Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm going to rave about the Roomba a little more.

I'm supprised how much dirt the Roomba picks up considering how small it is.

The Roomba has forced RO and I to pick up a bit more. The Roomba really can't vacuum a floor that is covered with dirty laundry-- no one can. So, to help the Roomba along, RO and I had to pick the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom... you get the picture.

It returns to it's charging station after it's finished with a room. That's very nice.

It's short enough to vacuum under beds.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I bought a Roomba; a vacuuming robot. So far it's very nice. Just set it down and hit clean. Thirty minutes later that room has been vacuumed.

This house isn't the most Roomba friendly. There are three or four paces where the Roomba can be trapped. But, you can program the Roomba to stay away from those.

That and any other complaints are offset by the fact it does the vacuuming for me.

C2 said I'm getting very domestic. He's right.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My boss and I talked about the recent calibration. We discused the fact that it is easier to be promited as a manager than it is as an individual contributor. I'm not confortuable with that and for good reason-- the work gets done because people do it, not because managers manage them.

The reality isn't so fair. A weak manger with a good team will look great. Any manager with a bad team gets to blame the problems on the team-- for a year at least. So a manager with a weak team gets to blame and fire someone else.

Also, rewards trickle down from the top. My VP will give his direct employees the most money. What's left over goes to the next layer of management. What's left over after that goes to next layer. Finally what's left over after that goes to the individual contributors.

More rewards trickle down from the top. Less blame purcolates up from the bottom. It makes management a gravy train.

At least I'm on that train.
Some good news. Our rent at the store is going down by $1500.00 a month.

We currently have a sublease and pay rent to the original lease holder who pays rent to the building owner. The original lease owner is charging us $1500.00 per month more than he pays the building owner. We didn't know this when we signed our sublease but found out much later.

The sublease is expiring soon. We are negiotiating directly with the owners. The owners only want their current rent plus a small increase.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This week has started out stressful, but is ending up OK. I had two important deadlines. I couldn't miss either without major consequence.

The first was calibration. I, and all the other managers at my day job get together and compare employees-- rank them and bucket them. Who did a good job? Who is too helpful, but never gets their regular job done? Who is a super star?

The discussions have consequences. Words are chosen carefully.

"This projects shows that..."
"You don't get promoted for doing projects."
"Did I say project? I meant completed scenario."

"I've heard lots of good things about this employee, but nothing bad. Are they being insulated from the day to day realities of the job?"

"He helps so many people and is always willing to answer questions."
"Our product doesn't ship because we answer questions. Our product ships because everyone does the work and carries their own weight. Perhaps he should be writing a book or document about this so that he never has to answer a question again."

All in all, the debate is fare and thorough. The two most senior people in the room keep it that way. I still have lots to learn. I feel personaly responsible for my employee's evaluations. I have to distance my self abit. I'm not a bad manager if all my employees don't get gold stars.

Gold stars. That's what it comes down to. I am not giving out gold stars. I'm giving out stock and cash. And that is what makes calibration so stressful.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yesterday was a yard work day. We pressure washed the house; the roof, the eves, the walks, the driveway. The house looks great now. The gardens are still weedy, but everything else is clean.

RO found a wasps nest in a bush along side of the drive way. He spent a lot of time blasting the nest to oblivion. The wasps kept coming back, searching for the nests. A few times they tried to attack RO, but he used the power washer to find them off.

I found a big hole in the metal roof. It's at least 1''x3''! Last winter, during a wind storm, a large branch fell on the roof. I guess the branch punctured the roof. I checked for water damage but didn't find any.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today, for no particular reason, I made a list of all that managers that I've had at my day job. In the past eleven years, I've had nine managers. Five of those managers have left the the division, or company for somewhat murky reasons.

One for sexual harrasment.
One for never saying no to any request, but never delivering anything. That one got away with it for years before someone realized his team was a black hole of work.
One for promsing to fix an important problem, but never fixing it for years. That one was the guy who promoted me to manager.
Two left for having a bad relationship with their boss and being on the loosing end of the argument.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last night RO and I stayed up late, until 9:30, to play a game of Scrabble. The winner got to be called "The Scrabble Master." The loser, "The Scrabble bitch."

