Monday, November 23, 2009

Blue Nails and Community (crap TV show)

Nail polish is doing an awesome job of keeping me from eating my cuticles into bloody stubs. I haven’t gnawed on my fingers since Halloween, which, as a long time nervous nibbler is HUGE. That is weeks people, WEEKS.

I’m not so much feeling the blue polish I have on now though, which is another sign that I’m entering a different period in my life because this specific blue polish was my absolute, utter, to-die-for favorite in high school. The bottle is over 11 years old and I made a paper funnel and poured nail polish remover into it, shaking each small amount for about 5 minutes, to loosen the polish up and make it viable again. The color is still as awesome as I remembered it and even revived it had done a killer job of sticking but still…this color isn’t working for my anymore. I did this while watching Community, the new NBC sitcom,on my laptop, which is such a major let down of a show that I’m super bummed they even made it. With a cast like they have, and a concept that is ripe for the mining, I can’t understand how the show can be so totally boring, hackneyed, and predictable. It is bad, so bad, and I’m really bummed that I spent money on Amazon Watch Now ($6.00!) to see the first few episodes, but at least I had my nail polish revival project to keep me mildly entertained.

Oh 30 Rock and The Office, please don’t ever leave me. Nothing can compare to you. (Is anyone else loving the new office love drama between Andy and the new receptionist as much as me? I hated Andy before but now he has grown on me and I’m such a sucker for a good office love story after Jim and Pam. Love Jim and Pam too. They are my imaginary friends.)

I’m spending Thanksgiving (American Gluttony Holiday for those readers that aren’t in the US) at the significant other’s parents’ house. What color should I make my nails for said occasion? I don’t want to go all holiday matchy matchy and do orange/brown but I’m also not leaving it this blue.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Debt collectors can suck it

Debt Collection Companies for credit cards are like the mafia but worse. At least you can reason with the mafia (their daughter is always getting married somewhere, right?). And they don’t farm out their goons to the damn middle east and call 20 times a day. I like to think that the mafia may break your knees but you’ll get some good pasta out of it and not have to listen to your name monstrously mispronounced as some poor English as a second language schmuck harasses you over debt that you can’t pay that they decided to charge eight thousand additional percent on.

I’ve had my share of run ins with debt collectors. I’m much heartier about it now as an adult (yes, I have decided that I am an adult now, see growing up tag in previous posts) and see that there are many mistakes I could have avoided and been tougher about.

I’m virtually out of my bad debt, it only took living in a city I pretty much hate and suffering job(s) I abhor for half a decade but I did it! Yay! And perhaps someday I should get together a really good post, or series of posts, about what I did and learned in hopes that it might help someone else.

The reason I’m on this topic is because one of my favorite websites had to go MIA because debt collectors cyber stalked my buddy and literally harassed them with their own blog words. Jebus. The mafia totally wouldn’t have played it like that. Wire a bomb to your car? Sure. Leave animal heads in your bed? Sure. But finding someone’s blog and exploiting it to collect money is a new unbelievable level of bullshit. I hope that no one I know and love, including my adored readers, and the network of wonderful people I know online, and anyone decent, ever has to deal with debt or struggle with debt collectors. And if they do I hope they aren’t harassed on such a personal level. I’m pretty sure that crosses a major line and it is too bad that as consumers we are still essentially powerless to stop such kinds of harassment from occurring. I mean, really, what can my friend do? File a complaint that will never get read about the companies crossing personal lines? Yuck. And Bah. And I’m sorry.

I’d totally send the mafia after the debt collector if I didn’t want to wind up owing the mafia a favor. Un-named favors always turn out bad.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letting go of bad habits?

I’ve started painting my nails.

Which is to say, I’ve kept my fingernails painted for two whole weeks! Two! I very rairly paint my fingernails (black for Halloween, that is it) and I haven’t painted my toenails in at least a decade*.

Polish on my toenails feels horrible. Polish on my fingernails feels odd, but I’m doing this in an effort to not chew my cuticles. As a life long nervous habit collector I’ve decided it is time, after nearly 3 decades on this planet, to get a grip, stop attacking my hands, and do a bit of growing up already.

