Short sighted…

Monday morning staff meeting.  Division Chief* goes ‘around the room’ to get scores and highlights from the management team.  Fellow technical advisor, VK, is up…

VK:  I had a good interaction with a funding agent last week.  RJ asked for a short proposal on the self-slicing bread molecule** project.

Who is “RJ”?  Notoriously arrogant, and vertically challenged, man in a position of some authority…

DivChief Nozzle:  RJ?  What’s old RJ up to?

daisyfae [stage whisper]:  About 4′ 9″ last time i saw him… [slaps hand over mouth, too late for effective filtration]

image found here

* Not my beloved former Division Chief, but the new one – a condescending nano-manager, possessing NO sense of humor, and bearing a striking resemblance to a douche nozzle.

** Not a real project.  That i know of…

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Time traveling…

Twenty years ago when i walked across this campus, the strap of my backpack tossed over one shoulder, i easily deluded myself into thinking it possible to be mistaken for a student.  A graduate student, probably, but in my late twenties, i could still pass. 

This week?  Nope. 

Sporting my “Elder-Hooker” collection of travel clothing, i couldn’t even pass for a professor this year.  Just another invisible middle-aged woman, attending a conference on the grounds of a marvelous California campus.  A campus wedged neatly between the mountains and the ocean.

This meeting is held annually at the end of June, and has been at this site every third year for decades.  i’ve attended eight of these west coast conferences, going back to the early 1990’s.  The recurring venue – as well as the recurring content, and people – provided an unexpected pinning point, hiding inside a routine business trip. 

Although different from the Christmas pinning point, i was surprised to find myself stumbling backward in time.  When not attending sessions, or being goofy with my friends, i was awash in memories.  It was just a nice summer conference trip… The flashbacks caught me by surprise.

Time with old friends.  Making new ones.  Laughing about all the stupid stuff that happened before.  Who we are.  What we do.  How we live.  Catching up on lives lived hundreds of miles away.  From the mundane to the deeply personal, a chance to get the latest news…

“Hey, he’s fourteen already?  Great looking kid!” 

“I’ve got to do it…  I’m moving out next month.” 

“It’s a constant political battle for lab space and funding!  I’m looking for another gig…”

“Did you hear about Dr. Z?  Did six months in jail for that shit…” 

“Hey, RD dyed his hair!  Who wants to ask him if the carpet matches the drapes?”

Memories of insecurities and angst.  Hook-ups – near misses, line drives.  The occasional grand slam.  Unnerving flashback to a conversation on that bench.  “He died?  Really?  When? What happened?”

Hours spent playing billiards in the local Irish pub.  Pool parties.  Beach parties.  Private parties.  Conning the guys at the bar to get us guitars for an improvised jam session.  Scamming my way on stage with the hired band playing at the conference picnic… after swiping a cowboy hat in order to blend in…

The year i brought my children with me to the meeting.  The Boy, at thirteen, brought a friend.  Hitting the huge concrete park, they were in sk8rboy heaven!  The Girl, at fifteen, enjoyed wandering the small college town, roaming from thrift store to thrift store, while i attended sessions. 

Listening as a colleague commented on the smokin’ hot co-ed walking toward us at the conference reception, wearing a mini-skirt and go-go boots.  Enjoying his discomfort when i said “That’s my daughter.  She’s fifteen. Don’t you have daughters?”

Feeling old and young simultaneously.  Memories rolling by like a newsreel…

A pile of silicon dioxide.  We tell the tales, draw the lines, leave a few footprints.  It all sort of flows together…. 

And the tide rolls in…

Checkmate?

Taking Mom to the cardiologist this week allowed me a chance to check in on the ‘State of the Trailer Park’.  And it leaves me shaking my damn head, as always…

An e-mail from my niece, DQ, on Wednesday informed me and my local siblings that she and her family would be taking off for Florida for two weeks – beginning Saturday.  She asked if we could make an extra effort to visit Mom and take her out for meals and entertainment.

