Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perfectionism



One of my coworkers has this client. She is the ultimate perfectionist.

He'll send her a document, only to have it come back to him literally bleeding with changes and comments. After making all the changes, he'll send it back to her only to have it return again mortally wounded with a fresh onslaught of changes and more pointed comments.

She doesn't realize the latest draft (with all the changes) looks just like the original. She gets frustrated with my coworker, not realizing she is talking herself in circles.

When I see this, I have to laugh and shake my head. It makes me want to grab some popcorn and watch the show.

Perfectionists can be so entertaining, can't they?

Then I take a step back and realize that I load the dish washer the exact same way every time. I have a specific way to dry off after a shower. I even clip my fingernails in the same order ... every time.

Dang it.

Somewhere, someone is laughing at me and reaching for the popcorn.

This reminds me that I need to loosen up. It's okay if a cup sometimes goes on the bottom shelf of the dish washer. It won't kill me if I dry off my left arm before my right. And the sun will still rise tomorrow if I start clipping my thumbnails first.

My wife is good at this. She is organized but doesn't let it get to her if things aren't perfect. She just laughs at me when I get wound too tight.

... Maybe she's the one reaching for the popcorn.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tune in Tuesday at LLLW

Have you ever heard of Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies? If not, what rock have you been living under?

I've been asked to guest post over there, and it made my day/week/month/year. If you'd like to see what I wrote, please go here.

I don't think I'm supposed to do this, but I want my entry for my own records, so I'm posting it below.

But please head on over to LLLW. She's much cooler than I am and I expect you'll love all her other posts too.


----------------------------for the record----------------------------


It's fitting that LLLW (Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies) wrote about Christmas last week, because it felt like Christmas when she asked me to guest post on her blog.

Since she is so good at telling a funny story and applying a moral, all in a nice little package, I thought it'd be best to try the same format for my post.

Then, after 3 hours of bashing my head onto my desk trying to think of something deep, I finally gave up and decided it would be best to stick to my roots and just tell an anecdotal story from my past (or in this case, my dad's past).

Let me also clarify that while I'm teasing my dad a little, the apple definitely doesn't fall far from the tree.


My Dad and the Civic


My dad used to drive a Volkswagen Beetle (one of the new ones with a built-in flower vase). He got it silver to match his hair.

(Tangent)
He thought the vase was a pen holder until I pointed out what it was really for. After giving him a moment to let it sink in, I thought he'd be slightly embarrassed about driving a car clearly made for a girl.

No such luck. He asked me to get a red rose bud for it.
(End Tangent)

When he bought a new car, he didn't want to go down and haggle with the dealership, so he negotiated the entire thing over the phone. He wanted a Honda Civic. He wanted it silver (again, to match his hair). He wanted it to have a CD player for his Mo Tab and Gaither CDs.

Once they agreed on a price, he went down and drove his new "silver bullet" off the lot.

A few months later, around Christmastime, he and the Civic spent one evening zipping around town, delivering pumpkin chocolate chip bread (way better than pumpkin chocolate chip cookies) to friends and family. This is one of our Christmas traditions.

(Tangent)
My dad is all about efficiency, and while I don't know this for sure, it wouldn't surprise me to find out he had his map all marked out ahead of time with the route traced in red ink.
(End Tangent)

As he stopped at each house, he got increasingly irritated with the Civic. He had all the plates of bread in the back seat, and he couldn't get the seat to shift nearly as far forward as it did in his beloved Beetle.

So, there he was, at each house, squeezing his shoulders into the sliver of space between the chair and the door frame, using a flashlight to find the plate with the correct label.

He was livid. LI. VID.

Now, fast forward a few days.

My dad was helping a friend deliver Poinsettias to people and they decided to take the Civic. At the first stop, my dad once again wedged himself into the crack to pull out one of the plants.

I'm sure it brought back all the frustration (and perspiration) from the other night.

The next stop, it was my dad's friend's turn to get one of the plants. He got out of the car, opened the back door and pulled it out.

The. Back. Door.

It had been months, and my dad never noticed he now owned a car with four doors.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Unintended Conference Call

Our conference room phone has a faulty key pad. Sometimes it won't register the button you just pressed, and sometimes it will think you hit it twice.



Usually, when anyone tries to dial into the conference line they hear, "Your call cannot be completed as dialed," several times before they finally get it to work.

I must have the luck of the Irish with me, because one day I was the first one into the room for our meeting and got to push the buttons.

I dialed our bridge line (an 800 number), and immediately turned beet red when a seductive voice on the other end purred, "Hey, big boy."

Somehow, I had accidentally dialed one of those sleazy hotlines.

At work.

In front of the people who decide my salary.

And just my luck, there was no hole in sight for me to crawl into.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Salmon Patties

When I was home from college one summer, my mom and I had an interesting conversation.

