Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Holy smokes, did I just swear and breeze on by it? Work really is a pain in the ass! They're making us send an e-mail to the bosses three times a day that details how many Remedy tickets are in the queue, how many we assigned ourselves, how many we've completed since the last update, and the tracking number of each one. And two of us (including me) have to put the group's totals in an e-mail. Because, apparently with 4 e-mails in front of them, they can't add up the total themselves. I could be doing actual work during that time. And you know it just creates some 10+ e-mails a day that they're going to ignore. If I don't do any Remedy jobs between the 1200 and 1500 updates, I get asked what I'd been doing all day. Hello!! One of the 50,000 other things you expect me to do in a day, morons! Pain in the ass....
How many times can I type 'ass' into one blog? You all know I usually use 'arse' instead of 'ass' right? Wait! It's not a swear at all! It's a body part! And it's attached to my managers faces... I think that makes it a swear....
**this is a tone change**
All hail the fighter, Barbaro!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I just learned that the person who does the work that I wish I was doing might be moving on to another position (the one that I was talking about applying for but never actually did it). This means I'll have to take that work back for their trial period next week, and indefinitely if they accept the position.
This means less Remedy, less phone calls (I hope), and lots of days where no one bothers me!
We'll see how that goes, but I'm excited. Even if it's just for a week.
Monday, January 29, 2007
So, it's after 1400, and I'm already work-tired. I didn't get my break until 1330, I usually go at noon. What a great way to start the week!
It's hard for my paycheck to be OT motivation at this point. Sure, I made a lot in those two weeks and it showed on my paycheck, but it also showed in the taxes they took out. Half of what I made was garnished in taxes and other deductions. Sometimes, the government really sucks. I'll see some of that back in my return next year, but I'd like it to add up faster than that.
That's life. Death and taxes, they say. And since I'm planning on Death visiting me a long time from now ;) I'll deal with the taxes.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Let's see. We played a lot more blackjack this year than we have in the past. If it were actual money, I would have won more than $74,000! But it was not actual money. There are prizes that the company gives for the top three winners. My dad and Turtle gave me their chips to boost our total (most of those winnings were my own, I bet the whole lot on the last hand and won with a 20). That may sound impressive, but it's nothing to my mother, who one third place with $150,000 worth of chips. We didn't even know she was playing! She picked a table in the back and went to town. Like me, she bet the lot on the last hand and won with Blackjack. Go mom!
We danced a bit too. Not nearly as much as in years past. I will say there's something unnerving about seeing the majority of my coworkers (peons, HR people, CFO, CEO, takes all kinds) drunker than drunk. Then there were after-parties throughout the hotel. I didn't go to any of those, and it's probably best. Turtle did though. I guess she had fun. Seeing people I work with get drunk and bed each other like teenagers isn't really my cup of tea.
The room was very nice. I have a few pictures that I'll have to get on my website at some point. I am sorry to say we never got a decent picture of us in our dresses. Oh well! Maybe someone else in the office did.
I must say, and I'm not sure why. I have this strange feeling that I've been robbed of my weekend. Maybe it's because much of yesterday was party preparation, and much of today was getting back into the groove of home, and I've seen coworkers for 7 days straight and still have 5 or 6 to go before I'm free of them for a time. I didn't get this feeling from the previous office parties. It's very odd.
Well, tomorrow is another day, or something. And it's one when I have to drive.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
It's going to be fun! There's money-less gambling, and food, and dancing. I'm ready to party!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Yesterday, halfway to work, Hedwig started clicking. Have you ever taped a playing card to your bicycle so it would click in the spokes? That's the sound my car was making. It wasn't a problem with the axle, it still clicked when not moving. It seemed to be louder and faster the more RPMs. I don't like my car clicking, so I called the mechanic and arranged to drop my car off last night and I'll get it after work today.
My dad said it was probably a 'valve lifter,' whatever that is. And I mentioned that I didn't remember when I last changed the oil, so dad said it might be low on oil.
The prognosis? It was low on oil. Less than a quart, actually. You know how coffee burns if you leave the carafe on the burner with just a tiny bit of coffee in it? If you don't it's super disgusting, the coffee gets all burnt and sludgy. That's the mental image I got when the technician was telling me what my car's engine looked like. The click was the valves, rubbing from lack of lubricant. Burnt oil is all over the engine (I guess that's more like in the engine, or under it, or something), but they were able to clean out some vital parts.
Yes, this was all due to my lack of oil change. My car hit 101,000 miles yesterday. Do you want to know when the last oil change was? Oh, it pains me to report this, I'm so much better at taking care of my vehicle than this. It was in the early 90,000 miles when I last had it done.
Today's advice: NEVER DRIVE 10,000 MILES WITHOUT AN OIL CHANGE!! If I pushed it any longer, I could have locked the engine. I just paid it off!! :.(
My car will live. My mechanic will yell at me. I'll counter with "that's what happens when you don't give me a sticker!" And I will concede. My car drives more than 1000 miles a month. I predict that early March we'll be due-up for another change.
