Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Do I Have This, Exactly?

I have this Tigger mug. This is Tigger:

Isn't Tigger cute? I love the blue colors, and I love Tigger (cause Tigger's a wonderful thing). This is very much a mug I would have bought for myself or been happy to receive as a gift. But I didn't buy it for myself, and I didn't get it as a gift. I do not know how I acquired it, actually. My suspicion is that it belonged to crazy girl Leeann, and Kara and Valerie wound up with it. Then when I lived with them in Austin, somehow I wound up with it when I moved back to Fort Worth. But it doesn't matter, because I have adversely possessed the mug for the statutory period, and he's mine now. Adverse possession, baby!

Sometimes I actually like being a lawyer.

But you know what I'm not happy about having? This:

It's the cover for a Type O Negative cd. Don't get me wrong, I liked "Black No. 1" as much as the next alterna-girl college student in the '90s, but I don't know any of the band's other songs, and I didn't buy the cd. I might have been ok with it winding up in my cd collection, though, except that I don't have the cd. Just the cover. Not sure how that happened.

The cover does have a cd in it, but it's about as far from Type O Negative as you can get. Take a guess what band it might be. Just guess. Can't guess? I'll show you:

Yep, Duran Duran. I don't know why I kept this cd once I discovered that it was living in the Type O Negative cover. Maybe it's because I used to think that I liked Duran Duran. Then a few years ago, I realized that if I changed the radio station anytime one of their songs came on, that probably meant I wasn't a big fan. (I do like "View to a Kill," though.) Anyway, although I don't know why this cd is in that particular cover, I do know that I did not buy this cd, and I do not know how I got it. Or why it's still living in my home. I think neither RR nor I want to take responsibility for it, and we just pretend that it's not there.

Here's another cd cover of mysterious origin.

Now, I do like Shostakovich, so I would have been happy to have this cd in my collection. But I don't. Once again, we have an odd couple match-up. If you hear Shostakovich playing, you don't think, "WTH is this? Turn it off!" But that is what I think when I hear this group:

Again, not sure how we acquired this. No offense to UB40 fans out there, but ugh, I would never have bought this. Sure, "Red Red Wine" is fun to listen to while you're getting ready to go out on the town, but . . . no, I would not have bought this. Ever. EVER. And I don't know which of my friends or acquaintances is guilty of buying this and leaving it at my house, but whoever it is, he or she had better not speak up, because you can be sure I will think less of them.

And that reminds me of the time in high school where a classmate said she liked this song as it was playing on the radio, and I said, "I don't like reggae," (because at the time, I didn't like it) and she said, "this isn't reggae, this is UB40," which was unintentionally hilarious, because I know, right? I will never think of UB40 as real reggae. But she thought "reggae" was the name of a band that I was confusing UB40 with. It's petty, but at that moment, she sort of killed any chance that we would become better friends. Because I love music, and I am just that petty that I cannot be good friends with someone who doesn't love music enough to know what reggae is. Or to keep your mouth shut when you don't know something lest you sound stupid. So. Yeah. At least this cd makes me laugh when I see it.

I really want to get rid of these cds, but I don't want to throw them in the trash, but I don't see what cd resale store would take them without a cover. Right now my plan is to wait for RR to move out one day, and I'm just going to slip them in with her stuff. I guess it's possible that we still have them because RR secretly likes them. In which case, RR, I still love you. You are still a great sister. But we will not be listening to these cds on any road trips.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trapped in my office

I am trapped in my office right now. No, not like before. This time it’s because it’s my coworker’s last day, and he’s leaving soon, probably in the next half hour or so. Right now, he’s standing in the hallway saying his goodbyes to another coworker. I like the departing coworker, he’s very nice, and I hope to keep in touch. But I am horribly, horribly awkward with goodbyes. I don’t like them. They never go well for me. I always say the wrong thing. And do we shake hands, which I’m not good at? Do we hug? We’re not that close, but a hand shake seems weird, and just a wave seems too cold, more like a “have a good time on vacation” than a “goodbye to someone I might never see again.” I guess I could give it a try. Let me test it out in my head.

