F-Troop Rides Again

Having served in management for over a decade, it strikes me as somewhat odd that i am only now being hit with my first official “grievance”.  Strangely enough, it’s in the form of an “Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) complaint, leveled against not only me, but my boss, who is a unicorn*.

Despite the fact that the informal grievance process is well underway, and we’ve all had to give depositions to a mediator, we still have to work with the complainant** – let’s call him “Scientist X” - on a daily basis. 

This can lead to the occasional awkward moment.

Today’s moment?  It happened during a round of frustrating budget discussions, where The Unicorn, the Deputy Chief, and i were trying to extract something – in fact, ANYTHING – vaguely representing a financial plan*** for the on-going research project of “Scientist X”. 

Now, The Unicorn and i have been up to our ovaries with the idiosyncrasies of Scientist X, and have gotten used to his sudden temperament swings, often leading to spittle flying, arms flailing and inanities spewing from his mouth at warpspeed.  But Deputy Chief?  He hadn’t really seen it yet…

After Scientist X finally stormed out of the room, leaving a trail of bad cologne and saliva globules settling onto the carpet, Deputy Chief was speechless.  He was impressed with our composure and patience.  We explained to him that we are now hardened to the tantrums. 

When Deputy Chief asked about the potential for violent retaliation?  We assured him that we’d considered that… and that we’re both pretty sure we could kick his ass if he decides to start swinging.

Deputy Chief is my favorite “Personnel Success Story” during my time in F-Troop.  He was sort of a castaway when i got there because he’s not aggressive, and sometimes needs a few rounds of explanation before he finally “gets it”.  But i found him to be pleasant to work with – and over the past few months, i’ve discovered a dry, snarky and occasionally twisted sense of humor buried in there…

It took about an hour after the meeting, but Deputy Chief wandered by my office and whispered “Ya know, if Scientist X comes in sporting a big bulge in his pants?  It’s probably not because he’s glad to see you…”

Hand Cannon photo found here

* Term coined by a friend of mine.  She is a black female engineer.  Just a teensy-tiny bit rare in my world.  But she’s damn good at what she does…

** It’s not this guy.  We have a few more special folks, who keep us on a first name basis with the human resources department, the security office and even the people who manage the facility.

*** For a guy with a PhD in Physics?  He REALLY sux at the maths…

Thermal Management

In mid-August, we evacuated our temporary trailer offices and moved into the shiny new office complex at work.  i’m enjoying my daily climb* to the third floor as a bonus workout, and my frequent treks down one floor to hit the only functioning coffee pot in the building.

Despite a few growing pains**, it’s generally been fine – except for a recently discovered glitch with building temperature control.

With a turn in the weather, we are now freezing our collective nutsacks off.  It’s become a bit unpleasant, and i’ve taken to wearing a jacket in the office.  Today was the chilliest day so far.  As we were huddled near the copier for warmth, i was struck by a grand plan to solve the temporary problem, while garnering sufficient management attention to get it solved permanently.

Cornering the kid on the “Morale” committee, i asked him when there would be another fundraiser, selling clothing with the organizational logo.

MoraleBoy:  We usually do the logo sale in the fall – we’re due for another one.

daisyfae:  Forget the golf shirts and denim crap with the embroidered logo.  i want “Snuggies“.  If we’re all hunkered down in a staff meeting, wearing organizationally sanctioned blankets with sleeves?  Someone is bound to get the message.

* Fifty six steps up.  At least twice a day, since i go to the gym every day at lunch.  Plus an additional twenty eight steps down to the coffee pot.  i made a vow when moving in that i would NEVER use the elevator, choosing instead to augment my daily workout.  Silly me.  File that under “what the fuck was i thinking?”

** i’m now in a cube ranch.  Private phone conversations?  No such thing.  Seeing as i swear like a sailor when yakking with certain colleagues, i’m afraid i’m teaching the young engineers across the wall some new vocabulary words…  What’s not to like about yet another opportunity to earn a few “hostile workplace” points”?

