Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Life: An Archaeological Dig

As Tom will tell you with minimal, if any, provocation, I have a wee obsession. It involves my indomitable Fujitsu Scansnap 5100M and my firetrap basement.

Today, I am scanning old datebooks. Which I save. I have filed them with my tax returns since 1992, the year I came down with the notion that if I ever got audited I would be able to compute mileage based on my meeting schedule and thus justify auto deductions.

While I was scanning my fifteen years bustle of undertakings, I had a shocking revelation. I barely remember my life.

But riddle me this, children: Do you remember yours?

For example, what were you doing in 1996?

My datebook is newfangled electronic these days. Maybe I should print it to PDF for archival purposes. Or start to Twitter. Just to lock in the details so I'll have some fact-based events to reminisce about.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's OVER!!

Choo is in first grade. He doesn't have a girlfriend. Neither does the kid who sits next to him.

Anymore.

He used to, but then she broke up with him. She found out he ate food off the floor.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stealth Maneuver for Speed and Good Hair

Don't tell anybody, but I have fine-tuned a savvy plan to avoid complete dishevelment in the face of client meetings on East 42nd Street.

Natural elements are at play here. It is hot as asphalt in the summer and the city is an encyclopedia of unexpected smells. But during the cursed depths of winter, the avenues are wind tunnels and exposed body parts can frost right off. It is dramatic and dangerous if proper preparations are not undertaken.

Plus I like a comfortable shoe for distance situations. So it took years of trial and error refinement, but now I have a foolproof stratagem for swapping footwear and showcasing my farmgirl good looks when I ask the darling customers to show me the money.

There are two fancy hotels on either side of 42nd. In the summer, I always go into the Helmsley on the south side of the street. The Ladies Lounge is right under the air conditioning vent. I stand under the vent for five minutes because cool air is blissful when the sidewalk is burning holes in your shoes. Then I shuffle into the Ladies Lounge and take full advantage of the amenities. Fluff my hair, vogue for the mirror, pick my teeth, etc. I especially appreciate the padded vanity stools and large vanity area which is made available to patrons. And others.

In the winter, I choose the Hyatt across the street. Restroom is all the way in the back behind the glamorista souvenir shops, but it's on a more convenient side of the street and the air conditioning vent is a negligible decision-making criteria when you're inches from frostbite.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Germ Ahoy!

I just realized a major deficiency in my approach to wintertime germ avoidance. And I'm not talking about the other day when the check-out girl at the Health Shoppe violently sneezed on my credit card. That was an anomaly and I immediately wiped all the splooge off the card when she handed it back to me.

I am talking about the hands-free approach I employ in sticky situations, such as strap-hanging in the subway or opening up bathroom doors. I put on gloves. I usually wear leather gloves. Who washes leather gloves? Not me. Upon reflection, this is a problem. There are probably staff infections from 1993 on my leather gloves.

I'm considering swabbing the leather gloves with isopropyl alchohol or possibly rubbing alchohol or vodka as the gloves might actually survive the cleaning. Alternatively I could lay them out and dust them with many layers of Lysol disinfectant spray.

My new improved germ-avoidance strategy is to nicely ask the cashier at Dunkin Donuts for a box of those wax paper tissues they use to pick up bagels. I will break one out prior to touching anything. This will work in the summertime too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Getting High MInded about Pots

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Except if you run it by Tom who believes in the absoluteness of the garbage classification. But as per me, recently, I have come to fancy myself the One Man and have attracted a lot of Another Men running around out there. Especially on Craigs List.

Last fall, I mentioned I was going to advertise our old patio furniture on Craigs List. Because I'm too lazy to play shopkeeper, I told Tom I was just going to give it away to the first taker.

Tom was like, "No one is going to want that old furniture. It's ten years old. Let's just throw it away."

I perservered. I am no landfill-addict, unlike some of us around here. I put this ad on Craigs List in the "free stuff" section:
60" Round/Octagonal Patio Table and 4 matching arm chairs with cushions. Frankly, they’ve seen better days. Good news is they are no-brainer low maintenance. No need to chain up because you’re afraid somebody might steal them. Also, they can stay outside all winter without being covered up. We have tested these hypotheses successfully for the past five years.

The white melamine table top has a classy “stone” texture going on and is also easy wash down with a hose. Chairs are your standard aluminum with white rubber seats.

All this can be yours FREE if you come and pick them up. Tell us when you’re coming and we’ll leave them in the front yard for you.

Possibly because of my power sales ad copywriting, I got a hundred-plus takers. My email box got stretch marks. The furntiture removed itself to a very appreciative good home in about twenty minutes.

So a couple days ago I had this other brainstorm. I decided I was going to post up an ad to give away old plant pots. Doubting Thomas was right in there with his "Who the hell would want your dirty pots?" Despite the wellspring of pessimism, I posted this ad:
Over the years, I have collected about a hundred plastic plant containers. The black, brown or green kind your plant purchase comes in when you take it home from the greenhouse or nursery.

I have shrub-size large containers, medium and small pots from house plants, flats, flat trays, hanging planters... pretty much all shapes and sizes of your standard planter.

My plant containers are used. They formerly contained plants and soil and I don’t plan on washing them out. They are not especially attractive, leaning more toward function than form. But they can be yours for the asking.

I got about forty interested parties this go around and the pots are all long gone. Now I have a lot of extra space in the garage. I've been prowling around on Craigs List. This time I get to be the Another Man.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Working from home : No Questions Too Large or Too Small

Frequently Asked Questions for those occasions when your front-desk receptionist tells you that she is "working from home today":

Q: Do you have a computer at home?
A: No.

Q: How do you intend to answer the phone if someone calls our office?
A: You're right, that will be tough.

Q: And exactly how are you signing for deliveries?
A: Ummm.

Q: Did you take home anything to do?
A: No.

Q: So then help me out here. What are you "working" on?
A: I meant to say I'm taking a personal day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Commemorating the Emergency Brake

The car nestled in the trees off the side of our driveway surprised me. Its windshield glinted in the twilight. At first I thought the neighbors had done some impulse paving and put in a little auxiliary parking spot abutting our property line. But then I realized the car looked suspiciously like Tom's car.

It's 10pm, do you know where your car is?
Well let me help you out, it is lodged on a tree half way down the hill over there by the Gravel's house.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Men. In Skirts.

Outside of lower Manhattan and locations riddled with bagpipes and tartan, I have never seen a man in a skirt. Until yesterday when I i-spied not one, but two men in skirts. In the Episcopalian church community room. I had no idea episcopalians were so fashion forward.

Linda invited us to a Fat Tuesday show featuring a band that would have been phenomenal had the very talented standup bass player not been an irascible asshole. I think he had turets syndrome because he randomly peppered the crowd with subnormal zingers. For example, early on when he told a fan her shoes looked like Minnie-Mouse shoes. He called his band's frontman a dick. Then he said "goddamn." In a house of the lord for chrissake. All of this while wearing a skirt.

The skirt was a flirty length, black. He paired his skirt with black army boots and black socks. So did the other dude. In a skirt. Down in the crowd swing dancing like he was born to boogie.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Moving Mountains of Former Trees

I thought it was all over when I dropped the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M in the parking lot at work. My cherished USB peripheral bounced on the asphalt and plastic appendages exploded in a 6' radius. No one was harmed, but curious delivery truck drivers rubbernecked the whole cursed incident.

I picked up all the body parts and took them back up to my office. When I was done reassembling, there were several bits left over. Nonetheless, my six pounds of scanner was back in business. Good as new.

Ever since the Resurrection of the Scanner, I have become a believer.

I scan everything. I jellified some serious upper body strength hauling boxes of pulp-filled paper upstairs from the basement. I ripped off a fingernail yanking out staples. I pilgrimage over to the recycle center with carloads of recently obsolete and very hefty file folders. I digitized five gigs so far and going strong. I am devout.