Geek Humor – Part 765

Found this at the top of a remote stairwell this afternoon when sneaking back returning to the office after a long lunch* with a former boss.

Geeks.  They make the world better. 

Probably done by the same dorks who did this at Christmas.

* We talked about work.  It was a working lunch.  Yes…. there was nothing else going on there.  No smack talk.  No sharing of travel and adventure stories.  No repressed flirtations now that he is no longer in my chain-of-command.  Just bloody work…

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Mirror, mirror…

An unexpected visit from an old friend this week – she was flying into town on other business and took the opportunity to stop in and catch up a little.

We met somewhere along the way in our tweens – middle school, maybe?  Got much closer in late high school, and stayed connected through the college years and beyond.  We had an opportunity to meet last September, when she came to town for the 30th high school reunion.

Smart, accomplished, insightful and carrying the sort of professional responsibility that can break lesser souls.  She’s a police chief.  To me?  This is unimaginable stress, but she was born to do it.  Speaking of stress?  She birthed triplets almost 7 years ago, and is a devoted mother.

She arrived Thursday, after my busted business trip this week, and the ensuing lack of sleep… also lacking sleep due to her own set of airline travel disruptions due to weather.  We talked late into the night, through the exhaustion, over a couple of beers.  The sort of stream of consciousness babble that only old friends can manage…

Demons were presented, dissected, and studied.  Some old, some newer.  And a few still spewing fire, and hacking at us with sharp claws.

Discussing the perils of alcohol, and youth.  Binge drinking is a tremendous challenge to law enforcement officers, and she just dealt with an alcohol fueled death of a teenager.  i talked about my own challenges – dating back to the high school years.  And those of The Boy.  How i learned to manage them.  That he’s doing better…

daisyfae:  i had to learn my triggers. Know when i was susceptible.  Moments of stress, combined with a drinking environment.  But the key trigger?  Being with those few friends i trust with my life – knowing they will have my back when i lose the ability to make a rational decision.  i established ‘rules’ for myself.  Awareness.  i told those trusted friends what to watch for – lest they end up dealing with my sorry drunk ass again…  It works.

We continued the conversations the next day, digging in on our emotional walls.  Quite similar in our emotional inaccessibility, we have developed different strategies.  She has committed to one person – one alone has been let inside the fortress, and there shall be no others.  My approach?  Arms length, and a stiff arm at that.  Multiple companions, each with a built-in “barrier to committment”, i’m adept at keeping people out.

daisyfae:  To keep that distance, i’ve established some boundary conditions, in addition to those “barriers to commitment”.  Rule One has always been “no one spends the night”.  If you start having breakfast together?  It becomes all ‘relationshippy’.  Too intimate.  Too much like playing house. 

Chief K:  As long as you’re honest with all of them, I guess no one gets hurt.

daisyfae:  It’s part of the overall strategy, and seems to work.  So why have i invited Mr. X to stay over Saturday?  Not really just because he lives out-of-town… i think i’m reconsidering my rules.  Maybe it’s stupid and artificial, and i’m just kidding myself?

Chief K:  Rules aren’t always a bad idea.  You have the rules you place on yourself to avoid binge drinking…

daisyfae:  Yeah, that’s different.  That’s just to keep myself from getting hurt…

Chief K:  Ummm…. Yeah…

Roadtrip Follies – Spring Edition

Speaking of travel disruptions…

i’m curled up in a corner of the Philadelphia International airport. Sitting on hard tile, near an outlet. Backpack serving as backrest.  Tummy has had a couple pints and a snack.  The place is just lousy with people…. People in a hurry.

i will be here awhile.

Left the office mid-day yesterday for an easy trip to the east coast.  Kick off meeting for a new project, i was to be “meat in a seat” – the Management-Like-Object who sends the “Yes, we care enough to send the high level salaried folks” message to our new partners. 

i was in a good mood at the airport, encountering no lines, and had plenty of time before my flight for a change.  Directed to go into the plexiglass “millimeter wave imaging” scanner, i decided to sing “The Stripper Song” and do a little ‘bump and grind’ for the agents about to visualize my lumpy middle-aged bits in a far off room…

The gentleman from the TSA who welcomed me outside the door smiled – saying “We don’t get many folks enjoying the process this much!”

daisyfae [cheerfully]:  It was “the stripper song”… it reduces my stress levels if i’m doing this as performance art, as opposed to being visually raped by strangers!

