3

Annual Cheeseland Staff Meeting

Once a year all, the reporters for Adventures in Cheeseland get together to describe major projects they are working on for the next year. George and Lenny are responsible for herding the cats (so to speak).

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George: Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for taking the time to come to Michigan for this meeting. Cat has a few things that she would like us to mention at the beginning of this meeting.

Lenny: First, we have to commit to having something to publish once a week.

(Under his breath: that’s her fault not ours. General snickers. George takes over.)

George: And our readership seems to be trending a little intellectual. She want us to get a little more mainstream.

mehitabel: Not gonna happen.

Ahab: Not with me. I didn’t sign on to be dumbed down.

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(Agreement around the table.)

George: Cat thought that might be your response. So she hired a freelancer for our first attempt. I’d like you to meet Les Sloth. He is going to the convention with Cat’s daughter to get a first-hand view of modeling competitions. (Groans all around.) He’s posing as her bodyguard and PR rep. If it works out, he’ll be a regular contributor.

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(Les looks around and gently smiles at everyone.)

Ahab: No disrespect Les, but how are you going to guard B? Aren’t sloths rather (searches for correct word)

Les: Yes we are slow. But we are also very cute and that tends to disarm people. While they are looking at me, I have a buzzer to B’s traveling companion who works as B’s wing person. She will be able to talk to people and explain that B is there for work, not socialization.

Ahab: That actually might work. Welcome to Cheeseland.

(The others welcome him as well.)

Ricky T. Tavi: So what are you calling your piece?

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Les: Cat and I agreed on “Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior.”

archy (snickering): That title should draw in the Twitter crowd.

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George: If that’s what Cat wants, that’s the title.

archy: It wasn’t a reflection on you, Les. You seem like a nice guy.

(Les smiles at him.)

George: So what else is happening this year?

mehitabel: We’re looking into adulteration at a cheese-puff factory. They may actually be putting cheese into some of their products.

“Ace” Sopp: I am looking into a secret group of sub-Saharan animals who are putting together a peace-keeping group to try to help their northern human neighbors.

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Ricky T. Tavi: Unfortunately it appears that there may be some doping on the Bengal Tiger surf team. Since Ahab is the head of the commission for the summer games, we are working together to try to prevent a scandal.

Ahab: Unfortunately, we are finding evidence that the problem may be more wide-spread than we first thought. The human surfing social habits are spreading to the animals.

H. Chris Andersen: I am looking into the beginnings of socialized medicine for animals, particularly in Scandinavia. We are hoping to avoid some of the start-up glitches the humans have experienced. For example, most animals can’t wait several months for tests and surgery.

George: I assume we will be sending someone to the human Olympics this summer?

Ace: Ricky and I drew the short straws because we live in hot climates. I hate dealing with humans. They always act so condescending.

Ricky: Like they’re better than we are. Les, you’re welcome to join us. It’s in your neighborhood and you’re studying humans right now.

Les: I would like that.

George: Great! It looks like we have a good start to the year. Remember to keep us updated on what you’re doing. Don’t forget about the time the Tasmanian devil almost bankrupt us trying to recreate a typhoon.

(They all laugh and adjourn to the dining room.)

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8

Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

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Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!