Friday, May 31, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 672: It's a SOAP OPERA. You have to PAY ATTENTION

These days, we are watching Friday Night Lights about once a month. Not because I'm not willing but because SH is all caught up in his political stuff. I truly do not know how politicians ever get anyone normal to marry them. The only reason to marry a politician is if you never want to spend any time with him. (Or her, which of course goes without saying. We are quite hampered by the lack of a third-person singular non-sex specific pronoun. And no, "them" does not count. Why? Because it is not singular.)

Anyhow. We can never remember which episode we're on and we don't want to write on the DVD package because we will be donating the set to the library once we are through watching, although considering the following, perhaps we should just save it and watch it again in a few years. That is, one of us cannot remember anything from one episode to the next.

SH: Wait! What?! Becky's pregnant?! But she and Tim only kissed, I thought!

 Me: That's what we saw.

SH: Did they sleep together? They can't! She's underage! He wouldn't do that!

Me: Plus he's slept with her mother.

SH: I KNOW! So how can she be pregnant?

Me: I don't know.

SH: They kissed! How can she be pregnant?

Me: I don't know. No! Don't you dare pause that and rewind! [SH looooves to stop the show and back up to catch dialog he missed, usually because he's asking me a question. Then, when I tell him 1. the answer and 2. what the dialog was, he still insists on rewinding. I am always right. Always.]

SH: But! How can Becky be pregnant? SHE AND TIM DIDN'T SLEEP TOGETHER! Or did they?

Me: I. Don't. Know. Watch the show.

SH: How can she be pregnant?

Ten minutes later.

SH: What? JD is the father? How did that happen?

 Me: I don't know.

SH: But they didn't sleep together!

Me: Apparently they did.

SH: But when?

Me: I don't know. Just go with it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 123: The fundamentals of houseguests - a facebook message conversation

SH: I have to find out whether Jerry [an old friend of SH's] wants to visit for Summerfest. I know that I'd have to do most of the work to get ready for him.

Me: All
Me: All of the work

SH: All of the bathroom cleaning? Making the bed? Maybe you'd help a little.

Me: I can tell you what needs to be done
Me: and you can do it

Monday, May 27, 2013

The working life: Presents

The good thing about working with the Asian guys. (You already know about The Photos. Have I mentioned that I hate having my photo taken? Well I do. That's why SH and I had a professional photographer take photos of us last spring. I sent them to my mom and said that was it, I was done, I was never having my photo taken AGAIN. And I meant it. And then I had to suffer through getting my photo taken at work. I assure you that I am not paid enough to suffer having my picture taken.)

Back to the good thing.

They bring presents.

The bad thing is that if you are not with it and don't know they will bring presents - you think this is just another business meeting with an agenda of specific things to be accomplished, you will not have a present for them.

Which is embarrassing.

At Christmas time, you can always have that box of chocolates nicely wrapped and ready to give to the Unexpected Present Giver, but when you are in a hotel at a conference, grabbing some $5 M&Ms from the hotel gift shop seems a little tacky.

There is this client who has been a wee bit of a pain in the neck. Very high maintenence and rather low income. That is, we are not making a lot of money, especially for the work that goes into the account. But there are political considerations and sometimes one must just do what one must do.

What was worse was that I had to meet him at 8:00 a.m. on a morning when my next appointment wasn't until noon. After four days of 8:00 a.m. meetings, I had hoped for a day off. But it was not to be.

Actually, I met him the night before at a reception. He approached me and held out a brown bag that said "Hermes" on it.

Well this could be interesting.

I opened the bag. It contained a box. I opened the box. It contained a silk scarf. Made in Italy.*

He beamed. "My sister is director for Hermes! I ask her to find something!"

Oh. My.

"You have been so helpful to me," he continued. "I am so grateful."

I just googled my brand. It's not Hermes, but it's not cheap. I hope he got a deal from his sister.

It is a gorgeous scarf. It is silk, patterned in peach, fuschia, gray, and brown. It is so pretty and it goes with so many things I have.

So now he is not such a pain in the neck.

And our admin had already thought of everything and had brought extra presents. So I had something for him the next morning.

