Yes Mother

The morning after the meeting, Mrs Little asked me how I thought the meeting went. That was a loaded question, if I had ever heard one. I paused for a moment, and wanted to say, “Are you serious? Weren’t you there?” But being the tactful old ho that I am, I said, “Well, it seems that the customers were in a good mood.”

“Yes.” she said. I think they really got a lot out of the meeting. And it worked out perfectly, that Mr Big could be there. He had a lot to offer.”

“That he did, that he did,” I said, stifling a raucous laugh. And it was good to see everyone again.”

I think she wanted me to elaborate and to provide meaningful feedback, but I stopped short of that and changed the subject. “It sure has been hot this summer, hasn’t it?”

She didn’t answer, and told me she was going on vacation next week, and could we have a conference call to discuss what we could do for her in her absence. The Banana and I got on the call with her so she could dole out her work.

“First of all, I will be taking my laptop with me, and I do not allow anyone to have access to my email. I will take care of that. And I have 2 proprietary projects that I have to work on, so I will not ask you to do that. But all the other stuff, you can help with.”

“Ok. Like what?”

“Well, I mean, what are you working on now?”

“We are doing our day to day jobs. Answering complaints, running reports, receiving product, training the new clients, completing spec sheets, coordinating the print jobs, all the normal stuff.”

“Will you be scheduling meetings with one another? To make sure everything is done?”

“We are in constant communication every day. So, we really don’t need to schedule a meeting.”

“Well, I want you to remember this. Any problems that come up, I want you to analyze what they are, document them on our team web site, call the necessary people who can help and resolve them.”

“Yes, we do that now.”

“I mean this is a new initiative. This has to be followed. You need to solve your problems as they arise.”

“Uhm, we do that now.”

“Well, I don’t want you to refer any problems to me unless you have exhausted your other contacts.”

“No problem. Besides, you will be on vacation, and we don’t refer to you now unless we need some clout. Like the one we referred to you last week. We need to get high level approval, as it involves a change in policy.”

“Oh, yes, that. Well, you need to talk to the right people yourselves. You can tell them what you want.”

“We were hoping for your support.”

“Good. Now I will be back in a week. I know this will be a hardship on you, but I will be in Vermont and not expect any calls, unless it is an emergency.”

“No problem. We don’t anticipate any. And we can handle anything that comes up.”

“Oh, and send me an email reminding me that we have a conference call at 9am the Monday I return.”

“Ok, but we have your meeting invitation.”

“Well, have a good week.”

“Yes, Mother… I mean boss.”

At that point, the Banana sent me an instant message, or so she thought. But she sent it to Mrs Little, not to me, in error. The message said, “She is so full of it. What an idiot.”

Mrs. LIttle wrote back to Banana and said “WHAT?”

Banana immediately sent me an IM and told me what happened. And asked me to bail her out. I thought about the directive we had just been given by Mrs Little, to analyze the probem, and all that bull #@#%#% and said, “Yes, Diane is full of it, Banana. She sent me the same email. We can discuss it later.” Mrs Little said, “What’s that all about?”

I replied, “Oh, we have a customer who really is messed up so the Banana and I will take care of it.”

Whew!! How’s that for problem solving?

Banana owes me big time.


Mr Big and Mrs Little continued

Mr Big and Mrs Little arrived very early the next morning. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 1030. They arrived at 8 oclock.
I got a phone call and heard a voice say, “We can’t get in. Can you come out and open the door for us?” I said, “Who is this and where are you?” There they were, the two of them, both Vice Presidents of the organization, looking like something the cat dragged in.

I welcomed them and showed them to the conference room. They pulled out their lap tops and asked the Office Manager if she would make them coffee. When I returned to my desk, Mrs. Little came out and said, “Can you get us hooked up to the internet? We have no connection.”

I was a little surprised, since Mr. Big was the VP of the IT department, but I called our IT guy and he said he would be right up. Mr. Big was under the table farting around, when the IT guy came in. He gave them a little smirk and held up a plug. “Helps if you plug it in.”

I didn’t hear much from them until I entered the conference room at 1030 for the meeting. Mr. Big turned out to be the biggest windbag in the world. He never shut up. And this was supposed to be a yearly review for our client. He told stories about his career and all the gee whiz stuff he was working on and completely bored the living crap out of us. At one point, one of the customers spoke up and said, “Are you running for office?”

That did not deter the ever gaseous Mr. B. He spit out more garbage than a waste management truck on a busy day. Lunch was brought in and he acted like he didn’t see it. It got to be 1pm and he was still talking. We kept eyeing the food, our stomachs growling, until the limo showed up. That caught Mr B’s eye, and when he paused for a moment, Mrs Little told us to grab lunch while we continued on with the meeting.

