Confessions from the Mom Guilt Files

Declan-8584

Oh the rollercoaster of being a mom. The emotions from which you swing one moment to another are absolutely insane.

One moment you can be at the very edge of your rope, dangling on the last thread of frustration and the very next minute you can be so consumed with overwhelming love for your child that you actually want to eat them… like, actually, literally, put them in your mouth.

It’s exhausting.

My husband and I were just presented with the opportunity to leave the kids home for a weekend when we had previously planned on taking them with us.

2 things are happening here:

  1. Extreme excitement and relief… SO SO SO much less work to take them with us.
  2. Guilt! ALL THE GUILT… about the excitement… all the excitement!

Is it wrong to be this excited about a weekend away? Shouldn’t we want to take them and have a fun-filled vacation? (I’ve heard of them… apparently they will happen). What kind of parent is happy about leaving their kids behind?

Me… that’s what kind of parent… and I feel horrible about it.

The car ride will be quiet with nobody crying. Guilt.

I can sleep in with nobody wanting to get up at 5 a.m. Guilt.

I can wine taste. Guilt.

I can paint my toes… and my fingernails. Guilt.

I can spend uninterrupted time with my husband. Guilt.

I can drink hot coffee. Guilt.

How can I want these things for myself and still consider myself a good parent?

Of course I will miss them and probably think about them every single minute. I won’t sleep because I will be worrying about if they are ok. I will check my phone every 5 minutes to see if they need anything…

Is it ok to be excited?

This is what being a mom is… everyday, all the time, for me at least.

Go away guilt. Please just let me have a moment.

P.s. I love my kids 🙂

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Warning – Travel with Children, Not for the Faint of Heart

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I get excited.

I get excited and have high hopes and great expectations about how things will go.

Let’s take our recent vacation for example.

Jamie and I are trying really hard not to rely on screens to babysit our kids. We want to engage them, we want to let them get bored, to be creative and to encourage them to seek out things to entertain themselves in their current environment… (this is where someone should have given me a swift slap in the face). But, since nobody paid me that kindness, I instead made busy bags for them. I was so excited in all my oblivious splendor. I had all these brilliant plans of them drawing for hours on their individual white boards, driving their cars, playing with their animals… for them to spend hours playing with everything inside the bags that took me hours to make…

I even took pictures… Look how cute and perfect…

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Departure time Thursday, 8:30 a.m.

17 minutes.

That’s how long the bags lasted.

17 minutes.

What were we going to do now for the remaining 14 hours and 43 minutes of driving?

Let’s see… too young for eye-spy, too old for Tylenol laced bottles… no iPads in sight.

I know! Sing-a-long!

Now, who knew the only song the kids would allow us to sing was Down by the Bay… Did you know that after 13 minutes of singing the same thing you start to run out of words that rhyme?

Ok food. What kind of food did we bring? I guess we could give them a snack… although we aren’t even half an hour out of the city yet, I had hoped we could make it at least half way to lunch before we give them a snack… No? Ok then snack it is!

Ok, ok… 9:34 a.m. We have been driving for an hour… now what?

The next few hours are a giant blank in my mind. Maybe I passed out, maybe I have blocked it, who’s to say. I do remember my husband reminding me not to swear at the kids 3 separate times…

What I can tell you is we made it to lunch.

Jamie and I ate our lunch and since the kids had eaten all of theirs before 10 am, they snacked and ran around this parking lot on the side of the highway.

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2 p.m. Ok, this is ok. Everyone has a full belly. It’s an hour past the kids nap time and we have 3 hours until our stop for the night. Side note: did you know that kids can get so overtired that they are wired and can’t go to sleep? Especially fun side note: apparently mine also refuse to sleep in car seats.

6:17 p.m. Thursday night we pull into Kamloops. We have now been driving for 47 hours. My hair is falling out and I am promptly catching up with my husband who is bald. The kids definitely did not nap. They are absolutely very tired and angry at us. My husband booked a sketchbag motel with no windows. I kibosh that idea. My anxiety is at an all-time high. Divorce is imminent.

