Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Visitor Triage

How imminent is your pending visit?
a. guests > 12hrs away
b. guests 2-12hrs away
c. guests 1-2hrs away
d. guests < 1hr away
e. guests < 10mins away
f. guests in driveway

What is your personal state?
a. well-rested and alert
b. tired and frazzled
c. sweaty
d. disheveled
e. naked
f. sweaty, disheveled and naked

What is the state of your child(ren)?
a. sleeping
b. fighting - basement or outdoors
c. fighting - living areas
d. sticky
e. filthy
f. vomiting

What is the state of your household?
a. not bad
b. smells like fish
c. light to moderate surface grime
d. large dust bunnies; pubes on toilets
e. OMG
f. FML

If you answered mostly a's, bathe and beautify self and children. Fluff cushions and place fresh cut flowers throughout home. Consider preparing a gourmet meal to welcome your esteemed guests.

If you answered mostly b's, put some colour back in your cheeks with a quick dusting of bronzer and a glass of wine. Consider lighting a stick of incense or a few candles; closing open doors or windows to attenuate any unpleasant noises coming from your children; and defrosting something from M&M Meat Shop to serve to your guests, who will probably show up hungry.

If you answered mostly c's, put the children in the basement. Powder nose; comb hair. Consider implementing a Level 3 Budget Clean (light tidying throughout main floor of house; light candles or spritz room spray to freshen home; wash counters and dishes; wipe down mirrors and faucets in bathroom; flush toilets) to appease your guests, not that that will keep them from judging you. Put on a pot of coffee and pray they don't stay too long.

If you answered mostly d's, wipe children down with a damp rag dipped in the same multi-purpose household cleaning solution you will subsequently use to implement your Level 2 Budget Clean (light tidying and spot cleaning throughout main floor of home; polish mirrors and faucets in bathroom; flush toilets; shove all remaining errant items into dishwasher). Put out a half-empty carton of orange juice and some granola bars. Hopefully they'll get the hint.

If you answered mostly e's, for gawd's sake, get dressed woman. Implement Level 1 Budget Clean (spot clean children, kitchen and bathroom with same damp rag, hopefully - but not necessarily - in that order; spritz self and home with room spray; shove all errant items and children in dishwasher). Why are these jerks always showing up unannounced anyway? Put out some tap water.

If you answered mostly f's, implement Family Emergency Preparedness Plan (wrap self in bedsheet; lock doors; hide self, children and suitable vomit receptacle in basement until you're sure those horrible, horrible people are gone; while you're waiting, rehearse a suitable excuse for the next time you see them).

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have the sort of job where my family and friends have essentially no idea whatsoever what it is I do. If you also have this sort of job you'll feel my pain right now. (If you're something like a teacher or a proctologist you might think you know what I'm talking about, in a 'no one knows all the shit I have to put up with' sort of way [he he he, proctologists], but really you have no idea what I'm talking about so it's time to stop nodding now.)

My dad doesn't drink much, but once a year or so he'll get a few too many shortbread cookies or something in him and will summon up the courage to suffer another convoluted explanation from me:

'So, sweetie, how's that... job of yours... that you do?'
'Oh, pretty good, Dad, thanks for asking.'
'They're, uh... paying you good and stuff?'
'Yup, can't complain.'
'So, uh, what is it that you do again?'

When I reach the lame conclusion of my latest poor description, he'll nod and say, 'Oh, yup, yup, for sure,' and chuckle his patented Dad Chuckle and teeter back to the kitchen to work back up his cookie buzz that I just killed. 'Yup, for sure,' by the way, is parent speak for 'I'm pretty sure you're actually a prostitute because there's no way anyone could get paid that much money for a job that doesn't actually exist.' (Hi, Dad. Still not a prostitute. Just sayin'.)

Admittedly, this is a pretty piddling irritant compared to greater whole of a decent job, but still there's some small part of me that wishes I did something more... tangible with my life. Something you could really put a word to and people would instantly understand, and maybe even sympathize with ('Oh, wow - I can just imagine all the shit you have to put up with!').

* * *

Our office kitchens (and, hence, employees) suffer from a grievous dearth of cutlery. No word of a lie, I saw a coworker eating his lunch on Wednesday with a sort of chopstick-spork contraption he had crafted out of coffee stir sticks. That is how bad our cutlery problem is. Interestingly (due to a complex chain of events involving an office move, a timely staycation and a certain cinephile-slash-botanist), I happen to be the proud - if unlikely - owner of about five dozen (matching!) forks. They live in a vase in my office.

Now, unlike other famous distribution problems (world hunger, say), solving the cutlery issue at my workplace would be as simple as moving my massive excess of forks from my office to nearby kitchen drawers. In fact, I've been meaning to do so for a few weeks now. But seeing B. trying to wrangle a stir fry into his face with a chopstick-spork made me realize the power inherent in my situation:  

I have a complete and total forkopoly

O, the power! The responsibility! The happiness I can produce and the suffering I can engender with my every whim! The shit I have to put up with!

I am a Cutlery Don.

* * *

Finally, a job people can understand.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Like Meteorology, but Less Accurate

Unspoken Spousal Agreement No. 2,366: a.k.a. the Likelihood of Getting Any Tonight (Variations on a Theme*): if the night guard ith in, no way in hell mithter.

2,366.1: And if the night guard is not in? Jeez, I was too tired to even put in my night guard, you think I have energy for anything else?

* Only one of approximately 3,000 closely related Agreements that comprise the bulk of the Unspoken Household Regulations, pursuant to the Spousal (Dis)Agreement Act. The exact number of Agreements related to the vetoing of sexual activities is not known due in part to their evanescent and mystifying nature, and in part because the Unspoken Spousal Agreements are for the most part - as the name suggests - unspoken. Some Spouses have hypothesized (sotto voce, of course) that the number fluctuates on a "monthly" basis, although this is hotly contested by other Spouses who a) have very good hearing and b) counter that the probability of encountering willingness to engage in certain adult activities on any given day is inversely proportional to the percentage of household cleaning conducted, over the time period of her choosing, by the Spouse exerting the authority granted her under the SDA to stymie such activities. Also over the time period of her choosing.