Friday, October 30, 2009

Sugar Rush

When I was a kid, there was no better day than Halloween. I loved to dress up and Halloween was just an excuse to do it in public. My mom would never buy me ready made store costumes (which annoyed me then but now am grateful for) so there was more freedom to be creative. I was a fairy princess (my first North American Halloween), Charlie Chaplin (needed to make sure I had the hat on at all times or I was apt to look a little too much like a certain fuhrer), Mary Poppins, a really scary witch (I was 8 and green) etc. I think Charlie Chaplin was my favourite (aside from the aforementioned hat issue).

I used to run home from school and wait for the sun to go down. It always took forever. And then of course there was the huge disappointment of having my mom haul out my winter coat and 10 other layers to wear under my costume. Disappointing because it always ruined the effect and I always hoped she would forget. Then my brother and I were handed a pillow case each and told to hit the road. The freedom! The exhilaration! The sugar rush!

Halloween was the perfect holiday.

As I got older, Halloween became less about candy and more about alcohol. It was an excuse to put on short skirts and small tops, some sort of animal tail or ears, maybe a hat and drink til you fell down a la Mean Girls(the greatest movie ever made): "Halloween is the only day in the whole year that a girl can dress like a total slut and no one else can say anything about it. Alice in Wonderland was the best of those".

But now, there is Work Halloween. And Work Halloween is just an exercise in lame-ness. I mean there are a lot of things you have to think about. Things that would totally be great and go over really well at a house party or at a bar, just don't fly at work. You can't wear short skirts, or small tops. You can't take things too far. You need to keep PC-ness in mind. And if your boss doesn't have a sense of humour you need to remember that too.

So inevitably, people come in wearing devil horns with their regular clothes (I'm not talking about you Claire, I know you don't have a choice in the matter), or say things like "I'm a college student"- which come on, its cheating. Amy came in today dressed as a 20 year old. Although she is in her early 30s she looks like she's 15 (unfair right?)so its not really a stretch.

Inevitably there are those that dress up, and those that have no imagination or inclination to come up with an easy costume idea. And the day becomes a constant war of words between the 2 sides, one side taunting the other about itchy wigs, and the other mocking the lack of imagination and awesome-ness shown.

And of course, the piece de resistance of any office event: the potluck lunch. Who doesn't love a potluck lunch?

Actually I'm not the biggest fan. I find them forced and kind of awkward and there really is no telling what people will bring in. Although I did just hear that there would be pizza. But mostly we all stand around for an hour trying to talk to one another but mostly not having any common ground except work and eventually we all lapse into awful work stories and questions, or silence. I think I would prefer the silence.

I'm pretty sure that I have already crashed after a mini sugar rush (there was candy on my desk when I came in. What was I supposed to do?) but I hope to have remedied that by walking into the lunch room and digging through one of 4 buckets of candy to help me get my fix again.

All around its a very odd day. Veronica is dressed like a bumble bee. What? She's interviewing people? Who wouldn't want to be interviewed by a bumble bee? It would bee entertaining (sorry, I couldnt' help myself). If one of the interviewees came dressed up in a costume I would definitely push for that person.

There was a high note though. One of the guys from the other team (yeah we like to refer to departments as Teams, it makes us seem more cohesive and awesome. except that it achieves neither of those things) has a truly heinous skull mask. Maurice (in one of his bright moments, it was shortlived) told him to go to the little space on the outside of Veronica's cubicle and pop up and scare her.

Just as an interviewee walked into the office Maurice guided Veronica to her desk to "look at something" and the other guy popped up. She screamed (so high pitched) AND yelled profanities. And then went to her interview.

I didn't know that Maurice could be so diabolical and am strangely impressed. I'm sure it won't last.

Oh and do you know what? Originally I could not get into the Halloween spirit enough this year to come up with a costume. But Anna needed bits and pieces to complete hers. So I went with her to a sewing store (currently a Halloween emporium) and found my costume. And she found what she needed. So I was finally starting to look forward to it.

And today I'm all excited to see which idea Anna went with (she had 2 in mind).

Anna is not at work today.

H1N1 strikes again.

**please note I am not a doctor and have not treated Anna, this is purely conjecture because it seems to be going around**

At least there are buckets of candy. I'm going to go eat my feelings now. See what you did Anna (I mean, hope you're feeling better!)?

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buzz Kill

I just tried to write a post. I failed. It was neither insightful nor witty. It wasn't ridiculous or inane.

It was crap.

So I deleted it and here I am. Trying to think of something to share.

I'm not hungover today, which is a good start. But I'm not exactly bursting with enthusiasm or excitement. About anything. My concerts are over and while I'm perfectly happy reliving them in my head, other people are continuously intruding on my bliss with inane cubicle tasks.

We all know how I feel about the cubicle tasks.

Currently we are all buried up to our necks in paperwork and things that need to get done yesterday (some are buried up to their necks in their a**, not having any idea of what is going on). This doesn't leave a lot of time for hilarity. Or even for eavesdropping on interesting conversation. Furthermore, with all this work that needs to be done, Amy and Veronica have magically found more time to walk around and make sure you are working. This leaves a lot less time for internet surfing. I don't even know what the Kardashians are up to this week (I heard there might be some new tattoo on Khloe?)! And if you don't know what the Kardashians are doing, you are in some kind of cave.

On top of this, a lot of people are sick. I don't know if you have heard, but there is this thing called H1N1, and its really making the rounds. Yeah, I'm not surprised you haven't heard of it, the media hasn't really caught on to it yet, but supposedly it can get pretty serious.

Apparently we live in a hot zone. A lot of H1N1 floating around in these parts. I was self-quarantined in April (it was a strong suggestion), when I returned from Mexico (the heart of the Swine Flu) and The Boyfriend came down with a handful of the symptoms. I called work and told them that I felt fine but that The Boyfriend may or may not have it and I got an extra week off work. Paid.

But we have these Temps. That don't get sick days and don't get paid well either. So if they are sick and they don't come in, they don't get paid. In today's economy (maybe you haven't heard about this either, its bad) losing a day's wages is not good. It actually makes a substantial difference to things like food and rent. You know, those little extras. Turns out we don't work for a Fortune 500 company so the pay is pretty low to begin with. Anyway, these poor Temps sell their souls and get sick (because of the pressure at work and the stress of not knowing if they are permanent) and then they still come in.

Under the old company regime, no thought was given to the fact that when sick people work, they get more sick and other people sick. For them, it was bottom line: Temps show up, Temps work, Temps don't show up, Temps don't get paid.Turns out the new company has a conscience.

Not enough to hire the Temps as full time permanent (and thus give them access to sick days to actually get better) but enought to get Amy to send a friendly reminder:

It seems like a lot of people are getting sick or knows people that are [...] Please remember to really wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. If you are coughing, please be kind to your neighbours and cough into your sleeve. If you are really feeling sick, please do stay at home.

Am I the only one that thinks its wrong not to hire Temps full time (if you are giving them full employee responsibilities) and then tell them to stay home if they are sick and therefore forfeit a days' wages? I'm all for staying home when you are sick (Lord knows I take advantage), I'm pretty sure its well known that if you rest, really rest, you are bound to get better faster. Not to mention the fact that if you stay home you're not spreading your germs.

BUT (and this is big) how fair is it to penalize people for not coming into work, creating a culture where it is seriously frowned upon to call in sick (because it was up until September 1st) and then changing your mind, singling people out for coughing and asking them to give up their hard earned money?

Let's just all call it a day.

PS: Tomorrow, Halloween office festivities. Get excited.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday + Rum = My Wednesday

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm hungover. At work. And its hard to focus on the minutiae of cubicle tasks when your head is screaming at you and your stomach is churning.

Mostly I'm just really tired. And then there is the hangover that's really throwing off my groove.

Although, do I have a groove at work? I think the entire purpose of this job is to rid me of my groove.

My hangover is making me ramble about nonsense.

So maybe a concert at a bar on a Tuesday wasn't the best idea I've ever had. There was a time when I could get off work, get drunk at Karaoke Thursdays or Cowboy Wednesdays at respectable establishments, get myself home and be up and ready to go to work as normal. But clearly those days are long gone. And while I had an amazing time, dancing my butt off (like I said, I was drunk) in my nice new heeled boots, today I'm questioning my own sanity.

Course, there is another concert to go to tonight. But probably won't go as hard tonight. I'll never make it. Just a glass of wine. Or 2. Or whatever.

Don't think that the thought of taking a personal day didn't cross my mind as I lay half coma-tose this morning. It definitely did. But at the same time this super annoying voice in my head (is it bad to hear voices?) said that it was my own fault that I felt like crap, that I made the choice to go out on a school night and now I had to face the consequences. What is that about? Where did this voice of reason come from? I don't think that that is fair. Especially when I turned around and The Boyfriend was snoring away happily, already having decided that he's "going to go in later".

He's probably still in bed.

Hangovers at work do not a happy cubicle inhabitant make. I could barely stomach a normal breakfast (the thought of milk made me queasy) but when Lily brought in my favourite home made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies suddenly I needed to eat 5. I am now cradling my starbucks gently, willing it to erase my bad decisions from last night.

Did Veronica always have such a nasaly voice?

Is it not bad enough to be hungover? Does she really need to talk that much? And so loudly? This is why hangovers at work suck. Everything is so much worse than normal.

