Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thnk, David, Think!

I submitted this to a blogging contest at my work. The topic: what was it like went you started working at the bank?

Poppy seed muffin.

Prayer circle.

California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington.

A U-Haul filled with IBM boxes for servers and workstations.

Riverbank as a construction site.

New coworkers who’d all just been out on the road for weeks at a time over the pervious several months doing bank conversions.

Argo, AIX, CA7, CICS, CM/2, DCMF, JCL, Micro Channel, MVS, OS/2, RACF, Tivoli, Token Ring, SNA, and a whole bunch of other names and acronyms—I didn’t have a clue what most of them stood for.

These were some of the things that greeted me as I started working at US BANK in August, 1998, as the newest member of the Lobby Support group. I was very jealous that my new colleagues had just been all over the western United States converting bank branches from the old, original U.S. Bank. They seemed to have genuinely enjoyed their experiences, and seemed to be a pretty tight knit group.

For me, this was a second career, after teaching and going back to school to get a Masters degree. Fancy title: Master of Science of Network Engineering. But really, I didn’t know a whole lot about that either. I was thinking maybe I’d be a technical writer or something like that. I don’t think that I even had a complete resume posted online. But the job market was so good at that time, I got an interview and hired anyway. Didn’t know what those terms in the job description meant? No problem. I’d learn.

Because I had a job offer letter, I qualified for a mortgage. My spouse and I looked to move to the metro area from Little Falls. Bidding wars made home buying difficult. We found a house we liked, and I think the owner, a woman, recently widowed and children grown, sold to us both because of our genuine, sweet-talking realtor, and because she liked that we were a young family (our children were two and six at the time.)

Moving boxes? No problem. Because of the bank conversions, there was an abundance of boxes with blue “IBM” logos. We packed up everything in those boxes and loaded them up in a U-Haul in Little Falls. If we’d been stopped or pulled over, I was sure that we’d have been suspected for an IBM computer heist.

On arrival in at our new house in Saint Paul, several of my co-workers showed up and helped us unload. Amazing.

Work for me meant support and troubleshooting for the new branches. Tons of tickets. On the phone with tellers, bankers, branch managers. Trying to figure which of the meaningless acronyms were broken. I remember being in my mentor’s cube, seated at her PC, staring blankly at 3270 session running on OS/2, trying to figure out a problem, and my mentor, standing behind me, looking over my shoulder, urging:

“Think, David, think!”

Half of Riverbank was empty, still under construction as I entered for the first time at the temporary entrance, a plywood board ramp instead of stairs, the security guards sitting at a card table.

While I am pretty sure I have my mom’s prayer circle to thank (at least in part) for my getting a job, the poppy seed muffins that we ate in celebration—delayed my start. Word of advice: don’t have a poppy seed muffin before your health screening for a new job.

daringly unique

blooming heart sangha, low at the pioneer cemetery. saturday morning and i am sitting with laptop at peace coffee with laptop. how daringly unique.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Went last night to see the Dark Star Orchestra at the Varsit

Went last night to see the Dark Star Orchestra at the Varsity Theater,
but the line stretched around the block, and I wasn't up to that.

Time to start thinking RAGBRAI.

Am I on the bus or off the bus?
How about under the bus or on top of the bus? Bus I am on is middle
class mid life family job bus. Kind of looking to what is next bus, or
accepting that this is it bus.

Does it have to be a bus?

The really juicy stuff of course can't be discussed here. The really,
really juicy stuff? I know not. What bus that?

Yesterday, I ordered Medifast, a month supply. It is time.

Today, rented for a year a small locker at the Y. 22 40 08

Approaching a birthday and felt it honest to bump up the age parameter
on the elliptical and gasp the maximum heat rate went down one.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Au début de la journée, je siège de Nina. J'involontairement écoute à

Au début de la journée, je siège de Nina. J'involontairement écoute
à quelqu'un, un homme d'âge moyen, assis à la table dans le dos de
coin par la cuisine, parler affaires, tous les Kansas City et Missouri
et "Protéines national". Vous n'êtes pas certain pourquoi il est plus
odieuses qu'autre chose. J'ai déplacé.

-- This message was composed with PhatWare WritePad.


Monday, February 1, 2010

This is an experiment--posting to the blog from writing with the iPhone Notes app. Stil typing with one finger or at best two thumbs. But the input and editing is a bit better. And using this method is now possible because I fixed the outgoing mail SMTP problem. Dah. So, when I am finished, I will email this to an address that will publish to my blog. Such is the theory.

