At one of my jobs, I was a part of a pretty important pitch team. And while I knew my section of the presentation inside and out, I was still nervous about presenting. I sat with other colleagues as we waited to be called into the meeting room for our turn. As the moments ticked on, I was getting more and more jittery. And I wasn't the only one – everyone had their own way to pass the time: someone was pacing, another reading over his notes, someone else chugging water (I swear she had three bottles in two minutes.), and someone else kept showing us memes from Facebook. Seeing - and likely feeling - the stress, our boss encouraged us to stand up and stretch. In the large lobby we were tucked over in a corner and fairly hidden away. Our small group of four, wearing our suits and smart dresses, gathered around our boss. She took a deep breath in and channeling her own mellow – yet empowerment method - she popped into her "power pose". Her arms were stiff in the air in a “V” shape, opposite to her legs in the same shape but upside down. Her head was back towards the sky, her eyes were closed, and in a soothing, breathy voice she was telling us to feel confident and strong. Like I also do when I am in exercise groups with my eyes closed, I opened just one eye and looked around to see if everyone else was in the power pose. Everyone was – but I just wasn’t feeling it. I quietly sat down and reached into my purse and fished around for a medicine bottle. When I pulled it out, everyone heard the rattle and looked over. All I said while twisting the lid was that “yoga moves and breathing was one way to deal with stress, but this was mine.” And I popped a Xanax without regret or hesitation.
I love to eat. If I need to be on a diet, I can totally cut back - even starve if I have to. But when I am allowing myself to eat – I do. I love the three C’s: carbs, chocolate and cheese. Which all impact the three H’s: hips, heart and happiness. I am a tall, full-figured woman with a little more in a lot of places (except my boobs – they are like speedbumps on my curvy highway. Sigh). But sometimes I am embarrassed of how much I can actually consume. And in this one instance, it’s not embarrassing but brilliant. I think, anyway.
Around the holiday season many baskets of cookies, food, fruit and the like get delivered to offices. In my field, they are usually sent from vendors, freelancers, media partners, even clients. For the most part, they are addressed to one person on the team or in the agency. That person normally takes a little bit for themselves and brings the rest to the breakroom, which by mid-December looks like an exploding cornucopia of excusable calories.
One year I got a tower of goodies from a local bakery. The gift was about six boxes tall and each one got smaller in size as they stacked up to an enormous red bow. Our receptionist Janell, brought me my delivery and handed me the card that went along with it. I deliberately read it out loud “To Nicole & Team – Thanks for all of your hard work and efforts! You are amazing and Nicole is a great lead on the account”. I smiled and looked up at Janell; she told me that it was a nice card – I agreed.
I tore into the bottom box and took out an apple and a pear, from other boxes I took a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies and one with vanilla cookies filled with jam, a package of chocolate covered raisins and a little bag of almonds. I then brought the rest of the boxes into the kitchen to be devoured shortly after placing them on the table.
I spent the next few days eating my treats. Yes. I ate it all. Don’t judge. I had the card hanging up on my corkboard behind my desk. One of my better friends at the company walked in and remarked on the nice note and asked who it was from, because she noticed, it wasn’t actually signed. I started to laugh.
“It’s from me.”, I answered.
“You wrote that card?” she asked
“Yup.” I waited for her to figure things out a little further.
It clicked. “Did you send yourself that delivery”?
“Yup!” I said laughing. “I sure did. I do think I am doing a great job and I am a great leader and I wanted a giant tower of food that I could dive into first.”
“Oh my God! You’re insane!”
“Yea well I left you a sleeve of cookies, a bag of nuts and a mini-muffin on your chair.”
“Oh my God! You’re the best!”
“I know! Wait until you see the wine I sent myself!”
