Saturday, May 30, 2009

Home from Atlanta

In Atlanta, I attended a TQM (Total Quality Management) class. I wasn't really sure going into it what to expect, but I was excited to learn some new tools.

I liked the fact that the class was all about teaching ways to determine problems and how to find the requirements to fix the problems. It also covers testing those requirements to see if they are must have, delighters, or one dimentional. The process seems like it would be helpful, and I am anxious to try it a few times to see if it adds value in real life.

The process is a bit over the top. You must do things like write the headings in a specific color pen and write letters that are 3/8 inch tall. It sometimes feels like you are getting scolded for such minor things that it is difficult to truly pay attention to the process because you must make sure you have the correct color or the correct number of lines on the card. At one point, the instructions had been so strict that we laughed as I read the description to put some "casual" red arrows on the board. It was actually supposed to be "causal" but we didn't even question that it wasn't casual and even joked about it until I realized I had misread it. :) Having said that, if it works, then I think it will be worth it. :)

We have a homework assignment to do before the last session that is in July. It seems like a lot of work (especially since we have a 2 person team instead of 5 or 6 so that we can do a topic that is important to our group AND the small fact that I am on vacation for 2 weeks), but I am hopeful that we will learn a lot from it.

I sat next to a sales guy from a competitor of ours on the ride home. It surprised me to learn that they had several employees in the Tampa area. I know there are a couple of other competitors in the area, so I guess there are quite a few of us around. Interesting....

I am home for a few days, and I am excited and saddened that school gets out on Wednesday. I still can't believe that we will not have any elementary aged kids after Wed. FREAKY.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trip to Atlanta

I arrived in Atlanta through a very rough descent (I actually gripped the arm rests), and noticed that the weather was pretty icky. I rode MARTA. I like MARTA, and I laugh hysterically when I think about us taking field trips to Atlanta and riding MARTA. Last time, I took a cab from the MARTA to the hotel. This time, I thought I would be super thrifty and take the Hilton van. So, I called the minute I got off the train, and I was told that "the driver was on his way." So, I make my way to the 1st floor, and I see all of these vans. I wait for about 20 minutes, and there is no Hilton van. So, I call the hotel and make sure that he is really on the way. Yes, he is on the way. No, she cannot tell me an estimate on when he will get there. Yes, the van says Hilton on the side. Hmmm....the thunder and lightening is getting stronger and closer. I wait 10 more minutes, and the van finally arrives. The driver makes NO attempt to even remotely consider helping me with my luggage. So, I lug it up into the van and lug it to the luggage section.

I sit down. No greeting. No welcome. Nothing. In less than 3 minutes, we are at the hotel. HMMMMM....why did it take over 30 minutes to get there? How could he have been "on the way?" I start to exit the bus, and I realize once again that the driver is going to make no attempt to help me with my stuff. Not only that, but he doesn't even say have a nice stay or anything. So, nice, quiet Amy says, "Thanks so much for all of your help." I get to the desk, and the check in lady is less than friendly. Not mean, but not typical Hilton service.

I get to my room, and I realize that the diet cokes that they emailed me asking if I wanted to order (I said yes) were not in my room. They emailed me THREE TIMES about it, and then they didn't deliver. So, I reach for the phone to call the desk. It is a cordless phone and doesn't work. Hmm...Is this the same Hilton? Later, I mention the diet cokes to the desk, and she says she will have them delivered. After we went to Taco Mac for dinner, I came back to the room where the diet cokes wer put in a container on ice. Hmm...the email said they would be in the REFRIGERATOR...not sure what the weird display was all about, but they also brought mints and glasses of water? odd....

Otherwise, the day was pretty normal. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Fun

Today, we mainly just relaxed and hung out at home. The boys went for a bike ride, and the girls went to the pool. It was a pretty relaxing day. We did get a pretty bad storm this afternoon, so we were all tucked away inside.

Mike grilled burgers and corn for dinner. They were delicious. Mike cut up one of the burgers and gave it to Sophie as a treat in her bowl. She was so excited. Poor thing was trying to eat it with the cone, but she couldn't get it to stop moving.

