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05/24/2005: "something old that's also new, something tiresome that makes me blue"

Were it not for today, I'd have nothing but good news to report. Luckily, the not-so-good news is quite minor, and is really only an annoyance. The good news, however, is big. Like, the size of a car.

That's right, I finally have possession of the long-awaited Cabriolet now. On Saturday its previous owner dropped it off, gave me the keys, and told me that it was insured until Tuesday at 8am if I wanted to take it for a drive. Of course, I did. How could I not? I put the top down (it needs some lubricating), grabbed a hat, and took off to blow the cobwebs out, so to speak. It's not the quietest car I've driven, nor the easiest to steer (power assist? hah!) but it's still fun.

Once I got it back home I had to air it out. It had been sitting under a black tarp outside for the past 6 months, and predictably it was starting to grow some mold on the carpets. I even took the back seat out, and found a generous amount of moisture under there. It's probably a good thing I'm not driving it yet... it needs to dry out some. Hopefully I'll get more nice weather soon and I'll be able to give it some good sun.

I took loads of pictures, documenting it's "before" status. I fully intend to improve this vehicle, and hence at some point there will be an "after" state (or two, or more) that will also have to be documented. At this point, the "before" isn't too pretty... I found a colony of ants under the hood, the horn doesn't work, there's the aforementioned mold on the carpets, there's a hole in the driver's seat, neither front seat folding mechanism works, the front tires (and likely the rear) are mismatched, the electric fan started running an hour after I got back from my drive and was still running some hours later, so I simply had to unplug it, only the 3rd and 4th fan speeds work, the radio works but is loosely sitting inside the dash and looks like it might fall in any time, there's a bundle of about 8 wires that suddenly terminates in the trunk from some device long gone, the antenna is very sadly bent, the oxygen sensor wire looks like it's just barely hanging on, the air conditioning doesn't work, the spedometer doesn't move and the odometer doesn't register any more mileage... I'm not surprised, after all this is a 20-year-old car (it's a 1985, not an '84 like I thought previously) that's seen multiple owners and drivers.

As of tonight I've ordered a 520 page manual to troubleshoot and fix this vehicle. First up will be the spedometer and the horn, two items I'm pretty sure will be necessary for this thing to pass a safety inspection. After that... well, there will be no shortage of things to do on this vehicle, I'm sure. I guess figuring out if the fan's thermostat is baked should be high on the list... it would really suck to come out to a dead battery from a fan that's been cooling off a cold car all night. The fun is just beginning!

Now, the little bit of bad news. The "engineering manager" at work has pretty much left me alone for the past week. Today, however, he caught me red-handed, eating a muffin at my desk. And it wasn't break time!! Holy mother of God, what a transgression! So he brings me aside, and pretty much reprimands me for eating at my desk, for rollerblading in the office (how else am I supposed to get from outside to my desk, and vice versa once a day?), and not telling him when I'm going out into the plant. What a freaking doofus. I would be very apologetic and fly straight, if only he had any shred of authority, which I can't see that he does (his title notwithstanding).

At this point I think that if tries to single me out again, I'm going to lodge a complaint. It will start with him (according to the employee handbook), and he'll have two days to explain why he's picking on me. Alternatively, I can just wait until I have a meeting with the president (my 30 day review is coming up in just over a week), and I can ask him straight out then what the deal with this guy is. I need to know... Putting up with something on contract is one thing, but when a permanent position is in the cards, I have to know that I'm not simply setting myself up for ritualistic torture.

But hey, I should look on the bright side. No matter what happens job-wise, no matter what petty grievances this knob tries to trip me up with, I still have a VW Cabrio waiting for me to take a part and make all better. Aaah. Much better.

Replies: 3 Comments

on Thursday, May 26th, xhead said

I'd be careful about complaining to mr.pointy-hair.

Personally, I would wait until your 30-day eval, and ask if there are policies around eating at your desk, rollerblading to/fro desk/outside, and leaving your desk to go to the plant without notifying your immediate supervisor.

It could be that all these things are likely "discretionary" management items, and I would think it would be hard to complain about mr.pointy unless he shows different discretion to you as to others that report to him.

It could be that they are discretionary things and the president disagrees with mr.pointy's discretion, so they could be adjusted by the president.

And you could take your rollerblades off at the door and walk to your desk. :)

on Friday, May 27th, mr.ska said

We're joined at the hippocampus again. I've already requested a meeting for my 30 day review, and I'll be bringing up some of those points during said meeting.

The popular (and widespread) opinion isn't that these are discretionary management items... they're petty items. I've decided that I'll just go along with it for now, and play any cards I have later.

As for rollerblading... taking them off without a chair is much more dangerous than blading the 10m from the door to my desk to sit down. I pass by the Safety Co-ordinator every morning, and she hasn't said boo about it.

on Monday, May 30th, xhead said

you could ask the safety coordinator for a chair at the door :)

I agree they are petty. My original point is that you can't argue that you are picked on if he does the same (petty) stuff to others.

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