Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's okay if you don't like coffee, really. Just don't volunteer to make the coffee.

I opened my draft posts file recently and saw the above title.  No text, just the title.  I wrote the title three years ago, but I'm guessing I know who the post referred to. I have a co-worker (a few co-workers, actually) who insists on using a measly three scoops -- three scoops! -- for an entire pot of coffee.  That is coffee-flavored water, not coffee.  How do people stand drinking it?

Doesn't matter. I bought my own mini coffee pot for the office so I don't have to drink the excuse-for-coffee they make at work. I try not to let it bother me, but I have to admit that sometimes it still does. I think what bothers me about it is that they won't admit they like really weak coffee. They think I like really strong coffee. And I do like strong coffee, but I also like regular, non-extra-potent coffee.  I like coffee. They like flavored water. Why are they too embarrassed to admit it?

Other People's Incidents

I thought I'd had a rough end of the year (on a #FirstWorldProblems level). The day after Thanksgiving, I came down with a stomach bug and was sick for a few days.  A week or two later, I caught a cold that lingered and lingered and lingered on past Christmas. Then in mid-December, I injured one of my toes pretty badly and spent the next week limping.  *And* then my car had to go into the shop for some minor repairs.

I felt a wee bit sorry for myself.

But then I realized what had been happening to other people I knew.  Impatientchicken caught the same post-Thanksgiving stomach bug, then got strep throat right before Christmas...followed by my cold. And she's got a heavy workload at the office right now, so no time off for taking it easy. Another friend injured his foot, but he injured it badly enough to need to see an orthopedic doctor. And his car just got a flat tire.

So I suppose things could be worse, but I'm still going to complain about having to work on Martin Luther King, Jr Day and President's Day when most of our organization has the day off. After all, I don't have anything more interesting to talk about.

How about you?

In other news...I've killed another rosemary plant. That's the second one since early December. I don't know what I'm doing wrong! Any ideas?  It gets brown on one side--well, I guess, it's dead on that side. Then the brownness/death spreads to the other side until it's all dead. Helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Incident Report, 7-25-2014 AND Fat Tuesday

1. The check engine light is on in my car.  Again.
2. Left my snacks at home.  For a person with multiple food allergies, this is a problem. There is nothing sold within a 2 mile radius of my office that I can eat.
3.  Was late for work.
4.  Felt ill all day.
5.  My cat has fleas, and now I'm afraid I might have them, too.

Today is Tuesday.  To be more precise, it is Fat Tuesday.  Fat Tuesday is a new ImpatientBee-specific holiday I've created to help keep myself happier during weekly department head meetings I must attend.  

Each week, I can count on at least two (and usually all five) of the following things happening:
1) At least one of my co-workers will make a joke criticizing my political beliefs,which will lead to a discussion among 3 or 4 of those present about how terrible those beliefs are. I have not told my co-workers that I hold the beliefs they're mocking, because doing so would only lead them to make fun of me, too, right to my face...and then expect me to laugh and be good-humored about it.
2) At least one of my co-workers will make a joke criticizing a politician I support, which will lead to a discussion among 3 or 4 of those present about how terrible that politician is.
3) At least one of my co-workers will call me a communist because I'm an environmentalist or tell me I'm obstructing business development in our community because I did my job and enforced the rules we have in place about land development.
4) Several of my co-workers will spend at least 10 minutes talking about a topic not remotely related to our meeting or our jobs.
5) At least one of my co-workers will make a non-political joke that falls somewhere between between obnoxious and outright offensive on the scale of jokes that are meant to be funny but aren't. 

And each week, the staff meeting that should take 20-30 minutes stretches into an hour and a half, minimum.  Often, I will chime in to say something about getting back to the agenda, or rebutting one of the comments made, and now I've earned a reputation for having a quick temper and, probably, for having absolutely no sense of humor.  This kind of image does not help one's professional reputation, so I've come up with a system to help me get through these meetings without saying a word unless directly spoken to.  That system is Fat Tuesday.