I don't think anyone will be surprised to hear that my legs and feet are messed up after last night's escapade. I'm no longer bleeding (and my mom just messaged me about magic blister band aids. Apparently this blister/shoe stupidity is an inherited trait) but I'm kind of gibbled a little (oh man, remember Full House? Kimmy Gibbler? She was hilarious! ...I told you already, I have a hangover).

Although it didn't happen in the Cubicle, I think it warrants telling. It could be like an ongoing series of Things That Happen To My Feet. I could make a movie. Well too bad if you think that's a dumb idea, I'm the one with the non-ergonomic keyboard typing here.

I went to a concert last night (I don't know if I mentioned that) and I wore my new boots. Because they are concert wearing boots. I walked around in them, danced all night in them, generally bonded with my new boots. But you know how your feet swell when you are dancing around on them in impractical shoes? Well I thought of that. Sort of. I brought flip flops in my purse to walk back to the bus in after the concert (yes, even though it was late at night in late October) because I knew that there was no way that ?I was going to make it to the bus in the boots (and lets face it, scuff up the boots) and wanted to quickly sit and change into them before we went outside. Left boot comes off no problem. Right boot, not so much.I wriggled as best I could but the exhaustion from dancing and the effects of rum beat me and I needed The Boyfriend's help. I asked him to please gently pull the boot off. Well he heard the part about pulling the boot off but I don't think he caught gently. The boot came off but in the process I'm pretty sure that my hip got pulled out of its socket.

Today it feels bruised. And my feet are screaming at me for wearing heels.

But it was totally worth it because today I get to stick it to the man.

I'm wearing sneakers.

PS This is my 100th post!! Thanks for making my miserable cubicle existence a part of your day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tits On A Bull

**Before we begin today's post, I should clarify something from yesterday. Those of you that were reading might have gotten the impression that when I didn't finish my dinner as a child, my mom would hit me. In the face. You might have gotten this impression from "I'm pretty sure that I brushed my teeth and finished my dinner because I was afraid of what my Mom would do to me otherwise (not the face!!!)". My mom sent me a message telling me that she most certainly did not hit me. Especially not in the face. Which is true. My mom did not hit me (except for a few spankings when, let's face it, I was out of line). When I said "not the face!" I was in fact referring to her stern face. The face that she later admitted she practiced in the mirror for maximum effect. The face that clearly stated don't-mess-with-me-right-now-or-things-will-get-worse. This face is still in use today against my younger brother and sisters and if I happen to see it, it still manages to instill fear in me. **

So there Mom, I clarified. Hopefully you won't be as offended by today's topic, which comes to us in the form of an expression: Tits on a bull.

As in: Maurice is as useless as tits on a bull.

Although I am not a fan of the word "tits", when used in this expression, I find it satisfying. I do believe that this is one of Anna's favourite phrases. I'm equally certain that she introduced me to it in the first place (yes Mom, she is clearly a bad influence).

So where is all this going? Well, I was going to discuss the people and things that are like tits on a bull- useless to me today.

Obviously we are going to start with Maurice. Apparently I am tough on Maurice. First of all, this is all stuff that I have said to his face. But he thinks I'm joking. I'm not. But I don't want to clarify and make his head explode. Secondly, if I want to mock Maurice, I will. I'm the one that has to sit with him all day. If you would like to take him off my hands, I will stop making fun of him (as much). Oh, whats that? No thank you? That's what I thought. Maurice has worked here for over a year. And he still has to ask how to scan things. He doesn't know how it works. So he asks. Again and again and again. Instead of turning around to ask questions or talk to me, he uses messenger. We literally sit back to back. He won't eat cake. And he brings smelly things in for breakfast. Tits on a bull.

Band-aids. On your feet. I'm fairly confident that I have mentioned before how problematic my feet are . And today was just another incident in the life of my feet. I went on a shoe rampage last week. I got new boots. And then rain boots (my old ones were cracked and broken and no longer really kept my feet dry which was kind of their purpose). And then flats (because the old ones were destroyed, I might as well have been walking around barefoot). So in an effort to save my feet today, before I wear my new boots tonight at a concert, I am wearing my new flats. I have worn them a couple of times already, got a couple of blisters. But I was pre-emptive this morning. I could feel one coming on so I put a band aid on it. Immediate relief. Felt confident. Walking down the street, Starbucks in hand, things were good! The sun was shining, it was a nice fall day, I showered, and I have a concert to look forward to tonight (hence the shower)!

About 20 minutes ago I checked my foot to see if it the band aid was still there.

It wasn't.

In its place? Blood. Lots of it. Dried and crusty, oozy and messy. All over the back of my foot. AND ON MY SHOE.

Guess I'm not returning those.

So. Band aids on feet? Like tits on a bull.

Having 4 monitors. Everyone in this office is working on 2 separate systems. In order to make this easier we all have 2 monitors as well. We toggle between the 2 systems and screens basically all day. Its irritating. But in order to outdo everyone, Veronica insisted on having 4 monitors. Four. Apparently this is so that she can do twice as much work as everyone else (shouldn't it be 4 times as much work?) but as far as I can tell, you don't need monitors to walk up and down the hall distracting everyone else. But I guess I don't understand the finer points of supervisory roles. Veronica + 4 monitors? Yup- tits on a bull.

Ergonomic keyboards. If I don't have one, its not much good to me. Neither are the promises of getting me one if you don't follow through. Telling me that you are taking an ergonomics workshop so that you can learn about ergonomics doesn't really benefit me either. It really only serves to annoy me. Because you are an idiot. And a liar. And if you touch me ever again it might very well be the last thing that you do. So all this talk about ergonomics and the good that it will do me? Tits. On. A. Bull.

So there you have it folks, a very short list, of things that are useless to me today. I probably could have come up with more, but I'm bleeding into my shoe and this keyboard isn't ergonomic.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Social Pariah

I am a social person. I enjoy interacting with my fellow man. Well at least I used to. Until I started getting reprimanded for innocent conversation.

Once upon a time, interacting with people was one of the most important parts of my job. Actually, every job I have had (save this one) I have had to talk to people, was encouraged to have strong relationships with my co-workers and actually had moments of honest-to-goodness fun in the workplace.

Hard to believe now.

Turns out that you spend most of your waking life with your colleagues (I cannot tell you how depressing this thought is to me) so it makes sense that you would socialize. Obviously you are at work getting paid to perform tasks and duties, but where's the harm in a little chit chat while you're here?

In my office we are arranged into pods of cubicles. We all face away from each other and are surrounded by walls that are taller than most of us. Some of us sit in pods of 2, others in pods of 4. I sit in a pod of two. With Maurice. It has recently come to light that Maurice doesn't even know who Scarlett Johansson is, which quite frankly is not alright. I think you can guess that Maurice and I don't really share any stimulating conversation. Anna says its like talking to a sponge, but I think that's unfair. Sponges absorb things.

Sometimes I have my earphones in and spend the day lip syching happily to the soundtrack of Wicked or enjoying The Noisettes. But sometimes, I take them out in an effort to find out what is going on around me. Sometimes this information takes the form of what others are saying about me (or about other people. there really is nothing like good old fashioned eavesdropping) or what I will do today. And then there are the times when I can hear snippets of genuine conversation. When people in their pods of 4 are able to take a moment out of their day and happily converse with one another about things that are not work related.

I crave these moments.

And I have to live vicariously. Occasionally I try to join in. Most of the time my witty comments don't make it over the walls. When they do, people think I am hilarious. But that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

How have I been relegated to the periphery of my office society?

Once upon a time, Mary Kate and I shared this cubicle pod. And we were happy to be left to our own devices, because no one else ever said anything remotely interesting or funny. But then Mary Kate left, the laughter left with her.

Now, my only interaction is through email. Or instant messsenger (only in the office). And only one of the people is someone that I actually see and work with. The others? Two are on the other side of the inlet, dealing with the crazy people on the front lines. One is in another town, kicking butt and taking names, some are scattered across Europe and Mary Kate is thousands of miles away, pretending to look for a job but mostly just stalking people on facebook, clogging my newsfeed with Social Poll or whatever its called.

How sad, that aside from Anna, all the people that I actually talk to about meaningful day to day happenings (Balloon Boy, the Kardashians, TV from last night and ways to not work here etc) are not people that I actually see. They are people that I talk to all the time, the people that I could not get through the day without, but only one is someone that I work with.

Because really. The people that I work with hired Maurice. And Maurice is a moron.

Plus there is the darker side. The reprimands. Unfortunately I do not have eyes in the back of my head. And I know that John and Amy lurk. They lurk behind me and they are so quiet that half the time I don't hear them come up behind me. I am motivated to keep my social interactions limited to email because of fear. I am afraid that John will come by, see me talking (even if I am still at my desk) and give me a disapproving glance. Or worse, send me an email about "appropriate office conduct" or worst of all: resume our little meetings that accomplish nothing.

I'm all for fear based motivation. I mean, I'm pretty sure that I brushed my teeth and finished my dinner because I was afraid of what my Mom would do to me otherwise (not the face!!!) and look how great I turned out. But while I plan to do it to my kids, I don't feel like being intimidated by my boss. Especially when he is such a tool and as far as I can tell, doesn't really do all that much.

