Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Hurricane hits

Another thing that you have to get used to as a human in today's society is the fact that there will be moments in your life when you will be inundated with stuff to do for a very brief period. The amount of things will undoubtedly be more than you can handle.
So here's the story so far from us. After Noddy's car fiasco we had to go car hunting over the weekend because the insurance people decided to write her car off. Not only that, but we also had to get paperwork ready for our visa extensions, call all the utilities to get them setup at the new home, get home insurance done, get insurance for the new car and talk to the mortgage people to finalize mortgage paperwork. Not to mention the fact that we have got to pack up this new home, get a mover, rent a truck and organize that move!
And here's where we stand. Noddy has bought a 1998 Honda Civic. It's a commuter car and that's about it. That's all you get with a 1.6L engine. I personally just do not like putting money into cars. So that's out of the way. I think I also have the insurance under control - both home and auto. A few of the utilities are done and a few remain. The mortgage is still wavering and that has frustrated me for three days. They still will not finalize the closing payments and it is amazing how many times I have called them. I feel like a telemarketer.
By the end of today, hopefully everything will be taken care of. Tomorrow, we get the keys to our new home. Of course we pay a huge ransom for it - I call it ransom because it is an obscene amount. Tomorrow we shall temporarily fall below the poverty line in this country. But believe me it will be worth it.
I will send pictures of our new home shortly. I have been meaning to do that for over a month so you can imagine the amount of stuff we are dealing with.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bump Bling Toink Crash Poink Kapunk Shhhhhh

Those were probably the sounds that Nidhi heard when her car crashed this morning into some obstacle. It's pretty weird. She was doing good and getting off the highway when her car skidded and bumped into a side railing and then went across the road and bumped into the side railing there. Hence all the sounds mentioned above.
Luckily she is fine and dandy ( I want to know how being dandy feels) and her car is not so fine and definitely not dandy. The front does not look very recognizable and the body shop has lots of work to do on it. Cops were surprised her airbag did not go off. I am saying I'm glad it didn't go off otherwise she would have facial bruises from the airbag and that would also indicate a hard collision.
Luckily Noddy's already on top of things. She's got the insurance, car rental and car towing taken care of. A pretty solid strong person I must say. I was only acting as her consultant here and there. She took care of everything and is continuing with her work day currently.
I will try to take a picture of the broken car but doubt if I will be able to. The car is going to get towed directly to the body shop so I might not get to it before that. I will try nevertheless.
Apart from that little speed bump in life, we're still excited about the home. Will continue to post updated about the brand new home and the beat up car.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Just another day

LNT went good. FSG went real well because I created a package for them and I wasn't going to. But Chuck was really in deep waters and not swimming very well. Good work done. Feel satisfied

Monday, August 23, 2004

Post-Crappiness

It didn't happen. I am safe. For now. There will be other times.

Pre-crappiness

Today we have two posts - one in the morning and one in the evening. There is a good reason for that. I am expecting my work day to go bad starting afternoon. The reason is that we are going to be in a conference call this afternoon that is going to turn into a blame game pretty soon. And I will be in the middle of it, probably ending up getting blamed and chastised anyway. So as of right now, things are okay, but they probably won't be fine when I write this evening.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mom, Me and some voices

Today mom left for London. As predicted, things did not go well at the airport. She really controlled her sobbing and was crying in a muffled state. That can hurt really bad in the chest. It's happened to me before. So a part of me was worried about her falling ill. But she did not take the going away very well at all. It ripped me apart and any strength I had saved for her going away immediately crumbled like a house of cards.

I really really really cannot withstand her crying. It's not the crying that bothers me. She just looks so sad, so depressed and unwilling to let go of the joy that she's had. It makes me proud on one hand that she loved it here. It tears my heart out to see her go through suffering before she really leaves. I know she will be fine. Voices inside of me keep telling me that. Voices also tell me that she's going to reach London OK and some other voices tell me I'll see her again soon.

