Thursday, January 14, 2016

A swing and three misses.

Just a little more Time, God?  No, Alan.  Well, how 'bout we get get the Cos up here instead?  Alan, he's not coming here; it has to be you.  Dammit!  Quite the opposite, really.
Someone else won the $1.5 BILLION dollar Powerball last night, it appears.

Strike one.

Spent the night in bad dreams, like the following:

  • New job
  • at FOX NEWS
  • have sleep at the office even though home is 30 minutes away
  • Skirt and heels, me
  • Elevator that doesn't work, to the point where pressure gauges and pulleys push out from the walls as the cab descends, and those aboard know what to do with them
  • Finding out there's a Home Depot in 'the returns department' that's staffed by hundreds of people
  • Being asked out by a (female) high school classmate
  • Thinking I needed to update my banking info so FOX can deposit my check in MY bank, not theirs
  • Too many bananas on vacation
  • And one attic scene I won't go into except that it involves a stationary bike.
  • Oh, and LOTS of stair in the building, to the point that if you THINK you are on level 1.7 you might actually be on Level 6, and finding the right set of stair or elevator to take you to the correct level 2 involves former colleagues, French doctors, a Boy Scout Leader, a terrible rainstorm, and the ability to, as previously mentioned, run in heels and a skirt.

Strike two.

And then, as the acidic black topping on the nightmare pie, frigging Alan Rickman dies.

Yes, my boyfriend Alan Rickman.

That smooth-talking Brit, that strutter of stage, that actor of films, that wig-wearing Snape.  Oh, Alan.

Say 'hey' to Bowie, Lemmy, and (if she's in the same neighborhood) Natalie for us, would you?  They all must be about as confused as you are, though you all had to know you were leaving.

Strike three.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Dog ate my glasses

That's an Aston Martin.  His dog ate it.
One of life's lessons about having a dog is that THEY EAT THINGS.

Precious things, garbage, clothing, paper, sticks, anything.  Some dogs eat furniture too, but so far with Wern we've not had that problem.  He stops at 'precious things' and calls it a day.

What is a precious thing, might you ask?

Anything that is on the kitchen table or other 'off limits' (in our minds) area to which he does not have express access.  I know, I know, he's a DOG and as such if a cat happens to knock a precious thing off the table (or other off limits area) the thing then becomes perfectly acceptable to chew on, and, usually, to destroy.

As is what happened to my computer glasses several weeks ago.

Yes, I have glasses to wear when I'm using the computer.  How very middle-aged of me, I know.

See (heh), I don't need glasses to read, because my left eye is nearsighted.   I don't need glasses to drive, because my right eye is farsighted.  I DO need glasses to clearly see my computer, because it sits in the perfect middle-distance at which neither of my eyes sees very well at all.   Left eye is still winning, but Rightie is making a valiant effort to superimpose a fuzzy double-image of the screen, which isn't as helpful as one might imagine, but who am I to tell Rightie to lay off and quit working?

It doesn't help that my eyes see things in slightly different colors, either.  The left one transmits more in the ruddy range, while Rightie is cool blue, in general.

Do you not wish you were me right now, with the wonkiness?  3D movies are out of the question, if you must know.

I've been working at the computer (it's what I do) for the past few weeks without my glasses, and I can't say it's been a terrific experience.  Lots of squinting and embiggening going on, some of which is of course because I am old, but the remainder is because I simply can't see as well as I ought to at that distance.  Curiously, my eyesight is not getting any better from the daily workouts, and the fact must be faced - it's time to get the peepers peeped at and things brought to rights.

I should probably thank Wern for eating the last pair, his ingestion of my fancy polycarbonate no-frame titanium-templed specs was done from a place of LOVE to save me from continued use of the scratched-up lenses.  I know.  Dogs are good like that.  They take care of us.  Even if it means I get to shell out another 400 clams for the exam and glasses.

That money's coming out of his 'treats and toys' budget, but don't tell him that.  It'll be a long and lonely two weeks until that deficit is made up.

Tiff out. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The little black book

In the time I've spent as a professional person working a responsible job, I have mostly had to rely on lists and whiteboard and things of that nature to ensure I'm covering all the bases to which I've been assigned.  Keeping stuff like that solely in my head simply doesn't work, and the embarrassment of saying 'Oh dear I forgot to do that' when someone's tapping the ol' manila folder on the edge of my desk just isn't a place I want to be or a shame I want to experience any more.

Thus, lists.

Now that I'm not in cublicleland, there's no whiteboard for me to layout my timelines upon, no flexible repository for my progress against goals.  No, there's none of that.  Instead, I am becoming reliant on the little black book, a real page-turner that all too often says the same thing on Page B as it did on Page A, with some small tweak to indicate that progress had been made against goals.

