Posts filed under ‘9 to 5’

Notes From the Copy Editing Trenches

I am editing a procedural manual. IT IS AWFUL!!! The wordiness! The pointless statements! I know I am not exactly Shakespeare when it comes to the craft of the wordsmith, but compared to the remedial hamsters that wrote this document, I should qualify for a freaking Pulitzer Prize.
WHAT IT SAYS: For a given project or planned submission, it is also desirable to define and map the required documents in advance to facilitate communication and ability to assess the degree to which the document set is complete.
WHAT I WOULD SAY: Make a fucking checklist!
WHAT I ACTUALLY WRITE: For each project and/or submission, define and map the required documents in advance. This facilitates assessing completeness of the document set.

BUT… I hate the word “completeness”

Controlled documents are managed along various stages of its lifecycle.

Document users should be able to perform the procedure correctly (especially in SOPs) or to understand clearly what was done and what was learned (e.g., a Technical Report).

This has given me the idea. While watching the Oscars the other night, I decided that there should be a prize for best Procedural Manual writer out there. If you write procedural manuals (or, possibly technical manuals), send me the BEST PAGE from it! I will announce the winners as soon as I get enough to warrant picking one out! (i.e., I get more than 3 submissions). Send your manual page to: dotdash at gmail with the subject line MANUAL SUBMISSION. The only rule is you must be the author of the manual. Or, you must submit a manual page on behalf of the author. You can’t just pick up the booklet that came with your iThing or whatever and say “hmm, this is good– I’ll submit it!”; you must know the author!

March 1, 2017 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Cogs in the Social Machine

Truthfully, I think I’m secretly a little glad my job is ending. The Kid has been making it really difficult to miss him. For every thing nice he says, he says 150 rude, obnoxious things. He is constantly telling me how WONG I am about everything, how I DON’T KNOW ANYFING, and giving me excuses about how he doesn’t have to do whatever I say because he’s a “scientist” and “smarter than [I am].”

I’m having a hard time maybe because he is exactly the polar opposite of what I was when I was a kid, and I don’t know how to handle it. I’m not saying I was better as a kid; I was a pathetic, sniveling, self-loathing pussy who was shy to the point of barely able to function. I was a sensitive cry-baby. I had a martyr complex the size of Vancouver which went largely unnoticed, which made it even more pathetic. If I had to take care of a kid now who was like me as a 4-year-old, I’d probably euthanize it. However, at least I would understand where it was coming from.

The Kid has no shame whatsoever. His sense of entitlement is immeasurable. I think he truly believes that all humans exist for his benefit and/or entertainment. For example, take this exchange:

ME: When we are crossing a road, don’t stop in the middle of the street; that’s dangerous!
ME: You should wait until you cross the road to do that. It’s dangerous to stop in the middle of the street. A car might not see you and hit you.

How this conversation would have gone with my parents and me, when I was a little kid:

PARENT: What are you DOING?!? Don’t stop in the middle of the street, do you want to DIE?
ME: [hang head in shame] no.
MY INNER MONOLOGUE: damn you are a stupid idiot. Do you want to die? How dumb are you for stopping in the middle of the road? God, you suck. Maybe you should just get hit by a car and put you out of your idiotic, pathetic misery.

I would probably ruminate on how much I sucked and how dumb I was for at least a week, possibly more. There was this one time when I almost got hit by a car crossing the street on the way to the bus stop; and it haunted me for months. Not because I was afraid of death, but because I was ashamed that I was too stupid to know how to properly cross a street. I was 5.

Anyway, I was polite. My parents hammered politeness into us. If we didn’t say “please” and “thank you” they just ignored us. It is so ingrained I don’t even think about it! However, The Kid is different. Here are the different ways he might ask for a drink of juice.



“No-wah, YOU FORGET TO GET ME JUICE” (when he never asked for it to begin with)



and my favorite:

“No-wah, I TOLD YOU I want JUICE!” (usually this is how he asks the first time i.e., no, he actually never told me anything)

It kind of drives me crazy to be ordered around like a dog. However, today’s parents don’t seem to be overly concerned with this. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just a fact. I keep reading these articles about how teaching your kid to say “please” and “thank you” and be nice and kind is just opening the doors to them getting molested by strangers or whatever, and why should our precious snowflakes be subjected to arbitrary rules of etiquette set by The Man anyway? I’m looking for these articles… my cousins post them on Facebook. I read them, smoke comes out of my ears and then I forget them. Here’s one that’s along similar lines:  I’ll post more when I find them.