The succession goes like this:

12: start biting nails

19: stop biting nails, start chewing cuticles

20: stop chewing cuticles, start smoking

20.5: decide ugly cuticles better than lung cancer; stop smoking, back to cuticle chewing

21-26: do both intermittently off and on

26: start chewing inside of cheek

27: Sweet Jebus is that a wrinkle on my cheek? From pursing my mouth to chew the inside of my cheek? AUGHGHEHGHGHGHGH

27: chew chew chew the cuticles, try to stop biting cheek




27.9: try myriad of face creams/retina A/clarisonic, nothing works. chew cuticles

28: Damn stupid wrinkles. Damn stupid ugly cuticles. Time to save for laser peel. Why am I almost 30 and still so damn poor?

28.1: Time to paint nails to stop attacking my cuticles. Decide to wait another decade for botox to see if the stuff is actually safe or if it seeps into brain and causes irreparable damage as I suspect is more likely the case. Buy stupid expensive face cream that makes my skin orange (damn vitamin C).

28.2: commence obsessive gum chewing

So far the polish has worked. I’m using a good cuticle cream, keeping things groomed, and avoiding attacking my hands. I haven’t bloodied my cuticles in days now! Yay me! Yay for adulthood and growing up and leaving the nervous habits of youth behind!

This nail polish stuff is TEH CRAP though. My nails reject all polish, whether it be OPI or Wet N Wild. Even with a base coat, 3 coats of color, and a super top coat, the stuff peels almost immediately. I think it is just my natural nail oils or something. I find I have to touch it up nearly daily, and apply glitter polish on top of the base color because that holds things together better. That said, even with 10 layers of tough polish held by glitter my nails are still weak and break and I can’t keep them long anyway since my job is labor intensive. Hell, I can hardly type with my nails past my finger tips.

I’m sure in another couple of weeks I’ll have to strip the stuff completely off and leave my nails bare again. The upkeep is retarded and it can’t be good to suffocate my nails. How do women do this? How do they keep their nails painted? The only conclusion I can come up with is that their nails don’t reject polish like mine do. And yes, I clean my nails then wipe on polish remover to remove oils before I put on the base coat, so I do read internet advice.

So that, oh internet, is my boring bit of news. Nail painting. Breaking the habit of cuticle chewing. What is new with you?

*yet ironically own about 60 bottles of nail polish. Enough to paint the entire rainbow across my ten nails. Invite me to your next slumber party, manicures on me!

Because Growing Up Isn't Hard To Do

I think I’m mixing phrases here, as the phrase I’m basing this tag on is actually “breaking up is hard to do”. That song is now stuck in my head and I could totally play if off like I meant to use that phrase because I’m breaking up with my childish ways or something but I’m not, and that would be a lie. Maintaining a youthful and vibrant attitude toward life, and yes, keeping even a bit of childishness, is a key component to growing up. Mixed phrases or not I’m keeping it because I like it. My blog, my tag. Suck it.

Clearly I’ve got the mature and respectful part of growing up going for me.

My early 20s were a mess. My mid 20s won’t trigger PTSD flashbacks but they weren’t anything to write home about either. Now, in my late 20s, and closing in on that next decade that seems scary in some ways but actually exciting in others, I find that I’m ready to start making conscious changes toward improving my life, building a real foundation (I need to make an IRA contribution before 30 damnit) and finding my adult identity. From simple things like cleaning out my high school clothes from my closet to bigger things like mapping out my career I plan to document such things under this tag for the next two years. I see examples of how to be young, how to be married, how to have kids, and how to date all in the blogging world but I never see examples of how people actually grow up.

By grow up I mean not eating fast food 3 times a day; I mean having clean clothes that actually fit and can be worn to work that don’t require last minute hem stapling, I mean having a car where the floor mats are visible and learning how to actually host a good party. I mean finding a hairstyle different from the one I wore in my 9th grade yearbook photo, a skin care regimen that combats clogged pores and wrinkles, friends that I can grow older and wiser with, and a damn pair of shoes that go from work to dinner without leaving me looking like a trucker or a prostitute.

Let’s see how this goes.

Starting with stopping some bad habits.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of Celsius and the one I can't spell

I live in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is November.

