Angel City

After lunch on a Wednesday, and the week is over and everyone knows it.  Already, we’re making plans for next week.  Plotting the best routes to the airports.  Trying to figure out how to pay off the bastards at FastTrak.

It’s sort of absurd, of course, to think about noon on a wednesday being the end of the work week.  But that’s where we are. Everyone is buying up plane tickets, renting cars, paying off FasTrak.  Just trying to kick the can a little further down the road.

 

 

Welcome to Hell

I have a meeting with the CIO in about 10 minutes. I’ve been sweating it all day – I don’t know why. He’s just a person, same as me. Sure, he could tell me to clear out my desk, but I’m OK with that. I’ve already copied all of my files of of my desktop. So, I’m good there.

Probably it didn’t help things when I introduced myself the second time to him. That’s not really what they want to see, I think. But here we are.

This place is a graveyard for bitter housewives. Exhibit A in “What’s wrong with America.” Letting women enter the workforce will go down as the greatest mistake ever made in Western Civilization. So, the brightest women, instead of reproducing, are at school, teaching the kids of the women that aren’t working and are reproducing. And so it goes, in downward spiral from which there is no end.

At this point in the history of civilization, intelligence is essentially a character flaw. An undesirable trait that makes you hate everyone around you.

One of the smartest men of all time – Nikola Tesla lived here in Colorado Springs, experimenting with electricity. A genius, well ahead of his time. Today, there is no museum. No school named for him. No park. Nothing. Most people don’t even know he lived here. The elementary school outside my office was named “North”. That’s what they named them…”North”,”South”,”East”, and “West”. I shit you not. And the number of

Item 58

Item 58

So, when started work on my new job, I told them that I had no experience with the Financial/Supply Chain product, but I’d be willing to learn it. One of the first things they asked me to look at was inactivating an item in inventory. They’d tried unsuccessfully for some time to inactivate it, but were never successful at getting the item inactivated. As a result, people kept ordering it, which was a royal pain because we no longer carried the product. As it turns out, Item 58 was, in fact, a box of Kleenex.

I looked at the manuals, and they gave me some hints of which direction to go. I found out that there were two screens you had to go to in order to get the item inactivated on two different inventory tables. And, it’s not possible to inactivate the item outright. You can indicate that you’d like to make the item inactive, as of a future date (any date from today forward).

Once the items were marked for inactivation, then we had to run a delivered application name INS4000.SQR. This program would, in theory, inactivate the item so that people could no longer order the product. All of this, I learned from reading the manuals.

I ran the process INS4000, but it didn’t inactivate Item 58. Instead, it gave me some arcane error message. And the beauty of the 2,500 line program is that, it wouldn’t tell you what was wrong, per se. It would only list name of the table (or tables) that it found an issue with. So, for each item that it wouldn’t inactivate, you’d receive a cryptic list of table names in a massive error report. And the Item errors aren’t all listed together. They’re all broken up into several different sections of a 20-40 page error report.

Not knowing the application, all I had to go on was the code really.

The first problem that I saw was something wrong with a table which turned out to be related to “Par Inventory”, whatever that is.

“I dunno what this means….who’s in charge of Par Inventory,” I asked the Financial department.

“That’s Vanessa.”

“Where does she live?”

“She lives down in the tunnel.”

And now, I’m cracking up. Our campus is sort of loosely connected by this arcane subterranean labyrinth of tunnels…like a prairie dog colony. It allows us to scurry between the buildings, without having to cross the streets, or go outside in the freezing cold winter. But I had no idea that we forced people to work down in the maze.

So I go and meet with her. I find this little human prairie-dog toiling away in obscurity. Perpetually turning away orders of Item 58 for boxes of Kleenex.

And I meet with her. This ghostly creature. She’s frustrated. “Why can’t we inactivate this? What is the problem?”

Like…you feel her pain. Why is it so hard? I dunno. I don’t know anything about Inventory, but I’ll figure it out.

“What are these tables…what is this Par Inventory…it won’t inactivate Item 58 because it’s set to re-order in the Par Inventory screens,” I offer.

“We’re not even using that any more. You can delete it from those tables…” she offers.

She shows me the screens she goes to. Tells me the nightmare of the data conversion to the new system. And you sense that the subterranean creatures are close to something. Close to being on the 9:00 news. Driven insane by a system beyond their control.

“I can fix this,” I tell her solemnly. “I don’t know Supply Chain, and never claimed to, but I can solve this problem.” And I leave her dark dungeon.

