Monday, July 31, 2006

Coyotes and Frogs and Stupid People

The other morning as I was walking from the parking lot at work towards the building entrance, I saw what looked like a wolf standing stock still under a tree beside one of the foot paths. I stopped and stared, completely amazed that no one noticed him. Knowing that it really couldn't be a wolf, I figured it
had to then be a coyote (no way was it a dog). But why was it just standing there? And how could I be the only one that even noticed it, or thought it was strange? It bothered me for most of the day and when I left the building late in the afternoon, guess what? It was still there, standing in exactly the same spot. Turns out it was a statue! DUH! Well, at least it wasn't a hallucination.

Where I live there is this strip of wetlands right in front of my apartment building. There is a whole ecosystem there filled with all kinds of plant life and interesting birds and dragon flies and frogs. At night I can hear the frogs sing, and it's interesting because the tone of the frog voices tend to change with the month. Anyway, after it rains, at night, sometimes the frogs migrate a little bit out of their environment onto the black top of the driveway/parking lot. So when I take Lola out at night I go searching for stragglers and try to herd them back into the grass -- I'm so afraid they'll get squished out on the pavement. They're so funny, you touch one and they'll really make this huge leap, the first time I did it, it was so startling. Lola was really stunned. You should have seen her face the first time she put her nose on one to check it out and it leaped out from under her so suddenly -- it cracked me up. I love the frogs (and what a far cry from listening to all the punk kids and their hideous loud thumping music in Queens).

I was in a parking lot over the weekend and this stoopid woman goes to get out of her car (next to mine), she swings her door open smashing it into my passenger side! I roll down my window and express my dismay and she responds to say that it didn't do anything to my car. I said, "well, you don't mind if I take a look, do you? it's a brand new car." (SHEESH!) She then goes on to bluster about how the wind caught her door -- hello, there WAS no wind! She was just stupid and careless. Luckily there was no damage, but I was completely pissed. Stupid stupid stupid.

Officially and Completely Debt FREE!

I just wanted to announce that as of this morning, I am totally debt free! I've paid off all of my debt over the past seven months or so and this morning mailed the big pay-off check for my car. I am still a renter here, but at least I can proudly say that I don't have a cent of debt to my name. It's sort of a weird feeling.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Note to Self ...

When having a restless, sleepless night, it is best not to get up and take a TylenolPM at 1:30 in the morning.

I dragged myself out of the bed this morning, turned on the Today show and spent about 5 minutes freaking out over why the time displayed on the show stated it was "2:24". It took a long time to register that no, it actually said "7:24". doh.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For some reason I find myself really depressed today. I feel a little vulnerable at work, like maybe I'm not doing a good job. I am struggling with the working relationship I have with the PM, he is not the best communicator with me, but likes to schedule private meetings with the users that I've been working with for months, essentially cutting me out of the loop. He will then come and make a project request to me for whatever he has promised the client. Additionally, I am not confident that I am getting credit for any of this work I've done specifically at his request. Maybe it doesn't matter, but it is worrying me.

Today Tech Manager told me that they are relocating me to make room for a new support person who is coming in. I am to be moved from the cube I've been sitting in since January to this shared office around the corner. A shared office sounds good, but I walked by these offices this afternoon and realized that these are offices are designed for one person, two people sharing make it pretty cramped, so I'm kind of upset about losing my own space.

I don't know, I always struggle with confidence issues and maybe I'm just having a bad week, but I'm feeling a little low today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Speaking of "Lobstah"

I was in the pet supply store the other day and found this stuffed lobster doggie toy -- you know that I had to buy it! I've been cracking up all week watching Lola play with the thing, dragging it around by a "claw", shaking it, growling at it. "Kill the Lobstah! Kill it!" heh. I'm so easily amused.

I Love New England

Summer Special (New Company Cafeteria) on Tuesday & Thursdays: Lobster (“lobstah”) rolls and lobster paninis. You gotta love it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Lunch-Time

So I walk down to the cafeteria as I usually do and notice that they have a shrimp & crab salad sandwich as a deli special today. Hmmm, sounds good, think I'll take a break from my usual turkey. My turn comes:

Me: "I think I'll have the sandwich special".
Sandwich Lady: *blank look, long pause, vague look around* "we're out".
Me: "it's only 12:15!"
SL: ...
Me: *sigh* "I'll have turkey on whole wheat".

12:15 and they're already out? What do I have to do, come down there at 11:30 for my lunch?

Oh well, if this is the biggest hardship or annoyance of my day, then I guess I'm doing pretty well. Of course, the day isn't over yet.

