Momma don’t wanna go to the big house

Monday morning.  The weekly staff meeting starts at 0830.  All of the mid-level managers, and associated tech advisers, shuffle to the conference room.  Division Chief, or his Deputy, preside over the meeting with the communal goal to get out of there within 30 minutes.  If everyone is in town, it’s maybe 15 people.  We usually make it out of there within 30 minutes, unless there’s a lot going on – no one wastes much bandwidth.   
This morning, especially light attendance.  Peak vacation time means that the taskings and droppings from above are at a lull.  Of the 8 of us in the room, we were still slurping coffee, scratching and adjusting ourselves as the DivChief got things started.  Nothing heavy.  Summer organizational picnic is coming up.  Be sure to get your guys through the latest required training.  Light and fluffy.
These meetings conclude with a rapid fire “Around the Room”, where each of us have a chance to report anything that might be of interest.  Today?  The energy vibe was low and mellow, so there were grunts, head shakes, and a couple of short and sweet items.  We were in a low-frequency vibrational mode groove, for sure…. Humming right along… 
When it got to me, i had a short informational update.
daisyfae:  Boss and i are hosting a gathering for our summer interns – informal discussion of various student programs and whatnot.  It’ll be a ‘beer’ event, and we’d be happy to expand it to your students as well.  Will ship a quick note out when we lock down a date.
Tom:  Better check their IDs.  Can’t let any underage students sneak a beer on our watch!
  Yep.  Jail is bad.
Greg:  Not all jail is bad… You could get something cushy, maybe a minimal security prison in a sunny location.
daisyfae:  True.  Three square meals a day, guaranteed hour of exercise, lights out at 10pm, library pass…  that’d be cool.  It’s just that roommate issue…
DivChief:  Hey, you could end up with Martha Stewart!
daisyfae [instant transformation from ‘mellow’ to ‘stabby’]:  Not happenin’.  i’m not knitting any stinkin’ ponchos for Martha Stewart!  i’d be likely to bust a shiv into her, screaming “IT’S NOT A GOOD THING!  I DON’T DO CUTE, DAMN IT!”
momentary silence in the conference room
DivChief [looking at Tom to my left]:  Tom?  Anything?

Image sourced here

How To Get Fired, Part 9


On the drive back from Cornhole, TN yesterday, i had an opportunity to share office gossip compare notes with MP, the one colleague* also conscripted for this particular business trip that i was willing to allow in the rental car with me – which i’d rented solely to avoid the Van Full O’Dorks**. 


Racing from the meeting at 4:00 pm, our mission was to cover the 300-ish miles in the shortest amount of time possible – and being slightly competitive, i wanted to be the first of the four returning vehicles to make it back.  We left our meeting site a few minutes after the “Executive Car”, driven by The Director, and carrying The Chief Scientist, and P, the Executive Fart-catcher and idiot-boy responsible for trip logistics.  Doing over 80 mph in my rental car*** i expected to pass the Executive Car after the first hour, but we didn’t see them.


MP decides to send a text to P – asking their location so we could determine how close we were…  The response told us that they were at least 30 miles behind us!  Not only was i driving faster, but i’d taken a more efficient route back to the highway, and we’d been ahead of them from the outset.


Rather than leave it there, MP sends a note to P – “Then that was your car back at the Adult World Sex Superstore” a few miles back…  What did you buy?”****




* She’s normal – just like i am.  Yeah, and “normal” as in “twisted, dark, and real”… single Mom, tons of fun.  Works hard, has a life outside the office, and likes beer and trash talk as much as I do.


** Generally very nice people.  Kind, thoughtful people.  People who would not be comfortable with my “highway language”, which includes gems such as “Get out of the left lane, you dyslexic motherfucker!” and “Jesus Rock Climbing Christ, where did you learn to drive?” 

*** Cheapest available make/model? An Oscar Meyer Wiener-mobile (aka – “Chevy Aveo”).  Tiny, cheap and shaky above 70 mph.  Top speed tested?  90 mph on the downside of a mountain.  Thought the doors were going to blow off…

 **** Regarding the “getting fired part” – we found out today that P had been reading our messages out loud to The Director and The Chief Scientist.  We also found out today that at least the Chief Scientist found it hysterically funny…

When Geese Go Bad…

A good friend, former boss, and coincidently, fellow trailer park refugee is now chief of operations for my organization. This spring, he has had to deal with a most ridiculous situation… Captured below, for your reading pleasure, are his words as he battles feathered foe, marginally functional tree-hugging co-workers, and armed militiamen on the organizational payroll…

Continue reading

Let’s talk about failure

Not always at the top of the conversation list, it’s something that happens to all of us. This week, i stumbled and fell – a little unexpectedly – and my reaction was also a bit unexpected.

i am required to complete a 13 month professional development course. It has been required for several years, but most of us played the waiting game – hoping the requirement would vaporize with changes in the front office. But alas, we could wait no longer as strong arm tactics were deployed. Small children would be maimed, puppies would be stomped and (shudder) blackberries demolished if we failed to comply.

