The 40-Hour Report

PrintThis week, I’ve been extremely unmotivated at work. Probably not the best thing to admit…but after a spate of busy weeks, late work nights and packed days, I’ve had some downtime and find myself in that limbo of having little to do and zero motivation to do it. It’s that feast or famine mentality that I seem to handle so well…(cough cough, breaking out in hives…)

Now I’m the kind of person that works a lot better in a structured environment (big surprise…). When I’m busy and on a deadline, my head is clear, I write to-do lists like I was born with a highlighter in my hand, and I buckle down and focus. But the second I’m left to my own fruition, all my ambition and nose-to-the-grindstone mentality seeps out of me until I’m a slack-jawed blob poking away at the internet and taking the better part of a day to motivate myself to take a walk around the block.

It’s such a startling and immediate transition from my busy self, it’s like I’m the Jekyll and Hyde of corporate America. And this is why it’s taken me the entire week to work up the energy and motivation to write up a report that would literally take me 45 minutes on a busy day. Suddenly, a straightforward task has taken me 38 hours of work time trying to psych myself up enough to write the report, and then another hour split up over the length of a week to actually complete it.

Sheesh. At least it’s almost the weekend? Boy do I need it!

What’s My Age: 13, a middle school slacker at the end of the school year. 

Yet Another Bad Habit

PrintI’ve recently gotten into this bad habit of chewing gum immediately after brushing my teeth, which is usually right before I go to bed. The minty freshness from my toothpaste is satisfying for five seconds, before I crave the minty freshness of 10 pieces of gum. Now typically, I read for a bit before turning out the light, but there’s something about a book in bed that puts me to sleep mid-page! So this means I’m usually mid-chew while drifting into REM sleep!

“Choking Hazard!” you’re probably thinking. True. But “Gum in my Hair Hazard!” is what is what is realistically occurring….twice in the last week! Yes, I actually woke up with a wad of gum stuck to my hair. Lesson learned, right? You would think that sort of emotional trauma would be enough to break this habit. You would, obviously, be wrong. I woke up this morning with yet another wad of gum clenched in my fist, subconsciously ejected during the night to avoid death by Trident.

The only positive is that pre-bed gum chewing seems to have replaced my previous habit of pre-bed nail-biting. And of course, when the gum is not in my hair or my hand, I wake up with fresh breath! But I think I need to find a different pre-bed ritual before I get to used to my new morning ritual of slathering peanut butter all over my hair, while simultaneously stress-biting my nails.

What’s My Age: 8, the last time I snuck candy into my bed. 

Library Slacker

PrintI am a rather frequent visitor of the New York Public Library. It meets all my standards for acceptable life activities: it’s free. Why would you buy a book that you may not like when you can read it…for free? But oh how I wish I was still young enough to participate in those summer reading challenges! So many Dairy Queen coupons!

I’ve had a library card since I was five years old, and one summer dared myself to read fifty books, which basically meant that I was reading a book a day, with some overlap. It was a little much, especially considering that my hometown library had just one single bookshelf dedicated to YA literature. That was the summer I discovered Richard Paul Evans, and proceeded to read “The Carousel” at least 15 times. If you haven’t heard of him, just imagine a Nicolas Sparks book that’s not set in North Carolina.

Fortunately, my reading tastes have matured since then, and I’m still logging a book a week. You would think then, with my love of reading and the library, I would be treating it with a certain reverence, carrying my card in a safe place, and respectfully returning my materials by their allotted due date. Well, you would be wrong. In the past year, I’ve lost two library cards, racked up over $30 in library late fees, had a “No-borrowing Ban” put on my account until I paid down my debts and almost left a book in hell (aka a New Jersey Transit bus…).  Apparently I am not responsible enough to have a library card, which is a privilege you receive when you are four years old. Maybe I should revisit the children’s section and get some advice from the intrepid little Matilda’s over there. Maybe they’d be willing to spot me a couple bucks??

What’s My Age: 3, too young to appreciate the joy and responsibility of the public library. 

Not Yo Grandma’s Magazine…

PrintThe other day I was doing some online shopping, and as I was checking out, I had the option of adding a free magazine subscription to my order. The choices were People, Cosmo, Seventeen, and Family Circle. Of course, as a young person….I chose Family Circle.

First of all, I was kind of surprised that Family Circle was still in circulation. (Which could explain why it was being offered as a “Free Gift!”…) My association with that magazine is reading it at my grandma’s house when my sister stole Good Housekeeping from me, my preferred publication. Good Housekeeping always had good advice for a 12-year-old, like how to get grease stains out of upholstery, and short stories about moving past infidelity. Family Circle on the other hand was mostly filled with casserole recipes. But recently I received a mini-crock-pot for my birthday and am re-evaluating my initial dismissal of leftovers (lunches for a week!).

Seeing that magazine stirred some sort of nostalgia in me, and I must say I’m looking forward to receiving it for the next three years of my life. You’ll all be invited to my next “Taco Tuesday Crispy Casserole Party” and are welcome to sit on my pristinely cleaned sofa.

What’s My Age: 55, which is still too young to be subscribing to Family Circle. 