We decide since it is a long weekend that we should have dinner in Kamloops and continue driving to get closer to the ferry.

Double meltdown and removal of pants (I won’t say who) in the restaurant forces us to get the hell outta dodge, half eaten food in tow. I remind my husband not to swear at the kids.

Finally arrive in Hope BC at 10ish p.m.

Sleep 5 hours.

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Leave Hope at 5:30 a.m. in hopes of making it to Horseshoe Bay ferry for 8 a.m. boat. All of us still in pjs.

Realize too late that the Horseshoe Bay ferry is a 3 sailing wait. HELL NO! Seriously consider doing a shot of vodka.

Turn around and drive the long way to Tsawwassen in hopes of catching the 7:45 a.m. ferry to Victoria (longer drive but at least we will be moving). We make the boat without even putting our car in park! Hallelujah something is on our side.

Ferry ride semi-successful. There’s a missing child on it… where are the parents? Oh wait that’s us and it was me running like a frantic woman around the cafeteria searching for my 2-year-old (who was running full tilt by the way). Thankfully some woman stopped him and kept him in place when she saw me running the opposite direction shouting his name like it was my job…

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Off the ferry at  9:45 a.m.

Get stopped at 847 lights between Victoria and Nanaimo.

Stop for groceries in Nanaimo, ditch the husband and kids while I shop for groceries by myself. Take longer than needed… contemplate not returning.

On the last leg to Tofino, and the kids are finally asleep.

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Is it too soon to crack a beer? My husband and I ride in terrified silence. We don’t dare speak, we don’t have music on, the thought of turning around to look at their adorable sleeping faces doesn’t even cross our mind…

I kind of wish it had…

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One

My darling babies,

Today you are one.

I had no idea what I was in for. Everything I thought I knew was… well I don’t know what it was. The learning curve with you two was steep and harder than I had anticipated, expected or even thought possible. It took me awhile to learn how to be your mom and I am sorry for that. I’m sorry you didn’t get the best of me in the beginning.

We had a rocky start. There were days when I didn’t think I would survive. There are still days I don’t think I will survive. But it is so much harder for you and look at you. You inspire me everyday.

Every single day this year we were learning. Everyday, you were learning. How to be alive. New sounds, sights, tastes, sensations. Every single time was the first time for you.

Everyday you wake up ready to try again. To try to master that new skill you’ve been working so hard on. You are so proud when you do and you should be! It’s amazing! You always do it with a smile on those beautiful faces. No matter how many times you fall down you try again. You never give up. So neither will I. You will always inspire me to be the best I can be.

Everyday, I was learning. Learning how to be your mom. First learning how to feed you, hold you, change you, bath you. Then learning how to make you stop crying. Then learning how to make you start smiling, then laughing. How to help you roll, sit, stand, crawl. Everyday we learned so many new things.

And now look at us… look how far we’ve come. I couldn’t have done it without you.

I can’t begin to tell you the depth of the challenges of this year, or how unexpectedly hard and scary the beginning was for me, but know this:

I can no longer remember life before you
Everyday I Love You
Everyday you are amazing
Everyday you are the very best part of the day
Everyday you show me the world
Everyday you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen
Everyday we are so lucky to be your parents

Nothing will bring us more pride and joy
Nothing will ever compare to you
Nothing will ever be the same again…

My darling babies…clp-12months-4

Are You There Brain? It’s me… Wait What Was I Saying?

Lately it seems, my mind has abandoned me. Only in the daytime of course, it never fails to return at bed-time, energized and ready to plan the rest of my life.

Anywho, in the days, it seems, it’s gone walkabout.

Let’s take for instance a couple days ago. I went into town with a friend of mine to do a grocery run for the peeps here at the office. We usually go once a shift to grab a few things like fresh produce, marinades and all the flavourful things that can liven up a steamed chicken breast.

