Spooky Stuff

[edited to remove work-related commentary. And there was much rejoicing.]

Rubber masks scare the shit out of me. Last time I wasn’t afraid of one was the first time I viewed Point Break, and it was most likely due to my shock and awe at the gaping void where Keanu’s acting skills should have been.

(I should take a moment to say for the record that I display equal opportunity mask phobia. Clown masks? Yikes. Mardi Gras/ costume ball types? No thank you. [Those actually remind me of that freaky scene in Labyrinth where Sara finds herself at the costume ball, and it’s all kind of slow motion and surreal, and everyone’s hiding behind those partial masks on a stick and no one will take her seriously… Psychotic. Although David Bowie as the Goblin King? Hot. Probably would explain much of my weird lust tendencies if we were to examine it more closely. Which we will not.] Groucho nose and glasses? Ugh. Chinese dragon? Get that shit away from me. The only masks that don’t provoke an immediate shudder from me are those carved African tribal masks. Although, should some bushman come leaping and screaming out from behind a dumpster, wearing his wooden mask and pointing his spear at me, I might be persuaded to include tribal masks in my mental museum of terror. And I might need a change of trousers.)

Not only are there no masks or other disguises in sight today [edited to remove work-related commentary. And there was much rejoicing.]
That’s okay, after a one block candy collecting hike with a niece-stuffed pumpkin this evening, I will go home to the huge vat of chocolate bars and otherwise (that somehow missed being stuffed into the trick-or-treat packs we’re leaving out in our absence), and have enough Halloween for everyone.


Quotable Notables

Every day I lament the fact that Woolly and his girlfriend had to move far far away, just months after Monk and I had decided we had found a friend for life, and One That Actually Lived Near Us, at that. Fortunately he’s a pro at this keeping-in-touch-thing (fortunately for him, as he doesn't have to deal with any of the usual "call me, dammit!" or "write me back!" pestering from high maintenance Q over here). Yesterday’s comments from him on the sad state of my job situation made me miss him even more. It is not everyone that is lucky enough to have good friends capable of supporting you completely, while still managing to tell it to you straight.

In response to my woe-is-me, what-should-I-do email regarding my undervalued (but at least employed?) ass:
You sound like someone who has ended a relationship but just hasn't broken up yet. (at first I was like "wha-?" but then I was all "oh, totally.")

And then the instant classic, the gotta-print-it-and-tape-it-to-the-wall gem of the day:
But, always remember, the company will not hesitate to screw you if it benefits them, so be wise to that. I refer to the line from Goodfella's about why you don't want to do business with the mob. I think you need the same attitude, which is "fuck you, pay me."

He rocks.


Throw me a bone

I have started this entry over about five times now, and if I continue to do so, it will never get written. I’m sure everyone’s doing the bated breath routine right now, so I’d better just bulldoze through this intro.

(Seriously, though, how on earth to relay Boss’s saving File B over File A, then asking me to recover File A from our tricky backup network drive, without putting everyone in a boredom coma??? That wasn’t supposed to be rhetorical. Hello? WAKE UP!)

So this recovered document is up on my computer screen, and since my review is coming up (it’s actually quite overdue) I have begun the jealous girlfriend escapades which include looking through loose papers she leaves on her desk, perusing my personnel folder, and now, sifting through random discussion points in this document, hoping to land on a salary increase update. Pay dirt! And by that, people, I do mean that the salary increase note next to my name indicated that I will be getting a pay raise the equivalent of dirt (after taxes). Even better, I will most likely be told of the change after it’s been submitted and be expected to wag my tail enthusiastically and thank Boss profusely for the mountain she has moved for me. Instead, I have composed this Thank You card, because momma always said a card means so much more to someone than a simple verbal thank you:

Dear Boss,

Thank you so much for the less than 3% raise I will receive whenever the HR department gets around to executing it. You weren’t kidding when you told me during my interview that there would be some terrific monetary compensation to look forward to!

