Archive for July, 2010

Updates 7/29/2010

K’s niece’s team took first place in the graduate student competition. Several conference attendees asked for her resume and one professor talked to her about pursuing a PhD.

The wedding invitation for K’s nephew arrived this week. This is the brother of the niece staying at our house this week. I thought the invitation was nice but a little ornate and not something I would choose. The niece agreed with me. At dinner last night, the niece told me her brother’s fiancé is planning a month long honeymoon in St. Bart. This news didn’t sit well with me. They can afford to spend a month in St. Bart but the nephew is getting tuition assistance from K. The bride is not from a wealthy family. Her parents own a jewelry store and her father works at FedEx for the health care benefits. The niece doesn’t know how they are going to pay the honeymoon. They’ll probably have one of those horrible dollar dances at the reception.

Work has been a bitch this week. The test cycle was scheduled to close yesterday but we’re still testing. The engineer who screwed up last month is at it again. She took four days to respond to questions. She had plumbing problems at home one day and didn’t have time to look into the issues. I found this odd because her husband is unemployed. Surely, he had time to deal with the plumbing. Then she was sick for two days. Finally, one of her peers assisted with the issues and then sent an email to the department head advising him of the situation. The engineer’s peer had reached her breaking point. She was tired of doing her peer’s work. None of this seemed to bother the engineer causing the problem. The department head has now asked my team to document any future issues and keep him in the loop. The problem engineer doesn’t know about this. It looks like the department head may be putting the problem engineer on a performance plan which is the first step in firing an employee. It’s sad to watch a person ruin their career.

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Seen at the office today:

A sign on a recycle bin in the second floor lunch room: Aluminum Can’s

A sign in the hallway directing construction workers: Frate Elevator —>

An email from a client executive to a product manager: The customer is asking to have there server in there LAB upgraded from 4.1 to 5.2.

Did anyone pay attention in school?

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Updates 7/26/2010

I started out the weekend spending Friday afternoon in the ER with a kidney stone. I thank god for narcotics. I spent most of the weekend taking Oxycodone every four hours and Lorazepam every eight hours. I passed the stone sometime on Saturday. I’ve been trying to recover from the narcotics all day. I went to the gym after work but had a really shitty workout.

K’s niece, S, arrived on Friday. She’s attending an agricultural economics conference. She’s getting a master’s in this field. I think she will be here until Thursday. Her team is one of the three finalists in the completion part of the conference. K treated his niece and her team, a woman from China and a woman from Columbia to lunch on Saturday. These women are well traveled, interesting and extremely intelligent. It was great meeting them.

K leaves tomorrow for another month in Missouri. I’m beginning to wonder if this will ever end. It was good having him home. Too bad my weekend memories are a bit hazy from the drugs.

My mother is having her biopsy on Thursday. There’s been some drama but I’m tired of writing about it and I’m sure you’re tired of reading about it.

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Updates 7/21/2010

I’m so tired today. I took a two hour nap after work last night and then went to bed at ten. When the alarm went off at five I could hardly get out of bed. I think there’s too much stress at work.

The second in command of the IT department resigned. He’s only been with the company two months. Rumor has it he didn’t play well with his boss who was hired after him.

The super star programmer who joined the company last fall to work on the new design system resigned and left the company last week. The company killed the project after spending $50 million. Rumor has it that he didn’t want to work on other projects because they already had super star programmers and he would be placed in a supporting role. He’s moving to Texas for his next gig. There’s one less ego to deal with at work.

The man remodeling the house one street over built an addition on the back without board approval. I guess 5,800 square feet wasn’t big enough. The project has caused lots of drama over the last several days. The neighborhood’s lawyers have been called in to help settle the dispute.

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Updates 7/19/2010

K came home on Sunday afternoon and left this morning for leadership meetings in Vail. Spouses were invited but I couldn’t go because I didn’t know about the meeting when the work schedule was created. I have to give three months notice for any days off. At least we’re in the same state. He’ll be home on Friday.

Mike called to tell me Crazy Barb bought a new gun. He was over at her house finalizing her new BMW order a few days ago. Barb showed him her new 9mm pistol that she keeps in the oven along with her chainsaw. Isn’t that were most people keep their chainsaws and pistols? Thankfully, her oven has never been used.

