So I guess it's mega-update time. Now if I can only remember what I was going to say all those other times.
Lynn and I spent Thanksgiving at mom's. My sister and her family came over and my brother and his family drove up from Wichita. Even his daughter and her husband, of a year, flew in from Denver, so the rest of the family could finally meet him. It was nice seeing everyone and my niece's husband seems like an ok guy. He moved from Houston to marry her. Although, if he hadn't told me he was from Texas, I would have thought he was a Southern California transplant.
I had the majority of December off from the day job, as usual, but this year I actually took the days. Most years, I end up going in because of this meeting or that crisis. This year, I said screw it.
The store was it's typical giftmas season nightmare. This year, they implemented a new program, where they have wandering sales help, that is supposed to give a better customer experience. Having additional sales people who aren't tied to one department that can help out in any department, if there's a rush. Now that sounds good on paper, but with the typical retail mentality, they stripped all of the departments of 60% of their staffs in order to populate to pool. Because, we had to keep the same labor budget. So there were still many times that customers did not get a better experience shopping there.
I did do a couple of good things this year, although, it probably had little impact on my karma. At one point, while I was at the store, I saw a money envelope laying on the floor and went ahead and picked it up. It could have been trash, I didn't know. I glanced inside and saw there was a stack of $100 bills. My guess, probably about $2000. I could have easily pocketed it, since there wasn't anyone around when I picked it up, but I turned it in. The only thing about it, that pissed me off was, I purposely turned it in to a supervisor and the LP person. I didn't make a big deal about it, and was talking very quietly so no one could overhear what was transpiring. So the supervisor called the manager on duty, who I don't care for anyway, and they took the cash back to the office to count. A few minutes later, the supervisor came out and pulled me aside to relay the message from the MOD for me not to talk about it to anyone. That they didn't want everyone to know what I'd found. Ok, if I wanted everyone to know, I would have paged it over the intercom. Give me a little credit.
Then, a week later, I was shopping at the dreaded Wal-mart and found a cell phone on the ground in the parking lot. It was laying in a pile of slush between my car and the one next to me. Obviously, someone dropped it when they got out of their car. I picked it up and turned it in to the store. They acted like it was an inconvenience to take it. Maybe I should have just left it there for someone else to pick up or run over. But at least my conscience was clear.
Lynn and I spent Christmas at mom's, with the whole family again. My niece and her husband weren't there, but my nephew brought his girlfriend. This is the nephew, that I wondered might be gay, since he used to love to lift weights to The Bee Gees. So, either he's trying to hide something from my super fundie brother, or he's really straight.
For New Year's, Lynn and I went out to The Dixie Belle for a couple of drinks. Neither of us has been out to a bar since Pride. And before that, the last time was the trip to Seattle and Vancouver in September '06. We've both become old fogies. :)
I finally hired a new tech, after being short a person for almost 6 months. He started January 2. He's fresh out of school, but very enthusiastic. Hopefully things will start to get back to normal. I know the other techs are happy that they'll be getting a break soon.
Lynn and I are going to New Orleans, the first week of March. I'm going to a conference that week and he's coming along for the ride. The last time we were there, was for the same conference, before Katrina hit. So it will be interesting to see how the city looks now. I actually had three business trips planned for this year. We were working on a huge expansion project that would have quadrupled the size of our manufacturing and tripled the size of my lab. But the new owners of the company are run by greed. Their opinion, is that they want a guaranteed return on investment. I don't know of any investment venture that guarantees a return. So, after a year of negotiations with a principle client, who refused to sign a take or pay contract, the project was indefinitely shelved. We'll still be doing a small expansion, but nothing near what was originally planned. The problem is, they have still budgeted a 40% per year growth, that was dependent upon the major expansion. Everyone is now scratching their heads as to how to get that type of growth with what we have.
Lynn finally got full-time again at the store, as of November 3. He's been working part-time since his major surgery in January - March '06. He had three major surgeries in 1 1/2 months, and since he was off for 14 weeks, instead of the FMLA allotted 12 weeks, they cut him to part-time. Of course, that meant he lost his group insurance and other benefits. So he had to start paying COBRA as of May '06. That ran out effective November 29. But the store's policy is, once you're full time, you have a 60+ day waiting period before your benefits are activated. The plus part is, they don't start until the 1st day of the month following two months of full-time. Since he was reinstated on the 3rd, his benefits didn't kick back in until January 1st. So he had to buy personal insurance for 32 days. Of course, they only sell it by the quarter, so that was $1200 he had to spend the last week of November. I personally think it's pretty petty of the company to treat their employees that way. Especially since he's been with the company for 4 years and was already full-time before.
He's been to see several more specialists for his back, but they all keep saying they don't see anything wrong, so he must be faking the pain. After as many years as he's had to deal with this, I can't believe doctors continue to say there's nothing wrong. The last specialist decided to try spinal physical therapy. That starts nest week. I guess we'll see if that does any good. None of them have asked me what he goes through on a daily basis.
And on top of it all, he was in the kitchen Monday night, working on cooking a roast. He had a pan of extremely hot olive oil on the stove that he was going to sear the roast in, and it slipped out of the tongs, splashing hot oil all over his hand. So we spent Monday night/Tuesday morning in the ER. He has 2nd degree burns on his thumb, wrist and palm.
And lastly, for those who were expecting a card, I had good intentions of sending them, this year. I had the picture I was going to put on the front. (One I took of the ice storm.) But never got around to actually making them and sending them out. Who knows, you might get a Giftmas in May card. :0
Oh well, I guess that just about covers everything.