(Tangent)
Now, you have to know my mom is literally a saint. She laughs at everyone's jokes because she genuinely thinks they're funny. She serves more people more often than anyone I know. And she managed to survive raising me.
(End Tangent)

I was watching TV, and mentioned I was hungry. Her immediate response was, "Do you want a salmon patty?"



A salmon patty? I guess she doesn't remember that I had to gag those things down as a kid. I'm not a huge fish eater, and fried, canned salmon is not on my short list of must-have foods.

I said I was fine and would find something on my own.

Not two minutes later, my mom said, "Are you sure you don't want a salmon patty?"

This went on for another five minutes until I finally got up and made myself some toast.

Here's the lesson in hindsight:

My mom probably wanted a salmon patty.

But she didn't want to go through all the work of making them just for her.

I should have just said I would love one and let her have at it.

Better yet, I should have made them for her.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Office Outtakes

For those of you who missed the predecessor to Office Outtakes (Cult Chronicles) go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

These stories are about a specific coworker I used to have. She was a sweet girl, but she ... (how do I put this?) ... didn't have a verbal filter.

Here's an example:

Let's start with her first day on the job.

That's right. She didn't even know where her desk was before giving me a story to share.

This coworker of mine, we'll call her Tiffany, showed up for her first day and immediately began her orientation meeting with HR.

After covering all the policies, here is how the conversation went directly down the toilet:

HR: So, do you have any questions?

Tiffany: Yes I do. I was wondering if you could tell me, what is everyone's religious affiliation and sexual preference?

HR: ... um ... Why do you ask?

Tiffany: Well, I just wanted to find out, so I can make sure not to say anything that would be offensive to them.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think it would be better to avoid saying offensive things about religious affiliations or sexual preferences in the first place. Another good rule of thumb is to not ask for private information from HR.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My eardrums will never be the same

Do you remember elementary school?

The kids at school could be divided into any number of groups, but the one that sticks out to me most (or at least to my eardrums) was the screamer group.



These were typically girls who would run around the playground screaming to each other for no apparent reason.

(Tangent)
I can only assume they liked to pretend they were in danger, but if someone has any insight, I'd love to find out why they did this.

Until then, I'm baffled.
(End Tangent)

And I think my daughter is one of them.

In fact, I think she has her eye on the presidential seat.

Exhibit A:
When her friends come over, she likes to run around with them and scream. All that's missing is the playground.

Exhibit B:
She refuses to watch any movie other than Monsters, Inc. or The Care Bears Movie because they are "Scarme" (Translate: Scary).

Exhibit C:
Yesterday, she was sitting out in the sandbox all by herself, screaming at the top of her lungs ... just digging in the sand and screaming.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I thought she'd be older ...

My daughter is as obsessed with treats and sweet foods as I am. In my own life, it's a weakness I've never bothered to try to overcome.

But, thanks to Karma, I now get to fight against my daughter's insatiable sweet tooth.

Thanks, universe. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.

Yesterday morning, I was in the kitchen and my daughter walked up to me and yelled for the bazillionth time that day, "Treat?!?"

I turned on my verbal auto pilot and told her, "No."

The next thing I knew, she wandered up to the bedroom, and what does she say to my wife?

"Treat?!?"

Maybe I'm naive, but I thought kids didn't learn the pit-one-parent-against-the-other-parent trick until they are at least 3 years old.

So, does anyone know a good Karma attorney? I have a couple lawsuits to file.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Make Moss Graffiti

I guess even graffiti artists are going green ...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Theme Song for My Wife

My wife has a theme song, whether she wants it or not. It all started when we were dating.

It took me several weeks to realize, but each time I saw her or talked to her or thought about her, the chorus to this song would play in my head

"Every little thing she does is magic ..."

It still does.



Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cult Chronicles

As I mentioned, my sister used to be married to a guy whose mom joined a cult in Montana to protect the world from alien invasion by chanting.

For more crazy stories about this, go here, here, here, here or here.

Here is the final story I have to share (Yep, that's it. This is the last one):

My sister's ex-mother-in-law (we'll call her Ethel) decided to have a well dug on her property. Once it was finished, the well digger (is there a proper title for this job?) told her she had a good source of water and she wouldn't have to depend on city water anymore.

So, what do you do when you live on a compound and have a new well? You throw a party ... obviously.

Ethel invited all of her culty friends to come over and sample her freshly tapped water. Now, I'm not exactly sure what kind of things people do at a party when they spend 8 hours per day chanting, but I'm sure it was a blast.

The next morning, Ethel got a call from one of her friends who excitedly said, "Ethel, I'm healed! Your well water healed me!"

(Tangent)
I sure hope Ethel gave that well digger a big fat tip for stumbling upon a healing well.
(End Tangent)

That set off a firestorm of activity with all kinds of cult members speculating about the well and its origins.

