Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cleaning The Kitchen - A Personal Journey

Each month at my company a different department is selected, chosen, ordered to go and clean the company kitchen.  It's not that time consuming and doesn't require a lot of work, but we all bitch and moan when it comes time for our department to do it because, well, if we're not complaining, we're not happy.

This year my department pulled December, which seemed super sweet in January 2009 but when December 23 hit and we realized that we still hadn't cleaned the fridge we did go into a bit of a panic.  See, it's the holidays and half of my department is out on personal vacations so we are super busy and had no idea when we would get a chance to do our duty.  (Though in all honesty, I don't know what would happen to us if we just "forgot" and let the January group do it.)

Last Monday we decided we had to go ahead and clean the kitchen, which means we have to clean the fridge, the four microwaves, and wipe down the counters.  In the 20 minutes of cleaning that followed, I complied a list of thoughts which I think will help you, my readers, understand what it is like to clean a kitchen in an office.

The Microwaves:
Holy hell.  Did you ever hear the urban legend about the old woman who dries her dog off in the microwave?  And you can just imagine what that would look like?  Well, this is what the microwaves look like at work.  It took me 10 minutes to scrub out ONE microwave.  It had all this baked on red sauce because I guess the only food people eat at lunch is of the Italian persuasion.

The Fridge:
I know that in this difficult economy that shopping in bulk saves money.  But what doesn't make sense to me is why you would then feel the need to bring in your institutional size container of yogurt, shredded cheese, etc. and keep it in the fridge that approximately 150 employees have to share.

Speaking of keeping vast quantities of food in a shared space, ladies (cause I know it's not the dudes in the office) what is the deal with the Lean Cuisines?  There are always STACKS of them in the freezer.  Let me tell you something, I have never know anyone who has lost weight eating those things.  Sure, I indulge from time to time when I don't feel like making lunch, but they are not good for you.  Have you ever checked the sodium levels on those things?  And aren't we supposed to be a somewhat green company?  Those little black trays, plastic wrap, and boxes can't be good for the environment....

The Counters:
I completely understand how gross the powdered non-dairy creamer is that the company provides up for the coffee, but it is what we have so we make do.  But there is no reason that if you spill some you can't grab a damp paper towel and wipe it up.  The counters when I got in to clean on Monday looked like the counters of a Columbian drug lord.  No one should be surprised when the DEA shows up because of the piles of powdery white stuff.

And lastly, The Rules:
When it is the day that the kitchen is going to be cleaned the department in charge sends out reminders to have your food out of the kitchen by 3:00PM.  Generally, 3 reminders are sent.  We do this because any food left in the fridge gets tossed.  We don't care if it's still good or in pricey Tupperware container.  It all goes in the trash.  So when 3:30 rolls around and we are done cleaning, please don't come to our desks asking where your can of Diet Coke is.  We threw it out, per the company cleaning rules*.  Sure, you can yell at us all you want, but we don't send out those reminders for us.  We were kinda angsty on Monday so pitching $20 worth of lunch meat and cheese that you decided to keep in the fridge brought a smile to our faces.

On a side note, at least we didn't find any alcohol this time around.  About 2 years ago we were cleaning the kitchen and found 6 cans of Old Style in a lunch bag.  So, like all other food, we pitched it.

~ The Office Scribe

* Okay, I'll say it - I don't throw out unopened cans of pop or bottles of water.  I bring them back to my desk and thank the co-workers for keeping me hydrated.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Manic Monday: The Post Christmas Edition

So I guess everyone got a stocking full of crazy over the weekend because every single e-mail and phone call I received today left me scratching my head and saying "Huh?" or "What?" or "You can't be serious..."  Perhaps next year I should send everyone sedatives and Snuggies so everyone will be relaxed when I get to work and am not in the mood to actually do anything.

I would like to extend a special holiday greeting to the person who parks next to me at my condo building and cleaned off their Eclipse by throwing all of the snow on it onto my car.  I loved coming home this morning from my moms before heading off to work to find snow piled up past my tires.  Just to let you know:  Game On.  I have picked up your thrown gauntlet and accept your challenge.  My Jeep had now problem with the 2 feet of snow.  Let's see how your little 2 door crap car does when I stack all the snow from the next snowfall behind it.

I spent most of the past two days cooking appetizers for a party my mom had at her place yesterday, which means 2 things:
1 - I am exhausted beyond tired.
2 - I had the best lunch today made up of whatever was left over.  I felt like a homeless person outside a catering company.

