Friday, September 30, 2011

9-30-11 The Manitou Arcade Night

What better way to unwind after end of month than a girls' night out at the Manitou Springs arcade? Having a sleepover at Deana's and tomorrow morning after breakfast we will head for Cripple Creek and the peak of the golden aspens :)
Thanks blogger for refusing to publish with pictures added. Blogging from a phone is not quite as fun.

Back on the laptop, pictures from the arcade:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9-29-11 Batman Homer

Highlights of the day:

1. Hearing from several good friends per the post yesterday.

2. Finishing those freaking certification tests.

3. Making soup for dinner -- at 5:00 p.m. is it currently 66°

4. Having Sammi come home for lunch every day this week because she wants to hang out with mom (ok, and she doesn't have to eat PB&Js)

5. Watching Joe Versus the Volcano with Sammi this evening while working, getting to that wonderful part about the fluorescent lights, and, when Joe is packing up to leave his horrible office, he pulls out copies of books, Robinson Crusoe, Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey -- all nods to little touches throughout the film -- and at this point, Sammi pipes up, "Oh! I've got to get a copy of that!"

Me: The Odyssey?

Sam: Yes.

Me: Ok, which edition?

Sam: Batman.

Me: Batman?

Sam: Yes.

Failing to suppress a giggle, and having one of those eureka moments, I say, "You mean Bantam? The publisher?"

Sam: (dead embarrassed look on her face) "This is Dad's fault."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9-28-11 This is the part where I run screaming to the liquor cabinet

Rant ahead. Seriously. Get out now if you know what's good for you.

A few months back I signed up for a brand new warranty class for my car line (which shall remain anonymous since this rant could get very, very ugly) that was specifically designed for warranty administrators beyond the basic knowledge stuff they already had available.

I flew in to California, met other warranty admins, most of whom admitted to be envious of being able to work from home, and the training was actually really well done. Vinny, from Jersey, who audits this manufacturer's warranty claims, led the class and was an invaluable resource. I flew home feeling like it was time well spent.

Then I spent the rest of the weekend working my tail off to get caught up on all my dealers because I'd been out for the better part of three days and, even though I'd logged in
1. all morning before my flight (4 hours)
2. the next morning before training (2 hours)
3. the hour of lunch at training, working alone in the training room while everyone else went out to lunch
4. four hours in the hotel the night after training (which made for 7 hours of work plus 8 hours of training in one day)
5. four hours after I got home from the flight and before I needed to get to Samantha's singing of the National Anthem at homecoming on Friday

I still put in 6 hours on Saturday and almost 8 hours on Sunday.

Counting the 12 hour day I logged the Tuesday before training to make up for daring to enjoy Monday off with Courtney, that comes to a total of 41 hours Tuesday through Sunday, a full work week in addition to having one day off, one day of training, and two days of travel.

I went to bed Sunday night feeling accomplished.

I was going to wake up Monday morning and be on top of every dealer here for the end of the month rush.

Monday morning however I find myself working a 40 page schedule for a dealer who routinely needs tons of work on their claims and thus has money sitting all over the place that has to be controlled back to accounts. In other words, I spent the majority of the day doing tedious accounting work and this put all my other dealers behind. I worked 12 hours Monday and still couldn't get it all done. During this day, I also discover that training modules that were supposed to have been completed by someone else have not been completed and he's not going to have the time to do them after all . . .  but there's only a few left. The problem is, I couldn't do them in the first place because they are video modules and the sound will not work on my remote connection. I am told something will be worked out for me by Tuesday so I can hear and not attempt to lip-read information that is required to pass the tests at the end. These modules are required to be completed by Sept. 30 or the dealer loses out on bonus money for the entire year.  . . . which is why when I was alerted to this need over two weeks ago I thought I had arranged the completion of them far ahead of the deadline. I now will have the rest of this week, which is the end of the month and the busiest time for every dealer, to get through four tests on how to sell particularly expensive models of this car line.

Yes, sell.

In their infinite wisdom, this manufacturer has dictated that to be "certified" in my job as warranty administrator, things like the advanced warranty seminar I attended last week don't count, but being able to walk around a $150,000 automobile and sell features like option code 486 for a 10% stiffer spring rate (insert dirty joke here) is required. And yes, that was actually a test question.

