Tag Archive | fun

The Happy Coupledom

I’ve entered into a land which i have never been. The happy coupledom. Dint get me wrong have dated, even fallen madly in love, but this…this is new, this feeling is new.

We were binge watching The Blacklist on Netflix, the best TV on TV. When we realized we were hungr6. He created some egg dish in the microwave while I created a fusion of Chinese and Mexican by combining broccoli beef, Mexican cheese and sour cream in a burrito.

And as we ate our almost-middle-of-the-night, lets-raid-the-kitchen-hurried-dinner, I sat on the kitchen counter and he stood next to me. Both of us smacking and chewing, talking and laughing with our mouths full, not in the least bit self-conscience.

We ate and enjoyed every last bit….and when we were done, I rinsed the dishes as he stepped outside to smoke. And I did the happy dance, right there in the middle of my messy kitchen. And my heart was full. Welcome to happy coupledom.

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There’s Quirks…and then there’s QUIRKS

As a writer and contractor, I have had the pleasure of working for many wonderful companies on many wonderful projects.  This last one was very enjoyable, minus the commute (1.5 hours on a good day, 2 hours on a bad one).  There are many environments that have been encountered, many different kinds of people rules, regulations, etc.  And some rules just make you laugh. And everyone has that one place that was so…quirky, that it bordered on insane.

And on this last job, that was the case.  While the people where great and they were very good to me, the rules were…well, you be the judge. Oh, how many quirks can there be?  Let me count the ways…(Get ready to laugh)

No jay walking – OK, who isn’t guilty of jay walking at some point, especially if you live in a big city, or if you have the pleasure of working downtown?  But they had a strict no jay walking policy, and I was informed that it was an offense that could mean immediate termination if caught.  And maybe this one is a bit understandable – After all, it is unsafe and one might be hit by a car. Or a minibus. Or an angry cyclist (this is Atlanta). Or a displaced Krispy Kreme delivery truck.  Or a scooter. Or Segway…or maybe get hit by one of those pesky ladders, or mattresses, or other strange object that may end up on one of the Atlanta roadways.  My question was exactly how far did this “No Jay_walking Zone” go?  Was it just the surrounding streets, or did it extend down several blocks?  What if I jay walked in a different city, like New York, could I be fired for long distance jay walking too?  Could I be fired then too? What about jay-dancing?  If I did an elegant and graceful waltz across the street against the light, would that be just a bad?

No staplers for you! – or tape dispensers.  Or push pins. Not really sure about this rules…maybe they were considered safety hazards?  I mean it is possible an employee could get mad and try to assault someone with a stapler  Or try to tape them to death.  Or…poke an eye out with the push pins…?  But that just seems like an awful like of trouble, though they would get an “A” for creativity in my book.

No throwing paper– This small office prank was not allowed, as it was a safety hazard. This one kind of reminds me of a line from one of my favorite holiday movies – “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” I mean, those paper cuts are dangerous, and hurt like a mutha. Really, no one should be subjected to that kind of cruelty and danger.

No hanging in cubicles – Many people hang papers, such as org charts, phone extension list, or whatever important information that may need to be referenced quickly. Nope, not there.  Even though the cubicles were fully quipped with cloth over cork board walls, specifically for using push pins and post papers, this was also not allowed.  Again, maybe a safety hazard? After all the possibilities of injuries from not only those paper cuts, but also from poking yourself (or others) with a push pin, is a liability issue.  I know I would scream workers comp the first chance I got.

One or the other – The solution to not being able to hang anything in your cubicle, was to use magnet on your small white board, and hang reference material there.  But you could not both write on the whiteboard and hang paper.  You had to choose (because the space was too small for both). Choosing is not something I am great at, as illustrated by how many pairs of black pumps I have.  I want all the options, not just one.  Nut choose I did (mainly out of laziness). I stuck with the writing on the whiteboard, so i didn’t have to get up, erase what I had written, buy magnets, bring them to work, then hang papers on the white board with them. Perhaps this company was trying to instill disciplin?…Many times in life you have to choose just one…so why not start with write or hang?

The “Great Trash can Sweep” – I was told of a time where all desks had nice little trash cans, and everyone had equal opportunity to throw things away to their hearts content.  And then came the Great Trash can Sweep, where 90% of the trash cans were taken away. Employees were then told they could only throw trash away in the break room, and the few trash cans left would need to be shared and were ONLY for paper.  Except the trash cans that were left were not the pretty blue recycle trash cans, so all would Know of this rule. No, they were the regular every day desk trash cans and the rule was only known by word of mouth.  I threw away every kind of left over lunch food waste imaginable before I was told – only paper. But by then it was too late, and a habit had formed that could not be broken.  I continued to illegally throw trash away in my shared desk non- trash trash can.  You could, however, legally dump whatever trash you wanted in the receptacle, if you brought your own trash bags.  Alas, I was too lazy.

