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Where’ve you been?

17 Dec
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Things have been a bit crazy.

Wow. Four months?! That’s the longest I’ve stayed away from Ye Olde Blog. With this much time since my last post, I’m going to guess anyone who read pithypants with much regularity has wandered off for greener pastures. But on the off-chance that someone’s out there, stalking this site regularly in hopes of some new content – I’ll give it a go.

First, I have a back-log of posts I need to get to. Like when we went to Vancouver for vacation and – as a result of food poisoning – I learned that Pho tastes pretty much the same coming up as it does going down. (And that apparently six hours isn’t enough time for your stomach acid to break down rice noodles – and that you really SHOULD chew your food 64 times before swallowing it, unless you want to choke on a noodle when it reappears.)

Or the time I visited my friend in Atlanta and ended up in the awkward position of having to interrupt a group of women drinking wine poolside to let them know that one of their little angels (not referring to myself cryptically here, for the record) had not only clogged and overflowed the toilet, but had also somehow managed to actually shit down the outside of the aforementioned toilet.

Or the time I spilled $310 of quarters on the floor of Alan’s car. (Don’t ask.)

There’s more (there always is, isn’t there?) but I’ll spare you – for now.

I suppose I owe you an explanation. Why haven’t I been writing? Well, at some point this fall I started to listen to the little voice in my head. The voice that once told me to quit my job and move to France in 2003. The same one that encouraged me to apply to Georgetown to get a coaching certificate three years ago. This time, the voice said, “It’s time to do your own thing. Hang out a shingle. Work for yourself. What are you waiting for?”

Originally my response to the voice was, “Hush. I like my job. A lot.” But then I started to realize that whenever I thought of coaching full time, I’d get little butterflies in my stomach. Not the post-Pho, barfy kind – more like the excited, “I have a crush” kind. Things that might make other people think twice about starting a company (writing a business plan, defining service offerings, crafting a sales pitch) – would wake me in the middle of the night because I’d be too excited to sleep.

So while it might seem crazy for me to walk away from a job I enjoy, at some point, I decided to listen to the voice – because whenever I’ve heeded its calling in the past, it’s steered me right. It hasn’t always steered me toward riches – but it’s made my life richer by taking me off the predictable path. So here it is, the end of 2016, and – in a month – I plan to trade a great job I’ve enjoyed for nine years to take a chance on my own thing. Goodbye security. Hello, hustle.

When you ask why I haven’t written in months, it’s not because life hasn’t been pithy. (It has!) It’s just that life has also been BUSY. With a limited number of hours before and after work, I’ve channeled what HAD been my evening blogging time (and eating time, and working out time) into prepping a business launch.

So yeah, I haven’t been writing as much. I’ve been a bit busy. But man, you should see my hustle…

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What do cops, donuts, politicians and toilets have in common?

15 Oct

Hint: there are probably many correct answers.

It’s only Tuesday, and already, this happened:

Pretty amazing collection from GBD, you must admit.

Pretty amazing collection from GBD, you must admit. Potentially worth burning for?

Which is not to suggest that donuts are a bad thing, or that I fell off my non-existent diet or something. No. These donuts? Demonstrated my office’s priorities. Let me explain.

Since I work in DC, most of the city – including our building – was shut-down for Columbus Day yesterday. But because my company is in the business of finding people work, we didn’t take the day off.  (Maybe the government could take a page from our book and the economy wouldn’t be in the toilet?)

We showed up to a darkened building, And yet we turned our lights on.

All was cool, until around noon, when the fire alarm went off – at approximately 4,000,000 decibels and accompanied by an eerie robot voice telling us to “leave our belongings and exit the building.”

We all looked at each other, balancing the competing concern of, “Do I really need to put my shoes on and leave my desk right now?” with, “Well, we do work two blocks from the White House, so maybe there really is an emergency requiring evacuation?”

And yet… as we all shuffled out the door, one of my co-workers called back, “Don’t forget the donuts!”

And as if we were moving in slow motion (probably because we were), another co-worker (whose new nickname is, “Hero”), turned around and ran back for that box of delicious pastries.

Because in case you didn’t study that photo closely, two of those mofo’s were covered in bacon. And that is worth dying for.

PRIORITIES. TRUE STORY.

Also, even before that box of donuts was rescued from a false alarm, this happened:

Hint: You're not doing it right.

Hint: You’re not doing it right.

That’s right. I went to the bathroom on a day when almost no one was at work and I found a stall out of commission. Because it was covered not by one toilet liner, but by four, folded in some crazy-ass way and lining each side of the toilet as if it were a pontoon boat. Seriously. It was so messed up I walked back to the office to get my camera to take this photo.

The good news is that later in the day, we FINALLY figured out who the seat pee-er is. I have to give credit to my friend Courtney, whose SpideySense was activated when a pink ballet flat poked into her stall in a way that indicated someone was squatting rather than sitting. Courtney emerged from the stall just as her stall-neighbor finished washing her hands and darted out of the bathroom.

