May your days be merry and bright…

and may all your Boxing Days be whiiiiiite…

So we have snow on the ground here in Cheesecake City. (Supposedly we had a white Christmas too, but it started after the sun went down so I couldn’t tell, as I did not leave the house all day). I remember the days when snow = two rotten beagles playing in it outside. Clearly, with age comes wisdom because now they are curled up in front of the fire or with me in my chair (the latter of which is the favored spot).


So, when I was a little girl (I would refer to myself as Lil Elaine, but the word “Lil” makes me want to puke), I had a Grandma. Well, of course I had two Grandmas, both of whom were splendid in their own (and very, very, verrrrry different) ways. I have only the best memories of both of them and I miss them both intensely.

But this is a tale of Grandma A, my Dad’s mom. She was…one hell of a lady. The thing is, she passed away when I was in the 6th grade so many of my memories of her are a little fuzzy. Both because they happened when I was no older than 11 years old and because I do have some pictures from that era, which of course makes me wonder if I remember or if I am just thinking of the picture.

When Grandma was alive, she and Grandpa lived in Illinois. A few times she took me to Chicago on the train. I don’t remember a thing about those trips other than the times she took me to lunch (dinner? snack?) at the restaurant on the 95th floor of…well, some big building in Chicago. It was where I was introduced to the greatness that is chocolate mousse (thanks Grandma…).

And as the years passed, I would think of the restaurant and the mousse and the fact that it was located nearly 100 floors above the ground and as always, the memory seemed kind of murky. Did I get it confused with a children’s book? Did I dream this happening? Really, 95 floors up? No way.

And then, one day I was reading the comments to a blog post on another blog and someone referenced the restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago as a great place to eat. Thanks to Google (which I’d never thought to try before for this), I found the site for what is now called the “Signature Room at the 95th” and for once I had my memories vindicated. The dim recesses of my memory recognized it. It existed, I had eaten there (even though the mousse is MIA on the current menu), and a little piece of my childhood (and with it, Grandma A) came back to me.

Merry Christmas Dylan

So, Dylan is the name of the child we “adopted” for Christmas this year. He is 10 years old and asked for games, books and electronics as well as clothes (which broke Gene’s heart, that a child would list socks on his Christmas list). I shopped for him from Target (clothes, a book, some games, etc) and last Tuesday I drove over to a neighboring town (getting lost on the way there and on the way home) and dropped off the presents for distributing to his parents. The charity was having a “drop off party” but it was something like 35 degrees outside so I only stayed long enough to drop off my box of goodies.

I hope that this little boy had the Merriest of Christmases, surrounded by people he loves, warmth, good food and his fondest wishes delivered to him by Santa. I don’t exactly know where I’m going with this post (witness that I started writing it last week, never a good sign), but I guess I just want to say that shopping for Dylan meant a great deal to me. I wanted to give him the Christmas I would have given my own child.

February please

No more words…took at least 40 calls today…year end is unique, to say the least, in Big Payroll. Phone…is…trying…to…kill…me.

(BTW, 40 calls sounds like a lot, because it is…but it’s an average of one call every 12 minutes, which would be great if it worked out that way!)

Had dinner with The Almighty D (which, as always, reminds me…) tonight. As always, it is so good to see her in real life instead of just in IMs.

Be Emissions Free….

So, I love my job and especially because I’m not stuck listening to Xmas music all frigging day long, but sometimes I do hit the #4 preset radio station when I’m in the car. It’s the preset for the all Christmas music station (they usually play “the greatest of the ’70s, ’80s and today!”). And usually I get there smack in the middle of something awful (I think I have written enough about exactly which Christmas songs make me want to forcibly remove my own ears, so I will refrain) but the other day I came upon Elton John’s “Step into Christmas”. The chorus:

Step into Christmas
Let’s join together
We can watch the snow fall forever and ever
Eat, drink and be merry
Come along with me
Step into Christmas
The admission’s free

But of course, back at the Old Job, I heard that song 2 or more times a day pretty regularly. And it reminded me that Every. Single. Time. I thought Elton was singing “Be emissions freeee!” and of course, Every. Single. Time I would then think, “WTF? Did they even know what emissions were back then?”

Xmas, on the other hand…

I have finished shopping for 80% of my list, minus the child we’ve “adopted”. The way the “adoption” website is set up, you can pick a child or you can pick that child and her siblings (1 sibling, 4, whatever). You can see what the first child is asking for (books, shoes, jewelry) but you don’t know what the sibling(s) want until you’ve selected them. Therefore, child #1 could want Peace on Earth and a box of Macaroni & Cheese, but her 3 sisters could each want an adult sized bike and an XBox and then what do you do?

(then again, maybe if I adopted a family of 6 kids and bought them all bicycles, my karmic reward would be huge!)

Soooo, yes, we ended up adopting only the one child and I’m going to supplement this with some additional Toys For Tots purchases (note to self: tell Gene we have “adopted” a child). But that’s a good start, right?



(BTW, I am totally sober, unless someone spiked my sweet tea)

So, the day before Thanksgiving, my boss, Bossman called me into his office. Now, I had fuuucked up at work on a pretty awesome (awesome as in HUGE, not awesome as in great) scale so I was pretty sure I was going to finally get a talkin’ to. (I mean, I’d fucked up a client that was the responsibility of my arch rival Broomhilda, so sooner or later my number was going to come up).

But! No! Instead, Bossman wanted to ask me if I wanted to move to a team associated with my (now) old department. Dude, you had me at “Move”. (The chance to move away from said arch rival…oh, so sweet!). So of course I accepted.

And last Monday, after my root canal (oh hey, did I tell you had I a root canal? I did! And it was not bad!) I went to work, talked to Broom and my (now old) teammates and then moved my crap over to my new work area. Apparently Broom was so fucking glad concerned about me leaving the team she was at work for 8 hours on Black Friday working on splitting up my accounts (between 15-20).

(BTW…I am glad to have moved to the other department but I am NOT glad about the whys… the day before Thanksgiving the company declined to renew the contract of one of the girls… so it’s bittersweet to have been upgraded). (Oh, I also was moved because one of my new teammates is about 8 months pregnant and my new Ladyboss is her Mom).

So now I no longer set up new clients, I troubleshoot problems big (where’s my payroll???) and small (hey, I messed up, can you add in an extra payroll date?). Instead of 1 60 minute task, I have 60 1 minute tasks. Except for when I have 60 2 minute tasks and then all bets are off.

And in conclusion, even though I spend a LOT of time on the phone (sometimes when I have to return calls, I just think ‘ugh, couldn’t I just email them?’) – in fact, today I took almost 40 calls – I love love LOOOOOOVE my job.