Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At Long Last...

I present the following without further comment as I just don't have the words at the moment:

Term: Fall Year: 2011
Program Time: P/T Evening Degree: JD
Current Status: Decision Rendered
Current Status Date: 5/17/2011
Decision Status: Admit
Decision Status Date: 5/17/2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pardon Me While I Hyperventilate

I've been checking the Texas Wesleyan application status website every couple of hours...still nothing. I finally called just after five, and lo and behold I spoke to the person who is the hold up. At least, she claimed it was awaiting action on her part. I advised her that I'm not too proud to beg; and, when I found out she was the one who was the last person in line before getting the decision out, I asked her if she was susceptible to bribery. She stated that she is officially not open to bribery but did ask what I had to offer. She did promise to keep my file open on her desk and place her vote this evening so that the decision would go out this evening or first thing in the morning. We shall see.

Friday, May 13, 2011

And The Beating Continues...

If it weren't for the fact that Blogger was completely toast until a few minutes ago, I would have posted this last night. I called Texas Wesleyan again yesterday since there is still no word on the whereabouts on their decision regarding my application. I was again told that the admissions cycle for new students does, in fact, end today. I was also informed that decisions were being pushed out last night. At least, the first batch of decisions. Apparently, they had so many applications that they had to split it up into more than one batch. I was advised that if I didn't receive a decision by today, that it would definitely be sometime next week. Where have we heard that before?

When I asked how many applications they had received, I was told that they had received about 2000. I have no idea if this is normal or not, but I do think it should have been possible to get a decision out on mine sooner than 7 weeks. It's not rocket science. It's simple really. 35 business days. You only have to look at 57 a day which is about 7 an hour. Some applications don't take that long to read because they are clearly not law school material. The crayon gives them away. Those with perfect LSAT scores are probably quick reads too.

I can see them spending a little more time on my application. My resume was a whopping two pages long. I had four, one page letters of recommendation, the explanation about my academic probation, my personal statement, school transcripts and the application itself: 20 pages of material total. If that much. Seriously, how long does it take to read 20 pages? Especially when you really only need to carefully read about 5 or 6 pages of that. You'd think it's Dostoyevsky the way they've been dragging things out.

Oh well. I'll continue to sit here patiently fuming in my own distracted misery. Don't mind me. It's good training for our upcoming Obamacare wait times.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strange Day

I've seen some pretty interesting stuff come across my desk over the last 15 years as a claims adjuster. I've seen the photos of the results of someone who had the misfortune to get caught under a massive steel bridge girder. There were the photos of the crispy remains of three unfortunate drunks who found out the hard way that pickup trucks moving at over 90 miles per hour stop VERY quickly after encountering a stack of solid concrete highway barricades...and then burst into flames. Then there were the photos of the guy who had an unfortunate encounter with one of those saws you see in road paving projects that cuts expansion joints into concrete. He got 20 inches of rapidly turning saw blade through the back and lived....for a little while.

In short, you could say that I've seen some stuff that would shock most normal people into a puking fit. I've seen so much of it, that I'm generally immune to human tragedy in whatever form it takes. However, having said that, I discovered today that it is still possible for me to be shocked by my work.

You see, in 15 years of handling all sorts of claims including my fair share of workplace gender based harassment matters (I'm intentionally avoiding a more appropriate term here in an effort to avoid getting unnecessary and unwanted Google search term traffic), I've never once had photos of a lascivious nature, alleged or otherwise, delivered directly to my office desktop. Ever. Until today.

I can't go into too many details for obvious reasons, but I can share a little about what makes this so shocking. At least to me. Aside from the fact that I consider myself a Christian.

Generally speaking, when a claim for gender based harassment is made, the allegations are typically coached in euphemism and/or "proper clinical" terminology. This is especially true here in Texas where we consider ourselves the buckle of the Bible Belt. Occasionally, to emphasis a particularly egregious point, an attorney will employ direct quotation of the alleged offender's harassing remarks. Providing evidence in the form of copies of explicit emails or photos is almost always left to the discovery process when information is exchanged in a more or less controlled fashion. It is unheard of for copies of explicit photos to be attached to a copy of a lawsuit.

Which is exactly what happened in the case that was assigned to me today.

What made it even more surprising, to me at least, was the number of levels this claim went through with no one thinking to put a warning on it. You know...like "WARNING - EXPLICIT MATERIAL ENCLOSED". The claimant's attorney's letter was addressed to three women who make up part of the board of our named insured. They forwarded the letter to their agent. Their contact at the agency is also a woman (who is someone I've dealt with for years). That agent forwarded the claim to my company where it wound up in our support unit to be assigned to the appropriate team by a clerical person...who is female. It then goes to my supervisor...who is female.

So, by my count, 6 women touched this correspondence and attendant explicit photos (which happen to be of a somewhat infamous female of negotiable virtue) WITHOUT thinking to put a warning on the file or the materials that there was explicit material enclosed. 

