Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guest Post

There’s no wireless, but I can still write and prepare for a new post.

My crew is slow but willing to work so that I guess is a good thing. We had our first voter waiting for the poll to open at 7am, hopefully that will be an omen of good yet to come. When I spoke to the County Registrar a few weeks back, she said she only expected a 5-10% turnout. That is beyond sad. They have consolidated 3-5 precincts so that they would have to hire fewer workers, but that means that the workers we have, have 3-5 times the workload. Well, maybe not if we only get 5-10% turnout then maybe actually our workload will be less. Either way, all I know is that my Roster of Voters is so damn big that they had to split it into two!

My cast of characters:
Gentleman number 1 speaks little English, his Korean is impeccable and since I have 4 pages of Park’s and 5 pages of Lee’s perhaps that will come in handy sometime throughout the day, but I doubt it. This is my first time working this polling place but not his and he was quick to point out that I didn’t set it up “the right way”. He insists on working the name roster and is very slow; I see a rotation in our near future.

Gentleman number 2 is the requisite student worker. He is experienced so that helps and enjoys working the box where the ballots are deposited. He speaks very softly, as if he isn’t sure he should be saying something, I have had to ask him to repeat himself many times and it is not even 7:30 yet.

Gentlewoman number 1 is a County worker. I love having county workers. They are “mandated” to work the elections, so this is a regular workday for them plus overtime. So yes, your tax dollars are paying for my convenience. Get over it. She is patient with her co-worker (Mr. I no speak English). She knows all of the positions, and is willing to do anything.

Gentlewoman number 2 is a newbie, but very eager to learn. I love that in a person. She is paying attention to what everyone is doing and asking questions, I see the name roster in her very close future!

Gentlewoman number 3 skipped out on me at 7am as soon as the polls open. To her favor she did arrive at 6am and help me set up and came last night as well to set up the booths. She has court in various places in Southern California today and will pop in and out throughout the day to make sure I don’t fail in my first county election as Inspector. It’s good to have sisters.

And then there is me. I was an Inspector for the first time during the small citywide election last month, but this is my first time in a statewide. I feel ok with my knowledge, am secretly glad the turnout will be low, and am just crossing my fingers that I don’t hurt Gentleman number 1 before the end of the day.

It is now 4pm let me share with you my further discoveries about my colleagues.

Gentleman number one lasted on the name roster until his lunch at 11am. At that point I took it over and have rotated others into that spot, keeping him far away (little was I to find out he was good in comparison, sigh). He is also very antsy, like a 2 year old, cannot sit still and wants to be a part of everything that is happening.

Gentleman number 2 is 18 and a student at a neighboring high school, he is fascinated with the electoral system but is not registered to vote. Huh? I immediately handed him an application and had him fill it out. But then I had to burst his bubble and tell him that didn’t mean he could vote today. He is now on the name roster and will hopefully serve out the remainder of the evening there.

Gentlewoman number 1 is still holding her own on the street roster, after a disastrous try from Gentlewoman number 2 during her lunch hour.

Gentlewoman number 2, let me just say this, “bless her heart”, she is well meaning and tries really hard, but she is dumber than dirt and doesn’t know it. She got completely flustered on the street roster, and then totally flubbed on the name roster as well. Problem? She has no clue how to use a dictionary. Everything is alphabetical, she couldn’t predict that GO would be at least a few pages past GA and would start at the very first page of any letter no matter the name. She is now back to handing out the ballots, can’t mess that up too badly, I hope.
Our turnout so far has been better than I anticipated, not that that is saying much but still.

I have just realized that I handed out my blog cards to some of them workers and will probably end up posting this on a sister site.

Btw Gentlewoman number 3? Yeah, she still hasn’t come back.
And me? I keep plodding along, trying not to fall into my type A personality and take everything over as soon as a bubble appears. I am slowly learning to not jump in and burst the bubbles but to let them float and see what happens. It is a good life lesson.

The band has been practicing since school got out over an hour ago, I feel sorry for the kid’s cuz it is pretty damn hot outside and they have been nonstop. We can feel the vibration of the drums through our feet in the auditorium, so much so that none of us even noticed the earthquake that occurred.

