Prayed for the wrong thing!

On Friday, Sharron finally found out the results of a promotion test she’d taken about 6-8 weeks earlier.  She passed!  Accoding to plan (a list of things that won’t happen) she was supposed to be promoted from TE-0 to TE-1 on Thursday of this week and then to TE-2 2 weeks after that.  This was really good news.

Yesterday, she spoke to HR about this and everything seemed to be ok…at first.  The next message from them though was that she had taken the Transportation test when she was in fact a Construction engineer.  ????  When she first started at the state, she was indeed in the construction division.  However, late last year (read:  5-ish months ago) she transferred to the new department.  Paperwork was supposed to change hands…and bada-bing, she’d be relabeled correctly.  This obviously did not happen.  Ok, so the promotion is delayed until she can get that fixed (yes, you read that right, it’s up to HER to get it fixed).  Plus, she’ll get all her back pay?  Also not bad.

But wait!  My story gets better!  The NEXT (there’s always a next right?) contact with HR was even worse.  Their next message was that she wasn’t sitting in a TE-2 position, but rather a TE-1 position.  ?????  When she moved into the deparment, she was assured that it was a TE-2 position as that was the grade she’s been promised to be able to be promoted to when this silly promotion test was finally offered.  Since the position is actually a TE-1, they would have to upgrade the position to a TE-2 for her to be able to do that.  Apparantly, since the state is in such a state of crisis with the 2009 budget, only the governor could actually approve something like that.  The.  Governor.  WTF?

So, as I had my nightly communique with the Lord last night, I did have to chuckle just a little bit and say, “You got me!”  You see, I had prayed for Sharron to pass the test…not for her to actually be promoted!

Why do I even have a journal anymore?

In the old days I used to post in my spare time.  That time has now become so precious that I can usually find something I’d like to do that isn’t posting.

At work, in the middle of February, I moved into a new job at Travelers.  I went from being an IT Project Manager to being the Manager of Direct Mail.  I was doing that part time as a project manager already, but now I am doing that full time.  I thought that it would make life in that role easier as I wouldn’t have any other duties getting in the way.  Instead, I’ve found that I’m working harder and longer than ever.  This is not to say that it was a bad move, because it wasn’t.  I love my job and really enjoy coming to work everyday.  However, I just have a lot more to do than I ever thought I would.

Who knows, maybe this post will herald in me a new willingness to post?

The Worst Bus Driver In The World

Monday evening I caught the 5:15 bus back to Simsbury.  I didn’t recognize the driver as I got on, but that in itself isn’t too unusual.  By the time we were on the main road out of downtown Hartford, it was apparant that something was not right.  The driver had already made several blatent traffic errors and his driving was erratic.  Approaching an intersection, he suddenly slammed on the brakes.  Again, not too out of the ordinary.  I’ve had other drivers do this before when something unexpected occurred.  A block later, he slammed them on again.  I was not in a good position for this one.  I had leaned down to put my book back in my bag (I’d finished it) when he slammed them on the 2nd time.  I went flying head/shoulder first into one of the metal hand-hold bars between seats.  Ouch!

By the time we’d gotten out of the city and we about to make the turn onto the road to Simsbury, we were all getting worried.  That’s when the real shock came as he almost missed the turn and again slammed on the brakes (we were all ready this time) and stopped in the middle of the intersection.  He then threw the bus in reverse (on a main road mind you) and without checking behind him, backed up to make the turn.  We could clearly hear all of the car horns behind us.

Headed down the next road, we were going approximately 70mph in a 25 zone.  At the next turn, I thought for sure he was going to tip the bus over as we took it going WAY too fast.  By the time we reached the next major intersection, we were all afraid for our lives.  He paid no attention (at first) to the red light and then slammed on the brakes a little too late and skidded into the middle of the intersection.  Cars we trying to get around us and we heard many honks.  After the light turned green, he then decided to make sure we were stopped as we didn’t get going until it was almost red again.  At this point, one of the passengers at the front of the bus got up to ask him if he was ok.  From where I was sitting, he sounded belligerent, and said he was fine.  The passenger pressed him, but all he did was jam down on the gas which forced the passenger back into his seat.

