Diary of a SubUrban Housewife


May 11, 2007

Fact or Fiction?

Filed under: Around the Neighborhood,Work Stuff — Beth @ 12:00 am

A sign that allegedly hangs in the Sheriff’s breakroom in Men’s Central Jail:

The inmates have worked out today.  Have you?

January 15, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For

Filed under: All About Me,Work Stuff — Beth @ 2:29 pm

When you have a job, no matter how much you may love it, there are times when you need to take a mental health day. Unfortunately, this has never been an acceptable call-in excuse. So, you are forced to come up with an excuse.

As my sister always said, diarrhea is always an excellent call in reason because no one wants the details.

At one time migraines were a great excuse, but now there are all those medicines that promise immediate relief. So, that formerly fabulous excuse is out the window.

Sick kids are another great one, but since I work from home so much, a sick kid at home is no excuse for not meeting my billable hours.

But the bad thing about calling in “sick” is that I have found that if you spend too much time working on your excuse, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to end up with precisely the ailment you were going to fake.

I called in sick today. Well, I tried to call in, but I couldn’t reach my boss on the phone. So I sent him an e-mail that said: I’m sick. I won’t be in today. Problem solved. No need to make up some excuse.

Well, about 15 minutes ago my work phone rang. I only answered it because my co-worker, who is also my girlfriend was on the line. I told her I was sick. She said, “you don’t sound sick.” So, I told her I had a crashing headache.

I felt fine until about 10 minutes ago.  Now, I have a crashing headache.

January 7, 2007

At Least I Wasn’t Naked

Filed under: All About Me,Work Stuff — Beth @ 10:40 pm

Everyone always talks about that recurring dream where you’re giving your big presentation and you discover your naked. Personally, I have never had this dream. And furthermore, I am comfortable in saying that I’ve never left the house having forgotten my clothing.

Tomorrow morning at a waaaay too early time of day I have a big meeting with many mega honchos at my office. I’ve known about the meeting for at least a week and while it’s important, I’m not particularly nervous about it. And really, I was flattered to be included because they want my input on some important stuff.

However, apparently in my deep subconscious I must be a little tweaky because last night I dreamed that I had arrived at the meeting completely unprepared and was frantically trying to reconstruct my notes making a list of my talking points on a scrap of toilet paper.

December 20, 2006

The Perfect Storm

Filed under: All About Me,Work Stuff — Beth @ 12:27 am

The absolutely most spectacularly worst day you can have goes a little something like this:

1. Wake up sick (yeah, with that thing that everyone has).

2. Find out that an entire pallet of glass panels somehow got “misplaced”.

3. Find out that your Korean manufacturer who produces low-priced furniture isn’t such a bargain after all since they charge you every time you call them; every time they mis-specify product; they cannot tell you when your container ship is going to dock in the US until about 20 minutes before it does, then tell you you have 2 hours to unload the container which is stacked floor to ceiling and side to side with disorganized product or there are charges; that unless you pay them an extra $350 they cannot guarantee your delivery; and that if you want your product delivered the day after Christmas there is a storage fee for five extra days because they have to load the truck on Friday to get it there on Tuesday.

3. Have a huge wind storm causing tree branches to land on the power poles that service your house, resulting in first intermittent power outages, then a full fledged power outage that lasts about an hour and a half (while you’re trying to work from home).

4. Inadvertently reformatting the hard drive on your computer because you’re too much of a ninny to ask your husband what the problem is and why it won’t boot up.

5. Getting a really nasty e-mail from the cheapass client to ordered the cheapass Korean furniture because they keyboard trays they’d had for a week and didn’t bother to tell you about ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE INSTALLED BEFORE 6:00 IN THE MORNING. Oh, and that e-mail will be cc’d to everyone and their uncle. And in that e-mail you’re called incompetent.

6. Going out at 9:00 at night with your husband and daughter in tow so that you can make sure that the fucking keyboard trays that actually made you cry can get installed.

7. Tripping over a chair mat and wrenching your back as you spin to try to avoid smashing your face.

8. Your foreman forgets to tell you that you’re missing about 150 skins for the panels for the cheapass nasty Korean-furniture-ordering-client-who-already-thinks-you’re- incompetent’s project, so there’s no way you can meet an already impossibly tight deadling.

9. Puppy sitting (because you know, when you already have 11 pets what’s one more to keep track of????).

10. Getting your period.

I have to go have a drink now.

August 15, 2006

I (Heart) Technology

Chuck is a techno-slut. Anytime anything new and fabulous is on the market he must have it. Immediately.

I’m a little slower on the techno-uptake. And frankly, I’m a bit lazy. I wait for him to have it and then by extension I have it.

Then there’s the computer issue around here. He is (as has been oft-reported by both here and on his pages), the God Of All Things Computer Related. And I’ll freely admit that having a God in my presence (and his being obligated to do my bidding as part of our marriage vows), I’m a bit lazy when it comes to my own personal technology needs. I do not need to clutter my brain with USB, serial ports, and the like. But, you know, sometimes the Gods get a little cranky and you’re better off just doing things your own damned self.

