June 21, 2006
First thing this morning, I called Sears to complain about the "service" I got from the installation company. The customer service rep was very apologetic, processed my return (I told them I would make a decision about where to buy the next hot water heater after I found out who will install it), and said she'd look into the plumbers who gave me such attitude about a simple installation. I mentioned the extra "service charge" that was mentioned as the installers were leaving, and she let me know that the plumbers couldn't touch my credit card, as Sears had that information and wouldn't give it to any third party. That was a great relief.
I then called the plumbing company to let them know I'd complained, and that a letter was going out to Sears headquarters to let them know everything that happened, including the threat of further charges because they couldn't figure out how to install a water heater in a place where a water heater was previously installed. Suddenly, the attitude that was thrown my way was gone, and the rep on the phone was incredibly apologetic. She said she'd log the complaint and let management know that this type of behavior had happened.
I don't expect that anything will change much, but I like to play consumer advocate whenever I can. I don't have a really quick temper, but when I think professionals are treating me (or someone I know) with anything but respect, I lash out. Not in a profanity-laced, angry manner, but in this sort of white-hot, ultra-focused way in which I'm really articulate, but can't remember what I said two minutes afterwards. I could have a career in advocacy if I could keep that sort of righteous indignation going.
Work today was uneventful. I got a call from the other allocator for associate consultants. She said that L.A. was thrilled to have me (whether because of a shortage of first-year consultants or because I'm so darned special, I don't know), and we worked out some of the details.
My relocation reimbursement can be used to cover the costs of visiting L.A. and finding a place to live, so I'm going to book a trip in late July/early August to do just that. I've searched craigslist and a couple of other sites, and assuming that I can find renters who'll cover my mortgage and taxes (basically removing the financial obligation of owning the house for a year), I can afford a decent place in West L.A. or Santa Monica. Or at least what looks decent from the pictures and descriptions. If I find that I can rent the house and get a little bit of profit, all the better.
I wrote to the LGBT outreach guy I originally contacted back when the idea of interviewing for a consulting position was just a stray thought in the back of my head. I thanked him for taking the time to discuss the idea with me, and to reach out to the appropriate people who led me on the path towards getting the job.
He called me back almost immediately ("Patrick! I just got your e-mail on my Blackberry!") and said he was thrilled for me. He thinks I'll love Los Angeles, and told me to contact him when I get out there, so he can set me up to meet friends of his who live in the area. With that kind of help, the people I already know who work out of that office, and all the folks I know online, I feel like I'm moving to another neighborhood, not clear across the country.
I also got an internal instant message from Paul, a coworker from back when I started in the design department. He actually trained me, and has made the transition from design to consulting. He's in the L.A. office right now, and congratulated me on getting the job. He also said that I should be prepared for super-long days, but that my experience with knowledge management would come in really handy.
All in all, I'm feeling better and better about this move. I have a lot of stuff to get done, but it'll all be accomplished before I leave, and I just know this is going to be a great experience.
After work, I went to Laurie's house to help her move her Mom's air conditioner into her room. It's not that heavy, but both Laurie and her Mom have bad knees, so bringing something relatively heavy up from the basement is a challenge. I played off the "strong man" idea, and Laurie's Mom praised me like the Prodigal Son.
"Sure," said Laurie, "I clean the whole house, do everything for her, and you waltz in, move one heavy thing, and you're the hero!"
We returned a shredder that didn't work right, bought a few household items at Home Depot, and then went to dinner at On The Border. On the way home, she suggested ice cream, which blew my diet (as if the grilled burrito and chips didn't already), but it was comfort food.
We sat around and watched Jurassic Park for the umpteenth time. I think Laurie is getting used to the idea of me moving away, and vice versa. I'm going to miss her like mad, but it's not necessarily permanent, and we can easily keep in touch. Plus, it gives her an excuse to come out to California for many visits!
For the first time in over two months, I came home to a house without Bonnie. Oddly, Rita met me at the door, which she never does. She meowed at me and followed me all around the house, finally settling on my lap while I watched some TV.
She's meowing at me now, since I'm in bed, and she wants to lie down on top of my head, as usual. Who am I to deny her? She has no little black dog to torment her anymore.
Now is ze time on ze journal where ve beg:
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