Friday, September 22, 2006

Life...and Stuff

Unplanned Vacation

Jean and I received a call for assistance from our daughter in the Chattanooga, TN, area where she is attending school on Monday (nearly 2 weeks ago now) and with some quick phone calls cancelled all our plans for that week, packed what we needed for a week or so, loaded the items she needed us to bring and were on the road by 7:45 AM the next morning.

"Bummer," I can hear some saying. But I enjoy traveling and can drive for long periods of time simply enjoying the country side go by while listening to an audio book. In this case Jean and I talked for quite a few hours of the trip, though we also listened to The Splendid Solution, a biography of Jonas Salk, who developed the first (and safest) polio vaccine during the 1950s to halt a raging epidemic that Jean and I both lived through. We were lucky recipients of his vaccine ("Go behind the screen, lower your pants and the doctor will give you your shot" - this in the highschool gymnasium) when we were about 10 years old.

Our trip (both going and coming back) were uneventful except that we drove 16 hours straight coming back, managing to get all the way to just northeast of Hartford, CT, before stopping for the night on the way home. That left us a very short, very manageable drive that got us home just after 1 PM.

Working In Chattanooga

After we got our daughter's needs cared for, we had a "spare" day - Friday - which was not sufficient to get us home to our own church for Sabbath. I had taken my work laptop so that I could look up a file if contacted by one of my nurses by logging in at our motel, or so I thought. I couldn't make it work when I tried as I had somehow forgotten the code for connecting to the corporate VPN. That spare day looked like a way to "save" a vacation day by slipping over to my company's Chattanooga office, connecting directly into their intranet and working from there for a day.

We got directions to the office, stopped by AAA to pick up a downtown map of Chattanooga, and made me a lunch in a WalMart bag from our cooler to take with me. A good friend of mine formerly from Maine but now working at the Chattanooga office found me an open office where I could work right beside him and I put in a full day's work. The tour of the office that he gave me was eye opening! And he showed me more efficient ways to do my work, which I have brought home and shared with my manager. I suspect that we will implement several points that I was shown down in Chattanooga.

I am thinking that it might even be possible to work out of the Chattanooga office for a block of time during the winter months. I planned to talk about it with my manager today when I met with her. When I sat down to eat, I found that Jean had left this article open at my place at the table when she went to bed last night - it had arrived in the mail yesterday. Nice to be part of a new 'megatrend.'

Let There Be Light...

In other work-related news, it is coming the time of year that I dread: the end of Daylight Savings Time. I get up in the dark, drive to work in the dark, [work in my windowless 'dungeon' of an office] drive home in the dark, walk in the dark...You get the picture. If we have a stormy weekend, I may not actually see daylight for a couple weeks at a time.

Ever since arriving at my current position I have requested a window seat: "I'll cheerfully give up the office for a cubicle by the windows." The answer was: "We want you in the office where you will not be disturbed." That was that. I figured it's worth it to try again. So I asked today - 'You wouldn't by any chance be willing to give up YOUR window cubicle in exchange for my office?' She would not but, there is an empty double cubicle right next to hers which she will see if she can secure for my use!!! If people are disturbing me, she will help me run herd control. She suggested a motel doorknob tag: "Do Not Disturb" when I need to concentrate. I'm excited about the possibility of having a southeast exposure waist to ceiling window-wall this winter to keep the 'blahs' at bay!!!


At 10:28 PM, Blogger Sunny said...

I hope you get the window seat, and the southern exposure.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Allan said...

I can vouch for the effect of having a better 'outlook on life' with a window seat, if not a better work performance, now that I have moved from my cave to a cubicle with a window. That said, I'd love to have both.

And I hope all goes well with the 'working in two places' thing. TN is not FL, but I'm sure it's plenty warm all the same.


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