Bashed…

Text exchange with The Boy this week.  He had just returned to his apartment after a couple days visiting his dad.  Although the kids both try pretty hard, they are still having difficulties with their dad’s live-in girlfriend, R.  It’s usually stressful when they visit…

The Boy:  Just letting you know I had to buy a new charger for my computer.

daisyfae:  OK.  Gotta have electrons…

The Boy:  The wire on the old one had been cut for awhile, but yesterday was the last day for the electrical tape fix.

daisyfae:  Was probably a fire hazard.  Glad you were at your dad’s and not here.

The Boy:  Like I said, it’s been that way for a while.  Likely the charger of death has been at your place, too.

daisyfae:  How was the trip?

The Boy:  Good.  R was gone for the week.  Apparently her son’s wife can’t catch.  Got her face smashed by a baseball and needed help with the kid.  Really wish I could have spent more time with Dad, but I gots to gets me some skoolin.

daisyfae:  Fantastic!  i mean the time alone with your dad…

The Boy:  What do you mean?  They are both fantastic!  I had good time with Dad, uninterrupted by psycho-bitch.  And her daughter-in-law learned that women shouldn’t play sports.

Tour de Farce

In general, i harbor no hard feelings toward him.  i had told him “i’m the easiest woman on the planet to dump – just don’t text or call me for a week, and i’m a ghost…”.  Can’t exactly be pissed off at him for taking me up on that offer.  An honest explanation would have been nice, though.

It was a couple years ago, and JC* was one of the first guys i dated after my divorce.  He was nice, funny and pretty laid back – we got along well for the six months or so that we were dating. He surprised me with one of the best dates ever, and we could make each other laugh.

It was quite casual.  Never invited him to the house.  He never met my children, nor did i meet his – and that seemed perfectly ok with both of us.  When i returned from a holiday in Spain, it was done.  When he didn’t reply to a text i sent, basically letting him know i was back in town?  i accepted the unspoken message, and moved on.

Not really a big deal…

About a year later, i spotted him on the bikeway – where i ride with my workout buddy, Studly McRocklegs**, on a regular basis.  He was riding with a female buddy – and i opted not to wave, or say anything.  Just a nod – same as i offer to any other on-coming cyclist.  The encounters became fairly regular on our weekday evening bike rides – and have continued during this cycling season.

Not so much as a smile, or a wave, exchanged.  We’re all out there for exercise, not socialization.  In the back of my mind, i’ve occasionally wondered if he remembers me***.  The schedule often has us headed westward as he and his buddy are headed eastward in the evenings.  With a bit of a downhill grade behind us?  We usually blow by pretty quickly, while they are chugging uphill. 

Hmmm…. Maybe he doesn’t recognize me because i’m a fucking blur?

Earlier this week, Studly and i got a late start on the bike ride.  Setting out shortly after 6:00 pm, i spotted them ahead of us early in the ride – and decided it would be a rather opportune time for a sprint!  Studly was riding at a good clip when we passed, but i pushed even harder, sprinting with everything i had – standing on the pedals to make sure my spandex-clad ass was highly visible to the riders we’d just passed!

Studly [gasping]: Where the fuck did that come from? What got into you?

daisyfae: [also sucking wind]: That was them – JC and his biking buddy. Wanted to shake my ass in the end zone a little bit!  Keep riding – let’s put up some distance.

Studly:  She looks a lot smaller…

daisyfae: Yeah, maybe she’s lost some weight.

We kept riding, getting a massive lead.  i was feeling pretty good about having had the chance to do a little celebratory butt shake.  Somewhere in my head, however, was a little doubt…

daisyfae:  Shit. What if that wasn’t them?  What if they’re still up ahead?

Studly:  I’m guessing we’ll have to do it again!

We had barely regained our breath about five minutes later, when i spotted them.  About 20 yards ahead of us.

daisyfae:  Fuck. You were right.  She hasn’t lost that much weight. That’s them…

Naturally, we caught up just as we were headed into the uphill portion of the trail.  Keeping sufficient distance through a busy street crossing, we turned on the steam and still managed to blow by at over 20 miles per hour – more than doubling their pace.  Not content to just blow their doors off, i had to keep going.  Oh, no, not stopping now!  Another half mile at full tilt, until we were safely around a corner.  They were dust.

