Monday, November 30, 2009

Liquid Paper

Today was "Payroll Monday" at work. It happens every two weeks. I go nuts making sure everyone's hours (on paper) match up to the scanner program, that their overtime is either marked as money or comp time, that they're paid at a higher title for those four hours last Thursday afternoon. It's always a crazy, hectic day but with my best friend next to me, I always manage to get the thing done just in the nick of time. My best friend on these wacky Mondays is, of course, Liquid Paper. "Oh, you didn't want it marked as vacation - you wanted a personal day?" No problem. I just reach for the Liquid Paper. Today, however, I believe that someone switched my bottle because the Liquid Paper on my desk was in an extremely horrific mood. I knew this because as soon as I reached for it this is what I heard:

Vat do you think you are doing? You don't dare to expose me to the light of day! Release me, I command you! (I swear Bela Lugosi was speaking to me. I was so scared that I actually dropped the bottle. Luckily the cap was still mostly on.)'re not my regular bottle, are you?

Mwa-hah-hah-hah. (His evil laugh sent chills up my spine.) That veakling vill trouble us no longer. (An icy stare punctuated his last remark.)

Wh-what have you done with it? (I quickly looked away...that stare was mesmerizing.)

Do not concern yourself any longer vith that! I'm afraid that I must insist that you put me vay in the back of the vonce!

But, it's payroll Monday! I simply can't finish in time without white-out! (I could feel myself beginning to get hysterical. The back of my hand suddenly darted to the corner of my trembling mouth. Stifling a sob, I practically begged him to reconsider.)

Oh, it's qvite true that I love the feel of the cool milky vite liquid drinking up those unvanted verds (it almost seemed as if he was drooling at the mere thought), but I insist you put me in the drawer!

But, it's payroll Monday!

That matters not to me! You vill obey my command!

(My right hand reached for the bottle as my left hand began to open the drawer. It was as if I was, well, hypnotized.) Wait! I...I...I just can't do this!

You cannot resist! I have vays of making you obey!

(His threat was ominous, but I continued to plead.) must stop do

Mwa-hah-hah-hah. (My words were being sucked into the mouth of the bottle as I spoke!)

Stop tha

Perhaps now you vill reconsider?


But it's payroll Monday! It's useless for you to resist me! (I knew he was right, and that I had no choice but to do as he demanded. I quickly grabbed the bottle and threw it in my trash bin. I immediately heard a piercing shriek, and then the strangest thing happened - when I moved my half-eaten slice of garlic pizza to see the bottle, it just wasn't there anymore! I went to the supply cabinet to get another bottle of Liquid Paper and went back to my desk. I knew as soon as I heard Boris Karloff's voice that it was indeed going to be a monstrous Monday. )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I work at a sewer plant. Of course, I didn't know it was the sewer plant when I initially applied for the job. It was touted as "Water Pollution Control" and I couldn't help thinking how nice it would be to work for an environmentally-conscious industry. Water Pollution Control = sewer plant. Yuck. George Orwell would be so proud of the community for which I work. We have "Water Pollution Control" and our garbage dump is known as the "Ecological Facility." No sewer plant or garbage dump in our town! It's not really so bad, though (except on those days when the vanilla filter isn't working just right), but sometimes when someone comes in to our office from just having left one of the REALLY stinky buildings, well, let's just say that I've learned to have entire conversations without breathing once through my nose. I also keep a giant bottle of hand sanitizer - watermelon scented - on my desk, right next to my stapler. Recently I've started to wonder whether my stapler might feel slightly neglected, considering how often I employ its neighbor. So I asked it:

Does it bother you at all that I reach past you so often to get to the hand sanitizer?

No, dahling, not one bit. (She was a beautiful stapler - a purple and black Swingline with just a hint of yellow. She sounded very much like Tallulah Bankhead [see] - a deep, raspy, world-weary voice with an accent like a Southern belle schooled in England.) Ah absolutely love it when you wash your hands. Really ah do. And watermelon brings back some lovely memories.

But (I hated to admit this), I've actually knocked you over a few times. (She was ergonomically designed - an upright model.) I hope you'll forgive me.

Listen, dahling, ah've been pushed over plenty of times, but that doesn't mean ah'm a pushover. Ah know you never did it deliberately. Ah gladly accept your apology.

Thank you so much. You know, it's a shame you have to work down here. You seem like you should at least be in the Mayor's Office.

(She chuckled.)
Ah could say the same of you, don't you think?

Oh no, not at all. Everything's so casual and relaxed down here. And we even have an office cat!

