office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Live from Galen Drive

I have been on the road/in the air, suitcase and laptop in hand for almost two and half weeks now. The homewerker has been 'home' for a mere 10 hours during that time period, to do laundry, repack and sleep a little. After returning from my time in the Dominican Republic (which was incredible!), Jake, Lexi and I packed up Pedro the Laredo and headed to the homeland, Minnesota!

Jake just finished his semester and I took a few vacation days around the long Memorial weekend, but I've also taken advantage of my incredibly flexible job and have been 'werking from home' in Minnesota. In the midst of helping some family members sell/pack/move from house to house, it's been great to be able to get some werk done and catch up on the werk that piled up while I was soaking up my time in the DR.

Tomorrow is another vacation day so that we can travel the 1,000 miles back to our home in Colorado. Say some prayers for a smooth ride, tornado free skies, and an early arrival! I'm really excited to ditch the suitcase for at least a few weeks!
Seriously pooped...
Apparentely even this is comfortable...

Miss Lexi, excited for her 14 hour nap in the car tomorrow!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dominican Republic

I leave for the DR at 7:40am tomorrow morning. That means I am leaving the house at 5am...I should probably tip my driver pretty well, huh? (Sorry Jake!)

My goal in the next two hours is to be completely packed. That way I can enjoy my last night at home with Jake and Lexi, without buzzing around my lists of outfits and things 'not to forget'. As I learned from my last business trip...REMEMBER THE CELL PHONE. Not that I'll be using it in the DR, but my day long lay overs in Miami might find a cell phone useful.

Other things not to forget: a spanish-english pocket dictionary, probably boxed up with my college mementos...pack an overnight bag with clothes for Sunday since we won't be unloading the bus we pack on Saturday night...a digital camera, cord, and batteries...and of course, the passport!

I currently have 1 hour and 56 minutes. Let's see if I can get away with only checking one bag for the 7 days I'm gone....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Talkin' bout the weather

See that sheen on the rocks? That's rain. See the dead-ish weeds poking out between that cracks? That's my weekend project, probably for the rest of the summer. 

I took this picture to prove to you that Colorado does indeed have a handful of rainy days. We are now in the midst of a gloomy 2-day run of rain and gray skies. That's really unusual for a state that gets 300 days of sunshine a year. Usually that only happens when I have family visiting from out of state, looking for some vitamin D. 

People often ask me if I've 'gone soft' after moving here from Minnesota, and my answer is, yes...but I'm not as bad some Front Range Natives who literally hibernate at the prediction of snow and refuse to enjoy being outside if it is below 40 degrees. I still find cold weather to be crisp and refreshing, and it's always bearable because we usually only have a two week cold snap and then we're right back to our balmy 40+ degree weather in the middle of winter. I've even eaten my lunch outside in January before, without a jacket. 

So, while by Minnesota standards I am turning into a weather-weanie, by Colorado standards I think I must be pretty tough. I can remember several times when I was walking Lexi in our Colorado Springs neighborhood, bundled up to my eyeballs, and I could literally walk down the middle of the street and not even worry about getting hit by a car, because I was walking her in the snow. And it was beautiful. 

So, I felt compelled to take a picture of the rain falling on my patio because I am enjoying this change in weather, I am glad that my grass is turning green, and it's a lot easier to focus on werk on days like this. Embrace the rainy days, Coloradans, they are a rare treat! 

(**I must still have some Minnesotan lingering in me because I just spent an entire post observing the weather, and Minnesotans are absolutely EXPERTS when it comes to talking about the weather). 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wish in one hand, Crap in the other.

I am thankful for this blog because it has become many things to me, like a brain break in the midst of email storms, an outlet beyond the four walls of my home office, and occasionally for my friends who also read this blog...a topic of conversation. I am also thankful for this blog because it has forced me to be a little more transparent with how I really feel about important things like: the way our mail lady slams the lid of our mail box, the beauty of the internet, the trap of hotel conference room chairs, and why I'm a reform(ed)/(ing) nail biter. Writing a blog can teach you a lot about yourself.