To get back into Simsbury, we have to drive over Talcott “mountain”.  Coming down from the peak is a semi-steep descent and you can get going pretty fast in your vehicle.  For us passengers, this was our final moment of terror as we saw vehicles going in the opposite direction pulling over to get out of the bus’s way.  We did make it to the park and ride without any major accidents, but I think he hit the little shack you can wait in when he pulled up to it.

Tuesday morning I made sure to send a letter of complaint to the bus management, but what was really interesting was that I found out that at least 5 people called the police on him.  From what I hear, the police were waiting for him at the next stop in downtown Simsbury.

Craziness huh?  I’m waiting to get in to the doc to see if my back is ok.

Kevin Smith

Saturday evening, Janet and I went to see Kevin Smith in Hartford.  Sharron had decided she wasn’t too interested in seeing him, so Janet and I went.  I’d bought the tickets a few months ago and got pretty good seats.  I think we were in row J, right in the middle, so we could see him very clearly.  It was a great show.  For those not in the know, he has no prepared material and what he talks about is driven completely off of audience questions.  This apparently works very well.  :-)

The show lasted 3 hours, from 7:45 until 10:45.  Really, I think we all could have stood to have it last even longer.  It was great.  We laughed a lot.  Kevin does appear to suffer from some low self esteem as he talked about his small penis quite a bit, but he sure can talk about his life and experiences very well.

My only real complaint was that the show lagged in the middle.  This was not Kevin’s fault in the slightest.  Instead, it was the audience’s fault.  The people asking the questions slowly degenerated into people asking him for his autograph, or for a hug, or a handshake, or a lip imprint, etc.  It got annoying pretty fast.  2 people even asked if they could come up on stage and just hang out with him…and he said yes.  That’s pretty gracious of him, but come ON people!

At the end of the night, it was definitely $45 (per ticket) well spent and both Janet and I agreed that we’d be willing to go again.  Good show!  :-)

Count by Four

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:   Lifeguard at Wild Waves, Computer Lab Assistant, Communications Officer in the Air Force, IT Project Manager at Travelers

Four movies you could watch over and over:  Star Wars IV, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Transformers

Four places you’ve lived:  Tacoma, WA, Hurst, TX, Colorado Springs, CO, Fussa, Japan

Four TV shows you love to watch (old):  Star Trek:  The Next Generation, Quantum Leap, Seinfeld, Friends

Four TV shows you love to watch (current):  How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, Lost, Dexter

Four places you’ve been on vacation:  Las Vegas, Caribbean, Washington DC, China

Four websites you visit daily:  Slashdot, Transformers World 2005, Bureau 42, The Replica Prop Forum

Four of your favorite foods:   Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich’s, Peperoni Pizza, Steak, Hamburgers

Four places you’d rather be:  Skiing, Gaming, on a Cruise (Cruising?), at the Movies

Four albums you can’t live without:  Green Day – Dookie, The Essential Neil Diamond, Star Trek II, Star Wars IV

Beer Present

Today was my first day back to work after the Christmas break.  I ended up taking 5 days of vacation for a total of 12 days off in a row.  Woo!

One of the meetings I had this afternoon was with my future boss Keith.  It will be hard for him to be my boss as we’re pretty good friends right now.  I had long ago decided that I was going to get him a Costco pack of Tic-Tacs for Christmas.  Not because I felt I needed to get him a present, but because I thought it would be funny.  He apparantly thought it would also be funny to get me a present too.  After he’d opened his gift today, he pulled out a 4-pack of beer, my present.  It’s called Midas Touch. 

