Saturday, January 29, 2011

I pretty much oughtta just go read the book of Job.

Hi all! It's a bright sunny day here, with high temps predicted to be in the upper 50's this afternoon. Perfect weather for laying flooring, don't you think? Yes, yes it is.

Big doin's are scheduled for the Tiny House this weekend. With most of the kitchen remodel done, it's possible we might be finished in the next couple of days. Finished! I do believe all that's left to do is to put in the dishwasher, put down the flooring, and do the glaze coat on the upper walls. That's NOTHING compared with what has gone on before, and so the 6-week turn-your-house-upside-down-and-inside-out project is drawing to a close.

This pleases me.

And yes, there will be pictures.


So why should I need to read the book of Job, might you ask, if my days are filled with sunshine and lovely home remodeling projects that are almost done?

Well, it has to do with work.

You see, we are' consolidating' and 'enhancing real estate use' and 'co-locating global workgroups' where I work, which are all fancy ways of saying the following: we, the counters of beans, decided to downsize our office hardscape and are now shoving people into the few remaining buildings as fast as we can with no regard to their needs, preferences, or even a smidge of common sense.

For example - this past week saw the removal of the 'comfy chair and tables' ad hoc meeting areas near the conference rooms, the consequent removal of the plants and greenery that made those spaces attractive to occupy for a casual conversation, and the simultaneous advent of new cubes being placed where the comfy chairs and indoor trees used to be.

Yep - new cubes are being shoved into every easily conceivable nook in the building, to the detriment of the overall 'feel' of the building (and even some useful oxygen generation by the plants)

Oh, right - we were told just before Christmas that we're now not allowed to have PLANTS, either. Apparently they're dangerous or something. Not even one plant. Someone is clearly out to starve our souls of any amount of satisfying ability to create a homey environment. Next up I'm betting they'll outlaw all toys, pictures, and lamps, because they create a dangerous sense of individuality which will not be tolerated!

Anyhow, back to the new cubes. These new cubes are, you might have surmised, not in the nicest of places. They're actually in the hallways, outside of conference rooms! The unfortunate new occupants of these new cubes will have people parading past their workspace at all hours of the day, and will be forced, due to proximity, to overhear everything that goes on in these conference rooms throughout the day. They will hear the clicking of shoes and the casual conversations of people going to and fro. The people in the cubes will have nearly no privacy, as anyone who walks by to get coffee or a printout or to go to a meeting in the room the cube is butted up to will be able to peer into their workplace and gander at what's going on.

Really, they're in terrible places to work. When I saw them going up I thought 'wow - I feel bad for whoever's moving into the building had has to work in one of those cubes - they suck!'

So, guess who got one of the shittiest cubes in the building?

That's right.


I got word yesterday that I'm being moved into one of the worst cubicles in the building.

Can a cube location be worse than being right outside a conference room, in a freaking HALLWAY?

Yes, yes it can. We can put that dreadful right NEXT TO THE MAIN COFFEE AREA, which is in the acoustic equivalent of a 2-story tiled amplifier and houses the main stairway to the second floor which, at the upper landing, is also home to the second floor bathrooms.

Hallway, conference room, tile atrium, coffee machine, bathroom. All within 5 feet of my new sucktastic cubicle.

It all makes sense, right?Me, a writer, who spends a lot of time doing research, doing thinking, doing writing of important things that will be communicated to regulatory agencies around the world in the hopes of getting a drug approved for sale in those countries and thus who needs a fair amount of quiet time to THINK FOR PETE'S SAKE, is now sitting in the noisiest freaking place in the building, because clearly that's the best place for someone who does what I do.

It's as though the Gods of space planning are out to sabotage me. Like someone hates me. Like someone took a look at where I have been sitting for the past 3+ years and said 'you know what? She's had enough quiet, enough privacy with that cube that faces a wall, she's had enough beauty with the cube that has the window next to it (which she totally 'office-spaced by pushing out one cube wall, which is of course against the rules), let's give her the absolutely crappiest place to work in this whole building and see how long it takes her to crack.'

