July 23, 2014
A Dollar Could Buy Four Candy Bars
Be good to yourself!
That's the advice my maternal grandmother, Marie, would always call after us, as we all dispersed to our cars after Sunday dinner at her house. She'd stand in her front doorway and wave.
I'd wave back and say, "'Bye, Gramma!" Always wondering why the heck the was telling us to be good to ourselves. Good is something you're supposed to be to other people -- not to yourself! Silly Gramma.
I was always being told to be nice to Billi. We're two years apart, so we were always trying to kill the other one off. It made sense at the time -- less hassle, more inheritance. Although we were expected to be good and be nice to each other, I can still show you the scar on my left arm where Billi bit me because I wouldn't hand over the Barbie she wanted to play with.
[You want some Barbie now, bitch? Come on! Try it! I dare you to make a move on my Barbie collection! It's worth more than your minivan, and you ain't touchin' it! I don't care how hard you bite!]
[I have no idea where that came from. Sorry, Billi. You know you can touch them all. Even Coach Barbie.]
At some point, Mom decided it was okay to leave Billi and I home alone together for short periods of time. Those times became the SISTER DEATH CAGE MATCHES OF DOOM AND FARTS!!! One time, I hit Billi in the head with my skateboard, so she pulled me up the stairs by my hair. I'm not even kidding. That bitch is cold. She wisely locked herself in the bathroom immediately after, and stayed there until Mom came home. But what she doesn't know is that I farted on her pillow.
Ah, good times. Obviously, being good to someone does not entail any of those things, but that didn't stop our parents from trying, bless their little hearts. Billi and I were also told to be nice to Spikette, our sister who is older than us by ten and eight years, respectively.
Because she was so much our senior, Spikette was under strict orders to never hit us. Which really sucked for Spikette because Billi and I were merciless in our torment. We would slap Spikette on the butt -- HARD! -- and then innocently claim that it was "a love tap."
[Side note: Where in our childhoods did we learn that smacking someone on the butt was a thing, and that it was called a love tap?! I am kind of creeped out now.]
Now, I can see Mommy Dearest's logic in all this. It's pretty horrible to see a kid beat on another kid a decade their junior, so I understand why she forbade it of Spikette. On the other hand, the endless torture of Spikette -- and the sick glee we derived from it -- would have ended right quick, had she been allowed to retaliate. I'm just sayin'.
So, yeah. I was often not good. So be good to fill-in-the-blank was something I was told a lot. But be good to yourself? That's crazy talk, Gramma.
I will admit, it was in my late 30s -- or perhaps even more recently than that -- when I FINALLY figured out what Gramma was trying to tell us, and why it's so important.
Although I'm much nicer to my sisters now -- I rarely smack Spitette on the ass anymore, and it's been months since I farted on Billi's pillow -- I'm not very nice to myself. Here are some things that I've said to myself just this week:
"Your face is crooked."
"You're not REALLY going to wear a bathing suit the pool party, are you? You'll scare the children!"
"Seriously, your skin is so gross."
"You are so disgustingly fat."
"How does Husband put up with you?"
"Geez, what a drama queen!"
"Did you really just say that out loud???"
This being only Tuesday, that's not a very good track record for the week. Conversely, here's the nice things I've said to myself:
"Congratulations on not spilling ketchup on yourself."
"Your grey hairs almost look like highlights."
Wow. I am so passive-aggressive. And it's terrible! I wouldn't say those things to anyone else! Why am I saying them to myself? Gramma would be horrified!
I think that Gramma also meant for us to be good to ourselves -- not just on the inside -- but on the outside, too. She was very thoughtful, always sending us a dollar when we were staying at our summer home. (Hey, a dollar could buy four candy bars back then! Oh, how I wish I were kidding! I'm old enough to remember when candy bars were a quarter each!) I'm sure she was always hoping that we'd be good to ourselves and treat ourselves to little things that made us happy, just like she tried to encourage with her dollars.
Nowadays, my little "treats" come more in the form of a massage or chocolate lava cake or new scarf. And I refuse to think of them as extravagant, or of myself as undeserving.
Please, please, be good to yourselves, my beloveds. It doesn't have to even cost a dollar! Take a nap. Leave work on time for a change. Forget the housework and watch a favorite movie. Don't respond to an annoying text/Facebook post from a relative. Give yourself a compliment. Have crackers and cream cheese dip for dinner. Whatever works for you!
