Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A (less than?) average day

I was blown away yesterday by Michelle's running account of her "average" day at work, and I used to work there. It made me realize, again, how crazy newspaper work is and how accustomed I've gotten to doing nothing.

So, as challenged by one reader, I'm going to try to keep a log of my big day today. My expectation is that as hectic, noisy, populated and momentous as Michelle's day is, mine will be quiet, lazy, solitary and unimportant. Balance will be restored to the universe. Kind of like carbon neutrality. (Hey! Note to self: Sell "stress credits" to nutted out middle managers; reap fortune!)

Here goes:

9:30 a.m. Roll out of bed. I didn't sleep well, and Michelle's already up and showered. I smell coffee. I'm late for the M&M Morning News Meeting.

9:38. Morning meeting, with coffee.

10:27. Finish blogging about the morning meeting. Michelle has long since gone to work, and by now has probably made seven big decisions, consulted with a dozen editors and producers and eaten three or four eggs (whites only).

10:29. Hook myself up with a bowl of cereal. Basic 4. Mmmm.

11:13. "Close the door/Let me give you what you've been waiting for." I spend the day with tunes in my earbuds, and right now that means Teddy Pendergrass. Let me be that cool for one day and I'll happily go on to the next, carbon-neutral life.

View from my "office"

11:26. The UW radiology department just called to remind me of my MRI Thursday morning. "Yep, 8 o'clock, right?" I said cheerfully. "Yes, 8 o'clock, with check-in at 7:30," the lady said.

That's too damn early. 7:30 is a time to get home from the cardroom, or maybe to get up in an emergency, like when the only time you could book your flight to Rome is 10 a.m., and you need to leave time to clear customs. But to already be someplace for an MRI? Absurd. And they're all the way across town, with morning traffic. Crap.

I don't mind having brain tumors, but I sure as shit don't like getting up at 6 in the morning so someone else can look at them. Nothing good ever came of answering the phone.

11:46. I notice the P-I Big Blog has landed the goat story (see M&M morning news meeting).

Noon. Buzzzzz. That's my cell phone alarm vibrating on the desk in the other room. Time to take my Keppra, 500 mg, the implied promise that I won't have any giant epileptic seizures in the next 12 hours before the alarm goes off again. I also take my One-a-Day vitamin -- the lady kind, so I don't develop osteoporosis this afternoon either.

12:17 p.m. Quigo. I just felt like saying that.

12:35. Guess I'll clean up the kitchen. I didn't do it last night, so there are the leftover dinner dishes, plus the detritus from last night's party: empty gin bottles, nearly empty popcorn bowl, a pimento-strewn tumbler. The evidence suggests pasta, alcohol, olives, popcorn and coffee have been consumed. All the major food groups, so no carping or nutritional advice seems likely.

1:07. omg. It occurs to me we've turned into the girls. M&M has become like MySpace for old people. Somebody comment me! And don't, like, picture comment me when you want to just like regular comment me!

1:57. Going for my stupid little one-mile run. Be back in about 11 minutes.

2:13. OK, that's over with. Not bad, considering I'm not feeling my best today (stomach thing) and didn't sleep well and my knees have been unaccountably sore. The key is minimal exertion -- one little mile, very slowly. As Teddy Pendergrass never said, short and easy.

I use a little iPod Shuffle on my runs, and for some reason it got onto a Christmas music jag today. I had to keep reaching into my pocket to fast-forward (another thing I'll bet Teddy never said). Annoying.

2:14. Bring the emptied yard-waste container in from the alley to the side of the garage.

2:43. Freaky. I just thought I saw my name go scrolling by in ad for Apple -- something about Mark Matassa saving the coast. Huh? No wonder I'm tired. I searched around on the Apple site and found this "Mac@work profile": Mark Massara, defending the waves and sand.

3:10. Maybe I'll go shower, since it's after 3 and all and I went for that run and everything.

3:30. Lunch!

This isn't today:

Today is cool and a little drizzly. This is yesterday when I went down to the beach for some fish and chips. Except Sunfish was closed so I ended up getting a sandwich from Alki Bakery and sitting down by the water reading my book, the one Mom doesn't like.

Today's lunch: a hot dog at home, with a few minutes of a Poker After Dark episode Tivo'd from last week.

Lunch update: What moron bought "fat free beef franks?" Jesus, baby, they're hot dogs! If you don't want a hot dog don't have one, stick to yolk-free eggs. But no one eats fat-free hot dogs. That's like decaf coffee, or no-alcohol beer, or playing poker for "fun" instead of money. It's just wrong. Now I'm going to have a sugar-free cookie with my joe and try to calm down.

5:11. Looking ahead: Later this evening, after Michelle gets home from work, we're going to meet some people from the P-I for a beer at the Beveridge Pub up the street. I'm sure this will end up being fun, but I have to admit that right now, in all honesty, I'm not really looking forward to it.

This date came about because a couple of weeks ago I sent a version of this post as a note to the P-I staff, basically thanking them all and saying catcha later. Predictably (in retrospect), I got a lot of nice notes back from people wishing me well and suggesting we get together for lunch or a drink sometime. I know it sounds horrible and ungrateful, but the truth is I don't really want to get together with people from work, especially since too much of the conversation will be about how am I feeling, what's up with the treatment, blah blah blah. I barely want to get together with people I like. I told Michelle I'm never writing another note again.

But I weeded through all the electronic correspondence. The e-mails promising to pray for me get auto-forwarded to the junk folder; I'm afraid I'll end up on the receiving end of a Gloria-style miracle. And we ended up with a group get-together tonight; sort of a one-stop drinkfest with reporters we both enjoy. Like I said, it'll probably end up being fun.

