speak on the phone as if they're normal people. They don't yell, they don't cuss* and they treat each other with respect.

And when I say each other... I mean me, too.

I've gotten more work done in the last two weeks than I had in months. I'm caught up (almost entirely, except for the stuff that just came in) on my invoicing, I'm caught up on my typing and I'm getting a handle on the record keeping that's been hanging over my head since before I started as an administrator for this company.

It's fabulous!

However, things are going so well and I'm staying so busy that it's been hard to keep up with writing. So I wanted to send you this.

In my free time, I've been working in a very sexy production of a classic Christmas ballet. It's helped me both to bolster my self confidence by working with people who make me smile, and to help me keep a lid on my Christmas Spirit by keeping me in a state of moderate exhaustion throughout the Christmas season.

But it's been fabulous. Full of glitter, full of feathers and full of fun.

SO: I hope you have a wonderful holiday, ReaderFriends. I hope it's fabulous and I hope that it brings you all the sparkling things you desire.

* Not aloud, anyway. I hear they're pretty rude-and-crude people once you get to know them, but I don't hear much of anything from them. Maybe they're scared of me, too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Load 'Em Up...

So... I guess we're moving.

(Understatement. I've known we were moving since June. It's just
now that it's real.)

"Why is it only real now?" you ask?

Good question. You wouldn't know if you hadn't been here. And you weren't here (because there is almost certainly not anyone loitering under my desk), so I should tell you.
My awfice has been taken over my boxes. 

And when I say my awfice, I don't mean just my little cube-shaped slice of professional world heaven... I mean the *whole damned floor.* 

And the other floor in this building that we occupy. 

And our satellite building two miles away. 

And possibly the moon.

There are boxes *everywhere*.

Which wouldn't be so bad, I suppose. Right now they're empty, and are standing around in intimidating piles lurking in corners and empty cubicles. 

It's not the lurking boxes that bothers me, though. I'm used to them. Boyfriend of Amazingness works for a company that handles big moves, so he has some castoffs that we store things in. They're really cool - they're these huge plastic bins with interlocking plastic lids that pop right in and keep all your stuff safe and cozy inside. Like my shoes.

No, the crates themselves aren't scary at all.

What intimidates me is that they are all going to be full.

Of stuff.

In a week.

Which is terrifying.

I suppose I would be able to handle it better if I knew that everything would come out okay once we unpacked. But I don't know that at all.

In fact, all I know is that I have to load up everything in the Reception area, which includes the mailing stuff and most of our deliverable packaging and even a toolbox. 

And then there are the copy rooms, with their piles of paper and their copying goodness.

And I have to package it all and get it into crates - four high per skid, please: we must be ergonomically conscious! - for the moving company to take away.

A week from tomorrow.

I guess it's the timeline that creates the greatest of my discomfort. I left the office Monday for my stint at our new location with the other employees who already live there. I left at noon on Monday with a smile on my face and an excited gleam in my eye. (Because, let's face it - any time not spent within these confines are well spent moments indeed...) 

And when I came back Tuesday, all hell had broken loose. We suddenly had confirmation that we would indeed be moving out of our current location before Christmas. 

As in, well before Christmas.

As in, less than two weeks from the official announcement.

Tuesday was a day of meetings: Meetings with movers, coordination with employees on site, coordination with superiors off site, and a flurry of phone calls to start the process.

Wednesday I was again slated to go over to the new location. I looked forward to it with even more focus, as my coworkers had become Hell Hounds bent upon one common goal: Bringing me to my inevitable stress-riddled demise before the last crate was packed. 

So, this morning, I came in to these boxes.


I thought briefly about crawling into one and hiding until the whole mess is over with... But that didn't seem feasible. There are no breathing holes, and my feet might stink.

For now, I have to go coordinate the secure storage guy who just showed up to take away my last four days of work: 

I'm not sad to see them go. Those suckers are heavy.

So I'm forging onward and trying desperately not to lose my mind. Please stay tuned for more moving fun as the next week goes by.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Final Count: 23,800

So... It's official.

