These Are The Days

Dear friends.

I’m living days of beautiful, exciting things.

Being thirty one and as grown up as can be, I’m of course, reluctant to write about it all because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it.

So I carry my secret specks of happiness up and down these streets, and try my best at not making a hopeless mess of the other layers of my life. Because believe me, they’re more susceptible to mess than ever.

First, there’s my family.

Consistent as ever in my failures, I’m still more or less a disappointment. But I think we’ve reached this point in our lives where years and years or constant unrealistic expectations and eventual letdowns later, we’re ok with our mixed-up, deranged relationship. That’s not to say it’s easy. I still have the ocasional phone conversation with my mother by the end of which I’m so mad I’m crying, and focusing every fleck of my will power to keep my voice from breaking. Because if she can tell I’m crying, she will have won, and we can’t have that now, can we? Have I mentioned I’m thirty one? Oh well. Families are tough.

And while we’re on tough things, there’s my job.

As luck would have it for a rather volatile, can’t-take-other-people’s-crap-for-too-long-without-turning-murderous person such as myself, I happen to currently work in Crazy Town. I know, I know. It actually sounds like it could be fun, right? And surely the kind of place someone as crazypants as yours truly would thrive in? And the funny thing is, I am. Thriving. But holy cow, is it giving me half a dozen tiny heart attacks a day! These people are crazy, blood thirsty monsters and one day, soon, I’ll be on the menu. Until then, I’m losing sleep, keeping my claws sharp and a drawer full of stress balls at hand.

To top it all, and the main reason I’m not hitting the road and finding another, less cancerous job, I’ve got money on my mind.

V and I (well, mostly me! he’s the more balanced half of our family) are nervously entertaining this miraculous idea of paying our mortgage a million or so years early, which is super realistic and putting zero pressure on ourselves and our relatively unchanged salaries since we got said mortgage. But hey, what are our thirties good for anyway, if not for worrying and stressing and counting and saving, until there’s little will to live left. So far, it hasn’t been all that bad to be fair, since we’ve managed to squeeze in two seaside holidays this summer and are already planning our next trip for later in the year, but at the back of my mind, little clouds of digits and percentages are growing bigger and bigger and are already casting a shadow on me every time I find myself caught up in another impromptu shoe shopping spree.

Now, to be perfectly honest, apart from these little nuggets of madness clearly making my life more exciting and enviable, I’m pretty much ok.

Which is, I think, why I’m not writing more often and why these last few posts have all ended on annoying, optimistic notes. But don’t despair. I’ve got a performance review at work in a few weeks! And family visiting! And summer’s over! I’m sure I’ll get back to my hate-my-life, regular little self in no time!

Until then, have a lovely sunny Tuesday, wherever you are!

*

Later edit: Also, this is my 200th post here, people. Is that amazing or what?

Call Me Crazy…

…but I think Dr. Seuss might be working in my office.

I love my job!

 

Dr. Seuss

I love my job. I love the pay!I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss, he is the best!
I love his boss and all the rest.I love my office and its location. I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!
I think my job is swell, there’s nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.
I love my computer and its software; I hug it often though it won’t care.
I love each program and every file, I’d love them more if they worked a while.I’m happy to be here. I am. I am.
I’m the happiest slave of the Firm, I am.
I love this work. I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores.
I love my job – I’ll say it again – I even love those friendly men.
Those friendly men who’ve come today, in clean white coats to take me away!

A Story of Lunch Breaks

This is how my office life works.

I get in precisely 13 minutes late every morning (a mix of unfortunate company shuttle timetables and my need to press snooze exactly six times before I finally crawl out of bed, don’t ask). I throw my backpack under the desk, then run to my supposedly super-duper-secure-but-I-suspect-it’s-made-of-recycled-cardboard locker to get my laptop. Yes, we all dutifully lock our laptops, magic mice, broken staplers and strawberry scented hand lotions before we leave the place in the evening. It’s company policy they say, though I suspect it’s exclusively based on everybody’s reluctance to leave their belongings unguarded when there’s a sticky-fingers Romanian (yours truly!) roaming free on the premises.

