Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Got wood?

493 posts, just seven more to go till the magic 500.  Who knows what'll happen then!!

So, a close friend of mine lost her father to cancer a couple of weeks ago.  His death wasn't unexpected, but he went out with a bang.  Literally.  Instead of waiting for the cancer to kill him, he shot himself in the chest.  He, apparently, had plenty of guns from which to choose from.  He chose one that a friend had given him.

So after I heard this story in person from my friend, I was - like you probably are - shocked.  But my friend, was oddly not that surprised that pop had done this.  She knew him a whole lot better than I.  To her, his choice wasn't that out of line.

So this man I never knew had raised my friend.  And she is a very thoughtful person, someone that I associate with art, and depth of character.  And I have never once known her to be shallow or superficial.  Yeah, she has human faults too, but really now, she's damn good people. 

She asked me over to her father's house to help her sort through his tools.  He had told her that he wanted them to go to another craftsman.  It was humbling.  In honor of her father's wishes, she wanted me to have what I thought I could put to use.  His workshop was neat and full of interesting bits of stuff.  All the shelves and the workbench top were routed smooth.  He had very old tools and new ones too.

Here were the well-used and cherished tools of another man.  The workbench he built himself for his own tastes and whims.  All the little bits of things he had saved and his partially built projects.  Supplies in little tins.  Boxes of screws.  All of it left behind. My first thought was, I wish I'd known him.

I think I may have met the man once, and that would have been in passing at an event.  So I didn't know him.

Now that I finally got a chance to meet her father through his tools, I think I like the fellow.  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We all feel like that sometimes

The best part of humanity is that, for all of our differences, we share a lot in common.  We all feel the same emotions, our lives follow very similar paths of childhood, adulthood, and old age.  We gain wisdom as we experience the world, and we come to realize our own mortality more clearly the closer it gets.

We all get a cold now and then, that's why it's called "common".  I have one now, it seems.  We all (mostly) like babies.  We all dislike pain and suffering and death.  We all like delicious food, and cool clear water.  Sunshine is quite popular, as is warmth in general.

We all want control of our own lives, the best for our children, and fair and honest treatment from our fellow man. We all do good and bad things, we are all imperfect and mortal.

People are people the world over.  Sometimes they would rather you forget that and focus on their special difference. 

My unsolicited advice is, don't.  Treat them all the same.  I think it works better that way.

Friday, October 09, 2009

You can't handle the truth

Don't you just love it?

I mean, your work.  Is it exciting?  Do you get a charge out of what you do and how goddamn good you are at it?  Do other people's eyes just glaze over when you start into the details--about every little thing that just makes you jump for joy?  Do people tell you you are "the Dennis Miller of Manufacturing" or of whatever it is you do?  Do you get so wrapped up in the minutiae of the work and all of the intricacies of it that sometimes you get a little annoying about it.

Yeah.  Me too.

If the wise and benevolent Squirrel (praise be his name) could fix that, I'd appreciate it.  (I stole this last line from a comment on

Friday, October 02, 2009

Well, it IS Friday after all

What a work week.

Saturday, one fellow and I came in to do some final assembly to ensure that we had a particular machine ready to ship, even though we all but certain there was no pending order for it.  However, this needed to be done for appearances.  I was supportive, though I did not agree that this was smart.

Monday, I learned that my best friend at work, Charles aka Six-Pack, is taking an exciting position at a large pharmaceutical company and relocating to the East coast.  Bummer.  Now I don't have somebody who I can actually confide in.  WW, please come work with me!  We don't have a job for you but I need you anyway.

Tuesday, my boss that I have great respect for and thoroughly enjoyed working for lets me in on the news that the following day would be her last one there, and not by her choice.  So, no going away celebration for her retirement.  No opportunity for everyone who liked and respected her to thank her for everything she had done for all of us, like about 25 of us who are directly affected by her departure.  At least it brought an end to her difficult relationship with her boss and especially with the fellow who is now, that's right, my boss.

Except on Wednesday, it was her last day, and there was an awkward and difficult air in the place as, on the last day of the quarter, with sales off of plan (thanks, worldwide economic mess), and her packing up her office mid-day, we (about 18 of us) received a meeting notice to discuss the changes.  Except it was for 3 PM the following day, and at that point I wasn't allowed to know to whom I would be reporting, even though I asked directly.  I found that pretty annoying.

Wednesday evening I entertained my departing friend here at Casa De Collier with a Bobtini and a few laughs.  We also had a few handfuls of cashew pieces as I recall.

So Thursday we had a big ole going away lunch for Six-Pack (unlike the non-celebration for my boss) and I had until 3 PM to speculate on my eventual reporting structure.  Good times. 

At the appointed hour we all gathered to hear the CEO explain why he had taken such a painful action.  He had several reasons, which mostly made sense but only diminished the sense of loss a little.  I have to give him credit for acknowledging how difficult and unhappy the situation was.  He had a room full of pretty unhappy people.  I didn't agree with everything said but I certainly didn't envy him.  Nobody had anything to ask him at the end of his talk.  It was painfully silent.  He left.

Then my new boss had a talk with all of us, acknowledged how difficult it was to be in this situation, and asked us all to work together to craft a more effective company.  It went better than I had hoped, and though I miss my old boss greatly I can't take a pass on the continued opportunity.

Today was a whirlwind of activity as I am trying to provide some leadership and encouragement to everyone after my boss's sudden departure, and help fill in for my colleague who has a half dozen people reporting to him and is out for ten days. (right after his boss was shown the door)

So I had lunch with Charles one last time, said goodbye, and worked on some important stuff til about 5:32:04 PM.