Friday, October 2, 2015

I found my tribe.

I spent my high school years feeling like an outsider.  Maybe everyone does.  I don't know.  I was too busy acting like I didn't care.

But the people I work with now?  Well they just seem to get me.  There is no pressure to be something you aren't.

It's the first group of people I've ever belonged to that don't judge.  There is a good percentage of people with no kids and no plans to have any.  But one guy has five kids and another has four.  Gay, straight, unattached.  All represented.

It's all good.

Love your dogs like fur children?  They get that.  (Or your cats)

Are you a Tolkien freak, a car geek, a Disney aficionado, a Lego builder?   Cool.  Tell us about it.

Church, no church, different churches.  None of it is an issue.

It's an environment where what you know or can learn, and your willingness to pitch in, counts more than any label society attaches.

There's a lot of good-natured razzing. But if you did a good job, they'll tell you.  You fucked up. They'll tell you that too.  But nicely.  And help you fix the problem.

They make going to work a pleasure.

And I am ever so grateful for that.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mediocrity annoys me

People who do their job just enough to get by irritate the bejeebers out of me.

Example - the grocery store near me had the copper wiring ripped out of 7 of its parking lot lights The electrician that repaired the wires just dropped the discarded lengths of wire on the ground and left them there.

The lights work, but taking the extra step to clean up was not in the electrician's work ethic.

Not only that, but the landscapers left it there as well. These same landscapers have ignored a couple spreading weeds until they are now 6 foot wide. And can't be bothered to clean the debris off the drainage grates.

I don't know if the grocery store is remarkably bad at hiring competent companies, or if I have unrealistic expectations.

I don't think so. I know that the landscapers that tend to my subdivision pick up the trash and notice broken branches or support posts before I can contact them. And the workmen I have had at the house were conscientious about cleaning up.

I worked with a programmer that survived 4 layoffs. Everyone wondered what dirt he had on management. He never got his projects done on time. When he did finish, it had to be sent back repeatedly for bug fixes or to have it done according to the specifications.

It never bothered him that he didn't get his tasks done correctly the first time, or the third time. His attitude was, "Well, I thought I would try it and see what happens." With no consideration for the amount of time it took someone to check, and reject, his work.

It's that last attitude that makes me angry. Your mediocrity or lack of work ethic means that someone else has to do extra work.

And why are you okay with that?

Why did the electrician assume that someone else should clean up after him? Why do the landscapers think it's not their job to clean up storm debris? Why doesn't it bother the programmer when his work is found to be buggy and ineffective?

These are job paths people chose for one reason or another. Shouldn't there be some pride in their work?

I admit it, Despite my best efforts, my work gets rejected sometimes. But I feel badly when it is. And I do my best to fix it quickly and effectively.

I just wish other people felt the same way.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Isn't it ineffective marketing?

I will freely admit that I know nothing about marketing.  But I know what works with me.

So I don't understand who thinks that it is a good marketing technique to advertise their landscaping business by tossing a baggy of rocks onto my driveway with a business card.

Similarly, I think unkind thoughts when someone hangs a flyer on my door. Or worse, on my garage door. It does not predispose me to hiring them.

Do these ever work?

I would never hire someone based on debris they deposited on my property. I ask for recommendations from friends  or search for reviews on-line.

Another marketing ploy that frustrates me is calls from windshield replacement companies. Firstly, I've had my windshield replaced 4 times by 3 companies. Yet at least 8 companies have called claiming to have replaced my windshield.

Secondly, when receiving these calls does anyone ever say, "Well, now that you mention it, there IS a big crack in my windshield.  I'm so glad you called."?

Windshield replacement isn't a splurge purchase.  I know when my windshield needs to be replaced. And when I am ready to replace it, I will call someone.

Stop calling me.

I also don't understand marketing that focuses on people behaving badly.  The Experian Credit Score commercials are my latest pet peeve in that arena.  So having a great credit score allows you to be condescending and demanding?  And this is something people aspire to?

The other "people behaving badly" commercial I hate is for Jack Links.  People are bullying, or laughing at bullying, and this is supposed to inspire me to buy their product?

Confused head shake

I would love to be a fly on the wall at the marketing meetings where these ideas were proposed.

Does no one have the courage to say, "these ideas suck!"?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I work with a bunch of car nuts.  Formula One following car nuts who know the finer points of Ferrari vs Maserati vs Lamborghini.

So it surprised me when they were supportive of my car goal.

My goal is to get 300,000 miles on my car.  My mechanic is shooting for 500,000 miles on it.

I currently have 277,000 miles on my black 1999 Mazda Protege 4-cylinder, 4-door sedan.

