Tag Archives: humor

Just a typical lunch conversation

10 Jun

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.27.38 AM

“Hey, do you want to see four dead mice and a dead chipmunk?” my dad asks while we’re eating lunch. I’ve just arrived in Michigan for my nephew’s graduation.

“Where are they?” I ask, thinking they’ve just been caught in a trap. “Attic? Garage?”

“Basement,” my mom says, with a roll of her eyes.

“Why do you have these in the basement?” I ask.

“I’m cultivating dermestid beetles,” my dad announces proudly.

“And why are you cultivating dermestid beetles?”

“So I’ll have enough to clean the deer skeleton I picked up,” he replies, as if it should’ve been obvious.

“And where is this deer skeleton?”

He stops eating and points at the floor.

“Under the porch?” I ask, now imagining a rotting carcass as I put a fork full of sauerkraut in my mouth.

He nods.

“Did you get the whole thing?” my mom asks, surprisingly supportive for someone who prides herself on an immaculate house.

“Close,” he says. “I was able to pick up almost everything but I think I missed a few ribs.”

There are a number of relevant questions… Where did he find this skeleton? What does he plan to do with it? Exactly how did he pick it up? How long has it been under the porch?

Instead, I settle on, “Isn’t it stinky?” since I’m now sniffing around like a pig seeking truffles.

“Nah,” he says. “The maggots did a pretty good job with it. The beetles are just to finish the job so it’s perfectly clean.”

Of course.

Isn’t this how YOUR visits home sound – or is your dad not a biologist?

Say, what’s your number?

25 Apr

I have blood drawn regularly so my doctor can confirm that my medicine is working and not frying my liver. I usually go at 7am when the lab opens so I can knock it out before my work day, but my schedule was a bit twisted after traveling, so last week I went after work instead. I’m going to blame my day-end fatigue and recent jet-lag for what ensued.

The lab has a kiosk where you check-in electronically using your birthdate and last name. Once you’ve entered those, it flashes a number on the screen and tells you to wait until your number is called. Every time this happens, I think, “Why doesn’t it spit out a ticket like at the DMV so you don’t have to memorize your number?”

After receiving  my number – 286 – I took a seat.

A few minutes later, the receptionist called, “280? 280?” and no one came forward. Everyone in the waiting area (all women for some reason), started looking around at each other suspiciously. Had someone forgotten their number? Had 280 gotten impatient and left?

All of a sudden the receptionist shifted tactics and called MY name, sounding exasperated.

“Oh my gosh!” I said, running over as the other women looked at me like I was a moron. “I’m so sorry. I thought I was 286.” The receptionist laughed, then tried to discreetly ask me  if I was supposed to get a take-home specimen kit for fecal analysis. “Um, no. Just bloodwork, thanks.”

Mystery temporarily solved, I sat back down. A few minutes later, the receptionist called “280?” again as one of the phlebotemists stood by with paperwork to collect his next patient. This time, freshly rebuked, I was on my game. I jumped up and started walking toward the back with him.

“Last name?” he asked as we walked. I told him. “Nope. This isn’t you.” I started to protest, confident that I was 280, but he shook his head and called the last name that was on his form and another patient popped up to join him. Confused, I returned to the front desk. “Sorry,” I said. “I thought you were calling me for him. Did you need me again?”

The receptionist looked at me like I was crazy. “You called 280?” I prompted.

She laughed. “Your number isn’t 280. Remind me – what was your last name?” I told her and she looked at my paperwork. “You’re 276.”

“Wait. I originally thought I was 286. But then you called me over to check my paperwork using 280?” I was royally confused.

She just started laughing. “Honey, you’re 276. Go have a seat.”

I sat down and started laughing at myself. Why the hell wouldn’t they just use NAMES? As I sat there, I felt a bit less crazy as I listened to other patients’ interactions after checking in.

