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Friday, July 27, 2007

I suspect boss of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome…

Yesterday, in an attempt to thwart any further interruptions of 4pm Friday departure’s, I asked boss to have weekly creative meeting on Thursday afternoon vs’ 4pm Friday. He responded with a blank stare and a question of “why would we start a meeting at 4pm on Friday? We are supposed to leave at 4pm on Friday's”. I said yes but the last 2 weeks meetings have started at 4 on Friday and he continued to give me a blank stare. Either he is really f*#king with me or has the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.

I left at 4:26 today and came straight home to continue my quest of find ways to save money. It was raining and I had originally planned to spend the remainder of the afternoon at the pool. I logged a call with Bellsouth for 43 minutes and found a fee of $4.99 to be removed. The customer assistant said “yeah you don’t really need that service” so I asked it to be removed from prior bills and she quickly agreed to go 3 months back so I am receiving a credit of $17.76 and I’ve now saved $4.99 per month. Yeah for me. Adding this to last weeks savings I’m up to $81.99. I think that’s worth a bottle of wine to celebrate.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I suspect my boss is conspiring to prevent 4pm Friday’s…

For today’s 4pm Friday record, I arrived at 8:10 and was productive from 8:15.

We recently moved to a new office and boss has chosen a corner office with 2 sides of windows that face the entire scope of employee parking lot – now he can clearly see when we come and go.

Today I went to my car to retrieve something. Upon returning I heard boss shouting my name as a summons. In front of the bookkeeper, he asks what time one of my employees arrived that day. I announce 10:30 but she is making up for that by staying late and will not be taking advantage of the 4pm Friday (were they just discussing said employee???). He then notices a group leaving for lunch and asked if they understand lunch is restricted to a half hour. I say yes they do but I will remind them. They take a 45 minute lunch so I remind each person of the half hour max lunch requirement for leaving at 4pm knowing full well that they arrived at 8:30 and 10:30. I get looks of exasperation. I suspect they find this perk more annoyance then benefit.

At 3pm, an employee tells me boss wants to have a meeting when he returns from picking up daughter. The soonest he will get back is 3:30, upon which he will likely jump on the phone and start the meeting at 4ish. So upon his return, I immediately run up and announce I’m leaving at 4:30 and would like to start the meeting immediately. We start at 4pm. I set my phone alarm for 4:30 and attend the meeting. Boss brings lap-top so he can send wires while we are talking. There are a few big silences while we waited for his attention and quite a few conversation repeats. At 4:25, I announce the follow up action plan for next week’s creative work, say goodbyes and escape.

And here are the benefits of leaving at 4pm, phone calls to find savings:

5 – 5:18 combine Cingular with Bellsouth into one bill, save $5.00

5:18 – 5:30 call Cingular back to set up voice mail service (yeah I’ve had the phone for 3.5 months and mom is getting really mad that she can’t leave a message even though the phone always shows who called)

5:30 – 5:49 call Washington Mutual to remove stupid $5.00 charge

5:50 – 6:15 make meat and garlic sauce

6:15 - 7:10 call Bellsouth to reduce DSL service to Lite. First guy transfers me to DSL dept, they have gone home but message says they close at 7pm and its only 6:30. Call Bellsouth back and complain about DSL leaving early and am told DSL does not deal with service changes, its Bellsouth. So they reduce the service and go through all my questions about other possible savings (none) and then transfer me to another department who confirms that yes they did get the message from Cingular about combined billing and $5.00 savings will appear on next bill. Just thought you might want to know why this last entry took an hour.

I’ve been writing this entire blog while on hold for above mentioned calls. I would have preferred the beach but I’m proud of myself for finding $77.00 savings. Go self! Now if I can just stay motivated and study for the GMAT, get MBA and reach for the stars.

I also want to mention that last Friday was my 7th wedding anniversary and I visited Key West for holiday – it was awesome (went kayaking, snorkeling, saw Harry Potter, ate some very amazing food). On Monday I was informed that entire creative arrived the previous Friday at 8am, had ½ hour lunch in kitchen and that 2pm scheduled meeting did not start until 4:30. To add acid to injury, boss’s children were present, wildly screaming and running with loud toys. Creative was very bitter.

Group Pay Sucks

Yesterday Company had a meeting at Toy’s R Us for research field trip. After 1 hour, boss suggested a stop at Starbucks and then Target. I’m always game for Starbucks and feeling proud that I have a free coupon and am sticking with new budget commitment I happily jump in his rented mini cooper with a fellow employee.

