Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap day rant

What, like February wasn't six months long already? They had to add an extra day to the end of this hideous month? Sheesh.

At least it's Friday, and this putrid month is coming to a close. Between the weather, my yahoo cow-orker with the pigpen voice (yes, I deliberately set the hyphen there), and my ass spreading like hardened wax in my office chair, I'm thoroughly done with this section of the year. I move that February 2008 be stricken from the record.

Did I mention our deep love for the art of obfuscation and inefficiency here at Large Co.? Hm. Well, to cheer me up while I'm listening to the barnyard over in the next cubicle, I'll give you a little illustration of a rant I sent to my dahling sister (who also works for Large Co.) on the art of making a three-sentence change into a three-ring circus, hoops included.

I edit documents. Simple, eh? Take some words out, add new ones, adjust the punctuation, etc. Done. Easy enough for monkeys. The byzantine process starts when we get into the Review, Approval, and Print process, and that is where all common sense is abandoned and the players in the approval process go into full Rube Goldberg mode.

Here's one of the "reference job aids" for the process of approving the changes in a document:

"...the first T in the word 'the' MUST be capitalized, with a 0.25-pt line above the paragraph but only on the first page. Task 2: change the version number (unless it is a number ending in zero, in which case you must call the janitor on the fifth floor so he can assign a new number for metric tracking purposes), then be sure to initial and date the last page in black ink (but only on Fridays) make two copies (one in color and one in black and white) stamp the first page with the T stamp, sign it, then send a signed copy to PPD in the green zippered bag with pink bubble wrap, while hanging the original from the flagpole by the front door of Building 87 until 'notification only' reviewers have approved it by spitting a watermelon seed next to their name and title. Once that has been completed, create three folders on the LAN: one for Epluribus UNUM, one for the electronic version that will be translated into XML (which MUST be named XPL_2), and one named HISTORICAL for the retirement committee who will be responsible for printing the final copies and burning them in Large Co's Official Recycling Fire Pit."

You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? Well I'm NOT. Not much, anyway. And this is a gi-normous Fortune 500 company that makes some important shit!

Once, in a meeting, I asked a question about why we follow these overcomplicated processes, and everyone burst out laughing as if I'd started popping out armpit farts. I suppose if the process were simpler, somebody loses their job. And as H.L. Mencken said, "Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cubicle RANT!!!!!!!!

I am losing my mind. I am going to freak out. I have visions of leaping over my particleboard wall here at Large Co. and strangling the woman who sits in the cube next to me because she is SATAN in acid-washed jeans.

She munches pretzels all day long. She talks on the phone with the worst gol-durn Hoosier slack-jawed accent that I am ready to scream for earwigs to crawl into my head and sever my auditory canals. Here is a typical phone call based on one of her six jobs as assistant coach of junior-4H rural volleyball, level one (during which time, may I snottily point out, she is NOT working at her actual job):

"Ah mean for the love a Pete. I ain't doin' it. I ain't. I tole her two times awready. And she don't wanna mess with me, I mean ta tell ya, hunh hunh hunh. She got them girls out there and they ain't allowed to set with y'all? (to her worker buddy) Hey sister! Ya wanna go down t' the deli and get me some sweet tea? I got to have mah sweet tea, Mickey D's, every mornin', 99 cent. I mean that ain't bad and it's goooood sweet tea, too, anyway, I git over thar and (to the caller) -- WHAT'N THE HELL D'I TELL YA? THEY WAS OVAIR on the bench and they wouldn't let 'em sell their dang sodas. Ah mean ah run the concession stand too and we ain't makin' no dang money on it, neither..."

A month ago I was privileged to listen to a full-on description, at Wagnerian volume, of her breast-reduction surgery. "Ah mean ah come home and my 17-year-old said Goldang, Ma, you look like a dang teenager! Hunh hunh hunh, aw no, my husband don't care, he ain't gonna touch 'em fer awhile anyway, see these scars run all up 'n down mah underneath part but Ah tell ya I'm in suh much pain Ah can hardly set up....Ah ain't eatin' onions on that sandwich again, Ah'm tellin' ya I had so dang much gas Ah had belly cramps all night and a course Ah cain't sleep on my stomach cause mah breasts are still so sore -- see where they cut around mah nipple the nerves is comin' back and Ah git the tingles so bad, I mean for the love a Pete...."