With instincts to rival Sherlock, Courtney investigated the recently evacuated stall… only to find pee on the seat and an unflushed toilet.

CITIZEN’S ARREST.

It hasn’t happened yet, but here’s how that gentle conversation is going to go, now the we all know the culprit works one suite over and wears pink ballet flats:

US: Have you noticed someone keeps peeing on the seat and not cleaning it up?

HER, looking uncomfortable: Yeah – so disgusting!?

US: We’ve narrowed it down and are pretty sure we know who’s doing it.

HER, looking mildly panicked: Who? How do you know?

US: We have our ways. Signs track back to your office, so could you be our ambassador and talk with all the ladies there to let them know we’re close to a breakthrough so they can stop before we have to embarrass them?

HER: Gulp.

US: That’s right.

And – my Columbus Day wouldn’t be complete without a political tie-in of some sort, so then THIS happened as I was commuting:

Look! It's Uncle Joe!

Look! Blurry, but it’s Uncle Joe!

Yep. Hustling down Connecticut Ave on my way to get a massage, I noticed a crowd of people forming outside Brooks Brothers, and a security detail that was impressive yet not full-on presidential.

I stopped to ask an on-looker who they were waiting to see emerge from the store, and just at that moment, the police cleared the sidewalk, a few Secret Service guys came out of the store looking stern and self-important, and then out came Joe Biden, huge grin and no shopping bag.

He waved and smiled and – instead of making a beeline for his car (as I would do if my shopping spree had proven unsuccessful) he took a minute to shake hands and chat with the onlookers.

Whew. It was quite the day: Donuts, police… Toilets, politicians… Who would imagine seeing all these disparate things in just one day? It’s almost like they go together.

Sorry. Can’t be bothered to come up with a theme.

6 Oct

I have a half-dozen, half-baked posts that I just don’t have the attention span to finish. So instead, I’ll regale you with snippets.

Snippet #1:

On Friday I made fresh tortilla soup for dinner. The recipe called for a diced jalapeño, so I went to town on the pepper. Unfortunately, my allergies were also going to town, which apparently caused me to brush my nose/mouth at some point after I’d finished chopping.

Alan arrived home from work to find me in tears (from an especially pungent chopped onion), ranting that my face felt like fire ants were attacking it. Pretty sure neither of us wants me to bookmark that recipe for a repeat performance.

Snippet #2:

At work, my battle with the woman who pees on the toilet seat continues. Last week I had to pass over three separate stalls because they had either been dribbled on or had a paper toilet seat cover still stuck to the toilet. Enraged might be a tad strong to describe my reaction, but it was enough to prompt me to post the following sign in the bathroom:

© 2013 pithypants.com

And guess what? No more pee on the seat for the rest of the week. Uh-mazing. Apparently she can read. Just not wipe.

Snippet #3

Alan and I picked his kids up yesterday for his mom’s birthday celebration. On the ride to their house, this was the conversation:

Son (playing a video game): Sweet! I just made this camel spit!

Daughter: I’ve seen a camel.

Um, happy birthday?

Um, happy birthday?

Me: Did it spit?

Daughter: No, but it had diarrhea.

Me: Seriously? Where was this?

Daughter: At my friend’s birthday party.

Me: Were you guys at the zoo?

Daughter: No. They had a petting zoo thing come to their house.

Me: So a camel had diarrhea in your friend’s backyard?

Daughter: Uh-huh. It was gross.

Me: That’s awesome.

Son: Now I’m riding a cockatrice!

Me: Was there one of THOSE at the birthday party?

What to expect when you’re launching.

17 Jun
One difference between birthing a BABY vs. a WEBSITE.

One difference between birthing a BABY vs. a WEBSITE.

Holy smokes! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting SOMETHING.

It’s not that I’m tired of blogging. And it’s not that I’m tired of you, kind readers. It’s just that I’ve been fairly consumed by my day job lately. I’m leading a project with a lot of moving parts, one of which is the development of a fairly complex website that is slated to launch this week.

To give you some sense of how it’s going: In more than one meeting lately, I’ve found myself unintentionally substituting the word “birth” for launch. As in – when someone asked if I’m excited about the launch – I said, “Can’t wait to birth it and burp it!”

After using that word for a third or fourth time, I paused to figure out where it was coming from. I’m not a maternal person. I have no personal experience with pregnancy and hopefully never will. I’m not hanging out with a slew of pregnant friends where vocabulary creep could be to blame.

But I realized that although it’s an odd analogy, it’s not a completely inappropriate one. There is more than one parallel to pregnancy stemming from this project:

  • I’ve been working on it for about nine months.
  • I’ve gained weight from stress eating (although thankfully I haven’t had to give up wine).
  • I can’t sleep through the night so I’m generally walking around exhausted.
  • I often feel barfy and have sharp pains in my stomach (that’s the Crohn’s, but still…).
  • There’s been epic debate over the name.