The End.

* I don't know if Hermes is made in Italy. I had to change the brand name from one Fancy Brand to another because I really do not want anyone I work with to connect me to this blog.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The working life: Photos

Want to know another thing that stinks about going to an international convention?

There are many. One is that in some cultures, punctuality is not a virtue, so you are waiting and waiting for them to show up for your meeting.

Then you sit in your meeting and their head guy talks and talks and then your head guy talks and talks and after 45 minutes, you're done but nothing was accomplished.

It sounds like this:

Chinese head guy: You guys are sooooooo great. [In Chinese]

Interpreter: You guys are soooooooo great. [In English]

Our head guy: No, you guys are so great!

Interpreter: No, you guys are so great! [In Chinese. I assume that she translates what our head guy said, but I can't be sure. She says something in a language I do not understand.]

Chinese head guy: No! Really! You guys are sooooooo great. [In Chinese]

Interpreter: No! Really! You guys are soooooooo great. [In English]

Our head guy: No! Really! No, you guys are so great!

Interpreter: No! Really! No, you guys are so great!  [In Chinese]

Chinese head guy: Uh-uh. I mean it. YOU! You guys are sooooooo great. [In Chinese]

Interpreter: Uh-uh. I mean it. YOU! You guys are soooooooo great. [In English]

Our head guy: Uh-uh. I mean it. YOU! No, you guys are so great!

Interpreter: No, you guys are so great! [In Chinese]

And it continues while the other eight Chinese people, all of them wearing dark, poorly-fitting, cheap suits (bless their hearts), the women with no makeup, no jewelry, and home haircuts, write furiously, taking down, I assume, every word their Head Guy utters.

We sit through 45 minutes of this. The only people who talk are the Head Guys. At the end, they decide they really want to Work Together For The Same Cause. The End.

Except no. Even though we are all now almost an hour late for the other appointments we had scheduled, we have to Take The Group Photo.

Y'all, I have never worked anywhere before where people took photos at work.

Who the heck cares if they have a photo of a bunch of people who attended the same meeting?

I promise I have never thought, "If only I had a photo of those people in the meeting I had at that produce trade show in Ought 4!"


I had my photo taken more times in seven days of this conference than I have in the past five years. I am now immortalized in Singapore, China, Korea, and Japan.

I thought I was Done With Photos. I hate this.

The working life: Saving The Planet

When I got to the hotel, they asked if I wanted to participate in their Green Program.

That is, was I willing to have my room cleaned only every third day. (Yes, I was going to be there long enough that I could divide my time into three-day increments.)

I was willing, but not to Save The Planet.

I don't care about Saving The Planet.

But I do think it is stupid to have clean towels and sheets every day. I don't change the sheets and towels every day at my house. Why would I demand it at my motel? If they are going to spend money, how about making the walls soundproof?

But even so, I was not willing to sacrifice just because I think daily linen changes are dumb. If I'm paying for it, I want it.

Then the hotel threw in a sweetener.

For every day I went without cleaning service, they would give me a $5 coupon to Starbucks.

Now they were talking.

Honestly. Do they think everyone will buy that crap about Saving The Planet? The reason the hotel is doing it is to save money. And I don't mind that. They are allowed to try to reduce operating costs. In many industries, that's the only way to make money. You can't raise prices because the market (usually) sets the price, so you have to cut your costs.

But don't tell me I have to sacrifice so you can save money. Either I get something out of it or it's not going to happen.

And reducing the room rate does nothing for me. I am on a business trip. I am not paying the bill, my employer is. I am not going to suck it up to save my employer, who is making me work all weekend, some cash.

But the $5 coupon to Starbucks? After six days, I would have $30 of Starbucks bucks! Not too shabby.

So I happily agreed.

And then got the first coupon.

Which stated that it was good only at the Starbucks at the hotel.

Yes. Only good at the Starbucks at the hotel where I was staying on a business trip and hence was expensing my lodging and meals.

You tell me.

Do I care if I get a discount on coffee when I am going to expense it?

No. I don't.

Maybe that makes me a bad employee. So be it.

