It Must Be Groundhog Day

Because I’ve just lived this day, again.

Originally posted March 8, 2011


Did You Ever Have The Kind Of Day Where….

Did you ever have the kind of day where you are going ninety miles an hour at your work desk, cranking out the emails, spreadsheets and taking phone calls left and right, all while balancing the Greyhound bus stop that is the chair in front of your desk….

And despite all the chaos and kerfuffle, just in the nick of time, you manage to whip out your one page, beautifully wrought, easy-to-read table that contains the cheat sheet you’ll need to answer every question that will be machine gun fired at you at your 3:00 meeting.

So you send that sumnabitch to the printer and grab your notebook, hike up your pants, run to the copier, and grab that thing off the machine so you can make it to your meeting at something less than five minutes late.

Then you squeal around the corner into the copy room and you are heartened to hear that the machine isn’t working. It’s done. It’s printed your copy.

Only it hasn’t.

The screen reads “out of paper, load tray three.”

Inside your head, you say, “I can deal with this.”

So it’s one of those big industrial machines and to fill the paper tray takes not one, not two, but three reams of ecologically friendly 50% post-consumer lily white paper.

Being a good office citizen, you could throw half a ream in there and call it good, but you don’t. You fill it up to the top, slam the drawer and the machine fires up.

Sweet sound of the Gods!

And the machine begins spitting out page after page after page…..

After page.

After page.

And you realize the guy in front of you must be printing like a hundred copies of his forty page slide deck and it’s HIS FAULT that the machine was parched for paper when you arrived.

Nothing you can do now but watch that machine like a bird dog after a duck, all the while not-my-copy, not-my-copy, not-my-copy shoots out of the machine, perfectly stapled and collated and tidy as you please.

“Ok,” you say to yourself. “I can deal with this.”

Then the machine stops again. The engine winds down.

“Thank god!” you think.

But wait, your copy isn’t there.

“WHAT THE [EXPLETIVE DELETED]!!!” You may or may not shout.

The LCD screen on that machine says “Replace Toner” and provides helpful animated arrows to guide you through the process.

“Ok,” you think to yourself, “I can deal with this. It can’t be that hard.”

So you find a box with a new toner tube and you follow the bouncing arrow on the screen and the old toner comes out and the new toner slides in and now you may or may not have black toner dust peppering your arms.

But you slam closed the toner door and the machine begins to make a noise.

“Warming up,” it tells you.

And you wait for what must be an [expletive deleted] eternity while the machine “cleans the wires” and “recalibrates” itself at the pace of an anemic snail.

Then holy mother of Xerox, the machine starts spitting out copies anew and more and more of not-my-copy of someone’s presentation comes out.

Then, most miraculous! The single sheet that you desperately needed finally exits the machine!


So to be helpful you pull the other copies off the machine to lay them aside in a nice, neat stack.

And because you are nosy by nature, you look to see exactly what is the document that held up your progress and made you irretrievably late for a very important meeting, and you come to realize that it is…..

Handouts for someone’s upcoming Cub Scout meeting.

You ever have a day like that?

No way, right? Because that story just *has* to be made up. Unless truth really is stranger than fiction.

Photo by Alex Furr and used royalty free from stock.xchng

A Nordstrom Epiphany

Yeah, so, I’m attending a friend’s wedding this weekend.

After a decade and a half of working in Silicon Valley companies with their schlubby dress codes, it turns out that I have a lot of pants and very few dresses in my closet.

This wedding is taking place in a lovely art gallery in Southern New Mexico. A really elegant place. This is going to be a very classy wedding.

Oh god…I need to wear a dress. And I don’t have one. Or at least not one nice enough for this shindig.

So today after work, I went shopping.

I hate shopping.

I used to really, really love shopping. Adored clothes. Couldn’t get enough shoes.

But not anymore.

Today as I sighed and whined, I closed my eyes and asked myself “why do I hate shopping this much?”

Then I opened my eyes and the answer lay there in front of me.

I dislike shopping so much these days because:

I’m living in a

kind of world.

And I have become a

kind of girl.

That explains it all.

Photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page.

Photos taken with an iPhone4s using the Camera+ app.

When a Good Idea Pops You Across The Chops

“Where do you get your ideas?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Sometimes with a shake of the head after reading one of my more out there blog posts. Sometimes with genuine curiousity.

I even talked about it a bit here.

Really, I think coming up with ideas is about being an observer of life. About noticing the little things here and there and then talking/writing/painting/arting about them.

For me, I’ve always thought the world is a fairly absurd place, and I find something to laugh about or think about (or both) every day. Ideas are everywhere. Around every corner. In the sky. On the ground. At the bottom of your cup of coffee. Yet so many still can’t see them or maybe don’t pay attention.

Then sometimes, a good idea pops me so hard across the chops that I don’t know how anyone could be oblivious.

Today, I had to have a minor procedure done at my HMO. The center where I had this done performs a LOT of different minor procedures so there were a lot of us, and my doctor was running late. This meant I had some time on my hands as I sat there in the ready area in my backless gown with a blue shower cap thing on my head.

I was separated from the other patients by only a thin curtain on either side.

I listened as the 88 year old lady in the slot next to me ran down the list of medications she is allergic to (quinine..what an odd thing to be allergic to), explained that her knees hurt all the time and could they prop them up. She was also quite determined to make sure every person attending to her knew it was her left eye that was the problem. She was very concerned over them getting the wrong eye. Very concerned.

There is totally a story there. I mean, I was already starting to craft it in my head as I waited. I wished I had my trusty MacBook so I could start making notes.

