Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The scratch 'n roll snore stopping marriage saver

Instead of counting sheep last night while my husband snored away, I counted the ways I've failed at trying to get him to stop.
  1. Plugging his nose
    He woke up angrily and thought I was trying to kill him.
  2. Shoving him and yelling, "Stop snoring!"
    He woke up angrily and thought I was abusing him.
  3. Cooing softly, "You're snoring. Can you please turn over on your side?"
    He woke up with a huff and claimed he hadn't even been asleep. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?)
  4. Tossing and turning violently in an angry attempt to wake him up "accidentally"
    He continued to sleep/snore obliviously.
  5. Wearing ear plugs
    He continued to snore, and I continued to hear it, although with the added irritation of uncomfortable pieces of foam in my ears.
  6. Suggesting he participate in a sleep study
Then I remembered Ross' hug 'n roll, and I decided to put a spin on it and give it a try. Under the guise of scratching my husband's back, I rolled him on his side, and he... sighed appreciatively! He stopped snoring, stayed sleeping, and I joined him... a few hours later. I guess I can't blame him for all my problems. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

More fun with office email: WFH edition

One of the (lowly) perks of my job is the option to work from home, and a good chunk of my colleagues work from home offices every day. Yet my co-workers in the Chicago office feel the need to justify why they're working from home every freaking time they take advantage of this benefit, which is usually multiple times a week, from multiple people. Because totally harmless, random things tend to irrationally infuriate me, I CANNOT STAND these possibly BS, totally unnecessary excuses. I'm no one's boss, or mother, and I don't care.

On principle I have refused to provide reasons when I notify them that I'm working from home. My personal business is no business of theirs; plus I prefer oversharing via social media or too many cocktails to Outlook email. But in an attempt to prolong the slow death by boredom I'm experiencing in Corporate America, I've decided to spice up my "WFH" messages. Here are a few I'm considering putting in rotation:
  • I'm working from home today because the dog ate my homework.
  • I'm working from home today because I have uncontrollable shits.
  • I'm working from home today because the thought of making small talk in the office kitchen makes me want to stab myself in the eye. 
  • I'm working from home today because I have a job interview. Wish me luck!
  • I'm working in pajamas today, and I assume you'd prefer I do that from home.
  • It's cold out, so I'm working from home.
  • I had an emergency session with my therapist this morning, so I'm working from home for the rest of the day.
  • I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, so I'm working from home. Case of the Mondays :(
  • I'm going to see my lady doctor this afternoon, so I'm working from home. Yearly pap smear :)
  • I have a gyno appointment tomorrow morning, so I'm going to work the rest of the day from home. Suspicious discharge :-/
  • There's something seriously wrong with my vagina. I'll be working from home until further notice.
  • I'm working from home today because there's a 12pm yoga class I want to go to. (Actually true on most Fridays)
  • If you're reading this, then you already know. I'm working from home... BECAUSE I CAN. (Always true)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alarming news about alarms

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First of all, I love me some Jeff Rossen. Just when I think I can't be any more outraged, he gives me something else to be outraged about. My favorite segments, though, are ones in which he legitimizes and fuels existing rage.

I was just ranting about smoke detectors at my book club last week (what else would you talk about at book club?), complaining that they are way too sensitive, actually desensitizing us to alarms and forcing (some of) us to do unsafe things like take the batteries out to prevent the alarm from going off every time we turn the oven on. Or dismantling it when that, inexplicably, doesn't stop the incessant beeping. 

So my ears perked up when I heard my friend Jeff say on the Today Show this morning, "We've all been there. You burn toast in your house and suddenly your smoke alarm goes off, so you assume it's ultra sensitive, but experts say think again." YES I have been there! WHAT?? Tell me more!

It turns out the most common type of smoke detectors -- those using ionization technology -- aren't so great at detecting smoke from burning furniture, as opposed to smoke from burning food, which they seem to be a little too good at.

Rossen goes on to tell the heartbreaking story of a woman who lost four of her children to smoke inhalation because her ionization alarms -- the kind used in 90% of homes -- never went off.

