mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Need the heat to break. I hate to whine about it, but it's starting to affect my overall attitude. I'm fatalistic by nature, and the constant, unrelenting heat and dry is adding a measure of apathy that is really dangerous. It's started to bleed into my overall attitude - home and work. Not good.

I discovered last weekend that the dry conditions have exacerbated all the problems in our foundation: the blocks on the North end of the house are literally being shifted apart from one another. There are gaps in some places wide enough to stick a pencil into. I'm not panicked about it: it's on a gable end, thus non-load bearing, and there is a second foundation (actually a first foundation, to be technical) just three feet inside it, so having the outer foundation crumbling won't cause the house to collapse, but it's just One More Thing.

The yard is dead - I don't think it's just dormant. I've never seen it as dry as it is; even the crabgrass couldn't survive. The only things living are the carpet weed and scraggly mulberry bushes trying to gain a foothold. We've kept the vegetable garden and the herbs watered, but other than that I am content to let the lawn languish. I've put a lot of work into the lawn over the last several years, but...as I said, apathy.


Seamlyne has more paid orders in its queue at this moment that it has ever had in its history, and most of them came in within a few days of each other, and a variety of regions are represented. The only scary part is that several of them have deadlines within a few days or weeks of each other, so keeping up with them will be a challenge. We can do it, though, I've no doubt of that.


The day job hasn't changed much. For one of our projects - adding a data push from our system to a third party - I am at the mercy of the third party, and they are notoriously slow and unhelpful. A fair chunk of money depends upon the completion of the project, and I've no confidence that it will happen in a timely fashion.


Several weeks ago I committed to some fence repair for a friend who is putting her present home on the market. I'm replacing about a hundred pickets. I made this commitment while the temperatures were still reasonable and like an idiot put off the work, little reckoning that the temps would rise and stay above a hundred degrees. I'm about half done, working last Saturday and Sunday morning. The fence is in shade and it wasn't actually that bad.

It has been a while since I put that kind of effort into that kind of activity, and my hands - even now, three days later - are sore and don't want to make a fist. I feel the strain deep into my wrists and forearms. It's a good ache, because it means that I did something.



mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a good weekend. Let's start there.

Back in early March, I saw a truck with a chipper on the back parked at one of our neighbors' houses. I called the guy over to chat with him about the two large brush piles in our front yard, one by the fence (the remains of a redbud tree) and one under the maple tree (misc branches, including several from the maple itself.) He quoted me a price, and we set the date for the last week of March. I set that date so that we'd have time to save up the money to pay him.

Between that day and the last week of March, he called or stopped by a few times to see if he could do the work. No, I told him, last week of March - unless you like working for free. One of his calls came as I was walking into the doctor's office to have my vasectomy!

...and I started to get angry.

Courtesy snip... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Michelle fought the good fight, treating her migraine with all the weapons in her pharmaceutical arsenal. Finally, after two weeks, she called her neurologist. At the Thursday appointment, the doctor said, heavily paraphrased of course, "You've had your shot. Now it's my turn," and put her in the hospital. There she was treated with several doses of a drug so powerful you can't take it at home until you've had it under the care of a full nursing staff to make sure your body can tolerate it (read: make sure it doesn't kill you.) It took about six, maybe eight, doses, but it did finally break the cycle, and she came home on Saturday.

She brought with her the home-use version of the medication - it differs only in the delivery method. $1000 for eight days worth, of which insurance covered about 80% and, thank god, her parents covered the rest.

With all of our other financial considerations - a massive debt load and four pay cuts in the last two years - we have talked about bankruptcy, and I must admit with this hospital stay I was seeing lawyers' phone numbers in my head. Again, we are quite grateful to her parents as it seems they intend to help us with the bills. I don't know how we'll ever pay them back unless and until the day-job hits pay dirt.

If Audrey Hepburn had a younger, librarian sister, that would be Michelle's neurologist. Young, slender, a little taller than average, very pretty but with enough small flaws - a little bit of an overbite, nose a little too prominent - to keep her from being striking and aloof, she is soft-spoken and very very kind. We both like her a great deal. She was, nevertheless, very firm when it came to killing this migraine.

Well done, Doctor B., and thank you.

It is my hope that the migraines will be controllable now, and that Michelle can continue her recovery from Summer 2011's adventures.

It's funny. I nearly died from neglect as a toddler, and was sick quite a bit as a child. Given my stress level since our children were born, you would think I'd be the one who was sick all the time, but I just keep forging - sometimes trudging - along.



