Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hours of Ours

Wednesday

Elder Son (who works part-time): I've already put my 20 hours this week!

The Husband (who works full-time and then some): Gee, how many hours have *I* worked this week already?

Me: Pft! I work 40 hours every week, then I come home and whine about for another TEN hours, you quitters.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Early on a Workday

Me waking up a full hour before my alarm goes off:  I don't think I'm going to like anything today.

And then I didn't.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pink Scissors

I work with computer geeks.
Everything they do is digital. 
Write a note?  Are you crazy?  Just send me an IM.

We've had the same box of ink pens in the supply closet since I was hired 3 years ago.

I miss paper.

Ah, but when they need traditional office supplies, who do they go to?
Me, the old (fashioned) chick.

Just yesterday I caught one of the upper management guys walking away from my cubicle with a fist full of scratch paper I had cut up to jot notes to myself. (Usually notes about things I want to blog about later. Sh.)
"I took a few of these," he said.  "Is that okay?"
"Sure.  I can make more."

Later, I heard* the owner ask one of the graphic designers if he had a pair of scissors.
"No, but Roses has some."
Wordlessly, I held my pair of scissors high enough to be seen over the cubicle walls.  The graphic designer came to fetch them.

This morning, a man from the local printing company wandered past my desk.
"Hey," he said.  "I borrowed these yesterday when I was working with the designers.  I walked right out with them in my pocket not even thinking about it."
He handed me my scissors.
I smiled.  "They're pink scissors. They always come back."
"Well, I knew they sure weren't mine!"

We have 24 employees.  Only 5 of us are female.
All my office supplies are pink, and as long as a male borrows something, he brings it back without fail.  The color is as repulsive as opposing poles of a magnet.  The men never mistake a pink stapler or pink scissors as something they'd normally have on their desk.
Just like the printing guy.
And he came all the way across town to bring my scissors back.

The women just remember to return things.
Go figure.

*In the new office building, we occupy an entire warehouse floor with an open floor plan.  Everyone can hear everything.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Drug Test

As a prerequisite to starting his new job, Elder Son needed to pass a drug test.

Me: How'd it go?
He: I passed. I'm qualified to do drugs now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Funny. We Haz It.

The planets aligned last night, and all four members of the  Ack!Thbbbt! family were home and in the same room together.

At one point during this precious gathering, my big-hearted husband tells my two children, "Always remember, boys, I love you.  Never forget that."

There is a quiet moment.
Then Elder Son says, "Why?  Will there be a pop quiz later?"

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mildred

Mildred is a Jehovah's Witness who has visited my office once every month like clockwork.
I don't remember how long ago she started coming in, but by the third month, we had a first-name relationship.
We have a short, pleasant conversation, she hands me her literature, I thank her, and she leaves.

After each visit, at least one co-worker tells me that I am way too nice.
I think it is much easier to smile and nod politely for a few moments than it would be to discuss religion or even ask her to stop coming in.

So, Mildred has continued to visit every month.
Because I'm nice to her.

After her last visit, several co-workers asked me if I told Mildred that our office was moving.
The answer is no.
I wanted to tell Mildred, as a courtesy, that we'd be gone by the time she came around again, but I thought it best not to lead her to believe that future visits would be welcome at the new location.

This makes me both sad and weirdly amused.
Mildred came in on Thursday; we moved on Friday.
By the time she comes in next month, a new tenant will be occupying our old office space.  There will be a new business name on the door, new carpeting, painted walls, and a new person sitting at the front desk.
When Mildred walks in, she'll probably at first be delighted to see the fresh, clean new look of the office, but she'll wonder where Roses is.
And when she asks, they'll tell her, "Roses who?  There's no Roses that works here."

I imagine it'll be a freakishly surreal experience.
Like an elaborate prank.

I almost wish I could be there.
But that would defeat the effect.


Monday, July 18, 2016

The One with the Haircut, Part Two

Elder Son got the job!
He'll be shooting and editing video of community events for the local public access cable television station.

