The Whore of Babylon

Okay, maybe not Babylon. I’m not THAT far out on Long Island. But today, I definitely felt like a whore. Or maybe a bitch. Yeah- today, I was everybody’s bitch.

I decided to become an architect early on in life. You see, I was a Brady Bunch fan. I loved Greg, was jealous of Marsha and wanted to slap Cindy around. And before I knew he was gay, I loved Mike Brady. I waited anxiously for him to come home from the office with a roll of plans, or catch him in his office at his drafting table- damn those kids for always interrupting his creativity! And Mrs. Brady. How many times I seethed when she draped herself around him while he was trying to work. Yes, I loved and admired Mike. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be, I would say (after my customs-inspector stage) an Architect. If Mike could support six kids, a trendy wife, a live-in housekeeper, huge house and awesome vacations to Hawaii then architect looked pretty good to me. Plus I could draw and was pretty creative. I knew I wouldn’t make any money being an artist, so it seemed like the perfect job.

Um. Yeah.

Fast forward to college. I was at an immediate disadvantage my first year at NYIT. I didn’t know how to draft, I had no tools and had no idea how to use them once I bought them. Drafting was NOT taught in college- most of my classmates had taken drafting in high school. Add the construction classes to my confusion. Again, a lot of my male classmates worked construction after school or during the summer. I didn’t know a stud from a beam.

Throw into that mixture of college angst a fiance and a wedding and cook up a recipe for disaster.

Fast forward my first architectural job. A small architectural firm in Queens. My mom put in a good word for me there (she had dated one of the partners and the other partner lived a block away from them.) I learned how to make blueprints the ammonia way, stand in line at the building department (several hundred times pregnant) and how to produce a set of construction drawings that eventually didn’t look like they were bleeding after the partners got through marking it up with the red pen. I was happy there (except for the time the guy came in with the gun- but that’s another blog post) but the pay was paltry. I was basically there just to serve the apprenticeship before I took the exam to become a registered architect. I was married with a baby and both salaries weren’t cutting it, however. And it was here I learned that architects are whores.

Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century said it best- “Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we’ve both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business. ” So right. And you can be the cleverest, most innovative, artistic architect in the world- if the client doesn’t like that color because it’s too “mustardy” then you have to change it.

Fast forward to my second architectural job. Regretfully, I left the first job for double the salary working for New York City Housing and Preservation and Development. Earning my halo renovating abandoned crack houses for low and middle class housing. Learned Autocad. Worked my way up to supervising 10 other architects. Lived through the drama of a morally corrupt set of bosses. Got pregnant with Obdurate Daughter. Divorced Ex-Asshole. Met my hubby-to-be. Was tenth in line to become a Permanent employee. Got passed over in favor of all “the good ole boys”. Filed a EEO complaint. Answered an ad in the Times (thanks, Frank) for my current job.

Sidestep, please, to the Registered Architect Exam. In order to take responsibility for your drawings and project, one must be registered with the State of New York as an architect. In order to become registered, one must pass an exam.

The Mother of All Exams.

Harder than the Bar Exam.

Harder than the Medical Exam.

This test (in my day) was four days long, composed of nine parts- Structures, Planning, Design, Plumbing/HVAC, Site Design, etc. The LAST day was a 12 hour long exam where you plan a building within the guidelines and produce a full set of drawings. I know people who have thrown up before this test, have taken this test nine times and who have had nervous breakdowns because of this last exam. I’ve taken it three times, as had MR. All in all, he’s passed five parts of this torture test, I’ve passed two. Is it something I wish I’ve accomplished? Yes. Do I need it for my current job? No. It would have been nice to be registered, but then again, think of the liability insurance…

Fast forward to my next job, the present job. I started in my current job as Chief Architect. I was responsible for plans and fit-studies of the home office of a major Financial Institution. I designed trading floors. I spoke with heads of departments. I instituted Archibus (a facilities database) to help with cost allocation. I was one of a kind in my little world of Facilities. I was newly married to MR.

