Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquakes and Other Natural (Sort of) Disasters

By now, some of you might have grown concerned that Princess Pissant did not survive the East Coast Earthquake earlier this week.  Well, I am here to assure you that she is alive and well.  And: Back At The Office.

The office, likewise, does not appear to have sustained any structural or otherwise damage from the quake.  All the tables and chairs are upright and in their correct places, and there’s not a single crack in the pastry case.

(For those of you new to Another Day at the Office – Hi Dad, I happen know that you’ve become a follower under a pseudo-nonymous email address, so as to be able to monitor Princess Pissant’s blog without any detriment to your reputation – “the office” is located in a Starbucks.)

Truth be told, I wasn’t even at the office when the quake struck.  I’d taken a personal day on account of the French family of four who were visiting.  I had just entered the house from walking the dog, in fact, to find the French family of four gathered in the kitchen, which then started to rumble and shake.  The French family immediately recognized the event as a “tremblement de terre,” while I had no idea what the hell was going on, and so stood frozen in panic in the doorway, which turns out – after consulting the FEMA guidelines – is exactly where you’re supposed to be in the event of an earthquake.  Fancy that!

The dog, meanwhile, in spite of belonging to a species that’s supposed to sense oncoming weather changes and natural disasters, failed to pick up on anything.  He did go around sniffing the air, whining in some kind of distress, and generally acting strange immediately afterward, as if that was going to do us any good.

For the next hour or so, the French family, who were greatly impressed by the earthquake, helpfully tried to point out items that had fallen, been broken or were in disarray, including all the crooked wall hangings, as a result of the quake.  It got to be embarrassing after a while, to keep repeating, “Um, that was that way before actually.”

Anyway, the French family of four was lovely, with two children ages 11 and 4, who were sweet, good-natured and well-behaved,  in extreme and stark contrast to my own kids.

My kids – the aforementioned KN2 (Kid Number 2) and His Older Brother (HOB) – in the face of foreign visitors, acted even more barbaric than usual.

The 11-year-old French boy was not able to speak or understand much English, but he did know enough to continually beseech KN2 or HOB, “No, no, pleese do not to do zsat to your brozser,” whenever one of them was pursuing the other with nunchucks, a fireplace poker, or some other potentially lethal instrument.

In any event, although we had a great time with the Frenchies, I was relieved when they left, if only because their presence greatly illuminated my shortcomings as a mother, house-keeper, and overall person.  And my kids reflected poorly not just on me, but on all of American culture really.

Also, while the Frenchies were here, I was not able to come into the office, and, well, I’ve still got that contract hanging over my head, with next week’s deadline looming ever nearer.

But I am back, and I just now finished perusing Petfinder for “adoptable pug” links to send to my mother, so I am ready to hunker down and get to work.

I hope there’s not another earthquake.  Boy, that would really put a damper on my plan. 

Actually, I hope that if there IS an earthquake, it destroys the building where I have to present my work on that contract next week.  Yes, I hope that building totally crumbles to the ground.  That would buy me considerable time.

(But if that happens, I hope no one gets hurt.) 

If someone were to get hurt, or worse, killed, I would feel awful.

Really awful, I mean . . . Knowing that I actually had willed that to happen.

Oh God, I feel awful now, just thinking about it.  I am going to take a quick break and peruse the Internet for more pug rescue resources.  Pictures of adoptable pugs, or really any kind of pugs, always make me feel better.  Hold on, back in a jiff.

Okay, I’m back.  Although it is nearly the lunch hour now, I am going to power through and work during lunch.

Before I do: did I mention that the day of the earthquake was also HOB’s first day of school?  His first day of first grade, in fact.  First grade is hugely different than – not to mention a big adjustment from – kindergarten, we’ve been told, because the kids actually sit at desks, which came in remarkably handy when they all had to crawl under their desks and remain there for several minutes after the earthquake.

Anyway, when HOB finally arrived home from school that day, which was not until quite late – the metropolitan area in which we live is evidently as unprepared for earthquakes as it is for the snowfall that occurs every single year – he reported that he was one of the only ones in his class who did not cry, and was in fact not afraid at all.

I felt a real surge of pride then toward HOB who’s always been a cautious – some might say pathologically fearful – kid.  Then he told me the only reason he wasn’t afraid was because he had “no idea what was going on.”

Chip off the ol’ block, I guess.  I wonder if someday he too will work out of a Starbucks.  Wouldn’t that be crazy if HOB carried on the family name?  Right here at my big wooden desk in the corner?

I sincerely hope HOB has bigger dreams for himself, but I won’t be entirely disappointed if he follows in my footsteps.  It’s better than landing in jail, right?

Speaking of kids, I don’t know if it’s Bring Your Kid to Work Day – and I didn’t get the memo – or what?  But the office is absolutely overrun.  And they are really freaking loud, and disruptive.

Mommy Blogger’s three kids are running wild while she just types away.  How can she not be distracted by them?  Have a little consideration, I want to shout over at her.  Even Former Secret Government Agency (FSGA) guy looks like he might lose his cool.

Speaking of losing one’s cool, My Husband the Photographer (MHTP) – whom I’d hoped to keep out of this blog but, sorry, honey – nearly lost his cool at me the other day.  This brings me to that other unfortunate incident I was going to tell you all about.

You remember the venerable Master Wong, Tae Kwon Do expert and summer camp counselor, who was occupying KN2 and HOB and a bunch of other little brats last week, enabling me to attend to that contract I’ve got hanging over my head?

Well, MHTP went to pick up the kids from Tae Kwon Do camp Friday because I had to stay late here at the office.  According to MHTP, Master Wong really gave him the cold shoulder.  Not even a bow.

This was unusual behavior for Master Wong, and also strange because MHTP is one of those people who, unlike Princess Pissant, doesn’t seem to garner any enemies, or even generate the slightest amount of ill will.  Everbody loves MHTP.

It’s kind of annoying, actually.

Anyway, we chalked it up to Master Wong being in a bad mood.  For the first time ever.  That is, until later, when I was unpacking all the kids Tae Kwon Do crap from their camp bag.  Their camp bag was a duffle bag that I dug out from the back of my clothes closet.  I think I used it for books in college or something.  Suffice it to say, I haven’t used that bag, or even seen it, in a looooooooong, loooooooong time.

So imagine my surprise when, while rifling through the contents – swim suits, goggles, crushed juice boxes, nunchucks, etc. – I happened upon what could only accurately be described as, well: a pipe.

And not a tobacco pipe either.

Well, MHTP was shocked, not to mention really hacked off.  He even raised his voice in anger when he said, “No wonder Master Wong wouldn’t talk to me!”

Now, in my defense, with all that I’ve got going on – I mean the housekeeping and the mothering and the walking of the dog, and not to mention the long days here at the office – am I really expected to check the kids’ camp bags for marijuana pipes everyday too?  Sheeesh.

It goes without saying that I don’t use that pipe anymore, and so I put it in a really safe place – nobody ever opens up that backgammon board case anyway – and I do think that MHTP will get over it.  Eventually.

We should probably look for a different place for the kids to do Tae Kwon Do though.

And it did get me thinking:  I wonder if they ever conduct random drug tests here?


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