TSA Man:  Oh, that’s what that was.  Didn’t recognize the song!

daisyfae:  Maybe if i worked on making better trumpet sounds, that would help…

TSA Man:  That opens up too many obvious jokes!  I’ll leave it there!

Refreshing, for some strange reason. 

Had a nice quiet night, ditching my travel mates for dinner, and opting to knock back a couple pints at the hotel bar.  Spent the evening in my jammies, reading a book.  Civilized departure time of 0830 allowed me to even sleep a little later than usual.

Meetings were fine.  Enjoyable, even.  i learned new things.  We even laughed a bit.

It was on the drive back to the airport that we got the “flight cancelled” message via text – and from the backseat i started working travel options from the phone and blackberry-accessible internet. 

We found an alternate airport.  Flight will get us home after midnight.  If it goes.  Had to adjust rental cars a couple of times – as we’ll need a place that stays open late. 

We have another five hours to kill in the airport.

Went for a pint.  Talked with a pleasant couple hoping to get home tonight to the Carolinas… Patient, and delightfully surprised by the extensive beer offerings at the little hole-in-the-wall airport bar.  We chatted while listening to another woman bitch endlessly into her cell phone about the horrors of a travel delay*.

i sit here, with free connectivity to an internet.  i really have no idea how the internet works, yet it allows me to read the newspapers from around the globe – including my hometown.   Allows me to send messages to my family/friends regarding my travel disruption.  Allows me to check the hours of the rental car facility to make sure the lights will be on if when i get there tonight.

As i read about the loss of life in Japan… the continuing uncertainty regarding the status of the nuclear reactors… the stories of those who have lost their homes… i stop feeling the hard tile under my ass.

As i read about the now international civil war in Libya?  i stop worrying about getting off an airplane at midnight and having to drive for an hour to get my car, and then drive another half hour to get home.

As i watch a young couple playing with their four year old son – who is in a wheel chair?  i remember that i need to call my 22 year-old and see how he’s doing.

Bring on the thunderstorms.  i got nothin’…

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

* Weather.  Entire east coast/midwest.  Not a fuck of a lot the airlines can do with hail, lightning, snow and big winds, folks…

Un-traveling…

Back in January, i was in the midst of a dreadful “Airport Refugee” phase.  Three/three on the “trips/stranded” ratio.  This has become a bit of an organizational legend… 

Last week, i was on the east coast again, and had originally planned to join one of my colleagues, AU, for an afternoon meeting as i returned to the airport.  This is the same young man who was stranded with me during the blizzard in Washington, DC at the end of January.

After two days of drinking myself silly with friends mind-numbing meetings, i was done, and decided to bag the afternoon meeting, knowing that AU would be perfectly capable of covering things without me.  Here’s the e-mail thread as we sorted logistics.

AU:  You in town?  Still going to make the 2pm?

daisyfae:  Sorry.  Succumbed to brain melt.  Would like your take on what these guys are up to when you’re back.

The next series came after the meeting was over.

AU:  Interesting work.  Novel.  May even be useful.  Let’s talk when we’re both in town.

daisyfae:  Cool!  Looking forward to the update.

AU:  Thanks for not coming by the way. I am sure that is the only reason both of my flights were on time and there was no snow.

image found here

Things that give me a headache

Shopping makes me hyperventilate.

i despise it.  Yet sometimes, it is necessary.  After putting off purchasing furniture for my dining room and bedroom for about three years*, i was overdue.

Acquiring the services of Irish, one of my gentleman friends, with the perfect attributes, i was ready.  Namely? Manly trucks and trailers PLUS a metrosexual propensity to like furniture shopping.  “It’s just Ikea”, he said.  “How hard can it be?”  But i planned my purchases for a month.  Measuring this and that, determining whether we’d need to bring his trailer for the bundles of flat-pack boxes or if the big truck would be sufficient.

Hyperventilation started as soon as we entered the store.  “Why are these people smiling?  Do they ENJOY this?”  He calmed me down by getting me an ice cream cone, patting me gently on the head, and shepherding me to the escalator.  i really started tweaking by the time we were in the dining room display area…

Letting Irish do most of the design adjustments**, i mostly took notes on item numbers and locations for pick up in the self-service warehouse.  Interspersed with moments of hyperventilation, we finally made it to the pick up area.  Where naturally, they only had three of the dining chairs out that i wanted to purchase. 