I admit, I have been a little concerned in the past year about the hours I put in every day, with no regular lunch breaks or otherwise (of course I’m grateful for the work weeks that grant me one or sometimes even two 30-minute breaks), but with this less than 3% raise, I can definitely see how much the company values my time and effort here. I know now that that awkwardness when I was first hired (remember, the staffing company quoted me one starting salary, but it was actually a much lower one in reality?) is behind us.

I also need to ask you to please disregard that salary increase memo I was going to bring to our review meeting. There is now obviously no need to discuss my (trivial, really) reasons for arrogantly believing I should receive a significant increase in pay. It truly is my pleasure to work for you, and I look forward to continuing to do the job of the two people before me (one full-time and one part-time), as well as assisting the Director of Training as needed, for thousands under market parity.

I know how hard you’ve worked in creating and implementing our brand-new program that awards $60k in jewelry, theater tickets, travel and cash to the winners of the recruiting championship; it must have been exhausting to request even more money from the NY office for my little position. I know the CEO sure is a silly-head stickler-poo about these matters. You really went to the mat for me, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Good luck with my replacement,


And tonight I'm going back for seconds

Damn this Texas weather. Over the weekend the temperatures dropped enough for jeans and long-sleeved shirts. Yesterday morning you could have stuck your tongue out and frozen it to the bedroom wall. By yesterday evening, it was sweat city. Come on, Texas. Let me know when I can dig out the cold weather clothes from under the bed and swap out the summer stuff from the closet! Because my closet? Not much bigger than my bathroom . And once I spend hours unpacking, hanging, folding, folding again, repacking, and stuffing the Tupperware bins back under the bed, someone’s going to lose their shit if the weather changes AGAIN.

When the sun went down last night, the air cooled down and developed that crispness that makes you yearn for field trips to the pumpkin patch and cozy evenings in front of the fire (for the record, I’ve never had these evenings growing up, but I’ve heard they’re lovely. I may have some this year, except we’re a little scared to use our fireplace. Could have something to do with not knowing which way is “open” for the flu. Whatever the “flu” might be, but I’ve heard it’s important to staying alive during fireplace-cozying-up). So anyhoo. The evening temperatures dropped, and I suddenly wanted my kitchen to include hot stew simmering on the stove, steaming garlic bread fresh from the oven, etc. etc. etc. Never mind that most days I hate the very idea of stew. Sister and Niece were coming over for dinner, so the pressure was on to come up with something edible, and quickly, from our poorly-stocked fridge and pantry. Sister’s pantry is larger than two of our bathrooms, always fully stocked, and probably a big contributor to the Martha Stuart Living going on over at her place, but I’ve long since given up trying to compete; I know when I’m beat. Anyway. In the interest of quick, easy and edible, we somehow ended up with a damn good stew/soup in a half an hour. It was kind of like minestrone, with chicken, but spicy like a jumbalaya. Chicken Minestraya. Chicken Jumbalone?

Recipe for Jumbachickestrone/ Chickeminelaya:

1/2 garlic bulb, chopped
1 shallot, chopped (no idea why we had shallots but no onions, but I’m assuming it could be an either or type of thing here)
2 or 3 zucchinis, chopped (I’m sure any vegetable would work)
1 potato, chopped
2 or 3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (sensing a theme here, enough with the chopping)

In a big pot, throw in a big can of pureed tomatoes (I still have no idea why we had a big-ass can of tomato puree in our pantry), one can of creamy chicken verde soup (thank you Campbells, for making the kind of soup that sounds good during a hungover shopping session, but then doesn’t, so it sits in the pantry for weeks and weeks, ‘til one evening its dumped into our stew and makes the whole thing an awesome spicy mess), 2-3 soup cans of water (just because it seemed like the right thing to do), the garlic and shallot pieces. Brought it all to a boil, dumped in the zucchini (burned my face from the splatter, reduced the heat, re-thought the whole throwing/dumping theatrics), then added potato and chicken, simmered for 10 minutes, gently deposited some brown rice (for, whatever), simmered for another 10 minutes. I served it with cheese on top (sharp cheddar last night, if you’re curious), and garlic bread on the side.

