Backblogged

I think that’s the term for when you’re backlogged with blog topics. Backblogged.

Mom wants me to take a road trip with her to Denver next summer. She says it would be fun. I say we would probably kill each other halfway there. Although, now that I see that the 2004 DCI Finals will be held in Denver, I say maybe I could put up with Mom if she could put up with a weekend of drum corps.

After going to the Dekalb drum corps show with corps alumni buddy Paul and his sister (who was my seat partner in ’95), I’m more seriously considering joining a senior corps before Aaron and I decide to have kids. Only thing is, I don’t think I’m ready to spend all of my summer weekends away from my honey-muffin, and I certainly don’t want to make a five-hour roadtrip one way just to march senior corps. (BTW, senior corps is like what I did in Northern Aurora and Bluecoats, except you can be any age from 15 to 60-something.)

Of course, then Paul (who sings barbershop) suggested that I find a chapter of Sweet Adelines to join. Sweet Adelines are like barbershop quartets/choruses for women. I did discover that the Pride of Toledo is the best group in the region, and I fired them off an email about membership. They rehearse on Tuesdays at 7pm in Toledo, on Holland-Sylvania, which is doable as far as getting out of work goes. We’ll see what happens.

I would also like to say that nothing quite compares with being berated for receiving accolades that were deserved by more people than just you.

See, a couple weeks ago, we received a payment for someone’s water bill that was astronomically higher than what they owed. Like, $15,000.00 for a $150 bill. The person who was prepping the work caught it, and brought it to Loni, and asked if that could possibly be right. Loni knew that the client banked with Sky, and knew their personal banker, who then said maybe we should make sure that was correct. So, Loni called the phone number on the check and left a message. Of course, Loni left work before I did that day, so when the client returned the phone call, I took it. He was soooo grateful that we caught his accounting error — his software had printed the wrong amount on his check, and had it been processed, it would have bounced a lot.

So, the next morning, Loni had me write him a note and mail the erroneous check back to him. I located some Sky Bank stationery on the intranet, typed the note on it, printed it out, and sent it off. I felt pretty good about myself, but mainly because I got to do something different. Something other than stomping a footpedal, typing in invoice numbers, and hitting return.

A few days later, Andrew hands me a card he got out of an interoffice envelope. It’s a "Gotcha Card" — Sky’s version of RCC Performance Points, or any other company’s relatively meaningless rewards system. The client’s personal banker had heard from him, and she thanked me for providing such outstanding customer service to Mr. LaRoe. I felt all tingly in my bum until Loni shot me down with "And who was it that caught it in the first place?" Not only Loni, but the prepper who did catch it in the first place both gave me shit for being the one who got the credit.

Hey, it’s not my fault that the last person to touch something is responsible for it. Take the credit or take the blame, but it’s always the fault of the last person to touch it.

I grow progressively more disenchanted with my job — if, indeed, I was ever truly enchanted in the first place.

Aftermath

photo by Carley AugustineThings seem to be settling down around BG, finally. The city and university are working to clean up the storm damage, most people’s power is back on, and life is returning to normal.

In case you missed the 11:00 news…

Channel 13 has photos and RealVideo coverage of the carnage in BG.

(Photo at right is of my street, two houses down from ours)

BGSU’s website has a "Campus Storm Update" link off the main page.

Got home from work today and all the clocks were blinking (except the VCR, because it rocks). Seems the power must have gone out today sometime between Aaron leaving for work and me coming home at 7:15pm. Probably had something to do with the nice city workers removing the tree from the power lines (photo above).

As for how this affected others you might know… Beth’s blog indicates that even in Columbus, the proverbial shit hit the fan. Apparently, her power was out for a while, too, though she says that having the roof blown off a nearby gas station sounds a little more traumatic. Eric went out with his BG News posse and took some photos of the insanity. (Would that I hadn’t chosen these few weeks to have my camera serviced. I missed both the Fourth of July and the kickass storm of the decade. Though I’ll be looking forward to having a leak-free, recalibrated camera.)

And if more people would update their blogs, I’d have more to report. Blah.

Seems that campus got pretty fucked up. A wall was blown out of the Field House, a tree fell on the Death Center, the roof blew out of the Moore Musical Arts Center (right above Kobacker Hall, if I’ve heard correctly), giant trees have been uprooted… sounds like a damn mess. I’d been planning to walk around campus this evening to survey the damage, but I opted to stay home like the lazy-ass that I am.

You know, I’ve been in BG for… shit, eight or nine years now… and this is the worst storm I’ve seen yet. I’ve been in a couple of tornado warnings, but nothing like this. And this one didn’t even qualify as an honest-to-god tornado.

Shit, imagine that.

