Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oscara the grouch

posted Tue, 06 Jul 2004

It’s going to be one of those days. It’s 9:40 and I have already eaten my lunch. This is what happens when I spend too much time thinking about Life and What It All Means over a three-day weekend. Doesn’t help that my honey works all day (that means 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the airline world) on Sundays and Mondays so I don’t have anyone to hang out with.

Yes, yes, of course there are other friends. They are all married – with children and family obligations. They are great to email with and to talk to occasionally, but actually spending time with a married mom is almost impossible. They have too much stuff to do. Their socializing is with other couples (see first para about why this is difficult for me) or with other moms and their kids. It’s just the way it is.


My mood was not improved by seeing the food drive boxes by the elevators this morning as I got to work. I don’t like the way they do it. You get points for the type of food you bring. A can of ravioli gets you four points, two pounds of dried beans gets you one.

My first gripe (and this is where people are going to call me an insensitive b----): people in the US don’t go hungry usually because they don’t have money for food. It’s because they make bad choices with their money. It gets spent on drugs or liquor or cable TV.

In my desperate days of unemployment, I stuffed envelopes for five dollars an hour in the basement of the Mayo Clinic. One of my fellow temporary employees was complaining that she had to prove she had car insurance to get her driver’s license renewed. Oh, that mean state of Minnesota!

This woman had left Wisconsin because the welfare benefits had been cut so much. (The Wisconsin taxpayers were sad to see her go.) She was pregnant with her fourth child by the fourth father. None of the fathers, of course, were around. Her oldest child was in a juvenile delinquent home.

She lived in Section 8 housing and got food stamps. Yet she had the money for cable TV, a VCR and a karaoke machine. Her plan with the car insurance was to drop it as soon as she got her license renewed. A pleasure to be on the same planet with someone like that.

I have lived in countries where there is true poverty. It’s hard to be too sympathetic in the US.

My second gripe is that if you are going to give food to people, give them food that is worthwhile. A can of ravioli, in addition to tasting awful, does not have nearly the nutritive value that two pounds of dried beans has. It also costs more than the beans. Of course, the beans have to be cooked before they can be eaten, but it’s not rocket science to do that.

I spent the first ten minutes of the day doing what I have been doing for a while: looking at job ads. I am on a special project that looks like it will last for the next ten years. You know, one of those three-hour tours that turns into a lifetime on a desert island.

We are installing SAP in my company. The implementation for my division has already been delayed for a year and we are behind schedule again. Not our fault – the company hired a bunch of consultants who don’t know anything about our business. SAP was not designed for custom job-shop work. Most of my company is continuous process, which is perfect for SAP, but my division does lots and lots of custom orders. The consultants did the timelines assuming all divisions were the same. Thanks, IBM.

Not only that, but my division just acquired a competitor. So now we have another 20 factories to convert to SAP in addition to the 50 we started with.

My company will not promote anyone who is on a special project – how can we grade the job? It’s temporary! It’s special! – and will not release anyone to another job in the company. So I am stuck – unless I quit. Catch is that I have to find another job.

It is going to be a long day. I will have to break into the emergency chocolate at some point.

PS Another thing! I saw the previews for the movie "Anaconda." The movie is supposed to take place in Borneo. The anaconda is a snake found in the Amazon basin. Sheesh! Don't these people ever check their facts? It's like when Nike released the "Incubus" shoe. Did it occur to anyone to see if that was a real word that might mean the being conceived when the devil rapes a woman in her sleep? This is why the business world needs more English majors. Something like that would never have gotten by if one of us had been around.

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