Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Who's the Boss

It's no secret that Herbie is a little rocket scientist.  He's always been precocious, and has always been able to clearly communicate when he wants something, or when one of his coworkers has done something bad. 

This evening, as I was trying to get some grading done, Himself(as Herbie's august personage is often referred to by the rest of us) was haranguing me as if he wanted to go outside.  He'd just been. 4 times. But as I live to serve, I walked into kitchen toward the back door, as he slowly walked in front of me, turning his head every few steps to make sure I was following him(he has no faith in his idiot human's ability to comprehend), while the rest of the gang merrily jostled along with me.  He stopped just before getting to the door(it's on the far end of the kitchen) and when I continued to the door and opened it, he stood there looking at me as if I was a total idiot.  Um, OK.  I got the others out/back in and went back to the computer.  Repeat of the yelling and asking me to follow him.  This time I figure out that he is staring pointedly back and forth between me and the cupboard wherein our two-footed office companion keeps the container of T R E A T S with which she bribes the rest of the staff to come back inside. It seems they have conditioned her to give them these tasty morsels EVERY👏SINGLE👏 TIME👏  they come in from outside.  I had not followed this well established protocol, and Herbie was making sure I FOLLOWED the RULE(you may have gathered that Herbie likes things to be done properly).  This of course meant that everybody in the office came running for theirs too. Rest assured I will be speaking to the two-footer about implementing new policy without approval.

Delicacies distributed, I went back to work.  In short order, Herbie was back, staring me down. I managed to pretend I didn't notice him, so he upped the ante and started chirruping softly at me. When that didn't work he finally raised his voice, at which point I gave in and headed back to the kitchen door.  Nope.  This time he was staring at the water bowl, which I had just filled during our last excursion.  It still had plenty of water, but I noticed upon further inspection that were were particles in it from his coworkers having had dirt in their mouths when they drank from it 20 minutes earlier.  Well, one can't expect Himself to drink water with dirt particles(and possibly poop, if I'm honest, we have one that will eat poop if I am not watching closely enough) floating around it in. So, I washed the bowl, refilled with the filtered water(of course they get filtered, I'm not an animal!). His Royal Highness deigned to drink.

I thought for sure I could now get some work done, but nope, there was one more problem. This time he tapped me on the leg with his paw. Lightly at first, but then a bit of a smack.  And then a nudge with the nose, followed by more chirruping.  I look over to see him staring daggers at the Head of Security, who was happily snoozing on the ottoman.  It was after regular work hours you see, so she was well within her rights, one would think.  But one would be wrong. Herbie wanted THAT SPOT. He proceeded to yell in her general direction. Most undignified, but there you have it.  I coaxed her out of that spot(don't tell the others, but I gave her a TREAT)and onto one of the beds that is on the floor, whereupon Herbie took up residence upon the ottoman, and peace was restored in our establishment.  I think he has made it clear that he is, indeed, the Boss of Me(regardless of my having implied otherwise in prior posts).
(he did eventually
take pity on her and allow her and Bratwurst onto the chair behind him)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Troll Under the Bridge(errr, Bed)

This work from home thing is a mixed bag.  I like working in comfy clothes, and not having to worry much about my hair. But I miss my school coworkers; they are so much less likely to bite each other or pee on the floor(sigh).

So, the other day I chose to sleep in a bit(was up late in a buying frenzy on Teachers Pay Teachers) when I was awoken by a Troll under my bed. You may remember the fairy tale about the troll under the bridge? I had one under my bed.  

Allow me to explain: my smaller(and least likely to shed) office mates tend to sleep with me. They come and go as they please, at speed, according to whether or not the two-footed office mate is opening bananas in the kitchen, or giving out T R E A T S(can't say that one out loud!), and I am accustomed to the occasional mass exodus, followed shortly thereafter by a torrent of little bodies hurtling onto the bed and trodding across my slumbering personage as they jockey for position under the covers or on the pillows or on top of my feet. I am accustomed to it, and my sleep is relatively uninterrupted by their comings and goings.