I also recognize that this could become my secret dumping ground for every negative thought I have about werk or co.werkers, but I try very very hard to refrain from that, and most days I'm successful. Venting is not healthy, it is just negativity breeding more negativity, and slowly your smelly bitter feelings begin to rot you from the inside out. I know, I was totally there when I werked for the newspaper. It.was.gross.

I've even had a few people tell me that I'm funny and they enjoy my writing, which is extremely humbling and to be honest...only encourages me to throw another b-log (post) on the fire. Haha, ok, corny joke. Have I mentioned yet that my sense of humor tends to rival that of a 70+ year old man? (Hence Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men are still my all time favorite movies!)

I find it interesting that I have started every paragraph with "I" so far...and blogging tends to be a little egocentric at times. I guess that's just what happens when you create a blog about a your own situation, give it a cute background and a semi-naughty little name and get comments about it. Right?

Another interesting thing is that occasionally I have the 'stats' portion of the blog tell me that someone from Singapore is reading this blog...who are you?! I have a pretty good guess at who is reading this in Germany and the UK (but again, who are YOU?)...but Singapore? Interesting. Or rather, what is interesting about this blog to you?...I'd seriously love to know! :) (Shameless plug for more blog comments, here) (Another shameless plug for more blog followers, here).

That's it, I'm finished blogging about blogging. Happy Hump-Day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

25% Travel

Well, werk seems to be slowing down my blogging these days, which is a very good thing for those of us who like to feel productive in our jobs. On the other hand, I don't want to leave you guys hanging, for fear that you will lose trust in my ability to find some crazy picture or topic to blog about on a regular basis.

When I took the job I am in now, my biggest question for my boss was, "What does this little line about '25% travel' mean in the job description?". His answer was that it was pretty standard for a job at my level, and that they included it so that I wouldn't be surprised if it did indeed end up having me on the road 1 out of 4 werk days a year. Lately...I am beginning to see a pattern develop that is slowly building to this '25% travel' standard. And I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

Before I was Jake's wife and Lexi's mom, I probably was living my life from trip to trip (not mention, paycheck to paycheck). Now that I've got a little family unit, a cozy little (rental) house in Denver, and a sweet home.werking gig, it's a little less tempting to hop on a plane to 'exotic' places like Dallas, TX and OshKosh, WI and New York, New York.

When you are stuck in a hotel and don't get to actually 'be in the place you are in', it's kind of like telling someone you've been to Texas before, but only for 30 minutes on a layover at the airport. It's a lot less tempting to be away from home when you're late-twenties metabolism has slowed and you are stuck eating out for breakfast-lunch-and-dinner 5 days in a row (MAKE GOOD CHOICES!).

It's also harder to be away from home when you are used to unwinding at the end of the day with someone, whether that be an extended snuggle with your increasingly-human-golden-retriever, or just brushing your teeth at the same time as your husband and hearing about each other's days through the minty foam in your mouths. Ah, home sweet home...

The allure of traveling for werk is this: WERK.FREEDOM! You are not trapped in your office, whether that be the land.of.cubicles or the home office. Your company is paying for your coffee in the morning, and it's always nice to have someone else buy your coffee for you...right? You are including variety and change in the pace of your, which is VERY good for the brain and VERY healthy for any creative juices that are probably required of you in one way or another at werk. You are meeting new people (yay for the extroverts!!), you are entering another culture, and you GET to do this for your job (insert, I <3 my job sticker, here). Next week I even get to go to the Dominican Republic and spend time engaging with the most important parts of our organization: our constituents and our beneficiaries. Plus I intend to bring back mounds of delicious coffee beans to further fuel my home.werking.

