Don't poke the bear

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

Last night at the massage clinic was... interesting. I have refrained from detailing too much of my experience with clients on this site because I would hate to give anyone a complex and scare them away from massage. Massage is beneficial to nearly everyone's well-being and some day we can all sit down and talk about what it does for your muscles and circulatory system (and all the other systems, and your emotional well-being...), and I'll even show you statistics that prove massage is better for pain management, depression, etc. as opposed to standard treatment methods, but we'll save that for another day.

But, you know, you are naked (except for those of you who insist on wearing boxers that hang down to your knees, or the odd bird that leaves her bra on which, hello? Kind of hard to work on your back that way, but whatever keeps you comfortable), while some stranger has their hands all over your body... so yeah, the things you manage to keep hidden from view in your daily life don't usually stay hidden while you're on that table.

So, guys? Let's keep the razor away from the back hair, shall we? If you have a hairy back, we can work with that, no problem. But if you have back stubble, it kind of turns into a really weird, surprise spa treatment for the massage therapist. I had no idea I'd be exfoliating my fingers, palms, knuckles and forearm last night. Amazing things are being done these days with wax and lasers. Look into it.

Also: Please do not flirt with your massage therapist. I know it can be kind of confusing, because here you are with the naked and the rubbing as stated above, but unless we're hidden away in a red light district across the ocean (or in Indiana, possibly, the only state where massage is still not regulated), it ain't that kind of service.


Today Monk and I go back to Chicago for 5 days of family and friend visits, waxing nostalgic in our old neighborhood, spending way too much money, and possibly closing a bank account that's been neglected for, oh, 6 years or so. Have a great 4th of July, everybody.


I'm just a work machine

ATTN: The first major paragraph of this post is very worky work, and I frankly do not have time to edit it for the interesting bits ('course then, we might not have a new entry here, people), so feel free to skip to the second paragraph which will still give the gist of what's a-happenin'.

I know- You wish you could get a warning every time a post contains Boring Overload.

Too bad, suckers.


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


Sweet Duplicity

I had hoped to be training Assistant 2.0 at the beginning of next week, but that dream is fading fast.

What’s funny is when you interview someone and they seem great, and you’re all “let’s do a reference check as a formality, but really, she’s in” and then, when the reference giver is asked “would you recommend this person to us?” the reference giver, for all intents and purposes, basically says “fuck no!” accompanied by the colorful details of why the fuck not.

(What’s also funny, if completely unrelated, is the question Boss Lady asks me after every. single. interview: "Is she attractive?" Because we don’t hire Ugly around here, people!)

(Remind me to answer that one of these days with well, I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.)

(I would love to see Boss Lady's response to a statement like that, she who doesn't have a problem with lesbians, but doesn't understand why they have to wear men's underwear all the time.)

(Ahem. Back to the show.)

Interviewed a second candidate this morning and, while she’s very qualified (it appears) and very professional (she seemed), she left me with the distinct impression that she does not want the job. Which is not so good. On the other hand: hey kindred spirit! I don’t want this job, either! In fact, I was caught in a bit of a sticky position when I offered the usual “do you have any questions for me” at the interview’s conclusion. Instead of inquiring about the dress code or benefits, she stumped me: “What do you like about this job?” So of course I was very much “Oh, it’s great because bullshit bullshit bullshit, and then there’s the smoke-and-mirrors, smoke-and-mirrors, plus! talking-out-of-my-ass times a billion.” And mentally answering Not much! Uh, my window in my office? The fact that I’m planning to abandon ship sometime next year? It’s an office job, that’s all, and does anyone really like admin work? Isn’t it one of those things we fall into by default, bad choices or bad luck?

The inner monologue reminded me of my interview with Boss Lady two years ago. As a V.I.P. in a clothing company, she of course asked if I was into fashion and clothes. Inside-the-head answer: Not a bit, and I kind of judge people who are. When asked what appealed to me about admin work in general: Hmmm, the free internet access, all-in-one printer and an unlimited supply of Post-Its? When she wanted to know why I’d chosen this [admin work] as a career: um, if you refer to this as my “career” one more time, I may need to walk out the door and shoot myself just a little bit.