Have you ever had these voices talk to you? They are very helpful. They are not necessarily comforting but they are definitely truthful and that is the helpful part. You expect something to happen some way and there's a voice that tells you whether it will or won't. You can supress that voice for sure but it'll do it's job - tell you and go away. It's upto you to listen. Anyway, so these voices helped provide some degree of comfort. She will be fine. She will reach London okay and she will be happy to see everyone there. She is not going to be sad.

Thank God for those voices !

Saturday, August 21, 2004

T Minus 24

Mom leaves tomorrow. I cannot handle that very well and niether can she. We both know it. We both pretend we're going to be fine. We both know we won't. "Heavy Sigh !!"

To take my mind away from her going away, I am packing like crazy. Noddy is probably wondering why I am packing to move within 3 days. The living room , guest bedroom and master bedroom are significantly packed and we still have to live her another couple of weeks at least !! We're going to live like nomads for a while. But that's okay because I'd rather get stuff done then wait for hell to break loose at the last moment.

I am going to miss mom very much. She's been incredibly helpful with daily activities and we're going to notice that once she's gone. She can't sit in one place for very long. In fact she used to call me up at work and complain about how she's bored because we've forbidden her to do anything. So she's helped with the meals, cleaning, packing for the move and stitching lots of stuff for the new home. She really likes to keep herself busy and does not like "rest" beyond a reasonable measure.

The Olympics continue but the interest is waning. I doubt if we will watch any of it next week. Once swimming and gymnastics are over, the games are over as far as we are concerned.

Friday, August 20, 2004

T Minus 48

It's roughly 48 hours before mom leaves. This countdown is really not helping me. She's really emotional and I'm prepping her up to not cry when she leaves - an impossible goal but nonetheless worth the effort. I keep telling her to think happy thoughts and of all the good times we've had together. Her visit has been outstanding. We spent four months and didn't realize it's been that long. She came when the house was non-existent and we were staring at a barren piece of land. As she leaves, the house is finished and she is extremely proud of it. This was the highlight of her trip. Of course, going to Niagara Falls was second on that list.
The house is coming along good. A trip today confirmed some anomalies and issues but nothing that could be termed as a showstopper. It looks beautiful from the inside now. One of the things I've been afraid of is that the choices we made for the carpet, cabinets, flooring, countertops and other such items, might not work out. But it all coordinates beautifully and the house has a clean appearance. That is before we move in and turn it into a three ring circus.
They've put plants in our frontyard. I can not recognize them but Pam knows them. So I have to get names from her. She's helped quite a bit with tips, advice and other such helpful hints during the process. I should probably buy her dinner or something. Come to think of it, Tim and Bryan deserve treats too. They've really helped in the process. Am I sounding like one of those dumb idiots at the Oscar awards? You know, the ones who thank every person in the world except perhaps the eskimos and some penguins. Hopefully not.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

1 Silver and 2 Dopes

Have you ever been in a situation where something happens (either to you or someone else) and it is funny and shameful at the same time? For example, if a man's pants fall down in the middle of the road, it's funny and shameful meaning you laugh but you don't want to continue staring.
So here's my situation. My country is the second most populous country in the world. If we were to have a hand to hand combat with the US, we would beat them hands down. But yet, we send about 140 odd people to the Olympics. We DO NOT expect them to win anything. And that's not the shameful part that I'm referring to, even though it's shameful by itself. So these athletes go there and try to compete in a world event. One of the atheletes actually wins a silver medal. And then TWO of the athletes out of our crew of 140 "failed" the drug test and have been disqualified for taking banned substances and performance enhancing drugs.
Now tell me this. Is this more funny than shameful or more shameful than funny? It's funny because I'm trying to understand why a hopeless team needs performance enhancing drugs? We won't win even after that. So why bother taking them? Maybe it's because with those performance enhancing drugs our athletes will actually make it into at least the top ten before bowing out. I could understand if Chinese, American or Australian athletes took these banned substances because they have to edge each other out and every gold matters. It would stil be wrong but at least the temptation would be understandable. With India, what are we expecting to do with these drugs? So that's the funny part. The shameful part is the statistical horror. Here it is:
India:
Population: 1 billion plus
Athletes: 141
Medals as of today: 1 silver
Athletes failing drug test: 2
China:
Population: 1.1 billion plus
Olympic Athletes: 810
Medals as of today: 39 ( 17 G : 11 S: 11 B)
Athletes failing drug test: 0
Please excuse me while I hide inside a closet and cry for a while... I'll be back later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A "Cool" Deal