On this ill-fated morning however, things did not go according to our norm. Instead of the pitter-patter of prancy, bananna-fed paws, there was a great hue and cry.  There was scuffling and scrabbling and all sorts of unsavory noise and even(dare I say?) fisticuffs.  I peered over the edge of the mattress to find that Pistol Pete had installed himself under the bed, and from this fortified location was preventing the return of those seeking to rejoin me within the warmth of the covers, much as the storied Troll prevented travelers from crossing his bridge.  As they tried to leap onto the bed, he came hurtling out from under, screaming a battle cry and attempting to bite all and sundry. One or two made it past Pete's battlement, but the majority were prevented, to which they objected strongly, hurling their own insults back at Pete, and showing all their teeth.  Some of them withdrew to the safety of the doorway, from which they continued screaming obscenities, waving fists and rattling shields.  Mel and Smokey independently chose to face down Pete, resulting in the fisticuffs to which I earlier referred. Neither party was able to dissuade Pete from his course, and indeed merely fueled his wrath. Herbie(the eldest member of our establishment) finally had enough and tried to dislodge Pete himself, causing Pete to retreat further under the bed into a space wherein Herbie could not fit. More shaking of fists and hurling of insults were had by all(except the two who were already safely ensconced under my covers and on my pillow), whereupon I was exhorted by Herbie, (he is convinced that I work for him) to DO SOMETHING NOW.  

It took much shaking of treat jars and cajoling, but I was finally able(withOUT getting bitten!) to convince our 13lb troll to come out from under the bed and stop all the ruckus. He was quite pleased with himself.  I will be having words with HR, as I am not at all impressed if this is the result of their team building exercises.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Of backwards swan dives, mind melds, and "team bonding" activities

Monday April 5th 2020

Day 4672 of working from home.  Wait, what's that? ... I've been informed that I know darn well this is only day 21 of working from home and to quit being melodromatic.  😒

Today, my 8lb warrior of a co-worker, he of the snaggly teeth, fierce disposition and carrying knives in his boots, was stretched across my clavicles, pressing himself against my throat and under my chin, to ensure maximum contact for petting purposes.  This state of affairs persisted for quite some time, when out of nowhere- no warning given, no hint whatsoever- he hurled his crazy little self backward in some kind of insane backdive, somehow landing right in the crook of my arm, between my body and the arm of the couch.  This seemed to be his goal, because he stayed happily wedged there for the next hour, requiring belly rubs.  This whole situation of course intefered with my productivity, but HR turns a blind eye to whatever crazy this little lunatic comes up with. So I document...(CYA and all that)

Tuesday, April 6, 2020
Day 22 of working from home
A member of the security team is attempting to undermine my diligent efforts to stay on-task and be productive. (Yes, yes, I was on FB, but I was on my school's Drama Club account.  I was participating in our online efforts to keep the kids engaged and aware that we are still thinking of them. I needed a break from trying to make Google Docs of the last 2 acts of Shakespeare's Othello via NoFear Shakespeare- and yes I got permission from them, I'm a dork like that).  I still need to finish creating a Google Doc for at least one more scene of the play so I can get it uploaded. But he is using his incredible mind melding powers to convince me to go outside and pratice throwing things.  Mind you, he never brings them back-- just happily bounds after the thrown object, nudges it with his nose, looks at me as if to say "Yep! There it is! Right there, see?!?" and happily bounds back to me, sans object.😒 I ask you...  But I digress. He's giving me those "puppy dog eyes"(there're reasons that term has become idiomatic!) and imploring me to please, PLEASE take them OUTSIDE or he just may EXPIRE  from abject MISERY. Right there in my chair. And THEN how will I feel about my choices?
This is a lot of pressure.  It's hardly fair, given the headaches I have subjected myself to trying to reach parents and students, field questions about their online work, learning new programs to facilitate posting online work... I don't need this pressure from our security department. The Head of Security is no help at all.  I honestly think she enourages him.

