Thursday, January 28, 2016

Home Alone (But Not Really)

If you live in the US, the greater part of the country cannot deny that we had a Weather Event, specifically snow. Rather a lot of snow. In fact, there were some areas on the east coast that got about three feet. Due to the Snow Event, my very kind boss gave me permission to work from home for a few days. He is usually nice to me, probably because he's afraid of me, so it's good to have me out of the office - like a mini-vacation for him.

Working at home is not like working in the office (really?). I can't turn around and talk to 'the guys', making sexist and gross comments. At home it's only gross comments, unless I'm feeling particularly playful. I don't have the Lunch Club at noon, although I do have a dog and cat, vying for position next to me. The Lunch Club usually features one guy who tells horrible stories and shows pictures of his dates. My wife wouldn't do that. Unless I haven't seen the pictures. On the other hand, I've been largely unsuccessful in getting my wife to send me dirty pictures. Of herself, of course, although dirty pictures, like chocolate, are great regardless.

Since it's just the two of us and the quadrupeds, it's theoretically pretty quiet. And actually, it IS pretty quiet, at least until I try to work.

The moment I have a conference, the dog knows and starts whining to go outside. My wife knows too, because she's napping and can't take the dog out. As the conference proceeds, the dog barks to come in, another task my wife cannot complete. Before the conference ends, however, the wife pops up and LOUDLY SAYS GOOD MORNING. That happened twice before I located the Mute button.

My wife does not like to make big entrances, unless of course, she's entering. Since she can't keep a thought in her pointy little head for long, she needs to blurt it out before she forgets it. This proves embarrassing when I'm on a national conference: "Honey, the cat's vomiting so I'm taking him to the vet. I got a stool sample."

Speaking of snow, the walks and drives were largely free of snow by the next day. Now that we're a few days out, the Crazy Lady next door felt it necessary to fetch her loudest shovel, probably to get out there and make sure the snow and sidewalk were all at right angles to each other.  Scrape... scrape... drag...SCRAPE. Repeat.

I had to teach something to a coworker, which required speakerphones. It was at this precise moment that my wife had the blessed urge to sweep the kitchen. This produced a sound similar to a hammer inside of a tin bucket. And she was trying to do it quietly. When she saw my head explode, she sat next to me, quietly. No, really... .quietly.  And we both jumped when the tall jar of soy sauce committed suicide by leaping off the fridge, breaking into a million pieces and turning the floor brown. It was for both reasons I had to hold the dog back. There's little he doesn't like.

Since I was on the phone anyway, I was talking about queries and one of my wife's internal kids interrupted to tell me that was a bad word. She thinks if she says 'excuse me,' she's free to barge into whatever you're doing.

When things inadvertently quieted down, the mailman showed up. This makes Marshall NUTS. He's pretty good with everybody, including the mailman, outside the house. But as soon as he hears the mailbox open, he's all bark and teeth. When I tell him to SHUT UP three or forty times, he runs up the steps, half barking and half whining, where he sits, half barking and half whining.

When he's not vomiting or urinating on furniture, the cat must be touching me while sitting next to me. He can't simply sit against my leg.. he must have his head or at least one paw touching the top of my leg. If I move him, he'll return. If I move him three times, he'll lay down and sneak back, an inch at a time. This does not work well with a laptop. Marshall has discovered that he cannot sit on my lap effectively when I have a laptop, so he gets between me and the laptop. Sometimes they collaborate, which really frightens me because if I get up, they'll be emailing Bambi at - this wouldn't be too big a problem if I could only afford their rates. Oh yeah, and get wifely approval.

Much to the glee of the entire neighborhood, we haven't heard from the Loud Family in years. I suspect they moved out by stealth; only the cars are parked there.  It was, of course, too good to be true. One of the Louds has taken up power tools. It doesn't seem to matter WHICH power tool it is, he's out there running it. At nine in the morning on Saturday. Four on Tuesday. And most of Friday. He's clever too - if you're on the phone, you say hello, then the machine starts. You wait and ask how are you doing, and he starts again. He waits precisely two syllables before he cranks it up again. There have been no new additions to the house and no 20' metal Godzilla structures on the front lawn so we have no idea what he's doing.  I suspect he just likes the vibration and the noise, which makes him a Loud.

In spite of how generous my boss has been, I miss the serenity of work. I need to go somewhere quiet, like Syria.

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