Becky the Arctic Snow Fox


The first time I met my stepdad I was an arctic snow fox.

At the time, he wasn’t my stepdad.  He was just a friend of my mom’s that she was inviting to dinner.  At six years old I was oblivious the fact that single, divorced women don’t have male “friends” that they invite over for  a meet-the-children dinner.  If my mom wanted to have a friend over for dinner, what was it to me?

I had other, more important things to do.

During our lunch break, my best friends and I had sat down and seriously discussed the merits of “being” different animals.  Jackie, Alana and I had been best friends since the first day of kindergarten.  We were inseparable.  Jackie was, in a word, adorable.  She was small, pudgy, and two little crooked pigtails and a sweet little lisp that went perfectly with the scattered freckles that dusted the bridge of her nose.  Shorter by more than a head by the rest of our class, everyone loved Jackie.  It was impossible not to.  She was the class clown a, class favorite, and class mascot, all rolled into one witty, huggable package.

Alana was the class beauty – she had silky blond hair that went down to the middle of her back and large, impossibly blue eyes.   When she wore a blue headband, within a week half the girls in the class would all be sporting blue headbands.  When she started parting her hair on the side, for weeks afterwards other girls would run around the playground with disobedient hair falling into their eyes as they retrained their hair to part on the side, too.  Alana was quiet, cool, and beautiful.  Even her name fit her.  The rest of us were Beckies, or Sarahs, or Jackies.  Alana – it just rolled off the tongue with a cool, crisp, classiness.

Me?  I was the zany one.  A tomboy to my core, I disdained Barbies and dress-up.  I loved horses, and hunting, and animals, and the Discovery Channel, and above all else – I loved foxes.  Foxes were the perfect hybrid of everything that fascinated me – they had long, slender legs built for running – something that occasionally eluded me depending on whether my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis was acting up that week.  They were a predator, which made for much better role-playing games – who wants to play “we’re a bunch of deer, watch us eat grass” for recess?  Foxes could pounce, and snarl, and snap, and chase frightened field mice and savage rabbits….. and yet they were also cute.  They had large fluffy tails, and pointed, inquisitive little faces…and they also happened to be one of the main characters in the world’s greatest movie of all time – The Fox and the Hound.  I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

Earlier that week I had watched a documentary on arctic snow foxes and had found myself fascinated with their coloring and eating habits.  For those of you who don’t know, an arctic snow fox will listen for the sounds of mice beneath the surface of the snow, tilting its head quizzically left and right, until at the very right moment they spring about three feet in the air, brace their front legs, and crash through the surface of the ice, pouncing on their unsuspecting prey.

As an adult, it’s fascinating to watch. 

As a child – it was even more fascinating to act out.  I never tired of it.  Tilt head, dramatic pause, then FWAM!  Leap into the air and crash down, stiff-legged in a display of predator glory.

It makes me knees hurt just remembering it.

During recess I would gather Alana and Jackie to my side and assign them their parts.  Jackie would be a rabbit I could chase – but one I would always allow to get away, simply based upon the fact that Fox Becky would never be able to actually bite such an innocent, adorable creature as Rabbit Jackie.  Alana would insist upon being a cat, regally ignoring my spluttered, angry explanations that cats couldn’t possibly survive in the wild, much less the arctic tundra.  We finally compromised on her being a black panther – an animal much more suitable to the epic wilderness of my imagination than a plain, tabby housecat.  The three of us would dash about the playground, Jackie hopping about with her hands drawn up to her chest like tiny little forepaws and wiggling her nose intermittently, Alana slinking about with a cool, feline grace, and me dashing and pouncing with high pitched snarls and agile leaps.

The day I met my stepdad recess seemed shorter than usual.  We had barely begun our game when the bell was ringing and the three of us were forced to run and stand in our class line, miserable at being cooped up again.  It was during our reading session that we came up with a plan – why did we have to stop just because recess was over? Couldn’t we continue on during the evening, and report back to each other in the morning the stories of our escapades?  We could be animals all.  Night.  LONG!