Now before I go to a really dark place, I should update you on how Slap A Co-Worker Day turned out. There was slapping. But the inaugural slap was not administered by me, it was actually administered TO me. So then I had to slap Anna back. I don't think that anyone slapped Veronica, though I'm sure everyone wanted to. And Maurice didn't get it. There was supposed to be a visual representation of how I would have liked it to go, but Anna hasn't finished it because she was drunk all weekend.

When it arrives though, I am going to do my very best (remember, I am completely computer illiterate) to post it on here for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Insult and Injury

I am a creature of habit. I like ritual. I thrive with routine. I'm not totally comfortable until I have a routine down.

In the mornings there used to be a lot of time wasting. Drying hair, teeth brushing, full make up, looking for an appropriate outfit to wear- it all took way too much time. I have managed to cut most of it out.

I dry my hair the night before (its way too long currently and thus takes far too long to much effort, all that holding of hair brushes and hair dryers, no thanks, my arms get tired), I stopped wearing make up to work (what's the point?), I still brush my teeth (its the one thing I have to do to start my day) and I pretty much wear a uniform of tights and some sort of dress with a sweater.

All that time efficiency means that I can sleep later (til like 7.06), get up, brush my teeth, run a brush through my hair (if I'm feeling fancy), get my lunch together, turn on Ellen and eat a bowl of cereal before gathering my bags (yes, bagS: my purse which is a good size, and my giant extra bag that can carry everything else I may need: extra shoes, umbrella, book(s), and my lunch) and walk out the door to the bus. Takes about 5 minutes to walk there, I get on the bus and settle in for 50 glorious minutes of reading time.

In theory.

Today my bus, clearly labeled as my bus, came towards us, all lit up, a beacon of hope on a dark and rainy morning. I got on said bus. So did other people that I normally take the bus with. I arranged myself comfortably on the same seat I sit in every day and took out my new book (Her Fearful Symmetry, yay!) to enjoy the ride into work.

Except that we ended up stopping at a light. That leads down the mountain. The wrong way. The bus that was labeled as my bus, was actually another bus. That doesn't go downtown.

It goes to the Skytrain.

Now I know lots of people swear by the Skytrain. "There's nothing better" they will tell you. But they lie. Because the Skytrain is filled with way too many people, all diseased putting their hands all over the poles, pressed up against one another, sitting on tiny seats. And taking this route, means I have to give up my seat and change buses and trains twice. One bus, two trains does not a happy girl make.

Not only was I at the Skytrain, which I abhor, but I was wearing rain boots which are kind of clumsy in the best of times (I desperately need new ones). I decided to take the stairs instead of the escalator, win that small battle against inactivity. Well I probably should have concentrated on the war against public transit.

Predictably I fell up the stairs and smashed the top of my kneecap nicely on the edge of the concrete stair. You can bet that a pretty bruise is even now growing under my jeans. At least I didn't rip a hole in my jeans- I'm pretty sure that I would have called it a day and gone back home. I did rip some skin off my knuckles but at least that will grow back.

I'm also pretty sure that somehow, (in my travels? in my falls? who knows?) my ankle got messed up. The one that I always hurt. I'm sure its temporary but its adding more injury to insult (why was the bus not labeled correctly??). Normally I don't even take the bus on Fridays! The Boyfriend has Fridays off and I don't allow him to sleep in (well he tries but I slam doors and turn on lights and eventually he'll say "do you want me to drive you?"...well if you're already up...) and I get a ride to work. But he has been away all week. He comes back today but at this point all I can focus on is the dull throb and funny-bone like pain currently pulsing in my knee cap.

Happy Friday?

At least today is Slap A Co-Worker Day. I'm sure I won't have any problems finding irritants to slap. I hope you will join me. I would love to hear the stories. In actuality, it will probably only be Anna and I slapping each other so as not to get in trouble. How sad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Just when the world thought it was rid of George W. Bush...he shows up in my office.

Not really.

But one of the new Temps, the one that started on Tuesday, has a nervous work laugh that sounds exactly like an impression of dubya. I can't even begin to tell you how irritating it is. At first Anna and I mocked him, because on his first day it was a lot louder. But now its kind of settled and like lightening this morning I realized that it reminded me of something.

And now I know what it is.

Also, unfortunately for him because I haven't really talked to him and have already formed a base judgement that's going to be hard to shake, he reminds me forcefully of a more compact version of my least favourite person. That's right ladies and gentlemen, while John suns himself on a cruise (hopefully he's already fallen off the boat), the Universe has sent his mini-me to torment me in his stead.

So in addition to his looks and his irritating laugh, apparently he is a chatter. Not to me. I have this habit of terrifying the newbies, kind of intimidating them with my stone face, until I can be sure that they aren't tools. So Veronica is telling me about the new kid last week before he starts and she seems like she has doubts. I'm like well what is his deal?

"He seems like he might be too chatty"

Quite the criticism from our own social butterfly. It took a lot for me not to say something like "OK Kettle". Not to be outdone she spent pretty much all day with him yesterday, "showing him the ropes". Do you know what she had him do? Do you know what she had to show him? How to deconstruct cardboard boxes for garbage. And then they kept walking back and forth through the hallways. I only heard snippets of conversation, all from her with his Dubya laugh encouraging her.

"I thought it was a really grown up decision" (I have no idea what it was)

"The doors are black"

"I'm really good at using my rear mirror"

"Do you know someone that does good tinting?"

That's right kids. Veronica got a car. I'm not really sure why. She lives with her parents. Who drive her everywhere and she takes the Skytrain to work. But she needs a car? And she wants to "pimp it out" too. She carried her new car keys in her pocket all day. I'm pretty sure she still took transit to work, but probably just liked the feeling of her car keys.

So fresh off her car buying high, Veronica had her very own meeting with "her" team. She wanted to tell us that we're making a lot of mistakes that she has to deal with and she already has "a million things to do" so she wants us to know this. She kept mentioning how stressed she was, buzz words like "overwhelmed" and "workload" were thrown out a lot. The best part was that people were asking intelligent questions and not only did she not have the answers, she acted like she did and just answered a question that wasn't asked. An excellent way to spend a half hour of my life.

Then again there was cake. Which would have cancelled out the meeting and the new Temp (whom I hereby christen Dennis) except that my bra just broke. So now I have underwire poking into my flesh.

Good thing I didn't wear my new boots.

Or would they have made me feel better?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

These Boots Probably Weren't Intended for A Lot of Walking

Last week I got new boots. I had been searching for new boots for a while. I found a pair of equestrian style boots that I was obsessing over for a while, without ever having tried them on. I am always afraid to ask for my size, because let's face it, I have giant feet. And I always feel like they snigger a little bit before they tell me that no, they do not have such big shoes in stock.

I finally went to try on these boots on my lunch last week, convinced that it would be destiny. And it probably would have been, but for my fat calves. So the equestrian boots and I were not meant to be. I bet we could have shared a lot of great memories.

But in my disappointment, my eye fell on a pair of beautiful black, soft leather boots. They were tall, like I wanted, had the ability to slouch, but also to stretch and most importantly, they had no zipper so I could just jam my giant leg into them. It was love. Sure they had a heel, but I could handle a heel.

I should point out, that actually no, I can't really handle a heel. I used to wear heels all the time. But over time I developed a nasty habit of drinking and falling down in them and then, due to a weakening ankle because of said drunk falls, I just started falling down. The last time it happened, well over a year ago, I was literally just standing up and I fell. And that was the last time I really wore heels. Sometimes I feel like I could handle them again and I reach for some and then my boyfriend will just raise his eyebrows like "Really? Are you sure? Because I'm not going to carry you home". So I put them back and wear sensible flats instead.

Yesterday, I wore my new boots to work for the first time. Since I sit on my ass most of the day, I figured that the worst would be the walk to and from the bus. And I was right. The walk home from the bus at the end of the day was awful.

You know that burny feeling you get on the balls of your feet when you have been wearing heels for too long? I had that for the whole two blocks. Clearly I kept walking and had a smile on my face- I still gotta work the boots. But by the time I got into my apartment I wanted to cry. I just managed to hobble over to the couch to rip my lovelies off (because even though they caused pain in the end, overall they looked fabulous and I love them) before I might have passed out from the burny pain. All night they were burny. I had a bath, soaked my poor feet in icey water (incidentally, everytime I hurt myself, its on my feet, apparently this is a major problem for pisces. I am a pisces, and yes I do like long walks on the beach) and hoped that a good night's sleep would make them good as new.

Almost but not quite. So this morning (and here is where it starts to actually be a part of Cubicle life. I bet you were wondering where all this was going) I find myself to be kind of ornery. Yesterday, for some unknown reason (must have been the boots) the day went by kind of quickly. I actually worked, that might have had something to do with it. But I don't want to get into any bad habits, you know?

Currently its 9.22 and I am bored. I can't imagine spending the whole day like this and that, on top of my pained feet...well if I were you I would steer clear of me today.

But they aren't steering clear. They are annoying me. Maurice has brought his farty garbagey breakfast again and the smell is vile. I don't know how he can bring it here and expose other people to that odour!

Veronica on the other hand, is committed to doing nothing today. I asked her for her help (my mistake) because she is my supervisor and is supposed to know what she is doing and she could not have been more vague. "Oh I don't know", "it should be over there", "we'll have to look into that later". How about you actually earn your salary? How about we give that a shot? Amy is clearly unimpressed with her inability to get things done and it sounds like she is making Veronica farm out her work. Because her four monitors doesn't mean she gets more work done, it just makes her look busy. I can't wait to do her work. I'm sure she will have super clear instructions too.