The Beveridge is a decent little neighborhood spot, by the way, about five blocks from here. When I first heard the name, before I saw it spelled out, I thought it was redundant, or maybe trying to be ironic, or just a goofy label, like generic beer. But it turns out it's named after a street -- the place is located at the corner of California Avenue and Beveridge Place, probably a tribute to Herman Beveridge, or somebody.

6:25. The drive home. (Michelle's drive home is here.)

Thanks to everyone for following along today. It was kind of fun. I didn't really do anything -- in that way this was a pretty typical day. But what with the blogging and all I felt much busier than usual. It's like ... what's that principle that says you change something just by observing it?

Ok, we'll finish off the day by having a beer with our friends. But I wish it were with all you M&M readers instead.


Michelle said...

We should rename that stuff Basic 4 Gliomas. It'll be a laugh riot!

Anyways, I forgot to bring my egg whites today. Instead, I brought a bag of carrots, which I'm snacking on for breakfast For lunch today: leftover spaghetti. Snack: No fat yogurt and a banana. For anyone out there who is sweating my nutritional intake.

Michelle said...

I love this stupid blog.

Rita said...

So far your less-than-average day is sounding pretty average to me, except that I don't have morning meetings to attend and I had Rice Krispies with strawberries.

Mark said...

Like I said, Mom, you're ready for a blog of your own. Just remember, blogging's like Seinfeld: "a show about nothing."

Michelle: I love this stupid blog too. Ridiculously fun.

freda said...

Stress credits, I love it. A friend sent me the "Real Age" test the other day. I took it a few years ago while still working, and back then it said my real age was a couple of years less than my chronological age. I took it again now that I am retired, and guess what, my real age has dropped 20 years. Yea for retirement. Carrots, fat free yogurt and banana, much better.

I am taking a break from packing, planting bushes, I know, not a good time for that, printing boarding passes, contracts with moving companies, flight plans etc. Still waiting for the guy to fix my dishwasher. Switched my purse for one that will be able to withstand rain. What else? Must think what else I need to do. I love this blog.

freda said...

I love Teddy Pendergrass

Mark said...

What else to do, Freda? Find your passport. Look for your camera battery.

freda said...

passport check
battery no such luck

kateco said...

Ah ... the telltale pimento-strewn tumbler ...

Michelle said...

I like your photo of the office. Also, my big accomplishment for the day was arguing our folo on the goat story onto tomorrow's front page.

I love goats. Mom, why don't you tell your goat story?

Mark said...

I can't wait to hear how the goat folo can possibly be worth the front page tomorrow (!), a day after we blew it and the Times had it.

What, are they playing Halo? Curing malaria?

kateco said...


Michelle said...


freda said...

my goat story? I didn't realize I had a goat story. I guess you must mean the time when I was a teenager, and my mother took me to visit a distant relative in Wales. The lived on a "small holding", which is a home on a piece of land with animals. they had a bunch of stupid turkeys and a goat. I spent the day playing with the goat. The goat fell in love with me and cried for days after I left. Of course my aunt Dossie had a piglet that fell in love with me too, and followed me around like "Mary's little lamb". I guess where John got his affinity for animals. I love goats and pigs. and foxes. and just about everything else too.

Michelle said...

Wait -- was it grandma that was chased by a goat?

kateco said...

At the risk of being dubbed a picture commenter -- just to illustrate my long term love of goatdom -- here is a picture of my Goat of the Month calendar hanging in my garage work area. Another great gift from Laurie, who knows I hve my own goat tales to tell!

freda said...

Michelle, No, grandma was chased by a bull. great grandma had a goat that broke into her flower garden and ate all the flowers.

freda said...

Mark, you totally crack me up, thanks for the laugh.

freda said...

I must say I agree with you about the fat free hot dogs. you have to wonder what they are made of. Instead of trying to find imitation stuff that looks like what you really want, experiment with new stuff. Real vegetables that you havent' tried before in combinations you haven't tried before. More fun and tastes better.
I think I am actually ready, with feet up and a glass of wine. yea.

Mark said...

Good, Freda. Relax tonight, and have a nice flight tomorrow.

Live it up and treat yourself to a new camera battery so we can get some incremental updates of the trip.

Michelle said...

Dude, who said you could bogart one of my haute dogs? When I got those dawgs I got two packs: Fat Free and Fatty. You ate all yours. Dang.

Mark said...

Oh. I'm sorry, honey, my bad. I guess I owe you a hot dog.

Scuse me a sec while I go label the coffee filters I bought the other day.

Michelle said...


Rita said...

I think hooking with cereal is about where similarities of our less-than-average-days ended. What with scheduled early morning appointments, buzzing alarms, evidence of prior evening nutrients, fat free hot dogs and runs and everything. Unprecidented to be sure!

The Beveridge with friends sounds like a fine ending, indeed, to your day.

Soooo.... shake the blahs and enjoy your caring friends. Life is what it is.

Mark said...

Mom, you crack me up. What a pitch-perfect comment to close out the day.

You may have a future in this typing business.

Val said...

>>.. what's that principle that says you change something just by observing it?

the Observer Effect, though it's often conflated with Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle. That's apparently not the case... who knew?

freda said...

OK - Now I'm ready. Non too soon, the taxi will be here in 30 min so I will take a moment to check in with you to see what you were up to after I left last night. I will miss your blog while I am away. Steve took his computer to Ma. with him, not that I would have time to check it while I am in Maryland. By the time I get back to Va. I will have time only to repack before flying out. ciao.

Mark said...

Val, thanks for this.

Heisenberg is what I was trying to think of. I had no idea there was a thing called the Observer Effect (much easier to remember) or that they're often confused. Interesting.