That Started From This Tropic Port Aboard This TIny Ship

One of my favorite gifts I received this birthday was one from Rob.

Rob Schiff. Best Man, musician, personal IT support, printer, Showerhead and all-around great guy.

He’s a friend of ours that’s closer to our family than some of our family members.

Guys usually don’t put a lot of thought into their gifts. MR does, but he’s my husband. It meant so much that Rob thought about this gift months before my birthday. He got me this:

I remember going to my great-Grandmother’s house and using this little guy to pour milk over my cereal. MR remembers having one too as a kid. I don’t know how Rob knew we would remember this from our childhood. He must have known it would fit so well with these.
Thanks, Rob. I think everyone needs a Moo Cow Creamer!

Just Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear a Tale, A Tale of a Fateful Trip

No F*CK YOU Friday today, I’m too full of love…

The love started on Wednesday, celebrating my birthday. The girls took me out for lunch to the Brick Lane Curry House Too– the home of the hottest curry dish in North America. No, I didn’t try it. I was too chicken. The place was tiny-it seats 14- but the food was delicious. This satisfies one of my 101 in 1001- trying a new restaurant!

After a pretty unproductive day at work, where almost no one (including the team I work with)wished me a Happy Birthday, I left a little early to go home to my family who was waiting to take me to Thai food. Indian and Thai in the same day? This must be Heaven! What made it extra special was that Dad joined us!

Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal to most. It was to me since my parents always refused to try anything outside their comfort zone. They knew what they liked. If they didn’t think they would like it, they wouldn’t try it. This included eating most ethnic food, traveling outside the country and watching popular tv shows. That was okay, though. They stood by their convictions and didn’t feel like they were missing anything.

Except dinner with their family on my birthdays.

We would go out for Indian, or Mexican, or Thai and they would meet us back at our house for cake. This time, though, Dad went with us to Frankly Thai (otherwise known as Onzon). AND he tried the spicy, crispy noodles! And lived! I am so proud of him, and honored that he was willing to go out with us. He said it was good, and I’ll choose to believe him.

After dinner we had cake back at the house and I opened my presents. A bread maker from Dad (along with three bread mixes,) sock monkey slippers from Zombiegirl, from MR-tickets to Promises, Promises on Broadway, a rain barrel, topsy turvy tomatoes and an Amex Gift Certificate. From Beena- a HUGE bread recipe book. Wonderful gifts from my wonderful family. Thanks you guys!

The best part of this day, though, had to be the fact that I wasn’t turning a year older than I thought. Since MR is three months older than me, I automatically start saying I’m the same age he is whenever anyone asks. I must have convinced myself I was already 47 and started saying I was turning 48. It took Soulspeak23 to remind me I’m a moron and I’m a year younger. Hooray! I’m NOT 48!

Avada Kedavra! Just Kidding.

Continuing on with the Zombiegirl’s Harry Potter Party…

Since I wasn’t going to be holding a Defense against the Dark Arts class, the kids would have no way of knowing what spells to use with their wands. So I figured I would give each kid a spell, charm and potions handbook to take home. During my lunch hours a few months before the party (um, yeah, lunch hour….), I compiled a list of Spells from The Harry Potter Lexicon using their Encyclopedia of Spells. I added Potions and Potion Ingredients from their Encyclopedia of Potions and from Harry Potter Wiki. In fact, these two websites were invaluable to me- this is where I got most of the details for the party. To the book I added a brief History of Hogwarts and a few pages for notes, a title page and a cover. The cover was printed on the same parchment cardstock I used for the invitations- thanks, Rob! The only problem I had printing the book was the layout. I’m not good with pages and printing on two sides so it took me a few sample printings to get the order right in MS Word and at the printer. Finally, the pages worked and I was ready to assemble. Another lunch hour (snort) to assemble the books and staple. My work graciously let me use their deep throated stapler (bwahahahahaaa!)

Now the kids will have the books (no cost to me, yay!) and a place to take notes. The ONLY thing a Hogwarts student would be using to take notes is a quill pen, right? I need feathers. Michaels had packages of turkey feathers in white and different colors (black for Z-girl) so I picked up enough for everyone. When I got them home, however, I realized the shaft wasn’t hollow. Well, it would be hollow if it didn’t look like it was vacuum-sucked in. I got a Bic pen insert about an inch up the shaft (OMG this is sounding so dirty….) before it couldn’t go any further. CRAP! I remember making quill pens when I was a kid using seagull feathers I found on the beach. I definitely couldn’t use these Michaels feathers so I started researching were to by genuine feathers online. I found a feather place on West 38th street in the garment district. I called and they confirmed they had feathers I could use for pens.

I promptly forgot about the quills until the Wednesday before the party. I HAD to get these feathers the next day since I wasn’t going in to work on Friday (stove repair man coming). I figured I would stop in the morning when I get in to Penn Station. After a late start at home on Thursday, I got into the city and walked up to 38th Street. I turned THE WRONG WAY (WEST) on 38th Street and didn’t realize it until I ran out of buildings, somewhere around 9th. I called the place and they said they were between 6th and 5th. Wonderful! It’s the first hot day of the year, I’m totally overdressed, and now I’m four VERY long blocks out of my way. And late. I get to Dersch Feather and am blown away by the amount and beauty of all the feathers they have displayed. My mind does a creative flip trying to think of what I could possible do with all this! John snuck up from behind some boxes and when I told him what I needed, he was thrilled! Seems like he’s a Potter Head, too. Had the Hogwart’s denim jacket to prove it! But…he couldn’t tell me what type of feather was used for the quills. He showed me a few and we settled on the turkey feathers. The shaft was indented in like my other feathers, but a little higher- I would be able to get more pen up the shaft. Twelve dollars later (cash- no debit, no credit- I had to leave to find a cash machine) and I had a handfull of long white quills. Since I’m not versed in the Manhattan bus system, I couldn’t figure out how to get uptown on the east side, so since I was late anyway, I walked. From 38th Street to 48th Street. Sweating, carting a bagful of Girl Scout Cookies and feathers. Mama’s not a happy one, this morning. I get to work, down a full bottle of water, race like a pee horse and log into my workstation. I scout out the supply cabinet for pens, and come up empty. Crap again! I’m going to have to buy Bics. Thank goodness they’re cheap, around $2 for a pack of 10.

