Words of Wisdom
My job isn't hard. I build software. Essentially, I listen, I think, and I type. I create something from nothing that makes other peoples lives better. I'm proud of that. Most people think I'm good at what I do. I do enjoy doing it.
But some days work is not so good. I'm a limited resource, with many people requesting my service. Those people often have conflicting needs that is my job to manage. Their expectations are not always met despite my efforts, and often they don't understand the work required to to the job.
The struggling economy has made the situation worse. Everyone is pressing. Everyone is trying to get their objectives met to increase sales, or reduce costs to make the profit and loss lines move to their optimum trajectories. Stress levels are high and the urgency is extreme.
Problem is, all those lines, objectives and strategies seem to intersect all in my cubicle. I feel like the Andrea Gail in the eye of the perfect storm. And that movie didn't have a happy ending.
I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels the pressure, but it's not universal. I saw a perfectly sane co-worker get really unprofessional with someone who wasn't pulling their weight.
But then we are hit with an across the board 10% cut in pay, and told of a new "furlough" week in June to go along with the forced vacation week already scheduled in July.
Business is way down - I realize that. The company is doing everything it can think of to survive in this economy. And frankly, the fact that I am still employed is a blessing - many others in this economy haven't fared nearly as well.
But the fact that we are busting our butts for fewer and fewer rewards is not a way to build employee morale.
However, on Tuesday of this week, a series of events really put things into perspective for me.
Marie had a meeting at a downtown church at 5:30 I met her there to exchange the kids. Next to a the church was a local Memorial Park with a number of displays honoring those who have given their lives in the support of our country. Somehow, my issues at work seem insignificant in comparison.
That is perspective.
Happy Memorial Day to all those who served our country.
I think she's on to me
I think Sara is starting to adapt to my tricks.
Eggo waffles are one of the few things the kids agree on for breakfast. But recently Sara has come to the conclusion that the edges of the waffle are not edible.
"Just f'n great" I say to myself. Like we needed *another* food aversion from my kids.
So to combat this, I slice the waffle up in smaller pieces and mix them up. Now the edges are nearly indistinguishable from the normal pieces. WIN DAD!
But today she asks for her waffle to remain in a circle.
I'm going to need a bigger boat.
My Message Is Not Getting Through
Sometimes I get upset with the kids for things they do. Because it really doesn't happen very often, they often don't react immediately. In my parental myopic belief that my kids are basically good and not manipulative, my opinion is that I don't think they immediately recognize when I'm being serious.
Today Sara was working on a project coloring with felt-tip markers on the floor. Our floor is wood. I was not in the room watching.
Later I returned to the room to find markings on the floor. The hair started to stand up on my neck as neatness (actually lack of neatness) with markers has in the past been a source of disciplinary action. So when I saw markings on the floor I thought that "bad daddy" would need to make an appearance.
Me: "Sara! There are green markings on the floor. What did we tell you about using markers?"
Sara: "That's not green Daddy, it's blue."
Thoughts on the Inauguration
I stayed home from work this morning to watch the coronation inauguration of President Obama. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Wow, that's a lot of people.
- Being led to the stand by Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi's got a grin on her face that doesn't seem real - almost like Jack Nicholson's Joker from the Batman movie.
- Walking in, the future President looks nervous. Doesn't seem like the same guy to me.
- Feinstein is the Master of Ceremonies? I wonder how she got elected to that job?
- Rick Warren's invocation was not very good. Seemed more like a speech than a prayer.
- Aretha Franklin's outfit was pretty outlandish. But I like her outfit much better than her rendition of "My Country 'tis of Thee". Why can't they just sing it straight?
- Chief Justice John Roberts screws up the oath. You'd think he would have practiced before hand. The odd thing is that Obama recognized it immediately, and didn't know what to do. Should he say it like Roberts told him to, or say what he rehearsed?
- Obama's speech was nice. He hit on some good topics I can get behind - making government more efficient, protecting the country from our enemies and reaching out to those who think we hate them. Not likely the most memorable speech he has given - There were many other speeches he gave on the campaign that seemed more inspiring.
- I'm sure Elizabeth Alexander, the inaugural poet worked on every single word. But did she have to read it like she wanted people to savior every one with a staccato delivery?
- Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction was nice. Some humour, but it sounded like a prayer that wasn't preachy.
- Watching Dick Cheney have to attend these ceremonies in a wheel chair must have been humiliating. I was sorry to see that. Back in 2000 I had actually wanted Cheney for the big chair and Bush for VP. I thought he was more qualified.
- Watching Obama and Bush exiting through the Capitol building I thought was the most interesting scene. Bush had a smile on his face - I have to imagine it was like I felt on my last day of college.
- On the flip side, Obama looked like the weight of what had just happened had finally landed on his shoulders. The whole world is looking to him to bring the US economy back on track, improve the standing of the US in the eyes of the international community. The expectations are enormous.