I feel hopelessly old-fashioned. The world is a series of cogs, and manners are the grease that makes things run smoothly. At least that’s what I was always taught. Don’t make things harder for everyone else; what makes you so special that you can hold up the grocery store line? The Kid has no such awareness of that at all. I’m not saying this is bad, I’m just saying this is different and so out of my experience I don’t know how to handle it sometimes! I mean, if I do something so that I hold up the grocery store line, I feel awful and apologize my ass off to everyone in line, and feel like a horrible person for hours. I’m sure the Kid would feel perfectly justified in holding up a grocery line, and if people were upset; that’s their problem because they are impatient or whatever. Get over it, people! He has no sense of empathy whatsoever. I’m not saying he’ll never develop any; I’m just saying that he prides himself on being exactly like his father, who brags about having no empathy. I, on the other hand, was so terrified about inconveniencing other people and making them mad at me that I scarcely ever did anything outside my own comfort zone. A little chutzpah can be good sometimes, I think!

Parents I see at the playground don’t demand their kids mind their P’s and Q’s (ok maybe just the American kids; foreign kids seem better behaved). Kids are rude and disrespectful of their parents in general to a degree that I’m surprised people my age and older let them get away with! i went to dinner at with an ex-boyfriend once at his friends’ house. They were a couple with kids aged 8 and 10. The kids spent the entire time ordering the parents around and then a large part of the time making fun of the dad’s bald spot. They seemed like a perfectly happy, functional family. Everyone’s needs got met eventually, and they were all able to have a laugh together. Seriously, though– if I had said any one sentence either of these kids uttered to my parents I would have been in Big Trouble. My parents didn’t believe in corporal punishment, but they sure did believe in the yelling/shaming/guilt-tripping kind of punishment. This type can go on for days as the transgression can be brought up again and again. We respected our parents at least on paper, and we were miserable. These kids seemed happy and well adjusted, and their parents seemed to genuinely enjoy their kids’ company. Is either parenting style better? I don’t know.

That’s the thing about The Kid. You can put him in Time Out or take away his TV time or whatever, but he never believes what he did was wrong. He always has an excuse/justification for what he did. If he smacked Daddy across the face, it was because Daddy wasn’t listening and therefore deserved it. If he told me I’m stupid, it’s obviously because I am. If his teacher takes me aside to tell me the Kid was being a psycho, she is obviously lying (and whatever he did it was perfectly justified). I *always* thought I was wrong. It took decades of therapy before i realized that sometimes other people are douches and that it’s not my fault. Maybe it’s good that the Kid has a healthy enough ego that he truly believes he is right and justified all the time. Lord knows I could have used some of that! However, in the short term, he’s totally rude. There must be some kind of middle ground!

The thing is, when the Kid is being rude and ordering me around, he’s not doing it to be a jerk. That’s his default mode. When I was a kid and I was a jerk, I knew what I was doing, was doing it on purpose, and fully expected the consequences. The Kid is just direct, and it comes across as rude, because he believes I am his servant (which to be honest, I kind of am) like all humans are. He just wants to get his needs met. That is his #1 goal. My goals as a kid were to not make waves, to not have my parents freak out, and lastly to get my needs met. It’s nice that The Kid has parents that will follow his orders when he barks them, so he doesn’t have to have that constant worry that they’re going to blow up because he asked incorrectly. I just am used to politeness being hammered into kids, so my first reaction to being ordered around is to bristle. I feel like an old fart. OY KIDS THESE DAYS, YOU GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

September 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm 1 comment

Juice Boxes = the devil

Juice boxes were invented sometime maybe in the 1980s? I don’t know. I remember it started with the Capri Sun Mylar pouches and then de-evolved into cardboard cubes. I vaguely remember this invention. My mother, whose normal reaction to technology would be to run away screaming, actually bought some.  Shocked that she didn’t shove a mason jar full of grape juice (frozen concentrate, store brand, no sugar added) at us (with an extra can of water added to make it last longer), I found myself staring at it at school. It was apple juice, which normally I didn’t particularly like. I was used to cider, with its cloudy color and occasional chunk of apple pulp. This was the early 1980s; you could still get unpasteurized cider, so to me the clear, highly filtered apple juice tasted weird and hollow (it still does to me). I was fascinated. I unwrapped the straw and shoved it through the little foil hole, causing sticky juice to squirt everywhere. The juice was warm and tasted as weird as ever. Even as a kid sampling new technology and forbidden consumer goods, I was underwhelmed.

