Or, alternatively, BACK OFF BITCH.

So I have this former roommate from college. We were roommates our freshman and sophomore years and besties for awhile (not to overly promote myself or anything, but I made her and her now-husband happen. And later encouraged him to just wait it out when she broke up with him after graduation. Because I am a nice person.) until she sat by and let our other two roommates pull some serious mean girls shit on me (apparently I deserved it because I did evil things like drink non-diet soda and, you know, EAT real food and I had boys who liked me. Bad fifi! Also, although interestingly enough this was never thrown in my face like the other stuff, I was/am a bit bossy. No one is perfect.) and then, at the end of the day, she picked the mean girls over me (I mean, it’s worked out for them-they were in her wedding) and, at the time, I was deeply upset and sad, but let it go because we had been besties. However, as time when by, and she made what I see in retrospect to be very half-assed and fake overtures of continuing friendship, I eventually got to the end of my rope when she told me she could give me 10 minutes when she was in DC for a week and broke things off. And we have not talked since. However, we do still have mutual acquaintances and I hear things. And we are still face.book friends because unfriending someone, deserved as it may be, seems awfully spiteful to me and I just don’t really care that much.

As such, occasionally I log into fb and see things about her. And occasionally such things are enough to make me blow up Jill on gchat all: can you believe what horseface did now?!? (I’m a bitch. I get that. But she does also have a very narrow face…). Because she is FOR REALZ copying my life.

Granted I only have two incidents of this, but it’s enough. Exhibit A: of all the law firms in all the world, she summered at MY law firm. MINE. In the Chicago office, but still MINE. Which means we may have to cross paths sometime in the future. Of course, I don’t know if she’ll actually end up working there, but given the economy, I can’t imagine she won’t be on the list of new lawyers come fall. SIGH.

So then, (Exhibit B), I log into fb today and see that she has posted honeymoon pictures. And even though they are the wee little thumbnail pictures, I think, “hmmm those look AWFULLY familiar.”

That’s because they stayed at the exact same random (but very nice)hotel in Costa Rica that the Boyfriend and I stayed in when we went two years ago.

Yes, yes. I realize I sound crazy. The Boyfriend says I should be happy because we were trendsetters (we stayed there right after it opened). I say: MINE.

Sigh.

Subtitled, Why yes, UPS, you ARE welcome for the free and totally unsolicited advertising.

This Christmas, I ended up with four presents that couldn’t be delivered in person for one reason or another, but namely geographic issues. One, for bestie Jill in DC, was small enough that it could be sent first class mail, and, as I figured at the time, how badly could the USPS screw up first class mail to DC? Especially since I was sending it over three weeks before the holiday. Another, to Godson Z, was going to Philly, so even though the package was a bit bigger, I assumed that, again since I was sending it WAY in advance, the post office could manage to get it the two hours to Philly in a timely fashion.

There was no way, however, that I was entrusting the other two packages to the USPS. One, to other bestie Rachel, was going to the great state of Texas and the other, to my favorite girls, absolutely had to get to DC in a timely fashion since they were insanely lucky and got to celebrate the holidays on the beach in Florida (not that I’m jealous or anything!) and I wanted it to arrive before they left.* Rachel’s package also included her birthday present, so I was on a tighter time frame there as well.

I have been nursing a wee grudge against the USPS since Christmas 2007. Rachel was pregnant with Godson Z at the time (his birthday is Jan. 8 – happy birthday, Godson Z!) and, for a variety of reasons, she wasn’t having a baby shower. I had been out in Texas right before Thanksgiving and was going back for Godson Z’s birth (a story for another post, dear readers) and between finals and the holidays, there was no way I could get back out there to throw her a shower. So I did the next best thing: I made her a baby shower box:

and I bought a ton of presents (baby presents, like onesies and pacifiers and such, are relatively cheap, so you can buy lots!) and the Madre bought a ton of presents (because she is awesome like that) and I coerced the boyfriend into contributing a few presents and even Jill and Liz, who had only met Rachel once when Rachel kind of unexpectedly joined our annual Labor Day on the lake in 2006, each contributed a present and a card (because they too are awesome like that and knew it was important to me).

