Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sour 'bout mah lunch hour

Lunch. This is a very sacred thing to me. I don't think some of my co-workers understand this concept, especially when I'm bringing it from home. Trying to go from the office kitchen to my desk with my lunch in hand is seriously a monumental feat, like trying to walk through a minefield without setting any off. Because it never fails. As soon as I sit down at my desk with my lunch, I wait. It could be something as complex as leftovers from our Sunday roast or something as simple as a sandwich, but sure enough:
"What smells so good?"
Seriously? I should just get on a microphone and broadcast to the office what I'm having. It would save me a lot of trouble.

May I have your attention please? Today, I will be having a roast beef sandwich. That's right - a roast beef sandwich! So, please feel free to stop by and marvel at the modern miracle that is the roast beef sandwich!

Because it's not enough to just answer the question. On most occasions, the next question after that will be:

"Did you make it yourself?"

And there's no way around this one. It depends on the person asking. Scenario A is I will then have to list the ingredients used to prepare said roast beef sandwich, including the type of mayonnaise and how many grams of salt and pepper were allotted to the preparation and assembling of this dish. Scenario B is that I will have to then listen to the other person list the nuances of their roast beef sandwich preparation, how it's different than mine, and why they're forever bonded to their sister's classmate from the 2nd grade because their roast beef sandwich basically saved this person's life.

I kid you not.

And this kind of inspection of my food is why I've basically stopped eating hard-boiled eggs in the office. Because every time I did, there's this one person...


I'm sorry, but it's generally not difficult to deduce what a hard-boiled egg smells like. It smells like a hard-boiled egg. And personally, that's something I don't really want announced to the office, n'est ce pas?

I just want to eat my hard-boiled egg in peace, but I can't. Thus my personal hard-boiled egg embargo at work.

I don't do this to anyone else, but as far as I can remember this always happened to me. I come from a long history of being the owner of desirable lunches. At my first job, this one girl would always come over with her eyes roving all over my food, making me feel like she had been visually consumed before I could even set my teeth in it. Every. Day. Followed by: "What you got?"

Seriously? This became a running joke in my family. And because it was my first job and I was so naive, I even on occasion - embarassingly enough - brought a duplicate lunch to shut her up. It didn't work.

So now, it's over ten years later, and this shit is still happening to me. I will be sitting there, practically climbing the walls from hunger while my co-workers ooh and ahh over my lunch. Turning my back to everything doesn't help. Sticking Post-Its announcing that I'm eating above my head doesn't faze them. And I'm too much of a wimp to just tell them to Back Away From The Lunch and leave me alone.

So it may be too late for me and I've resigned myself to putting up with it, but you don't have to. Learn from this, folks. Don't be a Lunchtime Sucka.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

File under Really Bad Idea

Mr. Incredible wants to name his child after a computer font. No, seriously. The man wants to name his future child - ostensibly a girl - Verdana. As opposed to...say...Helvetica or Tahoma.

Is that not the most moronic thing you’ve ever heard? When I heard this, all I could say was: why??? You are marking the child for a lifetime of playground abuse.

And if you actually think Verdana is actually somehow…pretty? Well, it ain’t so pretty when paired with Mr. Incredible’s last name! I would share said last name, but that would present a problem as far as discretion (and my job) goes. So think along the lines of the letter N. Like, two more sets of the letter N, taking the whole name into Bananarama Land. Because of this unfortunate pairing of names, I have not been able to get that Muppets song “Manamana” out of my head, making this shit B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Seriously, somebody please make it stop.

Or maybe I’m the idiot here for not recognizing the plethora of unique and unusual baby names that Microsoft Office provides, rendering Hollywood creations “Apple” and “Kal-el” dull and unimaginative. Something with flair, like….Garamond? That has a touch of the Three Musketeers to it. Or how about Albertus Medium? Caesar would be so proud. And if you have twins, problem solved:

I present to you Wingdings and Webdings

Seriously? It's just downright wierd. But this is Mr. Incredible we're talking about, so you can't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Patron Saint of the Iron Stomach

Williams Sonoma. A monument to aspirational living. Martha Stewart incarnated as a store. A place where you walk out instantly a shinier, better version of you because you bought that $89 pear cornucopia.

Money well spent, no?

If that doesn't appeal, well there's always the monogrammed steak brander, you know, for when you want to brand your beef after it's been taken off the pasture.

Because even Martha has her cowgirl moments

I don't belong in Williams-Sonoma. And I know it. But what I also know is when you're shopping for your parents' anniversary gift in a mall that considers itself too upscale to have a food court - and you're just plain hungry - it's time to hit up the Williams-Sonoma for the food samples. Word to the wise: this is a boon especially during Christmas time.

Admit it, you've done it too. You have no intention of buying anything in the store, not their $20 jar of salsa or $400 set of bamboo spoons carved by missionary nuns in the rice fields of Vietnam. You just want the samples.

Sure enough, upon entering the store, I smell something baking. Cinnamon-y goodness in the air. We have a winner. So I stroll around the store, nodding politely at the seemingly endless blonde, apron-attired Martha clones that work in the store, while seeking out the goods. No joke, I'm starving at this point and I'm fading fast.

Finally, my eyes land on a cake stand populated with little mini-muffin somethings. The card next to it reads their pumpkin streusel thing-amabobs. Pumpkin and streusel muffin thing-amabobs are not really my gig, but I'll take whatever I can get. So I covertly take half a piece and bite into it while scurrying towards the back of the store, pretending to shop until it's safe to make a move for the exit.