On the side it says, “Deep inside this tumulus at Gordion in central Turkey, University of Pennsylvania Museum archaeologists excavated what is quite possibly the tomb of the real King Midas who inspired the legend.  The secrets of the 2,700-year-old beverage were unlocked by a Molecular Archaeologist at the Penn Museum, who analyzed residues from the largest Iron Age drinking set ever found.

It’s really funny to me as he had told me about it several months ago and I am certain that I’ve been mentioning it to him ever since.  It’s really cool!

It has 3 friends…who should join me?


My father-in-law Jerry, his girlfriend Vera, and her 2 sons Kevin and Michael have been here since late Christmas eve.  So far, it’s been a lot of fun.  :-)

Yesterday, Jerry and I were out shopping at a sporting goods store and the owner was pulling one of the New Englander’s famous, “where are you from” attitudes.  They just don’t seem to understand that people outside of NE are still people and not morons.  When he noticed that Jerry had a southern accent, he immediately wanted to talk about the south.  However, it wasn’t a nice talk.  It was almost like he’d been there to fix up the place or something.  THEN his story turned ugly.  He mentioned that if you’re from Indiana that you’re a Hoosier.  Ok.  Then followed up with this question, “If you’re from Louisiana, are you a Loosier?”  This was not only rude and insulting (since Jerry IS from Louisiana) but just plain mean.  Jerry was cool as a cat though and countered with, “Well, when I’m in the north, I always try to find out if Damn Yankee is 1 word or 2.”  This sure shut this guy up quick.  Pretty awesome comeback if you ask me.

Last night, Kevin and I headed down into Hartford and checked out the 2 Irish pubs that I know about there.  What we didn’t count on was that UCONN had had a basketball game down there last night and it was just finishing up as we were arriving.  There were a LOT of people on the streets.  Fortunately, the pubs weren’t too crowded and we were able to get tables at both.  The first one was called Vaughan’s Public House and was pretty good.  Crowded, but the had my favorite local beer called Ten Penny.  Plus, we had Guiness.  :-)  The second is called McKinnon’s.  This was a little less traditional and had live music (that sucked).  Ah well.  We had another local beer there that wasn’t as good, but still had a good time.


It seems that everyone is posting about the snow.  I’ll keep this brief then.  Friday we received 8.5″ and then it continued to snow through the ENTIRE weekend!  Something like 54 hours of continuous snow.  Crazy!

We got out of the house for a bit on Friday afternoon and let Parker play in it.  Just so you know, this was after only a few hours of snow.  We got a lot more after this picture was taken.

Parker in the snow

Parker in the snow

I took this next picture this morning.  Only once before have I seen such amazing icicles, Ellensburg, Washington in 1996/1997.  Those made these look small.

This is the view from our living room.

This is the view from our living room.

Disney is honoring me? Sweet!

Found this online this weekend at Boing Boing.  I think it’s really cool!

House Appraisal

Sitting here at 10:00 PM with nothing much to do, I was checking my email and ran across one from Ben.  He was asking questions about Cameron-Brooks, the placement agency I went through, for one of his friends.  One thing he told me he liked about my blog was that it’s a “happily ever after story” kind of place.  Not sure I agree with that 100%, but this entry is one of those.

As I mentioned in my last post, Wednesday we had our house appraised.  Strangely enough, it was the same appraiser that did the job last November.  It was a little hard to tell sometimes, but he was definitely impressed with all of the hard work we’ve put into the house.  That and the thousands of dollars in appliances :-).  Before he left, I had asked him about what the value was.  He told me he couldn’t tell me as his client is the bank and not us.  Fair enough.  He did say though that the value was greater than the amount of money we’d put in to it.

Sharron got an email from the firm that he did the appraisal for today.  Attached was the appraisal.  $370,000!  Nearly 1 year ago, we purchased the house for $272,500, so in under a year we’ve managed to increase the value of the house by $100,000!  In THIS economy too!

I hope that none of you feel that I am bragging about this as I am not.  Instead, I am merely feeling very good about all of the hard work we’ve put in to the house.  It’s just nice to know that it was all worth it.  :-)