Weekly Stats: Tickets: 2 Miles: 3,432 Flights of Stairs: 10,92,281 Listening to: Little Women – Louisa May Alcott Reading: The Life and Death of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs
Kerri and Kerry got to start the week together, drilling holes in this cute Corgi’s walls. She did NOT like that at all.
So then Tuesday I took off for the City By the Bay. I bought a week’s worth of neon safety-colored t-shirts (because cool people don’t wear collared polos on a construction site), but I thought I’d go low-profile through the airport. I had no idea how many people would comment on a Superman t-shirt.
After a record-breaking sprint through the Phoenix airport I made it safely to San Francisco once again. And man, let me tell you. When they talk about the weather in California, they are not exaggerating. You go from a “balmy 110 degrees” Phoenix to 68 with a breeze off the bay and it’s easy to see why people live in this crazy state. Then you see this:
Being alone the first day, I decided to try something unusual. Kaya Korean BBQ, conveniently located next to the hotel, was a cool experience (even though I didn’t get the BBQ). There was a bad moment when the waiter very kindly offered me a set of chopsticks, but that was all resolved when the rice bowl came with a spoon.
I was greeted by an old friend on the hotel bookshelf. It’s good to see St. Louis still putting in appearances.
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 8 Miles: 533 Listening to: The Shining Company – Rosemary Sutcliff Reading: The Life and Death of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs
This was my anthem this week:
Well, after a year of flying, my $30 suitcase finally gave up the ghost, so I broke down and found a new friend. Let me introduce you to my newest traveling buddy!
This was the first week on the ground after three in the air, and it was CRAZY!
Tuesday I started in Wimberly at 8:00, worked three tickets from there through south San Antonio, then drove to JUNCTION. Honestly though, the hardest part was trying to concentrate past the cinnamon rolls they kept stacking up under my ladder.
Dad was in town working for Monday and Tuesday, but he flew away to Salt Lake City on Wednesday and left me to hold the fort in town. Not to bad all told, but with an office move, multiple cable pulls, and 600 miles in the car, it was busy!
Very happy with my little office project:
And my new friend is all decked out and ready to go:
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 6 Miles: 2,581 Listening to: Andrea Vernon and the Superhero Industrial Complex – Alexander C. Kane Reading: The Travels of Jaimie McPeeters – Herbert Lewis Taylor (It’s long, okay?)
I have officially learned my lesson. If the scope says “tech must have a soldering iron” DO NOT try to work the job before church. #yikes
So, after a hair-raising morning of working at a fast-food restaurant, burning my fingers with molten metal, and screaming into church just in time to sit down at the piano before service started, dad and I left for Tampa on Sunday. We arrived in the Tampa airport which is HUMONGEOUS around midnight and were at our AirBnB around 2ish. Overall, the experience was a significant improvement over the Ft. Lauderdale fiasco.
This week we did five clinic surveys, in Brandon, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Tampa, and Venice. Everything had gone really well until, during routine testing at the Tampa clinic… the phone system shorted out, started smoking, set off the fire alarm and, in very dramatic fashion, gave up the ghost.
This was somewhere in the neighborhood of a major emergency.
By some unexpected twist of fate however, there just happened to be a company IT guy driving around the neighborhood with a complete phone system in the back of his car. He came over to Tampa and by 9pm that night we had the clinic set up with a near-full capacity phone system and cablers lined up for the significantly sooner-than-expected upgrade. Talk about lucky.
We got to have lunch right on the water in Punta Gorda. We ate at “The Captain’s Table”, located at the very end of Fisherman s Village Waterfront Mall. Lovely restaurant, good food, and a nice way to experience the beach without being smothered by the Florida air.
We also decided that we need a private yacht.
I’m more of a mountains/deserts kind of girl, so Florida would not be my first (or second or third) choice of vacation place, but this week has been pretty enjoyable. It hasn’t rained as much in Tampa as it did in Ft. Lauderdale, and it hasn’t been too hot (only mid 90s). We can’t tell if it’s inflation or local economics that make the gas $3/gallon and the butter $6/lb, but we’re happy to be going to home to Texas (if only for a few days!)