And Hedwig has earned herself a nice bath and some expensive premium gas for this. I'm sorry, Hedwig! It won't happen again!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
A few years ago, we had a meeting here with the whole department and the managers, and even Boss²'s boss. I don't remember much of the meeting, but I do remember Boss³ saying we had to do something special for our customers and asking why. One of my coworkers, who's name was Doug (and I'm using his actual name here for two reasons. One is that he no longer works with us, and two is that Willow and Glen might read it and laugh for an obscure reason that no one else would understand) answered Boss³ by saying "Because customers are stupid!" All the peons laughed and agreed and we've never forgotten it!
This morning, all before 0800, I have confirmed Doug's admonition (not like there was ever a doubt) and ended up with two Customer Of the Day stories. I haven't even been here for an hour!
The first person should not be using a computer. Finding information on our website is apparently a very difficult thing to do, even though other people find the information they needed all the time.
The second person had a problem that was admittedly our mistake. Thankfully, the individual who did it no longer works here (thankyouthankyouthankyou!). This customer had 3 problems; the initial, easily corrected human mistake, the fact that the phone line my department monitors is not done so 24/7, and that they can't understand English. (This is not because it is not their first language, but perhaps because they chose not to read the thorough response I gave them.)See, after I replied that a person made the error and it doesn't happen often but can happen, and that the phone has to have a voice mail for the times when we're not here and provided the 24/7 number that they can use, they replied that they still didn't understand why the mistake was made (you're not perfect, neither are we!!) and that they were upset that they had to leave a message (too bad!! if you called the right number, you wouldn't have had to!). So, I just had to repeat myself in their reply.
Then, before 1000 this morning, I found another stupid customer who has been making multi-hundred dollar payments in less than $2 increments, but all on the same day! So the poor merchants are getting 50+ checks a day from this guy. Make one payment, dude! You've done it before. Of course, we can't tell the customer how to use their bill pay service, but their merchants can refuse to process their checks.
Now, get this. I've been so busy with stuff, I started writing this at 0815 this morning, and it's now near time for me to go that I'm getting to post it! I didn't even get to tell you about the rest of my day!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Yesterday's nothing project didn't get done exactly, so I was preparing to be yelled at for it. I work my special kitty-gifted calcite to help me accurately communicate why I didn't get that project completely done. So far, I haven't been yelled at.
I've been getting complicated e-mail after complicated e-mail all morning though. It's taking all of my Libran diplomacy to get through them, and it's not over yet!
Yesterday, I decided to not stay overtime this week. I still plan to come in on Saturday, though that may change. It's nice to take a little break, maybe exercise some more. Get ready for the party. All that jazz!
I wanted to get a picture of the mysterious bridge and battlement structure for you. Maybe I can employ the cell phone camera to do that!
That's all for now!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
On the Maryland side of the bridge there is a structure. It looks like one of those bridges that go no where, like an overpass where there never was an overpass before. But it's really really strange because there's no road even remotely nearby on either side. In fact, there's a whole lot of marsh and water on either side. The length of this bridge is only the width of the current new WWB. Now, if you're on the WWB coming from Virginia heading into Maryland, there is another structure on the right, that seems to be attached to this mysterious overpass. This structure is even more peculiar than the funky bridge, because if I didn't know better, I'd say they were building a castle turret there. So, right now, as my dad so eloquently put it, "they're building a bridge that goes no where and the battlements to defend it." I must discover what this thing is!
So, I used to read tarot cards. I am way out of practice now. I mean way out. I spent time focusing on other things, you know how it goes. Let me tell you, tarot reading is not like riding a bicycle (and how they say you never forget, though I've been told you can forget how to ride a bike). Yes, in general, if you don't practice, you may find yourself having to relearn the skill.
That's where I am now. It's been about 7 years since I did any major reading for anyone, and one year since I've used the cards at all. This is silly, since I probably have more than 50 decks in my collection. Now I feel like a novice again, I have to resort to consulting the LWB. I hate that! (LWB is the Little White instruction Book that seems to come with every deck.)
There's nothing to it but to do it!
I pulled a card this morning, feeling angry from yesterday in anticipation of that project I'm going to have to do today, and it was the Wheel of Fortune reversed. This indicates an ill turn of fate or unexpected obstacle. Basically, the card was reflecting how I had already started my day.
We all know the future is not set in stone right? I decided I was not going to have that kind of day. I was going to complete that project and the one I had forgotten about, and everyone was going to say "you did great work!" That is how I wanted my day to go.
That's pretty much how it's been. That project I was stewing over ended up being near irrelevant, though it's not done because Acting Sup is out today. The other project, I just finished it and sent the file off to our client to update. Go me! Also, I answered everything that came in that annoying e-mail box within an hour. I was even feeling fine when, after I had sent a reply to one of them for more information, the only Supervisor in the department sent a reply saying it was done. Yup, still in a good mood even after blurting out "I guess my response wasn't good enough." It doesn't matter, I was doing more research, and if the contact gets back to me, I'll show the Sup that they should have paid attention.
And I'll leave you on this note: LaDiDa!
Monday, January 22, 2007
It wasn't enough to give me a snow day either. Everything was going pretty great until the last 30 minutes of my day.
