Our House Is Literally a Zoo

Monday, June 29, 2009 | | 3 comments |

I wasn’t sure when we’d ever grow out of the stuffed animal phase, but today confirmed that we’re not even close.  For reasons I still don’t understand the little people I live with decided that all of the stuffed animals we own (and trust me, we own more stuffed animals than there are members of the US House of Representatives, but the stuffed animals are considerably more productive and well behaved) needed to be strategically set up on a single couch in our family room.  This was a considerable project since the animals are hidden in various parts of the house, and I’m sure they don’t want to be found.  But all four kids focused and got the job done (no idea why they can’t do that with the dishes).  It looked like Noah’s Ark had exploded in our front room.  It was a sight to see. 

The problem was that Traci was having some people over for a church meeting thing and they needed the couch, so we quickly grabbed arm-fulls of cotton-filled-creatures and ran them upstairs.  Of course my room was selected as the new zoo locale, because I have the biggest bed.  We played for a few minutes, but the kids lost interest quickly and I was a guy left on a bed with a few hundred fuzzy animals, many of which I was told didn’t like me much.  Tonight we had the kids clean ‘em up so we could actually sleep on our bed.  But, and this part is going to come as a massive shocker, they didn’t do a complete job.  The Africa section of our mini-zoo was still located in front of our bed – led by a 2-foot-tall grey elephant named Ellie, who is considerably more popular at our house than I am. 

Now, every once in a while, and it’s pretty rare, Traci will say something that makes me laugh so hard that my hair starts to regrow.  And tonight she did it again.  Upon entering the room she glanced around and said, in extreme seriousness:

“Scott, I feel like there’s an elephant in the room.”

No comeback needed.

My Own Troop of Lumberjacks

Thursday, June 25, 2009 | | 10 comments |

One of the things that I didn’t expect about moving to Seattle was that we’d routinely have big fires in the middle of our family room.

That came out kinda weird.

You see we have a big wood-burning stove in there, which is actually quite useful in heating up the house, and extremely useful for, well, burning stuff.  A few weeks ago I got a call from a friend in our church offering to bring over a bunch of wood, which we need for the aforementioned stove.  Well, what he brought over was not exactly what I had pictured in my naive Kansas head.  He brought over HUGE rounds from the tree that would only fit in a fireplace the size of Vermont.  So I had the realization that there would be some wood chopping to do – strangely, I was good with that.  He showed me the tools to go buy, and several days later I was at a hardware store buying my tough-guy tools.  While I was looking at the axes and wedges this older-guy employee came over and asked if he could help.  I’m certain he could sense that I had no idea which of the many options I should buy.  He proceeded to give me a great tutorial and to even do a demonstration right there in the middle of the aisle with an invisible piece of wood (I’ve discovered that the real stuff is harder to split).  He must not have been satisfied that he’d done his job because he followed me all the way to check-out and kept re-explaining the intricacies of making one big piece of wood into many smaller pieces.

Well, after some fits and starts (another odd phrase) I’ve become a skilled splitter of wood (sorta).  Not sure I’ve ever felt tougher than when I whack that wedge into the center of the wood and watch it break apart.  The family has even gotten involved and we have a pseudo-assembly-line process to get the stuff split and stacked.  My oldest holds the wedge for me, the next two kids are the log transporters (take it to where we stack it all), my wife supervises the whole thing and my 3 year old just walks around being amazed by wood sap and trying on different pairs of huge gloves.  It’s a very efficient operation . . . every once in a while.  My dainty little 5-year-old Sydney is amazing – she happily stacks wood on a snow sled and slides it to where it needs to go, and does it with a smile, AND moves way more than her older brothers combined.  My own mini-lumberjacks and lumberjills (awesome new word).

So I’m thinking about buying matching flannel shirts for everyone – good idea?


Update (from a few hours after I posted) – Traci does a vast majority of the hauling/stacking. I’m certain that Sydney get the toughness from her mommy. (and the dance moves from me…?)