Wednesday April 7
The Head of Security is in the bathtub.  This storm with it's nonstop rolling thunder has proven more than she can cope with at this moment. Poor baby. It really is one humdinger of a storm.  The thunder has rolled literally nonstop for the past half hour. I've never experienced a storm like it.  And I mean literally- it's like an actual drumroll with no breaks between one clap of thunder and the next. I don't think we need to share this with HR, so we'll keep it just between us, m'kay?

I am just finishing my school work for the day.  My coworkers were uncharacteristically quiet most of the day.  I had two work related phone calls, and only had to use the mute feature a few times.  They even (mostly) held it together when the mail lady came! I mean, sure, some of my smaller colleagues have been licking my toes or my shin here and there, and as usual there is much loafing around and sleeping on the ottoman or couch, but they haven't been yelling out the windows(as much) nor arguing with one another. Maybe HR is making some headway! Will wonders never cease?  I think I'm going to take the whole office outside for some Team Bonding activities.

6:00 pm
I am not sure if this is what HR had in mind when they told me we needed "Team Bonding".  Are aimless running around, yelling ferociously at passersby, or digging under fences HR approved activities?  I need to check the policy manual.  I'm fairly certain that full body contact at speed is discouraged, but these workers just don't seem to care. It's also being made obvious that the new(ish) guy, Smokey Joe, is not yet adept at "working well with others." That said, he's not biting his coworkers as often these days, so that gives me at least something positive for his personnel file.

I'd love to hear from any readers about how things are going with their coworkers during this work from home situation!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Emma- one of the three dogs behind this blog name

Emma was a wolf mix rescued from a high-kill shelter.  It was pre-facebook- I'd gotten a chain e-mail asking for help for a 2-3yr old female GSD. It was a 2 hour drive, my car was in the shop, and we didn't pull dogs from that far away... My friend Kimberly came and got me, we piled all our dogs in her car, and off we went. I knew at first glance this was not a purebred GSD, but nothing was keeping me from bringing her home.  Figured out later that she was part wolf, which gave me an excuse to keep her.
I know this is a long post, but this story is the best one I have to try to share how deeply special Emma was.  I lost her on 4/5/2014. 6 years..The body is a post I wrote on a degenerative myeleopahy support group,on 7/22/08:

When I adopted Emma, it was with the knowledge that she was showing (at age three) some preliminary signs of DM, and she had bone issues in both front elbows(from what she went through before I got her) so I took her in knowing that she probably would end up in wheels(quad) down the road.

Emma was only with me 2 & 1/2 months when she and Starr passed their TDI(Therapy Dog International) certifications. On one of our school visits(a school with a large special needs population), we gave our talk in the cafeteria, where the kids and dogs could move around and visit. One of the things we were asked to discuss is what the rescue does, and the "backstory" on both my girls. Emma had been deemed "unadoptable" and was literally less than 24 hours from euthanasia when I pulled her from the shelter. Why? Because she limped some. I didn't tell the kids the why, just that she had been on death row...
One of the little boys(maybe 8 or 9) had a walker with 4 wheels on it. His legs were VERY crooked and his balance very wobbly. He had thick glasses that rode down on his nose( so he had to kind of tilt his head funny to look up at you), a mop of curly hair I just wanted to ruffle, and the world's sweetest smile. He stood silently watching Emma for a while during the free time, then said to me: "That dog, she walks kind of funny huh." I said, yes she does! He wanted to know why. I tried to put it in 8yr old terms. "The bones in her legs are a little crooked and chipped, so that makes her limp. But that doesn't make her any less wonderful, she is happy and likes to play, and I think she's pretty darn special and I love her very much!" He thought about that for a long moment, looking right into my eyes, then added very matter of factly "kinda like me, huh."... WOW. What do you say to that? I managed to choke out "Yep! Kind of like you!"
Emma chose that moment to come over and shove her head under this boy's armpit and give him kisses. He let go of his walker with one arm, and put it around Emma, and she supported him with his arm over her back while they visited. I think about how this kid would have responded to Joker, had I been able to get him certified...
Those of you who bring your dogs out into the world, who introduce them to people, you are all helping break down barriers- whether you realize it or not. When kids see our dogs in wheels, it opens a door for them to ask questions they may not think it is OK to ask about people. It opens eyes, not just for the kids, but in adults too. It's an incredible thing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Of licking walls and drooling on keyboards...