Fast forward through one merger and one layoff then 12 years later. I no longer do design. I no longer do planning. I do mostly data input. I have a deadline one week out of every quarter. And it seems that everyone wants a piece of my ass during that week. And I usually get my period around that time, so it makes the idiocy that I deal with all the more idiotic. But isn’t this your job, you may ask? Don’t people need the reports that you produce? Yes they do, and I do support management with my reports. It’s all the “extra” crap that’s not really in my job description that people ask me to do because they know it will be right, and they’ll get it quickly if I do it.

I won’t go into specifics about who and what pisses me off. I don’t want to be “Dooced“. But today I should have just laid down on my back and let them have at me. They did anyway. And they didn’t even offer me a smoke.

Curse you, Mike Brady.

My Grain

It feels like a ball peen hammer thudding directly on my brain.

It feels like my eyes are being pulled and stretched from the inside.

It feels like a giant hand pressing down on the top of my head, pushing to my stomach, making me sick.

It feels like a migraine.

Those of you who know me know I’ve been getting migraines since Beena was born, so that’s going on 21 years. Debilitating migraines. Stay at home for three days migraines. Throw up until I pass out migraines. I’ve tried different prescriptions and they would work until I got used to them- then I’d have to change. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant to prevent them, but they made my life foggy, like I was walking through pea soup, so I stopped taking them. I learned to avoid my “triggers” – those things that will cause a migraine- like red wine, phosphates, hard cheese, too much caffeine and too much stress. But I noticed a few years ago that even if I avoided my triggers, I would still get two or three migraines a week, usually in the spring and the fall. Clicking around the interwebs, I found a trigger I never would have guessed- a change in the barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure, or air pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air over an area of Earth’s surface. This value factors in how many molecules of air there are in a specific area, how fast those molecules are moving and how often they collide. At sea level, gravity is strongest and attracts the greatest number of molecules, so air pressure is greatest. Because gravity weakens as you go up, air pressure is lower at higher altitudes.

Air pressure changes are caused by storms, which are areas of low pressure moving across the country. Clear skies are areas of high pressure. When a front- or boundary between warm and cold air- comes by, the air pressure can drop and rise rapidly. It seems that changes in air pressure can cause migraines and sinus headaches. They don’t know why, but that’s okay. I at least figured out why during these seasons I continue to get migraines.

Mom bought me a glass barometer for my birthday a few years ago. Zombiegirl used to watch it then run in and tell me that I’m going to get a migraine. Whenever the water rose in the spout the air pressure was decreasing- a storm was coming. I usually got hit with the migraine when the spout water was going down. Note to self: clean out the stupid thing and fill it properly so it will work! I pretty much stopped using the barometer when I started going to the chiropractor specifically to treat the migraines.

Having an adjustment on a weekly basis seemed to lessen the migraines down to once every three weeks in my peak seasons. Times of stress usually brought them on more, but they weren’t as debilitating as usual. Did I keep up with my adjustments? Of course not. I missed spring and summer and come this fall, they came back with a vengeance.

My migraines usually start with an “aura”. A spectral vision of zig-zag lines that start in the center of my vision then gradually grow outward to hinder my peripheral vision. It was hard to describe this aura to my family and friends until I found this flash animation on this post that nails my aura right on the head. Scroll down for the animation. Mine is reversed, though. It starts on the upper left side…

If I take medication (right now I’m relying on Excedrin for Migraine) while I have the aura the migraine usually won’t “take” and I can function like a normal human. What’s been happening to me recently is I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, or the morning already in the full throes of a migraine. How the hell to I combat that? I woke up with one this morning at 2:30 am, and yesterday when I got up at 5:00 am. I’m going to continue see Dr. Evelyn for adjustments every week and I’m going to limit my coffee intake. It HAS been a stressful week, though. Maybe that’s it.

If you suffer from migraines please let me know what you do to fight them. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I’m just going to put my head down on my desk for awhile…

Results Not Typical

It’s Tuesday again, so it must be workout day. I REALLY need to go more than twice a week…

I start with six minutes on the treadmill at 3.9. This works out to be around 15 mph. Don’t ask me how… Mike comes over and takes me to the free weight area and puts a half bouncy ball upside down on the floor. I do 3 sets of 12 push ups with my hands on the bouncy ball bottom. This is hard because I have to balance as well as do the push ups.

Next, he flips the ball things over and makes me sit on the top with my hands under my ass. He tells me to bring my knees to my chest and then straighten them out. All while balanced on the ball. Riiiight. I do two very shaky sets of 12.

