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(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me April 6, 2014

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More work-related stuff.

It’s coming up on a year since I was approached and accepted a different position within my department. I’m not sure that it can be considered a “promotion,” in the most basic sense of the word, but it came with a pay raise so that’s what I considered it to be. Titles don’t mean much to me in the office world: when “Secretary” was replaced by “Administrative Assistant,” I wasn’t impressed, as I was still the one making copies and three-hole-punching large piles of paper and didn’t feel any different. It’s especially laughable when you have a government job, as they take it even further, adding “Specialist” or Specialist II” to somehow differentiate between pay grades. 

Basically I went from general secretary to secretary who does slightly more specialized things involving edits to law review articles. I’m not trying to downplay it though; I’ve had to learn quite a few new things, specifically about legal writing. I still have a ways to go before I’m completely comfortable, but it’s rare (for me) to look over the past year of work and realize how much more satisfied I am – with myself and what I’ve accomplished.

Unfortunately, the reason I was offered the position in the first place was because the woman who had held it before me had failed. Spectacularly. While she was overly qualified for the job (her entire long career has been in editing and publishing), she has no grasp of basic people skills and how to get by in an office that’s inhabited by a group of people with a wide range of personality quirks. This lady is very intelligent, extremely well traveled and has forty years of work experience. I feel though that because she is not American born and raised, she doesn’t seem personable (especially to the younger law review students, who are infants in comparison to us – early to mid 20’s) and has no time for the humor, sarcasm and pop culture references that come along with most office jobs. While she may be way more technically advanced than I am, I KILL with these kids. I might be old enough to be their mother (shudder) but my sense of humor is on par with theirs and I enjoy both working with them and the small talk. I don’t mean for this to sound braggy by any means – I’m still terrified almost every day that I’m not measuring up to her level of work.

She moved out of our office under protest, even retaining a lawyer because she felt she was being treated unfairly to the point of harassment. She was never treated unprofessionally, her pay rate didn’t change; she was simply asked to step out of the position and (by her choice) be moved one floor away so as to not have anymore contact with her current editor. She stayed out of work as long as her leave allowed, was told by her lawyer she had no case and came back to work – grudgingly, but she ended up settling back in. 

Until a week ago, when she got moved back into our office to a desk about four feet away from mine and directly in front of our boss’s office. There were a few reasons for this, not worth talking about, but the end result kind of sucks for both she and me. If I make a mistake now, I can feel her silently gloating (hell, *I* would be!). If I do something good, get a compliment, whatever, I can feel her silently seething (I’d be doing that too). My therapist would say, “Kim, you’re just projecting.” because my therapist can be an asshole sometimes. That doesn’t change the fact that office geography, while seemingly just a logistical fact, has all kinds of subtle but powerful ramifications. 

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You’re Not the Boss, er, Friend of Me March 17, 2014

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It’s been a long time since I’ve felt strongly enough about something to post here (apparently the last time, it was when I was feeling particularly frisky – not embarrassing at all). 

Unfortunately this is one of those things that shouldn’t be written about in a public forum, but that’s never stopped me before (see above). As Dooce taught us many years ago, blogging about work, in particular when it’s a complaint about work, isn’t always the best idea. Although it obviously worked out well for her, I don’t see my blog career following her trajectory. But that’s what the delete button is for, so away I go.

Women bosses. A strange yet very common occurrence in these modern times. I’ve had my share of them, which has left me with the impression that most of them are insane. In their defense, in most fields of work, women in power have more to prove professionally than a male counterpart and this can, I’d imagine, be a little crazy-making at times. The three ex-bosses I’m thinking of in particular were a student activities coordinator, a lawyer and a telecommunications business owner. All were extremely ambitious, hard working and also hard-assed, drunk-with-power bitches. One almost caused me to walk out at the beginning of my interview when she started with, “So. Tell me all about KIM.” Another, while in the middle of firing me, asked me how old I was, then said, “I’d accomplished so much more than you have by the time I was your age.” And the third thought nothing of literally staying at work all night and forcing her employees to stay with her in order to get things done last-minute because she was a terrible procrastinator. 

