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Friday, May 7, 2004

there's a reason Dogbert coined the term co-irker...

i'm a bit stymied by a situation at work. on the one hand, it should be permissible to shout 'get your hands off my stuff!'. on the other hand, if you put items out on your desk, aren't they public?

here's the deal: one of my fellow inmates has some interesting concepts about boundaries and propriety. he will come by my cube to talk about something, and two hours later (no joke!!), he's handled every damn item on my desk and shelves, all the while coughing, biting his nails, scratching his ears... bleargh.

and i don't know how to deal with this. it feels ragingly awkward to confront him in the moment, largely because by the time i disengage from the conversation/analysis and clue into his behavior, i'm too angry to be polite, so i choose to say nothing. if i can't say something to his face, is it fair to go to my boss and ask him to handle the issue? should i give the person in question the right of first refusal, so to speak? or should i just take all the toys off of public display? (side note: at one point, he was so distressed about an issue (not mine) that he was chewing *on my coat hanger*. so it's not just gizmos/toys/distractions.)

feh. some things are clear, in this politically sensitive age. other things? dayum.

:: scribbled at 12:18 AM ... ... o

Thursday, May 6, 2004

*fwip* *fwip* *cronk* *fwip* *splrt* *fwip*

remind me again why i thought it was a good idea to drive?

so, i had an appointment downtown the other night. and for some reason, i actually had the thought that *it might save time to drive*. (note: i live in Boston, home of the Big Dig, where the street map changes on a daily basis.)

it's middle of the rush hour (and why do we call the three to four hour snarl a rush *hour*?), and i'm driving along Storrow Drive. and suddenly, over the rush of air and other cars and the radio, i hear *squonk* *phwrp* *stutter* *phwrp* *snap!!* *phlrptrpt* *squonk* and i think ohgodohgodohgod please don't let me be having a flat on Storrow in the middle lane in rush hour ohgodohgod please don't because if i were in the other car i'd be mad at me for holding things up goddamn what is that noise?!?

i tap the brakes, and monitor the handling. the noise abates a bit when i touch the brakes, and Penny isn't pulling one way or another, but as soon as i let off the brakes, the noise is back. i've turned off the radio, rolled down the window, and am driving along with one eye on the road and one ear out the window on the noise. it's coming from the front left corner, and it's intermittent, at best - no pattern that lets me know i ran over something that's now lodged in the tire and smacking the fender, or that that pothole i hit actually did take out the rim and there's a seriously deflating tire in my [wicked] immediate future.

careful driving, and getting lost downtown (navigating by nose only really works when you can see, and half of the driving is underground these days), and a few nervous moments later (including waving off someone who was mad that i craned around, all 360°, to see where i was), i parked. got out, walked around to feed the meter, and inspected the front end of the car. after kicking the hubcap back into place, i found the problem.

turns out that the damage done by the neighbors a few weeks ago has degraded. someone had drunkenly smacked into the bumper and crushed the front left corner. a little highway driving put more stress on, and voil<á>! a shard of my bumper catching the wind, depending on the angle. i tried to pull it off, as it seemed largely cosmetic at this point, with no luck. feh. off to the appointment, try again later.

after i left the appointment, i got back on the highway and heard the *fwip* *fwip* *cronk* *fwip* again. less nervous now, about that (altho Penny didn't want to accelerate because it was a damp day...), but still watching, i headed north, and kept checking the mirrors.

*fwip* *fwip* *fwip* *screeeee* ...silence...

and a glance in the rear view confirmed my suspicion: wind shear did what i couldn't. a nice little chunk of my bumper was skittering down the highway, spiralling its way across the lanes, into the guard rails.

ah. silence. :)

:: scribbled at 11:20 PM ... ... o

here's the thing that sucks most about being a step:

you're always on guard. people are watching, judging, critiquing, and to other standards than are used for birth parents. some of this is self-imposed, to be sure. who didn't grow up with the idea of the wicked stepmother? but for certain, some part of that standard of judgement exists.


:: scribbled at 11:16 PM ... ... o

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

one of the things i've been working on lately is this: what sort of parent do i want to be?

off the bat, part of the answer is already set. for now, at least, it's stepmother. (for now meaning 'mom' may work its way in there, not that i'll stop being a step...) there are many other layers, of course, to both the question and the answer, and i'm working thru those as well (and probably will be for the rest of my life - does anyone ever figure it out?). but a big chunk of the current scenario? step.

i found an interesting essay about a month or so ago, titled The Evil Stepmother. can't remember what i was looking for, or who might have pointed it out, or how it ended up on my screen, but there it was. and it hit home. parts of it made me nod, others made me cry or wince, some made me laugh.

