Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life, In General

Returning to work after a long weekend or a week off is always an interesting experience. I felt rather busy today, but it was a good day. I feel like I walked in the door and never stopped until the calls stopped rolling into our call center.

My day, well, my work day, started with a meeting with my peers and boss. We have a specific meeting agenda once a year where we analyze the results of a survey conducted each fall, focusing on an area of strength and an area for improvement. I enjoy these meetings because great ideas are generated to help improve our already great environment. It just makes me happy.

The best part of my day, even though most was pretty good, was being able to see the expression on a banker's face. She is a banker on my team who is just plain awesome. I've nicknamed her "Smiley," because she always greets each day with a positive attitude. It is absolutely contagious. She tends to get a lot of recognition (most of the bankers do) because she is a top performer, but also because she is just so positive. We like to have her represent our call center at job fairs and I enjoy working with her quite a bit. Last year, 2007, she performed very well, but never knew quite how high she ranked in comparison to other bankers. She figured she was in the top 25-30, but she was actually #3 in our entire center (out of 170 bankers or so). I've known for about a month how well she performed, but kept it a secret. Why? Because we award a trip to the top performing bankers each year. At the end of April and beginning of May, she will be going to Florida/Disney World for 5 days, all expenses paid and will get to bring a guest. This is a nice trip that the company awards to select individuals (about 1% of the organization) and I'm thrilled for her. She beamed all night long and kept saying, "Did I tell you how much I love my job?" and "I still can't believe it!" Days like today make my job meaningful.

My team also had a meeting tonight where we celebrated our successes in January (more recognition!) and we also had our annual meeting to go over our survey results. There is always room for improvement in our environment, yet I was pretty pleased with the results of our survey. It asked 12 questions (well, 12 major questions) and we scored "Agree" to "Strongly Agree" in every single one of them. It was a fun meeting and there were some terrific ideas presented. I know that implementing the ideas will help us achieve even more.

Work was good. Home wasn't so good. I was awakened at a quarter to 9 am by my upstairs neighbor screaming at the top of his lungs. He has extreme anger management issues. I didn't have time to stop by the office on my way out the door, but tomorrow I am going to complain. This is not the first time he's been beligerant to the point where I worried about his safety or the safety of others and it is quite bothersome. I think he was on the phone this time, screaming obsenities and using threatening language. After giving a big "F*** you" to the person on the other end of the phone, he must have disconnected the call and then decided to file away something in his bathroom. There was this awful scrapping noise coming from upstairs. The more I live below this person the more and more I want a house. I'm sick of his actions and it worries me to be living close to a person who acts as he does. I'm going to talk to the office in the afternoon and see what can be done.

On one hand, I want to complain about his actions, and on the other, I'm a bit afraid. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous. Here's the thing. I've worked in a call center for eight years now. Customers tend to be calling from a comfort zone when they reach us (calling from home). One thing I've learned about human nature is that people can become much more aggitated and use extreme language/behavior when on the phone versus in person. Not that people don't get out of hand in person, but I remember only 2 people upset enough to a point where other customers could see the problem when I was at the branch and I compare those experiences to the 50-100 escalated/upset customers we speak with each day. When I took escalated calls as a primary function of my job, I remember at least once every couple of weeks having someone who was out of control.

I think of all the out of control customers I've spoken to in the past. Not one compares to the extreme behavior this man living above me exhibits on a fairly regular basis. His behavior seems to be escalating to a point beyond recourse. If he hasn't hurt himself or someone else, he's going to soon. So, while I want to say something to reduce the problem, I am also afraid that he might want to lash out at me. Not that I know who he is or think I'm in any danger right now. But when I say something, I don't want him to know it was me. I trust the police not to give away my identity to him if I report him (as I did one time that I think he was abusing a girlfriend). I guess I don't trust the apartment complex staff to protect my identity. That's sad, but true.

I tried to complain at the office about him once before and was completely brushed off by the woman working there. She wasn't one of the regular women in the office, but she was an employee of the complex. So, this discourages me. I guess I'll see what type of response I get tomorrow.

On a much more positive note, I received my final grade for the class I was just in. My dad will comment and ask what happened to my grade, but all-in-all, I'm proud of the 98.45% I received. It's hard to get 100% in a class where the majority of your grade comes from group assignments.

Two more classes, I'll be graduating. My next class starts on March 11, which happens to be DM's birthday. I have a week off before the class starts and hopefully DM and I will have fun adventures that week. I am looking forward to it.

There it is. Simple post, nothing profound, but an update on my work life, my home life, my school life, and my plans for next month. Life is pretty good right now, minor problems, but nothing to get me down.

(Spell check isn't working tonight, so I apologize if I have a couple of words incorrect.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Colorful Words

Yes, colorful words. As in the ones I just yelled loudly at 1:30 am in my apartment. It was a simple chain reaction, but as I was heating up leftovers, I emptied the plastic dish onto one of my plates. In this, I managed to drip gravy on the floor. Simple, right? So, I grab for the paper towels. This knocks over the wire rack I have on top of my refrigerator. Which sends (amongst a bag of torilla chips and a very large container of vinegar (why do I have so much vinegar?)) a beautiful, footed crystal bowl crashing to my kitchen floor. It was not unbreakable.

Crap. Now I have added "mop" to my things to buy at the store. I want to make sure to get all the little pieces of glass picked up.