Acting Sup sent an e-mail to our little group asking if anyone else was experiencing slowness with the Remedy application. I was every now and then, but I've gotten used to it, and it wasn't freezing up totally. Just as I was ready to hit reply, WAM turns around and asks the two people who usually work Remedy (which includes me) if we noticed any issues. I turned and said "I'm on the same e-mail list you are, I see the message, you don't have to tell me about it." So WAM focused on the other person, 'acting sup wants to know if you guys are having any problems.' or something. The other person who primarily works Remedy said "I'm the only one in Remedy right now!" What the @%*$#(&^#& do you think I've been doing all day???
Then, about 10 minutes later, Acting Sup sends me a project. I didn't think I was project girl, and I don't want to be. I decided not to apply for that position because it would mean looking at spreadsheets all day and I don't think my eyes can take it. So, I don't want to be given the special projects. Part of me wants to do half a job on this so they won't give me any more. I have enough stress in my life, I don't need client deadlines added to it.
Don't worry, I can't do half a job. It's just not in my nature. I'd have to do more work than it would take to do the actual job. Ok, ok, I know that's why they want me on the project. But I still don't have to like it. It's not like this place is a career for me, nor do I see myself working here in 4 years or so. In fact, I see myself moving far far away. So, unless they let me telework or plan to open an office in far far away, it's a means to an end and only a matter of time.
The side street we take to get to the office was a sheet of ice this morning. And the office park drive. And the parking lot. I was certain the side street at least would have been plowed, because school buses have to go there, but I guess they figured everything would melt by the end of the two hour delay. I can't say if it did or not, because I don't have a window, but that last bit of my commute was the worst of it. Maybe everything will freeze tonight and I can have an excuse to not go in tomorrow (and that would get me out of the project). It's doubtful, but one can always hope.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
They don't think we'll get much, but it'll all be ice by tomorrow morning. I may not go to work. I certainly won't stay late. The trees in my backyard look so pretty!
Snow, snow, snow!! It's snowing! It's snowing! It's snowing!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
WAM didn't show up for work today. THANK YOU!! But the bosses won't be too happy about it. That's a blessing too, I think!
That's really all I have to say for today!
Oh, Fox, I'm sorry you didn't get to see the dolls like you had asked. We just managed to not get together before I had to have them in the mail!
Friday, January 19, 2007
So, remember yesterday when WAM was giving me orders? At that time, our acting supervisor was not there (they had left in the morning for health reasons). Acting Sup was in today, took a look at the Remedy queue and sent my group an e-mail.
First off, my group consists of 5 people including myself and WAM. There were three of us working on the 89+ Remedy queue yesterday, including myself and WAM, and the person who has been 'responsible' for Remedy for years. 89 jobs is a lot. One person can do about 20-25 a day, give or take, depending on the nature of each job. Some take hours, some take seconds. And at 1330, the day was mostly over for most of us.
Ok, the e-mail. This was sent to the entire group (even the two who don't generally work Remedy and Boss²). Acting Sup said, "Remedy down to 34. EXCELLENT WORK!!!!" Any kind of praise is so very nice to be getting.
Just as I was ready to say something along the lines of 'thank you, any time, we worked hard,' WAM sent this e-mail to the group in reply, "It was at 83 yesterday afternoon before I jumped in there to get it down to 40 this morning." If anyone ever deserved a boot to the head, WAM became that anyone.
I was livid. I was not sitting at my desk all day with my thumbs up my arse. I went through several very unladylike and unprofessional responses to the group before I settled on something just to Acting Sup. "Yes, they did it all theirself of their own accord. And worked all through the night." Acting Sup sent me an "lol."
My acting supervisor is not an idiot. I know that they knew that WAM didn't do the work alone, and they saw the e-mail that Boss² sent yesterday telling WAM to help out, so the implication that WAM took some initiative can also be proven false. Didn't we just have a meeting a month or two ago about how we are all part of a team and we all work as a team and get jobs done as a team? What WAM had the nerve to say to the group was not team-oriented. I'm still fuming over this. All day today, I've felt like kicking something. And that feeling always came over me as I approached my desk, with WAM's cube right behind.
I shouldn't have let it go, but WAM is a very confrontational individual. If I had pressed Acting Sup or Boss² to pull them aside and explain that wasn't an accurate representation of what happened, they would have done. But WAM would have run up to HR crying about it. I really wish I didn't have to deal with that person. I can usually take it, but I guess I'm extra annoyable this week.
In other news, the new dress I ordered for next week's office party came in today. It's perfect! Light and airy and ethereal. I can dance in it and it will flow and I will not roast. I'm looking forward to next week. I'll probably be working overtime through the week and Saturday too (still), so I can just go to the hotel from work. Take a nap. Play on the laptop. Whatever!
On that note, I am going in to work tomorrow, 0600 to noon. Please please please don't let me forget to turn on my mp3 player before WAM gets there at 1000. Not that I really believe that will prevent them from talking to me, but it's worth a try!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Today, WAM has been up talking to me about the phone calls all day. Around 1330, WAM told me to get into this one program, Remedy, and start working those jobs. I said, "I've been in Remedy all day, thankyouverymuch." I had, after all, it's my primary function, which seems to be second to everything else they want me to do. Then WAM said "well you were in that other program this morning." The same as yesterday's time-sensitive critical work that takes precedence over everything else. And we're so behind in this work, that's why I've been working overtime.