The entire surrounding cubicle dwellers now know more than we EVER wanted to know about the particulars of breast-reduction surgery, including the types of stitches used, the number of incisions, the lengths of the scars and how they accidentally left a piece of dissolvable catgut under her left armpit and the minimum number of pounds typically taken off your tits if you want insurance to pay for it.

When she's not talking she's chewing. Like a fucking cow on its third cud. She talks with her mouth full. She burps out loud, slurps her dang sweet tea, groans when she gets up, and all but scratches her balls while she rips open another bag of Girl Scout cookies. The only time she doesn't chew, talk, burp, or root around for more chips is when she's "working" and she turns up her iPod to blasting volume to listen to the same fucking country song I first heard her play TEN MONTHS AGO JESUS HELP MEEEEEEEEEE.........

Am I completely off base here? Is the world now entirely populated with ball-scratching, cud-chewing goldurn office workers, like some Hee-Haw version of Dilbert?

I get the impression that she thinks I'm some sort of icy snob, because I don't join in the fun and talk about my eating habits, my preference in soft drinks, or my most recent gynecological exam. I also don't coach anything (unless it's how to look fabulous in stilettos, which is a skill I think every woman should have instead of how to change the propane in your heating system in your acid-washed jeans and Wal-Mart polyester fleece!) Ahem.

Whew. I brought my iPod today, and I think we're just gonna have a face-off. Pavarotti at ten paces.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things I like

I'm going to treat myself to some things I like. Hardly any of them are expensive, but I'm such a masochist that I routinely deny myself little things that would help me get out of this suck-ass gray mood. Which has gotta better for those around me -- this foul gray miasma is seriously ruining my diva-osity. And as we all know, it's the little things that matter. Go get some for yourself too.

Scented candles

Fresh flowers

Brach's Sour Cherry Jels (they only have them around Valentine's day)


A new nail polish

Sex with George Clooney (OK not really, because although I adore George Clooney both for his gorgeous looks and liberal politics, I would NOT have sex with him because he might not be any good, which would ruin my image of him and I'd never enjoy his movies again, and let's face it, sex should be a good experience for all and not just the guy half. This diva don't fake it.)

New shoes

Yes. Shoes. I have not bought or even gone shopping for new shoes in Four. Months. Is it any wonder that I have brain matter leaking out my left eyeball and that my last memory of being entertained was when I cleaned the fuzz out of my navel?

Must look at shoes. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Note to self: this too shall pass

A friend of mine used to say that to me when I would be absolutely bonkers over the daily crapfest of life. I need to remember that life with teenagers will change some day; that they will probably grow up without becoming hateful, selfish CEOs of sweatshop farms who live to hack the beaks off chickens; that they might actually like to be around their parents (or step-parents, as the case may be) someday; and that I am not a complete and total failure as a mother because I didn't realize that Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors are so vastly superior to pathetic Converse One-Stars sold at Target that I might as well have suggested to my son that he shave off his eyebrows and wear a dress to school while singing "Un bel di" in its native Italian so he could be a bigger dork.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I am forfeiting my Word Nerd membership

Sweet baby Jesus in a dinghy. It's not even Chaucer that said it. It was T.S. Eliot in The Waste Land. Maybe I should reread it; seems like a good month for it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chaucer was wrong

April is not the cruellest month. February is. We're only ankle-deep into February, and I'm about ready to throttle the life out of it but I don't have the energy to do it.

I am bloated, tired, and fighting the second cold I've had in a month. I am pasty gray and I am wearing nothing but black and gray clothing, and my undereye circles are so round, so gray, so puffy that they could be mistaken for small mice that are hanging onto my face by their tiny teeth. The operative word here is Gray. It is foggy out today, and later it will rain, and my hair will frizz, and the world around me will explode in a snotty mass of Grayness.

And we have at least another month or two of this shitfest.