When tested, three ionization alarms take over half an hour to go off in a room that is filled with toxic smoke. Apparently ionization alarms can detect fires with fast flames (and are awesome at detecting burnt toast!), but experts say some of the most deadly fires start slower.

But Rossen finds us an alternative! A second test reveals that an alarm using photoelectric technology goes off in 17 minutes, when there is barely any smoke in the room. Although photoelectric technology has been around for a while, those alarms are more expensive to produce, and the cheaper ionization alarms meet government safety regulations.

How can that be?? Of course we can count on Rossen to go straight to the source. Unfortunately, it's evident from his awkward interview with a senior engineer at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which could very well be mistaken for a Daily Show skit, that the government agency that's supposed to rectify Corporate America's faulty conscience actually doesn't give a crap.

Well thank goodness for the Today Show and Jeff Rossen, right?! If he wasn't so riveting I may have actually left for work on time and missed his closing advice to install both types of alarms (was hoping I'd get to go Office Space on my ionization alarm), or splurge on a "dual detector" that employs both technologies. Let's just hope the pricier models at least know the difference between a fire and a dirty oven, or I'm asking my friend for a follow-up investigation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Friendly or annoying? I'll be the judge.

"Buffalo, New York, is one of the rudest places in America and residents of New York City are far friendlier than folks in the Midwest and the South," according to one of the silliest articles I've ever read. MailOnline recently reported that a company called Vertaline conducted a "study" that tracked tweets containing the phrases "good morning" and "f*** you" across 462 cities.

 "Nice" cities
"Naughty" cities

The results don't confuse me as much as the study itself. If they were looking for the city that's home to the most annoying, boring, self-indulgent Twitter addicts, I suppose "good morning" would be a good phrase to track. Although I'm not actually on Twitter, so maybe I'm wrong. Maybe their followers enjoy reading inane tweets and appreciate being reminded of when people are waking up in various time zones.

Come to think of it, I don't much like people saying "good morning" to me offline, either. If it's a colleague in the office kitchen, I fear being roped into small talk about her weekend putting together a jigsaw puzzle. And if it's a strange man on the street who also tells me to smile, I have to resist the urge to respond with "f*** you" -- because that is decidedly rude, especially in (even in?) the Midwest.

Photo source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2191250/Twitter-heat-map-tracks-polite-rudest-cities.html

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Olympic Mullet

I've been ranting about the messy hair epidemic that's plaguing women's gymnastics since the Olympic trials. (Although it's my favorite sport, I must admit I only really follow it every four years.) I hoped that with the fall of Nastia, the worst offender, the hairstyle would quickly go out of fashion before the real games began, but it seems the opposite happened. The sloppy trend has now spread to the heads of the majority of the U.S. women's team.

It's very confusing to me that these girls whose lives revolve around achieving perfection allow their hair to look so half-assed. Literally. It's a half ponytail that hasn't been pulled through to completion, flopping around slovenly, encouraging rebel layers to break free of color-coordinated scrunchies.

Or perhaps the hairstyle is akin to the "just rolled out of bed" or "beach hair" looks that actually require significant prep time. I wouldn't be surprised to catch the gymnasts staring at the mirror intently, pulling a few symmetrical strands through to create a very deliberate effect before the whole appalling 'do is sprayed down with industrial-strength hair glue.

But why?? I have to find a reason in order to get past how much I hate the lazy look and root for my country. So here's my explanation, and it's actually quite patriotic: It's the Olympic mullet -- athlete in the front, party in the back. It evokes great American traditions like NASCAR, fannypacks, arrogance -- and dominating the Olympics.

Photo credit: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/07/29/2137693/us-womens-gymnasts-to-start-on.html

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Train game

After sitting in a cubicle all day, naturally, all I want to do is sit some more on the train home. And with where my office is located on the Purple Line, that's actually a possibility -- if I am lucky enough to be standing directly in front of a door when the train stops. When this happens I'm taken back to my favorite game in Super Mario Brothers 3, and I feel like a winner!