My mom did bring a smile to my face today when she called and asked if I was taking my own advice and sleeping under my desk.  I told her no, because I didn't have my wearable sleeping bag and they still haven't cleaned up the Cheetohs I spilled on the floor last week.

It's December in Chicago which means most days are grey and cold, which would have been perfect today because it suited my mood.  But no, I have to be a crabby hot mess on the one sunny day we have had in weeks.  People kept oohing and aahhing over how sunny and bright it was outside.  If my sunglasses had been the same prescription as my reading glasses I would have been wearing them as I worked.

Today my department had to clean the kitchen, but that is such a fascinating tale that I am going to devote tomorrow's entire post to it.  Some things are just too important for a Manic Monday (even if they occurred on a Manic Monday and made it even more Manic than usual.)

~ The Office Scribe

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Blog Post - On December 26th

Merry Christmas Asleep Under My Desk readers! 

Yeah, I know it's tradition to wish people a Merry Christmas before the holiday occurs, but who the hell has time yesterday to sit down and write a well thought out and festive message to post for al the world to read?

Well, I did.

Chirstmas Eve is a crazy day for me with family and travel, but Christmas Day itself is pretty chillax.  I woke up around 9:30 a.m., got myself a cup of coffee and sat down to open presents with my mom and the two hell hounds that protect her house.  Coolest presents?  An ebelskiver pan and a Santoku knife.  Yeah, it's all about the kitchen gadgets for me.  I did also get a new vacuum but I got that back in November because I was a good girl so Santa stopped off a little early.

Then we had a nice French Toast breakfast and headed out to see "Sherlock Holmes".  We didn't think the 1:15 p.m. show would be crowded, but boy were we wrong.  EVERYONE decided to go and see the movie.  What ever happened to staying home and celebrating the birth of Christ the way the Lord intended?

Anywho, I came home, cooked dinner, and drank too much wine so that by the time I usually sit down to post I was too, well, tipsy to type, and hence the no post on Christmas.

So my holiday greeting may be a day late, but that doesn't mean I don't wish the best to you and yours this holiday season.

~ The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Secret Santa Can Suck It Year Deux!

So every year (and by *every* I mean the last two) Bee over at Bee's Musings haas hosted a blogger Secret Santa.  This is my first year participating and I drew Jean Knee from Put Some Polka Dots On It.  Now I knew nothing of this blog before it was assigned to me, and it is always really difficult to get a gift for someone you don't know.  

So, in the fine honor of Secret Santas, I have decided to give Jean something I would like to have:

An Eskimo?

No silly, it's a wearable sleeping bag!  How perfect is an article of clothing that you can wear and pass out in?  No more drinking too much and waking up in a cold alley.  Or lying on the hard sidewalk waiting for Best Buy to open on Black Friday so you can buy a $12 laptop.  Or, lying on the nasty carpet under your desk when you are too tired to drive home after putting in hours of overtime....

So enjoy Jean, and be warm and comfortable no matter where you are.

~ The Office Scribe

Want to see the mind numbingly awesome gift I received?  Head over the A Vapid Blonde to see possibly the best virtual Christmas present I have ever found under the tree.  (Though the chance of these nifty gifties fitting under my tree are slim to no way in hell)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Manic Monday: The Holy Hell Edition

Now normally, in a Manic Monday post, I come up with a series of revelations that I had throughout the day and write them for you to read in a vivid rainbow of colors.

That.  Ain't.  Happening.  Today.

You would think that the week before a major holiday things would be slow.  And you would be wrong.  I actually worked an hour and a half of overtime today because I have way too many things going on.

So no fun colors.

No witty sayings.

No off color jokes.

Perhaps if I survive this week and Christmas, I'll be more scribe-like next Monday.

~ The Office Scribe

P.S. Though on a unrelated note I did hit Best Buy on my lunch break (I had to flee the office while I had the chance) and picked up a nice little GPS unit for Christmas.  Yeah, I know, sweet.  Especially since it was for me from my Grams, who is the coolest lady in the world.  Jealous?  I though so.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Answers To Reader Submitted FAQ's - Round One

Well gentle readers, you asked and here are my answers.

Travis asked, "How many bites can you eat an 89 cent chicken burrito from Taco Bell in?"