No writing on the wall – While this may seem normal, it wasn’t.  There was a small white board at every cubicle.  And then a wonderful frosted glass to the back. Being a writer, I like space to write down lists of questions tasks and other such things on writing surface. So  I promptly filled up not only the white board, but the great glass perfect for continued white boarding.  No, no, no, I was told.  That is not for writing, even though most places let you do it.  That is just for decoration.  You must not actually use it, and must erase it immediately.  And I did. But I dreamed at night of writing on the glass walls of my cubicle, and it was bliss. I hated to wake up, but that was mainly sue to the hour…

Bed checks – Most are familiar with this term…but at work, where there are no beds?  When I first heard this term I was intrigued…could it be that they had beds in a nap room, like companies I had read about in trade magazines? Not so much.  My hopes were dashed when it was explained to me that that bed checks were when a manger or PM, gently walked around, up and down your isle, looking, taking notice of who was in their seat at their desk and who wasn’t.  If you weren’t at your seat at that time, you failed the bed check and it was a mark recorded against you. What if you are in the bathroom, or a meeting, or stepped into the break room to get coffee, or have to go to the break room to throw something away, I asked?  You failed that bed check. I failed a lot, because I can’t sit still for hours on end, ass strapped to my chair.  I get up, walk around, talk to someone instead of sending and email. And then I have to get coffee, and coffee leads to going to the bathroom and, well, you get the idea.  Really, as long as the work is done by the deadline, who cares if I stand n my head in the lobby? They do. And that’s understandable. After all, employees are the most productive when they know that big brother is watching them, accounting for every moment they have stepped away.

The Nosy Managers – Not your managers, but another manager, of another team, maybe even another department…is watching you.  I was informed that another manager didn’t like that I was in the lobby talking on the phone for so long (arranging chemo treatments for my dad), so they complained.  For me, if any manger that’s not mine has time to notice where I am and what I am doing, they have way too much time on their hands and are not tending to their own sheep.  I mean really, unless you are naked and smoking crack in the parking lot while cleaning your gun, it’s not another managers business what you are doing, or where you are doing it.

Honorable mentions – There might be other rules that I have forgotten, but there are a few honorable mentions that were before my time there.  One was no sticky notes.  Not sure what the issue was with sticky notes- maybe someone had an ex spouse that worked at 3M, maybe some executive was the real inventor who got beat out on the patent application and never got credit, or maybe they just didn’t like the wonderful array of colors…but for whatever reason, stickies were banned from the office for about 3 years. Another was no office supplies, at all.  No stickies, no pens, no paper, no nothing.  You had to supply your own.  Safety hazards?  Let it not be said this company did not take paper cuts seriously. Supply and handle at your own risk.  I wonder if they had signs posted like “No lifeguard on duty” to let employees know that they were on their own when it came to paper cuts, running with scissors or even the occasional pen incident?

Every place of work has it’s quirks, and some are funnier than others. So always find the humor in life. And remember,it’s important to know the rules, so you know which ones to break and when.

Childlike

I swam in the ocean and played like a child. I did back flips, hand stands and the back stroke. I let the current of the ocean carry me as I floated on the surface. I swam underwater, like a fish, seeing how long I could hd my breath before coming up to the surface for that first gasp of air when my lungs felt like they are going to burst. There was an excitement, an innocents that coursed through my veins as I felt the water against my skin.

At first the water was almost too cold, but then as my body adjusted tot he temperature, it felt refreshing and I was energized. The entire sea in front of me, with all the mystery it holds. All it’s secrets being whispered to me in the currents.

It had been almost two years since I swam in the ocean. Almost two years since I did back flips and let the water carry me. And it was wonderful.

It makes you appreciate the cool fresh salty air of the sea. And to feel the soft breeze across my damp face was pure heaven. And I saw God, in the sea, int he sky, in the everything of the moment. And I knew He had me in his hands and that all was well in my world.

There were hot Krispy Kreme donuts in bed, melting in my mouth from the first bite to the last. There was laughter, wine and dancing. There was the innocence and playfulness of a child. It was freedom.