Damn, looking back it seems like a lot of work, but the prep was maybe 10 minutes (including stepping around and over three dogs and a toddler), so really, you've got a big pot of something edible in 30 minutes. It's like I'm the next Rachael Ray or something. Without the constant “E.V.O.O.”


Bringing up Baby

In response to my (uncomfortably hesitant, because how is this anyone’s business?) statement that if (BIG. IF.) the kid route is ever taken, it will most likely be through adoption or fostering years from now: “Oh, make sure you get a baby, cuz you know some of those older kids have murdered their adoptive parents in their sleep.”

I've actually heard this argument against adoption/fostering many times, from many people of varying levels of education and life experience. Usually the exchange has been prompted from someone (again, whose business I’m sure it isn’t) clinging to the obligation of all people everywhere having babies, because “everybody should have at least one." Really? That wasn’t in my manual. Besides, I’m thinking the Duggars have taken care of this duty for me and probably 10 of my friends. Thanks JimBob!

Sometimes the pressure comes to a head and I start to imagine a life with a child in tow, start to believe this can be accomplished with ease, that molding a little human being into a mini-me (but better, with more music lessons and sports playing) would be A Great Idea. And we'd take it everywhere, and buy outfits that matched everything we wore and did, it'd be the perfect accessory to our Adult Life, greater than that Hilton girl with the teeny tiny dog. Plus! Free lawn service, dish duty and dog walking after the first few years. Then I wake up and run back to the safety of the no kids camp.

Selected bits from my life to illustrate how I know I am not in the right place to conceive and raise a child:

-I quite enjoy having money (what little of it we manage to hold onto). And I quite QUITE enjoy Peace And Quiet and Time To Myself.

-Those new 4D ultrasound photos creep me right the fuck out.

-I’d spend the entire pregnancy secretly praying that my baby won’t be ugly (after the mandatory first month during which that wrinkly, just-came-out-of-someone, misshapen head stuff gets straightened out, of course)

-I’m the one at Wal-Mart that shot you a Dirty Look for letting your 5 little blessings run rampant through the feminine hygiene aisle. I’m also the one that came this close to sympathy-vomiting, before shooting you a Dirty Look when your child ralphed all over the cosmetics aisle at Target. No idea how you people don’t go postal.

-I still have moments while babysitting my niece that I think it would be much easier (and not too terrible, right? I mean, she probably wouldn’t even remember it. Or hey! We could make it into a game!) to put her in one of the dogs’ crates so we can make dinner/light the grill/load laundry.

-I watch many a Super Nanny episode thinking “Naughty chair my ass, those kids need a good spank. Or three.” Or, as Monk said last night after watching some little monster smack, kick and bite his mother, “that were my kid, he’d be pickin’ his teeth out of his brain.” We’ll be moving to our new double-wide next week.

**Obligatory disclaimer: Of COURSE I am not anti-children. Of COURSE I am awed by the miracle of life. Of COURSE I have nothing but the highest respect for the people that choose to take on the awesome responibility of raising another human being. Of COURSE I do not trip your children on purpose when they are running wildly through the grocery store.**



Bear with me, I need to work this out. I think I'm being followed. Christianity keeps slipping into my library books, conversations with my mother, traffic jams and job decor. It is as though God is trying to call me back to class. And all I'm hearing is Charlie Brown's teacher. Not to turn this into some anti-Christian blog or anything (really, I have nothing against Christians... Some of my best friends are Christians, heh heh), but sharing my hyper-awareness of all things Jesus in God's country is long overdue.

My immediate boss has set up an office for me in her (estate) house. My boss is a devout Christian. I am not (and we'll save Who is Quinn for another time, as this is bound to turn into a snoozefest without more help from me). We do not discuss the chasm between us filled with religion, politics and money. There are crosses on the walls, mentions of God and blessings and prayers in her correspondence, daily prayer breaks after her lunch, books on "Leadership through God" in her office, and a framed photograph of Boss, standing happily in the foreground, with a big white cross looming over her shoulder. I don't, however, think the BMW has been granted a Jesus Fish yet.