Early last week, in fact mere hours before Chuck was leaving to go somewhere work-related, I downloaded a file that someone had sent me from the office. I used my desktop (read my own personal computer) versus my laptop because I needed to print whatever it was I was sent. Well, don’t you know, this file (which silly me, I assumed was safe because a) it was a pdf, and b) was from a reliable work source) infected my desktop with some horrible virus that deleted some kind of WIN(SOMETHING).DLL from my operating system thus rendering my desktop virtually useless (or as I liked to refer to it, as a huge paperweight).

I had to wait until Chuck’s return from the hinterlands this past weekend to deal with it. I still have my work laptop to use, but it was altogether a pain in the neck.

Saturday morning, before getting on my knees and grovelling for Chuck to a) find the Windows XP install disk so that he could then b) reinstall Windows AGAIN on my machine, I decided to buy a new CPU.

The thing is, technology is so damned cheap anymore (and I’m absolutely convinced that computer in genreal and CPU’s specifically have about a five year self-life, and my CPU was about five years old) that I decided I would just get a new CPU. I dragged Chuck out on an aborted shopping mission, came home, looked some stuff up online, asked Chuck’s opinion, and went to Circuit City and bought a CPU. In case you care it’s a Compaq Presario 1900 NX.

Frankly, my techno-needs are limited–Microsoft Office Suite, CD burning capabilities, and let me surf the internet and I’m a happy camper. $359 I was a happy camper.

I schlep the box home, unpack it, and decide that instead of grovelling to the local God I’m going to do this myself. I unplug all my old stuff. I plug it all into the new machine. But boo hoo, my keyboard wasn’t working. The CPU came with a new keyboard. I tried that one. Still no worky.

I box it all back up, take it to Circuit City, and exchange it for another new one.

I plug in all my stuff again. Still keyboard no worky. Now I start having fits of the Chuck variety. My God finally came to my rescue and somehow got the keyboard to work. He did admit that at first it wasn’t working for him, so I don’t feel so bad about things.

So, groovy new puter. Loving the keyboard that came with it. Beth’s a happy girl.

But here’s the thing. . .

I have a printer. But it’s a crappy Deskjet color jobby that takes an hour to print each page because I swear it sends the document through the printer cable one stinkin letter at a time. So then my whole system freezes up while the printer labors over a four line e-mail.

And let’s remember that I work from home a lot. And working generally means you have to print things out.

So what I’ve been doing for the last few months is this: do my work on my laptop. E-mail it to my desktop across the room from the laptop. Go to the desktop and download whatever it is that I’m working on. Then I send it to Chuck’s laser printer. Then I have to go down the hall into Chuck’s office and retrieve whatever I’ve just printed, and come back to my office to fax it to someone (or put it in a folder, or whatever else I’m going to do with it).

Now I know you’re asking yourself, why doesn’t she just work from the desktop computer, thus eliminating the need to e-mail stuff to herself? Well, because I have all my work files on the work server that I can only access through my laptop. I’m not a complete ninny.

So Sunday night, in a fit of techno-improvements and otherwise cash-draining activities I ordered a new laser printer for myself. And one of the fabulous things about this printer is that it uses a USB cable. And one of the fabulous things about my new desktop computer is that it has three extra USB ports right on the front of it (so no messy monkeying around to get to the back of the CPU). And one of the fabulous things about my laptop are the two extra USB ports on the back (which doesn’t require near the monkeying around because it’s a laptop).

And because Circuit City online is mostly fabulous, I ordered my new printer (and the requisite cables) at 11:30 Sunday night, and at about 10:30 this morning, a new printer was delivered to my front door. But because Circuit City is only mostly fabulous, the USB cable that I needed to hook up the printer will not arrive for a day or two.

But I toddled down to Circuit City and bought the cable this morning. I can return the one they’re shipping to me, and since I didn’t pay for shipping and it was on sale at the store, I’ll actually end up $3.00 ahead of the game.

Long story short, I hooked up my new printer to my laptop today. I was able to print and send a fax without ever having to remove my butt from my chair. Then an hour later when I wanted to print something critical from my desktop, I switched the cable over to one of the fabulous ports on the front of the CPU. The computer recognized the new hardware immediately and I didn’t even have to fuss with installing printer drivers.

Maybe his Godness is rubbing off on me? I don’t know. But I can assure you I’ve heard a hell of a lot of angel music around here. Technology: Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

July 22, 2006

You Heard it Here First

Filed under: That's Incredible!,Work Stuff — Beth @ 10:32 am

One of the things about my job is that I repeatedly go in an out of a variety of buildings that require you to go through a metal detector.

On Wednesday I was at Superior Court in downtown and was in and out of the building no fewer than five times. Each time I had to put my briefcase and cell phone on the conveyor belt and walk through the metal detector. At least three of those times I beeped (though nothing on my person had changed) and the security guard had to “wand” me.

I’m sure that in about 20 years we’re going to read headlines screaming that these seeminly innocuous metal detectors give off radiation and cause cancer.

Remember: you heard it here first.