Which brings me to my next rant. As a nanny, I see plenty of juice boxes. Here are a few reasons why I am anti-juice box:

  1. Waste: seriously? Do we need more disposable containers in the world? Would it kill you to just fill up a water bottle? I know it takes twice as long to drag one over to the sink, but really.
  2. The straw: kids under 6 seem to have problems getting it out of its little plastic wrapper. It requires much haggling. At school, a teacher must go around and help each kid. Once the straw is liberated, the plastic covering almost always ends up on the ground. Even if you have a conscientious child who throws it away, the wind will whip it out of the bin like it was a dress on a tiny Marilyn Monroe and it will still end up on the ground. A straw wrapper’s native habitat seems to be blown up against a chain link fence and it will seek this at all costs.
  3. Poking the straw through the foil hole is not always easy. Often the straw will bend, and upon repeated stabbings, will develop a hole or shred. If you have an OCD toddler, this is as good a reason as any for her to break into hysterics.
  4. The straw has a tendency to come loose from the box and get lost, prompting small children to freak out. I have seen parents throw away entire unopened juice boxes because of a missing straw. If you have a child who will consent to drink juice from a box sans straw, you have to find an object tiny enough to poke a hole through the tin foil straw hole. Once you find one, you will spend time and effort getting more and more frustrated as you repeatedly stab at the tiny hole that refuses to yield to your improvised device. Meanwhile, a small child is pulling on your limbs and shrieking with impatience.
  5. The straw makes an effective weapon. True, a pre-schooler can turn anything into a weapon, but sometimes I like to make warfare slightly less convenient!
  6. The Fountain Effect: Oh yes, the best part. It takes only a tiny little squeeze (often accidental!) to turn a juice source into a geyser of stickiness. This running river of juice may be directed at a person (the straw makes an excellent aiming device) or at furniture, the drinker himself or other inconvenient receptacles. EXAMPLE: I hear gleeful squealing in the back seat of my car and turn around to witness a cascade of golden liquid arcing over the seat. My car still smells like feet. Why did the apple juice dry into feet-smell? It’s a mystery of the ages. At least it was apple juice and not *other* golden liquids, I guess.
  7. Childlike curiosity will prompt a kid to at least once in his or her life attempt to dismantle the box while it is full.

There you have it. If you really MUST have your juice in a cube, get a reusable one?

May 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Yuletide wisdom from The Kid

KID: What happens if I don’t go to bed?
ME: Then you won’t get to see Santa tomorrow (he’s scheduled to go to a Santa tea party). 48 (his Elf on the Shelf) will see what’s going on and tell Santa, and you won’t get any presents.
KID: I would just yell bad things at Santa!
ME: Santa would put you on his “naughty” list forever! You wouldn’t get any presents until you’re 90!
KID: I would just turn invisible and sneak into his house and POOP ON HIS HEAD!!! Then I would take off my invisible cloak and find a present and just open it!
ME: What if there was a present in it that you didn’t want? Like a ballerina Waldorf doll (his mom is way into these)… or a boring old spatula?
KID: but Mommy could use a new spatula! WHAT IF IT WAS A REAL DINOSAUR?!? It could be a really really big present and inside would be a real dinosaur, not a pretend one. Then I could take it home and tell it about my dreams.
ME: ok, what if it was something broken?
KID:then I would just SHOOT Santa in the face… with a gun that shoots jelly.
ME: then Santa would not only never give you another present, he’d take all your toys away and give them to other kids who weren’t naughty and deserved them.

December 15, 2012 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

The Kid: Master of Road Rage and Backseat Driving

The Kid is 3 and 1/2 now. He can ride a tricycle like a pro and disdains babyish foot-powered vehicles now, unless he is in a position to ram other kids in similar vehicles.  So yes, he’s mobile, but still over a decade away from a Learner’s Permit. However, due to who he usually rides in the car with, is a fountain spewing road rage and “helpful” driving advice. 