So I'm walking around today, thinking of ways to riff on this religious about her religion thing (trying to decide if a bastardized version of the "yo momma's so ____" jokes would even be a little funny), when I realized the only thing I needed to drive home how devout Boss is, the only evidence I would ever need to present to prove this extreme Christianity, the true sign of living your life with God in every step, was right in front of my face, accidentally left out in plain sight by the negligent housekeeper. This, people, is where the truly devout find sustenance:

Thank God for camera phones.


I am not a crook

The revelation of last week was that the FBI is not, apparently, looking for me.

Years ago, I was speeding down the highway in Frank, my trusty Chevy Nova (“speeding” but not going over the car’s limit of… 85?), trying to complete the seven-hour haul from Missouri to Illinois in record time, when a friendly officer who was “just doing [his] job” pulled me over and wrote me a ticket for exceeding the limit. I had the option of traffic school in that county, but as that county happened to be 4 hours from where I lived… This was the night before Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving, Frank and I sped (yes, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson) back to Missouri and comically enough, got pulled over again. This time the cop was not friendly, and became even less so once he realized I had the incredible fortune of obtaining a citation two days before.

I should mention that at this point in my life, I was working on building an impressive pile of debt, stealing muffins and Guinness from work (filling plus extra protein, people) as my cupboards were bare bare bare, and trying to housebreak a stubborn puppy. So you see I had plenty on my plate (and nothing in my bank account. Wait, I didn’t even have a bank account) and those tickets were not going to pay themselves. This is the part of the story that could get very interesting, as I relay my mid-MO-became-a-ho tale, but you know that isn’t what happened. What happened was nothing. The tickets surely did not pay themselves and I did not pay those tickets. Worse, I lost the paperwork at some point, and could not even refer to the tickets in bewilderment (“what do you mean you guys didn’t pay yourselves?”) when the notice came, citing me for failure to pay/show up in court, and promising that now my license would be suspended or a warrant for my arrest would be issued.

For six years I have lived in a state of paranoia, waiting for the day the police would find me, call my bluff and lock me up for a good long time (the same way I imagine someone from the university coming to take back the degree I made off with). Perhaps the arrest would be caught on COPS, and my friends, family, foes and former employers would see it (“I always knew there was something not right about that girl”) So the day came last Monday when I was pulled over on my way to work. Somehow this suburban police officer sitting in the intersection was able to focus on a moving vehicle’s windshield through the driving rain, and noticed my little bitty inspection sticker had expired. Quotas must be down in Sunnyvale. So followed a big who’s-on-first exchange of where my 2006 sticker was (“It’s right there, sir,” pointing to the registration sticker. “no, your other sticker, ma’am.” Took him five minutes to come up with the word “inspection,” and another five to explain that you must have your vehicle inspected every year in Texas. Who knew? Everyone but me, apparently), the angry statement that my insurance had also expired (“No! I swear it's not! Must have put the wrong card in my glove box, heh heh heh is this thing on?”), the excruciatingly looooong license check he ran in his car. Throughout all this, I was planning my One Phone Call. Do I call Monk, who would be stuck at work but wonderful- he’d arrange bail money, call my boss and lie about a family emergency (because really, who in their right mind would tell their boss they couldn’t come into work because they were IN JAIL?), or do I call Sister who would at least be able to come get me, but would surely be Judgy Judgerson about it from here to eternity? Oh, and should I get all drama club about it and feign shock and confusion when he tells me there’s an outstanding warrant?