Every day I write down what I understand my daily goals to be, and every NEXT day I review them, rewrite the ones I didn't get to, check my calendar to be doubly sure I'm not missing anything (I usually am), and start all over again.

For the past 3 days I've had the same top 2 tasks to do, so I assigned them a DUE DATE today, and thus they will get done.  Due dates are my self-imposed hell, but they motivate me to perform when I would allow many a thing to languish until somebody hollered for it (my past work-life balanced depended on this).  However, the new job has a much more insidious master: THE DATABASE.

If you are late initiating a task, the DB will let you know. When a date is approaching for action, the DB will tell you, then tell you again if you didn't respond appropriately the first time.  The DB will tell you when a task is coming up and when it's gone screaming past you, only to be viewable in the rear-view mirror of regret.

In other words - the DB rules the calendar.

Thus, my notebook is refreshed every day with things I need to do to keep ahead of the DB, to keep that ol' head above water while learning to swim in the deep end.  The DB is like a terrible coach, pulling a student under to teach them how to float.

But I shall win this, and the DB will not drown me.

My little black notebook says so.

Do you have an organizational system that works for you?  Our household chores are updated daily on a whiteboard, which works for the family as a whole, but these individual work goals must travel with me...and I don't have a smartphone.

OK then, with this dull entry over, it's

Tiff out (to go do items A and B, then C, and possibly D before it's time to pack it all in for the day).

Monday, January 11, 2016

Back to school time!

The younger kiddo had to go back to UNC at Chapel Hill yesterday afternoon, because classes started today and what better time to get back to campus than before classes actually start?

I thought so too.

It's not a bad drive at about 40 miles door to door, which makes it a nice afternoon's jaunt there and back with hardly any stress.  Colin accompanied us, which was great, for there were many things to tote up to the fourth floor and it would have been many multiples of trips with just Mason and me.  Shoot, just the 75 bucks worth of dorm food we'd purchased yesterday afternoon would have been at least 2 trips by itself!

'Twas a gorgeous afternoon to boot, with temps in the mid-50's and a beautiful sunny sky, so after we unloaded we ambled across campus to have a late lunch/early dinner at Spanky's.  On our way there we'd stopped at the school store (massive), and I purchased a car magnet that's a simple representation of The Old Well, 'THE' campus landmark.  I'd toyed with 'Carolina Mom' magnet, but that's just too shouty for me, and I dig simplicity.  It's pretty, and I like it.  

While we were at lunch, I snapped what turns out to be a very very fuzzy pic of the kids, but I'm putting it here because I LOVE their smiles, and it's kind of a celebration to see Mason's teeth after 2+ years in braces.  They've grown up so nicely, and I'm proud of them to absolute bits.

Colin has pretty much adopted the campus as his own too, and visits whenever he can.  I do think he misses not having had the 4-year experience, but his brother is happy to share and Colin will have adventure of his own, perhaps sooner rather than later.  

Even thought they're strapping young men now, I am still amazed at how they grow and develop and change almost daily - it's a miracle to watch them mature and a blessing to be able to do so.  Plus which, they're both seriously funny, so even if they weren't QUITE so awesome, they'd still have that going for them.

One proud mama Tiff, out.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Swinging the boom

Hi guyz!!  I see you!
Hey, let's just get this out of the way, OK?

If anyone has a cure for sudden gushing nosebleeds, I'd sure appreciate it.

Good grief, I sniff too hard and epistaxis happens.  Forget blowing my nose.  I might as well just shove a teaspoon of Vaseline up there to moisturize that left nostril, or get a home wood-burning kit to cauterize whatever stupid little blood vessel is up there that insists on being a delicate flower and bursting forth in freshsets of crimson each time it feels just a lil' put upon.

Because, really.  ONE sniff?

This is the same nostril that just offered up sample of A+ gore at a review meeting 18 months ago or so, when I was so stressed out I looked at a sudden horrific nosebleed as a welcome respite from the stupidity that was happening in the room.  Oh, sure, I had to RUN out of the room with my hand cupped under my nose, hoping I wouldn't stain the conference room carpet, but at that time I was secretly hoping for some moderately-concerning ailment to take me out of that team for....6 months of so, so the nosebleed was a promising start.

Now?  I'm done with it.

Where's the dang Vaseline?


I feel like it's important to note that when the first thing your kids want to eat as a snack is kielbasa and sauerkraut, that somehow you've passed the ultimate parenting test and they're going to be fine in the big bad world.

