Work in the Land of Kittens

Work in the Land of Kittens

I started a new job this week as Development Director at Concern for Animals. I take care of grants, donations, and social media. I’ve been cold calling businesses asking for gifts and enjoying the fact that I have my own office. There are kittens just outside, so it’s a miracle work gets done at all. Here are a few things about my job so far.

  • It’s possible to call the same business four times and still not get the person you need to talk to. I hope they haven’t filed a restraining order.
  • Writing about cute kittens on Facebook is as fun as it sounds. I get to start sentences with “One of our little fur balls got adopted…”
  • On the flip side, there are some desperate people out there. One guy called asking for medical help for his dog sent a video on Facebook of the dog coughing up blood. Oh boy.
  • The funds I raise go towards helping people like the one in step three. That’s why I called that business four times.
  • My own tastes influence the gifts I ask for. That’s why I called a frozen yogurt place, two tea shops, and a store that sells Star Trek mugs.

Note: When you take a (quick) break to pet a kitten, you have to pet them all. It’s only fair.

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Woman versus Co-workers

Woman versus Co-workers

I spent my last day at work cowering in front of my computer. A red message blared across the screen: Oops!!!… Your Important Files are Encrypted. Send $30,000 worth of Bit-Coin to the following address. How had this happened? How had I managed to get a virus on my last day?

“It looks like they know who you are.” IT pointed to a line of text: G0tchuL0rnA.

I sat and hyperventilated. The scammers had my name—even worse.

“What does that say?” He gestured to a tiny squiggle at the bottom of the screen.

“Good luck Lorna. You’ve been scammed.” Oh god, oh god, oh god.

He clicked on the My Documents file. The names showed up, just as they usually did. “It doesn’t seem like they’re encrypted.”

Maybe, maybe this was something they could fix.

He sat back.

I turned towards him. “Was this a prank?”

He nodded, and I laughed so hard the back of my head hurt. I hadn’t cost the company $30,000! Co-workers said they wished they’d had my expression on video. One guy joked about getting me oxygen.

They’d said at his anniversary party that IT was a prankster. They weren’t lying. He’d once taped the HR Director’s keys to ceiling after repeatedly hiding them at eye level, so she wouldn’t look up. He said the virus prank was some of his best work and that I’d be telling future co-workers about it. And he was right—I would.

Happy Birthday…Don’t Light Your Hair on Fire

Happy Birthday…Don’t Light Your Hair on Fire

Autumn has arrived. The leaves are red, it’s dark in the morning, and I have Christmas carols stuck in my head (Unto the Lord sing praises of blessed angel name…). It also means my sister’s turning 20. Here’s why you’re never too old for birthdays.

  • Cake (duh). Ice cream cake for her, vanilla with butterscotch frosting for me. This is where it pays to have family who cooks.
  • My birthday is in February when winter is gray, miserable, and seemingly endless. I need something to look forward to when my boot toe soaks through.
  • The only time I can sing without my sister screeching at me to stop is for her birthday. Irony is fun.
  • If you have long hair like me, be careful not to fry it. I cut my bangs w/ a pocket knife around my fifteenth birthday. This would be even worse.
  • I snuck away last weekend to buy hers (a mystery book and a batman figurine). I returned with a smile on my face and my hands behind my back. Mom asked if I wanted to go to the car to hide anything. I could almost see her roll her eyes.

Note: When you post about your sister’s gift the week before her birthday, be very sure she doesn’t read your blog.

The Five Stages of Credit Card Grief

The Five Stages of Credit Card Grief

Recently, in an attempt to become a responsible adult, I decided to start paying for a credit card in a joint account with me and my Dad. Little did I know that building a ballistic missile out of sticks from the woods would have been easier. If I’m not careful, this could turn into the twelve labors of credit card anguish. Here are the steps I’ve taken to settle that bill.

  • Call the credit card company to set up an account that I can pay from. Be told that they can’t talk to me because I’m not the authority for the card. I need to have Dad speak with them first.
  • Call again and give them my account number. So far so good, until I hear that the account won’t work because I added an extra “eight.”
  • Five days later learn that the other number I gave didn’t help either. Rinse and repeat.
  • Speak with my bank and find out that I didn’t need that 010 on the end—that was the check number (whoops).
  • Attempt to correct the mistake with the credit card company. Be told they can’t talk to me because I’m not the authority on the card. Beg, plead, and cry. Explain that Dad has already spoken with them (see step one). Ask if they keep records (they don’t): “It’s not my rule.” Put voodoo curse on the customer service rep.

