Subourbon Mom

Laptops for T-Rex

thMy kids should be so proud of me. In my new-ish job, I’ve learned lots of things, including how to design a marketing trade show banner, conference call, video chat, and edit a website. I also recently learned that there is such a thing as office Karma.

As our company has prospered and our technology needs have grown, our computers have gotten progressively smaller – so small in fact, that I commented to my boss (because I clearly have no filter) that he looks like a court stenographer when he’s sitting there, hunched over his laptop. He has to squeeze his arms together so his hands can fit onto the tiny keyboard.

My observation was politely ignored.

Naturally, I was due for some Karma after that comment. In fact, I’m probably due for heaps and heaps of steaming, putrescent office karma thanks to my verbal diarrhea and 12-year-old sense of humor (apparently not everyone thinks poop jokes are funny ALL of the time).

So my old computer finally started to die on me, first by thinking for really long periods of time about how to find a website (for the record it was actually work-related, and had nothing to do with the “Listen Linda” YouTube video). My boss was kind enough to approve the new Surface Pro laptop for me, too.

Don’t get me wrong – the Surface Pro is really cool, and has a lot going for it, especially after I lugged my old laptop around a tech conference for 4 days. This thing is like carrying a tiny, literary magazine around – it’s small but self-important.  And I’m well aware of how cool it is that my work was deemed worthy enough to get one – so thank you, Workplace. But of course I can’t just let it go at that.

The Surface Pro, which is slightly larger than the iPhone 6 Plus (a.k.a. the “ear pad”), is incredibly portable and weighs as much as a People Magazine.

And it was clearly made by and for pubescent boys. Here’s why:

  • You can make the font/text bigger on the screen, but only in a distorted way, and certainly not big enough to compensate for my CVS 2.0 reading glasses. No one over the age of 40 can see what they’re doing.
  • It will fit in my purse (not that I would EVER be so careless as to do that, Office/Security Manager) – not a great place since my purse houses pharmaceuticals, lotions and liquid soap. But it’s tempting.
  • The keyboard is tiny – you have to place it on a table with your hands so close together to type that you look like a T-Rex, or a raccoon washing its food. For men with broad shoulders it must be awkward. For women, it squishes the girls like you wouldn’t believe – and my girls are, shall we say…petite. My heart goes out to my more endowed co-workers. In fact, here’s my million dollar idea – the Surface Pro could double as a mammogram. It would be a daily check– how awesome is that? What a way to save on healthcare costs!

That said, I know in light of everything in the news this week these are clearly first-world problems. Every now and then I have to remind myself that I now live in a world where computers fit in your purse, and we have isolated cancer genes – I was still using a typewriter when I went to college, and nobody talked about cancer – EVER. Hopefully, smarter folks than me will use these magic devices for good, and overcome some of the obstacles we have in this world that keep us from being the excellent species we have the potential to be.

Bless our hearts.


8 Things I Learned at a Business Conference (that have nothing to do with business)


  1. Guys, don’t try and join the few women who actually attended the conference in the one section of comfy chairs we claimed as our own, and then ask whether sending flowers to your angry girlfriend is the correct course of action. Here’s why:

    • We obviously want some girl time in a male-dominated environment;
    • Your creepy designer jeans and big gold chain scream out, “I’m trying to hook up while I’m out of town” and troll in the Holiday Inn Lounge on a Tuesday night; andimages-10
    • You clearly suck as a boyfriend, so why would we be interested anyway? (And by the way, creepy-guy-who-did-that, texting you’re sorry to your “girlfriend” doesn’t cut it either.)
  2. The GYM, Part 1: When you go to the gym, remember that you’ll be seeing half those people again while you’re sitting in a lecture—that awesome pilates move where you throw your legs over your head? They’re going to remember that and look at you funny later.images-6
  3. The GYM, Part 2: Wear yoga or sweat pants—and I mean everyone—I don’t want to see your junk hanging out of your swishy running shorts, Dude-on-the-Treadmill. I have to look at you later, too.images-8
  4. Ask at the desk if there will be a karaoke night while you’re there—then make sure your room is not directly above the caterwauling.
  5. Make sure “just a couple of blocks” means the same thing in the conference city as it does in yours.
  6. Ask the questions you think are too dumb to say out loud—chances are, you’re not the only one who feels that way or wants to know.
  7. You can tell the level of confidence the conference sponsors have in their speakers by how cold they’ve set the room temperatures: cold = snoozeville.images-9
  8. Bring a travel mug—the tiny little dollhouse cups they provide hold exactly three swallows of coffee, and after sitting in a conference room the same temperature as, say, Boston this week, you need something warm with you at all times.
  9. Sometimes that $14 bourbon from the hotel bar (on my personal card and after classes were done, Mr. CFO) is worth it.IMG_3484
  10. It’s not cool to go back to work in the dead of winter with a tan on your face and arms–some people find that irritating.