Lose the Production Crew

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | | 3 comments |

This morning I woke up to see that the top news story was that Jon and Kate were breaking up.  Being pretty groggy I racked my brain for who in the heck Jon and Kate were.  I know lots of Jons and a few Kates, but I just couldn’t put ‘em together in my partially-awake melon.  Then my wife told me they were the ones with lots of kids (she didn't know much about 'em either).  Still didn’t help me.  She then gave up on me and, while smiling, walked away shaking her head – a common occurrence when my cluelessness is manifest.  (this is also the reaction when she sends me to the garage to look for a can of something and I return with the report that “we’re out.”  Of course we all know that she then walks out and without looking at the actual shelf grabs the hidden can herself)

While I was in the shower it struck me who these important people in my life were.  (you know that you get some awesome epiphanies when you’re in the shower too!)  I’d seen them for a few minutes on the TV at my sister’s house on their popular reality show where they live life with their 8 children.  Later in the day I read this article explaining that they announced their divorce on TV and then issued dueling press releases . . . awesome.  I hope their kids were watching.  (Ironically, my only memory of watching the show was (referring to Kate), “wow, she’d be hard to live with.”)  I’m not a reality TV guy and I think making a TV show about your breakup is a really lame thing to do, but whatever.  For me it’s pretty clear that the stress of 8 kids and the fame that comes from being “famous” kinda doomed these folks.

For many people, there’s a reason that movies end with the wedding and the “happily ever after” thing.  What comes after that gets a bit more complex even without the cameras and directors in your family room.  For the record, I lucked out that way (amazing wife and no production crew).

So my little learning is this, if you want to stay married, being on a reality show is a pretty bad idea, and being on there with your twins and septuplets makes it an even worse idea.  Happily, neither of these are things I need to worry about.

Now if I could only find that can of black beans she sent me out here for… 

What do Walruses have to do with dating?

Monday, June 22, 2009 | | 4 comments |

Here’s a question from an alert reader with an age-old problem.

Dear HTF,

Do you have any dating advice for teenage guys?  Thanks.

SLB

Well my friend, I’m going to assume that you’re an actual teenage guy and not one of the non-teenage mothers who more commonly read the blog.  I was once, well, you . . . in a way.  But that was quite a long time ago.  By your measure I’m guessing my 33 years make me ancient, but I’ll try to help you out a bit here, because one thing I’m certain of is that teenage guys know as much about dating as walruses know about the US Tax Code.  So here are just a few words of advice:

  • Absolutely do this (date) at your own risk.  It looks simple on TV and in the movies, but it’s incredibly complex because…
  • At no point during the date (or even years into your marriage) will you have any idea what she’s actually thinking.  You need to recognize this and not let it get you down, because there’s nothing you can do to really fix it. 
  • Know that every single word you say (or any other sound/movement) will be interpreted in ways that you couldn’t possibly have imagined.  For instance, you may say, “What would you like to eat?” – this benign question, all by itself, may abruptly end your date and leave you sitting in your car stunned (and hungry).
  • Be sure to ask lots of questions so that you at least have a shot of knowing if things are ok.  But don’t expect complete answers – you’re gonna have to guess at what she really means.  This is certainly the hardest part.
  • I suggest dating in groups to get started.  There’s a strength that comes from being around other confused guys that you’ll probably need.  Also, you’ll hopefully have enough friends among the witnesses so that you can find out after the date what really happened (good or bad).  Additionally, if you say or do something wrong (and you will) it’s much easier to pivot the conversation over to poking fun at the amount of styling gel your buddy sitting next to you used.
  • Be nice, I mean genuinely nice.  With all the other commotion in your head this may get forgotten – kinda like how you might forget your name when you pick her up.
  • Remember, she said yes.  While that may have been out of pity, she hopefully wants to hang out with you.  So go ahead and have a little confidence . . . but not too much, because, well, you’re a teenage guy and when you get the slightest bit overconfident, really bad things always happen.  (I’ve been there, dude – let me know if you wanna hear some illustrative stories from way back when.)
  • Despite my last point, she probably doesn’t want to hear you talk about yourself the whole time.  You’re only that interesting in your own mind.  So try to encourage her to do the talking – remember, fewer words from you is a good thing.
  • Of the few words you should use, remember to compliment her.  Here are a few examples of compliments, however well-intentioned, you should avoid:
    • Didn’t you wear that to school today?  It looks better now.
    • Your teeth are almost straight
    • I like your perfume, it’s the same one my mom wears
  • Remember that the end of the date is the most important part (this is the same reason that most guys screw it up).  This is where you try to piece together all of the cues from the night to figure out if she actually likes you still.  (hint: if she jumps out of the car while you’re still pulling into the driveway and runs into the house, you don’t need to “piece together cues” – you can assume the worst)  So if your quick analysis tells you that things went well you may try for a hug or kiss.  Recognize that 98.3% of guys mess this part up too, so it may not hurt to ask her another question.  For instance, “even after being with me for the last 3 hours, do you still think I’m an ok guy?”  If she says “SURE” that means NO.  However, if she says “yes” and actually looks you in the eyes when she says it, you may have a shot there.