Friday, July 14, 2006

When did our lives become so dull?

I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone the other day. Here is a guy that used to have a pretty exciting life, he traveled a lot, went out a lot – he and I used to do brunch all the time when I still lived in Manhattan. Or margaritas at Rancho (especially if it was a 2-for-1 special). Or martinis at Vermouth. I even once snuck him into Old Company’s fancy schmancy Christmas party at the Plaza. Anyway, we both had active and relatively interesting social lives (too bad I wasn't keeping a blog in those days, might have been halfway interesting). So yesterday we’re talking and neither one of us really had anything much to say. He was droning on & on about some problem he was having with his clothes dryer (his DRYER!) when I finally lost it and interrupted him with hysterical laughter.

Is this how dull our lives have become that the only topic of conversation we can come up with (after a month or two of no contact) is about his stupid dryer? Even sadder is the fact that I had nothing better to offer.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Life is fragile.

And the last two days have reminded me of that.

First, yesterday, a building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (pretty much the wealthiest neighborhood in NYC) exploded and completely collapsed. At first officials thought the blast was caused by a gas leak (which is bad enough), but as the story has developed, there are suspicions that it may have been an intentional suicide attempt – WTF!

This is one of the things that has always bothered me about living in apartments, your safety is completely dependent on your not having the bad luck to live near some crazy or criminally negligent person. My personal worry has always been the random black-out drunk who falls asleep with a lit cigarette, but this incident opens up a whole new world of fears. Great.

Second, today, a multi-ton concrete “tile” fell from the ceiling of one of the major tunnels that snake under Boston and killed a woman sitting in her car on her way to the airport for a vacation. So here is this woman sitting in her car with her husband, on their way to the airport, probably all excited about their coming trip to Vegas and out of nowhere, WHAM! It’s all over.

You would think after 9/11 I wouldn’t need reminders such as these to shake me up, but apparently I do.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Definitely Summer

Damn, it's hot out there today, but pretty much in that "good" Summer way -- very sunny, quite warm, blue skies, but not that blinding-white-sky-so-humid-that-even-a-15-minute-jaunt-outside-makes-one-utterly-miserable-type of Summer day. I don't seem to be minding the Summer nearly as much up here in New Hampshire as I did in NYC (although, I'm sure there are a lot of factors contributing to that).

Friday was an interesting day at work. I had a couple of emails before I had even left my apartment in the morning, one to let me know that the PM on my project was out sick and the other a forwarded email from the business liaison about a reporting program that was screwed up (for an area of the Desk that is not usually my responsibility) and could I maybe help? (Since PM was out sick).

It turns out that the PM has a reporting program that he wrote that runs on with a regularly scheduled job and pushes an Excel file out for various VPs in the trading area to review. So, after this has gone out, it turns out that much of the info was wrong and it becomes an urgent issue to get it fixed right away. Conveniently, the author of the program is out sick, so they come to me.

After doing a little looking around, I find that this is a reporting program for which I had, at the request of PM, developed a special technique for pulling multiple rows of data together for display (something that wasn't straight-forward and took me half a day or more to do). Anyway, so I'm a little familiar with part of the program, which helps. I was able to pull apart the program and (after breathing a sigh of relief that the incorrect data was not caused by anything I had written) I was able to fix the problems. I then worked with the various parties to get the updated files in place for the next scheduled run that afternoon.

I'm glad that I was able to jump right in and help. That I was able to fix the problems relatively easily and that the clients were all appreciative of my efforts. All these things I hope will assist in their viewing me as a valued contributor. The business liaison sent out a very nice note to my manager late in the afternoon (cc:ing the tech manager on the customer side and me, of course) complimenting me on the work I did and the very quick turnaround, especially with having no notice, etc.

It is really little bits of feedback like this that make all the angst and frustrations and uncertainties of my work worthwhile.

There was one small thing that disturbed me, however. Speaking with the business guy, I found that the way the data was displayed, for which I had developed my technique for PM, had been a special request from the business. I quickly realized after discussing everything that no one has any idea that I was the one who worked this out for them. I didn't speak up then to inform them of this, but it bothers me a bit. I wonder what other future work of mine the PM plans to take credit for. Or perhaps I'm being paranoid (wouldn't be the first time).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Things I Love about New Company

(well, one of the things anyway) Free lunch! I try not to take advantage every day (although most people do), but Friday is "sandwich" day and there always seems to be plenty extra. I should put the money I save on lunch into a pedicure fund or something.

On Fridays this group also always has free bagels & donuts in the morning too, but I avoid all that like the plague.


