Thursday, January 27, 2011

A rose by any other name would make Valentines Day confusing...

"But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I'm beginning to run into a small problem when It comes to writing this blog.

While I choose to air my life and dirty laundry for anyone to read for the sake of a healthy dose of humour, the man that I share my life with does not in-fact, want me to share HIS life, with the world.

Fair enough.

I do not post his photo on Facebook, I even patrol for him and ask people who have posted his picture to take them down.

(On a side note, if you ever feel like finding out who your true friends are, ask them to take a photo off their profile.

It's insane how many people choose to keep that embarrassing/ugly/unflattering/ job endangering photo up over respecting your privacy/general sense of decency)

I don't post our address, home phone number (well if we had one I wouldn't), or where we keep the spare keys.

I do not even add his name and a million hearts in my status when I'm feeling extra gooey.

(Okay, I know most of you figure that I never feel gooey anyway... so that one I don't get credit for...)

And with the exception of this one right here, my blogs never actually focus on him.

But going back to the "share my life with" I can't help but have him as a re-occurring character in most of my stories.

And in trying to respect his privacy I have not ever posted his name.

This gets increasingly difficult.

I do not like to call him "My Husband", I let other people call him that, because I get tired of correcting them and the conversation that ensues said correction, but I don't actually call him Husband.

Mostly out of respect for all the people out there who have gone through the whole wedding thing, I get it, they put in the work, they should get a little credit.

But also, I don't want to confuse him, if he starts hearing me use that term he may think I want a ring and then we have the opening scene to "The Strangers" all over again... and we all know that movie didn't end well.

But speaking of credit, I don't like to call him "My Boyfriend". We are not Seniors in high school. I live with the man, we share bills and a bed, I plan on being the mother of his kids.

The term boyfriend feels like one step up from "that guy I'm seeing" and I feel in the past few years, we've managed to take things farther than that one step.

So that's easy... I just start calling him "My Partner". And everyone starts to envision Rosie O'Donnell with some camping gear and a gun.

( On another side note, go ahead and google Rosie, it's been awhile, say 1996, since I've seen her... wow)

Why don't I just call him "The man I love and share my life and future with" well....quite frankly that's a hell of a lot to type, and I try to keep your interest in these little posts. I think if I get that politically correct I not only loose my edge, but also my audience.

So I need to stick him with a nickname. Something like "Better Half".... only I have to much pride to admit that much defeat.

"Ball and Chain" doesn't fit either, as he has never tried to tie me down, nor do I consider him a drag (unless we were at a Basketball game, then I will admit, he is a pessimist and a complete downer, but save our differing cheering styles for another time).

Asking him for help doesn't do me any good... I just did, and gave him "ball and chain" and "better half" and asked him for examples like that... he said "what's wrong with those ones?"

(In his defence this post is still a work in progress and hasn't been published yet.)

I try to recall other nicknames I had for guys I wanted to remain anonymous (some for their sake, some for mine).... Rat Teeth, Peru, Touch Feet, Hairy Guy, Your-Not-Done-Yet.....Turns out, looking back on them I'm not very good ( or nice) when it comes to nicknames.

But I guess typically, you need to describe someone, and I will describe him as strong. Physically, (as in his arms are the size of my thighs) and mentally (he does share his life with me, that takes true strength).

Not to mention emotionally, he seems to be the one holding it together while I sometimes have a nervous breakdown over folding laundry.

So While I won't concede to him being "better" per say, I will admit to him being the stronger one in our fully-committed-but-not-ceremoniously-sanctified relationship.

Therefor, from this point of my blog on, he shall be referred as my "Stronger Half"... or more likely just SH... as again, I get a little lazy typing things out.

Feel free to imagine someone putting their fingers to their lips with the universal sign for "Be Quiet" every time I mention him, as I know that is what I will picture every time I type it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Applied Sciences of Appliances

"His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son."

We are nearly settled into our new home.

Well, we live here at least. Half of our stuff is still stored at the last house, but in general, we're here.

Remember back in the fifties, when a new house filled with brand new shiny appliances was a dream come true?

(Well no me either, I was born in the 80's, but I've heard stories of cooking with ease, after walking home barefoot from the market, up hills both ways with a dragon under the toll bridge, um or something like that)

Well dream no more, because the modern day updated kitchen, with their electronic clocks blinking 12:00, and their installation manuals rivalling the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is an invariable nightmare.

They come completely computerized. Everything is digital, you know to make things easier.

Now when I want fry an egg, instead of doing it the laborious old fashioned way (turning the dial to 4).

I get to do it electronically.

Press "on", select size of burner, select Hi- Med- or Low, then adjust down to four with a series of beep-beep-beeps. Yes that's right, I can cook an egg just as easily as a 70yr old can text "The quick fox jumped over the lazy dog"

Wow, I can't believe we went for so long doing it the old way.

