Teacher’s pet on steroids

"Come on, you know you're just projecting..."

“Come on, you know you’re just projecting…”

I was wandering through a Goodwill store the other day when I ran across one of these dinosaurs. For those of you not from the era of mimeographed handouts (with that weirdly addicting, shiny-blue chemical smell that couldn’t possibly be good for you), or if the fun of turning the egg-beater-like handle of the requisite manual pencil sharpener at the front of the classroom is lost on you, this contraption ———> is an overhead projector.

 

These beauties were used to share super important information…like this:

Important stuff

Hey Jimmy…we can’t see THROUGH you!

 

 

 

School was pretty different back then. (And yes, I’ll see that bet and raise you a, “Hey you kids, get outta my yard!”)

 

 

One thing that probably hasn’t changed in the classroom though is that annoying kid who sits in the front row and seems to always have their hand up…you know the one. hand up

Well, let me just tell you, it’s not EASY being that kid! I would keep that hand up in the air until I sometimes thought my arm would fall off!

Eventually, that eternal hand in the air syndrome morphed into all of the telltale signs of a geeky teacher’s pet: refusing to cut school (even when threatened with bodily harm), being the kid chosen make bulletin boards or run to the office to deliver messages, and the one most likely to be left in charge when the teacher left the room on business (smoke ’em if you got ’em, boys).

In case you ever wondered what happened to those annoying kids, well, this one just recently found out her Myers-Briggs scores during a training event at work. It turns out that the Extrovert part of ENFP can be somewhat…um, I think the word the Introverts used was EXHAUSTING. They also mentioned something about having to fight to get in a few words during classroom…, um, I mean office discussions. Of course, I was so busy trying to get the instructor’s attention that I may have missed a few details. Maybe I’ll be able to do some extra credit follow-up…or at least buy the boss a latte.

 

 

 

 

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Goose, goose….DUCK!

I’ve never really liked birds all that much. Their eyes are too dead looking…cold and black…and how do you love something that has a weapon where it’s mouth ought to be? I’m sure that when I was little I was just afraid of all things avian, but since I was afraid of pretty much everything, that’s not big news.

My grandmama used to laughingly tell the story of walking down Main Street as a young woman, talking to her sister. She felt something land in her hair and, when she swiped at it with her hand, she managed to smear bird poo all through her lovely new hairdo. I’m sure that lovely tale fueled some bird-related anxiety for me, even though they say it’s good luck to be the recipient of bird crap from heaven landing on you. (Seriously, ‘they’ were really reaching with that one, I’d say.)

Back in South Carolina, I remember seeing lots of blue jays and cardinals, some crows and tons of pigeons (aka rats with feathers) whenever I went downtown. Oh, there were certainly other types of birds there, but I wasn’t very observant, and I would usually go out of my way to avoid too much contact with anything (shudder) WILD. I also remember a few times when I caught a glimpse of a far-off, V-shaped group of geese flying somewhere, usually at sunset. They seemed elegant and somehow romantic, winging their way to someplace far from the stifling heat of Columbia, South Carolina. I never actually had any up-close goose encounters, but there would have been screaming if they got too close to me, so I was satisfied with the idea of them.

When I moved to Oregon I started paying a little more attention to birds in general. I’m certainly no birder, but I did notice that the blue jays here look more exotic than the ones I was used to. The pigeons and crows are normal, but I was almost a little disappointed to realize that we don’t have cardinals at all in Portland. The trade-off, I learned, was that I would get to enjoy seeing the V formation of Canada Geese on a regular basis…it became something to look forward to during the changing of seasons, and it reminded me that I live in a really cool part of the world.

And then I started my new job, where geese (and I mean LOTS of geese) are an everyday thing. Our campus is part of a wetlands area that is apparently where every damn Canada goose in Oregon (and at least half of those in Canada) come to breed! At first I was all, ‘Wow, we’re surrounded by geese…how cool is that!?” Now, after three months of it, I’m continually watching my back around the tyrants…they think they own the joint! It’s bad enough to have them giving you the stink eye all the time, certain that you’re making a ninja move toward their babies, but then they randomly just decide to walk down the middle of the street, backing up traffic…babies in tow! Since when am I more dangerous than an SUV?