Valuable hardware finally plugged in and my hands freshly covered in strawberry flavoured pomade, I eventually deign to go over my inbox, check the outpour of life changing stuff people are posting on Facebook, and dive into the ever informative online tabloids. I know, I know, I’m not the psycho-hard-working bumblebee you all fantasized I was??? Oh, the horror!

The truth is that my super duper exciting project has recently been finalized and delivered. And yes, it’s been crazy hard work and I’ve had my someone-please-bludgeon-me-with-my-keyboard moments throughout, but that doesn’t really explain why these days everybody seems to think that I deserve a bit of a break, and they haven’t given me anything new to sink my teeth into. So recently, my day to day geeky adventures in the office have made room for endless, soul-wrenching, pure boredom.

By 10:15 in the morning, I’m already bored out of my mind and looking forward to the few distractions of the day: slow paced trips to the water cooler, a minor bug getting everybody deliciously frantic for half a second or so  (talking about website bugs here, people, no self respecting insect would waste its time buzzing around our bore of an office!), and lunch breaks.

Lunch break is when I get to walk out of the building and stroll down the parking lot for a minute long, car fume flavoured trip to the office canteen. People walk around said parking lot carrying piping hot plates and sharp cutlery back to their screen topped desks (why eat with others in a purposely designed, food spillage friendly space, when you can rush back and stuff yourself in front of your Facebook feed?), you run into really fit looking fellows, plates filled with mountains of mayonnaise drenched chips and end up hating your leaf-eating-yet-somehow-still-fatty self, it’s wonderful.

Now, this repetitive, tasty, it-finally-feels-like-I’m-doing-something-even-if-it’s-only-chewing canteen adventure would be the happiest time of my day, except for the fact that the entire staff, most of my fellow eaters, and I suspect the canteen furniture as well, hate my guts.

It’s not even my fault, you know. I’m a no fuss, always-chew-with-your-mouth-shut kind of gal. But I’ve had the bad luck of going to lunch accompanied by absolutely crazy people, and I’m now being labeled crazy myself by association.

Take Paul for example. Now, he may be one of my regular fellow lunch buddies, but he really shouldn’t be allowed to eat in public places. And I’m not talking about a fun and games, informal interdiction. Nope. There should be a law, an actual law preventing Paul from ordering and consuming food outside of his own kitchen.

He’s the kind of person who will take half an hour to order a burger. Remember Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally? (most of you are probably to young for that reference, but anyway) Well, Paul is psycho Meg Ryan times six when it comes to ordering food. He needs all beansprouts picked out of his stir fry with special tweezers, and dutifully disposed of in a perfectly sealed, ozone layer friendly container. He needs his onion rings to be precisely 1.4 inches in diameter and to be fried into perfection until they’ve reached the one and only acceptable onion ring color, GoldenRod, or, for geeky Web Design connoisseurs like himself, #DAA520. His chips need in no circumstances touch his peas, and would ideally be imported from different continents and cooked in separate kitchens, in Evian water held at room temperature sixteen days in advance. Well, you get the picture. Every. Chef’s. Nightmare.

My other lunch partner is David. Now David, he may look like a regular guy from afar, but he is the clumsiest, most dangerous to society and to himself person you’ll ever meet. He must have dropped and smashed at least a dozen plates in the few months we’ve been having lunch together. He leaned over the soup bar (to better inhale the flavours, of course!), and his glasses fell off his nose and into the soup pot. Twice! Have you ever tried dragging around the tallest, most badly coordinated human being? Through a cramped canteen during lunch hour rush? While his glasses are covered in steaming tomato soup? No piece of cake, I tell you.

Apart from the soup incidents though, David has had a plethora of cutlery induced burns, cuts and bruises, and just a couple of weeks back he stumbled over his own two feet and fell against the open salad bar, smashing the glass panel above it  to pieces and making the entire canteen unusable for the rest of the day. No one really cares for food and a side of glass chips, thank you very much.

Now, thankfully, David’s managed not to kill anybody, or himself (yet!), and Paul has still got a bit to go until he turns the staff and fellow queuers completely suicidal, but my association with them crazy people has definitely affected my previously immaculate canteen status.

I walk in, the calm before the storm, the bearer of bad tidings. They hide the knives, bring out the first aid kits, the super absorbant kitchen towels, light a bunch of zen friendly incense sticks and start praying for strength. They give me the stink-eye, of course, and the smallest, greasiest portions, which is fair enough I suppose.