In other news, I continue working to make my shop as comfortable as it can be. If last year is any indication - not quite 10k in gross sales - I'm going to be spending a great deal of 2012 there. My goal is to purchase an apartment sized washing machine sometime in the next six weeks, hack its main-board and put my own timer on it for use in dyeing fabric. Anything to keep us from being chained to a plastic bucket for and hour and a half every time someone orders a pair of tights.



MoneyGuy and DataGuy are going with one of our partners to the NADA conference this weekend. The last time we did this we got a significant (if somewhat short lived) lift from it. I'm hopeful it will be the same way this time, with longer-term results of course.

Car dealers and their ilk are shit to do business with. The dealer group we did all the ad campaigns for (which I have written about before) owes us 16k and is showing no signs of being willing to pay - in spite of the massive customer response (and presumably, profit) the campaigns generated.


mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
 The children are enjoying going to public school. I think they both appreciate getting out of the house and each other's company as much as anything. (If you missed that we aren't home schooling any more, this article explains it all.) However, they are also exposed to a whole new germ pool, and Jami's been sick off and on (mostly on) for a couple of weeks. Thus, by extension, Michelle and I are also exposed.

Courtesy snip... )
mapsedge: (White Star Underwater)
I broached the subject of virtualizing the office to MoneyGuy, hoping, 1. to isolate myself from the bullshit that seems to orbit this place, and 2. to save some money on gasoline, and received an answer I do not like, but understand.

It comes down to control: MoneyGuy's need to control what happens here at the office, and at least in some areas I agree with that. He wants - needs - to keep DataGuy close. At home, DG could follow any tangent he wanted to, and isn't disciplined enough to stay on the path to any long term goal. MoneyGuy also uses me as a kind of barometer: as my frustration level rises, he knows that something needs to be addressed.

On the more negative side, I also got The Lecture of how the company is costing him money, how he's giving us free labor to run the company - he talks like it's mine and DataGuy's company, and he's just a hired gun instead of a principal -- no, THE principal partner. This dance is old, and the carpet beneath our feet is worn with the number of times we've done it. I was warned - once again - that if sales don't pick up, I won't get a paycheck.

Who's the salesman? Him. Who isn't out selling stuff? Him. 

So, in my head, I've set a time limit for this business. I've always been good at spotting patterns, and this pattern is familiar. Eight years ago, Data Reporting  was going to make the difference. Six year ago, Contact Management was going to save the company.  Four years ago, Websites were the hot ticket. Two years ago, Texting was The One. Six months ago, Texting Phase II was It. 

We don't have any more products. 

The clock is ticking, boys. 

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (White Star underwater)
I will pointedly avoid saying, "I told you so." MoneyGuy will undoubtedly fail to notice this.

Like many small Offices, there is no single room in our half of the building that is the "utilities" room, where the furnace, a/c, water heater, et al live. The builder who assembled it all hid those pieces of infrastructure in the attic or cabinets in each of the offices.

For instance, the water heater for the front of our Office is in MoneyGuy's office, in a cabinet under a bar sink. There has been a leak in the plumbing under there for months. I know this because my office is right next to his, and a sweatshirt that got left in the adjoining corner overnight was sodden by the next morning.

This was back in March.

I showed him. I said, "You have a leak in the plumbing under your sink."

He looked at my sweatshirt. He looked under his sink. He said, "It's just coming up through the slab. It'll dry out."

This morning, the carpet is so wet it splashes when you walk on it. The carpet in my office is wet, though not as splashy. The water is turned off to that location. There is a fairly steady dripping stream of water coming from the water heater and no way to deliberately drain it. We can only cope by putting a basin there and emptying it every hour or so until the tank is empty.

MoneyGuy is out of town until Monday. He'll come back to a nasty surprise.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (White Star underwater)
I will pointedly avoid saying, "I told you so." MoneyGuy will undoubtedly fail to notice this.

Like many small Offices, there is no single room in our half of the building that is the "utilities" room, where the furnace, a/c, water heater, et al live. The builder who assembled it all hid those pieces of infrastructure in the attic or cabinets in each of the offices.

For instance, the water heater for the front of our Office is in MoneyGuy's office, in a cabinet under a bar sink. There has been a leak in the plumbing under there for months. I know this because my office is right next to his, and a sweatshirt that got left in the adjoining corner overnight was sodden by the next morning.

This was back in March.

I showed him. I said, "You have a leak in the plumbing under your sink."

He looked at my sweatshirt. He looked under his sink. He said, "It's just coming up through the slab. It'll dry out."

This morning, the carpet is so wet it splashes when you walk on it. The carpet in my office is wet, though not as splashy. The water is turned off to that location. There is a fairly steady dripping stream of water coming from the water heater and no way to deliberately drain it. We can only cope by putting a basin there and emptying it every hour or so until the tank is empty.

