Here Kitty Kitty Kitty

untouchables-malone-4.jpgAdam and Fitz (our 11 year old, bowlegged, overweight, suspected chain smoking, narcoleptic housecat) have an interesting relationship. Whereas Fitz used to crouch, hiss, then waddle from the room when Jack was the one pulling himself around the house like the Sean Connery death scene at the end of The Untouchables, for some reason now that it’s Adam forearm pulling himself across the linoleum Fitz actually approaches and lies down next to him. If that was it I’d say maybe Jack broke him in for Adam, but Adam will then bury his hands deep into Fitz’s coat and yank out handfuls of matted fur. Not just a couple strands mind you, but so much hair that his pudgy fingers look like someone dropped breakfast sausages on the floor of a barber shop.

The other day Kathleen and I walked in the backroom to find Adam apparently administering CPR to Fitz. He was propped up with both hands on Fitz’s chest bouncing up and down like a hobbit doing push-ups on a coon skin cap. We laughed until Adam tried to give him mouth-to-mouth then shot us a look that suggested “Don’t just stand there! Clamp the aorta and give me 20 cc’s of plasma stat.” Kathleen scooped Adam up while I was left to check Fitz’s vitals. Though he survived the ordeal I keep finding cigarette butts on the front porch.

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My Dream Job: Whatever I see next

poopfreezone2.jpgIn a household of Yankee fanatics somehow, someway, the Detroit Tigers have become Jack’s favorite baseball team. He tells me that he wants to be a DH and that he definitely doesn’t want to play a position in the field except for maybe a pitcher. When I told him that pitchers don’t hit in the American League he said he definitely didn’t want to be a pitcher. (Despite having a rocket for an arm with surprisingly accurate location… for a 4 ½ year old that is)

He also told me the other day that he wanted to be a boxer. And then we saw the mailman and he told me he wanted to be a mailman. At that point I’m sure if the next thing he saw was a dog using our front lawn as a toilet he would have said he wanted to be a dog when he grew up.

He also mentioned that he wants to be a dinosaur when he grows up. I checked the classifieds for him on Sunday and there aren’t too many positions out there for a welterweight-power hitting-letter delivering-Tyrannosaurus Rex. He sounds about as sure of what he wants to be when he grows up as I am. And though it does sound like fun to be a dinosaur I’d like to know a little more about salary range, insurance coverage and retirement plan options before I register for an online dinosaur correspondence class. And if that doesn’t work out maybe I’ll just try pooping in the grass.

Godzilla Vs. Tonight’s Specials

megalon.jpgA few weeks ago I had dinner with a few colleagues at a Morton’s Steakhouse. Upon entering the establishment it was immediately apparent that despite it being only 7:30 we were literally the only patrons there.

After being seated and scanning the menu for a few seconds (which is all it took since it was a single sheet of paper without any gratuitous food shots) our server wheeled over a silver push cart on which was an assortment of steaks and an enormous sea crustacean that was either a Lobster or Megalon; nemesis of Godzilla and protector god of the underwater city of Seatopia. The steaks were, as far as I could tell, no longer living, but were still secured in place by plastic wrap to their respective plates. Conversely, the Lobstrosotie, which was most certainly still alive, was merely placed on a dish without the restraints, shackles, and/or manacles that would have been required to keep the prehistoric beast from lunging across the table and severing my carotid artery with its claws.

Though in the end we all decided to order items without an exoskeleton, I was impressed by the way Morton’s engages its customers by literally bringing their menu to life. Though our server probably spent a little extra time with us as she had no other tables to check on, the simple act of wheeling a live lobster and some of their finest cuts over to a table instead of relying on lifeless menu photos (by making the experience real) must increase impulse orders and increase check averages; not to mention create an immediate bond between customers and a server who has to wrestle with an angry 7lb lobster while listing off the daily specials.

Not every organization can impress its customers with shellfish, but every organization can do the little things to make a customer experience more engaging, more real.