April 1, 2020   
Day 16 of Working from Home (Day 12 if one is only counting business days, but I'm a teacher, so, I typically work weekends)

I spent much of yesterday and three hours already today(it's only 10am) attempting to learn New Techy Things in my quest to better help my students while schools are closed for this pandemic.  I'm not all that tech savvy, so am at neither my least frustrated, nor most serene at the moment.  My coworkers are exceptionally noisy this morning, adding to my lack of serenity(now if I was ON the Serenity... but I digress). Their obstreperous behavior notwithstanding, I have been informed that I am not, at this juncture, allowed to turn them all into fur rugs and/or wall hangings.  I'm going to revisit that with HR if things don't change here soon.

The youngest of my collegues has noticed my growing irritation, and has chosen to "help" by sticking her head over the top of my laptop, and drooling down the screen, while wiggling her whole body at approximately 90 miles per hour.  This is not as much help as one might suppose. That notwithstanding, she is so eager and happy about, well, everything,  I am loathe to nail her in the nose with the squirt bottle(just water people, just water, and she likes to try to catch the water anyhow), so I am attempting to distract her from her mission via belly rubs and kisses on the nose. So far so good; she is no longer trying to climb on the table, and my screen is remaining noseprint and drool free.

My oldest coworker is currently trying to lick my toes. It seems to be diverting him from yelling at our other officemates(usually for no discernible reason), and he is small enough that he is not knocking the table around, so I'll let it go for now.  Another one of my office staff is currently on the back of the sofa, licking the wall.  I didn't even ask.

Oh, just great, now two more of my staff are trying to lick my shins. WHAT is THAT about? DISTRACTING! I don't have time for this nonsense.  SECURITY! SECURITY!!!  ...  Oh. Well... It seems our Head of Security has taken her 2nd in command outside for some PT.  I suppose it IS important to be able to wrestle miscreants to the ground, so I guess I can understand the wrestling(although I do wish they wouldn't do so in mud puddles).  And the insane zoomies around the yard, well I get the importance of keeping up one's stamina in case one were to have to run down an intruder.  But I fail to see where the throwing of balls fits into the workplace.

FINALLY, the security team has returned. The big guy is assistant to our Head of Security.  Is it me, or does he look a little sheepish?  I KNEW they were pulling one over on me with that ball throwing nonsense! The small, shaggy-in-need-of-a-haircut(I mean come on, this is the workplace! At least TRY to look professional!) dude next to him, peeking out through that mop of hair, is one who kept stealing the large "chaise lounges" the other day.  He's acting all innocent now, but I've got my eye on him. He tries to distract me with kisses, but I'm not falling for it!  I've got work to do. Stay safe until next time.
UPDATE: The wall licker is now licking furniture... and no, I still have no idea.

Monday, March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020
Day 1172 of working from home... wait, that's not right *counts on fingers, mumbling to self*... OK, got it: Day 14 of working from home(10, if we're only counting regular school days).

Some of my coworkers have been negligent today. Only one barked at the mail carrier, and his heart wasn't in it.  I've documented them sleeping on the job earlier.
Now Mel has taken over the large "settee" and is not letting his larger coworkers share. It's rude of him, especially since there are multiple smaller, yet just as comfortable lounging options, but not something I can really report to HR...yet. I'm keeping an eye on him(he's a bit sassy). Oh, I know he looks innocent, and acts really sweet, but he's a shifty one.
I have only had to rescue one shoe from the silly blond, and our Head of Security managed NOT to tip over my table when she got under it to "help" me type e-mails to my students today in her oh so earnest quest for brownie points. She only got tangled in a couple of the cords, and nothing crashed to the floor, so I'll call that a win. No pix, was too busy trying to keep the laptop from doing a header onto the floor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Working from home: The Coworkers, Days 1- 4

My FB post from March 18: 
>>A friend of mine posted this on a Facebook page were both a member of and I thought it sounded fun, so I'm totally stealing it. Everybody working from home today, tell us what your two and/or four-footed family members are doing, but refer to them as your coworkers.>>
Boy did my friends deliver!  I had planned to upload people's comments, because they were hilarious! But trying to upload 15 screenshots, in the right order, is, as my students would say, doin' too much.  SO check out Herbie Torio's March 18th at 1:12 pm FB post to see the comments. SO worth it!  I'll just put my own here, as I can copy-paste.