It is 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, tomorrow, yesterday, the whole rest of the week. Try not to be jealous :)

According to my trusty companion Google it is 23.8 degrees Celsius. Which has sidetracked my whole other purpose for this post. My question for you metric folks is this: Does the number 23.8 actually sound pleasant to you? I mean, when I, as a child of the non metric world, hear the number 75 and the word degrees after it I melt into just a bit of happiness. Perfect, sunny, beautiful, warm weather awaits me. Because of this any number between 75 and 85 has a positive connotation for me whereas 23.8 would mean heavy coats, sweaters, mittens and probably setting fire to a trash can for warmth, but for you it might connote all the positive pleasures I listed above. I find that though much of the time I speak the same language as the people I interact with, (and you must be proficient in English to even be reading this), that the things we associate as pleasurable or positive differ greatly region by region, even office cubicle by office cubicle, and isn’t dependant on personal experience even, sometimes it is just dependant on quirks like Fahrenheit versus Celsius.

23.8 indeed.

Celsius is far easier to spell though.

Glass be for windows only says I

I will not buy your matching coffee table with two end tables.

I will not pay $250.00 for something that is “Practically Brand New!” for more reasons than I can begin to iterate, the first being that if I had $250.00 and were in the market for a matching coffee table with two end tables I would prefer to actually buy something New, not something like it.

I hate to judge further but in this economy what were you thinking buying metal frame with glass top tables? These are impractical tables. You should have just gone to the dump like the rest of us and picked up some of those classy large wooden spools that can be used as tables. Or fashioned some milk crates into furniture using duct tape and ingenuity.

I am trying to not let my own preference for tables that aren’t precarious and don’t shatter enter into this matter, but it is a factor. Glass table tops are never, never, never a good idea. This is actually a rule that probably makes it into my top ten rules for living. Somewhere under always flossing and always letting drivers merge, it is just good practice. Tempered glass or not you are clearly not a person who utilizes their critical thinking skills. If you had, the following may have dissuaded you from your bad purchase decision in the first place:

Glass tops show more dirt, require more cleaning, more dusting, more hassle.
Glass tops break. Tempered or not, you do something stupid, you have an eight inch shard sticking out of your jugular.
There is no storage in such tables. You show me a person who can’t use a drawer in their end tables and I’ll show you a person with a guest room that is packed to the gills with things that belong in drawers. Or a dump.

I really ought to stop reading the employee bulletin board because clearly. I need a more productive hobby.

Or a used treadmill for $450.00.


If you can't do, Management is in your future

My current boss and I Do. Not. Get. Along.

I don’t mean in the way that I haven’t gotten along with other bosses. This boss is not taking credit for my work, lying about raises, ignoring my reviews, being overall catty or weird. I’ve had a slew of bad, bad bosses in my lifetime, yet this one isn’t totally, completely, one of the “bad” ones. We simply Do. Not. Get. Along.

At all.

I cannot manage him and ergo cannot function under his lead.

Through a series of headaches and questionably fortunate events I got to keep my job. We underwent a huge re-org, many people including myself forfeited any sort of raises or promotions, we all took substantial paycuts, many people are on reduced hours and many people were let go or took the “voluntary” retirement. I know that I am lucky in that I got to keep a job, any job, especially with healthcare, in this economy, but sometimes I don’t wonder if being laid off would have been the catalyst to propel me to doing something better, or substantial, or non soul wounding. It more likely would have lead to me being destitute and homeless, depressed and useless, but my mind (which we all know delights in torturing me) chooses to firmly believe that I would have walked out the door of my job with my pink slip and fallen into some sort of travel writing gig or novel deal or stand up comedy career or something. In any case things have been in upheaval since the great re-org of ’09 and to say that I am adjusting well is to say that I want Kirstie Alley to help me with my diet meal planning and healthy eating choices.

My very first job, with taxes and a paycheck and the whole deal, was for a married couple in a small coffee house. The husband chain smoked at least two packs of Marlboro Reds the entire morning, from 7-11:30AM, standing outside scowling and customers while I did all the work. He was the good boss. The wife came in on afternoons and was torture to work with. She was a penny pinching psychotic who screamed at me if I made the icecream scoops too big (in front of the customers no less), used expired milk, kept all the tips and mostly made me dread afternoons for years to come. My parents said I was very lucky because my first experience with a “real” job was with horrible bosses so I would be well prepared for the real world. This should give you an idea of what optimistic, happy folks my parents are. Bosses were mostly downhill after that.