Two weeks.  This is after the five-day vacation they took over Memorial Day weekend.  Progress on the renovations to Mom’s house?  Somewhere between “Jack” and “Squat”, since DQ’s husband, BJ, has to work on paying jobs when he’s not fucking off on holiday.

Helping Mom into the car, i asked if she had any concerns about being mostly alone for the two weeks.

Mom:  Well, it’s just that nasty black dog that’s always under my feet.  I’m just going to poke him out-of-the-way with my cane, so i don’t trip…

daisyfae:  Wait.  They’re leaving you to take care of their dogs?

We talked a bit more about the lack of progress on the house.  Mom has held back enough money to buy an air conditioner and furnace, and to pay for re-plumbing the entire house.  Because she’s making sure there’s enough money for these big-ticket items, she has been unable to pay BJ to hire help.  Which is why he hasn’t done much of anything on the house.

daisyfae:  Do you know how much it’s going to cost to do all that?  Why don’t i get some folks in while they’re out of town to give us some quotes?

Mom:  Oh, I don’t want to upset anyone.  That would make them mad.

daisyfae:  Do i look like i fucking give a shit if they’re mad?  You’ve been living with them for two years.  It’s time for the house to be finished.  This is shit.  i don’t like it.

She’s worried that they’ll be mean to her.  Not that they’ll mistreat her, they just get snarky and make snotty comments apparently. 

i reminded her for the millionth time that she has options.  Options she refuses to consider.  She just wants BJ to finish the work so she can move back into her house.

daisyfae:  Well, you paid him, in advance, for work that wasn’t completed, by giving him the land you bought out in the country.  That’s a bad business plan.  You need to find a way to incentivize him to finish the job.  Rather than spend the summer on vacation.

It was then that i hatched a plan.  At least something for her to think about…

Put the property on the market at a fairly high price – maybe $5,000 more than you paid for it.  It will take a while to sell.  In the meantime, BJ can bust his ass on the house.  If he finishes before it sells?  He still gets it.  If it sells?  You use the money to help hire a crew, and then when he’s finished?  He gets the rest to buy some more land, upon which he can shoot deer to his redneck heart’s content…

She didn’t like it.  But she said i could go ahead and get quotes for the furnace and air conditioner, and the plumbing, so long as it was my idea, not hers.

daisyfae:  Momma, it’s really up to you.  You keep doing what you’re doing, you’re gonna keep getting what you got.  Let me know if you want me to help, otherwise, i’m here to listen.

[monstrous sigh]

Goosed!

Met up with an old friend for lunch today at her favorite restaurant, which happens to be near a very busy intersection across from a smelly and gigantic shopping mall.

As i hopped in the car and headed out, my brain started working through my ‘errand list’* – figuring out which stop i could make, while still getting back to work reasonably on time. Stopped at a traffic light, i noticed two young boys on bicycles across the intersection.

Ten year old boys, small bikes, riding in traffic, preparing to turn into the mall parking lot. “Jeeebus H. Hotwheels Christ! Who** would let a kid ride on this street?” As they rounded the corner into the mall, they headed directly toward a large flock of Canada Geese dropping poo in the driveway.

As i’ve mentioned before, these winged pests have become quite a nuisance in the region. Formerly endangered, they are protected under the Migratory Waterfowl Act, and are free to leave slimy minefields of goose turds wherever their tasty little goosehearts desire.

As you can tell, i’m not crazy about these particular critters.

The annual battle of “Man vs Goose” rages on at my place of work. Not only do we have decoy coyotes parked strategically outside the building, but there is a loudspeaker that blasts “Goose in Distress” calls about every 15-20 minutes, to deter the feathered fuckers from camping out in the area. Neither have been particularly effective….

Watching the boys ride into peril, mother hormones kicked in. i was afraid the kids would roll the bikes – or worse – stop in the middle of the road, and get clocked by the line of cars preparing to turn into the drive behind them.

Wrong.

What’s a ten-year old boy on a bike – staring at a gaggle of geese in the roadway – going to do? Ride faster, and directly toward the flock! The flying rats scattered onto the grass like buckshot within seconds. By the time the cars entered the driveway? Geese and boys were well out of the roadway.