Oh, I could go on and on, but you’re a guy like me, so any more instruction would probably confuse you even more.  Thank you for your question and let me know if you have any more along the way (trust me . . . you will)!  Good luck my friend, let us know how it goes!

Remember to send in your questions/comments to henrythefrog@gmail.com.  You’ll assuredly get a great response on the blog that you may or may not actually like or find useful.

Not Exactly What I Expected . . . The Father’s Day Post

Friday, June 19, 2009 | | 8 comments |

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to write a guest Father’s Day related blog for MMB, which is kinda intimidating, because I knew that mommies everywhere would see it.  Well, it’s posted there today.  Thanks to “The Motherboard” (that’s her catchy alias) for the opportunity.  Here’s the post:

I never quite know what to do on Father’s Day. It’s pretty clear what needs to happen on Mother’s Day. That’s the one where I pretend to be able to cook things and I dress the kids for church, but I’m banned from doing ANYTHING with my girls’ hair. The last time I tried my daughter actually cried when she looked in the mirror. Also, I’m in charge of shushing the kids while the mommy takes a nap. And I have to make sure that the house looks like it wasn’t invaded by a roving mob of toy-obsessed grizzly bears (this is harder than it sounds). There’s also the gift thing. On bad years I’m that guy at the grocery store on Saturday night looking at the 2 cards that are left. (I once considered the “Get Well Soon” card . . . but that may not have gone over well) But most years I do marginally ok in the gift department.


I’m not nearly as good as I should be at gifts for my dad on his day. The first gift I remember giving him was a pencil holder (cuz I guess he had a lot of pencils or something). It was a tomato can – I had rinsed out the big chunks. Then I covered it with a piece of blue construction paper and for some strange reason wrapped the whole thing with a bunch of rubber bands. I tried to write something on it with glue and glitter, but you know that never works. (or maybe it’s just me) Anyway, that year my dad had a sweet place to put his pencils. By now he probably has more pencils, so maybe I should make another one . . .


No doubt that my four kids will deliver similarly useful gifts this year. All of my kids are under the age of 10, so I’m certain to score big in the homemade gift department.


Someone asked me a while back if being a father is what I thought it would be. Prior to actually having the kids, my thought(s) on the subject were limited to this (verbatim):
“Cool, I’ll have someone to play ball with, . . .who I can beat.”
Needless to say I have a few more thoughts on the topic now that I’m a decade into it. Fatherhood is (check out the use of ‘er’ words):

  • Stinkier than I expected: If you don’t understand, hang out with a six-month-old for a day. Or hang out in the bedroom of a nine-year-old after he’s had football practice and was too tired to shower.
  • Louder than I expected: When do kids develop volume control? Cuz from moment number one they seem determined to make sure you know they’re around. Unless they’re sneaking a chocolate cupcake that was hidden on top of the fridge for tomorrow’s birthday party.
  • Messier than I expected: My wife and I once woke from a nap to find our entire first floor covered in glitter. No vacuum will clean all of that up, particularly after the kids tried to clean it up with a wet wash cloth.
  • Bizarre-er than I expected: I once found my son eating a stick of butter in the middle of his room. Another son wore his Jedi costume to school for no apparent reason. And although I have less hair than a peach my daughter insists on “brushing” it before I go out with mommy.
  • Time-consuming-er than I expected: Bedtime chews up like 3 hours of every night, soccer, baseball, homework, consoling hurt feelings, mediating fights over small toys, cooking meals you know they won’t eat, trying to convince the girls that dead worms don’t make good house pets . . . etc.
    And last…
  • Way better than I ever expected: I get massive hugs just for coming home from work; we have dance parties in the kitchen to avoid doing dishes; a smile from my daughter can make me forget everything that might be wrong; and as great as the other 6 billion or so people out there might be, there’s nobody I’d rather be with than those 4 goofy kids and their mommy.

I’m a Totalitarian Daddy, but at Least I Didn’t Swat the Fly!

Thursday, June 18, 2009 | | 4 comments |

The last few days life has been pretty busy so I’ve been a bit out of touch with news.  I kinda get what’s going on with the Iranian elections.  This is similar to when we have a vote on what our family is going to do for entertainment on some night – since there are more kids than old people the result of the vote is often, well, Chucky Cheese.  Of course what we actually do is watch a movie and eat popcorn, because well, I guess I’m an Iranian Mullah at heart.  We can ask for and get your opinions, but we may or may not actually care in the end.  Luckily my kids can’t figure out how to do dishes together, so they’re certainly not about to organize a protest against my totalitarian rule.  (although there have been some fairly organized demonstrations against the dishes come to think of it . . . and there was no need to employ tear gas to end to show, because, well, the kids were generating their own dramatic tears). 