He immediately told Mrs Little that he was not ready for the limo, and for her to do something about it. Mrs. L went outside and asked the driver to come back in an hour, after Mr B had finished his lunch.

We gobbled our lunches, and the gas bag continued on with his story telling. At last, he was ready to go. I hightailed it outside to grab a cig. And whom did I see? Yes, Mr. Big wandering around the parking lot, toting his luggage, looking for the limo. He was strolling around the parked cars, to see if he could find the limo. I guess he doesn’t know what a limo looks like. I saw him coming my way and sneaked in the back door. No way did I want to get involved with this idiot and his travel arrangements. I half expected him to hail the FEDEX truck as it pulled out of the lot.

I laughed all afternoon. It had to be the worst meeting I had ever attended. At least the lunch was good.


Can he ride with FEDEX?

Normal people travel to meetings in cars, trains, or planes. Not so, for Mr Big. He hitched a ride with Mrs Little. The two of them are high level managers. Mr Big mentioned to Mrs Little that after the meeting, he needed to get to another city, to catch a plane to go home. He wanted Mrs. Little to find him a ride.

That’s when I got the call.

“Hi, Mr Big is riding in with me for the meeting tomorrow. He needs to get a ride to the airport in Philly after the meeting. Do you have a way to get him there?”

“Huh? Uhm… No.”

“I mean do you have a truck or a driver that could take him to the airport?”

“Uhm, no.”

“What about FEDEX? Can he get a ride with them?”

“Uhm, you are kidding right?”

“No, can you get a ride for him?”

“Well, has he ever thought about calling a car rental service?”

“Good idea. I can mention that to him.”

“Or a limo, perhaps. Or there is an airport here, that he could catch a plane to Philly.”

“Who can do that for him?”


“Find out about car rentals or limos? Do you have someone who does that?”

“Uhm, no. Not really. Can he call these people? I mean, they are listed on the internet.”

“What about the gal who brings us coffee in our meetings? What does she do? You know, the one who sits up front?”

“Well, no. That is not her job. She is the receptionist. Doesn’t Mr. Big have a secretary?”

“Well, do me a favor, and see what you can find out.”


Later that day, Mr Big’s secretary called me. She wanted to know what it cost to take a plane from Allentown to Philly. I told her I really didn’t know, but I was sure the airlines would have that information. Then she asked me about the schedule of flights. Again, I told her I was sure that someone at the airlines could help her. I wanted to say, “Hey do I look like I work for United Airlines?” She thanked me and hung up.

10 minutes later she was back on the phone. She was reading me the flight schedule and told me that it didn’t seem like Mr. Big would be able to catch a plane, that he might not make it in time. I said, “OK.” Then she wanted to know if I could get a limo for him. And I said, “Uhm, well, I can look them up and see what’s available.” She thanked me.

I took 3 minutes and checked the internet for Limo companies, and emailed the information to the Secretary.

She thanked me profusely and said to let her know if there was ever anything she could do for me, she would be happy to do it. Wow. If all I have to do is look up limo companies, and email the information to her, and she offers to do anything for me, I think I am in the wrong job.


Ice Cream

There are some summer days that are perfect. Sunny, 80 degrees, a slight breeze, low humidity. And then there are summer days that are brutal, Sunny, 98 degrees, humid, no breeze, and if an occasional breeze does blow through, it is hot air. It is usually on one of these days that a thunderstorm will pop up, and bring temporary relief, and then the humidity creeps back in and things get worse. A couple of these hot days are not too bad, but when you get weeks and weeks of them, it becomes a burden, and tempers start to flare.

So it was at the Autumn Years Rest Home, the 2nd week of the heat wave.

“Get the heck out of the freezer. You are constantly opening that door and the ice cream is melting.”

“Oh be quiet, Pat. Mind your own beeswax.”

“Hey, if you are getting an ice cream, Wolf, get me one.”

“What happened to your legs Frank? Did you get a sudden attack of paralysis?”

“Come on. As long as you are already there, bring me an ice cream.”

“It’s always been that way with you guys. You wait until one of us women do something, and then all of a sudden, you want the same thing. I think men have been spoiled by women, waiting on them.”

“Will you just bring me an ice cream?”

“No. I can’t. I ate the last one.”

“What? I hope someone is planning to go to the store and get more. This heat wave requires ice cream.”

“You go, you lazy old fart. You are the first to eat it, but you never replace it.”

“I can’t go. I get heat spells.”