Because I am committed to this blog and my readers, I actually went to a Taco Bell and bought an 89 cent chicken burrito.  And I did this sober.  Taco Bell and White Castle are two places I never purchase food from without any alcohol in me.  So you should be really impressed.

And the answer is 4.

Ed Adams asked a series of questions, such as, "What exactly is under your desk?  A pillow and blanket?  A cot?  Just hard linoleum?  Some rough indoor/outdoor office carpet?"

Good questions!  There is nothing comfortable under my desk.  I did not pimp it out or anything because, sadly, I think if I tried to sleep under there someone would notice.  But that doesn't mean there isn't anything under the desk.  Aside from a garbage can and recycling bin, there is a large empty popcorn tin, another garbage can turned over that I prop my feet up on, and a pair of moose hide moccasins I wear in the winter when I change out of my snow boots.

Oooh, and Ed had another question.  "How long does it take you to fall asleep?"

My father used to say my grandfather fell asleep before he even got his second shoe off at night.  My father was the same way.  Genetics would have you think I am similar to both of them, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  It can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to fall asleep at night.  When I was a kid, my parents would send me to bed but since I wouldn't sleep I would just pretend my bed was the wagon from Oregon Trail and my stuffed animals were passengers.  So yeah, I have been making stuff up since I was really little.

Paul Blanchard asked, "If a seven-foot cockroach asks me the way to Ipswich, should I tell him?"

If you run into a giant talking cockroach and aren't in a scene from the movie "Beetlejuice" you tell that SOB anything he wants to know.

Anonymous asks, "What is your favorite beverage on trivia night?"

Easiest question asked thus far.  I am partial to Black and Tans, which, for those of you who don't know,  is half Guinness and half Harp (or Bass, depending on the bar).  It is delicious and makes for a tasty beverage.

GS had the most questions to ask which means they are stalking me.  Question #1 was "Salad dressing on the side or in the salad?  Or no salad at all?

I love salads, though I am of the belief that the best ones are made by other people.  So I always eat a salad when I have the chance.  And I also like salad dressing ON the salad.  I think people who get the dressing on the side are trying to trick themselves into believing it is healthier, which as we all know, is a crock.

Question #2 "Deserted island items.  Pick 5, no food or beverages"

1) My Eddie Bauer edition Swiss Army Knife
2) A featherbed
3) The two directors chairs I got for my college graduation which read "Novelist" and "Screenwriter"
4) Case of Leinie's Red
5) My Darth Maul double-sided light saber which I carried everyday junior year of high school

Question #3 - A series of favorites

Movie:  I can't pick one.  But some of my favorites are The Shawshank Redemption, A Christmas Story, Silence of the Lambs, Ghostbusters, Twister, Die Hard, and a variety of others.  NetFlix is my friend.

Singer/Group:  The Who.  My mom made me watch Tommy when I was 4 and I have been a fan ever since.  And really screwed up.  Who shows that movie to a 4 year old???

Song: I am partial to "Where is My Mind" by The Pixies, "Letters From The Sky" by Civil Twilight, and "Don't Stop Belivin'" by Journey

Book:  Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

And finally, Wes asked, "What do working in an office and being a butcher have in common?"

The both have coffee pots.

This was fun.  I'll make sure we do this again sometime!

~ The Office Scribe

The Results Are In" The Co Worker Christmas Present Poll

This weeks poll asked you readers if you purchase Christmas/Holiday presents for your co-workers.  And here are the results:

Yes : 6 Votes
No: 9 Votes

Aww, really to the 9 people who said "no"?  There's not one employee at your place of work that you feel deserves a little love in the shape a of Starbucks gift card or a Motivational Poster for Christmas?

I only plan on buying a present for one co-worker (I'll bake for the rest of them).  Which makes me think, what do you guys buy your co-workers if you are getting them a present?  I am looking for ideas.

~ The Office Scribe

I'll get a new poll and sit down and answer the FAQ's people have left me when I get home from seeing A Christmas Carol (stage production, not the movie) which means you have like 8 hours to get any last minute questions in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

F.A.Q.'s - Not Just There To Fill Blank Space

Go to practically any website nowadays and you'll find a list of Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q), which, for those of you who do not know, is a list of common questions asked about the content or product of the website.  It is the first place you should turn if you have a question.

Apparently people don't know about this rule though.

Which I fielded a boatload of dumb questions via phone at work today.

