Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stinky, Stinky, Stinky!

I love those commercials. Where the rotting fish and angry diaper and dirty paper plates parade across the screen, and then the heroic trashbag comes in and swoops them up to save the nigh-defeated noses from the horrors around them... Good stuff. Advertising gold.


As may (or may not) be apparent, I live and work and recreate in an area that did not go unscathed by our recent Weather Anomaly.** Although she failed to give us the whipping we were threatened, she did louse up many a weekend plan with her Windy Wind and Rainy Rain. Saturday night was spent wrapped in blankets, listening to the sound of the rain pounding outside my window. Sunday morning was spent deep in the heart of heathendom, lounging in my jammies and watching episode after episode of a classic Seth MacFarlane comic rife with political incorrect-ness, and eating some of the canned goods I had squirreled for the Impending Doom. (Don't judge. It was hash, and it called to me. Corned Beef Hash doesn't hang around long in our home... Even in imminent apocalypse conditions.) Sunday afternoon was more of the same, with my still-unshowered-and-lounging-in-my-jammies-and-starting-to-radiate-toxic-aromas condition just beginning to push me towards making a decision to start my day... When the power blinked. And blinked again. And then shut down.


It wasn't a hardship. I live and work and recreate in a very centralized location (read: much more "City" than my upbringing. Usually a good thing, like when the power goes out and I know it won't last forever-and-a-day. Sometimes not so spiff, like when I forget where I live and run around naked with the windows open and terrorize my neighbors.) so I knew that we wouldn't be without for long. This knowledge is amplified by the understanding that I live in close enough proximity to a happy little Bad Guy Time-Out Station that a power outage will be addressed even more hastily, to keep the aforementioned Bad Guys in their happy little Time-Out boxes. So, minor inconvenience. We can handle this.

First on the agenda: read. I LOVE to read. It has always been an escape for me; however, it was tainted by the dirty brush strokes of Required Reading Lists throughout my educational career. I am slowly working my way back into enjoying more than just the fluffy chick-lit stories and children's books that got me through many a dark and dreary semester, but it's rough going. Sometimes my eyes are tired. Sometimes my brain is tired. And sometimes I've dealt with so much reality that I really can't imagine sinking into anything deeper than a glass of rum and a situation comedy. But sometimes, moments of opportunity present themselves and I can sink into a book that stirs a higher level of activity within my gray matter, and reminds me that not all books need to be fluff. And so, on Sunday, I took this opportunity. I curled up on the couch and stuck my nose into a historical fiction novel...

And promptly fell asleep.

It didn't take more than half an hour for Reading Time to become Napping Time.

And so ended my adventures in The Land Without Power. I read, I napped, I adventured to find hot food (not for lack of ability to make the same in our home: more for the convenience of a well-lit bathroom. DULY NOTED: Someday, I will live in a house. And in that house will be a bathroom... or two... or four... And EVERY SINGLE ONE will have a window. This closet-of-a-bathroom madness has to stop! I simply cannot pee under those conditions.) and came home to a neighborhood brimming with electricity.

This makes me fortunate.

It is now Wednesday - a full 72 hours from when most of the state lost their power - and there are still whole towns without electricity.

Unfortunately, this no-electricity thing is, by and large, affecting people in more rural communities.

Which means that they don't have the privilege of City Water.**(1)

Which means that they don't have electricity OR running water.

Which means that they smell pretty ripe by now.

Which brings me to my Public Service Announcement for today:

Public Service Announcement to Weather-Ravaged Employees

While I admire your persistence in coming in to The Big City for two days in a row after the storm rampaged your town and left you and your family without modern conveniences, I am convinced that nothing is so important that you need to work when only able to clothe yourself in baggy sweatpants, a ratty tee and a greasy ball cap. If you won't use the shower facilities that your employer provide, may I please attempt to convince you to toddle home and return another time? Or perhaps just go sit in the parking lot. You are a lovely person... But you smell like something I wish my Hefty bag would swoop up. And definitely NOT like someone I want handling my morning pastry.

No offense.

With Love,

**Named as such because she did NOT hurricane at me. Not that I mind that at all. I don't take lightly the fact that she was in other states, that she obliterated other towns, and that there are people who have been badly hurt both physically and emotionally for whom the rebuilding is going to take years after the floodwaters subside. To them, my warmest thoughts and best wishes travel through the Cosmos for healing, health and strength to carry on. 