We decided to put an end to this refrigerator business. Buy it and get it done. If you're lazy and you didn't read the previous post, it's down to two - a GE and a Kenmore. The GE one was at HHGregg and the Kenmore was at Sears. Priced identical. Features identical. So we kept thinking what do we do.
You have to remember we tag mom along with us wherever we go. Today, she came in real handy. I was talking to this guy at Sears and I said, "Well we really don't have a big incentive to buy here as opposed to HHGregg since the pricing is the same. We're just picking which model we want." He thinks about this and wants to close the deal before we head to the competitor. So he says, " Well we're running a 10% off discount for seniors and your mom qualifies for that if she's over 60 years old".
Heck yeah she's over 60 !!!. That settled it right there. We had to pick another model though because the model we picked didn't qualify for the discount. But nonetheless the model we ended up choosing was a better one anyway and came to the same price due to Mom's 10% off. Mom obviously was ecstatic having gotten us the 10% off (which translated into about $110). So now you understand why it was a "cool" deal ? Cool = Refrigerator !! Deal = 10% off (I really feel lame when I have to explain these stupid jokes of mine).
Got that out of the way then. We'll look to strike a bargain on the sofa set too. House construction is coming along. The painters are in there painting away. They will be back later for a final coat after the electricians, cabinet guys and others have damaged their painting. Most of the non-carpet flooring is done. Hopefully carpeting will be in there by end of this week. Fingers croossed " X".

Monday, August 16, 2004

Home Improvement

They messed up Noddy's kitchen island and it is missing a lazy susan. Now, I have no idea why they call it a lazy susan, but that's what it is. It's basically a cabinet with two revolving trays inside it and that cabinet rotates on it's hinges to expose the trays. More storage, she tells me. She's very excited about it. The salesman assures us that the mistake will be rectified. We know better. We won't close on the house until they take care of it.
We went refrigerator shopping today. We really liked two...but of course you can't buy two. At least not for the kind of home we have. So we'll pick one tomorrow I guess. Noddy also paid a visit to her dear beloved sofa set that sits currently at Rhodes Furniture. She's been eyeing it for six months now and she will finally have it when the house is finished. It also continues to drop price so that's good for us anyways.
Oh by the way, more Olympics. We keep watching the annoying U.S. broadcasters make such a big deal out of Michael Phelps, the swimmer. He's a good swimmer for sure, but they dedicate the entire broadcast to him. I suppose it's only fair because when India plays cricket, we dedicate our entire broadcast to Tendulkar.
It's annoying Noddy anyhow and I have to keep her in check. If the Olympics start affecting her personally, then she needs to go into intense therapy.
Current mood: Tired

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Olympics = Memories

Four years ago, we were at Wright State finishing our degree. We were definitely broke (or nearly so) and burdened with academics, yet we periodically huddled together near the TV watching some of tbe best athletes ever. These Olympics remind me of those times. A few athletes come to mind - Ian Thorpe (Australia), Marion Jones (USA), and of course the one that nobody remembers except me - Svetlana Khorkina. Only a few people probably remember her as constantly as me, comparing some of her hurdles to some of mine. I don't know why, but I'd rather support the underdog than the defender. It's very natural. And at those games, she came in as a champion and left out as the vanquished. This is her story, a story known to four people for sure - me , Sajid, Nidhi and Shalini - for they witnessed it with me, every moment.

Hers was a tragic tale. She was supposed to be the best Russian gymnast and their hope for the medals. Yet, she did had a disastrous fall on the double bars and a very poor run on the rings. She was in tears but the rest of the team had to carry on since the gold depended on team effort not on an individual. What broke my heart was that in the final event, she actually gave her place away to another Russian just so that her country could have their best shot at the gold medal. Can you imagine what that would feel like at an Olympic event? To give away your place to another and throw away years of effort for the greater goal. The girl who got the chance did come first in that event, but Team Russia got a silver overall. I still remember her because of what she had to give away. She's now a forgotten memory for most, but her tragic story stays with me.

