Thursday, November 27, 2008

This Work Thing

This JEM video (especially the pic of JEM falling from the sky) pretty much sums up my work situation! I've been practically working 24/7 this last month or so. I have to be up at 6AM for daily 6:30AM status meetings on my project (including weekends). Then I have to catch up with work from the project in between answering other queries and other meetings throughout the day. Then I get a two hour reprieve in the evening before dialing into a daily 8:30PM meeting. Then afterwards I have to stay on for an hour or so (usually longer) afterwards to advise our offshore on tasks for the night. I go to bed close to midnight only to start the vicious cycle again. I've even had to work on weekends as well.

My business user (or abuser as I like to call him) is insane. He even wanted to have a meeting this morning (on Thanksgiving, a company holiday), which he still did have with our offshore. But my new manager (can't remember if I gave her a nickname or not) put her foot down and let the abuser know that E was taking time off so he could be with his family. She also let him know that I had worked the last four weekends and needed somewhat of a break. As a compromise, I will check in with our onshore rep from time to time during the next few days while I'm in Detroit just to see how things are going and if there's any issues that come up. I like my new manager. She's tough but fair.

It's a nightmare. So I actually have a day off today (it is Thanksgiving...*LOL*) but I'm late for a road trip to Detroit. I need to run to the store and buy a few items for my Mom before leaving. So I thought I'd take two minutes to quickly update my blog.

And yes I need to blog about the rest of my Hawaii trip before I forget the nuances. Luckily I took a lot of pictures so I think that'll jog my memory some.

Hemingway Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tell Yo Mama To Vote Obama!

Yeah yeah yeah....I'm a week and a day late on this. But I was so happy to see on TV that Obama had secured his place in history winning the role of President-Elect. He has a mess to deal with so I don't envy him. While I don't think he's the second coming of the Messiah like it seems many folks are making him out to be, he's definitely what's needed for this country right now.

I just cringed imagining having Palin one weak heartbeat away from becoming President. Plus McCain ran one of the nastiest campaigns I've seen, even though they didn't have much dirt to sling. Even stupid badly bleached blonde dumb ass Lizzy on The View could only screech "Reverend Wright" or "Ayers" over and over, even though Obama had long since answered questions regarding both. But thankfully the bbbdaL pretty much contributed to McCain's downfall by reminding the country of Palin's $150,000+ wardrobe spending. And actually now that the republicans are pointing fingers at different folks for their loss, reports are coming out that Palin likely spend much more than $150,000.

But alas Obama secured the title and you could almost imagine most of the world giving a collective sigh of relief. At least now I can unpack my suitcase and not move to Montreal.

Okay...back to work. More on the Hawaii trip soon.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deja VooDoo

My gosh...this year is going by so fast. Wasn't I supposed to give a blow by blow on my trip to Hawaii? You know, the trip of all trips.

Well thanks to some bad luck, I almost didn't make it to Hawaii. The night before my trip (which took place on October 16 - damn can't believe it's almost a month ago...sigh) I had called American Taxi and after going through their automated system, I made sure that it was set to send a taxi to my home at 6:20 AM, in hopes of catching the 6:44 Metra train to downtown. So I get up at 5AM and get myself ready for my taxi. 6:20 comes and goes and there's no taxi. Usually American Taxi is good on sending a taxi on time. I wait ten more minutes and no taxi. So I call the dispatch and they claim that no such order came through on their automated system but they would send a taxi in the next twenty minutes or so. My goal with catching the 6:44 Metra was to be able to get to Union Station by 7:30 AM. From there I would catch the CTA Orange Line and take it to Midway, where I would board my flight, which left at 10AM.

By the time the taxi came, it was around 6:56AM. I was hoping I would get to the Metra in time to catch the 7:06 AM, which would get my to the city by 8AM. I wound up missing the train and rather than wait for the 7:20AM, I made the taxi drop me back at my place and I wound up driving myself. In hindsight, it might've been better to pay him $50 to get me to Midway since my parking fee for Midway was $98 by the time I got back from my trip.

