Archive | March, 2013

Making Friends at the Office

31 Mar
Ah yes...

Ah yes…

My office recently moved to a new location. The space is beautiful, and – as a special perk – we’re excited that the new ladies’ room has six stalls, automatic flushers and stall doors that lock. (I know: We’re SPOILED.)

We share our floor with four other tenants, one of whom I met the other day – as chance would have it – in the bathroom. Well, I didn’t really meet her, but I did encounter her.

I entered the bathroom and there she was, a set of feet peeking out of the second stall with pants pooled around her ankles. (Question: have you ever let your pants touch the floor of a public restroom? I go out of my way to hoist them so that my cuffs won’t even touch, but that might be my OCD shining through. Discuss.)

So I entered my stall and heard her talking. At first I thought it was to me, but then I realized – based on the incomplete sentences punctuated by silence – that she was on the phone. I was incredulous.

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 12.43.07 PM


Also? I did my best to pee as loudly as possible in an attempt to “out” her poor behavior. She remained unfazed.

“Must be talking with a family member,” I thought.

But then she said, “OK, Dave. Thanks for the update. I’ll  loop in the home office then circle back to you. Want to send me a meeting invite?” Which clearly isn’t anything you’d say to your spouse, right?

Before she could wrap up the call, I did what any normal person would do: I flushed. Twice. Just to make sure her colleague knew with certainty that she had called him from a bathroom stall.

If it happens again, I’ve already worked out my strategy. I’m going to pound on the stall wall and shout, “My God! Ever hear of a courtesy flush?”

I really love our new office.

You say tomato, I say messy.

25 Mar

I had some friends over for brunch the other weekend. Before they arrived, I asked Alan to perform a final walk-through to pick up any of his stuff that was within eye-shot. He hollered from the second bedroom, “Do you want me to move these ties?”

I knew exactly what he was talking about. In recent weeks, when he changed clothes after work, he’d taken to draping his tie “du jour” over the door. There was quite a collection.

“Yes,” I said. “That’s exactly the type of thing I’d like you to put away.”

He came walking out, gesturing back down the hall. “You don’t think they look good there?”

I was speechless. Random clothing hanging on a door? Was this a trick question? I shook my head.

“I kind of like them,” he explained. “It’s a nice pop of color.”

I shook my head. “Um, no.”

Then he paused and looked thoughtful. “Just understand, every time you think I’m cluttering, I think I’m actually decorating.”

Nice try, Alan.

Three for Thursday: Random Thoughts

21 Mar

Here are three random thoughts from the past few weeks that have no unifying theme and don’t really warrant their own blog posts. But were too ridiculous to not share. Hence, my new feature: Three for Thursday.

Image Source: © 2013 pithypants + CVS PharmacyI stopped by CVS on my way to work one morning last week. Even though I’m a morning person, the time change threw me off, so I was a bit groggy. As I used the self-checkout scanner, the persistent voice asked, “Do you have your Extra Care Card?”

Except my ears were foggy and I heard it as, “Extra HAIR Card.”

And I thought, “Now THAT would be a loyalty program. Hell yeah. Sign me up.”

On that same walk to work, I spotted two cranes in motion, high in the sky. (The construction kind, not the bird kind, but I can see how you might be confused.)

I looked at the little operator booth, some 20+ stories in the air, supported only by the narrow column of scaffolding. I shook my head, thinking, “No way would I ever be a crane operator – I don’t care HOW much the job pays.”

Then I thought, “Do they have to climb down that little ladder every time they have to pee?”

Then I realized they were probably like guys on a roadtrip, priding themselves on being able to pee into any container that had a lid. I shuddered to think of the Mountain Dew bottles the carried back down the ladder with them at the end of the day.

Also? Pretty sure there aren’t any crane operators with Crohn’s.

Image Source: Philosophy. Can we agree that it’s not important to sort loads according to color? And that instead it is preferable to sort loads based on what touches your face vs. your butt?

I’d just feel so much better using a cloth napkin at your house if I knew you hadn’t washed it with your like-colored underwear.

Duck, duck. Honk, honk.

19 Mar

Image Source:

In January I attended a training seminar on effective confrontations to evaluate its content for my company.