I got along fairly well with the boss before this. Yes, he lied. Procrastinated. Said one thing and did the other. Played people behind their backs. Screwed me badly on a raise. But he never took credit for my work, never badmouthed me to other employees, and (this is the best part) mostly hid in his office away from operations so I was left to do my job in peace. I liked this boss, for all his shortcomings, and the marked lack of friction caused me sadness when I heard of the changes around the department.

New boss is much younger. New boss is kinda a jerk. New boss does have some great ideas about how to repair a department that has been left to decompose entirely on its own for years, how to get deadbeats to at least contribute a bit and how to improve things like documentation and efficiency. New boss, however, poorly communicates, changes his mind constantly, assumes we are psychic, and says charming things like “I don’t care” numerous times a day.

He tells us to email if we are sick and then tells us he never reads his email. He skims emails to “get the gist” of them or deletes them entirely without reading them at all. So if someone is out sick? No one knows. Nevermind the tedium of documenting or asking for help in an email that will never be opened.

He disappears for hours on end.

He schedules meetings and doesn’t show up.

He doesn’t listen to his phone messages. He says he saves them all and listens to them once a day.

He doesn’t answer his phone. He says it isn't productive. But he does talk on the phone to his family. All. Day. Long. I know he is capable of multitasking because he does this while watching youtube.

He cancels our staff meetings then is rude to us when no one knows what is going on.

He is inconsistent. He and I have had issue over this numerous times now. It goes like this: I bring up something that we normally used to do that needs to continue being done. He says he doesn’t care, it isn’t important, tells us all not to do it. We all do it anyway. He comes back after a bit, after talking to the boss above him, and tells us we actually should do it, never acknowledging that he was wrong ( a huge, wrong, pompous ass at that) in the first place.

I have a neck injury and cannot sit in the broken chair provided for me at an offsite location; I request to do my work remotely from my desk. He says I complain too much.

I have a huge issue that management needs to be involved with that is a glaring contradiction to company policy. At first he tells me that I need to tell big important people that the answer is No. Then I make him talk to them since I have no authority and he turns around and yells at me to get it done at all costs even though it is a breach of security and borderline illegal. This has happened not once but nearly a dozen times!

He doesn’t follow through. He doesn’t listen. He is immune to reason. He isn’t actually managing us, as a matter of fact; he gave us a lecture on what his needs are and how to manage him in order to make our working relationship better.

Now I get angry when I see emails from him. I want to snap at him when I need something because he is just going to blow me off then turn around and demand it be done. He thinks he is rational and smart and since he spends hours a day reading productivity blogs he knows how to manage. He doesn’t. He is awful. And I’m not doing any better.

I don’t know how my co-workers relate to him, I only know how they feel about him: They can’t stand him. They’ve all adapted an air of completely not caring at all. They’ve all been here much longer than I and have weathered numerous bosses so they are able to sit in meetings, agree to whatever, then go about their own day and their own jobs. I am going to have an aneurism if I don’t learn to do this. I need to not take things so seriously. I need to not lunge across a conference room table and throttle him the next time he does a complete about-face about something and instead... well, do anything else instead, I guess.

I can’t find a way around him. I can’t find a way through him. I need support and management and his actions impact everything I do so I must find a way to deal with him. All his issues aside, however, we have personalities that do not mesh.

We go together like a pebble in a shoe, like sand in tuna salad, like Britney Spears and moral decency or cognitive function. If he weren’t my boss and just my coworker we probably would have already come to blows.

I feel like I’m sinking into the land of crazy every time I talk to him. I can’t find a way to communicate with him, especially since email, phone, meetings, even one on one sessions seem to be out. What the hell should I use on this guy? Smoke signals? I can’t avoid him entirely, yet I can’t conform partially either; his decisions are crippling my job. I’ve already gone to the boss above him and she did what she could for specific issues but I’ve still got to handle him daily.

It is always something, yes? I should find the Zen balanve in that. The re-org jettisons a few awful co-workers and lands me with this. At least I have a job. I can’t forget that. I can, however, explain nicely to the New Boss that I no longer bother to read his emails (via email) since he has made it clear that he doesn’t read mine. That should go over well.