Well, yes, dahling, but you see ah'm not as sophisticated as you may think ah am. Ah simply adore all the nitty gritty, as one might say. Plus ah'm the first to read all the really good gossip, since you are essentially the entire personnel department, beg pardon - human resources - down here.

You read what I staple?

Of course, dahling. What else did you expect me to do with my time?

And you gossip about it? To who?

To WHOM, whom! Why simply everyone, of course. As a matter of fact, ah'd be careful what papers ah leave next to that telephone, if ah was you. Between you and me, she just can't keep her mouthpiece quiet.

(I glanced suspiciously at my phone, which startled me something silly when it suddenly rang. I gingerly reached for the receiver, wondering whether my entire upcoming conversation would be fodder for gossip after we all left for the day.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Garage Door

Now that winter has set in, our garage has been cleaned and reorganized so that once again my car can squeeze in and be sheltered from the blustery wind, the freezing rain and the accumulating snow. Well, that's not actually true. Having the car in the garage for the winter is so that I don't have to wake up 15 minutes earlier to scrape off the frost and warm it up. Last night was the first time it dipped below freezing, so I wasn't all that surprised when I heard a loud shudder as I approached the car. I was surprised, however, when I realized it was the garage door, not the car, making the sound.

Sounds like somebody's not ready for winter. (I could see my breath as the words came out.)

Brrrrrrr! (Another shudder.) I'm chilled all the way through. (It was true. There was actually a little frost on the inside panels. We really had intended to fix that gap at the top of the door....) If only you'd fixed that gap near the top of....

I know, I know. You don't have to become unhinged about it.

Who's unhinged? I merely mentioned that you might have done a menial repair and you recoil from my remark.

I just feel guilty about not fixing it, that's all. (I muttered something about having meant to fix it in the Spring.)

What? You're planning to fix my springs, too? Oh, I'm so glad. They're creaking something fierce. And how about the caulking? And maybe weather stripping?

I'll get to them, too. Really...I'll put them on my list. (I had a list? I had to switch gears fast or the requests might never have ended.) So, other than that, life's treating you well?

Oh, it has its ups and downs.

Look, first nice day and I promise I'll fix the gap. And the springs. Will that do?

Well, you'll at least be on the right track. It's a deal.

(I got in the car and hit the power button for the garage door opener. Squeaks and moans filled the garage as the door not-so-gently glided over my car.)

First nice day...I promise!

(It's funny, but as I backed out and lowered the door again, that gap actually seemed to resemble a hopeful smile.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Street Light

My son is a crazy obsessed railfan. Of course, I mean that in the nicest way. Since he's too young to drive, that means that either my husband or I have the privilege of taking him to his favorite trackside spots. Tonight was my turn. We parked in a lot right next to the tracks, making sure to be directly under a street light so that he could set up his cameras right in front of my car and so I could see what I was writing. And even though it's really starting to get cold, I still left the window open a crack to better hear my son. Imagine my surprise when, instead of my son's voice, I heard what sounded exactly like Edward G. Robinson.

So, you think you're pretty clever parking there, huh?

(I looked through the windshield. Edward G. Robinson was nowhere in sight.)

Look up here, you dumb broad. Yeah, I'm the bright guy doing the talking, see.

(I leaned forward and gave the street light a dirty look. I certainly did not appreciate being called a dumb broad, particularly by a dim-witted light fixture.) Um...if you're talking to me then yes, I do think I'm pretty clever, thank you very much.

Listen sister...I ain't free and loose with the compliments, see. You're on my turf, see. Better keep your face clean, see.

What?!? (This lamp was talking like it was in an old gangster movie. I figured it was time for me to play along.) Listen wise guy...I'm not just some dame from around the block. I got connections, you know.

Trying to play rough, hey doll? Ain't nobody connected like me, see. Except maybe the boys. Go ahead, her what you got.

(Suddenly the other street lights began to dim and brighten at random intervals. I, however, refused to be intimidated.)

Okay, bright guy. So you and your shady cohorts can play games. You're all still stuck in the ground. I can actually move, mister. Let me shed some real light on the situation for you, you big lug.

(With that, I directed my son to immediately get in the car. I started the engine, threw on the high beams and backed up. As we started to pull away, I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for those lonely lights so I yelled out, "In case you didn't know it, you guys really are good track lighting." Suddenly, my son and I heard what sounded like gunshots. But then we noticed that one by one, the street lights were blowing out. I just stepped on the gas and floored it out of that parking lot!)