I am on my fifth workday back in the Office.

Maybe my radar is keen to the micro aggression of the Office Narcissist but it picked up one this morning. He said “You spent more on your breakfast than I will spend at the grocery store to feed my family for a week”. Of course that is a paraphrase. He said that in response to his subordinate who brought in a food item and a drink from Starbucks.

I don’t go to Starbucks unless I am required to. My second ex wife was a frequent customer. So, I know how expensive food and drink are at Starbucks.

The guy he said this too replied vaguely about ‘knowing the cost’ and walked away from his desk. Of course, I overheard this exchange but didn’t say anything as it is my policy to not say anything to this Narcissist. But I wondered what the reason for the comment other than a micro put-down, a minor saying to put the guy in his place, a way to say that I’m superior to you because I keep my spending in line and don’t give dollars I work my ass off foot Starbucks for high priced and worthless food and drink.

Yet, yesterday afternoon, the Narcissist bragged about the amount and the quality of food he buys from Krogers, giving in detail cost and weight, and how he prepares such food, offering advice to anyone who listens on ‘how to do it right’.

While he was lecturing the office people on how he cooks I put my ear buds to block him, listening to the RHCP Californication cd. I certainly did not miss his narcissism, his lectures, his comments to put people down.

Drawing effort on the morning on June 10, 2021. Saved from Photoshop by Dave O.
Drawing effort on the morning on June 10, 2021. Saved from Photoshop by Dave O.

Four Days Into It

And so begins my forth day of Office work. So far, it’s been ok. Actually, I do like it, working in the Office. Back in March 2020, when Covid came upon us and I was sent home, I was ready to get out of the Office. There were so many bad attitudes flowing through my head about some of the people in the Office that I was standing beside myself not knowing what to do.

Although those people are still here and not much has changed in terms of how I feel, the bad attitudes have thankfully faded. Those attitudes are still there but what is different is that I ‘just don’t care’ anymore.

For example, one of the Office Narcissist, a loud talking, opinionated man was promoted. Thankfully he has no influence on my work detail. But I figure if the owners choose to promote him over other worthy candidates then they have their own self interest in mind. Meaning, he is the type of man that pushes buttons just to egg people, as he enjoys inflicting emotional pain on people. There was a slight revolt when the owners promoted him and meetings were called to talk about the issues as most of the Department was threatening to walk out.

For many years he pushed my buttons. And he enjoyed it. I watched him push other peoples’ buttons and he enjoyed it. And admitted that he enjoys ‘playing with people’s emotions’. He doesn’t have emotions so it’s easy for him.

While in Quarantine, I was able to step away from that. Not hearing his talk every work day for fifteen months somehow built my emotional strength as now I listen to him and feel sorry for him. Maybe it’s the Wellbutrin I started to take while in Quarantine that is giving me the edge. Maybe it is the fact that I resigned myself to my economic fate and just don’t care to climb this ladder any longer. Maybe it is the attitude that I have now to “do the job as best as I can and be happy about it” and don’t pour my life into it any longer. That is sad because at one time I did care about climbing the ladder in this place, but all those decades of effort and belief won’t pay off in the way that I expected. I just don’t care anymore.

Office Lunch

I picked up a package of Kroger Premium Chunk Chicken. The retail was $8.99. There are six cans bundled into the single package. This equates to $1.498 a can. The package of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup $4.99. There are four cans in a single package. So, each can is about $1.25. So, for lunch today, I mixed two cans of Kroger Premium Chunk Chicken and a half a can of Cream of Chicken soup. This lunch will cost $3.63 ($3 for the chicken and $0.63 for the soup).

I suppose $3.63 is not a bad price for a lunch. It beats the $12 for a fried beef burrito at the local Mexican pub that is our usual Friday lunch spot.

Before Covid, before I was exiled to the Home Office, lunch was always a struggle for me. I could never find the right food to eat. I would dash out to the local Long Johns Silver, Arbys, McDonalds or some other fast food place to pick up a lunch. Sometimes I would stop at the nearby Krogers to buy a sandwich. For a while, I ate crackers from the local Dollar Store thinking that would help me lose weight. Nothing really satisfied me. Sometimes I would struggle to stay awake in the afternoons.

It was shortly before the Owners sent me home that I started to spend the lunch hour at my desk drawing with a pencil in a sketch book. I found that a can of Campbells Chucky Chicken Soup would satisfy me. I would put on the headphones and listen to music for the hour. At that time I was having issues with some aspects of the Company and using the lunch hour to meditate and draw was a huge help. However, at home, the lunch hour evaporated as the entire day became the work day. It was just recently that I picked up the drawing effort again, but that was after work in the evenings.