The highlight of the two-day workshop  occurred when one of my tablemates was sharing a story with the entire group – gesturing somewhat wildly with her hands – and another tablemate stood up to get a glass of water.

In itself, that’s not that remarkable. But the way it played out, the woman talking ended one of her big gestures with her hand somehow (accidentally) cupping the other woman’s breast.

The best part is that they were so stunned at how everything had worked out, they both just froze and stared at the hand on the breast.

I was thinking, “All right! Finally – a real life situation that requires confronting! I wonder how she’ll handle it?”

The woman who was standing to get water, who was funny and reminded me of Melissa McCarthy’s character in Bridesmaids said, “Hey there. Not what I was standing up to get!”

And the other woman  said, “Now this is suddenly very awkward.”

Everyone else cracked up.

And that’s when I confirmed something I’d long suspected: Humor is a great way to defuse an awkward situation.

So the next time someone at work is under-performing and it requires a confrontation, I’m going to remember to just grab him or her inappropriately in public. Because then I’ll be able to say, “Wow, this is sure awkward,” and then, when we’re both laughing I’ll say, “Now, seriously, I really need to talk to you about X.”

And they’ll be like, “What a relief. I’m glad it’s just a performance issue.”

DISCLAIMER: I do not suggest anyone actually practice the technique I’m proposing here. And in case any HR representatives are reading my blog: Don’t worry, I know that this is not the appropriate way to handle a performance issue. I know it’s a lot more effective to simply send a heated email to the person with a performance plan attached.

AMENDED DISCLAIMER: OK. Apparently sending a performance plan via email without a discussion is NOT the best way to handle a situation effectively. I wish someone had told me that in 2001, when I once made an entire office line up by a fax machine in alphabetical order so I could fax over their performance plans to them “discreetly.”

FINAL DISCLAIMER: Apparently this training sucked because I’m now “under investigation” for my “management practices.” I’d like a refund, please. 

FOR-REAL DISCLAIMER: Now you know why I won’t accept your friend requests on Facebook, HR.

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I suspect this will get lost in the retelling…

15 Mar

…but I’m not going to let that stop me.

I’ve had “War Horse” in the Netflix queue for some time. It arrived last weekend, but Alan had already seen it (because he’s seen everything) so I saved it to watch on my own. “You’ll love it,” Alan promised.

Alas, halfway in, I wasn’t loving it. So I paused it and hopped on Facebook:

Image Source: © 2013 pithypants

Then, feeling feisty, I updated my profile photo so that anyone looking for me (but mainly Alan) would see this photo:

Image Source:

That somehow set off a pun contest among my friends, resulting in the following comments:

Poor thing…saddled with the traumatic memories of war…

Fortunately, his unbridled passion for freedom fighting got him through the worst of it.

The Secretariat of Defense issued this brave beast a Medal of Honor

Sometimes, you need to jockey for position at the front lines.

A recent Gallop poll shows that most Americans are not in favor of this war.

In these situations, it’s best to harness your rage as best you can

Agreed. Unbridled rage is absolutely the wrong reaction.

He’s really feeling his oats here.

The rest of his platoon really needs to pony up and help this guy.

He doesn’t look very stable in this pic.

He might shoot the wrong guy and stirrup a ton of controversy.

Sorry I can’t hang around and watch your wittiness unfold, guys. I’ve gotta giddy-up early in the morning.

OK, now i’m stopping.

Please, before we start trotting out even worse …

Time to hit the hay

Please make me stop

Consider yourself corralled.

Dang it! I just herd there were horse puns here. Looks like I missed the mane event. 

Okay, just one, even though the horse is out of the barn already. 

I bet he loves the smell of neigh-palm in the morning.

And then my sister showed up, skipped all the puns and asked, “But the image?? What IS that?”

Alan patiently explained, “You might surmise from the random spray of gunfire, but in fact she just meh’d a movie recommendation of mine. Demonstrably.”

Which then brought a previous commenter back out of the woodwork:

Wait. You mean she was a neigh-sayer?

Oh, and in response to my new profile photo, Alan changed his to this:

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Who says social media hasn’t improved thoughtful discourse?