Back at my desk, I resumed the quest to inactivate Item 58. For each table name listed in the error log, I’d have to go back into the code and scrutinize each and every line of code. Each error condition check was written completely backwards in the SQR, so that an error is generated if the Requisition Status <> ‘C’ and <> ‘X’. So, you sort of have to figure out…OK….so I’m getting an error if the Requisition Status is not Complete and not Canceled, which means I’m getting an error message if the Requisitions Status is Approved, Denied, Hold, Open, or Pending. But it’s not as if the Requisition only has one status. The Requisition header has a status. Then the Requisition Line has a status. Then the Requisition Distribution Line has a status.

Slowly, it dawns on me that I can’t inactivate Item 58 because they’re not closing their Requisitions. The reason they’re not closing the Requisitions is because, they were running a job that closed them at some point last year, but it got an error, failed to reschedule itself. And then quietly slipped into obscurity. The Weekly Close job that was supposed to run and close Requisitions and Purchase orders had quit running months before I got here. So, we weren’t closing out the Purchase Orders. And we weren’t closing out the Requisitions. Or the Receipts either, for that matter. They’d never run the job to close the Receipts. They’d never run the job to inactivate the Items.

So, you’re sort of slowly working your way towards a solution. It’s sort of like peeling an onion. Layer after layer.

Not surprisingly, I saw that someone before me had sort of circumvented this entire process and just SQL updated the items to be inactive.
But I wasn’t happy with just SQL updating the Items to be inactive. Because this process was created for a reason. It didn’t exist in release 7.5. It was added later on. So, they wrote this program INS4000.SQR for a reason. I was told to inactivate Item 58, but what I found was that there were a lot of jobs that weren’t running.

And, for every new problem I discovered in the Supply Chain process, instead of being commended, I was castigated by the troll on the 2nd floor. We’ll call her “Oklahoma”.

You couldn’t have a conversation with Oklahoma that she didn’t pull you aside and whisper, “We need to be careful not to throw each other under the bus here….that’s not the way we want to go here, OK?” And I couldn’t for the life of me understand what she was talking about. Every time I found a problem with her Supply Chain, she’d pull me aside and say “We don’t want to go this way….OK? We don’t need to be throwing each other under the bus, OK?”

And, it wasn’t that I was trying to throw her under the bus. She asked me to Inactivate Item 58, and I was relentlessly attempting to inactivate Item 58 so that people would stop ordering boxes of Kleenex under the old Item Number.

And, I realize that my job is not lion taming. But, it’s challenging, and it gives my mind something to grind away on every day at work. It’s like this extremely complicated problem, and I’m learning a new application. So, all is well. I recognize that I’m not working on a cure for cancer, or extending the reach of mankind into outer-space. But, I get to sleep in my own bed at night, and I have my daughter on Monday through Friday. So life is good enough for me that I sort of keep trodding on. I get up every morning, and drive into the office, shoulder to the wheel, toiling away in obscurity. But life is tolerable. If inactivating a box of Kleenex from the Supply Chain gets me home to see my daughter at night, then so be it.

I find probably a dozen jobs that they’ve never even scheduled to run. And running these jobs does fix a lot of problems. We’re getting closer and closer to inactivating the Item 58. We’ve deleted our Par Inventory Data, we’re closing out Purchase Orders, Requisitions for the fist time in 4 months. We’re closing out Receipts for the first time ever.

Every little victory comes at the price of a whispered threat in the hallway…”Stop throwing me under the bus. You don’t want to go that way.”

Finally, I lay it out for her over the phone one day when Oklahoma calls to threaten me yet again. “Quit talking about throwing people under the bus. If you want to throw me under the bus, then do it. I’m through with this nonsense. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m trying to inactivate a box of Kleenex for Christ’s Sake.”

So, we’re closing thousands of Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Recepits. Tens of thousands of important documents that have never been closed. It’s important to close them for several reasons: 1) Because the open Reqs, PO’s, and Receipts are keeping me from inactivating Item 58. 2) Because this is how things are supposed to be. This is the way that PeopleSoft describes in the manual. 3) Because Open Reqs, Receipts, and Purchase Orders can be changed. Once we close them, then they can’t be changed. So, it’s a security risk as well, and the auditors would have a stroke if they knew that we weren’t closing these transactions.

Now, finally, I reach an impasse. Item 58 is tied to some open Requisitions that we can’t close. The reason is because the Req is partially sourced to Inventory. When this happens, the Req gets “stuck”, and we can’t cancel out the Line Status on the Req for Item 58 to be “Canceled”. We should be able to do this, but it doesn’t work, for whatever reason. Now, the financial department tells me that I’ve spent enough time on the box of Kleenex, and it’s time to move on to other issues. Fair enough. We’ll leave it for now. But we’re much closer to where we need to be. We’re running in a much cleaner environment now.