If I can make it through the entire meeting without losing my temper, if I can keep my trap shut when those annoying comments are flying around the room, then after the meeting, I get a treat.  Today was the first Fat Tuesday, so to help me kick it off, I took part of a candy bar into the meeting, broken into little pieces.  After the first obnoxious comment was aired, I focused my attention on the candy bar. Eyes on the prize. After the second one, I had a little bite of chocolate.  And then, after another comment, another little bite.  Suddenly, the comments didn't seem so obnoxious after all! 

I think this is going to work, y'all.  At least until I run out of treats.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's Been Going on in My Life Lately

1.  Salaries and Responsibilities.  At work, we have done a bit of reorganizing, and the person who used to be my supervisor now has another person between him and the Person at the Top, so he has (in theory) moved down a notch on the org chart, although most of his responsibilities have remained the same, he has the same title, and he has the same salary.  I now report directly to the Person at the Top, so I have (in theory) moved up a notch on the org chart, and I now have a nifty new title and (thanks to a move down the hall) a bigger office.  What I do not have, however, is a larger salary.  I make about 50% less than my former supervisor but, on a typical week, work about 50% more.  Well, maybe not 50% more lately. He seems to be working harder these days.  But in the past couple of years, the feeling of unfairness that he works a lot less but makes a lot more money has grown and grown in me, and recently I broke down and talked to the Person at the Top about it.  He seemed to understand my position and thought it was a bit unfair himself, but due to the budget situation (which is not dire but leaves absolutely no room for anything that isn't necessary), there wasn't room to give me a raise.  What came out of the meeting was that we would start having twice monthly project review meetings, which should make parts of my job easier (since I can get input from different departments in a meeting they have to attend instead of harassing them on a regular basis until they finally agree to tell me what I need to know for a particular project to go forward).  He also arranged it so that I would chair the committee, which gives me a certain amount of additional authority, but also means more work.  And then today, the Person at the Top told me that starting in October, I would start supervising someone who now reports to my former supervisor.  So I will have additional responsibilities that will help me grow as a professional (which I appreciate) but will also take up more of my time, for which I will still receive no raise.  Dang it.

2.  Serving on Non-Profit Boards.  I'm on the board of our local historical society.  We're a small organization and just recently got started, so on the one hand, being on the board doesn't take up much time.  But on the other hand, because we just recently got started, there's so much that needs to be done, set up, decided upon.  Board terms are up in October, and I was so happy, thinking, 'Hurray, I don't have to have an officer position anymore! I can help out in a less responsibility-laden way, and it will be fun.' And then at our board meeting last week, since no one had expressed interest in being chair next time, they nominated me.  Daaaaaang iiiiiit.

3. The Benefit of a Bad Memory.  At work today, I received an email from JLR with links to pants I liked that were on sale.  Score!  I made a mental note to see if the pants were still available when I got home from work, and then, realizing a mental note for me is next to useless, I forwarded JLR's email to my personal email account, hoping the message would serve as a reminder to check on the pants this evening.  This evening, when I checked my email, I saw a message from myself with the subject heading 'Fwd: Pants," and I thought, 'Well, that sounds interesting; I wonder what it's about!' And so you see, having a bad memory can make the little things in life seem so much more exciting.

4.  Email Calendars.  Three years ago, I worked on a project that involved coordinating meetings with several grad students who did not have job-based email calendars or similar set-ups that would allow us to send meeting requests to each other.  So we all set it up through the school email system, since they attended the same grad school I had attended, and I still had an active school email account.  To help us determine when to meet, the student managing the project set up notes in the calendar of when I had regularly scheduled meetings.  So we would get notices saying, 'so-and-so NOT available on September 23,' etc.  It was quite handy at the time, but unfortunately, after the project was over, the notices kept coming.  I've made several attempts to turn off the notification system, but I cannot figure it out.  So every month or so, I get another message telling me I am NOT available because I have a regularly scheduled meeting that I already know to factor into my schedule planning because it is a regularly scheduled meeting, and I have had the same dadgum meetings twice a month for four years, so I know not to schedule anything else for that time.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Incident Report, 7-5-2013

I work for a city, and from time to time, I am charged with researching and writing tidbits of the city's history, since I am the person on staff known to have worked for a historical organization in the past, to maintain an interest in history, to have the research abilities to ensure that whatever I write is actually true, and to have the writing skills to put together something vaguely understandable.  Also, I am fairly low down on the org chart.