I know how hard you work. I know how guilty you feel when your day is less than productive and your house is less than spotless. I know you think you can't say No to someone. I know you think having an entire sleeve of Girl Scout Cookies makes you a bad person. I know you think you can't ask for help.
Fuck all that. Fuck it right in its ear. You are awesome and exhausted, and you are not treating yourself the way I would treat you, and that is unacceptable.
Be good to yourselves, people. Treat yourself the way you would treat a beloved one. Remember, you are adored.
July 17, 2014
The HR Generic-Magical-ish-Creatures
As I'm sure you've all been losing sleep wondering how I made peace with the HR Trolls, come sit on my knee, and I shall tell you a tale.
And in doing so, I have to come up with a new name because I just cannot, in good conscience, call them trolls anymore. So now what? The HR Fairies? The HR Nymphs? The HR... Selkies? I'm clearly open to suggestions here.
There were two contributing factors to my change in loyalties. One, HR Troll One retired and was replaced by a truly lovely individual. Genuine, warm, witty, not prone to saying crazy-inappropriate things. In short, fab. Two, my minion turned to utter crap, and HR Troll Two sided with me and guided me through the process of formal reprimands, getting rid of him, and hiring Apollo, my knight in shining chinos.
The HR Gnomes! Perfect! Wait. Neither of them are of Scandihoovian descent, so that may not be appropriate. Valkyries? Dammit! Why do I only know northern European lore? C'mon, I'm more well-read than that! This is embarrassing.
I've been trying to think of a way to explain to you the wear-and-tear on my soul that my previous minion was responsible for. The giant chip on his shoulders. His certainty that he was way too good for the job (he wasn't -- he wasn't even barely good enough for the job). His willingness to do only the bare minimum of what the job entailed. Ya gotta walk before you can samba, dude! If you can't be a good receptionist, you can't be a good anything!
There is one event that kind of encapsulates everything that was wrong with Previous (minion)...
He routinely came to work ten to fifteen minutes late, and left ten to fifteen minutes early. In the course of a week, he easily shaved an hour or two off his time. Every week. Once in a while, he'd be thirty minutes late and wouldn't even have the courtesy to send me a text.
And while you're thinking that none of that is a big deal, bear in mind that his job is the most public job in the whole building. He's the receptionist. People inside the building and out count on him to be available to assist them from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. So it's pretty goddamn noticeable when he's consistently not there at the appropriate times.
Since I've never in my life had anyone report to me before Previous, I consulted HR Gnome 2 about how I should handle this problem. She told me to just tell him to check in with me when he got in each morning, and stop by my desk to say 'bye before he left each afternoon. Simple enough. So I did that, in the most casual and non-confrontational manner that I could muster.
And he LOST. HIS. MIND. I haven't had that much attitude thrown at me since high school. It was ridiculous. Complete with posturing and head-wagging and finger-pointing. I was poised to run in case he started throwing chairs and demanding to know who my baby-daddy was.
"You can't do this! You can't treat me like a child! This is age discrimination! I'm not gonna check in with you every minute of the day! I won't be treated like this! This is bullshit!"
A stellar career move, if there ever was one. I nodded and walked back to my desk.
By the time I sat down again, Previous had sent a meeting invitation to both HR Gnome 2 (HRG2) and I. Meeting to start in thirteen minutes. Which is, like, the RUDEST thing ever. I'm sorry to be all hierarchical here, but a receptionist doesn't demand an immediate meeting with the second-in-command in Human Resources. It's just not done.
HRG2 called me. "What's going on?"
So I told her, complete with verbal re-enactment. She couldn't believe it. "That's insubordination. We're going to write him up for that. But I'm not going to meet with him; he can meet with HR Gnome 3. I'm going to decline his meeting invitation. Then you send one to him and HRG3. But not for this week. Make it for next week."
See? Totally had my back. And you have to admire the little passive-aggressive touches. I know I did! Previous walked into that meeting the following week thinking he was going to get me in trouble for... I don't know. Being a meanie? Insisting that he work the hours we pay him for? Not bowing to his innate authori-tah? I don't know. Fucking delusional, that one.
Instead, he got a long, detailed talking-to, which I got the pleasure to sitting back and soaking in. It was delightful. Until he opened his mouth. AGAIN. AGAIN with the opening of the mouth.