Note to my management: Perhaps the best geese-deterrent we could deploy next year would be to augment the workforce with some ten-year olds on bicycles. Listening to the sounds of happy, bike-riding commandos would beat the hell out of listening to “goose in distress” all day long…

* One of the most frustrating things about working, and being single, is that there is no one share the errands. Since many errands must be handled during the same business hours i’m expected to have my ass at work, lunch hour is prime time for knocking out a run to the bank, or a visit to the insurance agent…

** i’ve recently learned that my own young spawn rode his bike along the same stretch. Somehow, he managed not to get hit… by either me, or traffic.

Birthday Gift – Mystery Theme

My children did it again…  The Boy came home this week for a birthday celebration, as i turned 49* on Thursday.  They are prone to coming up with clever themed gifts.  This year was no exception – but they made me guess.

Clockwise, from the left:  A book (“Packing for Mars”), which was not part of the theme, but an actual gift.  Disco Party gift bag, covered with a pirate hat.  Criminal Profiling kit.  Four pack of Fin du Monde beer, one opened.  Five tic tacs, wrapped in plastic.  A party blower, on a chain.  A laundry bag, labeled “Soiled”.

It took me far longer to get this than it should have, as the pirate gear threw me off course, as did the name of the brewery that makes Fin du Monde (Unibroue – pronounced “unibrow”).

daisyfae:  What?  Making fun of my facial hair?  Really?  REALLY?

As you’ve probably guessed by now, the theme is “Date Rape”, bestowed upon me in honor of my recently earned status of “Roofie Survivor“.  The laundry bag is for wrecked clothing/evidence, the blower is a rape whistle (because they couldn’t find a slide whistle), and of course the detective kit is to help find the culprit.

i asked about the pirate hat.

The Boy:  It’s for prevention!  No one is going to try to date rape some idiot wearing a pirate hat!  The Girl disagreed, but I just thought it completed the gear.

After i slammed the opened beer — waste no Fin du Monde, it is yummy — we headed out for dinner.  Followed that up with a few rounds of billiards in the basement, and a whole lot of goofiness. 