Well this morning I thought I should turn on the radio to get a bit of the most important news of the day.  And after what I heard for 2 minutes, I turned my iPod back on to some Counting Crows song.  You see the urgent news of the day had to do with PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) attacking our President for the horrible crime of swatting at a fly in the White House.  They’re actually sending him a “Humane Bug Catcher” so he can catch them humanely (whatever that means) and then release them into their natural habitat and bother somebody else who is not the leader of the free world.  So I’m hoping that instead of being a leader he’s not whiling his days away in the White House catching flies.

I don’t know why he swatted the fly.

Everything Sounds Better In Pirate….Arrggg

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | | 1 comments |

Tonight I found out about an awesome setting change you can make on yer Facebook page.  (hat tip to SharkBait)  You can change the default language to PIRATE!!

Here’s the before :

image

And, arrrrgg, here’s the Pirate translation. (click the image to see the words, cuz your eyesight isn’t that great!) Check out the use of the word “anchored” (the Mrs. HTF liked that one)!

image

So nice job to the folks running “the book.”  Everything is better in Pirate!

All Dressed Up And In a Hurry – Church & Why I Need A Sports Car To Get There

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | | 6 comments |

For those of you who may not venture to church on Sunday mornings you probably assume that those who do have a nice leisurely drive to the building.  This is only true for those who don’t have kids.  But for those of us with kids, we should come clean right now and admit that we probably break more traffic laws during those few minutes on Sunday mornings than we do the rest of the week combined.  This is because regardless of what time church is, you can be assured that the kids will absolutely NEVER be ready in time, even if you do make them sleep in their church clothes. 

We do our best to dress them up and help them to smell slightly better than on other days, but the process is often kinda like trying to put a tuxedo on an untamed monkey.  We’ve had church at 8:30 AM and at 3 PM (and times in between) and inevitably we’re always in a desperate rush to get out the door, preferably all wearing some sort of shoes, and into the car.  And then there’s nothing like a little Indy-500 adrenaline rush from the drive in before you walk into the serene chapel where people are singing hymns.  You see, they are very often singing when the families with small kids arrive, because the meeting started a while ago.  Actually I’m quite convinced that the use of church hymns at the beginning of the meeting is designed to cover-up the arrival of the late families. 

Then you have to find your place to sit, and you always go for the same place because, well, that’s what you do.  Where you sit in church shouldn’t matter much, but it sure feels weird to sit someplace different each week.  When we went to our new congregation here in Seattle for the first time we were determined to arrive early and make a good impression (as if anyone cares).  And of course we were late, but I’m happy to report that both boys were actually wearing pants that day.  The only open seats were on the dreaded FRONT ROW.  So there we sat, and well, that’s pretty much where we sit every week now, because (and you should have this figured out by now) that’s the spot that’s still open by the time we get there.  So if you happen to be out and about on a Sunday morning and see a mini-van full of dressed-up monkeys traveling at double the posted speed limit, just give “them” a little break.  We’re breaking the law for a very good reason (that’s what we tell ourselves).

Maybe this could be my excuse to buy a sports car . . . it’ll help us get to church on time!

Beware of Flying Justices Wearing Retro-Robes

Friday, June 12, 2009 | | 3 comments |

When I asked the alert readers of the blog to send in questions/comments I knew I was taking a risk.  The note you’re about to read validates that riskiness.  But this reader makes some powerful points that even our President should consider .  . .

Dear HTF,

I recently heard about some vacancy on this thing called the “Supreme Court,” & I thought it would be the perfect job for me.  I really dig the fact that all the justices wear the same outfit and are called the “Supremes” because I’ve always wanted to be in a band. 

Before I really had a chance to send my resume off to the President, he nominated someone else even though I have some pretty awesome credentials by anyone’s standards.  C-c-c-check it out:

  • I’m a really good listener.  I can turn the volume down way low on my Ipod and eavesdrop on someone else’s conversation. 
  • I have a lot of experience as an adjudicator.  I already spend half my day judging and commenting on other people’s fashion crimes.  I also prepare proposed punishments for them in my head.  (In case you are wondering, yes, a prison sentence is generally imposed.)
  • I’m also excellent at multitasking.  I’m really good at doodling while pretending that I’m listening.  I can also pretend that I’m listening when I’m really making a shopping list in my head.  I can also shop while figuring how I'm going to frame the glorious doodle that I drew when I was pretending to be listening.
  • I have thought long and hard about it, and . . . I am totally willing to accept a pay raise.