**(1) City Water is AMAZING! When the power goes out, the water still runs. And it still gets hot, if you have a gas-powered water heater, so you can wash your hands and the dishes and any really offensive laundry you might have [except you wash it in the sink, because washers and dryers don't work]. And your toilet still flushes, so the inevitable Oh My Goodness The Power Just Went Out So I Absolutely Must Turn On The First Light Switch I Encounter And Then Go Pee isn't a problem anymore. Oh, and THE WATER STILL RUNS. I hope you're understanding how epic this is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And I Feel Fine...


I mean, seriously. Woah!

Over the course of the last hour this afternoon, I have caught the following snippets of conversation:

"Yeah! My bobbleheads were going nuts!"

"So there I was, just watching my plant sway back and forth... You know, it was kind of calming!"

"And then I thought, 'This isn't the greatest building. Am I going to die?' But then we didn't. Hurray for that."

The chorus of "Did you feel it?" "What was it like?" and "Wow! Really?"s

But my favorite so far was:

"Yeah, it was hard to tell. This building moves and shakes all the time anyway. Who's to say it wasn't a strong wind or a big truck or someone opening the elevator doors at the same time as the back stairwell..."

Aptly put, EngineerFriend. I couldn't have phrased it better myself.

Long And Short:

We had an earthquake.

And no, I didn't feel it.


(But only because everyone is okay, and no reports of major damage have appeared. No matter your Deity of Choice, please ask them to keep an eye on the goings-on herein, and think warm fuzzies for anyone affected by this. Please.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spoil Your Lunch

I'm about to tell you something shocking...

I'm a girl.

Yes, I know. I should have let you sit down first and brace yourself. My clever subtleties like wearing skirts and glitter often conceal my inner femininity... At least from EngineerFriends. 

However, it remains true. Although I can (don't usually, but can) cuss like a sailor, work like a lumberjack and spit... I also enjoy frilly undergarments, drinking something sweet out of a pretty glass and pretending I'm a princess.**

There are times at work where this shines through more brightly than others. Sometimes it's the local fauna (read: spiders) that bring out my inner Disney Girl, where I shriek and pull my feet up on my chair until someone comes to rescue me.. Sometimes it's something exciting that riles me into my feminine mode, where I giggle and flit about and my excitement expells itself from my flailing fingertips. And sometimes... it's shopping.

See, part of my job is to shop for the office supplies. I get a request from an employee, and I go through our vendors and find the best price and buy it with the company account. (This, then, creates an invoice which I have to process. Happy circle, no?) It's a little more exciting because I don't have to use my own money... And the thrill of the hunt can be pretty awesome. There are some great deals on Post-Its out there. (And, of course, I get to dictate what colors we get. "Oh! Sorry, EngineerFriend! They only had the Vibrant Violet packets this week! I guess you'll just have to make do.)

For today, I got a request for some kitchen supplies from a satellite office. My shopping list: Coffee, creamer, pretzels, and "two or three kinds of candy. Whatever you choose will be fine."

Internal dialogue went like this:

<rainbows and sunshine and smiling puppies> SQUEE! Candy! Whatever I want to pick!

But wait... I don't get to eat it.

This isn't for my office.

I just have to choose it, and someone else will eat it.

And I have to order it from an office supply website, so really, their selection is going to stink.

No use getting my hopes up. I'll get basic hard candy and basic chewy candy and I'll be on my merry way.

Boring, but merry.

(End of internal dialogue.)

So, resignedly, I signed on to  my favorite of the office supply order websites. 
Search term: "Candy." Results:


Now, don't get too hasty. Two of these items were tea (Candy Apple, anyone?) and and one was a note pad (Ribbon Candy paper?), so really there were only fifty six types of candy to choose from.

And so began my mid-morning splurge of candy shopping.

New Internal Dialogue:

Do I get them Jolly Ranchers? Tootsie Rolls? Starburst? M&M's? So many choices! So many decisions!

Oh my goodness, I didn't know you get that many Jelly Bellys  in one package!

Saf-T Pops?! They still make Saf-T Pops?! Oh, my goodness! Want!

Oooooh... Life savers

Oooooooh... Gummy bears

I can't pick. The pressure is too much.

Search term: "Basic Candy." Results:

Original hard candy mix.

Original soft-'n'-chewy mix.

That, I can handle.

** A warrior princess. Don't judge.


EngineerFriend (Over the loud-speaker system): Any architect dial my extension. Any architect, my extension. If you can spell "Charette."

EngineerFriend (Over the loud-speaker system): <music plays>
Sunny: Did you mean to do that?
EngineerFriend: Yes. This song is awesome. They should rock out.

EngineerFriend: You've been useless since two o'clock this afternoon. Please go home.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Once upon a time, there was a jelly doughnut.

