Ghosts Appear, then Fade Away

Sometime in the last year, we found this video on YouTube of Choir!Choir!Choir! performing Men At Work’s song “Overkill” accompanied by Colin Hay (the singer from Men at Work).

(There is also a video of Choir!Choir!Choir! performing Never Gonna Give You Up with Rick Astley and if these videos do not make you want to move to Canada to join C!C!C! then, how can we be friends?)

Anyway. Overkill makes me cry. Gene says it’s about nuclear war (the idea of being able to bomb the Earth to kill everything 100x is overkill) but he’s wrong. The refrain of “Ghosts appear, then fade away” absolutely kills me every time (maybe it Overkills me, I don’t know).

We all have ghosts, right? Maybe not in the haunted house sense, but in the sense of the ghost is something you wanted, someone you miss. It’s dreaming of seeing that person and waking up to the pleasant sensation of remembering seeing them, even though it was a dream.

I’d love to be the bigger person and say that the person for me is The Boy (who is now The Man, 26 years old) but I don’t need to be dreaming to see him as a ghost. He’s the ghost of my waking dreams, the fork in the road, the turning point where I can point and say “If we’d only done this and that differently, where would I be?”

So, sorry. The ghost is the (lack of) a (human) child. For years after Plan B was scuttled, I still dreamed a few times a year about being pregnant. Even after we moved to TX (so a full decade later). And the dream was always lovely and I woke up so happy. And then remembered, oh right, that didn’t happen.

(And it won’t. I’m 43 years old and my eggs were dicey at 33 and downright ruinous now).

This week

Hi all.

So, here’s what is up with me in no particular order:

1) Saw my dermatologist last week, she’s advocating coal tar as this visit’s miracle cure for my psoriasis. Guess what smells terrible? Coal tar. On the bright side, it is working I think. I’ve got coal tar lotion, some kind of mystery goop and pine tar soap. I am totally kicking it 1830s style here. I smell like the service department at a car dealership.

2) Speaking of skin, the doctor also advocates me getting some sunshine as it will also help. You know you are one fucked up person when your dermatologist is recommending you get sun. (Or maybe she’s just banking that I’ll end up with melanoma so she can make her boat payment in a couple years). She told me to get out in the sun at exactly noon every day. What?? First of all, what are the odds of me escaping the office for lunch at noon ever?  And where am I supposed to sunbathe at the office? (Never mind, I just figured that one out). So far I have made it out at noon once this week and the closest I could get to sunbathing is propping my feet up on the car dashboard while eating McDonalds.

3) Work is, well, worky. I have probably explained that every email we receive at work is turned into a “case” and since most of my coworkers are nitwits inexperienced, most of the cases end up with me. Hence, I have approximately 120 “cases” assigned to me, which is officially more than the rest of my (former) team combined. Unnnngh. Working tomorrow, BTW.

4) On the bright side, I think I love my new role at work. I have an awesome boss. Now if I could just get smart enough to do my job. More about this later.

5) And now to move backwards…my visit with Mom and Dad (when then visited Cheesecake City) was wonderful. We had some yummy meals out, did some shopping, and circled the Kabletown Arena about a zillion times waiting for Dad to come out of the Eric Clapton concert. It is very rare that I get my parents to myself (which is understandable since I moved 800ish miles away) but it was just so great to have them in town.

6) Breaking news: Sitting on the porch swing (sunning my ankles) and I think Sadie just ate a bee. Holy crap. She is one hardcore mutt.

And here’s my day

(First Day in New Job! New Desk! Same Everything Else!)

1) Got to work early to catch up with stuff, prepare for back to back training sessions

2) Ran web meeting with client (which I’d totally forgotten about until I saw it in Outlook – “CALL CLIENT NOW!”)

3) Trained 1st client on new time and labor management system. Started late due to client lollygagging getting on the phone (15 minutes late! Urgh!)

