Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

A new record on the way to the #PhiladelphiaMarathon

September 22, 2013

Less than sixty days to the insanity!  I am becoming excited about walking the Philadelphia Half Marathon for OAR (shameless fundraising plug).  In an effort to not become injured, I’ve started to cross train at the gym.  Between kicking, swimming, stationary biking and (ugh) weight lifting, I was injury free until I dropped a bed on my foot.  Yup, you read that right.  I dropped a bed on my foot.  I was attempting to rescue pink mouse (REALLY? AGAIN?) and blue rat (new cat, same issue) and the board came crashing down.  After few A lot of curse words, I realized my foot was not broken just going to have a massive bruise. Right across the top of my foot.  It healed.  And I was ready to resume walking.

Today, I started on my Sunday morning trek with the goal of “hit seven miles”.  7.4 miles later, I unlocked the key to the front door.  Really.  Ok, the time wasn’t great but it was done.  I skipped a ready-made excuse of the pouring rain thinking WWTD*?  Yeah, if it’s raining that day, I’d go. . . better get used to walking in the rain (although when it hit downpour level I did wait it out under the entry to some local business).

Somewhere between mile five and six, I found myself aware of how I was pushing my body. I see why runners run.  There is a point where it’s the next step, the air in your face and a feeling that is so completely different than anything else I’ve felt.  I can’t remember the last time I walked seven miles (maybe never).  As I walked through the office park on my path, I saw a dead snake (ew, but grateful for his/her demise), saw two deer romp along the front of an office building and realized the town next to me has an intersection of Bartlett and Lyman.

Two hours after coming home, I’m not hobbled in pain.  And I’m thinking this is the best impulsive idea I’ve had in a long time.

 

Move the bed, get my toy human!

Move the bed, get my toy human!

 

 

*WWTD in no way shape or form resembles a popular religious acronym.  The fact that the third letter refers to a person with wildly long hair and a strange cult like following is purely coincidental.  Pretty sure the other guy ate pie.

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The Employment Road: Part I

February 4, 2012

I’ve spent most of the past two years looking for a job, working as a temp. During the process, and it really was more of an ordeal than a process, I learned a ton and had my typical wacky adventures.  I promised myself once I had an honest-to-God offer letter, I’d write about some of the more interesting tales.  None, zero, nada, zilch of what I’m writing about happened at the company that now employs me.  All of these are my (probably) distorted perceptions of some of the truly insane things that happen when you start to look for a job with a bit of I applied for a position of “event planner” (I loved, loved, loved that aspect of a former job).  The company screened through a placement agency (common) and passed me on to the company.  I didn’t think that the employment questions from the placement agency matched the job description I had been given but I know enough to know that there are a lot of let’s-see-how-you-can-handle-this type questions.  At the time, I was grateful that nobody asked me about flowers because the only thing I know about flowers is that white flowers are culturally inappropriate or appropriate and they all make me sneeze.

I drove over to the corporate headquarters located on a nondescript office campus.  Yes, it was lovely like the recruiter told me (note, these are things I don’t care about).  Yes, it was right off of a main route (right after a left merge which means it was really off one of the prime Boston bottlenecks!), and yes, they had a cafeteria (see things I don’t care about).  Little did I know these observations were the only “normal” experiences of the day.

Do you remember these guys? I interviewed with them.

They exist!

They exist!

 

In what can only be described as one of the most surreal interviews of my life, I was transported to the world of the Spartan cheerleaders.  Ok, I am the first to admit, I am not exactly the most overtly bubbly person in the world.  I tend to arch an eyebrow and have beyond a sarcastic/sardonic sense of humor that if you don’t get, well, there is a reason I adore the I-95 section from Philly to Maine.