Here is a picture of Sophie with her cone on (she was spayed on Friday) after enjoying the meal.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Catching Up

Morgan as Hannah

BEAM (Belize, Erica, Alexis, Morgan)

Morgan and Sophie

I have been on the go so much that I have just had to sacrifice blogging. I am not going to try to do too much catching up.

Morgan's school chorus got to sing at Disney (Epcot) a couple of weeks ago. It was super cool for them to get to miss school AND to sing at Epcot. I hadn't been to Epcot since I was in 8th grade. I really enjoyed it, and we will have to go back.

The Bond Boys, Alexis, and Morgan at Epcot

For some strange reason, the two times I have been to Disney, I have gotten a weird rash. The first time was attributed to a sulfa allergy, but since this was my leg after the day at Epcot, I am not so sure. Coincidence?

Last week, I was in Richmond Sunday night and came home on Monday. Morgan had cheer tryouts Sun - Thurs. They learned more of a routine this year that had a dance, jumps, and tumbling in it. They did their running and standing tumbling tryouts on Wed and the routines on Thursday. Morgan had a name tag on that had 11 as the first number (this is supposed to be her age). I said, "Hey, you aren't 11 yet." She said, "Mom that is CHEER age." I cracked up.

We also had registration for middle school for Morgan (MIDDLE SCHOOL - how is that possible?) on Tuesday. We got to meet her teachers and learn about how they structure the team. It sounds really good (and hard!), and her teachers all seem to have some real world experience that they like to share in the classroom. I like that. We got a long list of books for them to read over the summer, and they also got a supply list. I still can't believe that she can possibly be going into middle school. Need to absorb that one over the summer.

We were going to go camping for Memorial Day weekend because the weather people said it was going to rain almost all weekend. Since it had rained every single day for about two weeks, we thought we should believe them. SURPRISE! It has been beautiful with just a few sporadic storms. Oh well. It has been nice to be home too.

Yesterday, Morgan, Katie, and Michael went to Crudapalooza by WyldLife (Young Life) at church. They played games where they put shaving cream in their hair, threw flour bombs at each other, played twister with mustard, ketchup, mayo, relish as the circles, and bounced water balloons on sheets. All that and pizza too! They had a blast. Glad they got to go as it was different. :)
The beginning - war paint applied
The after with NASTY stuff in the hair and on the clothes (the fire truck didn't do a very good job)

In the evening, we got out the Wii Active Trainer and tried it out. Everyone loved it. Michael was addicted and did it like 6 times. :) It really is amazing, and I love it. I have started trying to get into shape. We are going on our cruise in about a month, and we are signed up for some excursions that are supposed to be pretty difficult. They rate them as one man (easy), two mad (moderate), and three man (more difficult). We have some three mans in our plans, so I wanted to be ready. If you want to follow along, check out my couch 2 5k blog here.

Relaxing Sunday

We just hung out at home for the most part today. We played Wii, watched TV, and generally hung out around the house. Michael was addicted to the Active Trainer on the Wii. He played it for hours. It was fun to watch him enjoy it so much. Katie and Morgan also did a turn on it. They also played rock band and some other Wii games. It had been a while since we had used the Wii as the new puppy had chewed through the sensor wire. Now that it is replaced, we are back to Wii! :) I forget how addicting that thing can be. I wish I had invented the Wii...:)

I did go to Feet First in Tampa to get a new Polar Watch, and I was very impressed by the service a the store. It is a drive, but I think I might keep going there just because of the service level.

We thought about going on a bike ride and swimming, but right around that time it POURED rain. Oh well.

For dinner, Mike grilled chicken on the grill and steamed brocolli and asparagus. It was yumm...Great grilling out for memorial day weekend.

Katie got a virus on her computer, and Mike was frustrated most of the day trying to fix it. I always think about what a shame it is that these virus people use their skills to do harm instead of good. Those people could probably invent some pretty cool stuff!

Loved being able to relax and having nowhere that we had to be. :)