Still on the ball, leaning back, I do two sets of 15 crunches.

Next to the machines I’ve been looking forward to- the Adductor and the Abductor. Three sets of 12 with 70lbs. on each of these inner and outer thigh machines. Ouch. This is why I can’t get up from my office chair easily.

Over to the tall machine that can do 1,000 different exercises with straps, bars and handles. He has me doing three sets of 12 downward triceps curls with (I think) 40lbs. Then he switches the bar for two handles and has me in a lunge stance doing two sets of 12 chest presses with (I think) 20 lbs on each side.

I have nine more sessions, then I’m on my own. Sniff!

100 Things That Piss Me Off (or make me mad)

Oh, this one was MUCH easier. As I suspected…I am a misanthrope. And there are so many more…

1. Riding the subway.

2. Taking the N6 bus.

3. People who spit or hock a lugie on the sidewalk.

4. Wednesday matinee days.

5. People who take advantage. People who take home all the food after a conference.

6. The phrase “It is what it is.”

7. “Valentime‘s Day”

8. Liars.

9. When having a conversation: the person you’re conversing with is not listening to you but is prepping what they’re going to say next.

10. Being put on hold.

11. Poison ivy.

12. Rap music.

13. Celebrity gossip.

14. When I can’t finish a Sudoku.

15. When I forget to bring my reusable bags to the store.

16. People who don’t even TRY to recycle. Litterbugs.

17. Micro-managers. Managers who are also megalomaniacs.

18. Michael Jackson tributes.

19. Tanning salons.

20. Half-assed jobs.

21. Breaking a nail. Not that I EVER get my nails done.

22. Crackberries. Twitter. And the people who walk V..e..r..y…S..l..o..w..l..y while using them.

23. Bad boyfriends and their families.

24. Children misbehaving in public and usually how their parent’s (don’t) deal with them.

25. Dirty bathrooms and the pigs that make them that way.

26. People who talk on the phone all day instead of working.

27. Tourists.

28. Authors who crank out books in a series when clearly the series has already jumped the shark.

29. Reality TV shows. Except for Wipeout.

30. Mommybloggers. ESPECIALLY Dooce. And that Sandi Benson chick.

31. Starbuck’s and the posers who buy their sludge.

32. Companies that outsource their Help Desk and Customer Service to India.

33. Facebook friends that play those games all day long and post the status updates, thus clogging up the status list.

34. My ex-husband’s child bride.

35. When dog poop is NOT picked up.

36. When I can’t find something. My house has a black hole.

37. Bad breath. And the unwillingness to do anything about it.

38. Loud phone talkers.

39. Loud LIRR talkers.

40. People who won’t say “Good morning” or “Hello” when met passing on the street.

41. The nosy person in my office.

42. Neighbors who insist on coughing loudly or making other noise early in the morning or late at night under my bedroom window.

43. Dishes in the sink. And the unwillingness of anyone to do anything about them.

44. Burnt cookies. Burnt food.

45. Unresponses to emails.

46. The person who monopolizes conversations. Especially at book club.

47. People who constantly talk about their children. Every. Chance. They. Get.

48. Nasty soccer parents. And their nasty children.

49. Counter people who don’t get your order right. Usually because they don’t speak English.

50. Democrats that don’t like me because I’m a Republican.

51. Liberals.

52. People that hold grudges.

53. Season finales.

54. Shattered dreams.

55. The guy on the corner that has a billion kids, but can’t get any of them to do yard work. And he only “cleans” up his yard when it’s time to put his sukkah up.

