Thursday, February 14, 2013


I was writing an email to someone and felt I should mention why I had taken so long to respond.  Before I knew it, I had gone off on the month of January.  Yeah, I trash-talked a month.  Not the most productive use of time but it made me realize I like some months better than others and that January didn’t turn out to be one of them.  Not that it is going to listen and change itself- January is cold and selfish that way.  In order to salvage something from this off-the-rails email, I thought I’d post part of it here.  Now it can become a blog post and I’ll pretend it was some random thoughts meant to amuse people.  Which it was, it totally was!  Plus, I’ve been meaning to write more about what I do on a daily basis so years from now I won’t have completely forgotten what a typical day was like.  So here’s the post:

I’m glad that it is February because I’m really starting to hate January.  Yeah, maybe that sounds weird to hate a month but what does it have to offer anyway?  First of all, it’s freaking cold! 32 should be my number of choices at the ice cream parlor, not the temperature outside.  I don’t know why I used to like cold weather when I was younger.  Okay, scarves are fun to wear, for about 15 minutes, and then they just get itchy and annoying but you have to leave them on because it is still 32 freaking degrees outside. 
Also, you are probably looking at two or three months of snow tease.  Between December and February, every time someone forecasts snow, people get all worried and start wondering about closing the office, staying home, canceling school.  At work, one person in particular always asks “What’s our emergency plan for tomorrow?”  Well, the plan is to first see if it even snows!  Then you can follow the same plan we’ve had in place for the last five years.  Here’s my secret though- I really do want us to be closed.  In the last few years, I think there were only three instances of us closing the office for any length of time and two of them were during Snowmaggedon a couple of years ago.  I appreciate snow days just as much now as I did when I was in school and I’m hoping we get three feet of snow.  Nope.  Instead we just get a sprinkling of frost and all the heavy snow hits Boston and New York and I still have to go in to work.  Usually getting there late because I didn’t think about the fact that the car windows would be iced over.  Usually after my boss called me way before my alarm clock went off so she could tell me today is a normal day.  Always wishing that the stupid weather guy had been right.  Sigh.  Just hurry up and get to April so at least it will be warm when I trudge off to another day of work.

Another reason I dislike January- I don’t get stuff done.  The end of December is wonderful!  Everyone is on vacation so no new tasks come in.  No one asks you for anything so I can catch up on all those things I wanted to do but set aside because they weren’t a priority.  When January rolls around though, everyone thinks “It’s a new year!  I better set the tone and get things off on the right foot.”  Then comes lots of silly new ideas and procedures to implement.  Well, the job is the same as it was last month so why all the frenzy just because the date changed?  You were gone in December and things didn’t fall apart then.  Worst of all, everyone starts gearing up for reviews. 
This year in January, we had about two weeks to decide what performance score to give our direct reports and decide how much of a raise they should get from our 2.75 percent of payroll allotment.  Once that finally was out of the way and I’d finished haggling with my boss over who deserves what, I now have a leisurely six weeks or so to actually write the reviews, to put in words that match the scores, and then present them to people.  Here’s the biggest irony though- we’ve already decided what people will get for their 2012 performance but we haven’t even gotten the official year end reports.  December data hadn’t been finalized by the time the scores were due.  I don’t even know if I made my 2012 4th quarter bonus but my boss has already decided on my review score.

As part of the big push at the beginning of the year, we’ve been having several travel sales events.  Five Saturdays ago, I was at the Holiday Inn near my Alexandria office for our Disney presentation.  There was a good crowd and we got some sales but that took up most of my day since I worked at the office beforehand.  A week later I was at my Brandywine office for their Disney in-office event which had a few people in attendance and a few sales.  A week after that I was back in Brandywine for the Royal Caribbean cruise line presentation. Had a nice crowd of about 20 people, even though only 6 that had RSVP’d, and had a few more sales.  Monday night, I was at a Thai restaurant in Alexandria along with three of my associates and 6 customers for a presentation on a trip to China.  None of the attendees are likely to book the trip though but at least we all got a nice meal out of it.  They will probably book something else later but not China, not the thing featured during this presentation. 
Then last night I was in my Alexandria office for a presentation by Celebrity Cruise line.  We had 12 people RSVP and 18 showed up.  Luckily I always buy extra refreshments so the staff has some leftovers to enjoy the next day or two.  Chips and cookies and cheese and crackers make us happy.  An employee can walk into the office in a bad mood and once they see doughnuts on the kitchen table, they have a complete turn-around.  Last night wrapped up around 9:30 PM so when I got home I watched TV for a bit to unwind and then went to sleep.  Since I had today off, I woke up today around 1:00 PM.  Yeah, eleven hours of sleep and it felt fantastic.  So between work and events, things have been non-stop for the new year.  At least there was cake though.  For the Disney events, Disney provided a 4ft by 2ft sheet cake for the guests and there were a lot of leftovers for the employees.  That’s the only thing we look forward to in January- a big-ass cake!