4) Trained 2nd client on same new system. Made it to the section on tracking time off, prompting client to say “Yeahhh, this isn’t going to work for us.” They terminated service in the middle of the training class. What?!!!?!

5) Hmm. Gotta say, the client terminating service kinda ruined my day. Oh wells.

They say it’s my birthday…

Well, most people did anyway. Turned 36 yesterday. What the hell? (Here’s what I know: I’d better be in a place in my life where I can go someplace amazing to turn 40 at, to soften the blow. I’m not very good at getting older, the entire concept genuinely puzzles me. More about that later.)

But here’s what I did:

Baked my own birthday cake using the recipe called “Depression Cake“, which sounds like a downer except that the name is because you mix all the dry ingredients then form 3 depressions in the dry ingredients for oil, vanilla and (strangely) vinegar (just a little!) and then mix and bake.

Cleaned out more home office stuff and took a carload to Goodwill and ran to the grocery store to buy frosting. Also gave Denise the opportunity to earn a million Friend points (even via texting she’s a champion listener) because something had made me a little sad.

Gene and I had BBQ for dinner, I talked to my parents and my grandfather and eventually I iced the cake and served it. I’m not 100% sure if I like it enough to make again and Gene’s opinion was that it was meh.

Today I got my hair cut (next time: color!). It is so exciting being a grownup.

Indiaaaaana, you old banana….

So! I just got back from my visit to Indianapolis. I cannot even put into words how wonderful it was. I hadn’t been home in so, so long. A ridiculously long time. How did I go nearly 2 years without seeing my family in Indiana? And it wasn’t enough time, even though I could have crammed more activities into the days.

Friday, I worked all morning and then Gene took me to lunch at PF Changs and then to the airport. My original flight was delayed (due to weather?) and if I’d taken the flight from Cheesecake to NYC I would have been stuck for the night in NYC (which wouldn’t have been bad except for the whole no hotel reservation thing there) so Delta rerouted me through Minneapolis. (Wrong. Damn. -Apolis Delta!!). If the original flight was delayed due to weather I don’t know what they expected to find in Minnesota but it was snowing hard and blowing sideways.

Eventually, I made it to Indianapolis and figured out that my GPS from home was slightly outclassed by whatever-the-heck was done to the freeway. (Well, it was either my GPS or my natural ability to get lost driving places and I didn’t have any trouble getting to the airport this morning using the GPS…sooooo!!). And then I made it to my parents’ house. And my mom was all “YAY” and I was all “WOOHOO!” and I was home.

Insane Thing I Said on Thursday

So, I believe I have said before that I say at least one crazy ass thing per day at work.

Thursday, the Vatican elected the new Pope. My manager said the new Pope’s from Argentina. I stood up, waved my arms over my head and said “I’M THE NEW POPE-A!”

I may or may not have suggested my colleagues kiss my ring.

Yes, I was sober.

I mean, I COULD have been elected Pope. My alma mater are the Ball State Cardinals…I was a Cardinal!

Do Payroll

(This is one of the reasons why I don’t write here as often anymore…almost my only topic of conversation is work. Good days at work, bad days at work, promotions, hating my job, loving my job, the devil known as year-end, etc. Boooooring).

Anyway, today was a crappy day. Really, the last week has been fairly tough due to a client with technical difficulties. At work, we deal with various types of clients. We do payroll (ugh, Do Payroll) for companies and we provide technical solutions for companies who (ugh) Do Payroll for companies and we provide software for companies who (ugh) Do Payroll for companies who (double ugh) Do Payroll. The problematic client is both of the last two categories.

First up, clients who do payroll for companies are supposed to have Certain Technical Abilities. We don’t expect greatness but we do expect them to install software for themselves. At the very least I shouldn’t have to spend an entire afternoon downloading Windows Updates so we can move forward.