“What’s that? Heat spells? You are amazing, the way you get out of things.”

“Really. I have spells when it is hot. I get sweaty and feel weak and get real thirsty.”

“That, you old goat, is called summertime. Everyone feels that way. You think it is just you?”

“You have no heart Wolf. I am wilting away and you don’t care enough to bring me back the one thing that will save me, an ice cream cone.”

“Are you listening to this Minnie? Frank can only be saved by ice cream.”

“Yes, I hear him. And you know what? I feel mighty faint myself. I think we may have the same disease, Wolf. When you save Frank, can you bring me a strawberry cone and rescue me too?”

“You 2 are impossible. All right. I will go to the store, but if I happen to have a spell on the way, and feel faint and sweaty, then it will be on your conscience. And I will be forced to stop at the local pub to calm my nerves and your ice cream will melt.”

“Frank? Sounds like Wolf has a predetermined set of plans. Come on. Let’s get dressed and go to the store. Wolf is really becoming quite irresponsible.”

“Well, Minnie, if you feel that way, go ahead and go to the store. I will stay here. And by the way, while you are there, pick me up some ice cream, will you?”


The bat

A bat flew into the office this week. You should have heard the girls scream. They were terrified that the beast would land on them. I guess it could happen. But what are the odds? Is it the same feeling we get when the weather gets stormy and a tornado warning is issued? Run to the basement. Turn on a weather radio. And then when it is over, saunter back up stairs, and go back to whatever you were doing.

The bat stayed quite awhile. Some of the girls ran outside. I stayed at my desk and said, “Here birdie birdie.” I looked around and a few people were trying to stun the bat with a broom. They were frantic. And the bat was getting tired.

Rather than wound the poor critter, I opened the door, and motioned for the guys to “broom” the bat towards the door. He flew out. The girls outside screamed and looked at me like I was a villain. How dare you send that bat out where we were hiding.

The girls came back to their desks and talked about the bat all afternoon. They did a great job of embellishing the story. The bat must have been at least 4 feet long, and he had a wild look in his eyes. And he was swooping down and targeting them. His mission was to land in their hair and get stuck, I guess. Or bite them. And for sure, he was rabid. He had to be. He was acting very rabidly.

I think we should have a bat every so often in the office. It brings people together. It creates excitement and provides much needed exercise for the office crew. It allows them to release tension and to get outside for some fresh air.

Bats are a great team builder.


How Dare They?

It was a rough day at work. No one really knows how rough it was. The Managers left early to celebrate a successful audit by a Quality Specialist, who certified the Facility as being compliant. While the Managers were drinking at the local pub, the workers stayed the course. They had issues that needed resolution, and they had to do it on their own.

SG, a 30 something kid, looked like he had been through the wringer when he left the office. He was exhausted. And CB looked like a worn out old ho, as she turned off her computer, beaten and battered from the heat of the day. The 2 of them could not articulate the difficulties they had endured throughout the day. They had arrived early, forsaken lunch and were hungry and tired as they made their way to their cars for the commute home.

SG went directly home. He promised his partner a nice dinner and put his mind to preparing it. He chopped the veggies, sautéed the shrimp and simmered the pasta. His partner arrived a few minutes later and wanted to talk. SG made them a cocktail, and sat on the couch. He was sound asleep 10 minutes later. His partner had no idea what to do with dinner. And thought SG must be ill. He let SG sleep and had another cocktail. Neither had dinner.

CB stopped for a glass of wine at a sports bar. That was a mistake. 2 glasses of wine put her out of her tree and she left in a stupor. She didn’t eat. She put on her Pjs and went to bed.

The Managers partied until 11pm. They had a nice dinner and went home. After all, they were celebrating. They had been certified.

The next day, the Managers held a meeting to announce the good news.
SG and CB were unable to attend. They were summoned to the Public Relations Manager’s office.

“I noticed that you 2 left at 455pm. That is 5 minutes early. What’s going on with you 2? I am afraid I will have to write you up.”

SG and CB grabbed the nearest weapon available, a cardboard poster, featuring the employees of the month. They took turns ripping the poster to shreds. And went back to their cubes.

The Managers had a meeting to decide the fate of these 2 idiots, and decided to give them one more chance. SG and CB laughed uncontrollably. They were escorted out of the building by Security.

The next day, the Managers were still in the office at 8pm, attempting to get the problems resolved.

“Damn those 2. They left us with their work. How dare they?”


George and Mel

Breakfast at the Autumn Years Rest Home:

“What’ s wrong with you Frank? You seem depressed.”

“Of course I am. George Steinbrenner died.”

“You knew him?”