The reps are trying my patience as well. There is this one guy that for weeks has been getting follow up emails about this, that and the other. And I swear I was starting to think that he didn't exist and no one got the memo. Finally today he had answered an email. Halleluiah. Oh but he was just emailing to tell the other guy that someone else had already gotten to it. Good job buddy, way to get 'er done.

Finally, Anna has been getting into it with me about how Family Guy sucks. Apparently it used to be funnier and its just not a smart show. I respectfully disagree. Because Family Guy is awesome. And that's just all there is to that. Anna knows I'm right, she just likes to play devil's advocate. But its ok. She is going to draw me a picture, depicting me on Slap A Co-Worker Day (just 2 more sleeps!).

So in closing: My feet hurt. I am irritated. And Family Guy rules. Just another day in the Cubicle.

But I still do have those awesome boots. And I didn't fall down in them. Yet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reverse Lateness (what? Its a thing!)

Today I am working on a bit of an experiment.

Through a cruel twist of fate, my bus dropped me off at work at 8.05. I have been a little gun shy since I was super late twice in a week and have been getting here around 8.17, which I thought was a nice compromise. But 8.05? There is no way I am giving up that much of my life. I could choose to sit and read. Or have some tea.

But today I choose work, in the interest of a little social experiement. Which I am sure will blow up in my face.

The way I look at it, I am reverse late. When I am late, I have to make up the time. So when I am early (reverse late) I should get that time back--ie. get to leave at 4.05 (instead of 4.30...4.25).

I emailed Amy to give her a time stamp to show her that I was in fact here early this morning (God forbid she take my word for it). Plus- I asked Veronica yesterday what was up with her early mornings. Because some mornings she starts at 8 and other mornings she starts at 9. And Amy does the same. But the rest of us do not have these same priveleges.

Oh to be management.

So I asked Veronica about it and she didn't really have any answer besides "oh yeah, we're kind of alternating, I don't really know".

Solid Veronica. Thank you so much, that was tres helpful.

And by tres I mean not helpful at all.

Anyway, this morning Veronica strolls in at 8.15. And is like "oh, I guess I will start at 8.30".

How nice to be able to make those kinds of decisions.

Anyway like I said, its an experiment. I'm sure it will blow up in my face, resulting in a meeting with John, but I think its worth it to showcase to everyone how messed up this place is.

Speaking of messed up, this week 2 more temps are starting.

Why is this messed up? Why wouldn't I want 2 new bright and shiny faces starting to help us out with the backlog?

Here is a refresher on how I feel about them (the Temps). Basically because I am all Temp'ed out and feel like they need to make some decisions about making some of the Temps (at least 4 of them have already been here for a year) permanent employees. You know, so that they get sick days and benefits? The Temps here have been promised for months that they would be made full employees and they keep being kept waiting.

Point is, they have been faithfully serving the Man for months. Doing their best, working hard. With none of the benefits. And thats wrong. When we got bought by another company, one thing they promised was that they would let the Temps know soon whether they could hire them on. The new company didn't have the same budget constraints the old one did so it was looking good. The deadline was September 30th. This was the day the Temps would find out if they would be hired on.

Its now October 20th and we are all still waiting to hear what they have decided.

In the meantime, its become clear that we need Temps. We need them badly. Only like 5 of us are full time permanent. Which is ridiculous. But yes, let's hire more Temps. This is a great idea. Ignore the ones you have, just hire more. Don't give them any benefits or sick days, allow them to come in when they are deathly ill and work themselves into an early grave, but please don't give them any consideration and hire them on.


I am in shock. Total shock. I don't even know what to say. I should feel guilty about this whole post since its angry and bitter and sarcastic. I should, but its not in my work nature to feel guilt about slandering my superiors. Instead I am just dumbfounded.

Not only was reverse lateness a success, in the same email, I was praised for my work yesterday. I was cheered on and congratulated on my superior performance (not in those words, I'm just summarizing. OK, not even summarizing. I was basically told "way to go" but you see how starved I am for praise that this is what I get out of it). And I got what I wanted.

It doesn't change the fact that the Temps are being frozen out, and it doesn't change the fact that Amy and Veronica can come and go as they please, but its somewhat smoothed my ruffled feathers. If only for one morning.

(But, ever the cynic, I'm sure they just said that to try and get me to do more of the same today. Bastards)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday October 23rd...

Sometimes I wish that I waited until later in the day to post. Friday morning I was telling Anna that nothing was happening and I wouldn't have anything funny or interesting to post about on my blog. I need only have waited.

Because I work in a place where something ridiculous is bound to happen sooner or later and one just needs to wait for that something to happen. Ears must be kept open (hence the reason I seldom listen to my ipod anymore) and eavesdropping must happen. Course, sometimes, even with my ipod on I can still hear Veronica. She is loud.

Friday afternoon I was a witness to the expansion of Veronica's vocabulary. Isn't it so exciting when a baby or a toddler learns a new word? The sense of accomplishment it brings? The idea that this little person is starting to grow and understand the world around them? These are feelings that I had when I heard Veronica learn a new word. I heard her kind of mull it over in her head and then practice saying it, and finally deciding that she liked it and would use it. This is how it played out (and once again, much as I despise him, I owe the following scene to Turd Fergason):

Turd comes over to discuss some new process with Veronica, in response to her queries on the subject. Veronica doesn't like Turd's answers.
Veronica: But why are we doing it like this? This doesn't make any sense!
Turd: Because its more efficient. The old way doesn't work anymore.
Veronica: But I liked the old way! This is just stupid (ever the professional).
Turd: Yes but the way you're doing it is redundant.
Veronica. Fine. (Veronica memorizes word and context, decides she likes it and itches for an opportunity to use it)
They move on to another issue. The logging of activities in the old system by some reps.
Turd: Why are they logging things in the old system? The old system basically doesn't matter anymore.
Veronica: I don't know, some people just can't let go (forgetting the fact that she is the old system's #1 Fan)
Turd: Well they are making more work for themselves
Veronica: I know, they are so redundant.

Are you all as proud as me?

Another irritating side effect of Turd's presence is that he completely unnerves Veronica.And then she starts to irritate him. And Turd's response to irritation is to laugh it off. But not normal laugh it off like haha-we-are-both-laughing-about-this-so-its-OK. No no. Its more like high pitched hyena laughter. The kind of laughter that is only exhibited by socially inept d-bags with no real personality. *shudder*

So here is the other thing that happened Friday afternoon: I got an email. I know I know an email. In the 21st century. Unheard of.

Shut up.

This email contained details of Friday October 23rd that many of you may be intersted in. Forget Christmas, turns out Friday is the most wonderful day of the year. Friday is "Slap Your Co-Workers Day".

Are you as pumped about this as I am?? Here are the details:
October 23rd is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Holiday: Do you have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't care about? Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work for you? Do you have a co-worker who kisses so much booty you can look in their mouth and see what your boss had for lunch? Do you have a co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone else clears it? Well, on behalf of Ike Turner, I am so very very glad to officially announce SLAP YOUR IRRITATING CO-WORKER DAY! Here are the rules you must follow: * You can only slap one person per hour - no more.
* You can slap the same person again if they irritate you again in the same day. * You are allowed to hold someone down as other co-workers take their turns slapping the irritant.
* No weapons are allowed...other than going upside somebody's head with a stapler or a hole-puncher.
* If questioned by a supervisor [or police, if the supervisor is the irritant], you are allowed to LIE, LIE, LIE ! Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap the living day lights out of and get to slapping on October 23rd..... and have a great slapping day !

I don't believe that I am the only person that is excited about this. I wish that you could see the video (cut me some slack, I only just learned how to link things)--this old woman comes up and actually punches another older woman in the face. Its great.

So I'm merrily chuckling away to myself at this email when I overhear Veronica insisting that something unimportant needs to be in date order. My new co-worker on the other side of the wall can be heard muttering angrily about it. So I figure she could use something to look forward to and I send her the email. She is thrilled and starts discussing Slap Your Co-Workers Day with me in detail.

Well Veronica, who has to be a part of everything pipes up (I'm sure she has guessed who will be a prime target) that hey! Isn't today (friday) Boss Day?

Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. Doesn't really matter for 2 reasons. If it was, Veronica isn't my boss. She may be my supervisor, but she's not really my boss, whatever she tells herself in the mirror in the morning. And if she was, reason #2 would come into play: I wouldn't celebrate it.

So at this point, I have just 4 days to work out a schedule of slapping the office irritants. I get what? 7. Its going to be tough to narrow it down really. Do I want to slap one more than once? Should I spread it around evenly? Or should I reserve all my slaps for one person? So many decisions. If anyone needs help holding them down, clearly I'm up for that as well.

I hope you will celebrate with me!

Friday, October 16, 2009

English Meltdown

I should preface today's post by saying that I embrace other languages. I enjoy other languages. I like learning phrases and words in odd languages. I have amassed quite a collection of helpful Swedish phrases (like "I don't understand" and "cheers"), a smattering of Cantonese ("thank you"), enough French to get by (buy me drinks and my vocabulary magically expands) and some Spanish (plenty to get drunk with). I am also ESL. I swear it.