When I bought endive and champagne, the check out clerk used to ask me what I was making. But no one asks you what you are making when you buy cereal and hamburger.

also? a sense of relief that someone else has been there, and can articulate some of the things that bug me. i posted the article to one of my stepmother groups, a group for those of us with no children of our own, and many women responded in much the same way.

it's not that it's all bad - far from it, these days. but on the days where it's frustrating, it is that way in a very particular flavor. on top of the 'oh god, i sound like my parent' when something pops out unprompted, or the debate about dessert (reward, or part of the meal?) and the Clean Plate Club (note: someone pointed out that no child will starve themselves. end CPC for us.), or the continuing effort to explain that clothes go *in* the hamper, not around it - add in 'well, my *mom* doesn't make me do that, ever', or the ex herself telling you how to run your house/life/garden club... maybe you get the idea.

a funny story to go with, as i'd rather finish on the funny:

one of the recent debates between me and Little Small has been over brushing his teeth. i don't know if it's testing boundaries, or a general dislike of hygiene, or hating the flavor of toothpaste, or figuring out how to live with two sets of rules, one for each house, but there were a few weeks where it took 10 minutes of discussion to get him to brush. my mom, when i related this, said 'why reason with him? he's a kid.' good point, mom. so i took a different tack the next time 'round - the perceived choice. this is where you give the kid the *illusion* of choice, to let him feel some control over his own life, but given the options, there wasn't really a choice to be made.

Little Small: 'but why do i have to brush my teeth? mom never makes me. neither does dad! i brushed this morning!'
me: 'your dentist says you have to brush twice a day.'
LS: [eyeing me suspiciously] 'you've never talked to my dentist.'
me: 'nope, but your dad has, and he told me the dentist said that.'
LS: 'well, i still don't wanna.'
me: 'okay, here's the choice: brush your teeth, or have them all fall out. what's it gonna be?'
LS: [smoke nearly coming out of his ears as the gears turn and he actually thinks it thru] 'it would be awfully hard to bob for apples if i didn't have any teeth, huh?'

i nearly fell out of my chair, laughing at that one. that's right, little one, it would. hadn't thought of that, but you're absolutely right. and his pantomime of bobbing for apples with your gums was priceless. and since he's worked thru that, with inimitable kid logic, tooth brushing has proceeded quite nicely. :)

:: scribbled at 2:43 PM ... ... o

the friday five:

(since i seem to be on an asyncrhonous roll... really, just cleaning out drafts that have been hanging around a while... this one, from 12 March.)

1. What was the last song you heard?

An Evening in June, Van Morrison.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

The Scottish play, directed by Polanski, and Pirates of the Carribean, with the luscious Johnny Depp.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

bottle of wine, People magazine, chocolate mint cookies.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

laundry, dusting, pay bills, spend positive time with my sweetie.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

people i bumped into in the kitchen while getting my tea, and L, who needed to hear the story about the Little Chapel of Elvis. (they're all office people.)

:: scribbled at 2:03 PM ... ... o

have you noticed the recent spam trend of using 'full' names?

you know, where you get a note from Joseph Q. Public. i don't really know what spam filter that's supposed to defeat, really, as the content is still dreck. but it is amusing - or disturbing, if you think about giggling at your inbox first thing in the morning. (not that i do that. i'm just sayin'...)

anyhoo. best spam name yet: Jesus N. Poe. and what does the N stand for, eh?

:: scribbled at 2:02 PM ... ... o

Sunday, May 2, 2004

also, unconscious mutterings:

Sexy :: too ... for my shirt
Clique :: mean
Pledge :: sorority
Carbs :: debatable
Dream Job :: non-profit
Sweeps :: too much TV
Soundtrack :: to my life
Hero :: my honey
Shave :: doves (courtesy of mechaieh *g*)
Christina :: C.. (former coworker)

:: scribbled at 11:28 PM ... ... o

monday madness, a bit ahead of the curve:

1. Do you collect anything?

i tend to get a bit obsessive about whatever my latest fascination may be, and collect relavent bits for that (witness beading - i have a whole toolkit for that, even tho i haven't touched it for about a year). mostly, tho, books.

2. How many items do you have in your collection?

books? far fewer than i used to have. in the interest of not collapsing my current living space by having too many bookcases, i've weeded things down to books i haven't yet read, books i intend to read again, or books with great sentimental value (like some of my grandfather's college texts, complete with handwritten notes).

3. What is the most unusual piece in your collection?

hm. most unusual book... hrm. that's a hard one. oh! nope, not hard at all. that would be my Grandmother's Book. my gram wrote out one of those 'grandmother's memories' books, with a snippet of family tree, and small stories about her life, and so many little bits and pieces that i would never (14ish at the time) have thought to ask but treasure now. one of the most precious pages in there is the one my grandfather wrote, describing how he and my grandmother met and fell in love. being able to read those stories, in their handwriting, makes it if not the most unusual, certainly the most valuable to me.

and one more for good measure...
4. Is there anything you don't collect that you would like to collect?

sportscars. no joke - if i had the fundage to collect and rehab two seater sports cars, i'd be a happy, happy girl.

:: scribbled at 11:19 PM ... ... o