I was not taken to the big house, there was no mention of anything incriminating on my driving record, and two days later at the Sunnyvale courthouse, relief was spelled D-I-S-M-I-S-S-A-L. I started wondering what had happened with the unpaid tickets. Were they eventually thrown out? Was my license simply suspended for a certain period of time then reinstated, all unbeknownst to me? Or was some pretty young thing picked up in my place? Perhaps I have an Evil Twin (or just evil-er, if you're gonna be nitpicky) who is still in some jail cell, unable to prove the mix-up or get anyone to post bail (you know, cuz she’s eviler). Maybe my doppelganger was out walking around shortly after the warrant notice, smiling about the cat she just kicked or the tip jar she just stole, when SCREECH! Here comes the Karma Bus! And though maybe she tried to plead her case, no one was buying it, so she's probably STILL IN THAT MID-MO JAIL since she’s the kind of person that encourages a girlfriend to cheat, breaks all her New Year’s Resolutions, and blogs dramatic and damaging things about keeping old flames lit... If so, that bitch can rot.


Big Love

Had another dream about him last night. For someone who was my whole world ten years ago, and who now plays no part in it whatsoever, he certainly does have a way of popping into my consciousness. On a too-frequent-for-comfort basis. When I first met The Brit I felt no pull, no interest, no curiosity. Somehow he subtly won me over so completely that even now, a decade later, I’m still reacting to his accusations, laughing at his jokes, feeling like something is slightly off, or misplaced. Sometimes I wonder how I would have turned out had I continued to resist him that semester, who I would be without the experience of The Brit. Instead, I am haunted by his voice, the smell of his skin. I can still see his not-perfect smile, feel his arms around me.

Looking back, I can see how unhealthy our relationship was; I’ve labeled it emotionally abusive, or at least all-consuming, when describing it to friends; called him The One That Wasn’t to myself. When I broke it off, I was convinced I was being realistic, making the right, healthy decision, that it was the best thing for all parties involved. I felt as though I was saying goodbye to an era, to a part of me so grand I might emerge unrecognizable. Or maybe I was in despair, disgusted with how much of myself I had lost by sacrificing it to the relationship. Maybe it was the only way to get my significance and substance back.

We tried to “be friends” for a few years, only showing the best, most clever and flippant parts of ourselves to each other in emails and occasional Sunday morning phone calls. I hid the seriousness of my relationship with Monk from him, until we were engaged, then decided the Adult, Real World Love thing to do would be to come clean, ‘fess up, let honesty into what I had with The Brit (for a change). He followed my lead and revealed his years-long plan to become successful and respected, then come over to the States and win me back. He proposed in an email, to wipe out the proposal I had already accepted. I did falter, three days before my wedding, because dammit, we get ONE chance, ONE life, and I know I know, it’s not a movie and people don’t live happily ever after, and I never had the familiarity with The Brit that involved arguing about who took out the garbage last... but man, I faltered. Visions of disappearing with my passport ran through my head. I could handle the destruction I’d leave in my wake if I could have the passion, the big fights and bigger reunions, intelligent discussions, creative writings, and Unbelievably Fantastic Sex All the Time, Like In Parking Lots and Cow Pastures again. Perhaps The Brit and I really could ride off into the sunset together and maybe it wouldn’t be the biggest mistake of my life.

I married Monk. It was a beautiful ceremony and we traveled all over Spain and side-tripped to Morocco on our honeymoon. I once again Acted Like an Adult and took the possibility of keeping in touch with The Brit off the table, for many reasons, the most practical being that I didn’t need another long distance friendship (especially another that stretched across the ocean), the most irrational being that I wanted him to give me a chance to forget. But every now and then one of us will drop a line, send a teaser of what our life is like now. The other will play coy and delay responding for a bit, then send the same type of nothing back. It’s more than pointless, I am an Adult in a Marriage, he’s on the verge of the same, it’s been ten years since we left each other in the airport and we will most likely never see each other again, but part of me is digging in my heels and my nails, refusing to let him go.