What is it with women who like to wear tons of perfume??? This morning, I go on the elevator to take Lola out and must have gotten on right after someone who had been wearing TONS of it, it was horrible. Well, after bringing her back in, I milled around putting together the bag I bring to work and my fruit & yogurt, I fed the dog, etc. Only to finally come back out, summon the elevator and find that it STILL stunk to high heaven. I mean, I could smell the elevator coming (and I am NOT exaggerating). Maybe this was from a new woman, I can't imagine all the perfume from the first trip hung around that long, but the smell was so strong, I couldn't tell the difference in fragrance at that stage. I sure do feel sorry for anyone who has to work in the vicinity of this woman (women), must make for a miserable work day.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Catching Up

So it has again been a long time since I’ve written. I don’t really know why, I’m just not feeling it, I guess. What’s new with me? Not a whole helluva lot, but let’s see:

I got a bit of a raise! That was exciting. It’s nominal, but then again, my big raise came by taking this new job and making this big move. The mid-year raise is important though in that it is a bit of barometer as to whether my manager thinks I’m doing a good job. It’s also refreshing to have a little review mid-year. This way if anything is not on track, I have the opportunity to make adjustments.

I am proud to say that in the next week or so I am going to be completely debt free! Well, except for my car, but all of the debt that I’ve been living with for years & years & years will be completely gone. It’s a great feeling.

I received my new bed and mattress and am very happy with both. The delivery of all was rather stressful however – first, I wasn’t given any options about the delivery of the bed, they said they were coming on Thursday (2 weeks ago) and that was that. Well, of all the days of the week, Thursday is my worst and least flexible (and unfortunately, that week was particularly bad). They then called me the night before and narrowed it down to sometime from 2:00 – 7:00 PM. Of course I had to be in a meeting until 2 PM and the meeting ran over. But still, they didn’t end up showing up until around 6 PM anyway. ARGH! And then the mattress delivery was the next day: I had taken that Friday off as a vacation day because of the delivery (I had hoped to also get the bed delivered that day too) and because my father was stopping through overnight on his way home from Maine. Well, we had severe storms that morning and, just as the delivery guys were pulling up outside my building, all of our electricity went out! If they had been just a couple of minutes earlier, they would have been in my elevator when it went out and they would have been stuck, stuck, stuck! (the electricity was out for about an hour). So, these poor guys ended up having to haul the thing up three floors of stairs – still, much better than being stuck in the elevator! Anyway, I now have my new bed and I’m loving it. Sleep. Is. Good. Although, can someone please explain to me why my dog thinks that she needs to sleep practically on top of me now that we have all this additional space? Sheesh!

As I mentioned before, my father came through for a short visit. Two short visits, actually. He went up to Maine for a fishing trip with some old college fraternity buddies and so he stopped over night on his way there and on his way back. Both times we managed dinner with my various cousins who live locally. The second visit everyone managed to come, so it was a lot of fun. Even though I don’t see my cousins very often, I really like knowing that they’re close by. Anyway, on his second visit, my father got to my place earlier and since I had taken a vacation day, I was able to take the time to drive him around a bit. I showed him New Company’s campus and drove around the area some. I also drove him through a couple of condo complexes where I had looked at townhouses. He seemed to really like the area and even liked the apartment that I’m currently living in. (Surprising because he is usually extremely hard to please). Of course when he was leaving on the morning of his second visit, he somehow managed to completely back up my toilet (I don’t even want to know how THAT happened) and was all ready to just leave me with it, but I made him run up to Lowes to buy a damn plunger. SHEESH!

What else? Well, it looks like my NYC friends, Ellen & Ken, are going to stop by on Monday. They are going to be in Massachusetts on a little bike trip and so are going to plan to come this way for dinner to see me (and my place and my dog). It should be fun, I miss them.

Oh, so this is funny! Have you ever seen the movie "Office Space"? If you haven’t, you HAVE to rent it, particularly if you work in an office. It’s basically a spoof on office culture, it was done about 8 years ago, but has a bit of a cult following. ANYWAY, last week they (this department where my project is located) announced that Friday (last Friday) was going to be Hawaiian Shirt Day! I almost spit out my coffee when I heard. Anyway, come Friday and EVERYONE was wearing a Hawaiian shirt (all the guys anyway, and there are mostly guys here). People were so serious about it that the big mucky muck here sent around an email letting everyone know that he had 5 EXTRA shirts, in case anyone didn’t have one. I was laughing my ass off all day. I am so jaded, I think I lived and worked in NYC for too long.