Through their deductive reasoning and scientific research, the cult determined that Ethel's well was connected through the center of the earth to a healing spring of water in Lourdes, France (Don't ask me how the water makes it through all the magma without vaporizing).

After that discovery, Ethel was rocketed into instant (cult) stardom. Members of her group came from all over the world to worship at her well. They set up a shrine. They chanted. It was ... OFF. THE. HOOK.

(Tangent)
Do you remember when you were a kid and you first learned about dinosaurs? Do you remember taking a shovel out back to dig for fossils? No? Just me?

Well, finding healing water in your backyard is WAY cooler than that.
(End Tangent)

Unfortunately, this story doesn't have a happy ending. Ethel found out she had cancer and passed away several years ago.

And what did my irreverent brother say when he found out she was diagnosed with cancer?

"Well ... why doesn't she just drink some of her well water?"

***Even though the Cult Chronicles are over, I may have an encore. Stay tuned for: Office Outtakes.***

(You all owe Holly for the catchy title.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New song

I keep listening to this song.

Every day.

(Does it sound like Death Cab for Cutie to anyone else?)

Fireflies by Owl City



Thanks, Holly!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Keep Safe from Swooping Australian Magpies

At first, I thought this was a joke.

I guess it isn't, but I don't think I'm going to be starting an "online Magpie database" for my area anytime soon. I'm going to stick to being the lazy passive-aggressive type on this one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'll never forget.

I was in Canada. I got a call saying the U.S. was being invaded (before they knew what was going on). I saw the second plane hit. I cried. I think part of it was the shock.



That morning in the car, I saw plane after plane landing at the airport. It turns out they were grounding all flights. I remember looking around at all the people calmly jogging or walking their dogs and realizing they probably still didn't know what was happening.

I felt very small in a huge world.

But we banded together and became stronger through it. Trials tend to do that.

I just hope we haven't lost that strength. With all the noise from people trying to blame others besides the terrorists responsible, I worry that we have.

I remember where I was that morning, do you?

And I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cult Chronicles

As I mentioned, my sister used to be married to a guy whose mom joined a cult in Montana to protect the world from alien invasion by chanting.

For more crazy stories about this, go here, here, here or here.

And, here's another one:

One day, my sister got another surprise phone call from her mother-in-law (now ex-mother-in-law whom we'll call Betty).

At this point, my sister had learned what to expect from these calls. While on the phone, Betty meandered through several topics, but inevitably, she would throw in something about her experiences since becoming "enlightened" (translate: brainwashed). You could bet money that proselyting her group to my sister was the main motivation for the call in the first place.

This was Betty's latest inspiring tale:

Betty went to a reflexologist on a regular basis to help improve her health. This guy was also a member of her cult, so in Betty's mind, I'm sure this was a win-win.



During her appointment, the reflexologist was working on her feet when he suddenly pulled his hands away.

Wacky Reflexologist: Betty, I can't work on your feet today.

Betty: Really? Why?

Wacky Reflexologist: Well, you are so close to perfection, that if I worked on your feet, you would be translated. And your work here on earth is not yet done.

Obviously, this was a real feather in Betty's cap. She had been privately hoping to be called as the next prophetess for the group, and I'm sure she was thrilled at how this would affect her standing among the other members.

For my sister, it wasn't so much a feather in her cap as it was a moment of awkward silence where she tried to figure out how to respond.

Oh, and I'm betting Betty still got a bill for that appointment. I'm also betting she paid it ... happily.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slightly funny and extremely cute

So, my daughter is adorable. I guess it's good I feel that way because I'm stuck with her whether I like it or not.

Last night, I got home from work, and she was having a ball going in and out of the backdoor, over and over again. I didn't bother to complain about the colony of flies she was letting in because she was having such a great time, and I didn't want to ruin it.

So, I let her have at it. At one point, however, the door got locked closed and she couldn't get back out. So, I unlocked the door for her.

When I opened it up, she immediately said, "Tay Tiew!" Then, because I must have taken to long to respond, she blurted out, "Weltum!"

Lest you think we have an abnormally well-mannered child, most of time we have to deal with her crying that we aren't giving her what she wants. Half the time, she doesn't even know what she wants.

That was the "slightly funny" and now for the "extremely cute."

I was out in the backyard with her last night, and we were both swinging in the hammock. Her head was resting on my chest, and all of the sudden, she grabbed my thumb and held my hand for a good 2 minutes.

Hammock + Spontaneous daddy/daughter hand holding = Heaven

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recovery

I'm recovering from a vacation hangover (not alcohol related).

The cubicle and the inbox are in definite need of attention, so I will be back tomorrow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How To Article of the Week

This week: How to Reborn a Doll

When I first read this title, it kind of creeped me out. I had no idea this was the term for making a lifelike doll.

And if you didn't either, you're welcome. You've now learned something for the day, so feel free to go back to bed. That's where I'm headed.