They come up with some other issues they want me to check for…Purchase Orders that are tied to Closed Projects. Purchase Orders that have the “In Process” flag set to Y for whatever reason. All of this goes into new audit reports. All of this goes into the Weekly Close. We’re going to have this system running like a well-oiled machine. We’re not going to be lurching from crisis to crisis any more, where they call me up in a wide-spread panic to fix something in production right away. But that’s how they’re used to operating. They’ve been operating in Panic Mode since they went live 18 months ago.

I’ve documented the hell out of INS4000 so, when you get an error message now, you have some idea what the problem is, not just a cryptic table name. We’re closing Req’s, PO’s, and Receipts. I’ve added all sorts of audits into the Weekly Close….all of these improvement go into the “Weekly Close” job. So now, we’re much closer to running in a clean environment. I’m going to get them out of the “Panic Mode”. I’m going to make things better.

And then, boss comes to me on Friday, takes me to the cafeteria, and buys me a $4.00 donut.

“They want you to take the weekly close job off the schedule.’

All of my work…they don’t even want me to run it any more. They’re so fucking stupid that they don’t even understand what it does. Why it’s important.

“Why….why don’t they want to run it?”

“They think maybe we should run it on a different day…”

“It doesn’t matter what day we run it on. Friday is as good as Monday. What day do they want to run it on? I’ll reschedule it” I ask, but he doesn’t have an answer.

They just want it canceled, obviously. And they’re so stupid that they don’t care if the requisitions are closed or not. It really doesn’t matter to them. They’re so painfully stupid that I can’t help them.”

“Sure,” I’ll take it off the schedule, boss,” I lie. And instead, I get into my car and drive home.

Like…trust me I don’t need this shit. Like….it’s bad enough that I’m toiling away trying to inactivate a box of Kleenex. I get to see my daughter every night. And that’s worth something, right? But not this. Now that I’ve done all of this work, for these fucking idiots to just throw all of my work out the window because they’re so fucking stupid they don’t understand how royally fucked up their system is. I don’t need this. You can just fire me.

I don’t take the job off the schedule. And it’s set to notify them if there is a problem. I’m sure there will be at least one error when the job runs. It’s designed to generate errors. They’ll get notified at 10:00 p.m. Friday night. Like I give a fuck. I’ll go in on Monday morning and quit. Like I need this.

I have a KTM in the barn, just itching to go for a ride through Central America. I have friends in Bolivia, Peru, and Guatemala begging me to come down and roll around for a while. I have my passport in my back pocket. And $10K USD in an envelope. Like I need this.

Instead, I go in Monday morning and check the Process Monitor.  The program ran on Friday night to completion. Didn’t generate a single message.  And apparently, no one noticed.  So, it seems like I got away with it, for now.  I’m not clear that I’ve won anything, or that anything’s been settled.  But I’m not taking the job off of the schedule.  That’s not going to happen.

It may be that my life has deteriorated to the point that my goal in my golden years will be to inactivate a box of Kleenex, but at least I will succeed in that task, at some point.

Strong Coffee

On Monday, Jen crashed her Jeep for the 47th time this year.  Like…I’m just so sick of this shit.  She tells me she’s going to work, and instead, she’s out crashing her Jeep again in broad daylight with Holly.

And, I mean, there’s a reason I’m at home.  I’m not on the road any more.  I worked in Colorado Springs for a few months, but I was never more than a phone call and a one hour drive away.  I’m trying to be there for my daughter growing up.  I’m making a concerted effort to be here for her.  And then this shit.  These fucking lies about who she’s with and where she is and what she’s doing. So fucking sick of all of it.

So, when Michelle calls me and tells me that Jen crashed her Jeep again, I’m like, “WTF??? I thought she was at work? She left here telling me she was going to work?”

I’m so sick of this shit there just waren’t words.  All the lies upon lies upon lies.  Like, you try to do something for someone, and they fuck you every time.  I buy her a Jeep when she’s 15, and all she does is crash it over and over and over and lie and lie and lie until finally, I say, “Enough is enough.  I’m taking the Jeep.  You’re not going to New Mexico this weekend.  You’re not going to be allowed to see Holly ever again.  And you have got to stop lying to me.  It has to end.  All of this shit has to come to an end.”

And, tonight, I laid this message out to her loud and clear via text messages, at which point she threatened to kill herself, climbed out her bedroom window, and disappeared into the night.  Granted, it’s a conversation that should have happened in person, but I told her mom I wanted to address it tonight and her mom kept pushing me off until tomorrow night and I didn’t feel like I could wait until tomorrow night to deal with this issue.

I drive down the hill to her mom’s house and I text her…”Get home in 3 minutes or I’m calling the police.”  Three minutes later, I call 911.  I didn’t feel like playing any games.  I didn’t look for her for 2 seconds.  I never even reached for a flashlight.  Fuck that.  I pay my taxes.  I want the police to find her and when they find her, I want them to break her like a rented mule.

