I had an interesting day yesterday.

I love my car. What I love most is that my car has a bunch of cool gadgetry that makes my driving experience better than farfegnugen. But every once and awhile, some of that cool gadgetry goes Inspector Gadget on me.

The other day was my remote door locks. I have a nifty little feature called Passive Keyless Entry, PKE for short. PKE “senses” the presence of the keyfob and unlocks the door(s) when you approach and then locks the doors when you turn off the car, close the door and walk away.

The fob also has buttons for unlocking/locking the doors and popping the rear hatch. I realized things weren’t working the day I turned off the car, pulled the keys out of the ignition and the doors locked me in and then the hatch popped open. Taking the car to the dealer, I found that I had a VERY expensive problem or an even MORE expensive alternative. So luckily for me, I just had the VERY expensive issue.

After a week or so, the car was ready to go. The keyfobs were reprogrammed to the car and the mechanic demonstrated that everything worked as it should… and that my rear hatch shouldn’t pop as I’m driving down the highway. Of course, two days later, Tina needed to get in the passenger side of the car and we realized that the passenger door didn’t unlock with the driver’s door – which it used to do up to this point.

Tina feels like I’m not attentive as a result… and I’m pissed because I felt that the repair folks didn’t do their job and I was taking the heat. I grabbed the car’s manual, checked the appropriate pages, and saw how there were three PKE settings: Off, Driver’s Door Only, Both Doors. I followed the instructions to change the settings to Both Doors. But it didn’t work. Nor did it work the next dozen times I tried. Now you’ve got the background to understand what happened next.

As luck would have it, a lot of my interviewing trips were coming up, so I didn’t have time to take it back to the dealer until yesterday. When I talked with the mechanic again, his response was “the car doesn’t do that…” and “it’s not something I can set up for you…”. I pulled out the manual again, showed him where it said it was an easy setting to change.

After a half-hour of talking with other folks there who were supposedly “experts” on this particular vehicle, it was time to call Second Level Support from the Auto Manufacturer because no one there supposedly knew that the PKE system could unlock both doors. After ANOTHER half-hour, we found that there were a few possibilities… most likely it was a short between the ignition and the remote system receiver that was replaced during those expensive repairs. Of course, the only way to prove it was to rip open the dash board and test the wire. So I decided to live with the idea that the system only unlocks the one door for the moment.

But my favorite quote of the day came as I was getting back into the car to go home. The mechanic was smiling, joking about the extent to which they’d have to go to test that one piece of wire. And then, still smiling, he says “you’re the only one who wants that setting… everyone else wants us to turn it off so that only one door unlocks…”.

And I drove off… but wait a minute, didn’t we start this adventure by him telling me that such a setting doesn’t exist?

Not much to really talk about these days.

Job hunting is always a trip. I wonder why people post jobs that a)don’t exist or b)don’t have all the NECESSARY qualifications listed.

The house is still for sale. I’ve had a LOT of showings. I just keep waiting for a real buyer.

Hunting for jobs is NOT fun. I don’t care whether you’re looking for an hourly position or a salaried job. Sending out resumes, making cold calls… whatever you’re doing, rejections are derigeur. And they’re going to come in by the boatload. If you want more, come get some from me. 🙂

So I’m innocently sitting at my computer the other day and I get an e-mail from Tina. It is a challenge to me to take a “political candidate” test to see who matches up with my personal beliefs. [Quick background note: Tina’s pretty far Republican. I’m not. She’s also politically inclined. I’m not.]

She taunts me with the idea that Joe Lieberman is actually in the top three of her list. She’s doing this to prove to me that I don’t know what the various candidates really stand for – and she’s right. My test is abysmal. Al Sharpton is the 100% match with my views. Scary. I guess I’ll be voting “independent” come November.

In other news, we’re going on a double-date with Carmen tomorrow night. She’s taking US out with the gift certificate we got her as a Christmas present. That’s pretty good return on investment – get to hang out with our friends AND get dinner for free. Cha-ching!

Oh, and house sale news… apparently the person who wants my house is a total home buying newbie. She’s completely skittish and doesn’t really want to negotiate. But what she has been told to get is $3,000 in closing costs. After about 5 back & forth offers and counteroffers, I finally gave an ultimatum tonight. I’m tired of dealing with this. If she doesn’t want the house, that’s fine. I’m tired of playing around with her. She is either going to have to pay for it or go find someplace for free (which is apparently what she feels she deserves as a new home buyer). Hehe.

And I got another job offer. In yet another town somewhere other than Raleigh. This is getting out of hand. Why can’t someone let me stay here?

Not much happened today except that I made 100 phone calls for HOBY. Each school in North Carolina is invited to send one student to participate in this leadership weekend. But we don’t hear from all of them, so we try to followup with them to see if they’re going to send anyone. Thus the calls.

It took me three hours or so to do it. My fingers were sore from the dialing. And I got pretty tired of asking to speak with the guidance counselor, too.

And when I wasn’t on the phone with a school, I was receiving calls about jobs and about selling my house. You’d better make an offer fast, or the house is going to be gone. 🙂

I am all for going out and having a good time, but I’m stumped as to why it costs more to go out on a Friday night than a Sunday afternoon.

