Monday, March 23, 2009

The rapper, not the candy . . .

One thing the Dr. and I have in common is that we both love music. We have some shared musical tastes for sure, and are both children of the 80s. He, however, stopped listening to current music somewhere before Ronald Reagan left office. Maybe that explains his politics. That doesn't stop us from enjoying a good debate about the relative attributes of various songs, artists, or types of music.

Tonight, like many nights, I engaged him in some musical discussion. Over sushi, I commented that I had been listening to the radio today and heard a song that I found quite lyrically intriguing and clever. He managed to ask "what was it?" right before he shoved an eel roll in his mouth.

"Lose Yourself. Eminem. The rapper, not the candy."

He gave me puzzled, skeptical look. The rest of the restaurant probably assumed he had some bad sushi. I knew his innate distaste of rap of any kind was inhibiting his ability to see the creative side of it.

I tried to explain, and did so poorly. I had heard the song many times before, but its not something I listen to frequently. However, today, it struck me how cleverly he balances his story-telling and the rhyme. In fact, he rhymes on the beat, and the off-beat. And he doesn't do it at the end of the sentence. I found myself completely engaged in waiting for the next surprise. He really has the cleverness of Shakespeare, just with a little more bass, and maybe slightly more violence (well, maybe not).

DrChako's eyebrows were knitted together as if I had grown an extra head and had just told him I was joining a convent and going to give up my heels in favor of a pair of sensible black Hush Puppies. He wasn't buying it. I begged him to come home and listen to the video on YouTube.

We all watched - his face looked pained. But by the end, he acknowledged the various stories inside the story, and conceded that his rhyming had some skill.

The best part was my son, though . . . he caught it right away, and his eyes lit up . . .

"Now I hear it . . . .
Snap back to reality,
Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he
choked He's so mad, but he
won't give up that easy,
no He won't have it, He . . . "

Its nice to have one more person in my family turned on to the music, listening for something more. The fact that he likes some of the same stuff I do, well, that's just icing on the cupcakes. But catching it that quickly makes me feel proud . . . like we've trained his brain to observe more than the ordinary . . .

Of course, after the video finished, DrChako felt like punching someone. I'm thinking it would be a good workout song . . . although I think I'd have to work hard to resist not doing the hand things . . . .

Enjoy the video . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top Ten Things I Won't Miss

So I'm trying to have a new perspective about this whole announcement . . . so I came up with the top ten things I won't miss . . . (in no particular order)
  1. Timesheets and billable hours.
  2. Management meetings about scheduling. I care about the schedule and availability of personnel three months from now . . . oh, wait, that's right . . . I don't.
  3. Stupid e-mails about signing off on a mid-year self-review. You know, its good for my future development . . . or not so much anymore.
  4. My assistant . . . oh wait, I don't have one anymore since the last economic cutbacks we did.
  5. Reviewing and projecting my personal schedule in the system for the next three months . . . uh, check with the big guys.
  6. Our expense reimbursement being farmed out to India where I get asinine questions about documentation for $5 expenses.
  7. E-mails from a hundred different industry subgroups.
  8. Trying to be nice to clients who want to pay Kia prices and get Rolls Royce service.
  9. Going to meetings to talk about what are next new clients are. Because that impacts me . . . how?
  10. Using only approved hotel and car vendors.

Always something positive, right?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


From the ancient Chinese wisdome of Kung Fu Panda . . .

The past is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift - that's why they call it the present.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wait . . . I am a Number

In fact, I'm some pretty good numbers.
  • 68 - Height, in inches. That's a long, tall drink of Wife-ness.
  • 40 - My age, which, although a bit rocky these last few days (weeks? months?) is pretty cool in a lot of ways, most of which involve being young enough to enjoy things (friends, traveling, food, drink, rock and roll, skillets . . . you name it) and being old enough and wise enough to appreciate it without all the other problems of youth (acne, poverty, stupidity)
  • 36B - Geez, MHG - they were right there in your face . . . you ought to know.
  • 16.5 - Number of years of awesome experience I have to sell to some willing buyer who can recognize my financial accounting talents.
  • 9 - My shoe size - which looks fabulous with a pair of 4 1/2 inch Jimmy Choo stilettos, let me tell you.
  • 9 - Number of places I've lived in my life (not a single repeating state) - see how flexible and mobile I am?
  • 6 - When I'm being good about what I eat, that's my dress size. Work, poor diet, and a few other things are trying to push that upwards. But I'll be back there.
  • 4++ - Size of my immediate family, which includes a few extraneous au pairs. I am fortunate to have them.
  • 2 - Number of degrees I have.
  • 2 - Number of children that call me "Mom." They can't ever downsize you from that role or take that title away.
  • 1 - Number of abdominal scars I have to have earned me the previous title.
  • 1 - Number of patient, understanding husbands I have that put up with my last few years of crap, including this last zinger, and still call me friend.
  • 0 - Number of fantastic friends, virtual or otherwise, that I'd give up in times like these.

Don't get me wrong - being part of a "capacity reduction" still sucks. The numbers just look better than they did yesterday.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Just a Number

Today, I am just a number.