Imagine my surprise when I encountered some rather graphic images of uninhibited and unclothed womanhood...at work. My mouth literally fell open when I scrolled through the materials and the attendant images. I was so stunned, I immediately went and told The Queen what had happened because I could not believe it myself.

I guess those company firewalls only keep you from going and looking for it yourself but don't keep others from sending it to you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Good News and Bad News

First, the good news. I still have NOT received a response from Texas Wesleyan regarding my law school application. Yes, you read that right. Things have to be bad when the GOOD news is that I've received no news about whether or not they think I'm fit to be trained as an attorney.

So, which do you want first? The bad news or the really bad news?

Since it's my blog and you all won't have an opportunity to express your preferences before I hit the "publish post" button, I think I will make you cry then laugh in the hopes of lessening the pain. Stop reading now, skip to the end and start reading from the bottom if you don't want to cry. 

Seriously. You've been warned. 

As you know from previous posts, The Queen's favorite subject, Kiki (aka The Yakmaster 5000 Projectile Vomit Cannon) has been ill of late. So ill that he has been steadily losing weight for several months. The first trip to the vet found nothing dreadfully out of the ordinary aside from slight anemia and slightly elevated white blood cell count, and it was suggested that he be put on probiotics and antibiotics. The probiotics seemed to be helping. He regained his appetite after we figured out his favorite foods were Fancy Feast and honey maple turkey deli meat. Until the last few days. He decided that now was the time to go on a starvation diet. Literally. By Saturday morning, he was wobbly, weak and generally looking pathetic. 

The Queen insisted that I do something about this situation immediately. You see, as I may have mentioned, The Queen has been suffering through some pretty severe health issues for the last several years. When she came down with these problems, we were living in Houston as I had just gotten a really good job there. Without a family support network, it was not possible for me to work and take care of her by myself. She didn't qualify for home health care, etc. So, we made the hard decision to have her move back to our house in the Dallas area (her parents were care taking it for us until we figured out what to do with it). The plan was that I would find a way to get a job back in Dallas...a process that ultimately took two years. Kiki was one of The Queen's major sources of comfort and affection while I was away down in Houston earning a living and generally going insane. 

By now, you can see where this is heading. Remember, I warned you. 

Saturday, as you would expect, our regular vet was closed, and their answering service put me on terminal hold. After an unsuccessful attempt to get Kiki into another vet, I was left with the only option available: The 24 hour emergency vet in Arlington. This is not really a bad thing as I used to live right down the street from there, and they were our regular vet until we moved away. So, they had records on us even if none of the staff remembered us. 

We got Kiki there Saturday evening, and the poking and prodding began. They reran some of the tests the regular vet had done and added a few more. The end result was not good. He had lost about 50% of his body weight in 5 months. He was septic, and the vet felt that was due to gastrointestinal cancer. That left us with two choices: 1) IV antibiotics and nutrition followed by more tests and probably chemo, or 2) put him to sleep.

The vet told us that he had seen a similar case a week or so ago, and the cat had died a day after going on the antibiotics and IV nutrition as the poor thing was just not strong enough to battle back. The vet told us that his recommendation based on the test results and the history we had reported was to put Kiki to sleep. The Queen was understandably heart broken, but she bravely made the decision to have Kiki put to sleep so that he wouldn't have to suffer. The Queen couldn't face holding him while it was done. The vet promised that it would be quick and painless; and, based on prior experience with this clinic, I had no doubt that would be the case. The Queen said her goodbye's to Kiki and he was taken away. They brought him back to us sealed in a box within minutes, and we left to go home. I can't say enough about the level of professionalism and courtesy the vet's office showed to us. If you are in the Dallas area, don't hesitate to use the I-20 Animal Medical Center. They are good people.

The Queen cried her heart out until late into the night when she passed out from shear exhaustion. The next day, of course, was Mother's Day. The Queen's uncle was in town from California, and a lunch was planned at her brother's place. I woke up as early as I could and attempted to bury Kiki in one of his favorite spots next to the driveway in the Monkey Grass. 

Unfortunately, the bedrock at Castle Erickson varies in depth from about 1 foot to 18 inches. Great for your home's foundation. Horrible for when it becomes necessary to take care of some unpleasantness. Short of dynamite, which the neighbors would find objectionable, Kiki was just not going to be able to rest in his favorite spot. Since The Queen's brother has 16 acres of land, we decided to bury Kiki in a wooded area on his property. The Queen placed a cactus flower she had found over his grave.

We had Kiki for about 11 years. He was a rescue from the sister of a friend who was not able to give him and his litter mate the care they needed. His brother had disappeared years ago, and Kiki became The Queen's all time favorite by giving her comfort during some of her darkest days. I was forever frustrated by his finickyness, his fondness for hunting and killing everything within reach, and his penchant for vomiting on everything in sight, but I am grateful for all the love and affection he gave The Queen in exchange for nothing more than a warm bed and a full food bowl.

