How (not) to leave a tip for your office cleaning staff!

May 24, 2010

I used to laugh at those stories about girls in the 1970s needing pliers to do up their jeans – not anymore! Turns out there’s a reason why fashion’s perennial pariah, pleats, were welcomed back as the prodigal pants of the 80s. The hippies thought they’d put an end to war too, but then along came 9/11 and the skinny jean trend, and we’re right back in the dark ages.

There I was, wedged into a cramped stall in our office washroom, enmeshed in an epic struggle with two stonewashed denim sausage casings – the kind of jeans you have to peel rather than pull. They’d been almost bearable when I’d ratcheted them on in the morning, but by our 4:27pm duel, my thighs had set stiff like a couple of cement filled foundation tubes. Ever been so claustrophobic you started fantasizing about jerry-rigging some primitive form of culotte out of old recycling bags and packing tape?

I’d just flushed (sorry TMI), and was jumping up and down, heaving on the waistband, when an odd thing happened. One quarter, one dime, and two pennies, popped free of my front pocket and dropped into the – still flushing – toilet. I watched the water swirl, then settle, leaving my small collection of coins adrift in the bottom of the bowl. I ask you this… What, pray tell, is the etiquette in this sort of situation?

I made an executive decision; I left a tip. I thought of sticking a post-it on the seat to explain, but what would I really say? That I my pants were too tight? That I think another woman’s dignity can be bought for a measly 37 cents? The office cleaning woman and I wear the clothes of different cultures, and now my jeans have driven another wedge between us. It’s no wonder the hippies were wrong about war – just think of all those stems and seeds they left for the rest of the world to clean up.


Chillin’ on the carpet at work – don’t ask

December 17, 2009

Sometimes we find ourselves doing strange things in strange places for the people we love... yesterday morning was one of those times.

What was I up to? You’ll find out soon! Hint: It took three dozen tries to get the right angle (this one was a major miss) 

I know I shouldn’t blog about people at work, but…

September 28, 2009

It has come to my attention that four out of this company’s sixteen employees – a full 25% – are wearing glasses held together by quintessentially nerdist means. I know we are a geophysical data processing firm, but seriously! I mean really, could we get any more cliché:

Culprit 1: Scotch tape (keeping it simple with what’s at hand)

Culprit 2: Plastic shrink-wrap sleeve reinforced with Scotch tape (because I’m – yes, of course I’m on this list too – an all or nothing kind of gal, in my loves, in my dreams, and apparently in my DIY eyewear repairs)

Culprit 3: Electrical tape (for a more discreet look, because one can never sacrifice style)

Culprit 4: An ungainly silver ball of soldering (because one must have style before one can sacrifice it)

I don’t dare rank us in terms of nerdiness, but you’re welcome give it a try. Oh, and sorry #4, but look on the bright side; I’m sure your repair will outlast all of ours. And anyways, there’s something to be said for a touch of asymmetrical nerd bling – Jay-Z would be proud~wink.

Ideation to creation: Teaming up for the ultimate ‘co-worker just had a baby’ card

May 28, 2009


Path from ideation to creation

Path from ideation to creation

When a co-worker is having a baby, the customary grocery store cake just doesn’t cut it. Finding a sugar saturated, crumb-ling ruin in the office kitchen can be boost on a birthday, I suppose, but bringing a new life into this world demands celebration. The card above is the result of two artistic (and neurotically perfectionist) minds coming together, created (astonishingly) without either of those lives being taken from this wold by the other. This brain sketched out half a dozen concepts – only fluorescent pink will do for the most serious ideation – and illustrator Christina Nichols fleshed out what was “deemed” (tension, what tension?) the most promising.

The 'winning' concept sketch

The 'winning' concept sketch

Our receptionist’s hair is 100% true to life, and so is her handwriting. It’s amazing what you can produce when you open your eyes to the diverse, even under-the-radar, skills of the people you work with. True, the diplomacy has a time and energy cost, but teaming up is the only way to create an optimized skill set guaranteed to take your projects to the next level. Teamwork can make for a dandy card too, and it’s the only way I know to get your stork turned the right way round!

How to bring a sense of awe into your office (with this DIY meditation retreat)

May 15, 2009
Stack empty Xerox paper-roll boxes according to the diagram below...
Bring the wonder of Stonehenge to your job with ‘Officehenge’!
Diagram of Stonehenge

Stack your empty Xerox boxes to match the Stonehenge diagram.

For when you're having a busy day...

Perfect for when you’re having a busy day at work…

...this coworker re-centers herself.

…this coworker re-centers herself.

But if you really want a Stonehenge that’ll
make all your worries disappear… CLICK HERE


(Source of Stonehenge diagram)

Elevators are treacherous in this economy

January 23, 2009
So… I happen to get in the elevator this morning with one of my office’s biggest oil company clients. I recognized her, despite red eyes and wild this-$34-a-barrel-is-killing-me hair, as Peggy-Ann, a charmer from the 17th floor. And I, as a dedicated and motivated employee, proceeded to make small talk. Groan – that’s when everything went so wrong…
“So I guess you’ve heard we’re moving,” I said.
Her eyes went wide with obvious shock and horror. “Matrix is moving????!”
This is where yours truly entered panic mode. Ah yes, the full-on arm flailing, the sheepish grinning, the hopelessly hole digging sputtering… and it all happened so fast – “just down the street…we’ll still be super close…you didn’t hear it from me…” Ohhhhh the agony!!! Did I just give out a corporate secret? Did I just somehow sabotage our company’s biggest contract? What does one do in this type of calamity?
Well…one fesses up to one’s boss in the office kitchen while trying to look extra “dedicated and motivated” by rearranging the pop cans in the bottom of the fridge. End result? Life…somehow…goes on. Turns out it was no biggie. And, as a bonus, now all the logos on the pop cans are lined up.

I’m so ashamed…

December 5, 2008

It’s finally happened. I thought growing up with a 13inch black and white, constantly snow screened, cableless TV would immunize me. No such luck. I thought only those poor souls black’buried’ under cellphones and laptops would be afflicted. Nope. I never felt the change – that’s the scariest part – of my brain and body slowly rewiring under constant sensory assault. I never felt it happening, only the horror of realizing it was too late. The damage is done. Our pace of life has been jacked up to max and our attention spans have petered out to mere milliseconds. Case in point?

It’s 8:02AM. Already late, I jump in the first elevator that opens (out of the bank of eight) in my office tower. I press ’29’, and my eyes immediately search out the in-ride plasma TV. But it’s blank! And I, truly, no joke, the kid who used to be able to play with a bag of buttons for hours, make a dash for the closing doors. Somehow, in that instant, thrusting my body between two giant slabs of squeezing metal (not to mention being that much more late for work) was preferable to the agony of being without sensory input for 30 seconds. Luckily, I clued in to my idiocy just in time and pulled back.

Was the ride boring? Not at all. I had a good solid 30 seconds to contemplate my insanity. Which, as you can imagine, was about all the time my attention span could afford lol. What’s usually on the elevator plasma? Prices for stocks I don’t own, news I don’t follow, reviews for movies I’ll never see, and a small logo in the lower left hand corner of the screen – Captive Entertainment…wooops, my mistake, Captivate Entertainment. Guess it’s time for some new contacts, cause I sure ain’t seeing what’s right in front of me. Or maybe I am… ; )