 But more often than not I end up in this scenario:

My head follows the door I've been eying longingly as it slowly passes me by, and after the train jerks to a stop, a quick glance back to the left confirms that I am smack dab in the middle of two doors and SOL. For a few seconds I anxiously shift from one foot to the other while I try to gauge which door has less of a crowd in front of it. This gets even more awkward if I'm with my husband, as we without fail always head for different doors and then turn back irritably when we realize the other is not following, losing precious time, not to mention our newlywed glow.

As annoying as that is, though, the worst is when I end up directly behind a polite commuter who lets everyone and their mother board before US (well, not really mothers -- I suppose they should get priority seating). Are you really being courteous when you're inconveniencing the lady behind you who very well may lose her will to live if she doesn't get to sit down and relax with her large library book for 20 minutes after a hard day's work of trading passive aggressive emails?? Or perhaps these commuters aren't really being polite -- maybe they're just slow. Do they not want to snag a seat themselves? Are they not in a hurry to escape the work day?? I don't get it.

I for one just want to get where I'm going as quickly and as comfortably as possible...perhaps I should get one of these:

Photo credits:


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Losing it

Before I got engaged, I never understood the whole losing weight for your wedding thing. It seemed to me that wedding dresses were the most flattering thing a woman could wear, especially in my case because a long gown would hide the hobbit-like lower half I've never been a fan of.

But then my fiance started lobbying for a destination wedding, and my level head started to wander. It wasn't the dress, necessarily, that I was worried about looking good in (although I ended up going with a mermaid style just to further torture myself). It was the thought of spending a week in a bikini with 80 of our family members, friends... and their 20-year-old girlfriends that undid my Women's Studies education and feminist body image.

And so when I got on board with the destination wedding idea, I gave myself an excuse to start descending what I knew was a slippery slope. While I did try to eat healthier, my love of food saved me from going overboard on any kind of crazy diet. What I may have gone overboard on, however, was exercise.

I bumped my workouts up from a class or run 3-5 times a week to multiple classes or a run/class combo 6-7 days a week. I obsessively consulted my gym's fitness schedule to plan my week, got irrationally irritated when something came up that interfered with a class I wanted to take and almost had a nervous breakdown when their power went out for a few days (perhaps an extreme reaction, but days without power? A little ridiculous). At one point I was supplementing my gym membership with class packages at two different fitness studios.

Ironically, while looking for healthy recipes and new workouts in Women's Health, I came across an article on "New Eating Disorders" that included a description of "anorexia athletica." Signs of the disorder include: working out religiously (check); gym time interfering with your job or relationships (check); and feeling tremendous anxiety or guilt when you skip a workout (guilty). But to be honest, I think there are worse things to be addicted to than exercise... It wasn't the article that brought me to my senses.

While I was happy with the progress the scale showed, the mirror was more complicated. What I saw was a slightly smaller, definitely more muscular version of myself, legs still more hobbit than super model. My thighs seemed virtually unchanged, but my boobs had abandoned me, which I, and my new husband, were rather fond of... Something he wasn't fond of? My six-pack (although I thought it was kind of bad-ass). He actually found my new muscles slightly creepy and missed the softer, somewhat saner girlfriend of years past. Turns out the woman he wanted to marry was exactly who I was without trying.

Although the hours and hours I spent in the gym could have been spent doing other things -- like planning my wedding, or keeping up with my blog... I learned some important lessons. Extreme exercising will never fundamentally change my shape. And that's okay. I'm pretty lucky to have the body I'm stuck with, and even luckier to have the man I chose to be stuck with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to break up with somebody you wish you used to know

I love Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," but I think he is mistaken about the heartlessness of his ex(es). In fact, the song could be a tutorial on how to successfully break up with someone as painlessly as possible.

But you didn't have to cut me off (You do. It's for his own good.)
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing (Get out of your pajama pants and move on.)
And I don't even need your love (That's the spirit!)
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough (Avoid relapsing.)
And you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number (Might be going a little too far, but perhaps necessary if dealing with a stalker.)
I guess that I don't need that though (Correct! Number should have already been deleted.)
Now you're just somebody that I used to know (Mission move on accomplished.)

