Saturday, October 28, 2006

You see some interesting things when you process the incoming mail for an entire department.

One of the tasks our department performs is taking care of customers' change of address requests. If they send a letter stating their new address, one of our processors takes care of updating the customer's information.

I got a letter yesterday that makes me wonder if the customer's first attempt to have their address changed got lost in the shuffle before it ever reached us.

The letter itself was written on a 3"x5" piece of paper that was obviously taken from a memo pad. In fact, it was on the BACK of the piece of paper from a memo pad. The pattern on the front of the page was so obtrusive, it left very little blank space on which to write, so the customer flipped it over and wrote on the blank back of the memo sheet.

The actual content of the letter was similarly memorable. "To whom it may concern: My address is [address info]. If you get it right this time, I'll appreciate it. Sincerely, [name]."

My first thought was, "This person is sending their information on a piece of paper the size of a sugar packet, and they're telling US to "get it right"? How much do you want to bet that *IF* they previously sent information scribbled on a miniscule paper that looks like scrap, it somehow got accidentally lost before it ever reached us?

Here's a helpful hint: If you're sending IMPORTANT CORRESPONDENCE with information like your NEW ADDRESS to any company with which you are dong business, use a sheet of paper that's larger than the POSTAGE STAMP you're using to mail the letter.

At least the good news is, THIS time we actually did receive the information, and it's definitely going to be processed. The customer can rest assured that this time, we will "get it right".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light...

that the sun has not yet cleared the horizon, nor have the streetlights turned off yet, at the time when I get OFF the train.

As the sun rises later every morning, I was wondering if there'd be a day when I arrived in Fort Washington prior to sunrise. As of today, the answer is "yes".

We revert back to Eastern Standard Time this weekend. After that, I expect the sun to already be up by the time I exit the train. But this concept of witnessing sunrise fron the inside of a SEPTA bus is a new one on me.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunrise over Fort Washington. Did I mention that it's early?

Sunrise over Philadelphia. DogGONE, but this is early! And I still have two more segments of my commute left to go, to boot. I'd never have believed it possible, but I actually woke up before the alarm this morning. I'm nearly over the jet lag, I guess.

Last night was a good news-bad news kind of game for the Phantoms. The good news: we had yet another come-from-behind win last night. The bad news: two of our players left the game injured. In the first period, it was Riley Cote (see the myspace link on the left side of the screen), and in the second period, it was Martin Houle, our starting goalie (and one of the two players whose scrapbooks I did last season). From my seat next to the tunnel, I could see that each of them was having trouble making his way up the tunnel once he got off the ice. In Riley's case, he was having so much difficulty maneuvering, I took a closer look because I was afraid he was concussed and "out on his feet". But he was perfectly lucid, thank goodness, and when he flat-out roared an expletive, I was sure his head was fine. Nobody who's half-dazed could have summoned that much vehemence. Unfortunately, since dented players don't tend to fly into a rage about it, and since Riley's not prone to losing his temper, I fear that he could tell that whatever was wrong would put him on the sidelines for a while. I hope I'm mistaken, but fear I'm correct. This rots: he was supposed to get called right back up to the Flyers after getting some playing time in with the Phantoms this weekend, or so I read. If my fears are on target, this will delay his NHL debut, in which case it's no wonder he was furious. DId I mention that I hope I'm mistaken?

So I posted a well-wish on his myspace page. On checking the site again this morning, I saw some other posts from people he knows face-to-face, and their tone leads me to believe that he's headed to the IR. Sigh.

OK, signing off. I want to rest my eyes before I spend a whole morning reading small print.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Yet another video. I got the link to this from a Flyers fan board, and laughed myself silly when I watched it.

What can I say? "You're the shih-tzu!" cracks me up.

In other news, I'm almost recovered from the jet lag that my new, radically different schedule is causing. Of course, that could be because I got a ton of sleep yesterday. We'll see how I feel tomorrow when the whole "crack of dawn wakeup call" cycle starts rolling again.

By the way, on Friday, I had my first migraine since May. Was I carrying Imitrex with me? No, of course not. Because I hadn't had a migraine since May. [mumble grumble]. So I put up with the headache, starting from late morning, all the way through until I went to sleep on Friday night. (I went directly to the Phantoms game after work, so I didn't have the chance to stop at home and take any meds.) Once I got home, I hoped that just going to sleep would be enough to make the headache go away.

But on Saturday morning, I woke up, and no dice. I still had the migraine. At that point, I figured that 22 hours was more than enough time to deal with feeling like my head was about to fall off, so I took Imitrex for the first time since I got the prescription last spring. It's a nasal spray, and it took me a little while to determine how to use it. The problem was that the dosing instructions are hidden somewhere on the package insert. That would be the giant sheet of paper, folded like a road map, that's covered on both sides with freakin' MICROSCOPIC print. I don't know about other people, but an enormous page full of miniscule print is just what I need to try and read after putting up with a migraine for 22 hours. (Grrrrrrrr...) It's a miracle I even found the *%$#& dosage instructions at all.

In any event, as I said, the med is a nasal spray. And it turns out that the dosage is pretty straightforward. It's a little tiny spray thingy that, when you press the plunger, sprays one dose of medicine into your nose. No fuss, no muss.

