My (former) life as the crab

Musings about life after Crabby Office Lady

Day….6 June 18, 2012

Filed under: Annik — Annik @ 4:01 pm
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Got my unemployment info after filling out all the forms. You can do it all online which is great. I had visions of standing in line with 23-year-old mothers and their 3 snotty-nosed chil’run , all snacking on Cheetos and Big Gulps. (Opps…is my “ism” of some sort showing….?)

Just last month either the federal or state government cut down on how many weeks you could file. It appears that I can file for 26 weeks. Ha;l a year. That’s not bad. Of course I can’t LIVE on $2k a month but I think that’s the most they offer you. There’s some sort of cut-off on how much they’ll pay you and I think I hit the limit, which is sort of sad if you get laid off and you were being paid 300K a year.  So t does that mean that, if, say, if Mitt Romney lost his job (does he even have a job?) and found himself  unemployed, he cold only get $500 a week. Gosh, I find that sort of comforting…

Did I mention that futons are filled with hatred? (C’mon Clay–get here with the new upstairs air conditioner before I have to do one more night on a futon in a twin bed…)

Leaving for Meheeco next Saturday for a week with the entire family. And I do mean the brother, the sister, the 3 nephews, the 3 nieces, the two parents, the two in-laws, and my one darling daughter (without whom I sure as hell would not go). I frankly thought it was NOT a good idea for my parents to spring for a Club Med trip for all of us, in order to celebrate their 50th anniversary. And I told them so and we ALL told them so and at firsts we thought we’d SWAYED them…but apparently not. I mean, what about a nice party? But no, they insisted and while yes, I’m looking forward to it, I’m also very much afraid–and I don’t mean of the drinking water. Recently three times (first two times were from  two close, younger, relatives–over 21–and one time a good friend commented that a certain family member is very snappish to me and just shuts me down when I offer an opinion. Again, I feel vindicated that it’s not just ME who’s over-reacting but that it IS happening. I think it has something to do with competitive parenting. It’s really weird and I’m trying to let it roll off my back but I have a back made of velcro (or so it seems). Lots of yoga, Annik; lots of yoga. One of my instructors says “take all that stress and resistance and brush it to the sides of your mat…” yeah, the sides of my mat. Yeah, brush it. More like get a wind machine and fill up a crater.

I did create a t-shirt for all 14 of us to wear on the plane–it was taken in 1961 in Austria, one of the many countries my folks visited on their honeymoon. The man in the middle is, who else? Neptune! My mom used to say that he was her grandfather and we believed her for the longest time. And wouldn’t you know it, the CLub Med logo is a trident…

Front of the 50th anniversary t-shirt

Front of the 50th anniversary t-shirt

Back of the 50th anniversary t-shirt

Back of the 50th anniversary t-shirt

 

Infidelity in the workplace: Believe me sexybacks, we all know June 13, 2012

P.S. Rob A. + Becca R.: Who doesn’t know (Double that: Who isn’t completely grossed out?) Hey MRS. Robinson: Remember the sweet present I sent your second child? Apparently not. God, I love that Karma charge card: Play now…pay later.

P.P.S. JeRe and Bon Vivant (see previous post): Again: Did you think we didn’t all know? Really? Las Vegas etc.? I was 1400 miles away and even I knew.

Ew. I mean. Ew.

(And J.R.: All that makeup and work done to your face? Like we wouldn’t notice?? Your smile is still tight and mean-spirited. Nothing can smooth that away. What happened to you? You used to be so…nice (well…sorta). And at the MVP Summit 2010? You couldn’t even DEIGN to talk to me because what, you were “getting into character” to talk to….Mister Excel?

If you want to be actors, J.R, D.T., L.B…..GO BE ACTORS. No one wants to see videos of geeks talking about their geekdom.  EW. AGAIN.

No idea who these people are - just an awkward company party

 

The price of freedom

Filed under: Annik — Annik @ 3:55 pm
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Crabby at the Microsoft sign in Redmond, WAIt’s my third day of freedom from the shackles that were (& I suppose still are) the Microsoft Office Team (specifically my immediate team, the “WHOMP,” team, a moniker given to us my our illustrious TOOL of a manager—who describes himself as a “Bon Vivant” on LinkedIn—and one I never bothered to find out what it meant.).