So last Friday, I went to the big neighboring city downtown to visit the county archives to do some research on the history of the city. I don't have any history assignments at the moment, but I wanted to see what was available in case something crops up in the future.  On my way to the archives, I mixed up which exit to take (despite having driven this same way to get to downtown many, many, many times before) and found myself on a different freeway instead of on the surface street I was expecting to see.  I'd left in plenty of time to drive there, even with a mix-up like this, but I was worried about the Parking Situation.  Plenty of spaces in the garage = on time!  Limit spaces available = lots of circling = late. And late will not make a good impression on the archivist.  As I exited the Wrong Freeway and circled back to go in the other direction, I may, dear readers, I may have said a bad word.  You weren't there, so you can't prove it, but I can't tell you it didn't happen.

I needn't have worried though.  It was the Friday after a holiday, and the usual crowd in the garage had decided to stay home.  Lots of parking spaces!  (Or, as an economic development expert I know would say, there were "plenty of parks."  If you catch me referring to parking spaces as "parks," remind me that I asked you to tell me not to use that word except to refer to places of outdoor recreation and respite.)

Now, I had called a few weeks before to let the archivist know I would be popping in for a visit and had even emailed her a list of the items I wanted to see.  But when I arrived, she had no record of my appointment.  In fact, she didn't seem to have any recollection of me or my phone call to her.  It was Awkward.  But fortunately, she was nice and immediately started digging around for the first item on my list.  And as it turns out, she couldn't find it.

"That's the first time this has happened," she said.  I said, "Oh, really?" but thought to myself, 'Of course,'  since it is common for me to be a source of something going wrong with someone else.  "That's okay, I said.  Could I see these maps instead?" and handed her a list.  No, my friends, I could not see the other maps instead.  Though listed on this archive's finding aids on this archive's website, the maps were held in another building by another county agency.  But not to worry, she'd call over there and let them know I was coming.  I heard her call the agency, but I don't know who she spoke to, because when I arrived at that agency, the person who was supposed to help me was not expecting me and had no idea who I was or why I was there.  Fortunately, he was nice, and immediately starting digging around for the first map on my list.  But he couldn't find it.  Then he searched for the second item on my list and couldn't find it, either.  As it turns out, the finding aid posted online hadn't been updated in years, or maybe it's that the map files themselves haven't been checked to see if the maps or there, but for whatever reason, there was no telling how long it was going to take him to find the maps.  Considering how things were going that morning, I thought it best not to wait for the situation to improve.  The situation would *not* improve, of this I was certain.  I gave him my card, told him to call me if he ever found the maps, and left.

As I drove to the office, I couldn't find my coffee cup and became convinced I had driven away from downtown with the cup on top of my car.  When I arrived at the office, though, I found it safely nestled inside a shopping bag.  So that was one thing that went right.

And that was my day.  Mishaps in archives followed by coffee cup dismay followed by stomach ache.  How was your day-after-July 4th?

Monday, June 17, 2013

And then there was March

Remember when I had the flu in...when was it, January? February?  Well, in March, I came down with something that felt like the flu, again.  After a few days of feeling sick, and feeling worse every day, I went to my primary care doctor.  The sign on the door said, "Let the staff know if you have flu-like symptoms: cough, fever, aching, sore throat."  Check, check, check, check.

Although I felt silly doing it, I told the front desk about my symptoms, and she gave me a look like she couldn't believe I was wasting her time and then handed me a mask.  And when I saw the doctor and told him my symptoms, he seemed to think it was just a cold and not worth worrying about.  I said, "Okay, well, just to be on the safe side, since I felt just the same way when I had the flu, are there any signs I should look out for in case it turns into the flu?"  He seemed as though he was trying not to laugh at me, this stupid overly-worried patient, and assured me it wasn't the flu.

The next day, I felt even worse.  JLR talked me into going to a clinic.  The doc there thought it might be the flu after all and gave me a flu test.  The result was negative, but since I had been sick for several days, it might show a negative result even if I had the flu. She told me to stay home from work until my fever went away.  It certainly was nice to have a member of the medical profession seem concerned about my well-being and not blow me off.