“We all knew him. He was legend.”

“And what’s wrong with you Pat? Are you depressed over Steinbrenner’s death?”

“No. I am very disturbed over Mel Gibson’s remarks.”

“Good grief. Like these 2 people really affected your lives?”

“Listen Wolf. We all live our lives and relate to the famous people. When they die, or screw up, we feel their pain.”

“Minnie, do you believe this BS?”

“Yes I do. George was one of us and so was Mel.”

“WTF? You are really a nut ball. George was a rich kid who bought the Yankees, and Mel? Well, he was Mad Max.”

“It doesn’t matter what you say, Wolf. We loved George. He and the Yanks were the ultimate champs. And Mel? He was the hunk from down under.”

“Yea, well, George is gone. His kids will take over. And Mel? He is a racist, sexist, abusive drunk.”

“No Wolf. We think about them as they were. George gave us the American dream. And Mel was the dream boat. So, let us think about them as they once were.”

“Sorry folks. I don’t give a damn about a guy who inherited money and bought a team. Nor do I care about a maniac who abuses women. But I do care about the Yankees and the movies. And guess what? It is all smoke and mirrors. George had to do something with his dough, so he bought his way into history. And Mel had the talent and looks and bought his way into our hearts. And they were famous, yes. But now what? George is gone and I must say, so is Mel. At least George will not continue to gain notoriety. Mel is toast. He deserves to be locked up with OJ.”

“Wolf, you are heartless.”

“No, I am not. These 2 guys are not my idols. They abused their power and privilege. Look at the history of the rich and famous: Elvis, Marilyn, Mick Jagger, Babe Ruth, Magic Johnson, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole, Bernie Madoff, Jimmy Swaggart, Tricky Dick…I could go on and on….”

“So what are you saying?”

“God bless our troops, God bless our friends, God bless our country and God bless our neighbors who give generously to our cause and who still love the Yankees and the movies.”

“But what about George and Mel?”

“May George rest in peace and may Mel never star in another movie.”


A secluded island

“Wolf, are you watching the cooking channel again?”

“Yes. I think Bobbie Flay is amazing. I love his throw downs. But I am only going to watch this until House reruns come on. I am crazy about Hugh Laurie. And then when that’s over, my very favorite person Larry David has a rerun on: Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“What’s so amazing about these 3 guys?”

“Well Bobbie Flay is a hunk. And he is a great chef. And he never sweats. And he seems like he is a nice guy. And his creativity is remarkable. Quite the hunk, I must say.”

“And you really like that goofy obnoxious House? He is not a nice person.”

“I think he is a riot. He is in your face. And doesn’t give a rat’s ass. I guess that’s because he is the mother of all doctors. And quite a hunk, I must say.”

“Ok, I am getting the drift here. You like these guys because they are hunks. But Larry David? A hunk? Pullllease.”

“Larry is the funniest man on earth. He is a hoot. No matter what he does, he screws it up. I guess I relate to him. And yes, he is a semi hunk. I mean if you get over the bald part, he is quite a hunky guy.”

“Well, I have to admit, these guys are talented. Bobbie is a superstar chef, House is a superstar actor and Larry is a superstar writer and comedian. But my tastes sure run differently than yours.”

“Oh yea? Ok Minnie. Who do you like?”

“I like Sean Hannity, the hunkiest guy on Fox, Ryan Seacrest, the hunkiest guy on Idol, and Al Gore, the guy who created the internet.”

“Well, Minnie, you have the absolute worst taste in men. Sean reminds me of Buddy Hackett, Ryan is a no talent yes man and Al Gore? Come on. He has to be the most repulsive thing I have ever seen. Stiff as a board, and he can’t even hold on to Tipper.”

“I don’t care what you think. My hunks are hunkier that your hunks.”

“No, they aren’t.”

“Yes, they are.”

“Well, let me just say this Minnie. If you had to live on a secluded island with those 3 goofs, you would only get hot air from those 3. They are a bunch of blow hards. I least I would get a decent meal, some entertainment and would laugh my ass off.”

“Well, can I change my mind? I mean considering the secluded Island? I would choose George Clooney, Jon Bon Jovi and Sean Connery.”

“What’s that gonna do for you?”

“If you have to ask, Wolf, you are further gone that I thought.”


Lady Who?

“What’s your favorite song, Minnie?”


“I guess you are into country, eh?”

“Oh yes. I love those old country groups. Like Alabama and the Beach Boys.”

“Beach Boys? They aren’t country.”

“So what? That’s who I like.”

“How about you Ms Barkley, what’s your favorite song?”

“I don’t listen to music. I listen to the birds.”

