$2 and a Moment

Yeah, ok. I caved to the masses.

I’m quite suggestible you know.

I come from a family that enjoys trips to Vegas and the occasional Indian casino. My family loves to gamble (responsibly) and I do too.

So today I threw two one dollar bills into the toilet and bought Mega Millions tickets.

Every news outlet, radio talk show, and coworker is talking about the half billion potential payoff.

Yesterday on All Things Considered, they had some whiz bang mathematician guy who chastised all of us in describing the impossible odds.

I think that’s when I decided to throw my hard won dollars in the ring.

I know the odds are ridiculous. I know it’s a waste of money. I know, I know.

But for a moment, a little moment, it’s fun to think about what if?

I think the concept of what if is a powerful one.

There are those in the ranks of woo-woo and esoteric who would say that what if is a good thing. It’s an order placed to the universe.

I think what if gives you a chance to see what you can accomplish.

When you pull out a road map, you look at where you are today. You look at where you want to go (what if) and then you map the highways, byways and dirt roads that it will take to get there.

Do you get lost sometimes? Sure.

Take a wrong road because it looks interesting? Of course.

Run out of gas? Absolutely.

And then, sometimes, with a little luck and a little diligence, you arrive at your destination.

So for me, the what if daydreaming is simply me being the cartographer of my life.

What if’ing about half a billion dollars might be ridiculous to some. To me, it’s a nice way to end a crazy busy day at work. My mind is too tired to parse this spreadsheet in front of me. Instead I’ll gaze out the window and daydream. For just a few moments.

And then, because it’s the last work day of the month, I’ll collect my regular paycheck, pay my rent and then go home to The Good Man (my odds of finding him were pretty sparse too, but I must have drawn that map pretty gosh darn well).

So ok. That’s worth at least $2

This week’s Theme Thursday is: moment.

International Monetary Policy

Did you know that if you go to Google and type in Pesos to Dollar, that a nice little converter will come up?

Yep! You just enter the amount of pesos and *boop* it will tell you the corresponding amount in US Dollars. You can then take that amount and cut and paste it into a nice tidy PowerPoint presentation and ship it over to your demanding and agitated boss for his presentation later today.

And when you send that off you feel so gosh darn smart and efficient.

But there’s more.

Did you know there is a rather large difference between Mexican Pesos and Colombian Pesos?

Let’s show by way of example:

6 million Mexican Pesos is equal to:

$470,105 US Dollars

6 million Colombian Pesos is equal to:

$3,356 US Dollars.

Further, did you know that the difference between asking finance for 470k versus 3k on a pretty little PowerPoint slide is, well, significant.

Um. Whoops.

Pesky ol’ currency conversion.
(Thankfully my BossMan caught it before the meeting and we fixed it. I’m now being teased unmercifully. Ugh!)

Image from flagpedia.net

It’s about damn time

Today, this is my horoscope:

Whew. Ok. Good. Compensation for “something that had to be done the hard way” is on the way.

Yes. Awesome.

I wonder which thing that “had to be done the hard way” will get rewarded? There are so many! I mean, at least three I can think of at work. A couple on the home front. And at least one ongoing creative project that was like walking through molasses.

Awesome. I’m so ready for the acknowledgement.

In fact, I’m gonna get out my catcher’s mitt. The big one for catching knuckleballs, cuz I don’t wanna miss this at all.

C’mon, Universe, lay it right in there!

Not that I believe in horoscopes or anything like that…..*ahem*. But in case it’s true, good Ol’ Universe, just know I’m totally ready to receive!

With gratitude and whip cream and a cherry on top!

Image of catcher’s mitt used to catch former A’s Knuckleballer, Steve Sparks from Knuckleblog.

The Withdrawals, man. I got the itchies!

So the good man and I lived quite a long time in our old apartment. The place was built in the 40’s and had a lot of quirks. Since it was an older house in an older neighborhood, we tolerated a lot of the less than optimal things, but was a fun place to live.

For example, we got pretty cruddy DSL service there. When I signed up for the service back in the early 2000’s, they woo’d me in with promises of 3mbps download speed and 1mbps upload.

Not bad, really.

Well, in reality, we got a lot closer to 1.5 down and .5 up. Pretty crappy.

So I called AT&T to complain. Often.