One example: we were in the car behind this person in a silver Toyota who was decidedly not staying in one lane. Silver Toyota dude preferred to straddle the dotted line, sometimes veering into one lane, sometimes into another. “PICK A LANE!” I said to him pointlessly (he obviously couldn’t hear me, being in another car driving along the highway, but sometimes it just feels good to speak harshly to people). What follows is 20 minutes of The Kid’s hurling abuse at the car:


By now we had passed the silver noncommittal lane swerver and left it far behind. Yet still The Kid continues…


Earlier his road rage had been focused on me and my driving. 


I explained that he just needed to hold onto his bento box tighter; I was going way under the speed limit because traffic was backed up.


After we got to where we were going and The Kid and I were lost (it’s a long story involving the lack of maps and GPS), he started in again. I just wanted to get un-lost and was getting annoyed and frustrated and driving around in circles through Easton and Brockton because all the pertinent road signs had leafy trees growing in front of them so I couldn’t see them.


I explained that I was following the directions on the GPS on my phone, which happened to be confusing and often wrong.


after 45 minutes I broke down and said “If I buy you a donut will you stop asking me questions?” He agreed, so we stopped at Dunkin Donuts and I bought him a strawberry frosted. Miraculously, he stopped asking me questions. Instead, he went back to critiquing my driving skills and demanding to look at my phone. 


I-93 south of the city is a 7-lane clusterfuck of woe at every time of the day, in both directions. It was a LONG journey.


August 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm 2 comments

If I could see the world through the eyes of a child…

…what a weird-ass world it would be!

The Kid insisted he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Nothing else would sate his appetite. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any bread nor did we have suitable cheese. He commanded we go to the store and get some. I figured I could stop at the Dollar Store because I need some fake flowers to complete my half-assed Passover wreath on the door. With little help from el niño, I found a bunch of flowers and then found him a giant sheet of stickers and took it all to the counter… to discover that I couldn’t find my wallet. Frantically searching, by the time it was my turn in the checkout line I had determined that I had indeed left it at home (I had taken it out of my purse when I was looking for my insurance card in order to talk to another recorded message about nothing but that’s another story). I told the checkout guy who was less than pleased and then noticed a $20 lying on the floor. My brain being my brain, I told The Kid to stay put and instantly sprinted out the door to give it back to the lady in front of me in line. Did I use it to pay for my $5 worth of Dollar Store items? No, because my brain doesn’t work that way. Everyone in the store was confused. I could see it when I came back for the somewhat bewildered Kid.

So I caught up with the lady and she was happy to have her $20 back.

The rest of the day, The Kid asks, “WHY YOU TAKE DAT LADY’S MONEY?”

I tried to explain that I was giving it back to her, but he is convinced I somehow took her money.

So we go back home and I get my wallet and we go to the grocery store (I decided not to go back to the Dollar Store because I don’t want to have to spend time picking out 5 bunches of flowers that are less shitty than the rest of the shitty dollar store flowers with a shrieking barnacle clinging to me while trying to destroy everything in sight). In the grocery store parking lot is a young woman walking down the middle of the aisles of cars talking on a cell phone. She is kind of weaving from side to side making it impossible to pass her. I say “HEY LADY GET OFF THE PHONE AND MOVE!” but I say it inside the car where she can’t hear. The Kid is fascinated and says “Why you talking to dat lady?” I say “because I want her to move so I don’t smack into her.”

The rest of the day I am also asked,


So apparently I am now a crazed homicidal driver with a penchant for petty theft.


April 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Penises = not mysterious.

I’m trying not to have a bad attitude towards penises. Really, I never had anything against them before. They can be quite fun at times! However, after 3 days of The Kid’s potty training I am having trouble seeing them as little more than a drain spigot. While this is how it should be when one is dealing with a toddler, I am having trouble translating the “wang = urine elimination device” into anything else. I try to picture a wang on, say, someone who I’m *not* trying to bribe to sit on the toilet, and it is just another body part. Like ooh sexy. An elbow. Yay. Kneecap. Whoopee. Wang. It doesn’t help that the only non-potty training wang I have in my life has been gone to Florida for work for 2 weeks and will not return for another week.