Continue reading

Geeks in their natural habitat

Meetings this week were enjoyable – i was learning new things, the overviews were fascinating, and i was stunned at how far the state-of-the-art has advanced while i wasn’t paying attention during my time in management*.  But as the meeting progressed, we drilled in deeper on theory – and the flaming geek-behaviors began to surface.  A few key observations…

Blinded by the light:  Geeks love laser pointers.  The brighter, the better.  The more exotic the color?  Major geek chubb!  Blue ones are currently all the rage, inspiring techno-lust and admiration.  There was a green one in the room with sufficient reflected power to produce temporary retinal burn.  As well as pointer envy.



Is it ever ok?  For an adult male to part his hair in the middle?  Shortish, red hair.  Straight.  Unstyled, and most likely, unwashed.  Doesn’t work…  Unless you happen to be a Thin White Duke (sigh)…



Vintage or Creepy?  The maroon polyester sport jacket was not attractive.  If it had been worn by a young, thrift-store shopping hipster, it would still be unattractive.  Especially when paired with a mint green dress shirt and a navy print tie.  And Hush Puppies, with white socks.  No wedding ring on this one.  Is it any wonder?



Acronyms Can Have Multiple Meanings:  One man’s “Schottky Barrier Diode” is an immature woman’s “Silent But Deadly”.  i did not audibly snort when the passionate argument over the relative merits of SBDs raged among the experimentalists.



Geeks Are Funny**:  Sometimes, they get it right…  As part of the safety board on a lab tour, this was buried amid the dry, boring and legally required stuff:



Probably should have put this warning on the door of the conference room, given the “laser pointer directed energy warfare” underway…


* i was detained in a supervisory position a few years back.  A “detail”, which was promised to last only 6 months, stretched into 27 months… Fighting fire with fire, i accepted a “detail” in another organization, which forced my home organization to fill the old job.  In the end, i was working in different realms for almost 3 years before i got my feet back on familiar turf.  Tech shit moves fast… i continue to be blown away as i revisit my old stomping grounds.

** Not just the way they dress, smell, eat, walk, talk, dance, touch themselves inappropriately in public, crunch ice loudly while having a conversation or interact in any other way with their fellow humans…

Fear of flying

I am not a white knuckle flier – in fact, i enjoy it!  Whether it’s in a small plane, buzzing corn mazes in the autumn or in a jet-powered thermos tube traveling at ridiculous speeds from 6 miles up, i always have a “Hey, wow!  I’m flying!” moment along the way.

Not being a pilot (yet), i don’t know intricacies of modern flight, but i know enough not to worry.  Whether it’s my awareness of non-destructive evaluation, flight-line maintenance, “design for redundancy” or a basic understanding of air traffic control procedures, i am generally not nervous on an airplane.  It’s a chance to read, listen to tunes and nap while defying gravity.

Logically, i know statistically that my chances of dying in a plane crash are much lower than dying in the car on the way to the airport.

Despite this knowledge, i have one pre-flight ritual that i simply can’t shake.  i’ve been doing this for over a decade.  Whenever i’m headed to an airport i make sure that my bra and panties match exactly.  Not just ‘blue and blue’, or ‘leather and leather’ but the exact make, model and color from the manufacturer.

If my parts need reassembly after an air disaster, it might be helpful if Top A matches Bottom B…




And with that, i’m off on another business trip… Surf’s up!

Color me important…

Today included a mad dash of preparation for the preparatory meeting for the cosmic Alignment of Executives, scheduled to take place next week.

In the midst of preparations, a friend* sent an e-mail with a link to the Executive Coloring Book.

i’ve decided to use this image in my “read-ahead” materials, to be sent early next week.  We’ll learn once and for all if our Executive Directors read the material we send in advance…


THIS IS ME!  I am an executive.  Executives are important.  They go to important offices and do important things.  Color my underwear important.


* Life’s Eclectic Wanderer, who also knows my habit of surfing the web on my blackberry when i’m tapped for ideas during meetings and brainstorming sessions…

Totally boss…

My boss is great – functional, perceptive, ethical and smart.  Most remarkably, he also has a great sense of humor*.  On the job for just over a year, he has started to figure out what that unpredictable hippy-chick on his staff actually does.  So far, i have apparently passed his initial ROI “pain vs performance” assessment, and i have not been sacked**.

But has he learned to read between the lines?

Boss:  The Director has asked for a Status Update on the Collaboration Workshop.  Have you been able to schedule a meeting with him?  Including the Equivalent Director Across the Street?

daisyfae:  The Equivalent Director has been elusive.  My colleague Across the Street has had great difficulty scheduling meetings.  We’re working it…

Translation:  i haven’t done shit with this since it happened – when the fuck did we do this?  October?  November?  Not only that, but i’ve completely forgotten why we did it in the first place, and suspect that if i spend a few hours rooting around in my e-mail graveyard i can resurrect some message traffic that will provide a necessary clue… without having to ask you to send me something from last year, thus revealing the magnitude of my ineptitude.