[picturing myself waving]

No, that’s awkward.

So I’m trying to avoid it. I’m hoping he’ll just leave, and then I can send him an email later telling him what a nice coworker he’s been so that he doesn’t leave here thinking, “well that was weird” and having that be his last interaction with me.

But right now I really need more coffee, so instead of thinking of what a nice guy he is, I’m thinking, “hurry up and leave already.”

This is why RR is known as “the nice one.”

If you are wondering why I'm not getting work done today, it's because I have a bad headache, and all I can think is "coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffeecoffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffeecoffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee," which is not helpful when trying to do lawyery things.

coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffeecoffee coffee coffee [infinity]

UPDATE: he just stopped by to say goodbye, and it was every bit as awkward as I'd feared it would be.

My day today: I think I just got applesauce in my hair.

Whatevs. I'm going to starbucks.

I WAS thirsty, but also I was BORED

Yesterday I had to sit in on a meeting for a project I won't be working on, so instead of taking detailed notes, I just wrote this:

Yes, I was thirsty.

If you write the same word over and over again, it will start to look strange, and, if you are like me, you will start to wonder if you are spelling it wrong. So I started questioning myself, as you can see here:

Yep, I had to write out the word "thursty" to make sure that "thirsty" was correct. And then I decided it was weird that some "thir" sounding words are spelled t-h-i-r and some are spelled t-h-u-r. I made a note of some of them.

If you can't read that, it says "thirsty, thursday, thirty."

So that's what I did yesterday. My life, it is fascinating.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boring Job-Related Vent, or Why The Thing That Makes Me Good at My Job Makes Me Very Slow at My Job

I spent all day working on a project that was supposed to be easy, and I was very happy because almost nothing I work on is simple. It's like I have the magic touch, only the opposite of that. Even one of my coworkers who I don't work with directly but who sometimes looks over my stuff for me has commented, "how come you get all the weird stuff?" And other coworkers randomly offer me condolences. And like most of my work assignments that are supposed to be easy, this one turned out to the kind of project that lures you in with it's deceptively easy appearance, all "hey, work on me today, I'm a Greenpeace boat, it'll be so easy," and then you start working on it, and it turns out to by very "why the face" and in fact NOT easy. WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME?

I can only blame myself for spotting the problem under the surface anyway. Nobody else involved in the matter brought it up. But I spotted the problem, and now I’m obligated to address it. This afternoon, when I went by the office of the senior attorney I work with and told her, hey, I think I spotted a problem, and told her what it was, she said, "yep, that's a problem," and then she looked at me and said, “why do you keep doing this?” Like it's my fault!

But it feels like it is. Because I keep spotting problems that are, shall we say, challenging to solve. I spend weeks working on it, then I give up and go talk to the senior attorney, explaining why it's so difficult to me and hoping she, in her wisdom and longer experience, can give me some guidance, and she inevitably says, basically, “I don’t know what to tell you.” And then we go have this conversation with our boss, and at the end, she’s like, “hmm, yeah, that’s a thinker.”* And then we sit there in silence until someone comes up with something else to talk about, and they think about (I'm guessing) how glad they are that someone else is taking care of that problem.** And I go stare at my office walls for awhile until I come up with a plan. Which I always do. But not before thinking at least once that I'm just going to walk out right then and never, ever come back.

And then I find a solution and everything is great. Until the next one.

So, anyway, I’m a little irritated with myself because if I had not spotted the problem, probably it would never have become an issue to not address it, but now that I’ve spotted it, I have to take care of it. Also, I’m irritated because earlier when I was complaining to my friend and said, “My stupid brain!” I knocked on my forehead with my fist as I was saying it (because that made it more dramatic) and gave myself a headache, which I still have, hours later.

And right after I did that, I dropped applesauce into my computer keyboard. Fantastic.

I really shouldn't be surprised at the way work goes. I've been, for years, the person in the group that ruins everyone's fun by shooting down someone's great plan with a "that's never going to work" and then an explanation of why this person's bright idea is doomed to fail. As you can imagine, I am very popular at parties.