I'm bailing out of NaNoWriMo.

I felt good when I started out at the beginning of the month. I was getting my daily word counts (mostly), and even when I fell behind, I was confident that I would catch up shortly.

Then I got sick.

That was my first sign.

I spent four days down-for-the-count with what I would like to call the plague, except the plague would have been merciful and killed me. After that, I should have realized that I was too far behind to make up my lost time and lost wordage. Instead, I forged onward as best I could.
After getting sick, I managed to pull this little chunk of text together:

"Writing when you’re sick is like trying to run a cross country race barefoot. It’s possible... but it sucks, and you’re going to make a lot of stupid little mistakes that you could have avoided if you just kept yourself in order from the get-go. So, when I stumbled into the office one day with sinuses full of tepid molasses and a throatache that led me to believe I had spent my sleeping hours unconsciously mouth-pleasuring a well-hung porcupine, it could only be a sign of a grand day to come. The first phone call of the day was relatively uneventful. A co-worker, thankfully, because I picked up the phone and promptly coughed in her ear. After clearing my throat, I went on to greet her with my best 1920’s -flapper -with -permanent -smoking -damage voice. It went a little something like this: cough hack splutter “Umm... Hello? I mean... Good morning. This is Sunny.” “Oh wow... you sound like crap.” cough “Thanks. I feel like crap.” Wow... Well, I was just calling to say... Umm... I’m not feeling so great.” “Okay.” sniff “So I think I’m gonna stay home today.” “Sounds good. I’ll mark you out. Thanks for calling in.” “You should go home, too. I mean, you’re sick, aren’t you?” throat-clearing “Yeah... I don’t feel so hot. But I can’t just leave. I have to do my job.” “Oh, okay. Well, I guess... take care of yourself.” cough “You too. Feel better.” ... The day didn’t get much better from there. I managed to answer the phone every time it rang. I managed to page the office, and not to terrify the locals when I needed to use the intercom system. Throughout the day, I even started to feel a little better. That was my fatal error. That evening, after I went home, I remember being sad that Boyfriend wasn’t there. I vaguely remember sitting on the couch and watching an episode of MacGyver as the room faded from twilight to darkness. As night fell, I remember looking at the clock and realizing I had an appointment to keep. I think I kept it. After that... It’s a haze. I must have called out sick from work on Thursday and Friday, because there are phone calls on my phone after the time that Boyfriend leaves for work in the morning. Either that, or he stayed home and took care of me. I don’t even remember feeling the typical “Am I really sick enough to warrant using a sick day?” guilt that overcomes me shortly after taking a workday to stay at home in bed. Even if I did... I couldn’t tell you. I must have eaten over the course of those two days, because I was never hungry enough to seek food outside of my nest that I created in bed. I must have found nourishment, or had some brought to me. But I couldn’t tell you. I must have done a number of things over those two days which I simply cannot tell you about. I just don’t remember. After falling into an illness which I was sure would claim my life, I don’t remember anything until Saturday morning. It had been two and a half days since I had fallen into my snot-addled haze, and finally I was starting to feel human again. Boyfriend tells me that he knew my fever was peaking and getting ready to break on Friday afternoon, just after dinner. He made me a special meal of rice with gravy so I could glean some healthy nourishment (after two days of not eating? or maybe after two days of living on Cheezy Poofs and orange juice?) and to get something fatty into my system to give my stomach something to chew on. Although I had felt well enough to dine on the couch in front of the television that evening, I tired out quickly after we had finished eating. After a weak attempt at staying awake (and then arguing that I was far too rested to feel... yawn... sleepy...), it was mutually decided that I would go back to bed. And by mutually... I mean he pointed in the general vicinity of the bedroom, and I tootled off willingly. If my nose would have stood for it, I probably would have whistled on the way. It was two hours later that Boyfriend tells me I stumbled back out of the bedroom and was remarkably distraught. He tells me I made it halfway down the stairs before I simply couldn’t wait any longer, and had to know if brownies would taste okay if I baked them in miniature muffin tins. When that conversation proved fruitless, I moved on to bombard him with my worries about the plight of the grocery store lobster. I would love to tell you the witty, exciting details... But they simply aren’t forthcoming. I blame the fever... and the special spice in the gravy."