I do not need someone like WAM telling me what to do during the course of my day. I know my job, I know what's expected of me, and I know who to ask if I need guidance. That person is not WAM.
So, there's an opening in one of the other groups in our department. Apparently, I'm a shoe-in for the job (I shall have to find out where that expression comes from....), but there's been an opening in this group before and Boss² told me that I wouldn't like it. Nice that they make those decisions on what I like or don't like for me. So, why would I want to apply again when they can just tell me again that I wouldn't like it? Well, I've been talked into applying again. So I'm going to submit my resume probably tomorrow. And this time, I'm going to tell them that I don't care if they think I won't like it. I'll never know until I try, and I really want to move on from the position that I'm in.
How about that? We'll see!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
WAM still thinks we're best friends. They were telling me today about how our acting supervisor is wrong and doesn't know how the system works. I said WAM was second guessing someone who's higher in the corporate food chain (not my exact words, but you get the idea), and WAM said "Yes, I am!"
I don't understand why, if I always disagree, WAM keeps coming to me like a dog that wants praise after rolling in a pile of another dog's dung. "Look at me!" they say, "Don't I smell nice! And I'm covered in the excretions of another dog, who will know that I rolled around in his territory! Yay me!" I know you're laughing, but it's really true. We used to have a dog who did exactly that.
Except tell us in English about it. But he would prance up proudly, covered in shit (this doesn't count as a swear, it's a noun, and there's no other way to describe it), happy as a clam. Usually right after a bath. The last thing he wanted to do was smell like a clean dog. He had to smell like some other dog's shit (still a noun, still doesn't count).
I do miss Buttons. I'll have to see if I have a dung-less picture of him somewhere.
So, a cold front came in yesterday, and we were actually facing some below-average temperatures. After weeks of 60-70 degree days, and all these people wondering where winter is. Are you happy now, people? They're calling for snow tomorrow and it's all your fault! More like a wintry mix, but I'm not staying at work late if the weather's going icky!
By the way, I ordered a new dress from the same place. It should be here by the end of the week or so. This one is spaghetti-strapped and angular, handkerchief cut. Should dance very well, and on the really good side of things, I may not have to wear my corset! It's a small possibility, but maybe.
Celebrate with me for a moment on that.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
In the meantime, shoot me. Please. WAM thinks working overtime means it's time to talk to me. *groan* Anyone? Please???
Monday, January 15, 2007
It's going to get colder, they say tonight. Still no snow in our future. I hope they have some at Snowshoe Mountain next month (that's where a few friends and I are going to snowboard on the last weekend). There's plenty of time for it to get cold though. I'm worried about the Sakura in all this warm weather, though.
That's it, nothing else to say. How can I be on the computer at work for ten hours and then be on the computer at home? Easy. I'M DONE!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I had a migraine, but went hiking with Fox and my mother anyway. There are a lot of walking, horse, and bike trails in Patuxent River Park, which we normally just use for the boat landing. We decided we wanted to see what else we could do when weather wasn't favorable for kayaking. We only covered a tiny bit of the trails available before it started to rain, but there are definitely more things we can do there. Yippie! My headache didn't go away until got up from bed at 0300 to take something and hope it allowed me to sleep. Too much overtime. And I'm going to do it all again.
Today, Fox and his wife and my mother and I were going to head into town and check out a museum or two. We had lunch at the Old Post Office (pictures of the Congressional Bells are on my website from the last time we were there) and then went to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (that's a mouthful!). I wanted to see the dinosaur bones and and the geology, gem, and mineral section. It had been a very long time since I was last there. The dinosaur bones were, well, meager. I did get a great shot of the T-Rex, and I had to explain to my companions that I didn't know why the Brontosaurus was now called an Apatosaurus. (Which, by the way, the Smithsonian does not have. They have a Diplodocus.) The answer is that the person who discovered the Apatosaurus discovered the Brontosaurus a few years later. Then further examination concluded they were the bones of the same species, therefore regulations dictate the first name to be the official name. Apatosaurus has been official since at least 1974. It's probably the anthropologist in me that likes the dinosaurs. :)
We wandered through the mammal section, which was pretty neat. Then we went up the stairs to the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals, featuring the Hope Diamond and a 127 lbs quartz crystal ball. I should have timed how long we were here. I know it was a long time! Two hours maybe. And then we spent at least half that in the exhibit gift shop. I spent more money than I should have, I admit, but I got a lot of rocks! I love rocks!
I'm going to try to go from memory here about what I bought. I will have pictures of some of the exhibit and probably what I bought too on my website shortly. Like, say, after all the overtime is over! ok, let's see. I got a mortar and pestle made of travertine (which is mostly calcite and aragonite, in some really beautiful orange shades), a raw dark opal, one piece each of blue, green, and orange calcite (the blue I've been wanted for ages, but I seem to be really drawn to the green one right now), a piece of smithsonite (discovered by the Smithsonian's founder), a couple ammonite fossil shells (not a mineral, but equally as nifty), a really beautify quartz cluster, an amethyst necklace, a small bag of tumbled stones (still working on identifying some of them), and a tiny Venus of Willendorf in goldstone (which isn't actually a stone, it's a man-made blend of copper and glass, other things can be added to make more colors). I feel like there was more, but...maybe not. Anyway, pictures soon™.