A house on the next street over that has been on the market for at least four years finally sold. It’s the most hated house in the neighborhood. It was built about eight years ago. The 5,800 square foot monster is too big for the lot. It’s a Cape Cod style house with a stucco exterior and a tile roof. It looks like an architectural abortion. The house languished on the market for two years before the original owners traded it for a loft downtown. The second owner remodeled the kitchen and put it back on the market for $2.5m. The house has been listed by almost every high end real estate company in town. Nobody could sell the house because it had a ridiculous floor plan. The newest owner bought in a short sale for $1.150m and promptly put it back on the market. The new owner is an architect/builder who plans to flip the house. The stucco exterior and windows have been removed, part of the roof is torn off and the house has been gutted to the studs. Everyone is hoping his final product is more suitable for the neighborhood. Time will tell.

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Doing A Good Deed

There’s been a homeless man panhandling on the corner of Exposition Ave and Colorado Blvd for the last month or so. I see him on my way to the gym. Sometimes he is with a woman who sits in the shade and looks like she’s going to pass out at any minute. I usually try to ignore him when I’m stopped at light.

Last week after my shopping spree in Cherry Creek I was on my way to the gym and was stopped at the light. I thought about the money I had spent on myself and here was a man who had nothing. I rolled down the car window and asked the man if he needed clothes. He said he only had two shirts so I told him I would stop by later. When I got home from the gym I pulled all of the summer shirts out of the charity donation bag in the garage. I drove over and gave the clothes to the man. I noticed only had one eye and had no front teeth. The man thanked me for the clothes and then asked if I had a pair of size nine shoes that I could give him. I told him I wear a ten but would look in the closet for something suitable.

The next day I was changing into my gym clothes in the walk in closet and I looked over my shoes. I decided to give the man a pair of brown Cole Haan sport shoes that I no longer wear. When I stopped at the light on my way to the gym I gave the man the shoes. He was so thankful for the shoes. I noticed he was wearing one of the Banana Republic t-shirts I gave him. Yesterday when I drove by him he was wearing the Hugo Boss polo shirt I gave him and the Cole Haan shoes. It made me happy to know that he was wearing the clothes I gave him. I wonder if he will be wearing a Jhane Barnes or Saks Fifth Avenue shirt the next time I see him.

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The Big C

The doctor has informed my mother that she has lung cancer. As expected she had a complete breakdown. My father, being the cold hearted prick that he is, asked her why she was crying. That comment made everything worse.

My mother feels that she has no support other than my brother and me. My sister told my mother she should listen to gospel music to calm her nerves. This upset my mother even more. My mother has always been there for my sister’s medical emergenices but apparently my sister doesn’t know how to show compassion to her mother.

I have mixed feelings about the situation. My mother has smoked for more than sixty five years. She continues to smoke. She has no friends but can only blame herself for being alone. She isolated herself in suburbs and refused to learn how to drive. She became totally dependent upon my father for transportation because she would not take a cab or ride a bus. It’s a sad situation but she helped created the mess. It makes me sad that my mother is in such a horrible situation but I don’t feel sorry for her.

The road ahead is going to be tough and I imagine I’ll be making more frequent trips to St. Louis. K will be there through August so at least I’ll have him there for support.

So what does a guy do when his elderly mother gets diagnose with lung cancer? A guy goes shopping. I went to Cherry Creek last night. I bought a new pair of glasses at Europtics and a suit and a pair of shoes at Nordstrom. I haven’t bought a new suit in quite a while and I’ll need one for K’s nephew’s wedding and possibly my mother’s funeral.

Stay tuned for the upcoming biopsy drama and the appointment with an oncologist.

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Weekend Update 7-12-10

I started the weekend off with a long workout at the gym on Friday afternoon. After the gym I mowed the lawn, fixed a quick dinner and spent a quiet evening at home.

Saturday morning I lounged around before running errands. I had a quick lunch and then stopped by Helena’s for a haircut. After leaving Helena’s I stopped by the gym for a cardio workout and went to the grocery store. Carlos left a voice mail while I was running around inviting me to his impromptu birthday party. I got cleaned up, picked up a six pack of Fat Tire and headed over to Carlos’ birthday party. The party was a mix of personal trainers, their clients, musicians and software developers. It was an odd group of people but everyone seemed to be having a good time. Soon we were all doing shots of Jagermeister. After the birthday cake was cut I headed home because I knew if I stayed longer I would be a wreck on Sunday.