I’ve never told him the truth: How he lands in my thoughts nearly every day, that I often have dreams of meeting up again, rehashing or reuniting, how it can still break my heart to wake up in the morning and realize he is absolutely no part of my current existence. Last night’s dream involved evasion, revelation, then the relief of giving in to my feelings, no matter what the consequences, or how much it would hurt Monk. The palpable physical and emotional recognition (“this is home, finally I am home”), disappearing into his arms, accepting the alternate ending, once again wrapping my arms and legs and everything I have around every part of him and what he stands for. At the dream’s conclusion, The Brit and I Hollywood-embraced halfway down a caricatured mountain, as cars came flying and tumbling over some ridge above us, pulverized windshield glass raining down around us like confetti (or rice before the romantic getaway). I wish I could tell The Brit how much of an impact he had, how the thumbprint of him and our Big Love still covers so much, how I wonder what my life would look like, were it not viewed through these smudges on the glass.


They're Baaaack

I was drying my hair in the “guest bathroom” this morning (because our “master bathroom” is so small I would be banging my elbows on the walls if I attempted anything other than showering/toileting/teeth brushing) when I had an unexpected visitor. The rodents are back, people. All dramatics aside, I’d like to (calmly) announce that we are moving. A mouse should not be in my house, and definitely not UPSTAIRS, in my bathroom, unafraid of the three dogs, the hairdryer and me, and most definitely should not have used my foot as a little mouse bridge to wherever he was headed. Gulp. Let’s process this for a sec.

The mouse crawled over my toe. I was not wearing shoes. Or socks. And he was not in a hurry.


(deep breath)


Ahem. Dramatics aside again. I think it is safe to say my neighbors have probably never heard such a blood-curdling scream in their lives. But, like the dedicatedly uncurious, uninterested and unconcerned people they have proven to be over the last year, no one came running (or even strolling, gawd) to see what all the commotion was about. Well, at least now I know I can be safely murdered in my home and without worrying that any of the dogs or my neighbors will interrupt the fun.

Speaking of the dogs. Two out of the three are pit bulls. One of the pits was in the bathroom with me during the incident, and instead of displaying the legendary prey drive, she leaned over, ears cocked in curiosity, followed the whiskered villain out of the room, and let him slip nonchalantly into the hall closet. Then she and the other pit sniffed around the closet door for a bit, presumably making sure the mouse was comfortable, that he had everything he needed, that the new room was to his liking. Prey drive my ass.

Since never going home again is not an option, and neither is selling the house (in its perpetual state of improvement), I believe the next step is borrowing Sister’s cat and rubbing him all over the walls.


Hi Ho Hi Ho

A lot of bloggers write about their jobs, their coworkers or their bosses. I thought I might do that every now and then, but realized what I would be laying on my potential readers. I don’t even like to relay work experiences to friends or family, for fear of seeing their eyes glaze over, becoming nearly comatose from sheer tediousness-by-proxy. And I have had some people gasp in surprise when I state “I don’t want to talk about work. It’s boring and I like to leave work at work.” Some of the gaspers persist and say “No really, I want to hear about your job. I’m interested.” See, I work in a relatively interesting industry, for the president of a very cool company, but my job, specifically? Mind-numbingly boring, mostly composed of what teachers used to call “busy work,” aka creating new spreadsheets, reports and databases. The kind of standard office assistant type stuff that makes one question their abilities, potential, self-worth, wasted life, etc. Especially at 4 a.m. when all thoughts of where your life is going illuminate regret and lack of direction like bad lighting on large pores.

I work out of my boss’s estate home, in a wealthy part of town. She and I are the only ones in this “office.” When I am not engaged in busy work spawned from what I fondly call the Wonderings (either “You know what I wonder?” or “You know what would be good to know?”), I am immersed in conversational quicksand, trying in vain to explain a simple concept or line of reason to a clueless Botoxed face.

Here is an example of what my job is like, taken from a very recent exchange with Boss (you’re shouting “wait, no, WE didn’t ask about it! WE’RE certainly not interested; you don’t have to tell US your work story!):

Boss: You know what would be good to know? How many people were recruited in each manager’s first, second, third, fourth and fifth year.

Quinn: Well, we [why do I always say “we?” who the fuck do I think deserves credit for all this work going on? Both of us?] could create a spreadsheet that would tally up the recruited, recruiting year categories, and overall recruiting histories, but it wouldn’t be very accurate. We don’t have a resigned database before 2004.

