Joe's New Blog

Nothing special, this is just my third effort at writing a blog about my life and what goes on in it: Hobbies, cooking, work, maybe the occasional book or DVD review, and so forth. Nothing really noteworthy, but this is sort of a little subset of my world...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 111 of 365

We took Ernie to his puppy training class this morning. Despite not doing most of our homework, that went all right. I had a bunch of other stuff in mind to do over the weekend, but I really didn't get around to doing any of it. We did stop at the grocery store on the way home, and I picked up the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record-Chronicle. Unfortunately, I haven't even bothered to open them up yet, let alone look through the ads. I guess I shouldn't be complaining so much about my job when I'm too damned lazy to bother looking for a new one...

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Daily Journal: Day 110 of 365

Ernie had some tummy problems this morning. He had some diarrhea, and I think it might have been because I gave him too many of the homemade treats I made a couple of days ago. There really shouldn't have been anything bad for him in them, but I think they might have just been a little too rich for his digestive system. I'll have to cut him back on things like that in the future. I don't think there are any lasting problems, and he seemed to be pretty well himself by the end of the day.

We drove down to the girlfriend's brother's house for her nephew's sixth birthday party this afternoon. As usual, we wound up getting a little bit of a late start, but we still weren't the last ones to get there. That's a good thing. It's a little embarrassing always being late, but when you're typically the last ones there, it's a little more so.

The party was a little awkward at times. It seems that the kids weren't exactly in the best of moods, and there was a lot of sniping and grousing about who got to play with what toys and whether they could go outside and things of that nature. I guess that's the way of things with young boys sometimes, but it didn't make for a really fun time. Oh well.

We stopped at Cabela's on the way home to pick up some of the awesome chicharrones they sell from the little trailer out front there. And, of course, the trailer was closed. I guess they must close up earlier than the regular store does, which was something of a disappointment.

Just finished watching the Stars beat the LA Kings for the first time this season. So the Stars are still mathematically alive, but it's not looking good for them. It would have been nice to see some playoff hockey again, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I guess it's time to head off to bed...

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 100 of 365

Today was another crappy day at work. I did manage to get an hour and a half of filing done, but that’s about it. Turns out that Steven had the day off, so it was the two drivers and the new porter and me. At least I managed to get a little bit of stuff done before I got called back to the drive.

On the further downside of the day, I think I lost one of the department’s walkie-talkies in someone’s car. I wonder how much one of those costs…

And I got invited to lunch by the department managers tomorrow. I’m not sure what that’s going to be all about, but I’m guessing that it will be an ego-stroking session complimenting me on helping out on the drive. I guess we’ll see.

After we got home today, we took Ernie down to Petsmart to get some more dog food. As always, people thought he was just adorable. We also stopped at Kroger for a few things, and I waited outside with him while the girlfriend went in the store. He didn’t get a lot of direct attention there, but a number of people smiled and waved at him as they went past. He’s always a hit.

And now, because I need to get up earlier than usual for his vet appointment tomorrow, I’m going to go to bed…

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 99 of 365

It was another day of basically being a porter at work. When I got there, I thought I was going to be able to do some of my own work. One of the drivers had called in sick again, but they had Steven, the regular porter, and Raoul, the new guy, both there. So I took about half of the paperwork down to the file room and told the ladies up front to give me a call if it started backing up on the drive and I’d come back and help out.

I wound up getting about ten minutes of filing done before they called me. And for the rest of the morning, I was being a porter. When I finally got a bit of time where everything seemed to be caught up for a bit, they needed me to go take someone home. In the end, I never got back to the file room at all, except to get my thermos of coffee and bring it back to the service drive. So now I’ve got at least five days of filing backed up, and it doesn’t look all that great to get any done tomorrow.

The one nice thing is that Steven mentioned to me that he really appreciated all the help that I’ve been giving them. Not that management has really commented or anything. But at least the people in the trenches seem to notice sometimes, and that’s nice.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 98 of 365

For the most part, it was another crap day at work. At least Steven, one of the regular porters, got there at about the same time I did today. I nevertheless spent most of the morning running my ass off trying to get cars parked and pulled up and greeting people on the drive. It’s getting pretty close to time to update the old resume and start serious fishing for new employment.

