Archive for October, 2011

Updates 10/29/2011

Last night K and I had a quick dinner at Swing Thai and then went to the Madeleine Dodge/Kate McGuiness opening at Spark. As expected, it was a great show. K had a long tough week so we headed home early to watch an episode of American Horror Story on demand.

Have you seen American Horror Story on the FX channel? It’s really suspenseful and gory. Dylan McDermott is either shirtless or nude at least four times in the first episode. Jessica Lang gives a great performance as an aging beauty living next door. Check it out.

Today we have to get a large tree limb off our house that broken and fell on the house during this week’s snow storm. K borrowed a company pick-up truck and our friend Gary is coming over to help with a ladder and chain saw. Thankfully, it has warmed up so we don’t have to freeze our asses off cleaning up this mess. I tried calling our tree services but their phone has been busy for two days. At least we’ll save a little money.

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Updated 10/26/2011

The snow started falling last night and it will continue to snow until tonight. There are only a few inches on the ground where we live but it’s a heavy wet snow and the tree limbs are sagging. The power went off for about an hour this morning. I’ve gone out twice to shake the snow off the tree limbs I can reach. Four branches have broken so far in spite of my efforts.

K’s company will not be paying bonuses this year due to the many millions of dollars that are being lost on four projects overseas. K’s bonus is about a third of his annual income. K is really upset about the lack of bonus payment because he has worked a lot of extra hours to ensure his projects have a positive margin and are completed on time. I believe all four projects are construction jobs in the Middle East. Three of the projects were being run by an ex-admiral who works for the company. He’s created a huge cluster fuck. The actions of mainly one man are affecting the compensation of all the employees. I’ve met the ex-admiral and I think he’s a pompous ass. I find it odd that this man has not been fired.

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Updates 10/24/2011

Lena came over for dinner on Saturday night. She brought her friend, Dave, whose partner is working out of town. Dave has been unemployed for eighteen months but has a third interview on Tuesday for an accounting job at the Natural History Museum. It was good to see Lena and catch up with her. It was a fun evening.

I’ve got an oncologist appointment today. It’s just a six month check up and blood test.

It’s going to be in the eighties here today but the forecast is calling for our first major snow storm on Wednesday. The city should get 4-8 inches of snow while the foothills will get 8-16 inches. I plan on working from home on Wednesday.

K is getting ready for the St. Louis project. He’s been looking for an apartment on the internet. He found a couple of places near downtown that seem promising. He doesn’t want to live near Festus since it’s a white trash Mecca. K will be in St. Louis for the first six months of the project but I suspect his stay in Missouri will stretch to a year.

K and I watched the Amazing Race last night. We were rooting for the snow boarders until they made a stupid remark about their religious beliefs and the bible. I hope they got booted off next.

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Updates 10-12-11

K comes home from New Mexico tonight. He had to make a site visit and chew out a subcontractor who is not performing.

The contract for the St. Louis project will be signed in the next two weeks. K has been working on this deal for four years. K needs to be in St. Louis for the first six months of the project. It sucks but his bonus should be really good this year.

I wasted the work day waiting for a software delivery that never came. I should have it in the morning so I’ll be busting my butt for the next week. This project has the potential to be a huge cluster fuck.

I’ve been working at home all week since I don’t have any meeting to attend. I’ve been wearing a pair of black wingtips that I bought at Steve Madden on Saturday. I saw a really cool pair of wingtips at the Paul Smith store in Paris. I loved the shoes but they were too expensive. The Paul Smith wingtips stayed in Paris and I came home. The Steve Madden wingtips are casual so they will look good with jeans and chinos. I wear them every day for a few hours to break them in. There’s nothing worse than being in the office with a new pair of shoes that are killing your feet.

Crazy Barb told Mike she wants a new 5 series BMW. She bought her current 3 series last fall. Barb has only driven her car 400 miles but is bored with it and likes the look of the 5 series better. I hope I can still drive a BMW when I’m 80.

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Love Locks

This is a picture of the Pont des Arts which is a footbridge that crosses the Seine. The Louvre is in the background. You can see the love locks (Google it) attached to the bridge. Hopefully, one day a certain woman in Canada will be surprised when her husband attaches a lock to the bridge. It will make her trip to Paris complete.

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Nobody Called

L and the problem engineer were laid off last week. I called L on Thursday to talk to her since I’ve known her professionally for fifteen years. We had a good talk. I gave her a few tips I learned when I has laid off and agreed to review her resume. L told me that I was the only one to contact her. None of her peers called or emailed. L told me she felt really hurt that the people she worked with for the last decade didn’t contact her. She feels abandoned. I know how she feels because it happened to me too.