Second, clients who do payroll for companies who do payroll for companies should be Payroll Technical Demigods. Their IT guy should not be a frat buddy of the company’s owner who refuses to get involved (and also has an hourly rate). Their IT guy should know what the fuck a server is. They should not point the client at a drive and say “Yeah, your database is in there somewhere, I think…”

(A Small Aside… why am I always dealing with servers? Waitresses…computers…servers! Pfffhhht).

Third, I shouldn’t have to spend days of my time trying to get software to load and then install. In the real world, these people are at least payroll geniuses and don’t need to involve us at all when they need an installation. These people are (twirls finger in tight circle at ear level – this doesn’t count as defamation does it?) and I spent most of the day trying to fix them up.

All the while, I’m just dying inside. I could be helping my team. I could be trying to fix the time clock client’s time clock (client is now threatening to pull their business). A major direct client’s payroll was FUBAR and I didn’t have time to research it. I could have been working on my 80+ cases. I have a million and a half things to do but instead of sitting on a fucking web conference being this company’s IT bitch. And questioning my technical abilities. And my time and problem management abilities.

Let’s All Go to the Movies

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since Gene and I attended AMC’s Best Picture Showcase. I think this is the fourth year that we’ve attended. Midway through the second Saturday of the showcase, I realized that nine movies is a ridiculous number of Best Picture nominees and that the Academy should really stop nominating third rate films for the award. We watched nine movies and I’m pretty sure that if anyone had asked me I could have cut it down to 5. Or even 4.

That said, here are my nominees:

1) Les Miz – the Academy looooves their gigantic big spectacular musicals.

2) Lincoln – ditto gigantic big historical epics.

3) Argo – and who doesn’t love a pro-America heist film? Not the Academy! (Plus hilarious 1970s haircuts). USA! USA! USA!

4) Zero Dark Thirty – ditto pro-America war film?  USA! USA! USA!

That even leaves a spot for a fifth nominee, which I think is really the minimum for the category. You can have your kooky dramedy (Silver Linings Playbook), your 3D eye-popping spectacle (Life of Pi), or the hyperviolent reimagined Western (Django Unchained). My vote – Silver Linings Playbook, which was interesting, well performed yet a little uncomfortable for various reasons.

And then there are the remainders, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour. Amour is the movie that kicked off the showcase this year and it was touching, shocking, depressing, about 44 hours long (no really, more like 90 minutes) and subtitled. Did I mention it was depressing? It’s the story of an elderly couple and their life together as the wife’s health declines. I don’t really need to think about how the last 10 years of my life will go (hint: I’m childless so it’s bound to go badly) so except for that one twist near the end Amour was just not for me.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was again, about 44 hours long (or maybe 90 minutes). The little girl was adorable but the movie was just unwatchable. Surely the only reason to watch this movie is to feel good about having watched it? I really can’t put into words here how gross I felt when it ended, so instead I will link to the Wikipedia article on Othering, my absolute favorite philosophical concept. (Hint: Bring on ye white man’s burden and rent this on Blu-Ray!)

Okay, so lately

So, here’s what’s new

1) In Indiana 3/15-3/20. YAY. No special plans, just spending time with my family. (And yes, I’m also going to spend some time alone. I need some time alone.)

2) Mom and Dad visit 4/1-4/3. Waaaait. Is this an elaborate April Fools prank? Uh oh! No one’s coming to town are they? 🙁

3) Work is…work. I vacillate between wanting to be a Big Payroll lifer and wanting to be an Anything Else lifer. Some days I feel like I own that place, I have all the answers. Other days, I sit at my desk and wonder why on Earth they hired me and when they’ll come and give me the wave off so I can go home.