May 18, 2006

Going Back

Filed under: All About Me,Work Stuff — Beth @ 6:48 pm

I had lunch today with a former business associate. This former associate happens to actually manage building I used to work in, so after lunch, finding myself with all day validated parking (a $35 value, thankyouverymuch), and looking cute (no accident there I can assure you), I decided to pay a visit to my former co-workers.

When I decided to do visit–which I wasn’t sure I was going to do until I actually approached the elevator bank, the first thing I thought, naturally, was if I could possibly lose 30 pounds before I made it from the lobby to the 8th floor. After pretty much ruling that out, I reapplied my lipstick, checked my hair, and stepped forth into my past.

Within less than a minute of my arrival, who showed up at the reception area but my old boss, the asshat. Naturally he was rushing to do some really important corporate bidding, but our greeting was cordial. I then spent the next hour or so visiting former friends and co-workers.

Everyone asked how I was, commented on how great I looked, and asked how the new job was going. I will tell you that I positively gushed about the fabulousness that is my life, post-corporate-drone.

Yes, I love my job. Yes, my boss is great. My clients? I rattled off the names of my most prestigious ones, naturally. But the best part…yes, I go in the office, about two half days a week. Yes, I work from home. Yes, it’s great. Yes, I’m enormously happy. Yes, Zoe gets bigger every day. Yes, Chuck is doing well. Yes, he still travels, but not as much as he used to. Yes, we’re just back from 10 days in Curacao.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

And while I have been very mindful of appreciating all the great things this last year has brought, in the way of personal and professional satisfaction, happiness, and growth on a near-daily basis, it really brought it all home to me today.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

So thank you.

January 31, 2006

Term of Art

Filed under: Work Stuff — Beth @ 7:56 pm

I learned a new technical term today: SWAG: Scientific Wild Ass Guess.

Feel free to add it to your personal lexicon. Yeah, I’m a giver.

January 5, 2006

Three Hots and a Cot

Filed under: Work Stuff — Beth @ 4:03 pm

One of my accounts is the Sheriff’s Department here. They seem like a nice enough group of people…but I was a little concerned I was going to get shot when I had to call the commander (or whatever his official job title is) of a particular station I was scheduled to be out at this week and tell him that the dates I had his installation scheduled for were not the ones the salesperson told him and as a result we were going to be out there two days later than he expected. At the end of the day I did not get shot and we agreed upon the new date: today.

The thing about doing the sheriff’s stations is that many (or maybe it’s all) of them apparently have jails attached to them. But, we’ve been told by the salesperson (yes, the same one who gave the client the wrong install date) that they would not require any kind of clearances or background checks since we weren’t going to the jail area, but to the administrative offices.

Well, imagine my surprise when I get a call from the foreman on my sheriff’s job this morning and he tells me that when the crew checked in they ran everyone’s ID, and one of my installers was arrested, on the spot, for an open warrant.

How much does that suck?!?

August 19, 2005

Work–A Four Letter Word

Filed under: Work Stuff — Beth @ 7:12 pm

I’ve been very quiet on the subject of work lately. The thing is, the work thing has been incredibly complicated.

On the one hand I love my fellow co-workers and the company I work for. On the other hand I was a dedicated contractor stationed full time at THE CLIENT FROM HELL. The nicest thing I can say about the woman who was my client was that she was consistent in her inconsistency. I could say a lot of really hateful things about her, but what would be the point of that?

There were nights I’d come home in tears and have to literally wash the stink of her off me.

Finally on Tuesday I’d had all I could take and called into the office to talk to someone. Anyone. I called the senior account manager, in tears. She said she’s phone right back with our HR director. Instead my boss, the director of project management phoned.

Between tears and moments of lucidity I told him what had been going on–something Chuck had been urging me to do for weeks. He was very kind and reassuring and told me he’d be in touch.

Wednesday passed without a word. I was getting nervous. Being stationed out in the hinterlands I’d hoped that I hadn’t been forgotten.

On Thursday he called and said they’re taking me off the account–effective immediately.

The thing is, I was hired to work specifically on this account. I had a lot of the skills the client claimed she wanted (none of which were used), but my skills in other areas were light (to say the least) and those seem to be what she needed. Skills I do not (and never claimed to) possess, and the personality of a spineless ragdoll who was willing to be a victim. To sum it up, not me.

But as I said they were taking me off the account. So I was feeling a bit of a failure (to say the least), and more than a little nervous. Would I still have a job?

My boss assured me (because I asked point blank) that I did, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would become of me. I was to report to the home office today to develop a plan.

I spent most of last night in various states of angst and depression. Should I have just sucked it up and continued with the abuse? Not really my style. I was facing total job insecurity and unemployment. It was not a pretty picture.

So I put my brave face on this morning and drove down to the office. I figured whatever happened would be just fine. If I was going to be fired I’d take a couple of weeks off and then start sending out resumes. I could always get a temp job as a secretary.

Well…I had a long talk with my boss this morning. They’re going to put me into heavy duty training and a mentoring program. All the skills they knew I didn’t have when they hired me will be mine in a matter of months. I’m going to work with one-on-one with one of the senior project managers. I’ll handle multiple smaller installs and projects to start with and then move on to bigger and better.

So I’m feeling pretty good about things once again.