Thursday, June 4, 2015

In which I am reminded once again that I am married to an engineer

A commenter on one of my favorite blogs, Ask A Manager, said this about rituals with her husband. Information you should have:

1. Primo and I do not go to bed at the same time. If I had my way, the lights would be out at 9 every night. I try to have lights out by 10, but that usually involves discussion with Primo, who is obsessed with our actually saying goodnight and I don't care. I just want to sleep.
2. I hate being cold. It's cold where we live. We have an old house that costs an arm and a leg to heat, so if it's cold outside, it is also cold inside.

My husband and I have implemented a “Naked Curfew”.
We realized that we would often sit at our computers, reading forums or playing games until we were exhausted, then we would fall into bed and go to sleep.
We talked about wanting to spend more quality time together and came up with the idea of a ten o’clock naked curfew. We don’t need to go to sleep, but the clothes come off at ten, so we had better be in our rooms.
We usually put a tv show on in our bedroom and give each other back rubs while discussing our day and plans for the week. Sometimes the back rubs lead to other things, sometimes they don’t, but we always enjoy the relaxing touch and the time together.

I immediately messaged the idea to Primo. It went like this.
  • Primo
  • Is this something you want to do?
  • Me

  • Primo

    We can consider it. But you like to go to bed much earlier, and that probably wasn't the case for the couple in that story.
  • Me

    It is not about the bedtime!
  • Primo

    Being naked might be a problem for you when it's cold!

    But it could be a nice idea, at least on some days.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In which Primo finds yet another way to get out of going to a promised dance class with me

Primo: If I run [for the county government], then we won't be able to go to that dance workshop.

Me: Of course not.

Primo: It is the prime Saturday for getting [nominating petition] signatures.

Me: So that's why you'll run.

Primo: What?

Me: You have been promising to go to dance lessons with me for six years. And you always find an excuse not to go.

Primo: But I don't know if I want to run. I don't know if I want to be a county representative. And I for sure don't want to do it in the snow. I mean, if I run, that would mean you couldn't treat me like someone who stays at home.

Me: But you do stay at home. And you do not have a job.

Primo: But running for office is a full-time job.

Me: Uh huh. So I am supposed to go to work - I was perfectly happy not working - I am supposed to go to work and be gone from the house for 11 hours a day - and then I am supposed to come home and do all the housework?

Primo: Not all. But I can't do it all.

Me: You're not.

Primo: Not what?

Me: Not doing it all. You're not cleaning the bathroom. You're not doing the cooking.

Primo: But I am doing a lot.

Me: But not all.

Primo: Well, I can't do everything and run for office and get up early and shovel the driveway before you leave for work.

Me: So I am supposed to do it?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Run or don't run. But don't blame me for your decision.

Primo: Do you think I should?

Me: I am staying out of this. You decide. But do not put it on me if you decide not to run. Do not say you can't do it because I won't do all the work around the house and there is snow. If you don't want to run, that's fun. But it is not my fault.

Primo: If I run, I can't take that Saturday for the dance class.

Me: Of course not. I knew you would find a way out of it.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In which we watch "House of Cards" and Primo is horrified because it portrays politicians as Bad People

Now that the election is over and Primo does not have a job, something I still am not crazy about, although at least I come home to a house with the laundry done and clean dishes - we are working on Principles of Clean Bathrooms and The Proper Way to Clean a Kitchen Floor, he finally has time to watch TV.

He could have had time before, but he would rather spend his free time arguing about politics than watching Last Tango in Halifax or Orphan Black. I do not understand the man.

So now he is willing to watch TV. I had watched both seasons of the US version of House of Cards and the entire British series, so I know how it ends.

I won't spoil it for you guys.

Unless you want me to.

Just give me the word.

Oh wait. By the time this is published, season 3 will already have shown. Unless they make huge plot changes, then...

I better stop.

So Primo is crushed that politicians are evil and venal and do not work for the Good of the People but instead work for the Good of Themselves, like any other human being.

Of course, that is one of the big challenges in management. How do you align the interests of the employee with the interests of the organization? It's called agency theory. Basically, it says that people do what they are paid to do.

If you pay someone ten dollars an hour to answer the phones, that person will answer the phones. If you pay someone ten dollars an hour to solve customer problems, that person will solve customer problems.

You have to look at it like this: That customer service rep you just hired (for the outrageously low wage of ten dollars an hour - sheesh - up your wages some, you cheapskate). Do you want her to answer phones? Or do you want her to solve problems? It's harder to manage when you have actual objectives and when you have to determine whether someone is meeting those objectives, but that is how it is done.

How does all this apply to politics, you ask?

What are we really paying politicians to do?

Or, rather, what has to happen for a politician to be paid?

He has to be elected. And then he has to be re-elected.

How does a politician get re-elected?

By advancing the interests of the people and groups who can help him get re-elected.

Those people/groups are not necessarily the ordinary voter.

But hey - I am sure I am preaching to the choir here.

And really, Frank Underwood isn't even about getting re-elected. He is all about power, which, actually, is also a pretty big part of the human condition.

But Primo is idealistic. He thinks politicians are Good, at least politicians on his side.

But then we got caught up in a more mundane aspect of the show. Someone - I don't remember who - probably Zoe and Frank - get busy on the kitchen counter.

Me: We could do that.

Primo: No we couldn't.

Me: Well. Maybe not. We've been together long enough that a lot of the thrill is gone.

Primo: It's because we don't have enough counter space.