Monday, June 25, 2012

Rocky Start for a Monday

It's been a rocky start to my Monday morning. When I left my house, and it was 79 and sunny which made my bright orange & white tank dress and no jacket perfectly appropriate for work. By the time I got to my office building, it was 70-and-dropping with dark skies. Now it looks like Tropical Storm Debby has taken a new route directly into my view of the Charles River (see pic below).

 I am now freezing and completely under dressed. Dammit.

Another bad sign for the week? I made the first walk of the week down the long, echoing hallway to my office suite with my eyes closed. Trust me, those few extra seconds of pretend-sleep were really necessary this morning.  Between the closed eyes, wobbly walking and construction-cone-orange dress, I'm certain that some folks around here think I'm still drunk from the weekend. Oh....if they only knew. Drunk on paint fumes maybe (another post for another time).

What do I find when I get to my office?  A giant interoffice envelope in the mailbox on my door. I think, "terrrr-ific...all of this work is waiting right here at my doorstep. Awesome."  Then I look to see who it's from..."F. Word." Serious? Who did I tick off last week?  I start mentally flipping through the names and realize the list is too long to remember, but no one this brazen really sticks out so I give it another look. Ohhhhhh. It says "F. Wood". tee hee. I suppose that makes sense. No one actually thinks "F-Word" other than me. Most normal people just stick with F&$@!

On the upside, the envelope contained the front page of a daily newspaper with above-the-fold print coverage of a recent event that I attended. I'm glad to report that my hair looks good and I might even look skinny. NOTE: Remember to wear that suit more often!

Well, I must now take cover and wait for Tropical Storm Debby and the Supreme Court's health care ruling. Big day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sales, Generics & Floss

I'm a sucker for a deal. Slap a bright orange price sticker on something and I'll buy it. I get a thrill out of visiting an Ocean State Job Lot. And the outlet stores are to die for! I once bought a pair of designer 4 inch lavender heels with pink straps because they were 50% off. I wore them once, was likened to an Easter egg, and still pat myself on the back for the Big Find. Needless to say, if I'm convinced that I'm saving a few bucks, it doesn't matter what the item is or if I'll ever use it: SOLD.

I have a well document attraction to saving a few bucks and now that I'm responsible for our family grocery shopping, I have even more reason to cut costs. I'd really like a new kitchen, upgraded wedding bands, new landscaping, a Lexus, and lots of other shiny, expensive things.  This is an itty bitty incentive to cut grocery bills. Coupons are out of the question. But what about generics?

My mom believes that Hellman's is mayo and the other stuff is just a "fake." She (quite literally) turns people away from family parties if they are carrying a potato salad with the "fake stuff". I hate to say that I have a little bit of that product snobbery in me too. But from time to time, I'll sneak a generic product into the grocery cart to see if anyone notices. By anyone I mean me. And of course I'll notice. But I've built up a fantasy in my head that I have to hide this from Husband because he's so picky and that couldn't be farther from the truth. Husband would eat bird sh** if it landed on a cracker.  The truth's all about me. Duh.

I'm learning that most generic products are exactly the same as the name brands, but the ones that aren't...really aren't even close. I've learned the hard way about a few of these things, and it feels like a civic duty to share. So here goes:
  • Dental floss. The generic store-brand was 1/2 the cost of the smooth, silky floss that I'm used to using. I thought "how different could it be?" and wow did I find out. The generic is like flossing with a used guitar string that was used at Woodstock and was lost in the mud for 3 decades. Ouch. Pony up the $1.50 for the good stuff.
  • Face cream.  While I don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy European or naturally grown concoctions, I would rather not wake up looking like pubescent teenager in need of Proactiv. One look at me will teach anyone a lesson. Splurge on an extra $10 bucks for a recognizable brand. 
  • Toothpaste.  Nothing says "you're cheap" more than bad breath.  There's something about generic toothpaste that not only tastes bad but leaves you with a sour taste all day.
  • Shampoo. Dry, dull, flat, icky hair. That's all I need to say.
  • Mayo. Hellman's is where it's at...
The dental floss is really so offensive that I can't even look at it without getting mad. It's actually caused me to floss more often just to get rid of the darn stuff. Don't do it, people. DON'T. DO. IT.

A Summit and Some Very Dry Wood

I had a delightful day yesterday. I jaunted down to Cape Cod on our first 100 degree day of the season. I was there to speak at a conference or "summit"...what the hell is the difference? I was on the agenda immediately after an economist from DC, which is exactly where I'm usually slotted and it typically works out well for me. Not yesterday.  I showed up during the economist's presentation and literally thought I was in the wrong room. The guy must moonlight as a stand up comic. He was unbelievable! The room was going nuts...and I was right there with them. It wasn't until they started reading my bio that I thought "Oh crap..."  I did my best to make light of the situation and went on about my business discussing housing policy, infrastructure and regulation. I took the house down. Kidding. It was fine. Not great. Not terrible. But fine. And all things considered, fine is damn good enough for me. Mediocrity. Now that's what life's about.

When all was done at the "summit", I met my mom for an uncomfortable argument over a clam roll overlooking the marina (I should clarify, this was uncomfortable for people around us, but mighty comfortable in our seats). The owner stepped in to mediate/break-the-ice and we let him roll with it and try to entertain us while we dunked our last few clams in tarter sauce. Then I started back to the cit-ay. 

