Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sometimes a little fame goes a long way….

As you all know, my wife’s been having a tough time health-wise, over the past 18, maybe 24, months or so. As you might imagine, even with medical insurance we’ve managed to rack up a number of charges at the local hospital during all of this. Like most folks, we’re paying on them (as quickly as we can), by sending in our payment each month.

Well, we got a little early “Christmas bonus” in the mail this week; the hospital was offering 25% off on any bills you could completely pay off between now and the end of the year. Unlike some hospitals, ours keeps the charges for each procedure as a separate account instead of one big one, so this was a very nice surprise, and a chance to save some money!

So we went over our finances, looked at what we thought our tax liability is going to be this year, and decided to pay off what we could afford to pay off.

Friday morning, while I was working on yet another round of adjusted SQL code, she went over to the hospital’s AR department to settle up those accounts we’d identified. While she was waiting, there in the lobby, on a table was the October issue of Alamance Magazine, complete with my article on the hospital.

Maryan asked the receptionist if she’d read the magazine yet (she hadn’t), and proceeded to tell her that I had written an article about the hospital, and it was in that issue.

From that moment on she said she felt like a celebrity… everyone from the office was coming over to her, introducing themselves and telling her that the article was the ‘buzz’ all over the hospital, or pointing towards her and saying something to the effect of “that’s the wife of the man who wrote that article about the hospital”. They even told her the manager was going to be disappointed that he’d not been able to meet her.

No, she didn’t get any additional discounts, but she left feeling like much more than a number on a page, and that’s not a bad thing. I never really thought much about the article when I wrote it (if you missed it, it’s here). Like most things I write, it was just what was on my mind, and a fairly honest recap of our experiences with the people, and the facility. It truly brought a smile to my face, knowing it had been so well received by those same folks!

I know I’m not *really famous, but it made her day, and with all she’s been dealing with everyday, this was a very nice surprise.

Friday afternoon I went, once again to the client site in Greensboro. Finished? Nope… Seems we’ve found yet one more little ‘tweak’ I’ll need to do to completely segregate the inbound calls from the outbound calls, and still be able to build another data set with both inbound and outbound calls.

This is where that ‘sub-query’ I was talking about yesterday would, not only come in handy, it would also give the application a performance boost. One trip to the server for all the calls, and one sub-query for inbound, and another for outbound with no additional trips to the server. Anyway….

When I got home, Maryan told me she couldn’t believe what a response that article got. The folks were even suggesting that I should write another on the orthopedic department, as they’re rated number 10 in the nation. (Actually a pretty impressive statistic considering Burlington is a small city of about 50,000). It was nice to see the smile this small bit of ‘fame’ brought her, hey, if me writing articles puts a smile on her face, I guess I’ll keep writing!

Saturday is ‘Trimming’ and ‘Turkey soup’ day at our house. For the first time this year (because of the outlets I put in last month) we’re actually going to put up outside lights. We had them up at the house we rented before we bought this place, but we’ve not done exterior lights here before.

Maryan has already got the new mantle trimmed, along with a lot of the rest of the house. She really turns this place into our own little ‘North Pole’. I’ll get the stock pot set up this morning and then set the tree up while I’m waiting for that to come to a boil. Once the stock has begun to boil I’ll turn it down to a simmer, and let it cook all day, seven or eight hours at least.

While Maryan is trimming the tree, I’ll be outside putting up the lights. I was looking over the front of the house on my way in tonight. It’s amazing to me how all the ‘little’ landscape plants we put in just a few years ago have matured and ‘filled-in’, it actually looks like they’ve been there much longer than they have.

Primarily due to her care and feeding of them I’m sure, if it had been up to me alone, they probably would have all died! You see I have this silly idea that they’re plants, and they got along just fine without us humans for hundreds of thousands of years…

How well these plants are doing though… just points out that they sure did better with her care!

I’m off to do the holiday trimming. It looks like I’ll be building more SQL either later today, or tomorrow, so I can send the beta version to the client for testing before Monday morning.

Got holiday related plans this weekend? Do you put up outside lights? It seems like fewer and fewer homes are decorated outside these days… I know I miss the days when virtually every house was all lit up during the holidays.

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Spirit Of Owl said...

That's so great for Maryan. Really. And you never know, there might be an extra Christmas present from your work. :D

Outside Christmas decorations are only just starting to take off in the UK, and I love it. Difficult morally in these days of energy conservation... pah! :)

We'll be putting up our decorations tomorrow, but we won't be doing any outside. We hope to sell the house next year, and move to a bigger, more permanent place - then I'll be on with the outside lights!

Bill said...

Spirit - It's pretty rare that 'contractors' bet much in the way of a bonus, from the client, or from the contract house.

The best bonus I could get, and I probably won't know for sure until after the holiday, is a contract renewal!

As for energy conservation... well, leaving one incandescent light on, overnight, just once, probably uses more power than all the little christmasd lights do for the season.

Jada's Gigi said...

We're putting up lights outside for the first time on our new house too. But I don't know about the "less" Christmas lights...Seems it has to do with the part of the country you live in. In PA almost every house is decorated not only for Christmas but for every holiday even the most obscure...:)In FL the are also plenty of lights at Christmastime but when I lived in NC I did notice that people don't seem to spend the time on the outside of their homes like some places...not even for flowers in summer and the weather there is so perfect for it. Here in GA I guess we'll far its not that great. :)
Congrats on your articles being published. I'm sure its gratifying to see your thoughts appreciated.