6pm and Gentlewoman number 3 has arrived. By now I have totally given up. The inmates have taken over the asylum and I am just hoping my numbers are not so off that they will allow me to work a poll again one day.

Gentlewoman number 3 is also type-A (go figure, it’s a family trait), and starts trying to do what I had given up on. Trying to make some order out of people who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. When she realizes that Gentlewoman number 2 does not know her ALPHABET then she too just sighs and gives up.

Bringing us back to Gentleman number 1. More than once throughout the day I had to remind him to NOT ask for an ID (it is illegal in California to do so), to NOT place the I Voted sticker onto the chest of the voter and pat it in to place (really? Yes, really), to not stand over the shoulder of a voter WHILE THEY ARE IN THE BOOTH.

8pm finally arrives and we close the polls. Our turnout was double what I expected; we ended up with 220 voters in a precinct of just over 2,000. Sad, I know, but still better than expected.Btw, my numbers were only off by one and I have decided to be more Type-A instead of less next time. If you don’t know your alphabet, you will be relegated to handing out ballots, if you cannot control your urges to do wrong things, you will be asked to leave. I am composing a letter to the La County Registrar’s office to explain my woes regarding my poll workers and to explicitly request that they not be assigned to me again and in fact to request that their services are no longer necessary. Cruel? Not nice? Maybe, but really, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.


Adrienne's House

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Save The Date

This little girl is turning two, and she's coming to Michigan to celebrate. I personally cannot think of a better way to spend Memorial Day weekend.
Our weekend will start with the Mizgala's arriving sometime on Wednesday the 20th. On Thursday, the adults are going to see Billy Joel and Elton John, babysitting rights are still available if anyone is interested in purchasing them. Friday will be enjoying time with Lynn, probably a park, maybe a zoo, definately a laugh or ten.
On Saturday the pool opens, so there will be lots of swimming, probably a pizza, and definately a laugh or twenty.
In the evening we will be doing the cake and ice cream thing with friends and family and then games, games, games. Any laughter that is left can be used at this time.
Anyone reading this is invited, we have beds for those I love, couches for those I just like, and lots of floor space for anyone under 20. So start practicing your laughter now, and I'll see you in a month.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Malibu Nights

I test drove both the Aura and the Malibu, turns out they are the exact same car. Few minor details on the options and detailing, but the same car. Except my quote on the Aura was about 3K cheaper.
But the salesperson pissed me off. My appointment was at 5:30, I got there at 5:25, she was paged, repeatedly, and finally showed about 5:40 saying she was tied up on the phone. She took my info for the trade in and said she would be right back so we could test drive the Aura. She came back about 6:15, with the trade in estimate. I told her that I was not happy about waiting and that I had assumed that the trade in would be appraised while I was driving the Aura. She then said, "Oh, I just decided to stay there while he appraised it." So we took the Aura for a quick drive since I had told the Chevy dealer between 6:30 and 7:00.
At the Chevy dealer they were waiting for me at the door, with a car ready to go. They took the info and the keys for the Focus and we were off. As I said it was the same as the Aura, only one of the options that came with the Malibu was traction control, and as it had started to snow I was able to notice the difference. Walking back to the showroom, Gordon my biggest Malibu fan said, "get the Aura, it's the same car, and the Aura is a lot cheaper." And that would have been it, if I wasn't feeling like I didn't want to give Saturn the sale.
The trade in came in at exactly the same price and Tom (the sales guy) asked me how I felt. I explained that I like the Malibu but it was the same car as the Aura and the Aura was considerably cheaper. He asked if he could bring in his sales manager to see if they could beat the price from the Saturn dealer. Normally I would not have gone for new pricing, give me your best price the first time. But I was really upset with Saturn and did not want to reward crappy customer service with a sale.
So in came the sales manager and said, "no way they're pricing the Aura that low with the same options." So I showed him the invoice from Saturn. He said, "yeah well the Malibu has leather trimmed suede seats," to which I replied, "big whoop, not what matters to me." He worked some numbers, gave me employee pricing, upped the price on the trade in and came in $700 less than the Aura.
I so I am driving a dark metallic blue Malibu, with black leather trimmed suede seats, and I love it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As I Was Saying

Although I have very impressed by the lack of pressure from car sales people (mostly), I am also a little surprised that the pricing doesn't appear to be aggressive either.

