Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Random thoughts buzzing around in my brain...

I have returned from Stats Camp - a.k.a., camp for nerdy adults. Seriously. Twenty years ago, if you had told me that I would be voluntarily spending a week learning about an analysis approach for something I hadn't even learned about yet, I would have thought you were completely nuts. I can't say that it was my most favorite week of my entire life, but it was certainly enjoyable and challenging. And apparently that is what I like these days.

On a related note, I spent the entire week with a colleague who, by the end, was driving me slowly nuts. Well, on second thought - maybe it didn't happen *that* slowly. I have been trying to pin down what was so frustrating/annoying/aaargh-inducing, and I have a few thoughts:
  • She presents her opinions as facts. Not "I think [blah de blah de blah]...". Nope. She states what she thinks - that is what it is - and disagreeing is frequently pointless, as she will not change her opinion. I got better at this by the end of the week, but man.
  • We have very different personalities. I try very hard to blend into the background and just do my work (Just Do It! as my mother would say). She, however, seems to try to be in the foreground at all times. Regardless of whether being in the foreground is appropriate or even helpful. Example A: She talks. so. loudly. Seriously. I never realized how quiet our home life is, but now that I know? I revel in it. We are quiet. The dog is quiet. Our neighbors are quiet. I like this. A lot. I do NOT like noise. I tried the trick of speaking more and more quietly, in an effort to get her to tone it down. It didn't work. Example B: Drawing attention to herself for the oddest things - such as stiff shoulders from working on a laptop at a conference table all morning. You know what? We're all stiff. You don't need to make noises while you stretch, and grumble about needing a tennis ball for your sore shoulder (at TOP VOLUME), and stretch your arms above your head umpty-million times. Gah.
  • She is s-l-o-w-m-o-v-i-n-g. I walk pretty quickly. Always have. Likely always will, until I can't anymore. But she is significantly overweight, has breathing problems, and is terribly out of shape. Which = slow walking. Which = slowly driving me insane. Again.
  • Did I mention the loud sighs?
  • Oh, and this was the topper. During one presentation, there was a *very helpful*, *very valuable* topic that the presenter was discussing. As in, this could be very useful for my future research. She turned to me - *while he was speaking* - and started talking about how cool this was, and x, and y, and z. I said "Please let me listen to him." No response - kept talking. This time, I put my hand out - like a traffic cop, for Pete's sake! - and said please, let me listen! No response - kept talking! The next time I just said "I need to listen to this - please be quiet." GAH. Talking while the teacher/presenter/lecturer/whomever is talking is one of my least favorite things EVER. And to ignore my request for her to be quiet? Was for me, the height of rudeness.
There, I have that off my chest. My husband will be happy. He was getting tired of me talking and talking and talking (quietly, of course) about my interpersonally frustrating week.
Oh, but there was the awful, awful driving. I think I mentioned that before. Good god. I feel lucky to have gotten home in one piece. Let me just say that *standing* on one's brakes on the highway is probably not a good idea. Just fyi. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. But picture someone with no visual memory, a loud mouth, and a heavy brake foot driving 6+ hours - mostly on highways. Yeah. Where are those Men in Black memory wiper things when you need them?
The basement renovations have started. My husband will be home next week on vacation. And he is resigning from the job that requires him to travel 4 hours away each week and stay there Sunday-->Thursday. I am not at all broken up about this - the owner completely misrepresented not only what my husband would be doing, he also misrepresented the company's finances. So. Moving on. I will be glad to have him home during the week.
On a related topic - I need to learn, when there are guys coming to work on the house, that I need to shower asap, instead of waiting until after I eat breakfast. Because then I run into the issues I'm facing right now: it's almost 9, I am unshowered and rather stinky, and I am fairly sure that the minute I step into the shower, someone will need me for something. Or someone will show up to do something. I suppose I'll just have to bite the bullet and go clean up.
Next weekend is the annual college reunion. With my husband's ridiculously fertile college friends. We are the only couple left without children. And I just know that the topic will come up next week. I am dreading it, with a capital "d". I like these people - more than I thought I might. They are friendly and warm and oh-so-midwestern. But I think I confuse them - and the childless thing isn't helping matters. And my emotions regarding this have been rather close to the surface lately. So no, I'm not looking forward to this.
On a related topic, it is now high summer, and the rain has stopped for now. So we are seeing more of our neighbors. Sitting in the driveways, around fire pits, at the pool. Always - always - with their children nearby, running around catching fireflies. Or playing tag. Or jumping in the pool. Or riding little Fisher Price cars around. And here we are - the childless couple. It's even more obvious when the weather is nice. *sigh*

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