The middle of March…

Well, here it is, the middle of March already and Colorado is rapidly closing in on 'mud season'… See here in Colorado when it rains in Spring the state turns into a muddy mess as its mostly dirt and rock where people haven't covered it with an attempt at a yard.

I've started getting things ready for warmer weather… Yesterday I put $415 into the car at my local Chrysler dealer; tune-up (plugs, wires, and other engine fiddling), brake pads and rotor turning, and an oil change. April 15th I'll be getting new rims and tires and putting the current rims and winter tires in the garage.

I also picked up a $200 'cat tree' for Marshal… The thing is about 5 feet tall and 3 feet square with tubes, platform boxes, scratching posts, and completely covered in beige carpet and hemp rope. It's sort of a feline Habitrail, and he loves it. I also picked up a few more cat toys now that I have a better idea of what he likes. The newest are two 'mice'; the one he is currently destroying is made of rabbit fur and opens to hold fresh catnip. The other is nothing more than a 3 inch ball of wool with a strip of leather through the middle which is knotted on one end to make a nose and tail, but its something he can really sink his teeth into and he carries it around by its tail all the time… The best part of the 'wooly bully' mouse is that when he gets it good and ragged, I just put it in an old sock and toss it in the washer. It comes out looking new. 🙂

Marshal has also fully adjusted to the condo now and his sneeze is about gone. It's now time to migrate his litter box and food bowls to the room designated for his use rather than a corner of the living room. Everything was placed out here so I could monitor him and as he really wanted to be with people early on it made it easier for him to have everything out here.

Work-wise it took them almost three years and over 50 projects, but they finally found something I couldn't do… The project I've been on for the last three weeks is a three-parter, and when they came to me with the inquiry I told them then that we couldn't do it; we simply didn't have the hardware to generate the type of loads they wanted *and* I didn't have the expertise in what they wanted tested.

(feline attention pause)

So the proposal went out anyways after a half-dozen teleconferences and about 40 hours of writing and re-writing the proposal to make the client happy. See, the sales manager was preparing for his quarterly trip to Mexico, needed the commission to cover it, and wasn't taking 'no' for an answer.

After all the hoop-jumping though, we won the contract we couldn't do for a client who was guaranteed to be a pain in my ass.

See, once you've done this sort of thing long enough – and I've been doing this for over ten years now – you can spot a 'problem' client at about 300 yards, and these guys had 'problem' written all over them…

Immediately the main contact on the client side set up daily hour-long afternoon teleconferences for 'status reports', wanted to see templates for the reports so he could 'comment on them' before testing was even underway, then wanted to see the Phase A report prior to the report being finalized so he could 'ensure the format was correct'… This is the sort of client that isn't here for the test data, but is really looking for how many feet of paper I can generate and has to ensure that my use of the semicolon is correct rather than making sure their application works correctly.

So I started on Phase A, a 'proof of concept' phase that I added into the proposals about two years ago just for such occasion. And I *was* able to create the data types the client wanted on the very small scale of the P.O.C., but once that was over we ran smack into the wall that I pointed out three weeks ago; namely that the user levels the client wants for Phase B testing will require about $16,000 worth of hardware we don't have.

So now everyone is running around at work trying to figure out if we want to buy the $16,000 worth of hardware and invest a week of man-hours in building, configuring, and re-staging (another $10k approximately) for a contract that only nets us a few grand less than the hardware costs…

But the sales manager had an excellent week in Mexico…

Now, to add to all this the sales manager landed a few more contracts, and they all conveniently overlap for the next few weeks so I wind up working two or three projects at the same time…

Yes, I bleed commission checks.