So I call 911, and it’s sort of odd….surreal even, to be explaining to a stranger over the phone that your daughter is missing.

“How tall is she?”

“Five foot eight and a half….five nine…”

“How much does she weigh?”

“One twenty.”

“What was she wearing?”

The use of past tense is unnerving.  Like, they’re going to find her nude carcass in the woods and they’ll find her clothes in a dumpster in Aurora.

“Her mom says she was wearing a blue t-shirt, black shorts, was barefoot, and has a blanket with her.”

“What is her birthdate?”

“Twelve twenty two ninety seven.”

“Do you have any pictures of her?”

And I’m scrolling through all of the photos in my iPhone, looking for one where she doesn’t look like a retarded 11 year old making silly faces and pulling  her hair into her mouth.

“Is this normal for her?  Has she run away before?”

“No. Never.”

And, you think about that, right?  It’s 2014, and your daughter is out there crawling around in the dark.  Who knows how this will end up?  It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Pretty soon, the neighborhood is crawling with sheriff’s deputies.  They’re driving very slowly through the neighborhood, shining bright lights into the night, lighting up the cracks between the mansions.  Peering into the void for someone’s rebellious teenage daughter.  A race against time to find her before something very bad happens to her.

“Does she have a phone?” the want to know.

“Yes, but she turned it off,” I reply.

“What kind is it?”

“An iPhone.”

“Is it an older one?”

“It’s fairly new.  It’s an iPhone 5…I would use Find My iPhone app, but I don’t know her Apple ID.  Can y’all find her by her phone?”

“We can if she threatened to commit suicide…”

“Then let’s roll…”

“We’re going to need a ping on xxx-xxx-xxxx,” the one officer is saying.  It’s so hard to hate them when they’re trying to help you.  I swear I can’t recall a time in my life when the police were actually helpful to me. Ever.  It’s almost surreal.  Every deputy I see, I keep wanting to turn around and put my hands together in the small of my back so they can cuff me without a struggle.

I’m contacting all of her friends via text messages, facebook, etc.  Working the technology as best as I can.  “Jen ran away.  If anyone has any information, please contact me.”

I’m too tired to look for her myself.  Mostly, I just stand in the driveway, draining the life from my phone.  Answering questions from the Sheriff’s deputies.  A lot of them ask the same questions, but I don’t care.  I’m not concerned with improving the process. I’m concerned with finding my daughter.  We’ve contacted all of her closest friends. None of them have heard from her, or so they say.

Our best guess is that she’s on the bike trail that follows Bear Creek.  That’s probably where should would have gone.  I explain to one of the deputies where the access to the bike trail is, and send him down there.

“They found her?….” that’s what we hear one of the deputies say.  He’s asking the one thing that we all want to know.

And when we look up, a minute later, she’s walking down the sidewalk barefoot wrapped in a makeshift shawll, like an Indian squaw.

And I’m relived, obviously.

I go to greet her, but she’s got this attitude where she’s all upset and doesn’t want to talk to me.  But she doesn’t know how this game is played, apparently.  She thinks she’s this snotty, priveleged teenager and won’t get in trouble no matter how many times she lies, steals, crashes her Jeep, or runs up outrageous bills in the malls.

So, she dodges me, thinking that she’s just going to go home and get in bed.  But I’m not up for that.  I’m through with all of this bullshit.

And, this is frustrating to me because, as a parent, I haven’t been hard enough on her.  This is my fault.  It’s one of my many shortcomings.  But we are through with that now.  She may hate me for the rest of her life, I could care less.  But by God this is going to stop.  She will stop hanging out with Holly.  She will take the password off her phone.  She will stop lying about who she’s with.  She will stop crashing her Jeep.

And if the police have to haul her away in handcuffs, I’m fine with that.

Threatening to kill yourself only works for so long.  My roommate in college used to do this to me.  And I’d try to talk him out of it, but eventually, I got tired of it and just said “Dude…go ahead…I don’t care what you do…just STFU.”

So, this is my daughter, and I’m not quite there yet, but I’m tired of having the suicide card played against me.  If daddy isn’t nice to me, I’ll just threaten to kill myself, and he’ll back off.  Well, now that we’ve called out the law to find your sorry ass in the middle of the night….now that you’ve scared the living shit out of everyone that ever cared for you…now you want to go back and crawl in bed?  Not so fast.  You mess with the bull, you get the horns.  I think about what to do with her.  But she’s still acting like a spoiled, rebellious youth.  The deputies look at me.  “It’s your call, they whisper, out of earshot.  We can take her down for psychiatric evaluation.  They won’t keep her.  They’ll just talk to her for a few hours.”

“Let’s do that.  Let’s take her down for a psychiatric evaluation.”