This, I'm afraid to say, is the highlight of my novel.
So, after spending the last two days blissfully enjoying time with my family (and not writing - not even a little), I am not entirely unhappy to say that I will be stepping away from my novel for at least the time being. Perhaps, if I have time in upcoming weeks, I'll finish it before the end of the year. I'll find out as time passes and I realize whether or not I've got the resources available to do the homemade holiday I'd like to. If I don't finish it before the end of 2011, I'll finish it in 2012 and be damned proud of myself for all I've done. It's how I roll.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spirit of the Season

Writing while you're part of a national organization can be a little terrifying.

Every day, I worry about the words that I put onto paper.

While the fodder provided within the walls of my little slice of Awfice Heaven is almost as delicious as a cranberry-raisin pie, it's also equally dangerous. While a little indulgence is good... too much can get you into trouble.

(And I don't mean the kind of trouble that comes from over-indulgence in a natural laxative... Although that has ramifications of its own.)

No, I mean the kind of trouble where a writer must be constantly vigilant for cues that she is giving away too many specifics, and is placing herself into danger if her employer ever finds out and confronts her about "That angry admin blog."

For instance, it would be a hoot and a half for me to write about the responses they released regarding the recent employee satisfaction poll. But that would be a release of too many specifics.

It would also be fantastically funny for me to write about being trapped in a basement with a herd of misfiring toilets because of a crummy landlord who doesn't take care of his building, but that is also rife with specifics and could also create a situation of negative ramifications if said landlord ever caught wind of it and then lashed out at me for creating an "online spectacle."

I would love to write about some of the more specific Noms that come across my plate at work, but (you guessed it), they're too specific for public consumption.

Basically, it's pretty hard to write when your hands are tied regarding the material you would most love to put out there for your beloved ReaderFriends.

But then, every once in a while, something wonderful will come along that I don't have to resist sharing because it's so delightfully delicious AND so fabulously vague.

As you know, there's a grand holiday approaching. One where we get to gorge ourselves on pies and delectables all morning, and then on turkey and savorables all afternoon, and then spend the evening in a food-induced coma with our pants unbuttoned and a gluttonous smile upon our greasy lips.

Or, you know, something like that.

Anyway, in preparation for this holiday, I usually get my bake on.

This year I took a break from the typical pie-a-palooza in which I usually indulge and opted instead for something new and different: Gingerbread men.

In the shape of Ninjas.

Yes, boys and girls, you heard right: Ginja-Ninjas.

This is tremendously exciting not only because they are cookies, but also because they are stealthy and because they will kick you in the uvula on their way to assault your stomach with their deliciosity.

I've been looking forward to baking these cookies for almost five weeks, ever since I ordered the cookie cutters. And I've been talking about them with the select few at work I knew were capable of keeping my incredible secret.

One of these individuals is arguably the funniest person in the office.* I told her about my Ginja-Ninjas, and her face lit up.

"My son LOVES ninjas. Do you think you could bring in some for him?"

I, of course, was delighted at the idea. Her son has his own difficulties throughout his life. So the idea of making something that would bring joy to a child AND a smile to a coworker was optimally awesome to me.

And now, it is Sunday evening. The cookies are baked, including one very special one with the child's initial in the middle of it. And I know that my weekend was spent doing something worthwhile.

I hope that your week is short, demands placed upon you are few and that you're able to escape your own office and spend time with your family free from technology and other constraints upon you. I hope that you will give thanks to someone for your gainful employment (if you have it), or for the extra time to devote to what you enjoy (if you don't). I hope you will enjoy good food and the start of a wonderful season.