Needless to say, my colleagues Across the Street got the call today to provide a “Pre-‘Status Update’ Update” for the Equivalent Director, to bring him up to speed for a meeting that is resting comfortably on two executive calendars for a lunch hour next week. 

Stereo Rectal Extractions In Progress…


* To understand someone, one of the first things i do is figure out what makes him laugh.  The boss passed this test with flying colors – covering the full spectrum from stupid potty humor to toss-off comments requiring intellect and agility to comprehend.  While he doesn’t directly make fun of members of our geek brigade, he has been known to stifle a snort should he overhear a “freak bashing” tirade.

** In any large organization, it can be difficult to fire someone.  Having done time as a supervisor, i am intimately familiar with the process.  It is difficult, can take years, and sucks for all involved.  As part of my professional therapy, i have often explored behaviors and scenarios which would get me fired on the spot.  Screwing a goat by the communal coffee pot?  Not on the list.  i’d simply be sent to counseling.  Probably with the goat….

Parental paybacks…

The Boy and The Girl came to town today to join me at an awards ceremony.   Patient and graceful, they sat through an interminable presentation, which followed a soul-crushing splendid dinner of rubberized chicken and partially thawed green beans, on a bed of Uncle Ben’s Instant wild rice, smothered in completely unrecognizable white sauce. 

They endured the evening, surrounded by about 100 local nerds, their doting wives and a few scattered children, as eight engineers and scientists were honored for geek-tastic achievement.  Presentations mired in scientific minutiae, photos of smiling families on vacation and proud pictures of honorees with grandchildren… oh, and in some cases, every other word was an unintelligible acronym*.

They made the best of it.  The Girl was happy to slug back the house wine while admiring the high style of the attendees**.  The Boy discreetly escaped for a couple smoke breaks to disrupt the drudgery.  The event started early (5:30) in order to finish in time for the overwhelmingly geriatric crowd to be home and in bed before the 10:00 pm news. 

The Boy planned to find a bored spouse and entice her to get him hammered with “Evening, Ma’am.  I’m sure you’d like to buy me a beverage at the bar.  Funny, but i seem to have forgotten my ID…”.  It wasn’t necessary – the guilt overpowered me, and i smuggled a few beers back to our table to help him pass the time and further numb his senses.

Why did they do it?  Why did i ask them to to?  That horrifying moment during the presentation when there is acknowledgement of the loving wife.  Posing for photographs after the event, the supportive and beaming spouse there beside her humble, appreciative man… The only woman in this batch***, it was awkward enough not having a wife, let alone a husband. 

All of those soccer games, school recitals and fund-raising events i attended all those years?  Time to call it in…

Until i teach the fucking dog to wear a tux and hang a medal around my neck, they are going to have to suck this shit up.  I’ll keep buying the booze…


* Guilty.  Mine was probably the worst… 

** Hiking boots with a suit.  Sweet….

*** To pass the time, i counted.  only 10 testosterone-deficient recipients among the 400+ going back to 1971.  She-it…  Still a man’s world…


During the workday, i’m mostly on the move through a large building complex, spending much of my day on roving patrol, going from meeting to meeting.  i don’t carry a briefcase, and often won’t even have a pad of paper for notes, instead jotting memos directly into my blackberry to provide an electronic reminder of promises made…

On days when i’m not wearing slacks, or a blazer, i find myself without pockets.  Today was such a day… With back to back meetings being held at opposite ends of the complex – perhaps a half mile apart – i had strategically planned to stop at the cafeteria to snag a quick lunch en route.

Without pockets, or a notebook, i stuffed a twenty dollar bill into the most convenient carrying place a woman has in such a circumstance – my bra.  This is not unusual for me, as i have another odd habit -carrying my cell phone in my bra.*  When traveling, hotel room keys, discussion notes, rental car keys and other assorted shrapnel will end up there as well.**

Wearing a wrap dress, with moderate cleavage, i knew i could discretely retrieve the cash on my way to grab lunch.  Arriving a few minutes late for my earlier meeting, i snuck into the back of the room, gathering situational awareness before diving into the business at hand. 

As i joined the festivities, i couldn’t help but notice the gentleman to my left checking me out from time to time.  Since he was of the “non-troll” variety of male***, this was mildly flattering, and sort of picked me up, after the day got off to a bumpy start.

Of course, you guessed it… not only was the twenty sticking out of the right side of my bra, but my phone was clearly visible through the thin fabric on the left side.   i didn’t notice until i went to retrieve the cash as i turned the corner into the lunch room. 

Gives a whole new meaning to “dressing professionally”…

** sort of like a chipmunk.  with breasts…



* yes, set on “vibrate”.  some days, i’d like to set it on “stun”. 


*** truly a rare animal in my workplace.  we are like a breeding zoo for nerds, dweebs and gentlemen who live in Mommy’s basement until they are 40 years old.