Well I have news for them - the fissures are already starting to widen. My dread at facing this move is deep and wide. I mean, how did the group admin get a cube in the nice quiet spot and I'm sitting in Grand Central Freaking Station? Why am I subject to such ill treatment? Who hates me so much they put me in the suckiest cube EVER? I barely even TALK to anyone at work - how could I have pissed off someone in facilities?

So, yeah, Job. He was tested, and tested, and tested. He was strong through many trials, until things got so bad even his WIFE was begging him to just off himself (I think I have this right), but he persisted, praising loudly and never giving up hope in better days. He had strong faith that things would work out and he would be provided for. He knew things could get worse.

Like, hey, at least we're not going to open plan. This is good, because NOBODY would ever see me then. I'd be the disembodied voice on the phone at meetings, the spectre-like presence on Office Communicator, the occasionally-sighted body in chair at important functions, but not the one who will fight for a spot at the table, so to speak, of the 'open plan' workplace.

So yes, it could have been worse.

But not by much.

I guess it's nothing that a good set of headphone and a nice cube-drapery can't fix, right.


Job Job Job Job Job Job Job Job.....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I have just decided a thing

Many of you who have read here for a while know that I drive a little KIA Optima named Tinkerbell. Before she was Tink, she was part of Enterprise's fleet of rental vehicles, so when we bought her in 2004 she was low mileage, a good price ('nothing parties like a rental!'), and, most importantly, she had enough backseat room that we thought she would 'fit' our family for many years to come.

Well, those many years are up, for many reasons.

1) The Things are, at 13 and 15, both over 6'2" and still growing. Their size 14 sneakers will attest to the fact that they are likely going to be very tall grown men, and current proof (aside from the big feet) is that they both wear jeans with 34-inch inseams, and those are just barely long enough.


Up until a few months ago, those legs fet in the backseat of dear Tinkerbell, but those days are fast coming to a close, and anytime we 4 go anyplace together the Things get crammed into the back seat and can't budge until we make a pit stop.


It is for their comfort (and, let's be frank, MINE, as more room would naturally mean less complaining for the back seat) that trading Tinkebell in for 'something bigger' is a good idea.

But wait, there's more.

2) Maintenance.

In the past few years, since the car ticked over the 100K mile mark and thus the warranty expired, ol' Tink is experiencing part failure after part failure, and is currently costing me the equivalent of about 150 bucks a month in repairs.

I KNOW, ridiculous, right?

But here's the thing - it's not a car payment. It's not a hit on my credit rating to pay out LESS than a car payment each month, and so I keep shelling out for things like timing belts and motor mounts and power steering whatsits and suchlike. Maps. Or something.

The latest thing to have gone wrong, and in a highly worrisome manner, are the front 'ball joints.' Please, do not tell my car she has balls, and that not only does she have them but they have JOINTS, for that would certainly be a shocker and she might just drop her transmission in surprise, which would suck because those things are expensive and we can't have that!

Ball joints are, apparently, important for the car to not squeak. And squeak, and squeak some more when a) going over bumps, b) turning, c) thinking about going over bumps, d) coming to a stop, e) starting back up again, and f) almost anything else that involves movement except turning right. For some reason, turning right is fine.

Now, you might think that an obnoxiously squeaking care would be cause for concern, and you'd be right, except I'm beginning to bristle at having to keep spending money on the car so I've put it off for a bit in protest over having to part with yet MORE of my money on this less-than well-fitting vehicle.

Hey - 300 clams is 300 clams, ya know what I mean?

EXCEPT - dig this: I just did a little research on ball joints, which led to research on KIA suspension, which led to the following:

it appears that in June of 2009 a recall of MY YEAR CAR was issued for problems with the front suspension in vehicles that were sold or operated in 'road salt' states, which Connecticut is, which is where I bought that car and DROVE IT IN THE WINTER. Never mind that they brine the living sh-t out of roads around here when there's even a whisper of a chance for snow...

I should not be surprise, I suppose, that I never heard of this recall. I should also not be overly surprised that the mechanics at the dealership never told me about it. It should come as no surprise, given the info about make/model/year/geographic location mentioned above that I just recently had to have the tires re-aligned because the right front tire was showing signs of rapid and unusual wear, which is PART OF THE SIGNAL THAT YOUR SUSPENSION IS BAD!!!!