But, as with everything, it comes with good news and bad news attached. The good news: it really did work on the headache, and fast! Within the hour -- more like within the half-hour, actually -- the migraine faded away. I've NEVER had a med that worked that well and that quickly before! This freakin' stuff costs a fortune, but it definitely works as advertised. The bad news: you know that saying that what goes up must come down? In this case, the nasal spray is what comes down after a few minutes, and it leaves an absolutely AWFUL aftertaste in the back of the throat. This lasted several minutes, until the medicine finally finished succumbing to the force of gravity. Oh, BOY, was that nasty... imagine what it's like to chew up an aspirin, and you'll have a decent idea of what I'm referring to. But when the options are having a few minutes of "Bleah! Yecch! Bitter!" or having a migraine, the horrid aftertaste is definitely the lesser of the two evils.

In other news, the cats are in a major state of culture shockn now that I'm working. They've gone from having me home to dote on them all day, every day, to being left alone all day, and they are NOT liking the new arrangement one bit. I have two furry, stripey critters literally shadowing my every move from the moment I walk in the door... they want their daily dose of attention, and they want it NOW. :o) If I'm not attentive when I'm walking, I'm sure to trip over at least one of them.

I'm going to have to figure out a way to ensure that I fall asleep early tonight... because I sure as heck am going to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, regardless of HOW much sleep I actually log tonight. I have a feeling that I'm going to be in Jet Lag Mode again by the time tomorrow's out. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You know, one benefit of commuting at this UNMERCIFUL hour is the chance to sit in my *favorite* seat in the whole train, for the entire length of the subway route.

I do have to say, though, that this is a bit of a shock to my system. When I walked out my front door, crickets were chirping and there was no hint of imminent sunrise. That, I expected to see.

What surprised me is that by the time I got to the regional rail station, crickets were STILL chirping and the eastern sky was only slightly pale. Dang, this is early.

As I sit on thr boarding platform now, the sky has become noticeably brighter, but not bright enough to trigger the streetlights to turn off.

I really could use coffee. Caffienation is high on my to-do list for when I get to work.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Well! THIS trip home couldn't have worked out better!

I took the regional rail train from work to Fern Rock and connected with what I *thought* was an express subway train. It was actually a train for the Broad-Ridge spur line. For kicks, since it runs to 8th and Market, I took it. To make a long story less long, this unplanned decision allowed me to connect with one of the FEW buses that stops across the street from my house. Those run maybe once an hour, so whenever I catch one, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.

This cuts at least ten minutes off my commute home, since the closest buses other than this one all stop at least that far of a walk away.

Thank you, God. Color me happy. :o)

Oh, boy. In order to accelerate my training, I've been asked to come in as early as the person I'll be filling in for. That way, I can shadow her all day and learn her job more quickly.

She begins at 7 AM.

I'll be aiming to catch the subway at Pattison at (are you sitting down?) 5:41 am.

[I am gonna be a ZOMBIEEEE... thank goodness I can vegetate on the subway and the train.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oh, BTW. I was wondering what kind of desk situation I'd get. Would it be Someone Else's Desk, full of Other People's knickknacks, with the photos of their family, friends, and pets staring down at me all day? Or would it be Nobody's Workspace? Which could be anything from a totally empty cubicle with the half-broken chair that someone swapped for a functional chair, no computer, no phone, no pens... or else it could be the official dumping ground for spare stuff that there's no room to store anywhere else?

It's the latter option, which I prefer, as it's depressing to look at Other People's Decorations every day. It has a nice chair, desk supplies, a PC, and a phone, but they're going to have to do something with the megaton of report printouts stacked 6 inches high on every inch of available desk space. I?ve been promised the reports will be gonr in a few days.


Yes, the bus waited. Yes, this building has a cafeteria. And yes, the dress code is business *casual*, not business professional. ::happy dance::

I got a reminder that the mindset of the 'burbs is noticeably different from that of the city. At the train station, there were a bunch of campaign ads on little signs stuck into the ground. The candidate's slogan, apparently, is "SECURE OUR BORDERS NOW!", as though this particular area was being overrun by undocumented aliens. Then the bus pulled away from the train station, and within a minute we passed two car dealerships located, across the street from one another.

They were a BMW dealer and a Mercedes Benz dealer.

Ya think this area has anything to fear from illegal aliens taking away the residents' jobs? I sincerely doubt it. If anything, people who live in ritzy areas will be worried that their "don't ask, don't tell" maids, nannies, and other staff, the ones they're paying inder the table, will get caught up in the dragnet if this candidate has his way. Then the affluent cheapskates of the region might have to pay their staff a living wage (or at least the minimum wage), perish the thought.

He'll probably get votes with his scare tactics, too. Nothing like worrying the constituency about the big, bad illegal immigrants when they SHOULD be focusing on the fact that the number of our dead military in Gulf War II has exceeded the number of casualties at the WTC. How many people from the US and other countries are dead because we went after nonexistent WMDs? I'd like to see some campaign posters with THAT slogan on them, but I won't.

7:33 am: SEPTA = Society to eliminate Public Transportation Altogether. Here we sit in the train at Melrose Park station, with no power. So much for getting to
Fort Washington at the time I was expecting to. FA NABLA. This could get interesting.

Kinda like that Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times".

[I can handle anything for three months. I can handle anything for three months.] ;o)

7:41 am: Oh, good. We're moving again. I wonder if the 201 bus will wait at Fort Washington for this train to arrive?

6:35 am: OK, this concept of leaving for work while the streetlights are still on is going to take some getting used to.

[Pause to repeat mantra: I can handle anything for three months. I can handle anything for three months.]

The good news is, if I arrive earlier, I can LEAVE earlier. Meaning I'll stand a chance of getting home before midnight.
7:04 am: It's nice to know that leaving that all-fired early will allow me to arrive at the station in time for the 7:11 train. The tradeoff for leaving at th8s unmerciful hour is that once I'm IN the train, I can vegetate. Or blog. Or read. Try THAT while driving! (Or better yet, don't*!)