I put a ton of time into the box (SO much more fun than studying!) and wrapped everything individually and generally tried to make it as nice as I possibly could. Rachel’s birthday is right before Christmas, so I wanted the box to get there before her birthday and before Christmas so she could appreciate it and wouldn’t feel like she was being overshadowed in all the baby excitement. So, first of week of December, I took the box to my local post office (which, to be fair, was kind of a crappy post office – if you had to go there, you always wanted to make sure you had a book or something with you because you could be in line forever) and paid something ridiculous like $30 for priority mail to guarantee that the box would get there in two to three days. I repeatedly asked the person at the post office when the box would get there and told him how important it was to me that the present get there in a reasonable amount of time and the man repeatedly told me “two to three days. two to three days.” OR SO I THOUGHT. BECAUSE THEY LIE.

I went home and waited for a call from Rachel. And waited. And waited. I didn’t want to say anything to Rachel because I wanted it to be a surprise, so when there was no word two weeks later after Christmas, I called the post office. This is when I first learned that Track and Confirm is crap and that, therefore, the man on the phone couldn’t tell me where my package was or when it might conceivably make its way to Texas. It was also when I was informed that the whole “two to three” days things is not a guarantee, but is, instead, an estimate. The man on the phone also told me that I couldn’t reasonably expect for my package to get from DC to Texas in two to three days because, hello? it was the Christmas season and of course everything takes longer at Christmas.

I was livid.

I mean, I get the whole Christmas thing, I do. BUT THEN DON’T OFFER A SERVICE THAT PURPORTS TO SEND THINGS IN TWO TO THREE DAYS. And, at the very least, have your employees tell the customers the truth when they ask. The package eventually showed up in Texas a few days after Christmas and Rachel loved it and was very happy, but at that point, I could have totally saved myself roughly $20 dollars and sent the thing media mail with the same result.

Of course, because of the whole “not a guarantee” thing, the post office refused to refund my money. Not that I didn’t try.

I first discovered the joys of and headache-free-ness of using UPS (I don’t ever consider FedEx when sending things because I know from working pre-law school how ridiculously expensive FedEx is) when I needed to temporarily move roughly 100 pounds of clothes and books and purses and shoes (whether or not I NEEDED all of that
is, if you ask the boyfriend, open to debate, but I firmly contend it all was, in fact, necessary) to New York for my three month stint as a summer associate and I was flying an airline (ahem USAirways) that was charging BIG fees for checked bags. I investigated the post office, but they were pricey and I was a little skeptical anyway after the Christmas incident of 2007. I was pretty resigned to the fact I was going to have to pay the crazy airline fees, but then my mom suggested I at least check out UPS. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only could I send 50 pounds for only $30, (vs $25 for parcel post or $40 for priority mail), but my boxes would get there in only two days because UPS ground rocks.

I did comparison shop with USPS this Christmas just to check, but the UPS prices were roughly the same ($9.95 to send 3 pounds to Texas via USPS, $12.53 to send the same package via UPS) and I knew that UPS would actually get my package there when they said (and actually, it got there a day early-it took three days instead of four).

Also, with UPS tracking is free and by tracking, they actually mean TRACKING and not “we’ll update if we feel like it because we’re actually under no obligation to do so” even though you paid $.75 for this crap service ahem, Track and Confirm, ahem. And I don’t know about you, but I LOVE tracking the things I send out to see where they are. I am weird like that.

Now, in the post office’s defense (and, fair warning, this will be the ONLY thing I say in the post office’s defense in this post), both USPS packages DID get there in an amount of time that the average person would find both expected and reasonable so that is where they TRICKED me and I got cocky. I even twittered about how impressed I was by the efficiency of the Grand Central post office.

After Christmas, I had to send some important documents back to New York that, for reasons I will probably discuss in a later post, had to get to New York before the first of the year. On Monday the 28th, I took said important documents to the Post Office, explained the situation to the clerk, and asked if I should spend the $18 to send the documents overnight. And he said that there was absolutely no reason to do that because I could spend only $4.95 for priority mail and it would absolutely get to New York in 2 days on Wednesday (are you seeing the BIG RED WARNING signs here? because I didn’t). Worst case, and he stressed that he didn’t think this would happen because New York is, you know, SO CLOSE, it would get there Thursday morning.

Would anyone like to take a guess when my super super super important documents got to New York? If you guessed Monday the 4th, you would, in fact, be correct (luckily, I had faxed copies of the documents and the person they were going to accepted those, so we still met the deadline). When I called the post office, the woman on the phone gave the stupid “not a guarantee” line again and then told me that even though all the signs at the post office say “two to three days,” the post office, in fact, considers five days to be “delivered on time.” She also gave me the stupid line about how I shouldn’t expect things to be on time during the holidays.