I arrived in this country 18 years ago, little blonde pigtails, dressed in a mickey mouse jogging suit (remember jogging suits and how wonderful they were for all occasions? going out for dinner? jogging suit. going for a run? jogging suit. going to school? jogging suit, naturally), looking around at everything and wondering what the hell everyone was saying. I had no idea. It was like being in Charlie Brown's classroom, just mumbling. My mom had tried to prepare us by reading English books for us in the motherland. I distinctly remember my first English word: bacon. But story time didn't totally prepare us for full immersion.

I spent the first few days trying not to get burned by foreign concepts like soda (I still cannot drink carbonated beverages, that stuff is evil) which I had never been allowed to have before. I looked up to my cousin but had no idea what she was saying. I remember we had a gift for her, a pink shirt (probably hideous, but awesome because it was from Europe) and I wanted to be the one to give it to her. But I didn't think about the language barrier (I was 6 and not yet well versed in the complexities of a globalized world) so I ended up just kind of throwing it at her to explain that it was for her.

My point is that, I am ESL. I had to go to school with people that I couldn't understand. I also spent a fair amount of time with other kids that couldn't understand anything. But this bored me quickly and eventually I graduated from smiling and nodding to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and finally, naming all the planets after a trip to the Planetarium. My conversion was complete.

Here's my gripe (and I'm sure that this will offend some): people in the workplace that cannot speak enough English to do their jobs.

There. I said it. Its out there. Can't take it back.

Languages are absolutely an asset. Especially if you are dealing with the public. But you're also dealing with me and sadly my Mandarin is just not up to par.

Here are my Top 3 Language Barriers.

1. One word answers. I will need someone to answer a question for me. Maybe its about what course of action they want me to take. Its probably my fault that I am giving them options in the form of questions. This is clearly way too much for them to take in. Lets say I ask: Do you want oranges? Or would you prefer apples? An acceptable answer would be: Apples. Do you know what isn't an OK answer? Yes. Yes?! Which one? This does not help me to figure out what you want me to do. Also, if I need to know how much something costs, it doesn't help me if you answer with "5pm". How does that answer my question? Oh that's right. It doesn't. Answer the question.

2. Sending wordy letters out. Sometimes clients need letters to explain unique situations. We don't have form letters for when this happens. Which means that the representatives need to send out their own letters. Occasionally I will be reading through the log and I will come across some of these letters. And they never cease to amaze me. In trying to make up for their poor grasp of grammar, they throw in lots of big words, no matter the context. Remember on Friends when Joey discovers the thesaurus and rewrites his letter for Chandler and Monica, to the adoption agency? Its like that. And they get sent to clients. Can you imagine getting a letter like that? I'd be afraid.

3. Getting yelled at. This is the best part. An email asking for the 3rd time for an answer to my question, or maybe I did something that they don't incites their rage. Which gets focused at me, a disembodied voice on the phone. Because they are unable (or unwilling) to decipher emails that get sent to them, or because they make a mistake that has angered their clients, I get yelled at. I'm all about a good confrontation (thats not actually person to person; I'm much better at email and phone confrontations- do they still count?) but when I can't understand what the hell you are trying to tell me, I can't participate. And this annoys me.

4. I know I said Top 3 but I just realized that the one thing that aggravates me more than the rest is this: the mispronunciation of my name. I don't have a difficult name. I swear. There aren't more consonants than vowels, there aren't 10 syllables. No odd foreign accents (although I'm seriously considering adding one). But for some reason, no one will say my name right. I understand that when you read my name, your instinct is to say it wrong. But after I correct you, I figure that you should be smart enough to remember it. I'm also OK with gently reminding you again in the early days of our working relationship. Here is what I am not cool with:
**phone rings**
me: Hello (my name here) speaking.
other person: oh hi is this (saying my name wrong)?
me: yes, this is (correct version)
other person: oh hi (wrong name again). Can you help me with this?

I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to tell them that no, that person isn't here (wrong name doesn't work here) and hung up. Or send a mass email to all the reps, spelling my name and then explaining to them the finer nuances of correct pronunciation and how important it is. There are those people that don't care how people say their name- my brother is one. I am not one. Mispronouncing my name changes it. And makes it ugly. And my name...its actually pretty damn awesome. Its like if you're name is Joan and people say Jo-ann. That would be annoying. Imagine your name is Claire and people always spell it Clare. This would probably be midly irritating. This is like that, but worse. Learn to say my name. Its not hard. Lord knows you're not a rocket scientist but I'm not asking for the moon here.

So to close. I am an a**hole and have very little patience for ESL.

If this is the impression you got, you are only half right. I am an a**hole but I actually have a lot of patience. This is why I rant here, instead of to the offenders. This is why I am patient and sweet (wherever I can be, so out of character too- who says I dont work hard?) and eventually I will get my answer.

But it doesn't change the fact that my job would be made easier if everyone had a strong grasp of English. If I was working in Russia, I would make the effort to learn full, funcational Russian. As it happens, I did actually have to learn English. And I done good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Office Fails

I love when newspaper articles back up what I have been trying to say all along. Today will be more of an anthropological look at my workplace as compared to what a workplace ought to be. Click here if you want to get the guidelines. What follows is a deconstruction of how my workplace is nothing like that.

Also, if this worked, can we all rejoice in the fact that I managed to learn how to set up fancy blue links to other pages?

Ok. So What Comes First? The article stresses that you should never be unable to put your job responsibilities before your social obligations. So if you have friends at work, you should be able to tell them when they have done something wrong without breaking a sweat. I find that Veronica has two extreme settings on this point. She will either write you sickly sweet notes asking you to please do this for her as it wasn't done totally correctly. Or she will come over and smile broadly and in her tiniest baby voice will ask you if you could do her a huge favour and please complete this. So we have nauseatingly sweet OR she is annoyed with you for doing it wrong and can't believe that you would betray her friendship like that. Although I think that Veronica is fairly ambitious, I don't think that she has yet grasped the delicate balance of work friendships. And its more complicated by the fact that she is in a position of power. She is one of those supervisors that blatantly favours some over others and makes no secret of her preferences, allowing the golden co-workers to glide in and do all the easy, fun (can't believe that I am using that word in relation to this place) tasks. I'm not sure how she gets away with it. Probably the same reason that she is able to flit around the office being social, laughing, telling inappropriate jokes and being a general distraction without any kind of reprimand. Oh no, she got a promotion. So I think that in terms of this article, Veronica is a failure.

And I enjoy saying that. Even to myself.

Be Selective. People in this office definitely learned that the hard way. Turns out you have to be able to trust the people you work with more than the people that you hang out with outside of work. Who knew? And apparently managers look at who you are friends with at work to determine how hard you work. Which is unfair. I should be evaluated based on my performance, not on someone that I talk to's performance. I know that John is super guilty of this. And so was his still unnamed predecessor. Hence the rounds of meetings after the Lily incident (when I was hauled in and reamed out for having a conversation). Also, there is the whole gossip thing. Offices are like small towns- rife with gossip. Any time anyone gets pulled into a meeting there are whispers about why they might be getting hauled in. Its rarely good and sends a ripple of fear down the lines into the rest of our hearts. But I can always count on Veronica to tell me exactly what is going down. Because like any self respecting supervisor, Veronica lives to gossip. I spend about an hour with Veronica in the afternoons and she always fills me in on the latest gossip. Who did what wrong, who had a meeting that didn't go too well, who might possibly be dating a regional manager, who's getting promoted and so on. I love that she keeps me in the loop. But I make damn sure that she doesn't find out anything about me that she can pass along. Keep your friends closer and all that.

Finally (and I think that this might be my favourite one) Zip the Lip. This means that you keep your boyfriend stories, inapppropriate drug use and family drama to yourself. It means that I don't want to know that you were high for 3 days the first time you used cocaine, that your sister's dad doesn't like you, or that you and your boyfriend have been together for 9 years and he doesn't want to get married. All of these things can be classified as TMI. I don't need to know that you used to be a stripper, don't tell me about your desire to have a baby to fix your relationship and please don't mention your wiccan rituals. I don't want to get into a heart to heart about your messed up family dynamic during my lunch break. You don't think I have a messed up family? Everyone's family is at least a little bit crazy and I don't feel the need to compare notes. Its unprofessional, its way too much information and I use up all my energy pretending to care when I'm sitting at my own desk. I got nothing left. Here's what I don't mind knowing: if you have a pet, if you have brothers and or sisters and any charming and hilarious stories about when you were a kid doing fun stuff or maybe some vacation stories. If we are actually good friends, none of the guidelines apply. But if I don't talk to you unless its work related, I probably don't want to know about your cat's funeral. Harsh, but overall I would say, fair.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On The Bright Side...

I have been frowning too much. I can't imagine how I got into this habit, I have so much fun day to day at work that I am smiling all the time!

Regardless of how it happened (I know how it happened. Its because I work in a soul destroying cubicle for 35 hours a week) I feel like my face is starting to sag into a permanent frown. And before too long I will be one of those middle aged women who look prematurely old because they have such sour expressions on their faces. And beyond that I will turn into a crusty, grumpy, witch of an old hag who no one can believe ever had a reason to smile.

On the bright side, when I become that crusty old b***h I can destroy other people's souls with my mean spirited comments. Man, I can't wait for grandkids.