The worst part about travelling for werk is that Jake can't come with me. He's my best friend, the most interesting person to travel with (ever, in the history of the world), and he likes to really experience a place by trying to be a local (which is the most fun way to travel, unless you are drinking tap water in Mexico. Bad idea.). So this 25% travel thing is a two-sided coin for me. And while I try to make the most of every opportunity I'm given in life, there will always be a big part of me that is sad to be hopping around the world without my best friend. And sometimes, it just feels a lot like this:

Friday, May 6, 2011

numb butt

What were you doing, April 26-May 5? Is there one thing that really sticks out? Well for me, I'll tell you, it was this:
I have literally been sitting on my butt for the past two werk weeks, in super uncomfortable 'hotel conference room' type chairs. I now know exactly what it feels like to have separate parts of my upper and lower butt cheeks go numb for hours on end, with no possible amount of shifting, twisting and turning to alleviate the discomfort. 

Active listening while enduring numb-butt can be a rather taxing thing to do for days on end. I have literally sat through 3 days of conference sessions and workshops, just listening (or day dreaming about standing up, and walking through the hotel lobby, and out the front door). 

This week was a week of quarterly meetings at our headquarters in the Springs, so while there's a little more involved than just being a sponge with my butt stuck in a chair, there's still a lot of sitting to be done. Including the two hour round trip drive from my home office to headquarters. 

Time to start doing some squats or lunges or something. If I don't, I'm afraid my bum may conform to the flat and unflattering contour of every nasty meeting room chair it's imprinted in the past two weeks. 
Not mine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rise Above It

Today, I have de-friended a few people on facebook, who have posted anything regarding the fact that Osama Bin Laden should rot in hell. You have been warned...

Or, as a country radio station I had on earlier today said, R.I.H. (rot in hell). I snapped the station off and drove down my street, wondering how in the world it's ok to say such things so openly. I am not someone who sides with extremes or majorities, it's just not in my nature. Which is why, quite frankly, it's a blessing to my home-werking soul on many many days to avoid office small-talk, opinions, and people who feel the need to 'over-share' about highly polarizing things like politics, money, marriage, etc. I respect and value a little thing called privacy, like anonymous elections, having a password on my bank account, and the fact that some things in my marriage with Jake will always just be between the two of us.

I guess that's why I feel assaulted or berated when the uber-opinionated of the world feel the need to throw around their strong thoughts and feelings in a way that will undeniably force people to choose sides. To react. To escalate.

I'm all for a healthy conversation and truly respect people with different opinions from me, especially when that respect is mutual and shared. We are seeking to learn from each other through our vulnerability and expressions, not to harm another person or prove them wrong. Be sensitive, listen to where others are coming from, and you will always learn something new.


Well, last week was quite the whirlwind. It started off with a travel day to Dallas, TX on Monday, three packed 8am-9pm days of conferences Tuesday through Thursday, and a travel day home on Friday. So I may be an extrovert, but even THAT was a little overwhelming for me. I am super thankful for the incredible co-werker I shared a room with this past week, she allowed me to have down time and just relax (checking facebook and enjoyed the royal wedding festivities just as much as I did last week). Talk about needing a brain break.

To top it all off, I "felt completely naked and like my arm was chopped off" (in the words of a dear FB friend), when I realized I left my trusty iphone at home as soon as I got through Denver security on Monday. Talk about moment of first instinct to call Jake and have him bring me my phone was completely contradictory since I simply couldn't call him. I managed to hop on the internet at DIA and send him a few frantic emails before hopping on my flight, but guess what...5 days later and I survived. No phone, no safety net from awkward social situations, no constant checking my life in the outside world. It was just me and the CLA conference, baby!

Oh, and I used a payphone for the first time in about 15 years once I got to cost me about $18 since I didn't have enough quarters on hand to make the 1-minute call...but at that point, it was my only option. Seriously...stay away from those payphones, kids. They'll rip you off. Whatever happened to needing a dime and a nickel to call your mom to come and pick you up? Verizon had me as a victim of supply and demand, so $18 later I connected with my co-werkers at the rental car counter. Ridiculous.