For more on this story, go to http://www.olympic-eurogym.demon.nl/russia/khos/khos_rep.htm and scroll down to "September, Sydney Olympic Games".

Fortunately for me, she's back at this year's Olympics and that is extremely unusual for a 25 year old. Gymnasts start their careers early and end them early. At 25, she is way past her prime to regain world title. Nevertheless, she'd be a treat to watch. Here's her story for this year's Olympics. http://smh.com.au/olympics/olympicinfo/whotowatch/svetlanakhorkina/

 

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wait...what time is it ?

Really, do you think I'd have much to write over here if my work day was 16 hours long ?

I left a little after midnight from work last night. So my day wasn't particularly anything to write home about , except for the word "work" in bright orange. Okay make that flashing bright flourescent orange. Or maybe even green....yeah flashing flourescent green.

Anyways, I spoke to a drunk friend Chuck last night around midnight. Apparently he's having a good time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Homeward bound

So how would I look today in those dirty sneakers. Well the trousers are semi-formal, so they help a bit. The shirt is still formal. And obviously, no belt (Notice that I’m refraining from using the term beltless for the fear of being grossly misinterpreted)

The schedule is a little relaxed today than yesterday. The day started at 9:30 am instead of the 8:30 yesterday. However, the rest of it went really hectic since I was trying to remotely manage my other project back at the office. But at the end it all worked out.

It was a good feeling overall that the trip was well worth it, regardless of the fact that more than once I felt like a cross-dresser (which I’m not, in case you’re now wondering). The customers liked our story for the most part and we didn’t come out looking like we didn’t know what we were doing. This has so far been my third customer trip. First was to Milwaukee, second was to Atlanta and the third was here to New Jersey.

Left the customer site at 4 pm because Keith had a 6:15 flight and the thought of New Jersey made him uneasy. We didn’t do too bad in terms of time and made it to the airport at 4:45. I checked in my bag and then entered the line for the security check. I must say that I didn’t get strip searched at the airport on my way back either. That did surprise me a bit. I can’t believe they let a man of Asian descent, walk through New Jersey airport without searching him when they are on an orange alert. Of course, I as a software developer am of no interest to them so that might explain that. However, they did think that a particular woman had something in her hair because they had pulled her off to a side and a female officer was peering into her hair while the lady held the hair up. I hope they found a deadly hairclip in her hair… indeed a weapon if you ask me. Noddy has poked me with them and they do certainly hurt. When poked enough times it could result in death due to frustration and annoyance. So that woman could very well have jeopardized a small flight.

I checked in my bag and then started to make my way towards some food. I was definitely not eating at the rat-house I had used on my way in. Going ahead I saw Pizzeria Uno. Good place and decent food according to me. I got myself a Coke and a sandwich and munched. I saw a peculiar thing. Pizzeria Uno at this airport was a more happening place than a singles dating party. More and more strangers would sit together at the same table and talk and then leave. Almost no families came. Most people were traveling alone and timesharing tables. I had two people sit at my table. I spoke two sentences to one of them but the other one was too engrossed in a book to read. She did love the book a lot because she nearly choked on her Coke because she had to laugh hard about something she read.

Uh Oh... time for me to check my flight. Better dispose of this stuff and leave. Someone else needs my place at Pizzeria Uno.

See you in Dayton.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Monday !! Why do they make Mondays !!

Remember the fact that I had forgotten my formal belt? Okay, hang on to that thought.

So I get up in the morning and after a shower, I start getting dressed and keep watching TV at the same time. I am extremely proud of the fact that my trousers are so nearly ironed and so is my shirt. I can now strategically place my shirt right below the waistline of my trousers so that people can’t tell I don’t have a belt unless they want to peep and look. With all that done, I am ready and just need to put my formal shoes on and get out.