So after the library on Saturday I went to our local dealerships. The Chevy/Chrysler... dealer focused on the Malibu and didn't really offer any choices for the Chrysler line. The Malibu pricing was right in line with the pricing I got down state, with the exception of the loyalty incentive for owning a Saturn, per the dealer in West Branch since I no longer owned the Saturn I did not qualify. We were in and out pretty quickly.

The Ford dealer took a bit longer. The salesman was pretty obsessed with determining what colors I was looking for and finding an invoice for the right color car. I can only determine the reasoning for this was because they did not offer the options I was looking for (remote start, heated cloth seats) he needed to obsess about something. The pricing was considerably better, but I qualify for X plan through Rita so that helped. However, they don't have the options available, even though the reason I like those two things is because I have gotten used to them driving the Ford Focus. Apparently, the remote start was added aftermarket, and I do remember that when Adrienne was here we had a problem with it and had to take it to an outside shop to have fixed as it was not covered under Mom's warranty. Which is part of the reason I want Factory Installed.

So I'm really looking at either the Saturn Aura or the Chevy Malibu. Tomorrow I am going to call my insurance to see what the difference is in insuring the two cars and schedule a test drive and trade in evaluation. BTW I did the Costco auto thingy and they sent my name to a dealership in Royal Oak that will be giving me a call.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Car Shopping

Started my car shopping today, going to buy one next week.

Started at Saturn, although I had a lot of issues with my turn signals needing to be replaced I was pretty satisfied overall with my two Saturns. We were greeted at the door by Ashley and I explained that I wanted to buy a car. Mileage was very important to me, I wanted remote starter, and the basics automatic, airconditioning, radio.... She took me right to the Aura, the model we looked at was decked out with way more than I wanted but the size was right, the mileage was right 33/26. I told her I wasn't buying today but I wanted a good idea of pricing to make a decision for next week. (I have been putting this off because I did not want to deal with pressure sales, I don't do well with those. I had requested a quote on-line a while back and have got incessant emails but no quote. Emails I can delete.) But Ashley has no problem. She worked up a quote on two different in stock cars one with seat warmers and one without, no guarantees those cars will be available next week, but a good idea of what I was looking at. So with a quote, a brochure, a business card, and a feeling of this is kind of fun I head to the next stop. Honda.

Here we were again greeted at the door this time by Barry (I didn't actually get his name until I got his business card), who was actually on his way out to grab a smoke. He took his coat off while I explained what I was looking for. He told me that the Accord was a good fit and he was going to go get one for me to look at and took off into the back. Gordon and I looked at the car by the door which was an Accord and the mileage was 27/22, not quite what I was looking for. We walked around a little bit more, while I believe Barry was grabbing that smoke, and saw the Fit at 30/25. Much more in line with what I want, but a bit small. Barry came back and said, "oh you like the Fit? Let's go write that up." I explained that I was just looking to see what was available and would like pricing w/o pressure. No problem. We step into Barry's cube and he takes my name and email, asks for my home phone and I tell him I would rather just use email. He said "Okay, how about your cell?" Um, "no, about just email?" I was then told it was okay, I could just give him my cell, he wouldn't harrass me. I again declined and stated that I didn't think he really needed it. He replied that he didn't but I could just as easily give it to him. I said I was done, to which he replied, "come on, you're not going to just leave" WHAT!?! So we left, not another word, although two words were very close to coming out. Barry chased us down in the parking lot and handed me a brochure and a business card. Pretty sure that I was not going to buy a Honda we proceeded down the street to the Chevy dealer.

Gordon has always been a bit partial to Chevy's and has really been pushing the Malibu. Which I liked, a lot. We were back to a decent salesperson (Rick) who worked up a quote with and without remote starter. Remote starter comes only with a larger package of other cool but not necessary stuff. But cool, like bluetooth, and the prices out very close to the Aura. Of interesting note at Chevy I qualify for a loyalty rebate/discount because I bought a Saturn in the last ten years, Saturn is not offering this loyalty rebate/discount. So now with options, we headed off to our last dealer for the day.