This post is crazy-long, but it's because I put 4 days all into this post, and included several pix and two videos.  Going forward they won't be anywhere near this long

March 18th 2020- Official Working From Home Day 2   
1:12pmI just finished brushing several of my coworkers hair. One of my coworkers is sleeping on the back of the couch. You know, most of my coworkers have absolutely NO sense of personal space: one is on my shoulder trying to lick my head, while 2 more are pushing and shoving each other to get in my lap, and another one is trying to chew on my toe. How RUDE. I should really file a complaint with HR. I have another coworker who is chewing on a plastic pop bottle, and two more who are having a wrestling match( I keep TELLING them it's against the rules to chew on each other's ears, but they said I'm not the boss of them and they don't have to do what I say). Another one is squeaking a squeaky toy that I thought would be destroyed(and stop being squeaky)within 24 hours when I gave it to her...THREE MONTHS AGO. The rest of my coworkers tired themselves out yelling at the mail carrier and are now sleeping on the jo

11:25pm This evening one of my coworkers got into 2 fights: One was with another coworker who's a lot bigger than him but older, and a lover not a fighter. "Why" you ask? Because I came home and everybody lost their minds and apparently I did not make it into the house fast enough so he thought he had to eat his coworker...The 2nd was with somebody 1/10 his size all because somebody else was walking with their coworker outside of our fence. Another one of my coworkers got caught peeing on the water bowl, while the oldest guy in the office just walked around grumbling at everybody The only thing that got him to stop was letting him sit on my lap and petting him. I've got 2 different coworkers sleeping on the back of the couch and another one chewing on a pop bottle. Have a couple of coworkers who are a little bit nutty: the one keeps jumping up and trying to bite the throat of the guy who got into fights( This is completely not related to the fights by the way). One of them keeps trying to bring poop into the house after they go outside... He likes to have that for a little snack and gets upset when we take it away and he pouts. The rest of them currently are taking naps because yelling out the window at everybody who walks by is apparently very tiring and way more important than getting the work done. The teenaged blond is the worst about trying to sneak poop inside! Followed closely by our smallest, but fiercest(and just plain wierdest) little guy with the scraggly teeth. I have my suspicions that that guy is actually the leader of a biker gang when I'm not looking, and that he carries a knife in his boot. 

Thursday, March 19th, 2020  Official Working From Home Day 3
11:09 am Since getting locked in a cage for several hours last night my brawler employee has been on his best behavior today and keeps trying to put his head on my knee and give me kisses. He is also making a big point of turning his head away when his smaller ( And admittedly rude) coworkers get snarky with him. So I'm hoping HR is getting through to him about how one should behave with one's coworkers. 

1:53 pm  I told her that other than UPS it's not getting any better than this. I suspect she was skeptical(see caption of pic)

11:21 pmOne of my coworkers is currently hiding under the side table, swearing loudly at anybody who gets too close.  HR will hear about this.
Pistol Pete

Friday, March 20, Official Working From Home Day 4
10:38 am Five co-workers wanted to snuggle in bed with me this morning, which wouldn't have been so bad, except the biggest, hairiest one had been outside in the yard naked, playing in mud. The supervisor bit him on the nose. HR despairs of my department

4:00 pm  Two of the more boisterous co-workers and I took a field trip to a friend's barn. The area in question is enclosed, and 1/2 again as large as the outdoor break area here at the home office, which, despite both of them having at best intermittent recall, allowed them to safely play games which would not be possible here. And you sure don't have turkey feathers in the yard here at the home office!