It was a happy little doughnut, because it wasn't little at all, really.

It was actually quite huge.

And it was very proud.

It had powdered sugar all over, but not too thick...

It was just the right coating.

And it was filled with sticky sweet strawberry jam, which was just runny enough to give the jelly doughnut a proper squish, but not so runny as to leak out the jelly belly button.

This jelly doughnut lived a happy life. It came out of an oven one Friday morning, put its perfect coat of powdered sugar on, and sat in the bakery pastry case waiting for its person to come along.

And then suddenly, the shop bell rang.

What a happy day!

A tall, heavyset man had come to give the doughnut a home.

The doughnut smiled.

It was going to make someone very happy.

And very full.

So it sat in its little cardboard box with some other jelly doughnuts, and some cinnamon rolls, and one peppy little blueberry muffin with crumbles on top.

One by one, the jelly doughnut's friends started to disappear.

First one cinnamon roll was taken out by a very smiley admin.

Next, the peppy little blueberry muffin with the crumbles on top went to an EngineerFriend.

And then one of the other jelly doughnuts ascended to the heavens, aided by the hand of a hungry manager.

The jelly doughnut just smiled and waited, knowing that its time would soon be nigh.

Quietly it sat there, unassuming and unafraid as EngineerFriend after EngineerFriend strolled past to grab their morning swill from the coffeepot.

And then, it's moment came!

"Ooh, a doughnut!" heard the jelly doughnut.

And it puffed up its pastry and readjusted its coat for optimum deliciosity.

It wanted to make its hungry human very happy.

And very full.

But then...


Something sharp and pokey sliced nonchalantly through its puffy pastry, scattering powdered sugar all over the counter.

But that wasn't it.

No, more horrors were to come...

Although the jelly doughnut didn't know what they might be.

The jelly doughnut tried to be brave, and maintain its puffy pastriness and it's powdery goodness and its sticky sweetness...

But then came the worst part.


Seriously. Who does that?
And the sticky sweet strawberry goo leaked everywhere.

And the powdered sugar got all soggy.

And the puffy pastry gave up the fight and went flop.

And so ends the tale of The Jelly Doughnut.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Trained Monkey

There are some points about my job that are particularly stressful to me.

One is keeping track of who likes which pens, and keeping the correct stock of each. This is bothersome because everyone likes different stuff, and they change parties all the time, and I just can't keep up. So while I currently have a 200-box backstock of ballpoints and can't keep a single erasable in the office, next week the needs will change and the 150 erasables I ordered will go untouched as they move on to The Next Big Thing... which will probably involve something with the gels I threw out a month ago.

One is cleaning the coffee pots when they get burnt on. This is, in general, the topic for another post... But let me state that (as a non-coffee-drinker), while I don't dislike the smell of coffee, the feeling of crusty goo under my fingernails as I scrape the pots clean is something that I simply don't enjoy.

And finally...

I don't like being yelled at.

Most specifically, I don't like being yelled at when the Yeller doesn't even realize what they're doing.

Here's how it usually goes:

When I make a phone call to an employee, a series of tones sound on their phone. (Doesn't that make it seem like I work in a big fire department? That would be cool... But it's nothing like that. It goes "BUUUP BUUUP BUUUP" - not a "beep" and not a "boop," but a "burp" without the "r".)

I then make some sort of announcement to state that I am calling. Sometimes I'll just say "Hello?" Other times I get more clever, and say the Employee's name. But I always try to make some sort of statement regarding the fact that I'm calling, because the tones can fade into the background and go unheard. (And no one likes to be on the receiving end of an EngineerFriend rendition of "Can't Touch This" as they sing along to their headphones, blissfully unaware that they are broadcasting.)

It is at this juncture that all hell can break loose.

Sometimes the EngineerFriend just sits there, waiting for me to continue with my monologue about who called them and why. However, as I am not a fan of distributing unwanted information, I do try to await acknowledgement of my phone-presence before proceeding. So those phone calls go like this:


Sunny: Hello?

Engineerus Waitus: <silence>

Sunny: Hello?? Friend??

Engineerus Waitus <loudly, and with unmasked agitation>: WHAT?!

This rattles me. I often forget who is calling, or where they are from, or what they wanted, or any combination of these that leave me looking like an incompetent gibbon in a cute skirt. And then I have to go back to the caller, ask the information I had forgotten, and start the angry circle again.

Sometimes the EngineerFriend realizes they are being spoken to and responds, but then reaches for the phone halfway through my monologue in order to be prepared for their incoming conversation, but in doing so cuts off my speech so they can't hear everything. Those calls go like this:


Sunny: Hello?

