Monday, March 31, 2003

Training Day...

Going to the office downtown used to be more enjoyable than this. Go to the second floor, flash the company ID, and tailgate your way in. Now, because of our buddy Osama, security is much tighter.

On the drive in this morning, I had two thoughts. Well, three actually. But two related to work. The third was figuring out how the hell I was going to return my tux from the Barrister's Ball. The first work-related thought was that I couldn't remember which floor I was supposed to be on - the 10th or the 11th. I knew one was today, the other in two weeks. I also didn't know how I was going to get up there. I'd heard about the new security gates, which required a valid ID to pass through. And even if I got past that, I'd need to get onto the floor somehow. But complicating things was the fact that it was only 7:10, and Jennifer wouldn't be in until 7:30.

I called her right at 7:30, and got her voice mail. She was checking messages, and I was fairly close to downtown. Traffic wasn't as bad as I'd thought. I'd given myself an hour, and only 32 minutes later I was about 15 minutes from being downtown. Fortunately, she answered the second time.

"Where are you? Are you taking today off?" she asked.
"No, I'm on my way downtown, and I need a favor."
"Sure. What can I do for you?" She was making light of my request, pretending to be solicitous as a way of being funny. I laughed.
"On my desk, under the org charts is my training schedule. Can you tell me where I'm supposed to be, the 10th or the 11th floor?"
"Sure, hang on."

While she went, I realized that I should have asked about the class start time and for phone numbers of the three people I knew well enough in the building who could let me in. When she came back, she had most of the info I needed without asking, and I realized I was going to be forty-five minutes early.

I parked in the Sears Tower garage, which didn't require an upfront payment like the cheaper lots. This was good, since I only had about six dollars on me. I called Jen back, and got the phone numbers. By the time I found an ATM, bought a latte (hey, some things are more important than others), and gotten through to someone upstairs, it was after 8:10. Armed with Diane's promise to let me in if needed, I went to security, and followed the right procedure. I still had to tailgate onto the right floor, but that was surprisingly easy. The person even held the door for me.

Training was relatively uneventful, as long as you don't count the three times I killed the power for the room. It wasn't really my fault; the room was laid out so that the power cords and LAN connections were at my feet, and every time I moved them, something went out. It got to be a running gag. In the afternoon, I moved seats, and took one that had opened up when the person realized they were in the wrong class. So was I, but no one told me until the afternoon. Seems all the nuclear people were having their own, special version of this class, but I couldn't recall anything in the email which said that. Oh well.

I took lunch out from the Corner Bakery in the Sears Tower. Security there was equally tight, if not greater. The entrance to the building, once fairly fancy, is now barren and marred with metal detectors. What a sad state of affairs. Maybe someday it can go back to where it was.

Training let out early enough that I could make it all the way up to Montrose and Milwaukee to return the tux, and back down to Loyola, without any problem. I even had time for a leisurely dinner. And for the first time in over a month, I felt prepared for a class. I actually was ready for Contracts, and got more out of class than I had in a long time. Well, not counting Thursday, when Professor Contracts couldn't make class, and her husband, a professor at a competing school, filled in. Would it be bad to say he did a much better job than her? Most of the class thought so....

Tomorrow is a big day. The new financial system goes live. And I'm wondering what disaster will strike. Stay tuned.......

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