He asked HRG3, with a totally straight face, "What's the company's policy on micro-managing?" The FUCK?! Right in front of me! Accused me of micro-managing! FOR WANTING HIM TO COME TO WORK ON TIME!!! That. Little. Fucker.
"We don't have one. And it's Wenchie's job to do whatever it takes to make sure that you are at work during the times you are scheduled to be at work." Yeah! What she said!
After the meeting, Previous must've called his mom (who also works in the building) to tell her what an unreasonable bitch I am. And she must've set him straight and FAST because, two seconds after she walked away from his desk, he was at my desk, tripping over himself to apologize.
I sucked it up sanctimoniously. Pretended to forgive him. But he showed me his true colors, and now I know the real him. No ass-preserving apology can convince me that he's not a shit-stain. And from that moment on, I began building my case to fire him, praying that he'd yell at me again and save me the trouble.
Long story short, he got hired away before I had the pleasure of firing him, but that's okay. Because that road led to Apollo, and I am now one with peace and harmony.
Reason #17 Apollo is Awesome: Today he asked me if a Utilikilt would be considered appropriate office wear.
July 10, 2014
Out with the Old, In with the New
So, yes, The Vegan is in Ohio at her new job, and has been for some time now. Sorry 'bout that, Ohio! But not before leaving me with two more little nuggets to blog about.
Sidebar! Hope emailed me (since the comments section is broken) to ask, "Did the Vegan really move away, or did you all eat her for lunch one day at a conference and tell everyone it was vegan meat?" HEE! And that's pretty much the funniest damn thing you're going to read in this post.
Did I tell you that, the last couple months of her tenure with us, Vegan started standing at work? Like, working while standing up? Oh, yes, she did. She mounted her computer monitor on a pile of boxes and books and stood in front of it to work.
Do you know why? C'mon, ask me. Ask me why she stood in front of her computer instead of sitting in a nice, ergonomically-correct, company-bought chair, monkey-hunched over her keyboard like the rest of us. Know why? Know why?
Because "sitting is the new smoking."
Yeeeaaah. I'm just gonna sit back for a minute and let that soak in. Sitting. Is the new smoking.
Because she read it on the internet, and Al Gore makes sure that everything on the internet is true.
Because smoking has gone out of style, and the world clamored for something to fill the void.
Because sitting gives you buttcheek cancer, and healthy buttcheek donors are few and far between.
Because second-hand sitting gives your cubicle-neighbor buttcheek cancer.
Or something. Apparently. Whatever.
I knew she was job-hunting, interviewing, calling family friends for favors. So I bided my time. (Bode my time?) I feigned interest in her narcissistic ramblings and eviscerated her over lunch with friends. Because I knew it wouldn't be long before I was buying treats for our department farewell party for her. (The irony was not lost on me. I bought all my favorite snack foods.)
On her last day, she made the rounds of the organization, saying good-bye to all her "friends." She was all smiles and fairy tale stories of the job that was waiting for her. But when she got to me, the waterworks started.
She hugged me and said, "I promised myself I wasn't going to cry, but some people are just so nice!"
Wait -- WHAT?! What the shit??? Am I some people? Am I the some person who is so nice that she couldn't help but shed the tears she had heretofore been holding back so bravely?!
Jesus H. Monkey-Hunching Christ. I am the best fucking actress in the WORLD! Cate Blanchett can just go retire now because the world of film no longer needs her. I have arrived, Hollywood! Your casting quandaries are over!
Now, for a fleeting moment, I was concerned that I might be... two-faced. A liar. A deceptive deceiver. A backbiting betrayer. A fraudulent fibber, even. I mean, Jeebus, what kind of duplicitous sicko can trick an enemy into thinking they're a friend? For months on end?!
Am I a... sociopath?
No! C'mon! I'm a loveable scamp! I'm an adorable mischief-maker! I'm not a terrible person -- I'm just so incredibly professional that I was able to behave with civility towards a loathsome simpleton. That's all. Completely harmless. Nothing creepy going on here!
Besides, if I were evil, would I have such an instant connection with the personified benevolence that is my new minion? Because truly, he is Teh Awesomeness. Behold, his list of qualifications:
1. Was a Starbucks barista.
2. Is extremely thick-skinned, which will protect him against the myriad of walking sphincters he'll be working with.
3. Is computer-savvy.
4. Comes to work on time and stays until quitting time.
5. Is witty.
6. Thinks I'm witty.
Here is a fairly standard I.M. exchange between us. BECAUSE YES HE IS COMFORTABLE WITH INSTANT MESSAGING AS AN ACCEPTABLE WAY TO COMMUNICATE. I just cannot love him enough.
