I know computers are just machines but they sure no the right time to crash or decide to have issues. IT isn’t when I have a lot of time or am on vacation and care less. No, it is when I have a report due and I have left it to the last second. Really need a file? Disk issues. Need to get to a website? Network issues. Need to find the directions you were sent in an email? Outlook needs to close! This happens far to often at the perfect time for me to believe it is just coincidence. Maybe it isn’t the computer itself but someone at Microsoft, Apple or Dell sitting at a screen watching what we are doing and flipping the switch to self-destruct. I at least hope they are recording it and watching it later or uploading it to YouTube so someone is getting a laugh. I can tell you right now it isn’t me who is laughing.
A brand new Harbor Freight store opened up close to me. I know I shouldn’t buy cheap tools, but I can’t help myself. I walk into the store and I am a kid in a candy store! I would say I need all that stuff but let’s be honest I wouldn’t buy if it wasn’t so cheap. It is too tempting for me. Some of it makes sense, I need disposable gloves and duct tape, perhaps even a hand tool. The problem is I want a welder and a tile saw and….. You get the picture, I can’t walk in without going a little crazy! It isn’t so much that I want to buy cheap tools, it is that I want tools the only ones I can afford are the cheap ones. I would buy Dewalt or all the other brands if my pockets were lined with gold, but right now paying for two kids in college the only thing in my pockets is lint. The only question now is how long I can hold out before I walk in the doors. I am betting it will either be tonight or possibly right after I finish posting this!
I am in an all-day process improvement meeting. These are mind numbing and very tough to stay focused on for the whole day. As a participant I tune out as some long discussion on areas that are not mine. The snacks help for small periods of time but also cause sleepiness. The strong coffee is good but then causes the need for many breaks. While I am writing this a discussion on what to name one step the HR department does has been going on between several people. While I have to be here and this is important for us to get done, being in these is not one of my favorite things. But as much as I don’t want to be here I am really grateful I am not leading this cat herding! Getting a room full of people to focus on a process and figure out what needs to be changed and how we describe it to the rest of the business. There are moments of clarity surrounded by pure chaos. My personality leans toward the chaos side so I would have a hard time bringing myself back to the work, especially on a Friday. It is a skill, one I should probably learn, but not right now, now I need the cookies which are on the far side of the conference room table.
We own a miniature horse. From time to time, just like any other animal we have to call the vet and have them come out and take a look. Last week the vet came out and told us what was going on and gave us some medicine to put on the horse’s hooves. Every night since then my wife and I go out to the barn and I hold the horse by the rope and put the medicine on a sponge brush while she cleans the hooves and then reaches up waiting for me to hand her the brush so she can apply it. While I was waiting the other night I started reading the label of the medicine when I noticed one warning. “Do not use on horses intended for food”! Intended for food? I know that there are things that I eat that I am not reading the label or even restaurants in which I have questioned the meat in the dish, however I might have missed something but I don’t remember horse being on the menu. I think I need to read my chef Boyardee can label a little closer and maybe even skip the mystery can of chili. I am not always a fan of ignorance but in this case I think when it comes to what is in my food I just don’t want to know. After reading that warning to my wife I looked at the horse and reminder her just how lucky she is to be a pet.
When I was in elementary school all the way up to the eight grade I had never ridden in a school bus. I went to catholic school (that one is a whole different blog post, maybe several) and we lived close so we walked to school. Our walk was to the top of our block a left turn and a walk through the orange groves past the public school across the street to our school. In the afternoons it was the same. Groups of us walked together back to our neighborhood each peeling off as we got to our homes. For those of you now horrified, this was normal behavior for kids back then. For those who think it wasn’t safe, I can tell you it wasn’t, but not for the reasons you may think. First was walking past the public school, sometimes rock throwing wars broke out until the playground monitors stopped it. Sometimes the older kids would hide in the orange grove and attack us with oranges, pelting us as we ran. Then there was the first house you came to which had the meanest dog you ever saw. This was before the days of pit bulls but it sure is a giant one in my memory. If the owners, who seemed like high school drop-outs, were out in the garage you knew the dog was out and he would run at us barking as we emerged from the grove. The owners always seemed slow to tell the dog to stop so there were always a few moments which we stood frozen awaiting our fate.
Today this would be someone’s horror story but it taught me how to deal with dogs, confrontation and bigger kids. I learned things don’t always go my way and I am ok with that. Sometimes life is going to hit you with a bunch of oranges. It doesn’t mean you won’t make it home you might just be really messy when you get there.