Then we move on to learning the oven.

Prior to owning this appliance I knew two ways to heat things,make it soggy in a microwave, or crunchy in the oven. Now apparently I have 16 different settings in my oven.

I can control where the heat comes from like the greek god Eurus controls a hurricane. I have no idea what any of the settings do, but I have found the secret code for crispy french fries.

If I manage to hit "convection", "preheat", "start", "4-2-5", "start","time on", "1-5", "start", I can enjoy the most delicious fries (Well, I can enjoy them in between the six times I get up to try and turn the timer off, because we never seem to be able to do it right the first time).

Do I need to mention the timer on the stove??

The other day I put potatoes on and set the timer for five minutes. Fifteen minutes later they were turned off, with the timer reading 4 hours and 45 mins.

Well, has all that cooking has made you thirsty?? How about a glass of ice water from the door in the fridge.

First stick your glass under there and press a button.

When nothing happens press another, and then a third… you're pressing them blindly because as soon as the LED lights come on you can't see the writing on any of these "buttons"

(I use the term "button" very loosely, as there is no actual button. It is just an area that has some print on the surface that you are supposed to magically hit every time. )

You will eventually realize ( i.e. as someone else explains it to you) that although there are five "buttons" on our fridge, only one is useful, you must press it once for ice cubes, again for crushed and again for water.

All those other buttons you pressed actually control our fridge door alarm, fridge temperature, freezer temperature, and the stock value for oil overseas.

So every time we have guests over and we get lazy and make them get their own drinks, we end up with frozen milk, thawed chicken and an oil crises in Istanbul.

Moving on to the dishwasher… all I have to say is gawd knows.

I jam everything in, put in dissolvable tab, and hope for the best. There are 13 buttons ( I'm not actually exaggerating, I know I sometimes do, but I just got up and counted.. 13) of those buttons some of them can be pressed together, so you can make a combination of about 45 cycles…. pots and pans, turbo zone, smart, wash, heat dry, licked clean by trolls.

All I know is I turn it on and anywhere between 1 hour and 4 hours later (depending on how slap happy I got with the settings)I have clean dishes.

And lastly there is our microwave. seemingly harmless (well unless you're a bag of popcorn, then it can really do a number on you).

I understand that some appliances all have their kinks, little tricks you need to master.

Our kink was that #4 "button" was stuck. (I know, how does it get stuck when it's not a button??)

One morning it just decided it liked four minutes... no reason at all, we were in bed, asleep (as you should be at 5 am) when I heard the microwave going.

I got up and unplugged it, trying to silence my Angel watching brain that was warning me it was possessed.

Actually we had just watched "Evan Almighty" and all morning as we plugged and unplugged the stupid thing I kept having this nagging feeling that we were supposed to find chapter four in the bible and sacrifice a goat or something.

We wound up sacrificing the microwave, right back to the Walmart where it came from, and now we have a new one, which means another three weeks of re-programing ourselves just to be able to heat up some left overs.

Maybe we've watched The Terminator a few to many times in this household, but all I know is if one more appliance becomes smarter than I am in this house, I am going to go back to flint and steel.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Office Experience

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was having some trouble thinking of a blog post for this week.

Mainly because I wanted to be able to write something other than "Today I had a bad day and hurt myself"

Unfortunately when I look back on this week, the only thing I seem to have accomplished is acquiring a new bruise each day.

And I refuse to make an entire blog about how klutzy I am (although I'm fairly certain I would never run out of content if I did).

So instead I'm going to give you a little break from your regularly scheduled work day to try and imagine what it's lifework as a bander on a lobster boat for the day.

It's very easy to simulate, and then you will know exactly how I feel one week a year.

Since your not really doing any thing productive at the moment (come on, you're reading my blog.. I know you have more important things to do) you can start right now.

First, find your heat source to your office, and shut it off.

Spin in your chair till slightly nauseous.

Know that if you are going to throw up, your only choice is your own work space. Getting up to go throw up in an appropriate place, will only put you life in danger.

(Noah saved me my first year by pretty much picking me up as I was leaning over the side and putting me back in my safe little "zone" where traps would not knock me over as they flew off the boat.)

Now splash a little salt water on you face.


Now remove two screws from the bottom of your office chair to simulate rouge waves.

Throw some more salt water on your face.

(It's actually surprisingly refreshing the first time, plus the salt water gives you that sexy beach hair -you just can't see it under your fish gutsy toque hair.)

In fact, ask a co-worker to just randomly throw water at you during the day, no rhyme or reason.

Also ask them to attack you with a stapler if you get tired. (That is the worst part, just when you think you've got the hang of things a lobster nabs you with their little bastard claws)

Now that you're in the spirit of things, time to get to work.

Pick a random mundane tedious job, make sure it involves contorting your body in some way.

Lets say you choose to pick the staples out of paper.