They flapped. They clapped. They showed me a rah-rah video.  I’m thinking ok, this is event planning: when are they going to ask me about my budgeting skills, my favorite places in some major convention cities, great ‘escape’ places for reward trips.  You know: drilling me on the industry.  The Will Ferrell interviewer told me about his team.  Apparently, somebody was able to book 4 Broadway tickets and the customer was so grateful, his employee was sent a box of Godiva chocolates! (each word emphasized, each word said with great enthusasim…each word made I’m-really-interested-in-what-you-are-saying-face smile while my brain was churning, um Godiva? Dude. 12 pieces is like $15 bucks. And the chocolate isn’t that great.)  The Cheri Oteri interviewer asked me what my favorite travel experience was: I honestly had to pause and think.  I said it was either watching the whales dance across the ocean in South Africa or being in Paris (anywhere. It never gets old for me).  I get I’ve been all over the world and back again.  I’m lucky.  The Spartans looked at each other and said, almost in scary unison, you’ve been to Paris with an inflection of “you had dinner with the Dali Lama?” Cheri continued to explain the services offered and about how the customers were the “elite” of American society.  I really struggled not to laugh.  I suddenly connected the dots: this is the place you call when you want to redeem your credit card rewards points from American Express for something other than movie tickets or Starbucks cards!  My first thought?

There were some actual issues with the job itself and the company after I did some research (I never would have interviewed with them had I known who they were at the time).  In the middle of the recession they had 20 openings. The reason? After six months, they offer benefits and a set schedule.  The average length of employment in this position is just under six months.  It’s a burn and churn that is open 6a – midnight with no fixed days off, no set schedule, and no request for time off for the first year.  I’ve kept my eye on the company.  Every six months, they have about 20 or so openings.  They are not growing: they are burning and churning people.  It is a port in the storm economy: but having worked retail and in call centers, I know they can make a fixed schedule with a need for variation.  There (should) be statistical data that shows call volume, work loads, and other metrics.

After doing a bit of research (and getting a short-term temp job), I withdrew my name from consideration.  I knew it wasn’t a good fit: I’m not peppy.  I knew I’d run into problems with their lack of a schedule and my inability not to get sick, winter traffic (remember the Winter of 2010?) and a 40 minute commute.  It took me 3 attempts to withdraw my name: they kept calling telling me how happy I’d be to work for their organization: how they always had fun.

We Want You

We Want You!

Re-organizing: A Hurricane of a Project

August 28, 2011

Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate
the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum,
and deleting everything else. Article
here
.

Edit closets and drawers. Once you’ve gone through the main parts of
your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. More
here
.

Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your
drawers so stuffed they can’t close (I’m talking about dresser drawers here, not
underwear). Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually
wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few
solid colors that all match each other. Read
more
.”

Fact: I really dislike high winds.  I needed to find something to do during Irene – yes, it’s not a huge storm (now) but really? I don’t like the rattling gusts of winds that will hit my area sometime today.  My plan? I’m tackling the wardrobe issue and my bed room: if it hasn’t been used/worn in 2 years, it’s gone.  Period.  No questions asked.  If it’s ripped/stained it’s gone no more of this “oh, i can use it as pj’s, layer with it, no more mismatched socks for “snow clearing”.

One place I really need an edit is in my how does this fit into my wardrobe?  The problem when I worked the job from hell was we were expected to wear current-esque merchandise so I wound up with a ton of things that either I didn’t need OR were a bit too trendy.  I did a bit of research regarding some of the less than stellar conditions of my clothing, it turns out that yes, you can donate stained clothing.  It is recycled into items in developing countries (with a study from Oxfam to show that it doesn’t impact local industry).

Given the insanity of my work-wardrobe: my plans: Edit to no more than 15 items for business, 15 for business casual, 15 for casual.  And yes they can be interchangeable.  At least I’ll have something to think about besides the howling winds!

Chronically Cranky

April 13, 2011

Today is one of those days. I have a list of things that I must get done (visitors en route!) and it’s raining.  Normally rain is something that is just a pain … today, the rain found every healed fracture line, unrepaired nick in my body and screams out stop.  Four or five days a year I’m like this. I can’t move.  I mean, I can move but every movement is that end of a long work workout feeling of moving a jelly like body through space. Every molecule hurts.

I suppose I should back up. Most days I hurt: hurt like smacking your knee cap into a metal post hurt.  Every day it’s not an “if” but “how much”.  Pain free? Oh, I’d pay. I’d pay. I’d pay for a week of pain-free.  Somebody a few weeks ago told me that “you’ve (meaning me) learned so much from your pain.” Seriously? Yeah, distance worked in this case: the person is still breathing and to my knowledge pain-free.  The entire medical system has not found a good answer to chronic pain.  Right now my very tender knee is wrapped in a brace with two non-narcotic pain patches, elevated and flexed in an attempt at least calm down my knee enough to get something done today.  I’ve had 31 orthopaedic surgeries. Yup. 31.  I’ve been poke, jabbed, prodded more than I care to think about most days (ok, really any day).