What Happens in Vegas…Happens in My Office

Now that I sit in a cube, (it’s a cool one with open squares as my “walls” that make it look really modern—but it’s not just a bunch of crates from the back of the 7-11), I’ve realized my work environment is a lot like Vegas. This is not necessarily a bad thing–after all, people win big in Vegas. But it was a little disturbing once the thought came into my head. For all my fellow Cubies, see if this sounds familiar—maybe we’ll all win big!


Ten Ways My Office is like Vegas


  1. There is a certain amount of anticipatory energy humming through the office during prime hours (for us, it’s first thing in the morning)—you never know what’s going to happen. At the end of the business day, much like Vegas in the wee hours before dawn, there is a desperate determination to get that last big win before leaving.
  2. I’m not convinced fresh oxygen isn’t being pumped into the cold office air to keep us awake—although I did find the right thermostat to mess with. Good luck, my young Cubies! You have no idea what a temperature rollercoaster we’re about to get on!
  3. images-3Whenever I open my email, I get the same rush as when the dealer first deals out a Blackjack hand—I don’t know whether I’m going to get an ace or a deuce.
  4. Like Vegas, dress is no longer formal. Khakis are the norm.
  5. When there’s a shriek as someone wins big (i.e. makes a sale, finishes a project, etc.)—We “air” fives all around, and people come wandering from all over the “casino” to see who won.images-4
  6. The food/drinks (coffee in a Keurig dispenser and animal crackers) are plentiful, often served buffet-style. John Pinette (R.I.P.) would be jealous.
  7. The other “guests” love to discuss strategy, and every now there’s a card counter who gets removed from the casino.
  8. The entertainment (webinars, conferences, in-house training) is there for the taking, and I hear it’s easy to comp tickets, if you like that sort of thing.images-1
  9. There aren’t any windows or clocks—I have no idea what the weather or time is at any given moment.
  10. The pit bosses are always watching—ok, not really, but they do have a habit of sneaking up on me from behind and watching what I’m doing, mostly because they know it irritates the crap out of me—I’m so getting a rearview mirror.



Offices aren’t always where we would choose to spend our time, all things being equal, but if you’re in the right frame of mind, it can be fun.  So double down if you get dealt and ace, and let it ride.


Running in-(appropriate) Places

Going from teaching to sitting in front of a computer all day has caused some weird side effects—one of which it that I sometimes have the almost uncontrollable impulse to run short distances in inappropriate places. I think this has to do more with expending extra energy than any kind of office-induced physical Turetts.

In case you have any of these urges, here are my top fave places to run inappropriately (yes, I’ve done most of them):