MoneyGuy is out of town until Monday. He'll come back to a nasty surprise.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
Let us begin with Saturday, October 2nd and Michelle's CENSOREDth birthday. New Autumn mugs, a new Autumn travel cup and scones from Starbucks were my contribution. At Jami's request to "buy mommy a present", we left Michelle to nap and I took him to the mall (a rare father-son outing) and thence to Yankee Candle for some autumn candles and a new decorative plate. He and I bounced around the mall, shared a pretzel and a Sprite for lunch, and took in the sights. We went to PetCo and bought fish for the aquarium. We had a good time. When he's not fighting with his sister, he's a lot of fun to hang out with. (The same goes for Katie, if you were wondering, autism and all.)

You must be as tall as this sign to ride this ride... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Titanic)
Let us begin with Saturday, October 2nd and Michelle's CENSOREDth birthday. New Autumn mugs, a new Autumn travel cup and scones from Starbucks were my contribution. At Jami's request to "buy mommy a present", we left Michelle to nap and I took him to the mall (a rare father-son outing) and thence to Yankee Candle for some autumn candles and a new decorative plate. He and I bounced around the mall, shared a pretzel and a Sprite for lunch, and took in the sights. We went to PetCo and bought fish for the aquarium. We had a good time. When he's not fighting with his sister, he's a lot of fun to hang out with. (The same goes for Katie, if you were wondering, autism and all.)

You must be as tall as this sign to ride this ride... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
We finished four orders of tights today: white, wine, camel, hunter green, and mink, and we shipped to Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis, and Rancho Cucamonga (no, really.)  We've got three orders from Kansas City so far, and one from Oklahoma (ya'll know who you are.)

It was a busy, frustrating (day job stuff), productive day. Seamlyne is doing better than I expected it to.

We'll be adding Mastercard and Visa in the next couple of days, as soon as PayQuake decides we're worthy. I wanted to put it off so we wouldn't have more fees to pay, but if some of my customers are any indication, PayPal is so complex as to be impossible to use. Hopefully, plugging into a different gateway will make a difference.

Day-job whining. )

And now, I'm going to bed. This is a conscious choice: I just don't want to stay up tonight. I have heard the bells at midnight too many nights recently, and I'm ready to get my body and brain back on schedule.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
We finished four orders of tights today: white, wine, camel, hunter green, and mink, and we shipped to Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis, and Rancho Cucamonga (no, really.)  We've got three orders from Kansas City so far, and one from Oklahoma (ya'll know who you are.)

It was a busy, frustrating (day job stuff), productive day. Seamlyne is doing better than I expected it to.

We'll be adding Mastercard and Visa in the next couple of days, as soon as PayQuake decides we're worthy. I wanted to put it off so we wouldn't have more fees to pay, but if some of my customers are any indication, PayPal is so complex as to be impossible to use. Hopefully, plugging into a different gateway will make a difference.

Day-job whining. )

And now, I'm going to bed. This is a conscious choice: I just don't want to stay up tonight. I have heard the bells at midnight too many nights recently, and I'm ready to get my body and brain back on schedule.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Head desk...now I understand what that means.

MoneyGuy calls me into his office to look at his screen. There I find a big message with "Security Tool" at the top. In big bold letters it screams, "Your system is infected."

Yeah, no shit. With "Security Tool" a bit of malware designed to look legit whose only purpose is to make you spend money. If not directly, by forcing you to purchase it, then directly by stealing your keystrokes the next time you log on to your bank's web site.

I try CTRL-ALT-DEL to get Task Manager. TM shows for a second, then closes spontaneously.

I said, "I'm surprised Avast didn't catch this."

He's gone all Pointy-Haired-Boss on me, and looks confused and angry. "It did. It wouldn't let me open this thing in my email, so I saved it to My Documents and opened it from there. I have a conference call in fifteen minutes. I need you to fix this."

The window pops open again.

He points, "Isn't that Avast?"

I try not to be condescending, but I only half succeed. "Does it say 'Avast?'"

He doesn't answer. I do what I can to close the windows so he can do whatever it is he needs to do, but I know they're going to just keep popping up.

"Tell you what, " I offer, "do your thing, and when you're done I'll see to fixing it."

I guess my other projects - the projects for paying customers - will have to wait.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Head desk...now I understand what that means.

MoneyGuy calls me into his office to look at his screen. There I find a big message with "Security Tool" at the top. In big bold letters it screams, "Your system is infected."

Yeah, no shit. With "Security Tool" a bit of malware designed to look legit whose only purpose is to make you spend money. If not directly, by forcing you to purchase it, then directly by stealing your keystrokes the next time you log on to your bank's web site.