I’m so glad that your standards are so low, USPS. Really.

So you are all thinking “fool me once…” but it, in fact, gets worse. Last week, my mom had to send some documents to New York and, thinking she would learn from what happened with my documents, paid the $18 to send the documents overnight.

Would you like to guess when the documents were delivered? If you guessed “not overnight,” you would in fact be correct. If you guessed “two days late,” you would be even more correct.

USPS did give her back her money, but I don’t think she really gave them much choice.

I hate the post office.

*Of course, as it turns out, sending a present that early to a five year old and not letting her open it for two and a half weeks is the equivalent of Chinese water torture, so I may need to rethink this plan in the future.

Maybe this would be a good time to utilize an experienced gate agent to deal with the approximately one hundred unhappy people trying to get to LaGuardia instead of a brand new agent who is a freaking tortoise and seems to only get slower when she looks up and sees the massive line in front of her. Oh, and dude in the cordoroy jacket with the slicked back hair who clearly styles himself in the college-professor-as-invisioned-by-hollywood vein and whose name badge is cleverly obscured so all I can read is “Matt” and who is clearly some sort of higher management, it does NOT help when you tell us all to cut her some slack because she’s a newbie. (Also, it does not help when you try and hit on cute female stranded passengers, fyi). You might consider, oh I don’t know, actually doing something, instead of just wandering around with your two way pager looking special. Just a thought.

Have not finished the post on my day yesterday, so here are just some random thoughts to tide you over until my next real post:

-Just read Perez Hilton’s statement. I’m not sure what happened exactly to warrant the whole altercation, nor do I really care, but, regardless of what he said or how he annoys/pisses off people, clearly no one “deserves” to be beaten up like that. I’m using quotation marks because of all the justifications for the aggressor’s behavior floating around. Violence is NOT okay people and nothing is going to make behavior like that okay. If PH were a woman, say, Joan Rivers, we would all be calling for the aggressor’s head right now. That said, I had a bigger point here: I was very surprised in his statement that PH said that he “chose the most hurtful word I know to hurl at [Will.I.Am].” How f’ing depressing is it that we are still in a place where faggot/fag is used as an insult like that by a gay man? The Madre was watching some show on TV last night where they were talking about that word and one character was trying to explain away his use of it by saying that faggot isn’t a slur against gays – it’s just a word guys use instead of pussy. Because clearly that would make it okay. But that’s how PH was using it too and I find it sad that we as a society are still in that place. No black man is going to use the N-word as as insult against someone of another race, so why is the F-word still okay? It’s ridiculous. Unless, of course, you are using “fag” instead of cigarette, which then we’re cool.

-I have not watched Jon and Kate beyond a few minutes here and there while flipping channels and recently, clips on websites like jezebel, so maybe I’m crazy to assume that while Kate may be a bitch or controlling or maybe just Type-A which is totally fine or whatever, she’s probably NOT the antichrist, but I’m kind of shocked by the amount of “Kate’s a shrew so she deserves this” on the internets today. Jon seems like a complete tool – the Ed Hardy, the earrings, the “I’m just 32” whining and I don’t get why he’s getting a free pass. Maybe this isn’t the life he wanted, but it’s the life he’s got and, even if he’d rather be out playing with 23 year olds in bars, he’s an adult with 8 kids who love and depend on it and he needs to act like a father and a role model, instead of another child. He needs to put his kids before anything else, including his lost barhopping/slutting it up years, and, no matter how controlling/selfish/bitchy/whatever Kate is, I can’t give that self-centered, instant gratification-seeking behavior a pass and I don’t understand why so many people want to see him as a victim. I just want to tell him to grow a pair.

-Am currently watching the teenage pregnancy special on ABC and I may have watched the first 2 episodes of the MTV series. I have no idea why I found this topic so compelling. It’s sad stuff. And very annoying to see the majority of the men (let’s be honest – boys) involved just walk away.

I meant to tell you all. N, the boyfriend’s secretary, was let go this week. Not because of anything she did, but because they did a big staff cut. Very sad, especially for the people who were good/efficient/did their jobs well. However, that is really not the point, (seriously, people, I am not a heartless bitch, but N kind of had this coming), the point being that someone (I don’t know who) was cleaning out her desk yesterday and discovered a drawer filled with all the receipts and expense reports that she was supposed to file for her attorneys over the past three months, but apparently never felt motivated to actually, you know, deliver to Accounts Payable. And, yes, said attorneys including the boyfriend should have noticed this, but since everything is electronic now and these were relatively small amounts (2 (or 20) $5 cabs here, a lunch there), none of them noticed that the reimbursements they were supposed to be getting were never included in their paychecks. So she leaves on a high note. Godspeed N, Godspeed.