“OK. How about you Frank?”

“My favorite song? America The Beautiful.”

“Geez. And you George?”

“Well, I like anything that has a beat. I am crazy about Lawrence Welk.”

“OMG. What about you Pat?”

“I am into hard rock. I love the Jackson Five.”

“That isn’t hard rock.”

“Yes it is. 123 ABC. That is hard rock, baby.”

“You know what? I bet you guys love elevator music.”

“So what do you like Wolf?”

“I love Elton John and Neal Young and Boston and the Kinks, and the Doors and REM”

“What the hell? No wonder you are a basket case. Those groups have ruined America. I think that’s the reason you are a mess Wolf. You really should examine your taste in music Wolf. Even Ed Sullivan would be appalled at your choice. You know, the Doors were so controversial with their druggy lyrics, that Ed would not allow those degenerates back on his stage.”

“Yea? Well tell that to Lady Gaga.”



Quittin Time

At breakfast, the residents of the Autumn Years Rest Home were talking about jobs they had held throughout their working years. The question of the day was: Did you ever quit? And how did you do it?

“Well, I was working as a landscaper” said George, “And the lawn mower was really old. The steering went out and the doggone thing went right through the garden and mowed down all the tulips. I got some sticks and replanted them as best I could. They looked pretty bad. They were leaning over, so I got some rubber bands and anchored them on the sticks. My boss came by and asked me what the heck I was doing. I pretended I had chest pain and fell over in the garden. The tulips tipped over and the rubber bands were shooting up in the air. Needless to say, the boss did not believe my story. I feigned indignity and told him that I was a very sick man and deserved some sympathy. I walked out of the yard and told him that I quit. What I didn’t know was that 10 tulips had stuck to my shorts, and I had a bouquet hanging off my hind end. I shot a dirty look at my co-workers who were laughing up a storm. It’s funny now, but it was very embarrassing at the time.”

“I had a job as a receptionist,” said Minnie. “It was the most ridiculous job I ever had. The boss would make me get him coffee and serve lunch at his meetings. I even had to decorate the Christmas trees. I was really a personal maid of this mad man. He had me running errands for his wife and kids, including picking up his shirts at the dry cleaners, and buying presents for his kids’ birthdays. It was around the time that women started to protest doing the grunt work. One day, he told me he wanted coffee and a raspberry danish, and to go to the deli and pick it up. And while I was out, to stop at the hardware store and get a gallon of paint and a brush. I was going to say something, but like an idiot, I went. When I got back, he said, “OK, get that wall in the men’s room painted.” I opened my mouth to say something, but he had gone into his office and was complaining about the coffee being cold. I picked up the paint and the brush and went into the men’s room. There were 2 guys in there. They told me to get out. I didn’t budge. They finally left and I started to paint…..but not in the usual way. I wrote all over the walls and in my message, informed the boss that he was an idiot, and that I quit. When I walked out, the boss said, “Hey, if you are through with the men’s room, pick me up an egg salad sandwich and get rid of this cold coffee. I poured the coffee over his bald head and said, “Have a nice day.” “That old buzzard was in shock, as I skipped out of his sight forever.”

“I had the worst job in the whole universe” remarked Pat. “I was the executioner.”

“What? Executioner of what?”

“Well, I love books, as you all know. And I worked after school in the library. And when the books got ruined, or really old, I had to kill them. I wanted to be a librarian, but I could not bring myself to destroying books. I would sneak them out of the library and bring them home. My boss caught me one night and asked me what I was taking out of the library. I told her that I was taking the books to a no kill facility. She insisted that I destroy those books, right then and there. I refused and called her a book killer, and quit. I changed my major in school right after that incident and took up biology. But I found out I had to dissect dead animals and quit that too. I took up music and tried my best as a music major, but the instructors told me I had no talent, and to please change my career path. I got a job in a book store and got fired for reading on the job. As I was walking to my car, reading, I got hit by a bus and filed a law suit. I collected a bundle and have been reading ever since.”

“I never quit my job”, said Wolf. “I had the same job for 40 years, retired, and then found out I had no money, so went back to work and have been working for another 10 years. I think I will work until I get old. And you know what? I will go in one day and say, “I quit.” “But my supervisors are thinking I may have Alzheimers and are hoping it gets worse, so I will forget where I work and not come in. Ha Ha! I am a real eye sore in the office, being an old ho, in an office full of young people, but I have them all fooled. I wear my mini skirts and heels and blonde wig and knock their socks off. I am one gorgeous woman.”

“Uh, Wolf, you don’t have Alzheimers, you are delusional.”