I didn't vote for him. I disagree with some of his proposed policies. I'm concerned about his approach to spend us back into a vibrant economy and how it's all going to get paid for.
But success will benefit us all. And while his travel plans may be different that what I'd prefer, getting safely to the destination is the overall goal.
Congratulations President Obama and God Bless the United States of America.
Smackdown by an 8 year old
I've got an "itchy" spot on my upper back right between my shoulder blades. For some time now I've been apply some steroid cream to it to quell the itchiness.
My employer does not test for steroids, so I'm ok on that front.
This morning, Garrett was in the bathroom with me while I bent my arm to apply the cream my back.
He looked at me and said "What's that Daddy, hair care product?".
Memories of my Youth: Realities of my Present
One of Sara's playmates had her 7th birthday party this weekend. This party was at an old-fashioned roller skating rink. The rink was closed to the public during "party time" and since we were the only party planned, our group of 15 kids and related adults had the place to ourselves.
Growing up, the family of a girl in my neighborhood owned the local skating rink - I think it was Skateland. Leslie was one of those long-term neighborhood kids that I went to school with from Kindergarten all the way through high school (I think there were 13 of us as measured at our 25 year HS reunion). Of course Leslie was a prize winning skater, but because we were all friends, outings to Skateland were regular. I was a pretty decent skater in those days.
On Saturday, all those memories came flooding back. The disco ball, the snack bar, skate rental, DJ music, and the illusion of cool. Missing was the teen angst, and raging puberty hormones - but I really didn't "miss" those.
So, on with the rental skates and out on the floor I go. After some initial trouble, I did get some of those feelings back, and gradually felt more comfortable out on the floor - bouncing to the rhythms of the music, crossing over on the turns, pinching the fannies of the girls (just ones I'm related to now).
Can you see what's coming next?
I think it was a 4.2 on the Richter Scale.
Coming off the skating floor on to the carpeted non-skating area gravity seemed to wake up at the comedic potential of a heavy, 44-year old with too much confidence. Suddenly my feet sped up, and my torso slowed down and I disappeared behind the wall.
If someone had been watching me, I can only imagine how funny it would have looked. Something like Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff. There he is. And in an instant: There he isn't.
Thankfully, there was no serious damage - to me or the facility. Nobody saw me fall (either that or nobody laughed out loud to my face) so my pride is in tact. The swelling on my wrist has finally begun to go down and my back and neck are stiff, but workable. I suppose it was my ego that took the biggest hit - that and those fond memories of the skating rink.
Here are a few photos of the newest addition to the family.. Frisco.
Frisco was adopted from the Oregon Humane Society on September 21, 2008, about three hours after I left for San Francisco (hence the name).
Frisco is a year and six months old, and appears to be an Alaskan Eskimo breed. There isn't any firm assurance that the dog is a pure Eskimo, but if not, he's very close. His fur is white, and he has a very sweet demeanor.
I was initially very against a dog - mostly due to puppy behavior issues and our general lack of follow-through on things we promise to do. Our last dog, Cairo, was a dominant puppy and was next to impossible to train. We gave him up to Basenji rescue soon after Garrett was born.
Honestly, I'm not really sure what changed my mindset. I guess most of the issues I had with a dog were eliminated with him. His age, his size, the characteristics of the breed, maybe the picture on the Humane Society web page. All those facts made me suggest to Marie that she should check him out. It was sort of like when Marie suggested "you should build a layout", and $4000 later I had a train layout. When I got to my hotel there was a message on my cell phone regarding the "new addition", my reaction was "oh boy, what have I done?"
Frisco has lots of good characteristics. He is only 19 months old, 15 1/2 pounds, neutered, and is past most of the puppy stage. He is already showing signs of understanding some basic commands. He is house-trained (at least so far), sleeps in a crate at night, is very comfortable in the car (he stays in the back seat), and has shown a nice calm submissive behavior. He doesn't bark much (except when playing or somebody comes to the front door), and doesn't seem to shed much. We do have his hair cut quite short, a status we will probably maintain.
He does also bear a real similarity in physical appearance with Cairo. Almost the same size, similar curled up tail, long nose and runs really fast.
The adoption papers do not indicate any behavioral issues. If we can believe what we read, he was a great dog, the owners for whatever reason did not have the space to keep him.
Even though I was not here for the acquisition, the dog has showed no issues towards me, and is acclimating himself into the family very well. The dog has not quite bonded totally with the kids yet, and seems almost a little afraid of me. He is certainly friendly with them, but hasn't really become snuggly with them. I'm sure it will come because he certainly likes the attention.
Sara was dying to have a pre-school year sleepover, just to celebrate the end of summer.
We went along with it.
Everybody who was invited made it, and we ended up with 11 kids ranging from 6 to 8 years old - 8 girls, 3 boys.
They made some crafty thing, decorated cupcakes, and then made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
Honestly, it was great fun.
Miscarriage of Justice