The time I did a how-to speech about how to make tiramisu

April 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm (Uncategorized)

So I felt like I should post something today because Laurel said she’d be a “daily reader” so I don’t want her to be disappointed. Well, not today anyway. I’m sure you’re in for some serious disappointment, Laurel. At least as far as this blog is concerned. I can’t really speak to the other areas of your life, but you should probably be prepared for some disappointment because it happens to everyone. And it’s better if you aren’t totally surprised by it.

Anyhow, for today, I can feel like I’ve at least made an attempt to meet your expectations. Tomorrow’s another day.

So Kacey commented that she did a how-to speech on how to take a dump in the woods, which reminded me of the time I had to do a how-to speech. I was still at my old job, which involved finding ways to make postal software better and sell more of it.

Holy crap, I almost fell asleep writing that last sentence.

Anyway, I was involved in training people on how to use the software (actually, I think I was supposed to be in charge of training or something, I’m not really sure). We planned to start holding classes at the training facility of our parent company in Durham, North Carolina. They also did a “train-the-trainer” course there, so my co-worker Russ and I went there to check out the facility and take the course that would make us supremely better trainers.

The course sucked. This happened like four years ago or something, so I’m fuzzy on some of the details, but I distinctly remember talking with Russ at lunch and dinner about how lame and sucky it was and how much time and effort we were wasting being there. It was like a Speech 101 class, apparently designed for people who had never spoken in public, or maybe to any other human beings ever, under any circumstances. There were some people in class who could barely string a coherent sentence together, let alone stand up in front of a group of people and tell them something they hadn’t known already since they were like six years old.

Wow, that was an awkward sentence. I always want to put a little “awk” in red pen in the margin of sentences like that. I’m feeling way too lazy right now to fix it, so just figure it out.

Did I mention I was four months pregnant at the time? And when I’m pregnant (and sometimes when I’m not), I get these ocular migraines. Someday I’ll write about what Husband lovingly refers to as my “when I go crazy on him” headaches. Long story short (for now)…if I don’t take Excedrin Migraine within like 10-15 minutes of symptoms, I get a full-blown “put me in a dark room and leave me alone, don’t speak, don’t breathe, don’t eat, don’t emit any odors, get a bucket ready” migraine. And around Day 2 of the 5 (!)-day training, I got one.

I didn’t want to take aspirin and risk the possibility of birthing a kid with a thumb growing out of his back, so I tried to dull it with Tylenol and coffee. Which sort of worked, but sort of didn’t. It worked well enough (and the course was sucky enough) that I was a tiny bit glad that I got to bail on Part 2 of Day 2. I hadn’t told anyone at work that I was pregnant and didn’t really want it to get back to them, so I only told Russ and swore him to secrecy. Is this boring? I’m getting bored.

So the culmination of our sucky seminar was to pick a topic and do a how-to speech on it in front of our cohorts, our “instructors”, and some other random people they pulled from jobs that apparently were not all that important if they could just be pulled away at a moment’s notice to watch me make tiramisu. We were supposed to have all the props and everything and they gave us like twenty-five duckets to go to the store and get our supplies.

If you’ve never made tiramisu, it’s kind of complicated and requires a lot of special ingredients, like shaved dark chocolate and espresso and ladyfinger cookies and zabaglione (which is a fancy Italian custardy thing that you’re supposed to make from scratch). And I was in Durham, North Carolina.

Also, one morning a group of us ate breakfast at the only restaurant remotely close to our hotel, which was…wait for it…a Waffle House. Not being from the South and having no experience with this particular “eating” establishment (no, those are not unnecessary quotation marks), I thought, “Oh, good…waffles. That sounds yummy.” I was SO wrong. It was the nastiest, greasiest, I’m-sure-there-are-insects-in-the-back dive I’ve ever been to. So finding what would pass for ingredients for my tiramisu in this particular corner of Durham was quite a challenge. I think I ended up with pound cake, a can of whipped cream, some kind of vanilla pudding, and chocolate sprinkles. My ancestors would be so proud.

So I finally gave my stupid speech. After all of that, the only comment I got (from one of the so-important-I-can-be-whisked-away-at-a-moment’s-notice workers) was this: “I was kind of grossed out because you kept touching your face and then working with the ingredients.” I was like, “WHAT?? AFTER ALL THAT??? I just taught you how to make a freaking tiramisu out of ingredients I found at a gas station and that’s all you’ve got to say? Like there’s ebola or MRSA or flesh-eating bacteria on my face that’s going to get transferred to your precious crappy pound cake tiramisu? [“precious crappy” – is that an oxymoron?] Don’t you eat at the (gag) Waffle House like three times a week?”

I’m sure I totally said all of that.

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