RO is the Scrabble Master. He's milking his victory for all it's worth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RO and I have started getting up at 5:30am and going to bed at 9:00pm. It's a fresh change, though it makes me feel... not old, but adult-- getting up at the crack of dawn and working hard till the end of the day. It may sound odd that a 38yo man has only just accepted that fact that he is an adult, but hey, sometimes I'm a slow learner.

I have also accepted into my role as "The man that runs the system that youth rebels against." I kind of like it. Not that I think of my self as "the man" It's just that I have goals that don't allow me to give opportunities or money to people that don't work hard and smart. Money is tight and I there is no room for me to be a sugar daddy.

Getting up early allows me to do chores and exercies each morning before I go to work. So, even though I go to bed at 9:00pm, my evenings are extra relaxing. My day is done when I get home. There is no laundry to do, no cleaning, no maintenace. I can cook a great dinner, relax with a glass of wine, then hit the hay.

Friday, June 13, 2008

RO called and told my co-worker, J, about me hiding the good TP from him.

J came to my office and scolded me for being so selfish. I told her I did so because I had an allergy to the bad TP. She acted like she had a little more sympathy then. I'm not sure if she really believes me.

I do have an allergy to the bad TP. I really do. You believe me, don't you?
I guess the moral of the following story is that I can sometimes be selfish. But not that selfish. And only in a funny way.

I have an allergy to some brands of toilet paper. I don't always know which brand until it's too late, so I didn't find out I was allergic to the Costco house brand of TP until after we bought a case.

Since using TP I'm allergic to is a bad idea, I went out and got myself some allergy free TP; thick, soft and infused with aloe.

I put my TP on the shelf next to the toilet, but RO start using it. I didn't want him to use it because I didn't want to be wasteful. We had a case full of the Costco TP and my TP was expensive.

So, I put the TP in the cupboard across from the toilet. My arms are longer than RO's and the cupboard is just out of his reach when he is sitting on the toilet. So, I could count on my easy access to the allergy-free TP and his continued use of the Costco TP.

This went on for weeks. RO used the Costco TP and I used the allergy-free TP.

Yesterday he figured out what I was doing. He was looking for a towel. He looked in the cupboard opposite the toilet. He saw the case of the allergy free TP and a half used roll. He put two and two together and figured out that I was hiding the nice, allergy free TP from him.

He told me what he thought of the situation last night. He accused me of being selfish, of hiding the nice TP from him. He had a big smile on his face the whole time.

I don't that bad for what I did. But I do need to make amends with RO. This morning I put a roll of the nice TP out for RO to use.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm not sure how well RO's new diet is going. He doesn't want to give up the good stuff.

We have to have steak, because we have steaks in the freezer and he's not going to throw anything out.

We have to have whipped cream, because he's been good all day and he wants chocolate and whipped cream.

We can't eat vegetarian tonight because he doesn't want any more beans. Why was the last time he had beans? He's not certain. A few days ago.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

RO went to the doctor for a checkup, his first in years. RO has been suffering from a few persistant aliments-- he has problems sleeping though the nights-- joint pain, back pain-- stuff like that. The checkup was the first step to deal with that.

At the appointment, the doctor gave RO a some advice and suggestions. At first RO didn't want to tell me what the doctor said. He said "You might make me do it." Over the evening, he told me the advice.

The big suggestion offered by the doctor was was to give up coffee. Yes, I made RO do that. I'm doing it as well. We stopped cold turkey on Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon we both had headaches. Now we are trying a more gradule approach. Today we only coffee in the morning at breakfast. A few days from now we will switch to half caf. No caffine will come a few days after that.

The doctor called RO today. His blood work is back. RO's bad cholesterol is 280. High risk is 240. Less than 200 is lower risk. 120 is normal.

The doctor was already worried that RO was working himself into an early grave. Now they now both know the truth. RO will see the doctor again tomorrow. I hope RO follows the doctors advice.