Then, to add insult to injury so to speak, I managed to create a minor plumbing disaster this afternoon that absolutely ruined my work day. Allow me to back up a few moments. Castle Erickson has been without a weedeater since the beginning of the lawn season. There are two weedeaters on the premises. Neither of which worked. 

One was a Black & Decker Grass Hog electric which chewed up weeds and tall grass better than a lot of gas trimmers until it suddenly stopped working for no apparent reason. The reason, after disassembly, turned out to be the plastic drive cog had melted allowing the belt to come off making the powerful electric motor absolutely useless. Question for Black & Decker: Whose bright idea was it to use a plastic part in an application that would generate tons of heat from friction? Fire that dumbass. Please. Oh, and the person who decreed that you would not sell said plastic piece of garbage separate from the motor assembly which costs 3/4 of what a whole new unit would cost. Yeah, he needs to be fired too.

The other is a Ryobi SS26 gas trimmer. The Ryobi would start all day long, and it would even turn the trimmer head. Right up until you took it off choke. I suspect that it's my fault for not properly winterizing it. I gave it a complete tune up with a new spark plug, cleaning the muffler, cleaning the carb and replacing the fuel lines and filter. Still no go. The internet is overflowing with similar complaints for this model. To those of you who might have come here via a Google search: Yes, I know I should have bought a Stihl or an Echo. If I could afford a Stihl or an Echo, I would have bought one. No, I don't want to hear it. The problem seems to be localized in the carb as it will start with or without the muffler in place ruling out too much back pressure. The fact that it starts rules out spark leaving fuel as the only possible culprit. New fuel and fuel filter point squarely at the carb. I'm going to order a new carb, turn right around and sell it to someone else. Let them screw with it.

Anyway, The Queen decreed that a functioning weedeater must come home or else. So, we stopped at Wal Mart on our way home from taking mom out to dinner for mother's day yesterday and purchased a new Weedeater Featherlite. Again, all you brand fanboys: I DON"T CARE. 

This afternoon, The Queen entered my office and suggested that she might have the energy to do a little weedeating to make the Castle a little more presentable. I put the new tool together and sent her off to get the required gas since, of course, the Weedeater uses a different fuel/oil mixture than the Ryobi does (fortunately, the chainsaw is a match for the Ryobi meaning my mix won't go to waste). She returned. I filled the little tank and promptly flooded the stupid thing. Once I figured out the procedure for starting it flooded, we were off and running....for all of two minutes. Max. The trimmer works fine, but imagine my surprise when a .095 inch trimmer line split open a 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe on one of our outdoor faucets. 

Water immediately started gushing a several gallons a minute, and I made a mad dash for the water shut off valves on the opposite corner of the house...which did exactly nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Apparently, they only take care of the water INSIDE the house. After a fruitless 15 minute search for another water shut off valve that, you know, WOULD affect the OUTSIDE water faucets, I threw in the towel and called the city to come out and shut off the water at the meter. They were there in about 15 minutes, and then it was off to Home Depot to get some Schedule 40 PVC, coupling and a new faucet (might as well make it look pretty while I was at it, and the old one leaked). The repair too less than 15 minutes. I waited a few before calling the city, and they were back out in about 20 minutes to get us back on. No major leaks detected although the new faucet has a very minute leak from the threads despite a generous amount of teflon tape.

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to go swill some wine and pretend the last three days never happened.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wake Up Call

You know...it's a really sad commentary on the state of the household when a cat becomes accustomed in true Pavlovian fashion to associate explosive flatulence with his morning feeding time. It works something like this:

Gas Bag Who Shall Remain Nameless: [FFFFAAARRRRRTTTTTT!!!!!!] (at a decibel level that can be heard across the house mind you)

Cat: Meow? [while getting up to go to his food dish and start gnoshing] Om, nom nom nom.

"Is it time to eat?"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Ultra Special Hell Continues

Today is Cinco de Mayo. I could not care less. 

Osama Bin Laden got put down for his eternal dirt nap a couple of days ago. So what?

My law school application still being in limbo...that's about all I can think about right now. 

Since I am neither a child molester or someone who speaks in the theater, I had to come up with another level of Hell for those who law school applications remain in limbo. Since today is 6 weeks to the day from when my application was marked complete, we are now moving into Ultra Special Hell Overtime. 

I did call again this morning to see if there was any more news to be had regarding the whereabouts of their decision regarding my fate. I spoke to a different person this time who again told me that the secret squirrel website had the most up to date information available regarding the status of my application. He did advise that "application under review" means that my application remains checked out by the admissions committee. He also let me know that there will definitely be a decision issued by the end of next week as that will be the end of this admissions cycle. 

So, to recap:
  • No decision yet
  • Decision promised by the end of next week
  • Ultra Special Hell
More updates as events warrant.