This is an experiment--posting to the blog from writing with the
iPhone Notes app. Stil typing with one finger or at best two thumbs.
But the input and editing is a bit better. And using this method is
now possible because I fixed the outgoing mail SMTP problem. Dah. So,
when I am finished, I will email this to an address that will publish
to my blog. Such is the theory.

And this next section is from the Shape Writer app. Not so nice to
edit in, or different, at least. Mostly a pain because there is no way
to copy to the clipboard. Here goes--

Yesterday, I went to the Friends meeting. It was a short meeting as it
turns out because it was a fifth Sunday and it was Family meeting and
therefore only thirty minutes.

At the end of the meeting, after adjacent people shook hands, it would
have been time to work the room, except I don't do that. Everyone that
I thought it might be good to talk to was already engaged. So, as
usual, I left. Things go quite differently, more socially, when
Dorothea is there. Her presence is rare. That day in fact she and
Madeline were church hopping over at the Minneapolis Unitarians.

On January 22, I disabled my Facebook account. I would have deleted if
I could have. The same day I deleted my Twitter account. Not sure what
the technical ramifications are of that. We'll see. But I do think
that more bloging is probably a good thing. But I gave re-enabled.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Last night lying awake at just about midnight, I just had to have a
smoke, and though I no longer smoke, I gave in, succumbed, collapsed,
gave in to the urge, to the calling brain signal.

And so the inhaled enveloping smog is analogy, code, for something
else, real. A new phase of life is upon me, of deadbolts and caller
ID, buddies, reaching out, tension, and even more exposed and rawer


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Should this be my Christmas Letter?

Snowstorm of irony. Instant winter. Snowmaggedon. Just a few days before, I'd been riding my bike to work. B with a big snow expected, the people that do these sorts of things at my work had, for first time, marked off with orange traffic cones the long walkway bisecting the parking lot. Ah ha! No one will mistakenly block the walkway by parking their snow-blinded car in its midst. Monday, cones--no snow. Tuesday, cones--no snow. Wednesday, snow--no cones. Parking lot plowed, walkway hidden; cone-less tundra of white obscures all. (There's no obscuring the approach this August of my twelfth anniversary at the bank.) 

Thursday, Madeline (Class of '11) would be needing a ride home from school. So I drove to work. Well, tried. Morning, out to the car, turned key, stepped on gas, didn't go anywhere, couldn't even get out of parking spot on street in front of house. (This August marked the house's one-hundredth anniversary.) Spin spin, wiggly wiggly, slide slide. Got the shovel from the front porch, dug out. Wasn't really even that much snow. Escaped, barely. Put the shovel in the back seat. (Grain shovel, bought while living on the farm; used to shovel grain with it.) Almost didn't make it through Fairview windrow at end of block. But did. Barely. Narrowly avoided collision. 

Thought was to stop at Nina's on the way to work. Snelling to I-94. Lexington exit. Concordia, across Dale. Right at four-way stop with Marshall, where the Boy Scouts of America have theirs offices--up the hill. Oops. The suspicion Dorothea (one semester away from graduate degree) and I'd had last spring about the Hyundai's tires not being "aggressive" enough for snow--confirmed. I eventually slide sideways and backwards down the hill and followed a hill-less route to work, sans Nina's. 

Then, at work, texting with Madeline found out that of course she wouldn't be staying after school. After school activities cancelled--all of them, actually. She'd be taking the school bus home. (In fact, Liam-- eighth grade-- and Lou, our German student-- didn't have school. Canceled.) I was so pissed that, later, home from work when I told Dorothea that we needed new tires, stat. I said then she could move the cars the next morning for the snow emergency. Later she came back, saying she didn't care. Do whatever I wanted about tires. (Stella, cockapoo five people years old in January, noticeably stunned.) Called Tires Plus, drove over there, thinking $300, armed with Dorothea provided coupons; $500. Gleefully drove through all the spots that had given me troubles earlier. 

Told Madeline how ironic it seemed to me, the whole bit about driving so I could pick her up. She apologized, said she was sorry. But that wasn't it. Just life. Silver lining--got the tires thing taken care. Just in time, too, as it has gotten really cold. Reminiscent of weather last January for the funeral of Dorothea's mom, Bernice...........


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