The moral of the story is never under any circumstances attempt to become a responsible adult.

Quest for the $900 Studio

Quest for the $900 Studio

I’m embarking on an epic journey, a modern day Odyssey if you will—to find an apartment. I’m wading through for-rent ads and yelp reviews. Hunting through mold problems and flea infestations in search of the Holy Grail, a clean, safe apartment for under $1,000 a month. This is what I’ve learned along the way.

  • WSG stands for water, sewer, garbage—that fee is actually for something. Application fees on the other hand are for absolutely nothing.
  • If someone recommends the apartment to you, mention it. You could be the person the sales lady says “I have a people begging me for apartments” to instead of one of the people begging her for apartments.
  • If it’s your first time renting, you may need a cosigner—that’s what parents are for.
  • Look at the apartment before you commit, that way you can see if the “fitness center” is two machines in the basement.
  • It can be hard to tell if the person on yelp is bitter when they say there are homeless sleeping in the laundry room or if the apartment really is terrible. Then again, homeless in the laundry room sounds fairly conclusive.

Note: If the city you’re renting in has 111 properties, you don’t have to take the first place you see (even if the sales lady gives you jelly beans).

Kindergarten Lessons for The Walking Dead

Kindergarten Lessons for The Walking Dead

My family and I like to watch The Walking Dead during dinner. Nothing makes you want to go back for seconds like Rick and the gang slathering themselves in zombie guts to disguise their smell. We’ve seen 5 ½ seasons, and to survive you have to be a total badass—the kind that blows up a gang of murderers with an RPG and then says, “What a bunch of assholes.”  You also need to remember lessons you learned in kindergarten.

  • Don’t talk to strangers. They could be cannibals who want slit your throat and roast your leg over a fire. Hint: Terminus is not a good word.
  • Sharing is caring. Nothing like giving someone a water bottle when they’re dehydrated and dying. If you’re lucky, they’ll trade you some of their seemingly endless ammo.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. Hint: If you’re a group of cannibals preying on unwary travelers, eventually they’ll get sick of it and attack with a herd of zombies.
  • Listen to teacher—especially when the lesson is self-defense. In a zombie apocalypse, this would be my one marketable skill. I’d teach you to elbow an attacker’s throat in exchange for farming instruction.
  • Stand up for your friends. It’s not okay to say mean things on the playground. And it’s not okay kill people and keep their pickled heads on a shelf. That’s when it’s time to gouge the guy’s eye out with a glass shard.

Disclaimer: If you try the glass shard on the playground, it will end poorly.

De-Stress: How to Avoid Arrest for Road Rage

De-Stress: How to Avoid Arrest for Road Rage

I spent the drive to work this morning screeching explatives. I was running late, and I needed to get a body work estimate for my car. And in the end, the “boss man” wasn’t even there (after I’d made an appointment)—fun times. We tell ourselves to de-stress, but never get around to it. For me it’s about appreciating little luxuries—bath salts, caramel sauce, my cat’s belly fur. Here are five things I do (or should do) to eliminate stress.

  • Don’t use the word should. It reeks of unfulfilled expectations and low self-esteem.
  • Read—it works for me. I’m in the middle of a thriller about a serial killer who flays his victims’ torsos into 153 strips of flesh. It’s surprisingly soothing.
  • Take a hot soak in sweet smelling water. Its cliché, but it works. I have three different types of bath salts in my cupboard: hibiscus, lavender, and rose. My floral don’t-punch-holes in-the-wall kit.
  • Get enough exercise and enough sleep. My personal irony is that I wake up early to exercise.
  • Eat extra desert. I’m celebrating Labor Day weekend with a box of rich, creamy milk chocolate bars.
  • This one’s hardest. If your subconscious is screaming at you, you have to listen. That’s why it’s screaming.

If all else fails, make sure you roll up the windows when you shout those expletives.