Cancelled, Dead, Flattered, and Broken

The last three weeks have been a bit eventful. Friday August 29th started things off with an email informing me that the class I was supposed to teach in Vancouver got cancelled. So, that was a bit of a bummer. It would have been nice to take a break from the ‘norm’ of work for a week, but oh well, not that big of a deal. I haven’t had a break from my workload for a while. It seems like many of my coworkers are either in training or out teaching every few weeks. I definitely don’t mind work, it is just that when people are out of the office for more than a day then work is passed off to other people to make sure it gets done. I’ve had a few rough weeks lately but then end up taking on other peoples work as well. It is always hard issues because easy ones get done quick, hard ones take time. Right now my work queue is higher than it has ever been, so it is a bit stressful.

Speaking of work loads. So last week on Thursday I go out in the morning to start up the car and head on to work and nothing. Seemed like a dead battery, which is odd, but hey, it happens right? So I get a jump and in no time flat I’m on the road. I get about 1-mile down the road and my car flat out dies in the middle of the highway. I was in the left lane and coasted to a stop in the median. Couldn’t turn on my flashers, all electronics in my car were dead. Thankfully I look to my left and behold, a shop! So I jog across the street and get some help pushing my car to the shop. We take a look at it and pull out a multimeter, the batteries voltage read flat out 0 Volts. Really odd. So I decided to leave the car at the shop and they were kind enough to give me a ride home.

I remoted in to work and started getting some things taken care of. My team leader(s) were both out of the office, as well as my manager. Great. So I IM Jen R. an she gets ahold of a different manager for me and I call and chatted with her. If I didn’t come in to work I’d have to take a vacation day, or at least a half day if I worked from home. This didn’t sit too well with me because I am saving up my vacation hours for something worth-while, not to sit on my butt at home and work. Luckily she talked to Asa K. who volunteered to come pick me up. He arrived about a half hour later and we got to work around 11:15 or so.

Turned out that my car had some crazy electrical problem. Seems like one of the wires corroded through or something and created some grounding problems. After some wires were replaced and other things in the engine bay cleaned up, the car was ready about 4:00 PM. Elisabeth went and got it taken care of as soon as she got off work before the shop closed, so I could get the car taken care of when I finished work. I ended up working until 8 or so that night helping Asa out because he had a pretty horrid load that day and I couldn’t help but feel like it wouldn’t have been as bad if he hadn’t picked me up. It was a bad day overall.

This recent week of work was really busy and as I mentioned before, my work queue is huge. Yesterday (Friday) I got an IM from Michael P., the PSE (R&D Liaison for Applications Engineering) for all of our embedded products (ARM, Blackfin, and Microprocessor SDK). I used to be an embedded supporter but stopped a few weeks ago because it wasn’t going to really help me with my career goals. Basically I thought it was something that it wasn’t, and so I wiped my hands of it. Well, in this IM from the PSE he mentioned that he would be out next week and was looking for someone to sub for the embedded stuff next week. I said that it would be fine as I don’t mind helping out.

I didn’t notice everything he said to its full extent until I came back to my desk about 20 minutes later. I had received some delegated meeting invites with all of the PSEs. This was strange! So I went up two floors to his desk and asked him what I just agreed to do. I reminded him that I didn’t work with the embedded products anymore so I was under the impression that I was just going to help out with that. Evidently that was not the case. He wanted me to sub as PSE for the week. Basically that means that if any of the AEs (Applications Engineers) can’t find the answers they are looking for, they would come to me. And if I didn’t know, I would go up and talk to the developers directly. A bit intimidating, but nothing I can’t handle. I then agreed to do it once more and so that will be a bit cool next week. It is flattering that he asked me to do this, as I thought I had burned a bridge or two when I stopped working with the embedded line of products. Evidently in the short amount of time I worked on it I made an impression. Either that, or he just happened to ask me first without realizing I had stopped working with them.

The only unfortunate news with that is that next week I am also subbing on the PE (Product Expert) team. So, I’ll be a PE and PSE next week, plus have all of my work queue still looming over my head. I was going to remote in this weekend and work for a few hours on an algorithm that I’ve been working on for a while, but decided that I’d rather just enjoy my weekend (though my subconscious can’t help but think about the formulas necessary). Boy am I glad that I did, as the weekend has already been frustrating.

Since I got my car back from the shop last week my exhaust hasn’t sounded quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had revved it and it just sounded different. I had a few friends listen to it and nobody could tell that there was something different about it. I let it go for a few days and things started sounding back to normal for the most part. A few days ago I noticed the exhaust was not aligned properly with where it has its place with the bumper. In the parking garage after work I tried messing with it a bit but just ended up getting my hand all dirty. Again, I let it go for a few days and just thought I was being paranoid about my car.

Well, today when me and Elisabeth were about to head out to have lunch and go for a drive I decided to take the opportunity to fully inspect the car and see if there was anything wrong so I could quit focusing on the exhaust sound. I grabbed a rag and scooted up under the back of the car and instantly knew why I was hearing the sounds I was. One of the hangers from the muffler was missing so it was rattling around a bit. Also at the inlet to the muffler the pipe had literally ripped in half. It was hanging on by about 1/3 of the side of the pipe, and was about to fully break off. Also further up the pipe there was a quarter-sized hole in the side of it. This is what was causing the sounds I was hearing and the exhaust misalignment.

I took it to an exhaust shop and ended up getting a new muffler and had some other exhaust work done. Unfortunately the new muffler is no a high-performance muffler like I had on there before, but that is alright. It is a bit quieter when coasting on the highway and I should be able to drive through the parking garage without setting off car alarms all the way up (though that is sometimes fun).

I think it is impossible for me to write a ‘normal’ blog entry. I seem to be using this as more of a daily log of my life and when I don’t have time to write, or don’t feel like writing for a few days, or weeks, the next post has to recap the time between my last entry and now. I’m going to try and update more frequently, and make it a bit less of a summary of things, but no guarantee. I’ll probably just have more frequent summaries and make them just as long by going in to more detail (as the events will be fresher on the mind).

Here’s looking forward to next week at work, and hopefully nothing else being annoying with my car!

3 Responses to “Cancelled, Dead, Flattered, and Broken”

  1. I hope your car is done being difficult. Pat on the back for working two areas at once…thats my boy!

  2. I’m so sad about your car! I’m glad it is doing better!

  3. haha when I was reading this I noticed that “coworkers” looks like “cow-orkers” And I imagined this zany Lord of the Rings scene with bovine orcs running a milky-muck.

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