Friday, July 17, 2009

Akron Ohio

In recent months, my company has had to lay a lot of good people off as a result of the decline in the economy. Of course most companies use times like this to do a little cleaning up – a chance to get rid of people that maybe aren’t ideal, or maybe their positions are not as needed as they once were. All of that kind of thing was done at least three layoffs ago. The last few layoffs, my company had been forced to give up good people, solid people, people we really need. A few of these folks had more than 20 years with us and it breaks my heart just thinking about it.
So keeping the above in mind, you might understand why it scares the hell out of me that I haven’t had a service call in three weeks. Three weeks of sitting at my desk, waiting for calls to come in, desperately looking for something to do to be of value. Having just had a baby less than a month ago, I was terrified that I was about to loose my job. I was in this state of mind when I got the call from a customer in Ohio. I helped them determine that the problem was due to lack of maintenance and offered to walk them through the corrective action. Instead, they told me that they would rather pay for my services to come fix it for them. I was so relieved to get a request for service that I swear I had tears in my eyes while I took down her information.
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This service call was to Barberton Ohio, just outside of Akron. I had to get up at 245 to get ready for the flight, but that wasn’t much of a problem. With a new born baby, and a premature maybe at that, there hasn’t been any sleep in our home for almost a month anyway, so I was wide awake and watching TV with my wife when it came time to go.
.. ..Akron Ohio 2009 07 14 052
I wore a new peasant skirt and top that I had recently found. I know this skirt looks a lot like another I have, but it’s browner colors. I like these light and floaty peasant skirts because the swirl and flow around your legs as you walk. It’s almost like being wrapped in a cloud. I also were a new pair of sandals I had just purchased, and this turned out to be a serious mistake. You see, they look great, but the strappy design kept resulting in my little toes sneaking out and getting rubbed between a couple of the straps. So while they were comfortable walking around the house for a few moments, they turned in to a nightmare over the long haul.
Well, apparently I’m not the only one that thinks these floaty skirts are cute, because I had no less than four women actually stop me when walking by to tell me how pretty they thought it was. It’s almost depressing – women don’t pay the slightest attention to me unless I’m wearing a skirt or heels.
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I got to the Akron area around mid afternoon and decided to look for some Goodwill stores to go bargain hunting. I found a nice one and went through all of the racks. I found a few cute tops, and then moved to the dresses where I found a treasure! On the rack marked $10, I found a $400 dollar gown that I think might be awesome for the Southern Comfort Conference! I  tried my goodies on in the dressing room and then headed for the check out. At the check out, there was a woman running the register, and a man in his late 50’s doing the bagging. The entire time that I stood in line, and then while paying for my items, the guy doing the bagging stared at me. I don’t mean that he looked at me a repeatedly, I don’t meant that he was sneaking peaks, I mean he flat out stared at me. As the lady was ringing up my things, it got on my nerves, so I finally just stared back at him. “BEEP BEEP BEEP” goes the register while she rang up my things, and the whole time, the  bagger and I are just staring in each others eyes. At last the transaction is done, and the cashier hands me my change and with a honestly friendly attitude, she wishes me a nice day. I return her pleasantry and turn to the bagger to collect my things. He gives me one of the creepiest smiles I’ve ever seen. His lips were in the shape of a smile, but his eyes said something entirely different.
“You have a great day buddy” he tells me, putting the emphasis on the word “buddy” just to be sure that I, and everyone behind me, would know that he was damn clever that he knew what I was. I considered my possible responses to this asshole, and chose to just wink at him.
“And I hope you have a fantastic day!” I said while taking my bag from his hands.
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When I got to the hotel, I tried on the gown I had bought to see how it looked. There are only two major drawback to the thing:
1-     it is designed for a woman. Yeah, yeah, stop laughing. What I mean to say, is that it pretty well requires breasts to hold it up properly, and dI on’t have ‘em!
2-     The laces in the back are hard as hell to do by yourself! It took me about an hour to get the damn thing laced up, and I twisting and turning like a contortionist.
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Anyway, I think I like this one and suspect this is what I’ll wear to SCC.
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The next day was a long one. The customer had only told me about one machine, but it turns out she had three of them and she wanted me to evaluate all of them. They had a host of issues to deal with and I didn’t get done with her until after 7PM. Far too late to go do anything. The bad news is, one of these machines had just been returned from our factory service center. I offered to help set it up as a courtesy, so imagine my shock when the damn thing didn’t work! I had to change my flights so that I could return the following morning to work on it. A month or two ago, I had failed to fix this very same instrument for the very same symptoms, and so I didn’t have much hope I was going to succeed.
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The following day I returned and fairly early on determined that the instrument still had the same problem I’d had it sent to the factory for a few months ago, and it’s a problem that can not be resolved in the field. I was back in my hotel by noon and decided to go see a movie or two!
.. ..Akron Ohio 2009 07 16 007

Akron Ohio 2009 07 16 008

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This time I wore something a bit new for me. The skirt is kind of a thin satin material. The top is a very thin material as well, and it’s fabric is hard to describe. On the hanger it looks plain, even unflattering, but the way it’s made it looks terrific when you put it on. Being such thin materials, it’s also considerably cooler in the heat than most of my outfits.
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When I got to the theater, you could tell by the grins that the kids at the ticket and food counter knew exactly what I was, but that’s OK because I’m long past worrying about that. They were grinning from ear to ear, but they treated me well, and that’s what counts.
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I first went to see the new Star Trek movie again. I’d seen this before with my family but had been kind of undecided as to if I liked it or not, so I decided to watch it again. For the most part I like it, but there are things that irritate me. Anyone that has read much Star Trek knows that the Enterprise and its sisters were built in orbit, but this movie shows this class of ship being built on the ground. The ship itself looks nothing like the original Enterprise. There is a weak excuse for this, but I can’t offer it here with out being a spoiler though. OK, so it’s nit picky, but it irritates me. The good news is that they have finagled it so that the entire series can take off again, and take off free of any restrictions that might have been forced on them to stay true to the original series. So, exciting things coming in the Star Trek world.
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Next I saw the Harry Potter movie, the Half Blood Prince. Ehhh . . . I can take it or leave it. It’s ending was unsatisfying and left me irritated. I almost felt like the movie was a mere place holder – a necessary step to get from the last episode to the next, but not a real awesome movie in it’s own right. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, but it’s not a movie that will ever make my top ten list.
After the movie, I was going to go to a club called Lydia’s because they were supposed to have jam session there. Being a guitar player myself, I love jam sessions. Well, I drove by the place, and it just didn’t fill me with confidence and so I chose not to enter it. Instead, I headed back to the hotel to call it a night. I had decided I was going to fly home pretty and just clean up and change in the Austin airport, but the more I thought about it, the more it just sounded like work. There was no point to going through all of that effort and I wasn’t going to enjoy it, so I just flew home drab.

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