To Your Health,

* I should give an example. For Instance: When told that someone in our company was packing for a five month trip, she sat silently for a moment before saying "That's a lot of underpants."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo - 5000 Words

Well, ReaderFriends, I've broken the 5000 word mark. Unfortunately, I've broken it about four days too late... Meaning that I'm approximately 8000 words behind, and only 1/10 of the way to the finish line. But NEVER FEAR! I have the power of the words on my side. Somehow I'll reach my 50,000 word goal.

My daily life became an ongoing search for inspiration. I was desperate for my next successful blog post, and was willing to do almost anything to find fodder for my writing.

One day, on a whim, I decided that I would go for a run to “unlock my creativity.” I wasn’t entirely convinced that exertion of the physical sort was the key to my first Nobel prize, but the Blogger Buddy site was adamant. “Physical activity activates basal centers of the cognitive process,” the website touted. “Many writers find the act of performing simple movements - like washing dishes or going out for a run - will sensitizing synapses through an abrupt shift in focus in order to elevate reception of creative constructs through sub-conscious stimulation of neural receptors.” Blah -blah -go -for -a -run -and -stop -thinking -to -start -thinking -blah.

What Blogger Buddy forgot to tell me was that, unless your body is accustomed to physical exertion on the running level, it’s not exactly a mundane, simple movement.

It’s hell at five miles an hour.

My desperate desire to produce quality verbage had rendered my little frazzled brain incapable of long-term memory retrieval: specifically, the ability to remember high school gym class.

If my neural synapses had been functioning at their highest potential, I might have remembered my last attempt at becoming one of the gym-bunnies that could pound out a six minute mile and move right on to volleyball while the gym teacher regarded them with proud adoration. They could run effortlessly in laps around the gymnasium, quickly passing me - and then lapping me - while chatting in their obnoxious little pep-groups and giggling with that infuriating little high-school-cutesy giggle at their football star boyfriends.

I had the same amazing gym clothes. I had my hair pulled back into the same power-pony. And there - right there - was where the similarities ended.

The first step of that run was driven by pure jealous energy. I was insanely jealous that those skinny little bitches - in all their pep and cuteness - could so effortlessly impress their musclebound boyfriends and glean positive feedback from our drill sargeant gym instructor. That jealousy drove me into a panic that convinced me: if they could do it... so could I.

Less than half a mile in, it became blatantly obvious that sheer jealousy couldn’t propel me to their height. They had more than yoga pants and shiny hair on their side. Perhaps, if I hadn’t been operating in such a blind fury, I would have connected the peppy, cutesy girls to the cheerleading squad I hadn’t made at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, the best thought I could formulate was a gutteral grunt of defeat as my body collapsed, drained completely of energy and will to push forward.

More unfortunately, I had also forgotten the humiliation of being escorted to the nurse’s office by one of the cutesy vomit-inducers and her even more vomit-inducing muscleboy, who dropped me in the waiting room and then stood in the hallway making out, just to mock my pain.

These are all flashes of memory that should have sparked inside my mind before I set off in search of literary inspiration.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo - 3100 Words

I've not forgotten about you, ReaderFriends! I still love you dearly, and am working on something clever and amazing for you...

I've just undertaken the NaNoWriMo challenge (find out more here) and am frantically spurring my creativity along a long and winding trail to the 50,000 word mark. So far, I am just past the 3100 word mark, which means I am 1/17 of the way to my goal. Unfortunately, it took me three days to get here... Not ideal, but you know what they say about a slow start.
My story will be a conglomeration of new material and old blog posts (and some new posts that I don't know about because I haven't written them yet). For now, here's a prologue to keep you smiling:

Sometimes I wonder what it might be like if my office were laid out for what I actually do, instead of what I’m supposed to do. For instance, I would have a comfortable couch. Or maybe even a chaise. Something lounge-able, in any case, where my patients would stretch out and really tell me what was preying on their minds. I would have a soft, calming color on the walls… maybe a nice lavender?... that would set them at ease. I would have a friendly and inviting wood desk with soft curves and geometric features. And my nameplate would proudly declare “Sunny Smith, Psy.D.” That would be epic.