Drawing effort on June 8, 2021 before the Huion Tablet suddenly stopped working. Ugh. iPhone screen shot by Dave O.
Drawing effort on June 8, 2021 before the Huion Tablet suddenly stopped working. Ugh. iPhone screen shot by Dave O.

Day Two

Thus begins the second day of Office work. The morning was a rush to prepare myself and lunch, take meds, fill the ice cube trays, clean the kitchen, take the laundry to the basement, ugh, it didn’t end. My objective was to stop at Walgreens on the way to the Office to pick up a can of Cream of Chicken soup to mix into the two cans of Kroger chuck chicken. I will need to stop at Krogers on the way home to resupply. Geez, $1.79 per can at Walgreens compared to $1.25 at Krogers.

It’s loud in this office, not only from the conversational chatter but there is a huge fan circulating air in-between sections of the Office. It sounds like an airplane in flight. If you can imagine an L shaped floor plan, the fan sits in the crux of the L blowing air to the small side of the L where there is much empty space. The office is cluttered with prototype pumps and tanks and assorted other stuff that gives the atmosphere that this office is where a mad scientist fiddles with junk experimenting in hopes to find something that works.

It was good to reacquaint with some people I haven’t seen in a while. Most of the people who were sent home for the Quarantine would rather stay home, believing there the work from home gig is better. Like my experience, the work from home gig was great regarding the freedom from the Office structure. Maybe that was the problem, too much freedom.

I rushed to the Liquor store last night to buy beer thinking the supply is low and I wouldn’t get my share. At home, I worked on the mulch containment system until the new Craftsman chop saw I bought from Lowes stopped working. Ugh. I got ten cuts, maybe twelve before it stopped working.

Maybe they will turn off that fan?

Concrete Angel, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken March7, 2021 by Dave O.
Concrete Angel, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken March7, 2021 by Dave O.

Back Again

All good things must come to an end, someone once said. And, in my reality, the work-from-home gig that I’ve enjoyed for the last 15 months has come to an end. The company has called me back into the office.

I arrived about 45 minutes early to get the computer equipment installed. It’s been over 15 months since I’ve sat at this desk. It was hot in the office, humid outside when I arrived. There was a cock roach crawling along the file cabinets behind my desk. I stepped on it. First roach I’ve ever seen in the 20+ years I’ve work in this office. There’s been a few mice that have run across the carpet but I’ve never seen a roach.

The people are the same, friendly. There was two guys that I just did not talk to before Covid came along. They are the Office Narcissists and I just stopped talking to them as it was always a dick measuring contest with them. For a long time I needed to battle with them to prove my worth but any more I just don’t care. You can quickly get drawn into a measuring contest with them. Before Covid, they politely ignore me and I politely ignore them. It is kind of weird being back in the office and picking up when I left off in regard to them.

I haven’t been briefed on any social distancing or mask mandates. I’ve walked around the plant and office without a mask on and no one has said anything to me. Most of the people are wearing masks. So, I don’t know the policy.

I have mixed emotions about returning to the office. I had a routine at home. I brought the Huion Graphics Tablet from home so I can drawing during the lunch hour. At least I am fully vaccinated.

Water Tower in Lafayette, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo by Dave O taken on May 29, 2021.
Water Tower in Lafayette, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo by Dave O taken on May 29, 2021.

Could Have Been Different

I wish things were different regarding the Lake Front Property. But, there is no going back now.

This being the second beautiful day for Lake Front Property use in the year 2021. I could have had a party, invited all my friends and family. But, that isn’t possible now.

Funny how things work out. How you confirm beliefs and attitudes that have simmer below the surface for decades. How brothers won’t support you yet they demand you support them, rubbing you out for their own pleasure and victory.

I muse about it, I muse too much about it. Ugh.

It could have been different. But, I wanted to play safe, playing by ethical rules, trying to find a compromise. But that couldn’t be achieved. So I bailed out. Much to the judgement of the Golden One. I should have been the prick, been the ass hole, told others to fuck off, ignored their needs or wants or desires for my own pleasure. But, I’m not that way. Ugh. So I lose out. I guess I choose this path. Ugh. It is what it is. Ugh. Beautiful days like this make it hard. Ugh.

