Tuesday, 30 September 2008

3weeks to my hols!!!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a lottery win at the moment, work is...well crazy is definitely the word. I'm feeling more than a little frustrated with the situation I can tell you, but I’m thinking in these insecure economic times it’s not exactly the right moment to be chucking it all in for a less stressful life.

One client in particular - let’s call him Elmer since he bears an uncanny resemblance to the bastard love child of Elmer Fudd and Arnold Schwarzenegger if ever there was one, who pays for 25% of my time but easily sucks up 40-50% - is generally a big pedantic pain in the arse. He called me on my mobile at 7:53am the other morning. 7:53am!!! It’s not even pigging 8am and he’s calling me and this is the second time he’s done it. Is it me or is that obnoxious? It’s bad enough that he requests I’m available on IM - which is extremely distracting. There I'll be working away and up he'll pop ruining my concentration - but he can take a running jump if he thinks I’m answering the phone to him at that time. There’s no way I’m starting with that game. It’s not like there’s ever a big emergency that can’t wait until 9am. In fact on both occasions he’s called first thing it’s been to discuss an amendment he mistakenly believes we should have made. Usually I get into work and resend him the minutes from the last meeting where the changes were discussed and highlight the point where we didn’t agree to make whatever change he’s fussing over until the following week or some such and then I get a flurry of apologies. It does stress me out though when his name pops up on my caller ID first thing. I tell you I’ve aged since I started working on this particular account just 6 short months ago.


It’s not been completely work work work recently as I did get off to Washington DC/Virginia for a weekend jolly a couple of weeks ago to visit my pal Steph in DC which was very nice. It feels like a distant memory now, but we tottered off to Eastern Market for a browse on Saturday morning, fortifying ourselves with a lovely vanilla latte from
Peregrine Espresso where we marvelled at the foam art leaf in our froth that lasted until the last drop before walking 9miles – 9miles!!! – to see all the major monuments, down the mall, back up the mall to the subway – sorry Metro, they’re very European about their subway in DC* – over to Foggy Bottom station in Georgetown – Foggy Bottom ho ho!! – where we enjoyed a late, but leisurely lunch of pulled pork sliders – mini burger type thingymibobs - by the river at Sequoia before an exhausting afternoon shopping – a top and a pair of trousers from Anthropologie; lovely and much needed retail therapy – walking over a bridge to ummmm…somewhere in Virgina where we got the Metro back to Pentagon City and then home to Steph’s!! We were knackered by the time we got back around 7.30pm, so we just stayed in that night and had cheese and wine at home. Very European of us!!

This past week I had to contend with both work and then a visitor in town for a few days this week so it was a hectic one. My visitor was a friend I was best pals with when I was 8years old, but then I changed schools when I was 9 – the Catholic school had a better reputation - and I didn't see her again until we met for lunch at Christmas last year, 28years or so later. She was in New York briefly before meeting her parents off the Queen Mary II at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal** and then heading down to Baltimore to visit family friends for a week so she asked if she could stay with me.

Let’s just say we got along as well as two people who have nothing in common can possibly get along. I don’t think she’s particularly one for big cities, because she seemed quite indifferent to New York. I had to work Thursday so I left her to her own devices that day and she went out for a couple of hours and walked about 2miles down second avenue, didn't see anything interesting so turned around and headed back uptown and read her book in my apartment all day. If only she'd made a right at some point during her walk she would have hit Bloomingdales or even Fifth Avenue - I'd left her guide books, maps, everything she could need - but she just shrugged and said she wasn't that bothered when I got home around 8pm. Even when I took the day off to show her around on Friday she was very passive and didn't seen to get much from being here. She wasn't miserable, just disinterested. Ironically she was keener on finding a souvenir shop to buy gifts for her friends back home than she was to actually experience NYC. I ask you, what sort of first time visitor to NYC does NOT want to go up the Empire State Building and do all that crap??? I can understand if New York isn't for you, but usually it leaves some sort of impression. It was a bit frustrating trying so hard to come up with entertaining things to do with a visitor who couldn't have given a toss.

Anyway, back to work with me!!

*Whenever you mention DC to someone in New York they always go on and on and on about how great the subway is. Seriously you can't shut them up, so I decided I had to see it for myself. In fact this was my priority experience for the DC trip much to Steph's amusement, however nice though it is, having heard such gushing praise from my fellow New Yorkers I was quite disappointed to find it was pretty much like any other underground rail system you’ll find across Europe.

**A pigging nightmare to get to by public transport!! If such a situation ever befalls you I recommend giving your visitor the money for a cab and wishing them well. Believe me it’s worth the money to avoid having to negotiate whatever obstacles the MTA will throw at you by venturing over there via 2 different subways and then bus to Red Hook. It took us about 3hours on Saturday morning what with all the track maintenance :-(

Thursday, 18 September 2008

It's a sorry state of affairs...

....when the best thing that's happened to me all week is the rescheduling of a 3hour meeting from Friday to Monday thereby freeing up a morsel of time to work on another urgent client deliverable meaning that I won't have to work until midnight as feared, but maybe just until 10pm.


I'm having one of those weeks/months/years.

I suppose I should be thankful for being so busy in the current economic climate, but having a life outside the office would be nice too.

Hopefully I'll be back to blogging and blog hopping in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Transatlantic Travels

So I’m back in NYC and getting back into the swing of work after a brief and packed last minute trip to London for some client run training. The trip went well despite the fact that I didn't receive confirmation that I'd actually be going until Wednesday morning of last week, the very same Wednesday I was supposed to be catching an overnight flight to London. I had to pack my bag, bring it to the office and hope for the best.

Anyway of course I did go and fortunately I was lucky enough to get a standby spot in business class. I've only flown business class once before and oooooh it was so nice. I'm not sure I can go back to economy. When I get on my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong in a couple of months there could well be a kerfuffle with the flight attendants as I attempt to turn left into business instead of right into coach. The seats recline into beds people!!! Beds!!! Not that having a bed helped on the sleep thing, but still...beds!!! S’marvellous. I was chuffed to bits. Of course I didn't give away my excitement to my fellow business class travellers, but instead gave an impressive display of feigned nonchalance prior to take off when all the privacy screens were down, my demeanour clearly proclaiming "I travel business class all the time don't you know." Admittedly I may have given myself away by involuntarily emitting a squeak of excitement once the privacy screens were up and I was free to play around with my seat controls. Whoo hoo!!!

Checking in for the return flight on standby the nice woman at the assistance desk apologised because there weren’t any seats available upstairs.


Isn’t that first class?

Phew, can you imagine? I think it’s just as well there were no seats available; my heart wouldn’t have been able to stand the extreme levels of excitement had I been given a seat upstairs. Even just the thought of flying first class gives me palpitations. Besides, it wouldn’t exactly been in the style of a trans-atlantic jetsetter to have sauntered into First class clutching a carrier bag from Boots would it. True, jetsetters do need toothpaste and deodorant, but they probably have some minion buy it for them eh. For the record I had to stock up on my spray deodorant – you can only get roll-ons in NYC. They don’t sell coloured loo paper over here either - and stand up pump action toothpaste. You can get bubble gum flavour stand up toothpaste for kids, but I don't think I would like that flavour as much as whitening fresh mint you can buy everywhere in England. These things matter when your bathroom is the size of a shoebox. I don't need lazy lying down toothpaste cluttering up the place. No sireeee!!

Anyway the biz travel was generally good and since it was a bank holiday for Labor Day in the US I got to stay the weekend, catch up with Miles and B and visit my family in Yorkshire. Good ol’ England was reliably overcast as usual, but everyone kept telling me how warm it was as I crunched through fallen leaves and clutched my lightweight raincoat around myself to keep out the chill, although to be honest I'm bursting for a bit of autumnal weather to arrive in New York. It's frigging 88F here and humid as hell. The only bit I wasn't so keen on the part where I got off the overnight flight, freshened up in the ladies loos - although quite frankly it was a lipstick on a pig situation since no amount of make-up was going to make me look good after minimal sleep and no bathing beyond a rub down with a wet wipe and a squirt of deodorant, consumed a very large coffee – Costa Coffee are beating the Americans at their own supersizing game with their humungous cappuccino that arrives in a cup with 2 handles. TWO!!! I was anticipating a European version of large not something I needed two hands to pick up – and went straight to my training course. I was dosed up on coffee for much of the day, but was still swaying with jet lag come the afternoon UK time when I would find myself having moments of staring vacantly at the instructor. However at least I had an excuse unlike some of the London based folk who I noted were also having trouble keeping their eyes open beyond 3pm, although to be fair there's a limit to how much SQL you can take in one day.