Life in a global workplace:
I have a conference call every morning at 8:00. It’s for the large project I dragged to the finish line in late September and is now implementing about as well as a FEMA rescue in New Orleans.
We need to buy 2 printers for this job. We need them to get to PA in early December. This is where it gets fun:
The printers are manufactured in Japan. We need 2 and there are only enough parts to make like 1 3/4 printers. I think we’re scouring department stores in Tokyo to find the rest of the parts.
Once we find the parts, we need to get the printers to PA. They have to be shipped to England first. Once there, something has to happen to them (like filling them with yellow teeth or something). Once that is done, we have to get them to the States. At this point, it looks like we need to put them on a plane and fly them over because boats take too damn long. So, $7500 per printer later, we’ll be able to get the printers to PA.
I mean…we all know where I work when I say RedCompany, don’t we? It should not be this hard to get our hands on production-grade printers. Amazingly it is.
Once they get to the States, we have to worry about Customs. As I learned several years back when trying to bring a cargo container full of custom die-cut flip flops into the States from China, Customs can be a bitch. These printers may clear in an hour; they may clear in a month. We will never know.
Once we get them to PA, there’s something called a “burn in period” during which, I believe, you make sure the printer works. If I am reading my calendar correctly, we have less time between delivery and implementation than there is between deliver and end of burn in. So, if you have loved ones who have Medicare D coverage, you may be getting a lot of smudgy paper early in 2008.
I hate the keyboard on my laptop. Actually, it’s not on the laptop. I have plug-in keyboard and I hate it. It’s sticky. I should go buy a new one and try to expense it. As if I couldn’t type already, this thing makes it a lot harder.
I am now going to try to tell the story of last Thursday night. I can assure you all that it will not be nearly as entertaining as the evening itself was. This is going to be hard because the night was such an assault on the senses and our brains. I’ll try:
We went to Shmuppie’s school at 6:00 for some PTA fun night thing. They had games for the kids to play and were trying to raise cash for the PTA. We decided to try to be good parents and go. Plus, Shmuppie’s boyfriend, T, would be there. JewelrySlut had met T’s mom the day before when they were planning the fall, non-religious, party. Early reports were that they were somewhat normal and held potential.
We got to school and met up with T’s family. Mr. T and I started talking. They’re originally from NY, so he asked me “Giants or Jets?” I responded “Redskins and whoever’s on my fantasy team”. Well, Mr. T then broke all rules of polite society and started talking about his fantasy team. That’s become a rule; don’t talk about your team in public because nobody cares. That’s why I haven’t mentioned at all that my 2 teams are kicking ass. One is doing to my league what the Patriots are doing to the NFL as a whole; ass-raping them with a sandpaper-covered bowling pin.
We chatted and he seemed Ok enough. Shmuppie was acting like her usual retarded self. I don’t know if JewelrySlut and I should be blamed for this, but the kid has no idea how to behave around other people. It’s not that she’s bad or anything; she’s just a retard. She often forgets how to speak or understand English. This often leads to watching her stare blankly at people or just randomly falling down. She also likes to be the center of attention. This is a problem, especially when the retard in her is really kicking into gear. So, Shmuppie played the games they had setup, but was all up in everyone’s business and just acting retarded. I should really film her at some point so you all can see what I mean.
Part of the get together involved dinner. For some sum of $$, you could buy a barbecue plate. We figured that it couldn’t be too bad, so we gave it a try.
Lesson 48,875 of parenting; food at the PTA get together can be that bad.
We got our plates and Shmuppie instantly decided that she didn’t like any of the food. This was done simply on a visual inspection. OK… I tried the pork and it was edible, but barely so. My potato salad had wide strips of something in it. I still have not determined what the strips were. They had a gray color to them and had the consistency of leather. I can’t imagine they were potatoes because I could not conceive in any way how you could transform a potato into such a texture. I’m quite certain it was cardboard.
Our coleslaw was a veritable assault on the senses. IT was bright yellow and had a flavor dreamed up my mad scientists. I can’t describe how it tasted. It was vinegar-y yet sweet. Awful, yet putrid. It was hard to describe. It had this opaque yellow liquid running off of it. I did manage to get Shmuppie to eat a bite of it because I’m mean and wanted to see the face she’d make. She did not disappoint. JewelrySlut and I looked at each other in horror and decided to call it a meal and go get pizza.