Engineerus Interruptus: Hi!

Sunny: Hi! I have So-And-So from... 

Engineerus Interruptus: <picks up handset> What? 

Sunny: on the line for... <realization dawns> Oh. Sorry. I have So-And-So from... 

Engineerus Interruptus: Great! Where's he from?

Sunny: Blargh.

This is less unsettling than being agitated at, but still leads to unfortunate gibbondom as I babble in incomplete sentences, competing with E.I. for the right to finish my sentences. 

However, the particular specimen I was dealing with today was Engineerus Hollerus, or The Yeller.

And his phone calls go like this:


Sunny: Hello?

Engineerus Hollerus: <top of lungs, immediately adjacent to phone> YES?!

Sunny: <jumps> Oh! Umm... <collects self> I have So-and-So of This Company on the line.

Engineerus Hollerus: <like a normal human> Okay. Thank you!

I think this is my least favorite of all. He yells loudly enough so it vibrates the speaker against my ear, leaves my auditory receptors tingling (in the bad way) and usually gives me a headache. Now I'm an incompetent gibbon in a cute skirt with a penchant for Advil.

So today, after the Mother Of All Awful Meetings, I transferred a call to him. And got hollered at. And decided that I had reached the end of my auditory rope, and that something needed to be done.

So I confronted him.

(This is a big deal. I don't confront. I passive-agress, and I beat-around-the-bush, and I babble to other people who confront for me... But I don't make waves. I'm much more of a ripple sort of girl. The only thing in my life that should have waves are large bodies of water and potato chips.)

And *that* conversation went like this:

Sunny: Hi! Do you have a minute?

Engineer: Of course! For you? Anything!

(He's a bit of a character.)

Sunny: I just wanted to check on your phone. Is it working okay?

Engineer: Oh! I'm glad you came in! Actually, when I dial out, watch this...

<dials a random number, like 5439761584364, and then registers surprise when it doesn't work>

Oh. Well. When I make a phone call, it starts out really loud and then gets really quiet.

Sunny: Oh! So is this a common problem for your phone? The volume is an issue?

Engineer: Not always, just at the beginning of a conversation.

Sunny: I'm glad you brought that up. Stop yelling at me.

From here, he began on a monologue about how his coworkers immediately adjacent to him have been telling him that he's too loud, and how his wife tells him all the time that the phone hasn't done anything to him, and that he should stop yelling at it.

From which I took away "Don't get your hopes up, kid. I'm a yeller."

But I remain optimistic. The world is full of people who are exorbitantly loud (like drive-through yellers... and cell-phone-on-the-train yellers...) , and I am trying to do my part to reduce this number by one. I'm making a difference, world! Maybe he'll turn over a new leaf, and start addressing me like a real person instead of a half-deaf robot.    
Or maybe a real gibbon will come in and take my job, and I'll keep getting my paychecks, so I'll be free to move on to bigger and better things... like teaching small children the rules of society.

Rule Number 47 For Surviving Successfully in Society: Don't yell into the phone, or you'll risk the wrath of a disgruntled Receptionist.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Suitable For Younger Viewers

(So, as someone with dreams of working with children one day, I take a significant amount of care in making sure I don't broadcast anything to the masses that might scar a blossoming young mind. There is some understated sexiness in this post that could be sensitive for young viewers. If you ARE a young viewer - and I mean under the age of 16, where you have no business thinking sexy thoughts... You young-at-heart leches can have all the thoughts you want. I know I certainly do. - I know the knowledge that you shouldn't makes you want to read ahead all the more. Please try to resist, if only with the understanding that your body posture changes when you're doing something you shouldn't, and your parents *will* catch you. Yeah, I might be fibbing... But do you really want to risk having your Intarwebs taken away for one measly blog post?)

Okay. That's done. Onward.
I've always wanted to wear a flowy dress and walk out into a river. In my mind, there is something enthralling about the thought of the soft fabric drifting around me as I lay still in the rushing water. Then, of course, there's the sensuous post-river idea of damp, clinging fabric on a female form. But… and this is a BIG but… what about that awkward moment in the middle - before you reach the slightly-dried state for optimum damp-and-clinginess - when you have to put yourself to rights and get *out* of the river, muddy about the posterior and dripping like a poorly plumbed faucet? Yup, stops me every time.

Yes, this was the thought I woke up to this morning. Poetical, I know... And somewhat disturbing. (However, much more pleasant than the dream which caused me to wake up in the first place: A disembodied head taking control of my laundry - most notably, my recently-cleaned-red-bra-collection - and scattering it up and down my stairwells... Yeah. I know. It was scarier in my head.)