We pull up to Superstore and I see a truck parked out front and a girl handing out flyers and bags. I automatically change my course to avoid said girl pulling me over and selling me something but she finds me on the other side of the pillar (damn it). Turns out she was only giving me a free re-useable bag and flyer for her company. I briefly glanced at the side of the bag and it said something about construction.

Up here in Fort McMurray there are no plastic bags. You must use reusable bags at the grocery stores so you either bring one (which I always forget to do), buy one (which I consequently always have to do) or try to wrangle all your groceries out in your hands, arms and balanced between your chin and chest (I’ve been known to do this once or twice). So I gratefully take said free bag from the girl and thank her profusely,  pleasantly surprised by the generosity and the fact that she didn’t try to sell me something. She gives me a weird look and replies “No thank you!” which I found a little strange since it was her giving me the free bag but whatever.

The bag was bright orange and I said to myself  “what a great advertising technique, people will see me walking around with the bright orange bag and then look at the company on the side.” I also believe I said this same statement aloud to my friend who was with me. Apparently he replied to me at this point with an explanation about the bag, which I evidently tuned out.

So I threw the flyer she gave me in the bag and stuffed the bag in the other reusable bags we brought and we went about our shopping.

There were a few things this store didn’t have  so we knew we were going to have to make another stop. I didn’t end up having to use the orange bag but it would be just the right size to use for the next stop where we only had a couple things to buy.

So we pull up at the next stop and I grab my wallet, throw the orange bag over my shoulder like a pretty new purse I want to show off and head into the store. There at the front doors is another truck with a couple girls handing out black bags and flyers. We stop and chat, I smile and we accept one of the bags.

It comes with a list of food to buy to fill the bag, for the food bank.

“Oh my”, I think, “that’s a great idea! To hand out a bag at the front of the store with a list of 5 or so things that the food bank could use. I wonder why they didn’t offer me a bag? Oh well at least my friend here will fill one up”.

We proceed into the store at which point, I am told, my friend reiterated what he had told be before about my bag and I again wasn’t even aware he was talking to me…

So we go our separate ways I fill my bag with my food, he fills his with food bank stuff,  I sling it back over my shoulder and strut out of the store. The girls look at me both expectantly and then a little confused as I breeze past them with my bag full of food, smile and wave at them as my friend gives them his bag and I make my way to the truck.

Still, I am completely and utterly oblivious.

We get back to the office and I am unpacking the bags and I see the “flyer” in the bottom of the bag only to discover that it is not a “flyer” but I list of foods to put in the food bank bag.

The "Flyer" from the bag.

The “Flyer” from the bag.

I was baffled, flabbergasted, but most of all completely horrified that I had done this. I stormed over to T and asked him if he realized that was what the bag was for and he replied “Yes! I told you twice about it”. Then I started laughing. I marched over to my sisters office to tell her the story but by the time I got there I was laughing so hard I was crying. And then it got to the point where people were asking me if I was ok I as I was trying to tell them I was laughing not crying, but there came a brief moment where I actually wondered if I was crying and not laughing. Whatever it was, the only thing I can think about now is the irony of the situation. The bag most likely did an excellent job of exactly what I thought it would do- advertise. Only it was not so much advertising the company as it was advertising the fact that not only did I not fill it with stuff for the food bank, but I used it for my own food, thanked the nice lady for a free bag and then walked around with it slung over my shoulder like some kind of chump.

FOOD BANK! Right on it!

FOOD BANK! Right on it!

Dear Mind,

If you would be so kind as to re-engage so that I may check into life I would appreciate it. Moreover, all those unsuspecting do-gooders out there, who I will unwittingly swindle out of stuff for charity, will stand a far better chance at accomplishing what they had set out to do.

Sincerely

Out to Lunch

Are You The Groom Who Fell? (The story of the scar that accidentally didn’t make the wedding album)

After a year and two months, we finally got our wedding album. True, it took me close to nine months to get started on it, and then a couple more months to find a smoking deal to bring the price down, but it’s done and finally, last week, it showed up on our door step. And because I can’t wait to get home to see it, I made Jamie look at it on Skype so I could see it.