They even passed up hummus.

Watch me pat myself on the back.


Oh, and one more thing.  When I came on board at the new job I was asked be a sort of process improvement expert/value adder type person.

As in 'let's go ahead and figure out why the company has you aboard.'

The last few months I've been observing and experiencing and training and figuring out where the chinks and gaps and thick rubbery blankets of onerous busy work are stored, and yesterday I released my findings upon my group.

Glorious day!

I really did kind of go with both barrels about how SUCK this job is and the hundred ways it could be better and had suggestions and drawbacks identified and notes outlined about possible co-groups that would need to be actioned to effect the proposed changes, and I GAVE A TIMELINE by which I thought all the issues noted could be addressed.

Yeah, I gave it to 'em good.

I even wrote a nice 3-paragraph preamble on the history of the effort, why the report was written, my observations about the group as it is and where I think it could go....all in corporate-speak.

An effort of which I am MOST proud.

Aaaaand, my boss wants to talk 1:1 with me about it next week.  I ain't skeered.  I did what she asked, I have my stump speech ready, and I am fully prepared to action the living SHIT out of my plan, coworkers agree with my findings and want a way to dig out from under the BS into the glorious light of relevance.

I am, in fact, their beacon in the darkness.  

Feels dang good.


Tiff out.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Everyone has a bad day now and again

Yesterday, I embroiled y'all in a tale of high anxiety and hot tempers.  Oh, it was saucy and vicious, allright, what with all the CATS and death wishes.

I felt pretty good about my righteous indignation, I did.

Until she called back.


She was having a bad day, and really likes us as neighbors, and wanted to apologize for being so touchy, etc etc blahblahblah.

NOW where am I going to put all my rage, HUH?


It's nearly 7 p.m., and I signed off of work half an hour ago.  My first meeting tomorrow is in 11.5 hours.  Yep - 7 a.m.

I'll be signing off at 3, just you watch me.


Question for all you pet owners out there: do you have your furry buddies in bed with you at night, or do they sleep elsewhere?

Wern sleeps on a dog bed next to our bed at night, the cats sleep in the house if they're indoors for the night.

Some folks though are firmly in the crate arena, and others are just as staunchly in the 'let's all crawl in bed together' zone.

Our system works for us, bcs I KNOW the animals aren't fully shed of fleas and dirt, so what makes you welcome them to bed or safely tuck them into their own little dens for the night?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Blogger is losing it's mind.  When I start to write a post the font is so small I can barely read it, and that's at the 'normal' setting (about 8-point font, if I'm any guesser).  When I switch it to 'large' font, things BALLOON up to something around 20-point font, and there's no in-between size.

Neither of which has anything to do at all with how the font appears on the post, of course.  Can't have things making sense all willy-nilly.

Are you a fan of the larger font?  I think I am, and if this site was in mobile device layout, I'm sure that's how it would be.  One giant picture at the top, and nothing but big beefy font scrolling allaway down.


Tip to the Wise: Keebler 'Flip Sides' Pretzel Cracker are a poor, poor imitation of Pretzel Crisps.

Do not be fooled.


Tiff out.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

I have some things to work on

For the past few months, we have been working on re-siding the house, choosing to clad in in vinyl by ourselves, with occasional help here and there.

And by 'ourselves,' I mean G is doing 99% of the work.  I just hold stuff.

Because both he and I are employed full-time, and even if I wasn't I would have precious little idea how to put the stuff up if it came to tricky bits (but I'm learning, ever so slowly), it mean that the work is done on nights and weekends.  You know, about the same time as the lawn mower/blower brigade strikes up the band.

One little thing G likes to do when doing outside work is set up the music system to play some tunes while he's banging nails and trimming siding.  The music is not on a boombox, but rather on part of his band's PA system, which CAN put out a mighty voice when called upon, but doesn't in the neighborhood because, well, folks don't always WANT to Andreas Van Vollenweider while they're doing their leaf blowing.

OK, nor might they want to hear 21 Pilots, Gunship, OKGo, worship music, Arthur Lyman, the Sugarcubes, Steve Taylor, Gorrillaz, or anything else he might have on the bulging iPad of musical chairs.

Bottom line, we try to keep the music at a sane level (G's definition, it's HIS job site), and pointed at the work, not the neighbors.

Saturday he worked all day on the house.  It HAS TO BE DONE, y'all.  Cold is coming on. After 3+ months of work (most of it prep work, putting up actual siding is the icing), he's working when there's light, if it's after 9 a.m.  Rock stars need their rest.

Segue to last night - a phone call.