In an effort to battle my sagging face, I have been trying to find positives in all the negatives around me. Let me tell you that this is no easy feat. People and situations around this place make me nuts and much more likely to go postal with mail openers than to look on the bright side. Anna is good at looking at the bright side, but I actually think that she is just playing devil's advocate.

For example when I noted yesterday that I seemed to be hearing way too much John for my liking Anna one upped me by telling me that she actually had to go and talk to him. I responded by telling her that I had to walk passed him in the hallway and she remarked that at least I didn't have any more meetings with him where I would have to sit in a room with him and look at him. I asked her why she would say that?! And she responded with "sorry, I like to look on the bright side of things". I'm wondering where the bright side is when John comes back and says "Oh hey, we haven't had a meeting in a while, I'll book one". I'll get you Anna, I will get you.

We shall start this experiment with Maurice. My cubicle buddy. He's a few cents short of a dollar if you ask me. Something is not right. He doesn't even know who Karl Lagerfeld is and quite frankly, that is not OK. I mean, we work above Chanel and you don't know who he is. Sorry, I left out the best part. He has a cartoon of Karl Lagerfeld as his screen saver. Its the wallpaper on his cell phone too. But he doesn't know who he is. I better stop, my face is doing all sorts of different rage contortions. Maurice eats his breakfast at his desk. But he doesn't eat normal toast, bagels, pastries or cereal for breakfast. Some days it perogies, pasta, soup. Today it was some kind of asian dumpling that smelled like old farts and garbage. I honestly could not breathe. I was suffocating on old farts and garbage. Not a nice way to go. He is also unable to pick up his feet when he walks so he shuffles all over the place. But (and this part is said through clenched teeth because talking about his breakfast is angering me again) on the bright side he is wearing his lime green shirt. And he also asked about the Backstreet Boys' new album and this provided me with an opportunity to mock him, which I love to do. I should also mention that I actually love BSB but he doesn't need to know that.

This morning I got to work at 8.12, well ahead of my 8.30 start time. If I got this time back all would be well. I could leave here at 4.12 and get home that much sooner. But that time is not given back to me. The original purpose of this department was to be a support system for the people that deal directly with clients, we're a kind of back office. They always told us that we were unable to work adjusted schedules because we were supposed to work the same hours as the people out in the "field". Now we have Amy and Veronica working whatever hours they want to, working saturdays, leaving early, banking Overtime and the rest of us are left to figure out when they will be here and what it means for us. Here is what it means for us: nothing. We don't get the option of working to bank overtime, we don't get the option to work flex hours to make room in our personal lives for things like doctors appointments, finances or general wellbeing. On the bright side? won't feel bad about leaving 5 minutes early. Although, I do that every day, so maybe its not a bright side. I definitely never feel bad about it...I'm going to have to work on this one some more...

I don't know what just happened but Veronica asked Maurice how to do something. And he had an answer. Guess the Maple Leafs are taking the Cup this year...
But seriously. Maurice had an answer to something Veronica didn't even pretend to know. Oh thank God--he was wrong. Its OK folks, the universe is as it should be and the Leafs will continue to suck. That was close though.

Edna is dressed better than me today. Although this isn't hard to do these days (I just can't be bothered to care) the fact that its Edna that has beaten me is kind of depressing. She is wearing a smart black suit! She has a blazer on (I love blazers but they are impossible to find for those of us that have been blessed with chest. The one that I did find that was perfection, was stolen from me. At work) and her nails are done and she looks so nice. And I look like s**t. Like I said, in itself not surprising. It just brings home how far I have fallen that Edna looks better than me. This is the girl that matched stripes and dots, that one time wore what looked like an evening dress with a t-shirt. I don't understand how this happened. On the bright side, Edna is, in all likelihood, a Lifer. I am not. This evens things out. Slightly.

Turd Fergason was just in my space. I mean, technically he was talking to Maurice, but he was still in my space and I still had to listen to his voice. In fact, now he has moved on to Veronica, but I can still hear his voice. And his voice grates on my nerves. He's so arrogant and patronizing and he's an a**. On the bright side, he did provide me with this gem:
Turd: Hey Maurice, can you do me a favour, and going forward can you record on a pad of paper when you run into this issue (I'm being deliberately vague but you're not missing anything interesting)
Maurice: um...ok...yeah. You just want me to write it down?
Turd: yeah, whenever you run into that, just write it down with the client number so that we can keep track of how many there are.
Maurice: But its so random, there's no pattern. How will we keep track?
Turd: Because you will be writing them down.

Seriously- I hope that Maurice has a caretaker at home.

Veronica is back. And Amy gains strength from her presnce. But on the bright side Veronica just gloated about how her mom made her her lunch to make up for the fact that she didn't make her lunch at all last week. Her mommy made her lunch. The best part is that for lunch today, Veronica has macaroni and cheese and corned beef. Together. Ew.

I think all in all my experiment worked. I have enjoyed poking fun at my co-workers, even if it was all in my head. I guess the next step would be to bring this fun to my face so that it starts to snap out of its sag. I think that this must be a defense mechanism. If I look like a b***h, people will assume that I am one and not talk to me. And then I don't have to deal with nearly as much crap.

ooooo on the bright side, The City is on tonight!

Oh but wait...I just bit my lip and its bleeding. That cancels out The City excitement...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Hangover

Thanksgiving weekend is over. And I definitely was not ready for it to end. I like turkey and eating so Thanksgiving is really a tailor made holiday for me. Plus there is the added bonus of having an extra day off of work. The weekend, "long as it was" went by way too quickly though. Clearly I didn't come up with a list of things that I am grateful for. I tried but every time I went near the computer I had visions of cubicles and incompetent managers and I didn't want to mar the weekend. So I left the computer alone.

But I did promise that if you were good, I would come up with a list. So this is my, belated-and-now-way-beside-the-point, list of things that I am grateful for.

I am grateful not to be a Lifer. If I were a Lifer here, it would be a short life as I would become another pathetic statistic about why job satisfaction is important.

I am grateful that Veronica is not here today. I feel bad that she is wasting a vacation day celebrating her Weekiversary (she celebrates both the day she met her boyfriend and the day they first went out, which stretches to about a week. This all happened 9 years ago and her bf has made it clear he doesn't want to marry her). I feel bad because in all likelihood she is spending it by herself. But I am thankful that she isn't here telling me about how her bf brought her carnations to show her that he cares.

I am thankful that we use crappy, outdated, virus attracting PC's at work instead of shiny perfect Macs. If we used Macs I might start to think that it was cool to work here and stay indefinitely. Instead, I am confronted daily with the uncoolness and inefficiency of both this workplace and these machines, further solidifying my need and desire to get out of here.

I am grateful that John did actually step down from his role as my overlord. I was sick and tired of pretending that I didn't loathe him and now have more time to direct my rage more evenly at other things. I'm glad that I don't have to see his face as often, and that his voice is usually muffled by beige walls. Mostly, I'm thankful that he has stopped touching me and therefore I am no longer contaminated by d-bag bacteria and able to resume living a normal life.

I am thankful that I did laundry last night. Partly because I love the smell of clean laundry, but mostly because it saved me from picking through my closet (pile on the floor) trying to figure out if something was clean. In the dark. I feel confident that everything that I am wearing today is stain free and smells nice. Also, I was thisclose to wearing bathing suit bottoms, so laundry was less something to do and more something that needed to be done. Last week.

I am grateful for my puppy calendar. Aside from the diseased looking puppies in August (I had to look at those for a month!) the calendar has made me smile. It also has great quotes like "He hath a share of Man's intelligence, but no share of Man's falsehood" and "He cannot be a gentleman which loveth not a dog". And there are all those adorable puppy pictures.

I am thankful that there are so many crazies that I work with. I like working with people like this because they make me feel better about myself. Maurice, the mechanic who gave up the career because it was "too dirty". Veronica, the lifer who thinks that everything revolves around this department, to the point that she came in on a saturday she wasn't working, just to say hi. The people in accounting, who have sold their souls and stare vacantly at spreadsheet after spreadsheet, coming out only to cook smelly food in the microwave. The wiccan. The students. All of them are crazy, all of them are different and all of them make me see how much worse my life could be.

I'm grateful to Anna and Claire for distracting me during the day. I would be thankful for Michael too but he doesn't read this blog and he doesn't know how to 3 way email so he's really not that much use to me. But Anna and Claire are my saviours. Each comes up with random, yet fulfilling topics of conversation for me to mull over and discuss. Each is privy to my rants and rages (lucky girls) and provide me with their rants and rages in return. I know that Anna has been forced to take 3 steps backwards and work on things that should have been completed this summer and that Claire always seems to deal with the craziest people. And I know that on the days when they are not in the office (they could be puking their brains out and they would be better off than when they are in the office) my world is a little bit worse.

Finally, I am thankful that you are reading this blog. That you will come back tomorrow and read it again. That you passed on the link and that you commented. Because if you didn't look like you cared (and I know how much effort that takes, I do it all the time) I wouldn't write on here. Actually I probably still would, I have a lot of anger and I need the outlet, but it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying.

PS did you notice that the things-that-I-am-thankful-for post is so much shorter than my I-hate-this-place-and-this-is-why kinds of posts?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Wrap Up

Today is Friday. Thank God. I couldn't make it another day. Its also the first day this week that I haven't pumped myself full of Dayquil. Which means that things are a lot harder today. I can't concentrate very well (not sure that this is actually any different from any other days), my eyes are burning and I have no one to talk to at work. Anna, bitch, decided to take the day off.

