It’s all a bunch of Mickey Mouse bull****

Twice in the last two months I’ve traveled to Arizona for work.  Traveling for work always has a purpose – some need to meet face-to-face to work through some detailed process or issue, or some team building activities for my geo-scattered colleagues.  But it’s not something I take lightly – I’m spending the company’s money, and I’m taking up my time to get there and back.  And it’s not like it’s all fun – I am a Frustrated Flyer – I go often enough that it’s more of a burden than an adventure, and I don’t travel enough to ever get upgraded (shoot, last year I didn’t even get “gold” status, not like that counts for much any more).  

And my trips usually consist of going from the airport to the hotel to the office (stop for coffee on the way – DUH), grab a quick bite somewhere, go back to the hotel, work some more from the hotel if not too tired, otherwise watch something really worthless on TV and fall asleep.  Repeat, until it’s time to come back home.

With both recent trips, my reason for going ended up being hijacked for the latest crisis du jour.  Said crisis du jour could have been managed just fine from my desk in Texas, earbuds jammed into the familiar confines of my ear canals.   And, in the spirit of things that just keep on giving, the reasons for going to Arizona in the first place were then incomplete.   And let’s not forget all of the other work left undone by virtue of the travel itself – so now I’m in a never-ending cycle of catch up, not to mention the fact that I’m spent from the combination of a post-crisis adrenaline crash and a delayed flight that meant I didn’t get to bed until after midnight.

There’s a lot of change happening at the office – AGAIN – changes in leadership, roles and responsibilities, process.  Shoot, I’ve technically worked for the same company for the last 16 years but under four different names, so change is nothing new (I stopped worrying about who moved my cheese after acquisition #2).  As long as my badge still gets me into the office, and they keep putting money into my account every two weeks … I’m good.   And if the badge stops working, I have a long list of things I’d sure like to do.

The longer I work (or maybe it’s the older I get), the more fatigued I am by all of the changes.  I am tired of trying the same things in a slightly different way – but that different way feels strangely familiar (didn’t we try this with acquisition #3?)  I’m tired of everything being “The Priority” or “The Crisis” that has to be resolved today, with plenty of people willing to help you clear your calendar but no one ever trades this project for that one (there are just new projects added to the list).  I am tired of saying the same things, to the same people (the never ending merry-go-round of different consultants, mostly).

Which reminds me I am also very tired of corporate buzz words (“What’s the ask?”) and PowerPoint “decks”.   I am tired of having to learn a new process just when I finally mastered the OLD process, dang it!  And I am extremely tired of using Excel for word processing!  (Sorry, that last was just a totally random gripe.  But I think there is a special section of Hell reserved for those who make “forms” in Excel.)

I’m trying to stay focused on my work in the midst of all of the changes, attempting to keep my attitude somewhere north of the positive/negative line in spite of my fatigue and cynicsm.   Which reminds me of my dad …

When I was growing up, my dad worked for utility companies:  he was in public relations, operations, HR,  so very much a white collar sort of guy.  Actually, he really was a white collar guy – forget about getting him to wear a shirt with any color or pattern in it.  Dad was – and still is – pretty conservative, both in dress and attitude.

Being a kid, and trying to come up with birthday or father’s day gifts, I always wanted to get my dad fun ties – you know, the ones with cartoon characters.  Or maybe some character socks – still fun, but mostly hidden, right?  But he would never wear the fun socks or the ties; they just were not his style.

So at some point when I was still in college or maybe a recent grad, I noticed my dad was wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.  With his shirt and tie for work.  Totally out of character (no pun intended) for the man who refused my Mickey Mouse ties and socks.  So, naturally, being the brat I am, I called him on it.  His response?

“When I’m in meetings, and it’s all just a bunch of noise, I look at my watch and remind myself this is all just a bunch of Mickey Mouse bulls****.”

See, Dad, I did listen to you.

OK, maybe not all the time.




“I keep thinking, this year, it will be easier”

My Mother’s Day gift for the last eight years has been a picture of Katie, taken by Skip, and placed in a beautiful silver frame that gets polished up and presented with the current year’s photo proudly displayed.  Skip even went so far as to buy a small album to hold prior years’ pictures.  It’s a very cool tradition Skip started; I love each of my eight pictures.

The other annual Mother’s Day tradition in the Harris Household is Skip uttering the words, “I keep thinking, this year it will be easier.”

Outtakes for this year include pictures of Katie with a big stick, pretending to be a Jedi (in fairness, if Darth Maul ever attacks our home, my money is on Katie) as well as several pictures of her doing armpit farts (to every parent whose child learned this lovely little “trick” from Katie:  I am sorry.  So, so, so, so, SO very sorry.  Very sorry.)

Katie, Jedi Master
Katie, Jedi Master
Katie's fine armpit fart form
Katie’s fine armpit fart form

Skip keeps thinking that each year, the pictures will be easier – that she’ll be more cooperative, better able to listen, more into the whole process than she’s been in previous years.  And every year, Katie manages to prove him wrong.

The first year, he fully anticipated being challenged – Katie wasn’t even two weeks old, so trying to get a good picture is definitely tough; I have a real appreciation for anyone who can get a good newborn picture (although I do notice that in a lot of those newborn pictures, the babies are all snoozing.  Is that cheating?)

I like this one (it looks like he caught her mid-sneeze):

First Mother's Day
First Mother’s Day

The following year, at just over one year old, got us a meltdown and a total lack of cooperation …

Katie Meltdown
Katie Meltdown
Katie's cute backside, but not quite what we were after
Katie’s cute backside, but not quite what we were after









There are dozens, if not hundreds, of “botched” pictures, all taken in the often fading hopes that one, just ONE dang it, will be a keeper.   And I got to thinking – this is a lot like parenting itself.  You keep thinking it’ll get easier when she’s sleeping through the night.  When she’s walking.  When she’s able to dress herself … feed herself … and on and on it goes.  But every “easier” comes with a trade off.   Being able to dress herself means picking out shorts, ski socks, tennis shoes and a sweatshirt.  All in clashing colors and in all likelihood, the shirt has some horrific stain.  Being able to walk means she runs and holy buckets kids can run fast (this momma runs WAAAAY slow), and kids always run straight to the things that induce immediate cardiac arrest (streets, swimming pools, large ugly dogs, etc. etc.)

But for every hard moment there are the good ones – the hugs, the sticky kisses, the “I love yous”.  The moment when your kid does the right thing – unprompted – and your heart swells so much it might just come out of your ears.  And the few good moments far outweigh the bad ones; I just hope that in most of your bad ones, you can also look back and laugh.

I’m just hopeful that Mother’s Day 2019 doesn’t make me long for the days of armpit farts.

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