Isn't somebody that you used to know better than a girl who may or may not be your ex, who still texts you at 3 a.m., borrows your car (something I may or may not have done to someone I used to know...) and messes up any chance you have of having a healthy relationship with someone else? Isn't being cut off better than being strung along?

Apparently the song refers to a composite of past relationships, which makes sense because no mere mortal can have the self-restraining power to execute such a clean break. But that doesn't stop me from respecting the fictitious ex-girlfriend for her efficient, lukewarm heart, and for inspiring an awesome song.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bachelor blues

I spent last night yelling at the TV more than usual. Either my taste level is rising (unlikely) or The Bachelor is sinking even further into the filth. And this goes beyond the fact that Ben is a dufus and Courtney is evil. Confusion over the allure of the bachelor and irrational hatred for one or more of the contestants are givens. These irritations are really testing my devotion to ABC's reality:

  • Courtney never stops touching her hair, and her weird mouth, and everything she says is ridiculous and cliched and annoying. Lindzi (is that seriously how she spells her name??) always leans her head forward when she talks, like everything she says is a secret, or someone told her that's a flattering camera angle. Poor Emily scrunched her nose incessantly. Why are they casting such annoying people?? If the point is to distract viewers from how awful the show is, it's doing the opposite.
  • Every date is a metaphor! Jumping out of a helicopter is like falling in love; overcoming your fear of helicopters is like overcoming your fear of being vulnerable in love; taking a chance on a helicopter ride is like taking a chance on love! WE GET IT.
  • And then there's the awkward advertising tie-ins. When Ben said skiing in San Fran had always been on his "leap list" in Episode 3, my first thought was, "That's dumb," and my second thought was, "and isn't it called a 'bucket list?' Dummy." But no, I learned there is such a thing as a "leap list" during the following commercial break. Honda invented it. And then last night the former bachelorettes got all dressed up in skin-tight dresses to watch Titanic in an empty theater, fresh makeovers hidden behind hideous 3D glasses. A commercial for the 3D re-release and the upcoming Bachelorette season - two for one disguised as television programming!

And the show makes me hate myself most of all because I can't. Stop. Watching. Evil, evil genius.

Photo credit: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor/photo-details/episode-3/911487/914981

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friendly reminders make me unfriendly

I need to rant about the "friendly reminders" I receive via work email on a daily basis. First, the phrase is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as a "friendly" reminder. A reminder to a co-worker is inherently unfriendly. It means you have no faith in someone to complete a task by the given due date, that you feel the need to nag her as if she's a lazy husband who never remembers to take out the garbage or a child who never wants to brush her teeth.

Which leads me to the second reason I can't stand friendly reminders. Believe it or not, I actually get my work done on time. In fact, I pride myself on dazzling people with my efficiency, and feel deflated --> insulted --> enraged if someone thinks they need to send reminders. If on the rare occasion I can't meet a deadline, I never fail to communicate why and when I will have the work done:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Not sorry to see you go

While most unsubscribe links lead to "We're sorry to see you go!" messaging and perhaps a short survey asking what turned you off, an e-newsletter I recently unsubscribed from took a different approach.

The whole experience reminded me of a phone conversation I had back in the days before Internet with a seventh-grade boyfriend. Before I had even finished my prepared explanation of why I wanted to end our nine-day relationship, he hastily interrupted and dumped ME. I was flabbergasted. When friends asked me what happened at school the next day, I wasn't sure who had broken up with whom. (A very important distinction in the seventh grade!)

That sneaky kid ... he ended up being sent to military school the next year for selling drugs out of his locker, but that's another story.

Back to unsubscribing - this was the landing page I first encountered:

After clicking the seemingly apathetic yet angrily red "SEE YA" button, I was presented with this page:

If I come around and realize my huge mistake, they'll take me back?! Well, this was certainly something different. But like a drug-dealing tween, it might have caught my eye, but I'm not sure I want to engage in another dysfunctional relationship.
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