OK to be fair she worked last saturday so that she could have a 4 day weekend this week AND I was sick and left her for 3 days in the past week BUT STILL. Now that its actually Friday and she's not here, I'm less than impressed.

So because I will be forced to spend practically the whole day in my own head (its a confusing place) I'm feeling a little reflective.

You know how they say that you learn something new every day? I feel like I learned a lot this week. I'm sure that I learned more than one thing each day. Although, I can't totally account for things that I might have learned on Monday or Tuesday because I was in a Nyquil coma for large chunks of time. That stuff gives a mean hangover if you don't sleep it off all the way.

Anyway, this has been a learning week. Learning about behaviour, stuff online, and just general life lessons. Mostly learned from TV.

I would say that the biggest thing I learned this week was: People are messed up. Its true. People have some truly bizarre habits and its confusing to be around the ones that say one thing and do another. I guess this mostly stems from the run in with Amy this week. It blows my mind that a person can be discussing the finer points of The Hills and The City, discussing the fact that Kristen is a bitch and wondering about Whitney's prospects in NYC and then turn on you using words like "ownership" and "protocol". Whitney would never use words like that. Its almost like a slap in the face for everything that Whitney and Lauren, Kristen and Olivia stand for you know? I guess its a good thing that I was reminded that, actually, Amy is a petty, mean-spirited, time Nazi who is full of resentment that she is still working here in a position of authority. One more step to being a Lifer. The day I leave will be the best revenge.

My childhood was a sham. I learned this from Lily. We often comment on people's names if they are weird or if they are like famous people or characters. She came across a Sara Lennox (how weird if that's your name and you are reading this) and she's like "wasn't that Mary's mother's name?"
Me: Mary in the Bible, Mary?
Lily: No! Sara Lennox, The Secret Garden??

I had to come clean with Lily here. Usually we are on the same wavelength with trivia, especially about books. But I have never read The Secret Garden. I had to go one step further though and admit that I had also never read A Little Princess (by the same author, at least I know that!). First there was silence, and then "Your childhood was a sham". I've been trying to prove that it wasn't ever since (I read Anne of Green Gables come on!) but I don't think I'm going to win this one. In her eyes, I am now an incomplete person.

If you are a serial killer, TV police will apprehend you and put an end to your reign of terror. So there.

There are actually a number of differences between H1N1 flu and a common cold. Sure, your cold might be more violent than you remember them being, but it doesn't mean you have Swine Flu (I know its not PC to say that anymore, but I think its funny). I also learned that its easy to buy into the hype surrounding it when you read headlines like: If You Have Flu-like Symptoms, You Probably Have H1N1. What everyone needs is a friend like Claire who is prepared with a chart comparing and contrasting common cold symptoms and Flu symptoms. If you are sneezing, have a stuffy nose, a hacking mucus-producing cough and a sore throat, congratulations! You just have a common cold. However, if you have severe aches and pains, a high fever, a dry cough, severe chest discomfort and a headache- you should probably go see a doctor. Thanks Claire!

If you are taking language classes (and everyone should) a couple of drinks before hand go a long way to loosening up your tongue. You will be the star of the show.

Wife beaters are not appropriate office wear. I was unaware of this also but today when I came in wearing one, people looked at me funny. No not really. But Veronica was sporting a nice grey one today. She was hot. No, like physically warm. Ew. I think she would have paraded around like that all day but Maurice, all tact too, said "Why are you wearing that?" and she didn't have an answer besides "I'm hot" and she was clearly offended but she did go put her sweater on. I'm actually surprised a) that Veronica let herself be bulled without Amy around and b) that Maurice had the balls to say that to her in the first place.

The Duggars renewed their vows (way too much touching), and had their first grandchild. The Gosselins can't be civil even for birthdays. Kim Kardashian is back with Reggie Bush. Kim doesn't know the sex of her baby and Khloe is trying to do long distance with her new hubby. I learned that I know too much about reality TV. Its probably not going to change anything, but I thought that I would put it out there.

Its Friday. Its been a long week. It happens to be Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend so I'm supposed to be thankful for things. If you're good I might come up with my own list of thanks on Monday. It won't be your grandma's list though.

Enjoy the LONG weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time Delay

I'm having a really hard time this week. I'm sick (I think we covered that) but more than that, I am sick and tired of being here. I don't know how much longer I can handle working here. I'm hoping that I win the lottery this weekend. Its one of those days where I grab onto my lottery winning fantasy (the one where I don't show up for a few days, then decide to come in, haul everyone into a meeting and call all the d-bags out one by one before yelling I QUIT to the heavens) and hold on for dear life. This fantasy is the only reason that I am currently able to sit here and calmly type.

Actually there is nothing calm about the way that I am typing right now. I'm like a madwoman. I can't get the words out fast enough. I am P O'd.

I am filled with a burning hatred of everything and (almost) everyone in this beige building. I would like to start a paper fire. This place would go up so fast. Maybe I shouldn't be writing that on a blog...For the hall monitors out there- that was a joke.

In recent posts I have been fairly harsh on Veronica. Today I feel bad about that. Veronica has no real power, she is in a terrible relationship and worst of all, she is a lifer. But I don't think she means any real harm (I reserve the right to change my mind). My issues with Veronica mostly stem from her stubborn disregard of manners and common sense and her stupidity (which she is totally proud of).

However, my energies would have been better spent watching out for Amy.

She is so sneaky, so cold, such a f**king b***h. I kind of want to hurt her. As I mentioned, yesterday I was late again. This was again because of insane bridge traffic and I was stuck on a bus. There was nothing that I could do (short of walking, which would have taken longer and probably would have killed me considering I'm still pretty sick) so I had to sit on that bus and watch the time tick away. I felt slightly better than when this happened last week because I was never penalized for that and thought that somehow Amy had managed to gain some perspective.


Its like she was waiting, just biding her time to pounce on me and rip me a new one.

So I know how this goes. I need to let them know ahead of time that I am going to be late. At 8.16 (I know the exact time because I have a record of the text) I texted Amy- Hey, I am stuck on the bus, will be late. Do I get a response? A "thanks for the text" courtesy reply? Any acknowledgement that I did what I was supposed to? Oh, no I don't. I finally get to work a little after 9, admittedly 40 minutes late. I'm not sure what I am supposed to do about this though, its like when it snows at my house. I live on a mountain in a city that does not do well with snow so when this happens the buses just stop running up the hill. But I'm still supposed to get to work somehow. I'm pretty sure I won't get reimbursed for a cab and I'm pretty sure I will die trying to walk down, but I need to get to work somehow.


Apparently I should have walked.

Amy comes over when I am at my desk, how are you feeling blah blah blah. Not one mention is made of the fact that I am late. Nothing. So I figure that, like last week, I am in the clear.


I am on my last break of the day (yes, I still took my breaks, I put up with way too much crap here not to take my breaks, even on days when I am late) and when I return at 4.20 I see that Amy sent me an email, subject: Late.


"Glad you are feeling a bit better today. Please let me know how you plan to make up the time for being late this morning? Thanks"

Well I get pretty annoyed when we have talked in the course of the day and you choose to passively aggressively send me an email at the end of the day about making up time. So I said that I would take a shorter lunch and no breaks tomorrow (today). And went on to say that I wish she had told me earlier in the day that she was planning on making me make up the time. I also needed to add that its out of my control when the bus that I take every day gets stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and that getting out and walking in would not have made any difference.

I thought Ha! that will show her!

But Amy has been practicing being passive aggressive for about 30 years and I only really started getting into it about 1.5 years ago (oh wow, thats how long I have been working here. That must just be a coincidence). She is much better at it than me.

This morning, when I got here at 7.45 (brainwave: I got here 45 minutes early, breaks and lunch for me!!) another email was waiting for me. This one had words like protocol, communicate, regular occurance, precendence and ownership in it.

She actually thinks that her driving to work and me taking the bus is the same thing. Its not. When you drive and you get stuck in traffic you have the option of turning off and taking an alternate route. When you take the bus and its stuck, you are kind of hooped. Apparently when she is late she always makes up the time. Not that anyone a) notices and b) cares. I'm also confused about last week. It was the exact same thing. Same amount of time. I would bring it up but I'm pretty sure I would then be in the hole for double the time I'm making up today. If I was chronically late, I would obviously need to make a schedule change (with the bus I take), but I'm not. In fact, more often than not, I'm 10 minutes early. I don't get that time back.

Currently there is silence on her end. I'm pretty sure that she won't bring it up again. But if you have been reading this for a while, you know that I should never assume anything.

If you are a manager and you are reading this, do me a favour? Don't be an a**hole to your employees. Make allowances for late buses. Don't be passive aggressive. Hopefully Amy will realize the error of her ways and she will remove the stick from her a**. Until then, I can still dream about my lottery win.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TV Time Out

I knew that I jinxed myself when I said that I never actually get sick. The Universe was listening. And I have spent the past several days caccooning myself in my duvet on the couch, feverishly clutching the remote, no energy even to read.