Then we went outside (it was about 75 degrees! In January!!!) and walked through the Smithsonian Castle, into the Ripley Center (poesy holders were pretty cool, but other than that, not much to see), and over to the Freer Gallery, which didn't have much to speak of except the Peacock Room and some Japanese screens. We didn't make it to the National Gallery of Art, which is what my mother wanted to see, because we had chosen the wrong museum (NGofA is not part of the Smithsonian's museums, for the record). That's ok, we're already making plans to go back next month, and that will be the first place we go (and maybe pop in to the NMNH mineral gift shop for some more rocks).
And that was my day! And then I have to work tomorrow. Nuts.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
So, last night, I went out with my coworker-friend. We each bought a copy of Uno Spin and he had some other things to buy and we had dinner and then I started off for home. We were both working today so we didn't want to stay out too late, me in particular because I don't live 5 minutes from the office like he does.
It was going great, I pointed myself towards home around 1920ish, there were no problems on the road, I should have been home by 2015 or so. But NOOOOOO! Not 10 miles from home they closed the Beltway in both directions because a tractor trailer was on fire. Of course, I learned about it after I had already passed the only bail-out exit.
And there I sat for a solid hour. Bored. Tired. And having to get up at 0430 the next morning. I called Fox to talk about weekend plans. I called another friend to talk about two weekends from now plans. I called back another friend to talk about cancelled weekend plans. And I bothered Willow for 30 minutes, who I'm sure had plenty of work to do. I don't talk to Willow much (mostly because I know she's got a lot of work all the time!), so that wasn't bad, really. And she got to listen to me yelling at the road morons once we finally were moving.
I slept like the dead.
The dress I ordered for our office party at the end of the month came in yesterday. It's a royal purple Regency-style velvet gown. I've been wanting this ever since I saw it in the catalogue, so here was a great time to get it. It is gorgeous, thick, heavy, good-quality velvet. I'm disappointed. Not in the dress, mind you, I love it! But the problem is that it's going to be way too hot for 3+ hours of dancing. Usually the things you get from catalogues are not the best quality (though I guess it depends on the catalogue) so I was anticipating it to be much less substantial and so doable. I've got two weeks to find something else to wear! And I get to think up what to do with this dress now that I have it.
Here's to not much rain today! I've got plans that the rain can put a stop to!
Friday, January 12, 2007
WAM found some mini stickies, and produced a brain also. WAM has had that brain for 2 years. My brain came from someone who no longer works with us, but didn't take the brain when they left, so I claimed it. We giggled about our brains for a good 20 minutes. I know Dot and I were getting the full meaning of WAM only getting a brain two years ago.
Then we added that they were stress balls (shaped like brains) and WAM said that they have a lot of FedEx balls. This set Dot and I off again! And I went rooting through my drawers again, because I knew I had a squishy football somewhere. Found it!
Then WAM dropped the brain! I told WAM to make sure it was clean before they tried to use it again.
It was a tear-producing giggle fest! Good thing no supervisors were nearby!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Some time ago, I got this crazy mental image of being driven up a wall (as in literally). In this crazy thought, whatever it was that was driving me up the wall was coming at me, and I was all crumpled up in the corner of this empty room and quickly inch-worming up the wall (like how I made that a verb?). Now every time someone says something is driving them up a wall, I get this comical thought in my brain.
When I was typing this up at work, I had more to say (I think) but now that I'm home, I'm ready to just veg out. Ten hours of work is hard when you've got 3-some hours of commute on top of it. And I didn't do a whole lot of sleeping last night.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Let's see, the e-mail box that I'm supposed to answer is out of control because I'm not sitting around waiting for a new one to show up. Get bent, says I. I was busy helping with one of the department's critical functions when a message (that ultimately had to be forwarded to a different department) came in around 1030. By 1050, Boss² sent an e-mail wondering who was supposed to be doing it because it hadn't been done yet. By 1130, I finished the critical function and proceeded to forward the message to the right place. Oh, I'm so sorry that I was doing something important and the message had to wait an hour. Of course, no one took any notice of the seven messages I had already resolved by then. And, yes, Acting Supervisor was told to take me into the conference room and give me a talking to about it. But they did tell me that the real supervisor and Boss² seem to have a cow over every e-mail box, not just mine. That helped. A bit. Stupid people. No one was going to die because this message waited an hour.
I didn't work overtime today. They were calling for rain and possibly the first snow of the season and some ice once the sun went down, and I've got far to go, so I didn't wait for the sun to freeze the already dreadful bridge I have to cross. Thankfully, everyone who mattered understood. More money tomorrow. No big deal.
So, remember the map that I was wanting to draw out yesterday? I sat down to work on it at lunch and the image I had just kept blending with another story I'm working on (map also unfinished). That's just not fair! Maybe I'll get to muddle through it tonight since I'm not at work. I guess that just happens when you have more than one project. For the record, I have three official writing projects going on right now, the aforementioned two and the huge epic I started in 1995. Yes, that one will take forever. Once again, this pesky job gets in the way of what I'd rather be doing. But that's ok. I really am happy to have it. Even means to an end as it is.