But the people who came up with this plan did not really think it through, did they?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 823: Who cleans the vomit?

SH: Do you want to [wxyz]?

Me: Maybe.

SH: Should I take a shower first?

Me: I'd rather you vacuumed. It looks horrible down here. [In the basement, where we have an area with carpet, the only area in the house that is carpeted.]

SH: Hey! I got out the spray stuff after Shirley vomited!

Me: Did you actually spray it?

SH: No.

Me: So it doesn't count.

SH: But I got it out!

Me: You didn't spray it.

SH: I'm letting the vomit dry first.

Me: When did she vomit?

SH: Yesterday. Morning.

Me: Sheesh.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The working life: Concealed carry

Me: Don't you carry a purse?

Buxom co-worker: Nope.

Me: Where's your wallet?

BCW: I keep a credit card in my pocket.

Me: Your phone? Your keys?

BCW: Pocket.

Me: I don't have pockets in most of my clothes.

BCW: Or I throw it in my bra.

Me: Ah. Yes. Well, that would never work for me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The working life: The rat race

Here's why I hate business travel.

Wait. I don't need to tell you guys. You already know the miseries of spending nights away from home in non-luxury hotels after you've had the hassle of actually getting to a place, which often involves an ordeal at the airport, delayed flights, uncomfortable seats, no food, etc, etc.

I have the added joy of working over the weekend right now because you know you don't want people to have to miss work to attend meetings before a trade show.

Travel on Thursday. Work all day Friday with mandatory team-building supper at pub with just pub food which is not my favorite category of food after.

Then an 8:00 meeting on Saturday morning, with breakfast served from 7:00 to 8:00. We are Strongly Encouraged to partake of the offered breakfast rather than buy our own and expense it.

Not that I was going to sleep late anyhow on Saturday - nor do I get to sleep late on Sunday because guess what? Another 8:00 meeting! With 7:00 a.m. breakfast! -  but I had set my alarm for 6:15 so I could go for a quick run before my day of sitting.

I didn't need my alarm.

Why didn't I need an alarm to wake up at 6:15 on a Saturday morning?


No, the race didn't start at 6:00 a.m.

But the music did.

At 6:04.

No matter how hard you try - even if you are wearing earplugs, which I was, you cannot sleep through "Paper and Fire" (a song I could go the rest of my life without hearing again and be happy about it) at 400 decibels.

The hotel was filled with

1. People who were there for the convention and
2. People who were there for the race

Now. If you were going to place people in their rooms using any sort of logic, which people would you put on the side with the music and which people would you put on the side away from the music?

Nope. That's not what the hotel did.

They put me - a convention person - on the music side.

I hate the hotel and I hate the race and I hope everyone pulled a muscle.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 731: You'll miss me when I'm gone

Me: I don't want to take this work trip.

SH: I don't want you to go, either.

Me: A week is too long. I can't believe I'll have to work on the weekend. And late every night.

SH: At least you get overtime.

We both laugh heartily, clutching our sides. No, I am exempt from being paid for working more than 40 hours a week! Lucky me!

Me: At least I'll get comp time.

Again, we laugh heartily. A co-worker, who is not from the US, said that our boss is "from the school that is old" and does not believe in working from home. Unless it is he who is working from home.

SH: That's too long.

Me: I know.

SH: I don't want you to be gone.

Me: You're going to miss me!

Even though we've known each other for seven years - eight? - I still want to know that SH loves me and will miss me and enjoys being around me. It's good to know I'm wanted, even as the hair grays, the flesh sags, the eyes dim.

SH: Yes. And who's going to cook for me?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 265: Let me count the ways

Me: Oh look. LinkedIn is suggesting a new way for me to stay in touch with you.

SH: I didn't invite you.

Me: I know.

SH: It wasn't my idea.

Me: I know. LinkedIn is suggesting a way for us to stay in touch.

SH: I don't need it. There are already enough other ways for me to annoy you.

Me: Oh yes I know.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 732: Mothers day

Usually, SH's strategy with Mothers Day is to wait until the day before Mothers Day to buy a card and then to send it overnight mail.