FORMAL SHOES!!!!! What the heck, where are my formal shoes!! Oh right, I know where they are. They are on the shoe rack back in Dayton at my house. That’s good for the shoes, but not so good for me. Not very good at all. No belt, no formal shoes, and all formal shirt and trousers. Two alternatives exist. Both are bad. First is, wear the jeans with the formal shirt and your sneakers won’t look real bad – only you would. Second is, keep wearing the formal trousers and the shirt and wear sneakers. I decided to go with the latter and since I was meeting Keith down in the lobby for breakfast, I will just check with him on what to do. I explained to Keith my predicament and he said that jeans aren’t really worn at that customer site. Okay so that doesn’t leave me with any alternative but to go like this.

I spent the rest of the day keeping my dirty sneakers hidden and trying to look like I wasn’t from a rehabilitation center looking for work. I might as well have had a sign that said, “Will work for food”, because I did look like a very upscale jester. Thankfully, no one at the customer site said anything. I know for a fact that they did notice the oddities in my dressing sense. I braved through this ordeal and cursed myself for not bringing the belt and the shoes.

The rest of the day went fine. Dinner was at a good place and I had changed into my jeans so I was able to eat comfortably without the fear of being thrown out of the restaurant for improper dress code.

I got lucky when I turned on the TV. Two good movies – Bend it like Beckham and Falling Down. I hadn’t seen the latter and definitely didn’t mind seeing the former again. I called my sweetheart and said goodnight.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Heading to Gujju Jersey

I have a customer visit in NJ till Tuesday. I expect to find more Gujjus than anything else. I prefer to travel Sunday night rather than in an absolutely mad rush on Monday morning. I left home at about 3 pm or so.
The trip started out rather uneventfully. While driving to the airport, I did realize that I didn’t bring along my formal belt needed for the formal pants needed for the customer visit. No problem, I said to myself. Missing a belt isn’t going to be that bad. I boarded in Dayton expecting to be strip searched because I was flying to New Jersey on an Orange alert. In case you were wondering what that was, that’s how the National Security Administration here in the US entertain themselves. They pick colors that they can use and then they make people identify them. That serves two purposes. One is it tests peoples’ color knowledge. Secondly, it brings diversions from the administration’s stupidities.

Anyway I didn’t get strip searched. However, I did have to wait at the airport for a full hour before Keith (the NCR guy who was with me throughout this trip) would show up at the Avis terminal. I couldn’t go hungry till then so I had to eat at this pathetic place at the airport. It’s my fault. I picked the worst possible airport restaurant. I tried to wash down their meal with a soup, which in turn needed washing down. So it complicated matters a bit.

While waiting for Keith at Avis, I met this guy who was like an Avis “usher”. His job was to talk to the people from the time that they entered the Avis building till the time they got to the Avis counter. That time was usually about 10 seconds on the average. However, with me, he had a bigger opportunity to prove his intellect since I had nothing better to do. I wasn’t even ushering people, so in his eyes, I was more useless than he was.

He struck a conversation with me about, what else but, Bush. Now, I think there should be a federal law that prohibits a person from initiating a political conversation with someone else, unless they ask the other person whether or not that person has the right to vote. The reason is that from my standpoint, no matter how badly I may want Bush to stay or go, it doesn’t matter. Mine is one vote that won’t count. Hell, it won’t even be there to be counted. I do not have franchise rights in this country, which I consider to be a good thing.

Thankfully Keith showed up some time later and we were on the way. The hotel room was just that … a hotel room. At least they had free breakfast. I planned on sleeping early but couldn’t sleep until midnight. I was busy doing the three things that every person in this world does, when using a hotel for a work related trip – check out the bed, watch TV and make sure the alarm clock works.

Good night!

3:08 AM First Post

I don't think it's a good idea to sleep on a Saturday from 6 to 10 pm. Now it's 3:08 and I'm awake because my brain doesn't seem to believe in what the time is.
So I got this crazy idea that you're reading right now. I do plan on posting more stuff, real stuff and then actually forcing people to read it.
Friends...beware !!