Does this email make me look fat?

jeans_024.jpgA friend just sent me a cryptic instant message claiming that he recently discovered that the Thought Police that monitor the daily activities within the dystopian society that is his 9 to 5 have decided to go Big Brother by monitoring websites visited and the email of all employees as it arrives and leaves the office. Essentially, individual web browsing (do people still surf the web or the information superhighway?) and the incoming and outgoing emails are being seen by eyes other than those for whom they were intended. I used to work at an organization that executed that same level of paranoid scrutiny so I know precisely how he feels. Kind of like I’m trying on a snazzy shirt with a sharp pair of slacks in a JC Penny dressing room when I suddenly realize there’s a 62 year old minimum wage sweaty rent-a-cop open mouth kissing the other side of the two-way mirror. It’s creepy and I feel violated. Flattered …. but violated.

Those Private eyes they’re watching you they see your every move. Private eyes they’re watching you Private eyes they’re watching you watching you watching you watching you. I have to apologize, I’m afflicted with a rare form of Tourettes Syndrome where I randomly blurt out Hall & Oates Lyrics. Last time it struck was at a recent Lionel Richie concert in Binghamton. As you can imagine Mr. Richie didn’t take to kindly to having his encore of Say You, Say Me interrupted with the lyrics of Maneater.

For me this brings up the question of the expectations of privacy in the workplace and, of course, why I was at a Lionel Richie concert. What right to privacy do individuals have in the workplace and can management create an unhealthy culture by insisting on knowing everything everyone is doing at every moment of the day? Rhetorical more than inquiry, but it was on my mind.

I should get back to work now. The security guard behind the glass just brought me some more pants to try on. He said the other ones were too loose.

The Circadian Rhythm is gonna get you

270px-kelly_clarkson_1.jpgEither Nadira Hira is writing on issues that uniformly affect an entire generation or it’s merely coincidence that I empathize with yet another one of her posts. I wouldn’t have felt obliged to share had I not just had this same conversation on sleep deficiency with a couple friends over dinner the other night. During dinner I confessed that many nights recently I’ve been up until 2:00 or 3:00am watching Conan O’Brien and Sports Center while emailing and chatting with other insomniacs, that is until my brain succumbs to its unnatural circadian rhythms and I finally fall asleep. Then every morning follows the same pattern:

5:30 am – Cell Phone alarm goes off. I turn it off and go back to sleep
5:35 am – Cell Phone alarm goes off again. I turn it off, roll out of bed, put on my work out clothes and running shoes
5:45 am – Drive to the gym with a cup of coffee.

By 6:00 even though I am still probably technically asleep I am running on a treadmill which is one of a bank of treadmills that is set up in front of a window that looks down at the street. Despite my desire to get a semblance of a work-out in before the day starts, I’m haunted by the vision of me stumbling on the treadmill, falling and being shot out the window to the street below. A plummeting somnambulist lost in a cascade of shattered glass.

After a shower and some more coffee under my belt, as they say, I arrive at the office around 8:30. By 8:35 I usually make my way to the counter of the coffee shop across the street where I order yet more coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. One day last week though, much to my chagrin, not only did the cream cheese not come pre-spread on the bagel but instead in a small container on the side, but it also came without a knife. I asked the person at the counter if I could have a plastic knife and she motioned to a station on the other side of the shop and said, “They’re over there.” I left my food on the table, walked over the station, grabbed a plastic knife and walked back to my food. Unfortunately, the knife was not a knife but was in fact a fork. I walked back across the shop, retuned the fork, grabbed a knife and said to the person behind the counter with a laugh as I passed by, “They’re all upside down in the holders. They all look the same.” Returning to my bagel I moved to scoop the cream cheese from its container with the knife except it wasn’t a knife, it was a spoon. Embarrassed I walked back across the shop, returned the spoon, picked up a knife, made sure it was a knife, said nothing the person behind the counter as I passed by, retrieved my now cold bagel and lukewarm coffee and returned to work. Whether it was due to a lack of sleep or some rare form of utensil dyslexia I finally realized I had a problem.

I’ve tried the rocks glass of whiskey before bed (hello AA is right) but that only disrupts my sleeping pattern even more. Unfortunately, the privacy room at my office is a broom closet in the hall that no one ever checks. Ever tried to use a mop head as a pillow and a hefty bag as a blanket? I’m worse than George Costanza.

It may be, as Nadira says, just a seasonal thing, growing older or working harder, but something’s got to give soon. Even my Kelly Clarkson CD isn’t working anymore and that used to always put me to sleep.