Rite of Passage

One of my cousins’ graduated from high school this weekend. Class of 2010 seemed so far way when when I knew he was going to go to the same high school I attended and yet it is here. I graduated high school here in the US with the class of 96, back in Colombia I was supposed to graduate with the class of 93… that is a whole other post for some other day. I graduated from college in 99, so it has been at least 11 years since I have been out of school and I miss those days quite a bit.

The ceremony was pretty much the same as I had experienced during my own graduations. The only difference here was that since it was at the UIC pavilion there were food and drinks available, which meant that since I was sitting at the end of the isle I got to smell the cheese fries and nachos as people were going back to their chairs. I had a full meal before heading there from previous graduation experiences without proper meals made them seem like they lasted days instead of hours.

Graduations make me go back to school. I still want to get a masters and maybe even a PHD. I love the process of getting more knowledge and discovering how little I really know about so many different subjects. I would love to go back to drawing, get better at photography and learn to ballroom dance. If I was to be completely selfish I think that if I had all the resources in the world I might just spend the rest of my life learning.

Maybe the time is getting closer to make the switch from the corporate world and become a teacher. The easy transition would be to get into the field of technical training. I miss the classroom environment and sharing knowledge is the only thing more fun about education than actually learning.

As we get older there are less and less rites, I guess what most people call a midlife crisis is one of them. I might be getting close to one even though I am not near 40 (is 30 the new 40?). All I know is that change is inevitable and I as much as I want to get comfortable with a straight 9-5 being a teacher would be a lot more fun. I dish out this piece of advice quite often… if you love what you do for a living it will never feel like work… maybe it is time for me to take my own advice.

Bad Delivery

This is a good news, bad news type of situation. I will give you the good news first, we have a new fridge and dishwasher! YEY! the bad news is that delivery was not satisfactory.

I was very excited when the phone call from the people scheduling delivery came through. They said they would be there between 4:30 and 7:00 P.M. I listened to the message again to make sure I was hearing right and said, cool, it will not interrupt the workday. I did not foresee what a late delivery really meant.

The first delivery dude showed up and was friendly enough. We handled the paperwork and he said that it would take about an hour for the installation. I said no problem without knowing what was coming next. It was a big learning experience how when people do a lazy job, service just breaks down.

The second delivery guy shows up and looks to be in a foul mood. Race did play a factor here because the dude fell pray to the “wrong side of the counter effect.” Most people won’t experience that, but when you are of a certain ethnicity, and a person of that same ethnicity performs a service for you, a lot of times they look at you like you should be right next to them working there and not being served. Its not just Spanish people either, I have confirmed this with other ethnicity as well.

I can disarm most of those situations by just breaking out the Spanish and being personable, but the dude came into our condo without greeting anyone and just would not make eye contact and looked like a dragon about to spray flames all over the counter. I was still willing to be personable but then he went too far. He asked where the switch box was and I knew it was in a closet but forgot which one so I did not direct him immediately and that seemed to rub him the wrong way.

Instead of asking me to turn off the kitchen breaker he proceeded to take control of the situation and flipped every single switch in the box without even asking first if it was ok. I should have said something as he started the flipping frenzy, but I decided to just let him do his thing and get him out of there as quickly as possible because I was not in a don’t mess with me mood. Hindsight is 20/20 and this is where my learning experience began.

Dishwashers do not empty all the water out of their system until they have finished the cycle. It seems pretty obvious, but when they were doing their Christmas light spectacular with the switch box they had the dish washer on. What had broken on it was the motor that makes the water shooter thingie move, it would still fill up with water and purge it. The proper thing to do would have been to let it finish the cycle so the water was purged out of the system. Another option would have been to hold the exit house up to not pour water all over the place… they failed at both of those.

At first I thought it was just some water on condo floor which they asked me to get an “old towel” for. I was like whatever, its just a little water and the outside balcony is concrete so in my head they would just let the water run out of the dishwasher there. I went back to getting killed in Halo while the new dishwasher was being installed.

The installation was finished and the fridge was in place. The pissed off dude continue his mood but I just ignored him. Then I hear (we will call him Charlie to protect his real name) having an argument in the courtyard with the first delivery guy. He had removed a pin from the mechanism that closes the entry doors automatically to leave it open during the delivery, but he left the door wide open during the whole time they were doing the installation. Charlie was not happy with that but was even more furious about the water tracks left in all they common areas they had crossed. There was no draining of the water as I had assumed. They could have cared less… I am sure they are both nice people and it was just a late Friday delivery that made them both be careless and just not want to do things the right way.

Lesson learned. If I need something delivered from now on I would ask for the earliest appointment available. I will also not let them “do their thing” and hover like an old vulture while the work is performed. As I get older I now why we become so jaded and annoying as customers. Bad service really makes you less and less trusting of people that should have common sense and perform their job well, even if they will only see you once in their lives.

What a Week!

We had planned to be heading down to KC today or tomorrow to make a friends graduation. We are really sad that we could not make it but sometimes you just got to take care of things that you did not know were going to pop up.

