Wednesday, 13 May 2009

£500 a year and all the squalor you can bear

Sorry, sorry. I was just too tired yesterday evening. Usually I post at work on Mondays and Tuesdays, but they have developed an extraordinarily inconsiderate habit of making me do my job occasionally. Also, I have to persuade our new assistant not to leave; her Belgium honeymoon is over. It lasted less than a week.

"It looked ok this morning, so I didn't bring a coat" she said to me mournfully yesterday as we ventured out hastily in a flat grey sheet of Belgian rain to find a sandwich. "The weather changes so quickly here, and mainly for the worse". She looked so dejected in her pretty sleeveleess dress I wanted to hug her.

I squeezed her shoulder in silent support and guided her into the metro tunnel, where the smell of waffles and the esoteric mid '90s hits raised her mood a little. But keeping her from resigning demands constant vigilance and small squares of chocolate and advice on where to buy meat that isn't made from tapeworms.

Anyway, that wasn't what I meant to say today. I meant to say someone referred in passing in an email recently to 'your desk'. And it made me think, internet, that you should see what I have to put up with in terms of working conditions.

This, gentle reader, is my "desk". I have annotated the picture for ease of reference. I don't think anyone will be surprised to hear that I have done so very ineptly, so you will have to click on the pictures to actually see the numbering. And then click back to see what it means. By which time you will have entirely forgotten what you were doing in the first place and lost the will to live. You will also hate me. Could I be any more user friendly? No. I am SERVICE ORIENTED, people.

A room of one's own - part I

My 'desk'. Here I sit, hunched and grinding my teeth, usually very cold, surrounded by crap.

1. Quick tray. Stolen back in the mists of time when the CFO used to occasionally behave in a mildly irresponsible fashion. Lashes came home disconsolate the day I made his Pokémon birthday cake and sent him to school with it on this tray. "Everyone said I had stolen it from Quick". A new and unexpected strand of parental guilt then.

2. This fucker - free with your obesity friendly Quick Magic Box - is leaching out my will to live. It has a hair trigger, and at the slightest hint of movement, it bursts into cheery song, complete with bouncing sound effects. I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns. Hey, shall I throw it in the bin? YES. I WILL. I am the Toy Terminator.

3. This is extraordinary so worthy of comment. My remote access thing for work is actually. on. the. computer. As opposed to in the bath, or the dog, or stuck approximately to the inner tube of a loo roll with an entire roll of sellotape to make a robot. I use it to check on internet frippery deliveries to work mainly.

4. Screws and stuff. Part of Lashes' meccano robot. The ones that aren't spread around causing near fatal accidents or being ingested by household pets.

5. The curtains. They used to smell mysteriously of hamsters. Now they smell of dog wee. Hateful.

A room of one's own - part II
The view from my 'desk'.

1. A solar powered robot spider, frequently to be found in:

2, the tortoise house with its state of the art heating and lighting system. Note also one of those RIDICULOUS weather stations on top of it, just to check on the wellbeing of our tiny shelled friends. I have just gone to check and it is 17° in here, the downside of the only UPside of this room - the garden view. I am cold. So cold, my tiny hand is freezing, etc etc I am about to break into romantic arias and then maybe lie on the floor and die of consumption.

3. Actual Work on my inept and barely started writing project. Actually I have just checked what part it is, and it's a part I have already reread through my fingers and deleted. Maybe I could go crazy and put it in the bin too? Yes! We are tidying! And it's all thanks to you.

4. This can be our mystery item of the day. What do you think Item 4 is?

5. This giant box of crayons, as well as containing a selection of packaging, biscuit crumbs and lost VPN tags, is full of all manner of lidless pens and broken crayons but let me tell you with pinpoint accuracy what it does not contain: any pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, red or black felt tips, or normal pens for writing with. I do an inventory at least once a day whilst looking for one of those things.

6. Whilst it is entirely evident I have no self-respect or standards from the foregoing, I would like to say that the marks on the table cloth are paint. Just paint. It is the special painting tablecloth. Why is it there when noone is painting? Good question. Maybe I have grown to love its cheery orange motif. MAYBE NOT.

A room of one's own Part III

Do not, whatever you do, rustle in or make anything that could be construed as an eating noise at my desk, or you will be instantly greeted by this sight.

For the remainder of the day tremulous weepette eyes will stare at you. Occasionally the intense staring is accompanied by a high pitched whimpering noise that makes you want to gouge your eardrums out. Lay your head on the filthy keyboard and join in. This is the environment from which true creativity stems.


Razorkitty said...

But it IS the environment where true creativity exists. Hmmn. That's not a very insightful comment, is it. Must try harder.

Titian red said...

Thank God, my domestic skills are matched by yours. I am not alone.

Mystery object. Powerplate for tortoises ?

wv anysbed. Well not anyones bed, I am slightly more editorial than that.

Liberty London Girl said...

Am looking forward to comparing notes on our respective working squalor nxt wk my love lLGxx

justme said...

How comforting this post is! My 'desk' is equally messy and the lack of useful pens seems to be a common theme too. I have taken to retiring back to bed with my laptop. At least it is tidy (relatively) in here!
Mystery object. I have no idea, but like Titian red's suggestion.

Anonymous said...

What is the thing above the mobile in pic 2? Looks like Weepette collar with trimmings for when he is blasted into outer space ...

carolinefo said...

You are always welcome to come for a retreat at the Camel Barn Library..

Helen Brocklebank said...

I'm delighted to discover we have the same inferior decorator. Her prices are awfully good, aren't they?