On the plus side, driving took up a fair bit of the afternoon, and they were mostly fairly easy drives. Another good thing today was that they did finally hire another porter. So for this week, we’ll still be a little understaffed, but at least it won’t be like the past four or five work days. I was thinking about possibly asking management what the odds are of my becoming a service advisor, but the more I think about it, the less good an idea it seems. I don’t know, though. It would still probably be a lot more money than what I’m making right now.

After work today, I stopped at the grocery store. I had to pick up coffee, since the last of it went into this morning’s pot. I also got sandwich stuff for lunches and a few other snack type things. Unfortunately, I forgot to get the Sunday paper while I was there. I guess I’ll hold off until next week.

Last night, I installed Dragon Naturally Speaking on the computer. The manual says that you can use a portable recorder, like the one I have, to dictate away from your computer and turn it into text later. Unfortunately, neither the manual nor the help file ever mention loading files to use for dictation, so I’m guessing that they mean you have to play back the dictation into the line-in jack of the computer and convert it that way. Which would suck, because my recorder can transfer over the recorded files in digital form much faster than it can play them back. I’d hoped I could just open them and have it do the speech-to-text conversion digitally, but I’m guessing that’s not an option. Oh well.

And now, it’s getting far too late, so it’s off to bed with me…

Daily Journal: Day 97 of 365

It’s been a long day today. We got up fairly early to take Ernie to his class. That went all right. We haven’t really done as much of the homework as we should have over the past week or so, but we got some more helpful hints and such, and I think it’ll still continue to improve.

We stopped at my storage unit on the way home and picked up some of the plywood I have there. I’m planning to use at least part of it to make a more permanent gate to keep Ernie from exploring the upstairs. Right now, we’re just using a big box, and it’s rather inconvenient to say the least.

I got a call from Tom, the drummer down in Lewisville. He had to cancel out yesterday, but he called and I drove down to his place to jam a bit today. Unfortunately it was just the two of us, and that never really makes for a great session. He’s something of a major talker, and a bit of a space cadet it seems to me, but maybe something good will come of it. We’ll have to see.

I just had to print out a pattern for the girlfriend’s mom, and I installed Dragon Naturally Speaking while I was at it, but now it’s getting way too late and I need to get to bed while I can still get a little sleep…

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 95 of 365

It was quite a fucked up day at work today. I got to work at about the usual time, a little late because there was another overturned tractor-trailer rig just off the freeway exit. And I was greeted with the announcement that there were no porters today. Plus one of the other drivers called in sick, so it was pretty much me and the two young techs who they ask to cover once in a while. I guess the day didn’t go horribly badly, considering, but it looks like it’s only going to be worse next week. One of the porters got fired, one has the week off, and the two techs who cover sometimes both have classes they need to attend all week. So it’ll be me and the drivers all morning all week. Great scheduling, managers…

I did the post office run this morning, which was something I hadn’t done before. Not really all that exciting. It’s just dropping off the outbound mail and checking the couple of post office boxes. Of course, it was a little more exciting because I nearly got hit by people turning against red lights, not once, but twice. I can’t believe how pathetically badly so many people drive around here.

I thought there was one little bright side to the day when I was picking up one of the customers this afternoon. He works for a division of HP that does mid-sized company database migrations and the like. We talked about my background and such, and he said he’d leave me his e-mail address and I should send him my resume if I was interested in getting back into the field. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave that e-mail address. I guess I could find his phone number and call him. I’ll see tomorrow.

And no one’s replied about the hockey tickets. Oh well…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 94 of 365

Yesterday I wound up being completely shut out on the driving front after all. Fortunately, the weather was quite nice all evening. While waiting around for cars to pull up, I called Tom, the drummer from Lewisville. We’re going to get together on Saturday and see whether we have any musical common ground. He’s going to see if he can get anyone else over to play, which would be cool. The whole bass and drums by themselves thing never seems to work out all that well for me.

I also got a call from Scott, who was supposed to go to the hockey game with me this Sunday. He got volunteered for something at his church, so he had to back out. I don’t really feel like begging anyone to go with me, so I’m going to see if I can sell the tickets on Craigslist or something of that nature.

This morning, I finally got the release to do the filing that’s been backed up for the past three days. I managed to get done with about three quarters of it, and hopefully I’ll be able to get the rest caught up tomorrow. Today was a pretty slow day, so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble.