Practicing to make progress on June 4, 2021. The image in the lower left is what I tried to draw. The image in the upper right is the Udemy digital drawing course that I've been trying to follow.
Practicing to make progress on June 4, 2021. The image in the lower left is what I tried to draw. The image in the upper right is the Udemy digital drawing course that I’ve been trying to follow.

Returning

This day, Friday June 4, 2021, ends the 15 month exile to the home office as on Monday June 7 I am to report to the Office.

I suppose that is good. It will be good to see some people again, not so good to see (or listen to) others.

What I’ll miss about working from home :

  • open windows to listen to the outside ambient, the birds, the traffic, normal outside sounds.
  • my own porcelain throne.
  • the relaxed atmosphere in my home office.
  • the ability to sleep in every morning as it is a fifty foot commute and I don’t need to take a shower or brush me teeth every morning … the work-in-underwear myth is really true.
  • playing iTunes at any volume level.
  • freedom to take naps … as long as the work got done there was no reason not to … and during the months of September 2020 – January 2021 during all those surgeries and the recoveries the freedom to take 20 minute naps was priceless and so refreshing.
  • the fresh air when the windows are open.
  • the ability to do light chores between work tasks, like dishes and laundry. I never did any DIY projects during work hours, honestly.

What I don’t look forward to working in the office:

  • the factory sounds, the constant grinding of metal, the whirl of air ratchets.
  • the narcissists and their arrogance and their conversations.
  • will need to plan for my own refreshments. The Company provides a beverage and snack vending machines. I pumped many dollars into those machines. But I’ve become refreshed by the cheep Big K diet soda in two liter plastic bottles and so will need to take a cooler with my own refreshments. Plus, I need to cooler to keep the can-chicken-cream-of-chicken lunches I plan to take. At home all that was readily available but working at the office I will need to organize and plan ahead.

What I look forward to working from the office:

  • that when the 5:15 pm bell rings the work day is over. Working from home the ‘work’ is always here, available. It can press you to work more. It was hard for me to separate my time as ‘work’ and ‘personal. Now, after 5:15 pm on weekdays and all weekend there is no work.
  • more desk real estate. My home office desk is really not big enough for the two PCs and the scanner and power strips, keyboards and mice.
  • return to the Emporium … which is a flea market type of store in Greenwood. I made it a ‘treat’ to walk through the Emporium on Fridays after work. It kind of started the weekend. Before Covid, I usually bought used DVDs from the Emporium. At one time I cataloged all the DVDs and reviewed some of them giving up to 4 stars for each review. But I fell out of that. I probably won’t buy used DVDs much but some booths offer comics and books. It was just the walking through the place that I enjoyed. I usually don’t have any where to go after work on Fridays since I lead such a party animal life. A thirty minute walk through the Emporium did not infringe on anything.

What I don’t like from working at home:

  • I never really felt like I was ‘actually working’. I could play the music loud, I could have the windows open, I could walk outside. There are many perks for me when working from home. I will miss those perks. But, maybe due to the many years of task driven floggings and verbal assaults when real or imagined mistakes were made make me wonder if I’m not doing enough and quick enough.
  • neighbors cutting their yards in the middle of the day. Most of my neighbors are retired and so they can cut their yards in the middle of the day. When I hear the sounds of their mowers I wish I could do that as well, at least to get the chore over with before the end of the ‘work day’.
Example of 'practice to make progress' on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.
Example of ‘practice to make progress’ on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.

Current Life on This Day

I’ve felt a surge of productivity today (June 2). That is in stark contrast to yesterday (June 1). Yesterday I felt sluggish, slothful, unproductive and watched too much mindless You Tube. Today, I feel energetic, productive, fulfilled.

It could be that I found some honest work for the Company. Recently, the Company allowed me to subscribe to a low level SEO dashboard. It scans the site and reports all the SEO issues in the site. And there are many. Most of the issues are hard to find unless you have this sort of tool. For example, there are (were) about two dozen broken links that I never realized existed. And, about ten pages had the same <title> tag, which is a ‘no-no’ in the realm of Google SEO. Of course, there are other issues to resolve, but knowing what issues there are is a big help in my productivity, which makes me feel better about the world.

Also, I went grocery shopping and only bought that which I needed, which is canned chicken and cream of chicken soup, chicken noodle soup and Big K diet soda. I have almost cleared out all the esoteric food that still lies hidden in the cabinet. But, the canned chicken and cream of chicken soup is the current staple. A single can of chicken plus a half can of cream of chicken soup costs about $2.65. Recently, I’ve eaten one to three a day. That fits well into the budget and the new eating plan.