The plans were made – our animals were chosen (although I highly suspect Alana was NOT the black panther I assigned her but rather a plain, drab, tabby housecat), and our pact was sealed.

That afternoon, when my mom picked me up from after-school care, I silently crawled into the backseat of her brown 80s Datsun, fumbling the intricacies of the seatbelt my awkward fox paws.

“Hurry up, Becky.  We need to get home.”

I tried to hurry up, but the seat belt was proving impossible without the use of my thumbs – and as we all know, foxes don’t have thumbs.

“Becky, here, I’ll get it.”  I smiled up at her in a way that I hope displayed the fact that I no longer had flat, human teeth but rather sharp little jaggedy canines.  Beside me, my sister rolled her eyes and buried herself in a book as my mom stared at me, before sighing.  “Oh.  I get it.  Are you a dog again?”

I yipped a high-pitched, insulted negative.  A dog?  A big, lumbering, slow dog?  I shook my head, then yipped twice again.

“Oh,” my mom said with another sigh, pulling out into traffic.  “A fox.”

I yipped again.  Smart mommy.

Preparing for dinner was hectic, between my mom trying to help us with our homework, do her makeup, and produce a delicious meal all at the same time.  The fact that I refused to sit at the table (have you ever seen a fox sitting at a dinner table?  Don’t be ridiculous.) probably didn’t help her stress level.  Of course, she knew better than to argue with me.  When I “pretended”, I pretended hard.

Math took twice as long, cupping a pencil with a tiny, white paw, but I was a smart fox and I figured out a way to use my furry chin to stabilize the pencil.  Whether or not it was legible, I’ll never know.

By the time my soon-to-be-dad came in, I was in full gear, pleasantly warm from the excitement of knowing that halfway across the city, a bunny hopped around her living room and a black panther (not a tabby housecat!) snarled angry responses to any questions from her captors-in-the-form-of-parents.  When our dogs exploded into a volley of barking and excited twisting at a knock on the door, I scrabbled over on hands and knees and joined them, squirming and sitting up to scrabble at the door with my pack.

“Hi.  My  name’s Dave.”  He was a man of medium height and broad shoulders, with a trim beard and kind eyes.  My sister stood up to shake his hand.  I yipped at him and sat up, offering him a paw.

Dave took my paw, glancing over at my mother.  “She’s a fox,” she explained wearily.

Introductions were made, and Dave sat down to try and charm us.  My sister was friendly but obviously more interested in her book than him, and I only yipped or snarled in response, depending on whether the answer was affirmative or negative.  In retrospect, I actually feel a little sorry for him.

When it came time for dinner, I refused to sit at the table.  My mom insisted.  I shook my head.  She insisted again.  I shook my head harder, ears flat against my skull in irritation.

“Becky, seriously, enough.  Sit at the table like your sister.”

 I snarled, and backed under the table legs, glaring.  I was a fox, darnit.  Foxes did not eat at tables, with utensils.  Not only did they lack thumbs as well as an interest in using human plates and forks, they also lacked the necessary balance to remain sitting up for that long – they ate on all fours. Everybody knew that.

“Becky, enough.  Time to eat.”

I whined, and shook my head. 

“Becky, enough.  Quit pretending.”

I snarled back at her, and felt the thick fur at the ruff of my neck begin to bristle.  Who was pretending?

With a desperate look, my mom had to make a quick choice.  Which was worse to show her date?  The strange child or the stubborn battle she knew she was about to lose?

“Fine.  Foxes can eat on the floor, but only – ONLY – if they finish everything on their plate.”

I yipped back at her, opening my mouth in a wide grin, my tongue lolling over my sharp canines.  I gave her a small wag of my tail— but only a small one.  It wasn’t like I was domesticated.  Still, she should be rewarded.