I spent Sunday morning reading the paper and watching TV. Helena came by and we headed to Coors Field to watch the Rockies play. K’s company held their summer party at the baseball game in two private suites. Helena arranged for us to park free in her friend’s parking space across from the ballpark. Unfortunately, the Rockies lost but we had good food and the booze was free. After the game I dropped Helena off at City Park so she could meet friends and listen to the symphony’s concert. I came home worked in the garden for a while. I was trying to decide on dinner when Mike called inviting me to dinner at his house. He was on his way home from Steers and Queers (his nickname for the gay rode) and was stopping by Whole Foods to buy sea bass for dinner. I helped Mike grill sea bass and fresh asparagus. Dinner was simple but delicious. After dinner we watched Hung and Entourage on HBO. As Entourage was ending, Chris, Mike’s partner, came home from beer bust with Kent, another neighbor. I hung around for a few more minutes catching up with Chris and Kent and then walked home to watch True Blood. After that it was off the bed.

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A Week From Hell

The last two work days were pure hell trying to finalize testing on the software load being delivered this weekend. The load was scheduled to be locked down by noon on Wednesday but I was still testing reworks this afternoon. The software is due to start delivery to the servers around the globe at six this evening. The load was finally completed at thee.

This mess is the result of one person dropping the ball. Two developers, my office mate and I have been dragged over the coals this week trying to get this release out the door. The engineer thinks she is being fired for this fiasco but I doubt it. She’ll probably not even be reprimanded because the department head is known for trying to avoid conflicts and letting events like this fade into the background. It’s just another week from hell in corporate America.

The rest of this post is rather silly but I need to be a little silly after enduring this last week at work. Feel free to skip the next part.

Did you wear something to try to make yourself feel better? If I wear a really nice shirt or a great pair of shoes I usually feel good all day. I know I look good so I feel good. This probably sounds stupid but it works for me.

I knew this week was going to be tough so I wore something special on Tuesday and today. On Tuesday I wore a new Theory black and blue plaid shirt that I bought on sale at Neiman Marcus last weekend. It’s made of very smooth sheer cotton that feels like heaven when I put it on. I felt great all day. Today I wore a new shirt from Burberry that I also bought on sale. It’s my first purchase at Burberry. I’ve only been in the store twice even though it has beautiful clothes because the prices are rather high end. The shirt is khaki cotton with a one inch red, black and tan stripped grosgrain ribbon sewn down the front placket underneath the buttons and a quarter inch wide grosgrain loop at the top of a box pleat on the back. The shirt looks really cool because of the grosgrain ribbon. It helped me get through this torturous day.

Yes, I can be really shallow at times and spend too much money on clothes. But, I can afford it and I don’t spend beyond my means. It’s probably why I think I could never afford children.

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The Meeting

I was in the conference room with the software developer and the lead software developer while the engineer who caused the mess was conferenced in by telephone. Even though she lives five minutes from the office she dialed into the conference bridge for the meeting. The department head arrived a few minutes late and assumed control. He inquired about severity one (the worst) issues, options for resolution and how we were going to mitigate the damages to the department’s reputation for allowing the situation to get out of control. Next he wanted to know who was responsible for creating this disaster. The engineer proceeded to throw us under the bus. She advised the department head that all parties involved shared responsibility for creating the situation. The software developers were visibly taken aback. I remained calm even though I was shocked that she didn’t accept total responsibility. She was the one who didn’t respond to emails for four days. She was the one who did not inform the team she was going on furlough until Thursday afternoon. She was the one who chose not to work late Thursday or Friday to help resolve the problem. She was the one who was too busy reading email to attend the meeting on Tuesday. Thankfully nobody brought any of this up. The individual issues were discussed but the engineer could not answer any of our questions. She had to contact the product manager for answers. The meeting wrapped up with an action plan to get the issues corrected by close of business on Friday.

After the meeting the department head left the conference room and the developers and I had a short post mortem. The developers were pissed at the engineer for blaming them for the cluster fuck. It was at this time I let them in on a secret. My manager and the lead engineer had previously discussed the situation with the department head. He knew the engineer caused the mess by dropping the ball. He knew all of the details. He laid a trap and she fell into it by not accepting total responsibility for her actions. The engineer has ruined her reputation and now she looks like an incompetent liar.

It’s just another day in the corporate world.

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