Friday, December 01, 2006

The deadline thing

I have had deadlines before, and I will have them again. I like deadlines. They give me a clear idea of how much time I have to complete a given task, and by lining up my deadlines I am able to schedule tasks and steps clearly. Open ended projects scare me. They can go on forever and grow and grow and grow like a cartoon snowball, just waiting to roll down a stack of paperwork and flatten 'ya. Or something. One of my deadlines was not yet looming. In fact, the project would not come due until right before Christmas. I was comfortable with that, the stages were going well and I was on track. I had just looked over my schedule and was thinking that I might even have enough time to do some tweaks to make it just that much more special. It is always nice to be able to do EXTRA, and not be so busy with complicated jobs that you just barely squeak across the finish line. Sure, my work is solid and thorough. But I need every minute of that assignment to complete it that way. Any extra time is just gravy. We all know what happens when you look at something and think OUT LOUD that it is going along swimmingly. That is right. The karma gods perk right up, they do. They SCOFF at the thought you might be comfy and doing well. They are professional scoffers, those karma gods. And their work is also solid and thorough, and they are not afraid to work overtime to put you in your place when you seem happy-go-lucky about your progress. They do not enjoy happy-go-lucky at all. This time I did not escape it. My deadline MOVED. That's right. It was MOVED. What I thought I had a month to complete was now due in less than TWO DAYS. Not "try to get it done" or "do what you can" or "we will take whatever is finished". Nope, D. U. E. I am a fast typist. We are talking crazy fast. We are talking insane movements of hand over a keyboard. Spastic to be sure, and I only use like two fingers on my right hand and maybe four on my left. No home row for this chicky-poo. And my WPM measures about 145 when I get going and you factor out any errors. This is typing from my head, mind you. The information flow from mind to fingers is very quick. If I am copying something it is lower because I tend to watch the screen as I type (not my hands) and I get a little turned around if I have to look at a page. Not sure if I am a lefty or a righty, I never know where to put the paper so I can see it and the screen comfortably. And most of the stuff I had to do was brain-to-fingers type stuff plus a little cutting and pasting. Still, I was pretty much as screwed as a person could get. Typing at my top speed and sitting at the computer for 48 complete hours, taking no breaks (not even food or bathroom trips) there was still no way I could finish in time. Never mind the OTHER deadlines I was stepping on during that marathon. If I miss a deadline I don't get credit for ANY of the work done on that project. My pay and bonuses are directly related to credits from deadlines. The pay and bonuses of my department and Supervisor and Manager are also directly related to credits from deadlines of their underlings (that would be me, among others). They are not happy when deadlines are missed, never mind you rarely miss any and sometimes it cannot be helped. And this was a BIG sucker. Year long projects are worth a LOT of credits. Up the "crick" without a paddle, my friends (creek, I know I know, but that voice in my head always says "crick"). This situation was about to break me. There are other unsurities going on at work right now that are making me nervous. And this is not the time of year to add more pressure to me, since Christmas means family gatherings and family gatherings breed anxiety and piling anything on top of that could cause a major crash (or eruption, depending). Then the miracle happened. I stopped caring about the end result and just focused on the work. I figured I would get as far as I could and hand in whatever I could as complete as I could. Sure, some modules and components would be missing but at least I did my best, right? And you know what? I FINISHED IT. And ON TIME, I might add. Miracles do happen. And I thought my family was going to be upset with me because I basically ignored their presence for two solid days. But this morning they let me sleep in, and brought me breakfast in bed. Pancakes. I won't say it out loud. The karma gods might hear.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lost blog

Seeing as I have written and lost the blog twice today, I think I will bow to the forces of the universe and wait to blog tomorrow. Some days it is best to just go with the karmic flow, ya know?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fashionably late