2 + 2 = potato, as far as the repair guys at the KIA place are concerned, apparently. Never let a chance to get a paying customer in the door, even when the recall mentioned 'free repair' of this dangerous condition. Yeah man - your ball joints or lower control arm can corrode clean away, leaving you in a possible position of having the front of your call FALL OFF, possibly while driving! Why would they NOT tell me about that in June of 2009 when the recall came out??? Heavens! It would be like actually taking care of your customers instead of waiting for them to become so desperate that they'll throw money at you to make the damned squeaking go away???

Naturally, I am bristling. I am taking mega-umbrage as well, and might even go so far as to say I could go very medieval on whichever 'customer service representative' I come across, this afternoon, when we take the car in to get it banished of the maddening squeakery.

So, yes, I think I shall be getting THIS repair for free. Naturally, I will use my nicest mild-manndered man-killer voice with them as I tell them about this little issue, and how I believe they should have told me that my car fit every demographic to meet this recall. I shall knock it into their thick lying skulls that they really should be shooting for good customer service, not just mo' money, mo' money.

My rage is justifiable, and white-hot.

Rage, though at time satisfying to experience, will not get me a new car, which is what we need, because even though this latest repair might be coming in at under a dollar if I have my way, there will be other repairs needed, that much is sure, and I 'm pretty much sick and tired of repairing a car that doesn't really suit our needs anymore.

So, new car, or new-ish car, because I'm not buying new, just new to me.

What should we get? What do YOU drive? Would a couple of he-beasts like the Things fit in the backseat(s)?

I'm leaning toward minivan (Honda Odyessy, anyone?), but purchasing a nice land yacht (something from the 60's with a huge trunk might work) is appealing as well. There are currently 2 people car shopping for me (they volunteered! honest!) who are pushing the minivan, but I'm open to other suggestions.

Comments are welcome, as are opinions, general rage-venting, and ideas for dinner.

Time to go chew out a mechanic or 2. Tiff out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rare! Weekend! Update!

Point 1) I have found that by sheer will alone I can put off doing important work for an astonishingly long period of time. It's not for the faint of heart, this level of pointless procrastination, oh no, for the weaker of you would cave to the pressure of productivity long before I even blink with nervous anticipation.

For I have practiced long and hard to get to the point where I can pretty much do nothing all day long. If laziness were a martial art, I'd be a black belt, possibly 3rd or 4th dan.

And yet, I know I'll never reach the pinnacle of laziness, because there always, ALWAYS, comes a point at which even I of the steel-belted procrastinatory nature give in to societal expectations of having to actually PRODUCE something in order to get paid for 'working,' and today is one of those days.

One hallmark of the truly top-drawer putter-offers is that we can usually deliver something on time and in pretty good shape, given approximately 10% of the time it ought to take and enough caffeine. Even though my copious caffeine-drinking days are over (I do LOVE a regular heartbeat nowadays), the resolve necessary to git 'er done lives on.

And so, in the next 4 or so hours, I shall be steaming through an amazing amount of data, flinging graphs and tables about like confetti at a World's Funniest Home Videos $100,000 finals show, and cursing my lackadaisicality at regular intervals.

It is the way of my people.


Item 2) Also, had a couple of 'spots' frozen off yesterday by the lovely PA at the dermatologist's office. I don't mind getting spots frozen off - it beats having them sawed off with a scalpel (a distinctly unpleasant experience) and the momentary burn feels kind of good (don't judge!).

One spot is on my left shoulder, the other is on my right wrist. The wrist one was just an 'ugly' spot of rough skin that I wanted off, and the lovely PA complied with a 2-second blast of liquid nitrogen.

OK, so what happens after that is that the spot turns white (it's ICE!), then thaws (it's SLUSH!), then a red spot appears around the frozen spot (it's IN TROUBLE!), then at some point over the next 8 hours, enough liquid gathers up under the frozen spot to look like there's a bloated serum-filled tick attached to where the flesh-ice used to be (it's GROSS!).

Then, if you're me, you can't stand it anymore and you pick just a little bit at one edge, and the tick collapses in a rush of goo. Sweet relief!