I took a little detour on my way to the office and worked the rest of the day from home. I snuck in some garden watering, ant killing, and tree hacking. A whole city of ants has taken up residence in my yard. I tried to drown them but the ground kept collasping into bigger and bigger tunnels. I swear Bin Laden may have been living in there at one point. Disgusting! Once I got all grossed out by the ants, I stumbled upon an un-pruned tree. And boy was that tree in the wrong place at the wrong time! It's a good thing that I only had 10 minutes and a rusty saw that I found lying around in the garage (very safe for children, btw). A few limbs later, and we've got a clearer view of my front door and a slightly taller wood stack in the driveway. So what if I had a little saw dust in my hair, bra and eye. Do you think Paul Bunyan worried about such things? Nonsense.

Speaking of wood stacks, Husband has been "drying" the same stack of wood for about four years now.  Every few months I poke around the stack using long instruments, hoping to frighten any critters from nesting in there. I finally took a picture of the now-fully-dried-wood to post on Craigslist. I imagine someone will want free-and-very-very-very-very-very-dried-wood right?  Let's see how long it takes for someone to snatch this up. Could take a while since I'm scared to death to give anyone on Craigslist my address. There are Craigslist Killers out there, ya know.

It's 100 again today. I used the occasion to carry heels in my bag while running around town in flip flops. I now have a giant blister on my foot. Damn comfortable shoes. They'll get you every time!

I'm off to check on my ant kill now.  I am not very confident in the advice I got at Home Depot yesterday. I specifically asked for something that will "kill the shit out of the ants and all potential descendants" and I got something that required a hose connection and has some flowery language about safety on the packaging. I tried to wait for the ant-kill-specialist to finish her break and return to the department, but it was taking too long to finish her I took the stand-in's advice and we'll see how it works out for me. Fingers crossed. Giant ants are gross.

Have a lovely weekend, all!  I'm hosting a playdate in the sprinklers tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 18, 2012

5 Reasons Never to Leave My Office During Lunch

I've gone underground for some time. Some might wonder if I've abandoned the blog altogether and the answer is a resounding: NO! Join Twitter and you'll see that @ADayinHeels is quite alive. Love Twitting, btw. Nevertheless, I started a blog and now have an obligation to keep it up. Apologies to my 1 registered follower who deserves a special shout-out for having guts enough to register: You ROCK, Tie One On!

Now that's out of the way and I can proceed to my real reason for logging in. I will add a little context on the off-chance that someone who doesn't/didn't work with me happens to stumble here and wants to know what the hell I'm talking about.

I work on the 21st (top!) floor of a downtown Boston office building. Four mornings a week, I leave my home and 2 screaming-smiling-hitting-hugging-crying-laughing toddlers (it's a crap shoot), spend about an hour driving 10 miles into downtown, pull into a bat cave (aka the underground garage), take 2 elevators up to the 21st floor, and stay there until the sun goes down and the lights go off and the world tells me that it's time to go home.  Then I restart the process, but in reverse. I take 2 elevator rides down, hop in my car, drive out of the bat cave, and return home to 2 sleeping-screaming toddlers (crap shoot again) and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. On most days, I bring my lunch to work as an attempt to eat well, stick to a budget, and avoid leaving my office...ever. Some might call it work-agoraphobia. I call it practicality. I'm working 2 full time jobs: One in the office 4 days per week and one at my home 3 days per week (plus nights over the other 4 days). There is no time for aimless chit chat in the hallways, or waiting on some dude to slap my lunch together in the cafeteria. And getting outside for a quick gasp of downtown Boston fresh air? Not a chance.

Today I forgot my lunch (baked salmon and sauteed spinach - yum!). Once my stomach started to growl loudly and the virtual chewing technique failed me, I had no other choice but to visit the bowels of my building...also known as the basement cafeteria. 

Here my top 5 reasons never to go there again:
  1. An elevator chuck full of interns pontificating on the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn the Affordable Care Act and what that means for Americans in...America. If I were in the right mood, I may have found these kids to be impressive. But today the elevator smelled like dirty laundry. Wrong mood.
  2. The annoying woman who wants you to respond to her latest "emergency" and is always lurking around in the cafeteria (what's up with that chick?).
  3. The creep in the sandwich line who eyes your low cut blouse while making small talk about subs. This is hilarious since I am an A+ cup who buys B cups for added "comfort". I thought A cups were allowed to wear low cut blouses? So much for that.
  4. Overhearing yet another Red Sox conversation between the lunchman and some bored patron with a weird fixation on baseball. Today its the media who are making the Red Sox suck. Last week it was Gisele Bundchen, and yes, I know she's married to Tom Brady who is a Patriot and not a Red Sock...but I can't control these loud talking baseball freaks who never complete their sentences.
  5. A "warm" fried eggplant and mozzarella wrap that is most certainly not part of Christie Brinkley's Healthy Rules to Live By and not warm. Argh!
Note to self for tomorrow:  Pack a lunch. Wear a high neckline. Bring smelling salts for the elevator, ear plugs for emergencies, and a disguise in case I ever forget my lunch again.