I am a pretty anal-retentive person…I might even have a touch of OCD. I never really had it looked into because well, I have a host of other crazy behaviors that probably need more focus than being annoyingly organized and regimented. In this instance, my routine is about the end of the work day. Each night before leaving I do the “day’s end” lap . I walk to the printer to check that I have gotten all of my print-outs (especially the personal ones like coloring pages for Vanessa, softball schedules for Ella or online shopping receipts for me). I stop at the bathroom and then go through the kitchen to fill a water bottle for the ride home. Finally, I head back to my desk to pick-up my parking pass, car keys and purse. On this particular day, I was ready to by-pass the printer to go straight to the bathroom since I had so much water throughout the day. But because I am this person of habit, I started the norm with an overly full bladder. Tapping my foot and doing a little dance to keep from peeing my pants, I waited for what seemed like forever for the printer to finish printing all of my documents. I couldn’t even fathom going over the water cooler with having to go to the bathroom on my mind. After practically pulling the last page of my print-out from the copier, I broke routine and ran on the tips of my pink high-heeled shoes to the bathroom. On a mission, I pushed open the door like a sailor on his first time home to his bride. I chose the first stall because it was closest and barley even locked the door behind me before I had one hand yanking down my pants to take position. Now – I know that the cleaning people come each night and I know the asses of my fellow co-workers but I still find the need to hover over the bowl – no skin to porcelain contact. With the pressure of the bladder bursting open, my stream was as solid and fierce as water from a fire hose. I was a bit embarrassed of how loud it was when I realized someone was in the stall next to me. As I moved just slightly to collect some toilet-paper, albeit while I was still engaged in going, my body shifted and my big ol’ rear moved away from the bowl. I suddenly heard the sound of my pee hitting the water change to my pee hitting the floor. I moved back into a target-right position and when finished, I bent down to clean up the little puddle on the floor. It was then that I actually saw the feet in the next stall. I know those manicured toes peeking out from the sensible beige shoes. It was my boss. And there were little droplets of my pee on the side of her shoe! Yikes!! I stood there with my face frozen. In fact, I think I stopped breathing. When I heard her flush, I started silently mouthing the words “fuck” over and over and praying that she’d leave the bathroom pronto so I didn’t have to meet her at the sink. Once I heard the bathroom door open and assumed she walked out, I used my foot to press down the handle to flush and instantly regretted having on pretty unique shoes - if she saw them it would be telltale that I was the offender. Just to be safe, I never wore those same shoes again. And neither did she. Her, for better reason.
A few years ago I worked a PR event with a celebrity guest of honor, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. I don’t really follow that royal stuff but it was very exciting to meet an actual Prince. Or maybe he was a Lord. I don’t know – he had a fancy name and was Princess Diana’s brother (I really rocked this PR job…nothing like knowing the details! Eeek!) In the green room we had tea – I am guessing because he was English and they seem to like their tea time. (Shit – I am really making a lot of assumptions here!) So I am going to say that this was not one of my better career moments. And for more than just these brainless things……
While the Prince/Lord was relaxing before his appearance and enjoying his hot, lemony brew, I worked hard to make sure the pastry plates, tea pots, tea bag box and sugar bowls were always full for the guests going in and out prior to the actual event start. I also kept the room clean – throwing away unsightly used teabags or half eaten treats.
As Charles was talking to someone, I started to clean up a bit and collected teacups that were sitting around the room, seemingly finished. Just as I walked towards the back of the room, I heard him say “someone has gone and thrown away my tea”. With his lovely English accent, it was hard for me to tell if he was pissed (doesn't everything sound better when someone says it with a nice accent?)
I kept my back towards him while I hovered over a garbage can. If he saw my face he would know I had tossed his drink since I was beat red and my mouth was open so wide, I could have caught flies. Or maybe I just filled up with air because I can’t even believe what I did next – I actually spun around holding a blue and white porcelain cup with a drop of liquid in it and a gnarly, used teabag plopped on the saucer and said to this Royal guy “I think this was it….?" and sort of handed it to him.
He looked at me like I was crazy for offering him a cold cup of tea that could have belonged to anyone. Not to mention that I practically just pulled it out of the garbage can.
I felt like I was having an outer body experience – looking down on myself saying “Stop standing there with this gross offering. Just turn and walk away.”
Before he could respond to me, a colleague said she’d get him a fresh cup. She too looked at me like I was an idiot. Yes, well cheerio, I was definitely going to hide in a pile rubbish….and do a little thinking about my next career move.
While traveling for work, me and several others from my office, went to find a bar after a long client meeting. Being from out of town, we chose a bar near the hotel. When we walked in, it was old, dark and dingy. Shady enough that we didn’t want to call attention to ourselves by walking out. While my normal drink of choice is always Pinot G, this was the type of place where you only drink bottled beer and never order food. Maybe you even have a few shots just to forget where you are. And it’s definitely the kind of joint where you go to the bathroom in pairs and never, ever sit on the toilet seat – hover ONLY! Which I must say is hard….if you are having said beers and shots and wearing stiletto heels. So please ladies, be prepared. If, like me, you happen to fall onto the seat while trying to squat over it while a little tipsy, don’t feel bad about using hand sanitizer on your ass cheeks. Whether you bring it, ask another woman or use what the place might provide, it may be all you can do to feel a little better about having your rump touch the seat in a dump.
I texted a client the other day. Auto-correct in action – it changed the word “that” to the word “twat”. I wanted to kill myself the minute I saw the send confirmation. "Do you want twat for Monday?" was in the little blue bubble. I sent another text immediately, blaming auto-correct and apologized several times. “Damn you Auto Correct” didn’t seem to cover my feeling – more like “Fuck you! OMG! I hate you Auto Correct”. It felt like a lifetime waiting for her text back. Luckily, she had a good sense of humor and laughed it off. Holy crap - my nerves are shot.