So this highly educated, over-qualified, very experienced candidate wants to commit to this part-time position long-term, and I’m in love with my job. I’ve asked her to come back tomorrow morning so we can sit around and blow more smoke up each other’s ass, and even Boss Lady will be getting in on the fun this time.


Please baby, not so hard.

Sometimes I'm giving a massage and thinking "wow, I am really rockin' this massage! Am the awesomest massage therapist, ever!"

But. Every now and then I find myself in a situation thinking "wow, this is like trying to bend a rock. This back? Is granite-countertop-hard." Guess which scenario I had last night. Spent an hour trying to grasp, pull and stretch muscles that were so locked up they formed a smooth, solid plane of armor, blocking my assault on her back. It was like trying to bury your fingers into a wall, people.

(Seriously. Later today, go over to a wall, pretend it's bread dough, and attempt to knead it. You will then understand how tense this client was.)

(You will also understand that I am an expert descriptionist.)


(You will also understand how it feels to be looked at like you are a little bit crazy.)

Inexplicably, Our Lady of the Brick Back seemed to have enjoyed the massage very much, and took my suggestion of a 90-minute session next time (with ME, lady! Write the name down! Must finish this internship!) to heart. Hopefully she will come in next week and we can make some headway. I think I will have to let my elbows and forearms star in that show, or refer Our Lady to a deep tissue therapist. Or a steamroller.


Let's just call it a bonding experience.

I got my first “I love you” last night. Did a 90-minute full body massage for a very nice man who comes in to the clinic regularly. The session started out the way I imagine a less-than-perfect sky dive might go, as though you’re being shoved towards the door of the plane while still pulling on your pack, and just as you line up to aim a graceful swan dive out into the great blue nowhere your boot catches a little on the floor of the plane. Not enough to put you on the path to certain death, but just enough to spill you out into the sky thinking “nice move, bonehead, it’s going to be a little tricky now to recover and make a clean landing.”

Or maybe it wasn’t like that at all. I must admit, in the interest of full disclosure that I know next to nothing about skydiving.

Just to give you an idea: Dude comes in, I was still glancing through his file when the receptionist pushed me at him, the consultation was brief and incomplete, and despite my instructions, when I entered the station he was the wrong way on the table (face up). Plus he was so tall his feet were nearly hanging off the edge, giving me little room to maneuver at that end of the room. Since we hadn’t discussed what areas needed more attention I just, kind of, went where I thought I needed to be and hoped for the best. Oh and there was the face cradle caper: I had removed the face cradle in the beginning as one does in order to execute the neck and shoulders part of the massage. Before turning him over I somehow needed to get the face cradle fitted back into the table, which involves inserting the spokes of the thing into two holes along the edge of the table. This is made more difficult when the table is already made up and the sheet is blocking the holes. And the client’s head is right there so you can’t exactly feel around the edge too much. Oh, and it’s fucking dark in the room and darkness? Is exactly the same color as a hole.

“Heh heh, you came in for the combo 82-minute massage / 8 minute face-cradle-fumble, right, sir?”

Anyway. Imagine my surprise after the session was over, when he not only gave me a perfect score on the intern evaluation sheet, but also murmured sleepily “did I mention I love you?” Aw, shucks.

When I gleefully told this to a random teacher later, she grew very still and worried. “Did he say anything else?... When did he say it?... How was he acting during the massage?... Do you need to report it?” It took me a few tries to convince her the sentence was said in a “that was fantastic” sort of way, rather than a “there are a million photos of you hanging on the walls of Mother’s basement that I gaze at while stroking my shotgun” sort of way.

At least, I hope that’s how it was meant. I should probably mention (just to keep this blog honest) that there is a small, teeny, tiny chance that I may have very accidentally touched his magillidangle at some point in the beginning of the massage.*

*I don't think that's what it was. I mean, that would make him, like, some kind of record-holder, so, no, that didn't happen. Although, that kind of size would explain why it might have been hanging where it was, intruding on my massage territory. No. I probably just brushed against some excess sheet. Except, I think I know the difference between cloth and... La la la, nope, didn't happen, no way.


And she thought last Friday was bad...

On the short list of Things That Freak Me Out, you will find the girl from The Exorcist. The older film, not the remake, and specifically all scenes that involve convulsing, vomiting, frothing, moaning or otherwise making it very clear that the poor girl is possessed by the devil.