My current boss, luckily, isn’t nearly as psychotic. But. Obviously there’s something up since I’m foreshadowing like a blatant hussy. 

Before my time there, she’d once been a supervisor. Very talented in her field and full of institutional knowledge, she’s a definite asset to the department. Ninety-five percent of her working life has been spent there and it is from there she’ll retire. However, because of certain personality conflicts (as in, she made people cry, walk away from the job without looking back or giving notice and reveled in her backing from important people) she was asked to step down from her supervisory role. When I started there three years ago, she was merely an imposing office mate; then through a series of office politics and drama, she became supervisor once again. With a caveat, to not please repeat her past mistakes. 

I guess a combination of maturity and a new crop of employees to make an impression on, she’s taken some stock and has become a better boss. In the past, where she would be inflexible about timeliness and time off, taking the strong arm approach and micro managing, she’s mellowed and now would much rather be the popular girl boss. She’s still no pushover though, and demands a high quality of work, which I respect. She was an invaluable source for helping me make the transfer into my current position; a good trainer, always available for questions or helping me meet deadlines – I thought how thankful I was to work under this new and improved boss version of her. People who worked under her before agree that the transformation is nothing short of shocking. 

However. 

As good as her work life is – the inverted ratio of that is the not-goodness of her home life. I won’t go into the details here, but that’s not for lack of her telling the office at large all of the cringe-worthy details. You see, she thinks we’re her friends. Friends that she controls the workplace lives of, yes, but friends all the same. The office friendship and the personal friendship: for most people there’s a very distinctive difference. For her, none. And the more time that passes, the more friend-like plans she has started bringing up and out into the open. A team-building meeting exercise on a Thursday morning; annoying but acceptable. A casual mention of “having all of us to my house for dinner and wine” that afternoon? Alarming. 

I’m not the first person who’s encountered this. And as I spend my much-needed mental health day home alone, I’m searching the internet for answers on how to deal with when your boss thinks your her friend. 

Help me, internet; you’re my only hope.

Will Work for Dick December 30, 2013

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One of you drank a beer (or three) too many. 

One took a Xanax in desperate hope of getting a full night’s sleep. 

One or both of you is work-exhausted/catching a cold/sick with a cold already/has a strained back muscle/has period cramps and/or is menstruating (regular as ever, just as a cruel joke) or as in the other night, just plain old has really bad gas. 

These and many more are all valid reasons to not be in the mood for sex, but if you’re not careful, as I hope this foreshadowing represents, you can easily fall into a months’ long dry spell. Logically, I know this is a common ailment of long term relationships, but man it’s rough on the ego regardless. When you actually consider buying a magazine because of the “Ten Spicy Secrets of a Sexy Sexy Sex Whatever” you know there’s a problem. (I didn’t buy the magazine, but it’s too late once the idea was even considered).

While it can be awkward getting things on the right track again, the alternatives are very limited. We accidentally did the having affairs thing early on in the marriage, which obviously isn’t anything I’d like to revisit (and if I can hopefully be so bold as to speak for him, I think that goes for both of us). We’re still a little too young to give up, I think, so that leaves me the option of this: 

Lose that last 20 pounds, buy some porn and rally the troops.

Many New Year’s resolutions are similarly being made as I speak, I’m sure, but for me 2014 is going to be the year of getting laid again. 

July 17, 2012

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I try not to get too wrapped up in stuff like this but this particularly hit home for me.

Summer Vacations Should be Mandatory June 28, 2012

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At the auto mechanic shop yesterday, I parted with $480 on a new condenser for me lorry. Apparently it’s an important part that prevents the transmission from exploding – who knew? I didn’t, but I sure do now. It could’ve been much worse (as in the above-referenced blowing of the transmission), but it did sort of fuck my plans for going to Florida in the next couple of weeks. I’m not yet sure if the trip is just in the postponement category or in actual ruins, but wow. I had plans to go at Christmas and dental problems cancelled that. Then the VERY DAY I put in for my vacation days at work, I took the car in for an oil change and they found this problem and my $25 bill escalated really fast. I feel like evil forces are keeping me from my family and friends and GET BEHIND THEE SATAN. \m/ (Devil horns, just because)

I got into my first Twitter fight! Weirdly it was about our in-state college football rivalry, which is definitely something I’m aware of, but not even necessarily that interested in, or knowledgable about, besides the fact that it exists. Someone else jumped in and defended my argument though, so I consider I won the fight. I think next I’ll see if I can get a celebrity to Tweet me (Charlie Sheen seems like an easy mark) and then all my Twitter bucket list would be complete.