And then, again, if you're me, the tick reappears. I know! It's like a zombie of the inflammatory process world! Reanimated, reinstated, revolting!

Therefore, fascinating. I kind of can't wait until it all peels up and I get to see the new skin underneath. Bye bye ugly brown spot - helloo, shiny skin-colored skin! Bye bye memories of flesh-tick, and helloo approximately 6 months before something NEW has to be burned/frozen/sliced off of me.



Lesson time!

If someone had told me 30 years ago to not go tanning because I as a German/Irish/English girl have skin that pretty much is guaranteed to spot/cancerify/wrinkle even with a lifetime of solar avoidance, I would have scoffed in a very teenagery way and STILL marched out into the sun with nothing but a bikini and a layer of baby oil on. It was TANNING, and therefore important! We all went out in April to get that first burn to 'set the base,' then spent an hour or more every dang day slathered in shiny oils trying to bake to a nutty brown perfection.

I freckled, mostly, which should have been a huge sign to get out of the sun, but...DISCO! BIG HAIR! Metallic eye pencils and lip gloss! TANNING! It's what you did if you were a girl and wanted to achieve 'the look.'

Also, I was a lifeguard. DingDing! You're done!

Yes, I regret it now. Of course I do, but shoot, if I hadn't spent all those years foolishly tanning my way into eventual skin cancer, then I would know the joys of the serum-tick and the sting of the liquid nitrogen, and I wouldn't therefore have written this highly gold-standard post, and your occasional life lessons from Tiff would be one lesson shorter. Plus which, NOT tanning would have made me even more nerdly than I already was, and there's no teen who should have to suffer through THAT kind of tribulation.


In closing - Here's the a cheery weekend for everyone - one-armed hugs all around (not with the goo paw, at least not today)!

Tiff out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In which I declare mightily that I am hearilty and thoroughly SICK of being in pain

Right before Christmas I did ‘something’ to my back that has resulted in about a month of consistent pain in the lumbar region. At first the pain was spasmodic and crippling, but only if I had to go from a leaning over or seated position to a standing or ‘other’ position. Made blow-drying my hair and getting up from a chair very difficult, and made me make ‘oy’ noises to occupy my time while waiting for the spasms to subside.

Thankfully, the spasms have largely gone (it’s a long process, I’m finding out), but the positional pain is now a near constant, and the position it's most present in is when I sit.

The irony in this is that I SIT, pretty all the time, at my job. I sit, and type. And sometimes drink water or send snarky IMs to colleagues, but it's virtually all done while in a sitting position. This makes working more difficult than usual, as I’m a world-class slumper and sloucher, which, I’ve found out, is the reason my back hurts in the first place, because I WAS SITTING WRONG. Sitting wrong. I failed at sitting. Dwell on that for a minute with me. Stupefyingly, it's becoming apparent that I am incapable of doing correctly what I learned to do as an infant. I effed up sitting for so long my back is now prohibiting me from doing it comfortably. Astounding, wouldn't you agree?

So what to do about correcting those pesky and painful sitting issues? Well, word is I can forget curling forward pensively while pondering an important email or bit of Farkery, forget sliding down in the chair to ‘sit on my spine' while cogitating over the latest Frazz or nugget of safety information from a recent clinical study, forget sitting with knees crossed or chin in hand or slightly sideways during the course of an 8-hour workday. Forget them all, because they are the reason that something has gone dreadfully wrong in my spinal column! Yessir, those behaviors, the 'go-tos' for saving me from the dreaded numb-butt syndrome are now identified as the cause of the back thing, and so it's time to choose - either have a numb butt or a pain-free back!

The answer is simple and clear: I will have to say goodbye to being able to feel my rear. In my view, an absence of sensation is infinitely preferable to consistently feeling pain.

Being an avid user of the internet and being imbued with a healthy sense of self-awareness, I have self-diagnosed the issue as being a bulge in a disc in my spine. On the left side. About L3, if I’m any good at guessing, though likely it’s L5 as that’s the most common area to have this kind of issue. No matter, ONE of them is giving me trouble, and as the trouble’s been at a static level for a week or so now, it’s clear I need to see someone to have the problem taken care of (and probably to get yelled at for not taking care of it sooner. Oh, the joys of being a procrastinator).