The plate slid beneath the table, and I crawled out from beneath the chair legs to hunch over it.  The green beans and picadillo wavered, then became a slice of raw caribou.  I squatted down and picked it up with my teeth, chewing the meat and growling slightly as my sister’s legs came too close to my “kill”.  It was dark, and oddly comforting beneath the table.  The legs around me looked like trees, and without any real effort they wavered slightly, and then became trees.  I was in a forest – a cool, green forest, full of shadows and unexplored places.  I was eating the caribou I’d brought down, occasionally snarling at the smaller scavengers that crept timidly forward to eat from my kill.

“So, Dave, ” my mother said, raising her voice to be heard over my territorial snarls. “Would you like some more potatoes?”

Bugs, Beer, and Lizards: Part Two

Hey Becky,

I was just reading the comments again and I would really like to answer some of them, but my lack of computer skills won’t let me. Translation: I don’t know how.

First:  the small lizards here in thailand are over populated, to say the least. I have had them fall on my head from opening doors. I have found them in the refrigerator, dead from the cold. How did they get through the air tight seal? I know they chew their way through the screens in the windows – I see the holes they make, so I imagine they are ruining the seal to the refrigerator.

I agree –  it is very nice and helpful of them to eat the bugs I have in the house….  however, after eating the bugs they digest them….. and you can imagine the step after digestion. Well, they have not had a decent upbringing as far as I can tell –  they just let it go anywhere they feel like. It’s kind of like having a herd of mini horses living all over your walls and ceiling.

Lizards, I believe, also like water, and since there are two rooms that are known to have water in the house that is where they mostly live. The bathroom I can take.  I don’t really like the fact that little ‘wall-horses” are staring at me while I do my business but I can live with it.

Then there is the kitchen, where the food and the clean dishes are kept. If the dishes aren’t washed and put away this will cause the local bug population to congregate in the kitchen…and what likes to eat bugs?  We’re back to lizards again –  and the eating, and the digesting, and…. I think you get the picture. 

There are three permanent lizard-residents in my bathroom (known residents) and another four in the kitchen.  There are at least two in the living room.  The light is left on all night in the carport, for security reasons. This attracts at least nine lizards, so if you total the known lizards inside and outside, they number eighteen. When scared the outside lizards run to the eaves and into the attic.  I can only guess there are more there.

So to round off how many lizards I have, a very conservative guess would be thirty. On the block where I live there are only four houses, so that makes at least 120 known lizards. In a one mile radius I am going to guess there are approximately 128 houses.  With four houses per block and eight blocks per mile, in all four directions this is 3,840 lizards per square mile.  Keep in mind these are only the known or seen lizards.

Now, without wanting to step on anyone’s toes, every lizard within 20 miles would be 76,800 lizards. Now, I do have a cat that helps me control the population, but these are only the seen lizards. I think the number can be at least doubled, because only one other cat lives near by. I know this because of the mating season, but that is a whole other story I don’t want to get into.

Okay,  back to the little digesting machines.  We are now at about 153,000 of them, if you want invite every lizard (seen and unseen) from a 20 mile radius into your house. I honestly think this would chase the cat away – there would be just too many. They would be everywhere. With the mess and (as I have mentioned) the midnight chirping, it would drive you insane.  I am not sure a human could endure this.

Now, what would follow the little lizards here?  Well, bigger lizards for the food, and also, I believe snakes like an occasional lizard or two. Since I have already had to kill a snake in my living room and, while lying on the couch watching t.v., I watched one raise its head to look in,  and the before mentioned king cobra encounter (Becky in:  I’ll post this story later), I am just not ready for that much nature in my yard or house.

As for the one commenter who lectures her cats, maybe she could teach my lizards to use the bathroom in a designated area. I would be more than happy to have a lizard bathroom installed.   Until then I will treat them just like I would a human. If a house guest was seen pooping in my kitchen or if they roamed the house in the middle of the night yelling very loud “I WANT SEX” then they too would have to go  If they refused, then I would probably look for another pointed stick.