As I was walking back and forth to the file room with the couple of large stacks of papers, the severe thunderstorm warning from the Weather Channel came to fruition. There was a little bit of hail, but mostly it just poured down buckets. It took me two trips, and by the time I was done, my pants were completely drenched from the rain blowing sideways into them. Fortunately, I’d worn my rain jacket, so the rest of me wasn’t too bad off. And about twenty minutes after I got settled in the file room, the rain stopped. When I went out an hour or so later, the sun was shining and it was probably about 75 degrees. It would figure that I did all my trips during the half hour of the day when it was pouring.

The afternoon was pretty dead again. I had one pickup, which was just up the freeway. Aside from that, I was just a porter again. Again, the weather was nice, but it was boring and I’d rather have been doing something halfway useful instead. Oh well. Guess I should head down to the college and try to get those summer classes set up. Maybe then I can start looking for a better job…

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 91 of 365

Today we had the second installment of Ernie’s puppy training. We got there a little late, mostly because I pretty much slept right through my alarm. I guess the lack of sleep has pretty much caught up with me. The class itself was all right. We learned a couple of little things to try to curb some of his bad behaviors, which we’re going to try to put into action from now on.

After the puppy class, we drove over to Tyler to visit the girlfriend’s dad in the hospital. He’s been moved out of the ICU and is in a room that’s sort of between ICU-level care and just a regular hospital room. I’m not sure what the term for that would be. In any case, he can talk now, which made it a whole lot easier to pass the time with him. He’s doing a lot better, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be able to get out of the hospital in a month or so, although six to eight weeks seems a bit more realistic.

Her brother John was there. We haven’t seen him since we took our trip to the Pacific Northwest last November. He’s doing well. After the visit, Jenny (girlfriend’s step-mom), Adrian and John (brothers), and the girlfriend and I all went to TGI Friday’s for dinner. It was about what you’d usually expect. The meal was okay, nothing to really write home about.

It rained most of the trip over and most of the trip back, and it looks like it’s going to continue raining tomorrow. The girlfriend has to open tomorrow, so I’m going to get both night and morning duty with Ernie. I guess that’s all right, because I also have to get some laundry done. I’m going to go throw a load in the washer now, then let it dry tomorrow morning. Hopefully I won’t have to go to work in wet clothes, although if the weather is as bad as expected, it might not matter much anyway. I guess we’ll see…

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 89 of 365

Today I got to work and was greeted with the order that I wasn’t to do any of my usual filing. Because of the changeover in computer systems this weekend, they’re worried that I might wind up having to pull all of the orders for the past few days in order to put them in the new system by hand, so they want to keep them separated. Instead, I was to go back and help Eric, the warranty administrator, with whatever stuff he might need help with.

I went back to help Eric, but he was at a meeting about the big computer changeover. So I sat around for a while, feeling pretty useless. I went up front to help out the porters, but they had two porters and both of the morning drivers on the drive, so I really didn’t have much to do there. And in the end, I wound up in the file room anyway, just purging old orders. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a totally fucked up week next week, both with them having to pull a bunch of orders to see the history that doesn’t get transferred, and the fact that I’m going to start the week several days’ worth of filing behind. Oh well.

Aside from that, it was an all right day. I only had one drive to do this afternoon, but it took two hours. I got to see a couple of roads in the county that I’d never been on before, which is always at least a bit interesting. And the folks I drove around were pretty nice, which is also a plus.

Ernie was his typical hyperactive self after we got home. I do think he’s getting a bit better about not biting as much, and hopefully it’ll continue as he gets older. The girlfriend is still pretty stressed about it, though. We’re going to stop at Home Depot or Lowe’s this weekend and get some PVC pipe to make him some little agility obstacles. Hopefully that’ll help to keep him entertained. In any case, I’ve got to get up in a few hours to take him out, so it’s over and out for me now…

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 87 of 365

Today wasn’t a terribly productive one. I got to work late because I was across the street talking to the insurance agent about the car accident yesterday. Because I ran over some of the debris, I wanted to get my car checked, and I wasn’t sure if I should check with them about coverage or anything. As it happens, there wasn’t really any damage to the car, so it doesn’t really matter much.