We all know that person, they are in a position which is way over there head. Somehow they have stayed longer or out survived, like on the island show, everyone else to end up as the one in charge. You have sat in the meeting wondering, “How did this guy or gal get to be the one running this place?” Sometimes they are a nice guy so you think, well it could be worse. Sometimes they are a complete waste of time and you think, are you married or related to someone who owns this company? Other time they are the owner which just makes me angry. I know of great competent people whose companies have folded, and I know others who have no skill at all whose companies thrive. Maybe sometimes the company success has nothing to do with the person, right place at the right time kind of thing. I just hate to see the mean and stupid guys win. I just wish we could say that nice guys finish first, but we all know that ain’t true!
What is it about some days? Weeks can go by with not a blip on the radar. Everyday just like the next without much excitement, and then in one day all hell can break loose! Why can’t all the issues with computers and cars, children and life just spread themselves out so I can deal with them one at a time? My wife used to say to me “do you think I planned all this?” This was especially fun when on the same night we had concerts and potlucks along with doctor visits. There is a flow to life much like a bell curve which goes up and down but never by my will or skill does it change to something I want. I don’t want you to think that I am whining about this, today has been one of those days I could do without, it is merely an observation. I am really ok with a few days of stress as long as they aren’t every day. It isn’t as if I am looking for a perfectly planned and stress free existence that would be boring. No what I pray is that on the days like today the coffee maker still works and that when I get home I still get a hello kiss, of course a little ice cream in the freezer doesn’t hurt either!
My fun this last weekend was staining the outside of my house. Saturday morning I power washed it then spent the rest of the day taping windows so I could spray it on Sunday after church. We had actually started this project last year and got the worst side of the house, the part that the sun beats down on, finished but still had a little over half to do. When we started I had bought 10 gallons of the stain I would need at one of the giant box hardware stores, and wouldn’t you know it but I was about a gallon short of being able to finish the job. So off I run to the local store. I should have known but the local store no longer carries that brand of stain. So off to the other box store, nope, but they can order it online for me. Finally I find the little Ace hardware carries it. I run to the little store only to find they carry it but it isn’t the same as the previous one I got. It has a bright blue lid that says “do not mix with same products without blue lid. So I ask the paint guy what that means, surprise he has no idea. He does mention something about being manufactured in Canada or something, which is of no help. Thank you Cabot brand for putting a 1 800 number on the lid. Turns out to be a low VOC version so it won’t mix but it will work and look the same as what I have already done. I know the paint guy can’t know everything, but come on, don’t make it worse by making something up. I was already stressed out thinking I was going to have a streak of unstained siding. Or worse I would have to get some stain that is “close” but looks different after it dries. I would rather you just tell me you don’t know. I mean I am going to be annoyed with you either way, at least let it be for the truth!
Red Rocks amphitheater is a famed place for concerts here in Colorado. My wife and I had never been to a concert there so we decided to go to a show this week. It is an amazing place and I would recommend going to a show there if you ever get a chance. I have not been to a lot of concerts since we started having kids but I did notice a few things have changed. The first thing I noticed is the goal used to be to watch whoever you went to see perform, the new goal is to take as many selfies and post them as you can within the few hours you are at the concert. Second if you are in the first few rows your goal is to take selfies with the performers or at least with them in the background. The stage at Red Rocks is at ground level so anytime the singer gets to the edge of the stage thirty people rush up turn around and snap a picture of themselves with the performer behind them. I would like to go on record and say that selfies and concerts have official jumped the shark. This was nothing but distracting and rather disturbing. Instead of doing things themselves the new goal is to be seen with someone who is doing something. Let’s call the Kardashing.
So something broke at work. Everything was working fine on Friday but this morning we come in after the long weekend and things just aren’t working. We worked on it all day and night but at 11pm someone needed to be at the office so that lucky person was me. When you are the only person in the office at 3 in the morning there are a few things you notice.
- The music is still playing in the lobby. I don’t know if they forgot but walking from place to place in the building requires me to go through the lobby area and the music is playing away. It sounds a lot louder when no other noises are around.
- Coffee makers in the office with free coffee are Awesome! While I can barely keep my eyes open now the coffee got me back to my home without running my car up a tree on the way home.
- Silence is creepy, I thought for sure I would run into a guard or someone. Nope just me and the weird noises
- The food supply is weak. Unless you brought some change for the candy machine, there just isn’t a lot of snacks around. When I need to stay awake nothing works as well as a big cup of coffee and Fritos or other salty, greasy treat. I mean if I have to be there. Diet maintenance is not on the agenda.