Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cubicle Etiquette

Like many people, I work in an office. Also, like many people, sometimes I feel like I'm in a Dilbert comic strip, or in the movie "office space". There's always that one employee that is way too enthusiastic in meetings. Or someone who dresses a little strange. I work with a woman who (no kidding) wears Mary Janes and white socks... every day. This might be a cute look, but the woman's old enough to have gray hair.... Mmmmmm not so cute at that age.

Something funny about the new job is that my boss and I are not located at the same site. She’s 30 miles away. And while that may seem like a slacker’s dream, it also makes communication a pain. That being said, the new boss really hasn’t been able to fill me on the work environment of the new gig because she works in a completely different area.

I’ll admit to you that I take personal calls at work. Are they all day every day? No. Maybe 5-10 mins every week or so are spent talking with colleuges. And sometimes I do make personal calls regarding things like Dr’s apts and such.

I hadn’t really thought much about it until I received an email from one of the leads in the area (keep in mind that  I don’t work for this person). I was one of 10 on the distribution list who received an email entitled: Cubicle Etiquette.

Keeping in mind that people in general are weird, I try to take things that happen at work with a grain of salt. I received an email last week that cracked me up and bothered me at the same time.

This email went on to explain that we work in a “close” environment (whatever that means) and that it’s come to his attention that excessive conversations have been occurring. If someone has a lengthy conversation they should schedule a conference room and use it rather than their desk phone.

I read it and immediately took it personally. Call it one of my neuroses, but I’m the new kid on the block, and here I am calling my insurance company in the middle of the day to ask if they’ve paid my son’s ENT because they sent me, yet another, bill. And apparently, I’m bothering people?

Here’s something I’ve never understood about things like this? The doctor’s office (for example) is open only from 9-5, right? And when am I at work? 9-5. So when am I supposed to make these calls? Should I sneak out to my car and use my cell? What about a conversation about my son’s ENT bill is so offensive that someone HAD TO complain that I’m bothering people.

Of course I realize that this email may not be directed specifically towards me, however as the new kid in town, I take offense. 

Just as I was reading that note, I remembered seeing something on someone’s desk the other. It was one of the desk phone blinking things. It lights up if you’re on the phone. I guess people are supposed to look at the status of the light before speaking with you to make sure that you’re not on the phone (really, people? You can’t just say “I’m on the phone”? or come to the conclusion the phone/headset up to their ear means… oh, I don’t know… they’re on the phone?).  Below the light there was a note that went something like this:

“When the light is on that means I’m on the phone. Please take your conversation elsewhere.”

At the time I thought that the office loon just lived there and thought nothing of it. Why am I getting the feeling that they’re ALL the office loons? Could I be living in the land of no personal calls? I’ve been to this place before and I don't like it one bit. 

But... my child is only 21 months and I still have a while to save for his college education… that and I like eating.  So, I guess I’ll be standing outside with the smokers the next time I need to make a personal call. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mother's Day / Step Mother's Day

My Mom's been gone for 6 years now, so Mother's Day has always been emotional for me. Since having Baby C, the holiday is now just bitter-sweet. Every day I'm thankful for my happy healthy baby boy. That doesn't mean it's always easy or fun, I'm just thankful I'm in my shoes, not someone else's.

I've had a Step-Mom for a few years now. I've also BEEN a Step-Mom for a few years now. In previous years I've been reluctant to get my step Mom anything for mother's day. Why you ask? Because, she's not my mother. I finally came to some self realization about the whole situation... why don't I just give her a break? My Step-Mom can't help the fact that my mother's gone or the fact that I'm still bitter about that. 

Being a step-mom is a thankless job. At least if the child is your own kid they love you and you know it (as evident by my sculpted "guns" as a result of constantly holding my baby boy half the day... his new thing). If my step-son gives me a present on mother's day (which he has in previous years), I would feel recognitizezd for all of the things that I do for him.

This year I decided to surprise my step mom and send her flowers the day before mother's day (honestly, the delivery rates for Mother's day flowers was outrageous... so I picked the day before). She's a nice lady and makes an effort with me. I decided to take a different look at mother's day. Why not celebrate wonderful woman who are mother-figures to you? Sometimes other mother figures have the same kind of impact on you as your own mother. I'm sure they'd appreciate some flowers, too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My son loves our family dog and the feeling is mutal. It's like a big furry love fest at our house every day. Baby C calls the dog "Dog Dog"; it comes out "Daw Daw" (We're working on the "g" sound). When I was preggers with my son I was really worried about the dog. She was my baby before my baby. How would she react to a baby? Well, the amazing thing was that Baby C became her baby. The dog tried to sniff the baby all the time (which freaked me out), but I don't know if that was the equivalent of the dog making sure that was in fact our baby. If C started crying the dog would come looking for me, ears perky, taking a few steps toward Baby C's room and then backing up to see if I was coming along.