On a brighter note, RR and I were cracking ourselves up today via email over the idea of peeling bananas. We were talking about peeling fruit to reduce allergy reactions, and I told her that I kept picturing myself peeling a banana. Not taking off the banana peel, but getting a vegetable peeler and scraping off the outer layer of the part you eat. For some reason, this was hilarious to me. RR, being RR, thought it would be an excellent idea if I did this at work one day to see if anyone said anything. And I told her that was an excellent idea, but I needed to come up with something to say if anyone did say something. The best scenario is to not explain, but obviously if someone asks, I cannot say, “I just wanted to see if someone would say something.” So far my best suggestion is to say, “I just don’t like the bumpy part.” I think I could say that with a straight face, and RR and I thought this would be very funny.

I think maybe RR and I need more sleep.

*Don't think badly of them for leaving me to fend for myself. The reason they don't have an answer for me is because there is not one.

**Do not think badly of them for that, either. We all do that around the office. There is always, always at least one project that someone else has that you are at least secretly, but usually openly glad that you don't have to deal with. I think the unofficial motto of our office is, "dude, I feel bad for you, but better you than me. Have a donut."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Post Script on That Last Post

I just realized that my pattern of swapping cardigans and shoes when I get to work means that (a) on my way to and from work, the top half of my body is stylin’ but my feet look frumpy, but while I’m at work it’s the exact opposite and (b) this means that there is never any part of my work day when I look put-together. I always look at least mildly frumpy. Even on days where I wear a suit because on those days, I take off my suit jacket as soon as I get to my office and put on my office sweater. My totally cute shoes are always offset by my baggy, wrinkled cardigan while I’m at work, which by the way pretty much covers up most of my outfit. And my when I’m not rockin’ the dad sweater, I’m wearing old lady nurse shoes (because I have old lady nurse feet, so I can wear cute shoes at work because I rarely get my sit-me-down-upon out of my chair, and when I’m in my office I take off my shoes anyway, but for walking, comfort rules).

So if you walked into my office wanting to hire an attorney, you would have a lot of confidence that the person behind the desk was someone who lives in her car and who is only in the office because she broke in to use the computer to troll the comments section of online news articles.

Well, I take it back. For the few hours of every week that I have to be in court, I look reasonably close to “like a lawyer.” I say only reasonably close because let’s be honest, it’s me, and if I remembered to put on eye shadow and lipstick or woke up in time to do my hair, it’s a minor miracle. I’d like to think that if I actually had to interact with the public every day, this would be a different story, but I really can’t say that with any conviction.

As an aside, I might need to hire a lawyer later today because the document I’m trying to read and summarize is propped up on my laptop/docking station, and it keeps sliding down toward me, and I push it up, and it slides back down, and I swear if it doesn’t stay put then I WILL KILL SOMEONE.

I would totally hire someone that looked frumpy, though, because even though I look like I don’t have my stuff together, lawyer-wise, I’m actually kind of awesome.* The appearances, they can be deceiving.

*when I’m not having focus issues, and if it doesn’t involve me getting out of my chair.

Incident Report And A Comment

I've got nothing going on, so I thought I'd offer up an Incident Report (a la RR) and a random comment.

Incident Report
Time frame: last 30 days

On the way down the stairs in my townhouse, I missed the last step and fell. When I was on my way out of town for a conference. And was running about two hours late. Hurt like heck, but I persevered, got on the road, and got to the conference just in time to miss the sessions that I wanted to see that day but right in time for the tour I didn’t want to go on.

This month, I got stuck in my office not once but twice, though neither time was really my fault. I don’t mean “had too much work to do and couldn’t leave,” I mean literally trapped inside my office. I had this felt Easter basket full of coworker bribery (a/k/a kit kats and peanut butter cups) hanging on my door. When one of my coworkers came in to talk to me, she shut the door so we could talk confidentially (because we were talking confidential lawyer stuff and NOT because we were talking about one of our coworkers). Part of the basket stuck between the door and the doorjamb, and this somehow made it impossible for us to open the door from the inside. I had to call a coworker to let us out. And then, not being one to learn from our mistakes, I didn’t bother to move the basket and the same thing happened again a few days later.