Oh, dear, I need to give him an anonymous name... I shall call him Apollo, as he is the light of my life.
Today at 11:42 AM
Apollo: What should I do with this camera cable I found in the big conference room?
PW: Check with I.T. and see if it's theirs. If not, check with the Meeting Planners and see what group was in there last.
Apollo: Ok. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll take a picture and nail to trees and telephone polls in the neighborhood.
PW: Lost, beloved camera cable. Answers to the name Kevin.
Apollo: We should think about how much reward money we want.
PW: A nice Coach purses is about $350.
Apollo: But Kate Spade has cuter designs.
PW: Now you are making me want to ignore these meeting notes and look for purses online. You are a bad influence.
Apollo: You brought up purses. I’m just the enabler.
[For those of you with sucky computers, "WANT" is a link to a Kate Spade tote. It's tan, orange, and hot pink, and says "Eat Cake for Breakfast" on the side in bold black letters.]
Apollo: Is it bad that I want it, too?
PW: HA! No! It's clearly a gender-neutral tote, with an important message for all of humanity.
Apollo: I mean, they wouldn't call them pancakes if cake was not a breakfast food, so... you know. Logic.
PW: Yes! LOGIC, bitches!
So you see, it's clearly a match made in heaven. He is the perfect minion. God has rewarded me for my amazing, Vegan-tricking professionalism by sending me Apollo. He's even better than the tiny pony in gym shoes that I asked for.
July 02, 2014
Ho. Lee. Shit. Six months. That's harsh.
So I'm sitting in my leather recliner, with Treehouse Masters on the t.v., playing Mahjongg on my phone, eating chocolate chips out of the bag. Looking forward to a night of having the bed to myself because Husband is visiting his parents. All in all, a pretty stellar evening, by any standards, and especially by lazy-ass-introvert standards.
Then my brain asks me, "What the fuck are you doing? You have a four-day weekend ahead of you. Is this how you're going to spend it?"
"NO... I'm going to brush the dog, do some laundry, and bake some cookies."
"Be still my heart."
"Shut up." My pouty inner-teenager can think of no good retort when she knows she's beaten.
Yes, I've asked myself this question, oh, at least three times so far this week, and incalculable times this year. But this time, my brain oh-so-cleverly put that thought together with the following:
I was in Trader Joe's last week when I ran into someone I worked with a hundred years ago. I run into her once every couple of years or so.
And the one thing she asked me, after two years, was, "When are you gonna blog again?"
Not, "Hey, did you cut your hair?"
Not, "Have you lost weight?" (No, Everyone At Work, I have not lost weight. Quit fucking asking me.)
Not, "How's work?"
"Whatcha been up to?"
"Hot enough for ya?"
"Got plans for the weekend?"
Not one of a million inane questions that people ask each other every day.
"When are you gonna blog again?"
And I realize -- this is what I want. This is exactly what I want. When people look at me, I want the first thought that comes into their head to be my writing. Not my weight, not my hair (hard to believe, no?), not my job, not my Barbies -- my writing.
I owe Sue a frozen yogurt.
So many writing opportunities have passed me by in these six months since I last put perfectly-manicured fingers to keys. I hired a new minion. I participated in a purge challenge (belongings, not food I've eaten). I was in a show and had the hugest singing part I've ever had in my life, AND NAILED IT. I got dive-bombed by a vulture. I became friends with the HR Trolls. I KNOW.
I'm just not me when I'm not recording the mundanities of my life for my apathetic public. SHIT, you guys, Vegan Bitch moved to Ohio, and I didn't even blog that! What the hell is wrong with me?!
Holy crap. Did it actually take me half an hour to write this? My brain is decrepit. It has gone the way of my abdominal muscles and atrophied. Must... write... more...
Hold me to this, you guys. Don't let this be like every diet I've ever tried. Remind me that the world and I have expectations that I need -- no, WANT -- to live up to. Give me ultimate shit when I ignore destiny. I may never write the great American novel, but I should be able to manage some lame blog post once a week.
[Wenchie looks steely-eyed at her computer screen. Cue writing-montage music.]