While flipping through the pages he came across a picture of him standing at the altar waiting for me to walk down the aisle. “Wait a second” he says, “did you Photoshop my scar out?”. Oops. After debating whether I wanted the scar in our wedding photos or not, I had originally photo shopped his scar out of the big pictures. That is until he said he loved it and wanted to keep it in. I thought I got them all back but I didn’t realize this one still had his nice, beautiful, scar-free head in it.

Before and after Photoshop

Before and after Photoshop

As destination weddings go, this one was my personal favourite. And aside from the end of the first night, this was the best week of our lives.

Everyone loves the first night of vacation. After weeks, months, sometimes years of planning you are finally on vacation. Free of all the responsibilities at home. Everybody loosens up a little, usually a couple drinks are had, and there is a general feeling of excitement in the air. Add to that the fact that we were a group of 50, ready for a week-long vacation in paradise where there would also be a wedding and the excitement was just too much.

As first nights go, this one was up there as one of the best. We arrived at the resort around 7 p.m. and after a bus ride full of beers everyone was feeling pretty good. One of my bridesmaids, who had arrived earlier that day, stood with her husband and a tray of 40 drinks and handed each person a drink as they got off the bus (because the whole bus was our wedding party). What a welcome! IMG_5385

Everyone checked in, dropped our bags in the rooms and headed down to the restaurants for dinner and inevitably, a few more beverages…Or a lot more, some shots, and then a few more beverages.

Dinner (and drinks)... just the start.

Dinner (and drinks)… just the start.

Once that was done, we were a crowd looking for a good time. So what’s the next thing on our list? Let’s head down to the beach for a beach party!

We grabbed some drinks and headed down. Now this is where things start to get a little fuzzy. At some point between the bar and the beach we all decided to go straight into the ocean. Everyone but my husband just went straight into the ocean wearing our clothes (he went in in just his white underwear). Some of us took our phones in, some of us took all our money and passports in and some of us even took our cameras in. Apparently we threw caution (and some expensive electronics) to the wind (or sea). We were like a bunch of children playing in the waves. It was chaos. Beautiful, brilliant chaos.

Oh the chaos...

Oh the chaos…

Once we felt we had had our fill of the ocean for the evening, we headed to the 24 hour bar to continue the night (because why wouldn’t we, we’re on vacation). So in we go, wet clothes and all. No need to change. By this time we were starting to lose people. My mom lost her husband; they eventually found each other and had my sister show them how to get back to their room. My mother-in-law lost her way to her room so my sister showed her, and the best one of all was my uncle Jeff. After coming to the bar for a drink, he said “Alright! I’m off to bed!” And was gone… until half an hour later when we happened to glance out the window and see him walking by the bar looking confused. My sister ran out to discover he had been wandering around trying to figure out how to get back to his room and when he couldn’t he had to try and figure out how to get back to the bar, which brings him to now, when he decided he might as well stay for a drink and a tequila shot.

By this time it was about 1 a.m. and it was just me, my husband-to-be, my sister, my two uncles and my husband’s brother and his girlfriend. I was exhausted. The excitement and chaos from the day hit me like a ton of brick so I needed to turn in. I looked at the group left with my husband and thought to myself, he’s in good hands, I think it’s safe to leave him here…

Famous last words.

Now, I am a worrier. I worry about everything and then some. Everything is a worst case scenario in my mind. So I get back to the room and after washing up, getting into bed and letting my mind stop worrying about my husband drunkenly injuring himself, I finally start to fall asleep at about 1:45 a.m. Drifting off to sleep I’m thinking, this week is going to be pretty amazi… KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

I sit up.

BANG BANG BANG.

Did he seriously already lose his key?

I storm to the door and look through the peep hole. It’s my sister-in-law and she doesn’t look happy. My heart drops. I open the door.