At the end of every year I’d call up again, crankier than the previous year. They would tell me that my speeds were “within normal range”. I’d say “but you sold me on 3!!” Then they’d tell me that my neighborhood wasn’t wired for any of the other faster services they offer, and “oh so sorry about that.”

Then I’d threaten to cancel my service.

So the call agent would send me to the Retention Department who would cluck and coo over my bad experience, then reduce my monthly rate. I’d gotten it down to about $20 a month for my meager 1.5 download speeds.

It was a breakeven. Not much money. Not very fast. So ok.

This month, we moved into a new place. I called them sonsabitches at AT&T and told them I was moving my service, and they weren’t going to raise my rates.

They told me “oooh….yyyeaaaah….um….your new building isn’t wired for AT&T. We don’t actually offer any service there at all. Sorry.”

Well ok. So I started looking at options.

Turns out lo these many years ago, the building owners used to provide basic Comcast cable to all tenants. But Comcast kept trying to bump up the price, so finally the owners said “go away” and the tenants had to pay for their own service, either Comcast or DishTV.

What that means is, the building was wired only for Comcast and AT&T phone lines. No one else. And no ATT DSL.

Which means….

I’m stuck with $#%^*&%^%ing Comcast.

A little history: It was with sheer, unadulterated *glee* that I canceled my last Comcast service back in 2009.

Now they are my only choice. And I am peeved.

So peeved, that for the past week, The Good Man and I have had NO INTERNET in our little home.

None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Well, ok, we both have iPhones and get enought done using our 3G coverage. But basically….we’ve been living internet free for a week.

At first it was kind of nice.

And then it was extraordinarily painful.

And then it was nice again.

Now I just don’t know.

I have two loaner MiFi devices coming from two different cell phone carriers. I’m going to see if 4G mobile coverage will get us there. I’m not optimistic. My last evaluation of MiFi service wasn’t positive (great with one device on it, but slows miserably as each new device hops on).

And I am really not a fan of DishTV.

So here I am. Back at Comcast.

How possibly can I live in the middle of a very bustling neighborhood in the very *heart* of the most technologically interesting place in the world, and I can’t get simple, stupid freaking DSL service!?!?!

As an aside, I have to laugh at how reliant I’ve become on having my WiFi internet at the ready. Maybe I need to detox from it. Maybe it’s time to step back.

But then I want to write a blog post about how much I’ve broken my tether to the internet and I can’t because I have no WiFi.

I cried because I had no internet, until I met a man who had no iPhone.

Management 101

In November, I got to thinking about the end of the calendar year and how hard my own work team has been pulling to keep our program going, supporting end users, and picking up the slack when others have left the group.

They are a resilient little team (I mean little in numbers) and I’m proud of them.

I asked the Boss of my Boss if we had some sort of recognition program. He said, “oh yes, we do spot bonuses. Talk to so-in-so and they can provide you with some gift cards to hand your employees.”

I was pretty stoked. I figured these gift cards might be $100. Or maybe, you know, $50. Not much, but enough to make a difference.

So I contacted so-in-so and wrote up my justification and was handed some gift cards.

They are $25 each.


Ok, I know $25 is still better than a kick in the shins, but I worried that handing out $25 would be less of a thank you and more of a “why bother”? Given how hard this crew has been working and the success they saw last year, would a $25 gift card be an insult?

Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be all I could do for my employees under “official” program at of my very cheap frugal cost-conscious company.

This week, with everyone back in the office after the holiday break, I decided to hand out the gift cards along with a hearty thank you.

I went to each person on my team and I talked to them about how hard they worked and said “I’d like to give you this. I’m sorry it’s not very much, but it’s the best I can do under the official auspices.”

Every member of my team was incredibly grateful and dare I say excited to get an “official” bit of recognition for a job well done.

As one woman leapt from her chair to hug me and thank me over and over, I was stunned.

How could she be so thrilled over a puny $25 gift card?

I puzzled over it and thought about it and pondered.

Today, on my afternoon walk around the lake, I figured it out.

These wonderful, hardworking, amazing people are simply happy to be recognized.

This is the power of saying (and meaning) the words Thank You.

I knew this mattered, I really did. I try very hard as a manager to remember to say thank you and mean it. But even I forget.

My very humble team gave me a good lesson. They took me back to Management 101, and for that I’m filled with gratitude.

(Should I remind my own manager that I also tend to work harder with a few “thank yous” along the way?)

Image via Abstruse Goose.