Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well, first off, I'm okay....

Have you ever noticed how, whenever something not-that-great happens, most people will begin telling the story to their friends, neighbors and relatives by saying, "Well, first off, I'm okay..." It's always spoken in a slow, deliberate, attempting-to-be-soothing tone: I'M OOOOOO-KAAAAAAAYYYYYYY, with the last syllable rising up slightly like a question. (I'm Okay? Right? Did you get that? Me? Okay? Yes?) This is invariably followed by a very pregnant pause.

It makes whatever comes after that seem worse than it may actually be. Anything you say after that will sound ominous.

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but I couldn't find the flavor of Goldfish crackers I wanted in the store today."

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but we need a new couch because the one we have now is screwing up our backs."

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but the glass pan holding the enchiladas for dinner just exploded." (This actually did happen once, but that's a different story.)

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but our house just burned down."

See what I mean? Even the goldfish scenario there was giving me goosebumps of dread. What happened? Did you fall to the floor with grief and hit your head because there were no Parmesan Goldfish? Did the Rainbow Goldfish jump off the shelf and try to jump down your throat, nearly choking you and causing you to pass out from lack of oxygen and fall to the floor and hit your head? Goldfish may be synonymous with concussions for me from now on. I may never be able to go down the cracker aisle again without hearing the Jaws theme in my head. FOR PETE'S SAKE, WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE GOLDFISH?!?!?!

I don't know why we do it. Maybe we're worried that someone may not realize that we're obviously not dead if we're telling them the story of our terrible Goldfish tragedy. In essence, it's like saying, "First off, he wanted to get to the other side... but why did the chicken cross the road?" Spoiling the punchline.

And yet I can't count the number of times I've said it this last week. Now that a bit of time has passed, I figured I could (and should) blog about this, although the photographic evidence for the sad tale is not yet available...

So what is this sad tale?

Well, first off, I'm okay...

To be continued...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Don't you hate it when you miss the memo?

Well, actually, in this case, when nobody even SENDS you the memo?

I started a new job last month in the financial services industry. This has produced a fair amount of frustration since I have absolutely zero experience in that area (what is this money thing you speak of?), but it's been okay since I was hired because they wanted an English major to write letters for them. So I don't actually have to really know what is going on in other parts of the office.

Apparently the powers that be figured that "don't really have to know" translates to "why bother telling her?" when it comes to office-wide memos.

Like the one that went out this week saying that it's basically casual Friday until the end of tax season. So, casual March/April.

Generally we do have casual Friday, when we all wear jeans and feel a little lazy in anticipation of the weekend. So when I walked into my cubicle-unit on Thursday in my nice business slacks and everyone else in my group were wearing jeans (what, you think they only have enough letters for one English major to write? There are seven of us plus three or four part-timers), I was very confused. I spent at least twenty minutes surreptitiously glancing at my calendar, my notes, and my computer trying to verify that I hadn't pulled some sort of Rip Van Winkle and slept through Thursday. Or that it wasn't April Fools and they were all trying to pull a (not funny at all) prank on me. I finally asked one of my coworkers and she explained the Month of Casual Fridays concept to me, adding, "Didn't you get the memo they emailed out?"

She forwarded it to me, which is how I found out that for whatever reason, I am not on the office-wide email list. The girl who was hired a week or so after me is on the list, though, and she was wearing jeans like the rest of them.

Even though I looked dang good in my professional attire, I still felt like Lily in The Princess Diaries. "Why didn't we dress like her? We look like idiots!"

Well, at least the happy ending is that I get to wear jeans for the rest of tax season. And I do like my jeans, no matter how dang good my professional attire looks. :) And maybe next time I'll get the memo. But even if I don't, that means less junk crowding up my inbox, so I suppose it's a win-win situation.

Now if only someone could explain that money concept to me...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Just so you don't get the wrong idea...

So I had a birthday. And I have a sister (well, three actually, but only one who appears in this story).

A few days after my birthday, Teeny presented me with a really cute homemade card (which informed me of my age and that I am, and I quote, a "HAAATCHILD (hot child)." Ha. I bet none of YOU can put that on your resum├ęs.)

She also wrote me a letter about how cool I am:

Dear Elizabeth,

You are a great housekeeper!* Every time I go to your house, I have a blast! You make me feel welcome and appreciated. Thank you!

Love, Teeny

Now, before you think that I'm bragging by putting up someone else's compliments to me, let me finish the story.

I awwwed like a member of a studio audience and gave her a big hug. "Thank you for such a nice letter," I said.

"We had to write them for Young Women," she told me.

Don't get any ideas thinking I like you or anything, big sister.

This reminds me of the time when she was much younger and I was staying overnight at my parent's house and the only available bed (there were several guests) was Teeny's. She was so excited to share with her big sister (apparently I was cooler then), but when I got into bed that night her true feelings came out. She had been asleep for a few hours and had moved over to where I was supposed to sleep. I gently moved her back over to her side and when she grumbled in her sleep I told her quietly that I needed some room, too. Still fully out, she turned to me with a frustrated look and said, "Could you just please leave?" I nearly bit my tongue off trying not to laugh and wake up my other sister. In the morning, when I told Teeny about this, her eyes got wide and shocked and she cried, "I didn't mean it! I didn't mean it!" But I knew what she was thinking subconsciously.

And now it all comes out again.

I shouldn't be too surprised, though. I already knew she'd lost all respect for me when she decided to get tall.

Ah, well. At least she used me for her Young Women's project, right?

*Disclaimer: Do not read the following if you are a member of my immediate family, have visited my apartment or may visit my apartment at some point in the future.

Looks like I've managed to successfully fool her at least. My housekeeping skills usually only come into being about 45 minutes before someone, usually my family, is about to come over to visit. Then we panic and clean and throw all the spare junk into the bedroom and behind the bed where nobody can see it. Most of the rest of the time we live in slight squalor. Not real squalor -- I still have enough clean genes to avoid that -- but in the dirty-dishes-in-the-sink, yesterday's-and-probably-the-day-before's-clothes-strewn-about-the-room, piles-of-papers-everywhere-but-the-desk and for-goodness-sake-where-is-the-remote-control-and-my-left-shoe type of squalor. Easily concealable on short notice. But I'm still not comfortable enough to let other people see it, or to post pictures on the internet.