Instead, I sit in a 1980’s flavored mauve playpen sprinkled sparsely with photos of people who actually make me happy. The walls around me are a sterile, boring tan except where the scuff marks lend their own traces of character. And the closest items I have to a couch are these generic, craptastic folding chairs with vinyl seats and flexible backs that make the sitter feel as though they’re going to fall backwards into oblivion. Which aren’t even in my office. So they don’t really count.

Oh yeah... and my coworkers terrify me.

This isn’t some generic sort of fear. Not like some it’s Halloween and some parent with a sadistic sense of humor got really creative and has turned their four year old into the scariest looking Chucky doll that I’ve ever seen in my life and now I’m going to have nightmares for weeks thing. No, nothing like that. This is a more basic fear... The fear that I may become one of them.

Let me explain.

Beyond my playpen is a wall of picture windows. Underneath those windows lies a long, mauve windowsill. (Goodness knows we must be color coordinated.) Under the windowsill is a heater, and behind the windows is the outdoors. This makes the windowsill a perfect perch for one of the most common species of wildlife that traipses through my life:

The EngineerFriend.

From their post, the greatest of the EngineerFriend’s facial orifices will begin to splutter. First a garble will come out, and then a slow trickle, and finally... A full blown avalanche of angry Engineer-isms leaks forth and assaults my senses.

Perhaps they’re whining about their current project:

“First, I had to do this survey and the data points were scattered all to hell, so I had to upload them into that other program just to make heads or tails of it...”

Or sometimes, they complain about their coworkers:

“And then she said ‘Well, his project is more important, so you’ll just have to wait!’ Can you believe that? She told me I had to wait!”

Or even their home lives:

“The car wouldn’t start this morning. Straight up - it just wouldn’t go.”

“The kids were monsters today. My daughter ran around screaming something about her hair, and my son tore past me on his way to the bus with my underwear on his head. Not his - mine.”

“My wife is driving me nuts. I slept in my office again last night because the crazy woman just Will. Not. Shut. Up.”

At first, I listened with interest to each story that they presented. These are my coworkers, I would tell myself. I’m new to the office, and I’ve established myself as trustworthy. I knew that their talkative natures were just a side effect of my pleasant demeanor, and should be taken as compliments. I was certain that, after the newness faded away, I would be bombarded with more pleasant stories about Life in The Real World.

But months went by, and the stories didn’t change. I didn’t hear the positivity I was so certain would be forthcoming. Instead, the stories got just slightly darker:

“The project is crap. I’ve got to tell the client we can’t follow through.”

“I’m so sick of her belittling my work. I filed a formal complaint the other day, and if they don’t ask her to leave, I’m going to quit.”

“I’ve had it with that woman. I’m getting a divorce.”

Darker and darker and darker. I found myself sinking into a pit of unhappiness, surrounded by the negativity of the people around me.

And worse than that, I began to feel detached from them as well.

The passion I had felt at hearing the stories from my coworkers was gone, replaced instead by a swelling emptiness that sent me walking on the brink of depression. I still listened, but only while staring into space. Their words would swirl around me, but I would not allow myself to really listen. I had problems of my own, and couldn’t be bothered to focus on them.

I had decided not to care.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For The Girls...

Boys, sit down and buckle up. Grab your popcorn and prepare to enjoy...

A blog post about boobies.

Or, to be more specific, a blog post about bras.

(Because this is, at it's dirtiest, an NC-17 site. Risque isn't exactly our idea of a good time.)

That's right - today I will play a card I typically don't, and cater mostly to the understanding of my fellow womenfolk.

I made a poor choice in chestal holsters today. And the fault falls entirely on the shoulders of my workplace.

You may have noticed lately that I've been less-than-attentive to you, my ReaderFriends. For this, I'm sincerely sorry. Unfortunately I must offer a tawdry and pathetic excuse of "Work just isn't funny." Furthermore... it's even stopped being fun.