So, in order to prevent that on this blog, I am looking for questions.  Questions about me, this blog, or anything you have ever wanted to know the answer to.  I'll then compile the questions, answer them, and publish my own F.A.Q.'s.

Let the questioning begin!

~ The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Ahh, the immortal lyrics as posed by The Clash.

Also the question most office employees find themselves asking when they start to see snow fall which will most likely effect their evening commute.

Most people seem to be in the "I should leave early" camp.  They see the snow start to fall and begin to ponder the ways that they might get out of work early.  Sometimes it is a legitimate reason, like they live far away or need to be home in time for something important.  Other times the reasons are a little bit suspect, such as that they need to get home because their Tivo isn't working.  And sometimes, they are just honest, saying they want to leave early.

Personally, I am of the other school of thought.  I believe that snowy commute is better if you just stay at work later.  Today, for example, I stayed at work until 6:20 PM and it took me about 25 minutes to get home.  Sometimes on a nice spring day it takes me longer to get home than that.  Sure, the roads were slushy and I couldn't go faster than 35 mph, but hell, there were fewer cars on the road and it was great.

Of course, it also helps that I drive a Jeep Liberty with 4 wheel drive that would allow me to drive over Everest if I wanted to.

~ The Office Scribe

Monday, December 7, 2009

Manic Monday - Good Friday Edition

Whoa.  Wait?  What?  Did I read that right?  Good Friday Edition?  Did I just wake up from a Rip Van Winkle-esque nap and find that I missed Christmas and skipped straight to Easter?

Nope.  You did in fact, read the title of this post correctly.  And no, you didn't fall asleep.  Today, even though it is Decemeber 7, is my Good Friday.  How is that possible?  Well, at the company I work for if you work Good Friday, you get what is refered to as a Comped Holiday for you to use anyother time of the year.  And seeing as how I worked Good Friday and was out of vacation days, I took today as a comped holiday in order to help my mom decorate her house for Christmas. (I know, I am an awesome daughter.  You should all be lucky to have children as cool as me.)

So today's Manic Monday is about the thoughts I had while I wasn't in the office but here, decoratig my mom's house and being awesome.

Christmas trees are beautiful.  My Christmas tree is beyond beautiful.  It takes 3 days to put up, stands at over 11 feet tall, and is covered in tinsel.  And you know the only thing that makes it even more amazing?  Three glasses of Pinot.  Who needs acid when you have moderately priced wine and holiday decorations.

Whenever I have the day off work and think "sweet!  I can watch TV all day" I am reminded that I should be happy that I am emplyed because there is absolutely nothing to watch on TV during the day.  Except for soap operas (which, let's face it, my IQ is too high for) and ads for Snuggies (which I will never buy but would happily accept as a Christmas present).

Speaking of TV, the thing I watched the most of today was local, Northern Illinois news.  Apprently, snow is coming.  This isn't a surprise seeing as it is December, but the way they are talking about it you would think we were about the endure a real life recreation of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow".  Which would be cool because of Dennis Quaid but would bite because there aren't enough copies of "Twilight" in the world for me to stay warm long enough for help to come and get me.

Everything I put into a microwave usually dries out, with the exception of french fries.  I put those puppies in and BAM!  They are a hot, soggy mess.  Someone could make millions if they find a solution to this problem.

If I wake up tomorrow and my car doesn't start, it isn't because of the weather, but because my mom was awesome enough to let me park it in the garage since I have a 1.5 hour commute into work tomorrow.  My car isn't parked in a garage, well, ever.  I feel like the shock alone may cause it to cease running.  Like dumping a bass you caught into a nice aquarium.  Ain't going to last long.

Last night I died my hair a shade called "Espresso".  And while it is basically my natural hair color I wonder if people will notice tomorrow at work.  (Aside from those I work with who read this blog...)

Back to the grind.

~ The Office Scribe

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Results Are In: First Official Contest and Weekly Poll!

Oh yes people, two exciting results to two exciting events.  And I know I promised to post these yesterday, especially the contest winners, but I didn't get out of work until 6:15 PM even though I was only supposed to be there until 5:30 PM, I had to drive an hour and a half to my moms house, only to get there and have to take the 10 foot tree off the top of the Tahoe and put it in the tree stand in the great room.

So okay, I was a little tired yesterday, sue me*.

