Day 2

This has been a week.  This has been a year and it is only March!  Yikes!

Today’s challenges – attempting to convince a corporate IT guy that it is okay to technically break the rules, because my boss said so.  Yea, that went about as far you might think it would or should.  Why do we have all of these processes and procedures if all it takes is a handshake agreement to get a ‘pass’?

I don’t care and none of this would be bothering me if it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my workload!  I am not one of those people sitting on a lackadaisical job here.  The woman who reminds me a minimum of 3 times per week to do a task that I have been doing religiously for almost 5 years – she has a lackadaisical job, but I digress.

These are the things that delay my progress in onboarding a new team member.  I reiterate, my process works as long as you dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”.  Folks there are no shortcuts.  Every step is there for a reason.  Each task has a prerequisite.  If you skip one or the other, or take a left instead of a right, that will cause a delay in your processing toward productivity.

I digressed again.  I think this is bothering me so much because this delay in processing is really putting a crimp in my week.  If we had followed the process, we would be done.  I would be able to focus on my personal life during my off hours.  But no.  Not this week!  This week, I have to keep noodling on creative ideas to solve this randomly introduced hiccup into the whole process.  What pisses me off!  (Here comes the truest statement I have written in weeks!)  This whole damn thing could have been avoided!  I stated very clearly in August that if we did this option, my process would not only break, but I would not be able to use my secret sauce to get ‘er done.

If I wasn’t already annoyed about the whole chaos step introduced into my world at work, my life gets a nasty wrinkle too.  Guess this is a reminder to care about what is important. We have an appointment to do our taxes tomorrow – that means homework for me tonight.  Then had my nightly family call.  The news is the oncologist will be doing additional research, putting together the history and present it to essentially a board of experts.  We should have treatment recommendations next week at this time.

Yeppers this has been a challenging week.

 

 

I am at a crossroads!!

Recently we replaced our roof and our skylights. Hallelujah! I had no idea what a difference this would make to my life.
Given that little win and other happenings in my life, I am at a crossroads.

Inspired by how successful the minor improvement made my life, I am evaluating updating my master bath and my kitchen.

So I have been looking, salivating, dreaming and pricing the changes that I want to make to my home.
My goodness! The things one could do with an unlimited budget and a deep-rooted belief this is where you should be for the rest of your life!

There is my crossroad. Invest in this house, or merely buy a new one in the place I really want to be.
To make that decision, requires investigation and evaluation.

In order to make such decisions, I need to understand what is important.
As a homeowner and dreamer, I am familiar with the research tools that Zillow has to offer, but realized today that I have absolutely no clue what about 90% of the data available on their site really means for me.

I am getting closer to defining my constraints to help me narrow my relevant results, but there is so much more to know!

Today’s learning: What is Construction Quality and should I care?

Really? Already?

Well it is that part of my life, again, where I have something to look forward to – planning a family vacation.
It is so far out, but I like to lock things down.
The deal is my DIL is about to turn a milestone age, so is my husband.
We need to follow the family tradition and plan a cruise to Alaska!

I have narrowed down the trip options and am getting closer to the designated date. Woohoo. This will get exciting!

Blast You 404 Error!

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 44th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Open complaint to anyone who owns a website.  If you move a page, update ALL of the links!

For the past couple of days I have been trying to assist my father with a task that has become a project.  This is more than a little challenging as his computer literacy is minimal and we live across the great wide open from each other.  The task is to submit information to receive disability compensation from the VA.  Shocking that they are finally admitting that they may have some responsibility for the health issues he has had since the ’50’s.  I don’t know something to do with being forced to stand up and allow the shock wave of an atomic bomb blast to hit his chest just may have a little impact on a person’s health.

He has been dutifully gathering documentation and submitting it, as requested when requested.  The latest request came for him to complete some DBQs (Disability Benefits Questionnaire) for some of the symptoms he has and work with his physicians to complete their portions of these forms.  For a couple of days he kept telling me he was clicking on the links but was having difficulties finding the forms.  I told him to send me the information, I would locate the forms and send them back to him.  Not overly efficient, but effective.  Low and behold, today he finally sent me the link the VA had sent to him – it resulted in a 404 error.  He was absolutely correct, he couldn’t find the forms using the information that had been provided.  His limited computer literacy prevented him from being able to navigate around the ‘Page Not Found‘ error.

This is where I got to look like a hero.  404 errors don’t stop me.  Now that I knew what we were looking for, I was able to find the correct link he needed, heck, I found a couple of them.  I downloaded a couple of the forms, because I know some of the symptoms that are directly correlated to the atomic bomb blast, but I don’t know all of them.  I sent him the 2 forms and links to the remaining forms so he can peruse through the overwhelming list and figure out which ones he needs to submit.  The list is long, so he will be busy for at least a couple of days.  There are the forms for the multiple cancers he suffered, but I laughed at how sexist the VA site was as breast lumps are indexed under gynecological.  I realize most men don’t get cancer, but men have breasts.