Two days later, I felt even worse and was coughing up a storm.  JLR talked me into going to yet another clinic, and this time, I got the right diagnosis. As it turns out, I had walking pneumonia.  Only took a week to figure it out.

And that's about the most exciting thing that's happened to me since the last time I posted anything.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Great Backyard Bird Count

Isn't this little bird cute?!?  Tufted Titmouse, photo by Laura Perlick of the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Howdy!  It's time for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count!  Actually, it's been time for the GBBC since Friday, but I'm a bit behind in posting.

What is the GBBC, you ask?

Good question.  Here's the answer from the GBBC website.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.
Beginning in 2013, GBBC checklists will be accepted from anywhere in the world!
Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. 
Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.

 This event can be enjoyable even for folks who aren't good at birding.  Trust me; I'm terrible at bird-watching, or rather, at bird-identifying.  But last year I did the GBBC with my mom at a big park, and we spent half of it sitting on a bench chatting (read: scaring away birds).  It gave us a chance to spend time together with just the two of us, something we don't often have a chance to do, and it gave us a sense of accomplishment, too.  We contributed to science!

So even if you're not much of a birder, but you're vaguely interested in finding out what birds live in your neighborhood, give the GBBC a try.  You don't even have to leave your house to do it!

And if you're in the United States or Canada, and you don't know how to start figuring out what birds you're seeing, GBBC provides a checklist of birds commonly found in your area.

So get and there and go birding!  (or stay inside and bird from your window)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

It Wasn't a Sinus Infection

Do you remember recently when JLR said she was sick, and we thought it was a cold?  It wasn't a cold after all, as it turns out.  As it turns out, it was the flu.  Neither of us expected to catch the flu, since we both had flu shots this year, and yet it was the flu for both of us.  I don't why she had to get it, but as for me, well, I guess that will teach me not to eat directly out of the peanut butter jar, especially if someone else (in this case, a flu-carrying JLR) is also eating directly out of the peanut butter jar.  Oh, wait.  Did that again today.  Dang it.  When will I learn?  I hope she hasn't been hanging out with sick people again.

Anyhow, we should have known it was the flu.  I have never in my life felt that bad in a "caught a cold" sort of way.  In a vomitty way, yes.  But not in the "feels sort of like a cold only not as wonderful and relaxing as a cold, comparatively speaking" way.  Everyone I know who's ever had the flu has talked about how exhausted and generally awful they felt, and I believed them, but I never knew how they felt.  Now I do.  So when my co-worker last week thought she might have caught the flu but was only out of work for one day, I felt fairly confident in telling her that she did not have the flu.  Maybe she had a rare, 24-hour version of it, but it seems unlikely.  Come to think of it, though, she is rather fit and eats well.  Maybe healthy people only get the flu for 24 hours.  Yet another reason for me to eat right and work out, instead of sitting around all day, eating a cupcake, half a candy bar, a bit of ice cream, and a large amount of peanut butter, which is how I spent today.  Hey, I got my car's oil changed, and I really don't like messing with an oil change.  Plus, I tried to drop off my old headboard and footboard at Goodwill, and they wouldn't take it, and I have been trying to get rid of this thing for quite some time so I don't have to be wasteful and throw it out, and no one will take it.  (Sorry about that long sentence.  Whiny = long-winded.)  Also, Wally was sick several times today and won't eat his food, which is cause for concern in an old cat.  Making sure I feel poorly tomorrow was my reward for things not going well today.  I'm sure tomorrow I won't regret my choices today.  Yeah.

But on the plus side, I did find some cheap (read: old) German-brand coffee beans at the store. 
Maybe they won't be as good as the beans I buy at the local hipster coffee shop (where I don't fit in because I don't have tattoos or a handlebar mustache, and I most definitely do not wear old-timey-looking hipster youth suspenders, but where I go despite feeling uncomfortable every moment I'm there because the coffee is oh-so-tasty), but they will taste like saving money.  And that's just about my favorite flavor.

The cheap stuff won't taste as good as the fancy stuff, but it won't make feel old and inferior, either.

Here's hoping all is well with the rest of you and that you are doing better sticking to your budget and your diet than I am.