Anyway, life here is a little more interesting. I am looking forward to seeing the DragonMonkey again and teaching him some more tricks. To paraphrase an old saying, revenge is a dish best served after your kid grows up and has kids of her own.

Guest Post from My Dad

In the interest of keeping my typing wordcount up for NaNoWriMo (ha, ha.  I’m so behind it’s pathetic), today’s post is going to be a guest post.

For those that don’t know – which is pretty much everyone – my dad lives over in Thailand.


Why does he live over in Thailand?

Well, to be honest, after reading his emails over the past couple of years, I’m not really sure.

At any rate, here are some of the funnier excerpts about life in Thailand.  Oh, and for reference, here is  a Tokay lizard (it’s actually a gecko):

He refers to them, so I thought you might want to see what they look like.

And here is what they sound like:

The Tokay geckos live in the wall and during mating season they make that noise from 10pm to 2am.

And now onto his emails:

*******************************************

I was doing my nightly flashlight-in-hand-careful-of-snakes search of the eaves of the house for Tokay lizards.  I found some small white globes under the eave next to the front porch……eggs.

I got a long stick and broke two of the three, but the last was hard to get to. While going after number three the mama lizard showed up. Of course I poked her with the pointed stick to either kill her or get her to move. She came out of the eave and came toward me, so I slapped at her over my right shoulder while doing the macho thing of dropping the stick and running to the other side of the porch.

I’m glad I was alone. (<–Becky in:  BWAHAHAHAHA.  But now it’s on the Internet!)

I eventually replaced the stick in my manly hand and got close enough to pop the egg.

The next day a Karin guy came by and I asked him about getting rid of the mama lizard. He did what all of the Thais do – shrug their shoulders and say, “Let them stay, they are good luck.”

Well, I don’t need several two pound good luck lizards running up the kitchen wall when I turn on the light or lurking in the bathroom when I go there at night,  so “live and let live” to me has become “live somewhere else or die“.

Over here, in addition to a regular fishing pole with a rod and reel, you can buy a “fishing pole” that looks like a wooden rifle, but with just the wooden part. On this there is a very large rubber band and a six inch long piece of sharpened metal that you can attach string to – it’s kind of like a cross bow for shooting fish.

Are you getting the picture yet? Can you envision Hunter Dad lurking the eaves of his domain with his tokay killing crossbow in hand?

YES!

…..Except they cost around $21 and I only have one lizard left…. so to make a long story short I have a six foot piece of metal with two of the before-mentioned projectiles welded to the end for stabbing.  Hey,  it beats a pointed stick. Oh yeah, I found out that if the lizard is nesting it will attack and can jump up to three feet. They are nicknamed the bulldog lizard because when they bite they don’t let go.

So last night I went outside and looked several times for my adversary, but she not there….Anyway that is why I am late wishing you a happy birthday,  I didn’t forget, I was just trying to fight my way through blood-thirsty lizards to reach the keyboard. Hope you have a good birthday and I’ll see you when I can.

*******************************************

You asked about how life here is going? Well, it is all bugs, beer and lizards right now.

 Bugs: All kinds all shapes and colors. They have bugs so small they can fit through the screens in the windows.  I  believe these are the ones that bite the ankles, all the time.  There is a bug repellent that works but you can’t put it on all of the time. The next best thing is a fan – the circulating air keeps them away. My morning ritual is to get up, turn the computer on and make coffee as fast as possible. The reason for this is the “ankle biters ” are hungry in the morning and they attack. I sit at the computer, but before I do I turn the fan on and aim it towards my feet to keep them away.

 Beer:  What can I say? It relieves the boredom.  I don’t sit around and drink beer all of the time, but once or sometimes twice a week we will go into town (30 kilometers round trip) and see what the tourists are doing. There’s not a lot of tourists right now, so mostly we just sit and watch the cars go by.

 Lizards: what can I say that I haven’t already said?

A lot.