Your Guts and Your Gums

We all have those doctor’s appointments we wish we could skip. Not many things make me cringe as much as going to the dentist. Even my annual lady’s appointment is a walk in the park compared to the dentist for me. My teeth are extremely sensitive and I just about nearly come up out of the chair when they try to clean my teeth and go poking around. The dentist is the worst doctor’s appointment ever – of course I say that before having had my first mammogram (coming up next month), so I reserve the right to change that statement at a later date.

I can take the optometrist poking me and blowing puffs of air in my eye – no problem. The gynecologist and his partner in crime, the speculum – piece of cake.  The endocrinologist sticking me with needles to get blood samples is fine. The cardiologist and those sticky EKG thingies…But put me in a dentist’s  chair and I freak out a bit. My mouth gets dry and my palms get sweaty.

And this morning I had my first dental appointment in many years (let’s not say just how long…). I had a bad feeling from the moment I walked in, but just that it was me being anxious. I got into the chair and told them to put me on the gas.

And then the bomb was dropped.

They didn’t have the gas. WHAT?!? What kind of dentist does not have the gas? The gas is the best part of the appointment and the only thing that keeps me in the chair and not running out of the office screaming.

This was not good news.  A dentist visit with no gas? Nothing to dull the pain of them poking, picking, pulling, pounding, sucking and pushing?? I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. My mind was racing and my heart was bouncing between my throat and my stomach. I knew I was in trouble when the technician looks at me and says, “When this hurts, just remember I am not being mean, it just may be uncomfortable. “

Excuse me? I laughed nervously and barely was able to say that that statement was not very re-assuring.

Why the heck would you say that to someone who is visible about to fall apart in the chair?????

After about 30 x-rays, chomping down on whatever-thing-that’s-way-too-big-for-my-mouth, it was time for the dentist. She steps in and I realized that I really had to pee.

After a brief discussion about how long it had been since my last visit (all of the sudden I felt very Catholic, and like I was saying how long it had been since confession). After a bit of poking she announced just how bad my teeth were and proceeded to try to sell me all kinds of procedures. Not just your garden variety root canal either…I mean the high dollar stuff. It’s been a while since my last visit, but I do know I have good teeth and do not need $25,000 worth of dental stuff. If they want patients to agree to such things, they really need to have the gas.

Needless to say I got out of there as fast as my non-nitrosed bum could go. I just had a bad feeling about it from the start, and when I checked them online  – which I should have done before hand – they were known for “selling” their services when not needed. They have many complaints against them.

And now…I have an appointment at a reputable dentist, who does sedation dentistry. I go in, I go to sleep, I wake up and it’s all done. Shame we can’t have all of our doctor’s appointments like that.

The moral of the story? Always trust your gut feeling, whether it’s about a dentist, a date, a job, a co-worker, whatever. Your guts are good to you. That little voice that warns you of those red flags…listen to it.

Now, excuse me while I pass the gas mask…

Falling for the Weekend

It is Fall here in the south. The weather is turning cooler, with the highs in the low 80’s and high 70’s. At night the air is crisp and cool, promising the cold of the winter to come. In a word, it is delicious. I love this time of year. The air-conditioning gets turned off and the windows or up at night, as the cooler temperatures makes sleeping under a warm blanket a wonderful experience…until you try to get out of bed the next morning. Car rides have the windows down and the radio up, as the cool fall air mixes with  the warm sun to make the perfect recipe for road trip.

The fall festivals have already started, and the leaves are beginning to turn colors. The air is light and fresh, as  are the spirits of those around. Yes, it is fall, yummy, cool, promising, busy and fun. This weekend was a great taste of what is to come.

Family is a big part of my life. My youngest nephew came up with his girlfriend to explore and go to see a concert. Leaving us boring adults behind, they went shopping, eating, concert going and had much fun just being together. But I suspect we boring old people had much more fun.

Friday night were “crack tots” and beer with friends. Crack tots, true to their name, are highly addictive. You cannot just have one of these delicious tots dipped in equally addictive cheese sauce.  Thank goodness they have no calories either (at least that is what I tell myself as I devour them). Later that night my nephew and his girlfriend arrived, and there was much laughter and love.

Saturday was crazy busy, as once again the two lovebirds went out looking for cool things to do in Atlanta. Breakfast was cooked, more laughter and lots of activity around the Burch household. Then it was time for the adults to play, as we planned a fun time downtown. A friend of mine has a brother who bought a favorite bar, so we went down for the celebration. And we celebrated a lot. There were hugs of friend that I had not seen for a=years, laughter, catching up, eating and drinking. There was great live music, an old bank vault filled with everything Elvis, dancing and lots of Johnny Cash. There were pictures and smiles, and of course, several times I nearly tripped.

