June 28 2007
For those of you who know about the prayer request - THANK YOU SO MUCH. For everybody else, read on.
Decy and I often talk about health and security issues - its just part of our lifestyle living overseas. One health element we have talked about numerous times is the "3 day fever rule", which is .... if somebody has a fever for 3 days they promptly go to the doctor. This is something that is taught by the medical group in our company. This rule has been important and has proven effective over the last couple weeks as our staff have suffered through three cases of Dengue Fever.
Yesterday, Decy went to Ciputat (suburb of Jakarta, Indonesia) to visit her family. While there, her mother mentioned that Decy's sister Debbie was ill and had been running a fever for 3 days. The family thought everything would be ok. Decy went over to see Debbie ... she was running fever ... her stomach was bloated ... her stomach was extremely sensitive to touch. Decy told the family (and Debbie's husband) that Debbie needed immediate care. There was discussion on that and finally Decy's logic won out - and Decy promptly took Debbie to a GOOD hospital.
By 3pm Debbie was at the hospital undergoing tests. First, they found Typhoid. Second, they found complications in the intestinal area but weren't sure. About that time, I put Debbie on the prayer chain in the US through my family in Florida. More tests were run and by about 7pm it was determined that emergency surgery was needed. Surgery began at 9pm.
Decy made it home around mid-night. Surgery was a success - and the prognosis is good for recovery. As for what they found ... I don't know all the details (language translation issues) but the appendix was about to burst ... and something else had already ruptured as fecal material was in the intestinal cavity and it was only a matter of time before infection set it.
Debbie was truly in a life threatening situation. Decy's quick response and the prayers saved her life - I am certain of that.
June 03 2007
Yep, I'm still alive and kicking. Primarily blogging over at www.oldmanmorgan.com ..... I like the new look at Phusebox. What I don't know is whether or not I will be able to post pics from Indonesia - as that is why I had to set up my own site ... couldn't get the pics to stick.
May 17 2007
April 29 2007
... yep, I'm over at Old Man Morgan .... but I still check in to see who else is blogging .... and I comment from time to time ...
... its just impossible to post pics on Phusebox (from overseas) ... so I have my own site.
April 19 2007
Chris has done a great job of getting me set up at my own web site. Its not fancy like the younger folks do ... but it works .... I have new blogs and pics there .... www.oldmanmorgan.com/wordpress
.... see ya there .... ciao ciao
April 15 2007
I have completed my first official posting at the new site - its about the opera ... and includes pics (YEAH !). You can find me at .....
April 15 2007
... I am spending time trying to build out my website. Be patient with this old man ....
You can finde me at .... www.oldmanmorgan.com ...
April 11 2007
Phusebox seems to be slow again. Don't know if it is the connection from Indonesia or if it Phusebox. Nevertheless, things are pretty much at a crawl right now.
I guess that is ok - really don't have much to blog about today ... days are starting to blur as I push hard at work ... to come home exhausted and then on to bed after relaxing a bit with Decy and the girls - then back up at 330am. This week, I haven't even stepped out of the house for any social/personal activities .... last time out was Friday night ... BORING !!!!
No sense in just babbling, so I will close and try to do something productive.
April 10 2007
Had a series of meetings at work yesterday. One was extremely important and had to do with emergency planning. I have been quite frustrated at the lack of vision, focus and progress on this very important subject - and had expressed my frustration to various folks, including our country manager. Yesterday when the group presented what was supposedly the near final product ... I had had enough ... for months we had continued to try to refine and finalize a package that did not meet our corporate guidelines nor met the country requirements ... its like heading down the wrong road and refusing to turn ... but thinking that by driving forward it will somehow take you to the right place.
So, I told the meeting attendees exactly what I was thinking and what I thought the go forward plan should be. Interestingly enough, it was like a sigh of relief for the folks ... as they had sensed they were "lost in the wilderness" but didn't know how to admit it nor to fix it. Now and soon, unfortunately, I will have even more work to do ... to help these folks ... but it is something I must do. I hate building emergency plans ... but I know how to do it ... know what needs to be done ... and embrace its importance.