And today I just hurt.  The cold rain hurts.  Pain is the way our body tells us pay attention.  And I’m tired of trying to find something to at least make the pain manageable. My body feels mangled.  I really just want a day without pain.

Another week. . .

January 22, 2011

Ok, I *left* the Great Lakes reason for one thing: the weather. One too many winters of a few feet of snow and wind chills in the -20 range made me think “really? do civilized people live here by choice?” (I never changed my sports team alliances!) but the winters I can do without. . . . so I sanely lived in Colorado and now Boston instead.  In the past week, I braved 3 rush hour storms: a Nor’Easter, an ice storm and a “small” snow squall of 8 inches. Ok. One week? I mean, the past 5 years have had mild winters, we didn’t need it back in a week! :)

Lots and lots of snow piles!

Snow

Jan Nor'Easter #1

 

It’s been pretty mundane…reflecting on the death of Jake Wheeler: a long time beloved professor of Hollins University/College and how much of an impact he had on a small women’s college in the south. He taught you to think and in many ways, those of us who were privileged to know him still draw from his work, be it through shaping the focus of the school, being a professor or his general optimism even in the face of personal losses. UCLA might have had John Wooden, but they obviously had the second pick.

Seeing the news about Pepsi’s Challenge program and it’s problems does actually upset me. It was such a good idea that was ruined by the masses and the voting alliances, lying to other groups that you were voting for them and the inherent greed that brings out the nasty side of people.

And then, somewhere, the news of Rep. Giffords being moved to rehab lifted spirits for a few hours. Believe what you choose, or choose not to believe, but I think the healing thoughts of hundreds of millions of people had something to do with her recovery so far.

An Open Letter to the CEO of Delta Airlines

December 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I’m quite certain you don’t need/want/desire another letter on a blog about how to run Delta. Well, quite frankly, you wouldn’t have ever gotten one from me until today. I’ve been a loyal Delta customer for 15 years, I put up with the inability of people to understand 2 items, the insane baggage charges and having to beg for water. I’ve bounced between Silver and Gold Medallion for much of the past decade.  Today, six people made me question my loyalty: it’s obvious Delta doesn’t care about the consumer, why should we demonstrate loyalty to your organization?

As you know, New York/New England is in the midst of a post-Christmas blizzard.  Because if the industry standard hub system, and mergers, your airlines 4 of it’s 7 US hubs in winter locations. Logically, this seems disproportionate to an industry which relies on an uncontrollable force to ensure safe travels.  I can live with it: it’s my decision to fly Delta, and fighting through either Detroit, Minneapolis, JFK, or Salt Lake coupled with living in New England can be problematic.  What I cannot stand, and find intolerable is the attitude of your employees in dealing with weather related issues.

Today, I flew from Oklahoma City to Boston (the *only* flight to fly from ATL-BOS on 12/26 operated by Delta).  Having had previously acceptable service when dealing with delays on Delta (including receiving texts while waiting for a part to be fixed on an ATL-Tokyo flight), I felt somewhat assured that my flight to Boston was running on-time to possibly late because of weather.  I hadn’t received a voice mail or text. Fortunately, I tapped into my 3G network and noted an email from Delta at 4:10 am saying my flight had been cancelled and I was to be re-routed to SLC the next day (12/27) and then to Logan on 12/30.

As I was en-route to do some early post-holiday shopping with my sister, she dropped me off at the Will Rogers Airport. I knew there was a 6:52 departure to ATL and a 7:00 am departure to the Twin Cities and hoped to catch an earlier flight to make it home before the blizzard.  I arrived at 6:31 and was told by the counter agent she could not do anything for me since it was after 6:30 am. I realize this maybe your standard but I should have been told, let me ticket you on the 11:42 to the Twin Cities and go back to the gates and see if you can get on the plane. I had to beg for that flight and NOT to fly out to SLC on 12/27 (which, let’s face it, to fly from Oklahoma to get stuck in Utah makes as much sense as flying to Tokyo to connect to Phoenix from Oklahoma).  As the ticket agent was relatively new, her supervisor used this as a “training exercise”. I realize that experiential learning is a key component. I do not understand why a Medallion member, who is trying to beat a blizzard needed to be the object of such an undertaking. By the time I received my boarding passes, I was told both flights had boarded and were ‘closed’.