We ended our adventure with him reviewing the emails I had sent and making a list of questions for him to take back to the VA processor.  I figure he will be filling out forms for at least a week before he can get to the next step in the processing but at least they are evaluating his case, that is a huge improvement over the outright denial of the last 50 plus years and he learned an internet usage lesson for the day, just because the site says the page isn’t found, doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist.

Knowing Your Customer – Smart Way to Do It!

This weekend was my first anniversary.  My dear husband sent me flowers.  I tried to give him credit for choosing such a beautiful bouquet, but he deferred to the wonderful lady at the florist who has been putting them together for me for years.  20130628_225548

I have never met this woman; however, earlier this year, I needed to send some flowers for something, so I called them.  It was a situation where I needed to be sure that the flowers would be perfect and I knew they would do a good job.  While ordering the gift to be sent, we had a nice chat.  I told her how much I appreciated the arrangements that they put together for me and how much I appreciated their attention to detail.  I explained that if we had been married local, we would have had them do the flowers, but since we were out of state, that was out of the question.  She was smart.  She asked me about the wedding, especially the flowers and the colors.

I have received a few bouquets since then.  I noticed that the choices in each bouquet have changed significantly.  No longer am I receiving so many of the stock filler choices.  Now the flowers are ones I would choose myself.  This week’s bouquet for my anniversary was extraordinary.  Not only could you tell she had listened to what I had told her about the wedding flowers, but she noticed my taste in vases is a bit different than the ones historically sent.  I am thrilled!  The details made a difference.  She wrapped the vase in a green ribbon with a soft pink bow.  Those were our wedding colors.  My husband doesn’t remember, but this amazing florist remembered!  That’s the way to do it.  She paid attention while we were chatting and applied it to make the gifts even better.  Kudos!!

Tech Support

This has been one long week!

There is so much going on at work everyday that when I get home the last thing I want to do is look at a computer.  Makes this whole attempt at blogging every single day tough.   Heck I had my forty in early this week, but that didn’t mean the work was done!  I need to fix that!

So what is the last possible thing I could need to do on a Friday night after a week like this one?   Tech support for my parents!  But I am not complaining.  It was like a light bulb went off while I was talking my father through his minor issue that the problem was between the keyboard and the chair.

To be fair, my father is elderly.  It isn’t like he is part of the generation that grew up on Nintendo.  My father is from the ‘tube’ generation where building your own heath kit television was a work of art and an inspiration for awe.  Computers were ‘work’ tools.  They did things like manufacture cars quicker and provide a consistent supply of utilities.  He knows how services work and understands filing.   The problem is he retired before computers were used for the mundane daily activities such as correspondence and filing.

It has only been in the last few years that he realized he didn’t have live under that mound of paper, that you could use the computer to store things too.  This is a blessing!  Gone are the days of writing the letter, printing it out, and then deleting the file.  The computer is more than a typewriter.  What a Godsend for me!

My Dad understood floppies.  Those were storage things you could use, rename and lock away for future reference if you ever needed it.  He actually likes the idea of the thumb drive and really appreciates them as gifts.  What he doesn’t realize is the price of storage has dropped drastically and that the volatility of the media has improved exponentially.  He doesn’t see the thumb drive in the same light as he does a floppy disk when in reality it would be better if he used the thumb drives.

The fact he understands how to change drives so that he can save things on a floppy disk is a plus.  Using this analogy we were able to overcome the problems he was having earlier today not being able to save things to the thumb drive.  I am terrified that the next time I go home I will find a billion copies of things he was trying to save on the thumb drive hidden all over the place on his hard drive.   But I am blessed that I will have the opportunity to find a billion copies of things on his hard drive and be able to help him.

I actually have an opportunity to solve my overworked problem and my father.  I could create a process manual for him to be able to do some of these things he wants to do and if I make it generic enough I could reuse it with my team.  If there are fewer things I have to do and there is guidance so I can delegate that task to someone else, I could solve my overwork problem.  Hmmm…..

Troubleshooting…

This is one of my better skills. I listen to what is going on and figure out what the correct next question is to help get us one step closer to a solution. Tonight I figured out why I am good at this.
During our evening call tonight, my mother had me panicked about a power outage and their deep freeze going out. It was a rather eventful day for her and she was still shaken.
If I had stopped listening at her description, I would be panicked and looking to buy tickets home.
Fortunately, my father was there. Repeating the information Mom had shared back to Dad, I was able to ascertain that someone left the door open on the deep freeze which led to a mess and Dad had turned off the power so he could fix it.
It took me awhile to get from ‘the sky is falling’ to reality, but I blessed to have that opportunity.
Thanks Mom for teaching me the listening skills.
Thanks Dad for teaching me the translations.