When I returned from Detroit on Friday night, I mentioned that I wanted to go to Kanki for dinner. It’s the nicest Japanese Steak House in Raleigh – and dinner for two starts around $50. Tina was tired and I wasn’t doing too well either (still in a suit from the interview). So we talked for a few moments and decided that a Sunday afternoon date would be better.

So we woke up this morning and planned out our date day. We would go to lunch at Kanki, hang around the mall (where the restaurant is) for a little while to kill some time, then go to a matinee showing of Big Fish.

By the end of the afternoon, we’d spent just over $40. Woo hoo! But I still don’t understand why it was so much cheaper.

Lunch: $28.00
Snacks purchased at Target rather than the theatre: $1.25
Movie tickets: $11.00
Total: $40.25

So our advice to people who want to do a lot with a little? Stay at home on Friday night, go out on Sunday afternoon. 🙂

Life can be incredibly unfair at times.

I’m hunting for a new job. I’ve had interviews all over the country – Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, Washington DC, San Antonio, New York and I’ve got another one in Detroit tomorrow. Until yesterday, the jobs I get aren’t ones I want… the jobs I want aren’t ones I get. But all that changed in an instant when I got the job offer of my dreams at a salary higher than I’ve ever been offered before. But I can’t take it because even at that salary, I can’t afford to live in the location of the job. They’re not willing to let me telecommute (which is something that’s possible given what I do), so I’m stuck, because while it APPEARS to be a lot of money, it’s really less than what I made here. How’s that for bad karma?

Oh well… I keep looking. Maybe something new will come along.

But we finally made it out of the neighborhood yesterday. And as suspected, only my neighborhood still had ice on the streets. The people who live on the road that connects my neighborhood to the main city street have parked their vehicles on the street. They apparently don’t care that as a result, the street scrapers can’t get by and clear MY block.

But folks are still getting into accidents out there, sliding around on the pavement. I just don’t get it. You’d think that even if people were totally unfamiliar with icy roads, it would only take ONE ice storm for them to learn that cars don’t have traction on ice. Even four-wheel drive vehicles don’t have traction when there’s NO tractable surface available for ANY of the wheels to touch.

Unfortunately, they don’t. So people die. Sad, really.

Anyways, I have another house showing today. Maybe these people will buy it – no train, ya’ know.

I’ve had it with weather that the locals don’t know how to handle. I’m from a tiny town in the NW corner of Indiana – very close to the border (and thus Chicago). We get TONS of inclement weather and more snow in a day than some folks in NC have seen in their lifetimes. So I really don’t understand why folks down here can’t figure out how to remove the relatively tiny amount of snow and ice we get from the roadways.

Today alone they’re reporting that there have been over 1,000 traffic accidents. Now, it seems to me that if the state/county/city doesn’t know how to REMOVE the snow/ice, that folks would realize this and also realize that they don’t know how to DRIVE on said snow/ice. They should just stay home. But they don’t. The result is that the universe has a few less living people today.

But I guess I can’t say much because Tina and I tried to go out today (she’s staying with me for security purposes). She called her office and found out that it was scheduled to open on a two hour delay. At 9am, I went downstairs and started shoveling the driveway. I cleared the bulk of the ice from her car and the drive and when my lungs felt like they were going to burst, I went back indoors.

So at about 10:30am, we tried to leave home. We got off the driveway, down my block and around the first corner. The next road was uphill, and about a block into the trip, we saw an SUV on the side of the road just sitting there blowing exhaust. Tina wondered aloud what they were doing just sitting there – blocking the road!

As we passed them, traction became non-existent and we started spinning the wheels. A kid was standing about another 25 yards ahead at the top of the hill, waving us on as if we were having to watch for cars coming around the bend. But it didn’t matter because we weren’t moving forward anymore and the front of her car was drifting to the left.

We stopped completely, I got out and promptly lost my footing on the sheet of ice formerly known as pavement. I tried to help Tina in any way that I could… but we quickly realized that we were going to just head home and spend another day inside. Two minutes later, I was on the ground – plopped down on my butt because I couldn’t stand straight.

Returning home was fairly simple and with a little speed, we made it back up the driveway without further incident. Tina almost took a spill simply trying to walk back to the front door. I was upset because we weren’t going to be able to get any more groceries and I was out of french fries.

To be honest, the rest of the day was almost entirely uneventful and it really runs together with the other two days of being trapped in the house. So I can’t honestly tell you what happened today versus what happened yesterday.

The last two hours, however, are pretty fresh in mind. We had dinner (still no french fries and I’m even running out of potato chips – please, someone ship them to me… the US Post Office delivered mail again today so THAT’s available), watched some TV and now we’re putzing around before bed.

Oh, and my virus scanning software is still running. This is about 5.5 hours now – scanning about 250K files. I don’t know what it’s doing, but it’s not finding any virii. Again, I’m on a Mac, so I’m fairly immune to most things out in the wild – but I was trying to be vigilant considering the new e-mail worm that’s been out here for the last 48 hours. Maybe one of these days, the scan will end. I dunno’.

I guess I’ll post again when I’m sure I’m clean.