Worst of all, though, is when the damn things fly. Let me tell you, looking up just in time to see a couple of critters the size of the biggest Thanksgiving turkey you’ve ever even heard about swooping right by your head is a bit unsettling.

Goose shitThis shot shows just a small sample of the goose population that our offices are surrounded by. And folks, where there’s a goose, there’s goose poop. Thousands of geese generate lots and lots of it. The security guards actually have to hose down the front walk every morning, and you just learn to watch your step at all times. We even hear periodically about some poor employee leaving after a hard day at work, only to be poop-bombed on the way to their car.

Oh, I still enjoy watching the goosey circle of life, but I try to keep a safe distance, and I’m basically over my love affair with geese. It was nice while it lasted, but I’ve moved on. Let’s just hope I don’t get lucky any time soon!

Oh Sealy Posturepedic, I wish I knew how to quit you…

So the new job is going great. It’s a wonderful company with amazing benefits and a great product, and the folks in my department are fun and supportive. Hell, they even give you free popcorn and fruit and there’s a cafeteria and a vending machine with healthy stuff in it. What’s not to like?

7:30 AM…that’s what.

(Just a warning…here’s where I’m gonna whine a bit. If you don’t like it, well…go back to Trivia Crack, I guess. )

I’ve never really been a morning person anyway, so having to be at work that early is a bit of a challenge. Just consider that I have to show up at work:

  • dressed (in something other than an over-sized ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ t-shirt);
  • at least partially made up (I can’t even go into my own kitchen without mascara);
  • at the very least semi-coiffed (I don’t just wake up with beauty queen hair, you know); and
  • functionally awake (they don’t like it when you aren’t lucid yet – one day this week I actually shook up my full coffee cup in the work kitchen..it wasn’t pretty).

To accomplish all of this and be able to walk into the office by 7:30, I have to get up between 5:00 and 5:30 AM. Even the cats don’t like it, and I’m getting lots of eye daggers (especially from Buffy, but she’s a bit of a drama queen).

Which brings me to the main challenge – getting out of my glorious, cozy, wonderful BED. I’ve always just loved to sleep…at any time, and anywhere. I’ve mentioned before that it’s my super power, and it’s never been more true.

Up until my new work schedule, one of my favorite things for quite a while has been to wake up at around 7 and spend the next 30 minutes catching up on emails, checking out Facebook…all the things they tell you NOT to do in bed with your cell phone. All this recent early rising, however, has made that impossible. I use the most annoying alarm I could find (on that same phone), and I sleep until the last possible moment. Every second is precious to me – I just can’t get enough sleep!

I’m also starting to fade at the most inopportune times. Trying to watch a movie…better hope it’s a short one or I’ll be snoring on the couch. Going out after work on Friday? Heck yeah, count me in…well, until maybe 8:00 PM, when I’m all, “Hey, ya’ll got any nachos here…and can I get those to go?”

I guess the good news is that I can now afford to buy nachos and pay the mortgage…and get that fancy limited ingredient cat food that Ms. Kitty Girl likes…without having to resort to a life of generic toilet paper and store brand cheese. So life is good, I’m extremely grateful for my job, and I’m hoping that I’ll eventually get used to being an early bird. (Please?)

And it’s now Sunday afternoon, so time for a nap!

jealous much

Whatdya mean I have to wear pants?!

Big news…I’m finally going back to work at an honest-to-God 8 hour a day so-called normal gig. For the past four years I’ve done free-lance project management which (somehow) paid the bills, but it was never very dependable. There have been quite a few sleepless nights — sometimes because I had to work all night to meet a deadline, and sometimes because I had no idea where the next insurance or mortgage payment was coming from. The best part was that I got to work from home and, while it can get boring not going into an office, at least you never have to work with a nosy office mate or smell anyone else’s lunch being nuked. Best of all though…PAJAMAS! There were some times when being dressed certainly added to the experience, but sweats and yoga pants were usually fancy enough for even the most formal conference call.

Six months ago I took on a second job, doing some part-time front office work for a small heating and air conditioning contractor. It was fun having an office to go to again, and since almost all of my work was computer and phone…no dress code. To top it off, there were regularly dogs in the office, which is a definite perk.