One woman got called over to the receptionist because she somehow managed to have TWO numbers. “Sorry,” she explained. “The number flashed so quickly I missed it, so I checked in twice.”

Another woman cruised straight to the reception desk after checking in. “Can you tell me what my number is? It flashed by so fast I didn’t see it.”

Finally a man arrived and – after a few minutes fumbling with the kiosk – walked over to the receptionist. I didn’t hear his half of the conversation, but I heard the receptionist say, “You don’t speak English?” before accompanying him back to the kiosk to help.

While I’ve never been the receptionist in a medical lab, I think I have a pretty clear idea of what drives that woman nuts about her job.

At last, 276 was called. We confirmed my name and Terrence did his business, sliding the needle in like a professional. “Smooth,” I told him. “You’re pretty good at this.”

“I should be – we’ve done almost 300 today alone.”

“276,” I told him.

“What?” he asked, looking confused.

“You’ve done 276. But you WILL do at least 280 before you leave.”

He looked at me like I was nuts. And perhaps I am, but two can play at that game.

The plumbing was a bit dodgy.

15 Apr

London has been – and remains – one of my favorite cities. There’s so much history and charm and character. And – something I really didn’t appreciate until I lived in France for a while – communication is EASY. If anything, the few differences between British English and American English tend to provide small moments of delight.

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing things with these names on a menu: Toad in a Hole, Eton Mess, Jam Roly Poly, Champignons Rumbledethump? Real example: the other night at dinner, the person to my left asked for bashed neaps and tatties, while the one on my right ordered bubble and squeak. It might all be English, but it doesn’t mean I understand it. (And it doesn’t mean I can repeat it – when I tried to remember the name of the one dish, I called it “bashed teats and nappies,” which I think is something entirely different!)

For all the general convenience of London, there are always a few things that remind me I’m in a very OLD country.

One is the plumbing. Whenever I encounter a toilet, I feel it’s a bit of Russian Roulette to determine if it will flush. In my hotel, it seemed to work one out of every three times, generally. At the office, there was no rhyme or reason to when a toilet would flush. People seemed to just close the lid and move on. There were times when I’d head to the bathroom and find ALL the toilets with their lids closed – only to return an hour later and they would all be clear.

Every time I went to the bathroom, if there was another woman in there I would ask about it. “Am I doing something wrong? Do some of these toilets just not flush predictably?”

I would get a shrug in response. “Yeah, they’re a bit dodgy.”

In the States, this would be grounds for outrage. We would be on the phone with the building supervisor, complaining that the restroom needed repairing and threaten to break our lease if it wasn’t resolved quickly. In London, it seemed gently accepted.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.03.11 AMThe other reminder on this trip that we were clearly in another country was the hair dryer provided by the hotel. Look at that thing!

After checking into the hotel and stashing our stuff, my traveling companion reported back, “I don’t think that Flowbie-thing is going to cut it!”

Not only does it look like something you might use to vacuum out your car, it also blows air only a smidge warmer and more forcefully than if you attempted to dry your hair by blowing through a straw.

Finally, I don’t know what it is, but the Brits LOVE their mayonnaise. I’m acutely aware of this because I do NOT love mayonnaise, so I found myself scraping it off EVERYTHING. Even things that rightfully shouldn’t have mayonnaise on them seemed to be slathered in it.

Differences aside, London was kind to us. The people were warm and friendly. The weather was generally sunny (aside from an odd 15 minute stretch where it when from sunny to rainy to hailing then back to sunny). The sites were lovely.

Mission completed, we pulled out of St. Pancras on Friday bound for a few days with our Paris team, where the toilets might work reliably, but our language skills would not.

 

You’re getting very, very sleepy. (Or not.)

3 Apr
Not me.

Not me.

I’m in London for work this week. I flew out of DC Friday night after work and arrived Saturday at the crack of dawn.