What I want to know is- what else should I be doing that will improve my chances at getting a Supreme Court slot?  Also - maybe I’m feeling a little overconfident, but in the event that I do get a slot, what can I do to jazz up that robe?  It garners respect and all, but let's face it:  I would not be stylin' in that thing.  I was kinda thinking of putting fringe on the bottom – or do you think that’s too retro?  Hey, new thought:  do you think that the fringe would get caught in a Supreme Court escalator?  Would that be a worker's compensation claim or would the fringe be considered a pre-existing condition?  Hey an even newer thought: do they even use escalators at the Supreme Court?  Elevators?  Stairs?  Jet packs?   Or . . .  maybe I should just decorate the robe with a jet pack to avoid any fringe mishaps? 

Thank you.  You may or may not be helpful.

Signed,

The Person Who May or May Not Have Written This Letter (Giving a shout out to the Frogspeak!!)

Well, I don’t even know how to respond except to say that if we were able to to vote for the new members of the Supremes, you’d have mine for sure, but mostly because you said “adjudicator” (as if you were a lawyer or something) and you gave the priceless image of our justices flying around with jet packs.  Here are a few other ideas of how you could improve your chances:

  • Write a supreme court rap theme, this worked for the ‘85 Bears, and most of the justices were in their 60s then, so they may even remember
  • During the senate confirmation hearing give all of your answers in Latin (or at least Pig-Latin)
  • Tell the President that you’re for change . . . he seems to respond to that
  • Get a fake AARP card and start showing it off to whoever will pay attention
  • Read the detailed proceedings of the court over the last 10 years and when you regain conciseness watch reruns of Law & Order on TV

Anyway, hope that helps.  You’re probably a lock anyway once people actually compare you to this Soda-Mayer lady!

Thanks for the note, I’ll be sure to bring it up the next time the President calls for advice!

So, HTF, What Did You Do On Your Day Off?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | | 6 comments |

Yesterday was a much-needed “vacation day” for me.  I decided to use the day to tag along with my son on his 4th grade class field trip to the state capital.  I had carefully considered the great time we’d have seeing the building and learning a bit about history and government.  I’d forgotten about the 3 hours of school bus time that I’d put in to get there and back.  I recently told you all about my own daily bus experience, so while I knew the trip might be a little different than the corporate bus, I was ready.  Well, without extreme detail I give you this comparison based on my 3+ hours on the school bus (3 hours = 76 days in adult time):

bus

Hopefully that gives you a little feel for my “vacation” day on Tuesday.  Trust me, we did have a great time at the capital.  My little man even got to play the role of Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, which he handled well by ignoring the kids playing the lawyers and instead talked to the other mini-justices about video games.

Anyway, the ride into work this morning was pretty awesome, but the bus driver looked a bit confused when I hugged her…

That’s a Stinky Beetle

Sunday, June 07, 2009 | | 6 comments |

How many times have you said the phrase “Dung Beetle” today?  Not enough times I can assure you.  Cuz it’s been phrase of the day at our house.  Our seven year old chose this particular bug to be the focus of his recent school project involving a life-size model and a creative story where the beetle is the main character.  His Oma (Traci’s mom) even helped him make a pretty sweet model of the little bug out of clay.  Why did he choose the dung beetle you may ask?  Well, because this little creature is famous for . . .

wait for it . . .

playing with poop. 

Yep, that’s pretty much the extent of the logic behind the selection.  That trait has so endeared the dung beetle to my kids that I’m pretty sure they’d trade me in for one of those guys.  My last experience in playing with poop was limited to some involuntary toxic cleanup during our potty-training days.  Where was Captain Dung Beetle then?!  Twice I had a two year old drop a “dirty bomb” in the middle of the kitchen floor and start playing with it.  If you haven’t had this experience, it’s pretty much an instant rainbow of emotions, all at once you wanna scream, laugh hysterically, cry, fetch the camera, cover the kid with a towel/sheet, or run out the front door.  But after the rounds of emotions I usually settled on:

Call for my wife.