I felt very gym stalked this afternoon. I was minding my own business on the elliptical (I loathe the elliptical, but after 2 knee surgeries, my knees just can’t take running every day), in a row of 12 ellipticals, all of which were empty.

And this chick picked the one next to mine. Which is fine. A little weird when there were so many other available options (I generally avoid taking a machine next to someone else if I can avoid it – it seems a little aggressive to me), but whatever. To each his own.

HOWEVER, she then proceeded to get on her cell phone (in clear violation of gym rules, mind you) and chat the whole time (all whilst maintaining a strenuous level 2 pace – rolls eyes). Loudly. Granted, I had my iPod, but I shouldn’t have to deafen myself to tone out her conversation. And, if she was going to break gym rules and catch up with friends while “working out,” why pick the machine directly next to pretty much the only other person in the gym???

The really weird thing was that I was almost done when she came over, so I only had to put up with Chatty Kathy for about 15 minutes, (I thought about saying something, but decided I wasn’t in a confrontational mood), but the minute I got off my machine, she got off hers as well and then left the gym. It was strange.

I mean, what’s the etiquette here? If you say something to these people, then you are being the confrontational bitch who can’t just suck it up and live and let live (there are rules for a reason people! you are not that special!). If you ask a trainer to enforce the rules, then not only do you have to interrupt your workout, but you also look like you’re stuck in elementary school and need to tattle instead of being a grown up and dealing with it yourself (and you become that patron to the gym staff which is always awesome). So advice is needed people.* I’ve been noticing this blatant disregard of the no cellphone policy more and more and it drives me absolutely insane. The usual offenders seem to be women in their early 30s decked out in matchy-matchy designer gym gear who seem never seem to break a sweat and are thus able to carry out full conversations with no trouble while on the elliptical/stair machine/treadmill.

*Note also that I am generally mistaken for being a teenager particularly when all the college kids are home and milling around the gym so my request that Chatty Kathy put her cellphone away would likely not be treated as a request from a peer.

Oh, and there is always tons of attitude here because it’s not just a gym, but it’s a tennis/pool/health club so some of the members like to act all entitled and bitchy to show how special they are for being able to spend the money to join said club. A lot of my brother’s friends work there and some of the members are horrible to them, treating them like the “help.”** One of the guys went to lift after his shift ended (which he was fully entitled to do, not only because when you work there, you get a membership, but because his family also belongs and has belonged forever) and a member took a picture of him doing so and went and complained to management that the “help” was using the facilities. The part that amuses me is that the worst offenders seem to be young parents which is awesome considering that in about 10-12 years they are going to want their little darlings to get summer jobs and what better place for said little darlings to work, but the club? It’s just good karma to, you know, be a decent, nice person, but if that’s not motivation enough, these people should remember that what goes around, comes around is a bitch and is best avoided.

**I also know of what I speak because in college during the summers I waitressed and bartended at another members-only facility. One time a woman at the club that I was serving started telling me that her son was just so smart and so wonderful and that he got into Miami of Ohio for college and that “people do call it an Ivy of the Midwest, but you know, sweetie, not everyone can go to the best schools.” She followed that up by asking if (not where) I went to college. I told her that I was about to graduate from George.town, but that she was right, not everyone can go to the best schools. Normally I don’t play the G-town card, because frankly I don’t care and I also know that the rankings are really very arbitrary and that someone’s education from a state school is likely just as good as mine (and cheaper!), but that’s not how the rest of the world rolls, so I WON.

You are going to have SO much fun in the real world. (Also, Fox News has clearly turned on you. HEE). There is a very special circle of hell for crappy employees like you.  And my former assistant. And the boyfriend’s secretary.

I worked at George.town after graduating and every year I got to hire a work-study student to help in the office with things like filing and mailings (we sent out A LOT of mailings) and copies and flyering and all that fun stuff. Clearly, the job was not glamorous, but that was as-advertised and, as work-study jobs go, it was pretty standard. Now, I will say that out of the three assistants I hired during my tenure, two were awesome. Nice, polite, pleasant to be around. The first, however, was the DEVIL. Seriously. I think she was put here and in my office for the sole purpose of trying my patience. In my defense, she was my first hire and she seemed very mature and capable. LIES. Similar to everyone’s favorite ex-beauty queen above, DEVIL had a ginormous chip on her shoulder and clearly resented me for asking her to do things that she believed were below her. Like her job.