“I put something in the top of your closet.  Just don’t touch it.  And don’t tell anyone about it.  I’ll be back for it later.”

As I follow the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy down the road, we pass one emergency after another.  It’s Wednesday night at some time close to midnight.  And I never realized how many emergencies the police have to put out.  I think that, if they focused more on this, I wouldn’t hate them so much.  But putting out emergencies is so far removed from writing people nusiance tickets for going 10 mph over the speed limit.  The deputies are going 50 in an 40 and I told them not to speed because they won’t get stopped but I will, of course.

They pull up to the Emergency Entrance.  I shuffle off to the other parking area, and then return to meet them.  They type some code into the emergency room door and it opens to let them in.  I walk in with them.

We walk in through the emergency room door, and this place was designed for nightmares.  Bright lights. People in scrubs. Everyone sitting around waiting for the next hot nightmare.  They’re wheeling scared kids past me on stretchers. It’s hard to know what’s wrong with them, but I remember working at MD Anderson, and it wasn’t pretty.  I didn’t like going into the hospital proper, as you’re always facing down this never-ending-stream of kids dying of cancer with no cure in sight, save death.

Who knows how long we’ll be here?  I have no clue.  Could be hours…weeks…days….maybe they’ll find out that her core is pure evil and that she’ll have to be put down, drowned in a tub of salt-water behind locked and padded doors.  It’s hard to know what will come out of it.

No one is quite sure what to do with me, and I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t bring any of my laptops with me.  Just dying that I won’t be able to surf the internet while I wait for hours as they flog her mercilessly in a back room.

One of the deputies is talking to me.  Very nice.  Very polite.  Nothing like what I’m used to, of course.

“There’s coffee over there…computers over there….televisions over there…”

The coffee machine has about 9 different button you can push for various types of coffee on demand.  I push the one that says “Strong Coffee”.

The place is amazing.  Free coffee.  Free internet access.  It’s designed to look like a warm living room at home.  Not at all like you’d expect after watching “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”.  No one screaming.  No one smashing into the medicine cabinets.  More like a calm relaxing place to kill a few hours while they try to figure out if your daughter will be able to cope with the fact that she can’t go on lying to her parents in perpetuity.

 

 

 

 

 

I Wish Y’all The Best

I wish y’all the best.

At 3:30 this morning, that’s the email I sent the client. I’m done. I’m through. I wish y’all the best.

The final straw was when the IT department refused to meet with me and deleted the documents I uploaded to SharePoint.

I don’t normally drive home (to Morrison) on a Tuesday night. But I was just so upset after work that I couldn’t imagine going back to my little basement crash pad on Fence Post Lane. I just couldn’t do it. I was driving home.

On the whole ride, all my brain does is just chew on what happened today. We test the new Life Events. Document the problems, and ask the IT department to meet with us. They refuse to meet with us. Delete the document I uploaded. And then fail to fix the problems.

Sometimes, a ride in the mountains would clear my head. But those days are gone. This is too much. If the IT department won’t meet with me, then I’m through. It’s all over. This isn’t working.

At home, I drink with the neighbors until dark. At 3:30 in the morning, I send them an email saying I quit.

Wednesday

I decide not to bother with making an appearance. Don’t even check my email. At some point during the day, the company I contract through calls me. So, I guess it’s true. I guess I really did quit last night. Huh.

Sleep in the rest of the day. Then, at about 4:30 p.m., I decide to drive down to the springs. My logic is this…I might be able to copy some documents off my PC. Might be able to get my rent check back if the slumlord hasn’t found it yet.

On the way down, it starts hailing so hard I stop under a bridge. It’s hailing so hard that people have stopped under the bridge in both lanes of the interstate, shutting down the interstate.

“Are you ok?” the man beside me asks.

“Yeah. I’m fine. That’s pretty big hail though. Crazy.”

On I-25, I’m running 90-10 mph. Like…I’m not really concerned about it at this point. The odd thing is that, all day I’ve been freaking out about being unemployed, but as I drive down the interstate, it occurs to me that I’m free to do whatever I want.

Now that I’m out of bed, and moving, I can go anywhere I want. Of course, this is both a blessing and a curse. But, I am free. There is that. I could spend tonight anywhere I want.

Pull up to work. Rob and Cliff are out back. I swipe my badge and it doesn’t work. “Y’all can let me in?” I ask. They let me in.

“So, I heard you quit.”

“Yeah. It’s true. I sure did.” I reply.

Sit down at my computer, but I can’t sign in.

So, that’s it. I can’t get any of the documents off of my computer. Nice.

“They said maybe you’d be back to turn in your badge,” Rob continues.

“Here you go, bud. Here’s my badge. Was good working with y’all.”

And with that, I leave the place for the last time.