After clearing TSA, I realized NEITHER flight had boarded and both had seats. Fortunately, the customer service manager had more common sense than anybody else today and was able to get me on the flight to Atlanta with a seat assignment on the 1:oo pm flight to Boston.

At this point, I encountered two of the rudest flight attendants I have ever had to deal with in over 500,000 air miles on commercial flights. I won’t fly Southwest. I don’t like their “cute” flight attendants. Having a no smoking pantomime isn’t funny, isn’t cute: it’s unprofessional. Being told on five (5) different occasions that “these were not Delta’s rules and if we had a problem to contact the FAA” was churlish. My final straw was when the second flight attendant took my pillow OUT of my lap and said “you cannot have this in an exit row.” (Now, I don’t know if it is Delta or the FAA that doesn’t allow this: but I do know that I fly with my pillow, sit in exit rows and this has NEVER happened before.)

Once I arrived at Hartsfield, I discovered all flights to Boston had been cancelled, save the 12:35 departure. I noticed this immediately and was placed on the stand-by list in Terminal E. My name was not pro-actively placed on the list: had I not checked the screen before grabbing coffee, I would not have been on the stand-by list.  Noting there were over 40 names and zero unclaimed seats, I asked to fly into DCA, JFK of LGA as from there, I can take Amtrak to Boston (which terminated service on 12/26 at 5:15pm). I was refused this request because “your ticket says Boston: that is where you have to fly to.” At this point, I realized that the Hartsfield operation of Delta Airlines is in serious need of common sense:

1) If I wanted to fly into an alternate city where there were open seats to then (at my own expense) secure transportation to my end destination, it frees Delta Airlines from having to secure a seat for me on either one of your aircraft or a competitors.

2) Being told “next time fly Air Tran” by your gate agent at A-03 is beyond appalling. Had I known Delta was both unwilling (and possibly incapable) of working with customers, if I ever have to fly to Atlanta, I might fly Air Tran, United, or any of your competitors: they certainly cannot be worse.

3) Yes, there is a massive blizzard pounding New England at the moment: however, Logan was open until 5 pm: meaning all flights from Atlanta could have left until 2pm.  The Atlanta staff saying there was “3 feet of snow on the ground in Boston” in an era of instant communication was memorable. It became more entertaining when the pilot of the flight indicated this was a turnaround and that it had yet to start snowing in Boston when they left.  As we landed on runway 4 in Boston which is an ocean-ocean landing, Logan ground conditions were not near blizzard like.

5) I realize the airline industry has faced many challenges. However, Delta is looking at possibly 3 days of no service between Boston-Atlanta. Passengers were told this was “an act of God” and Delta was not responsible for meal vouchers, hotels or other accommodations. There is a difference between “responsible” and “customer service”.  Individuals remember good service: many people make choices on where not to spend their money based on bad service. Is Delta required by the FAA to provide travellers with meal vouchers? No. Would it set Delta apart? Yes. 

Your flight crews used to say “you have a choice when flying, thank-you for flying Delta and our Sky Team partners.”  Perhaps it’s time to put some meanings behind the words.  Delta has lost my loyalty. I had to act like a hostile customer to get home because “please”, “thank-you” and reasonable requests got me nowhere.  Publically saying that the ineptitude of the airlines towards Medallion customers got me a seat home.  It really is too bad that it has come to that with your airlines. I’d much rather do business with an organzation where I can make a reasonable request that is mutually beneficial than act like an immature adult. 

There is a television show called Undercover Boss.  I’d suggest spending sometime working the front lines and listening to your passengers.  Alternate airports may work and when a passengers asks for that accommodation why not honor it when you are faced with weather or mechanical delays? You free up a seat and create a happy customer.  Unless, of course, the goal of Delta is to be acquired by AirTran. If so, you are well on your way.

Maybe the next time I fly, it will be on Delta. Maybe it won’t. Quite frankly, your organization has earned business for your competitors. I’m happily enjoying the blizzard: only because I didn’t mind throwing a temper tantrum that would have landed my nieces and nephews in time out for life so I could get home. I feel sorry for those travellers who have yet to learn, that is how you have to play the game.