Every time I travel internationally, I am reminded of how bad I am at sleeping on planes. Who ARE those people who are so knocked out they’re snoring? Aside from the times I’ve traveled in First Class in a seat that reclines to a create a fully flat bed, or the time I took a Xanax on my way to Australia, I’ve only gotten – at most – 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep on a plane.

This trip was no exception, despite my luck in seating. I was lucky because a) I had checked in online early enough to secure myself a window seat with only one companion (as opposed to being in the center row, which sticks five people together), and b) I was in one of only a few rows where my seatmate never arrived. Theoretically, with two seats to myself, I should’ve been able to sleep. But try as I might – and I DID try, using every inch of those two seats to full advantage – I was never able to make it work.

I passed two hours watching the movie, “Sisters,” starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It’s definitely on the low-end of the intellectual spectrum, but I found myself laughing out loud at lines from time to time. (“You’re so full of shit, I’m going to buy you pull-ups.”) It was a perfect distraction as our plane bounced around for what amounted to 90 minutes of on-again/off-again turbulence while we left the DC area.

When the movie ended, I found that the cabin was dark and around me – with few exceptions – people were sleeping. Glad I didn’t have a slumbering seatmate to awkwardly crawl over, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

Other than knowing my row was empty, I hadn’t really paid attention to WHICH row it was. I thought the emptiness would make it easy to spot, so when I returned to the bathroom, I found an empty row and set about tidying up the loose blankets strewn across the seats. Except I learned that it wasn’t ACTUALLY my row when my hands connected with a BODY under the blankets. Um, oops?

The person I’d groped was either a sleeping zombie or paralyzed by fear of imminent sexual assault, because he/she didn’t move or say anything after I patted him/her in various places. Mortified, I continued on my way without an apology for fear of waking him/her. I walked down the entire aisle to rule out other “false positives” before confirming my row was really mine.

The rest of my evening unfolded without any drama (or further trauma), aside from the lights cutting back on with a harsh brightness, JUST after I’d finally zonked out for about 20 minutes. One fruit cup and a cup of tea later, I saw the city of London out my window, it’s landmarks obvious even from the distance. The Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben: I was immediately oriented and – despite my nighttime challenges – wide awake.

Here’s hoping I manage to sneak in some rest before I show up in the office. It’s one thing to have accidentally pat-down a stranger on a plane; it’s another thing entirely if it happens in an office. While Europeans DO tend to think Americans are overly-friendly, I think our HR team might have a problem with it.

Strike a pose!

30 Mar

Image Source: http://professorqb.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ProfessorQB-Headshot-with-highlights1.jpg

I received an email from my company’s marketing team, telling me I needed to provide a headshot for the website. Some people might enjoy the thrill of a photo shoot, but I don’t.

Among other things, I’m never sure where to put my hands. Part of me wants to constantly give two cheesy thumbs-up to the photographer, just so they have something to do. Or make jazz hands.

Anyway, I submitted myself to the horror of headshots this week, and I shared the proofs with Alan after, hoping he would help me make a selection. Here’s how our conversation went…

Me: Will you let me know which of these is your favorite?

Alan: Whichever one you choose, you should use it for your LinkedIn photo.

Me: Why? Do you not like my current photo?

Alan: It could just stand to be updated.

Me: That was diplomatic. What don’t you like about it?

Alan: Well, it looks a bit clown-y.

Me (once I finished laughing): Could you be more specific?

Alan: The filter on it makes your lips look really bright and your eyes look crazy.

Me: Oh. Yeah, well, the plan is to use this for LinkedIn, too.

Alan: Good.

Me: So which one do you like?

Alan: Not the one in the jacket.

Me: Why not?

Alan: The jacket doesn’t fit you.

Me: Yes it does.

Alan: Well, I can’t really see where the jacket ends.

Me: So what?

Alan: So I can’t really see where YOU end. For all I know, that could be a velvet mumu.

Me: So it makes me look fat?

Alan (warming to the idea): I’m just saying, it could be a velvet sack.

Me: Thanks for your help.

Sigh.