4) Friday was both. In the morning was my job interview for my new role, which I know I’m going to get (for them, it’s an airline food vs hospital food decision, and I’m the airline food AND the hospital food). But interviewing still sucks. I mean, do you have to wear a suit for an interview for a job that you’re 99.999% guaranteed to get? I thought the upside to the internal posting is not having to go for pomp, circumstance, sturm, drang and bullshit. Did they seriously have to get HR involved in this one? Couldn’t future boss S and future boss/God of Payroll D just taken me to Starbucks (or better yet, lunchtime drinks!) and skipped the stupid “Where do you want to be in three years?” line of questioning? I once again stated that my heart does not lead me to be a manager of people*. I couldn’t politely explain it’s because I hate meetings, authority and spreadsheets, because HR was in the room and I think those 3 things are how HR people are made. In three years, I want to doing this exact work. I just want to be 10,000 times better at it. I want to be a God of Payroll and S and D are the people to help me with this.

Anyway, and then this afternoon I ran a study group for colleagues taking a certification exam this season. My topic was on benefits – 401k, imputed fringe wages, relocation expenses, de minimis fringe benefits, etc. The only thing more boring than writing that last sentence was helping my colleagues study for an hour on this topic. What’s impressive (to me) is that I knew all the answers.

Sometimes, maybe I do have all the answers.

(* I instead said I wanted to be a manager of ideas. Note to self: Sometime in the next three years figure out what the fuck a manager of ideas is).


This week has sucked.

1) Mehh! My coworker had a week plus a day off, forcing me to go rogue looking for help.

2) Grrrr. Client with a time clock problem and I’m useless to help (mostly due to issue #1 above). Have been avoiding his call for 2 days now, plus the prior 2 weeks. I’m an asshole.

3) Arrrrrrrgh. Last call of the day was another client whose client is having technical issues. “If it worked yesterday and didn’t work today, what changed?” “Nothing!” “Really?” “NOTHING, but I’ll call the client”. She calls the client, who reports that nothing changed but the offsite IT guy was changing something-or-other on their computers and denying them access to Pandora. That. Is. NOT. Nothing. The client’s IT guy jacked something up, please make him fix it.

4) I have entirely planned out the first 3 hours of my day tomorrow. Call client with security issues, call timeclock client (invent excuse for not calling sooner…laryngitis? temporary insanity? my usual “Oh my gosh! I thought we fixed that!”?), 401k files, team meeting, more 401k files, meeting with client with bizarre printing issue, more 401k files (why are so many people hell bent on investing in retirement?!!), make more insane phone calls that try to play off a lack of response in 6-8 weeks as no big deal, cross fingers that client (see #3 above) loses my number, teammates forget my name and management agrees that 6-8 weeks is really not bad.

5) The car refused to start this morning, so I had to call AAA for a jump or possibly a tow (only a jump was necessary, plus the driver gave me the amazing advice that I had a bad ground …?… which was causing a… oh, hell, I don’t know, a problem and thank you AAA!), then to the dealership to fix the whatever (plus an oil change, an inspection, and two bonus whatchamacalits because Cheesecake City Nissan knows we’re car stupid…after I write this I’ll go see if the new flux capacitor is shiny) and then to Enterprise for a loaner car and then to work all day and then a trip to put gas in the loaner car (am I the only one for whom putting gas in an unknown car is always amateur night on an Indy 500 pit crew? yes) and then to pick up the car while dropping off 85% of my paycheck with Cheesecake City Nissan. And then to pick up dinner, at which point I remembered I bought a Groupon for the car inspection and forgot all about it, dammit. And then home.

And when I got out of the car, the stupid thing shocked me. What. The. Hell? Ugh, the battery needs to last another month because I am out of Saturdays until then. (In this order, I will be occupied doing the following on Saturdays: Movies*. Vet’s office**. Massage***. Indiana+. Day after Birthday++. Parents visiting+++)

* Best Picture Showcase, films 5-9

** Wasn’t I just at the vet’s office? Why am I going there? Someone needs a something, I guess.



++ Ehh. I’ve got a coworker who’s delaying grad school a semester for her birthday. Speaking of WTF.

+++ YAY!!!!!