Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Terry posted about her idoling over David Cassidy today which reminded me about how I have forgotten all about my brother's former "stardom". He is no longer acting, but I think it is better for him. It just reminded me of times we would be out and he would be recognized in public. Very surreal.

What surprised me the other day was that I was at the movies with my kids, seeing something I would rather forget (Zoom), when during the commercials prior to the movie I see my ex-sister-in-law pop up on the screen. It brought chills down my spine. She is in a new TV series starting this fall called Heroes.

Her name is Ashley Crow. She is a really nice person despite the problems that she and my brother had. They were married for a couple years and split on good terms (at least as far as I know). I love my brother's current wife, but I do miss Ashley. She was always so nice to just hang out with.

You only see her for a few seconds in this promo, at the 2:10 mark. She plays the mother of one of the major characters. The show looks pretty cool. I encourage you all to watch when it airs.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Deep breaths

Again, thank you all for the kind words.

I know some people have this need to see a person that has died to say their last goodbyes. I am not one of them. Seeing someone displayed in a coffin creeps me out more than anything else I can think of.

The wake was fine otherwise. I got to see some relatives that I hadn't seen in a long time. One of my aunts flew in from California. I guess the last time I saw her I was about 18 months old. Funny how time flies. She is in her early 90s, but has a ton of energy for her age. She amazed me.

I loved catching up on all the stories with my cousins and their kids. I just wish we got together more than an occasional holiday, and now due to the death of their mom/grandmother. As with all occasions with relations on my mom's side their was a lot of laughing when we got back to my cousin's house. This is the way I would want to be remembered.

My sister being in town was great. We didn't get to just hang out except for Monday evening when we went to dinner with my brother and my kids.

I've been back to work for 2 weeks now. My predecessor was a total fuck up. I asked my boss stright out in our one-on-one meeting (we have them every Friday), "Did Jim leave on his own?" He knew what I was asking. Yes, it was an inappropriate question, but I had to know. He got shit-canned. I explained that I was assuming so with the state of things.

There is so much for me to fix that I asked my manager and our vice prez if we could bring in an IBM consultant to get some of the bigger things fixed since this would make it happen faster. They were all for it.

I met our CEO the other day. He's a really nice guy. Very short, but really nice. He does a "orientation" meeting for all the new employees to kind of give the new folks an understanding of where the company came from and where it is headed. I was impressed.

I have been getting a ton of resistance for the software developers. Many of them are not happy with the switching of the tools (to the ones I am in charge of). I have found that the same folks that drive to change our lives with better software are the worst at accepting change in their own environments. Many of them were happy with the old tools, but the company needed some features that the other tool didn't provide. Well, with their switch to the new tool it didn't get any better because the implementation was so screwed up that half the shit didn't work, or they were never trained in how to use it.

I have won some people over just by sitting with them and showing them what they needed to do. A couple of them were thrilled to see something work for them. Yes, it was a lot like baby sitting, but I needed to win over some people. I swear, if I have to hear one more person say "StarTeam was so much easier to use", or "How come ClearCase can't do this?", I am going to drop a duece on someone's desk. Oh what the fuck, people? Give it up! I am here to move things forward, not move you back in time.

I am starting to think my boss doesn't like having meetings with me. Everytime we meet I have to tell him about the new problems I uncovered. I think I was going to cause a heart attack the other day.

Needless to say, it's moving along. Every day I have a few victories that make me hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully that isn't a train coming to run my sorry ass down). I think I have uncovered the moajority of the problems. A priority list is already in progress.

People ask me, "Why don't you do this kind of work as a consultant?" Well, I did for a while. There are good things and bad things about being a consultant. You can step in, set people up and get them working, then walk away knowing you did a good job (and not have to deal with the problems that people (developers in particular) eventually cause). You just move on to the next contract and take on their challenges. The bad thing about that is it wears on you. You are constantly bombarded with problems to solve and you never get time to just sit back and watch the process work. I like seeing it work. I enjoy the feeling I get when I witness the milestones that we hit. Celebrating the victories, or picking ourselves off the floor when something goes wrong.

Now I just have to remember to breath.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The good and the bad

The good:
New job is going well. Very stressful do to the previous idiot that I replaced not knowing what he was doing. It's been a rough week. Please forgive me, but I am not able to post more just yet due to the bad.

The bad:
My Aunt Sue passed away on Monday, so between working my ass off and taking care of the kids I have been getting my house ready for my sister coming for the funeral. My mom can't make it. They all (including my sister) were driving back from Maine when the news of my aunt came.

Mom was exhausted by the time they got back to Michigan, so she decided it wouldn't be possible to get her on a flight out. Her oxygen needs and such really make plane travel difficult.

Patti arrived yesterday evening. We're heading up to Wheatridge (sub. of Denver) for the wake/viewing/visitation (whatever you want to call it) in a couple hours. I am having to pass on the actual funeral tomorrow. I don't do well with funerals, especially having mass for it.

Aunt Sue has been deteriorating for a few years now. She used to be a very heavy lady. For a woman barely 5 feet tall I knew that her weight was going to be the cause of her eventual death. I was very wrong. A couple years ago she completely lost her appitite. She only ate when people told her to. When I saw her last year before she moved to Denver she was tiny.

She lived a good, long and bizarre life. She was the oldest of my mom's 7 siblings. I loved hearing the stories of their childhood in Maine. There was usually an arguement going on because Sue remembered things differently than the rest of the family. My mom's side of the family was quite crazy at times. At least they seemed that way to me.

Well, I better get myself cleaned up.

Is it ok to go to a wake in just Dockers and a nice shirt, or is a suit required? I am sure Mike will not wear a suit. I usually dress down a bit just so he doesn't feel too out of place. I totally understand not wanting to wear a suit or even a tie.

Poof* ...I'm gone

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bowling and School and work

I took the kids bowling a couple times last week when the weather wasn't so great. I don't know why we don't do this more. We enjoy it so much. And now with the smoking ban in place we can bowl in clean air (OK, it still smells like a stale bowling alley, but without the smoke).

Kevin was asking about joining a junior league, so we checked into it. He took the initiative and called around to all the good alleys in town and got the scoop on the leagues for each. We found out that they have leagues for Erik's age as well. Saturday mornings are not going to be lazy, sleep-in mornings coming up.

He was also asking if it would be possible for him to get a new bowling ball. The one I bought him 4 1/2 years ago is now too small, Erik is now using it. We got on-line and bought him a new ball (yes, that is his ball on the right), bag, polisher, and I broke down and got him some shoes as well. Yes, I spent a lot of money, but he is pretty damn good, and the house balls and shoes just plain suck. He is ready!

Kevin starts school tomorrow. He is excited about the new year. He is the big 8th grader this year. Kind of scary how that creeps up on you. Erik's school (3rd grade) starts on Monday. He is not as excited. He has a teacher that supposedly gives homework every night. He had a great year last year, so I hope this year goes as well.

I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the new job that starts on Monday. I know I can do the job, it's the same thing I do everywhere I go. I just get this way every time I start a new one. I am sick of starting new jobs. I have never had a job for more than 5 years my entire career.

I need to sock away a lot of money into my retirement funds. That is something I am going to be focusing hard on this year. I am way behind where I should be on my 401k and IRAs. Time to focus.