First off, the results of last weeks poll:  What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

Turkey - 5 Votes
Giving Thanks - 3 Votes
Football - 0 Votes (I guess no Lions fans read this blog.  Or there aren't Lions fans anymore.
Waking up at 2am for Black Friday sales - 2 Votes

Nothing surprising there.  I will post a new and even more exciting poll the moment I am done with this post...

And now, to announce the winner of the First Ever Official The Office Scribe Contest...

With a guess of 21 e-mails, HOLLY!!!  Congrats Holly, you were the closest.  Turns out, I only received 24 e-mails over those 4 days, which was a bit of a shock to me.  I would have sworn it would have been around the 125 mark.

For winning you will be receiving the fabulous prize pack, which contains the following items:
- Crunchy Cheetohs
- Burt's Bee's Pomegrante Lip Balm
- Black Pen
- Enough change for a Diet Dr. Pepper
- Orbit Gum
- Nail File
And other items which can be found in my desk, therefore making me able to do my job!

Just let me know where you want to prize pack shipped to and after allowing 2-4 weeks for delivery, you can feel a little closer to knowing what it is like to sit in my cubicle!

~ The Office Scribe

* Please note, if you decide to sue me the only items you will get are a giant fan plant, iPod mini that no longer works, and the laundry I was supposed to do.  So yeah, not really worth it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Being Of Two Minds

About this time each year (give or take a few weeks, this is Chicago after all) the first snowfall occurs and can have one of two effects on people in the workplace:

1) Aww, look outside!  It's snowing!  How lovely.  I hope some of it sticks around and covers up the ugly, dead grass.  Maybe when I get home from work I'll make a cup of hot chocolate and get busy writing my Christmas cards.

2) Holy hell!  Is that SNOW outside? Did anyone watch the news?  How much are we supposed to get?  If it takes me one second longer to get home tonight because of assholes who don't remember how to drive in the snow I'm going to cut a bitch.  And don't expect me to be in tomorrow.  The commute is always worse in the morning.

I like to see which one of these two categories people I work with fall into by casually approaching their cubicles and saying "Well look at that.  It's snowing."

By far my favorite reactions are from those who fall into the second category.  Reactions I received today include:
- Jumping up like a jackrabbit to see if I am lying, then scowling
- Wrinkling of ones nose.
- Numerous questions regarding flake size
- Groans, grunts, and other assorted noises of disaproval
- And one person wondering if the office might be closed tomorrow due to the snow.

The last reaction was priceless on so many levels.  In my three years at the company I have never known of the office to close for anything than a major holiday.  Secondly, it was about 45 degrees yesterday.  The day before that it was about 50.  This past weekend was so warm that I put up outside Christmas decorations in a t-shirt.  Which means that he few flakes that were falling melted the second they hit the warm ground.

Just think - this is just the start of winter.  I have 3-4 months of this to put up with...

~ The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Screw The Coffee - COME BACK JIM THOME!!!

I got to work this morning and went and got a cup of coffee as usual.  But when I arrived at the coffee pot there was about 2 ounces sitting in there, slowly evaporating.  I grumbled and started a fresh pot, already crafting the blog post about people not starting a new pot once they finish (or almost finish) the old one.  I got back to my desk, the words flowing so fast I was afraid I wouldn't remember them.  I was about the sit down and jot some choice notes down when I realized it was December 1 and I hadn't flipped the page on my White Sox calendar.

So I did.

And all thoughts of posting about anything work related went right out the window in one giant sob.  For here is the image that graces the month of December on my White Sox calendar:

For those of you who don't follow baseball or are new to this blog, Jim Thome was an amazing part of the Chicago White Sox.  In fact, he was my favorite player.  I was in such awe that my grandmother bought me an official jersey at a game one night.  I saw the man hit his 500th career home run on Jim Thome bobble head night.  And I cried.  And then, the White Sox organization ripped my heart out by trading him away.

I thought I had come to grips with him being gone.  I was getting to the point where I no longer collapsed when I looked at the jersey hanging in my closet (next to the Urlacher one, another piece of clothing not getting much wear this season for reasons obvious to anyone who follows the Bears).  Sitting at my desk I was no longer distracted by the Bobble Head who I knew no longer resembled the man I adored.

But the world had to keep spinning, bringing us to the month of December and a 31 day reminder of what I miss most about baseball.

Damn you Kenny Williams and Father Time.  I hope you both shit in your bed tonight*.

~ The Office Scribe

* Again, for those of you new to the blog, this was one of my dad's favorite sayings.  And I cherish it.