People are stressed. Management is worried. And we're all on this little itty bitty boat in a big corporate ocean, with enough rations for exactly two-thirds of the crew to survive.... and a hurricane on the horizon. A hurricane that mated with a tornado. And produced little baby tornicanes that are dancing around their Momma and Daddy like a big maypole. 

And there's no cake.

So... I've had some trouble getting blog posts together for you.

Oh, I've had some ideas...

Like the "Engineers have a weird sense of humor" train of thought, that I tried to follow but couldn't flesh out with enough examples because no one is feeling humorous. 

Or the "Adventure of Sunny Smiles Part Too" story, which artfully told the tale of how I single handedly saved the day from bad grammar, but couldn't finish because I ended up staying late to work on the stupid project and I wasn't going to stay later just to finish a blog post but by the time I got home I just wanted rum.

Or even the "I hate technology" rant that just turned into a big angry RawrFest that I refused to poison your minds with.

Yes, I've certainly tried. I've hashed out thoughts and worked through details and even pulled together some storylines... But in the end, I just can't deliver.

It's been like that with a bunch of other projects as well:

My dance has fallen by the wayside...

So has the new singing group that I'm really interested in, but cannot attend because it seems to be falling on the only night of the week when I can stay home and try to decompress with my Boyfriend of Amazingness...

Even my Adventures in Organized Religion are suffering, as I struggle to keep up with the tasks there.

So, in short, it's not just you. Not that it makes you feel any better. But you ARE in good company. The dancers are awesome. The singers are really spiffy, too. And, as previously noted, the Boyfriend is made of Amazingness.

(I told you all that, to tell you this...)

As it happens, the workdays have been fairly difficult to conquer, even with my mighty superpowers of positivity. So, I've been enlisting the help of some super-power-weilding accessories:

The Mighty Boots of Mightiness...

The Sparkly Eyeshadow of Glittery Delight...

The Fresh-From-The-Dryer-And-Hugging-All-The-Right-Places Bluejeans...

And... The uber-bra.

(Because - and this is a verified fact - Women's chests are armed with the reigning source of power.)

A good, perky appearance can make all the difference in the world. They can turn rain to sunshine. They can turn snarks to smiles. And (most importantly), they give you something awesome to look down at when you're feeling glum and staring at your shoes. Just one downward glance, and suddenly you remember that you have friends in low places that are working their hardest for you!

This is where I made my most critical mistake this morning.

I've used up all of my go-to uber-bras. So I had to settle for my emergency backup.

Which has caused me nothing but pain and strife all day.

It's a "convertible strapless." Which means that it's designed to be a strapless, but it has these dinky little straps you can hook in so you can attempt to hold everything in place. Note: dinky. This is a crucial turning point.

I put it on, and felt okay at first.

But then the adhesive tried to do its job.

I've owned this bra for almost three years. I bought it specifically for one purpose: To act as the underlying companion to a brand new dress that I bought for my first college graduation. And it failed. It also failed on my cruise and at the wedding reception where I attempted to wear it again. Every time, the adhesive would become slippery and a southern migration would commence.

But today, as I attempted to employ the shoulder apparatuses to minimize this exodus... The adhesive made up for its previous performances by bonding enough for *three* important events. It pulled and pinched and stretched and caused general mayhem just below my neckline. 

So much so that I forgot the strapless nature of the beast, and began trying to adjust to find a more comfortable position.

This is never easy in an office environment. Inevitably, as soon as you are in prime awkward-position, someone will catch you doing something horribly embarrassing... like adjusting your bra. You can try to play it off... Make like you were scratching your stomach or rubbing your arm... But they know. It's out.**

So, of course, as I was sitting there trying to get comfortable, I was walked up on. And in my haste to get my hand out of my shirt (Yup, full hand-down-the-front-of-the-neckline-and-under-the-arm position here...) I moved too quickly and unseated one strap from it's rear fastener. 