I am tired of them and have declared all out war on anything lizard-like. Why?  The reasons are many right now.  A week ago it was mating season for the house lizards, so  they “chirp”ed.  I didn’t know lizards did that until I moved over here.

“chiik,ckiik,chiik,chiik” most of the night.

I had four living in my kitchen –  they started getting together and having babies.

I’d open the refrigerator and one falls off the door and runs away.

Throw something in the trash and one runs out of the trash.

Go to the bathroom and lizards are on the wall.

Now, outside I don’t mind, but just give me some space.  So against whatever Christian upbringing I have had, and trying not to let the Buddhist people around me know, I stomp, swat, drown and otherwise destroy the little pests in any way that I can.   “DEATH TO ALL LIZARDS”.

When the boredom kicks in there is TV.  Not much help – the programs here are really bad.  They’re mostly revenge/kung fu or monster shows.  Every vampire movie ever made is on here on a  regular basis.  The advertisements  for the next month on HBO are mostly second rate hits from years ago….”Guns of Navarone” with David Nivens (20 plus years old), “Inner Space” (10-15 years old), “Brian Stoker’s Dracula” …… you get the picture, I am sure.  Anyway, all the shows are worthless. Today I watched “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl” and “Earth versus Spider”.  Not a good day for TV.

*******************************************

The Lizards:

It is an on going battle.  I have killed two more of the bigger ones and two or three of their babies. Now the house is crawling with the smaller,  everyday type of “house lizard”. I am constantly killing the baby ones.

It is funny how the attitude changes.

When I first got here I remember seeing a baby lizard in the bathroom and thinking it was a good thing – it will keep all of the mosquitoes away, so I kind of watched it grow up.

Now?  A baby lizard? Get the flyswatter and kill the little bastard before it can grow up and have more babies.

Tonight I discovered an ants’ nest between the toilet and the wall. I saw one of the big black ants go behind the upper part of the toilet, so I sprayed water and washed out 20 or 30 ants with eggs. I spent about 5 minutes killing them.

Things were finally things back to normal until I looked on the living room floor, and there was a different kind of ant, maybe 50 of them….. So again with the killing spree of God’s little creatures. It seems like that is all I do anymore –  run around trying to keep Thai nature at bay…….I hate environmentalists.

*******************************************

I have upset the ecological balance. About a month ago I killed one of the large Tokay lizards. I recently learned that they eat the other smaller lizards and I believe the baby Tokays.

I have been trying to come up with a way to rectify this and have devised a plan. I will paint myself green and yellow and live in the attic for a week yelling “TO KAY” between the hours of 10 pm and around 2 am. If it comes to it I may have to eat a few lizards just to convince them I am serious.

I hope it doesn’t come to that.

My only problem is I don’t know if the female or the male is the one that yells. If it’s the male, no problem, I don’t think I will be attractive enough to worry about it. If, on the other hand,  the female is the one that does the mating yell…well, I worry about the aggressiveness of the lizard and the cramped space of the attic.  I will let you know how my experiment works out…..life in the jungle gets weird.

******************************************* 

It’s All Worth It

Yesterday was an…err… “trying” day with the DragonMonkey.

From the moment he woke up he knew exactly what he wanted out of life – he wanted whatever it was we, the parents, didn’t want.

Don’t jump on the couch? What’s that we just said?  He’d look slyly over at us from over his shoulder and then….. Jump.  JUMP.  JUMP JUMP JUMPJUMPJUMPJUMPJUMPJUMPJU—

When he is accidentally bad, he gets a stern talking to.  When he is just plain bad, he gets time in the corner.  When he’s really bad, he gets time out in his crib until he is finished with whatever tantrum he’s currently throwing.

When he looks at us with that angry little smirk and deliberately does whatever it is we just told him not to do, he gets three spanks (sorry, Internet, but them’s the breaks – I hate people who hit children, but I do believe in spanking.  If you don’t understand the difference, then you should probably stick with time outs.) followed by time out in his crib until he’s in a better mood.