That looks good, I'll stop there.
Monday, January 08, 2007
First, it feels odd because it's raining and the weekend was so nice. I didn't start sleeping when I went to bed last night because someone was lighting fireworks (which is illegal in my state for individual people to have). Their light flashed through my window like crackling lightening. I'm still a little upset at my dad that he didn't tell us he was going to be out all night and didn't show up at home until about 1530 without even saying hello. And I'm planning on working overtime this week so I know my day is going to be a lot longer than normal.
I also seem to be dwelling on a book I just finished reading; Eldest, the sequel to Eragon by author Christopher Paolini. Yes, yes, I know I'm not in the target audience, but I enjoyed the recent movie based on Eragon and wanted to read it. I'm not impressed with this authors writing style, and I'm having a hard time getting past an inappropriate semi-quote from Blazing Saddles that just broke the fantasy feeling right to pieces. But if not expertly written (he does have his moments, I was much more impressed before he started pulling near-verbatim phrases from previous works, the Blazing Saddles one being the biggest affront to my fantasy-oriented mind) the story is good and gripping and strikes my imagination.
The surest sign of a good story (in my personal non-expert opinion) is when I start adding my own characters to it. I think fan-fiction has got to be the genre I write most often (though it's rarely shared, or even physically written, it's a just for me kind of thing). This is one of the things I do to expand what I want to explore as a writer. I can do this in another's world and not have to worry about what goes into creating one (the world, that is, and I do create my own worlds. My internal fan fiction is a tool and helps me work on other, less complex, aspects of writing.) I've done this since I was little with the cartoons I watched. Nothing ever comes of it and nothing is supposed to. I do consider it a compliment to the creators of the worlds I use. It means I can see their world enough to place a character in it myself. If there is one thing I have learned, it's that I cannot write it if I cannot see it. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say.
The problem with adding my characters to stories that are not yet complete is that their place has to be altered as the story progresses. Of course, the authors are not going to write to accommodate the character(s) I create in their world, nor do I expect them to. That would just be silly, and is not the point of the exercise. So, yes, I do have a character or two that I've mentally placed in Paolini's world. They have a story of their own, and they fit into the current action (to the limit of my own knowledge of it). The further I read, the more I've had to change my part of the story. This presents a challenge that adding characters to complete stories doesn't face. For something that's already done, like Star Wars (excluding the myriad of published fan fiction that I don't involve myself with) it's a simple matter to work my characters into what's already happened and develop their story from the unknowns of what happens next. For works in progress (like this one and, say, Harry Potter) the characters I create and their purpose and role in the story are being constantly changed and modified to fit into the author's still evolving world. Herein lies the challenge. The longer I have to develop my own tales before the actual story moves on, the harder it is to make them fit (I get attached to my characters even when they're not in my worlds). But what I do get are stories that don't work for the world they were created, and then can disregard them, remember them, or expand them into a world of their own. This is the point of the exercise. One of the tales I'm working on now is a direct descendant of one such internal fan fiction.
So, I'm lingering on the tale I just read because, well, it was good. And I have to know how it ends. And Eldest ended in such a way that I don't want to expand my IFF because I know a lot will need to be changed when the story moves on. (Write, dude, write!) I don't intend to get a child story out of this one. Sometimes they can be moved into their own universe and sometimes they can't. Most of my IFFs don't amount to anything, but parts of them can be used. And don't think for a minute that everything I write came from one of these little things I do.
I wonder how many of you are reading through this wondering where to send the white coats!
I suppose this means that most of my day has been and will be spent in another world. That's going to account for most of the weird feeling about it that I'm getting right now. The main story I'm working on is moving nicely, but I've come to a place where I won't be able to continue until I finish the map. All of my stories have maps. When creating a world, it helps the writer to see it (and remember it and not change it halfway through) and I've learned that it also helps the reader to keep your world straight. If it wasn't for this overtime, I'd be busy mapping! Oh, how I wish I wasn't at work right now!
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Today was our monthly brunch in Annapolis. The weather was nice (not as nice as yesterday). It was just my mom, our friend Fox, and myself today. Dad went to a party last night and didn't come home.
We hate when he does that. It's different if he went somewhere and told us he may or may not stay the night or something. My dad is often very inconsiderate of us. It's hard to not be angry when it happens. When you live with other people, you have a responsibility to let them know your plans. How would we ever know if something was wrong if he doesn't tell us what he's doing?
Anyway. No one else made it to brunch, but we had a lovely time. And I bought a new hat! It's an Irish walking hat, made of patchwork wool tweed in County Donegal (where my mother's side of the family is from). Now I'm all ready for a trip to Ireland! Someday!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
I woke up to the gentle singing of birds, went shopping, took a nap, and then walked around the neighborhood with my mother.
We do this fairly frequently, it's good for us! Since we are regular walkers, we know that there seems to be more dogs than people living in our neighborhood. We'll see a car with someone coming or going occasionally, but for the most part, it's quiet (save for the dogs) and peopleless.
