Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Princess Pissant is hopping mad. 

Before I get to explaining the source of Princess Pissant’s ire, let me add that Princess Pissant is also eternally grateful.  Why, you ask?

Well, if you’re reading this, you probably are aware that there was a bit of a hiatus in Princess Pissant’s productivity.  (I totally own that.)  The reasons are manifold, and not worth going into, although it’s likely that I will . . . but the point – and that for which Princess Pissant is eternally grateful – is that the absence of Another Day at the Office on the blogosphere did not – as everyone close (or, shall we say, related) to Princess Pissant predicted – go unnoticed. 

No!  More than one person – two to be precise, if you’re a numbers person – actually cyber-approached Princess Pissant, and inquired as to when Another Day at the Office would reappear.  Yeah, that’s right: Princess Pissant has fans.  (Plural.)

And, not that I’m counting, but let’s just say her followers have tripled in a little less than two weeks.

So thank you, both of you, for your support . . . and your patience.  And I am happy to report that your wait is over.  Princess Pissant is back, and with two whole hours left before she has to pick up KN2 (Kid Number Two) at the Little Darlings Learning Center, she’s here, checking in at the Office.

Which brings me back to why I am so freaking P.O.’ed.  Probably some of you remember that the East Coast was hit about a week ago by a formidable hurricane.  Irene.

Well, suffice it to say: Irene did not work out at all the way Princess Pissant had hoped.

No, this epic hurricane achieved nothing, absolutely nothing, to my advantage.  The thing is: I was totally counting on losing electrical power . . . for hours at least, if not days.

You might also remember that I had a certain contract hanging over my head; and that, somehow, in spite of spending day-in and day-out here at the Office, I’d accomplished relatively little toward that end.  The deadline for presentation of my work was to occur on the heels of hurricane Irene.

Widespread loss of electrical power was to have been my saving grace.  Surely there would be no way to put the finishing touches (or even the initial touches) on that pesky PowerPoint, and hence, no way to present it to the clients.  I’m no techie, but I do know one thing: electricity is required to power your average laptop computer for more than a few hours.

So the night that Hurricane Irene was to make landfall, I was pretty chilled out.  By mid-afternoon, I’d tied up the outdoor furniture; stocked the cupboards with all kinds of crap that normally I would never let KN2 or HOB (His Older Brother) eat; and even replaced the batteries in the one flashlight we’d been able to locate – a little blue souvenir-ie thing from Ellen and Brad’s wedding that, in the event of a blackout, could illuminate one square inch of surface area.

What’s more, MHTP (my husband the photographer) had performed some kind of triage – involving a blue tarp and bricks – on the leaky roof, so that by the time the torrential downpour hit, a big puddle of water no longer formed on the kitchen counter exactly where we charge our iPhones.  Puddles did form elsewhere on the kitchen counter, and also on the kitchen floor, but our iPhones were not charging in those places.

I had planned to keep my iPhone fully charged until the moment of widespread electrical power loss, at which point I would use it to call the client, and calmly explain that we had no power, and probably wouldn’t for the foreseeable future, and that I’d need an extension.  Actually, I was going to come up with a better way to put it.  You don’t need to remind me, as some unnamed relatives have, that “asking for an extension” is frowned upon in the professional world, where you get paid to perform your work, in some prescribed amount of time.

But I never made that call anyway because, turns out, every home and business within a 60-mile-radius did lose power, except for mine . . . and that of the client.

So really the hurricane came and went and there were no excuses.  I still had that damn contract hanging over my head.  And what’s worse: all the kids were out of school.  That’s right, the entire school system shut down . . . for days.  So whereas normally I’d be putting in my time here at the Office, instead I was home – trying to come up with crafty activities to engage KN2 and HOB who really would rather spend their leisure time terrorizing each other and the dog.

To make matters worse:  HOB, the day after the hurricane, was invited to a joint birthday party (two of his closest friends) that had been billed (on the Evite) as having some sort of “naturalist” theme.  I imagined there would be a visiting biologist or ecologist or archaeologist or any sort of “- ologist” who would acquaint HOB and his fellow otherwise self-serving little savages with some kind of do-gooder philosophy.  The mothers hosting the party are neighbors and good friends of mine, and I remember marveling at their creativity in coming up with such an educational, and yet fun!, theme for a 7-year-old boys’ birthday party.

Well, when I went to pick up HOB from the party, I found him and the dozen-or-so other invitees running amuck, several whooping what sounded like Native American battle cries – IYEYEYEYA – and others keening some kind of coyote yowl, and all of them – to a little six or seven-year-old person – fully armed.  Turns out, the visiting naturalist was not a do-gooder by any stretch of the imagination, but rather some guy who taught them all how to construct deadly weapons out of common household items.

So: not only were all the neighborhood boys out of school, and therefore completely idle, suddenly they were equipped with bows, arrows, something called “blow darts,” and basically: entire arsenals of lethal hardware.  It made walking the dog dangerous and difficult.

And it goes without saying that it made attending to that contract all the more cumbersome and fruitless.  Which brings me back to my original train of thought, and the reason I am so damn angry. 

Well, the first place to regain power after the hurricane was none other than here – the Office.  (For new readers, the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.)  Not only was the Office one of the few places around town with power; as a result, it was featured – with an accompanying photograph no less – in the local paper.  If I squinted hard enough at the picture, I could actually make out my coffeeshop “colleague” FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy in the background.  I can only imagine what that unnecessary exposure meant for his “cover.”  Meanwhile, I think the headline was: Area’s Powerless Flock to Local Starbucks.  (That subtly slighting title was an added irritant.)

In short, the whole thing pissed me off.

Our hidden gem – this aesthetic and soothing Office, shared by me and my various co-workers to whom I’ve referred in previous blog entries – is now, well basically, America’s worst kept secret.  And on a rainy day like today – even with power having been restored to most of the outlying communities – the Office is utterly jam-packed.  It goes without saying that I was not able to get my coveted spot in the corner.

What’s more: the new folk appear to be severely lacking in any kind of Office etiquette or decorum.  They’re a bunch of slackers, forever socializing and loud-mouthing to one another, as if the rest of us don’t have very important things to do. 

Like that new contract that I’ve got hanging over my head.

Oh yeah, by now, you’re probably wondering: just how did she make out with that other thing?  The presentation.  Was she able to pull it off, in spite of the many obstacles placed in her path?

Well, I gotta tell you – and this is why Princess Pissant is an eternal optimist – in the end, it wasn’t all that bad.  Notwithstanding that one crazy lady ranting (rather rudely, if you ask me) about the irrelevance of my presentation, about halfway through, I have to say that, in general, the fruits of my labor were surprisingly – MHTP might even say, shockingly – well-received.  If I do say so myself, Princess Pissant came out – if not entirely smelling like roses – at least not completely disgraced.

But I won’t say that it wasn’t “nip and tuck” there for a while.  And I’m certainly not going to make the same mistake twice.  Nope, today, right away in fact, as soon as I sign off here, I am going to get cracking on that new contract. 

Only problem is: what with all the riff-raff here at the Office, I can hardly hear myself think.


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