Yesterday was chock-full of spank-then-cribs.

He fed the fish a big bowl of peanut butter.

He deliberately jumped on every piece of furniture we had – even going so far as to holler out, “Mama! Yook!  Yook at me!  Yook!” when I didn’t notice he was being bad.

He colored on furniture.

He smeared food on the ground.

He screamed and chased and hit at the dog with his blankie, until we finally locked poor Bad Max up in the kennel to save him from the monstrosity that is my three year old.

He ripped apart his train table and scattered the pieces around the living room.

When we bought the train table the pieces were all screwed down into the board to prevent him from destroying the track.  He has managed to do it anyways.  The buildings are lopsided and threadbare from his rough handling, and the tracks are misaligned and missing sections from where he spent days on end using his fingertips to pry them up from the table.  Instead of the cheerful, happy train table we had when we bought it,the whole thing has a desolate, desperate, half-abandoned air. The Bean calls it Chernobyl Station.

He threw fits every time we denied him anything.

No, DragonMonkey, you may not touch the kitchen butcher knife.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

No, Dragonmonkey, you leave poor Bad Max alone!

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

No, DragonMonkey, you be nice to your brother! Don’t you dare rip that toy out of his hands!

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

No, DragonMonkey, stay out of the toilet!  No, DragonMonkey, get off the kitchen table!  No, DragonMonkey, no coloring on the furniture!  Quit kicking the cats!  Don’t pinch the dog!  Don’t throw your toys!  Leave the DVD player alone!  Get off the furniture!  No hitting your dad!  Don’t jump on me!

Etc, etc, ad nauseum.

When I took him out to go splash in rain puddles and play along the riverbed in hopes of improving his mood, he threw a fit when I took Max’s leash from him for a brief moment.

I don’t know if I mention this before, but about once a week he throws a pass-out kind of a fit.  He’ll silently cry/scream until he runs out of breath and turns blue.  Then, before he can suck in a huge lungful of air to turn his silent crying into a loud shriek, he’ll completely run out of air and crash to the ground and pass out.

It scared the crap out of me the first few times it happened.  Then, on the third time, I decided to employ my grandma’s technique.  Apparently I used to do something similar – whenever I would get angry enough, I would deliberately hold my breath until I passed out, simply because I knew it bothered my mom.

Yes, yes, I know.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Anyways, the next time the Dragonmonkey initiated his pass-out-tantrum mode, I did what my Grandma did to cure me:  I gave him a firm, no-nonsense swat on the behind, designed to startle him into a normal crying sequence.

It worked on me.

Unfortunately, it did not work on the DragonMonkey.  Instead of startling him into breathing, the air whooshed out of him in surprised shock, turning him from kind a purplish-blue to a completely brilliant shade of cyan, and he dropped like a stone and stayed unconscious for about 10 full seconds.

When someone suggested I try water (spraying him with a water bottle), I got the same extremely stressful reaction.

Needless to say, when he wants to cry-to-passing-out nowadays, I just kind of let him do his thing.  I stay close by to so I can catch him and lower him to the ground when his legs give out, but I just kind of ignore the theatrics in hopes he’ll grow out of it.

So, yesterday, when I took Max’s leash from him as we passed a jogger, to make sure Max didn’t escape and go make a new friend, the DragonMonkey threw a fit.  Once I lowered him to the ground and watched him begin waking up, I decided I might as well capture it on film, so I can torture him when he gets older.  Man, I just really can’t wait until he’s a teenager.

The day didn’t go much better from there. While I escaped off to the library to see if I could catch up a bit on my NaNoWriMo wordcount, The Bean accidentally grabbed the baby snacks (I bought some wheat puffed snacks to test The Squid’s allergies…looks like he might be okay!  Woohoo!) and fed them to the DragonMonkey.  Oh, boy.  GLUTEN.  And loads of it.