** Che, about your audition .... we will wait for the results. Making a mistake on sight reading is not the end, nor is it the only factor being considered.
As for our interviews for a replacement driver, none of the 3 showed up - seems only 1 called and requested a rescheduled, because he couldn't get off work to come interview. The other 2 were "no shows" and without saying anything to us. Decy told the 2 not to bother coming for an interview. The other 1 (that did call) has another chance. Guess we better go hunting for a few more folks to interview - so we have some choices. Wish this wasn't "dumped" on Decy - but I am not much help in this area.
Gotta run ... ciao ciao
April 09 2007
Last night (Monday night) before turning out the lights, I turn on CNBC to see how some of my favorite stocks are doing. What do I see? Union Pacific Railroad is up 7-8% TODAY? Watching closely, I also notice that Burlington Northern Railroad is up similarly. What's up? After about 30 minutes I learn that Warren Buffet has taken a 10.9% in BNR and positions in 2 other major rails. Sooooo ... everybody jumps on the band wagon. Markets calmed a bit by the end of the day after some profit taking ... don't know what the future holds ... but I am happy with my 1 day paper gain of 4%. Besides, Union Pacific is very close to my target sales price .... it pays to be contrarian ....
About the driver interviews ... they were "no shows" yesterday. Didn't get a chance to find out why from Decy ... it was a very hectic day.
As for work ... no story there ... just a bunch of meetings that will clearly demonstrate that some folks don't know what they are doing ... as the saying goes ... it is better to not say anything and for people to think you are a fool, than it is to open it and dispell all doubt.
Keep Chely in prayers ... she has an ACT exam on Saturday. She's nervous ....
Thasya also has her fashion show practice on Saturday (it was supposed to be on Sunday)
... its going to be a very hectic Saturday doing all this and getting ready for the opera. Plus, there are a couple of events at the school Friday night - I think we will attend only one of them.
Well - I better get to work on some stuff .... its ALREADY 440am ...
April 08 2007
Yikes ... although I have logged on a number of times over the past week and have emailed my family on various subjects, I just realized that I hadn't blogged in nearly a week - that's getting into the league of my sons.
In reality, not much to blog about right now. Wiwi, our maid left on 6-9 months maternity leave (no story there). Regarding drivers, we are still at 1 plus using Decy's brother part time. Decy has several interviews scheduled today for a new driver - I'll keep you posted on that.
On Saturday, we finally received our remaining 5 chairs back from the furniture maker. They refinished the chairs and they look better. Decy is unhappy about the "feet" ... the chairs squeak when you move them. She had asked them to put rubber feet on the bottom. On half of chairs they used soft rubber/foam ... on the others they used hard plastic (which still sqeaks). Decy will just go buy the supplies she needs and fix the chairs herself. We decided to close out this saga (after 6 months) ... and she paid the furniture manufacturer in full.
I think it was a quiet weekend here in Jakarta - there, however, some concern about the holiday weekend and potential attacks on churches. I did not receive an emergency warden call, so there must not have been any major problems ... but I'll know more when I get to the office today.
Lately (as in the last 2 months), Decy, the girls and I have been watching the TV series Gilmore Girls. They like it a lot ... for me ... its ok .... we made it through Season 5 ... which was all we had ... so I ordered Season 6 from Amazon.com. It arrived last week ... so we spent quite a bit of time relaxing and watching it. Not exactly what I had planned for the weekend ... but I was relaxing nontheless.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) I have a telephone conference with folks in Houston. The person who set this up must not be thinking about commuting ... as the call is at 6am our time .... which means you either come to work incredibly early or incredibly late. If you come early - commuting time will be 20-30 minutes ... but you have to leave at the house at 515am - to be in the office, at the desk, on the phone by 6am. If you come late ... it will be a 60-90 minute commute. MORON. Of course, having to use a driver means my driver (Yono) will have to get up as early as I do ... 330am ... to get here in time.
The opera at Hotel Mulia is this weekend ... we have the dresses and tux ready ... as you can appreciate ... Saturday will be "hair day" at the salon.
Really not much to say ... so I will quit rambling and take care of some other business.