And... that's the story of Why It's Work's Fault That Sunny Flashed Her Boss.**1

**No, I cannot make these adjustments in the bathroom. That's crazy talk.

**1 Okay, not really. I didn't flash anyone. But the heart attack I felt as though I was having certainly seemed to be on par with an accidental flashing. In reality, nobody noticed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sweet Spot

Every building has an acoustic "sweet spot." 

Not, as you might think, the spot from which your voice sounds most amazing and announcer-like (although one must admit that room dynamics MUST have something to do with Old Spice Man's *fantastic* vocal carriage)...


In fact, I'm talking about the spot from which you can *hear* everything.

In one of my hometown libraries, this spot is directly on top of the StoryTime table. The table is just slightly off-center under a barrel ceiling, and being in proximity to the Sweet Spot means that you can hear every crackle of the old patron's wheezing, every swish of the librarians corduroy pants and every sniffle of the drippy-faced child playing with the well-loved castle playset. 

(Sidenote: I realized the intensity of this Sweet Spot as I was trying to learn poi while standing on top of this table. The rest of the library was empty, other than my teacher and the librarian... who had given us a full "go ahead" with the project ((with the caveat that if one of us fell, she was NOT going to clean it up.)) and was looking blissfully in the other direction.)

In my car, this is the driver's seat. From that position, every note that passes my lips sounds as if it were plucked from the golden lips of a spring songbird. I can sing along to any song - even in harmony - and put forth only the highest quality of sound from my perfect form.

And at work... It's at the back desk.

The Back Desk is the third of three desks at the Reception Area. 

The first desk, of course, is mine. It is in the closest proximity to the elevator and the lunch room, and is therefore ideal for people watching (but is almost always too far detatched from the action to provide optimum listening-in on goings-on.)

The second desk sits beside me, across an aisle, and is reserved for "Reception Back-Up." When I'm supremely busy, when my coworkers want to chat or when I'm out of the office, those others who are qualified (and consider themselves worthy - not above my lowly position) will take the helm and lead us fearlessly into battle from this station. But, it's just on the opposite side of a fake wall from a huge (and horridly chatty) CopierDemon.** And that's not entirely ideal either. Between the chatter around the copier, and the chatter OF the copier, it's kind of like trying to listen to what your parents are saying on Christmas Eve after they've sent you to bed "in anticipation of Santa" when they've turned up the volume on the Christmas movie that they won't let you watch and started talking about your presents. Especially the one they forgot to get you.

But anyway.

Point being, it's hard to hear from that one.

But from the Back Desk...

If you stand in just the right spot, you hit acoustic *gold.*

So, you're sitting at the Back Desk. And you're kind of bored, because you're finished with your "real" work for the day and the phone's been dead for hours (hypothetically, of course... I would never admit to down time for realsies...) and you decide that maybe there'll be something exciting behind the bookcase. Because, usually, bookcases have exciting things behind them.

So you stand in the corner and lean a little.

And realize that you can hear the whispered phone conversation next to the copier.

I don't know what it is about this spot. As I mentioned before, the Second Desk is almost drowned in noise from the accursed beast, and you can't hear what the person in front of you is saying (much less what the person on the other side of the wall, standing next to the stupid thing is whispering to her neighbor about). But from next to that bookcase, it was clear as day. The machine trucking along like it was its job, the computer beside me whirring and a page over the intercom, and still - as if they were whispering to me - I could hear...

"Did you see her makeup today? What a mess!"

Well. Maybe some whispers are better off unheard.
**No, seriously. It talks all the time. blah-blah-blah-JAM-blah-blah-BEEEP-blah-blah-blah-blah-CRUMPLEPAPER-blah.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Freshen Up

I wore red lipstick into the office today.

I'm sure you're thinking Meh, no big deal. It's just lipstick. What's the fuss?

Well, ReaderFriend, I assure you that it IS a big deal.

Here's why.