I immediately assume this is not a business paid stop considering below mentioned “cash flow” so I walk up to counter, pull out wallet, order $3 drink and hand over coupon just as boss announces, “hey aren’t we going to all pay together?” Brain stops, confusion, who pays as a group for individually purchased coffee, is he actually going to pay for everything??? I opt to freeze with wallet still in hand. He orders a drink and hands over $3 that does not pay for ordered drink and then asks me to cover the difference with a “hey I owe you a dollar”. Fellow employee orders and hands over enough money to pay for her coffee and I present my free coupon. Boss then orders bread and says “hey I owe you another dollar”, I mumble don’t worry about it and start digging for change to cover the difference. He finds some change as well and somehow we complete the bill payment. I somehow got conned into paying for something when I had a free coupon. The cashier leans over and says, that free coupon was worth $4 so it really helped out. I mumble thanks and walk away.

I wonder if in his mind, he pays my salary so it’s really like my money is his money anyway?

I really hate confrontations about money and I have never collected any money borrowed from self and always opt to avoid repeating any uncomfortable money situation. When I was in college, my roommate would collect every freaking dollar that I caused with a “hey do you have that dollar for gas used on today’s car ride to school?” (oh yeah, she was always a same day collector). I stopped driving to school with her and took the bus because it was cheaper. Due to current budget constraints, I will not go to any coffee shops with boss even if I have a free coupon.

I’ve also stopped eating lunch out with fellow employees because of the group pay issue. When boss is involved (and he can jump in on any lunch at any time and want a sit down restaurant), we always end up paying $12 - $15 per person. Lunch should not cost this much – ever! It sucks. Somehow between certain unnamed people ordering the most expensive dish on the menu and everyone splitting the bill it ends up this high every freaking time. I now join birthday lunches only and budget for the $15.00 into the weekly budget.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

For the record, 4pm Fridays…

June 1st – see below post

June 8th – my mom, aunt and cousin were visiting so took the day off

June 15th – left work at 6:00, stayed late to help Christine get ready for Hong Kong trip and evening went to Biddy’s to see Dilana show

June 22nd – left work at 4:20, went to the beach

June 29th – office moving day, left work at 6:30pm, was exhausted so came home to shower and watch movies

July 6th – left work at 7:30pm, we started the grand opening office party at 3pm with the hopes that it would not run too late. Everyone that tried to leave was met with cries of no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I stayed the latest out of obligation and guilt in leaving the boss’s wife since he had gone back to work with Kevin and she & I were the last 2 left. But after finishing my wine and running out of things to say I said goodbyes and left. My remaining evening was spent eating pizza rolls and watching Double Jeopardy.

Next Friday is my anniversary so I will not be working. After that, my commitment to leave Friday promptly at 4pm and go straight to the beach is resumed.

I met Dilana in Fort Lauderdale

Thankfully she updates her blog with casual appearances where I learned she would be at Biddy’s on June 15th and Bahia Cabana on the 19th.
Biddy's is only 7 miles from our condo so we arrived by 10 and passing through the alley behind the bar is where I caught my first glimpse of Dilana. The dreads and wide shoulders are unmistakable.
We got drinks at the bar and moved directly to the front of the crowded room standing directly behind a front row of obvious fans. The songs featured her amazing throaty voice over a mix of African songs composed with her original partner George along with classics like “I stand by you” where she points at the crowd and makes everyone feel her personal care and love. She sings "Black Velvet" with her amazing throaty voice and it’s perfect. Sorry I can’t remember all the songs, I was really too mesmerized.
At the end of the show, the front row surged forward to meet Dilana. I waited behind them but when finished she went outside. So we went outside where she was nabbed by another couple who she spoke with at length. I noticed she tried to say bye a couple of times but they wouldn’t leave, she just has that effect on people. The guy who was playing bongos with her on stage came out so we spoke with him for a few minutes. She finishes speaking with the couple and they reluctantly depart with longing glances over the shoulder. Honestly I’ve never seen anything like it in my life but this is the first time I’ve chased a rock star for an autograph. She turns and poises her body to rush back inside just as the bongo player shouts hey DiLANa. She turns and immediately berates him for saying her name wrong. Its Di lah na (misspelling to emphasize pronunciation). She repeats it like 4 or 5 times slowly, bongo guy laughs and disappears and suddenly I’m under her spell. I stutter my name and announce I’m a fan and loved the show. She apologizes for ending the show early (she sang for over an hour and her my-space page mentioned she might sing a FEW songs – early doesn’t seem appropriate) but the smoky bar became difficult to sing over. I’m immediately apologetic about Fort Lauderdale’s lack of smoke laws and remembering my 2 years in LA where smoke laws are militant and being a non-smoker I empathize. Regardless, a show for over an hour is more than enough and I do my best to convey my opinion and disgust for our local smoking laws. I finally request an autograph and pull out my joker card and pen. I get a laugh and response of “cool”. She hands the card back and husband suddenly launches into a short speech of “I just want to say that as her husband, (pause, clear throat, I look up in puzzlement as to what could he possibly say next???) and I just want you to know that my wife is just being modest, but she is actually a really huge fan”. Dilana stops and suddenly gives both of us huge hugs and thanks us for our support.