Boss: So just use what we’ve got [again with the “we.” I create, input, tally, and so on, while Boss opens up the database, fucks around irreversibly with the rows and columns, effectively messing up nearly everything I’ve been working on, but sure, “we”].

Quinn: Yes, but we [“WE!”] won’t have any numbers from 2000-2004.
Boss: Huh. Well, just put in the numbers of the still-active people recruited in each of their first though fifth years.

Quinn: No problem [this is one of my standard office responses. Along with “good idea,” “great,” “absolutely,” and “I’ll start that right away/finish it today.” Helping to maintain At-Work Quinn and Not-At Work Quinn is my trusty split personality].

2 hours later, halfway through counting up over 700 recruits between 98 managers, and well past the time I was supposed to leave the office:

Boss: I just realized the report’s not going to show me much since we don’t have recruiting stats from before 2004.

Quinn: [screaming inside] Yes, that’s what I mentioned earlier.

Boss: So I guess we [wheeee!] didn’t have to do that after all.

2 days later, last day of office time before Boss leaves town for Important Meeting:

Boss: How are you coming on the monthly report, the weekly report, the [whatever] database, the reminders to New York, [etc. etc. blah dee blah dee blah]?

Quinn: Monthly’s nearly finished, weekly’s waiting for your approval, [etc.etc. I’m-awesomely-competent-and-definitely-deserve-a-huge-fucking-raise-you-cow].

Boss: And is the first through fifth year report done?

Quinn: I thought you decided it was unnecessary since it wouldn’t be accurate.

Boss: But it will still tell me something. You can do that by the end of the day, right?

Quinn: Absolutely [insert your own curse word here, you get the point].

Oh no, you think we’re done here? There’s more! 1st day of Important Meeting, Boss calls in from airport:

Boss: I noticed you didn’t do that first through fifth year recruiting report right.

Quinn: Excuse me?

Boss: You only counted the people recruited by the managers. I wanted you to count ALL the people under each manager, regardless of who recruited them.

Quinn: Wait, you asked me to tally up how many people the managers recruited in their first through fifth years.

Boss: No, I wanted to know how many people STARTED in the managers’ first through fifth years. Not just how many people they recruited. That’s okay, I’ll work on it with you when I get back [because clearly you are an idiot].

Quinn: Great! Good idea.

I’d like to direct you all to the first damn sentence Boss uttered about this report, and welcome you to one of the rings of hell. Fucking Exhibit A, people. This is the most recent of a regular work occurrence. This heart-palpitating, rage-inciting, mind-boggling ridiculousness is my job, and as you can see, there’s no reason that anyone else needs to experience it.

Come on, lottery!

Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

So many updates, so little time. Not really. And I certainly wouldn't want to turn this site into a venue for a running laundry list of tasks accomplished each day. Because come on, people! I think we all know by now that I don't lead the most stimulating life.

The main news is that I’m a big fat cheater. A Big Fat Lying Cheater, really. I was going to post on Friday that I had smoked on Wednesday. And kept it from Monk, which is the Lying bit of the BFLC equation (Big and Fat seem to follow me everywhere these days, and I'm sure the cream pies and candy have nothing to do with that thankyouverymuch). Had a great dinner out with a friend, then executed a truly masterful sleight of hand smooth move and bought smokes while Monk obliviously pumped gas outside. So, lying, omission, same thing really.

But THEN I smoked Thursday night while Monk was at practice. And again with the not telling him. Ahem.

But THEN we bought a pack after a trying day with my visiting folks on Saturday.

And THEN we sucked down a few more after another trying visit last night.

Methinks that’s a bit much to be categorized as a blip on the nonsmoking screen. But we’re definitely going with the New Day, New Resolve theme today. Happy Columbus Day! Columbus probably smoked, and he cheated the Native Americans out of their home, food and health. See how smoking makes you mean? Will not smoke again. This I promise to the Internet. Wish me luck.


