Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This topic is at the forefront right now for a lot of people partly because of the movie, “The Help,” and for those, like me, who are enlisting the service of “temps” to help them out in the office. It isn't actually me that's enlisting the help of temps, but rather my supervisor. However, I have been the one partly in charge of training them because they will be taking over my job while I am away from my desk – either while at lunch, or on vacation. Since about the second week of August I have trained at least three different women, all three of which lasted anywhere from a day and a half to one week. Two out of three had to leave due to illness. The third one just didn't work out. I can't help but think of the old adage that “good help really is hard to find.”

Lest you think I'm not being sympathetic, I don't mean to be. I feel bad for these women who were all downsized from their previous jobs through no fault of their own. However, having to run through the same spiel three times is a bit redundant (unless you're a school teacher), and one does wonder if you're just wasting your breath after awhile. Also, I can't help be a bit annoyed by the temp who came in sick. Although I admire your courage to work through your illness, if you have the least tiny doubt whether or not you can work, stay home. Not only are you needlessly spreading your germs, you're also inconveniencing the employer by having to find a last minute replacement for you. Sure, it may mean getting passed up for a job, but wouldn't you rather present your best HEALTHY self rather than the “seen better days” self?

A long time ago there used to be a show on Sunday nights called “TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes” hosted by Dick Clark (I think) and Ed McMahon. This was long before outtakes and dvds, and “Punked” and all that reality TV crap, but I digress. One week my favorite celebrity (at the time), Stephanie Zimbalist was on. Her best friend, Robin, was allegedly trying to help her find a new assistant. By the end of the joke Stephanie had interviewed three different ladies – each worse than the last. I distinctly remember Stephanie's comment (mimicking one of the applicants), “Well, I can learn!” I kind of feel that way about the trio of applicants I've seen come through our office. However, I wish them all the best.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things I didn't do this summer (or every summer)

Every summer it’s the same. I have high aspirations of spending plenty of time out in the sun either reading on the patio, playing summer sports (like Frisbee “disc” golf, corn hole, or maybe badminton), riding my bike around the neighborhood, grilling out at least every once a week, maybe go to the city pool (which is within walking distance), roast some marshmallows and make s’mores, etc.

Every summer it’s the same. I go to work. Maybe go the gym afterwards. Come home. Make dinner. Do some chores (like watering all the outdoor plants since we get very little rain in the summer). By this time it’s usually between 8-9pm. The hour between 9-10pm is reserved for mutual television viewing. After that we get ready for bed. Lights out between 10:30-10:45pm.

As far as summer sports go, I bought the special Frisbees to play disc golf, but have never actually been to the course, though driven past it many, many, many times. My husband, at least, is honest when he told me he has no plans to ever try the sport, lest he make a fool of himself. Not knowing many people in Columbus, and certainly not anyone else who plays the sport, I’m not too concerned about it, so I guess I’ll go alone. We don’t tend to play badminton in the backyard because it’s too much of a pain to set up the net and sometimes too windy to play. I don’t really care much for cornhole; probably because I suck at it. If I practiced and could actually play with some skill, it might be a different story. However, not sure if I care to be a part of that culture. Bike rides around the neighborhood have become few and far between. I figure if I go to the gym, that’s enough exercise.

Last year I bought a new bathing suit after noticing the faded and stretched elastic on some of my old suits. The closest I’ve gotten to going swimming is when we went to a pool party at a friend’s house. Since the kids were pretty much monopolizing the pool, we adults decided to just watch while drinking our “adult beverages” from a safe distance.

I sat outside once and read part of one of my e-books. Last weekend I had my first roasted marshmallow courtesy of the son of one of my sister’s neighbors. Apparently he doesn’t like them “well done” (black) like I do, so I ate it before his mother discarded it. We use our grill maybe three or four times during the summer; that’s about it. When it’s hot and humid outside, the last thing my husband wants to do is stand in front of a hot grill flipping burgers or turning kabobs.

Hence, I’ve decided to give up on trying to enjoy most summer activities. For those of us without kids who work a regular 9-5 (or 8-4 in my case) job, summer leisure is a thing of the past. My only summer pleasure is less traffic due to all the parents who take the summer off, and getting to wear less clothing (but always a sweater or blazer to shield my arms from over air conditioned offices/shopping malls/restaurants).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary to me (us)!

Today is my 13th anniversary. As anniversaries go, it’s been okay so far. Being a Monday, both my husband and I have to go to work since neither of us has enough vacation days to warrant taking the day off.

Weather-wise it’s been okay too since it’s not a typical sweltering summer day. It’s been mostly cloudy and only about 75 degrees, so a bit unseasonal really.

Unfortunately we share an anniversary with the 1998 Northern Ireland Omagh bombing in which the splinter group, the Real Irish Republic Army, car-bombed a busy shopping area and killed 29 people. At least it didn’t put a damper on our wedding day since we only found out about it afterwards.

Another historical anniversary we share is the first day of Woodstock. Both of us being fans of the music and the musicians that played there, can certainly appreciate this milestone event.

As usual, we’ll probably just go out to dinner. We also have a special bottle of champagne in our fridge we received at a company post-Christmas party. My ideal would be to (go to bed early since I’m feeling a bit sleep-deprived) curl up on the couch with our glasses of champagne and watch a dvd we both enjoy and call it a day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Over the last year or so I worked with a young female colleague who was fresh out of college and only 24 years old (young enough to be my daughter, and I definitely mothered her at times). On Friday I had to say goodbye to her as she recently got engaged, her lease was up, and she decided to part ways to set out for greener pastures so-to-speak. Before leaving for the day, I told her I was so happy for her and also envious of all the 'Firsts' she had yet to experience. Being 41 and married for almost 13 years now, my husband and I have already gotten most of our 'Firsts' out of the way, and am somewhat sad that our young, naïve, student years are now behind us.

Looking back on some of our 'Firsts,' there was the time we First traveled around the UK together. That was certainly a good test of our patience towards one another, and I'd say we passed with flying colors. However, at that point we would usually go dutch since we weren't yet married, so I was allowed as many souvenirs as I could carry (now I get a dirty look if I eye yet another book or t-shirt).

Then there was our First house together (in Gloucester). Although we only rented, it still felt like home, and I was quite happy in our first semi-detached (house). It had a nice little kitchen/dining room and adjoining living room. The bedrooms were a decent size and one even had a Beatrix Potter-style mural.

One of the other big 'Firsts' was the first time my family visited us in England. That was the first time I cooked dinner for them as a married woman, and the first time I showed them around my town, and demonstrated the British way of doing things. It is definitely one of my happiest memories.

After moving back to America there were more Firsts, like the first car we bought together and both drove – a Toyota Corolla. Then there was our First house purchased together. That was definitely a big one – which led to other Firsts, like first time we painted a room together, first time we argued about who should do the landscaping work, first time we called a repairman, etc.

I think we'll both cherish the memory of our First pet together, a precious (and precocious!) feline named Tamsin (after Tamsin Greig, one of my fav. British actresses). She's like our four-legged, fur-covered spoiled child, but we wouldn't have it any other way.