He's out on the deck grilling chicken, so I don't hear any of the conversation.  What I do get is the rundown after, which goes something like this:

Neighbor lady:  Do you hear that music?

G: No, no I don't.
Neighbor: Well it sounds a lot like the music you were blasting all day Saturday when I was trying to sleep because I need to sleep during the day because I'm taking care of CATS all night long and that's when I sleep!  
G:  Well, please call me next time if it's bothering you.
Neighbor: What was that you were playing, RAP?
G: It was all kinds of stuff.
Neighbor: Well you know I'm sick and the daytime is the only time I can sleep because I have all these CATS to take care of at nighttime so the daytime is the only time I can sleep.
G: OK, thanks for letting me know.
Neighbor: you KNOW I have all these CATS to take care of. 
G: OK, thanks for letting me know.

To which I said something REALLY really uncharitable, like 'hurry up and die already, old lady,' and then felt kind of bad, but then didn't, and for that I am a terrible person and remarkably unChristian in my cheek-turning abilities.  BUT LORD HAVE MERCY!  You know why she couldn't call G to ask him to turn down the music so she could rest?

"Well I couldn't get out of bed."

If you're THAT tired....

But I won't say it.  I won't.  I'll think it, and I'll invent a thousand ways one could perish of aural abuse, but I will not SAY it.  Whoops! Just added one - so One thousand and ONE ways to assault a certain Fire Marshall Bill-lookin' neighbor with noise, noise, noise, NOISE!!

Sayyyy, I wonder if her landscapers get the same treatment?  I don't see THEM mowing between dusk and dawn. Maybe she just stuffs another pack of smokes down her neck and puffs aways the offense, until such time as every last blade of grass is (quietly) picked up and they slink off in their electric truck with the fur-covered tires, leaving her to bask in sepulchural splendor, until the horrible neighbors and their Devil RAP MUSIC start up at 10 a.m.!

Forgive me, Lord, for the vivid imagination you blessed me with sometimes is used for evil and not for good.  AND I ENJOY IT.

Until next time,

Tiff out.

PS - but really, am I way off base on this one?  Feel free to tell me how to curb my irrational rage, because I'm all ears.

Monday, January 04, 2016

January. so time for the monthly post.

Actually, I plan to do better than that this year.  Right, OK, it's a refrain heard before, but you know what?  Facebook is getting old and stupid in so many ways, and I can put here what  I wouldn't put there either because it's 1) too boring even for Facebook, b) too boring, even for Facebook, or iii) too get the idea.

Aren't you looking forward, therefore, to reading this blog in 2016?  I'm all a-shiver with the thought of the thrills and spills and chills yet to be on offer here.


Speaking of chills - it snowed for the first time here today.  Minor, tiny-baby flurries, but SNOW, nonetheless.

December was warm and WET, and though that would sound sexy in certain contexts, when you're talking Christmas, you really shouldn't be talking all sexy anyhow so it better be at least COLD.  Santa doesn't care for sexy weather at Christmas, it makes his beard itch and his stomach sweat under that vast swath of belt he's got going on around his midsection.

And as we all know, moist belly-buttons are very sulky belly-buttons.

So yay snow!  I don't even really mind the cold, if it means (and it does!) that the backyard will harden up a little and we won't have dogfoot mud being spread all over the dang house.  And the mosquitoes will go away.  And the spiders will die.

Seriously, y'all.  A week ago we had the dang A/C on.  It was ridiculous.  And wonderful, too, a little.  But mostly ridiculous, on account of all that mud.


We celebrated out 7th wedding anniversary yesterday.  To celebrate, we both took naps, then went to see 'The Force Awakens' at the 'we're practically teenagers!' hour of 6:50 p.m.  Woohoo!!

That was after I gave him socks as a gift, which is TOTALLY APPROPRIATE as the traditional gifts for ol' #7 are either made of wool or copper.  His socks are made of wool.  SMARTWool, even, so I expect by summer his toes will be able to do calculus, which would be a real help to me because I never learned it and might someday need to know something along the calculusy line.  He gifted me with a copper mailbin for my desk (hooray!  no more slidey piles of mail!) and some earrings that 'may contain copper' or might not, but they're pretty and I love them.

But not as much as I love him.  It's really easy to do when you like someone too.


More soon - I have to go write the 'what's wrong with this job' report for my new boss.  It's just the kind of thing I like to do, and because I'm locked out of all pertinent systems while the trickle-down from my recent NT ID name change occurs, it's about the only thing I CAN do.

My one problem: how to type while rubbing my hands together, all Snidely Whiplash fashion.  Heh-heh-heh.

Tiff out.