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 3 Miles: 2,845 Listening to: Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill Reading: The Travels of Jaimie McPeeters – Herbert Lewis Taylor (Still. It’s actually hilarious)
Well, the dreaded Dallas Curse struck again. Big Kerry and Little Kerri left San Antonio at 6pm Sunday evening, arrived in Dallas, and changed planes in plenty of time. Then we sat in the closed airplane for THiRtY mINuTeS before they told us we had a maintenance issue. Another fifteen minutes later we taxied out to the runway, rolled up to the takeoff line…and sat there for another twenty minutes. The maintenance issue had returned. *duh duh duuuuh* So we trooped back to the gate and waited. And waited. And waited. Then the maintenance crew arrived and we….waited some more. The flight attendants warned us that, should we disembark, we would not be allowed back onto the flight and the next available flight to Fort. Lauderdale would not be for THREE DAYS! Ten minutes later, a solitary man rolled his suitcase down the aisle of shame and left the plane. Two minutes after that, we took off. Perhaps this is a lesson in endurance.
We landed in Florida at 2:30AM, and due to the strange hours, short staff, and general wackiness, it was 4:00AM before we rolled away in our rental car and 5:00am before we got in bed. Luckily the clinic had asked us not to arrive on site until 1:00pm.
We arrived on site at 12:30pm and the lady asked us “What happened? We expected you early in the morning.”
-_- Go figure.
We spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in the Fort Lauderdale area and if anyone ever tells you that Florida is sunny, they’re lying to you. It rained BUCKETS all day, every day, for the entire time we were there. We didn’t see any alligators, but all the deep, swampy canals sure looked like the place for them.
We did find where the locals eat. The Plantation Diner is a cute little strip-center diner where all the little old people show up at 6:00am and greet each other by name.
These clinics were pretty small and simple, but some of the phones were a little…challenging to locate.
Having finished early on Wednesday, dad arranged our travel plans to leave a day early; Thursday instead of Friday. The flight change would cost $150 per person in Ft. Lauderdale, but only $25 per person out of Miami. GREAT! To drop the rental off in Miami instead of Ft. Lauderdale, however, would cost $500. #yikes.
So here’s the plan; Drop of the car in Ft. Lauderdale, wait around, take the 4:40pm Red Coach luxury business buss to Miami Airport, wait around, leave at 8:00pm, having done some work, eaten dinner, and generally lounged around all day.
All that hinged on the bus actually arriving at 4:40pm. When the bus DID arrive at 5:30pm it was GOING TO ORLANDO. Ok, but the commuter train goes to Miami, so let’s take that! On to the shuttle we got, and made it to the station just in time to miss the 5:58 train to Miami. The next one left at 6:30. It’s a 90 minute train ride. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 8:00pm. I’m not generally known for my math skills, but that wasn’t going to work. So we got an Uber. Through Claude’s heroic action we arrived at MIA at 7:20pm, flung our suitcases at the baggage counter, ran through TSA, and went screaming through the terminal to squeeze into our seats as they closed the doors…
…..aaaaand then we sat at the gate for 45 minutes while “catering” restocked the aircraft.
Friday it was back into my little red car and back up the ladder. From fast food to a truck stop to a financial office, and back home to pack my suitcase back up to leave again.
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 6 Miles: 1,106 Listening to: Goals and Vision Mastery Collection (Still. It’s boring.) Reading: The Travels of Jaimie McPeeters – Herbert Lewis Taylor (Still. It’s pretty funny) Zoom meetings: 159,093
Check out the kid brother’s pirate costume! In our free time we put together some costumes at the end of last month, so this Sunday we went out to a boutique renaissance faire.