I cannot express the feeling of relief in my chest. The loosening of the gray phlegmatic 1s and 0s that comprise all computer work. Although I had a good, solid 10+ years at Microsoft (a company name I believe I dared not mention—until now) on this blog, this diary of sorts, this way of making myself believe I can still write full sentences that do not include the terms “click” or “menu” or “properties”.

I should have left April 19th, 2011, when a marketing wonk (whom I’d never met) named Craig Kerwien snidely informed me—while wearing his $200+ Microsoft Marketing Puffy Jacket (that group’s Christmas presents the previous year; our team group got….oh right: nothing) pilgrim-toed shoes, and thinning gelled hair—in a meeting that my job for the past 9.5 years, the Microsoft Crabby Office Lady, a force unto herself with more than 1 million followers, was being killed off because 1) Absolutely no one (well, on the marketing team, he said, which of course is all that counts) uses the word “crabby” anymore; 2) The Crabby Office Lady did NOT make the company any money (“good will does not translate into dollars” he smirked); and 3) ….I don’t think there was a third reason. By then I was thinking that it was my birthday and had just received a not-so-good phone call from. Y gynecologist regarding a biopsy.

Yeah, it was a great day.

My manager didn’t warn me about this impending cut (he wasn’t even on the Microsoft grounds that day—I’ve never even met the tool). His fathead (& I do mean that literally and if you know who he is you’ll know it’s true) didn’t warn me; and the two managers above him, the people who sanctioned Crabby in 2002 didn’t warn me.

But I did get this: An editor on our team was in the meeting and she took me to her office, closed the door, lowered her voice, and veritably cupped her hands around her mouth as she whispered to me that she hadn’t personally heard anything of my impending firing but that she knew Amazon was hiring. Classy, girl named after a spiky, thorny holiday plant that never flowers; classy. Hope it made you feel strong at a time when you probably knew that your time as head blog honcho was about to be pulled out from under you. I’d hoped for more from you. But hey, click File > Info > Embed in Memory.

I had a few weeks to wrap up Crabby’s story and pack her off (which I did…to her own desert island where she enjoyed being the Cougar she always was inside). And then I was assigned to writing Outlook help topics for the next version of Office coming out (oops…can’t tell ya when that is though I know you’re dying to upgrade from what…2003?), with a guy who’d been writing Outlook Help topics since 2003. Can you imagine? He was one really crabby guy and left to work at—oh yeah! AMAZON!—a couple weeks before my departure. Then I wrote Word topics until just last week.

Without giving too much away, I went from writing what I and millions other computer users considered useful, fun, humorous, and thoughtful content to writing things like…

…wait for it…

“Print multiple copies of a document.”

Yep, when you have to look that up in Help when you upgrade to the next version of Word about 7 years from now, you’ll see my fingerprints all over that sucker. It took weeks, I tell you, WEEKS of research to get that one down. And the art! My god! The training I had to endure! The feeling of inadequacy!

Truth be told, my fourth grader was sitting next to me as I was looking over the final version of it to make sure it was technically and grammatically correct…not to mention in the right tone and employing just the right amount of empathy toward a frustrated user who had to look up this complicated topic… (And for those of you in the know, I will not use the “v” word since Microsoft has no doubt copyrighted it and I’d probably be in some sort of legal trouble for using it even though we ALL KNOW I started that revolution in February 2002.)

Anyway, my 9-year-old said to me, “Is that a joke? Is that your job now? To write down things that we learned in first grade?”

I felt so proud.

(Yes, Bian, there is a Bill Gates, and he’d be mortified to know that the company he started was paying me a six figure salary to do the job anyone with a sixth grade —of perhaps first grade—education could do while skipping rope.)

But then again, I never did get a puffy jacket so I guess it all balanced out.

Annik Stahl dressed as the Crabby Office LadyGoodbye Crabby—you’ll always be a part of me.

Crabby columns
Blog
Crabby on 9News
Crabby’s book
Podcast
Crabby photos (? Hm. Not sure about some of those…)

And that is the end of THAT era. Onto better, more useful things that make me embarrassed in front of my daughter!!!