I’ve been reading my archives a little and it’s amazing how much I talked about wanting a baby. If amazing = depressing. Anyway, we recently had one of those Discussions about it and although my ideal would still be something in the baby/toddler range, we also talked about older kids. We spent a Sunday over at his parents’ a few weeks ago and there was a boy there, about twelve, who simply just has a shitty life and George is the kind of person to actively take part in a mentoring program. We weren’t even aware of it, but they’ve hung out together a few times now, fishing, kayaking, etc. 

He was shy with us for only a very brief time (kids have always liked me, I think because not only do I not talk to them in condescending ways (Brian’s Mom – ugh), but even though I’m technically an adult and have been for quite some time, I just have a very kid-friendly way about me.

Of course he loved going swimming with Brian too, and I could tell Brian really enjoyed it…especially when we had the Discussion on the way home. An older kid…maybe it could be like the people who adopt the older dogs that nobody else wants? I can picture that. And now that Brian is fully agreeable to the adoption idea (that took long enough), a small spark of hope exists in me still. Could be stupid, but I don’t care. Hope is never a bad thing. 

In My Defense I’m Sure My Blood Sugar Was Really Low June 21, 2012

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There was a meeting at work today that involved me, another admin (who happens to also be the first new friend I’ve made in way too long a time and man, that’s sad but also really nice), the new head of the committee member and Liz, the Dean of Everything That Involves Money. I normally hate committees (and meetings), but I enjoy this one, being that it involves hiring new faculty and I’m a total HR nerd. Anyway, we were discussing the annual hiring convention they attend in Washington, DC every Fall and the fact it was such a pain in the ass last year to get the committee members to make their travel arrangements. I mean, you KNOW you’re going to this thing, in fact you’ve KNOWN for MANY MONTHS, yet a couple of them prefer to wait until the last possible moment to finalize plans and book their flights, which meant their plane tickets cost roughly triple of what the more responsible parties’ did. Hey, the law school is footing the bill, so no sweat off your asses, right. 

Anyway, blah blah, money, people, blah – all of a sudden Liz says, “I mean, not to sound like an anal bean counter or something,” and immediately her face reflected that did NOT come out sounding like it did in my head, but she pushed on and kept talking.

I very briefly caught my friend’s eye and then I had to look away.

I’m 43 years old. I pay bills and vote and consider myself a productive member of society, and while sitting in one of the most prestigious rooms on the university’s campus, all I could dwell on for the rest of the meeting was how badly I wanted to say, I’ve definitely heard of anal BEADS, but what is this anal bean  you speak of? And do they really need to be counted?

And with that, my long spell of not blogging is broken.

Pure Farce April 16, 2012

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You’re getting along fairly well, both physically and mental health-wise. You’ve been dealing with horrendous dental issues that have plagued you on and off since the morning of Christmas Eve when, while innocently brushing your teeth, you felt an unholy bitch of a pain which subsequently led to an extraction, three root canals, and a series of under-the-gum scrapings. Okay, that hasn’t been the best. But otherwise, you’re back to watching what you eat, exercising fairly regularly and feeling pretty good most of the time.

Spring comes early after a mild winter and as you sit on the deck drinking coffee in the mornings, talking and laughing until the sun sets later and later in the evenings, you feel calm and peaceful, especially for you. The view from the deck has a narcotic effect; you’re still sometimes surprised it’s yours even after six months.

Man’s phone rings around 9pm last night. You hear him say, “Wow, man – that’s great; congratulations.” You don’t wait for him to get off the phone: “Who’s pregnant?” He writes an initial with his finger in the air.