Buck happens to like my 'style'...

Buck happens to like my ‘style’…

Working the two jobs simultaneously was challenging, often requiring me to get up early for my freelance job to take client calls and then stay up late to meet a deadline…squeezing in 6-8 hours of phone work in between. I could no longer wear pajamas all most of the time, but jeans were standard and no one even cared if I bothered to wash my hair (scrunchies were practically encouraged). As you can see from the photo, my office mates were very non-judgmental.

My wonderful new job won’t have fun puppies to pet, but it will have a regular schedule (no more over nighters!), a 401-K with matching funds, insurance that will only cost me a small percentage of what I’ve been paying, and lots of other exciting benefits. I’m really happy about the whole thing, but there is the (unfortunate) requirement that real clothes be worn. Welcome back to the world of business casual, Tammywhich typically does not include fuzzy pj bottoms with bunnies or super hero logos on them, and where yoga pants just won’t cut it. I’m hoping that the extra time I’ll now have will make it easier to do more writing…assuming that I don’t have to spend the whole weekend doing laundry!

 

 

 

I could be the boss of you…just sayin’

I have to admit that I might have been told once or twice (ahem…) that I might be just the teeniest bit bossy. Now, I’m not going to argue with that because…well, because it’s undeniably true. However, in my own defense, that bossiness comes from a genuine, deeply rooted place that has been there since I was just a little girl.

My sister and I shared a best friend growing up. Her name was Cathy and she and I were both a year and a half older than my sister. When the three of us played together I usually ended up being mad at one or the other of them…sometimes running home crying because they wouldn’t do things the way I wanted them to…didn’t they know that I knew best? My favorite games were school (so I could be the teacher), or office (so I could be the boss). Duh…it was pretty obvious to me that I had the skill sets needed, so why not just give in and let nature take its course?

Chuck knows

Who messes with Chuck?

Later when I started getting ‘real’ jobs, I learned that I wasn’t necessarily always entitled to tell others what to do. It was a bit of a shock to me, and I did everything I could to move past that phase of my career ASAP! The first time I got to be a ‘real’ boss was when husband #1 and I owned a comic book store. Granted that we didn’t have any employees, and we were BOTH bosses, but it was still much better than having other people controlling my work world and my destiny…and telling me what the hell to do!

After #1 and I sold our business and moved to the West coast, I had to go back (kicking and screaming) to being a minion. Unfortunately, it turned out that I just wasn’t suited to un-bossy jobs any more, and I got myself booted from a job waiting tables within just a few months. It seems that mouthing off to the manager of the hotel restaurant (because I thought I knew more about my job than he did) wasn’t the best plan for career advancement…who knew? In truth, I was a terrible waitress, but I would have made a better boss than he did…in my own humble opinion.

I moved on to bigger and better jobs, and before long I was supervising phone room employees, and then managing teams, departments, vendors, husbands, potential husbands…and just about anyone else who would listen. From time to time, when someone says, “But you’re so bossy!” I just smile and nod…and I know that what I really am is so competent. I then smile sweetly and instruct them to hush up and let me handle things.

I now work from my home, so my ‘work bossing’ is done via email and phone calls. To top that off, I’m single, so my ‘hands on’ bossing is reserved for these two – at least they don’t fuss when I give them the ‘Do as I say, and not as I do’ speech. I’m considering promoting them, but Pickle (the black one) needs some remedial kissing-up training.

2013-06-20 14.40.10

Obviously in need of some serious supervision!

Pity party cause I can pay the mortgage

I work as a consultant and my work tends to come in spurts. I love getting the work, but I hate those weeks when I have so much ‘real’ work that I have no time for anything else. This is one of those weeks.

Things being neglected:

  • Writing (I stole a few minutes to throw this together)
  • Vacuuming (oh darn)
  • Leaving the house during this lone week of beautiful fall weather (I work from home)
  • Laundry (at least being done right…a couple of loads have been washed but I keep forgetting to dry them!)
  • Reading all the Facebook ‘news’ (I’ll live)
  • Catching up with friends (I hope ya’ll read this…it’s all you get)

I’ll be back with something real to say in a couple of days…don’t forget about me!