I woke up this morning in an okay-kind-of-mood. It was raining enough that I could hear it from bed (which is a sound that I absolutely adore). It wasn't overly warm in the bedroom, which would make me uncomfortable under the blankets, but it wasn't so cool that getting out of bed was a shocking experience that would leave me in full-body shiver mode. My shower was warm, my legs got shaved (I'm sorry if that's too much information, but this is a big deal too. I was starting to look like a chimp. There was so much hair on my legs that I was actually beginning to worry that my knuckles were approaching Minimum Acceptable Altitude and were going to commence dragging on the floor at any moment. It was a serious situation. Why I let it get so bad is a testament only to the stress and frustration of the last month of my existence. You should be *commending* me on having the emotional strength to shave today, because it certainly isn't going to happen again at least until the end of the week. So there. That's that. Get off my back.), and I felt reasonably certain that, at any moment, Boyfriend was going to announce that Surprise! They told me I didn't really need to go out of town all week! And there would be massive celebrations, and maybe even cake.

That was, I assure you, not the case.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

After showers and scampering about getting ready for work, Boyfriend was almost positively going to be late for his week-out-of-town. So after he successfully departed and I waved goodbye from behind-the-door-where-he-couldn't-see-me-but-I was-all-but-certain-he-knew-I-was-standing-anyway, I turned and looked at the clock.

Kind of.

Actually... perhaps it would be more forthcoming to admit that I engaged in a staredown with the clock. It was taunting me.

Ten of seven, it ticked. Ten of seven. Ten of seven. Every second that ticked by reminded me that I had a full hour of time to myself... and wasn't entirely certain how to fill it.

Ten of seven. I could go back to bed, but I was already dressed. (On occasion, I will ship Boyfriend off to work and then curl up for another half-hour of less-blissful-than-before-but-still-better-than-being-awake slumber. But I try not to do this when I've already put more effort into my workday appearance than I would be able to recreate after I woke back up again.) No use rumpling the good duds, and it was just on the too-chilly side of the spectrum to consider stripping down for my nap. Option two, here we come.

Ten of seven. I could clean something, but again, this would jeopardize my cute cargos-and-turtleneck look I had so cleverly pulled together. All it takes is one accidental swath of dirty dish bubbles to ruin even the most versatile home-to-workplace wardrobe pieces. And all of my aprons were upstairs. No dice.

Ten of seven. I could get crafty. Maybe knit... Maybe embroider... But all of my patterns are on the computer, and I wasn't entirely keen on bringing the weekend to an end by firing up the laptop prematurely. I sit in front of the glowy-screen-of-death all day at work... no need to bring that into my "personal" life all willy-nilly.

Ten of... Wait. 

What's that? 

Over there?

It's my Fabulous Red Nail Polish.

(From just last night when I spent half an hour carefully painting my fingertips** a gorgeous shade of deep, sensuous red, and then two hours waiting for the stupid things to dry as I desperately tried to remember not to touch *anything*.)

Which made me think of the lipstick I had upstairs.

(If you give a mouse a cookie...)

The lipstick I never ever use, except when I'm going on stage and need to make sure that there's something on my face to make me "pop." Deep, sultry red as though I'd taken up a life of vampiring and hadn't learned to use a napkin yet in my new lifestyle.

Ten minutes later, it was five past seven (bear in mind that approximately five minutes passed as I was having my staredown with the clock, and then coming to my Startling Realization. I *can* tell time, I just wanted you to know.) and I was Made Up. I had on all my subtle makeup for work, right down to my very-professional-and-not-overpowering line of eyeliner...

And bright red lips.

(No, this is not typical. I typically go for the lip balm, understated look. I'm not a stand-out-er. So... This is the big deal.)

Which promptly led me to flounce around my home for the following half hour, singing at the top of my lungs...


Which is also what I was singing as I walked into the office this morning.

**Yes, fingertips. Not fingernails. It would have saved time - and probably paint - to just dip my fingers one by one into the paint pots. I looked less like a sexy Receptionatrix and more like someone had tried to chew off my fingers at the first knuckle. Oh yeah... I was a vision.