Studly [hoarking up bits of his lungs]:  Now?  Can….. we….. please….. slow…. down?

daisyfae [head, heart and lungs nearing explosion]:  i… i…. [pant] think… [wheeeeeze] it’s….. clear….

In the end, it was simply one of our better workouts this week.  We hit the turning point, and managed a breezy passing on the way back.  Burned some calories.  Killed some gnats. 

And in the corner of my imagination where ego-fueled fantasies lie?  i dished out a serving of “There!  i’m in shape and badass!  That’s in your face for not having the balls to tell me you didn’t want to go out with me again…”

This time of year, my chest becomes a dead gnat collection system. So very sexy, isn't it? This is what you walked away from, buddy!

* No, not THAT “JC”.  From what i hear, he’s a bit of a mama’s boy, and doesn’t date much…

** After reading the draft, my bike buddy insisted i give him this particular call sign.  He does have a rather spectacular bum and legs…

*** In my more arrogant moments?  i’m pretty damn sure he remembers me…

Necessity is quite a mother

Just over two years since i moved into my condo… and it remains a home decorating disaster. 

With the assistance of a “Color Coordinator” person, i got some of it painted.  With the assistance of my daughterAmy Sedaris and a brown dog in a tuxedo, i managed to develop a plan for the living room.  Sort of…

Since last winter, i haven’t really made any progress – not counting the bit of finger painting that was created by a transient drunken youth in my basement.  The colors were ok, so i framed it and and parked it over the sofa until i find something else for that big ol’ empty space…

i really have no excuse, other than the fact that i’m lazy and really don’t care all that much about “stuff”.  i get annoyed with it from time to time, especially when  i open the drawers of my particle-board dresser and the entire thing sways precariously to the right because the quarter-inch bit of plywood on the back has broken and is no longer providing structural support.

Oops.  Gotta add a new chest of drawers to the list… When i get around to doing the bedroom.  One of these days.   Probably after i get a new dining room table.  And the wine cabinet/bar thingie i picked out last year.  Oooh, and hang that gorgeous bedspread that my Dad’s mother made for her wedding night.  And find something that is not a drunken finger painting for my living room wall.

Did i mention i’m lazy?

In fact, i’m so lazy, that it takes a concept that feeds my extreme laziness to get me off my ass to start moving on the next round of improvements.  Simple in concept, relatively inexpensive, and the project can probably be completed in about two hours worth of shopping, and thirty minutes of piecing together a bit of flat pack furniture.

It will be within arms reach of my bed.  i will be able to stretch a sleepy arm to my side, whack a button, and snag that first jolt of caffeine before my feet come in contact with the floor.  There is going to be a coffee bar in my bedroom.  i am THAT lazy…

Design drawings for the mechanical arm that brings a cup to my pillow-wrinkled face and pours a stream of life-giving caffeine down my throat will be considered from all qualified vendors…

and it’s a damn fine coffee, too!

The other’s gold…

We played together as babies.  We must have, because i simply don’t remember meeting them.  TAB and JLB were the two girls across the street.  Age-wise, they were snuggled neatly between me and my sister, T, making for perfect playmates.  TAB and i were in the same grade at school, with my sister, T, two years ahead, and JLB a year behind.
 
We became ‘blood sisters’ somewhere about eight years old, using a Boy Scout knife we hijacked from an older brother.
 
It was the era of “Lord of the Flies” parenting.  Once we reached school-age, we ran wild.  Dads went to work in the morning, and Moms booted us outside in the summer, expecting us to stay gone until lunch time or injury, whichever came first. 
 
In addition to the four of us, there were five other girls of similar age in our pack.  There were also several boys in the neighborhood, but they were clustered at the end of the street, and we only connected with them for “Girls vs. Boys” games of Capture the Flag, or the big neighborhood wiffleball and football games*. 
 
Adventures?  All the damn time!  Tree forts were made with construction lumber and supplies swiped** from construction sites.  We’d camp out in sleeping bags at least once a week during summer – often doing a bit of backyard pool hopping on the hottest nights. 
 
