taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I'm just now recovering from the Summer Flu from Hell. It was a lovely little bug, lasting over two weeks (and not yet completely done with me, I suspect). I managed to miss only a total of about 8 or 9 hours from work, but in today's office culture, I'm sure I'm regarded as a complete slacker.

I think it used to be expected that people would get sick and need to stay home periodically, but these days you're not a Team Player if you don't show up, nose running and shivering at your desk, only to infect the whole office. There's so much pressure to put in all this time, to work more than forty or even fifty hours a week, to show up no matter what else is going on. Having a good work ethic, these days, means you shouldn't have much time for an outside life. But how can you have any sanity in your life at all, getting home at 7pm every night? How do you even cook dinner, much less do your laundry and hang out with your family? I am proof positive that going into work while you're sick only makes productivity worse--I couldn't focus while I was there, and I took about three times as long to get better.

But no, the making of the websites must go on! Without all of us working 60 hours a week, the world of corporate and institutional communications would grind to a shrieking halt and there the world would be, with no Flash menus or handy-dandy Web forms. And truthfully, my employers are far better than most. But the culture of work-at-all-costs, work-as-life has infected every corner of the American business culture, like a virus spread by a project manager with a hacking cough. (Excuse the tortured metaphors, I'm still a little unwell.)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Accomplished this past weekend:

1. Conquered the mall! I hate the f*in' mall, but I made it through okay, despite shaking and foaming at the mouth. The children now own unbelievably expensive Stride-Rite shoes--the expense is justified by the little labels inside which say "Toddler Tech!" If it's TECHNOLOGY then hell, it's worth $50, right? I think the Stride-Rite woman just got to me at a moment of weakness, 'cause Bee was screaming so loud I'd have bought pretty much anything. Including striped socks. Which I did buy. How did that happen?
2. The Panda now has a haircut. While Panda sat nicely in her chair at the Cartoon Cuts, some poor little toddler boy was getting his hair cut and screaming the whole time. And I do mean nonstop, piercing screaming. Panda's hairstylist looked like she was about to march over and smack someone upside the head, and then proceeded to tell me how incompetent this other hairstylist was--"I mean for the love of God that child is only a year old and she needs to HURRY UP, what is WRONG with that woman, it's all snip-snip-snip, for god's sake take a buzzer to the child's head!" Regardless, after her haircut Panda felt beautiful--and subsequently found an admirer at camp. She claims this boy "only likes me for my looks" but I think it's more than that. (She also claims that the boy is somehow "in her social circle"--and that's a quote--but she won't explain how.)
3. The house is now clean. Well, it was. Now it's full of wet towels and other people's books. But it was clean, I swear! You can almost still smell the Method counter cleaner--almost.
4. Learned how to do 3-combo tricks in Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and annoyed the Panda greatly in 2-player mode. She still beat me--I'm working on the head smack. I'm beginning to believe I can actually skate. Luckily, though I beg Panda to bring her skateboard over here, she wisely refuses. "Mom, you can't skate," she says, in the same tone of voice she uses when she says "Mom, you know nothing about fashion." (Which I don't actually, even if I did used to be cool.)

And now onto next weekend. Next weekend, what delights do you hold? Patio powerwashing, some mac and cheese, a whole afternoon at the pool? The delights will be too much to bear!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The children were restless this morning. The Bee spent most of her time trying to get into the fridge, hunting for Danimals and juicy boxes, while the Panda moaned miserably on the couch ("I'm too TIRED for camp!") I finally had to throw them both into the tub to quell the whining. The Bee figured out she could tickle her sister by squeezing her knee, but didn't know when to stop.

And I discovered I have ants on my kitchen floor, most likely due to the food that Bee stashes all around the house for later snackin'(I've seen her do it--open a cabinet door, pull out a Goldfish, and look at it with recognition and delight before popping it into her mouth. The look says "Aha! I remember putting that there last week, how BRILLIANT!")

This single-momhood thing is something else. While on the one hand, my destiny (and mess) are my own, at the same time everyone needs something. For the Panda, it's usually long deep conversations; for the Bee, it's mainly keeping her from killing herself. Between the children and my clients, I'm a regular dispensary of comfort, advice, reassurance, and cleanup. I've given up on thinking life should be perfect, which is a good thing. But I've also realized, fully and for real, that children are relentless. They need to be, it's their job. And it's my job to kiss them and listen and put band-aids on and keep them from playing with lighters and climbing up the bookshelf. I think I can handle it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Overheard in Hampden:

Two women are fighting, screaming loudly, on the street.

Woman #1 (visibly pregnant, attended by hapless fat friend): If I wasn't pregnant I'd rock your world!
Woman #2 (skinny and wearing winter clothes in 100 degree heat): You're just a fucking whore!
Woman #1: I'm twice the whore that you are! I made more money being a whore than you ever will!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I'm going to admit this right now and just get it out of the way, okay?

I like TGI Friday's. I really, honestly do.

I know I'm not supposed to like chain restaurants, but it's just one of those things--like the fact that I hate Don DeLillo, eat white bread, and enjoy, without irony, the demolition derby. I think it's clear I've got some redneck blood in me, because one side of me wants to read literary criticism and write poetry, while the other wants to put a sofa out on the back patio and wear a Scrapple tank top. Which I did, also without irony, to the TGI Friday's last night. I guess it's pretty obvious which side is winning.

Anyway, the TGI Friday's was rather amusing, especially for the Bee, who ate nothing but faux-Spanish rice and lettuce. She also marched around the restaurant spying on people while I tried to eat a quesadilla with one hand. The key to the TGI Friday's is that you only order appetizers. And the beauty of the place is that when your child throws her milk on the floor and your other child glares at you sullenly from beneath her cute little blonde eyebrows, the waitress really doesn't seem to mind, other parents and grandparents smile at the cute lil ones, and I don't feel compelled to wipe up all the time. In fact, the perky waitress actually learns your children's names! Which earns her a 25% tip! Sure, by the end of the evening, everyone is covered in sour cream--but who really cares when you can drive home with the baby rockin' out and everyone full of cheese?

And so I proudly proclaim my fondness for the TGI Fridays. Lookit, I won't step foot into Ruby Tuesday's, and I do like me some literary fiction, so I'm not a complete heathen. But hell, when you're toting an insane little monkey and a darkly ironic, perpetually hungry little tween, you have to just give in sometimes.