Marinka said...

omg, she is still staring at me. It took me about 20 minutes to find 2 in the first picture. Thanks.

screamish said...

i wish i could read some of the inept and barely started writing project...

messy desk sign of creativity, as razorkitty says. i distrust anyone with overly neat working area, shows wrong priorities....

having said that i have a student coming round for an english lesson in two hours and im frantically cleaning seven months worth of grime from every surface before she gets here....must go bomb the flat, quietly, as babeez sleep....

Jo said...

Very funny. At last the teetering piles of paper and books to review on my desk (alas at work in an office) look a tiny bit organised. Although still not very... And does anyone else have in-trays, the contents of which have almost certainly not been 'in' for some months? So much for the paperless environment.

Kate said...

#4 warms or vibrates. or both. the tortoises probably get off on it.

I started making you a banner a week or 2 ago. It sucked. I stopped. I was too embarrassed to show you.

The Spicers said...

Your "desk" is comfortingly similar to mine, complete with lack of any useful writing implements.

Mutter said...

Bin the lot, with the exception of the lap top. It's very liberating.

Fat Controller said...

Mystery object is not really much of a mystery: It is very clearly a USB waffle-maker.

Waffle said...

Ok as of today normal service resumes and I will respond to comments like a civilised person instead of behaving like a disgusting savage. Right.

Razorkitty - creativity or possibly E-coli. One or the other.

Titian - I am SO glad the CFO does not read this because I can tell a power plate for tortoises would become instantly necessary. But no.

LLG - oh me too! It will be so much fun. Hee.

Justme - I am not allowed. I am bad enough as it is, I need an uncomfortable environment to stop me spending my entire life on the internets.

dragon day - it's a weepette collar/bra packaging hybrid, but your suggestion is excellent.

Layla - what a wonderful thought. Watch out because I totally might accept.

Mrs T - she's a marvel. She has a way with discarded paper that really speaks to my aesthetic.

Marinka - it is my great big pleasure. Customer service, see?

Screamish - you would be disappointed in me. Best not. Oh god! Strangers in the house, poor you. Distract her with gorgeous babies and hard english.

Jo - my in tray at work is a thing of wonder. Archeologists in future years will marvel at the back issues of Grazia interleaved with important documents I am denying all knowledge of.

Kate - it isn't but it totally should be. You are silly, I bet it didn't suck. Lovely Kate xxx

Iheart - I have this terrible pen thing, which is the guts of a biro that I try and hang on to, but even that eludes me most of the time.

Wife - god, don't. The temptation is terrible.

Fat Controller - excellent guess. Truly excellent.

I am not telling you what it is yet, sorry. You may continue guessing.

screamish said...

ah ha!! a USB coffee warmer. Surely. and my mind boggles that you own one. its taking up valuable clutter space on your desk...

monk said...

It's an emergency eject button. Which you've forgotten to plug in. Do it immediately, and you will be released into a world of good tea and fine cake on clean tablecloths with PLATES!

storminaCcup said...

Mystery object. It's a Round Tuit, I know this because my dear mother presented me with this very thing whilst I was studying for O' Levels in the 70's. They were a very popular revision tool in those days. It's a sad fact that their efficacy has waned over time....

Sonya said...

Oh God - it's like we were separated at birth.

This past weekend my almost 14-year-old daughter (you know, the one who could blame teenage psychosis for untidiness) decided she could not take it anymore and organised all of the kitchen cupboards and the corner counters (where there was 5 years of papers/supplements/dead pens/school notices I have blithely ignored...etc). I was strong enough not to look in her recycle pile. She did feel obliged to point out the Pappadams that expired in 2003, however.

I did ban her from touching the dining table, though, as there is currently 1.5 years of tax receipts, files and other detritus related to my business residing on it. They have been there for 3 weeks as I let the deadline loom close enough to force me to overcome my terror of accounting. It is even worse that this stuff is in the dining room, as I have an entire basement dedicated to my office - which I do not use as it is too full of the last 10 years of STUFF.

Also, don't tell anyone, but I actually let her do most of the accounts for last year's business statements.

I've been lurking for ages, but felt obliged to comment to let you know there is worse out there- although this probably belongs on your confessions post.

Red Shoes said...

Oh darling, darling Jaywalker. Why aren't we neighbors? With your squalor and my squalor in one square block... why, we could take over the world.

Mystery object: portable macaroon warmer, obviously.

monk said...

unrelated, but have you SEEN the elephant's progesterone level? It's, like, nearly tres bas. The SUSPENSE!

Waffle said...

Monk - really? Aaaaah!

bevchen said...

The weather has been changing every 5 minutes here is well. Not sure if that will make your assistant person feel any better though. Oh well.

reen said...

I envy your garden view, though! And the fact that you've written your story/essay/novella out in longhand on unlined paper makes my heart sing.

jonathan said...

As a relatively new reader (arrived via nonworkingmonkey) can I just say how impressed I am at the work ethic which sees you offering apologies at missing even a single day of posting! I start to get pangs of guilt at two weeks and start apologising after three. I am also very impressed by the not-answering-work-voicemails-in-favour-of-updating-the-blog thing. You've certainly got your priorities right there...

SUEB0B said...

You are much more brave than I am. I could never post a picture of my "desk." Could I? Hmmmm

I love that the weather changes frequently, and usually for the worse.

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OzJen said...

Two whole days without a post....

Here in the Antipodes you have a small but loyal band of admirers who are waiting eagerly, nay, breathlessly, for your next installment. In the Shoebox of Doom we hang on your every word, and we're starting to worry about where you are.

Waffle said...

They are SCALES people. Tortoise weighing scales.

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