  1. The office: racing your colleagues to the bathroom is just fun—sorry Kelly, had to do it.
  2. Church: there’s something exhilarating about sprinting down that plush carpeted aisle where most people creep in on Sunday’s, heads bowed—but only during non-service times. I know many people will think it’s disrespectful, but I think Jesus would smile, knowing someone was having so much fun in a place where so much serious thought happens.images-15
  3. Outside in rain puddles—especially if your friends don’t see you coming and you splash in a puddle as you breeze by, getting them soaked; it’s even better if you don’t like the person you just splashed.
  4. Through sprinklers in the summer, outside stuffy office buildings—definitely fun and worth the chilly air-condition-induced cold you will have later.
  5. Down a middle or high school locker-filled hallway a la Judd Nelson in “The Breakfast Club.” 
  6. Down the aisle in a store that has framed posters hanging on one of those carousels, letting your hands graze each frame as you go buy;
  7. The office again—this time pushing an office chair in a modified office Olympics.images-17
  8. Hotel hallways—this one is better with two people racing and hip-checking each other as you careen down the hall. If you slam into a hotel room door, even better. Usually this seems to happen late at night, but it also occurs when children are present.
  9. Hospitals—I’ve been binge-watching too much Grey’s Anatomy. Haven’t done this one yet, but I’m “dying” to do it, yelling “Code Blue! I need a doctor Stat!”
  10. Airports—on the fast-walker thing. That’s just super-fun, and nobody will look at you too hard, they just assume you’re late for our connection.

Working as an adult is necessary and often rewarding, but when you have that crazy urge to expend some extra energy, run with it!

Disclaimer:  Subourbonmom and its author or affiliates (i.e. Hubby and Daughters 1&2) are not responsible for any repercussions that might happen to you if you do any of these activities.




Loud Talkers in Bermuda

Nature has balances: night and day, sunshine and rain, Quiet Talkers…and me.

For whatever reason, I am “blessed” with a loud, scratchy voice, and a Woody Woodpecker laugh that reverberates around a room somewhere near the decibel level of a Who concert. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s come in handy a few times, like when I was coaching and lifeguarding. Now, however, it’s a little bit of an issue.


We were recently in Bermuda for a work event, and I realized I’d forgotten how quiet Bermudians can be. I understand why Bermudians talk the way they do—softly, leaning in slightly, as if someone might overhear the conversation and report it to the Royal Gazette. Actually, that is exactly what can happen when you have 60,000 alcoholics, er, residents, clinging to a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. That’s a lot of folks on a 20-square-mile island with something to say, which they do with a wit that is funny and brutal at the same time.

I used to live in Bermuda, so I know how loud we Americans can sound to the untrained ear. Eventually, after three years or so of being there, I got pretty good at lowering my voice, but that skill has clearly been neglected since we moved.

When it comes to social events, my friend Bruce has a favorite saying: “If you’re at a party and you can’t find the asshole, it’s probably you.”

Um, I’m pretty sure the people at the event last week in Bermuda thought it was me. There were about 40 Bermudians in the room, and I’m fairly certain everyone turned at one point or another in the evening and tried to figure out one of three things:

1) how they could rescue the poor Quiet Talker stuck with me;

2) who that woman was with the man-voice was and why wasn’t she wearing her hearing aide? OR

3) who let the Southern version of Fran Drescher into the party?

images-12At first I was annoyed, and toyed with the idea of talking in my fake Long Island accent that makes my Southern skin crawl. (“Oh my Gaawud, Vinny…would you look at this gaawbage? I could get this at home for ‘tree daawllahs.”) But I was at work and had a professional image to maintain, so I decided to study the Bermudian Quiet Talker technique instead.

I have to say you Quiet Talkers have a way of drawing people in to listen to you that I envy. I never did figure out just what it was, except possibly my natural American inferiority complex, or maybe my American penchant for British accents, but either way I remained captivated.

Unfortunately, your verbal sparring is wasted on Loud Talkers. When you zing that witty insult at us, we often aren’t sure if we heard you correctly…so most of the time, we’ll just keep on plowing ahead, oblivious to your skills.

Yes, we are clearly two very different social species, but if nature didn’t provide some balance, and there were only Loud Talkers like me, the world would sound like a forest full of crows (or a tree full of Kiskadees, for you Bermudians), cawing and squawking at each other all day long. If there were only Quiet Talkers, the world would be filled with misunderstandings, because someone misheard someone else, rednecks would have to find some other way to communicate after a beer or six, and sports stadiums would sound like churches.

So in the interest of peace, diversity, and keeping sports teams employed, let’s keep the conversation going–we Loud Talkers will keep leaning in to hear what you have to say, and you Quiet Talkers keep leaning back and listening.

If the conversation stops, the silence will be deafening.


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