Thursday, August 28, 2008

Feedback Loop

The following post is a brag only thinly disguised as introspection. If that bothers you, you're welcome to leave now.

Oh, and you're not my friend anymore.

I'm not ashamed to admit that the reason I've kept a blog going for more than three years now and I've never kept a journal for more than three weeks is that I like the feedback. The positive feedback, that is. People who think I'm stupid can go kick a goat. But the good stuff--man, I'm a compliment junkie.

With this in mind, the job I've had now since May is ideal for me. If I'm a feedback whore then this is the best pimp I've ever had. Once a day they send me a report saying how many hours I've worked, how fast I'm working, and how accurately I'm doing my job compared to my coworkers. A similar report is sent out on a weekly basis and another one on a monthly basis. Also, several times a week I get back audited reports telling me whether I was right or wrong on specific ratings I've made. And on top of all that, there's another weekly report that tells me what percentage of the time I'm agreeing with the consensus ratings of my coworkers, and if I'm in the top ten percent of everyone for this report then they give me an gift certificate. Do you know how much I love gift certificates? More than I love my mom. (Sorry, Mom, don't take it personally.)

As I'm sure you can imagine, if all these reports were telling me that I'm doing a crappy job, this would be devastating. I wouldn't be writing this post because I'd be busy crying under my desk. But let's face it; I'm good at what I do. So good, in fact, that a couple weeks ago I got the best feedback of all--they offered me a supervisory position which means (a) more money, (b) more feedback, (c) I've finally broken through that stupid paradox of never being able to get a supervisory position because I don't have supervisory experience, and (d) more money. The more money thing is especially good because after moving and spending a month on vacation, we have none.

This also means that now I give other people that oh-so-vital feedback. Sadly, sometimes I have to give the devastating kind. But I try to do it in a kind and gentle way. And it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that when I get to give positive feedback, I'm making someone's day. Finally, I get to be the pimp. (Or am I the trick? I'm going to have to go think about this metaphor for a while.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Super Awesome Bicycling Family

Two years ago when we moved to Seattle, my sister gave us her bicycle trailer/jogging stroller. We were excited because we had moved to Seattle and we were going to be a Super Awesome Bicycling Family. I had just bought a bike and planned to ride it to school and work every day. After a couple months commuting by bike turned into commuting by foot turned into commuting by bus, and a year later we had not yet attempted to attach the bike trailer to a bike. We used it as a jogging stroller pretty frequently--it's the kind that seats two kids, which happens to be the number of kids we have--but my bike had remained chained up and unused for several months by now. FoxyJ's bike, meanwhile, was getting thrown into windows. At any rate, one day about a year ago I tried to hook up the bike trailer to my stagnating bike and discovered that we were missing an important piece--the one that actually attaches the trailer to the bike.

So now, a year and three trips to Utah later, I finally remembered to get that piece off of my sister's bike. This morning after a bit of searching through all our unpacked stuff we found that piece, fastened it onto my bike, and attached the trailer. I towed the kids to the library, the farmers' market, and the bank, then home again. Then, still on the high of Now We Live In Davis And Are A Super Awesome Bicycling Family, I fixed the wheel and chain on Foxy's bike, cleaned it up, and got it ready to go for the first time in seven years. We tested out our awesomeness tonight by taking a family ride around Davis. It was spiffy cool.

And then, to top it all off, when we got home we realized that among the old bicycle junk left on our front porch by the previous residents is one of those half bicycles for kids that you attach onto the back of an adult bike, which is exactly what we had decided we'd like to get for taking S-Boogie to school and back. So tomorrow I'll clean that up and see if it works, and next Wednesday S-Boogie will start kindergarten and we'll ride bikes there and back every day and next month Foxy will start school and every day she'll ride her bike and we will truly be a Super Awesome Bicycling Family forever and ever. Because we never let lifestyle changes like this just peter out and slip back into laziness.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

1. The Measure of Friendship
2. Drivin' Movie
3. Anticipation

1. Today we drove through Tehachapi, the town where my friend Th. is from, and then we drove through Fresno, the town where my friend Green Mormon Architect is from. Tehachapi is a pretty little town, picturesque hills with trees sprinkled about; Fresno is not so pretty, dirty highways with homeless people sprinkled about. But Fresno did have a yummy Inn-N-Out, right at dinner time. So now I'm not sure which of my friends is better.

2. Please don't tell my mother-in-law that we let our children watch two movies on our ten-hour drive today, rather than insist they enjoy the world around them. Or that we didn't stop to look at the world's tallest thermometer or the groovy cheese factory or any of the other random roadside attractions that she would have stopped at, despite her children's protests.

3. Tonight we are sleeping in a motel in Sacramento before we go check into our apartment in Davis tomorrow. I feel like the children of Israel, waiting to enter the Promised Land. Or Abraham, camped at the base of Mount Moriah, waiting to offer up the contents of his checking account to his new landlord.