So Hemingway I drove myself to the airport and despite a bit of traffic on I-55, I managed to get to the airport by 8:30 AM. Besides dealing with the transportation fiasco, I also had to deal with a last minute cold that decided to creep on me. I was so pissed off that I had to deal with a stuffed nose on top of everything else. So since I didn't have any cold medicine, I overpaid for some Contac Cold & Flu medication. I ate a couple breakfast bars and popped a couple pills.

It didn't help much and I wound up with some terrible sinus pressure during the last twenty minutes of my flight to Denver. If I were a baby, I would've been balling my eyes out on the plane. It was terrible.

My carrier Frontier airlines has its hub in Denver and apparently my connecting flight to Seattle was scheduled to depart 30 minutes after my Denver flight arrived. Needless to say I was afraid of being left behind. My flight to Denver did arrive on time but of course it took almost 15 minutes to get out. So I'm racing to get to the other gate after trying to look on the big screen for my flight info. I just barely made it to the other gate in time as I was one of the last passengers to enter the plane.

Save my sinus pressure, the flight to Seattle was uneventful. To top it off, I wasn't seated next to anyone of interest.

But I was definitely grateful for making my connection. Luckily my flight to Honolulu wasn't for another four hours. So that gave me time to get lunch at an overpriced airport restaurant called The Mountain Room. The server was friendly as I ordered an overpriced burger and fries along with some lemon water, mostly chewing on the lemons in hopes of my cold going away. No such luck.

So after the high caloric meal, I killed some time walking around the terminal and eventually picking up some NyQuil pills and more water. My plan was to take the pills and fall asleep on the six hour flight to Honolulu. I wound up instead taking a couple more Contac pills before boarding my flight.

I did manage to get a couple hours sleep and woke up in time for some more sinus pressure. Before landing, the airline had us fill out a survey for why we were visiting and if we bought any plants or animals along. It's definitely recommended to leave Fluffy at home, unless you want him put to sleep.

So after getting my luggage, I got in line to hop on Robert's Shuttle, the cheapest way to get to your hotel. There were 13 other couples or groups (yeah I was the only solo person on the bus...a common theme throughout my trip...*LOL*) on the bus and of course the hotel I stayed at (Hotel Kapiolani) was the furthest hotel from the airport, hence I wound up being the last stop, a hour and twenty minutes later.

I was actually able to snag a very good rate (albeit for a very small room) of $65 a night online. Eugene had recommended the hotel to me since he stayed there on his second trip (lucky bastard) to the island. The nice thing about the hotel is that it's within walking distance of the beach and numerous restaurants and shops along the island.

As I mentioned the room wasn't all that great but since I wasn't planning on spending my life in the room, it wasn't a big deal. So by the time I checked in, it was close to 11PM Hawaii standard time, which was 4AM Chicago time. I was completely stuffed and was desperate for some Chicken soup. I was hoping I would find something quick but since I didn't, I wound up going to ABC Store (which are on every other street) and getting a $3.79 can of Progresso soup. I realized that I didn't have a spoon so I walked a few blocks to a 7-11 where I picked up a plastic spoon and purchased some Ajax soap.

My plan when getting back to the hotel was to warm my soup on the coffee maker. Ghetto I know...but they didn't have a microwave in the room. So I washed the coffee maker with the Ajax soap. Not having much experience with coffee makers, I thought it'd be fine just to fill the bowl with the soup and warm it on the maker. I later realized that I would have to run the soup (at least the sauce) through the filter. There was no way I was going to do that, though. So my meal for the night was some semi-warm chicken soup. Yum.

I ended the night popping a couple NyQuil in my mouth and calling it a night. So ended my first night in Hawaii. Aside from my cold, I felt this great sense of joy and thanfulness for making it alive to Hawaii and making one of my travel goals a reality. I went to sleep with the knowledge that tomorrow would be a good day. More later.

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