The Chrysler/Jeep.... dealer was jumping. Huge dealership, lots of people, lots of cars. Unfortunately salespeople, not so much. After having the receptionist page twice, I was ready to give up when a salesperson (didn't get his name or card) comes over in between. I explain what I am looking for, he takes me to his cube says you want the Avenger or the Sebring. I ask what's the difference, he points at the back end of an Avenger and says the Sebring is like that only looks different. During this two minute conversation he has answered the phone and been typing on the computer. He tells me he has an '08 Sebring that he can give me a deal on, I explain that I am not purchasing till next week and he says that is fine writes the quote on a card, (damn just thought of that, I must have his name) says he can't give me the invoice and says to look up Sebring Touring on the web for the details. "Thanks for coming in." Wow.

We then went next door to Costco where I discovered they have a car club thingy, that I will check out on line this weekend and will also visit my local (Ford, Chrysler, Chevy, Pontiac)dealers here up north. Hopefully this time next week I will be in a new car.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

Just keep going, one day at a time, and way too soon it's been a year.

But it's been everyday. Everyday I would come home and Mom would not be here. Everyday something would happen that I would think about how I couldn't wait to tell Mom, and then she wouldn't be here.

I couldn't keep coming home to Mom's house, so I transformed it. I made it mine but still I pull up everyday and it hits again, she's not going to be here. She's not at the casino, she's not at the club house playing dominoes, she's not in Vegas, or LA, or Indiana and yet she's not here either.

My neck and foot have been aching for the past month, just like they do leading up to May 6th and August 9th. Psychomatic, I'm sure, but there all the same.

Yesterday and today were tough, I kept busy, very busy. I kept tissue at my desk for when I cried, but I kept busy. I got 3,000 payroll checks out the door and all of the files sent to the bank. I have everything done that could be done. I'm taking tomorrow off, I have 8 hours vacation left that if I don't take, I lose. I didn't think I could get everything done today, but I kept busy, very busy. And then I couldn't wait to tell Mom.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

To Bail or Not to Bail

Really, really, wish someone knew the answer to that one. The current automotive situation is of course the top news story here, unfortunately I don't have the time (or inclination) to watch a lot of news. Mitch Albom had a great column that I feel is worth the read. I have picked up enough through sound bites, blogs I read, and discussions on the radio station that I listen to, to form my own opinion.

How the hell should I know? Whether or not the automotive industry should be given a ______ (bail out, loan, hand up, fill in whichever word gives you warm fuzzies) is way beyond my good but limited understanding of business. I do however know a whole lot about throwing good money after bad, and am very afraid that this is what this situation is. Although I do not know if I am for a bailout or not, I am very sure that I want the automotive industry to succeed.

I wasn't wild about the financial bailout, I was disgusted with the way it was handled. Failing in congress and then passing once the pork was added. This however underscores my disgust with the process the Big Three are now being subjected to. It just seems to me that congress is feeling a bit of backlash over the financial bail out and is using this opportunity to feign fiscal responsibility. Seriously, lets all put our heads together and think really hard, can anyone come up with a more fiscally irresponsible group of people than congress.

I would like the fate of the Big Three to be in the hands of the Dragon's Den. I want them to come up with viable business plans, plans I know that I would not be able to create. (Seriously, Americans want high wages, new technology, and cheap prices, good luck with that.) I want people who could come up with those plans and who do understand the business ideas that are necessary to accomplish such plans to evaluate the plans proposed by the Big Three. Not congress, congress by definition is a group of special interests. To put the fate of such a massive industry, where the repercussions of failure would be felt in every corner of the world, into the hands of people with only the agenda of their own corner at heart scares the hell out of me.

I do believe there will be a bailout, but I don't trust that it is the correct answer. But I guess tis is the fate of Detroit, Millin was fired and yet the Lions keep losing. Sometimes it takes more than just a quick fix. For my entire memory Detroit has been on the verge of come back, unfortunately as a life long Detroiter (with that brief stop in LA) I have no recollection of what they are trying to come back to.