HER?

Perfect.

She of the infamous Mr. & Mrs. Redneck, the ones who have provided humorous fodder for me, both written and anecdotally, because if you don’t laugh at a situation like theirs it’s too depressing to contemplate. The last status report from the state of their union came a couple months ago when he proudly stated he didn’t give a damn what she thought or said about it; he’s not leaving until the kids they have now are grown and gone. I guess that means he just bought himself another eighteen years, give or take. Maybe he’s smarter than I’ve given him credit for, what with a sperminating insurance policy like that.

It doesn’t affect my life in the least. Everything is still as good as it was before 9:00 last night. It’s just a little disappointing how much it still fucking stings.  

Currently March 29, 2012

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My poor neglected blog.

Things are good though. In a few weeks I’ll have been working at the law school for a year…that’s ONE YEAR. Insert cliche about time flying here, because man that shit is crazy. The good thing is, besides your typical generic office drama, I still love it as much as the first day I arrived. Of course I say that now, right before the onslaught of end-of-semester activities fully hit. But then a lot of students and faculty go away and leave us in relative peace, so it’s cool.

Normally around now I’d be bemoaning the fact of the mild winter, seriously warm spring and the upcoming dreaded summer, but that’s not going to happen this year. Living on the lake is a game-changer with regard to my hatred of the hot months. Now that the day light lasts well into the night, we spend the majority of our time outside on the deck or the dock and it’s amazing. True, there will come a day not long from now when the humidity comes back and I want to punch myself in the sweaty face, but I plan to deal with that by taking a long walk off my short dock.

Since Christmas I’ve dealt on and off with serious dental issues that have been both a pain in the mouth and the wallet, but I’m very much hoping the bulk of it is done with. Thanks Mom and Dad for your gift of jacked up grilles. The most upsetting part about it is that it’s prevented me from going anywhere and there are some places I need to be going, asap. Florida, New York…I need a serious dose of my people. It’s made me feel weird, a little isolated and depressed, so here’s hoping once it does slow down at work I’ll be able to make that happen.

Basically, despite the occasional hiccup, life is good. L’chaim!

Things & Stuff August 26, 2010

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Just add salt


Besides a plethora of peppers, this here is the only successful thing that came out of the small garden we planted in June.

I hate when I randomly come across an amazing book that I think no one has heard of and then soon after I finish reading it, find out they’re making a movie out of it. This has happened to me a few times, most recently being a few of years ago with I Love You Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle and then again this week with Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron. Because I’ve lived for awhile now and I know from experience as much as I loved the book, I will exponentially HATE the movie. Maybe if I could be in charge of casting these movies I wouldn’t have such a sourpuss attitude about it but that’s highly unlikely, therefore the list of movies I’ll never see continues to grow. Weirdly both of those examples fall under the YA category, but that’s just coincidence.

The other day we were on our way to a funeral (Brian’s mother’s family has lost two members unexpectedly in the past month – very strange) and we stopped to fill up on gas. As per usual, he pumped while I went inside to stock up on the road trip essentials. The clerk in this particular store is a somewhat intimidating looking girl but is usually pleasant, despite her habit of constantly talking loudly on her cell phone which takes precedence over any customer service she needs to perform. On this day however, things were to be very different. As I was picking through the individual Jolly Rancher bin to get as many sour apples as possible, she started talking to me. And talking. Talking to the point that I’d already paid for everything and saw out of the corner of my eye Brian had pulled up to the front door and all I could think to do was keep subtly inching toward the door as I waited for there to be a break in the conversation where I could tactfully say bye. I started to feel as though it was a comedy sketch or maybe someone was trying to revive the show Punk’d. Without any prompting or encouragement from me I learned about her son, her son’s father who she’s not together with right now but he loves her and they’re trying to work things out but he found out she had a Facebook page he didn’t know about, but that’s only because she sells t-shirts and had forgotten she made the page and how he always looks for something to be mad at her for, but that he had just sent her a text calling her Goober which she thinks was meant to be funny but isn’t sure because she calls her fifteen-year-old cousin that and, and, and…By the time I made it outside and got into the truck, Brian, phone in hand, said “I wasn’t sure if I should call the police because I thought for sure the store was being robbed, but then I saw two customers walk out.” All I can think now is amphetamines are a hell of a drug.

