Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How 'Bout Some Cheese to Go With That Whine?

I am going to take a break today from my series on the trip to Italy. Why, you ask? (Or even if you didn't.) The reason is that today I am out of sorts. I am indisposed. I am annoyed. I am, in sum, PISSED OFF. Pardon my French, I seldom resort to improper language on this here blog, today I make an exception. So buckle your seat belts, for 'twill be a bumpy ride I fear.

There is a great scene from the movie "The Thing" (the John Carpenter one, not the one from the '50s and not the new one). It is fairly early in the film, the alien-inhabited sled dog has been placed in the kennel with the other (normal) sled dogs and is starting to "get his mojo on". Now one of the inhabitants of the science station is there with the keeper of the dogs (Clark) and upon observing the happenings inside the kennel (and here I'm paraphrasing) says, "What the hell is that?"

Clark: "I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is."


That last line, would describe me perfectly today for those unfortunate enough to pass by my cell, er, cubicle. Weird and pissed off. Whatever I am.


Though the trip to Italy was wondrous, the return trip was, shall we say, unpleasant. The key part of the trip (at least as regards today's post) was hearing someone a few rows up from where the Missus and I were seated, coughing and hacking. The Missus said, "Sounds like somebody has a pretty bad cold." Then I said, "Wonderful, just wonderful. There's my future, right there." Looking at me somewhat quizzically at first, I saw the light dawn in her lovely eyes. "Oh, I'm sure you won't catch whatever he's got. He's seated so far away."


If only. If only. For you see, your average rhinovirus knows that I'm an easy target. Once released into the atmosphere, those nasty little bastards will detect me, localize me, classify me, then swoop in to set up shop in my nasal passages. The guy with the cold could've been one of the flight crew, locked away in the cockpit, and I could've been all the way aft in the baggage compartment and the little bastards still would've found me. But this, this was too easy. The rhinovirus transport was only about six rows away. My sinuses had no chance. I was a sitting duck. An exhausted, strapped-in, sitting duck.


So time passed. We returned to our humble abode not far from the banks of Narraganesett Bay and retired to sleep the sleep of the exhausted. That was Sunday.


Monday morning arrived, far too early. Our two feline friends were not only happy to see us home but had also decided that 6 hours of sleep was far too much. Why stay abed on this lovely spring morning when you can get up and enjoy the start of a new day? Oh, and while you're at it FEED US!


Oddly enough, I wasn't that perturbed by their insistence that I awake and face the new day (oh, and feed them, musn't forget that). So up I got, fed the cats I did, coffee was brewed, outside I went. Indeed it was a lovely spring day. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, the flowers were blooming, yada, yada, yada. Finishing my coffee I noticed that the lawn needed cutting. Really needed cutting. I could have sworn that I saw a herd of gazelle near the back property line and a small pride of lions near the pond. Waiting to pounce. The grass was really long.


Hhhhmm, me thinks it might be a good idea to actually cut the grass. Like starting right now. Would also make points with the wife as I'm sure one of her first comments on this bright spring day would be "You should've cut the grass last week. Before we went to Italy." And she would be right. Except that it had rained both Friday and Saturday prior to our departure on Sunday. (I suppose I could have got up at 0500 that day and cut the grass before we went to the airport. But no, I did not.) And knowing the Missus as I do, and her knowing me as she does, I better hop to it. At least pretend that I care what the lawn looks like. (Personally, if it looks green from a plane flying over at 500 feet, I'm good with that. The Missus has somewhat higher standards. Sigh...)


Alright, Monday passes. The grass is cut, the lawn once again "looks nice". But now it's Tuesday and I must awaken at 0400 to make the long haul north to my place of gainful employment. Surprisingly enough, Tuesday goes quite well. The drive up is uneventful and speedy and the day does not drag on, but goes by rather briskly. Fair enough. One day down, only two to go. Should be a fine week, I think.


Wednesday dawns. I arise to perform my morning ablutions. Somewhere in there, as I'm stepping out of the shower I think, I realize that I feel like "ten miles of bad road". Headachy and feel just kind of "rode hard and put away wet". Yup, I feel like absolute crap. Oh and to top things off, I broke my glasses. Had to revert to the backup pair. Which have non-progressive lenses. Ugh.


Wednesday drags on like some horrid, poorly written opera in twelve acts, written by a maniac whose sole goal was to torment the audience. (Hhhmm, kinda sounds like Wagner doesn't it?) And of course, to use my computer, I have to either take my old glasses off and press my nose to the screen of my monitor, or lean back so far from the screen I can barely make out the characters on my keyboard. Oh my Lord, says I, can this get any worse?