Now before you go calling Child Services on me (OH MY GOD SHE’S HINTING ABOUT SEX WHILE TALKING ABOUT POTTY TRAINING! WHAT KIND OF PERVERT DOES THAT ON THE INTERNET?!?!?)– what I am saying is that whatever allure and/or mystique the human penis ever had for me is gone now, having had to stare at a tiny one for probably 1/3 of my workday today. On the plus side, the Kid peed in the potty more times than we were accurately able to track on his Potty Chart. On the downside, I may never be able to have sex again because all I can think of at the moment is The Kid singing the hastily written Potty Song to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (tentatively titled “Tinkle Tinkle Little Pee”) while happily swinging his legs in time and alternately yelling “I *AM* THINKING POTTY THOUGHTS!!!”

If you are squeamish about reading this article, you probably have never had to teach a young male how to pee in the potty. This is not an easy-breezy oh-let-me-have-a-cup-of-tea activity. It requires constant vigilance while the party in question is both on and off the potty. It requires a lot of staring with enthusiasm (I’ll admit after the 18th time today much of it was feigned simply because I was burned out on yelling HOLY COW, YOU PEED IN THE POTTY! AWESOME! LET’S GO GET A STICKER!!! YOU RULE!!! etc. etc.) at a pants-less kid sitting on the bowl while he gleefully admonishes you to watch him urinate. It involves a lot of intense scrutiny as you watch a kid while he’s playing for signs of the dreaded “potty dance” and then try to rush him to the throne before it’s too late and yet another pair of Batman undies must get thrown in the wash.

I’ll admit watching The Kid pee the first several times was a little difficult, simply because urination as a spectator sport is not the kind of activity I normally engage in and/or enjoy. Originally, The Kid demanded privacy in order to complete his waste elimination tasks, which was perfectly fine with me. Now, because he enjoys the massive adulation, he commands me to watch, lest I miss any amazing potty mastering feat. Now it’s just another activity. Should I be alarmed that I am desensitized to watching the elimination of waste in action? I guess it’s like barf, snot, poop, and all the other fluids constantly being secreted from small children– you develop an immunity to their inherent grossness pretty fast. Good thing too, or the human race would have died out from choking on its own snot or drowned to death in a sea of pee while aspirating on its own puke eons ago.

Because we want this kid out of diapers sometime before he goes to college, I’ll admit I’ll pretty much do anything to get him to go on the potty, possibly even if it means living the remainder of my life in celibacy. Sigh. So much for having a job you don’t take home with you!

February 25, 2012 at 4:01 am Leave a comment

Potty Time! Excellent!

The Kid is back on potty training! Apparently he is totally psyched to pee in the potty for his mom. He even pees in public restrooms! However, since I am not his mom, and in his mind my main function is to clean up his messes, feed him, and administer entertainment, Potty Time has become just another battleground. An epic, Herculean, Clash of the Titans-esque battleground, which I am doomed to lose in an epic, Herculean, Promethean way. Prometheus– he was the one chained to a rock getting his liver eaten out by an eagle every day, right? Yeah, that’s me, except the Eagle is the Kid, and my sanity stands in for a liver, although this kid may drive me to drink in which case it will be both.

I tried making it fun… “Hey look, sitting on the potty can be a game! Let’s make some token fun rules to follow!”
I tried bribery with all sorts of things… stickers (works for his mom), candy (also works for his mom), fun forbidden art projects (we can use the non-washable markers!), messiness (we can find some puddles to stomp in!)
I tried the pavolvian method… “hey, the alarm is going off, time for the potty!”
I even tried blackmail… “I won’t give you [that thing you asked for] unless you sit on the potty.”
I tried making it into a big deal. “Oh my gosh, it’s POTTY TIME!!! Won’t that be AWESOME?! Let’s SKIP to the potty!”
I tried making it the opposite of a big deal. [look at watch] “Time to sit on the potty. Go.”

All of these things have just made the kid even more determined to not sit on the potty, or if he does, making it the most horrific experience of the day for both of us.

The Kid can’t pee in the potty if there are people present. However, if I turn my back on him for a second, he will
1. take all the TP off the roll and stuff it into the toilet, all the while cackling evilly. He managed to do this with all the TP on the main roll PLUS the entire backup roll that is kept near the toilet. This activity took him about 30 seconds.

2. bang the toilet seat lid repeatedly as hard as he can against the toilet tank making a surprisingly loud and annoying din.