Place the stapled sheets on the left side of your chair... twist towards them, pick them out, place in basket on right side of chair... repeat.

As fast as possible.

Ask that helpful co-worker to keep throwing more stapled sheets on top of your pile. (He's not really doing anything that important either.)

The proper ratio is 2 to 3 sheets in for every one sheet out, just enough to make you feel like it is all helpless and it will never stop.

Keep going for about 12 hours or so.

(See previous blog about lobstering if you feel like you need a bathroom break…)

Now at the end of your day, just when you feel like you are about to pass out from exhaustion, take all of the un-stapled papers, and start filing them away.

As fast as possible.

You can't go home until they are all filed.

File them into 100 pound boxes, then drag them around for awhile.

Once you get the hang of how things are going, turn the lights off and continue in the dark. (Be sure to get your co-worker to attack you a few more times with the stapler, as this is extremely helpful at keeping you awake.)

Now go home, and go to bed for four hours, and get back up and do it all again.

If you can keep this up for a week straight, you will receive amazing benefits, toned arms from all the lifting, sore hands an aching back and best of all a new found appreciation for your actual job.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Business Management for Dummies

To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art ~ Chinese Proverb

Ahhh… bookwork. It being year end I am yet again enjoying being a business owner and getting all my financials in order so I can drive the tax people insane with my bad accounting.

Just today I got an e-mail from my co-worker/landlord. She mentioned that I overpaid my rent for this month (hey if I insist on screwing up, at least I'm not screwing her over as well)

My reply e-mail went something like "ugh.. I have no idea why I would add a random extra 50some bucks to my rent… how about I just take it off my Feb rent?

P.S. Have I written any cheques for Feb?? I don't have any record of them, but that doesn't mean much.

God bless her she is more entertained than annoyed at my lack of organization.

She asked if on Friday I could take some time to help her revise her bookkeeping system to be as efficient as my own. And I gladly started writing her a few quick tips.

Then I realized, why keep such knowledge to myself?? I need to share with the world how to run a business that has accounts labeled "God Knows" and special folders for "Inventory Screw-ups"

Oh... it's a little complicated to get the hang of at first, but with practice you can get just as good at it as I am.

Try it tonight.... do some bookwork. Take your cheque book out of one bag, place it on a table somewhere as you walk by, don't touch it again until next Tuesday.

 Now take your calculator, and do up a deposit. Please be sure to write the final total on a used envelope.

Try and slip in some dyslexia. and write 185.29 instead of 158.92... I find this really makes it interesting.

 Now answer the phone, and move everything on your desk six inches to the left, then back 8 inches to the right. Tell off the long distance provider for wasting your time, and then hang up.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a regular phone, you will have to settle for just barely missing the receiver cradle and knocking everything off the desk.

If you are working with a cordless or better yet a cell phone, place it somewhere indiscreet (say under a pile of recyclables) and leave it there for the battery to die.

Shuffle a few more books around to "straighten up".

(There, you should now have lost your old envelope with you deposit in it. Find it next week before your rent cheque bounces, but think that it's just "extra money lying around" and buy yourself a new pair of shoes.)

Now lets move on to inventory. Count all of your products, make up a new system for keeping track of it.

Write this system on a piece of scrap paper, place it somewhere important, say with a pile of old Sobeys receipts or something.

Now pick out a few small items out of your inventory and just place them randomly about the shop.

(I swear I don't actually do this. But since this is a new process for you, I can't promise the Organization Elves will find you right away)

The Organization Elves, I imagine, are much like the Shoemakers Elves with a tad bit of the Easter Bunny in them. When I fall asleep they don't come in to finish my cleaning or anything, they just move product around so I have to hunt for it when I client wants something.

When you've perfected the system with years of business training as I have, I'm sure they will be along to reward you accordingly. But until then you will have to settle for dropping things behind filing cabinets and under chairs yourself.

I know it's a lot to take in.. so just take it slow.

I'll help you as you go along. Don' t try to do anything else for the rest of the night, you might strain yourself.

If you find you can't help but pick up the cheque book you've left on a random table, go ahead, but please place it in a magazine rack in the bathroom or something....

I'm writing myself a sticky note to remember to check how you're doing with the new system on Friday.

It is written in short hand to save time and energy... not to mention ink (it's always good to try and cut down on costs). The note reads " A-bookstuff ~pumpernickel~, pickles and jam"

 (The pumpernickel part was just because I think the word is pretty, and I decided that as long as I am writing a note I might as well add my grocery list to it....)

That sticky note will be just sticky enough to stay on my appointment book for about 45 seconds.

Long enough for me to think it is there for good, then turn away.

The slight change in air movement as I turn will hopefully cause the note to flutter to the ground, where it will get stuck to the bottom of my shoe, and travel with me somewhere random.

I should find it sometime around the end of April, which is perfect because that's just about the time we will need to sit down together to figure out how to start screwing up our taxes!!