By the way, you just don’t know how stupid you can feel if you’ve never had to call someone to ask him to come open your door for you. And then have to call again a few days later.

I dropped oatmeal on my pants two days in a row. And on each of those days, it happened twice. Went to take a bite, somehow missed my mouth, poured oatmeal on my pants, swiped furiously at my pants with a napkin, and then freakin’ did it again with the next bite. This was in the presence of the same coworker with whom I’d been stuck in my office, so I’m thinking that something about her aura makes be even more of a catastrophe than I usually am.

Spilled coffee on my pants one day, tea on a sweater the next day, and the managed to get a mystery item on my cardigan the day after that.

I'm really wanting to try working out using a kettlebell, but I'm terribly afraid I will drop the darn thing on my feet or accidentally fling it at my cat.

Random Comment

On a non-incident-report note, I am the Mr. Rogers of the office. On days that I don’t wear a suit, I almost always pick out a cardigan to wear that matches my outfit, in case my office is cold that day. But once I get to work, I always—always—take off the cardigan I wore in and put on my "office sweater," a large, soft, cuddly sweater that I keep in my office. And then when I leave, I change back. And I also usually wear a one pair of shoes to walk in from the parking garage and then change into fancier shoes when I get here, and then change back when I leave. I have no plans to change this behavior pattern. But I will accept the mocking comments of my coworkers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sneezles and Such

So, my allergies today. Blech. Do you ever have one of those days where, if you tilt your head back, you get a nice flow of mucus right down the back of your throat? That was me today. Yummy! But I’d rather it drain than stay in my stuffy head, so I spent quite a bit of time staring at my ceiling today. And yet I was strangely productive. Of the work kind, not the phlegm kind. I was the phlegm kind of productive all through last night, when I hacked up all kinds of stuff. Yes, that’s gross. That’s why I’m sharing. If I have to be grossed out, then so does everyone else. That’s why I didn't bother to close my office door today and just went ahead and let my coworkers have to deal with it. They all got to hear me sneeze and blow my nose (although if I had started doing that really gross snorfling thing, I would have closed my door because I don’t actually want anyone to throw up).

I almost left work early today because I have a strict rule that when I run out of kleenex, I go home. I draw the line at having to use the incredibly thin toilet paper or the prison-issue paper towels.* I barely made it through with just the one box.

I also drank lots of water and hot tea, and I have a thing about only using public restrooms so many times in one day before the OCD takes over and I CANNOT do it anymore. Plus, I just know that the guy who has the office across from me counts how many times I go to the bathroom. He’s never said anything, but I just know it. He must because after awhile, it would be noticeable to even the most unobservant person. And I have to stop making trips before I think he’s reached the point where he’s thinking, “damn, woman, maybe drink a little less of the water, or maybe get medical help.” It’s kind of like the time we were watching television at our friend’s house, and he said, “hey, it’s been an hour, and [RR] hasn’t had to go the bathroom yet.” I don’t want that happening to me.

You know what I think would help me today? Ginger chews. Not for any reason other than I can’t stop eating them, and now I really want some, so I will come up with a rationalization for buying some. This is strange to me because up until a month or so ago, I couldn’t stand the taste of ginger. Like, drinking a ginger ale when I was nauseated was not a good idea unless I actually wanted to throw up. But these days, there’s not a lot in the candy department that I can have, so I started eating ginger chews, and now, I loves them. I’m still not a ginger ale fan, but I have a feeling that’s gonna change before too long. This just goes to show that taste buds really can adapt. Like, not long ago I bought a jar of Jif peanut butter, which I used to have in the top five of my list of Best Things In This World, and now I think it’s too sweet and not peanut-y enough. I was kind of sad to find that out, but also glad because now I’m not tempted to eat it by the jar like I used to sometimes do (ha ha, just kidding, I would never eat a whole jar of peanut butter in one day and then, hypothetically, have my face swell up ). This makes me wonder if I wouldn’t like Twinkies now if I ate one. I almost don’t want to know. Because Twinkies, though not really fit for human consumption, are awesome.