Friday afternoon I sat in my office, staring at my computer and despairing of ever fixing all the typos the Assistant had dumped into databases when I heard, from the front of the office, what sounded like the Assistant calling to me. Or talking to herself. Or… singing? In the next second I realized I was listening to some very eerie moaning and became annoyed that the Assistant was having a breakdown… or an orgasm? At her desk. I walked out of my office to investigate and as I rounded the corner to the reception area I saw the Assistant in her chair, in the clutches of a full-on seizure. Her convulsing body was blocking the path to the phone so I rushed back to my office and dialed 9-1-1. More accurately, I dialed 9-9-1-1 only after the first two tries in which I had forgotten I had to first press fucking 9 to get a damn outside line.

Of course, dialing 9-1-1 does not have the quickness and the drama as it must have had in the past, as I was promptly put on hold for what seemed like an eternity. While explaining the situation to the dispatcher, I corrected her no less than four times regarding our telephone number; in between reassurances that an ambulance was on its way, I called through the wall to the Boss Lady, who blithely ignored both the volume and the urgent tone of my voice.

(Later, she told me with a chuckle: “I thought I heard you calling me.”)

The dispatcher at last recited the correct telephone number to me, just as the noises at the front of the office slammed into silence. “Hang on,” I yelled to the receiver as I dropped it on my desk, “it just got wayyy too quiet out there.” I ran back to the reception area and the good news- the seizure had stopped. The bad news- the Assistant was slumped in her chair, eyes glazed over, tongue poking out of her mouth, not breathing.

I seriously thought I had a dead body on my hands, y’all.

I suppose it shows I’m a dog owner first, a non-parent next, and a person trained in CPR/first aid last last last since I immediately CLAPPED my hands together and sharply called the Assistant’s name, in more of a “get out of the damn garbage!” than a “Christ on a crutch don’t you die on me!” sort of way. She flinched, and resumed breathing, and so did I.

Then I went to get the Boss Lady and we ended up physically restraining the Assistant (she kept mumbling and trying to stand up for no reason) per the dispatcher’s instructions, while waiting for the paramedics and their trusty stretcher. Then I went to the emergency room while Boss Lady attempted to track down the Assistant’s husband who had changed jobs without giving anyone the new number (no one had his cell phone number, either, not even his children). At the emergency room I found out this has happened before, but not for years (she thinks) and the fact that she’s on medication for seizures just didn’t warrant a mention over the past two months she's been working with us.

(I guess she decided sharing marital problems or domestic drama was more interesting than “hey, I haven’t had a seizure in 3 years that I know of, but you should know, it might happen. And by the way, here’s my updated emergency contact information.”)

Yesterday the Assistant was back at work flitting between mortification and acting like nothing had happened. She had no idea what caused the episode, hoped she didn’t embarrass herself too badly, and was content to have a brief telephone conversation with her doctor about it; the doctor’s solution was simply to prescribe a stronger anti-seizure pill, no need to come in and see him.

Here’s where you’re gonna want to punch me in the face: We’re letting the Assistant go this week. Based on job performance! Based on job! performance! And you thought it was only Seizure Friday last week, but it was also Decide to Fire the Assistant (Since We’re Within the 90-Day Trial Period) Day! How’s that for timing? And of course, by “we,” I mean “I.” I get to tell her Friday morning that it’s just not working out, while Boss Lady hides out at home. The Assistant will get to work, I’ll show up, she’ll lose her job, then start her weekend early.


So you can imagine how uncomfortable I was yesterday when the Assistant was thanking Boss Lady and me for “saving her life.” Yeah, you’re welcome. And you’re out of a job.


The good news? It's over.

I'm sure you're all dying to hear every detail from my work trip. Because what could be more interesting than a blow-by-blow account of 14-hour days spent acting the part of the professional, the lady, and the professional ladies's personal assistant? Sure, I spent some time dealing with the hotel staff, scouting group dinner locations and looking quite smart in my uber-hip suits, but mostly? A lot of b.s. for about a hundred women who live by the wealthy fashion diva's sword of not-without-my-makeup-and-bling, and aren't-you-here-to-serve-me-then-hop-to-it.

(It's always a double-edged sword with me, isn't it?)

