Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Comfort Food; A Job! A Job!

After I fell asleep last night, my phone rang surprising me. My brother called to talk about his upcoming trip home to New Hampshire and his schedule for going to Stamford, CT for work. We made arrangements and talked for several minutes before I tried to return to sleep which did not come easily.

I woke with a headache well after sunrise and I picked up yesterdays unread paper. In the centerfold. I found a listing of public WiFi hotspots in the City including Union Square where I sat yesterday. So finally, I have a resource to use free, public Internet. There are two dozen hotspots in Manhattan and three in Brooklyn.

Today I have to move my car for the street sweeper and then call Yale Framing to see if I can visit them and discuss usability issues on their web application. I'm really hoping this turns into a paying job, but that remains to be seen. While I'm moving my car, I may try to find Shore Drive that Helena talked about and take a driving tour of Brooklyn.

It's hot. I feel the humidity, but I'm thankful that the headache that I woke with is easing.

Someone once asked me what my comfort food was and I fumbled for an answer similar to how I fumble about when someone asks me what I do not like to eat. Most times, eating is a logical thing where I just need calories and nutrition. Until today when I stumbled into a comfort food that I'll call Aiti's Crackers and Cheese Omlette.

Aiti is the Finnish word for mother that we refer to my grandmother Somero. She was a creative cook and often concocted the strangest mixtures of fruits for salads, preserves and so on. But as a young boy even I furrowed my brow when Aiti said, 'Crumple up some Saltine crackers into your scrambled egg mixture.' Huh?

So I did then and occasionally over the years. Here's the recipe for Aiti's Crackers and Cheese Omlette:

3 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. grated cheese (I used mozerella, but it could be any cheese)
6 crushed saltine crackers
3 dashes of salt
1 pat of butter

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk. Whisk. Add the salt, cheese, and crackers. Add a little water if needed. Heat the frying pan to temperature and coat it with melted butter. Scramble the eggs.

The dish turned out quite nicely and I had fond memories of my dear Aiti while I ate this morning.


In junior high school, I figured that Tuesday was the most productive day of the week because everyone was back in the swing of school, the weekend forgotten, but the upcoming weekend wasn't in the forefront of everyone's thoughts. Somewhere along the line, I read an article that indicated that business is most productive on Tuesday, also. So was today.

Helena suggested that Shore Drive in southwestern Brooklyn was a must see so after talking to my mom who called to playfully ask if I melted in the heat, I took a long winding path to Shore Drive and drove it from end to end. Every Tuesday, the car has to move from 9:30 to 11:00 to allow the street sweeper to do his duty. And being at Shore Drive was in my opinion, better than advertised.

From the walkway and park off Shore Drive, I called Art To Frames and said that I would stop by at 2:00 in the afternoon. I also called my dad and got some information for a former co-worker's job search as well as valuable information for the levelling device startup company.

I returned to the apartment, ate lunch, rested, and walked to the Internet cafe to read that Tracy's feedback for ArtToFrames.com was quite similar to mine. I walked in the sweltering heat to Art To Frames and they welcomed me into a conference room. Before discussing usability, Jeff said simply, 'I'd rather pay you than accept your efforts for free. How about you invoice me until things are more settled?' I smiled because that was the offer I was going to propose to him. We settled on an hourly wage.

Aaron arrived and he, Jeff, and I set down to work on listing usability issues and discussing possible solutions.

After a few hours, I tired so I drank the rest of my water, ate some raisins, a granola bar, and more water from their bubbler. Inside, cartwheels. I was employed again! Before I left, I discussed my hours with Jeff and I plan on arriving tomorrow to perform functional and usability testing. Derek called when I was there and we'll meet in Central Park at 5:00 tomorrow afternoon.

On my walk home, I tried to call home, my roommate, and finally I connected with my work-friend Jim and I happily rattled off details of my new job. ArtToFrames.com is a startup company within an established, but previously faltering company and the owner, Jeff, sees the Internet as the true growth potential for his business.

His two engineers are building an application and he could use a third person such as myself to provide feedback, guidance, and a more professional flair to the site. He will also, I think, use me for sales and marketing. I can work either locally or remote. So I'll be doing usability, QA, writing, market research, sales, and general services for my hourly wage. Before I could talk much farther with Jeff, he explained that there would be a commission for any sales that I generate.

I was hoping to be a generalist in a start-up environment and here I am!

After talking to Jim on the phone, I dumped my laptop off at the apartment and went to find the Italians to tell them about my new job.

They were all happy and congratulatory as I made my way to Brooklyn Heights to eat a nice meal. Why not? Jeff asked me to invoice him for my day's efforts! Income, finally.

As a complement to my success, several people from my Compuware writing team are finding opportunities, also. Jim has three solid, competitive opportunities. Chris Turner found a job that suits him to a T. Ann-Marie is a near lock for a job. Deb is doing well with interviewing. Mike, it seems, is content to enjoy life for a moment, and poor Rowland continues to slog on at Compuware thirty days into the ninety day transition. Or as Jim said, his slow Compuware death.

On my other front, the start-up effort for the level-device is progressing, also, and I'm nearly ready to wade a little into that to see if I can generate sales.

Funny because at SeaChange, the scathing social critics used to whisper, salesman, behind my back. Who would have known?

My thoughts are racing ahead of themselves, but I can now start thinking of living in Brooklyn on a more permanent basis. I don't want to give up my house in New Hampshire, but I would like a place to sleep here so that I can work a day or two in person and maintain a personal touch with Jeff, Aaron, and Yoshii. Also, if I am going to be involved in sales, I need a homebase to launch from.

But one thing at a time and the key is to relax and let things happen as they are meant to. Life is so much easier when I do not chomp at the bit. Going at high speed is fun. Railing contrary to fate is not so fun.

My apartment is sweltering. Perhaps I should try to sleep.

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