—annik

 

When “No Soliciting” signs aren’t effective May 16, 2012

Filed under: Annik — Annik @ 2:28 pm
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I answered the door a few days ago to two middle-aged, sweating men in suits. (Romney impersonators for hire, I wondered?) They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. My first time—no kidding. I had been wondering if “Jehovah’s Witness” was a euphemism for something else, like “roofing company who wants to give a ‘free estimate'”.

But no, there they were, wanting to talk about, well, I’m not sure. See, the thing is, I answered the door with one of our rats on my shoulder, her nearly hairless tail slowly slinking across my neck. I pointed out the mezuzah, and just as they were starting to say that they spoke to people of all faiths, the rat, Remi, shifted slightly —maybe to get a better look.20120516-143815.jpg

All it took was for one of their gazes to graze slightly below my eyes and to my shoulder and they were OFF like a flash! Like the Red Sea parting! Like Jesus hightailing home to Dad just in time for Easter! Like…like they’d seen a rat on a jewess’s shoulder!

(I am VERY excited about roofing season…)

 

Grammar drives me crazy… March 16, 2012

But this in particular:

I hear people talk–on the radio, on TV, on the streets, even at work–who are (I’ve, in the recent past assumed–maybe correctly, maybe not) obviously not particularly educated,  and who don’t spend their time reading, much less writing or considering grammar (just conjecture, of course). This is the one that keeps throwing itself on my mercy

People say (in various contexts)

  • “What he must have WENT through…”

To me that sounds wrong. Just WRONG. I’m not a grammarian so I don’t know the rule for this, but to me, what sounds right is

  • “What he must have GONE through…”

Tyler ClementiI’m using this example because I just heard one of the lawyers on NPR–not sure he was  for the defense (Dharun Ravi who was found guilty of a hate crime, among other things) or the prosecution (for that sweet, gay, violin-playing, bridge-jumping-to his death Tyler Clementi) say “What he must’ve went though” and I thought to myself, “Hm. Self. THis guy is a LAWYER and you aren’t. Maybe it’s YOU who is sounding like an uneducated, McDonald’s-eatin’-3x-a-week-Jersey-Shore-fan. Oof. That’d be bad. I’d better check my resume.

Am I wrong?  Could it be? After all these years of trying to write correctly and working with great editors and copy editors? (Note that at this moment, my job entails NOT having real editors or even copy editors–RAMONA WE MISS YOU– just…well I can’t say or I’d get into trouble and I need this job, as dull and boring and mind/soul numbing as it is. Maybe another time when I’ve moved on (and boy, that time is coming–offers have started to pour, oddly enough; unfortunately they’re in Seattle, Austin, Singapore…). Another topic for another day (and maybe in another location–maybe another continent).

So, what say you, blog readers? I’m going to post my question to Grammar Girl and see what she has to say –if she hasn’t already addressed this. If she has, I’ll post it here. For the 5 of you. Haha.

– Annik (aka Queen Shannikwa, aka Crabby, aka Mommy, aka The Older Human Who Gives Us 4-Month-old-Rats Fatty Sunflower Seeds during the day).

C’mon: Talk to me. Anna? Fran? you’re two fo the smartest people I know. Ask Ryan Warner (whom we met Monday –he’s dreamy, gay, not gay). What’s  his take on “went” and “gone”

Okay, it’s the weekend, Bian has a  friend over and we’re all making pizza and watching Ponyo. So I’m gone for the weekend. Or…I went. Or I done gone and went. Or I done went and am gone. Huh. English is tricky. I do both Iyengar and Bikram Yoga so I’m pretty sure Sanskrit is trickier.

 

Quote of the week January 27, 2012

Filed under: Annik,General musings,Writing — Annik @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , ,

Grunnion“Here are grunnions at their best.” — The late James Beard

 

Title of this blog? January 20, 2012

Crabby Office Lady with a thought bubbleNo one has ever asked me why I named this blog what I did: My Life as the Crab. I wonder why not. Not “a” crab but “THE Crab.”

Maybe clicking on the image will give you a clue…