One Helluva Storm

It’s nice having window space in our little corner of the Sky Service Center. We get to see all the crazy storms as they come through. Today, we got to see the sky turn from normal and sunny to dark and brooding, got to watch the clouds swirl overhead, see the rain start up, visibility drop, trees bend, etc.

Then we got to go with the rest of the employees to the interior area of the building, next to the restrooms, to wait out the storm.

At the end of it all, trees were nearly uprooted, the roof was leaking, and the parking lot was flooded in places (the person trying to clean out the drainage pipe was up to her knees in water). Called home, made sure all was well, finished out the day and went home.

Or tried to. The city had my road blocked off. I had to go around the block and just ignore one final roadblock to even get to my driveway. One house over, there’s still yellow "Do Not Cross" tape strung across the road to divert traffic away from the fallen tree limb there. I’m not exactly sure how we still have power, since half of a tree is hanging out on our power lines. Taking up the entire road, curb to curb. Almost fell on someone’s truck.

Oh, and across the street from us, a giant tree fell in between the neighbors’ houses. Right in their shared yard, on the property line. When I got home, the two families were helping one another saw it up and haul it to the curb. The branches I gathered from our yard look like plain old branches; their side looks like a freaking rainforest.

On a completely unrelated note, lookee what I made! I’m so proud of myself.

Who Knew?

You will all be pleased to know that, after a few days of wearing skirts exclusively, my previously moist and painful heat rash has now dried out and diminished to a strange dry flaky spot. Better that than the other, though.

So I’m walking down the hall at work to get myself a Mountain Dew, and who do I see coming up the hall toward me? None other than Rob "Champion of the World" Wozniak, of RCC summer fame. I tip my head in my typical ‘huh?’ gesture, and approach him closer.

"Rob?"

"Di," he answers smoothly. "What are you doing here? — You work here. What am I doing here?" I kind of nod and say the words with him, and he answers that he’s been working in escrow for the past two weeks. Says the temp agency told him they had a clerical job for him, and here he is. I told him that’s how I got my start last year, and they hired me on after a few months. I also said that it sounds like they always need people in escrow, so they might hire him on… if that’s what he wants. He said that’s the plan, and he hopes it works out that way.

So… the world gets smaller and smaller. How many RCC people have worked at the Sky Service Center? Me, Donna, A, and Rob, at least. It seems to be a starting point. One in which I’ve stagnated and from which I have failed to successfully emerge. The fly in amber? Hmm.

FYI, next weekend is my long-awaited weekend trip to DeKalb, IL for the DCI Midwestern Championships — the midseason show-of-shows. I haven’t been to this show since I was *in* it back in 1996. This is going to be so cool.

Click… Click… Click…

…That’s the sound of My Life.

Seriously. That’s the sound of the Zip disk labeled "My Life," from way back in 1997 or so, clicking in my built-in Zip drive.

Luckily enough, the Zip disk parallelled my actual life in that very little of what was really, reeeeeally important to me then remains important to me now. I managed to use my old-school RCC skillz to Norton UnErase a couple important things, like "Sheryl Is Our ‘Puter Bitch" (sung to the tune of the Hall of the Mountain King), and my genealogy files (actually, I transferred those just a few days before it clicked). Unfortunately, the Saginaires and Northern Aurora alumni database just went poof. Thankfully, I had pdfs and HTML output of the last known version, so the transition to ASP should be a little less cumbersome than manually entering in all the info again. Go Dan. w00t.

Today’s major gripe, though, is my heat rash.

Now, I know that most of my regular audience is not overweight. You folks, just bear with me. I know there are a couple of you out there who will feel my pain, so I will forge on.

See, my thighs touch at the top. No, truth be told, they just kind of moosh together these days. So, when I walk during the summertime, the friction, together with the unavoidable sweat, generates this amazing rash. Especially since I kind of adjust my pants downward so I don’t have an assfront (you know, when your front looks like your ass — kind of the fat version of a camel toe). Now, I know this is TMI, but my legs rub together right where the crotch of my pants ends up living. This makes for some amazing, sweaty, red and inflammed pain.

What confuses me, though, is that I woke up with this rash this morning. Yesterday, when I went to sleep, I was perfectly fine. We even had our new A/C on in the bedroom all night. This confuses me.

At any rate, I have to wonder if anyone noticed me adjusting my pants funny at work, and sitting a little more unladylike at my desk.

Troubleshooting

OMFG. New networking crap at work sucks. …Well, no, I actually find it pretty cool myself. Teaching my co-workers to use it (after I figured it out by myself yesterday) sucks.

Before this week, we were using Groupwise for our e-mail client (never heard of it), BitWare to fax from our computers (that one looked homemade), and were happy in our own little domain on Sky’s Novell Network. However, at the end of last week, our fax program magically stopped sending faxes. Upon calling the helpdesk, we discovered that the rest of the company was migrating to a new system, and BitWare would no longer work because they had rerouted the faxserver to work out the bugs in the new fax program. Nice to know. So, for several days, we had to print out our reports and manually fax all of our fax clients — about 70 or so, I think — rather than sending them like attachments from our computer. That slowed us down a bit.

