April 30, 2005

April 30, 2005        

After a half year hiatus from the workforce, I decided that it was finally time to rejoin the working world (actually I finally found someone that could make some use of my services).  The company is Universal Technical Institute (UTI Corp.) and they teach people through intensive and focused automotive training to be highly trained auto mechanics.  Their other divisions of Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) and Marine Mechanics Institute train people in Motorcycle and Marine mechanics and NASCAR Technical Institute trains people what they need to know to succeed in NASCAR.

I joined the helpdesk that serves all locations by providing phone support to users that experience computer problems.  The unique thing about this position is that I volunteered to cover the early (East Coast) shift which works 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.  Which is fine if you live in Orlando Florida.  I however live in Phoenix Arizona so my hours are 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM Arizona time.  But I love the shift.  Once I get here I'm off and running and before I know it, it's 8:00 AM and I've already worked three hours.

The only really strange thing about this shift is I take lunch at 9:00 AM.  And if for some reason I don't take my lunch to work and have to go out, there aren't many places open yet.   Or if they are, you have to choose "lunch" from their breakfast menu.  This reality has been the hardest to get used to about the shift.  Well, except for getting up at 4:00 AM every morning.  Let me tell you, the first day I had to do this was an experience I don't think Carol or I will ever forget.

My first day went like this:

3:51 AM - My alarm rings for first call.  The alarm rang until Carol finally rolled over and hit me telling me to turn off the alarm and get up (It's really hard to get up this early).

3:59 AM - I turn my alarm off before it goes off again and stumble out of bed.  Not quite awake yet with my eyes still closed, I stagger around the bed making my way toward the bathroom when I stub my toes on the chaise close to the end of the bed.  I limp on to the bathroom wide awake now cursing under my breath so as to not wake Carol who isn't asleep anymore because of the screams of agony that I let out when I first kicked the lounge.

4:01 AM - I reach the bathroom and close the door as quietly as possible in another attempt to not bother Carol.  The door squeaks as it closes and in the dark it's hard to know when it will reach the jam so when it does, it does so with a loud bang.

4:02 AM - After closing the door, I reach for the light switch to end the struggle of darkness.   However the quantity of light that is illuminated at that hour from the darkness is equal to being outside at noon staring straight up into the sun.  Blinded, there is more cursing and staggering as I close my eyes and stumble over to my sink.  I slowly open my eyes and start my day.

4:15 AM - I'm out of the shower getting dressed and realize that my socks are in the dresser on the far side of the bedroom.  I think, "Damn it" and finish getting as dressed as I can without the socks.   I also remember as I'm finishing up that I don't have my watch or ring as I usually keep those in the jewelry drawer of my side table.  So I grab the shoes I want to wear and decide that it's time to go.

4:20 AM - I turn off the light in the bathroom before opening the door.  Darkness prevails as I open the door and step into the bedroom.  Walking ever so slowly and quietly I try to work my way around the bed to get the items that I need.  But it's darker than dark.  I try not to kick the bench at the end of the bed and with my right hand extended far out in front of me to feel my way through the darkness, I eventually work my way around to the dresser and retrieve my socks and then grab my watch and ring from my side table waking Carol in the process.  This woman doesn't sleep to soundly so at the slightest noise (the opening of a drawer) she wakes with a start.  I finally head toward the door.

4:25 AM - After apologizing to Carol and telling her that she could finally get some sleep as I was leaving the room, I opened the door and tried again to close it quietly with a loud tap when the door hit the jam.   I turned the home alarm off and made my way to the kitchen for some breakfast.

4:35 AM - Now I'm ready to leave and head off to work but I forgot something when I was in the bedroom.   My cell phone is in there charging.  I ever so quietly open the door but this door squeaks too.   I hear Carol rustling on the bed as she adjusts and fidgets as I make my way to the far side of the room retrieving my cell phone from the dresser.  On my way toward the door Carol says, "Bye honey. Have a great day."  I said my good-byes and apologized again.  I went over to kiss her but couldn't see a thing.  I think I hit her neck or something that doesn't closely resemble her lips anyway with my first attempt.  With that she said, "Here" and she softly grabbed my face guiding me to her lips so I could kiss her goodbye.  I then turned and headed toward the door to leave for good.

4:40 AM - I'm out in the car heading to work.

4:50 AM - I arrive at work - Get to the front door and realize that I forgot my security access card.   "Damn it" I said to myself.  Luckily this was my first day on this shift and the tech that had been working the shift was there - but already inside.  Hmmm…  What is his phone number?   Don't know.  But I do know the helpdesk phone number so I'll call it.  I call the helpdesk phone number, listen to the 30 second intro message and then it drops into the queue stating the helpdesk is now closed and will open at 5:00 AM Arizona time.  "Damn it."  Then I called my number - it rang and eventually rolled to my voice mail.  "Damn it."  I waited.  I called the helpdesk.  I waited some more.  I called the helpdesk.

5:00 AM - I called the helpdesk and finally dropped into the queue that stated there is one caller in front of me.  Cool I thought, so I waited.  Listening to the UTI marketing message for what turned out to be a ten minute wait.  Finally the call dropped out of the queue and rang the tech's phone.  He answered and I asked him to come let me in.  I forgot my card.   First day on the job (shift) and I forgot my card.  It's been a great morning and it was only 5:10 AM.  I hope every day doesn't turn out like this one.

And they haven't.  I've learned to put my socks and jewelry in the bathroom with me so that I can take everything with me when I leave the one time.  I leave the blinds open just a touch so there is a enough light spilling into the bedroom from the outside in the mornings allowing me to blindly see my way through the room without tripping.  As for when I leave the bathroom - that's still a scary adventure every time.  It's just dark as my eyes had adjusted to the light and now it's pitch black.   The little light that comes through the blinds doesn't help then.  It seems that every day over the last couple weeks I've learned something else about getting out of the house just a bit quieter than I did the morning before.  I've also oiled the hinges and I'm getting better at judging where the jams are so I can close a door without a bang.  I know Carol appreciates the efforts that I have attempted to make her mornings less memorable.

Well, it's almost May 1st (literally, it's 11:15 PM) and I should think about calling it a night.   I would like to wish my dad a "Happy Birthday" that he enjoyed last Monday.  We were busy with both Tracey's basketball and Tyler's baseball games so I wasn't able to call him, but I did call him Sunday to wish him an early happy birthday.  Thanks for checking in on us here in Phoenix, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and month of May.  Take care and I'll be typing at you later.