Winter months forced the adventures indoors.  The younger years involved hours of “playing Barbie”, where we’d transport suitcases full of Barbie gear to an empty garage or basement.  We’d set up complex scenarios, our Barbie dolls living out our projected lives as adults.  Oh, there were Ken dolls, too, but they were mostly used as props, or torture victims.
 
Rather than the four of us descending upon one household for sleepovers, we did something called “trading sisters” – asking parents if we could swap out a sister for the night.  This way, no parent had to deal with more than two squealing girls at a time.  The logistics were nearly perfect.
 
The four of us stayed pretty close until my sister hit high school and some of her friends had cars.  By the end of her freshman year in high school she’d moved on.  The remaining trio remained close for a couple more years, but over time, we found other friends, got our own cars, and our connectivity naturally declined. 
 
TAB got married right out of high school.  i remember going to her wedding – to a guy she’d been dating for over a year, but i’d never met.  Having left town for school, i felt a little out of place.  JLB went to nursing school in town.  The next time i saw either of them was six years later, at their mother’s funeral.  After that? Three years later when one of their brothers died. 
 
We vowed to stop meeting up only at funerals – and did manage a few fun gatherings of the old neighborhood gang.  But life, babies, jobs and the universe colluded to make such events rare.  TAB and JLB were both at Dad’s funeral.  When JLB, who remained single, adopted a son four years ago, i brought Mom with me to the baby shower. 
 
Last weekend, i was a little surprised to find TAB at the high school reunion – she was always shy in crowds.  As i fluttered around the room – mixing up visits with pleasant people and dodging a few whack jobs – i’d find myself seeking refuge in the corner, where TAB and another shy friend were hiding.  Snippets of conversation, family updates, pictures of kids…. But not much time to really talk.
 
Yesterday, i got an e-mail from TAB:  “It was so nice to see you at the reunion. I’m a fish out of water at those kind of things but you made me feel more at ease. Wish we could have chatted a little more… maybe next time we see each other.”
 
The memories i acquired with TAB and JLB are the ones that made my childhood idyllic.  In fact, it’s that idyllic part of my childhood that probably kept me from noticing that i lived in a trailer park.  The more i think about it, TAB and JLB may have provided the foundation that got me out of there, reasonably intact. 
 
It is my hope that my final words can echo those of my father – “I have no regrets. No unfinished business.  I can go now.”  If there was someone you grew up with that got away from you?  That’s the stuff regrets are made of… 
 
We’re looking for a free weekend in October…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
* Tackle.  Flag football was for girls…
 
** The ONLY word for this is “swiped”.  Not “stolen”, “misappropriated” or “purloined”.  There are a few other words that come close, such as “pinched”, “filched” or “ripped off”, but in the world of my childhood, the word was “swiped”.

Dinner just got served.

Last night, while chatting with my good friend and champion Dawg Boy, Titan of Industry (ToI), he was being pinged for a meet up with another charter member of the Dawg Boy posse, SR.  ToI was in range on business, and SR had been hoping to instigate some Dawg-Boyedness.

Being a responsible Titan, ToI sent him an e-mail, begging off, saying he had far too much work to do, and needed to just grab a bite and get to work…

daisyfae:  You know, he’s totally going to call you out as a pussy…

i heard ToI bust out laughing just a few minutes later…

daisyfae:  What is it?

ToI:  SR just sent me a reply “You’re such a pussy…”.  You called it… 

He then set about crafting the perfect reply…

ToI [via e-mail to SR]:  You are what you eat… Dick.

Reunited

The 30th High School Reunion.  Great weekend – from quiet time at my place catching up with close friends*, to finding a connection with someone i’d only brushed by in my youth – the high school reunion flushed out memories, and helped me get ‘the rest of the story’ regarding long forgotten antics. 