This is where things took a turn for the surreal.
We drove down the road to our nearest, not so horrid, pizza place. The plan was to get 3 slices and go home. We though nothing of our plan until the instant I walked in the building. Then, it hit me; we weren’t in NJ any more.
See, in NJ and other civilized parts of the world, they have pre-made pies that sit in a nifty little glass case-thing at the counter. There’s usually a plain pie or 2 and then some whimsical pies that the pizza man decided to make. You order up a few slices, wait 2 minutes for them to heat up, and leave. All simple.
Back to Raleigh. I walked through the doors and reality hit me. There would be no prepared pies waiting to be sliced up and heated. We were in trouble. About a second after I realized the trouble we were in, I could feel it smack JewelrySlut. She was about a second behind me not because she’s stupid or anything, but because she had Shmuppie. If I’m not mistaken, upon leaving the car, Shmuppie decided that she had forgotten how to walk and had gotten down on all fours and yelled “I’m a panda” or something. She’s been known to do that.
All I wanted to do was leave the pizza place and go home. But, because the place was kinda slow, all 3 people at the counter locked in on me and pulled me into their clutches.
Me (from a somewhat safe distance): Can we just get slices?
Counter Kid: (Blank stare)
Me (Trying to retreat): You know…3 slices of pizza?
Pizza Kid (looks for help from Pizza Guy)
Pizza Guy: (quizzically looks to Pizza Man)
Pizza Man (Burns a hole in my soul with his eyes)
Me: To go?
Pizza Man: Yes
Pizza Kid: Do you want them to go? (Only thing is that, in my state of utter dismay, I heard “Do you want tomatoes on them?”)
Pizza Guy: Yea…they want cheese and everything.
Me (looks back over my shoulder at JewelrySlut and lifts my shirt to show where the words “HELP ME” have formed on my belly)
JewelrySlut: (Horrified stare)
Shmuppie: (Rolling on the floor doing a seal impersonation)
I walk back to the little waiting area by the door.
Me: We’re in trouble, aren’t we?
JewelrySlut: Yes we are. This is going to be bad
Me I know. I should have bailed when we had the chance
JewelrySlut: (trying to look around) What are they doing?
Me: I think they’re making us 3 slices of pizza…from scratch
Shmuppie: (sits on bench…pulls her legs up so her feet are on the bench seat and starts pelvic thrusting/air humping)
JewelrySlut: That’s it. We’re leaving. (Pulls Shmuppie up and leaves to go walk around the strip mall)
Me: Don’t leave me.
I see Pizza Guy emerge with a little pizza box and a look of anger in his eyes. He flings the box at Pizza Kid, mutters something, and goes back to the kitchen. Pizza kid starts feverishly working the register to work up my bill.
It comes to $5.??. I hand over 6 singles. I say “$5.??” because I can’t remember the change. It was either 60-something and I was owed back 30-something or the other way around. All I know is that I want to leave. I can immediately sense that Pizza Kid has no idea how much change I’m owed because he can neither add nor subtract. He stares at me with his soulless eyes.
Pizza Kid: How much do I owe you?
Me: I have no idea. The bill was for 5-something
Pizza Kid (stares at register as if to learn simple arithmetic and to remember our total)
Me: Give me $.50 and we’ll call it even.
I leave with my little pizza box and find the girls. I get in the car and JewelrySlut can’t resist. She needs to see the horror that lies within.
Once we got home, we ate what we’d purchased.
It made the coleslaw look…well, nothing could ever make the coleslaw good, but this was bad. It was over-cooked dough, sauce (not pizza sauce mind you) and mozzarella cheese (not pizza cheese). The pizza managed to be both burnt and soggy all at the same time.
It was not good.
We love Raleigh, we really do, but the whole evening made us long for some real pizza and some real food.
Before I go, I’ll add that I could go for some pot roast. I’d love to make it, but I can’t. You can’t buy the right kind of meat down here to make it. Beef is not sold in roast form in Raleigh. No bottom round for pot roast, no top round for a simple roast beef. Beef is not what’s for dinner here in the Triangle.