It wasn't until I had started eating dinner that I realized - I forgot to blog today! It was such a busy day with appointments, deadlines, school visits, and DH is on afternoons so that always makes a day busier because that guy is high maintenance. Look at this, what is this, where is this, how do I do that. Sheesh. What shall I blog about? Our delicious dinner of boxed mac and cheese and hotdogs hardly seems worthy (nor was it delicious but I am allowed to take some poetic license, aren't I?). Nor does the three appointments I had today. One was therapy but was the same old same old and nothing ever changes so nothing interesting there. Then a dermatologist appointment to check some spots, which I was told are officially "spots" and "seem harmless". Well, it is nice to know they aren't going to suddenly try to kill me in my sleep. After all, isn't that what they mean when they tell us to keep an eye on our moles? What else could we be watching for? The last was to get a quote for "detailing" my car. My car smells funny. If funny really means "like the decomposing flesh of a stink alien", that is. It started not too long ago, and smells like something died in there. I have checked to make sure an errant grocery item didn't roll under the seat or get lost in the trunk. Nothing has been spilled, and I haven't murdered anybody in there.....recently anyhow. Those of you who are tempted to ask the neighbours if they have seen my DH recently are NOT funny and that type of behaviour is not helping anything. I looked under the hood to see if some hapless creature met it's demise in the engine parts, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I have high hopes that a good shampoo and a thorough cleaning will either unearth the mystery, or eradicate the smell. One can only hope that I am not trapped in a bad episode of Seinfeld. There were several things for work I had to have completed today, and I got them all done in time (by the skin of my lovely brace-straightened teeth I might add). This was no small feat, because two of them I had completely forgotten about. Have I mentioned I absolutely love electronic scheduling programs? It doesn't even matter which one. The fact that I can type stuff in and have something remind me to do it is just so cool. And I don't even have to pay a secretary! Wouldn't you hate to be my secretary anyway? I wouldn't work for me. Who wants to work for a person that rattles paper at you and shouts "DEADLINE" every time you ask a question. And I bet I don't even buy good "Secretary day" gifts. Then again, you would never catch me having my wife pick something up for your Christmas gift. Mostly because I don't have a wife, and let's just say DH's shopping isn't reliable. We met with DD's teacher to try and deal with some stuff going on, and it was a complete and utter waste of time. Although we did get a chance to see DD break a rule, and act snotty when she was caught. Hoo boy, that did not go over well. As I type this there is a very sullen child sitting next to me, staring at a dark and cold TV set eating a dinner she didn't want. And after that she will have a bath she doesn't want and go to bed early which is NEVER wanted. On a good note, we got her report card and her grades are much improved over last year. I sent DH to PetSmart to get bird supplement. I gave him the empty tube, explained where to find it in the bird section (right across from the cages full of screeching cockatiels) and even gave him money. He came back with bird supplement - for BUDGIES. Frankie is a CANARY. So I sent him back. This time he arrived with the correct bird food, and two packages of dog treats. You all have seen my dog. Does she look emaciated and in need of extra food treats? One can only assume they had a scantily clad, large breasted woman working at the display for these new treats. You want to sell my husband something? Send in a half naked woman with big boobs. He'll buy just about anything. The woman doesn't even have to be especially attractive. I know, doesn't say much for me. But I know the truth, even if it hurts. Then we played twenty questions while he baked a frozen lasagne. There are only four steps on the package. Preheat oven. Remove from box. Bake lasagne for x number of minutes. Remove from oven. One can only assume the next forgotten step involves actually eating the thing, but why complicate things with hypotheticals. How a man can come up with so many questions about such a simple thing I will never know. Remember that paper shaking and deadline shouting? I did a lot of that today. It was not effective. After he left for work I practically needed a nap. Tonight I plan on getting some serious knitting done, so I might have some pics for you tomorrow!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Building character