It also provided an opportunity to dance like there is no tomorrow!  Through a mild hangover haze, here are glimpses…

- Was delighted that my re-discovered friend, DJ, was able to attend!  He had a stroke in February, and has made pretty good progress over the past seven months.  Now using a cane to walk, he has no use of his right arm.  Although tired from a long weekend of activities, he was having a good time – and i caught him cheering me from the side of the dance floor.  We managed quite a few giggles – and collected more than a few stares – when i gave him a “PG-13″ version of a chair/lap dance.  Seemed reasonable, since i couldn’t drag him on the dance floor with me…

- Hook ups?  You betcha!  With much of the reunion planning taking place via Facebook, the opportunity for transparent and clandestine booty call was right there on the ol’ keyboard!  While pre-gaming at the hotel bar in the early evening with a woman i’ve known since i was 6 years old, we were comparing notes on who was going to be hooking up with whom.  Post-game analysis in her room at 4:30am?  We were pretty sure we’d gotten it right…

- Hanging with my two gal pals on Friday night, i was struck by the wide swings in the conversation.  Some talk of the past, more talk about the present… and a surprising amount of time spent talking about professional lives as managers, supervisors, and the amount of adult daycare we provide within our respective organizations.  (sigh)  Face it.  We’re old.

- Invariably, there is the “In Memoriam” moment.  Despite the fact that it was handled in a mildly awkward manner**, it was necessary to go through the list.  Since my friend, JW, died a mere six years after graduation, he was there.  After we were kicked out of the hotel ballroom at 11:30 pm, we moved to another nearby bar to continue hanging out together.  i stumbled into a woman, SD, who’d worked with JW after graduation for a few years….  Since 1986, i have been carrying the notion that he died from an accidental fall from a railroad bridge.  From SD i got a different story – that it was suicide.  That he’d killed himself after finding out he “had AIDS.  Guess i’ll never really know…

- Further conversation with DJ regarding the status of his physical therapy led to discussion on some ‘interim therapy’ he can accomplish on his own while waiting for transfer to another rehab facility.  Was there with another friend, MD, the delicious dancing boy that i’ve developed a terrible crush on, as we asked what DJ needed to keep making progress.  Books, phone calls were at the top of the list – easy to manage on his own, and working his eyes and voice.  i asked if he had internet, or was allowed pornography.  Seriously, folks, what better way to get that right arm back in shape!  MD noted that i’m more of a “Physical Terrorist” than a “Physical Therapist”…

- For all the talk about “old times”, i realized that i still believe my best years are ahead of me.  Whether or not i’m being overly optimistic remains to be seen, but i can’t tackle it any other way.  After closing the second bar of the evening, we retreated to a hotel room***.  Waiting for the keyholder to find her way back, we decided to get on with it.   i’ve come a long way from drinking ‘forties’ on the porch step.  That would be a bottle of Glenfiddich…

this was a staged photo. mostly.

* And watching my friend JM-P chase her five year old daughter around?  Priceless!

** Two of the Senior Class Officers turned down the dance music, stood at the podium, and announced a slide show/tribute to those from our class who have died.  Other than me saying “What the fuck? When did HE die?” perhaps a little too loudly, the transition between the ‘moment of silence’ and ‘Ok, let’s all get back to dancing!” could have used a better segue.

*** As a survivor of countless conference ‘hotel room parties’, i know better than to allow drunks into my room.  Been there.  Cleaned that toilet.

Trailer Park “Inception”

We called it “The Game”.  No idea who started it, but there were about six of us involved, within an organization of about a hundred souls.  No time limits.  No start or finish.  It was a drive-by activity.  Sort of like “fight club”, without all the blood and testosterone.

The object was to catch another player in the hallway, or poke your head in his office, and briefly describe a scenario involving some of our gnarliest, nastiest and most evil co-workers.  A scenario so disgusting that it leaves the victim traumatized for hours.  Graphic, deviant, twisted and bizarre.  A visual image that is difficult to shake.  Sometimes for days… Flashbacks occur during group meetings.  In the cafeteria…

Some favorite examples – of the less graphic variety:

- Nestor Fazooli, sitting on the sofa at home, eating a bag of Cheese Puffs.  Wearing torn boxer shorts, black socks and nothing else.  With his feet propped up on the coffee table, he’s boppin’ the bishop while watching “Party of Five”.  Orange cheese dust is everywhere…

- Dr. Pasty-Boy, wearing nothing but a diaper, a ball gag and a crystal-studded leash, being walked on all fours through the conference exhibit area by Max Program, in full fetish gear. 