Since videography is his hobby (see this post, and this post, and this post), and since he is studying Visual Arts in college, this is the most perfect place for him to land.

Meanwhile, Younger Son is putting in overtime at his part-time job as a sandwich artist and has been offered a promotion because he is more dependable than most of his peers.  He's earned enough money just this summer to pay for his fall semester.

Life is good, my friends.
Life is very good.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Random What the What



 

I had my hair colored this afternoon.
One of the products the stylist used smells like Old Spice.
So now my whole head smells like a man's armpit.

***

The second-hand store in town is small and crammed full of items for sale.  I wanted a comfortable pair of jeans, so I grabbed every pair remotely close to my size and headed for the closet-sized dressing room.  The door was open, so I moved to step inside only to find a woman already in there trying on shoes.
"Don't mind me," she said.  "Come on in!"

I blinked at her.
She smiled back.
I waited for her to catch up to the situation.

"OH!  You want to try on clothes!  I'll get out of your way."

***

My company is moving across town to new office space this Friday if all goes as planned. 
(We had been told we were moving last Friday, but things did not go as planned.)
I mentioned to the boss that I didn't think we'd have enough toilet paper in our current building to last through the end of the week.
When I mentioned my toilet paper concern to a co-worker, he told me a story about a kid in his elementary school who didn't have access to toilet paper in the boys' bathroom one day and used his sock instead.  As you might have suspected, the sock did not flush.
"Yeah," my co-worker said, "the janitor went from classroom to classroom looking for a kid wearing only one sock."

***

I've been playing a game on my phone for about two months.  It's called Ingress.  It's similar to Pokemon Go!, in fact it was developed by the the same company.  The biggest difference is Ingress seems to encourage being covert while Pokemon Go! encourages being social.  Anyway...

I kept my game activity a secret from my co-workers because 1) I didn't want any of them to start playing it and start taking all the stuff in the neighborhood that I was targeting during my lunchbreaks, and 2) if any of them were already playing, I didn't want them to know I was taking all of their stuff in the neighborhood during my lunchbreaks.

A couple of weeks ago, after I had been playing in peace for months, some new player appeared in the neighborhood and starting taking my stuff (portals).  I would take it back and rebuild it only to have it knocked down again.
I'd have been upset about it, except that the office was moving soon, and I'd be leaving this area and eventually lose all my stuff anyway.

After Pokemon Go was released last week, one of the guys in the office mentioned outloud that he chose the Pokemon blue team because it matched the Ingress team he played for.
(We shall refer to this person as Mr. Blue Team.)
What?  This was the first time I'd heard anyone say "Ingress" in our building.
Curiosity got the best of me and I 'fessed up that I played too.  Our conversation was quite interesting.

This is what he told me...

  • He started playing Ingress three weeks ago.
  • His friends told him to pick the team which was the opposite color of the most popular color in the area where he wanted to play.  The competition would make playing more interesting, they said. 
  • He picked the Blue Team because the entire neighborhood from his house to the office building was blanketed in Green.  He would have lots to do, meaning, he'd have lots of portals to knock down and take for himself.
  •  Most of the portals that were creating the big giant Green field were "owned" by the same Green player.  Mr. Blue Team was determined to take down this one player.
  • Mr. Blue Team was SO vexed by this same Green player's name showing up everywhere that he complained everyday to the co-worker sitting next to him (we shall call this person Mr. Eyeroll) and vowed that he would prevail.
This is what I told him...
  • I'd been playing Ingress for two months. 
  • I picked the Green Team because that's the team my sons played on, and they told me I couldn't play if I chose to work against them.
  • The neighborhood where I wanted to play was around the company office building so I would have motivation to take walks during my lunch breaks.  And it worked like a charm.  Without the game, I had to force myself to take a 20 minute walk.  With the game, I had to force myself to go back to the office after 40 minutes.
  • After the first week of play, I realized no one came to this side of town.  Taking portals was easy.  I built big green fields that no one bothered to touch.
  • After a month, I got bored because there was no competition.  So I started to venture farther out and within a week or two, I had big Green fields that covered most of a square mile.
  • Two weeks after that, some Blue player came around and started attacking my stuff.  I fought it for a while, but eventually, that player took it all, and turned it Blue.
"What's your screen name?" I asked.  When he told me, I said, "Yeah, I've seen your name pop up around here."
At this point, I'm not sure he understood the full scope of the situation.  He asked, "What's your screen name?"
I told him, and his jaw dropped.  He was stunned to learn that:
  1. *I* had been the player that thwarted him for days before he finally conquered his first portal, and
  2. It had been *my* giant field of GREEN that had inspired him to chose BLUE in the first place.
That's right, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The young computer geek had been totally vexed in a digital game for WEEKS by a 50-year-old mother of two.