When I did get to work, I dropped of my car to have the state inspection and an oil change done. We have a special going on at the dealership, where the oil change and a tire rotation is only $5.00 more than the oil change alone would usually cost. So I went ahead and had the tires rotated, too, despite the fact that I’ve got very little mileage on the thing and it probably won’t need a rotation for a year or two.

I mentioned to my boss that I’d heard that the girl who does most of the IT work there was probably going to be fairly overwhelmed by the task of updating all of the computers to the new system they’re moving to next week. I volunteered to help out, since I’ve done a number of major IT rollouts in my previous job. He said that he’d get in touch with the IT people and let me know if they’re interested. I doubt it would get me a new job or anything, but at least it would get my name on their minds, and that’s never a really bad thing.

Aside from those little things, it was mostly just the same old stuff. Too much filing and pulling of orders today, so I’m behind again, but only by a little bit. The driving wasn’t too terribly bad. And on the home front, Ernie hasn’t peed on the floor for a few days, and he seems to be biting a bit less than he has in the past. I guess we’ll just keep working at it until he’s a good little citizen.

And now, since I have to take him out for his nightly walk in a few hours, I’m off to sleep…

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 86 of 365

It’s been a rather long and eventful day today. On the way to the hockey game, I was right behind a three-car accident. I stuck around as a witness, as well as to make sure the debris I ran over didn’t cause any major damage to my car. Amazingly, despite the fact that one of the cars flipped over and was on top of another briefly, no one seemed to be injured at all in the incident. I met a guy named Shawn, who was in the car that went airborne. He was also going to the Stars game at the time. Since his car was basically totaled, I gave him a ride to the game and let him keep his stuff in my car until he could get a ride home with one of his friends after the game.

The game itself was rather bad for the Stars. They lost 5-1, including one goal scored with only about 6 seconds left in the game. It was really a very pathetic showing. The seats, on the other hand, were incredible. We were seated right above the lane where the zambonis come out on the ice, and we could see pretty much everything going on down at that end of the ice like we were right there at ringside. Since we were over the entryway, there was no one right in front of us obstructing our view. If it wasn’t for the fact that the seats cost about $100 each regularly, I might consider getting those seats from now on. Not likely, though…

After the game, I called Shawn back to get together so he could get his stuff. He had mentioned that he lived in Flower Mound, and he asked if I could just drop him off at one of the malls in Lewisville and his wife could come and get him. I told him that it wouldn’t be any problem for me to just drop him off at home. Both he and his wife were quite appreciative of all I did for him. With any luck, he’ll keep in touch and maybe we can get together at another hockey game or something. It’s a weird way to make friends, but nowadays I’ll take about any way I can get.

And now, after my exciting day, I do believe I’ll see if I can get some sleep…

Monday, March 1, 2010

Daily Journal: Day 85 of 365

It’s been another fairly uneventful day today. The first half of work was relatively slow. I pretty much just stayed caught up with the filing. I’m hoping that it stays slow for the rest of the week, because if it does, I’m going to go to work late one of those days and take the opportunity to go visit the NCTC admissions office and see about taking some summer classes there. I’m not sure what the requirements are for taking online classes, but I really think those would work out better for me than the traditional classroom setting. Of course, I’ll also not meet as many people in an online class, so maybe I should stay traditional. I guess I’ll see what I need to do to even get admitted, and then I’ll take it from there.

I didn’t have a whole lot of driving to do today, but the last drive was quite an adventure. The guy I was taking home lives over in The Colony, which is a bit of a drive. Usually, I’d take the new toll bridge, but he said that he had been right behind an accident on the freeway, and traffic was in a pretty messed up state south of the dealership. So we took a more roundabout kind of route, and it took me until about 6:35 before I got him home. On the way back, there were the usual traffic issues on the little side roads, but I took the toll bridge back anyway, thinking the freeway accident would probably be clear after an hour. Wrong. There were still police and fire vehicles all over, and traffic was backed up on both the freeway and the access roads for several miles. Fortunately, I was able to take a back way and got back to the dealership only 20 minutes after the department would normally close. If I hadn’t been late to work this morning and if I didn’t take a long lunch, I might even be headed for overtime this week. But that doesn’t really ever happen except the weeks when I work on Saturday. Oh well.

Tomorrow I have a hockey game to attend, and tonight I get to take the puppy out at 3:36, so I guess I’ll head off to sleep now…