When I posited this issue of possible treatment on FB a couple of weeks ago (because I obviously like to complain on multiple platforms as to as many people as humanly possible), it seems that those with opinions of what kind of treatment to seek were in 1 of 2 camps, chiropractor or acupuncturist. I know chiro is the more traditional way to go (after maybe seeing a doc who would prescribe me some med that would likely make me barf because I cannot do morphine or its many delicious derivatives), but I like the idea of acupuncture better because the thought of someone manipulating my already-fragile spine is horrifying at this moment. However, I’m not sure the acupuncture will be covered under insurance and I am a cheapskate and would really rather never pay full price when the insurance I pay for covers something I would therefore not have to pay for. Even being the miser that I am though, if acupuncture ISN’T covered I might still go that route (see ‘fear of pain’ above). Because hey - I can certainly lie still while the chi starts a-flowin' again, and I've heard those needles don't hurt (again, see 'fear of pain').

Meanwhile, I’m making all the adjustments I can to HOW I’m sitting, which include the following: back against the chair so legs are fully supported, lower back padded with a pillow to enhance spine curvature, and regular move-around breaks. I know I’m pretty lucky to have lived this long without major issues, as I know some folks have a lot more to deal with than just a little back pain, so I’m sorry to be such a dang whiner, but damn. To be mutinied by a body part sucks.

Feel free to chime in with your opinions on what sort of treatment I should seek. I have to go – it’s time to walk around and listen to my joints creak and maybe say 'oy' a few times. Mazeltov!

Tiff out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finda da Pope inna Pizza!

Dear Popetacular John Paul 2,

Congratulations on being all set to be beatified. Dude, you totally healed a woman, a NUN no less, of her Parkinson's disease, AFTER YOU DIED! That is extra rock star of you, man. I mean, yes, it was nice of her to pray to you for healing, because who doesn't like a nice hearty ego stroke like that, but shoot, doing a miracle post-mortem is hard core. It would have been way easier to do while you were still shuffling around in the meat suit, is what I'm guessing, so woo to you for being super-spiritual about it. AMAZING! Good job, your Popeliness!

But, sadly, JP2, my man, you'll have to do another miracle to become a saint. Yessir, 2 miracles are required, and don't go re-healing this one lady if she relapses because that would be a weak move. You'll have to do better than that, man. Shoot, you're beatified, which gives you special beatifical powers! You can move up to really spectacular miracles with that kind of canonical bling! So, if you don't mind, I've come up with a few ideas for that second miracle, in case you've not already got a project in the works are simply aren't thinking big enough yet:

  1. No more live-action comic book movies, ever.
  2. Make Kim Jong Il wear nothing but HuggyBear outfits for the rest of his days. WITH A HAT!
  3. Bring back the Muppet Show.
  4. This extra 30 pounds I'm carrying around? Banish it from me. Do a little smiting, is what I'm saying. It'll make you feel good, the smiting, trust me.
  5. The next time it snows, I'd like the snowflakes to be pink. That'd be miraculously cool.
  6. Guy Fieri's hair - you know what needs to be done.

See, JP2 - I thought you were a pretty good Pope, and even though I'm not Catholic and therefore don't really understand why people are praying to YOU for healing when they really can go straight to the Big Guy at the Top, it was cool of you to heal that lady the way you did, and clearly doing it after you died is super-awesome of you, so I sort of want you to be a saint after going to all that effort. If some of the ideas I've put on the table don't work out for you, just check the comments of this entry, because I'm sure there are folks out there who can come up with other great miracle ideas, like bringing Billy Mays back or making Hillary Clinton stop using 'uh' and ''um" as verbal fillers or making pizza calorie-free because it's so delicious.

Or making all dogs be self-cleaning, or turning pennies into butterflies, or causing all garden gnome statues to come to life and amuse us with peppy song and dance numbers.

You know, MIRACULOUS miracles.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Help! I'm turning into Andy Rooney!

So, I've been thinking stuff. Hey, it beats working. Here's what I'm thinking today, right now!