But this week, the real fun began.

Since I send the most faxes right now, I became the guinea pig in our department to migrate to the new system. Lucky me. Scott from the tech support side of things spent over an hour migrating my computer to the new domain and figuring out how we could still access our old server (since it has all of our reports and important stuff on it). That was over an hour during which I could do nothing. Good thing it was a light day, anyway. Actually, once everything was installed and set up, life was OK. I enjoy learning new programs and playing with computers, so using Outlook (yay! seriously, yay!) and the new fax program made me happy. Even troubleshooting how to transfer our old address book into the new was a fun challenge, though a little frustrating. But life was still… OK.

Until today. When they migrated Rama and Loni.

OMG. It must be the age difference. All the stuff I’d had to figure out on my own or with minimal instruction, they had to ask me about every five minutes. I barely got any work done today, because I was walking over to talk Rama through attaching an e-mail and finding a contact from the address book and blah blah blah. Not that I mind, I guess, but after explaining something twice, I expect not to have to babysit a person as they say, "Now I click OK, right?" or just plain forget steps altogether. I am so not cut out for tech support. Then, it made things so much better when Rama and Loni found out they weren’t added as users to the faxserver, so I had to fax (from my computer) all the accounts they had tried to fax before and just not noticed the error messages they were getting. Aargh! For God’s sake, people, read your e-mail when it comes in! It might save me having to fax, say, two dozen files!

Ahem. I’m better now.

At any rate, this was not one of my better weeks. And I’m not done yet — I have to work tomorrow, too. From 11:15am to 5:00pm. End of the half, you know, and we have to keep up so we get everything done on Monday in time. *sigh*

I need to start looking for another job again. Sounds like we might be having an exodus of the temps soon, because they’re tired of barely getting 35 hours a week. I don’t want to be there when shit hits the fan, or whatnot. I think I could find a job with comparable benefits (besides the free checking). I still scope out the job postings on Sky Central (our intranet), but nothing comes up that is really in my field. There’s only a few jobs that I’d really jockey for, and Loan Support or Customer Service (aka bank teller) are not those.

Plus, I must admit that I’m feeling a bit belittled by the fact that A got out of the same job I’m currently in, except she was a temp and I’m a Sky employee. Same thing, pretty much. I don’t know how much she’s currently making, though, and I don’t know anything about her benefits, so I’m sure I could still have the better job on that front… but still. Did I drop the ball? Did I ever actually take possession of the proverbial ball? I don’t know. All I know is that I keep playing "sour grapes" by maintaining that I get good benefits, and I never had to move back in with my parents, and that outweighs the fact that I don’t have the job I want.

Eventually, pull factors and push factors will propel me to find a new job. Until then, the pull of a steady gig with vacation time outweighs the pull of another, more relevant and enjoyable job. And I’m willing to deal with that. For now.

Thunderstorms

I love summer rain. Some people are freaked out by thunder and lightning. I am calmed by it, and find it beautiful.

But there’s a reason for that.

See, when my Mom was little, she had a scary incident involving a thunderstorm and a man who played a sick joke on her, telling her she’d never see her mother again. Mom obviously did not see the humor in this, being only a little kid, and was consequently freaked out by thunderstorms for a long time after.

I was born when Mom was 21, at that age when childhood is still relatively fresh in your mind. (Listen to me, at the ripe fucking old age of 27, sounding like some wizened scholar or something.) Anyway, she decided to help me not be as frightened of storms as she was. One of my first vague memories is of being cradled in my mother’s arms, standing in the open front doorway. I could smell and feel the rain, and hear it, and hear the thunder, and all the while my mother was telling me how beautiful it was. I’d like to think that’s part of the reason I love thunderstorms so much.

Anyway, on to other things…

Turns out A’s gig is for a Harley dealership — and, seeing their website now, pretty much anything would be an improvement. She’s got her work cut out for her. When she’s not designing for their website, she’ll be doing light office work, too. Seriously… I wish her luck.

I’ll work on getting some wedding pics scanned and posted soon. Right now, it’s drumcorps season, so I’m trying to work on my long-time pet project. The Northern Aurora alumni page has seen many, many revisions and several redesigns, but this time, I’m hoping to have a design concept that sticks around for a while. If I can get some asp help — OK, not help, but someone to do it for me — it’ll be right about where I want it, in terms of functionality and design and content. Alumni are being so helpful, scanning photos and old programs and schedules and all sorts of stuff. Seventies alumni are so cool. 🙂

Good For Her…

My former co-worker, A, got a job doing web work for Harley-Davidson. No offense to her (well, maybe), but I’m working at a bank, and she has a job with a nationally-known corporation, designing their website?