I am telling you, I had no idea a simple lace scarf could be such a character building experience. Because this darn scarf is still not done and getting even more unpleasant to knit. Especially after working with GOOD yard. I thought that rewarding myself with an enjoyable knit (multidirectional scarf with SWS) in between repeats of this soul sucking tangle of thread, that I could trick myself into finishing it. Sigh. It kind of backfired, because SWS is so nice to work with (yes, it is fuzzy and splitty and has knots but I love love love it). I have about twelve repeats to go, and a whack of garter stitch. I considered abandoning it yet again, but somebody came along and gushed over it, and said it was PERFECT for her and blah blah blah. Knitting this scarf is kind of like shoveling snow and eating brussels sprouts. Nobody really wants to do it but it has to be done, and it's best to just get it overwith as quickly as possible, yet that is so hard to do when faced with a steaming pile of stinky green-gray death on a plate. Just so you know, I have come to terms with the little cabbage thing and actually like them now (cooked properly, of course). And I kind of like shoveling snow because it gives me an excuse to play outside. But for illustration purposes, these two examples are pretty right on. We got a little christmas shopping done. And apparently I look more threatening than I thought. We were looking for a certain game, not sure if the store was sold out or simply never had it in stock. Another woman was looking for the same game, and I quipped "Watch, we'll find ONE and have to fight for it". She said Oh, it's not worth fighting for, I would just give it to you and let out a nervous laugh. So we looked. DH saw her high tail it out of the aisle but thought maybe she just gave up. We finally gave up as well, and on our way out of the store we saw her, and GUESS WHAT WAS IN HER CART. I said "Excuse me!". She turned and looked at me, with absolute terror in her eyes. "Where did you find it? Can I just look at the front so I know what I am looking for?". She kind of held it up, then quickly said she found it lying in another aisle (it isn't the only thing that was lying *cough cough*) and took off, almost running while pushing the cart. DH was busting up laughing, and wouldn't tell me why until we got to the car. "Don't you realize? You basically threatened her. She was scared to death. I thought she grabbed something fast off the shelf, she must have found the last one". So there you have it. There is a woman out there scared to death of me, and will probably relive the trauma every time her child plays that game. For the rest of the day DH teased me that I am mean looking and people are afraid of me. I kept saying, in a perplexed voice "How can you be scared of somebody in a technicolour knitted coat for goodness sake? I look more feeble minded than dangerous". Last night while watching tv, we both went for the last cracker. And he pretended to be all scared and offered it to me, saying "Please don't hurt me, lady! You can have the cracker!". Then he quickly shoved it in his mouth and ran like hell. Apparently he still thinks it is all very funny. Then, we went to a discount store to return a pair of slippers DD got for her birthday from DH's aunt. They were way too small, and while DD doesn't wear slippers we just wanted to exchange them for a bigger pair. I did not ask his aunt for the reciept, the name of the store was right there on the packaging. I figured since I was just exchanging there wasn't any big deal. I figured wrong. You see, it never occured to me to put them in a bag. I don't have a bag from their store, after all. So we just carried them in, right to the customer service counter. She had us pegged for shoplifters the minute we walked in. I got a lecture about returning items. Always in a bag (any bag) and always with a receipt. I told her I just wanted a bigger pair, not a refund. She grudgingly said to go look for a larger pair. Well, they didn't have any larger in that style, so we found another pair that cost slightly more, in her size and in a better colour. When we went back, she was gone and had the slippers behind the counter in a box for restocking, but not as a return. In other words, she thought we were trying to scam the store out of a three dollar pair of slippers. I was not especially impressed. The next 20 minutes or so were quite unpleasant, but eventually resulted in speaking with the manager and getting the second pair of slippers and just paying the difference (which is what we intended, wasn't it?). And the manager announced, quite loudly, at the end of the transaction "Since you didn't have a receipt, I can't give you one now" and RIPPED IT UP! Dh saw the look on my face and took off, knowing there was going to be something ugly going on in a moment. He would not have been disappointed, had he stayed to observe. You see, I personally don't shop at this store because it's location is not convenient to me, and frankly the place is a disorganized mess and most of the items are irregular, expired (or close to expiration) or damaged. But an organization I know DOES use this store. On a quarterly basis they spend a large sum of money on kids clothes, boots, toys, and other items to donate to local charities. And guess who is on the committee that decides WHERE they spend that lump sum of money to buy the goods? And guess which store was already hanging by a thread because their wares are getting worse and worse, and let's face it - donating cheap junk is not the most noble of ventures, is it? We were already debating a change in supplier, and this little transaction tipped the scales in another direction. In my humble opinion, they would have been better to simply deny the exchange/return (citing they have a high instance of fraud), rather than treat us like criminals and embarass us publicly. After all, there are cameras every two feet. If they really wanted to know if we took the slippers off the shelf and were trying to pull something over on them, there were other ways to deal with it. As for myself, I can reliably say I will NEVER EVER be back in there again. And just in case the manager sees this - if I were going to pull a switcharoo to get the return money, I would have taken something that costs more than three dollars, you asshole. There. I said it.