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Archive for April, 2012

I’m a mobile worker.  This is the fancy term my employer has created to mean, “We’re not going to give you a desk, but we’re trying to make that sound cool.”  Which, sometimes, is pretty cool.  There are enough buildings on the corporate “campus” to provide plenty of places to hide and work and spread out.  There are also enough meetings in other buildings to make it silly, on some days, to have a desk that I’d never sit at.  And then there are days when I have only a couple of meetings, and need a place to call my own.  I like the ritual of coming in, getting settled, pulling out my laptop, logging on, checking email, and sipping coffee.  It’s a good start to the workday.

Unfortunately, as a “mobile worker,” my morning ritual is subject to the cooperation of the other morning workers around me.  I like those who are quick with the light morning banter, but not too heavy handed with the Hallmark moments.  I like to reserve all-out zest for life for after 10am.  Given the grab-bag nature of my work environment, this is unfortunately unavoidable. I have come across a Merry Morning Sunshine that is a little too full of caffeine, of goodwill, of sympathetic anecdotes to fit anyone’s challenging day.  I might have to kick her soon, or maybe find a new place to sit.

Also unfortunately, there are many people like me.  As in, people who like their work environment “just so.”  People who like to, for instance, work in complete silence in a room full of meditating monks.  And hey, if that’s your thing, then just go for it.  But not in this highly mobile area with lots of plopping down, working for awhile, and packing it all up for the next meeting.  I combat such distractions with the help of an iPod.  I crank my ear buds loudly enough to drown out the chatter.  This apparently was a problem for my new neighbor the other day.  “I’m sorry,” she said, grimacing, “but can you TURN DOWN your headphones?  They are just SO LOUD.”  Um, not louder than your clickety-clack typing and dramatic sighs, you blonde prima donna.  “Oh, uh, yeah, sure.  I’m really sorry.”  I cranked up the music again, barely loud enough for me to hear.  After a few minutes, I made it a little louder.  She interrupted me a second time, “I mean, I can REALLY HEAR IT,” she said, like she was my mom, worrying about my ear drums.  I packed up my bags and went to find another work space where I could listen in peace. I would’ve waited for her in the parking lot to rumble, but I couldn’t find a spot there, either.

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There is an unfortunate dichotomy in life between “what we think it’s going to be like” and “what actually is.”  For instance:  when I was about seven, I asked Santa for a pottery wheel.  After making two “pinch pots” in kindergarten and first grade elementary school art class, I was pretty ready to graduate to a tool that would appreciate my, ahem, artistic ability.  From the tv commercials and the JC Penney’s Christmas catalog, it appeared that I’d be commissioning pieces for the MOMA in no time.  Unfortunately, Santa did not leave an item that would propel me to international acclaim.  He left me a lazy susan with a motor, powered by two AA batteries.  And I’m pretty sure Santa forgot to leave the batteries.  A few frustrated projects and a small bag of grayish, brick-like clay later, I think my mom quietly gave the whole thing to Goodwill.  Santa is a lying tool.  Take that to the bank.

Fastforward more than 30 years.   Adulthood is also NOT “as advertised.”  It is, well, frankly, more draining than expected, with less-cool clothes, and the purchase of something like a new kitchen appliance does nothing for my acne, wrinkles, and gray hair.  Nor does a box of L’Oreal Preference Creme.  My preference would be that the hair dye not smell like toxic death, last for more then 2 days, and not turn my gray hairs blonde in a sea of brunette-ness.  That would be my preference.

Much like fanciful ideas of adulthood were my fanciful ideas of marriage.  I met my husband in college, through our church, and we’ve been dating since before we could legally drink, if that tells you anything.  My misconceptions of marriage, like my misconceptions of adulthood and my misconceptions of Santa’s magic, were pretty far from the reality of my day-to-day.  Which is not to say that married life is a miserable disappointment; far from it.  It’s just that I imagined my role as “help-mate to my beloved” as a pretty far cry from the reality of “if you leave your dirty dishes in that just-emptied sink ONE MORE TIME….”

I’m pretty sure my husband didn’t think marriage would be like this either.  He probably envisioned a somewhat reasonable division of labor with a wife who was always trying to top him with her acts of devotion.  That wife came on the honeymoon but somehow never came back from that para-sailing adventure.  Just kidding.  We never went para-sailing.

Anyway, the reality of my domesticated skills are that I can clean like a Merry Maid and while my food preparation skills aren’t going to help me win an Iron Chef competition, I’m also a far cry from Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.  [However, if required, I could put together a table scape with little more than shoe boxes and a vintage table cloth.  Don’t think I couldn’t.].  I am also very quick to let you KNOW when I do things.  I’m not sure my husband was prepared for the amount of fawning he would need to do over my work to keep me satisfied.

Me: Look at THAT SINK!  Isn’t it CLEAN?!

Him: Yeah, um, it’s great.

Me:  NO.  Really LOOK at IT!!

Him:  I said it’s great.  I REALLY APPRECIATE it.

And then there was last night.

Me:  I’m MAKING LASAGNE.  Like REALLY MAKING it.

Him:  That’s great! {seriously excited because, um, hello, lasagne!}

Hours later, it’s past our bedtime and I’m just starting to assemble :

Me:  I MADE LASAGNE!!!!!

Him:  That’s great.

Me:  No, I mean, I like, MADE IT.  FROM SCRATCH.

Him:  I know.  I watched you.  I really appreciate it, Babe!

Me:  Like, tomorrow, for dinner, I am going to cook it and we are going to have HOME MADE LASAGNE!!

Him:  —

Rendered speechless by his love for me.  In it to win it with this one, I tell ya.  If only I made my own clay casserole dishes.

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