Sunday, February 28, 2010
There was a part of me that was looking forward to putting on the heels, getting on the BART and heading to an office away from the dust bunnies, the dirty laundry, and my two darlings. But there was also a part of me struggling to reconcile how my husband and I could both be away from home 40 hours a week and still keep this ship sailing.
My first project is a recruiting project, and quite honestly I am getting paid an embarrassingly low rate for my efforts. So low that I would hesitate to share it with a future prospective employer. But as I told my husband, who looked at me with raised eyebrows, you pay a price for working from home, when you want to, with your kids right there, and look at this way, no dry cleaning bills! I am actually excited about the work, and so far I like the woman that I am working for. I am anticipating approximately 15 hours per week, which should hopefully give me plenty of other time to take care of my mama duties, and to continue with my mama blog.
Wish me luck.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Boss: You can't be sick today. Who is going to cover for you? Besides you don't sound sick.
Me: Seriously I am sick. I can't come in. The staff doesn't want what I have.
Boss: Listen, the staff has been running around with runny noses since the day they were hired. You can't give them anything they don't already have. Get in here.
Me: What kind of crazy company is this anyways? Don't I get sick days?
Boss: Sure you get sick days, but if you read your employee handbook, you will see you may only take them in one of two circumstances. One-if you are actually hospitalized, or two on weekends if there is back up coverage and no major televised sporting events.
Me: That is ludicrous!
Boss: You signed a contract.
Me: I must have been out of my mind.
Boss: Not my problem. Your shift starts now stop whining and report to work this instant.
Me: Okay, how about we just charge this to my vacation time instead.
Boss: Ms. Kargas, I am going to ask you once again to refer to your employee handbook. It states very clearly that vacation time may only be taken in 30 to 90 minute increments weekdays after 6:30 pm or on weekends. Requests for vacation must be made a minimum of 24 hours in advance.
Me: (whimpering)But I am so tired.
Boss: That's okay. You can come in your pajamas. It's casual day.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
But I try. I try to keep an open mind. Okay, so she is an attachment parenting fanatic who plans to breastfeed until baby turns four, and who spent the previous five years living in an yurt eating only raw foods and she turns her nose up to alcohol, she could be nice. But wait. She doesn't drink and I could never invite her over for fear that she would discover my giant stash of Oscar Myer hot dogs in the fridge. And, did I mention that she doesn't drink?
I know that I should try harder. Variety is the spice of life. We need to embrace diversity. It takes all kinds. You get the idea, and so do I. I try to live by those values, but sometimes, I am still, shall we say caddy?
Today is a perfect example. I was at the Y headed to the locker rooms for a quick shower, when I passed by the dance studio where they hold group classes. Some days it is salsa or hip hop, or it might be yoga our step aerobics. Today, I have no idea what they were doing. The group was comprised of the usual suspects, the retired and fit grandmas, the sleepy stay at home moms there to simply get away from their kids for an hour, and a few skinny spastic hard-cores dancing circles around everyone else. Some sort of Caribbean inspired music was playing, and the women were engaged in for lack of a better word, free-form "dance". As I watched, I tried to have the appropriate response. Good for them, there they are expressing themselves, moving their bodies, being active, dancing without any noticeable sense of self consciousness.
But then... was that middle aged white woman doing some sort of bizarre African variation of the electric slide? The evil thoughts started to creep in. Did that overweight lady with the face tattoo really think she was getting exercise by bouncing (ever so slightly) up and down with her hands clasped in front in prayer? Why doesn't that skinny blond just go for a run rather than race back and forth across the room flapping her arms? These people looked... ridiculous. Seriously. Every now and then someone would yell out a "whoop" of encouragement to one of her buddies. They would be better off to look at their dancing friends and tell them honestly to stop. They are embarrassing themselves. Don't they see that??
Apparently not. And good for them.
I'm the mean girl. I am the one who should feel ashamed.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Kargas Inc: MANDATORY All-Staff Meeting.
