Friday, December 1, 2017

Venting: Company wide spam

Don't read this if you think it's a positive vibed post.  It's not.

If google search has any merit at all and someone does a search for the following terms:

  • Company-wide email etiquette
  • Business email policy
  • Sending email to everyone in the company
  • and any other, what should be, no-brainer type of ideas regarding sending internal spam to other employees.....

There's no bloody way, unless you're in a startup with 12 people, that you know every single person.  So don't send company-wide emails that aren't business related!  Subjects such as:

  • I'm leaving the company, and it's been such a great time. I'll miss you.  BULLCRAP!
  • My daughter is selling girl scout cookies.  She'd love to have your support.  EVEN BIGGER BULLCRAP!
  • "Free hugs" - just because someone left their laptop unlocked and stepped away doesn't give you the right to send an email to the whole company.  If you think you're doing someone a favor, you're not. YOU SHOULD BE FIRED.
  • Many other topics, some of which are actual business-related emails.  Don't send an email to the entire company. Use Chatter, hangout groups, etc. Broad emails should be rare and not a common occurance.  It's bad enough when VPs and 'C' violate company-wide email etiquette, but then I have to get a "goodbye" email from someone I've never met or heard of in my entire life.  Knock it off damn it!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tijuana Volunteer Opportunity with the Gridley Family

Charity Anywhere Foundation (EIN 82-0494672) founded by Gordon Carter, from Bountiful, UT was the guy Cathi worked with on this activity.  The idea is that we will go to Tijuana, and be presented with a selection of families in need of a new home.  Our goal would be to build one under the direction of Alex O., a construction expert that lives in Tijuana.  He would oversee our entire week there and support us.

On August 4th at 10:30pm my family and I flew from SLC to San Diego to prepare for getting picked up on Saturday morning.  We stayed at the Best Western Yacht Habor Hotel not far from the airport.  We were able to Uber our entire group in two vans for about $25.  The hotel was very nice and exceeded my expectations.
 Saturday, Aug 5th: We arranged for a pick up at 9:30am from a driver Alex sent and we waited at San Diego for Kylie, another volunteer, to join us.  We crossed the border relatively quickly and made our way to Alex's house.  He gave us an orientation and assigned us to our rooms which were the second floor of his house.  Very well furnished and provided for all our needs.

Our task for the day was to go shopping at a local grocery store, buy food for three families which would last about a week.  Boy do I wish I knew Spanish.  I used Google Translate alot, but it wasn't extremely helpful.  I noticed many of the grouping of foods were similar to back home so that made it easy.

We delivered the food and visited (despite our lack of Spanish abilities Alex translated a little) the families.

At the base of this picture taking the "selfie" is Alex.  He was AWESOME. The woman next to Oliver was recently bitten by a Violin Spider which is a nickname for a Brown Recluse.  Her leg was bruised up pretty good, and she had a small limp, but was getting better.  She was a neat little lady.

We got back and took Alex's son Isaac with us to play a little soccer
and get an ice cream.  Alex soon joined us.  That was fun.

Sunday, Aug 6th - we attended church and rested. Didn't understand a word. Nice people though.

The "tire stairs" about a 50 foot climb.
Very Steep.
Preparing the foundation by sweeping
it clean.

Passing the 2x4s up in an assemly line.

Framing the front wall
Monday, Aug 7th - first day of work.  Carried lots of wood and supplies up the "steps of tires" to the work site.  A few weeks earlier at a family reuinion, Jacob broke my left ring finger in several places and I was in a cast and limited in my grip strength as a result, but Jacob made up for it as he doubled everyone else in what he was able to carry.
Jacob impressed everyone with his strength.

 Some time in the afternoon, I heard Cathi yelling "Go! Go!". She had arranged a competition to see who could climb all those stairs the fastest.  I stopped to go watch, and Oliver ran up those stairs in about 24 seconds.  Jacob was able to jump up those stairs in just over 10 seconds.  He tried several times to beat 10 seconds and wasn't able to.  Kylie was the second best with just under 11 seconds.  I tried it, and got a 17 seconds.  Austin also got 11 seconds. Fun times.

