gearing up for the holidays at work

gearing up for the holidays at work

‘Twas two days before Christmas, when all thro’ Web Teks
Not a worker was working, not Tom and not Zack;
vacation requests had been duly considered
in hopes that somebody would do something billable;

the workers were tapping away at their desks,
while daydreams of holidays danced in their heads;
and Sarah in her Ugg boots and John in his sweater,
wishing their employees would do something better;

when in the cafe there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the glass door I flew like a flash,
To see several pans falling down with a crash;

the sun shining brightly this Chesapeake morn–
bet you thought I would rhyme that line with the word ‘pr0n’–
illumined the car of our great boss Dyanne,
its trunk open, showing lots of food and some pans;

And there she stood, Dyanne, her hands on her hips,
“Could you help me?” she asked, and I jumped to assist;
More rapid than eagles she tossed me her tools,
and she named ev’ry one as to my arms it flew:

“Now, Toaster! now, Hot Plate! now, OJ and Cups!
On, Pancake Mix! Butter! on, Bread! Knife that cuts!
To our cafe please take them, and carry them well,
Then send out the guys to give me a spell.”

All laden we carried in food and supplies
equipping Dyanne to cook before our eyes;
so into the cafe went her griddles and meats,
to make us a holiday breakfast replete

with omelettes to order–cheese, ham, peppers, too–
fresh pancakes, hot bacon, and toast made just so.
As I went to my desk and I sat down to write,
Dyanne started to mix a meal sure to delight.

She was dressed in her apron from ECPI,
and her smile was clear on her face and her eyes.
a whisk for the eggs she held loose in her hand,
a spatula near to flip cakes in the pan.

Then she called out our names: “Karim! Charles! and Jeff! too,
come down and get breakfast: I’ve finished your food!”
As co-workers arrived, they joined in on the fun,
and placing their orders, each and every one,

The omelettes were awesome, the pancakes divine,
and the bacon and sausage were  certainly fine;
with syrup, toast, butter we garnished our plates,
then we sat down for breakfast: we ate and we ate!

After all had completed and eaten our fill,
we thanked our kind boss, praising her chef-ing skill.
And we heard her exclaim, as she cleaned up from brunch:
Happy Christmas to all! In two hours, it’s lunch!”


disability and shame

disability and shame

TIL that I have a substantial amount of shame all knotted up with my disability.

Shame. Photo by maureenml0521.

A disclaimer, before I tell the story: this came about because of a disappointment. Because I know that a couple of my colleagues follow me on social media and read this blog, I want to make my purpose for writing this post very clear.  This realization came about because of a disappointment. It’s a disappointment that was not intended in the slightest, a disappointment that I had the ability to turn around, a disappointment that I don’t blame on anybody because it’s just a thing that happened.  What I want to explore here is not the sequence of events, but my own internal response to them, the affect that I have felt and some of the sources of that pain. But to get to that, I kind of have to tell the story.


Last week, I was asked to help write a proposal. So I poured time and energy into it, and I had a lot of fun working on it, and I thought it was a kickass document. The sales team thought it was pretty kickass, too, because they not only said so publicly a few times (yay!), but they invited me to the presentation with the client.  I was so touched by this gesture. I hadn’t been invited to anything like this here before. How exciting–and flattering–that they wanted to include me!

Here’s where the disability piece comes in. I have vertigo. I have vertigo every day, severe enough that it causes me to fall, severe enough that I am on the edge of vomiting at least once a day, severe enough that I can count the number of times I’ve driven in the last three months on one hand. Continue reading “disability and shame”

me: This morning, the [name of online form redacted] transitioned to [the client’s ownership]. It was the first big project I worked on here, so I’m a little sad to see it go.

her: I don’t know what it means that I thought that was a perfect excuse for cake.


me: ANY excuse is a perfect excuse for cake.


Also, it looks like my blog is giving me the finger.

Happy Monday!

even my interruptions have interruptions!

Thank you for messaging me on Slack.

Your interruption is important to me. Please continue to wait.

Your interruption will be answered in the order in which it was received.

_cue cheesy hold music_



Dear Slack,

We totally need cheesy hold music. Or maybe a slash command that sends a link to a rickroll for the person who sent the message, while they continue to wait for me to respond to interruptions in the order in which they were received.

Love and kisses,

change of plans: working from home

I got up this morning, happy that it’s Friday, happy that it’s payday.  And as I started my car, I saw an unexpected message: LOW TIRE PRESSURE.  I said a bad word, released the parking brake to see if the car had more helpful information for me, then set the brake and turned off the engine.  I said another bad word.