When I am sick, I basically exist on the couch. I have never been one to stay in bed, I feel like I am missing out. And I'm not a big sleeper when I'm sick either. I like to pretend that I'm still 8, when my mom would make a bed on the couch and bring me water, juice and dry toast. If I was starting to feel better, I would get jam on my toast. I would also get full control of the remote, to watch whatever garbage was on daytime TV.

Of course, pretend is the keyword here. I do not live with my mom (and if I did, I seriously doubt she would still treat me like that for fear that then I would never move out) so if I am sick, I have to get my own toast.

Unfortunately for you lot (thank you for your kind words: "I have been waiting for a blog post since Friday missy" and "I need something to pass the time, blog post please"- your concern really strengthened me) my convalescence does not involve a laptop. In fact, aside from a quick peek at celebrity headlines, I completely shun the computer in favour of the TV.

So because you all seemed so interested in what I did while I wasn't working, here is a breakdown of my time on the couch.

My Nyquil induced coma generally wore off around 10, at which time I stumbled out of bed, gathered my duvet and propped myself on the couch with a box of tissues, a glass of water, and the remote clutched in my sweaty little hand. Also some sort of Vicks inhaler that was supposed to make it easier to breathe but instead, I think it made it look like I had some kind of inhalant dependency.

So at 10, I watched Criminal Minds. Serial killers are more fascinating when its bright outside and ther e are no spooky shadows to scare the crap out of me (I am a wimp). Plus who doesn't like a little psychopath with their morning meal?

At 11 I felt like I should lighten it up with Ellen although to be fair, the boyfriend was home both days and he hates crime shows, so instead of watching Cold Case Files, I thought that Ellen would be a nice compromise. Ellen is so great, saving relationships and stuff.

Noon was always a bit of a dryspell. I toyed with the idea of watching Maury, either "If You Slept With My Aunt, We're Over!" or "15,16, and 17- Are You My Baby's Daddy?". I have been a big fan of Maury's work since I was a teenager. My mom hated it, I'm pretty sure she even tried to get me help. But I was addicted. Even wrote a paper on it for a university class once (something about the medium, there was so much academia to wade through that it took me a whole 3 hours to do 3 weeks' worth of research and writing). But here again, I was foiled by the boyfriend. The look on his face said it all: "I am losing so much respect for you right now". I pretended not to want to watch it.

As is so often the case when you have all the time in the world to do something about it, there was nothing really worth watching on the PVR. I caught up on some Grey's (like I said, nothing worth watching), watched one or 2 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress (a guilty pleasure, I'm not getting married, but the dresses are so pretty). Mostly I just kept looking at the list, hoping that there was something there that I wanted to watch.

Most of the time I was flipping through channels, hoping for something better than Guiding Light or Oprah. That's right, I don't like Oprah. In fact, I can't stand her. She makes me want to vomit. Between bouts of Oprah hating, I was just hoping for some decent movies to be on. I watched Shrek the Third, Milk, caught some of 200 Cigarettes (and promptly searched for it to record and watch later), half of Definitely Maybe, and the beginning of a charming little movie with Demi Moore- something about the Best Summer of our Lives? A definite dry spell in the movies on TV department.

Monday night was hockey. I live in Canada, its basically illegal not to watch. Home team lost though. Again. Sure wish that goalie of ours would show us that he's worth it. Loved when he got pulled. Looked like he was going to cry. You should cry man, I am ashamed of you too!

Last night was just TV as usual. Tuesdays are good for TV.

At one point I did manage to leave the house to go to the clinic. I figured I should get a $10 sick note to prove that I was in fact ill (not that my chest rattling death cough couldn't do the job) so I went to the clinic. Doctor didn't even touch me, don't think she looked at me, just filled out the note. Sure, I waited an hour and might have exposed myself to real Swine Flu (this guy left the clinic hurriedly with a mask on his face that wasn't there when he went in) but now I have my sick note. Everybody wins.

So if you are still reading, you will note that I was bored at home. So bored that I even started telling myself that it would be more fun to have been at work. Clearly the meds were making me delirious. Today, the meds are making me rambly and unfunny. The Universe also decided to kick me when I was down by putting me on a late bus again. I didn't catch the bus later, the bus was just late. By 45 minutes today. And I'm dizzy. If I passed out at work, do you think they would do anything?

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Now Back To Our Regular Programming

I recognize that sometimes I can be a pain in the a**. As a child I used to run away from my cousin when she used to babysit. She hated to babysit me. Or ask my boyfriend, he has lots of stories. But somehow he still manages to live with me so I can't be that bad. Any my cousin and I get along just fine now.

But I have moments where I can tell that people are really uncomfortable around me. I look at the moment from outside my body, recognize the awkwardness perpetuated by me and continue to act like a jerk. I just don't have the energy to care.

You see, the unthinkable has happened. If you tuned in yesterday, you would have been disappointed not to find anything new. This is because I was at home sick. And actually sick to boot. This was not an elaborate ruse to get out of work (such as I had been planning for weeks). This annoys me because I so rarely really and truly get sick. But a lot of the people that I work with don't get the benefit of sick days (owing to the fact that they are Temps). If they are deathly ill, splooging (thanks for the new word Optimistic, told you I would use it!) infectious bacteria all over everything (did you know that germs can live on hard surfaces for up to 5 days? I learned that in a bathroom stall), they still have to come into work or forfeit an entire day's wages. Plus there is the suspicion upon your return: were you really sick?

I realize I am not helping the suspicion. But I like to think that I put enough forethought and effort into my planned sick days so as to avoid this. Except this time Karma decided it was time for some pay back. I would tell Karma where to stick it but I have a feeling that it would come back to me.

Anyway. As a result of this s**thole's sick days policy (or lack thereof) I am now infected with some unknown disease (probably a common cold but I feel like being dramatic). And I am miserable.

I don't really enjoy taking all kinds of pills or syrups when I am sick (they just trick you into feeling better and then you overdo it which just aggravates your illness causing a relapse) so I just solider on. Yesterday I could not do it. I just needed to stay home, hiding under the covers, enjoying my PVR library (incidentally, there is only good stuff on there when I don't have time to watch it) and reading. Or doing Dutch class homework. But not facing this place (that's not good for anyone's health).

I would have called it again today, but I am having people over tomorrow. Kind of a lot of people. That got out of hand quick. The point is, if I stayed home today that would be admitting that I am actually sick. And I don't have time for that until Sunday.

So here I am. Ready to fight. At least I thought I was. Do you know that for the last 2 weeks I haven't totally hated it here? I started to feel like things were relaxing to a point where it wasn't a complete punishment to be here everyday. And I thought that I could safely take the day off and things wouldn't totally fall apart.

Oh wishful thinking, how would we rationalize without you?

OK things didn't totally fall apart, but things didn't exactly get done either. One of my "duties" is to go through the collective email box and sort all the emails. We each have a folder (as well as a personal email address, nothing like doing things twice) and I go through, read ALL the emails and direct them to the appropriate person. We are supposed to have a 24 hour turnaround time, so these need to be done every day. Well, when I called in sick I forgot to ask to please go through the emails so that we wouldn't be behind. I figured that my manager who is supposed to be in charge of everything would have the presence of mind to delegate that duty or do it herself.

As is so often the case when it comes to trying to predict rational behaviour around here, I was wrong.

So this morning I needed to go through 2.5 days of emails. This took the better part of an hour. Additionally Veronica and Amy have decided that they no longer need to deal with emails. I am curious about how they are going to go about doing this in the 21st Century but hey, that's just me. Apparently I am not allowed to direct emails to them anymore. Even if they are addressed to them. They will send emails but they don't want the responses. Does this make sense to anybody? Anyone at all? I didn't think so, but being in a fever haze I thought that I would just double check.

So that annoys me. I am also annoyed that we were scheduled to have a one hour John-less meeting and it only took 15 minutes. I know that I am not exactly an advocate for meetings, but today, feeling like this, I was up for a little time wasting meeting. One full hour would have gone a long way to reducing the exhaustion I feel at the prospect of being here til 4.30. But no. Amy had to cut it to 15 minutes. And it might as well have been an Amy and Veronica one on one honestly. Veronica kept asking Amy questions that they probably should have covered privately beforehand. Amy would ask Veronica "Do you have anything else to add" and I kid you not she didn't say anything. Not one syllable passed those lips- just a blank stare as she rocked back and forth in her chair. She is in charge of me. The woman (technically she is a woman, but mentally she is a girl) is wearing pigtails (are they still pig tails if they are braided? Either way, they are a mess).

And finally, the incident that sparked this Friday rant (a FRIDAY! My day to be relaxed and thrilled that I made it to the weekend again, what a waste!): I came in today against my better judgement. And while I didn't expect any sympathy from my management team (I'm using "team" very loosely), I didn't expect them to completely ignore it. Basically we had the meeting. Then Amy and Veronica came around in tandem (why it takes 2 of them to decide what each of us is doing I will never know) to delegate work. They came to me, each lugging a large box of policies to process (did I just give too much away?). They plop them on my desk and say "OK so (my name here) is going to do this and then Maurice can carry on with those pages".

Um. Hello? I'm sitting right here.

Then as an afterthought they turn to me and say "Oh, how are you feeling?"

This is when I made it awkward "Still crappy. I'm pretty sure I have a fever so this (indicating boxes) will be loads of fun!".

Then I turned away and waited for them to leave my space.

I know, I can be a real peach. But they started it.

Enjoy your weekend! I'm going to have a donut.