Happy.  Very happy.

~~~~~~~~~

* More on the rest of my birthday when i have a bit more free time… it was delicious, but i’ve been slammed all week and it looks like more of the same this weekend…

Let’s Make A Deal

Anxious for respite from work-related headaches, i waited outside my office building for my friend, Studley, to pick me up for lunch.  As i watched him pull into the circular driveway in his sporty Mustang convertible, i noted the vintage red Porsche pull up behind him.  i also noted that driving the vintage red Porsche was my former, and deeply beloved, Division Chief.

Smiling at Studley, i waved him off.  Pointing to the bright red hunk of automotive deliciousness i said “See ya!  i’m trading up!”

DivChief:  You may want to reconsider that – I bet he’s got air conditioning.

It was 110 degrees outside, with nearly matching humidity.  i may be fickle, but i ain’t stoopid….

Wasn’t on my bucket list…

Among other things, i’m a well-characterized drunk.  My first drunk occurred when i was 13, and ever since, i’ve managed to hone my drinking behavior, based on an intuitive iterative process.

For example, i don’t drink tequila, as it makes me mean and i get in bar fights.  Sometimes while only partially clothed.  i also don’t like to drink too much wine, especially red, as it gives me a horrific headache, and just the worst kind of hangovers.  If i drink to extreme excess?  My body is highly efficient in clearing toxins, and i am prone to blowing chunks.

But last night?  Something was quite different…. 

Friday night, i attended a lovely party, kicking off Pride Week in our little burg.  Rooftop venue, complete with a fabulous drag show and Monte Carlo style gaming.  Since it was a fundraiser, we went for the VIP tickets, giving us swag bags and unlimited drinks!

It was a hoot!  Beautiful evening, overlooking the minor league baseball stadium.  View of the giant fountains launching water-fireworks from the river.  Engaging, eclectic crowd – maybe 200 people.  i wasn’t the designated driver, so i happily swilled white wine, as we played games, watched the entertainers, and horsed around with the crowd.

i got hammered.  Seriously hammered.  Vague recollection of some of the following when i woke up this morning.  Other details?  Provided by Studley McRocklegs during our Saturday morning bike ride.

– Walking a dominatrix from the party to a local club.

– Being verbally abused by a dominatrix as we walked hand-in-hand to a local club.

– Insisting it would be ok for me to take a leak on a tree in the middle of downtown as we walked back to the car.

– Taking a leak on a tree in the middle of downtown.

– Chasing down, and chatting up,  a spiky-haired lesbian at the party, because she told me i was a good dancer.

– Giving my phone number to a spiky-haired lesbian.

– Discussing body modification with a couple of young men.  Who decided to show me the mods to their penises. 

– Grabbing two modified penises with my fingers, and pretending they were swords, while yelling “Cock fight!”

– Getting home somewhere around midnight, being effectively carried to my bed by Studley – but not before asking my daughter “has the dog been out to pee?” about five times.

i suspect there’s more…

Waking up only at 4:00 am to take out my contacts, i returned to bed and continued to sleep soundly until 8:00 am.  Dreaming of zombies.  Studley had opened my bedroom windows to let fresh air in, and parked a trash can beside my bed in case i needed it.  My daughter had brought me a glass of water.

Somewhere around 9:00 am, my daughter poked her head in my room to check on me.

The Girl:  Hey!  i can’t believe you’re up already!  You must feel like hell – you were incredibly drunk last night.  You couldn’t even walk without help.

daisyfae:  Ummm…. i feel ok.  A little tired, and i can’t feel the tip of my tongue for some reason, but it’s not that bad.

Did my normal Saturday morning routine, walked the dog, checked Facebook – discovering two friend requests from lovely lesbians i’d met the night before.  One with a message saying “You are so much fun!  Great meeting you last night – even though we only talked briefly, it was one of the highlights of the party for me!” 

i couldn’t really remember talking with her.  Or her friend. 

i pinged Studley about our planned morning bike ride.  He was just as surprised that i was awake, not hurting, and planning to ride.

Did a 20-miler, and as we talked through the events from the night before, i realized there were at least 2-3 hours missing from my memory banks.  It wasn’t until we were on the final leg home that i asked him “What do you think the odds are that someone slipped something in my drink?”

Studley:  When I brought you home last night, I asked you if you thought someone had given you a Roofie.

daisyfae:  Guess what?  i don’t remember that…  You’ve seen me drunk.  This wasn’t typical, was it? 

Studley:  At one point?  I noticed that you seemed to get really drunk – your behavior changed sort of dramatically.  Then you went off chasing women…

daisyfae:  i should have been really hung over this morning.  But i wasn’t.  And i didn’t puke.

So there it is.  Baby’s first roofie.  No idea regarding the who or why – assuming that i most likely drank wine that belonged to someone else. 

While this wasn’t exactly something on my bucket list, i have learned a valuable lesson:  Rohypnol turns me into a lesbian predator.

Trends in weight loss

Tuesday night is “Pub Night” with a collection of my theater-connected friends.  Last night, the usual suspects were collected around a plank table in a sort of new place. Known for a fine beer collection and all-day breakfasts.

Studley:  Did you see that gal?  Amazing! 

daisyfae:  What?  Huh?

Recreational Blasphemy (RB):  The one that just grabbed a beer?  Wearing shorts?

Studley:  Yeah!  Prosthetic leg, and rockin’ the ‘short shorts’!  How cool is that?

daisyfae:  Wow – sorry i missed that…

Studley:  Just like her style, and that she puts it right out there!  One nice, slim thigh, and the mechanical leg that gets her walking.

daisyfae:  You know, this could be the start of a new wave of extreme weight loss measures… Wanna lose about 40 pounds in a hurry?  Chop the legs, and replace them with lean, mean titanium prosthetics!

RB:  I have the name for those, when they go commercial:  “Slimbs”

pic found in many places… but this was my first stop.