Oh, and my food got cold. I had to reheat it. Argh!

Hey, look at that, two posts in two days! Not bad, huh?

Too Long Between Posts

How have you been? I would probably know if I had been paying attention in the cyber-world lately, but I can't change the fact that I haven't been up-to-par on the whole blogging thing. I got an email from Joe (thanks for the prodding) that pointed out my absence.

How have I been? Decent. Life is going pretty well right now. I don't have any complaints, other than the fact we're stuck in the dead of winter right now and it's cold outside. Now, anything over 20 degrees is beautiful. Seriously. Above zero, still good. But it is -7 degrees Farenheit outside right now, and that's without the wind. Add in windchill and you get the feeling of 1,000 razorblades slicing up any exposed skin. I don't know how to make the site show the equivalent temperature for those who use Celcius. I just know that Farenheit and Celcius meet at -40 degrees and with windchill, we've been there. It is rather nice though when it is 30 degrees and snowing. It's quite beautiful.

These are old, but here are some snow pictures I took in December:

familiar trees
pair of snowy trees
oz trees

I do love the snow, even when it involves digging my car out of a pile of white. I don't think I could live somewhere without snow or even the changing of the seasons. I thrive on the changes of the year and really do enjoy the differences of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Since I last wrote, I've taken almost a full course at college. Tomorrow is actually my last day of class. With this one out of the way, I'm two courses away from graduating and soon I'll be able to use the words college and graduate in the same sentence. Right now, I still lack the ability and every time I try to indicate the end result of my long-term goal, it comes out, "I'm a ca-co-lagegeee ga-gadurate." One of these days I'll be able speak the phrase with pride.

Speaking of my upcoming graduation, I think I'm going to have a party. Well, that is if I buy a house. I have a timeline for events to purchase my first home, but that timeline includes waiting until March to call for a pre-approval. I'm going to see then how feasible this dream is. I like the fact that houses are dropping in value, which makes it more affordable for me. I also like the fact that the prime rate was dropped twice in the last month (good for work and personal life), but I'm scared of where our economy is and where it is going.

But I need a house. That sounds silly, because sure, I don't "need" it. But I want a house. I want a house for many reasons. My car is getting old (not that old, but it's not new anymore) and I'd like to have a garage for cold winter days. I want to have a fenced in backyard (even a little one) so that I can have a puppy. I want to have a washer and dryer on the same property because lugging laundry around is a hassle. I want a basement with a big room for scrapbooking where I can put everything in its place. I want room in my living room to put in an exercise bike to lose the pounds I gained when I became a supervisor and stopped running around our call center for four hours a night. I want the freedom to paint the walls any color I desire (and I think bold colors are awesome). I want to plant flowers in the backyard to take pictures. I want to be able to grocery shop without it becoming an ordeal to haul the bags from my parking spot halfway across the parking lot up the stairs and down the hall to my refrigerator. I want room to invite friends over for a night and maybe have a bonfire pit in the backyard.

I don't want a big house, but something that I can call mine. And the biggest thing that I want is to stop throwing money away each month on rent and build up equity.

What else is going on with me? Not too much. School takes up a lot of time. But I still get out and see friends. I go to my mom's every Monday for dinner, to play with Chip, and socialize. We have a good time. Chip is getting older, which bothers me, but he is still cute and still a loving member of our family. Smoke is the youngest of the pets at Mom's and he's anti-social. But he is getting better with company. I tend to pull out his toys when I'm there and have spent time petting him (much to my discomfort - I think I'm slightly allergic to cats). Mom told me that Scott's friends (family? I'm not sure) came over and said, "Oh, the other cat is here!" Smoke usually doesn't even make appearances for company. But he is getting better. Being in my mom's home will do that to an animal.

Work is pretty good. Problems from before are minimized and not in my immediate focus any longer. My team is doing fairly well and the feeling of "team" is very strong. This time of year is busier for the bankers, but not so much for me. I have been able to devote much more of my time towards coaching than when I have to write reviews, etc. As much as work is going well, I am looking forward to a long weekend (starting Thursday) and eleven days off in a row in March. DM's birthday is approaching and I've taken a week off to celebrate it with her. We'll go to Manny's and the opera during that time, but we're also considering a roadtrip to Canada. We both want to see Kakabeka Falls frozen. The only thing that really makes me question this idea is the fact that we'd be driving through northern Minnesota in one of the heaviest snowfall times of the year. But we'd follow the highway for most of the trip and then drive along Lake Superior for another big portion. The lake effect may help regulate the weather. We'll see how the weather is and then make a decision.

But I want to get out and try out my newest toy. For Christmas, my mom gave me a telephoto lens for my DSLR camera. I'm excited to see what it can do. Plus, I need new pictures!

So, I'm sorry that I don't post often or get around to everyone's sites. I know I sound like a broken record and I really wanted to improve in 2008 with blogging. I miss it. I do. I miss everyone and knowing what is going on in everyone's lives. Everything is pretty good here, but I just don't have a lot of news. I think that's part of the problem with blogging. There's no karaoke on Sundays (so no funny stories), I can't write about work much, and life is good. I'm busier with school and have more weekly routines for my social life (after work), so I'm not home as much. I also find myself a little sick of the computer by the time I get home.

But it will get better. I don't know when, but it will. Until then, I'm lurking. I hope all is well with everyone and I am sorry again.