Then there was the 67 year old woman on the other side of me. She was there for a colonoscopy. She was clearly nervous, you could hear by her voice. She was very docile and compliant to everything the nurse asked of her, but she struggled a bit to get into her gown (I heard her muttering to herself).

When they came to get her for her procedure, I heard the nurse say, “Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have to take off your underwear.”



C’mon! You can’t make this up!

But by far the best idea I heard all day was when the doctor came into the space next door (the lady with the eye issues) and said, “Hello Mrs. Sanchez. I’m Dr. Scary. I’ll be working on you today. This is my nurse, her name is Mercy. Are you ready to begin?”

A doctor called Scary and a nurse called Mercy? Tell me that isn’t a fabulous short story just begging to happen.

I was catching ideas with a butterfly net today!
And for the record, for my procedure, I got to keep my underwear on.

Just sayin’.

Image from the Best Quotes and Poetry blog.

In This Technological Age

Considering how nomadic the people of the world have become – moving streets, cities, states, countries at a whim – you’d think the art and science of moving would have improved.

But really, it hasn’t changed much since the settlers moved west in covered wagons. It’s still just your stuff, a lot of cardboard boxes, a big truck and some muscle.

That’s it. No better. No improvements.

I need some razzle dazzle technology here, people. Can’t the finest minds in Silicon Valley and beyond get on this?

If they can build a better toilet and build a better thermostat then they can build a better moving system.

Let’s think beyond the cardboard box, people!

I’m talking about something like Star Trek transport. Push a button. Boom baby, your crap is at a new address.

Or levitation. Alakazam! Your sh*t’s in the truck!

Or wiggle my nose Bewitched style and it simply happens. Move house and cook a post roast, all in three shakes of a nariz.

Something better than boxes and packing tape rolls that always run out just at that crucial moment.


I say all of this as I take in the view at my home. Boxes everywhere. The Good Man and I wondering why we both have so much crap. Wondering if we can cull it down more. Wondering how in the heck we are going to get this all done.

Moving sucks.


Because perspective is a lovely thing, on Monday, I was chatting with a coworker who also has an upcoming move. We were talking about packing and shredding and donating and both of us were tut-tutting and shaking our heads at it all.

He asked me “how far is away is your new house?”

“Oh, a few miles,” I said.

“Imagine being me moving 6,000 miles. To a new country.” (he’s moving from Dublin to San Francisco in two months)

So ok. He’s got to pack all his crap into wooden shipping boxes. Talk about space limitations! Talk about a man who could use an easy transporter.

Ah well. Hand me the bungee cords. Let’s get back to work.

Today’s Theme Thursday topic is: view

Photo from Lavazza Article

Lessons From a Shredding Machine: Things I have learned about myself

For the past three days, it has been me, a U-Haul box (size Medium) filled to bursting with papers, and a shredder.

I shred and I shred and I shred.

Then the machine overheats and stops shredding. Then I go back into our under-house storage and pull out another box, bag or whatever and go through it until the shredder cools off.

Then I start shredding again.

Today, as I got down to the bottom third of the box of papers, I was sucked into a time warp. I was pulling out bills and correspondence dating back to 1999.

That’s 12 years ago. Twelve-year-old documents. Twelve years is both a very long time and yet a mere blip in the world.

It has been quite an archeological journey through the strata of one medium size U-Haul box.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way:

1. For the most part, the stuff that I kept was the kind of stuff that shouldn’t have gone into the trash. For example: pay stubs with my social security number, account numbers and other identifying information listed. Papers with credit card numbers. Things like that.

Where I fell down was in not having a shredder. When I moved from the South Bay to this place, I burned out my old shredder and didn’t replace it. So I just kept all these papers in a box.

About 2007 or so The Good Man and I bought a shredder and so I’m doing a better job of keeping ahead of this stuff.

That’s growing, baybee.

2. I’m not actually a hoarder. Last evening I was a bit worried. I journeyed deep into the bowels of Google to read up on it. A true hoarder will have stuff filling every corner, including their car.

I abhor having a car filled with crap. Also, I think it’s a travesty to have a garage and not be able to park in it.

So my hoarding side and my tidy side conflict. This tenuous balance is what keeps me on the “not so bad but could use some work” side of the hoarding line.


3. It feels really good to shred every remnant from a job I held for just a year and that treated me very shabbily.

Really good.

4. Boxes of crap kept up off the ground don’t mold. Boxes sitting on the ground become a scary experiment in the rapid proliferation of mold.

Just. Ew.

This doesn’t happen in New Mexico.

5. I don’t bounce checks nearly as often as I used to.

I’m sure that’s partly because I don’t actually write checks anymore. But I also don’t overdraw my account like I used to. I shredded TONS of notes from the bank notifying me that I was overdrawn.

I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. Like years.

I think I used to play it pretty fast and loose with the float time on checks. Not so much these days.

That’s growing, baybee!

6. I still keep a copy of all the important payments I make (like a copy of the check sent to the Superior Court to pay a red light camera ticket) but I don’t keep them in paper form anymore.

Don’t gotta put .pdfs in a medium size U-Haul box.

Ain’t no one gonna complain about a cluttered hard drive but me.

7. Getting out from under a pile of twelve year old crap feels really, really good.

So good I uncorked a nice bottle of red and am relaxing tonight feeling pretty happy about my progress.

So the shredding is done and the separating the wheat from the chaff, or the donate from the trash, continues tomorrow.

Image from The Lake Mary Blog.