Definitely Not Currying Favor

Last night I had the indeterminate pleasure of attending my company’s quaterly update. It was held at an Indian retaurant. The reason it was held at an Indian restaurant is my boss is Indian and so are about 10 of the employees here. Overall, there were about 35 people in attendance, the rest of us are Americans and I think everyone was a good sport about the locale of the meeting.

I, however, struggled with the restaurant selection for a two main reasons. The first reason is that I struggle with the logic of selecting food that only suits 1/3 of the people in attendance. The second reason is that I have a sensitive stomach and had a creeping feeling that Indian food would not agree with me.

Well, my stomach is prescient when it comes to predicting digestive tragedy and as soon as I walked into the restaurant and a wave of curry washed over me I knew I was in trouble. I should have listened and just stuck with the naan (flat pita-like bread) but I tried a little of everything. For the most part the food was spicy and in some cases unpleasant but I was polite and told the proprietor that it was all delicious.

Almost immediately after eating I knew I was in trouble. My stomach twisted up in knots and I knew it was time to vacate the premises. I spent the rest of the evening smelling like I’d rolled around in curry and feeling like I’d swallowed a shoe. If I could do it all over again, let’s just say that I wouldn’t.

I’d Be Happy to Take a Message

I work at a small software consulting company in Redmond and every day I answer about 10 sales calls. No, I’m not the receptionist, and no, that person can’t answer those calls because that person doesn’t exist. I wish we did have a receptionist, though, that would make my life a little less tedious at times.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. When I answer these sales calls I’m really courteous. I have been told by my co-worker not to waste my time being courteous. I have watched my boss just flat-out hang up on sales calls. For all intents and purposes I have been given the green light to be rude to sales callers. I find that I can’t, however, not matter how hard I try.

Don’t say I’m not tempted though. As persistent as I am about not giving salespeople information, they are twice as intent on gleaning any information they can out of the phone call. I feel like the gatekeeper of my company and at times I’ve had to tell people “I will not be giving you any information but I would happy to take a message”.

Despite my polite and courteous responses, however, no one ever wants to leave a message. I don’t take it personally (unless they hang up on me. I think that after extending the olive branch and not hanging up on them in the first place they could at least return the favor) but I still have to wonder at the harsh industry that is sales. Especially sales involving cold calling.

Man, that must be rough. It must be like going door to door as a Mormon, only worse because if people don’t care about their eternal souls they sure as heck aren’t going to care about your low prices on office supplies.

I guess this is why I’m courteous to sales callers. Yes, they’re interrupting me and yes, they’re frequently very rude and relentless. I’m not sure though if that’s how they are normally or if that’s what the industry’s turned them into. Either way, I remain firm and unyielding. I like to think, however, that I’m like a Cadbury Creme Egg. Firm and unyielding but with a soft squishy center (and melts if left in the sun too long).

Best. Story. Ever.

I had a really stressful morning today (traffic, grumpy puppy, laundry) and was in a bit of a snit when I walked into work this morning. That is, until I saw the MSN homepage and read the story accompanying this headline: Man finds human leg in smoker (you can check out the story here:

If you don’t want to read the actual story, it basically involves a guy who bought a smoker from an auction only to take it home an find a leg inside. He contacted the previous owners and apparently the leg is from the son of the previous owner. He had his leg amputated after an accident and kept it for “religious reasons”. He is currently on his way to re-claim his leg.

I just…words fail me. Even if I were to try my hardest I would not be able to top the absurdity of this story. It brightened my whole morning. I am having the best time trying to imagine what “religious reasons” this person could have for keeping his dried-up leg. Also, if religious reasons dictated that you keep the leg, was there no more sanctimonious place than the smoker? Did he smoke the leg so that it kept better? So many questions! Maybe it’s morbid to think this is funny but it put a smile on my face this morning so I guess I should be grateful to the crazy guy and his dried-up leg.

Happy Hump Day!

I had a really good conversation with my dad last night while I was driving home. It was good because my dad has a lifetime of experience training dogs and it felt good to pose some of my training quandries to him and get some answers.

He confirmed something Wes and I have suspected since almost day 1: our dog is of a very dominant frame of mind. How did we know this since almost day 1? Our breeder has a webcam set up and we were able to watch our puppy whenever we wanted to. He was very easy to spot because he was always the one crawling over all the other puppies. When they were introduced to solid food, Doc was always to be found on top of the feeding tray, as opposed to around the tray like all the other pups. When we picked him up to take him home, the breeder told us that Doc was the first puppy in their 20 years of breeding experience to have chewed up their outdoor carpeting. He had ripped it to shreds!

When we brought him home we noticed pretty much immediately that Doc was not going to go quietly into that good night. He fought us on virtually everything. I wasn’t too alarmed, however, figuring that with high intelligence comes a strong ability to make leaders justify their leadership. Then came that fateful morning when I knew that our puppy was different.

I was getting ready for church and Doc was playing in the room with his duck. I looked down at him when I couldn’t hear the squeaker (like with children, when a puppy goes quiet they’re probably up to no good) and lo and behold he was humping my purse.

He was 11 weeks old when this happened. This shouldn’t happen with a puppy this young. I soundly chastised him and hoped to goodness the problem was solved. It wasn’t. Two weeks later I was sitting on the floor and he started humping my leg. Wes thought it was funny but I was blushing so furiously I thought my cheeks were going to catch fire.

When I told this story to my dad, he told me I needed to work with my puppy more. Obviously Doc listens to me when we do obedience and walks but still seems to think he owns me. Well, he’s wrong.

After garnering my dad’s opinion I resolved that this was a new Erika. No more letting the puppy sit on my lap or snap at my hand. I was going to be calm, assertive, and NOT HUMPED! Doc and I spent some quality time last night working on his attitude. It was very difficult to remain calm because he is very stubborn (not unlike his puppy-parents). I did my best, however, and I think he’s getting it. He may not give in easily, but if I’m persistent and calm enough he will eventually give in.

I guess the reason this is a happy hump day is that I feel like God is working on me through the dog. I am not normally of a calm and assertive state of mind. I am naturally more frantic and controlling (which is assertive in its own way but is not very healthy for anyone involved, really) and I don’t really want to be frantic or controlling when Wes and I have kids. I want my kids to respect and listen to me but I don’t want to gain that respect by losing my temper and freaking out on them all the time.

I was joking with Wes last night that I want to be a good puppy-parent, I just don’t want to have to change to do so. It’s really a good thing that Wes and I have such a stubborn dog, though. It’s good practice. If our kids are anything like us they will be nothing if not headstrong, stubborn, and convinced they are always right. I feel like nannying was a rehearsal for having kids and that the dog is a dress rehearsal. Hopefully when the curtain goes up for real I won’t choke and forget my lines.