I may as well see if I can spot it, I thought, so I checked the driver’s side.  No, those tires looked fine.  Walked around the back and sure enough, it’s the right rear tire: flat.  I sighed.  Then I opened my trunk to empty it out, since I’d need to get to the spare, and went inside to tell Kristin.

“Just take my car,” she said.

“Oh.” I replied.  “I hadn’t even thought of that.”

Still flustered – but happy, because now my plan to hit the Starbucks drive-through was back on! – I went out to get into her car.  I walked up the side of the van and then stopped and screamed.

It was a spider.  A gigantic1,terrifying,threatening spider, right at chest level.  Its web stretched from the fence to the passenger door of the van, and I was frozen on the spot.

I reminded myself to breathe.  “Okay. The spiderweb is attached to the sliding door. All I have to do is go around the back of the van and hopefully I can get in the driver’s door without the spider knowing.”

Breathing again, I tried it.  I stepped on something in the grass in front of the van – Aah! a snake? no, just a bit of hose someone threw over the fence – and came around the front corner.  Then I stopped dead in my tracks again.

I could not see the spider.

I couldn’t make out the web at all.

How the hell was I going to be able to get safely into the van if I couldn’t even tell where the terrifying monstrous beast was?!  I let out another little scream and then fled back the way I’d come.

I stood at the rear corner of the van for a moment, hand to my heart.  My hand was shaking.  I lifted my other hand, and it was shaking, too.  My heart was racing, and I was breathing quickly.  Okay, I said to myself. Maybe I can get Kristin to get rid of the spider.  I took a breath, then looked up to go back inside.

And there was another spider.

This one was between branches of a tree, but it was even giganticer2 and terrifyinger and threateninger and monstrousierthan the first!  The only thing good about it was that I couldn’t reach it, which was a good thing, because I had already passed directly under it.  TWICE.

I ran inside.

“I’m sorry,” I started.  I apologized about six times, and not just because I’m married to a Canadian.

“I’m sorry, I can’t take your car.”

“What’s wrong?”


Kristin was relieved. I didn’t realize she’d think something might have broken in the van.

“I can’t.  I just can’t.  And there was another spider, in the tree, and the first one, its web was between the fence and the van, and I just couldn’t. I can’t. I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.”

I looked at the clock, and it was just after 8, and I thought, “Well, crap. At this point, I should just get on the clock.”

So here I am, still shaking a little.  My Brave Hero Warrior Woman has not gone out to slay the mighty beast for me.  Yet.  (I hope.)  And I’m on the clock, ready to whip out some specs.

Happy Friday!  I pray that your weekend will be flat-tire-free and devoid of gigantic, terrifying, threatening, monstrous, scary, awful spiders.

1  Gigantic = about an inch in diameter
2  Giganticer = about an inch and a quarter in diameter

I got to work this morning, logged into Slack (which is wonderful, by the way), and reviewed the late-night activity on a pressing project deadline.  An urgent task had been assigned to one of my peepz, and I did not see a response from him in the chat channel yet.

“Is it safe to assume,” I wrote, “that you are working on this task?”

I saw “peep is typing” and then that disappeared.  Then again, “peep is typing” and it disappeared.

So I looked at my question again.  Is it safe to assume that you are working on this?  And I remembered that this peep is in Ukraine, and not a native speaker of English.  With new eyes, I realized: This is a strange construction!  It is fairly clear what “you are working on this” means, but the first few words? Bizarre!

I reworded the question.  His response was immediate.

I wonder this morning: is it safe to assume anything?

today in chat: learning lessons in managing

What I wanted to communicate:

Scenarios are not necessary at this time. We will write those in the next iteration of this document.

What I actually said:

No no no!
No scenarios!

What I would think if my manager said this to me:

OMG she thinks I’m stupid, and I did it wrong, and I never do anything right, and I will fail at this document, and it has to be delivered today, and it won’t make that timeline, and [Client] will fire us and [Employer] will go out of business and I will live in a box in an alley and eat rats raw until I starve to death, and it’s all because I started working on scenarios!

What my peep thought instead of “I will live in a box in an alley”:

And if I have no money, I can’t get hookers and blow.

How I felt after inadvertently shouting at my peep in chat:

77% lower.

Was a lesson learned?

Yes. Apparently the missing filter between brain and mouth is also missing between brain and fingers.  Slow the fuck down, hedwyg, and THINK!