Today was a totally different story. Kids were out playing basketball, people were washing cars, tending to their lawns, checking their mail. There were even parents outside playing with their kids. It was amazing. We saw actual people on almost every street we walked on. I have neighbors!
I've lived in this neighborhood all my life. It's quaint, with one entrance off of a major highway. I've watched people move in and out. As a matter of fact, I can now say that my parents have lived here longer than anyone. We live in one of the first houses built, and everyone else who got in when the neighborhood was young and affordable have moved away.
Well, it warmed my heart (though it could have been the exercise) to see people out and about around my home. That active atmosphere fits it much better than the ghost town-like streets we usually see.
Friday, January 05, 2007
I also work well independently. That is, not that I can't work with other, but that I'm far more productive when I know what is expected of me before I sit down. This is part of what I loved about the last task they had me on. By its nature, it was constant work, and I always knew when I began my day what I had to do. I could go through entire days without any communication from my supervisors, I knew what had to be done, and they knew I knew it and trusted that I did it. I work best like this.
Now, I'm doing so many odd jobs and have been without a supervisor so long that a day doesn't go by when I don't get an e-mail or several about what I should do that day. I hate this. Especially if I've already established the day before with, say Boss², what I've committed to getting done.
Today was one of those days. There was an e-mail waiting for me in which Acting Sup said "please make sure the e-mails are done or delegated today." I admit, my response was more of a snap. I'm not an idiot, in fact, I'm probably better educated than half of the people in this department. Maybe I didn't properly prioritize the work I was expected to do yesterday, but I do not need a daily reminder of what is supposed to be done. Especially on days when only one person is out of the office and the load of our work will not be falling only on me.
I couldn't help but be offended. Why did they hire me if I can't be trusted to know my job? Why do they keep me if I'm not getting the job done? Really, I am getting the job done. It may not be immediate, but it gets done.
Adolf the first never had to tell me day in and day out what to do. This is how I work, and how I work at my best. This is what minimizes the amount of time I spend doing non-work things. This doesn't mean I never need direction, mind you, but not every day. Once given a project, I will work it to completion and move on to the next one. If I don't have anything to do, I ask for something. If I do not ask for something, that means I have tasks to complete. Unless those tasks need to be changed for one reason or another, then I don't need to be told. If management doesn't know what I'm doing, that's a whole different problem.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
One of the things that we have to do in our department is answer the phone. We have a number that's printed on all our checks for someone to call if they need us to change something like an address. It's used for everything, because it seems like our phone line is the only one manned and customers and merchants alike know it.
The phone has been a point of office contention for me since they put me on it some three years ago. I've been the only one answering that, and the voice mail for that line, for some time. Occasionally, management will tell other people to help answer, but they ALWAYS stop doing it because they think their work is so important that they cannot be interrupted to take care of a phone call. Truth be told, the more people ready to take calls, the less any one person will be bombarded with them. But no one seems to see it that way. And no matter how many people get assigned to answer and drop out, I am the one who gets yelled at if the phone or voice mail does not get answered.
There are four of us who have certain designated times when we are expected to be ready to take calls. There's usually only one or two people ready at any given time. If no one is ready, it goes to the voice mail, where a fifth person takes care of those (no longer me, THANK WHOEVER IS UP THERE!). Naturally, the more calls we answer, the less gets left on voice mail.
One of my coworkers has been out all week. And remember that WAM has bronchitis. WAM's hacking squeaking annoyingly loud cough makes WAM exempt from answering the phone (more talk makes more cough, get it? Though that didn't stop WAM from talking a lot today....). Another person who usually comes in at 1000 wasn't expected until 1430 or 1500 or so, around the time when I leave. Yup, that means yours truly is the only person on the phone today. Plus, I have to do coworker #1's regular work in their absence. Plus, I have to do coworker #3's regular work in their absence. Plus, acting supervisor told me to do some other work 'in between' the work that I usually do and all of the coworkers work that I'm backing up. Get it?
One person on the phone means ring, answer, finish, repeat. It wasn't this work in between this work, it was back-up work in between phone calls. By 1000, I finished coworker #1's regular work (which included 250 manual updates) and hadn't done anything else (including the phone). By lunch time at 1200, I had taken ten phone calls and finished seven of coworker #3's stuff (of which we both are expected to do 30 in a day). By about 1400, 15 phone calls, and only one more got added to the total of the other stuff. Absolutely everything else remained untouched. My regular work, the rest of the back-up stuff, everything. I was so busy on that friggin phone that I didn't even have time to delegate work (of which I am allowed, but generally expected to complete myself).
Somewhere between 1415 and 1430 or so, I get a call from Boss². "Who is supposed to be answering the phone right now," I get asked, "because I was over there and I just heard you picking up call after call after call?" Hallelujah! "Technically," says I, "it's WAM's time to be on the phone, but WAM can't do it because of the hack cough. And since the other two are out, it's been only me all day. And since I've been on the phone all day, I've only done 8 jobs and nothing else." Boss² tells me to get off the phone right then and there and let the voice mail rep take care of it. The other work is important. Boss² also lets me say I'll take care of that stuff that I can delegate tomorrow. Three cheers for Boss².