It has seemed like a family for a long time. However, in today's economic times, it has reverted to its lowest common denominator, and it has become the machine. And today, to the machine, I am just a number.

Fortunately, for me, even though the machine no longer feels like family, I still have a real family. Some came to me through the ties of blood. Some through the bonds of marriage. Some I created myself, who carry little bits of my DNA. And some of you who through accidental threads of friendship across the miles have woven themselves into an extended family that stretches from coast to coast and across borders.

So to those of you who have called, or sent words of encouragement, thank you. For family members from afar who call when they should be worried about their own troubles, thank you.

And for those of you who took the time to remind me today that regardless of what the numbers say, I'm still the best at what I do, thank you.

To the machine, I may be just a number.

But elsewhere, I am still the professional. the writer. The friend. The daughter. The mother.

I am The Wife

Respectfully submitted.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Economic Woes Hit Main Street . . . and Sesame Street

Yep, you heard it. Even Sesame Street is impacted by the economy. 20% layoffs.

You know, we track unemployment statistics, and everyone knows these are headed in the wrong direction right now.

A lesser known statistic is "underemployment" - people who are qualified for better jobs but take jobs beneath them in tough economic times to replace lost income.

A still lesser known statistic, apparently, is "muppet unemployment" - when increasing unemployment figures begin to affect non-human characters.

The budget stats aren't good - $141 million in operating costs to make Sesame Street generates only $145 million in revenue.

Makes you wonder. I mean, they've been doing the ultimate outsourcing for years. Forget Mexico, India, Eastern Europe. These people have been using PUPPETS. No labor union costs. No benefits. Clothing and makeup budget has to be pretty low for those things. Ernie and Bert have been wearing the same clothes for years. And half the muppets don't even wear clothes! Hell, I don't even know if Oscar the grouch actually even has a full body - he's in the trash can all the time.

They haven't changed their theme song for years, and they still recycle some of the old things I used to watch as a kid.

If Sesame Street can't make it in today's economy, who can?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Memory

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Me Too

Imagine falling. Having the wind knocked out of you.

It doesn't actually hurt. It's just the shock, and the struggle, as your lungs try to find a way to expand and fill will air.

When they finally do, the rush of oxygen is intoxicating. And when you realize that none of your ribs are broken, and all the blood flows back to its normal places, well, it makes you feel alive, even as you lay there catching your breath.

Then someone kicks you in the stomach, for good measure.

* * * * *

It's not personal. It's economics. Math. A system that accommodates expansion better than it accommodates contraction. And I will get caught in the middle of it. Eventually.

Like so many people in this economy, I could become a "me too".

It won't happen like it happens to most people, though. Partly, because that's not how it works around here, and partly because I will take charge of the process and won't let it happen like that.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not still reeling a little bit from the sheer possibility.

* * * * *

I'm not inviting any of you to the pity party, as I am hoping it's short-lived and not worth the trip for you all. And I suspect the story just picks up somewhere I didn't expect it to and has a happy ending anyway. So stay tuned for the rest of the story, and pardon the choppy transition between scenes - I'll have to fire my script writer.

It has to work out. I mean, someone has to pay for the massages and manicures. Oh, and the shoes. Don't forget the shoes.

Until then, I'm going to stick with my new mantra - "I will not be a hausfrau . . . I will not be a hausfrau . . . "

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Friday, March 6, 2009

Out of Synch

What if, as your day ends, you find yourself facing a path that doesn't lead in a direction you planned for, at all?

An alternative that you never really considered?

One that by all accounts, would be considered progress. Success. Achievement.

But still feels funny, because its not how you wrote your script?

It will work itself out, in time, I imagine. To an outsider, it might seem like a natural evolution. Today, it still feels like I'm falling short of something.

I've felt out of synch, off balance for some time now. Like I landed a triple lutz wrong, but still went straight into the double axel. Now it feels like my skate just came untied. And my costume is about as stable as Ekaterina Rubleva's (NSFW). And the ice has started to melt.

Then again, maybe its just life's way of telling me to get off the ice, and down to the beach . . .

It's either time for a hot bath. Or a drink. Or both.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Milk . . . It Does a Body Good . . . Sometimes

If Peaker wasn't such a curmudgeon, I'd have a whole host of things to talk about.

But I respect him, so we'll skip the economy and the octuplets today. Oh, and I don't watch Idol or the Bachelor (and so we find out Jason is a little bit of a dog . . . and this surprises us . . . why?). And I don't know squat about the future of newspapers.

So let's talk breasts.

Specifically, in their application as lunch.

Let me preface:

I'm a fan of breastfeeding. Did it for both my kids. Great bonding. Free. Nutritious. Good for development. Smarts. Immunity. It's sanitary. Once you get the hang of it, convenient. No buying formula. No buying bottles. No washing bottles. And bottles. And bottles. Always ready. Always perfect temperature and consistency. And let's be honest. It's the way our bodies were constructed. We are MAMMALS.