Remember Mr. Eyeroll who had to listen over and over about how infuriating a Green Team player had been?  *He* was so amused by this turn of events that he thoroughly enjoyed telling everyone, "All this time, it was ROSES that Mr. Blue Team couldn't beat!"
Apparently, Mr. Blue Team had complained and vowed to a lot of people in his department.  :-)

The next day as Mr. Blue Team and I discussed the similarities and differences between PokemonGo! and Ingress, and he and I share game strategies, Mr. Eyeroll listened in fascination.
When we stopped talking for a moment, Mr. Eyeroll spoke up.  "I don't know what amuses me more.  The fact that Mr. Blue Team plays both Pokemon and Ingress, or that he's being out-geeked by Roses!"

I am now a company legend.

::mic drop::

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The One with the Haircut *updated*

"I'm getting a haircut tomorrow."

^This^ is Elder Son's way of breaking good news to me.
Because after he tells me he's planning to get a haircut, I'm supposed to ask why.

"Why are you getting your hair cut?"
"So I look good for my JOB INTERVIEW."

Monday had been a super good day for Elder Son.
After some fits and starts with his college education, he took and passed a couple of important tests Monday afternoon.  He is go for launch as a full-time student this fall.
But what's most notable about this day was that he had arranged it all on his own.  He knew what requirements he needed to fulfill, he made all the phone calls, and he just did it all without any help from his parents who kinda were clueless about his plans and needs.  He had it all under control.
And he excelled beyond his own expectations.

He savored telling The Husband and me about his success. He drew it out, feeding us one small tidbit of the good news at a time.
A storyteller, he is.
(I wonder where he gets it.)

And after all of ^that^, he tells me he's getting a haircut.
Because he has a job interview.
At a place that does video production.
Which is his vocational dream job.

His interview is today.
And if I've timed this post correctly (and if it actually publishes), he is on his way there now with a spiffy new haircut.

Wish him good thoughts.
He's had some pretty disjointed years since high school (who of us hasn't?) and he really needs to find a path that is going in the direction he wants to go.

Monday had been a super good day.

***Update: Wednesday evening***

The interview went well.
Elder Son reports that if he doesn't get the job, it's NOT because he failed the interview. Because he nailed that sucker.

For instance, the two people who interviewed him made the connection between his name and The Husband and me.  The Husband and I are well-known because of our radio history in this area.  There are few other people in this area with the same last name.
"So," one interviewer said to Elder Son, "you're part of the illustrious Ack!Thbbbt! family!"
Elder Son replied, "Thanks for setting the bar even higher."
He managed to display acknowledgement and modesty in one fell swoop.  Man, I love that kid.

He had also signed up for more fall classes after his Monday tests.

Life is good, my friends.
Life is good.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Food in a Radio Station

In the radio broadcast industry, food is king.
If you want to say thank you to a DJ, drop off a box of donuts or cookies.
If you are holding a media conference or promotional event and you want the media to show up, serve food.  In fact, set up a roped off media area and put food in it to corral your reporters.

Food is king.

Following are several food stories from my years in radio. 
All are true.
I didn't realize just how much food played into my (I hate) radio experience until I started writing.

The first story was my first lesson in radio food.
It's the world's most perfect "radio food" illustration.
Now, after having spent years in the industry working with many different personalities at multiple radio stations, I don't know how I ever could have expected anything different to happen to my pizza.

***

The shift I held at my first radio job was 5pm to midnight.  While everyone else was heading home to dinner, I was just starting my work day.  Some days I would grab a bag of drive-thru on my way to the studio and eat it while I worked, but a lot of nights I ordered from a local pizza/sandwich place that delivered anything on their menu.  I called them so often that they knew by heart the specific way I'd order my sandwich.  And they'd sometimes draw pictures on the box.
One night, I ordered a pizza.
"You must have company," the sandwich guy remarked over the phone.
"Oh.  No, that's just the radio you hear in the background."
"No, it's not that.  You just usually order one sandwich.  I thought maybe you had friends today."
"Oh. No.  Just me.  I felt like pizza.  I probably won't call tomorrow though, because I'll have pizza leftovers."

I think that was the night it dawned on me that I had no friends.

The pizza arrived.
I enjoyed several slices and put the box of leftovers in the breakroom fridge.
The next day, I bypassed the fast food places knowing I had most of a pizza already waiting for me.

But when I got to the studio, the pizza box was missing from the refrigerator.
It was crushed in the trash can.  Empty.
I searched the fridge thinking someone had put the leftover pieces in another, smaller container, but I could find no trace of my pizza.  MORE THAN HALF a leftover pizza.

I grabbed the office manager before she left for the day.
"Hey, I left a pizza in the fridge last night..."
"Oh!  That was you?  Thank you!  It was delicious!"

"I... what?  You ate it?"
"Well, we all ate it.  It was there."  Matter of fact.  The same way you'd say, It rained; of course the ground is wet.
"But, I bought it.  Did anyone leave me money?"
"Honey.  If you leave food in a radio station, people are going to eat it."

It was a sh!t answer, but I would witness time and again that it was absolutely true.

 ***

At the second radio station that hired me, there was a soda vending machine.  It was unique because it was built like a chest freezer rather than a stand-up model.  You had to lift the lid to view your choices, and the can was dispensed sideways to an access panel where you could lift it out.

Every morning, I'd lift the lid to find a Diet Coke sitting on top of the display.

Diet Coke was not one of the options available for purchase, but there was one can there every day.
I ignored it for a good long time, however one day I really wanted a Diet Coke, and it was still sitting there when I opened the machine.  So, I left my coins where the Diet Coke can had been, and I took it.

The next day, there was a memo about the soda machine and how employees were not allowed to take cans that weren't for sale.
As I read the memo at my desk, the guy at the next desk leaned over and quietly told me that the office manager had come into our office the day before and had seen the can of Diet Coke opened on my desk.
According to him, she had been livid.  Apparently, she brought Diet Coke from home everyday because she couldn't buy one in the machine.  She always put it in the vending machine to keep it cold.

Two things:
1)  She didn't need to write an all-staff memo.  She had seen the can on my desk.  She knew I had taken it.  She could have and should have just talked to me about it.  Personally.  And right away rather than a day later.
2)  If she wanted to keep her soda cold, she should have put it in the staff refrigerator and/or put her name on it.

***

I walked into the break room and found a fellow co-worker pawing through a plastic grocery bag filled with loose Easter candy.
"Anything good in there?" I asked.
"Well, considering it's Easter candy and it's close to Halloween, I'm not sure what you'd consider 'good'."
"Point taken."
"Yet, I apparently have no problem eating it."
"Yes.  Radio people will eat anything that's free."
He pondered that for a moment and remarked, "You know, if you wanted to take out an entire media company with one fell swoop, all you'd have to do is leave tampered food in the break room."
"That's why no one eats the homemade cookies that the one listener keeps bringing."
"Oh.  Those get eaten, too.  Mostly by sales people who don't know what listeners are like."

