Wine With My Whine


Anne Michael

A group us were waiting our turn at the coffee pot, bleary-eyed, bemoaning the fact that it was Monday once again and how wonderful it would be to go back to bed for a few more hours, or go to the beach. Basically, we wanted to be anywhere but where we were—work. After a few sips that brought us to life, we noticed there were bottles of wine on one of the tables that were to be used for a customer event later in the week. We began imagining which of the wines would be appropriate for the things we do in life. There was a merlot that one woman thought would be fabulous in coffee and laughingly mentioned it would help her handle the phone calls. We all agreed a light, sweet white wine would be great for reading a book at the beach, and a heavy, bitter red would be perfect for reading the newspaper. It wasn’t long before the clock told us it was time to get to work, but that conversation has stayed in my mind all week. With every completed task, there were ruminations about the appropriate wine to go with it.

One of the things I have always disliked doing in my work life is filing. I don’t like doing at home either, come to think of it. When I was a secretary, papers would pile up in the “to be filed” bin often to the point where they would slide onto the floor. Other times I would spend too much time looking through the pile when my boss requested something. When the pile reached one of those points, I knew it was time to file. I was cured about 15 years ago when I had a boss who hated to file things as much, if not worse, than I did. Rather than deal with her paperwork she would pile it next to her desk or behind her on the credenza, and only when the stacks reached higher than her desktop was time to deal with the disaster. Guess who was required to help with that mess? That’s right, yours truly. By the end of those days, I’d be imagining myself sitting on the lanai after work with a nice glass of wine (any wine) and a dart board with the her picture on it.  

She taught me more of what not to do to be effective or efficient than what to do. Thanks to her I did improve, and I actually got to the point where I made a rule for myself: if I picked up a piece of paper, I had to deal with it right then and there. The rule didn’t cure me, but it improved my methods—more than a little. I’d like to say that I am now perfect. However, with that improvement, I didn’t spend as much time thinking about buying wine by the gallon in a cardboard box, although I did love the concept of the dart board.

Alas, all my hard won habits began slipping when I joined the training department of my bank almost a year ago. I know that now, in retrospect. Filing was not a priority. Learning how to do my job was. I have since learned that there is no way for me to break a bad habit, that I simply replace it with another one. So when “Plan B” habit fell by the wayside, I naturally reverted to “Plan A.” Sad, but true. The insides of my shiny and formerly empty filing cabinets in my new office look like the junk drawer that I have in my kitchen—eight drawers stuffed to overflowing with a host of paper and little of it organized.

I loved my new filing cabinets; they are a nice addition to the office. I got such pleasure as I could imagine, when all the drawers were empty, just dropping materials that I was done with into them. I always figured I’d get to it the next day.  Uh huh.

Well, the days of reckoning arrived this month, this week, in fact. I was not traveling, the stash of participant guides I’d prepared ahead dwindled steadily over the past months, and I reached a point where I couldn’t find one of my training manuals. With a group of “desk days” now and a few weeks worth of classes coming up, it was time to prepare. Oh, joy.  My heart was filled with sunshine and song. Imaginings of a light and fruity glass of wine at the end of the day filled me with delight. Such was my anticipation of the week. This unmitigated delight lasted all of 20 minutes until reality reared its head and roared. I had an expense report, reports for how I spent the previous month, and training schedules for the next few months all due that day. Deadlines I hadn’t remembered loomed large.

I met my deadlines by noon and departed to enjoy my favorite hotdog-and-salad lunch. Upon my return, I stepped into my office and gasped at the mess. It looked like a giant paper-eating creature had vomited paper everywhere. I found myself wishing I had ordered a glass of wine or two at lunch time, preferably a heavy red wine so I could have gone home with the raging headache red wine always gives me. That way I could have avoided for another day the need that awaited me: the DREADED filing.

Over the ensuing four days, I read though stacks of e-mails I’d set aside months and weeks earlier for when I had the time. I sorted, I cursed, I culled, I sweated, I shredded. I railed at my own laziness, and I trashed. I tried to imagine what kind of wine could possibly go with this kind of reading. I went scrounging in storage closets looking for hanging file folders to file all the paperwork I needed to keep. I was exhausted and bored out of my mind. But by the end of Friday, I could see the carpet on the floor, desk top and chair seats once again.

Among other things, I found a brochure advertising a seminar on organizing and maintaining files and records. I signed up for it. I’m hoping it will help me give up the whining for good. However, it would be nice for those times when I need to get the “h” out of my whine if there was such a thing as wine made out of chocolate. That would be almost perfect. What would make it absolutely perfect would be if I could sit with a glass of cold, crisp Riesling and a novel by one of my favorite authors in my own house on a work day.

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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