True Confessions

That last round was a bit vanilla, but it's hard to confess if you're not feeling guilty about anything. Today, I'm feeling the guilt, albeit in a minor way. So:
  • It's been about two weeks since I've made it to the gym. Which is right across the street from work. I park my car outside of it.

  • The Great Deck Conversion plan was to finish laying the patio before my parents visit this weekend. Part of me hopes we don't finish it this week and that my dad, with all the patio experience, will lend a practiced hand Saturday morning (read: do most of it).

  • Foster puppy was driving me nuts this morning, getting into everything. Finally she settled down on the bed, chewing away happily. I went over to see what she had gotten into, and it was one of Monk's dress socks. I left her to it so I could get some damn peace and quiet already.

  • Day 6 to Day 7 of The Big Quit was not as successful as I’d hoped. I bummed and then smoked all the way down to their chemical-soaked filters three cigarettes, thanks to three aid-and-abettors who happened to be in the right (smoky beery) place at the right (“how the hell can I be in a BAR that is THIS SMOKY and NOT LIGHT UP?!”) time. However, am refusing to feel bad about this, as I could have bought an entire pack, smoked it, then bought more on Sunday, then realized how much I love to smoke I love to smoke I love. to. smoke and crossed back over to the dark (lung) side for many more moons. Haven’t smoked since, haven’t wanted to. Big picture, people.

  • Lately, and so frequently it’s getting disturbing, I find myself wishing I had married rich. Instead, I married kind, good-looking, creative and let’s-me-get-my-way-most-of-the-time. Instead of the Care Bear version beating the Bill Gates implication hands down, a little voice keeps whispering “sure, but you can buy warm and fuzzy.”


Till Deck Do Us Part

Monk and I were stumbling around like 90 year-olds last night. Apparently, the bastard amateur hour deck builders that lived in this house previously wanted to make good and sure that their masterpiece wouldn’t go anywhere, ever. Now, we regularly hate on the previous owners due to many of the construction/repair flaws we've had the pleasure of discovering throughout our first year in this house, but after the big deck structure unveiling I was ready to take a hit out on the pair of 'em. A 12 x 15 deck, nothing fancy, and SIXTEEN holes dug 3-4 feet down, SIXTEEN gigantic batches of cement were mixed and poured to hold SIXTEEN big brace beams in place for all eternity. We got to know our sledge hammer real well this weekend. What an unpleasant surprise for my body, which, by the way, seems to still be angry with me this morning. I would not have been surprised if it had staged a mutiny on me last night and pummeled my brain to bits in my sleep. Poor thing. It may still be plotting however, its rage snowballing with every mention of continuing, laying limestone, pouring concrete, finishing this damn patio project… I may talk a big game about working out regularly, but I’ve since learned that the “working” part of that phrase? Not quite accurate.

I’ve also learned how to till. How to use a tiller. However you’re supposed to express the skill it takes to be dragged along behind a two-ton lawn mower-like device as it chews up your ground, sporadically veering towards the house and its brick walls, and nearly grating all the skin off your knuckles. At one point I released the trigger, thinking that would stop the self-propelled business, but no, it took off over our lawn and I took off after it, desperately jabbing my finger at the little red “off” button, hoping to avoid tilling my feet into a bloody pulp. So yes, I nearly had that freak accident I joked about in my last entry (“ha ha ha, house projects are easy, despite the fact that we don’t really know what we’re doing, tra la la”). Tonight: Raking around the clay that masquerades as soil in Texas to a semblance of level ground, then distributing limestone as a foundation for the patio. Or sand. Crushed granite? Have I mentioned we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing?

Big finish: This is officially the first project Monk and Quinn have taken on and not nearly come to blows over. Not only did we avoid our usual twenty arguments, we were LOVELY to each other the. whole. time. Two long days of grueling manual labor, minimal strategy discussion prior (read: lack of planning), and we were like Bob and Mary Perfect from Pleasantville, USA. This weekend will go down in the history books as a monumental, commemorative occasion. I’m waiting for our parade, people.