Senior Staff Member: Zachary
Facilities Manager: Wiggum
Mommy: We have called together this meeting to address several pressing matters that I can no longer ignore.
- First, the budget. As our CFO recently informed me, it is time for us to tighten our belts. We have been overspending, and honestly, this staff is simply not bringing in any income. Due to some government regulations we are unable to reduce costs with a staff reduction for at least 14 years. With the exception of the support staff, your jobs are secure, but we are all going to have to do our part. Our action items are as follows: 1) We are changing our cereal supplier. We can no longer afford the premium General Mill's "Honey Nut Cheerios", we have found a new vendor who is considerably less expensive. We will now be purchasing "Taste-O's" exclusively, effective immediately. 2) Previous plans for a team building event/incentive trip to Disney World have been scraped. Instead we will have a staff party at "Tot Land". This gathering is for senior staff and interns only. No support staff will be invited. Light refreshments will be served (remember the Taste-Os?). 3) Within one year we hope to seriously reduce our paper costs and will cease all investments in Pampers, Huggies or any related companies.
- Second it has come to my attention that there have been some inter-departmental communication and cooperation problems. This is unacceptable. We are one company, and one team, and we must start acting as such. The primary concern stems from resource sharing. Due to the budget crisis, we simply cannot continue to spend, spend, spend. We will not be purchasing any additional bedroom, playroom or outdoor supplies until further notice. Our CFO and I will be working closely to determine when we are able to resume purchasing additional resources. In the mean time we are demanding your cooperation in sharing our current toys, art supplies and stickers. Disciplinary action will be taken to those who are not utilizing resources appropriately.
- Next, we are having some serious scheduling issues. Primarily, the work day will begin promptly at 7:00am. For those of you who wish to report in earlier, you may do so, but please be aware that Supervisors will not be available, and facilities will be limited. (The kitchen does not open until 7:30am). As required by law, when working a 13 hour day it is mandatory that all employees take at least a sixty minute break. We will incur serious fines if nap/quite times are not adhered to.
- Finally it is time to work smarter, not just harder. The CFO and I have spent hours reviewing our time management and have determined that a significant amount of hours are wasted on laundry and dish washing in this operation . We feel that we can be far more efficient. Going forward, all clothing items, with the exception of undergarments must be worn twice before being laundered. This means that I expect each and everyone of you to monitor your personal use of stain producing products such as ketchup, chocolate frosting, and finger paints. In addition, it is not acceptable to simply take dishes out of drawers for the sake of play. Dishes may only be utilized at designated meal times.
That summarizes my comments. I hope you will think thoughtfully about this discussion, and determine what you can personally do to make Kargas Inc a more profitable organization. Any questions?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
So this morning I surprised myself. I drained my morning coffee put on my running shoes and peaked out my front door. Rain. Well, light sprinkling really, but it could have been an easy out. I could have traded my sneakers for slippers without an ounce of guilt. But instead, I shrugged my shoulders and told myself, how bad could it be?
At first it was quite lovely. Running in cool air with light mist on my face. All of the colors made more vivid with moisture. The streets were fairly empty, but I jogged passed cafes packed with the Sunday morning crowds of coffee drinkers and brunch lovers. It felt cozy to peak into a morning that I used to know pre-kids. As I trudged on the rain started down a bit harder. My hair was quickly becoming fully soaked. I passed by an occasional walker with an umbrella, and saw people rushing to their cars covering heads with soggy newspaper. These mostly dry people must have thought I was nuts. Or better. They probably mistook me for a dedicated athlete. One that could not bare the thought of missing out on a morning run. Perhaps they even believed it was a necessary part of a pre-race training regiment. Who else would be silly enough to be jogging, in an almost-down pour? I suppose if they looked closely enough they would see my lack of dedication. I was hardly prepared for such an outing. I was wearing moisture absorbing sweats after all, instead a more appropriate waterproof outfit. But let them think that.
A little over half way through the adventure, my clothes heavy and sopping, my head cold, my feet sloshing about in my sneakers, I realized that I had felt a sensation very close to crying. My cheeks wet with raindrops, my heart rate elevated, I could have been crying. I should have been crying. This was a miserable experience. One to never be repeated.