You might not be able to imagine what I think about that approach, so I will tell you:

I am not in favor of it.

I am especially not in favor of spending money unnecessarily for certain people who are not going to be happy no matter what he does, but even if I thought SH's parents had hung the moon, I would not be in favor of overnight mail for a Mothers Day card.

(I am also as much of a fan of Mothers Day as I am of Valentine's Day, but what are you going to do? If you love your mother, which I do, you want her to be happy.)

So the other day, after we had gone on our neighborhood art walk, on one of the first days in six months when it was nice enough to be outside, we went to Jos Banks so SH could return a pair of pants, which was not the five-minute project it would be  for a normal person but a 20-minute ordeal involving a long discussion with the manager about why aren't the 32" pants 32" long and a search of all other items in the store to make sure SH, WHO WORKS FROM HOME, wasn't missing anything.

I hate shopping with SH. I don't make him shop with me.

Then we went to the grocery store, which is always an adventure with SH, as it takes him three minutes to put a box of Velveeta in the cart because he has to examine the nutritional contents -

Hint: The purpose of Velveeta is not nutrition. It is to melt to mix with Ro-Tel tomatoes to make Ro-Tel dip. If you have not had this concoction, I pity you.

I also had to leave him behind at the flour section, as I had already put both the bread flour and the regular flour in the cart but he wanted to look at the labels on every single brand. After I had decided that I wouldn't splurge for King Arthur and grabbed Pillsbury instead, I was happy with my decision and moved on to the frozen veg. But SH had to stay to evaluate all the brands. He finally caught up with me at the Texas toast in the freezer case, where we wondered how hard it really was to MAKE TOAST that someone would feel compelled to buy a frozen version of it.

After the grocery store, we went to Kohl's with our $10 coupon off anything in the store.

The way the Kohl's coupons work is if you buy $10 worth of stuff and hand the cashier the $10 coupon, you owe them nothing.

That is the way to do couponing.

Maybe most people can't resist the allure of the other items in the store, but I find Kohl's clothes to be rather cheap and tawdry, so I walk right past the racks. We went straight to the back to the greeting card section.

Mothers day cards were out.

Now. Remember this is a man who takes ten minutes to pick a package of bacon. (It has to have the perfect fat/lean ratio and it's necessary to evaluate every single package to make sure we have gotten the best one.)

Imagine how long it takes him to pick a greeting card.

His mom likes really flowery, sentimental, emotional cards. At least, if you go by what she sends to SH, that's what she likes.

SH likes fart jokes.

There is not much overlap between flowery sentimental emotional cards and fart jokes.

We both sighed and started thumbing through the cards.

We looked at every single card, trying to find something that didn't make SH gag but that his mother wouldn't hate and complain about to him.

It's not easy to find that. You never know what will make someone send a martyred email about how she must have flunked and she must just not be very important to her son.

I am very fortunate that my mother is not like that. I don't know what it's like to be held hostage by emotional manipulation, so it's easy for me to shrug and tell SH to ignore it. My mom is nice and rational. Not everyone has a mom like that.

SH finally got a card with a kitten on it. Kittens are always safe. I think.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The working life: Feed me

You guys, I know it's not a good idea to write about my job here. Not that I think there is anyone at work who reads this blog. But as I am the person who always gets caught - speeding, driving without a front license plate on SH's car years after he moved here and never installed one because there wasn't a front license plate mount and he didn't want to mar the bumper (must be a guy/car thing because WHO CARES if there are screw holes in the bumper?) - so I dare not complain about my boss or my co-workers.

Not that there would be anything to complain about.

They are all lovely people who never eat loud foods all day.

But I can complain about work situations that are common to all of us.

(Not that my co-workers eat loud foods all day. But if they did, here is the advice I would give to them: If you must eat at your desk and you are not in an office with a door - which is the new BMW, then please for the love of all that is holy, eat quiet foods. Bananas instead of apples. Oatmeal instead of granola. And NO GUM. Lord have mercy if I have to hear smacking chewing gum one more time, I am going to - well, I don't know what, but it will be bad.)