Tuesday morning I wake up and tackle the stuff I simply could not get to the night before because my eyes felt like they were bleeding. From 7:30 to 6:00 I knock out everything on my docket . . .  except those stupid tests. Come 1:30 I am alerted a work-around has been arranged. Finishing out the dealer I was in, at 2:00 I attempt to launch the first module. And . . . I am lip reading again. Something is wrong with the sound. And the person who could fix it is on a flight and will get to it as soon as he can. While I don't hear back on this, I do manage to actually finish out every dealer by 6:00. After the 60 something hours of work in a week's span, I really needed to actually go have a life last night and do some shopping with Sammi.

So this morning, I get back at it and log in to the new work-around system to discover that, even though I hadn't heard back, magic has occurred and there is now sound. So about 8:30 after finishing out some other things I have to do first thing in the morning, I launched the first of those "just four tests" left, the sales module for the car line's most expensive offering. Hint: the carbon ceramic brake disk option will only run you an additional $12,000.  This module took . . .  wait for it . . .


And I had to take notes. Inane notes on the obscure history of the door style and the racing lineage, and other crap that has ABSOLUTELY FREAKING NOTHING TO DO WITH MY JOB.

Meanwhile, because I can't just listen and work on something else, all my others dealers' work piles up.

You have to sit through every portion of every module before they let you take the test. There's no skipping.

So by lunch, I had finished out ONE test.

Even better, the work-around computer does not appear to have very much RAM because the buffering and playback glitches went on and on and grew worse and worse.

By the second sales model module, I had to ask to have the computer restarted because the whole thing locked up.

And now, at 6:00 this evening, I have completed exactly three of the four tests. And I still have a good 6 hours of work I should have been doing piled up. Work that actually pays the bills instead of useless information I will never, ever need to do my job.

And . . . wait for it . . .

Checking the transcript for certification, it appears the list I was presented with at the outset was incomplete. There is ANOTHER test waiting to be completed in addition to the last sales module I could not finish because the video dropped out every five seconds, buffered for five seconds, dropped back in for five seconds, dropped back out. . . . for hours  . . . until the whole thing locked up yet again.

I found this out only after calling and conferring with my manager who got into the connection and looked at the transcript that would not load for me. For some reason, it loaded fine for her. Which leads us to believe, the video modules would have played much easier there, too.

The plan is to try running them from her computer tomorrow and actually getting all the way to the test, at which point we will google ourselves silly trying to pass the thing. But for now, we're calling it a night.

I should also mention I have been and continue to be sick, sneezing myself silly, unable to breath, and generally just not quite right with the world. It may be that after 41 years, I am actually allergic to something in the air. Add to this some personal questions about who my real friends are and whether I'm, at bottom, a good friend to others, in the fog of taking cold meds, trying to not take cold meds, and working non-stop and . . . . I.need.a.stiff.drink.

But I have work to do.

And more tests to take tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011


September sunsets must be competing with the foliage this time of year. Next Saturday is the trip to the aspens for their last golden hurrah. Today was a lot like yesterday: catching up on all the house chores and work that got behind while I was in California. Not terribly exciting, but getting it all done so Monday doesn't have to be such a Monday is worth it.
Saturday, September 24, 2011

9-24-11 Homecoming

Homecoming Time! Sam and friends went as a group and posed for pictures before going out to eat. Sammi decided to talk some of the other girls into wearing their chucks instead of heels. 1) Heels hurt after 5 minutes and 2) ThunderRidge doesn't let the girls wear their heels on the gym floor where the dance is held because it leaves marks so you have to get your toes stepped on in your bare feet all night. Oh, and 3) They're just cool.

And . . .  another awesome sunset tonight.

Friday, September 23, 2011

9-23-11 Over the Mountains

Goodbye California, maybe next time we can get to know each other a little better.

But I've never had the occasion to fly over the mountains before. So I was excited that I had an aisle seat this time. This is somewhere over Utah.

Someone needs to create an application that can talk you through your flight -- what you are over, what you see below, etc.

And as we flew over Colorado, the gold began to accumulate down below. 

Back on the ground, Blucifer says hello.

No place like Colorado, from the air or down below. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9-22-11 Work Day

 the view from my hotel room this morning

 the obligatory palm tree shot

*** 9 to 5 training***
no pictures, but actually productive, helpful, training. How refreshing!


and since I am in California, I felt I had to try the famous In and Out Burger for dinner

At the drive through, since the burgers are cooked to order and you wait awhile, I was able to watch the girl take potato after potato through the slicer and get put into the fryer. No frozen bags or preservatives here. The strawberry shake was very tasty. The Double Double? Okay. I'd still choose Whataburger over it any day. I will say they aren't chintsy on the ketchup.

And . . .  then it was back to work for the rest of the evening so I'm not so far behind when I get home tomorrow. It's a glamorous life, right?