“Get dressed. Jamie fell and split his head open and needs to go to the hospital”

I stare for what feels like 2 minutes but was probably 2 seconds and say “Are you kidding?”

“No, we need to go, now!”

In a blur I throw some clothes on. I feel like this is a dream and I am saying “this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening” over and over again in my head. That’s all I can think while we are running through the halls to medical office they took him to. That’s it, he’s going to get a concussion and die in his sleep. Half way there I breeze past my uncle who starts jogging to keep up behind me. Dodging the steam shooting out of my ears he says “Now Carey, this is not a freak out situation”… My ass it’s not a freak out situation.

We get to the medical office and I bust through the doors and there he was. Looking drunk and sheepish staring up at me getting his head wrapped in gauze. I would have paid good money to see the look on my face. I feel bad now; in hindsight I wish I would have been a little more compassionate loving fiancé, and a little less seriously angry basket case. I looked at Jayson and he was covered in blood. His hands were bloody, his shirt was bloody, I mean, he was totally covered.

Apparently they were walking back and there was a guy out mopping the tile floor. He had basically dumped the mop bucket of soapy water on the tile and was squeegeeing it off when Jamie’s feet went out from under him and he landed smack on his head on the tile floor. Jayson said the sound was horrifying and before they knew it a pool of blood was growing rapidly around Jamie’s head. Jayson immediately got down on the ground and grabbed Jamie’s head and was holding it shouting at the mop guy to get some help. That’s it, he’s going to get flesh eating disease from Mexican mop water and die.

Cut to me standing in the medical office. Everyone around me reeked of booze and Jamie needed to go get stitches, so nearing 3 a.m. off to the hospital we went.

Three hours later we finally get into a hospital room and they unbandage his head. Before they could do anything he stopped them, looked at me and said “Can you take a picture to send to Kyle?”

I was slumped on the end of his bed trying not to fall asleep so I could make sure he didn’t fall asleep and I stare back at him in disbelief. The sun is rising on our first day in Mexico for our wedding week and we are sitting in a Mexican hospital room waiting to get a gash in his head stitched…

Ummm no.

No I cannot take a picture of it. I am not going anywhere near that side of your head until it is all stitched up my friend.

Eventually though, it did get stitched up, he didn’t have a concussion or die of flesh eating disease and we did get married.

This is the best I could do Kyle

This is the best I could do Kyle

We arrived back at the resort around 8:30 a.m. Everyone was just rising, fresh faced and ready to start their vacations. Waving happily at us on their way to the beach and stopping to ask how our night was. We must have looked better than we felt because I felt like our haggard appearances may have said it all but nobody was any the wiser. In fact Jamie asked me not to tell anyone (which I promptly ignored) because who wasn’t going to notice that giant zipper stitch in the back of his head.

We ate breakfast and had planned on going to sleep (since we hadn’t slept yet). We got to our room, stared at the bed, stared at each other and I said “Well, I suppose we could sleep by the pool?”

Famous last words…

1 hour later... no sleeping around the pool

1 hour later… not sleeping by the pool

Excuse me sir? Can I get your Opinion Please?

Let me just start by saying I write this all in good fun. These are the things I have to laugh at in the day or I would, in fact, go crazy.

Up here on site, there are all kinds of people. Young girls, old girls, young men, old men and then there are those people who feel like they need to share all their thoughts and opinions with you, no holds barred.

I have taken the liberty of drafting a rough set of situations that you may come across (probably not) if you too, have a particularly opinionated co-worker as well as some options for how to deal with them. You may not believe these to be true, but I can assure you… they happened.

For all intents and purposes I will name the opinionated, Bob, and the unsuspecting, Sally. Anyone extra will be called Jo.

Situation 1: Introductions

Bob walks in to the office, drops his bag.

Bob: Hey my names Bob

Sally: Nice to meet you Bob, I’m Sally

Bob: Hi Sally, are you married?

(There are no filters with Bob. He asks what he wants, when he wants, only his questions asked.)