56. Daughters who think we’re idiots.

57. Stray cats.

58. Bosses who don’t let you know when they’re going to be out.

59. Co-workers who take advantage and DON’T DO THEIR JOB.

60. Drug addicts. Alcoholics.

61. Spencer and Lola.

62. When my sewing machine gets moody.

63. When I’m moody (THAT time of the month) and no one is sympathetic.

64. My period. Period.

65. When my plants die.

66. People who ALWAYS cry poverty.

67. When my computer crashes. When my program doesn’t work. When I get a virus.

68. When my family is sick. MR’s allergies. Z-girl’s asthma.

69. When I’m sick. Migraines. Cramps.

70. My fat belly.

71. When I procrastinate.

72. The current physical state of my home.

73. Assholes who voted for Obama because he’s black. Assholes who didn’t vote for Obama because he’s black.

74. People who accuse first without getting the whole story.

75. Snotty, snooty or stuck-up persons.

76. Sloppy, slovenly or messy persons.

77. Kids with bad table manners. Even worse- adults with bad table manners.

78. Breaking a dish or a glass.

79. Bad drivers. Arrogant drivers. Asshole drivers.

80. People who don’t realize that you DO have a life outside of work, or outside of THEIR lives!

81. Men who undress you with a glance.

82. Small dogs. If they can fit in a pocketbook, they’re annoying. If you dress them, you’re annoying.

83. Rich people who feel entitled. Poor people who feel entitled.

84. Clueless Upper Management.

85. When the spouse can’t take a hint.

86. When friends cancel or don’t respond back to you.

87. People who would rather spend money on themselves than their kids.

88. Swindlers, bamboozlers, cheaters.

89. Bus riders that take up two seats. Subway riders that stick their feet out, or cross their legs. Guys who sit with their legs WIIIDE open. Then get mad at you if you try to sit/hit their feet…

90. When asked what they want for dinner, my family says “Whatever” or “I don’t know.” Or, when asked what they want from the supermarket, they reply the same, and complain there’s nothing to eat.

91. Not being able to take a real vacation.

92. When I trip or fall for no reason.

93. Typos. Grammatical errors. Use spell-check, people!

94. Body odor. Flaky scalp. Dirty clothes. Stinky feet.

95. Hidden fees. Late fees. Greens fees.

96. Underestimating my abilities.

97. My hair.

98. Cancer.

99. People who say “I haven’t seen you in Church lately!” Well, I haven’t seen you at the bar lately!

100. Bad porn.

100 Things That Make Me Happy

This list took me almost a month to compile! I wonder if that says something about me? Hmmm….

These are in no particular order. And it’s a given that my family in general makes me happy! (On most days, at least.)

1. Hugging Zombiegirl. Getting hugs back.

2. The smell of a thunderstorm or rainstorm.

3. Hilton Head, SC

4. Riverhead, Long Island

5. Savannah, GA

6. Fresh tomatoes.

7. An email saying my library book is in.

8. Seeing my husband and child when they pick me up from the train/bus.

9. Hearing my husband and child’s laugh when they’re joking with each other.

10. Really clean windows.

11. Completing a sewing project.

12. Watching Zombiegirl play soccer.

13. Having Parker call me “Mrs. Reichert” or “Mamasoo.”

14. Soy yogurt, granola and mandarin oranges.

15. Not having to deal with stupid CAFM managers.

16. The words “I love you” whispered in my ear.

17. The feel of sand in underneath my feet.

18. Speaking of feet, having my husband rub them.

19. And pedicures.

20. Getting mail, but not bills.

21. Playing with the nieces and nephews.

22. America’s Funniest Home Videos, iCarly and Wipeout.

23. Going for a coffee run with friends.

24. Looking in people’s windows at night.

25. A lone voice singing “Amazing Grace”.

26. Looking at my wedding pictures and pictures of my kids when they were little.

27. Frozen Charleston Chews.

28. Butterfingers.

29. Pecan pie.

30. Sweet potatoes. Any shape, any form.

31. Gardening. Planting. Pruning. Weeding.

32. Garden Gnomes.

33. Fiestaware. All shapes, all colors, all styles- old and new.

34. Iced coffee, peppermint tea and chai.

35. Kissing the kid goodnight. Saying “Sweet dreambles.” Giving “dream dust.”

36. When the kid has a sleepover and the guest knows to ask for “dream dust.”

37. Watching Beena drive.

38. Saying the Lord’s Prayer. Hearing a multitude of voices saying it with me.

39. Compliments.

40. A hot shower after a workout or a long day at work.

41. Flannel pajamas. All day long.

42. A massage, a facial and a sauna.

43. Cilantro

44. Having dinner with all my family.

45. Seeing my friend Eileen.

46. Shopping in thrift stores and antique stores.

47. Hearing Beena speak “Math”.

48. Finishing a sudoku.

49. A really good book. Or the next book in a series I’m reading.

50. Indian food. Thai food.

51. MR’s smell. Especially when he comes out of 7-11.

52. Flowers, plants and veggies. All homegrown.

53. Spending a lazy day in bed watching a series (Dexter, Gilmore Girls) on DVD.

54. Hugs from my CAFM team when I see them once a month.

55. Ryan’s face when she laughs, and Ruddyna’s snort!

56. Baking with the kids.

57. Going new places. It doesn’t matter where!

58. Going to soccer practice/games and seeing my soccer moms.

59. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas season. If they’re not hectic… I could list 100 things that make me happy during the holidays alone!

