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Life After GE

What once was an ornately detailed sand sculpture on the beach becomes an unrecognizable mound after the tide advances and retreats, a paltry shadow of its former majesty. I want to hold onto my sentimental treasures, but my new lifestyle will mean new people, routines and places. Like high tide washing over sand castles, the New replaces the Old, and memories fade with each day passing by like a new wave washing over the sand.

Yesterday was my last day as a GE employee. It's cool being able to say Friday the 13th is your last day.

As I walked around saying goodbye and best wishes to coworkers, there was a very present awareness I was seeing many of these people for the last time. I have a horrible track record when it comes to staying in touch with distant friends. After seven years with the company, I've known and become closer to many of these people than anyone else in my life except family. I hope it will be different with my GE friends, because some really are like family, but I know my own ways and habits. When I graduate from pharmacy school, I'll be in touch with only 4 or 5 of them if I'm lucky.

Being the sentimental introvert that I am, I also become attached to places, things, and daily events: Badging in and out of the turnstyles, entering my office, logging out of my workstation, turning off the lights and closing the door for the very last time. Even the signature smells of each building in Appliance Park.

People who leave the company talk about life after GE. The corporate culture is pure genius. The gist of the message is that working for the company is a privilege. Achieving the company's goals is a service to humankind because achieving the corporate goals makes the shareholders wealthy, serves the customers better, and ultimately betters society.

Work has a way of seeping into the cracks and crevices of your personal life: Whipping out your wireless email device during a commercial break or while waiting for the popcorn in the microwave, signing into work from home to spice up an otherwise relaxing block of time, late night and early morning telephone calls with your team in India, mulling over a problem while in the shower. For someone like me who's leaving the 8-5+ workday routine for another lifestyle, the change is even more dramatic.

Now that I have all this time, I'm left wondering how to put it to equally good use on my own without an employer to give me a worthly cause. I've already felt drawn back in... this morning I woke up and realized I had forgotten to send a final email to my team leader explaining how I handled a change request for an application I supported. I'll probably send the email from home because my replacement hasn't been determined, and without the benefit of spending time with me before I left, having this information is the best I can do to help my replacement hit the ground running when they start.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "get a life".

:: Bryan Travis :: 08/14/2004 @ 13:44 :: [link] ::

Mouse Kill #2

Wednesday night we found a baby mouse laying on the garage floor, near death... it squeaked when we touched it, but was unable to move. Most likely the trap killed a nursing mother last week, leaving behind a litter to starve, unable to forage on their own. It's also possible there's poison somewhere we aren't aware of (bad news for our cats), or this could have been a random occurrence.

At any rate, no trap was directly responsible for this kill, so the point bas been credited to an "Act of God". Also, after consultation with my brother, the stolen mousetrap has been credited to the "The Mouse Resistance". We discussed giving the "Quick Set" -1 point, but since points equate to kills, negative points invoke images of Lazarus mice or conjuring new mice from thin air. Thus, it seemed fitting to give the mice a point for "killing" a mousetrap after removing it from the battlefield.

:: Bryan Travis :: 08/14/2004 @ 13:06 :: [link] ::

Mouse Kill #1

The mousetraps have made their first confirmed kill. The score:

This mouse was either pregnant or well fed. As far as I am concerned, neither is good news. You'll also notice its mouth is over the bow (the metal bar that whacks mice and fingers). I didn't think much about it until the mouse remained attached to the bow when I released the trap - it's teeth had to be pried from the bow. Apparently, death was neither kind nor swift, and the poor mouse suffered long enough to bite down hard, attacking the thing which had dealt it a fatal blow.

Mouse Kill 1 - Victor Snap Trap... utilitarian but effective

:: Bryan Travis :: 08/09/2004 @ 18:47 :: [link] ::

Trap-stealing mice

When I tell friends there are mice in our house, they're invariably surprised. "Really?!" "Are you serious?" Their eyes widen in horror, as if I had told them blood oozed from the walls during the full moon. I coolly reply, "Of course we have mice. Our house is 15 years old and the yard backs up to a soybean farm."

Lots of people probably have mice in their homes but don't realize it because they aren't listening for rustling sounds in the walls at 2:30am.

I bought three kinds of mouse traps for the garage, the only place we've seen droppings. There's a hole in the hall adjacent to the stairwell, so it seems the mice live under the stairs and find their way into the second floor walls.

Behold the arsenal:

  • Snap Trap (Old Standard) (hide bait inside the curl of the bait pedal for best results)
  • Quick Set (I personally don't have much faith in this because the trap doesn't close with enough force for an instant kill - see below - and bait pedal is flat, making it easy for mice to lick clean and steal bait)
  • Quick Kill (bait is hidden inside a box; trap closes when mice open box... hiding bait in rear of box should have best kill odds)

In the beginning I only bought the Snap Trap and Quick Set models, and then made the mistake of slathering peanut butter on the outside of the Snap Trap bait pedal (instead of hiding it inside the curl) and the mice licked it off without triggering the traps. At this point, I invested in the Quick Kill model. Mice can't get to the bait in a Quick Kill without setting off the trap: the bait is inside a box; when the mouse opens the box to get to the bait, POP!

On the same night they licked off the peanut butter, one of the Quick Set traps went missing. The mice stole the trap! I looked all over the garage, even let the cats sniff around for mouse corpses clenched in the jaws of a Quick Set trap. It's been 5 days, and we still haven't found or smelled anything. The mice haven't touched the other traps since that night, so either they're avoiding the traps, or an injured mouse crawled back to the nest, died, and the other mice have been eating the dead nestmate instead of the peanut butter. Macabre, maybe, but rodents are known to eat their young, so you can bet dead ones make tempting snacks. We won't know until (if) the traps start catching mice again soon.

I still wonder about the missing mouse trap, though. Maybe we should try the instant potatoes.

:: Bryan Travis :: 08/05/2004 @ 18:26 :: [link] ::