Sending him off to get the table, i asked the clerk if there were any more available.  Striking out, we met up at the check out, with two full flatbed carts of furniture and a shopping cart full of miscellaneous stuff.  “Check to make sure all of the numbers match”, he said, as he pulled two carts into a checkout line.

“Whatever…”

After we unloaded the cartons into my place, he headed out to run errands.  To repay him for services rendered, i was planning to fix dinner, and he’d be returning at eight.  Which left me about four hours to put together a dining room table and chairs upon which to serve the food.

Starting with the table, i pulled it from the carton – to find it was the wrong item.  Round.  Not the square i intended to buy.

“Son of a flat-packed bitch!”  Yep.  Should have checked those numbers as he’d suggested.  So i improvised, and we managed dinner at the bar in the kitchen.  i’ll have to make a return trip this weekend.  As much as i hate shopping, i hate returning even more. 

Over the course of the week, i’ve managed to get my bedroom stuff assembled, while cutting and hacking my limbs in a thousand different ways.   Wrenched my back, too.  But it looks better.  And the dresser doesn’t lean to the left. 

Almost three years after i moved here?  It’s almost done.  Well, at least the upstairs…  Won’t be tackling the downstairs until i stop hyperventilating.

pic found here.  best to enlarge it, unless you’ve got really good eyes. 

* Leftover bits and pieces from my old house worked just fine.  There’s nothing wrong with using old living room end tables for a night stand or two.  And that dresser that we bought from WalMart?  It worked fine, once you got used to the fact that it listed about 30 degrees to port…

** The table that i’d chosen for use as the coffee bar in my bedroom?  Uuuuuugly.  So he found something that worked better, and i simply said “Whatever”. 

Only for now…

Already late for work, but still needing to walk the dog, i distractedly slapped a leash on the dog’s collar and headed out to the garage.  This was going to have to be a necessity run – walking only as far as it took for Mr. Pickles to deliver the goods, then turn back home to get on with my day. 

Mr. Pickles had other ideas.  It was one of those spring snowfalls.  Heavy and wet, clinging to the ribs of the bare trees, defining every branch against the gray sky.  With temperatures hovering just below freezing, it wasn’t all that cold.  The kind of snow that will be gone by noon.

At 10 years old, Mr. Pickles has lost a bit of his sproingy, youthful exuberance.  Unless there is snow on the ground!  The years disappear, and he’s a puppy again.

Watching him bound alongside the road, picking up his paws like a show pony, it hit me… “Will this be his last romp in the snow?”

For as long as i can remember, i see endings.  As soon as there is a beginning, i start preparing for the end.  Healthy?  Probably not.  Realistic?  Certainly.  i am acutely aware that nothing lasts.  Maybe that’s why i work at enjoying the good stuff, not missing the moments, and trying to cram as much into each breath as i possibly can.

The only thing i am sure of?  Nothing lasts forever.  It sure can fuck up my relationships when i start negotiating the end right up front.  Just being practical, though.  When i can’t get my head around something, i think “It’s only for now“. 

Which makes having a pet really painful, by the way.  Big dogs tend to have shorter life spans.  Oh, and if they’re pure bred?  Another strike against him.  Dreading the day i no longer have a dog to walk, i kept going.  He kept sproinging.  Work be damned, this was a far more important moment.

He enjoyed the romp in the snow.  i was late for work.  The snow was gone by noon.

Today arrived as a sunny and bright March day.  After running my morning errands, i couldn’t wait to get the windows open to let in fresh air.  The Girl grabbed her breakfast and headed to the back deck, keeping the screen door shut to prevent cat leakage.

Will the aluminum frame of a screen door stop 100 pounds of hound dog?  Nope.  Seems Mr. Pickles was just as joyful today as we were with the sunshine, and got up a full head of steam as he launched himself across the living room to take in the fresh air.  He knocked that screen door across the deck as if it hadn’t been there. 

