Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sorry - Word Verification Back On

I know the word verification for comments is a pain and I tried going without.  But I've been bombarded with span comments and have had to put it back on.  Sorry.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Garden Provideth

This week we have Kohlrabi and Turnips.  They were starting to bolt so we had to get them out.  The funny thing about the turnips is Wife planted them for the greens - the packet at the nursery said Turnip Greens - and we did enjoy the greens.  But guess what, they produced turnips as well.  Go figure.  The Kohlrabi came for seed so that was pretty cool that they made such a nice harvest.

I will parboil them and then roast em. I will have more than I need so I'll freeze the excess.  We have lots of tomatoes coming in as well.  I'm going to use these in a soup base for dinner tonight.  Next up on the harvesting list.  Beets - another seed growing experiment.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beware the Escalator!!!!

When I posted last about our internet connection woes, it was from a Starbucks.  As I was going out of the house, I was listening to Wife (who having channeled her inner Tim) decided enough was enough and she was going to bull her way through the call center morass until we got some answers and satisfaction.

I wasn't there for the full play-by-play but the gist that I got from the retelling of the tale (this is one of those things that will go around the campfire as legend for years) is like this.

Wife gets on the phone with some Asian based call center person who gives them the party line- the party line being that "we know there is problem and some time it is going to be fixed but we can't tell you what the problem is or when it will be fixed.

Wife says this is not sufficient.  It's been days and our business depends on this.  She wants to talk to someone else.

Call center person tries to stay on script and repeats what has been said before

Wife starts interrupting the call center person telling them to stop reading the script and get her to someone who can help.  She tells them they've breached their contract and she's going to move to another service.

Call center person evidently notes this Wife's fourth phone call on this subject and calls on many other subjects.  Call center person says to Wife that she (Wife) has clearly escalated this engagement and call center person needs to send them to the Loyalty Department.

This Loyalty Department is an entirely different phone number.  Wife calls them.  The person in Loyalty starts right out by saying, I am in the U.S. , Oklahoma to be exact.  She then tells Wife exactly what the problem is (a local distribution point affecting 19 families is out and they are waiting for the part to arrive - I won't tell you my thoughts on a gigantic company that doesn't have the parts for its critical distribution system)

Wife lays into her on how we never got the speed we were promised when we switched and the cost this outage has been.  She gets us a lower rate going forward, prorated to when we started and a month of service comped.  Our service was up again 2 hours later.

Wife has retained the phone number and email of the Loyalty person.

Beware call centers she who escalates.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lack of Internet - Inhibits Ability to Rant

We are going on two days without internet and no indication by the service provider (a major company by the way) on when it will be back on.  It took Wife about four phone calls and having to be extremely obnoxious just to finally reach a person who told her what the issue was (a neighborhood distribution box is broken - they "waiting for the part" - don't know when that will be).

If I ran my business this way you can bet I wouldn't be in business long.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Transition Status Report

I be in the airport early in the morning on my way to see Dad.  Clearly I haven't been posting much lately.  I've been super busy with work.  I think I may have written about my own personal transition plan.  As a self-employed person, there's nothing to retire from.  You have to make your own path.  About a year and half ago, I laid that path out with a phase one to cease working on growing my business, focusing on the saving rate I needed to maintain, and reducing the amount of time working. 

After about nine months I was pretty much on track but they the events of last year's fourth quarter (illness) and this year's first quarter (Dad illness) really put my revenue generation in the hole.  As a result starting in around May, I started working extra hard on business development. 

I don't know if any of you do sales, but the process of business development (marketing and selling) is all about momentum.  If you have process, it takes a certain period of time to get out, generate leads, have leads convert to prospects, make proposals and get closings.  We call this the sales pipeline (tracking all of these).  Any good business development person is always tracking their pipeline.

I've been able to see that it was filling up...more prospects, more proposals.  And until Friday I could feel the momentum building but hadn't got the breakthrough.  On Friday afternoon, I had too proposals convert...and there is plenty more in the pipeline so I'm feeling pretty good about going forward.

Unfortunately this brings up the fact that I've had to be putting out more work energy than I really wanted to be doing per my transition plan.  However, I couldn't help the early disrupting events, and income generation is key to the transition plan.

