Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Hip Fairy

There is an old fable that's been told through the years. When little boys have had a successful hip replacement surgery, you are supposed to take the old hip and put it under your pillow. Then that evening, the hip fairy takes the hip and replaces it with a shiny new quarter.

Aside from the new quarter, the great news is that Larry had hip-replacement surgery today and came through with flying colors. Instead of being 2 hours, the whole procedure was less than 90 minutes. He was in recovery for a couple of hours and then in his room by 2:00 PM. After a few days of physical therapy, he’ll be home by Friday.

There is nothing more joyous than when a loved one is brought into their hospital room to see waiting family. Additionally, the conversations are utterly hysterical as the anesthesia wears off.

L: Why does my mouth taste all funny?
S: Because you were eating a piece of bread.
L: That shouldn’t taste so weird.
S: You fell asleep with it in before swallowing. It’s been slowly melting for 20 minutes.

(I was adjusting his blankets while he was sleeping. He suddenly woke up.)
L: What are you doing?
S: Adjusting your blankets to keep you warm.
L: I’m naked under here.
S: Yes, I know.
L: Are you trying to see me naked?
S: Yes Larry, this whole cutting your hip out was an excuse to see you naked.

(The nurse was changing his IV.)
L: Steve, what time are you leaving tonight?
S: Probably around 6:30 , after traffic slows down.
L: OK, be sure to…SNORE
Nurse: Sorry, sometime patients stop mid-sentence like that.
S: Ma'am, that’s been happening for 16 years. I’m totally used to it

Here’s realizing we love them all the time; though they are WAY more fun on a morphine drip.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friending does not mean Friend

Okay, not to be all 12-year-old girlish, but you are not going to believe who tried to friend me on Facebook this morning?

(Waiting for you to guess)

Give up? FREAKING Laura...the infamous woman who this entire-online-world-of-mine-where-I-spill-my-guts-to-you-all is named after. (Was that grammatically correct?)

Seriously, I helped get her fired. We hated each other within the first day of working together. For the love of God, I left her in the middle of the Adolphus hotel lobby when she faked a hypoglycemic attack.

And now she friends me? (Don't get all turn the other cheek on me. This is not going to be one of those personal improvement stories. You're on my blog, play by my rules.)

So what do you think I did? (You're probably half right.)

I actually had to call over one of the 20-somethings in my office because I could not figure out how to ignore the invite from Laura on this new Facebook. That turned out to be a good thing because she also taught me how to block someone. I LOVE this software.

Truthfully, I should be a bigger person. At the same time, Facebook is about friendships and frankly she's not one of them.

But I promise, I'll definitely accept your request.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Case by Case

I'm not the biggest fan of my managerial accounting professor. He prefers to give homework, then quiz us when we first arrive and then teach us the subject. It seems back-assward. This guy gets middle-of-the-road evaluations and I was pretty certain he was being reviewed last week by this guy who sat in the back of the room for his class.

He also prefers teaching us through case studies instead of problems in the books. These are your standard Harvard Business Review cases that find their way into just about every class in grad school.

For many of the qualitative classes, we have cases to analyze and comment on the effectiveness of strategies or provide recommendations on what direction the companies should proceed. Many times they are about or portray real life organizations and situations. We've dealt with Starbucks, eBay, and Barilla pasta.

The effectiveness in an analytical class is much more difficult. Deciphering the right numbers with which to build an operating budget or return on equity isn't the easiest thing.

Last week, we had two cases; one dealing with coffee and requiring a three page Excel delivery and one about a small airplane company and discussions around the control systems it put into place.

The airline one was easier since it was discussion-based. I have a tendency to bullshit my way through discussions as you might have already guessed. The case dealt with two guys who decided to buy and operate a failing aviation company a few years after they completed grad school. The case covered the systems in place and which of the several independent units (maintenance, flight school, charters, sales, etc.) they decided to reorganize, improve or shut down. Each employee was overviewed on what value they did or could add. And the financials were all redone allowing each unit to be its own cost center.

The professor questions...which units made sense to keep? Why was this person more valuable then this one? How would you have handled this instance in their shoes? Did the owners make the right decisions; why or why not? Put yourself in the place of the mechanic/accountant/customer and ask yourself the same questions.

It was a thorough discussion and one of the most liveliest to date. At the end, the professor indicated that this case portrayed a real life aviation company.

And one of the protagonists was sitting in the back of the room!

I'm not a man who is easily star-struck, but let me tell you, that was about the coolest thing ever. To be able to ask the person about what you just read was probably my favorite part of this entire program. It was so impressive to hear from this guy (who was in his 60's) about the decisions he made and chances he took at age 26. I'm not sure I would have had the guts to do what he did, but it was an honor to meet a man who attempted and succeeded.

I left that day having an expanded appreciation for what I am doing. Many times along the journey, I've had a lot of self doubt, but it's experiences like this that let me know I really have made the right choice.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Bad Weather

Is it completely wrong that I love when hurricane season begins, because I get to watch more news features with Jim Cantore?

Way to go Hanna....Keep coming Ike.