But it's true. Think about it - you must have encountered, somewhere within your searching of the vast wide intarwebs, some picture or video where a beautiful young woman in a beautiful dress lays thoughtfully in the water, pondering life and looking artsy while the water flows gently by...

(And not at all looking confused as to why she's wearing a white dress in a river.)

And if you encountered this, you must also have encountered the half-dry woman sunning herself on a rock looking just as clean as before she went into the water, but with the appropriate sogginess to suggest that this is not at all an orchestrated, pre-river-walk sunning.

(And not at all looking exerted for the work it must have been to fly vertically up and out of the water in order to avoid getting dirty.)

So what caused this strange, random and slightly awkward-to-consider thought? (The damp-and-clingy one... Not the cranial conundrum one...)


Yup, it was my office that made me do it.

See, I sit in this tiny little cubicle all day.

(Okay, so it's not tiny. And it's not exactly a cubicle. I have half walls that encase the three hundred square feet which could arguably be called "Mine." But it's confining, because I can see outside to all that I'm missing and really, nothing in here is sacred. Seriously. An EngineerFriend just leaned over my cube wall and "borrowed" my stapler, making his request by way of staring me down and daring me to speak against him. And now he's walked away with it. Ballsy little bugger.)

And it's boring.

(Okay, so it's not as boring as I make it sound. There are things to do if I wanted to get off my sphincter and take care of them. I could clean... Or process my never-ending pile of invoices... Or file something... Whee.)

And in not-so-Tiny-and-Boring Land, there is but one cure for what ails me:


(We've talked about this before. Don't tell me you're surprised.)

Sometimes it comes through my radio. Sometimes it's only in my brain. And sometimes it streams through my computer speakers, directly from an internet link to YouTube.

It is with the latter that I find myself most smitten recently.

Most notably, I have been listening to songs that involve music videos in which a young lady wears a pretty dress into a river and lays down.

And then, as if by magic she is suddenly lounging on the riverbank, beautifully damp and clingy but without a hint of the muck and mud that has inevitably been stirred beneath her by her swirling skirt.

Yeah, right. That's realistic. Almost as realistic as me getting off my lazy tuckus and dealing with the filing. (Ha!) 

No, it's more as though a crane lifted her from her watery-ness and set her gently on the sidelines... or a prop guy with a spray bottle had his way her.

Which would serve her right, the little soggy liar. I hope it was cold.

But despite the false claims, I still find myself drawn to the artistry of the image, and wondering what it would be like to wear That Dress and be That Girl...

Although maybe not at work.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No Pain...


Remember that insomnia post? And how I vaguely hinted at some pain from over-exertion?

My muscles aren't being vague anymore.

So here's the scoop: I took a tumble over the weekend because I didn't take care of myself, got a little too thirsty and a little too dizzy and fell down carrying a box of books on the stairs. Which wouldn't have been so bad except I landed on my butt/back/hips. So now (two days later), I hurt.

A lot.

Until now, it had been tolerable. At home when I got uncomfortable, I would fidget around and get myself comfy again, and go on with my tasks. At work, I pretty much just sit here. There's only so much fidgeting one can do from a seated position, and so... I grump.

In the scheme of things, I don't have it so bad. I have a remarkable feeling of accomplishment for That Which I Got Done Over The Weekend, and I have an afternoon off to do That Which I Didn't Get Done Over The Weekend, so I'm in good spirits about that. And keeping on with the moving helps me not seize up entirely and fall to a quivering lump on the floor.

Besides... it can be kind of fun to incite pity from my coworkers, and see what I can get them to do for me. (So far, nothing. But it's early yet.)


We been clusterin' all mornin, and it's only 10:30. (From a client who insists that his projects always go wrong.)

I'm gonna retire -  I don't give a God-damn! (From the same client, later in the same conversation.)

Are you have time to make a presentation printie? This is for internal ooing and ahhing.  (From an EngineerFriend who was trying desperately not to come apart at the seams with their stressful project.)

<EngineerFriend approaches desk to sign out in Sign Out log>
Sunny: <mostly to self> Oh my goodness... They have cologne with undertones of bacon.
EngineerFriend: Hmm... <looks dreamily out the window for a moment> Oh! <starts, and looks back to Sign Out log> Now you got me all flustered, thinkin' about bacon!

Is your pride in your butt? (Upon telling a client on the phone that I had fallen and hurt myself some. He said 'I bet your pride got the worst blow.' I said 'Tell that to my butt!' This was his response.)