By the time I came home, I no longer had a three year old child running around the house – I had a skittery, screamy, anger-filled, gluten-infested monstrosity of a child.

Unfortunately for me, The Bean had some work he had to catch up on, so I was on my own.  Moping about the house by myself, I decided to head out to the local mall to let the DragonMonkey run around and burn off some of his gluteny energy.  Frustrated, lonely, and vaguely depressed, I decided to try and curl my hair in hopes of making myself a little better before heading out into the world of carefree teenagers and gorgeous young 20-somethings.  The end result was really pretty, but the fact that I had nobody around to show off to just made me feel even worse.  I couldn’t get grumpy at The Bean – the poor guy was working on a Saturday night.

Still.  Poor me.  Poor, poor Becky.  All alone. Again.  Nobody to share things with.  Again.  All by herself…. with only two whiny, angry babies to keep her company. Again.  Poor, poor Becky.

With a trample of toddler hooves, the DragonMonkey screeched around the corner, and skidded to a halt in front of me.  He stared at me for a moment, with wide eyes, pointed at my hair, and then petted his own head for emphasis, so I could know exactly what he was talking about.

“Mama!”  he sounded breathlessly surprised, and he smiled widely.  “You yook so cute!”  It came out clear as day – this entire sentence from a kid who still speaks mostly in mumbles and two or three word sentences.

I stared at him in amazement…. had I just heard what I thought I heard?

“What’d you say?”

He pet his head, and then pointed at my hair.  “Mama.  You yook so cute!”  He smiled at me in admiration for a moment longer then tore down the hallway and skittered around the corner.

So worth it.  All of it.  All the screaming, and the tantrums, and the stretch marks, and the bigger hips, and the sleepless nights, and the projectile puking, and the diaper blowouts and the lack of freedom, and the toys I step on in the middle of the night – all of it so worth it, just for that one moment.

Sexual Harassment

Hey, do you all remember my poor coworker from this post?

Yeah.

You know – the one I basically called a hooker?

Well, she has her own office in the building, just like me.

Unfortunately for her, unlike me my fancy-schmancy office, she does not have her own personal thermostat.

When I walk into my office early in the morning, I crank up the heater, and five minutes later I’m nice and toasty.

Because, you know, it’s just absolutely frigid down here in Southern California. I mean, sometimes I actually have to hold my Starbucks without the insulated coffee sleeve to warm my hands.

Can I hear an Amen out there?

It’s okay, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m a survivor.

Anyways, on those chilly mornings, while I am in my nice, toasty office with my personal heater, my poor coworker is freezing. I have no idea why her office is a good twenty degrees colder than the rest of the office, but it is. Maybe her heater vent is shut off.  Maybe it faces on the wrong side of the building. Maybe it’s haunted by an ice spirit.  Like I said, I don’t know what it’s so cold, but it is cold. Very cold. As in, I’m-not-actually-being-a-weenie-it’s-legitimately-cold COLD.

Yes. THAT cold.

To make matters worse, while I have accumulated a nice, thick, totally attractive layer of pregnancy ….. post baby …. fashionably curvy ….winter fat to keep me warm, my coworker is a tiny little thing. She’s all bones, and sinew, and lean muscle…. which doesn’t help her stay warm at all.

Anyways, earlier this week I walked in to hand her some mail and saw her huddled miserably in front of her computer, rubbing her hands briskly together in an effort to stave off hypothermia.

I had just finished a brisk walk around the office, and coupled with the fact that I had worn a sweater and had accidentally set my personal thermostat too high, I was warm. As in, hot.

“Wow, you look cold.”

She nodded miserably, chafing her hands together a little faster before reaching out to grab the mail.

Our hands touched briefly – or rather, I should say my hand met her tiny little ice blocks she carried on the ends of her wrist. I’ve touched snowballs with more heat in them.

“Oh, WOW. You are really cold.” I reached forward and grabbed her hands in mine, trying to share some of my warmth with her.

