Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Pissy with a Vendor

On the phone with a vendor from whom I'd requested an advertised, free, 30-day trial of an information resource on behalf of a department at MPOW.

After 30 minutes of my patiently letting her pitch me with sales B.S. (We're already interested in the product! Why would I ask for a trial and quote otherwise?!), I asked for the third time if we could get a quote.

Vendor: Well, I'd really like for you to have the trial for a week before I tell you that.

[Uncomfortable pause]

Me: I can understand why, from a sales perspective, you'd feel that way. However, if my internal client evaluates the trial for a week and THEN finds out it is impossibly beyond her budget, she will have wasted a week evaluating it. So we sort of need that information up front.

Vendor: Well, how much do you have budgeted for [this type of resource]?

[Uncomfortable pause]

Me: (Slowly and calmly) Lets assume for a moment that I have that information. The quote you give me should be based on what you feel the product's market demand merits. So if I have that kind of information, let us assume that there is no way on earth I'd share it with you. The quote you give us will not be based on how much money is available.

Vendor: Well, we don't want to devalue our data either.

Me: Of course not- that's why you set prices based on market demand, not on how much money the prospective client has, especially in this economy. Right now, you're devaluing a prospective client- and I suspect that's even worse for your bottom line than devaluing your data.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If You're Lucky...

True story:

We were sitting in the lobby of a busy restaurant this evening, waiting to be seated. I saw two elderly women approaching the exterior doors, so I got up to hold the door open.

The first woman passed through slowly with her walker, smiling at me as she came through. The second woman moved more quickly than her friend with a cane in her right hand and clear, alert eyes.

"Thank you," she said. Then she slowed slightly and spoke quietly as she looked me squarely in the eyes.

"If you're lucky, you'll die before you get old."

I was startled by this and just looked at her for a moment. All I could think to say was: "There are worse kinds of luck, aren't there?"

She smiled noncommittally and continued on.


Someone help me understand why I can't stop thinking about this?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time Turning Anger to Pity

When Liz's father killed himself, just days after Simon was born, I was overcome with anger.

Liz has depression and was already at high risk for post-partum depression. I was furious that he'd be such a selfish ass to put her through the grief of his death, especially at such a delicate time.

I was furious at what I saw as his enormous selfishness. He didn't seem to care how his death would impact either of his kids.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that when he successfully killed himself (just a week or so after a failed attempt), I had thoughts like "good riddance."

After all, his death made my mother-in-law's life much easier. They were in the process of a divorce, and he'd been doing everything possible to intimate her, screw her out of a fair settlement, and bully her. Estate, after all, is much easier to deal with than divorce, and my mother-in-law's collection of life insurance ensured that she would retire with some financial security.

As more time passes, the anger fades and is replaced, mostly, by pity and shame that I was so angry.

Rick was an unhappy man most of his life. He had an awful childhood. He had chronic health problems (degenerative disc disease and menier's disease) that caused him pain most of his waking moments, deprived him of 70% of his hearing, and kept him from sleeping properly. He was bipolar and unable(/unwilling?) to aggressively treat this mental illness.

He had been diagnosed with an "organic brain disease" some time earlier and kept this information from his family. If he had been willing to pursue it, he might have been able to slow the progression and hang on to more of his rational mind (he was an engineer and a history buff with a very active intellect).

More and I more, I find myself thinking about how miserable and hopeless he must have felt in order to be able to do what he did. He had to have filled all his prescriptions, bought a bunch of over-the-counter pills, acquired a large amount of water with which to wash the pills down, and swallowed fistful after fistful in a methodical manner.

More and I more, I find myself thinking that the right to decide when to die may be the ultimate civil liberty, and I should respect his tragic choice.

More and more, I think about my anger towards Rick as a part of wanting to develop more mindfully charitable thinking towards others.

I still feel anger over the grief he put my family through at the worst of possible times, but that anger seems more appropriately proportionate now- once facet of more complex feelings about a man, for all his faults, co-created my Liz. I do believe that he loved Liz as well as he could, given his under-treated mental illnesses. When Liz has moments or days of sadness when thinking about her father, a scowl doesn't appear on my face or in my heart. Sympathy does. Pity does.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awesome Commentary on our Book

via: http://tinyurl.com/dbtbsm

Seriously, read this aloud:

"Product Description:
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Machine-translated to English from German, maybe?

Crapper support! Newborn advances in penalization!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Liz Teases the Gunnies on Facebook

I can't stop laughing at this.

Here's the cast of characters:

Andrew - My brother, a hard-core gunny
Liz - My hilarious spouse who likes easy targets
Jamie - Our beloved friend who believes in gun rights (he's from Texas, a democrat, and an awesome guy), but agrees with us that Andrew takes it a bit far.

First, this exchange on Andrew's wall:

Here's a simultaneous private exchange between Liz and Jamie:

My wife is awesome.