The appliance Dexter came and mercefully dispossed of two of our appliances. The dish washer seemed super new but it stopped working and we deal with it for a bit. The new one is going to be delivered today which kind of put a little strain on our travel plans but we were still wanting to do it, then the fridge kicked the bucket. Thankfully both of them are going to be replaced today and should already be on the same truck heading this way.

I have been writing lots but not finishing much. My posts seem to go into three directions and until I have the chance to maybe separate them and expand on those ideas I am going to just keep my draft count getting fatter. Work is still super crazy and busy, but there is some help coming and having good bosses is a huge plus. I am still probably still spending too many hours glued to the laptop. Today though we should be heading to see Iron Man 2 and probably a nice dinner if the delivery is on time.

We do owe Kansas City a visit and should be taking care of that soon, we miss you guys and cannot wait for the people that are coming up this summer! The weather is getting better each day and Chicago is looking awesome with green all around!

Kick Ass (***)

Since hating the movie Watchmen I have read the graphic novel thanks to Nuke. I am also patiently awaiting the arrival of Iron Man 2 and looking forward to a Thor movie. With good movies about superheroes come horrible ones, and thankfully Kick Ass is not one of them. I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible because I think you should enjoy go and enjoy this movie. It might not be a full spend 10 bucks to go see it, but I felt like watching it and only paying matinee prices was a complete WIN.

Since I did love the movie, the first thing is to let you know what I did not like. Marketing for this movie was great but can be confusing for parents. Do NOT be fooled into thinking that this is something that kids can watch. The themes and action is very adult in nature. I saw way too many kids in the movie and it made me question parents sanity when they expose their kids to that much blood.

There is a back story to the movie that could have made an excellent movie all on its own and it was beautifully presented. I like the art, style and tone of this movie. I am not into dark comedies, or at least I was not… this movie executes that in a very crafty way. You don’t love the characters or hate them, you just watch them interact and tell a story full of laughs and emotions. Escapism at its best.

There are plenty of surprising moment in the movie and that is what makes it great. I love watching movies where I cannot predict the plot from scene to scene but just simply sit back and wait for the next surprise. This movie was full of that.

The acting was superb and I wish I would not spoil half of the movie by telling you who my favorite character was, I am sure you will figure it out once you see it. The movie is left open for a sequel but I am sure this was just a one movie type of deal. Go watch it before it goes off the theaters… or catch it as soon as it gets to the dollar show! That would probably make it even better.

Mind Reader

One of my favorite coworkers is someone that I have only talked to a handful of times. This person is one of the most genuine I have met here and actually puts their defense down when they are having a conversation. They report to one of the managers that I took my management course with so it was funny when I bumped into them in the lunch room and they were talking about one of the projects I am working on. We had a small conversation and I moved on to consume my cafeteria food.

Today I saw that coworker in the elevator and I said, “Wow you have a lot in your mind.” Then she surprised the hell out of me by not trying to cover up her expression or totally put things our her mind to converse, she continued to be deep into thought and smiled. She smiled and said, “you are totally right, but there is always tons of things going on at the same time here. (pointing to her head)”

Non verbal communication and facial expressions are very easy for me to read. The people I know the best or interact with the most are the ones that I can read the best, and for the most part they hate it. From my wife not being able to hide that she is super worried about something or annoyed with me, from my Mom’s or sister’s faces when they have not told me about something.

I had a long conversation with a friend I have not talked to for 15 years. We went to high school together and he got kicked out of school a year before I left. We lost touch and we never really used to hang out at school. I was friends with him because his grandma live across the street from us, and I was good friends with one of his cousins. At school he hang out with another “clique” one of the members being one of my biggest bullies. The bully did come up during our conversation but it had been from him not really talking or wanting friendship with the dude anymore after some bad business ventures they had engaged on after college.

Being bullied in high school made me very introspective. There had to be something wrong with me for people to want to pick on me so much. I found many answers, but the common theme of why I was being picked on (and even what my friend told me) was age. I was younger and while they were worried about screwing the brains out of their girlfriends I was still excited just the thought of getting to second base. It actually was nothing that I could really help, but still the source of much of my torment.

My fascination with non verbal communication was also due to loving being around grown ups. I always wanted to see if I could hold a conversation with someone way smarter than I was. I also loved talking to my grandpa and hearing his stories. It made me more aware of all the facial expressions and adults became easier to read with time. I knew which ones were just humoring me and which ones were actually talking to me. I still experience that feeling with the people that make small talk instead of having real conversations, that is the way that adults that don’t care much about kids talk to them. I have always found that if you talk to kids like a person they react way better in most situations.

During college I was made aware of things that I said too much. “you know” was and still is one of my sentence completion quirks. Also when I first lived in Michigan I could not shut up about Chicago. I was and still am very unaware of what I say sometimes, despite the fact that I try to watch what I say. Others can recognize those patterns a lot easier than we can.

Going back to my coworker. The first time we actually it was right after our cars almost crashed in our way to the parking lot. I was making a left turn and she got freaked out possibly because she was not paying attention to the road. We parked our cars and I apologized for startling her and she said no biggie. It turned out that I actually had to do something for her group the week following. Later I found out who she reported to and I’ve had to have a couple of conversations since the. She is always very relaxed and does not put on her poker face mask when engaging in conversation. I don’t know many people like that.

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