Here is some work advice for a common situation:

If you are a consultant presenting a proposal to my boss and me, your prospective clients (although seriously? you don't need to waste your time cultivating me because I am not the one who can make the decision about whether we're going to pay $200,000 for your work), then I would recommend that you STOP SCHEDULING MEETINGS THAT RUN INTO LUNCHTIME.

Hear me: if you schedule a meeting to run until 12:00 or 12:30, I will already be ticked off. Not that my being ticked off matters so much, because I am not the decision maker, but my boss will ask my opinion.

If your meeting goes until noon, it means that

1. I don't get to go to the 12:00 body pump class at the gym or the 12:00 spin class.
2. I don't eat my lunch at 11:30, which is when I usually eat it, except for the days when I eat much earlier because I GET HUNGRY. I arrive at work at 7:30 a.m. I do my email and then I eat my oatmeal. By 11:00 or 11:30, I am ready for lunch because it's been a while since I've eaten and I didn't eat a huge breakfast. I don't eat a huge breakfast because it is difficult to transport a decent huge breakfast to work and I don't want to get up early enough to eat a huge breakfast before I leave the house and I am not usually that hungry at 6:00 a.m. anyhow. Not that hunger has anything to do with eating in my world, but I do try not to eat when I am not hungry. I am on an eternal quest to lose that last ten pounds.

Now. You have already ticked me off by making me miss my exercise class.

Then you make me sit in a meeting where I am getting hungry.

And then you DON'T FINISH ON TIME?

Stop. Stop it right now. If you are going to make me sit in a meeting until 12:45, making me miss my exercise class and making me eat lunch late, then you need to bring food.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 764: Lips that touch wine

Me: My friend says her husband is lactose intolerant, he doesn't like sweets, and he can't drink coffee - even decaf. She says he is not very much fun.

SH: You don't drink! You're not fun!

Me: I never lied to you about that.

SH: You misled me. You ordered wine the first time we went out to dinner.

Me: Yes, and then I put splenda in the wine you gave me when I visited you. That should have been a clue.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 765: You don't bring me flowers

SH: Are the colors OK on those flowers?

Me: They're beautiful, sweetie. Thank you.

SH: One reason I don't--

Me: Oh no that's not it.

Backstory: SH went to the grocery store today because he wanted to get some sandwich meat with a groupon. I do not care for sandwich meat - I had to eat it as a kid and it is not my favorite. We rarely could afford the good stuff, like Canadian bacon, and usually had baloney or the ilk. There were many lunches where I threw away the meat in my sandwich because I didn't want it. And there were a few times that I found out my mom had splurged to get the Canadian bacon and I had discarded that.

Waste, waste, waste. I am ashamed. Too bad I didn't like peanut butter when I was a kid, because that would have solved a lot of lunch problems.

The irony is that even though I didn't like my lunch, I was still a chubby kid.


Me: Oh no that's not it.

SH: The reason I don't get you flowers so much any more is because I usually don't go to the grocery store.

Me: Uh-uh. You used to go to the store just to get me flowers.

Which is true. The second time he came to visit me in Memphis, I had to go to work. He stayed at my house and worked from there. When I got home, there were flowers. He had found a flower shop within walking distance of my house and had gone there to get me flowers.

SH: Well that was when I was courting you.

Me: So now just take me for granted.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Marriage 501, Lecture 983: If you save 90% on something expensive, then of course you can buy new shoes

Me: Hey! Why'd you buy cake?

SH: It's from the bargain table. They had just put it out.

Me: But we have cake.

SH: We do? Where?

Me: It's in the freezer. That chocolate cake we got with the groupon.

SH: Oh! I forgot about that.

Me: How can you forget about cake?

SH: I don't know. But I was planning to get a brownie from [the new bakery in our neighborhood] and this was cheaper.

Me: We don't need brownies!

SH: It's cheaper than a beer. In beer units, it's only one half.

Me: Except just because you buy a brownie, it doesn't mean you would buy less beer.

SH: Nope.

Me: So the point is completely irrelevant.

SH: I was using it as a basis for comparison. It's a small expense.