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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Big One...


OK, so this is my 100th post and I was at a total loss as to what to do.

I felt that I should do something big and wonderful and profound and funny and memorable and … I couldn’t think of a single thing.

So I kept my eyes and ears open for inspiration, and strangely noticed a theme evolve…A weird theme…So, maybe I will write about that… Sort of…

Maybe it’s the weather here…
Very Grey-Very Windy-Very Rainy, and Generally Very Gloomy and Yucky…

Maybe it’s all the news about Columbine. Today is the 10 year anniversary of that tragic event…

Maybe it is when I go to look up famous birthdays for today, last but not least is Adolf Hitler…

Maybe when I go to look up how many days my blog has been up and running, I not only get 65 days, but alternative time units of 5,616,000 seconds, 93,600 minutes, 1560 hours, and 9 weeks (rounded down). Which make me wonder about how old I am, which gives me stuff like 17,297 days, 1,494,460,800 seconds, 24,907,680 minutes, 415,128 hours, 2471 weeks – Which only makes me feel even older…

Maybe even the talk around the office is, at times, about people dying and cemeteries and funerals…

OK, now how does an IT integration shop end up talking about stuff like this?
If you really want to know, keep reading…

Part of my IT integration facility incorporates a warehouse that we have been reconfiguring lately. Part of that is making sure all areas are properly labeled and identified for inventory purposes. Now occasionally we get thousands of items all in one shipment and of course get over whelmed with the volume. As a result, we temporarily, put all these pallets of equipment lined up neatly on the floor down one of our wide rows. Which is fine, it gets it out of the way of all the other activity going on and we actually have several “floor” areas where we can and do store equipment.

Here’s the problem… None of these “floor” locations exists in the inventory database. Now one of my guys who has been doing this longer than anybody, and knows the “inventory” probably better than anybody and can - if you ask him – where are the 170 widgets that program XYZ has for their “whatyamacallits”; promptly say why they are right over here down this isle on this pallet on the floor. It’s all up in his head.

Which prompts us to say stuff like when you retire, or if you ever get hit by a bus, or if we get a bunch of temps in here to help during crunch time, nobody is going to know where stuff is! We need to get every location, even the temporary ones, labeled and in the database. So anybody would be able to find these widgets.

Now all this talk about information up in said persons head reminded someone else on my team of what happened at their church a few years back…

Trust me – this too deals with inventory…

Seems their church has been around in the area for well over 100 years, and part of the church property is a rather large and significant Cemetery.

Much of the history of this church deals with serving a small but tightly knit community were everyone knew everybody else. Also, through nobody’s fault, much – if not everything – that went on in that small closely knit church community was known by a select few and paper record keeping was often sketchy at best.
So, back many years ago, folks had family burial plots or locations and most folks knew who was who and who went where when anybody died.
Trouble is, as time went on, the community not only grew larger but also more mobile and transient and over time the keepers of the church either moved, got older or passed away. And as a result, so did all their wonderful knowledge of who was buried where.

Now at some point in time, there was a family, who moved into the area a number of years ago and became members of the church. And when the Husband/Father of this family passed away, they paid for and arranged a funeral for him in the church’s cemetery. It also so happens that they did not have a lot of money for a large family plot, so they “economized” by purchasing a site where they could arrange to “dig down” so future members of the family could be buried together, albeit on top.

So, fast forward a number of years when the Wife/Mother died and the daughter is going through making funeral/burial arrangements. When she talks with the man who is in charge of cemetery plots about digging the grave, and also happens to be like 80 or 90 years old himself, says he says he does not remember anybody by that name being buried there. And of course has no idea where the father is buried.

Now the daughter, who has not been there in many years says that she knows where the marker is and proceeds to walk out into the cemetery to find the marker.

Long story short, she could not find the marker. They had only a couple days before the funeral was scheduled and all family and friends were scheduled to arrive and no place to put her mother after the service. Finally the pastor intervenes and says she will have a plot and the funeral will go as scheduled and she will be properly buried, just not with her husband as planned. And they give her a plot.

As it turns out, this family was not alone and there were many plots which had been “lost” over the years.

This prompted the church to go to great lengths to “find” and identify as many as possible. We were told that many congregation members assisted in this none too pleasant endeavor and that eventually they did find most if not all plots, members in the cemetery; including the previously mentioned Husband/father.

It seems that over the years as the cemetery would need more land and therefore expand (clear more land) for more plots. When the daughter went looking for the marker, she went by memory that was several years old and relied on landmarks and features such as trees and fences to guide her. Trouble is the land had been cleared and she ended up walking too far and was looking in the wrong location.

So, where am I going with all this? I have no idea…
But all this talk and theme abou dying, funerals and such put me, and others on my team, in a downer of a mood.

So we started talking about, and thinking about, other stuff like; good movies, good parties, and the good things that happened over the weekend.

And this got me thinking about…
The other names on the birthday list for today… There are some good people who were born today too!

Strange quirky movies about life and funerals – and the celebration of both (look up Harold and Maude)….

Even the heartwarming stories of some of the columbine survivors I found out on the web…

And the realization that life is good and that it’s all the other stuff that can, and often does, get in the way.

And, that I have a lot of things in my life which are good; like a wonderful and beautiful wife, family and kids, good health, even a decent house and job.

So, keep an inventory of what is good and important in your life, even write it down so you and others can find it if need be, and above all - enjoy it.


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