On another note, I keep reading all this doom and gloom about the economy.  Yet I have had lots of new business opportunities.  And most of them are with businesses that are doing well themselves.  There seems to be a disconnect between what is being talked about and what is happening.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feminine Athleticism

The Olympics are over - sigh.  Suppose it is for the best as now maybe I will get a little more work done in between my catching the team handball, field hockey, velodrome cycling, and other obscure but interesting competitions. 

I have been quite taken by the stark difference - especially among the track and field sprinters - between the women and the men attitudes.  The guys seem to be so amped on testosterone that they can barely communique.  While the women seemed to be able to go from 'rip you heart' concentration, to sweet smile, and right back again in just a few seconds (just look again at the introductions of the sprinters if you want to check it out).  And there were lots very, attractive young women among the athletes.

This got me to thinking.  I thought about when I was growing up and it was rare for young women to be in  sports at all.  Then about the time I had my three daughters Title IX was passed and suddenly there was a significant impetus for young women to be in sports.  But there wasn't this massive social acceptance even among the girls.  I coached girls soccer for 20 years stopping in 2000.  I can remember there was usually a stark separation from the girl as athlete and the girl being a girl.  Girls also were significantly less athletic in those early days.  We did tons of training just to build some of the basic quickness, agility, and strength that a majority of boys seemed to have been born with.  I conjectured at the time that it was social conditioning.  That all the images a young boy saw from the first and those a young girl saw were starkly different and programed different behavior.

After I got out of coaching, I didn't have much at all to do with women's sports but clearly a lot happened in the next 10 years in terms of social acceptability of women doing athletics.  So here we are in 2012 and I'm seeing women who are really athletic.  Who in terms of strength, quickness, competitiveness, agility were really impressive.  And who had that athleticism completely at home with the femininity.  Those two things could be so completely at home in a person that it was just normal, natural behavior. 

I think it is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Peachy Time With The Family

I was wondering if I was ever going to get the time to post again. 

de-I has been a man on a mission the last month or so.  I've finally had my mojo going and have been selling like a maniac to get the business base back up after the long blah period of the great 2011 illness and the great 2012 parent crisis.  Sales requires sustained effort.  You push and push and push. Opportunities build and build.  Until suddenly they break through and things start to close.

So that has been my focus through July and August.  Then on top of that we had a visit from the family sub-unit #1.  They were actually supposed to come a few weeks ago but 1A hurt his back and we had to reschedule.  Unfortunately for moi, I had cleared my schedule for the original visit but had tons scheduled for the rescheduled period.  Plus which the #1's were in town to do some business of their own as well.

There was lots of grandchild time of course.

The toy truck collection I inherited from my Mom is a big hit with 1.2

We took the whole crew out to the mountains

I asked 1.1 if she would be interested in taking a little hike and she was gung-ho

She was really great.
I was able to find a nice climb that was within her range of effort but got her up to a good view.
She was pretty pleased with herself as she should have been.

I think her father was pretty pleased just because de-I didn't decide to make him a 'client'

Speaking of pleased with herself, Wife took her out for some clothes shopping and she came back with this fashionista outfit.
1.1 is totally into the show.  
She is non-stop musical sound track.


The peach tree Wife carefully tends came in big time this year

The tree was literally bending under the weight of the fruit and they all came ripe at exactly the same time while the #1's were with us so we spent the afternoon after the hike processing peaches. 

There were like 6 bowls this size
The peaches themselves were uber ripe and sooooooo good

We ended up freezing 8 quarts, making peach juice (for Bilinis - a drink made of sparkling wine and peach juice).  I gave away bags of peaches to friends and I've been gorging myself on them eating two or three a day...and loving it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Things have been a little crazy around the de-I household the last few days. 

I have been on the warpath looking for new business.  I do a referral based, networking sales system.  The combination of illness in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the Dad illness in the first quarter of 2012 really took the steam out of my sales pipeline.  I've been working it hard since April and the results are starting to show but I've got to really push and get a few more closings to get income to a real comfortable level.

The #1 household are visiting.  This is a combination of business and pleasure.  They were to be here a few weeks ago but 1A hurt his back and they had to delay.  I had my calendar cleaned up for the first visit but had a bunch of things that I couldn't change for this one.  Plus the kids had business they are doing here.  AND we are spending today in a filming studio, taping video footage for my business promotion.

Finally our peach tree is ready to harvest.  I have a picture that I will put on later but it is bursting with fruit.  The quality is top notch.

Hope to get some pictures up later this week.