When I get home I start trimming the ends of the feathers and pulling out the inserts of the pens. I try to stick the pen in the shaft, but again, it doesn’t go all the way in. Now I’m desperate, and start cutting the pens to fit. And getting ink all over my hands, the table, the feathers and the scissors. I try to do the rest in a neat and clean manner, but my hands turn slowly blue-black over the course of this craft. It’s okay- I managed to get all the pens in, glued where they’re a little loose and standing on end so the ink doesn’t run back into the feather.

Now our little Hogwart students are ready to take notes!

It’s My Deadline and I’ll Cry if I Want To

I cried at work today. These tears had nothing to do with a death, or an accident, or a fight with a loved one. These tears were shed out of frustration.

Usually I get angry- spitting mad- when the stupidity of the job gets to me. Today they broke me. I went through a stack of Chipotle napkins (note to self…must get more Chipotle) while hiding behind my cubicle wall so no one could witness my demise. I MUST have been utterly frustrated to actually call someone and cry on their shoulder. I think I scared them. Mamasoo is known as a bitch, not a crybaby.

So, not only was management being reluctant about giving me answers I needed to complete a report I’m working on, I was forced to delay a deadline- twice- because of it. And of course, when I get frazzled, I get sloppy. I get so angry and upset that I don’t think things through. The report I had to prepare for this certain manager in order for her to get answers from her manager had to be redone three times. Information passed to me months ago was recanted when brought up, and it skewed the results of the report. At least the CRETIN that scurried over to the manager to inform them I was running the routine wrong (using their information) called and apologized for “getting me in trouble”. Then, after correcting the report (not my fault), I neglected to correct a comparison (my fault). A nasty email from the manager informed me of that error. I was already into my fifth napkin by then (they’re made without bleach and from 90% post-consumer recycled paper! At least I’m earth-friendly while I cry…) and this just made it worse.

I think I snapped today because lately I’ve been at everyone’s beck and call to produce reports, drawings and proposals for upper management. And we all know upper management needs these reports IMMEDIATELY and extremely dumbed-down because they don’t want to have to “think about it”, IT being the results of the report.

But when I need something on a deadline- which happens EXACTLY FOUR TIMES A YEAR- no one takes me seriously. I was actually questioned in a meeting with the above-mentioned manager about my deadline date. Management has no idea what my process is, so why am I being questioned? I guess the point of this part of my rant is that I don’t question management’s deadlines, why should they be questioning mine? As it turns out…it doesn’t look like I’ll get any answers until the MIDDLE OF THE MONTH anyway!

Okay, I just realized that the middle of the month for me means PMS. That…might explain my reaction to this situation, but seriously, it’s still a situation. Do I like being everyone’s whore? Do I like being everyone’s circus bear- jumping through hoops and juggling balls? My business contacts love me- they’ve told me so many, many times. My boss has doled out the rare nuggets of praise over the years. But Upper Management? One member of Upper management…has referred to me as “Autocad Lady” and won’t speak to me in elevators. Another member has ignored me at the mall. And never respects my deadlines. Am I destined to be a peon the rest of my working career?

I left the answer to that question hanging until I got home. I had two hours of commute to think it over. And the answer is yes…I am destined to be a peon for the rest of my working career. And I’ll tell you why.

Even though I’ve supervised many people, have made crucial decisions and worked on multi-million dollar projects in past jobs and am perfectly capable of being Upper Management it will never happen. Requirement number one to move up the corporate ladder is that you must kiss ass. And the LAST thing I do is kiss ass. I usually tell it like it is, and if I don’t like you, you know it.

Requirement number two is you have to attend meetings. I think meetings, especially weekly meetings, are a waste of time. They’re usually run by the wrong (read “stupid”) people and end up not accomplishing what they’ve set out to do. Plus being late is a pet-peeve of mine, and it’s a requirement that you MUST wait for Upper Management to show up, since they’re so busy doing other things they can’t possible get to a meeting on time.

Requirement number three is you will probably have to work late. No, let me rephrase that. You’ll probably have to stay at work late. Doesn’t mean you’re necessarily working. You might have taken a LONG lunch hour with the contractor-dujour and need to catch up. You may be trying to get Lady Gaga tickets for your kids. You may be surfing p0rn sites (even though our company doesn’t let you on anything remotely suspicious…) But whatever the reason, you’ll be working late. Me? Sorry- I have a family to go home to.

Requirement number four- you have to torture the people under you. After all, they are the people who make you look good. You have to harass them to get you reports that are all ready available if you would have just listened to your underlings when they told you where to look. You have to harass them to print things out for you because it really is too much trouble to find the print button in the document you have open. You have to harass them to make even minor corrections on reports that you’ve created because you’re too busy to make them yourself. Seems the higher you go up the corporate staircase, the less work you actually have to do?

Notice the money didn’t even come into consideration. I wouldn’t trade my freedom at the job and the freedom at home to make the salary these managers make. I’ll stay where I am, thank you. Frustrations and all. As long as I have recycled napkins and a shoulder to cry on.