January 29, 2008
I am going to tell the story of my bath last night. This is something I definitely should have foregone, but like everyone else I have much better hindsight than foresight.
First, light the candles. Then shake out the match, drop into trash. Then step into the tub and manage to knock both towel and book, Two Captives of Big Bear, into the drink.
Quick, scroop them out. Wring out the towel, dry off the book best I can with the small towel.
Alright, try it again. This time I made sure to get my foot up and over the book, which I will read anyway, soggy or not. I slither down into the piping hot water, all cozy and bubbly. . .yikes! The trash can is on fire!!!!
I don't recall getting out of the tub; I was just out.
The garbage can is shooting flames a foot high out the top. But where to grab? Just grab. Now what? Turn on sink tap and shove white plastic garbage can under. Flames flicker, hiss, water sizzles, black globs of melted plastic bubble down into the sink, over my fingers. Eeegads, that burns. Drop the trash can. Can't get the melted plastic peeled off my skin. Cold water. Now gag on the smoke everywhere.
Yank open the door, set trash can outside, start trying to pick up all the black melted blobs all over the floor with toilet paper. But guess what? A spot doesn't want to come up. I've melted the linoleum and it looks like a was sitting on the pot, reading the news, and dropped my cigar.
So there I am, stark naked, dripping wet, shivering cold, soooo aggravated with myself at ruining my floor, when what to my astonished, disgusted ears do I hear? The smoke alarms going off! Not one, not two, but three!
I jump up, open the door, grab the trash can, bring it back in, dump the wet towel on top, alarms beeping so piercingly, achingly, loud I get an instant headache. But can I run out, find a chair, climb up, and start pulling batteries out of the ceiling? No! Because I'm still naked, dripping, and have no blinds on most of my windows. . .
I said out loud, "Well, now, this is a real fine how-do-you-do," shut the bathroom door, pulled down my bathrobe, but was just wiggling into it when the first alarm quit. I paused, one arm in, one arm out. The second one quit. I waited. Third one quit.
You know what? Back in the tub, heart hammering, I did not experience the relaxation I had envisioned.
But today at work I sure got a lot of laughs...though I noticed no one volunteered to help me replace my linoleum.
My youngest, it turns out, is laid up with a bad back. At lunch I dashed into Walgreens and got him a heating pad and ice, drove through falling snow to his condo and got him all fixed up. "Can you help me replace my linoleum?" I asked. "I mean, when your back is better?"
"Just buy a new trash can, Mumsy, and put that over your burnt hole." And for that I endured a third Ceasarian section? What a jip.
"So what's my pirate name?" I asked within minutes of being moved from one department to another this fall at Premier Agendas and after seeing all the pirate name printouts on cubicle walls. Over in Typesetting, where I'd started as a seasonal employee last spring, it was pretty much nose to the grind stone. Pirate names, though, and piles of frogs on my new supervisor's desk, suggested that Versatile might be a slightly different atmosphere.
My firend Kay popped up from her side of the cubicle. "I'll e-mail you the Pirate Quiz, okay?"
My friend Kay Levy dates way back to when she trained me in data entry, a job I particularly sucked at. But this fall, as I typed in her pirate address and answered all the questions, she stood nearby, hands tucked into her pockets, grinning away and anxious to know who I really was.
"Hey, Kay, I'm Red Bess Bonney!"
She helped me print out my name and post it on the wall so everyone at work would know I'm passionate and unpredictable. Which, BTW, makes me a very good pirate indeed. And explains why I sucked at data entry.
Here's Kay's address to the Pirate Quiz. Check it out and write back and tell us who you are! http://www.piratequiz.com/
In the meantime, meet the crew I swab decks with every day--
First off there is my supervisor, and when I tell you right away that she has three names you'll understand why I like her so much. Being a bit of a split personality myself, I can admire the triple personality thing! The rare day she arrives as Dirty Bess Vane, though, we're smart to watch our backsides, for Dirty Bess Vane is a woman who reportedly likes to sneak up and disembowel! Haven't seen it done, but ya never know. The days she shows up as Dirty Bess Bonney, we simply stand upwind. I once overheard talk of tossing her overboard and into the drink, but no one wants to get rid of her. We like her. Mostly she's just good old Calico Bess Kid, and when Calico Bess Kid shows up for work we all know we're in for another c'est la vie day. Calico Bess Kid is more apt to follow the wind than crack a whip. We like these days. I like these days.
Next there's Jacky. Jacky bailed me out many a time last spring over in Typesetting when the steep learning curve threatened to swamp me. And so she's an honorary pirate. We let her come visit us in Versatile, and she and I like to take in afternoon matinées--days when both of us manage get in early enough to take the time off. Jacky's pirate name is Iron Jenny Rackham, which means she one tough cookie. She has to be, to do typesetting all day with no one around to make her laugh. But then again, she doesn't have me around to bug her, so I guess it's a trade off.
Next is Roxanne, Red Anne Flint. Like me, Roxanne is passionate, but unlike me she's rock hard and sharp. I think this must be true, for I often overhear some of her conversations. We're having the Biggest Loser contest and she keeps Santi advised on what food groups to eat together, and not. At lunch she has her nose in books about midwifery. When people need to know something about order engineering or logo licensing or any number of the myriad of details that boggle my mind, they go ask Red Anne Flint. I get the feeling that if she ever quit, the whole ship might go down.
If my friend Kay ever quit the ship would go down. There isn't anything she doesn't know--not surprising at all since, like Roxanne, she too is a Flint. Everyone? Meet my firend Iron Flint Mary! She is easily chipped and sparky, so don't, do not--I repeat, do not--get on her bad side because she's liable to send you an an e-mail that'll sizzle your computer. Last week a massive e-mailing went out to everyone at work about raffle tickets and ever since we've all been getting "take me off your list" responses from scads of people who hit the "reply to all" button. This absolutely fries Iron Mary Flint. "Take us off your e-mail list!" she fires back.
And if you're a salesman? And expect her to "fix" your less-than-standard-work order forms? Think again, Bub, because Iron Flint Mary and Dirty Bess Vane can flail you alive with their funny grumbling and griping over your lazy, ignorant, and hubris ways. Mostly, though, Iron Mary Flint is Mama Cat with just about anything you need--snack money, juice, phone numbers, forms, scissors--and she is generous with her organization and surplus. Do you know what she did the other day? She pulled up an old e-mail I'd sent six years ago, with my first grandson's newborn picture! I now have six-year-old Rome's 12-hour-old photo on my desktop. Amazing...
Ali is the brain child amongst us--only eighteen years old and definitely the Einstein of Premier Pirates. So please meet Mad Anne Read. Generally, pirates aren't known for their brains, but as Mad Anne Read, Ali defies the stereotype; she's got "taste and education" and is the "go-to" girl. "Mad Anne?" I ask twenty million times a day. "Can you remind how I'm supposed to. . ." Get this. Mad Anne never rolls her eyes!
Last but not least is Karen Thuesen, my newest friend. She hired on in the cover department last spring and is now "Cover Girl" in Versatile. Her pirate name is Captain Mary Rackham--and make no mistake, she is in charge. Thank goodness, because she's training me to do covers, and I need someone to tell me what to do. "I'm supposed to put the logo how far inside the window?" In real life, Captain Mary Rackham is an artist--greeting cards, books covers, coloring books, big huge murals. I want her to paint the cross section of a birch forest in my living room, on the wall high up behind the ledge. Mostly Karen smiles and laughs and is such a Polyanna that if I was taking Prozac I wouldn't need to anymore.
So that's the Premier Pirates on the high sea. Check out your pirate name, write back, and don't forget to pass the rum!