A few months ago I got let go from my job. And before finding something new, my girls were begging me to be a teacher. Ella was so excited about the idea. Her enthusiasm was cut short when I interrupted her and said, “Ella, I don’t want to teach children, let alone spend all day with them. You know I don’t really like kids.” She paused for a moment and said, “Well... then you can be a stay at home mom!!!” I looked at her with a "get real" expression on my face and said “OK what part of – I don’t like children didn’t you understand? - Please don’t think that doesn’t mean you as well.” Good God, I wasn't let go for being insane. The mere thought of being home with my kids as a SAHM had me running to update my LinkedIn profile! Yea, I am just not Stay-at-home-Mom material. Hell, I am not even Mom material. Nope, not at all.
Before my kids were born I had two instances that have stuck with me, partly making me the self-conscience person I can be today. The first, I went into a European dress store for a skirt suit for a job interview. I had heard that store was great with lots of professional clothes to choose from but I was warned that all of the staff was from France and very snobby. I figured I’d browse on my own and ignore them. Little did I know that the store was super small and the minute I walked in, I was the center of everyone's attention. A salesperson walked over to me with her thin self and in a thick French accent she said “Oh, you.” -- pause to look me up and down while pointing to my bottom half (big) and to my top half (small) – “You will need separate sizing.” What? Ew. Who the hell says that? Shortly after this gem of a moment, or maybe because of it, I went to a plastic surgeon to see about getting boob implants. For this second experience, I was called into the doctor’s office for the consultation and immediately upon sitting down, he looked at me and said “Yes. With your body size, you should definitely have larger breasts.” Look I am not saying I disagree – if I put on a few pounds my gut can protrude more than my tits. But again, what the hell? How can people be so blunt and fresh and simply evil? On principle, I didn’t get the suit at that store and I never got the implants. Well, that’s what I will tell myself – I actually couldn't fit in the European sizing (my ass was too big) and the implants were too expensive. Guess I will just have to shop at regular department stores for my pear shape body and be happy with my little pits.
Email can be very, very dangerous. I mean, you send the wrong thing to the wrong person and there could be real trouble. And in case you didn’t know, the “recall message” button does NOT work and the original email is still out there.
I learned this the hard way when I had thought I sent an email to a good friend at work when in actuality, I sent it to an employee that worked in an office several states away and knew me as just a name on a conference call roster. After receiving this virtual joke, he would have no idea that I was not really some sort of pervert.
In all honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think better of using my work computer to send out a digital cartoon of the Tin Man doing fresh things with an oil can. As I chuckled while hitting send, my laughter turned into actual fear when I realized what I had done. I hit recall, and in a state of panic, I Googled how to retrieve messages sent out in error. There were no options! (Why aren’t there options?! Aggghhhh! I can’t be the first person to do this type of thing!) I went into the weekend sickened over the mistake. I was certain I would come back on Monday only to be told I was never working there again. Luckily it was quite the opposite and the recipient also thought the joke was funny. Oh thank God, this guy had a sense of humor…and a heart (how very Tin Man-y).
Months later, I made a mistake of sharing the “Tin Man” with the wrong person again (mental head slap! What the hell is my problem?!). But this time, I didn’t send the actual comic, I just mentioned the story in an email that I was sending to a recruiter. After a few glasses of wine, bringing up the old Tin Man incident seemed appropriate as we had already had several email exchanges and light banter about the pitfalls of email. I know. I know. As I write this, while now sober, I cringe. Drinking while emailing someone for a job? Glorifying that someone made a character from a children’s story into a sexed-up sicko? Not my smartest move. Needless to say I didn’t get a call back for any job from that guy. Such a Scarecrow move on my part - I think I need a brain!
Women in the office were talking about dieting and pooping.....in mixed company. (!!!!!!!) I wanted to die. Look, as you may have noticed, I will talk about anything - vaginas, yeast infections, cunnilingus or more - to any guy or gal, any time. But anything that comes out of a woman's ass (farts, poo, etc.) should really be off limits around the opposite sex (I actually just cringed while writing those gross butt words!). Girls are supposed to be pretty and flowery for the most part! And it's really bad conversation material -- all bad mental images, all bad jokes, all bad smells. (Gagging!) Just ALL bad. Seeeeee...I do have standards and a sense of etiquette. Who would've thought?!
Collection of comic strips that illustrate the madness of my life - career, marriage, motherhood...me!
Click on any of the categories above or the "previous" link at the end of the page to see some moments that have stripped me of my sanity.