The morning began in an unusually, exceptionally crappy way.
At 2:25 am, Moose deposited a combination of stomach acid and recently enjoyed yard poop onto the pale blue and white comforter. The wretched sounds of the retching and licking of an attempted re-ingestion, combined with the toxic fragrance of bile and poop tickled me awake. I dragged myself out of bed to scrub off the nastiness, reminded how the comforter had just, one day earlier, been washed and replaced on the bed after a month in the laundry room since the last time he got sick on it. That time, Moose had deposited a perfectly intact pineapple chunk in a fragrant bile sauce. The pineapple had been fed to both dogs after reading that it would help curb their taste for poop (or, Coprophagia, if you want to be all veterinary about it). The pineapple had the same non-effect as the liver flavored tablets bought at PetsMart. As for the comforter – it is now referred to as the “Late night bad luck comforter.”
Several hours later, having shaken off the crude, early awakening, I arrived at work ready for coffee. An earlier arriving coworker had, as usual, started the delicious brew. As I transferred the fresh coffee from the Bunn coffee pot to the thermos, charred liquid splatted onto the counter. Turned out, the glass coffee pot had a crack running all the way across the bottom. Luckily, there was a spare pot in the cabinet, because we are a crew not equipped to face a day sans a steady flow of coffee. Preferably in a cup.
After the kitchen cleanup and back at my desk with coffee and yogurt, it was time for the new Prednisone (take with food or milk!) prescribed to help with my recently acquired difficulty breathing (now on day 10!). This was followed with a hit from the new inhaler which loosens the vise grip on my chest for about, oh, 30 minutes at best (if at all).
Usually there are just a few emails awaiting my attention, but this particular morning there were 140 of them. A quick scan revealed exactly two of them to be legitimate – a Google news alert about a client and a marketing trade newsletter. The rest were spam, mostly from “IT Help Desk” (FAKE! – it is an individual with a name at my office), “Stelter Service Desk” (another unknown entity) and “IT Support” (again, another nonexistent company department). Highlight and delete!
During a morning conference call with Boss 2 of 2 and a client, I learned (to my horror) that I would be part of a press conference announcing the project. On a project I was only recently brought into, and for which I was not part of the project proposal or strategic planning. Normally the bosses handle this, but the one leading this project will be out of town. Before I had time to fully absorb the (excitable) weight loss potential of stressing over being part of a press conference (instead of a reporter or a bystander) and the (miraculous) chance that maybe my clothes would fit again, it was pointed out that the press conference would take place in two days. Worse, a scan of the agenda has “Q & A” next to my name. There better be no “Q” for me, because chances are very good the “A” will be stammering gibberish. The best we can hope for are variations of “We are very excited to be working on this project.”
Back at my desk, a deadline hung like the sword of Damocles on another project for another client. For weeks, I have been doing everything in my power to keep this initiative on track but circumstances beyond my cubicle seem to have wrested it out of my control and sent it and me into Limbo, Dante’s first of the nine Circles of Hell. You know, the eternal lounge for the guiltless damned.
And I wonder why I have chest pains and trouble breathing.
A phone call from a friend following up on a party invitation for Saturday to which I neglected to respond had me feeling slightly chastened. The invite arrived under the email name of a co-host I didn’t recognize into an email account I rarely check, which really sounds like a bunch of lames-ass excusery, but is the truth. At least it hadn’t been deleted, it just hadn’t been opened. But I am now forgiven and allowed to attend the party.
A 1:00 staff meeting to review statuses and priorities (rescheduled from two failed attempts a day earlier) forced a lunch reschedule from my usual 12:45 ish to 1:45 ish (timed to accommodate the bladders of the fur beasts) to a more brunch like slot (11:30 – 12:30). Imagine my joy when, at 1:00, after having prepared updated statuses for said meeting for the now third time, it was rescheduled to 2:30, and then again to 2:30 to the next day.
During the brunch break, I stopped at Walgreen’s to pick up the second batch of Christmas card test prints. In my head and on the screen of my iMac, the card image is a vibrant close-up shot of a few branch tips of my silver foil tree framing a nice shiny, brightly colored ornament. For the second test round, I used every little sliding button available in the standard photo editing package on my computer and altered the saturation, the tints, the detail. The result was three versions that look wicked cool on screen. Unfortunately, in print, every one of them is a dull, muddy mess that looks as rotten as the first failure. Instead of tweaking the photo more, I decided to reshoot it after yoga after work.
After work (and before yoga), a quick trip across town to Goodwill in North Clarksville was needed to acquire an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” for a party on Friday. There was an entire rack of the hideous things there before Thanksgiving and before the event was planned. On Black Friday, there was not a single one to be found at City Thrift. The next day there were none at the Goodwill nearest my house. This visit was my last hope. And it was hopeless. The only things on the “Christmas clothing” rack were assorted pajama bottoms and toddler wear, and this was the only “Christmas clothing” rack to be found in three thrift stores. As I purchased a Plan B sweater to be self-festooned to within an inch of its life, the clerk said the Christmas sweaters flew out the door. “Ugly Christmas Sweater” is big party theme in town this year. The worst part is – I had one from a party last year, and in total violation of my packrat tendencies, I donated it back to Goodwill during the spring “planning to move purge and pack initiative.” The same mission has all my Christmas bake ware held hostage in a box somewhere in the depths of the basement. I was, after all, supposed to be living somewhere closer to the North Pole by now.
After yoga, a trip to WalMart, and a bowl of “I can’t believe I even screwed up ramen” laced with Sriracha sauce and the last of the Cheeze Whiz (meaning no chance to start over), it was time to reshoot the Christmas card photo. The tripod was retrieved from the coat closet, first exciting the dogs, who were inspired by the sound of the coat closet door into thinking we were going for a nighttime stroll. This was followed by the sound of their claws scrambling on the hardwood floor as they made a harried escape from the tripod being set up. Although much less noisy, it is almost as horrific to them as the erection of the ironing board. Five frames into the reshoot, the battery died in the camera, suspending all photo activity until a recharge.
By this point, I was more than ready for the day to be over. I called it done and the dogs and I retired to bed. Thankfully, screwy days like this come around only once in a while.