Also? I suspect this week is going to play out much like a real delivery. There will be a lot of yelling, maybe even swearing. At some point I’ll probably beg someone to “just get it out.” And although none of us will talk about what they see when I push, no one will ever be able to consider me a lady again.

I swear, I’ll get back to more regular (and more comic) posting after I squeeze this thing out.

Nice save, New York!

25 May

I was in New York this week to launch a new website at Internet Week. Except the website doesn’t exactly exist yet, so I guess I was just in New York.

Meanwhile, Alan was taking a week’s vacation in Michigan to celebrate his birthday. And I would’ve been with him, celebrating and vacationing, had I not been launching a non-existent website in New York.

Does that make any sense? No, it doesn’t.

Which is why I was a bit of a sourpuss when I boarded the train on Sunday for New York.

Alas, great city that she is, New York was prepared to provide some redemption.

I’ll admit, it didn’t seem that way at first – when I stepped out of Penn Station, there was a steady drizzle. I was soaked by the time I arrived at my hotel in Chelsea. After helping set up our space at the event, I had a list of things I wanted to do that afternoon (a “Me Party” of sorts, as my sister calls it) to treat myself to a mini-break before diving back into work.

On my list:

  • Check out the Highline
  • Walk up to the Green Flea Market
  • Scout out the new food hall at the Plaza
  • Hit the TKTS booth and snag a seat at a show that evening

All of that was scrapped when I realized I was not only drenched, but didn’t have proper clothes for zipping around a wet city. I contemplated crawling in bed and indulging in a pity party, but instead, I texted my old roommate, David, from Capitol Hill, whom I hadn’t seen in four years and who lives in Manhattan.

Lady Fortune was with me, because he promptly wrote back and offered to meet at a restaurant near my hotel. An hour later, we were hugging at Markt, David appearing to have come straight from a duck hunt: he was wearing jeans, Wellies, a button down shirt and a quilted vest. It was very Dick Cheney. And he’s one of my few friends who would consider that a compliment.

We parked ourselves at the bar, ordered a bottle of wine, some mussels and a crock of French onion soup, and shrugged off the rain.

As we neared the end of our meal, David looked past me and said, “I think that is Chef Todd English sitting next to you.”

Interestingly, that name would have meant nothing to me only four hours earlier, but in researching restaurants in NYC, I’d noted that Todd English was something of a celebrity.

“No way,” I told David. “I can’t believe you would recognize a CHEF. Who does that?” (Actually, Alan would also do that because he watches the Food Network, but I don’t have a television, so I’m a bit clueless.)

“I’m pretty sure,” he said, doing a Google image search on his phone. “Doesn’t he look like Chef Todd English?”

I verified that the photo looked like the guy next to me, nodding. Then said, “You keep saying his name like it’s officially three words: Chef Todd English. Just call him Chef. Or Todd. Or Chef English. But not all three. Right?”

David shot virtual daggers at me, leaning forward with an eyebrow raised to say, “Chef Todd English?”

Which prompted the guy next to me to look up and say, “That’s me.”

Which prompted me to say, “Oh my gosh. I didn’t even know who you were until a few hours ago.”

Which is a discreet way to say, “Please don’t even begin to pretend you’re the shit.”

Mr. English didn’t seem to know what to make of being both recognized for and denied his celebrity status simultaneously. But I’ve never let an opportunity go to waste, so I decided it was a good time to interview him.

Even though I knew nothing other than that he was the brain behind the Plaza’s Food Hall I’d intended to visit, I rambled off a series of questions.

Here’s a loose one-way transcript of the wine-fueled interview:

I would imagine being a chef is weird, like being an author.

People know your work and respect you, but you’re not easily recognized so you don’t have to mess with the trappings of celebrity.

Do you find that to be true?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Do you like it?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

How would you change things if you could in this regard?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Clearly we just recognized you.

Does that irritate you when you’re just trying to have a beer?

<Don’t need to look at Wikipedia to find the answer>

 

Wait – why are you just sitting here drinking a beer?

<Probably NOT available on Wikipedia>

 

You’re waiting on your girlfriend?

Do you need to go pick her up?

<Still not available on Wikipedia, but his cell phone indicates YES>

 

Don’t let us keep you.

But I will keep asking questions until you get tired of us and leave.

How did you get into cooking?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Were you an only child?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Why can’t your sister cook?

<Answer was probably on Wikipedia until his sister edited it>

 

Is she envious of your success?

<Sister probably isn’t even mentioned on Wikipedia after she’s done editing it>

 

Do you miss playing baseball?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Was it a rotator cuff that sidelined you?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Did you have surgery?

<Answer that you can probably find on Wikipedia>

 

Don’t you need to go meet your girlfriend?

<Yes. End of Twenty Questions.>

 

As it turns out, he’s a nice guy. Especially for someone with three names.

Good save, New York.

(And thanks for brightening my day, David. Next time, though, I expect you to take me here. Though I’m not a fan of ladders.)