The funny thing about the dog is that she's not just a dog, she and Baby C are best buds... well, the kind of best buds with a love/hate relationship. Most of the time, Baby C wants to share his snacks with our wonder-mut (which drives me nuts). He'll sit down next to our 85 pound yellow lab and put a cracker in his mouth, and then give one to Dog-Dog. One for C, one for Dog-Dog. When you tell him that the snacks are for him, not Dog-Dog he'll just say "No! Dog-Dog" and keep doing what he's doing. Other times, when Baby C has snacks he doesn't want to share I'll hear a high pitched squeal and then "NO!" I'll turn around; there's the dog, eating the baby's cookie and Baby C with his pouty lower lip out.

Despite their on-again, off-again food/love relationship, they're buddies. One of the most endearing things that the dog does (and one of the most annoying) is that she gets up and checks on my son in the middle of the night. I first realized this was part of her nightly routine when she had a growth removed and had to wear one fo those big radar dishes to keep her from taking out her stiches. At 2AM I heard a weird scraping. It was the dog trying to get through Baby C's door frame. The dish was too big and she couldn't maneuver through the door frame. She kept attempting to get through the door frame but would always hit the frame, causing her to stop. I'd hear "crash, scrape, scrape". Until then I didn't know this was a nightly ritual. 

The other night Baby C was up at 2AM ... again... I sent my husband in to check on him. As my husband was walking into Baby C's room, who was walking out? Dog-Dog, acting as if it was a normal occurrence. Of course, by the time my husband reached my son he was pointing and yelling "Daw-Daw".

Unfortunately, Dog-Dog is sick and has less than 2 years to live (sniff, sniff). If she makes it to Baby C's 4th birthday it will be a blessing. Given that we're dog people we're already thinking about our next dog and maybe if we get a puppy now that Dog-Dog can help "train" the puppy. Maybe we should getting a "Nanny Dog", like in Peter Pan. What kind of dog was that? Mastiff? Noufie? Regardless, we should get one and make sure the dog can heard the kids. Does anyone know a dog trainer that can help us train the dog to heard the kids?

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Guilt Monster

Before having my son I made the decision to keep working. I like working, honestly, and I also like the pay. My last post I talked about the guilt I feel towards putting my son in daycare for 5 days a week, rather than 4. Since that time I've been thinking a lot about my guilt and how to deal with it. Here's the problem... I don't want to spend my free time thinking about what I SHOULD be doing to be a good Mom. I want to be doing it. I want to be the best Mom I can be. Period. That being said, I also came to the realization that my wonderful (almost) 2 year old son exhausts me. I also realized that my husband and I really need some time away from my son in order to recharge our own batteries.

I took the advice of a very wise woman and got a babysitter last Saturday.  My husband took me to lunch. I realized that I somehow felt better leaving my son with the sitter in the middle of the than leaving him at 6PM for dinner. Why? I would like to be home to put him to bed. I'm not too sure why that makes me felt so much better, but it does. So, maybe for a while the Hubs and I do lunch dates until my guilt starts to subside. What I do know is this; I will never feel comfortable leaving Baby C with a sitter (and vice versa) unless I start to leave him with a sitter. Here's the funny thing... I think that I may be more uncomfortable with leaving my son than my son is when I leave him with someone.

Someone at work today said something poignant. She said that taking time to yourself, or just with your partner allows you to recharge your batteries, and in the long run, makes you a better Mom.

That being said... I've started dropping my son at daycare, rather than my husband dropping him off in the morning. He's also started throwing a major fit in the morning. We're talking alligator tears, screaming, "Mommy, Mommy"... the whole deal. It makes me feel like crap. I've noticed that each morning this week I've started out feeling low... majorly low... and I think it's because of my son's reaction to the daycare drop off.

The thing about guilt is that it's a cycle. You feel guilty because (in my case) I made my son feel bad about me dropping him at school, so I let him have more treats or stay up later than usual to make up for that fact. Then if I don't do the extra treats one day, I feel even more guilty because now I'm not doing special things to make up for the fact that he's going to daycare. For me, it's a cycle. I guess I just need to stop feeding the guilt monster and stop feeling guilty about my decision to be a working mother. It is what it is. I work. My son has to go to daycare.

So, how do I tame my guilt monster? ... I'm not too sure, but I think my sanity requires that I figure it out.