And since I’m whining about allergies, I will add one more complaint. On Friday, we are having a going-away lunch for a coworker. It’s at a Tex-Mex restaurant that I used to love. And there is literally nothing on the menu that I can eat. So I will have to eat before I go and then sit there while everyone else eats some of my favorite food right in front of me. Suuuuuucks. But it will be worth it to show my support. And also, I should rack up enough pity points that it will get me out of several group lunches in the future, so there’s that.

Let’s end on something positive. Staples now sells argyle file folders (at least in the store I was in recently—I don’t see them online). And we all know that I loves the argyle. And I love office supplies. It’s hard to be unhappy when someone has put those two things together. They are so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up.

*I joke about our paper towels being like something they’d use in prison, but our hand soap is actually made by prisoners, so I’m not sure that these paper towels aren’t actually the same ones they use, if not in prison, then at least in the county jail.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thirsty, much?

What is the limit on the number of beverage containers I'm allowed to have on my desk at the same time? I need to make sure I stop allowing them to collect there before the labels "pathetic" or "pathetically lazy" can accurately be applied to me.

Work-Related Post With No Real Work-Related Substance

I have had a song stuck in my head for three days. I don't even like it. Or at least, I didn't use to like it. But now, I'm starting to like it. I told one of my friends today that it's like a version of Stockholm Syndrome. It sticks around torturing me for long enough, and I start feeling like, hey, it's not so bad.

I had to take some time away from work today to blog because I needed some distance from it. I really need to get some perspective on what I’m working on right now. What was an almost finished document draft is now morphing into a never-gonna-end treatise on the subject. I can’t seem to stop myself from adding more info. It will surprise no one when I say that I suffer from what I call “over-explaininess.” I’m not as bad as some people out there, but I do tend to go a little long. It's not just the blog posts, folks! It happens at work, as well. And my coworkers appreciate just as much as you do.

I don’t really have much to talk about because I don’t do anything interesting at home and I’m hesitant to talk about work too much for fear of getting discovered and then fired. Not that I would talk about anything confidential, but there are definitely some people here who are a little on the sensitive side. As far as I can tell, they do not actually have a sense of humor. But what they do have is the ability to fire me. So. I don’t talk much about work.

But there are some topics about work that I do feel reasonably safe talking about. They aren’t very interesting, though, but that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

(same old coffee rant)
I would first like to spend just a minute to remind the people I work with (who don’t actually know about my blog, so, yes, this is just me venting) that if you leave the pot of coffee sitting on the burner all day, it congeals into something disgusting. That’s why we have a carafe. Please use it. I love coffee, and, what’s more, I need it, so please don’t ruin it for me, and don’t force me to drink gunk. It’s not like we start with high quality stuff to begin with here, so the experience is already pretty much downhill from the moment the brewing starts. Also, I would like you to take a moment to read up on how the coffee brewing process works, so that you will understand that (1) if you don't use enough grounds, the coffee will be bitter, and (2) when you put your cup under the drip to take the first part of the pot of coffee as it brews, you are taking the part that tastes the best and leaving less of the flavor for the rest of us, because (especially when you don't have enough grounds) the part that comes out last is the part that's bitter. So thanks for that, all of you. You should know that for a few seconds of every day, I hate you just a little bit.
(/same old coffee rant)

I managed to get our of our work group lunch this week. Victory! I won’t get into why that makes me happy (see coworkers with no sense of humor, supra). It just really, really does.