Among the highlights of the semester we spent together:

1) The huge SIGH of anguish anytime I asked her to do anything (i.e. “DEVIL, can you please print out 30 copies of this letter for me on letterhead?” “SIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHH.”

2) The fact that, no matter how many times we had a little sitdown&chat about that crazy little thing called “professionalism” and the fact that there are certain things you just can’t do in the workplace, she persisted in walking around the office singing. SINGING. And not quietly under her breath. Apparently it was her means of communicating with God (ironic, right? The devil clearly has a sense of humor).

3) The fact that she consistently showed up late to work, left early without checking in with me, and lied about doing things (example: putting things in the mail) and would only admit to not having done them when confronted with clear proof (ex: stack of envelopes she said she had mailed out a week earlier).

4) The time I asked her to hand-deliver something to another office ASAP. 30 minutes later, I got a call asking where the document was and went out to DEVIL’s work station to find her on her personal email. She then told me I was interrupting her. I believe that is when I first suggested she start looking for alternative work for the next semester.

Because that was the thing: since she was work-study and you can’t just fire work-study students, no matter how incompetent/evil they are, there was no way I could get rid of her until the end of the semester. It was a LONG semester.

The final straw was when I had to be out of the office one morning for a not-a-huge-big-deal-in-the-long-run, but-not-insignificant outpatient procedure. I worked on the Main Campus and so the hospital was right there and so I went into work before the procedure where I found that DEVIL had been lying to me (I know, I know. From what I told you above, shocker, and I should have been watching her like a bird at that point, but that’s what I get for treating her like an adult and trusting her) all week (under even the best of circumstances, DEVIL worked at the speed of molasses. It was often faster to do things myself) and had not even begun to assemble the 40 packets that had to be done by that afternoon so they could go out in that day’s mail pickup. So I left a note for her at the workstation emphasizing that the packets HAD to get done that day, explaining again how to do them, and telling her to email me the minute she got in. I also sent her an email with the same information.

I go off to have my procedure and keep checking my email. Nothing from DEVIL. Finally, I email my friend Hope* and ask her to please swing by DEVIL’s work station and make sure she is there and, if she is, tell her to email me (my office and the workstation were tucked around a corner from the rest of the department). She does, DEVIL is there, doing nothing as expected, and DEVIL finally emails me back something along the lines of “I am DOING it.” I take several deep and calming breaths. I get back, even though I had planned to take the rest of the day off, only to discover she is not doing it or anything and is on the phone with a friend. I see red  and ask her to come in my office.

She agrees, telling ME that SHE needs to talk to me. Before I can say anything, she tells me that it was really rude of me to send someone to check up on her and that I have no right to babysit her. I see red yet again, take a deep breath, and send out a little “thank you” to the universe for the painkillers the doctor sent me home with. And then we had yet another talk about professionalism and what it means when one person is the employer and the other is the employee (i.e. I beat my head against a brick wall yet again).

I thought DEVIL was one of kind, but clearly (scarily) there are more of her kind out there.

Oh, and the boyfriend’s secretary is just the worst. He shares her with several other people and they all trade horror stories on a regular basis. She regularly tells people calling that she hasn’t seen said associate/partner and so said person must not be in yet (a huge no-no) and refuses to do basic secretary things like answer the phone.** What I don’t get about her is, all things considered, she has a pretty cushy thing going. She’s got benefits and makes a very decent living (a little less twice what I made working for George.town), considering she only has a high school degree, and it’s not a horribly demanding job – she gets to leave at 6. So I don’t understand the refusal to actually, you know, do her job.

Clearly my expectations of how people should act in the workplace are just out of line.

Goes off to cry quiet tears of frustration and rally against a world that promotes such insane entitlement.

*Whose wedding I will coincidentally be at this weekend.

**There was some problem last week where all her charges kept getting fax calls to their individual lines – I don’t know why – and she told them that she was tired of picking up the phone and hearing the fax trying to go through and so she would not be answering their phones and would just let all the calls go through directly. Two of them, including the boyfriend, were closing deals. They were thrilled, let me tell you.