Always super duper, glass-half-full optimistic as you know me, I’m hoping all this will shape me into a stronger (and slimmer!) version of myself, so I have yet to dump my reliably psychotic lunch partners and try solo eating. Am I a good friend or what?

Lunch was rather miraculously uneventful today, but David and I are off to the cash machines soon, so if I don’t post anything in the next couple of days, he’s probably gotten us both kidnapped and/or dismembered. In which case I’d better take this opportunity and wish you all Easter celebrating people Happy Holidays, and everybody else a lovely, sunny, mishap free weekend!

Every Day is Cake Day

One of the perks of sharing an open plan office with 80 strangers and their annoying iPhone ringtones, is the fact that pretty much every other day, one of them gets married, has a baby or yet another “late thirties” birthday.

Now, I’ve been other places before this, you know. People there were growing old and having babies too. We got them donuts or little supermarket cakes and cheeky cards everybody signed in a million different shades of ink. “Have a good one”, “50 is the new 15”, “XOXO”, nothing crazy. Then we sang our embarrassing Happy Birthdays, poked a little fun at them soon to become pensioners, and life was back to normal in a matter of minutes. I was able to handle that pretty well, my social inadequacy considered.

But oh, how things have changed. Office celebrations are a whole different story in my current workplace. They’re like the Olympic opening ceremonies, like the crowning of a new royal. People expect the extraordinary. Chocolate fountains. Fireworks. Miley Cyrus in tight pleather daisy dukes.

Of course, everybody must attend to the wonderful preparations. The birthday boy/gal is obviously aware of what’s coming, but plays along for some reason, allowing themselves to be dragged into suspicious, several hours long meetings, while the rest of us proceed to taking our event planning roles very seriously. Mountains of plates and glasses are brought out of the cupboards we’d stacked them into just a day before, in the aftermath of another celebration. Bottles of wine are set to rest at room temperature. Bags of Doritos the size of toddlers are opened, their cheesy flavored contents distributed into a dozen porcelain bowls. Custom made birthday cakes are ordered and delivered. Yes, cakes. Plural. Every other day.

These joyous occasions are known among us as the “cake and stares”. The reason for that is that people generally gather around the mountain of goodies, start wildly munching on industrial quantities of cake and crisps and, their mouths stuffed with the delicious bounty, they’re unable to say a word. So, for minutes on end all you can hear is the satisfied chewing of a couple dozens party food enthusiasts. No Happy birthday, no Holy cow, this is some scrumptious grub, nothing but people staring satisfied into each other’s eyes as they chew away. It’s marvelous.

Now, I’ve got a problem. I don’t like cake. I know, I know, you can’t possibly believe that a cake hater actually lives and breathes in nowadays world, but what can I say, I must be the among the few remaining members of a dying species. I don’t have a sweet tooth, never had. I sometimes feel like having a bite of chocolate, or a spoonful of ice cream, but one bite or spoonful later and I’m done for the month. I do like Doritos, so much so that I’d fill my bathtub with them cheese dust oozing triangles of ecstasy and would just lie in there forever, crunching myself into a cheese flavored overdose.

So my cake intolerance and Doritos addiction considered, I try to keep myself away from the “cake and stares” celebrations. I’ll sign the birthday card, I’ll help with the preparations, I’ll even have a glass of wine (or two). Still, I’m seen as a traitor. It’s disrespectful towards the birthday boy/gal if I don’t join the munching. Not to mention that I’m also too skinny, therefore I need to help myself to a couple of brick sized slices of chocolate injected cake, and pronto, or I’ll surely succumb to inanition before long. Standing there all slim and superior, no sticky crumbles around my mouth, is seen as a form of defiance and will not be tolerated forever. I need to show a little respect and start chewing.

I push my luck every day, and every day I’m afraid they’ll have had enough with my smug attitude and will end up forcefully feeding me a briefcase sized cake. A particular scene from Roald Dahl’s Matilda comes to mind. Have you read that? If so, you’ll understand the constant terror I live in.

I need to run now, the wife of this guy I’ve never spoken to just had a baby. There’s sugar in the air.