Needless to say I was plenty exhausted by the time my body was finally able to crumple into the beat-up passenger seat of my beloved old Isuzu as Monk whisked me away from the airport and shop talk Friday night. So... details. Well, 5 days of wearing fancy shoes whenever vertical took its (pound of flesh) toll on my feet. Nevermind the blisters (and a couple of bruises) covering nearly every surface of my feet, I'm just glad the hobbling has finally subsided.

Wait. You want to hear about something besides the fact that I'm a freak of a girl who doesn't know how to play dress up? I'm also the kind of girl who takes random photos of random hallway mirrors:

And, miracle of miracles, I did get to walk outside a few times and say hello to this scene:

And then there was the incident of the crappy room despite being on the VIP list, and because I did not throw a big fit as was expected, instead of a move to a better room, I was surprised with a big plate of sugar dyed to look like the beach (the "sand" tasted like cinnamon! But it looked just like sand! I still don't know what possessed me to to dip my fingers into something that looked an awful lot like sand and taste it, but how's that for lucky?), with a big-ass (translation: bigger than a softball, smaller than a breadbox) chocolate replica of the hotel sitting on it. And three ginormous chocolate-covered strawberries that met a quick but gruesome death as I stuffed them down my throat during a luxurious 10 minute window between a meeting and a dinner. And inside the chocolate hotel was more chocolate, though not quite as tasty, but who am I to complain.

(No comments from the peanut gallery, thankyouverymuch.)

Perhaps you'd like some (slightly blurry- I thought digital cameras were idiot proof?) pictures, to understand how easily I can be bought:

Speaking of easy, one evening I quietly overindulged while everyone else went crazy, and after drunk-dialling my own husband (yes, am quite the punk) sat at a bar and had the most boring of conversations with just probably the most boring of men. But I was "merry" enough at the time to be all "wow! you're in real estate?! That's quite possibly the most fascinating thing I've ever heard!" and "oh-ma-gah, you're a golfer?! I think I just wet myself!" So you can't blame the guy for thinking he was going to get laid. You can blame me, of course, but only if you throw in the added bonus of making him think he was Mr. Smooth in the chat-up process. Suggested we walk on the beach for a while (gag) and then invited me up to his room for a drink. Yeah...Butch? It would take more than a can of Budweiser from your minibar, let me tell you.

("Not much more!" yells Monk)

(and then he sits down, all quiet-like, because, damn, that's his wife we're talking about.)

No pictures of that debacle, unfortunately.

So that was pretty much the most exciting- Oh! Folks? Can I just tell you about this one night on the trip, after the group dinner, when about 80 people from the company convinced the bus drivers to drop us off at a different restaurant? A smaller restaurant? And you should have seen the faces of the patrons as we flooded into the place. Every one of them was so clearly watching their night go down the shitter. I'm sure they were thrilled when the music was turned up, the free margaritas came out, and the group started getting down to Brown-Eyed Girl, dancing their pre-choreographed routine to Summer Lovin', and whatever else women do when they're female and inebriated and convinced that THIS SONG WAS WRITTEN JUST FOR ME THIS IS SO. MY. SONG!!!

If the restaurant crowd wasn't bothered at that point, some of them might have changed their minds when one of the ladies leapt up on a table to dance the night away. Might have been more well-received if the people at the table hadn't been trying to finish their meal... Another highlight of the evening was turning around and seeing a woman from our group perched atop the bobbing shoulders of a man she didn't know. And later, that same woman riding the man's bucking crotch like... oh, we don't need the wordplay at this point, people. It got ugly. But awesome. Even Boss Lady danced; she's normally so reserved and expressionless that this was quite disturbing to me and I have since blocked the image from my brain.

The next morning, as people trickled into the meeting room, walk-of-shame style, Boss Lady approached and applauded me for being the only one that hadn't been out of control the night before (I'm operating under the assumption that no one witnessed the Speed-freak delight displayed over houses and rounds of golf 7 hours earlier). Boss Lady said "you were so good, you were like our protector, standing there making sure nothing got out of hand." I just smiled, because I didn't have the heart (guts?) to tell her I'd been standing there, hoping things got out of hand, and making sure I had a good view.

And obviously very, very glad I had remembered to bring my camera:

*pictures are small and messed-with to protect the not-so-innocent as always, and of course to protect my steady paycheck, not necessarily in that order.