Only for now…

~~~~~~~~~

Everyone’s a little bit unsatisfied.
Everyone goes ’round a little empty inside.
Take a breath, look around, swallow your pride
For now…

Nothing lasts, life goes on, full of surprises.
You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You’re going to have to make a few compromises…
For now…

For now we’re healthy.  For now we’re employed. For now we’re happy…
If not overjoyed.
And we’ll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now…
For now…

Don’t stress, relax, let life roll off your backs!
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now!

Each time you smile…
It’ll only last a while.
Life may be scary…
But it’s only temporary.

It’s only for now…

“… that doesn’t mean we have to eat it!”

i’ve written about my ‘breast cancer grannies’ before. “The 3B’s”, which stands for “Booze, Brie and Breasts”. Leontine and i drank our way through it, diagnosed within 2 weeks of each other, and meeting through an article written about me in the local paper. We’d meet up every month, drink a bottle of wine, bash some yummy brie, and just yak for a couple of hours.

Who needs therapy?  A support group?  We were doing our bit to keep the good folks at the Banfi Le Rime winery in business!

We added Doris two years later, when she got the bad news at 68 that she had acquired a pesky cancer nugget.  Susan joined us last year – she’d had cancer about 10 years ago, but mostly wanted to hang out with us because she’d heard we were goofs…

i’m the ‘kid’ as they are all in their late 60’s.  This minor fact has made exactly zero difference in the amount of fun we have together – or how much we all can’t wait to meet up.  On a dreary, rainy, chilly day in early March, we all couldn’t WAIT to get to the bar of our regular restaurant tonight.

Our monthly gathering. Susan’s husband just got the prostate cancer diagnosis, which got Leontine’s husband last summer. After our “happy hour”, the two gents were meeting up with their wives for dinner so they could walk through the details together… over a decent meal and better wine.

Our conversations are all over the map – a lot of travel, grandchildren, children, gossip, bullshit and whatnot. With the occasional mention of that thing that brought us together in the first place. Tonight was no different.

Doris had just returned from a trip to Sonoma, California, and was sharing her latest travel headache. Going through security at O’Hare airport, she was directed to the millimeter wave imaging system. With a mastectomy over under her belt two years ago, she knew what was coming when they asked her to step aside for the TSA grope.

She regaled us with the tale of the idiot TSA agent.

Doris:  So this woman is feeling me up, and asks if i have something metal in my bra.  I tell her “I had a mastectomy, and I wear a prosthesis”.  This idiot asks me “Here?”  I wanted to say “No, honey, in my ass!  Where else would it be?”

We laughed like schoolgirls.  Leontine went on to suggest that no one could be that stupid – not even a TSA agent. 

Leontine:  Maybe she thought you’d said colonoscopy….. I mean… colon….. colo… Shit!  What’s the word?

Only halfway through our first bottle of wine, we were all struggling for the word – but somehow found it simultaneously, shouting in chorus “Colostomy!”

One of those moments when the entire establishment had gotten preternaturally quiet a microsecond before.  We paused…

daisyfae:  Perhaps we should shout that a little louder – i think there were a few folks in the dining room who didn’t hear it!

As we snorted and hooted at our goof, it occurred to me that there are women who have been down this road, and consider themselves victims of cancer. 

There weren’t any of those broads at my table tonight…

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

This post is dedicated to a lovely man, recently returned to the blogosphere.  His words get stuck inside my head sometimes and rattle around for days, sometimes weeks and months.  He recently told me “In life, at times, we all fall in the shite, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat it.”  Damn straight, brother Jimmy.

Bedlam

Sure, when the videos of Charlie Sheen first started popping up on YouTube, i watched a couple with the same slack-jawed astonishment as the rest of the world.  But it didn’t take long before i was squirming.

i’ve been there.  i have heard virtually the exact same words from my sister, T, as she rolled off on a manic phase.  On more than a dozen occasions.  It’s unpleasant.

From her initial meltdown at age 26, through her 50th birthday party last August, i’ve had those conversations.  They are difficult.  Perhaps difficult as an interviewer, but FAR more difficult if the person is your sister. 

Mr. Sheen is clearly dealing with mental illness.  And listening to the commentary in the media?  It is even more clear to me that at least in the U.S., we are woefully lacking in understanding about what this means.  i see it in my own family – my Mom* and i are the only two who have some appreciation that T is not “doing it on purpose just to be mean”. 