Straight to my crash pad on Fence Post Lane. I’m hoping against hope that my slumlord hasn’t come by to pick up the check yet. But, of course, he has. So, I lost out on all of my bets. I was hoping that:

1) My badge would let me into work
2) I could sign into my PC at work.
3) My slumlord wouldn’t have picked up the check.

I lost out on all 3 bets.

But, on the plus side, I got out of bed. I drove to Colorado Springs. So, there is that. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’ve got a few dollars in the bank.

Roll into Jose Muldoon’s for the last time. I made the most of my time in the Springs. By this, what I mean is that, after work every day, I’d go riding for about 150 miles a day, and I took pictures when I was out. So, I don’t leave the Springs wishing that I’d done this or that or gone here or there. Or taken pictures of this or that.

I shot everything I had the least inclindation of shooting. I took every road conceivable out of Colorado Springs so that, in the end, I was driving 75 miles one way in the light, and then driving back 75 miles in the dark, dodging deer, elk, and antelope.

So, I don’t leave here with a lot of regrets. I tried my best. I sat with the client. I tried to help them. But the IT department was against me, so it was an uphill battle. In the end, it just became so divisive that it wasn’t healthy. I had to walk away. It was the only thing to do.

I think about my father, in these times. Of when the river wouldn’t rise and the paper mill shut down. he couldn’t walk away. Or, he chose not to. I dunno. My guess is that he didn’t see an out. And he snapped. And we had to go see him in the mental hospital. So, I’m not going to a mental hospital. I have an out. You can take this job and shove it up your ass. Go fuck yourself. I’m out of here.

Now, I’m ready for the next adventure.

 

Systematically putting up fences…

Connie,

I asked Valerie when would be a good time to meet and review our issues with you tomorrow, and she indicated she could work around whatever time we could agree on, so you can imagine my disappointment when you refused to meet with us.

We specifically wanted to meet to clarify the problems that she and I tediously documented with our Life Event Test Cases and uploaded to SharePoint. These are critical problems, and we’re on a short timeline. I’m told that funding is very short, and the most efficient form of communication is clearly verbal. Your responses in the SharePoint snippets clearly indicates a less-than-complete understanding of the complicated issues that we’re facing. To correct to each misconception that you hold (concerning our Life Event issues) via SharePoint would be tedious and ineffective. An unnecessary waste of my time and the District’s money. Sharepoint was never designed to replace face-to-face communication with the departments you’re supposed to support. Furthermore, after I uploaded our Life Event issues to SharePoint, it appears that they were removed.

Obviously, I disappointed to have to report to Valerie that you wouldn’t meet with us,.

Kelly said in today’s meeting something about “…systematically putting up fences around…” [something-or-other], and that’s exactly how I see the district’s use of SharePoint. It’s a fence that the IT department hides behind. If the IT department wants to use SharePoint, then that’s fine, but it should be an internal tool, not a barrier between them and their customers.

Finally, it’s unfortunate that the IT department has time to meet with Kelly, but not me. I can assure you that he won’t be through with the HR piece before the snows come. If you don’t want to work with me, then I don’t know why, and I don’t know what to say, except don’t blame me when I say that I won’t be through before Kelly, because I can’t convince you to meet with us in person [and Jill, who has been very helpful as of late, is out for the week].

 Rob

 

It appears you are still living in my house.

It appears that you are still living in my house. Is that the case? You’re supposed to be out at the end of may. If you need to stay longer, that’s okay, but you have to pay rent, and you need let me know

Oh…
I didnt know
My internet quit working

Well, you haven’t paid rent. You can stay here for free.

Ok

It quit working because I had it turned off because no 1 was supposed to be living in my house…. the television is also turned off.

Oh

If you want to stay here, I need the full month rent. But he will be coming in and doing some work on the house over next couple weeks. If you don’t plan on staying the rest of the month, I need to rent for the time you ben here.

I had the water shut off today. But, I will get it turned back on.
If you can get me my rent
it is almost 2 weeks past due
If you want to stay in the house for longer, that’s okay, but I need my rent today. And, once I get the rent check I will get the water turned back on.

I meant to say you cannot stay for free. Obviously there’s no such thing as free rent

I’ll leave you a check tonight.

The internet will not be turned back on tvI will not be turned back on. It has been cancelled already.

it does not seem like the garbage has been taken down to the street for a few weeks either. should I cancel that as well?

I didnt know i had to take the trash to the curb
I need internet access.

There is no way to get the internet turned back on at this point. If you want the internet, you will have to set that up on your own. Same thing with television if you want that.

I will keep the trash service until July 1st. And I think the trash day is Friday morning or Saturday morning. It does need to go down to the curb
I will get the water turned back on this evening when I pick up the check.