 At the end of the day we were able to get two walls completed.  We had enough in the day to go visit the beach.  The kids loved it.  The water was quite cold, but that didn't stop them.

Cathi froze the whole time.  It was a little breezy.

Tuesday, Aug 8th

On Tuesday, we continued the framework and got two more walls done and got all four walls put together.  Still no roof.  That is Wednesday.

Tuesday evening we went to the Tijuana Temple. Lucy, Jonas, Isaac and Sam were able to do the baptismal temple work for five people each. I had to perform the ordinances reading from a card in Spanish.  I kinda butchered it I think cause they gave me an English card soon after. What a beautiful temple!

Wednesday, Aug 9th

On Wednesday we hauled up more wood.  This time big sheets of 4x8 plywood.  Jacob again impressed everyone as he could take 2 and once he took 3 sheets in one trip!  I was only able to take one.  We then proceeded to put an internal wall separating the inside into two rooms.  The entire building was 18 feet by 20 feet.  We then nailed the entire side walls together with the internal wall and did the roof framework.  Jacob was again the hero with the ability to just sit on top of the framework of the walls as he worked to put together the beams for the roof.  Then we nailed the roof sheets on and got the tar paper laid out on the roof.  Way easier than shingles.

Every day at lunch Vanessa (the owner of the new home) would make us an authentic Mexican lunch.  So good!  

Kylie Pyne, the youngster that joined us.

Wednesday evening, we went to the church for a youth activity: Handing out the school supplies that Isaac collected for his Eagle Scout Service Project, as well as give out the Soccer balls.  Isaac had put together 48 individual school supply kits.  Each kit contained a box of pencils, pens, markers, scissors, pencil sharpener, sheets of ruled paper, crayons.  We transported 3 large 40 pound totes full of the supplies.  Even though we presented all of Isaac's paperwork to the Delta check in folks at the airport, they would not waive the $25 charge for each bin even though I was told over the phone that the fees would be waived.  That was annoying.  Thanks a lot Delta. Customer service at its finest.

Then it was followed up with some international Volleyball! Little did they know they were dealing with a ruthless player... Jacob.  As you can see he broke my finger in four places, essentially shattering my knuckle:

Alex is such a fun guy. We thoroughly enjoyed I time with him,
and truly appreciated his hospitality.

The church grounds were immaculate and had a fantastic view.

But no accidents happened so that's good.

Thursday, Aug 10th

 On Thursday, with all the framework completed and the panels on, we because to nail black paper to the outside of the walls.  This was quite time consuming to get every inch of outside wall covered, and then we started putting chicken wire on top of that layer.  This was especially frustrating with my broken finger.  Those little nails are quite short.  We weren't quite able to complete that step and left a little of it for tomorrow.

Cutting the sheets to just the right size and then laying it out smoothly was a struggle especially with the upper layers that required a ladder.  We only had one ladder.

Allison is Vanessa and Ruel's daughter. She'll be a great
big sister to the newborn coming later this year.

Teamwork at its finest.
Almost there!  It's starting to look like a real house.

On Thursday night, we went to Tijuana downtown to do some shopping.  I got a new leather rifle case.  It's big enough to almost fit Oliver inside!

Friday, Aug 11th

Today the plan is to finish as much as we can be about 2pm so we can get on our way back to the US by 4:30pm.  It takes quite a while to get through the border.  So we finished up the chicken wire.  Jacob and Alex and many of the other kids worked on the electrical. Then we got all the drywall up on the inside walls.  We installed the window.  We worked to the very end of our time.  I wish we could have had another week to get all the details completed, but we've done a TON in one week and I'm amazed at what we were able to accomplish.  We grew attached to this cute family even though our communication barrier was quite overwhelming.  

I would highly suggest this trip to anyone planning a vacation.  We had a lot of fun, were able to use the funds to build a home and help feed other families.  We are planning to come back for another project next year!!
We felt so grateful for this opportunity! We felt so happy to come here, enjoy the culture, work together, make something that would be a real help to this family.  We'd love to come back and visit them next time we make it in to Tijuana for another project.  Thank you Gordon Carter and Alex for allowing us to do this! We'll never forget it.