It has a dent in the front left fender where I hit a pillar 10 years ago in the parking garage.

It has hail dents on the hood, roof, and trunk from a hail storm in 2010.  It would have cost more than the car was worth to fix them.

There is a slight dent in the right tail light assembly which doesn't meet flush with the trunk lid any longer.  I backed into a post earlier this year.

There are dog drool streaks on the back windows and doors.

But the interior is good.  It's peppy and responsive.  My Great Dane and my Belgian Shepherd fit in the back seat.

And it's paid for.   It's been paid in full for over 12 years.  Twelve years without a car payment.

So I was more than a little perturbed when it started heating up a couple weeks ago.  Yes, the outside temperature was over 110°.  But that doesn't mean the temperature gauge on my car should peg.

I had the thermostat replaced.  Didn't help.

Had the radiator fan and cooling fan replaced.  This is where having an older car became a problem. The cooling fan took an extra day to come in.

Helped, but only a little.

Finally, we replaced the radiator.  It was the original radiator, so I'm not surprised it was faulty.

Ta-da.  I again have a car that doesn't heat up and, as a bonus, the air conditioner works better than it has in a long time.

Cost?  $1000.  Or as I like to categorize it - 3 car payments.

The last major expense was 2 years ago.  So I figure I am well ahead.

Onward to 300,000!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My horror movie idea

I am a big fan of schlocky horror movies.  I was in heaven last month during Sharknado week on SyFy. Robocroc, Sharktopus vs Whalewolf, Sharknado 3, and Lavalantuala thrilled me with the cheesy heroics and special effects.

I had just seen Piranha DD the night before.  As I walked the dogs. I pondered what the land based equivalent of tiny, little piranha would be.


There needs to be a movie called Attack of the Chihuahuas.  Tiny.  Innocuous.  Deadly.  They swarm.  You die.

I mentioned it at work and we spent two days brainstorming the cast and scenes.

Obviously, the carnage can't be too vicious.  Oh, what the Chihuahuas do can be brutal, but the heroes will have to be more circumspect in their own defense.  Cartoon violence only.  After all, they are sweet little Chihuahuas.

Still, they have to die.  So my friend George came up with the tag line - "Yes, a lot of yappy little dogs die in this movie."

The movie must open with a scene of a little Chihuahua in a pink dress walking down the sidewalk, dragging a tattered pooch purse, with a dismembered, manicured hand clutching the handle.

I think Betty White needs to reprise her role in Lake Placid.  As the soft-hearted owner of a registered Chihuahua rescue, she ends up with so many Chihuahuas to feed that she resorts to murdering homeless people to supplement the kibble.

Betty gets hospitalized and a Good Samaritan goes to assist at the rescue.  The horde of Chihuahuas are hungry.  There is no dog food on the site.  The Chihuahuas swarm the Samaritan and start nibbling.

As she tries, and fails, to escape, she leaves the gate open.  The swarm overtakes Los Angeles.

I would watch it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mentors who changed my life - Norman VanDeCamp

I've met people who were so afraid of losing their jobs that they were stingy with their knowledge.

Then there are the people who freely share their knowledge with you hoping to make you a better, smarter person.

There are key people in my past that helped me become the person I am today. I'm not sure any of them know how big a difference they made in my life.

Norman VandeCamp was a junior high school Algebra teacher.  I was a girl in his class at a time when girls "not getting" math was considered normal. Lots of girls took simpler math classes to get the requisite credits for graduation.

But I was smart, I wanted to prove it to people, and I figured that Algebra would be easy for me.

It wasn't.  The whole concept of figuring out 'x' baffled me.  It was a huge blow to my fragile self-esteem.

When I showed a willingness to put in extra effort to learn it, Mr. VandeCamp spent time with me and some of the other kids after school. He kept trying different ways to explain the concept of Algebra to me.

One day, the light bulb came on in my head.

It felt amazing.  Suddenly, I got it.  I could do Algebra.

In fact, I got an B in his class.

Big deal, you say.  Who needs Algebra?

He didn't teach me just Algebra.  He taught me that I wasn't stupid.  He taught me that if I stuck to something long enough, I could get it.

He taught me to believe in myself.

Since that time, every time I've struggled with a problem or a concept and stuck with it, I owe that perseverance to Mr. VandeCamp.

Thank you!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dr. Bogie

I mentioned to a friend that on our last visit to the hospital, Bogie wore a tie with medical symbols printed on it.  I said I was looking for a tie with a stethoscope on it.

He brought me a real stethoscope.

Dr. Bogie, I presume