I think I’m going to shoot myself.

One Month Without A Blog (Oh The Horror)

I’m glad to know that my blog has been sorely missed by some (and moderately by others). I was being optimistic when I made an offline entry two and a half weeks ago, thinking that ecom meant it when they said my credit card would be reprocessed in 24 hours…

Where to start… Jeez. I never thought I’d actually use my website to communicate with people, no matter how small an audience. You seven people are important to me, dammit! 🙂

OK… here’s the narrative of what you missed.

Week After The Wedding: Honeymoon, duh! Monday was a travel day — got to Cummington, Massachusetts in roundabout 12 hours, give or take eating and fueling. Aaron drove the whole dang thing. Tuesday we drove up to Mt. Greylock, the tallest peak in the state. Wednesday we drove out to Boston and spent the evening and night there; Thursday evening we drove back. Friday we left Cummington and headed west to Niagara Falls, where we spent Friday night. Saturday afternoon we completed the drive home, only to get the message that Memaw had just died that day (shortly after we had driven through Cleveland, in fact. How weird). What a downer. Called work on Sunday, left a message that I’d be out for three more days.

Week Before Last: Didn’t really need to take all three available days of bereavement pay, but I did. The funeral was on Tuesday in Parma, and I drove there because Aaron had to drag his ass out of bed much earlier than he would have liked. He slept a good deal of the way there. Got there, ate lunch at Mom and Gary’s, and steeled ourselves for the funeral. The "viewing" was the first hour, although Mom had opted to have the service be closed-casket. I provided a nicely matted and framed Olan Mills portrait of Memaw back in the early 80’s, before she even went gray — the way I remember her best. The viewing was a little strange, because I saw people I hadn’t seen in years and was glad to see, despite the circumstances. Also, Aaron and I received many congratulations on our recent marriage, in the shadow of Memaw’s death, which confused my brain. I wasn’t all that mournful to begin with, but I was downright happy after a while, seeing my Aunt Connie and Brother Squire from church and all. The service was small, relatively brief, but appropriate — come to think of it, the drive to the cemetery was longer than the service, I think. 🙂 We ate dinner afterward at a local restaurant where my step-brother Philip works as a cook (he’s 16 and just got a car, fyi). I guess the best part about the whole affair was that Mom got back together with her best friend Connie.

Last Week: Full week of work? Wow. Same old shit, finally. Oh, yeah, and we picked up our wedding proofs.

This Week So Far: Flew to Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday (and boy are my… oh, nevermind). First airplane ride since I was less than a year old. Fun. I want to do it again, despite having to remove my shoes for the nice metal detector. Texas was actually OK; we visited the Water Gardens (featured in the 1970’s sci-fi flick Logan’s Run), Cowtown (the original Fort Worth downtown, complete with fake gunfights on the hour and more cowboy hat stores than you can shake a shotgun at), and a water park (with a wave pool and enough innertube rides to keep me happy and my face out of the water). The Smoke clan is actually much cooler than you would think, given only Gary as an example. Mom and Gary stayed until today, but I bailed on Tuesday. Got home around 10pm, went to work the next morning. Since then, things have been pretty normal again.

Don’t worry, I’ll supply a better, longer, and illustrated version of the honeymoon soon. I’ve just been disinterested in updating lately, since, well, no one was going to see it.

Since I Last Updated…

…the wedding and reception happened with only minor issues, we got lots of wedding presents (and money), my domain name expired, my credit card went overlimit, we drove to Massachusetts for our honeymoon (and back via Niagara Falls) totaling over 1700 miles on the Kia, my grandmother died, we put away all our gifts, I paid on my credit card and renewed my domain, and we’re preparing for the funeral in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Oh, yeah, and I go on “vacation” with my family to Texas in less than two weeks.

I think I’m going to put the honeymoon and wedding entry separate from the “normal” blog entries, so as not to overload the June blog page. ‘Cause this is going to be loooong. Like Sheryl‘s Japan narrative, but not quite.

I called Amy last night to see how she was doing. I guess she’s doing a little better — she’d been planning to try to go back to work today. She’s been home all this past week, tired and weak and kind of in pain. Good thing she didn’t try to make the wedding, cause she would have been miserable.

Well, I guess I’ll go start on the wedding and honeymoon entries, and maybe scan some pics. I don’t have the professional proofs from the wedding yet, but a friend of Aaron’s brought a digital camera to the wedding, so I have some wedding and reception pics, too.

Oh, and don’t feel too bad about Memaw. I’ve already done my mourning, and I will continue to do so tomorrow, but it was expected. Honestly, I’m glad it’s finally over.