Fashion Plate Problems

No OutfitsFor the past few days, my outfits have not really been “on-point.” I’ve woken up every day with absolutely no clue what to wear and have given myself the task of thinking about it while in the shower. But I’m usually thinking about other things, like what to pack for lunch, or how my hair will look that day, or what I should be doing with my life. A shower is only so long!

I have a rather extensive wardrobe at this point—four years of post-college work-wear have filled my closet with sensible skirts, a bevy of blouses, and practical pants. Add this to a very large dresser that’s filled to bursting with clothes that don’t need to be hung/that I refuse to get rid of! Yes, I will continue to wear my Sugar Ray concert t-shirt from sixth grade!!

So I’m certainly not lacking in clothing options, but that seems to be my issue. Take my least favorite math problem in high school and apply it to this situation: How many combinations can you make with 5 skirts, 15 blouses, 6 pairs of pants, 10 t-shirts and 7 statement necklaces? ….Ummm, many? …..And this is why I am not a mathematician.

There was a very short time where I would plan out my outfits for the whole week, but I stopped doing that because I thought it was a little too compulsive. (Gotta draw the line somewhere!) But having a meltdown every morning and emptying my closet on the floor seems counter-productive to my sanity as well, so back to the spreadsheet it is! My fashion icon status depends on it!

What’s My Age: 14, when “Oh my gahddddd! I have NOTHING TO WEAR!! UGH!! MY LIFE SUCKS! I HATE EVERYTHING!” was my personal mantra. 

Zing-Less

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I can think of few things that are more annoying than not being able to think of a good sarcastic comment when you most need one. They always come about five minutes past the point where you actually need them, and at that point, it’s too late! Who wants to be the person who blurts out “Well, you’re the crazy one now! Ha ha, GOOD ONE!” after the moment has passed? (Give me five minutes and I’ll think of something better than that, I swear!)

Well one of my colleagues is awfully good at giving me a good, old-fashioned ribbing, and for the most part, I am up to the challenge to spar back. But the other day, we were discussing a project we’re working on, and he was explaining how this particular criminal spends his days, which entail walking his dog and getting to work at 11:30 in the morning. My coworker waited a beat and then hit me with a whammy: “That sounds just like you actually.” Beat. “Zing!”

I don’t know what it was (perhaps the fact that I was being compared to a criminal??? …Yea, that’s it!) but I had absolutely no retort at the ready. A lifetime of sarcastic replies completely left my head and all I could say was “Hey!” …Not my finest work.

Any volunteers to make fun of me so I can practice my best comebacks? I need to be prepared to ruthlessly make fun of my coworker. At our workplace.

What’s My Age: 45, the age of a washed-up insult comic. 

Eau De Eww

PrintSometimes I like to class it up and dab on some perfume before I go to work. I’ve always wanted a “signature scent,” preferably one that comes in an enormous bottle with a giant spritzer attached. But what would truly smell like me? Perhaps something with lavender and sandlewood, with hints of chewing gum and an underpinning of agita?

I’ve had 2 “go-to” scents in my life thus far: a Bath and Body Works “Basil Cucumber-Melon Spritzer” I would drown myself in during middle school; and an obscenely expensive bottle of Ferragamo perfume my college roommate planned to throw away, which I will never be able to afford again. So it seemed like good timing that one of my magazines came with a perfume sample that I thought smelled nice. …But maybe not.

My first work encounter of the day was with a rather brash coworker, who asked me pointedly, “Are you wearing perfume?” I replied that I was and he wasted no time in giving his opinion of it. “Well I think the point is that it sort of wafts into the room. Not like that!” And then a few minutes later: “Wow, that’s really strong!”

I was suddenly transported back to that time in high school when I tried out a new eye shadow color and someone told me it looked like I had jaundice.  Will I ever learn how to properly apply cosmetics??? I guess it’s back to the drawing board…does anyone know where I can find a Bath and Body Works around here?

What’s My Age: 13, because I still find the scent of cucumber melon to be refreshing and sophisticated. 

Grey Hair–White Panic

PrintThis morning, I thought I found my first grey hair. There it was, right in the front, a little shiny strand that said in a triumphant voice: “YOU. ARE. OLD. NOW. YOU OLD LADY YOU!”

Immediately, I went into a horrified panic and started contemplating my un-used excuses for missing work so I could deal with this hair. Plucking it was out of the question– I had heard that removing one grey hair produces another two, and I have no desire to be prematurely grey! Then I started thinking about other people who are prematurely grey, and then about that lady my mom knew that was allergic to hair dye. What if was allergic to hair dye? Was I suddenly going to look like Stacy London in her “skunk-streak” phase?

Plucking it was out, but what about cutting it? It was one hair for Pete’s sake–that wouldn’t be so bad to manage for the rest of my life. But whenever I get a pair of scissors in my hand, I automatically cut blunt bangs in my hair. It’s a compulsion I can’t seem to get over! Although at least blunt bangs would replace the trauma of my grey hair! And what is causing grey hair at 26? Could I possibly be that stressed and run down that my own hair is turning against me? Is this a spite move by my mane for all the negativity I subconsciously send its way. And I KNEW I shouldn’t have been using V05 for all these years. I KNEW IT!

…But upon closer inspection, it was actually an errant smudge of moisturizer that hadn’t been properly rubbed in. Whoops! ….I’m sure all my stressing about this hair is great for my tresses….