- The Ninjaneer sitting on the sofa, with Ms. Marsupial lying comfortably draped across his lap.  As they watch college football, he is casually arranging cocktail peanuts on the cellulite dimples on the back of her thighs, to spell out “Go Michigan!”

With my departure from the old job, i have only been able to play occasionally via e-mail.  Sadly, i have yet to find the deeply dark and twisted people in the new organization.  But that doesn’t mean i’ve let myself get rusty…

While Mom was visiting last weekend, my daughter’s boyfriend, ZZ, called me on Saturday evening, to see if it was ok for him to stop by after work.

ZZ:  Hey, just calling to see what your plans were.  The Girl doesn’t get off work til late, and didn’t want to drop in unexpectedly.

daisyfae:  No problem.  Mom and i are just hanging out at the house.  C’mon over when you’re off work.

ZZ:  Great!  I just really want to get a shower and…

daisyfae:  Mom wants to watch.

ZZ:  …..

daisyfae: [maniacal laughter]

image found here

Weekend “Scores and Highlights”

Snippets from the weekend…

- Mom has been quite frustrated with her failed eyesight for the past few years.  Due to droopy lids, she’s had difficulty reading.  Botox injections only help for a few weeks.  DQ, my niece, has started uploading eBooks for her from the local library – allowing Mom to listen to audio books, and tune out some of the perpetual white noise at the Trailer Park.  While The Girl and I were surfing the library website, to help Mom find some good titles, Mom waxed philosophical about retirement.  “I had all these books stashed around me, looking forward to retirement where I could read all day long.  Just goes to show you that it doesn’t matter what your plans are for retirement.  Your body is going to give out on you.  I had books coming out of my wazooo…”  At this point, The Girl’s boyfriend, ZZ, interjects with “And what, exactly, is a ‘wazooo’ I’m not familiar with that?”  i had to explain to ZZ that “despite the fact that her children all swear like drunken sailors, Momma doesn’t cuss.”
 
- Further rants on “life after retirement” focused on how much of her time and energy are spent with various doctors and specialists.  “The doctors ask me ‘Are you active?  Getting out much?”  I say “Sure, I went to see about 50 doctors last month!”
 
- On Sunday morning, DQ called me.  She simply wanted to know how Mom was doing…  A reminder that for all of the trailer park bullshit?  She really does worry when Mom’s not there…

- Sunday night?  Some downtime with The Girl, ZZ, The Boy and ZZ’s brother JZ, and his girlfriend M.  Over a pitcher of killer margaritas, M was telling a ‘scary spider’ tale.  As she told the story of hopping out of the shower, and grabbing a towel to dry off, JZ glared at The Boy and said “Hey – quit picturing my girlfriend naked!”  The Boy shrugged, hands in the air, an admission of “Busted!  But I couldn’t help it!”  M continued the tale, explaining that as she caught a glimpse of her shoulder in the mirror, she spotted a wolf spider hanging on, causing her to drop her towel and run naked through the house.  At this point, she paused and glared at The Boy for once again visualizing her naked, before finishing up the story.  i laughed so hard at her comedic timing, i about wet my shorts…

- Last night, The Boy and ZZ decided to cook dinner.  Since the grocery store run didn’t happen until around 7:00 pm, the meal wasn’t even nearing completion until around 9:00 pm.  My contribution to the entire event (other than financial underwriting for ingredients)?  Showing up in the kitchen periodically, letting loose with a Chewbacca-esque wail, and complaining that at my age i am used to eating at 4:00 pm in order to get the Senior Citizen early bird discounts.  The Boy finally had enough of this, saying “Look, I didn’t bitch for all those years you didn’t cook.  Shut her up with some bread or something…” at which point a bit of crusty Italian bread was pushed in my direction, and i was sent packing.

From that source of never-ending schadenfreude, Awkward Family Photos