Of course, it is a Wednesday and so the new comic release is upon us. I bought :

  • Batman Catwoman #5 (have all five issues)
  • Bettie Page : The Curse of the Banshee #1 (first issue in this series, plan to collect all)
  • Nocterra #4 (have all four issue in the collection)
  • Batman #109 (always need to buy the new Batman)
  • Vamperilla # 20 (trying to collect all Vamperilla issues)
  • The Walking Dead Delux #16 (buy for my son)
  • Serial #4 (missing issues #2 and #3)

For the Bettie Page issue, I bought Cover E. Usually, I buy the main cover and avoid the variant covers. But, in this case, a variant cover was available and so I picked it up for $3.99 (plus tax). There were other variant covers available but those covers were pushing $8.

I went to the Library. I borrowed :

  • The Prodigal Daughter by Mette Ivie Harrison
  • What to Read and Why by Francine Prose
  • The Secret Talker by Geling Yan

Still practicing the drawing effort on the digital tablet and following Complete Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting by Rich Graysonn. It really gives me a feeling of productivity to be consistent in drawing on the digital tablet. Some day I hope to be good enough to sell my drawings on eBay.

In fact, since I have been recalled to the Office on June 7, 2021, I bought a second Huion digital tablet to keep at the Office, which I will use to practice drawing during the lunch hour. Before I was sent home for Covid 19 in March 2020, I used the lunch hour to practice drawing in a sketch book.

I received the Summer 2021 Volume 28 Number 03 of Juxtapoz in the mail. Too cool. It has become a bit Woke but I guess it has always been on the edge, although being woke is a bit main stream in 2021.

Of course, I finished the day with 2 cans of DareDevil Lift Off and a Four Day Ray Peanut Butter Porter listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Gateway.

Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1. Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.
Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1.
Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.

Again?

In my youth, I was a huge fan of the Indianapolis 500. I devoured the newspapers and magazines for information on drivers, their stats, wins and losses. During my middle school years I would make up a type written test for some of the teachers and a few friends to test their knowledge of the previous day’s race. I even aspired to be a race driver but was shot down immediately by the parental units as “you need money for that”.

I lost enthusiasm for the race as I grew into my adult years. Working to take care of the family and supporting those who needed support required that I work. In the age before instant information, before the internet, it was hard to dig up information on the race. You had to listen to the radio at the right time to hear stats, plan your TV viewing for the evening new. There wasn’t enough time for me to stay up to speed with the indy cars and work full time and take care of the house and cars.

By this time, drivers like Rick Mears and the Penske team were winning too many races. Their arrogance on and off the track caused me to cringe, thinking how could someone so prosperous and successful be such an ass hole. In the early and middle 1990s Penske was all that was talked about.

Foreign drivers who also came with their arrogance, hired by Penske, to dominate the race caused me to slide further in contempt for the race.

The feud between the IRL and CART gave me hope that maybe the race of my youth could come back, when it excited me and I could pronounce the names of the drivers. That was short lived, however. Penske now owns everything.

Even though I was born in, grew up in and currently reside in central Indiana, I attended only a few races in my life time. My last race was in 1996, the first year the race was run under the IRL.

When I heard that Penske bought the track, I died inside. Now that a foreign born driver climbs into the Four Time Winners Club, I have absolutely no enthusiasm for the race.

Rubber Ducky on Playground, Otterbein Town Park, Otterbein, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave 0 on May 29, 2021.
Rubber Ducky on Playground, Otterbein Town Park, Otterbein, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave 0 on May 29, 2021.

At a Dug Out

We found a neat place to sit and watch people walk along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. It is called the Dugout, and from what we understand, it’s been around for a long time. Of course, we get to the party later than normal. We just stumbled on it.

We sat in their sidewalk cafe area and ordered beer for me, a PB&J mixed drink for her and an order of tater tots. We watched people walk by, inline skate by, dogs walking people and people walking dogs. Even the Pickled Pedaler peddled by.

I have never done that … sat outside on the sidewalk, drink beer and eat tater tots, and been ok with it, enjoyed it. I wish I had taken a photo.

It will be a place to return to. I could ride the IndyGo bus system or take an Uber. I don’t have to drink that much beer that I couldn’t drive. Really, the thing is to ‘just go’. Maybe take a camera this time.

Saturday, May 29, 2021 effort on the Mulch Containment system I've been working on this year. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.
Saturday, May 29, 2021 effort on the Mulch Containment system I’ve been working on this year. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.