60. The colors orange and chartreuse. Even better when they’re together.

61. In a canoe.

62. Seeing the recipient’s face when they open a gift made/given by me.

63. Thinking of Mom, Nana Ethel and Uncle Robbie.

64. Cow creamers and all things Cow Parade.

65. When I remember to take my reusable bags to the grocery store.

66. Babies and toddlers. Even if I’m not related to them. And this DOESN’T MEAN I WANT TO BE A GRANDMA.

67. Will Smith movies. Johnny Depp movies. Tim Burton movies.

68. Wine tastings on Long Island. Vodka tastings on Long Island.

69. Yes.

70. Hiking and camping.

71. A hot bath. Preferable with a book and a glass of wine.

72. Wrapping presents. Opening presents. Blowing out candles.

73. When my outfit works. And someone notices it.

74. Reminiscing.

75. The day after I dye my hair.

76. A new notebook or pad of paper.

77. A good pen or marker. Office supplies in general.

78. Finding dimes with MR.

79. A nap on the train. Hell- naps in general!

80. The piccolo player in Penn Station. He plays songs like Gilligan’s Island and the theme from F-Troop. I always give him a dollar.

81. A new friend request on Facebook.

82. When one of the blogs on my blog roll updates.

83. When Beena comments on my blog.

84. Butterflies, lady bugs and lolcats.

85. A cold beer with lime. A cold white Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Amaretto on the rocks. Jack Daniels and lemonade. Ice wine.

86. New clothes, a new Coach bag, new shoes or new piece of jewelry. Or all of the above.

87. Seeing the results of my hard work.

88. Feeding animals. Wild animals. Not the ones that live at home.

89. Carnivals. Rides. Cotton Candy. Ferris Wheels. Fireworks.

90. Globes and pictures of the earth.

91. Uniforms. Groups in uniforms. Fleet week. Firemen.

92. Harry Potter.

93. The smell of fresh laundry.

94. Watching OUR shows.

95. My favorite blanket.

96. Winning.

97. Pretzels with mustard from the pushcart guys.

98. Synchronicity.

99. Sewing and creating.

100. Chocolate. Specifically dark or spicy.

Update on my 101 in 1001

It’s October first. There’s a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. I’m taking my sweaters out and switching out my short sleeved shirts. I love the fall!

I’m not going to re-iterate things already accomplished. Just an update on section BODY, and any new developments.

4. Continuing with the gym, but it’s down to two times a week. I’m going to make an REAL effort to get my sorry ass there a third and/maybe fourth time.

6. I didn’t have any bacon. I swear.

9. I bought and used the Diva Cup! Bloody adventures here!

10. I have been going to the dentist. But not progressing. More like waiting to see if my teeth “firm up.”

11. I have been taking my vitamins every night. I added Glucosamine to the mix.

12. I missed ONE day of wearing makeup. I put it on in the morning right before I do my hair.

13. So far, I’ve blogged every month about my Body items!

27. I was “elected” Fifth Grade Representative. I don’t know how that happened since a) I didn’t volunteer for that position, and b) I didn’t go to the PTA meeting. So by default, I’m going to be active in 5th grade PTA whether I like it or not!

29. Still following the meal plan.

40. Alterations still pending.

46. I work on the sewing room a little every day. Next thing I have to do is get rid of the piles. Next pile to tackle is filing all my crap away.

That’s it. Pretty pathetic. I think I’m going to print this list out and post it in several places so I see it more often. There were some things I totally forgot about. Really, though, it’s only been two months. I have to stop beating myself up about the shit I DON’T get down and start focusing on the things I DID get done!

Keepin‘ a positive attitude, dude…