Exactly as I hang up the phone (by the why, when Boss² called, I was not ready to take calls because I was busy finishing up the previous one that had to be sent to another group within my department), an e-mail gets sent to myself, WAM, and coworker #3, with the supervisors copied. This e-mail came from the only actually paid-to-be-one supervisor in my department (not my supervisor, I don't have one right now, remember?). This e-mail said "There is no one on the phone right now to take my call." Sup had taken that moment to test our call readiness by calling to see if we answered.
This was my near-postal moment. In fact, it was probably the seconds-earlier call from Boss² that saved me. Whenever management decides to test us to see if we're doing our jobs, it's always at the precise moment when we (legitimately) are busy with something else. Last time Boss² tested it, we were all already on calls and therefore couldn't take anymore. What I hate about this practice is that every last one of them assumes because I wasn't there and ready at that very moment that I haven't been doing it at all for the entire day. I politely responded to the e-mail sender only that I had been doing it all day and had just been given permission to do otherwise to get some other work done. Then Boss² responded to everyone on that e-mail that I had been doing it all day and had just been given permission to do otherwise to get some other work done.
Then! My friend, who is also on the supervisor list but isn't actually a supervisor (this is the one I spend social time with), tells me that Sup just sent an e-mail to the supervisor list wondering why I had not answered any of the group e-mails (this is the stuff that I have the power to delegate if I can't do it myself). I explained to my friend the why and that Boss² said it was ok to wait until tomorrow. My friend does not like this supervisor about as much as I don't. This person is quick to tell you what you're not doing, but of course will never actually do it themselves. If there was ever a time I wanted to throttle this individual, it was now.
When I was AssMan at the Pharmacy, I would delegate, and once everyone had a task and was busy working it, I would do the next task. That's what a manager of any level should do. It's not about doing no work. It's about giving work to the peons and doing what's left. Not so with OBC. This place is all delegate and no do. Sup could have easily done those things but instead decided to bitch about it. (did I just swear again? What am I up to, 3? =) No one cares about what I actually did do during the course of the day, it was all about the things I didn't do.
Really, the momentously good timing of Boss²'s understanding saved me from making a very loud, career-killing scene on the floor today.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Coworker #3 will be in at the regular 1000 time, the 250 updates of coworker #1's work should be about 120, and I will take the time to do or delegate those e-mails before I even touch the other stuff.
And please, for the love of kittens and woolly sheep, don't call me.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The only time I've ever had bronchitis was in college, and I had it simultaneously with strep throat. Believe me, you have never known pain like that. I didn't eat for a week, lost 30 lbs. and came close to failing all my classes (thank the heavens and the earth and all that is beneath the earth for understanding teachers and extra credit opportunities!).
When I asked what WAM was doing at work (searching for sympathy, I think. "Oh, I'm sick with bronchitis, poor me!") the answer was "the doctor said I could come if I felt like it."
GO HOME!! DON'T BRING YOUR ICKY GERMS HERE!!
I swear, if I get sick again, after having just gotten over laryngitis, I will take off someone's head. And it will most likely be WAM's....
Other than that, and the co-worker coughing on the other side of me, I'm having a better day then yesterday. I feel like I want to surround my cubicle in heavy plastic, though!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
That's how my morning is going. But don't fret, I'm starting to feel better.
One of my coworkers who is also my friend called to say she and her sister were making plans to go snowboarding for the weekend at the end of February. I couldn't go with them over the Christmas holiday because I couldn't get off of work. But this time, they gave me enough notice to ask for the days off, which have been approved. Yahoo! boarding time! Well, in a couple months.
And, I finally found someone who has some drugs, and they're starting to kick in (you know, for the migraine).
And, they're offering us overtime at work, which I'm going to do next week when it will count. Hello, moolah! (Is that how you spell that?)
And, I've reevaluated what I want to accomplish this year. Step one: write them down. Done. Step two: break them up and write out plans. Not done yet. Step three: execute the plans. Obviously, not done yet! But!! there is a plan!
Well, here's another down slip. Everyone telling me about the 3 people's jobs I'm supposed to be doing is slowing me down from doing them. I understand, people! Just go away and let me handle it!!
I suppose I can safely say that work was the cause of it all to begin with (probably including the migraine. Everything but the weather, really).
Monday, January 01, 2007
When I was little, my thoughts used to be filled with all the first things I did in the new year. The first song I heard, for example (a movement from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, if you want to know), the first time I get in my car or brush my teeth (which usually happens at 2 or 3 in the morning). Silly trifles that get repeated all year, but for some reason I would mark them in my mind as something special just because the date changed. And here's my first blog!
We went to my grandmother's for dinner, both of my mother's siblings were there with their spouses. I see my mother's side of the family enough, but her sister the least of that. My aunt lives in Salt Lake City, she's been visiting more frequently in recent years, and I always love speaking with her. We got to have a little conversation after dinner and it was nice. She doesn't seem to be against the idea of me moving out of this area completely, actually said I probably need it. It's always nice to have someone agree with you.
The weekend in general was spent with some books. That's something I haven't done is a while and I do really enjoy sitting around reading a good story. A welcomed rest to have nothing to do but read. It doesn't happen often.