Being middle-aged comes with the realizations of harsh realities. Some of which I’ve worked myself into enough of a funk to list out here:

  • You ARE, in fact, more than half as old as you might reasonably expect to ever be.
  • In 20 years, you’ll wish you are as old as you are now, and will, in fact, regard your 40’s a ‘the good old days.’
  • You no longer ‘bounce back’ from injuries and, perhaps, will spend rather a lot of time talking about, or making odd noises because of, either acute or chronic pain or a disturbingly loud noise coming from a place that’s never made noises before.
  • Speaking of noises, your GI tract will being making lots and lots of them. There is absolutely nothing you can do about this. Congratulations!
  • Your butt cheeks will begin a love affair with the tops of your thighs, so much so that they never want to be apart and will spend an embarrassing amount of time trying to kiss each other.
  • Also, no matter what your gender, your boobs will travel, and they, like many travelers, will enjoy the southern climates the most. Be prepared for this and accept that if you’re a man the time has come to keep the tee-shirt on, and if you’re a woman those ta-ta’s that once were your best asset probably look more like a tennis ball in a tube sock, if the tube sock has lost most of its elastic. Covering up becomes key.
  • Your face also will start a long slow trip to the South Pole, ending up mostly under your chin. Again, there is almost nothing you can do about this.
  • Two words: pot belly.
  • The career you tried so hard to build has probably reached its peak about now. From here on in it’s all about maintaining the status quo until retirement age, which, if you’re lucky, will be by the time you’re 70. Perk up though – that’s only another 25 years or so! Just think, 25 years ago you were probably in your 20’s, a fresh-faced, wet-behind-the-ears, green punk who though they knew it all and had yet to have the will to live sucked from them by a series of increasingly dull corporate gigs you accepted for the valuable insurance plans and 401K offerings. Now you KNOW better than to dream you're still on the way up, and therefore can relax a little! Carpe bierem! Drink up, because that’s about as good as you’re going to feel all day!
  • Only you CAN’T drink anymore because you have high blood pressure, or are pre-diabetic, or because that pot belly ain’t going away on its own.
  • Not like you’d have any friends to get drunk with anyhow, because they’ve all gone teetotal in an effort to recapture the youth they wasted getting wasted and squandering their potential.
Because of these things, being middle-aged means it's time to take a long hard metaphorical look at yourself (not literal, because mirrors are NO LONGER YOUR FRIEND) and realize that if you don’t hurry up and get off your ass to enjoy life, you’re making a huge mistake and will, in 20 or so years, kick yourself in your metaphorical ass for being such a damned fool to have wasted your 'later youth' acting so old.

Yes, I am a ball of red-hot joy that you daren’t get too close to because oooh, baby, it might BURN with the fire of long-gone passionate desire for world change or a REALLY good veggie taco, and then you’ll get all sad for the stuff you wish you’d done.

Well, listen up sisters and brothers, and listen up good, I'm here to offer you some advice on that mindset, and it's this: knock it off.

Yeah, you're not as young as you once were (because, taking that to its logical conclusion, if you were as young as you ever were you'd not be able to read this post (hyperbole is my FRIEND!)) but you're still WAY young enough to do what it is you always wanted to do. Don’t wait until you’re forced into making a bucket list. Do those things now, as a glorious elder, stunning middle-ager, vivacious youth, whatever. Who cares that some folks might not think it seemly, or wise, or practical, or even noble? Who says that life as a slightly older person has to lose its zing and that you have to live it to propriety's rules? NOBODY says so, that's who. And parts of that nobody should be you. You have DREAMS, baby, aspirations, dangerous and foolhardy things to do! What are you waiting for? Someone to ASK you to name the thing? OK, I'll bite.

What DO you want to do with the rest of your life?

Me, I’m writing a book. I have thus decided. And if the old adage of 'write what you know' is any guide to follow, the book will likely be about cat pee, dust, naps, and laundry.

Yeah baby - best-seller list all the way.

Tiff out.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Somewhere, in this room, a cat has pee'd

So, I am sick of cats. Utterly, completely, TRAGICALLY, sick of cats.