I also sent an email to the problem engineer to see if she wanted to talk. She replied on Friday informing me she was having a bad week but would contact me this week.

I find it sad that when a person is laid off from this company their peers don’t contact them. Perhaps they don’t know what to say. I went through the same thing. Peers who I considered friends didn’t call or email. It’s as if you have committed a crime and your peers are embarrassed to associate with you. I have empathy for these women. I wish them luck in finding new jobs.

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A Few Trip Photos

Building detail in Paris.

Luxembourg City

Rheims Cathedral as seen from the apartment's kitchen window.

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There were layoffs at work on Monday. In the past few weeks the company cancelled the contracts of three contractors. My office mate had her contract cancelled so now I’m the only tester on the flagship product. This week it was time for employees to get laid off. The IT group laid off 18% of the employees. The small group I’m in lost two engineers and a developer. To make matters worse another developer turned in his resignation. There’s a really strange mood in the office. People are shell shocked. It’s going to take a while for the things to get back to normal.

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The trip to France was a lot of fun. K and I arrived in Paris on Saturday morning. We took the RER from the airport and arrived at Gare du Nord. We walked over to Gare du l’Est and stowed our bags in a locker since we had a few hours to kill before catching our train to Rheims. We walked around Paris stopping for coffee and croissants in a sidewalk café. Later we were stopped by four lost American tourists looking for Joe’s Juice Bar. They asked for directions talking really slow. They mistook K and me for Parisians. We had a laugh over that and gave them directions. We left Paris around noon and were in Rheims forty five minutes later thanks to the high speed train.

K rented a two bedroom apartment with in Rheims. The apartment was centrally located and close to the cathedral. We went to the art museum, the Rendition Museum and the Foujita Chapel. While shoe shopping a salesman started talking to us in Danish because he thought K and I were from Denmark. He laughed when we told him we were from the U.S.

Cindi arrived on Monday from Austria while K was at the conference. After getting Cindi settled we had lunch and shopped.

On Tuesday Cindi and I took the train to Luxembourg and spent the day touring Luxembourg City. Luxembourg City is beautiful, historic and very clean. The people were well dressed and looked affluent. We saw very few minorities. We took a self guided walking tour and saw most of the sites. Cindi and I got back to Rheims around 9.

Wednesday night K and I attended the conference banquet while Cindi spent a quiet evening in the apartment. Two of guys at our table asked were we lived in Denmark. This was getting a little strange. Why were we being mistaken for Europeans again? Is it because we didn’t dress poorly like most American tourists?

Thursday morning we took the train to Paris and settled into our two bedroom/two bath apartment on Boulevard Saint-Germain. After settling in we walked around Paris for hours stopping for a late lunch.

Paris was hot and crowed. I could not believe the crowds because it was so late in the tourist season. All of the cafés were packed and the metro was crowded at all times of the day and night. We were having dinner at Chez Renee one night and Anna Wintour walked in and was seated. Then we realized it was Paris fashion week. That explains the crowds and the hordes of fashionistas in five in heels along with the numerous six foot tall skinny women we saw scurrying down the streets.

We did a lot walking and shopping in Paris. Our trip to the Louvre was overwhelming. The Louvre is massive and full of tourists. It was chaotic and we wanted to leave after a few hours. There are so many important paintings that after a while you just walk past them. The asian tourists were incredible rude.

The next day we went to the Centre Pompidou to see the Edvard Munch exhibit. It was a great show and even though it was crowed it was not as chaotic as the Louvre. They have a good modern art collection. I especially enjoyed the Rothko, the Pollack and the numerous Picassos on display.

We had many late relaxing lunches and long late evening dinners. We did a lot of walking so we could observe the beautiful scenery. One day we relaxed on the banks of the Seine while K attempted to join a conference call. It was a wonderful trip. We limited our shopping although I was tempted to buy a beautiful, but overpriced shirt at Kenzo in Luxembourg. I did buy a shirt at Massimo Dutti and a coat at Bruce Field. K bought a couple of things at Printemps which is like the French version of Neiman Marcus. Cindi bought a beautiful camel colored cape with a fur trimmed hood and a bunch of chocolates.

I highly recommend visiting France and especially Paris. It’s a magical place that makes you forget all about your troubles at home.

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