Saturday, January 10, 2015


2014 was a pretty good year.

Ok, I know it is 8 days into the year, but with a huge looming deadline at work, a case of the flu, and a few other personal challenges, I haven't had the time, energy or eyesight to write for fun.

2014 began with a favorite but rarely indulged holiday tradition-- time with my brother and his family and the Philadelphia Mummer's parade. I left the day after Christmas and spent the week between holidays in my childhood home, beginning my 60th year surrounded by love, nostalgia, scrapple, Wannamaker's, (OK, it's Macy's now, but the Eagle and the tree are still there) Billy Penn, and string bands.

Along the way from January to December, there was work, and family, and travel and friends, and 525,600 minutes of mostly good stuff. I mostly love my life.

January was the great freeze out, with a couple of thousand dollars of damage to the condo....but also trips to Philly to hang with my Kabala relatives and a couple to Houston (and dinner with Marge Carson) and one to Tampa for my annual physical (all good news) and dinner at Columbia with dear, dear friends Anne and Danny France. And Snow Rollers!

February was the beginning of what turned out to be a horrible project in Columbus, OH. Yay! a road project close to the kids and grands! I'll be in North Canton every weekend. Booooo!  No one told me that I would be working with one of the nastiest people I have ever worked (not the client. The client was perfectly nice. This was a constipated colleague who took unholy glee in humiliatiang others,) And I would be driving back and forth in unrelenting bad weather....But, on the upside, it also saw my best friend's birthday. Never underestimate the power of a good friend to keep you sane in trying times.

March is always a month of birthdays for Clan Kabala, but last year it snowed every single weekend and between weather and work, getting away wasn't happening. To keep from dwelling on the winter misery I began planning my summer vacation to the Pacific Northwest to the San Juan Islands. Just thinking about Orcas and blue water made it easier to face cold and gray Ohio weather. Between that and a dinner and bookstore date with Nathan, I kept from becoming a danger to myself and others.

April saw the end of the Columbus debacle (thank God), a short remote project for AT&T, The AT&T project is described to me as a Captivate or Articulate project, but turns out to be Word, but it''s only a couple of weeks.  That complete, I begin a project that was sold to me as an on site project of 4-6 months in Bridgewater, NJ. Glad to be back on the road, and delighted to be close to the family for the summer, I agreed.  One rainy day, I drove over to Liberty State Park, took the ferry to Ellis Island, photographed Lady Liberty and did a little family tree research.

May--- The Bridgewater project turned out not to be as advertised. After two weeks in Basking Ridge, the client decided it was a remote project, managed via webcams and conference calls, My very least favorite way to work. . I start to wonder who is scoping and writing SOW's. I find out the SOW was finalized, but no one is interested in enforcing it  It was also pitched to me as a uPerform project for SAP. Unfortunately, no one at the client knew or wanted to learn uPerform. I spend the next several months creating Power Point, despite the fact that I'm a uPerform admin. (using me ro do Microsoft office is a little like using a sledgehammer to hang pictures,  I was bored out of my mind)

On the upside, Nate starts playing lacrosse and I get to see him play.  He turns 8, and his family party is rescheduled and relocated to the rehab where his great-grandfather is recovering from a nasty fall. 

June-- I am due to finish my project for the folks in New Jersey May 15., School is out, and I am trying to get to Washington State for the vacation I have been planning since March, They arew happy with the work, even if  I could have given them so much more for the same investment if they'd let me. Client extends my contract. I reschedule. Client extends again. I reschedule again. The company I work for gets a call from a client I have worked for in the past, They request me for a new project. No one tells me the start date for the new project, or asks me if I am available.

A week before I am due to leave on the twice rescheduled vacation, the Client Exec-- a good friend-- calls and says "we need you on site on Tuesday."  I tell her I have a vacation planned, She tells me she is in a tight spot and can I postpone a third time. I agree to reschedule a third time, for July.  I am told-- yet again-- that the reason I am needed for this project is that it is a uPerform project. OK! after twiddling my thumbs in Microsoft Office all Spring, something interesting to do.  Once I get on site, the Change Management consultant from another firm (who has never even Seen uPerform) decides that the million-dollar piece of software in which the client has already invested 9 years of development, is going to be replaced by.... you guessed it... Microsoft Office.   I find out the SOW was never finalized.

Two weeks in, I am told that a July vacation will not be possible.  I get into a heated discussion with folks from my firm, because, yet again, what I have been promised and what the client has been promised do not align, and I'm expected to take one for the team.  I shut up, do it, and eat a lot of non-refundable deposits.

Then, at the end of the month, there is a horrible thunderstorm and tornado warnings. I lose power, and all Time Warner Services-- internet, cable, and landline phone. Power is restored in less than a day, Restoring my Time Warner services took more than a week, 3-5 telephone calls each day (the first 15 calls they insisted there was no problem and service to my area had been restored. Then, on day five they discovered--- after I drove to the local office with all of my equipment in a cardboard box- that, oh, gee, there is a localized outage and finally escalated the problem to a really nice guy who fixed it.

 Brendan continues to play Soccer, and is becoming really good. He spends a lot of time in June watching World Cup matches. 

Well....November was a little sketchy, but that was more self-imposed anxiety than an actual problem.

Brendan turned 14, Olivia 10, and Nate 8. Matthew didn't make the EOY cutoff, but we had 9 months of anticipating his arrival.

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