Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

It's Been a While

Three things have kept me off the blog. Work, baseball and a severe meltdown on the new laptop.

The job.
Work has been exceptional busy at a time in the retail universe when it should be excruciatingly routine. The months of February and March for most normal people (with real jobs) are unremarkable, never-ending quagmires of time interrupted by infinite college basketball coverage. But to a retailer these months usually represent unfettered freedom. Freedom from the four month build-up and assault on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Freedom from the After Thanksgiving and After Christmas sales. Freedom from the January inventory preparations and the 5 days it takes to complete the inventory. Freedom from resetting every shelf, fixture and floor for the new Spring season which is now upon us. We retailers should be on cruise control right now but for some reason we're still charging hard without enough time at the end of the day.
This is the time of year for anyone in retail with more than a year under their belt to be on vacation, just back from vacation or about to go on vacation. For those on vacation right now, we hate them. They're dearly missed because of all the work to be done and everyone of us but them deserves to be in their shoes. For those just back from vacation, we hate them, too. They look like they're back but they're not. They drift and wonder from miserable slave to miserable slave sharing their adventures and fun of the prior week and ask, "So, what all went on here? D'I miss anything?" Did they miss anything? While they were gone last week there was more work than anyone could ever remember and the entire retail industry was on the brink of total collapse. They missed every minute of it. To make matters worse their brain is still out on the slopes or beach, a good three days behind the head here at work that ought to contain it.
Then there's me. The most resented of the three vacation types. I'm the guy who's about to go on vacation and makes damn sure everyone is well aware of the pending catastrophic hell which is about to consume each and everyone of their troubled lives. Much like the brain that stays on vacation when it's home cranium returns to work, my brain leaves early for vacation. It's currently in the shade of a palapa with a fat book and good cigar in southern Baja. Meanwhile, I, and my vacant cranium, slog through the week hoping that the weather is still good in Baja by the time we catch up to it. Until then, there's much work and many projects to reschedule into next week while I'm away.... there's no brain on hand to handle it right now.

Baseball. The good time consumer.
Here in Southern California Little League Baseball is a near year-round enterprise that I participate in as a coach. As soon as Fall Ball ends in late November, from a September start, it's back to the fields for Spring sign-ups in December. Try outs for the '05 season are in January, the first practices start in February, and the games begin in March and run through June. Each year the teams are put together after all the nefarious horse-trading and underhanded team stacking has been completed by the handful of elite Coaching Royalty. We're supposed to believe it's pure coincidence that one team in each division can pull together most of last years All-Star team while the rest of us get squads primarily loaded with spasmodic little monkeys who couldn't hit the dirt in front of them with a ball.
I'm a wee bit fortunate this year to have a team that has a healthy number of kids who've been in the league for a few years. At least they know which way to run and can easily throw the ball from third to first. But, like any team without a member of the Coaching Royalty on our staff we've got an equally healthy number of the aforementioned spasmodic little monkeys. This time of year practices are short, cold and dark, starting at 4 PM and ending around 5 / 5:30 as far as we can stretch the daylight. To top it off, we had 8 February practices completely rained out. Our first game was held after only two practices on a make shift field as the regular fields were drying out. We hardly knew who could do what with a bat and ball or which kids even had a basic grasp of the game. We lost that game.
Since then we've had three practices between each game, settled our infield and pitching and have won the last two. We may have some good little monkeys after all.

The meltdown of the new laptop.
Two words: Frozen stiff. Five days ago in the middle of a post to this blog, (now out dated and so deleted) , I walked away to make the Lad his dinner. Upon my return 20 minutes later the normally twirling and twisting screen saver that says, "I'm getting dizzy!" was very still and not getting very dizzy at all. I threw all the advanced tricks I know at it; I tapped the touch pad, hit control-alt-delete, pressed escape, turn on, turn off. Nuthin'. To my astonishment, none of them worked. So, tomorrow between the hours of light and dark a geek will show up with several new chips, cards and drivers to screw into place and hopefully get it back to it's normal hot rod qualities.
I'm currently on the old wood burning Compaq running Windows 98 after excavating it from under several months of things that we were able to balance on the keyboard, monitor and box. Incredible. This software and computer are now over 7 years old, (which in technology years stretches back to the Kennedy administration), and compared to the new malfunctioning hot rod laptop it's as fast and nimble as a river barge. But here I am getting somewhere on it.

If possible I'll send a few posts from the palapa where my brain is currently snoozing. (If the geek can get the hot rod started). -Wb
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