3. play with his junk. I don’t have a problem with junk playing; it’s not the puritanical aspect that concerns me, it’s just that when the junk is being pointed at, say, the ceiling, and peeing does magically occur, you can guess what will happen. I tried to explain this to The Kid, but of course, being 3 years old, the thought of peeing on the ceiling is about the most awesome thing he can think of. So, now if I come in to check on him, he points his junk at me in hopes that if such a miraculous event as as the elimination of urine should occur, it will now happen with force onto my face. He talks about this a lot. He awaits this event with the kind of reverential glee normally reserved for Evangelical Christians awaiting the Rapture.

In addition to all this, getting him on and off the potty results in me getting my hair pulled, my glasses chucked across the room, pinched, my person smacked, kicked and all sorts of other abuse. He has become very elaborate in his threats– he now invokes imaginary monsters from his nightmares to eat me up. His favorite phrases are “I DARE YOU!” and “PROVE IT!” He has no idea what either of these things mean, and for me, the novelty and cuteness of small child misusing grownup phrases wore off weeks ago. These phrases are often accompanied by “shooting” — i.e., The Kid pointing his finger at me and making the unmistakable spitting sound that is his soundtrack to lighting me on fire. Bullets are too wimpy for this kid; he’s gone straight for imaginary flamethrowers.

Time Out has become an exercise in seeing how creatively naughty one can be in another location, and is no longer a punishment or an incentive to be good. Unless I watch him like a hawk, The Kid will spit on the floor, spit on his hands and make pictures with it on the walls, pull on the curtains, grab anything he can reach and throw it at me, scratch the leather couch, and a host of other things which I’m sure haven’t even crossed his mind yet. When I threaten to double his Time Out sentence, he just spits at me and yells “TWO TIME OUTS!” and then demonstrates his counting abilities by repeating it and yelling “THREE TIME OUTS!”

When I give him the Dire Time out by strapping him into his stroller and leaving him in the other room, he just retaliates by screaming my name and rocking his stroller causing it to bang against the floor as loud as possible until I let him out.

Right now The Kid is playing with Play Doh and yelling “AINA!!! get me some…. some… uh… some… uh…” he can’t even think of what he wants to command me to do; he just wants to command me to do something.


I’ve been at this a day and a half.

February 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

Adventures With Mini Stalin

SETTING: the car. The Kid and I are driving to the grocery store; he’s in the back in his carseat. I’m driving. It is a small road on a heavily populated street, the speed limit can’t be more than 30 MPH, if that. A truck speeds up behind me and proceeds to drive what seems like 3 inches from the rear bumper.

ME: Stop tailgating me, dumb head!

KID: What him doing?

ME: he’s driving poorly.

KID: ‘TOP it, dumbhead!!!

ME: You shouldn’t call people dumbheads. I shouldn’t have said that. Sorry.

KID: I just HATE dumb heads. They so stupid. They make me angry. Stupid dumbheads. We put all dem dumbheads in box and just look at them.

ME: good idea. Let’s put them all in a box.

KID: I HATE dumbheads! Dey stupid faces! HAHAHAH STUPID FACE. I call dem STUPID FACE!

ME: You shouldn’t really call people stupid face. They are not good drivers. Just call them ‘bad drivers.’


~~at this point, I decide not to even interfere; any talk of not insulting people will just make him stronger. He will feed off the forbidden words energy like those Star Trek aliens they tried to shoot with the photon torpedoes.~~

KID: I hate them! I kill them wif my super powers! I not kill dem little bit, I kill them big big big bit with my super hero cape! I smash them with my super hero cape! I just smash dem wif my cape and dey be DEAD! I make dem DEAD, stupid face!

::sigh:: I guess this is that Inner Male Aggression they’re always talking about. He’ll grow up to like westerns and fry ants with magnifying glasses. Look out world.

::as I’m writing this, he is seeing how close he can get a drinking straw to his eye before it goes in. He keeps blinking and laughing when he accidentally stabs his eye with the straw.

::yesterday he was trying really hard to “bwow gwape wif stwaw” (i.e., blow a huge grape out of a tiny straw that came with a juice box). Thus I introduced the concept of a pea shooter. I got a regular sized straw, and since we didn’t have any peas, I made some ammo out of small balls of tin foil. the kid was entranced with shooting the balls out of a straw. He was totally into shooting them at the couch and then scrambling around and finding them and doing it again… until I hear “I EAT AMMO NOW!” I turn around and he has that smug look of satisfaction. “I eat ammo. It in ‘tomach it go down down [points down to where his esophagus is], make Big Ew! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!” He has grasped the concept of eating food and then pooping it out again and is endlessly amused by this. “I POOP AMMO!!!!!” I guess he likes the idea of crapping silver balls. oy vey. Maybe he’ll command me to “CWEAN MY DDDJJJJJUNK!” again when I change his diaper. I must say I’ve never been commanded to clean anyone’s junk before, but there has to be a first time for everything!