(I’m obviously) On the look-out for any miniscule signs of Autumn and this is what I’ve found so far:
– Halloween t-shirts at Target
– Every so often we’ll hear a very loud, sudden noise which scares the shit out of us but also makes me happy because it means the hickory nut tree is dropping its nuts (ha) onto our metal porch roof
– Also I’m starting to find acorns to step on during my walks
– Even though I’m starting my walks around the same time as always it’s now a lot darker by the time I’m done
– The stupid long pre-season football is annoying, but that music, duh-duh-duh-DUH…DUH-DUH-DUH-DUHHHHH…always strikes excitement in my heart
– I dyed my hair back to its best incarnation of violet red and as soon as the new color was revealed post-drying and straightening, all was immediately right with the world.

A Mid-Summer Night’s Walk July 22, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Exercise, Fam Damily, Home Life, Uncategorized.
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Ah, that most magical time of year – the time when I check the tropical update daily, just hoping for some kind of storm to blow up the east coast and stir up some excitement; anything to break the monotony of heat/humidity. I’ve given up trying not to talk about the weather and have come to accept it’s just part of who I am. My dear grandmother was also obsessed with it and I miss comparing notes with her about what we watched on The Weather Channel. My plan is to do what I do every year for this six-week period in Hell – bitch about it, survive it and cry tears of joy when that first cool snappy breeze blows in sometime around the end of September. I think it’s a solid plan.

Speaking of, August is coming up fast, and like last year, I’m trying to make my way down South for the first week of the month. Yes it’s very amusing that someone who hates the heat would be headed that way during the hottest part of the year, but what can I say – I appreciate irony. The biggest obstacle has been trying to get a mechanic, any mechanic really, to return a phone call regarding replacing my clutch. Haven’t they heard there’s a recession on and people are looking for work? I feel like putting out an ad: “Have money – will gladly part with it in exchange for your services.” I mean really. After months of not having it, I’m actually looking forward to driving Bessie again. Especially if she’s running right. Edit to add: A mechanic named Bubba has taken posession of Bessie and it looks like, fingers crossed, I’ll have her back on Monday. Woo to the hoo!!

The weight loss thing has been going really well. It does take up a lot of space in my life and in my head, but I’m already seeing some payoffs. Besides improvements mentally and physically, I just feel…lighter. It’s hard to explain. The most enjoyable part has been my almost-daily walks. I wait until around 7 – 7:30 when it’s cooled down to a brisk 90 and set out through my neighborhood. Usually too on Saturday mornings I head out right after waking up to beat the heat and experience the morning version of the atmosphere. Most of the time now I leave the mp3 at home, because as much as I like how music makes exercise go by faster, I realized I really love and maybe even crave the quiet.Sundry just posted about walking as well and of course she describes it a lot prettier than I can, but it’s all true. It’s been a surprising source of happiness and stress relief for me and I’m finding when I miss a day I really miss it. Regardless of the weight loss, this is something I’m so, SO glad I started this. Walking. Who knew. My neighborhood is funny; I spend half the time lusting over beautiful, Charleston-like lakeside mini-mansions and the other half thanking God I don’t live in one of the sagging, dilapidated shack-like structures. Which I guess is a good metaphor for life.

Brian had a cousin pass away last week, a surprising and tragic event in his family, as the kid was only sixteen. Drug overdose. It’s obviously been really rough for the family, including Brian who went through a little period of feeling like he wished he would’ve taken more of an interest in the kid when he first heard he was having problems. I hear about things like this, especially when they hit close to home and it’s just more of the There But for the Grace of God feelings for me.

I’m really thankful I survived myself. A lot of times it’s hard and sometimes it really and truly sucks, but life is a beautiful thing and I’m very happy I get to live it.