Monday, January 3, 2005

Whom should I speak to about a recalcitrant brain?

 Darned Brain!

It's not cooperating very well today.

I know what it is.  My brain is rebelling because I haven't done well on ANY of my four New Year's resolutions:

1. Lose weight!
2. Get more sleep.
3. Get caught up at work, and close the year by Feb.
4. Clean house (you know I need to!).

The one my brain REALLY cares about is #2, get more sleep.  Okay, okay.  I'll go to bed earlier tonight. (Actually, I didn't.)

In the meantime, lack of sleep over the past few nights, coupled with a very bad day at work and that ethics paper still hanging over my head, leave me with no inspiration or enthusiasm tonight for those entries on high school and ethics and whatnot. I did finish my reading of the ethics e-texts for this week, and enjoyed it, but I'm not ready to write about it--not for class, and not for you folks.

Instead, let me vent about the bad day at work,and then I'll finish up by telling you about a very foolish idea I had tonight.
The Bad Day:

part of my desk as of a few months agoCan you imagine fitting a new computer with a 17" monitor between the black telephone and the five-year-old computer at the right edge of this picture?  Somehow, the techs and I managed to do so last week.  Actually, the computer itself is a tower under my desk, but fitting even the monitor on top of it required a bit of moving stuff around, making my messy office even messier.

Since then, the main struggle every day has been to get programs up and running, files transferred, and messes under control.  Somehow I'm the designated expert on all things Windows, which is funny considering I didn't even own a Windows-based computer until the very end of 2002.  So it's been, "Karen, how do I set up my QuickKeys in Sabre?" and "Karen, I need my address book in Outlook Express!" and "Karen, how do I find my cardfile of vendors?" I don't really mind, but these people use Sabre and Outlook Express and I don't.  They've had more exposure to these programs than I have, and at least as much exposure to Windows overall. The only area in which  I have anedge is that I've been using XP for two years instead of Win 98. 

Plus, I've been busy with my own set-up problems, getting TRAMS (my accounting program) to talk to Sabre (their airline/car/hotel/cruise/tour reservation program).  Even getting TRAMS installed was a problem, because I needed two different sets of access codes I didn't have.  I still don't have the help files installed properly, because I can't figure out where the program wants them to be.  Oh, well.  It's not as if it's ever told me anything very useful.

So on Tuesday of last week, the Sabre guy was on the phone with the TRAMS interface specialist, getting the new Wi-Fi based LAN set up to send invoice records from Sabre to TRAMS.  I thought they got it right, because I successfully downloaded and processed some invoices. Turns out the operative word there was "some."  I'd been warned that downloading when the buggy Wi-Fi connection was down would result in lost interface records, but no one said I might not get some invoices even if the Wi-Fi was working.

Today is when everything went wrong at once, except for the Wi-Fi connection, which the techs finally got working properly on the third attempt.  First of all, as the first day after the holidays, it was the day when everyone in Tucson and Yuma decided to call us about trips.  Second, the printer attached to my boss's computer stopped working, and he had to reinstall the software.  Since then, even through he set it up to be shared on the LAN, nobody else's computer can find the thing.  After rebooting a couple of computers a couple of times and other attempted fixes,  he told me to grab the other printer out of his office and hook it up to my computer.  I moved yet more boxes and papers around, set up the printer and installed the software.  The printer then spent several minutes on each document, carefully and noisily printing perfectly blank pages.

And that wasn't the worst of it.  Today was the day I tried to process the stack of paper invoices that has built up during all this new computer malarkey. That's when I found out that TRAMS was missing four invoices from Tuesday, seven from Wednesday, ten from Thursday, and most of the ones from today, including most of the retransmissions of the missing ones from last week.  It took me most of the day to discover that something somewhere has been telling TRAMS that two or three orten interfaced records in a row should result in only one invoice (the first one) being generated each time I download.  AAARRRGGGHHH!  The TRAMS interface specialist is supposed to call me in the morning, but in the meantime, the only office mate who thinks he knows anything about computers (he doesn't really) spent an hour on the phone with Sabre, trying to fix stuff that wasn't the problem, and lecturing me on what he thought the problem was and what I should do about it.  Not helpful.  Not helpful at all.  Is it any wonder I left work half an hour late and with a stress backache?


It's better today.  The printer problem is fixed, and the interface specialist is modifying the transmission files so I can get all those missing invoices into TRAMS later today and do my ARC report (the weekly report to the airlines, due every Tuesday). Woo-hoo!  Meanwhile, I'm going to lunch!

The Foolish Idea

The twelve days of Christmas are almost over.  Oh, I plan to do a question or two for MLK Day and Groundhog Day and so on, but the bulk of the Holiday Trivia entries are winding down.  (Did I hear someone say, "Good!"?)  But I was thinking.  I could easily come up with trivia on lots of other subjects, if anyone's interested in playing. Rather than clog up Musings any further, I'd set up a new journal, Karen's Trivia Train.  Each day would have one question, the subject matter based on that day's kind of "car" --club car, dining car, freight car, sleeper, and so on.  (Yes, it would be a stretch, linking the theme to a kind of railroad car, but we'd manage somehow.)  Every time we came around to the caboose, I'd post the answers, and every time we had a locomotive, it would be time to play "Stump the engineer," in which you could ask me trivia questions in comments.  There would be points awarded for stumping me, and for being the first to post the correct answers, and occasionally there would be a prize for high scorers.  Whaddaya think?  Is it overkill, or does it sound like fun?



chasferris said...

I'd like the trivia train.  You might even let us drop questions into the coal car that you could use.

jeff466 said...

I made a resolution NOT to make a resolution this year!!!

Sorry to hear about your computer set up woes and lack of sleep.  That is always a headache and being the designated computer expert makes it worse.  I used to be that person at an office with over 45 people, it gets old fast.  I hope it gets better for you soon.

The trivia train sounds fun!  I also like the idea about the coal car.  Jeff

ryanagi said...

I liked this glimpse into your work day. Gave ME a stress backache. LOL I hope you get all the techie snafus worked out soon. Triva train, eh? I think I still have 3 or 4 days worth of holiday trivia to think about first. ;-)

madmanadhd said...

Eek... what a day... actually sounds more like a nightmare. How do you cope? You must have a deep resivior of patience. Trivia train sound like a grand idea... I'll hook up whenenver I can bring my train of thought this way. Happy New Year!

deabvt said...

#2 Sounds good!