“Oh, wow…” She breathed. “You feel so good.”

I couldn’t help myself. I mean, you would have done the same, right?

That’s what she said!” I boomed, without thinking.

We both stared at each other for an uncomfortable moment, unsure what to say next, both feeling incredibly awkward about the fact that I was standing there, intimately cupping her hands in my own.

“Well, yeah, uh, I’ve got, uh… work. Ha. You know?” I dropped her hands and raced back to my office.

Who signed off on letting me out in public?

Seriously, whoever was manning quality control on that particular day really needs to be fired.

Excerpt from NaNoWriMo-land

“Ellie, I’m afraid your services are no longer required by this company. You are not a good fit for our team, and the synergy you bring to this team is not cohesive. We are looking for team players here, team members who want to bring this company into the next threshold of productivity, not tear it apart.”

Ellie was breathing hard in anger, but somehow managed to keep herself composed. “Allen, are you even listening to yourself? Can you even hear how ridiculous you sound?”

“Please, I think we can remain professional enough not to engage in more name calling,” Allen raised a conciliatory hand, trying to calm her down, but Ellie wasn’t going to have any part of it.

“No, I will not remain professional, not if being professional is being like the two of you. Allen, you’re speaking complete dribble,” Ellie raised her voice, speaking over the beginning of Allen trying to cut her off. “You sit there and speak about synergy and team cohesiveness, but you’re completely ignoring the fact that we’re not speaking about stupid ideas you learned in business school – we’re speaking about the law. What Carrie did was wrong. This isn’t a difficult concept. It’s illegal, and if you put this company’s name on it you’ll be an even bigger idiot than she is.” Allen’s mustache twitched as his mouth tightened in anger, but Ellie was far from finished.

She whirled around, pointing her finger at Carrie. “And Carrie – seriously. Do you have any redeeming qualities other than a big rack?” Carrie spluttered in anger, but Ellie just raised her voice, speaking over her. It worked well enough on Allen, after all. “Well, do you? Because as far as I can tell, your main contribution to this company consists of mincing around in skirts, passing off other people’s work as your own, and trying to see how much attention you can get by forcing us all to stare at your cleavage. If you’ve got something worthwhile to bring to the table, I think we’d all be happy to hear it.” Carrie sat there, the picture of delicate shock, covering her mouth with a well-manicured hand as her eyes began filling with tears. Ellie had to hand it to her – she had never met anyone who could cry on command better than Carrie.

Allen slammed both hands down on the table, standing suddenly. “Enough!” he roared. “Ellie, I will not tolerate you speaking to us like that.”

“Speaking like what, Allen? Honestly? What, are you so used to having people just spit your own ideas back to you that you get confused when someone actually bothers tells you the truth?”

“I said that is enough, Ellie! If there were an issue with the legality of her work, don’t you think I would have heard about it previously? What, do you have some kind of law degree that you didn’t’ divulge on your resume?”

The two of them stared at each other fuming in silence for a few heartbeats. In the chair beside her Carrie smirked, her crocodile tears from moments before completely vanished in her undisguised glee at the scene unfolding before her.

“No, I am not a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the education necessary to be able to tell right from wrong,” Ellie took a step forward, pointing at the proposal in front of her. “The proposal is a fraud. And you know as well as I do that if you decide to go through with submitting that proposal you’re just as guilty as she is.”

“So, refresh my memory. You have, what, a bachelor’s degree? In what – environmental sciences?” Allen shook his head with a derisive laugh. “I have a Masters in Business Administration – I am quite familiar with the legalities surrounding copyright infringement, and I don’t need a temporary employee to come in here and try to give me lessons on what I can and can’t do with my company.”

That was it. “Congratulations on your master’s degree, Allen. We’re all very proud of you. I’m glad to see your education isn’t getting in the way of your stupidity.” Ellie reached up to her name tag, unclipping it and tossing it on the desk. “I quit. No need to call security. I can find my own way out of here.”