Sally: Nope

Bob: Why not?

Sally: Well I just haven’t found that special someone yet.

Bob (silent pause)

Bob: Well how old are you?

(Again, anything goes)

Sally:  28

Bob: WHOOF (Accompanied by swift gush of his breath) Oh yeah, you’re getting’ up there, if you want babies you better get on it.

Sally… blank stare

Yes. This did happen. This one is sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’ answer. You can do one of three things:

  1. Laugh nervously and walk away.
  2. Skip the laugh, and walk away.
  3. Explain that while yes (insert age) may seem old, it is probably not his business what you do outside the office and that this probably isn’t an appropriate “nice to meet you” conversation.

Situation 2: Opinions

Sally walks in after a walk around site and takes her hard hat off.

Bob: Wow you have a big red mark on your forehead. High blood pressure.

Sally: Actually I think it was just too tight.

Bob: Nah, you have high blood pressure.

(Bob is a doctor.)

You can do one of three things:

  1. Laugh nervously and walk away.
  2. Skip the laugh, and walk away.
  3. Explain that while yes it may be high blood pressure, it is not likely because you just went to the doctor and (insert a bunch of personal information that will make him terribly uncomfortable). Hell since we are playing with the boundaries of normal social conduct here, might as well take it all the way.

Situation 3: Advice (also known as, more opinions)

Bob and Sally share an office with a number of other people. Sally is working with her headphones in one morning when Bob pipes up. She can’t hear him but after a while of him staring at her while talking she looks up.

Sally (removes headphones in the obvious “I have headphones in” fashion): pardon, were you talking to me, I can’t hear you?

Bob continues talking and Sally quickly realizes he is talking ABOUT her.

Sally: Are you talking about me?

Bob: Oh yeah, we were just saying you look WAY better with your hair down… we have decided that we want you to wear your hair down from now on.” (Bob has now involved a Jo, who sits, looking alarmed at the fact he was included in the aforementioned “we”)

(Everyone, is entitled to Bob’s opinion.)

Sally: Oh… thanks?

Sally puts her headphones back in and proceeds to wear her hair up for the next three days.

All I have to say in this situation is don’t take it personal. I am sure he was trying to compliment her but said compliment got lost in translation. You can do one of three things:

  1. Laugh nervously, return headphones to ears, go back to work.
  2. Skip the laugh, return headphones to ears, go back to work.
  3. Explain that while yes, he may think your hair looks better down, you don’t like to have to shower, blow dry, straighten and style it every morning all before being at work by 5:45 a.m. By the time you get to blow dry he will no longer be listening anyways, because, let’s face it… he doesn’t care what you think.

Situation 4: Insults (there is no way to sugar coat this one)

Sally is working, minding her own business when Bob walks by…

Bob: Whoa! Lookin’ cranky today!

Sally (absolutely nothing to say to that).

I mean, really? But ok, I guess we know by now there is no holding back with this one. Sally does have Resting Bitch Face (RBF) so it is an honest mistake. She was actually in a great mood… but it was still early. You can do one of three things:

  1. Laugh nervously and walk away.
  2. Skip the laugh, and walk away.
  3. Lose your noodle on him… and let’s be honest, when you’re on day 13 of a 15 day shift, there’s a pretty good chance this is the only valid option here.

If I’ve learned anything from Sally’s very opinionated friend it’s this: Do not, under any circumstances, think you have heard it all from him… you have not. Tomorrow is another day my friends.

The Reception Desk: A Survival Guide

 Let me start this post by telling you, I enjoy my job. For the most part my work days pass quickly. I am busy and I love the people I work with, we have become great friends. But every now and again, there are days when I wish I had a door (a cardboard castle with a drawbridge, moat and dragon would also do).

I am someone who has what they call “Resting Bitch Face”. That means, if I am not smiling, I look like a bitch. In fact I most often look downright angry (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1

And it is hard to walk around with a constant smile on your face, believe me, I’ve tried. I even tried to see if I could just do a “content” face and I just ended up unable to control what my eyebrows were doing and sent a bunch of people into fits of laughter over how ridiculous I looked.