Sunday brought about sleeping late, brunching and lots of laughter and love

And I have to say that I am falling in love…with this season, and these weekends, and my family, and this time, these moments, in life. I am falling for Fall. And it is wonderfully delicious!

The Lesson of Driving

I have been given the task of teaching my nephew how to drive.  Well actually, his grandmother (my Mom) taught him the basics, I just have to make sure he has expereince in traffic so he can get his liscense and not wreck when he starts driving. Sounds simple.

I am not sure how my parents managed to teach us how to drive and still have a liver left. My nephew has done very well, and yet by the time the lesson is over, the only thing I want to do is go to the liquer cabinet and pour something straight, forget the rocks.

Maybe it’s because it’s my new car that is being driven. Maybe because it’s my car. Maybe because I am old and drive like an old person. Maybe because I understand just how fragile life is and how in a second everything can change.  Maybe I need to drink before the driving lesson. But being the driving instructor scares the crap out of me.

The key to being a good and successful driving instructor is to let ever let the student know that you are scared. And no yelling. Ever. The last thing my nephew, or any young person learning to drive, needs is to hear me yelling “STOP!!’ or “TURN Here Now!!” The poor kind would have a heart attack and kill us both. I have found that a calm instructor makes a calm student.  And most of the time it is fine, as he is very good student. But in those moments when he does what all young drivers do…I take a deep breath, find something to hold onto, press my foot hard against the floor (like that makes him press the breaks faster??) close my eyes and say nothing. When we get home, that is the time to tell him, that the proper way to handle that next time.

I have to say that I am proud of him, driving now. We drove last night at dusk, in the rain, with quite a bit of traffic. He did good.

So we drive around the neighborhood. We go to the grocerystore and the post office. We drive to d whatever arrends need to be done. And at the end, he learns to drive, I enjoy and nice tall one and we both have a sense that we have accomplished something.

and that is what is important.

Admit It

Ok I admit it. I have a bit of writer block.Those are two ugly words. especially for a writer. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about really, it’s that I kind of get the feeling that I have written about it all before. What do I have to say that is new? fresh? Inspiring? Hmmmm.

I could write about painting my nails tonight and how great it is to be a girl. How we get to have all the fun. Maybe I could write about buying a new car, and how it is easier than I thought it would be. I really did think I was going to have to go through a Spanish style inquisition requiring detailed explanations about  my credit, income, tax returns, my pets names, blood type, shoe size, the secret recipe that makes my meatloaf to die for good (I will never tell!). Or how I have become one of those people who obsesses about their car, washes it all the time and parks in the furthest parking spot. (I have not resorted to taking up two spaces…but it’s not Christmas at the mall yet either).

Maybe I could write about what it is like to be a writer and search for corporate contracts. How to deal with contracting agencies, how to be a contractor, how to send out a ridiculous amount of resumes and such per day. How to stay focused and not get discouraged or terrified when thinking about bills (alcohol helps. So does yoga. Oh wait, I don’t do yoga…)

Or maybe a nice piece on housecleaning – how I am scared to look under my bed and the fact that the dust bunnies are at war with the hair balls from the cats. Or how about the fact that I am fostering cats for a wonderful animal rescue? Maybe the fact that I am swimmingly happy and enjoying the wonderfulness of a romance that makes my knees weak?

There is always writing about what to do in the rain, how to build an arc, the importance of taking swimming lessons (along with explaining why it is perfectly normal for a woman to have 10 pairs of black pumps – because we NEED them). I recently organized my shoes. That was a huge undertaking. I could always write about living with my sister…and the many laughs we have (who would have thought we could get along for this long and not kill each other??).

And then there’s politics! Nothing gets people talking more than voicing your political opinion. Gun control, Bengazi, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, Fast and the Furious scandal, the $100 million vacation scandal, healthcare, {fill in the name of the latest scandal here}.

Yes, I suppose those, and many more things, could be topics of writing.

And yet, nothing seems to strike my fancy. No wise words to impart.

But sometimes that is what happens when we go and go and go in life. At some point, we must rest and refill. We must take pause and take a moment before we have anything to give to the world. Sometimes we must hide away. Call it writers block, or taking a break, or being an introvert, or…whatever you like. But sometimes it is necessary to just breathe…in…and….out. To relax. To have nothing to do. But live life.

And so tonight I sit, at the computer typing. But ony after I have enjoyed my favorite TV show, some coffee, watching lighting dance across the sky. Only after spending time with my family and pets, and catching up with friends. And only after living and breathing. Yes, life is refilling me, nurturing my soul and gently rocking to sleep, dreaming of that which I can write. Later.