Between normal work and the events, I don’t have enough time to get things done.  Do you know I have yet to file my state taxes?  No, I mean my 2012 state taxes.  I’m hoping I get a refund because otherwise I’ll have to pay late fees.  My 2012 federal tax got me a refund so I should be okay but you never know.  Maybe the IRS is looking for me for tax evasion and I’m actually a felon right now.  Sometime in the next couple weeks I need to do that though because now it is time for 2013 taxes.  I also haven’t done my list of my favorite movies, books and music from 2012.  I usually write a little blog post about what I liked from the previous year but this year I think I may just have make a “Top 20” list and be done with it.  As for books, it is really easy.  I looked at my preliminary list from last year and was horrified to realize that I had only read three books.  Three!  I felt my brain shrink three sizes that moment.  No wonder I felt thick-headed.  My brain hadn’t gotten any nourishment last year.  Of those three books, two of them I read because they were written by a friend of mine.  I don’t know if I mentioned this to you before but I’ll say it anyways because I get a kick out of it every time.  I’m a character in one of the books!  Of course I had to read that book and find out what happens to me, if I’m the killer or the victim or the hero of the story.  (Spoiler alert- I wasn’t the hero but on the other two possibilities, hmmm….)  Still, three books is an all-time low.  It’s like that year I went to one concert.  I rectified that the next year so this year I need to make sure I take some time for myself and do some things I enjoy, like reading.
Here’s another few reasons I now hate January.  There are no official holidays for months.  After Christmas and New Year’s I now have wait until Memorial Day in May for an “office closed” holiday.  Those are better than just taking a day off because nothing can happen on an “office closed day” since no one is working.  Also, January is when all the bad movies come out.  Good stuff was released in December for the holidays and to qualify for Academy Awards and those things are still playing in theatres so crap comes out in January.  Cheapo horror movies, action movies that aren’t good enough for summer (but I was interested in seeing the new Stallone and Swarzeneggar movies, even though they must be bad if they came out last month), un-funny comedies like Movie 43 and A Haunted House .  You know what I hate the most about January though?  It takes too many letters to spell!  May, June, April.  Those are much better months for lots of reasons, especially because they are easier to type.  Four or five letters, bam, done.  What’s with all the vowels in January?  I’m gonna start calling it Janry.

So what does all that have to do with your latest letter to me?  Absolutely nothing except to let you know what I’ve been up to.  I’ve always liked talking to you because you are willing to listen, even if it bores you to tears.  I felt like going off on that tangent rant and now I can refocus on you.  Hi!  Happy V-Day!  Just in case there aren’t enough people telling you this today, you should know that you are a beautiful woman with a keen intellect, great sense of humor and engaging personality. I think everyone should be appreciated on Valentine’s Day so I’m doing my part to make that happen amongst my unmarried friends. The holiday shouldn't be just for those cloyingly love-besotted couples.  (If you happen to be part of a cloyingly love-besotted couple, then what I really meant was "You two are so cute together! Have a great VDay!") On the plus side, tomorrow means 50% off giant cardboard hearts filled with chocolate covered caramels (yeah!) and truffles (boo!)
(I’m now skipping/removing several parts that aren’t meant for general sharing and I’ll resume with…)

That’s cool about the bike riding thing.  I remember when my grandfather taught me to ride.  I just adored him for that and it also made me feel like a grown-up.  I can ride a bike, on my own!  I had a little of that same connection down in Florida with my nephew.  It was fun spending some time together.  I would keep an eye on him while my sister and brother-in-law went on rides he wouldn’t have liked.  Conversely, I was slightly hurt when he got a new toy for Christmas because when I tried to play with him while he was playing with the car-carrier truck, he said “Not right now, Uncle Richard,” and ignored me.  He liked his truck better than me!  Kids can fill you with joy or crush you without even trying.  At least when we were leaving, he asked me when I was coming back and I don’t think he asked that of anyone else. 
I know what you are saying about too many abbreviations being used to replace actual words.  That, along with poor spelling and the complete indifference about it, makes me wonder about people.  If I was a printer and spelled things wrong words on a wedding invitation or stated that guests are to “B Thare @ 8”, would those same people pitch a fit or would they not even notice?  Either one of those outcomes would be troubling.  Most abbreviations I don’t do but I will admit to liking “WTF” because I can say what I’m thinking about something without actually cursing.  You just have to face it- LOL now means laughing out loud.  If you mean to say Lots Of Love then you’ll actually have to say the words Lots Of Love if you want people to know that’s what you are saying.  For instance, any husband that says “LOL” to his wife today is going to get in trouble.  She’ll wonder why he is laughing at her on Valentine’s Day. 

Well, I better go look for dinner now and see if I have any other friends to compliment on Valentine’s Day.  Thank goodness it is February now instead of Janry.  Yeah, February is even tougher to spell and it contains Valentine’s Day, a day of sadness for the unattached, but it also has Lincoln’s Birthday and Groundhog’s Day and it is warmer and it only has 28 days except for every four years when it magically becomes 29 days (Why aren’t all months either 30 or 31 days?  Who did February piss off?).  So hope you have a great evening and weekend.  Talk to you soon!

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