Lord of the Fur Balls

Lord of the Fur Balls

I work for an animal welfare based non-profit that happens to have a lot of these animals (mostly cats) around the office.

We have Squawk (yowls when you don’t pet her), Roy (reaches out of his cage and puts his paws on your chest), and Ninja (hides behind her litter box) to play with. Here’s what it’s like when your office is an animal foster.

1.) Your work shirts have hair and cat slobber on them.

2.) You start talking to the animals way too often (“Quit hissing and behave, or I’ll put you in timeout.”)

3.) When you come in in the morning, everyone starts yowling for your immediate attention.

4.) On occasion, you get scratched (when someone really doesn’t want to go back to her cage).

5.) If you let the animals out, they will walk in front of your computer (duh). When you turf a cat off your desk, it will leap back up the second you put it down.

Lastly, one lap can indeed fit two kittens. Provided they quit squirming, which is doubtful.


Happy Hypothermia

Happy Hypothermia

This New Year I decided it would be a good idea to take a “polar bear swim” in the icy waters of Puget Sound. I regretted this idea three seconds after I started. Nevertheless, it’s a fun tradition (when you get out that is). Here are some tips if you’d like to try it.

1.) Afterwards, take the shower closest to the hot water heater. It’s what my Mom did to me.

2.) You can get an ice cream headache.

3.) Make sure you’re the last person out, especially if there’s photographic evidence. Otherwise your family will tease you and post said evidence on Facebook.

4.) The polar bear swim is actually the polar bear dunk. If you try swimming, your toes will turn purple and drop into the sea.

5.) Be careful of barnacles. Or else you could start the New Year with more blood than you’d like.

And finally, when you sprint up the beach and into the bathroom, you will realize you have found nirvana. And that it’s a bone warming hot shower (see tip one).

On the Third Decade of Christmas

On the Third Decade of Christmas

When you celebrate holidays as an adult, you don’t start them off with a chocolate orgy. Instead you choose a couple of Lindor and a candy cane and feel self-righteous. Here’s some of what happens when you get older and start wanting clothes instead of stuffed animals.

1.) You can pay for gifts. Twenty dollars is no longer out of your price range. Then you get ripped off by FedEx who charges you eight dollars for bubble wrap.

2.) Your parents get up before you do. If you wait to get yourself a cup of tea, you should take them their stocking, so they have something to play with. Otherwise they will make fun of you.

3.) Putting up lights is still a hassle. Make your family do it.

4.) You no longer play “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

5.)Peppermint bark is as delicious as ever.

Lastly, when your parents call you their baby, you roll your eyes and remind them your 23. Then you hug them, because some things don’t change.

Holiday Shopping: Where Am I and Why Am I Holding a Food Processor?

Holiday Shopping: Where Am I and Why Am I Holding a Food Processor?

I read a book in college where an elderly couple got lost in the mall and died of “lingering dread.” After holiday shopping yesterday, I can see how that could happen. Nothing like crowds, too bright lights, and bad recordings of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” to make you wish you’d stayed home. Here’s how to get through it.

1.) It’s a bad sign when the customer service rep says, “Let me check you in” instead of “Let me help you.”

2.) Pedestrians are like rabbits. They dart out and don’t know where they’re going. You’re on the naughty list if you hit one.

3.) Baked goods are tricky. People have a lot already. On the other hand, my neighbor gave me homemade caramel sauce that should be a controlled substance so…this tip is no help at all.

4.) If you’re not close with the receiver, try an ornament. It says: “I don’t know you well, but I kind of like you and thought this was pretty.”

5.) Make your hard to buy for relatives write a Christmas list. Otherwise they end up with way too many coffee mugs.

Lastly, it will all be worth it on Christmas morning when you wake up and realize you don’t have to leave the house.

Home is Where the Heat Is

Home is Where the Heat Is

Since I’ve moved into my apartment, it has developed a faulty light switch, a leak in the ceiling, a cut cable cord, and a mold problem. There’s no insulation, so my neighbor can hear everything I say, and it’s sometimes colder inside than out. But it’s cute, convenient, and mine, so that’s that. Here are some of the chores I’ve had to do in my new place.

  • Wipe dead flies of my door. How’d they get there in November? I have no idea. But a wet paper towel makes them go away.
  • Clean the mold off my futon. I never thought lysoling my bed would be so important. Hint: It helps if it’s is kept against an inside wall, not an outside one.
  • Taking out the garbage, or getting my neighbor to do it for me. I spend three days a week, including garbage day, pet sitting at my mom’s, so I opted for the second one.
  • Meeting said neighbors—they’re who you ask if you can’t work the laundry machine. This has actually been a fun one. They’re are all nice, older women who (unlike me) pay to keep their apartments heated.
  • Bug the landlord. This one has to be done regularly, like washing the dishes. They had to send their handyman out three times before he even saw the leak in my ceiling. And now I have to check if they’re sending a roof guy to follow up.

Luckily for me, my Mom’s place (where I pet sit now and used to live) has warmth and cable. I still think of it as home because, after all, home is where the heat is.


Events: Making a Speech While Your Feet Die Slowly

Events: Making a Speech While Your Feet Die Slowly

In the non-profit business, we like to hold a fancy event each year, so that people give us money for general operating expenses. General operating expenses cover things like salaries, electricity, internet, and ordering pizza that grants don’t always pay for. Here’s how to work the day of an event.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. You may love your Italian boots, but they do not love you. Flinching with every step does not make a fun evening.
  • On a similar note, don’t wear blindingly yellow socks. If you have to take your shoes off, everyone will see them.
  • Events are good places to find acquaintances. I ran into a woman at my old office who made me cookies for my last day there. (“Hi, it’s great to see you!”)
  • Fancy events need good food. Take your boss up on it when she offers you leftovers. Tonight I’m dining on an Italian meat I don’t know that name of, but tastes delicious.
  • You’ll spend a lot of your time hiking up and down the halls in search of someone who knows more than you.

And finally, it is a truth universally acknowledged that no matter how good it feels to dress up for the evening, it always feels better when you hang up your blouse and put on pajamas.

Cold Calls: It’s Nice to Meet You. Want to Give Me $250 bucks?

Cold Calls: It’s Nice to Meet You. Want to Give Me $250 bucks?

Dante said that the ninth circle of hell was cold. I say its cold calls. There’s nothing more awkward than telling someone: “Hi, I’m from [name of non-profit]. You were kind enough to donate to our silent auction last year…” It’s for two good causes though, animal welfare and keeping my apartment. Here’s what I’ve learned about cold calls.

  • You weren’t disconnected. They hung up.
  • Get a list of previous donors. It will work five times better than randomly punching in numbers, and make it five times less likely that you’ll want to punch the telephone instead.
  • It’s an ab workout. Your stomach tightens the minute you start dialing.
  • Business 2.0 magazine says it’s a good idea to call around dinner time. Don’t do that. It’s rude.
  • A lot of small businesses don’t have money to spare. It’s not personal when they don’t give, and it’s especially meaningful when they do.
  • On that note, the ones that donate can make your day. I had a new prospect tell me: “Thank you for reaching out.” It still made me smile a week later.

Full disclosure: I have danced in my chair and sang “Money, money” after a successful call.