But lately the focus in the news has been on a few outliers, or our interpretation of the outliers, and it never ceases to amaze me how weird humans are.
  • So there is the lady who gets pulled over for driving, talking on the cell phone and nursing her baby while driving. She was offended and wanted to turn it into some rant against breast feeding in public. I don't care if you breastfeed in public. But for crying out loud, lady, you are behind the wheel of a few thousand pounds of moving death. You are not that good of a multi-tasker. Have a little respect and pull over. That goes for the cell phone too, if you can't put it on hands free.
  • Then there is the story of Selma Hyek nursing another baby in Africa. Jeez people. Its a hungry, sad baby. Mother can't feed it. Happens all the time in nature . . . and we used to have wet nurses who's sole job it was to feed other babies. Its no weirder than Brittany kissing Madonna or Marilyn Manson wearing more makeup than his girlfriend. Get over it.
  • The lady who is still nursing her 7 or 8 year old. It's comforting. Well that's nice. Way to encourage your child to find other ways to self-comfort. Or to find comfort in things that the rest of us do, like maybe a hug. 'Cause its good for our development to not progress beyond things that were comforting as an infant. I grew up on a farm. Animals know their stuff. Get in, get out, get fed, grow up, be done. You don't see lone young heifers wandering around the pasture trying to cop a little sip from their moms. Once calf #2 comes along, calf #1 is drinking WATER! Just like every other mammal. Get on the program.
  • And everyone else, stop making it about some weird sex thing. We've made breasts sexual, when to babies, they really are just functional pieces of equipment. I don't think she's engaging in some weird form of child abuse that has some sexual undertone. They are just boobs. Its natural. Maybe not when you're 8, though.

Maybe I'm lucky - when I wanted to nurse, I did, and could. When I started thinking it was time to stop, both of my kids decided that there were more interesting things to see and do than lay around attached to me, and stopped on their own. So I was done before it could even remotely be considered weird.

Oh well . . . I guess if we didn't have stories about weird people to amuse and confound us, how would we ever feel superior to anyone?

I gotta run think of a new topic . . . Peaker is probably adding breastfeeding to his list of things he doesn't want to hear about.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Into the Darkness

It was a dark space. Enclosed. Maybe an alley. Maybe a room. Big enough to contain something, if you could see beyond the inky darkness. Not something you'd want to walk into without knowing what was there. If anything.

The darkness had substance. Texture. Volume. You couldn't see into it. But I could feel it pressing back out at me as I stood at the entrance. Shifting inside the space, like a vapor. No temperature, no smell, not a hint of anything. Just the insistent presence of . . . well, of dark.

Unable to move forward without certainty of what it contained, I paused. Then yelled. Screamed. Incoherently. Just sounds. I don't know why. Maybe I thought it would echo back. Like the sonar of a bat. Give me some sense of what lurked in the black. Only it didn't echo. It just absorbed my voice. I yelled louder.

Until Dr. Chako elbowed me and told me to stop yelling at 4 a.m.

I gotta lay off the migraine drugs . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Please Don't Bring a Spade

Fine me. $1.00. It's going to sound like a bad beat story.

But its at a play money table, so that's what I'll pay with.

Last night, with the Dr. out east for a second night of debauchery, I decided to take a small break from my work and play some on line poker. Picked up one of my normal play money 45 person NLHE SNG.

Played very conservatively early on (I know . . . shocker). By the time we'd whittled the field down to 15, I was still in - but I was number 15. With less than half the average chip stack. Although blinds were still low enough that my M was pretty decent, all things considered.

Now for those of you who haven't played with me before, you should realize that being THE short stack in a tournament has never bothered me. Its a good excuse to play more strategically, and for some reason, people feel less threatened by your stack and will sometimes call you with your monster hands, just to see if they can bust you. They never learn that Mrs. Chako does not bluff in those situations.

I doubled up a couple times and found myself at the final table in 5th place. Top 7 places play, so I really just had to wait out 2 of the morons. One by one I watch them fall, hovering between 3rd and 5th place. Finally, we are down to three.

I played a hand against the 2nd place player and he went all in against my nuts on one hand, which vaulted me to 2nd place. The very next hand, with him now in the small blind, the chip leader in the big blind, and me in position, I'm dealt AA.

I raise 3x. I figure the new 3rd place guy is probably still steaming, and I want him to play. He goes all in. Got him where I want him. But the big blind calls. Doesn't have to. He just does. Now I want to maximize a little, thinking he's just playing big stack poker, so I go all in - nearly doubles what is in front of him. He calls.

The cards turn face up and Tilt-Boy shows pocket queens. Legitimate hand. Big blind show 56 offsuit. I'm feeling pretty good, 'cause I've got them both beat, but, well, its poker.

The flop comes X-X-X . . . all spades. I have the ace of diamonds and the ace of clubs. One of Tilt-Boy's queens is a spade. And Big-Stack's 6 is a spade. At this point, I realize the gods have once again spat in the face of probability, but as the turn card was being dealt, I still prayed "please don't bring a . . . "


You guessed it. So Tilt-Boy takes the main pot with a Q-high flush, and Big-Stack takes it with his 6.

It was my only game for the night, and I still cashed with more than 7 times my entry fee. But I could have made it all the way . . .

Just saying.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife