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Showing posts from January, 2008

Tammy's New Job and Goodbye Stephanie

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Tammy has been a Registered Nurse at Masonic Home in Bloomington for the past eight years and she's ready for a change. Masonic has cut her hours considerably as they go through a period of downsizing in preparation for some renovations. I'm glad she's moving on. The facility, as are so many others, is short of staff and that puts the nurses out on the floor trying to hold it together in a difficult position. She's accepted a position with a company in Bloomington where she'll be sitting at a desk answering phone calls from people seeking medical advice. I'm not certain how it works but my understanding is that the company contracts out with corporations as part of their health care coverage. Rather than spend money on an office visit, people are encouraged to call the helpline (Tammy's job) and explain their symptoms over the phone. The nurses on the other end will help determine if an office visit is necessary or possibly some other less expensive approa

Defining Moments

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I had a bit of a nightscare last night—not quite a nightmare but the next thing to it. I dreamt I was in Oklahoma City at the FAA Academy for supervisor orientation. As I looked around the room there were several other familiar faces all there for the same thing. Faces I didn't expect to see. We'd all put our names in to become supes. What happened to our pact to fight our lack of a contract, and avoid the lure of easy money and easy duty? My feelings of shame gave way to anger as I listened to the speaker begin his propaganda. I sat there struggling to understand how this could have happened. There was a time in my career when I figured that at some point I'd make the move into management but that was long ago. September 2nd, 1992 to be exact. I was training Mike Thompson on his D-side (data side) at sector 18. There was a line of weather extending from north of Minneapolis and south to Texas. There were no holes with the exception of a couple gaps near Rochester to

Lefse and Looking For Inspiration

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I'm going on some new meds and I need 72 hours to determine if they will have a negative effect on me with respect to doing my air traffic control duties. The only thing having a negative effect upon me doing my ATC duties (read attitude) lately is management but with respect to my meds, so far so good. Unfortunately, my Saturday night shift will be swallowed up by the 72 hour test period. So sad. Tammy and her aunt Joyce are making lefse , a Norwegian potato roll-up. I asked them if it was considered a pastry, dessert, delicacy or main dish but they weren't sure. It's something that Norwegians typically make in November and December. I'm sort of lukewarm to Lefse. They're okay but I need lots of sugar on them for me to say that. We're thinking of checking out the ice sculptures at the Winter Carnival tomorrow. We're supposed to finally be out of the deep freeze we've been in for the past month. I can't remember a winter as snowy and cold as thi

Good Dog Bad Dog and Wells Fargo In Owatonna

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Performance appraisals came out at work this past week and there are several Controllers who aren't too happy and rightly so. I've heard it said more than once from fellow Controllers that they plan to live down to their rating. My area has 44 Controllers who were rated against one another. 9 were given the highest rating resulting in a 1.8% bonus based on yearly salary. Another 24 were given the 2nd highest rating resulting in a .6% bonus and the other 11 were given no bonus. I can think of several people in the no-bonus group who are feeling very disrespected and unappreciated and they're right to feel that way. The entire awards program is flawed in that too much importance is placed on how well a person is liked by management. You could be a hard worker but if you're maybe just a bit outspoken you can forget it. It doesn't help to be a union member, either. It's not as though management could have rated several people higher but chose not to. They were a

Frustrated But Maintaining Perspective

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Rachel played broomball with the youth group from Prince of Peace last weekend. She came away a bit beat up but she had a blast and can't wait for the next game. She thinks it would be a good idea to use some protective gear. Ya think so? I've been a bit down the past few weeks as the wear and tear of work continues what seems to be an ever-increasing drain on me. Maybe it's the realization of unfairness that each new year brings as management enjoys the spoils of another year of raises while the workers go without. Controllers (workers) are given bonuses based on performance but those bonuses don't figure into our yearly salary figures for retirement purposes. Management sees their yearly raises in the form of increased pay which counts toward their yearly salary amount and relates directly to their retirement annuity. They also enjoy some nice bonuses as well. But hey, if you're not comfortable controlling traffic, maybe you can control people? I wrote actin

First Flight and Things I'd Rather Do Than Work

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I took my RC plane out yesterday and today. I need to have virtually no wind for this trainer of mine to work. Either the motor isn't strong enough or my piloting skills aren't what they should be to fly it with any sort of breeze. I had it airborne but was having a difficult time turning and compensating for the wind...and there wasn't much. Anyway, on my last pass, I got a bit too close to a tree in the parking lot of Hosanna and clipped the left-wing. It broke in a few places but I've got it on the mend thanks to some 5-minute epoxy. Tammy and I were going to bed last night and I commented that it was "back to work for me tomorrow". I told her that I had a fun time on our trip to Winona and running around town with her the previous few days. I said, "you know, I'd like to relive the past four days all over again rather than go back to work tomorrow even if it means that I have to have the colonoscopy procedure again." We both laughed. It'

No Time for Modesty, Riding and a Trip to Winona

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I went in for a colonoscopy a couple days ago. I turned 50 this past summer; the age where they recommend you begin to be regularly checked. The morning didn't start out so smoothly. We arrived on time but they didn't have me on their schedule for the day. I was scheduled for the procedure the next day but that's not what the paperwork they'd sent me stated. Their mistake. I jokingly told the woman at the front desk that I'd cleared both my schedule and my bowels and it had to be done today. She said there wouldn't be any problem getting me in. The most difficult part of the entire experience was the day before when I had to drink a gallon of some formula which flushes every last bit of food from the digestive tract. I tried to go into that part of the prep as thirsty as I could but it was still difficult consuming a full gallon. It took me two hours but I managed. Not to fear—the procedure itself is virtually painless. I was given an intravenous sedative wh

Damn You, Tim!

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Most of the guys I work with know that I'm a bit of a YouTube freak. I've currently got 131 videos posted to the site. One of those videos has seen quite a bit of activity in the year or more since it's been uploaded with over 51,000 views and 464 comments. (edit: it's since been removed from YouTube and uploaded to my Vimeo account) A couple nights ago a friend from work, Tim, was at home digitizing some 8mm video from years ago. He was walking out of the room when he noticed a scene on the monitor which caught his eye. He thought it would maybe be a good clip for the site break.com. He uploaded it and the gatekeepers at the website picked up on it and gave it 'Latest Video Pick' status on their front page. In the little more than 24 hours since it's been posted it's received over 203,000 views—totally blowing away my Judge Judy video. I took a lot of ribbing at work last night about it with comments such as "all your videos views together don

Glen Hudson, aka Rock, Developing Friendships and a Letter To the President

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Glen Hudson retired from the FAA today and I'll miss him. I've known Glen since 1982 when he was training on his radars and I was A-siding on the C-row. We've spent nearly our entire careers together with the exception of a couple years when I was exiled to Huron, SD. Glen wasn't the moody type but on occasion, he'd yell for everybody to "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" in the area when he was the only one busy and the rest of us were talking too loudly. You could almost always count on Glen to keep things light. Many have tried to imitate his humor but Glen has a certain style which is all his own and anybody trying to do what he does comes off as a wannabe. I'm guilty of that as well. Best wishes for a happy retirement, brother, and here's hoping our paths will cross again one of these days. Okay, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that with Glen's departure comes a bit of sour grapes on my part. I would've been number one in seniority in

I Want This and More Reasons to Avoid BestBuy

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When I was around 12 years old there used to be a guy who had a remote control airplane which he'd fly in the local school yard. It was one of the cooler things I'd ever seen. I watched him fly it several times over the course of the summer until he crashed it into the backstop behind home plate. I never saw him or his plane again . I've had a fascination with RC planes ever since but never enough of a fascination to buy a plane of my own. But, as I mentioned a couple posts ago, I now have my first RC plane thanks to a Christmas gift Tammy bought me. It's a simple trainer made of styrofoam. Nothing too expensive but certainly nice enough and perfect for me to learn on. Tammy showed me some videos on YouTube of the type of airplane she got me in action. I looked a bit deeper into the tube and found that some guys were outfitting their planes with small video cameras to record aerial views of the earth below. That whole idea intrigues me. I came across another aeria