[warning: nerdy legal writing discussion begins here]
And continuing on the topic of talking about work without really talking about it, one of my coworkers edited something for me today, and he tried to tell me to change a citation from something that was correct to something that was wrong. Look, dude, I know you don’t know this about me, we’re not that close, so let me just tell you this now---do not mess with me on the Bluebook. The BB is my BFF. We’re tight, man. But he totally had me doubting myself, because wouldn’t he make sure he was right before telling someone else that she had made a mistake? I should have known better. This is the same guy that once tried to change my “Id. §” to an “Id. at §.” You do not “id. at §” statutes, dude, you “id. §” them. Sheesh. I admit to accidentally making BB errors sometimes, so I’m not going to judge if you forget to italicize “see” or occasionally forget your pinpoint cite. It wouldn't be right for me to judge you for your mistakes considering how lazy I’ve gotten about proofreading my own writing. But if you are going to tell someone she’s wrong about a rule, shouldn’t you make sure she’s actually wrong? So that kind of bothered me. This is just another reason why I don’t like editing anything for most of my coworkers. I spend soooo much time making sure that I’m right about anything before I’ll tell anyone to change something that it takes me way too much time. But apparently some people do not feel that pressure.
[end of nerdy legal writing discussion]

Now let's talk about coworkers and binge eating. I’ve noticed something about my coworkers and myself when it comes to the matter of free dessert.

About my coworkers:
Let’s imagine that somebody brings in some dessert for everyone to share. Let’s say it’s a cake. At first, everyone comes in and takes some, so a good portion of it is taken pretty much right away. But then people start coming in to the break room for seconds. But nobody wants to look like That Person, the person who eats all the cake, so people just take a little bit, or they don’t take any but keep coming in to look and see how much is left, only taking some if it looks like it’s going to be all gone soon. So the day goes by, and after the first round of snacking, the amount of cake that’s been consumed stays pretty stable, riiiight up until the end of the day. Then, suddenly, around 4:30, all gone. It's like there is this collective agreement among all office workers that whatever is left at the end of the day is fair game, and you can't be judged for taking whatever you can get your hands on, so everyone rushes in to grab some as soon as it's late enough to qualify as the end of the day. You could go in at 4, even 4:15, and they’ll be pretty much the same amount as there was after lunch, but by 4:30 or 4:45, no cake. Well, I say no cake, but sometimes there’s a teeny, tiny piece left because nobody wants to take the last piece (and note that this piece will be left, sitting on a table, uncovered, all night, and yet the next morning, someone will eat it). But basically, it’s gone. Which means that there are people who are sitting around their offices spending the day planning out when would be the best time to take more cake, judging what time to go into the break room so as to be able get the cake before someone else does but not so early that they look bad. I’m not judging because I’ve certainly done that myself for really fantastic dessert before. I’m just saying that it’s apparently really common.

About me:
I am petty, and I like messing with people. This is what I’ve learned about myself. Because if I am the person that brings the food, I sneak into the break room about 3:30 or 4:00 and take everything that’s left back to my office to take it home with me. Even if I don’t really want it. And if anyone says anything about, “oh, is the [fill in the dessert here] all gone,” I either make vague, noncommittal, “oh, I don't know, is it?” comments, or I outright lie and say it’s all gone, even though I’m usually very uncomfortable with telling lies.

I don’t do this every time, but, yeah, it happens. Because there’s a part of me that thinks, look, if you want to be the person that eats several pieces of cake in one day, I’m cool with that. It’s not a good idea, but I’m in no place to judge. I have, on more than one occasion, consumed an entire large bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups just in the time it took me to drive from the grocery store to my house (for obvious reasons, I’m not allowed to eat these anymore). But you gotta own it. Just be that person. I’m just not going to help you if you want to pretend that this isn’t what’s going on, that you aren’t obsessing over food–food!!—and getting really weirdly possessive and predatory about eating way too many empty calories. Especially if you are going to then tell me that I don’t get enough nutrients in my diet and proceed to give me advice on eating a balanced diet. Not that that’s ever happened. But if it did ever happen, that might make me enjoy messing with you by taking your food away and then denying it, which you can't challenge me on even though you want to because that would basically be an admission that you have food issues. Hypothetically.

So that’s basically work these days. I don’t want to give the impression that I dislike my coworkers, because I actually really, really like 95% of them. Just not the 5% who don’t know how to make coffee.