But I have to admit, they're pretty damn good. Good enough for me to want to grab a box of the exorbitantly priced mix they're selling along with it. As I'm crunching my way through my little snack, I look around to see if anyone will notice that I'm going to be a piggy and go back for more. Nope, so I swoop back into the cake stand. This time, I grab the mx and a whole streusel thingy, made up of two pieces with some kind of icing cementing them in the middle. Keyword: cementing.

But this is Moi we're talking about so the only thing I am is so excited because this bit of cake will definitely tide me over until I get home. As I go up to the register to pay for the mix, one of the Martha clones smiles at me.

"Would you like to try a sample of our pumpkin bread? Fresh out of the oven!"

Blinded by a row of white, pearly teeth, I say, "Sure!" Oink, oink.

She hands me a tiny, little paper cup with a 1-inch cube of pumpkin bread, considerably smaller than the fistful of cake I'm holding in my other paw. She and the lady behind the register smile at me. I'm a little confused now, but now that I'm under the safety of being a Paying Customer, I ask, "Is this the same stuff as on the other side of the store?"

She looks at me. "Where?"

I point over on the other side, but I see she's not getting it. Figuring she may think I'm a pig, but that she can't take it from me, I hold up the cake. "This."

Instead, the sample lady nearly tackles me taking the cake out of my hand, only after exchanging a quick look of horror with the cashier. "That's a display item! That must be at least two weeks old!"

So that's why it was a bit crunchy.

I try to save face. "Ohmigod! I'm so glad I didn't eat that! I just figured since there wasn't a cover on the stand, it was okay."

The cashier looks at me like I just grew two heads. "No way - you could get really sick from eating that!"

I pay for my mix, thank them and shuffle out of the store, hoping they don't notice that there's another piece missing from the display. Because I'm the asshole that would wind up eating the store display and not notice in my blind fervor that the cake was hard as a rock and very nearly chipped my tooth.

Funnily enough though, it's 24 hours later and I feel fine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

E-mail with my dad

From: M
To: Dad
Subject: hi

Are you home or in the office?
From: Dad
To: M
Subject: RE: hi

I am home.
From: M
To: Dad
Subject: RE: hi

I got a promotion. My new title is Senior Manager, Professional Development (sort of a BS title, but whatever)
From: Dad
To: M
Subject: RE: hi

I think this is good.
From: M
To: Dad
Subject: RE: hi

I just found out that Mariah Carey is moving into my building.
From: Dad
To: M
Subject: RE: hi

Her move was part of your promotional remuneration?
From: M
To: Dad
Subject: RE: hi

She heard I was rising through the ranks and decided it was a good career move for her to get to know me better
From: Dad
To: M
Subject: RE: hi

That makes sense.

"You and me, M. Karaoke at your place Saturday night.

I'll bring the beer."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bottled water is your friend

Reflecting back on our road trip, I have learned a very harsh lesson from doing a very stupid thing:

I drank the water.

Big deal, you say, you guys were in California. It's not like you were travelling in Goa or something. But my riposte is that I don't care if you're the other side of the world or the next town over: Don't. Drink. The. Water.

There I am in beautiful Santa Barbara, sitting in the sun, wolfing down a fish taco while staring at the Pacific Ocean. And because I'm in beautiful Santa Barbara, sitting in the sun, wolfing down that fish taco while staring at the Pacific Ocean, I am thirsty. Thirsty enough to thoughtlessly drink down a glass of tap water next to my plate. Down my gullet goes hundreds and thousands of minerals and bacteria cultivated in the Pacific water system, completely alien to my East Coast gastrointestinal system. Those little buggers laid assault as they hurtled through my body and I would say...hmmm...yeah, they won.

I, of the mighty iron stomach, neverending seeker of regional cuisine and new flavors, was felled. Felled by a stinking glass of water. The one who shrugged off a strange rash that materialized after eating in some back alley restaurants with university students in Beijing. This Does Not Happen to Moi. No. This happens to C, he of the thenstitive stomach, he of the Mighty Throne - our commode. Not Me.

But I was so, so wrong. I have never, EVER been so ill in my life! As a result, I'm convinced I have permanently altered the biological makeup of my own body.

That night, as I alternated between curling up on the bed in the fetal position and racing to the bathroom every ten minutes, something had become clear. I had altered the universal balance of things in my relationship with C. Me getting sick from ingesting just doesn't happen! So if I'm actually sick from just that, pigs are about to start flying outside our window and hell is freezing over. And if he still had any illusions that I was this delicate flower of a human being before all this happened, trust me, those have been laid to rest. After moaning, groaning, and releasing insufferable gas through all hours of the night, I don't think my husband will ever look at me the same way again.

So, with a somewhat perplexed air, he fed me a steady diet of Immodium tablets and these electrolyte sachets you dissolve in water. Which, by the way, were the most dees-gust-hing things I have ever tasted in my entire life! It was like drinking water that had been through several rounds in the dishwasher. He couldn't see what I was complaining about, but he's been through this so many times, he probably killed all his taste buds from drinking that stuff.

Seriously, I'm still fascinated with this occurrence even though it's now been over a week since it happened. I never knew my body was even capable of this kind of behavior! And I was very afraid. Not about what was wrong with me and why was my body betraying me this way, but what was going to happen if I dared venture more than twenty feet away from the nearest bathroom. In my case, there was no rest for the weary. For the remainder of the trip, I was somewhat better, but forced to visit many commodes I would not otherwise have seen the interior walls of. Even (shudder) porta-Johns.

Now, raise your right hand and repeat after me: I will not be an asshole like M and drink tap water outside of the 5 mile radius of my home.

So glad we sorted that out.