The week started off pretty slow, with another trip to TJ Maxx. I tell you, it’s dangerous to send a female to work at TJ Maxx. I hadn’t been in the store for 10 minutes and I had already mentally spent $100! Thankfully (or unfortunately if you are TJ Maxx) the part that the manager said had delivered…was actually the empty box from my install two weeks ago, so I fled TJ Maxx with my budget in-tact.
Tuesday was a day off, if you call driving to Houston for a family funeral a “day off”. Wednesday I drove two hours west of town to work at a truck stop at 10am. On the way home, I got a call to drive two hours south to work at a truck stop at 10 PM! So, as the sun began to set I rolled out on my night-time trek. 200 miles later, I arrived at my destination, put four wheels on a metal plate, sat two servers atop the plate, got back in my car and drove away. Total time on site? 30 minutes. Have I mentioned that I love my job?
Thursday was a recycle day. People don’t know much money there is to be made in recycling. Friday, dad and I went out to repair a 170lb television. The actual repair was nothing, but getting back onto the stand was the tricky part.
I’m starting to feel bad for all these guys trying to teach us things on Zoom. It feels like every time we talk to them it’s “We promise we’ll be in the office next week. Sorry! We’ve got to run!” We’re a hard team to pin down.
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 3 Miles: 3,382 Listening to: Goals and Vision Mastery Collection Reading: The Travels of Jaimie McPeeters – Herbert Lewis Taylor
Note to self: You really do have to be at the airport an hour before your flight.
Due to complicated and unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t actually get to the airport until 4:00pm. What time did my flight leave? 4:26pm. Long story short, they couldn’t check my bags, there were no later flights, and all my pockets knives were in my suitcase. Imagine my chagrin in the TSA line. Happily, mom was still close enough to run back inside and take my knives from me as TSA escorted me out of the secure area. Despite any deserved chastisement, I made it onto the flight with my suitcase, all my tools, and ten minutes to spare.
Traveling with a hardhat is a pain. It doesn’t fit in my suitcase. I’ve got too much hanging off my belt and backpack anyway, so it goes on my head. During the boarding process in Dallas, a lesbian couple found themselves seated behind me and I overheard this conversation: Butch: “I like how that guy is wearing a hard hat.”
Femme: “I think that’s a girl.”
Butch: “No way.”
Femme: “You can’t just assume it’s a man because they’re wearing a hard hat.”
Butch: “Oh, I would never say that.”
Wednesday through Saturday we spent at our apartment complex, trying with limited success to connect the Samsung smart appliances to the management cloud. It takes anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes per room, and at 53 rooms per floor in an 8 floor building, that doesn’t make for very quick progress. But, at least there are some sit-down restaurants open in California now! McDonald’s on the go, Chic-Fil-A in the car, and Panda Express in the hotel room gets old really fast.
Some notes: Modern architecture looks like Soviet prison blocks. I can’t wait to see how bleak and a worn-down this place looks in a decade.
Here’s a glimpse of the comm-room on one of the floors. This is part of the intermediate distribution frame for all the units on the fourth floor:
And I guess this is one way to deal with a dent in your hood.
So, my flight home left San Fran at 4:00pm PST, and without much trouble I arrived in Dallas at 8:45pm CST, with an hour to spare. I meandered to my gate, found a likely spot to sit, and waited to board at 9:30. My phone buzzed. The board changed. Now we’re boarding at 10:30. Half an hour later, we’re boarding at 10:50. Then 11:50. Then 12:30!! “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t worry. We WILL get you to San Antonio tonight.” The gate agent assured us.
At approximately 1:00am, the flight attendants arrived and were received with cheers and whistles. We lined up. We got out our boarding passes. We put our masks back on. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have bad news.” The gate agent shouted over the noise of the crowd. “Our cockpit crew timed out, our flight is cancelled, and all the hotels are full.”
Well, being too young to rent a car and too cheap to get a hotel room, I availed myself of the convenient, free, but not too clean floor and went right to sleep. Five hours later, coffee in hand, I took my rather surprising place in seat 1A, and went home. Of the three over-nighters that got off the front row together, my baggage was the only set that arrived in San Antonio with our flight. Mom picked me up and got me home with enough time to wash my hair before church started. I hate to gloat, but how lucky can a girl get?