***

On the subject of listener food...
One of my listeners had a mad crush on me and was not swayed by the very public fact that I was married.  One day he brought a Subway sandwich to the station as an excuse to meet me.
The receptionist tracked me down and insisted I come to the front desk and talk to the man to get him away from her.  So I went, politely accepted the package and thanked him for it.
"Aren't you going to eat it?  Sit down for a minute and have lunch with me!"  (He hadn't brought a sub for himself.)
I explained that I couldn't visit because I was in the middle of an on-air shift.  I would have to eat it later.  He was crestfallen, but he said he understood.
After he left, I dumped the sub in the trash.

Sorry.  There's nothing more suspicious than someone who looks that excited to watch you eat something that he's not going to take a bite of.

***

The afternoon news woman had accepted a pretty cool job across town doing public relations for a charity.  On her last day at the radio station, there was a giant "Good Luck, Beth" cake.
That's right, there was a giant cake.

By the time Beth came in for her afternoon shift, all that was left of her going away cake was an odd shaped piece that said, "Beth".
"Uh.  Gee.  Thanks for the cake."  She did air-quotes for "cake".

What a shame cake is a breakfast food that couldn't have been brought in later in the day, like, say, after lunch when Beth could have actually felt it had been for her.

***

At one radio station, the program director often invited my morning co-host to lunch, but they never invited me along.  When I mentioned that I'd like to be included, they explained that my schedule rarely allowed me to go when they wanted to go.  For some reason, going at a time when I was free never occurred to either of them.  Sometimes they'd bring their food back to the station and eat it in front of me. 
I suggested, "Hey, the next time you're going to bring food here, I could give you money to bring me something."  So... they stopped bringing food back to the office.

One day, the sister station's program director invited me to lunch.
He said he and my PD and my morning show partner were all going to Dairy Queen.  "You should meet us there when you're done with production."
Awesome!  Yay!  I get to go to lunch!
After my work was done, I hopped in my car and drove across town to the Dairy Queen.  On my way, I saw a car that looked like my program director's car at another restaurant on the strip.  As I passed, I saw the three of them sitting at a table in the front window.  On my way to Dairy Queen.
I turned around, drove back to this other restaurant and went inside.
"Hey!  There she is!  We didn't think you were coming!"
"You told me Dairy Queen."
"Oh yeah.  We changed our minds."

It's really hard not to take some things personally, you know?

***

Same radio station.
I'm on the air when my program director comes around and says the boss is buying everyone sundaes.  Do I want one?  Yes, I do!
I do a chair dance while the music plays, and after a time I spy the boss carrying bags of sundaes through the building and co-workers following him to the breakroom.  The program director walks past the studio window and gives me a "Hey, look!" gesture.  And I nod back.
I wait.
And wait.
And wait.

No one brings me a sundae.
Finally, I line up a string of music and run to the breakroom.  Everyone is sitting around a table filled with empty sundae cups.  "Hey," I say. "I wanted one."
The PD points.  "There's yours. We were gonna eat it because you didn't come for it.  But it's melted and no one wants it anymore."
"I thought someone would bring it to me.  You know, because I was working."

When I finally quit that job, *I* was the "bitchy one".
I wonder why.

***

The Husband and I worked mornings together for a while in a small town station located in the middle of a cornfield.  One day as we drove along the dark country road, I wondered aloud if any of the muffins that a client had brought the day before were still left in the breakroom.  (Yup, they had been a thank you gift!)  The Husband said I should go look first thing when we got to work and if I'd bring him one, he'd get our show prep started without me.
We were the first people to arrive every morning, so the building was dark when we got there. The Husband headed for the studio, and I walked to where the fridge and microwave were lined up on one side of the widest part of a long hallway.  The light switch was on the far end of the hallway, but I knew my way around well enough I didn't need it.  In the dim morning light, I could see the package of muffins on the cupboard.
Yay!

Moments later, when I entered the studio, The Husband eagerly wanted to know, "Were there any left?"
"Yeah," I told him.  "There were half a dozen.  But when I reached over to grab a couple, one of them jumped down and ran behind the fridge."

It had been a mouse.
I threw the whole package away.
I guess radio people *do* have some standards.