It is amazing what you can see and hear when you sit at the reception desk. You are the center of the gossip hub. You are the go to person for any juicy information.

So without further ado, I have compiled a list of things I have learned  so that in the event you too, end up at the reception desk, you’ll know you are not alone in this world.

1. You are to know who everyone is and where they are at all times. That’s right, all 4000 of them.

             Conversation had today: Gentleman walks in, sees me, walks over:

             Him: Hey where does John sit?

             Me: What’s his last name?

             Him: Ummm, I’m not sure.

             Me: What company does he work for?

             Him: Ooohh… I don’t know… he has brown hair.

             Me: …

I actually just stared at this person, partly because I was at a loss for words and partly because I was thinking about if I could figure out who said John was. Sorry but you need to come to me armed with more information than just a first name.

2. People almost never know what is going on.

             Man walks by my desk, stops, turns around, points at the wall and says: Can I go in here?

             Me (Looks at wall): You want to go into the meeting (on the other side of the wall)

             Him: what meeting?

             Me: That’s the WA meeting

             Him: Yeah can I go in there?

             Me (Long pause, pursed lips, shoulder shrug): Sure

             Him: Ok cause I missed the one today at dinner

             Me: The lunch meeting?

             Him: Yeah

             Me: Ok, but that was a different meeting

             Him: yeah (chuckles and walks away in the other direction).

Yes that actually happened.

3. People will walk by you and sigh, groan, or ho hum, louder each time until you ask them what’s wrong.

I did the damn best I could to maintain eye contact with my computer screen for as long as I possibly could (and I can tell you in was a long time, like, it got a little uncomfortable). Sigh  “What’s wrong Leo?”

4. Don’t ever ask what’s wrong.

5. People will overshare with you.

I can’t even tell you some of the things I have been told. Here I thought I was sitting at a desk on a work site, not sitting in a couch with a troubled man’s head in my lap.

6. People will make up every excuse in the book to come stand at your desk and chat.

It is can be quite a task to get out of an awkward conversation. Some people will just keep going even if you are not participating at all. Social cues are not a strength here. If you need to avoid conversation, grab that random scrap piece of paper off your desk and hurriedly rush off to the printer, no time to chat I need to get this to the printer!

7. No matter how many times people come to a meeting, they will never bring a pen.

Tip: To get them to stop “borrowing” your pens, provide them with some sort of embarrassingly large or girly pen like the one you see in the Figure 2.

8. There is such a thing as too many post its.

In no circumstances ever – unless the post it store is going out of business and you need to supply 1000 people with every shape and color for the next 5 years – do you need to order $6000 worth of post its. I wouldn’t know from experience or anything but I imagine the girls at Grand and Toy would ask if you were aware of how many post its you ordered, and then have to call their supervisor to do a refund because they weren’t sure you could return that many post its.

9. People will stare at you until you say hi first.

Just know that. You could be busy typing away and they will stand and stare until you look up and say hi first. Or they will walk past you and their head will turn to keep eyes on you as they pass until they hear the word hello, or something to that effect. You must always say hello first.

10. And lastly, don’t be shocked if your work follows you home.

Once you sit at reception you have some sort of ora about you that you have the information people are looking for no matter where you are. Case and Point: It’s 8:15 pm, I’m in my room and there is a knock at the door. What the hell? Who could that be? I slowly open it thinking it may be security or something and I see a man standing there.

             Him: Your not Rick

             Me: Nope

             Him (turns away, turns back): Do you know where Rick sleeps?

             Me (Blank stare)

             Him: You know Rick, umm, tall, kind of has a belly (arm describes a belly), dark hair?

             Me: No sorry…

This camp actually sleeps like 4000 people and of all the people he comes and knocks on my door? What are the chances? He pretty much just described 80% of the people up here. He might as well have just asked where man sleeps. Looks like a man… come on people.