I just didn’t want her to feel left out.  I assure you my motives were purely altruistic . . . except when I tried to act invisible.  This never worked though, and I did usually get the toxic duties if I was home at the time of the incident.  Why is it that scooping up doggy “stuff” is so much more pleasant than cleaning up the “output” of small children?  Ponder that one . . .

Anyway, that’s probably one blog post more than you needed to read on this topic.  But it did give me a chance to think about a whole bunch of appropriate synonyms for the word ‘poop,’ so at least one of us had a laugh.

A Nutty Feature and a Button

Friday, June 05, 2009 | | 6 comments |

You may or may not know, but on Wednesday the blog was featured on the hugely-popular and super-cool blog, 4NutsInANutshell.  This was quite the honor.  Here is the feature post.  She’s going to feature other guy bloggers, since I guess there are so few of us.  Perhaps there really is something wrong with me . . .  Anyway, I highly recommend that you all take a few minutes to drop in over there.  The writer is named Cat, which for some strange reason brings to mind the underappreciated song “Cool For Cats” by Squeeze.  Raise your hand (meaning post a comment) if you’ve heard of this tune.  It’s excellent, and doesn’t bother my wife’s feline allergies one bit. . .  Anyway, to my new “nutty” friend, thanks for the feature and especially for this artistic button that you gave me . . .

daddyblogbutton001

If I ever have to give someone a button, my lack of creativity would probably lead to a result like this:

 

Yours is better.

Corporate Joe Can’t Go To Your Unimportant Meeting

Monday, June 01, 2009 | | 5 comments |

Working in a corporate environment or living in a family have one thing in common – most folks think they’re more important than they actually are AND they want you to know about it.  At home this can come through in the form of hysterical crying (or maybe that’s just my house . . .).  At work it’s usually manifest in strongly-worded-emails.  In that vein (how’s that for a bizarre phrase?!), I give you this note sent in by an alert HTF reader:

Dear HTF:

Just had to share something that cracked me up. In response to a meeting I set up at work last week, I received the following (and these are definitely not “Air Quotes” – this is verbatim):

“I'm very busy; thus I'm declining this meeting. If there are critical things being discussed that I need to be involved in, let me know and I will try to join the first 30 min. of the meeting.”

As you might guess, I had to use every ounce of my willpower to not respond.  Instead, I sent it to my boss and we made up various responses over IM. My favorite was along the lines of “we all talked and agreed that in fact your involvement isn’t needed and you will add no value to this project – we’ll let you know if that changes”.  Or “I’m sorry to hear you’re so busy.  Maybe I can help you out with something; I really have nothing to do.”

This so reminded me of Corporate Flo I just had to share.  Have you ever noticed the different types of people at work?  Just to name a few: I’m So Busy I Can’t Even Say Hello guy, I’m So NOT Busy I’ll Talk Your Ear Off girl, I’m So Nosy I’ll Listen To Every Word You Say Over My Cube Wall girl, I Get Coffee Every Single Day But Refuse To Make Any guy, I Love The Sound Of My Own Voice So Much I Constantly Interrupt Anyone Else Who’s Talking girl….and on and on.

Happy Frogging!

CM

Well, my friend, you have a winner there.  We can (and will) go on and on about the different types of people at work.  I’m personally dealing today with the “I’m too busy sending e-mails at people to answer yours guy.”   But let’s go back to your coworker who was too busy to show for the mtg. (aka Corporate Joe) Let’s break down his response and perhaps read between the lines a bit:

“I’m very busy.” = I’m so insanely important that everyone needs me or the company will self-destruct . . . today.  If you’re receiving this e-mail, you’re not only not worth my time, but you’re as vital to the success of the company as the squirrels in the trees outside my office window.

“I’m declining this meeting.” = If I were to spend any time meeting with you our stock price would fall off a cliff because you can’t possibly have something important to talk to me about.  You’re just someone who sets up meetings instead of working like me.

“If there are critical things being discussed that I need to be involved in” = However, I allow for the possibility that there are people who know important things that I obviously should know.  Also, if this is a meeting where I will have a chance to shine and/or schmooze (technical term) I may reconsider.

“I will try to join the first 30 min. of the meeting” = you may be graced with my presence and intellect, but only on my terms and for a very limited time because, in fact, I’m a very big deal.

Probably not a lot of news there for ya, CM.  But at least you get that unpleasant glimpse into the dude’s thought process.  Which will hopefully make you laugh and/or roll your eyes just a bit harder next time you interact with Joe.  Thanks for the note!

If you have questions/comments/observations, and I know you do, send ‘em into henrythefrog@gmail.com.

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