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 6 Miles: 333 Listening to: Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson Reading: Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money – Kevin O’Leary
We pulled more cable this week than we have since December of last year! If I never cut another low voltage ring into drywall, it will be too soon!
Monday and Tuesday we did a 33 cable drop/terminate/dress-out in a new office. We got to not only install our new wiring, but we had the pleasure (torment?) of pulling out three generations of old wiring, removing the dinky old face plates, and generally making things much more hospitable. The $200 in scrap from all that extra cable didn’t hurt either!
Wednesday I was reminded yet again that Austin is a LONG WAY AWAY! When you have a two-hour drive to Austin and a 7:00am ticket, you get a really good view of the sunrise. Today was a continuation of the project from last week; cabling and a TV install in a TJMaxx and a Marshalls. I did have a new experience; I’ve met no shortage of strange things in ceilings, but I’ve never had a broom fall out and hit me in the head before!
Thursday, the Kerry/i’s went to an almost-open surgical center to do some cable management and mount 19 phones onto walls in the OR suite. We’ve done so much work in surgical centers of varying ages and capacities, it was a really interesting experiences to see one in its nascent stage. I didn’t even have to have a floor plan to get around; most surgery centers are build of the same components.
Friday was a blessed day of rest…except for meetings, paper work, emails, phone calls, and music practice. But hey- at least I can do all that in my pajamas!
Weekly Stats: Tickets: 8 Miles: 591 Listening to: 12 Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson Reading: Memoirs of an Infantry Officer – Siegfried Sassoon
And that’s a slow week!
The first week back from being out of town is always interesting. You slot yourself into the metal turtle shell that is your car, slide your phone into its dashboard holster, flick on your headlights (it’s still dark outside), and roll down the driveway. It feels a little weird. It takes more than a week to forget how to drive, right?
Monday and Tuesday, Big Kerry (dad) and Little Kerri (me) got to work together. We found ourselves in a pediatric medical office, unboxing and assembly 68 monitors, along with laptops, desktop computers, and other extras. Needless to say, once you’ve cut 68 pieces of tape, unwound 273 twist-ties (four per box), and made approximately 10,000 trips to the dumpster, you start to wish you were on a ladder, under a house, in an attic… literally ANYWHERE doing ANYTHING other than unboxing monitors!
Wednesday I did the first 2 of a series of 6 tickets with the exact same scope: run one cable, install one TV. Simple, right? Yes, except when the ceilings are 12 feet high and you’re walking crabwise through a department store with a fully extended 10ft ladder over your head, navigating glass shelves, rolling lingerie racks, chubby toddlers, and moms pushing baby strollers.
Thursday was #3 and #4 of my 6 ticket series, but this time my 7:00am destination was in Austin – a two hour commute! But at least the fog kept the rising sun out of my eyes. I paid a little stupid tax this morning; I drove to Austin, checked in, got out of my car …. and THEN remembered that I left my drill at home. Thus it was I found myself, without a drill, without a jab saw, trying to put a hole in a wall that was two sheets of sheetrock on top of PLYWOOD! Luckily, Home Depot was literally across the street… and I had been meaning to buy a new drill anyway.
Friday was simpler, but still in Austin. That morning was a site survey at an apartment complex. I’ve worked with the buyer before, and apparently made a good impression. I’ve also worked with this particular officer manager before. So what do you do when the buyer says “great job. We’ll call you for the project” but the officer manager says “They’re pushing me around. I don’t have the budget for this?” You tell her to stand up for herself and to give you a call when she gets ready to change IT providers. A little self-promotion rarely hurts.
I also got to trick out my hard-hat. An old friend of my sent me some vinyl decals. Now my white plastic dome looks like someone has lived in it. (Also, THAT’S where my headlamp went. No wonder I couldn’t find it in my backpack.)