Certainly it can.


Thursday dawns, far too early. I don't feel the same as I did the day before. Today I feel worse, much worse. The headache is still there, only now my sinuses have frozen up like the GIUK gap in late November. Nothing is moving in there, all passages are sealed. Lovely, just lovely. I love breathing through my mouth all day. Oh well. I can tough this out. For today I make the long voyage south. South from the banks of the Merrimack River to the shores of Narragansett Bay. Home awaits at the end of the day. I can take it, as the reward is sweet.


Take it I did and homeward bound I was at the end of another Wagnerian day at work. Put myself to bed early I did and slept fairly well, all things considered.


But of course, I was sick all weekend. The entire weekend. Fortunately thinks I, I have Monday off. I should feel better by then and be able to cut the grass. (Of course, there's that damn lawn again. A recurring theme in the spring, summer and fall. Explains why I do so love winter. Grass does not grow then. At least not up here in Merry Olde New England. And if it does, NO ONE CARES!)


So while still miserable, I did appreciate the fact that Saturday and Sunday were both beautiful days. Sunny, warm, but not too warm. And by Sunday night, I was feeling much better than I had before. Had gone from a 10 on the crap-o-meter all the way up to a 5. Things are lookin' better.


Monday dawns. I am again awake with the birds. And it is cloudy. And humid. And icky. And drizzling. My morale plummets. Much as the Imperial Guard's morale must have plummeted as they crested the ridge at Waterloo. Just in time to hear the Duke shout out, "Now Maitland, now's your time!" And take a blizzard of musket balls right in the kisser shortly thereafter. Just-too-bloody-wonderful, says I. Perhaps it will clear up later.


Not a chance.


So the lawn was not cut. Again. And as the last of the rhinovirus leaves my system, they seem determined to take most of my lungs with them. Sunday night was a cacophony of coughing and hacking. Sleep was intermittent and fitful. And of course, I had to get up at 0400 to again begin the weekly migration north. North to just shy of the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. North once more to "earn my pay".

No rest for the weary I guess.


And so hi-ho hi-ho, it's off to work I go. Believe me, singing I was not. Grumbling I was.


Now normally work does not annoy me, much. Monday was an exception. Monday I was the Light Brigade. My co-workers and team lead were the "cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left". Onward rode poor me. Oh yeah, I (pardon the expression) "got the shit shot out of me". It was, to say the least, a rough day.


Ever have to fix up an engineering document that has been sitting, gathering dust for almost two years? And have to have it fixed up in two weeks. Why do I always get the tasks that time forgot? The jobs which weren't that critical for months on end but suddenly, absolutely, have to be done RIGHT-FREAKING-NOW. Oh yeah, because I have a track record. I'm the go-to-guy. The guy who can do the obscure, difficult things without much guidance needed. I'm that guy. You know, the guy who gets everything dumped on his plate because he gets it done. My military career was much the same. Every shitty little task that no one else wanted came my way. Because "the Old Sarge always comes through. He can be relied on." Yeah, right. Next time give the job to Shmuckatelli. Or toss his ass out. Why are we paying that slug? (Oh yeah, he makes the Skipper's coffee just the way he likes it.)


All that aside. Monday was a bad day. An evil day. A day soon-to-be-forgotten. I hope.


When I get in these moods, one of my co-workers (also former military) likes to say, "Hey, cheer up. At least you're not deployed to some Third World Shit-Hole with some local assholes shooting at you or trying to blow you up!"


True, very true. And for that I am thankful. Thankful to not be there and thankful to those that are there. Keeping the Third World Assholes away from our home turf.


On the other hand. Some days it would really be nice to return fire. Metaphorically speaking of course. I do not ever see myself "going postal" in the workplace. Far too messy and to be honest, I like the people I work with. But once, just once, I'd like to answer an e-mail with, "Sorry can't do that. I don't give a shit today. Why don't you try doing it yourself? After all, you always act like you're so goddamned brilliant. Why not prove it? One way or the other. Have fun with that."


Will that ever happen? Probably not. Unless I win the lottery. As a good friend of mine once said, one bright and shiny Monday at work, "I'm one lottery ticket away from taking a dump on someone's desk."


Sort of my motto for these start of the week days where things are, shall we say, sub-optimal.


Hope your day was better than mine. I truly do. Right now my "Give-A-Shit" low level light is flashing. I just hope I can make it through the week before it comes on steady. (Maybe I'll just try resetting the circuit breaker. Worked on the F-4. Why not here?)

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