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Third Try?

Started: 2004-10-20 20:23:23

Submitted: 2004-10-20 21:17:45

Visibility: World-readable

Yesterday evening Kiesa and I headed out for another fun-filled round of house hunting. I've lost track of how many houses we've seen by now, but Kiesa assures me it's above the average by some significant margin. The first house we saw went on the market yesterday and was a last-minute addition to our schedule. The house is a block away from the last house we offered on: in the same neighborhood and the same vintage. We got there a few minutes late, which gave our realtor Jan a few minutes to take a look at the house first. She wasn't impressed and suggested we spend only a minute sticking our heads in and running away screaming. The house had been foreclosed, and the bitter (and vengeful) former owners had seriously trashed the place. The driveway was half-full of trash. Every light fixture and outlet cover in the house had been removed. The electricity had either been disconnected or shorted by the light fixture vandalism, so we enjoyed navigating the house with only the fading sunlight. (When the sun goes down by 1830, and we start looking at houses at 1800, we can see only one house in the last daylight before darkness sets in.) Potted plants had been dumped out on the carpets. The basement was in the process of being finished; its one bedroom was filled with trash. Jan observed that the house looked worse than some of her rental properties she rents to University of Colorado students.

Despite the obvious flaws, and its ghastly wallpaper, Kiesa and I liked the layout and were unwilling to write it off immediately. The floor plan featured a dining room, a living room large enough to hold Gem's piano, a large kitchen (with inferior counter space but plenty of room for a table) overlooking a "great room" (which is apparently another name for a family room), and four bedrooms (counting the unfinished one in the dungeon). I'm trying to resist the urge to take on a Project House, but it still seems like too good of an idea to overlook entirely.

Work has been frustrating, to say the least. We're weeks behind schedule on the Epic Flatbed Printer (which has a horrible name provided by management; I've pointed this out several times, but the best I'm given is the opportunity to pick another name; I'm an engineer, not a name-smith), having run into several Horrible Week-Long Problems and under intense pressure from management to STFP* and start working on things that will make us money. In a rousing pep talk Monday morning, we were instructed to work forty-eight hour weeks "for the next few weeks". On a good day, there are only two people in the company whom I'd follow to hell and back, and one of them (my immediate supervisor) quietly told me he didn't care how long we worked as long as we got what we needed done. (Neither of these people were the individual who gave the pep talk.) I'll confess that the "incentive plan" provided by my worthless stock options isn't really inspiring me to stand up and kill myself for the company, since the company has no hard value, outside of the mind of at least one member of Management. (Said member gave the "company valuation" talk two months ago, which involved chattering for ten or fifteen minutes about the growth multiplier applied to revenue that apparently determines a company's value.) To increase company value (which makes Something Happen in the three-to-six-month-future), we need revenue, and for revenue we need to ship products. If I squint just right, this sounds disturbingly like another company I once worked for, with the notable exception that my current employer is actually providing regular paychecks that pay for important things like the rent, Internet access, and Netflix. (Although I observed recently that the number at the bottom of my check looks much smaller when I'm working unpaid overtime.)

We have an exit strategy to solve our latest problem, which should be arriving by expensive overnight shipping tomorrow morning. I'm praying** that it works, but once we have it working, I'm fully expecting a sinkhole to open up under the printer and swallow it whole.

[* Ship The Product. The 'F' is silent.]

[** To my pagan gods of Engineering, I think.]

In addition to A Deepness in the Sky, I'm also reading David Weber's latest addition to the Honorverse, Shadow of Saganami, thanks to an unnamed friend with Baen Webscriptions access. I'll confess that my memory of recent events in the Honorverse is a bit fuzzy, since the last book I read was Crown of Slaves a year ago; it's been almost two years since I read the entire Honorverse to date essentially in one sitting while unemployed. I have a really bad feeling I'll read at least War of Honor again when the next Honor Harrington book comes out, which Zan Lynx assures me is next summer. (That seems like a horribly long time to wait, especially after the ending of War of Honor... but I guess I'll have to survive.)