Digging up Bones

In the morning, I drive up to the Apex Motorcycle dealer and drop off my bike. Like…I’m sick of not having rear brakes. I finally decide that I can no longer continue to ride with rear brakes. It isn’t safe, and there’s no reason for it.

Kim comes and picks me up. Gives me a lift back to work. Before long, the phone rings. They’re ready for me to come pick it up. Now, it dawns on me…”The bike is in the shop. Don’t fuck this up. Now is the time to get it fixed. Think of something else for them to do to it. Don’t pick it up while there’s still problems with it, retard.”

“Umm…also…it needs a new front tire. And it has really bad headshake at 50 mph.”

“OK. We’ll put you a new tire on there. And we’ll check to see if the front wheel is trued and balanced. Also check the steering bearings to make sure they’re tight.”

I hang up the phone. That should keep them busy for a while.

In the afternoon, Wally is on a conference call with Tonya, and he must be partly deaf, because he has the speaker phone up so loud I can hear him down the hall in my office.

“Why is it that Kelly still hasn’t finished his fit/gap?” she asks Wally.

“Well…that’s just the way it is…” He was constantly apologizing for Kelly. If Kelly told them it would take another year, they wouldn’t bat an eye and they’d just be glad as hell they still had him.

Finally, the phone call ends, and he storms into my office for the daily berating. He loves to beat me up. I’m working on Test Scripts for Benefits. The document is like 90 pages long.

“I saw what you uploaded for Payroll…it’s just a bunch of queries….”

“That’s right, Wallie. You caught me. The only thing that uploaded to test is a list of the most important 97 queries that your people all run every payroll cycle. I documented what every person was running, assembled it into a spreadsheet, and cross-referenced it to the Payroll Audit. But…yeah…you caught me….I’m a complete fraud. Good catch.”

Eventually, he left me alone. I don’t really care what he does, honestly. I pretty much ignore him. Nothing he could say would upset me.

Like, I hate him so much there aren’t words.

In the afternoon, they call me to say the bike is ready. The steering bearings were loose. They tightened them. Bled the rear brakes. Put on a new front tire. It cost me $250. Kim runs me up there to get the bike, and I can’t believe it. I have rear brakes now. And the head shake is completely gone. And I have a front tire.

Text Jennifer, and she’s not going to be at my house, so I’m not driving back to Morrison tonight.

I tell Ray, the night Janitor that I’m driving down to Westcliffe this evening, and he just can’t believe it.

At 6:30, I finally get away from work, heading for West Cliffe. I don’t have enough gas to make it to Penrose, but I decide to go for it. Somewhere I read that my gas tank is 5.3 gallons, not 5.0. So now, I’m thinking that I need to push the envelope a little further than I have been.

The furthest I’ve been with the fuel light on to date has been 40 miles. I’ll need to go at least 46 miles with the fuel light on to make it to Penrose, or else I’ll run out of fuel in a very arrid canyon. But, it is what it is. I’m going for it.

Somehow, I make it to Penrose, and pull into the gas station. The odometer says I went 47.2 miles on reserver, a new record. When I refuel the bike, I put 5.255 gallons in the bike, meaning I had about 0.045 gallons left, so I could have gone about 2 miles further maybe?

The odometer says I’ve gone 219 miles, so maybe I could go 220 miles tops, but my gas mileage was also very low…about 42 I think.

So, I top off both tanks, and now I’m rolling south on 115 again. This time, when I get to Florence, I look for signs to turn left. See a sign for Highwy 67 South, and take that road. Looks very bad ahead. Massive thunderheads, and it’s raining all over the place. Pull over, stop, put one of my cameras in my backpack. The other camera I tuck under my jacket so it won’t get wet, and then I’m rollign south again.

I don’t use GPS or maps or anything. If I get lost, I’m OK with this. It’s part of the journey, IMHO. So I’m rolling south, wondering if I’m going the right way or not, and finally come to the tiny little town of Wetmore.

Here, Highway 67 ends, and I turn right onto Highway 95/96(?) and now rolling west/southwest towards the front range. Now, into a tight twisting canyon. A beautiful ride. Now, I’m really glad that I came down here. So much better than sitting around, listening to someone nag at me. I think that’s one of the things I like most about the bike. There’s no room for anyone to nag you or tell you what you should be doing.

The canyon slowly opens up, fresh light-green Aspens gentle sloping front-range hills.

Old, crumbling wooden houses from the 1800’s. How they survived this long, no one can say. Some of them have roofs crushed in by the spring snows.

Very pretty out here, but there’s just no one here. No one on the roads. No one in the abandoned houses. 400 acre ranches for sell, and no takers.

Finally, I start down a hill looking across the valley at the Sangre De Cristo mountains. I’d almost forgot them…they were the reason I came down here. Stunning mountains front the valley. A surreal wallpaper.