I wish I could say that I spent the rest of the day refreshed and energized from morning exercise, but instead I felt the twinge of a sore throat coming on and my eyes have burned so badly that I am starting to reminisce about a "Different Strokes" episode from decades ago, where Kimberly's hair turns green because of...acid rain. Could acid rain be burning my eyes out? Serves me right.
Friday, February 19, 2010
KARGAS INC. Annual Employee Review
Boss: So Rachel, we have completed a 360 evaluation with your staff and coworkers. Quite frankly I am a little concerned by what we heard, particularly from your staff. Their comments were all over the place, making me question your consistency. For example one individual said "she is mean! She is always mean! She is so unfair", while the second employee appears to be completely content and enjoys simply saying you're name over and over again. I am concerned that there may be some favoritism going on.
Me: You don't understand. My staff is very immature and often fickle.
Boss: We spoke with a peer as well. He informed us that while he was generally pleased with your overall performance he felt you sometimes lacked attention to detail. He sited several instances when he had to go back and re-do work for you, like rewash dishes that have been put away dirty. His biggest concern was regarding your ability to manage the budget. He is afraid that you might not have a good grasp of basic finance and accounting skills. We are going to recommend additional training in this area.
Me: It's just that I need a bigger budget, and a new dishwasher.
Boss: The support staff is also complaining. They have informed us that you no longer seem to attend to their daily needs with as much attention as in prior years. Bowls go unfilled. Walks are significantly less frequent. You are not as "fun" anymore.
Me: I suggest we fire the support staff. I don't need them anymore. Listen isn't there any good news?
Boss: Yes. We spoke with OSHA it appears that the last major injury occurred on September 26, 2009. We have gone several months now without any serious incident. You are therefor passing all current health and safety regulations. In summary, we feel that you are performing at a satisfactory level, however we would like you take the necessary steps to get your performance to the next level. We would like you to invest time and effort into some career development. Here is your first assignment: Read "How to talk so your kids will listen, and how to listen so your kids will talk".
Until next year.....
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
- 1997: Valentines Day in London. Romantic right? Wrong. I celebrated Valentines Day waitressing at the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory. We got in early and decorated the hip pizza restaurant with red checkered table clothes and candle light. I handed half-dead pink carnations to every lady that came in that evening. I served up heart shaped pizzas to a) couples who couldn't afford a night at a better restaurant or b) drunk groups of Valentines Day Haters. On the bus ride home at 2am, I got vomited on by the extremely intoxicated man sitting behind me. It was stuck in my hair. Not kidding.
- 1998: I wanted an engagement ring. Is there a better way to tell the love of your life "Happy Valentines Baby, I love you" than a sparkly diamond and a life-long commitment? I had it coming after all. David and I had been dating for six years. We had talked about it for crying out loud. I got my hopes up. That year I unwrapped....a cookbook. "Secrets of Fat-Free Italian Cooking" I kid you not. Yes, there was a fight.
- 2008: I was just about twenty weeks into my second pregnancy. I was hoping that I was having the girl that I had always dreamed of. An ultrasound scheduled for February 14Th, had to good luck right? The husband sent pink roses to the office that day. He gave me truffles dusted with pink sugar. I wore a pink shirt to the appointment. Two minutes into the exam, the technician announced "I know the sex!" If she knew that quickly, and that definitively, I knew too. She saw.... a penis. I burst into tears. I didn't want another penis. I wanted a girl. I cried through the rest of the appointment. I made quite a scene. At dinner that night my husband told me he felt as though he were at a funeral. I told him, he was witnessing the death of a dream. There would be no tea parties, no prom dress shopping, no wedding planning. Talk about melodrama. In retrospect, had I known that it was Evan who would be coming into our lives I should have been overjoyed. Hindsight.
So there you have it folks. My Valentines-Hating friends. See, even I have had a few duds.
Happy Valentines Day!