At the gym last Monday, i was stuck on an elliptical machine with a broken television – couldn’t change the channel from Fox News**, some mid-day talking heads program.  Closed captioned for the hearing impaired and gym-bound.

The topic:  Mental Illness.  They discussed the seeming constant stream of celebrities encountering melt-downs.  Stating “Six percent of the population is afflicted with some form of mental illness…”, one of the cutesy blondes went on to say “So why does it seem that Hollywood has more than it’s fair share of the mentally ill?” as she laughed…

The segment went on to cover the pressures on celebrities that might cause more breakdowns – the stress of fame, perils of having a lot of money.  Blah, fucking blah, blah, blah.  At no point did these idiots mention that perhaps it seems that way because boneheaded media wonks are always watching and ‘reporting’ on celebrity meltdowns? 

It wasn’t until i was tossing and turning in bed, and happened to catch late night talk show host Craig Ferguson’s opening monologue the same night, that i was able to get my head around it. 

Laughing at the mentally ill.  Watching their antics as a form of entertainment.  You’d think we’ve come a bit further than in the past couple of hundred years.  Apparently not. 

i’m just a bit thankful that we’ve been able to process my sister’s condition in relative obscurity.

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

* Mom was a psych nurse for about 16 years.  She always said she felt at home on the Psych Ward.  i’m pretty sure she wasn’t kidding….

** Regarding this topic?  Fox News is no worse than any of the others…

Where’s a Tsunami when you need it?

On Monday, i took Mom to see her smokin’ hot cardiologist for a routine check up.  One of the reasons i continue to have a potentially life-altering mild girl-crush on Dr. M is that she will fuss over my mother like she’s the only patient since the beginning of all time. 

Before entering the exam room, she had familiarized herself with every single detail of Mom’s lung cancer diagnosis, which was provided in an update to her medical records.  She also flashed me a Hollywood smile and asked where i’d gotten the tan*.  The good news?  Heart doctor says Mom is doing great on the cardiology front.  One less thing…

Mom has now had two of the four scheduled radiation treatments.  She’s chipper and enjoying the frequent doctor visits – each of which means a breakfast, lunch or dinner OUT.  i asked about any discomfort or side effects.  She said “Well, at first I thought I felt it burning – but I realized that was just my imagination.  It doesn’t hurt, I just get stiff staying in one place for so long…”.

As we wrapped up the cardiology appointment, it was off for lunch at our “usual” restaurant.  i had noticed that Mom has lost a couple of pounds – but at 4″9″ tall and 196 pounds, she’s not the picture of fitness.  The name “Short Round” comes to mind.  She’s never exercised, and “fried” is her favorite food group.  At 82?  It’s a miracle she’s able to walk under her own power at all…

She shuffled from the car to the door of the restaurant – huffing and puffing the short distance from the reserved “handicapped” parking space.  Once inside?  She was off like a rocket** to read the ‘daily specials’ board, and followed on the heels of the restaurant hostess like a tracking hound. 

Waiting for lunch, Mom mentioned that things are going pretty well in the trailer park.  Seems the run of stomach flu has passed.  Steady progress on the renovated homestead.  They’ve gotten rid of one dog, and bought another – a puppy who is yet to be house trained, making late night visits to the bathroom like walking a minefield.

My niece’s youngest daughter, DQ III, is quite a handful at three years old.  Such a spunky little thing that she must have her own bedroom – separate from the bedroom of DQ, Jr., who is fifteen and “needs her space”.  It has rankled me for over a year that while Mom sleeps on a bed in DQ’s living room during renovations, the two kids have their own PRIVATE bedrooms.

But when Mom informed me that little DQ III is “going through a phase” where she sleeps with DQ and BJ every night?  i about choked on my bourbon barrel ale***.  “You mean that the little shit isn’t even USING that bedroom while you’re on display in the living room like a zoo animal?  Seriously, Mom, do you want me to say something?  This is bullshit!”

“Oh, no… Don’t rock the boat…”

lovely photo found here.

* It was a tan, and not just blushing…

** If i really want to see her move?  Put her within 20 yards of an “all you can eat” buffet trough and watch her go!  Oh, and for someone who can’t read because of eye troubles?  Stick a menu in her hands and she’s worked through the fine print in seconds…

*** Shut. Up.  It was a late lunch.  And it’s a lovely beer…