Now, the two towns of Silvercliffe and Westcliffe. I think about stopping for dinner, but the light is fading. Sun setting now. Don’t want to waste any daylight. Have to just keep on riding. Get as far as I can before the dark settles in. Somehow, it’s 8:40 and still daylight.

North of Westcliffe, I stop for a few pictures in the day’s last light. These will be the last pictures I take on the trip. Too dark now. By the time I roll into Canon City, it’s solidly dark. There’s a new bartender at Rumors…Dana…she doesn’t know me. I order a Philly Cheese Steak and a diet coke. My bill is $3.00.

Some tone-deaf woman is singing karoake ….some song about being at home and digging up bones.

Are You Calling Me a Liar?

Semi-Liable

I created Payroll Test Scripts and uploaded them to sharepoint.

“That’s funny because, I just looked and I didn’t see them.”

“Are you calling me a liar? I’m telling you they’re out therre.”

Silence.

“Why don’t I email you a link to the Payroll Test Scripts in SharePoint?”

“No. That’s fine. If they’re out there, I’ll find them.”

Like, this is what I put up with. Boy Wonder makes a comment and everyone laughs like it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. He loves to hear himself talk. He loves to ramble on and on, in perpetuity. Like, it’s sort of like listening to a dragonfly buzzing around the room.

Everyone around the room clasps their hands conspicuously beneath their chins. Closes their eyes, and focuses on the words of Kelly. Like nuns in a convent. Hanging on every word. Like brainless zombies in a cult.

He just drones on and on. We’re sitting here like…”Seriously? WTF?” It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone cares about what he’s saying, but they’re all just mesmerized. I want to put a bullet through his left ear-hole.

Outside, in the the HR office, people stumble in, desperate to get a job. They sit down in the seat, nervously rocking back and forth. Uncertain of what to do next. They’re not sure what to expect.

They strap themselves into the chair, and then, when they can’t figure out how to apply for a job, they ask for help. And HR trots out one of the frayed old housewives to help them go through the charade of applying for a job they’ll never get.

It’s all nepotism, of course. Most jobs are never even posted. Boy Wonder is setting up this complicated job application process that tracks your credentials and degrees. It’s all for naught. The jobs that pay anything at all are all posted internally, so that they can hire who they want to hire. A daughter, sister, cousin, or aunt.

It’s all just a charade. They’ll all playing a rigged lottery they’ll win.

Payroll calls me over and says they can’t balance. I dunno what to do, really. But I go over and just start taking notes. Start writing down what they’re saying. I have no access to production, which is the best way to be, really. Production is a steam-roller that destroys people. Ruins careers. Sends people screaming and pulling their hair into the asylums. This is the truth.

So, I’m all sort of just listening, taking notes. Finally, they start batting me around like a cat toying with a mouse. I end up helping Bridget. She has a problem with an Additional Pay that didn’t show up in the paysheets. “I can only tell you that it should have showed up. When you create paysheets, it should have loaded Addl Pay Data into the paysheets. The earnings code is valid for the Earnings Program for the Paygroup. It should have loaded. I dunno why it didn’t. I’ll look at the report from when the paysheets were created.”

They manually fat finger in the earnings, and then they’re all happy. I’m not really sure what just happen. I leave and walk back to my conference room. Really, I think that what happened is that they were just scared. So, they wanted me there for reassurance, mainly. I”m fine with that. I’m glad to help if I can. Sometimes they just want someone to listen to them. I dunno really.

I have no back brakes. I got out into the parking lot and look at my brakes very closely with Kim. I’m surprised to see that the rear brakes have lots of pad left. Why is that? I really don’t understand anything about this bike. The brakes are disc brakes with ABS. I have no clue how they work. I try to make an adjustment, but it doesn’t help anything. Run to Walmart, buy some tools, and then try to bleed the brakes in the parking lot. Add some DOT 4 brake fluid. But it’s not any better. I bled the rear brakes. But there’s still no braking action going on. I don’t really know what to do, but to continue to drive with no rear brakes seems suicidal.

My mirrors are worse that useless. Finally, I decide to have it out with the stock mirror and smash it in the parking lot. So, in a nutshell, this is what my bike needs:

New front tire
New rear view mirrors
New rear brakes
New helmet visor
New riding boots
New gloves

Then, after all of this, I’m ready for my next big ride. My plan is to go to RMNP, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, and Well’s Gray. Then, maybe come back along the coast.

At Jose Muldoons, my buddies are telling me about their friend. Apparently, the dude got snot-slinging drunk and attacked the hotdog vendor down at the 7-11. Then, they chased him and he ran. Finally, the dude jumped off of the Pemrose Library building in COlorado Springs. Broke both of his feet.

Blew a 0.3 and came in the next day with a walker.