Needless to say, Pea-Shooter Time was over quickly, and may never be reinstated. Maybe when he’s 40.

November 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm 1 comment

…and now allow me to bitch about my job.

Everyone who has a blog has to whine about their stupid job once in a while. Yes, this got me fired once, Yes, it’s going to be boring, but I need to vent. Ok, it’s not actually the job that sucks, it’s the circumstance of the job. Job #2 is pretty cool. I like all the people who work there. It’s a good place to work– owned by cool people etc. It’s just that this one account I have to take care of has been eating my soul recently. It’s the one where I have to deal with the Harvard Business School chapel. You know, the Logan’s Run-esque pyramid of plants that should not see the light of day on this latitude. Yeah, all these:

Let me start by mentioning aphids. Tiny bugs in the family Aphidoidea, the little bastards eat plant leaves and multiply at alarming rates. They suck out the juices from leaves and secrete this sticky substance which romantically is called Honey Dew because ancient peoples thought it “fell” like dew. In reality, it’s just bug poop. It ranges from a light shiny coat of sticky sheen to where it looks like leaves have been dunked in Karo syrup. Certain kinds of mold thrive on this substance, which is why if you don’t catch the aphid infestation soon, mold will colonize the sticky leaves and turn them brown and fuzzy. Aphids are soft-bodied creatures and easy to squish. This is why, after having to prune the crap out of a bunch of trees, I spent the day with my arms covered in sticky goo and aphid corpses. However, the corpses were much preferable to the live aphids who kept crawling down my shirt because apparently my chest looks like a juicy false coffee plant. Even after I got home and took a shower, I still could feel phantom aphids scurrying all over my body. Ack.

mealybug. douchebag.

The aphids only live on one tree, though. The more sinister parasite inhabiting this Eden of non-native plants is the spider mite. Luckily there are fewer of those. They just make webs that stick to you, but are easily brushed off. The evil colonist of the garden, the Conquistadors of the Class of 1959 Chapel are the mealy bugs. Normally mealy bugs are the size of a pin-prick. They are on a par with poppy seeds size-wise when they get big. Normally you can’t distinguish between individual bugs as they mass together and are white and fuzzy. A plant with mealy looks like it’s had little cotton balls glued to it. Harvard, always having to out-do everyone, boasts mealy bugs with an average size of a sesame seed. Not terribly huge, probably 10 times the size of the normal bug. However, much of the mealy found here are the size of grains of rice, which gets kind of gross, since the bugs are really sticky and also poop gooey stuff. There are several that I’ve come across that are the size of small pumpkin seeds– these are creepy! Luckily they don’t move fast, nor do they have a desire to crawl into my clothing.

However, the aphids were the not the least enjoyable part of my job. Note that the tiers of plants are hemmed in by cement slabs. Each one of these slabs is about 6″ wide and one has to walk on them in order to do any plant maintenance, lest he or she tread upon actual plants. I had to chop down orange trees with trunk about 4″ in diameter with clippers whilst balancing on a cement slab. Spending all day squatting on slabs made my knees ache like something fierce while my back similarly hurts. My right hand is nearly useless from grinding the cutters against the trees all day. Plus, orange trees have ginormous thorns, so my arms are all scraped up.

Oh yeah, the pond normally had koi in it, but due to budget constraints, the koi got laid off. Thus the mosquito larvae get to thrive in a totally predator-free environment, and thrive they do. My legs are all bitten up since I was the day’s lunch special.

Why am I whining? I should be grateful I have such a cool job. I should be happy that I’m not working in a coal mine or back at Dunkin’ Donuts endlessly explaining why there are only two toast settings “somewhat warm” and “on fire” while politely deflecting potential suitors who need coffee and a Green Card.

I’m whining because I’ve had a fever all week and spent two days languishing in bed watching Masterpiece Theatre over the innernets while sweating my balls off even though it is late September and really not that hot out. I still don’t feel 100% awesome yet and being achy all over while phantom insects inspect my bra is not really doing it for me today.


Ok. I feel better. Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

September 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm 2 comments

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