I’m trapped in my house. It’s been snowing (with a coating of freezing rain for good measure) for the last two days. So I can’t go anywhere.

Lucky for me, I’ve got friends nearby. And of course, there’s Allie.

First, she needed a bath today. I’ve been avoiding this because I don’t like having to clean her, then clean the tub and then clean myself – all because SHE needed a bath. I really wish she’d grow out that dew paw and make it an opposable thumb. Perhaps she could bathe herself. Then again, she could just become a cat. Either way, I could stop trying to cajole her into the bathtub for something NEITHER of us likes to deal with.

Anyways, for those of you who KNOW Allie, she’s very fond of the outdoors. This is evidenced by the fact that every time it even appears that I’m going to go outside, she runs to the door nearest myself (even if it’s an interior door), sits as close to the door as possible… and waits. But it’s not just any wait, it’s a sit and a scoot closer to the door. A pant and then another scoot closer to the door.

I think she believes that the closer she IS to the door, the closer she is to getting THROUGH the door. Unfortunately for her, she’s pretty opaque and isn’t able to go through the door. But I’m a reasonable guy (and I’ve got a fenced-in backyard), so I’ll let her go out there whenever she really wants to go.

Today was no different and when she asked to go out, I let her (yes, AFTER she was dried off from her bath). But not before turning on the outside light so I could watch her slip-slide her way across the yard to do her business. Hehehe… she loves to play in the snow and she can’t tell that it’s got an ice coating. It just looks white to her, I suppose.

So she falls on her ass several times and I’m laughing at her. Of course, with her super-hearing, she can tell, so she comes running back to the glass door because of the noises she hears me making. Not having any traction, she slides into the door. Hehehehe!

OK, I’ll move away from the door so she can go potty (that’s her code word for “go-ing” and if you ever meet her and tell her to “go potty”, she will almost immediately – so use this doggie kryptonite sparingly and remember that she’s probably at your house and not mine). She still enjoyed running around the yard, breaking the ice with her paws. I love my dog.

Since I’m in the house all day, there are a limited amount of things I can do inside (especially now that I took my train down). I can hunt for jobs, surf the web/send e-mail, play with Allie, clean the house (yeah, right) or eat. Care to guess what I did the most of today? Let’s just say that I’m not going to be using the new body-fat calculator this week.

So I’m blending into my couch, chomping on potato chips, watching TV and surfing the web. But did you know the mail was actually delivered today? Those folks are nuts. I did get my Duke-Valpo basketball tickets in the mail (anyone looking for men’s BB tix?). Woo hoo! I’m going to get to watch MY almamater get their collective butts handed to them as a tolken scrub team to keep Duke warm between real games. Tina, as a Duke alum, thinks it’s fun. She can’t wait to go to the game – just so I can be humiliated and she gets to sit in a real seat in Cameron (for those in the know, Duke students almost NEVER actually get a seat – they STAND for the entire game).

Anyways, the TV weatherpeople say that the weather tomorrow isn’t going to be much better than today. So my guess is that I’ll be stuck indoors for another day. Such is my life. But I’m running out of potato chips. If you have some of the new lower-fat Ruffles (have rrrrrrridges), please mail them to me. With the mailman coming by even in this crap, I have a reasonable chance of getting them sooner than me actually getting to a grocery store.

Oh, and just a quick advertisement. Kathy C got me hooked on a game called Bejeweled for the PalmOS. If you have a Palm device, I highly recommend this game. Totally addictive and cheaper than crack.

Good night!

I’m a negotiator. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

Most people would argue that what you do isn’t who you are… but such is not true for me.

I seek out things to negotiate, arguments that need settling, prices that need shaving. I’ll negotiate with you, with your boss or your mom. It’s sort of like arguing for sport. Only I get paid for it. Yep, I’m a professional.

But that’s not the point of this. I, like every other blogger, am a frustrated writer. I would love to write a novel, a short story, a screenplay, a poem. Something that would get published somewhere and by someone who would send me a check for doing it. Since that’s not happening for a career, I can resort to Blogspot.

So let’s start with today. I woke up at 10:30am today – realized that I didn’t have much to do and headed down to the couch to check e-mail and flip on the TV. I’m trying to sell my house and my realtor likes to e-mail me the comments she receives from people who view my house.

The comments today are “Price is great. Backyard is great. Will keep it on our list”. She then
asked about the train set.”

For those of you not in the know, my house has a train. And not just any old train, this is a lego train. It runs on a lego track which sits on glass shelves that are installed around the edge of my kitchen at ceiling height. Pretty useless, but cool. A great conversation starter.

As you might imagine, however, the train isn’t really popular with people who want to buy my house. So there’s been an ongoing discussion on how to market the house with the train. Long story short, we have said that the train is “negotiable” – loosely translated it means “we know you won’t want it, but we’re too lazy to remove it now.”

But this new realtor of mine thinks it’s time for it to go. So I spent the better part of three hours removing the train and patching the holes in the ceiling… all while watching “Bands Reunited” on VH1.

Now my ceiling looks empty. Barren, even. Oh well… perhaps I should increase the price of the house to compensate.