I try CTRL-ALT-DEL to get Task Manager. TM shows for a second, then closes spontaneously.

I said, "I'm surprised Avast didn't catch this."

He's gone all Pointy-Haired-Boss on me, and looks confused and angry. "It did. It wouldn't let me open this thing in my email, so I saved it to My Documents and opened it from there. I have a conference call in fifteen minutes. I need you to fix this."

The window pops open again.

He points, "Isn't that Avast?"

I try not to be condescending, but I only half succeed. "Does it say 'Avast?'"

He doesn't answer. I do what I can to close the windows so he can do whatever it is he needs to do, but I know they're going to just keep popping up.

"Tell you what, " I offer, "do your thing, and when you're done I'll see to fixing it."

I guess my other projects - the projects for paying customers - will have to wait.

Work rant

Jul. 7th, 2010 10:09 am
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Wow. Frustration this deep is not a good way to start the morning.

Customer #1: too busy to provide assistance in setting the calculations for his application, but complains bitterly that he's not seeing the numbers he wants. Dude, if it's wrong, it's because your instructions to me were wrong. I've verified three times that the calculations are being performed according to your specs. You want it "fixed", you gotta help out here.

Customer #2: didn't read the email that he asked me to send that explains how to change out graphics on his homepage. Calls and complains that he can't figure out how to put a new ad in column three. Did you read the email? No? Read the fucking email you fucking asked for, you stupid tit..

Some days I love my job and can't believe I'm actually paid money to do it. Other days, like today, not so much.

Work rant

Jul. 7th, 2010 10:09 am
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Wow. Frustration this deep is not a good way to start the morning.

Customer #1: too busy to provide assistance in setting the calculations for his application, but complains bitterly that he's not seeing the numbers he wants. Dude, if it's wrong, it's because your instructions to me were wrong. I've verified three times that the calculations are being performed according to your specs. You want it "fixed", you gotta help out here.

Customer #2: didn't read the email that he asked me to send that explains how to change out graphics on his homepage. Calls and complains that he can't figure out how to put a new ad in column three. Did you read the email? No? Read the fucking email you fucking asked for, you stupid tit..

Some days I love my job and can't believe I'm actually paid money to do it. Other days, like today, not so much.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a mixed bag as weekends go.

The August Dormer Roofing Project of 2009 is officially finished. With the prospect of friends coming over on Sunday - one who hasn't been to Osage in years and one who's never been at all - I applied my energies to finishing the portion of the ceiling and wall affected by the leaking water. I have a little touch-up to do in the paint along the ceiling (you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking for it), but it's done and looks really nice.

That and a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was most of Saturday. That story, with an update on the shed project, is detailed here.

Sunday, Jami became feverish, hitting 101° or higher. Not sure what he's sick with, but he's a kid and the weather's been very changeable. Dinner with friends was postponed (bummer, that). By mid-afternoon I was feeling very out of sorts myself, but as I look back I think that was a product of a very bad sleeping night.

Dinner was chicken tenders made with Panko breadcrumbs, very successful there.

I have discovered the joys of MySQL and Wordpress. I've set up three websites so far: Bill Morris Music, Lezlie Revelle's Blog, and The Road Less Ordinary, a blog about responsible living, good food, and autism. What I'm learning there will serve me in good stead not only for personal projects but for work projects as well.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a mixed bag as weekends go.

The August Dormer Roofing Project of 2009 is officially finished. With the prospect of friends coming over on Sunday - one who hasn't been to Osage in years and one who's never been at all - I applied my energies to finishing the portion of the ceiling and wall affected by the leaking water. I have a little touch-up to do in the paint along the ceiling (you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking for it), but it's done and looks really nice.

That and a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was most of Saturday. That story, with an update on the shed project, is detailed here.

Sunday, Jami became feverish, hitting 101° or higher. Not sure what he's sick with, but he's a kid and the weather's been very changeable. Dinner with friends was postponed (bummer, that). By mid-afternoon I was feeling very out of sorts myself, but as I look back I think that was a product of a very bad sleeping night.

Dinner was chicken tenders made with Panko breadcrumbs, very successful there.

I have discovered the joys of MySQL and Wordpress. I've set up three websites so far: Bill Morris Music, Lezlie Revelle's Blog, and The Road Less Ordinary, a blog about responsible living, good food, and autism. What I'm learning there will serve me in good stead not only for personal projects but for work projects as well.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Christmas came early for Michelle (a new, commercial grade, KitchenAid® mixer), and tonight, early for me in the form of a Breville Café Roma espresso machine. I've pulled three double-shots from it, and while tasty I'm still searching for the perfect shot.

Keep at a safe distance while operating. Do not use near face. )

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