One TRIES to improve their living conditions, and what does one get for attempting to elevate their lifestyle by the addition of an awesome new wood floor in the kitchen, higher ceilings, new cabinets, and pretty much EVERYTHING NEW in the 25% of the house from which the lovely noms come?


Yep - piss. That's what you get when you have cats. you get PISS for your troubles and thanks very much for even having to ask.

Piss on the carpet. Piss on the couch. Piss on the STOVE, for crying out loud, which I can't even begin to understand. Man, that hurts.

Never ones to be grateful, when we locked them away in the bathroom from the hurt and anguish that the kitchen remodel is, one of them decided that yes, the bathroom sink would be a fantastic place to dump a deuce.

The SINK. Where we brush our teeth. I know. I KNOW!!! It's 'Hoarders' gross, isn't it?

AND, to make it worse, someplace in the living room there's a deposit of something that smells bad, even though I've cleaned every surface imaginable at this point. They make it stink, even when they're not around to make it stink! It's....unacceptable!

Which is why they're outside now. And they are, from all appearances, ENJOYING IT.

Stupid cats.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Benefits of Best Friends

Recently, I got a message from a best friend that totally reminded me of why they are one of them. My Best Friends, that is. See, the message they sent was utterly partisan, shamelessly patriotic, and would, in the wrong hands, cause the recipient to burst into flame with indignation. Because the message was one I enjoyed thoroughly, I forwarded it on to some other people, one or two of whom are also Best Friends.

Wait, what?

I could understand your confusion, what with all those Best Friends involved. How can that happen? Simple math would tell us that Best = One, so there should be only One Best Friend available at any one time, right?

Well, no. I don't think so.

Having more than 1 Best Friend seems counterintuitive, I agree, but here's why I believe I (and anyone else could too, for that matter) can have more than one BF: they come in stages. Therefore, you can experience a veritable HERD of Best Friends over time! More to the point, they don't need to supersede one another! You just keep adding them as they happen!

In my case, the first BF I mentioned above is a BF from more than half a lifetime ago, we have almost grown up together. The second BF is one of much more recent vintage and an unfortunately short physical co-location, but who has stuck with me despite geographic separation and reminds me that I am valued in her world which is a charming thing to say and a treasured thing to hear.

There are other Best Friends, of course, who filled that role with panache (and possibly waffles?) over the very long span of time I've been alive. These people have been female and male, of similar age and very dissimilar vintage, of wildly different backgrounds and durations. Some I've known for what seems like forever, others stamped their mark because of the situations under which we became Best Friends, but all have retained a firm place in my life and heart because they served a very special role for me, perhaps without even knowing it.

One thing you should know about me - if I'm your friend once, I believe I'm your friend for life. If we are Best Friends Once, we can also be Best Friends for life, if you understand that there can be more than one.

Sometimes though, a very special BF comes along, and the get promoted to Best Friend EVER. When you find yourself becoming Best Friends EVER with someone, there's normally not a pledge of undying friendship (at least now that most of us are past the backyard clubhouse stage of life and realize the spit-festooned handshakes are just horrible diseases waiting to happen (despite the spit belonging to a potential Best Friend)), but sometimes there is some kind of proclamation of the Best Friendiness. For example, 2 years ago today, in front of a dozen or so other people, I told my Best Friend EVER that I intended to stick with him until the end of time, so there. He said much the same thing back to me, which was nice. Everyone clapped, we exchanged jewelry, and then we had lasagna and cake.

It's wonderful to know that even though he was at that time already my BFE and therefore I figured I knew enough about him to bestow upon him that vaunted title, I've learned a lot about him in the 2 years since we dressed up and got married. Honestly, I already thought he pretty much was the bee's knees, but a few hundred days and many life experiences shared has introduced more depth to my still-developing understanding of who he is. The richness and complexity of his nature is a treasure, the resiliency of his spirit is reason enough to want to know him better, the strong foundation of faith and trust we continue to build is a bedrock against rough times, his cleverly inventive musical talents are a source of fascination, and the humor and honesty with which he approaches life are a clear example of why anyone would be fortunate to be his friend.

But he's MY BFE, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Thanks Biff - if you couldn't already tell, I think you're utterly awesome.