April 03 2007
Friday's a holiday and today is Wednesday ... so, I'm already well into hump day. Of course, after today (due to work issues) I will desperately need the weekend.
It amazes me that so many people waste so much time trying to argue why they are special and shouldn't have to follow the rules. What is particularly annoying is when you have an "ugly American" who thinks they don't have to follow the "stupid" Indonesian rules and then berates and yells at people for months like a spoiled brat. We have one such individual at my office.
We have an issue where somebody when against specific and direct guidance from our country manager - and broke a rule. Upon getting his hands slapped he immediately hurled the problem (Liz - notice I used the word hurl ?) over the fence to several other departments. Yesterday, things came to a head and he started telling me I was causing problems and I just needed to fix things and move on ... of course, that is not in my power to do. We had a VERY STRONG conversation and I made it very clear that I was not responsible for cleaning up his mess.
This man sent a one line email that (although not vulgar) gave the impression that everybody is stupid and he is the in the right. He made the mistake of copying one of the highest people in our company in Indonesia. That recipient, who I report to, knows exactly what is going on ... so he sends some instructions regarding how we are supposed to deal with this ahem "gentleman" and copies our country manager. This issue (which didn't have to happen) is becoming explosive and divisive ... thing is, this man is so arrogant he still thinks he is in the right .... and that it is everybody else's responsibility to clean up his mistake. I suspect he is going to soon be doing a "mea culpa" in front of the country manager.
Stay tuned ... gotta get to work.
April 02 2007
Extended weekends make for sucky vacations. While I enjoyed the extra time with the family and the added evenings of dining and going out (including Thasya) ... it makes Monday mornings such a bear. I always walk into work and get hit with a fire storm of issues - what I hate most is receiving emails from folks requesting that I give them permission to "not follow the rules". In my position as Process and Controls Advisor, I teach people about ethics and internal controls. While at times there are "work arounds" in issues ... I simply cannot say "oh yeah, you are special ... and the ethics rules don't apply to you". It doesn't make me very popular to say "no" but then I'm not here to win a popularity contest.
Speaking of contest, Thasya has completed her modelling classes. Long ago (last Oct) we paid for the classes. Classes ended a few weeks ago, with the only remaining step being to participate in a fashion show. Seems that for Thasya to participate we have to pay $60 ... which will include her receiving her "class certificate" and seats for 2 to watch the show. Extra seats (for, say, Chely) is another $20. Here's the catch ... if she doesn't participate in the fashion show ... to get her certificate she still has to pay money. Either way she has to pay this "exit fee" to get a certificate for something we have already paid for. Of course, they didn't tell us all this detail up front. Its not the money that upsets me, its the principle .... see below.
We've a similar issue with Kaplan's (tutoring company) with Chely. Prior to starting SAT training with Kaplan's, Chely took a test ... the course was to start the next day and they promised the results would be ready the day of the test. Well, that was on a Friday ... no results ... we called Monday ... no results, supposedly the "next Friday". We went around and around for 3 weeks trying to get the results - finally, after threatening that I could come in there and make an "ugly American" scene they gave us the test results. Now, I recognize that a 1 day turnaround is "quick" but why did they promise it if they were going to fight us on this for 3 weeks. And you know what? Does anybody want to wager whether or not Kaplan's will charge for the "exit" exam too?
Speaking of charging, we had to get the girls passports renewed (the then current ones were good for only 5 years). The basic costs was ~$30 each. However, there were some issues with Thasya's because of her age and we didn't have a permission letter from her natural father. Of course, because of that, there was an "added charge" of about $25 .... does it surprise you that they would not give a receipt for the $25? Care to guess where that money went?
And finally, there is the still open issue on the dinnette chairs. Decy is having them refinish the remaining 6. Its now been about 2 weeks, not sure how much longer that will take - but we do have some power in this .... Decy is withholding final payment on the couch and two chairs they finally delivered (~$900). The furniture manufacturer understands he won't get his money for the couch and chairs until he returns the dinnette chairs.
*** ah, ain't it a wonderful life here?
About our x-driver, Mustofa, seems lately we've been hearing a lot about his past experiences (other jobs) and some of the things he was doing on his off-hours while working for us. I won't go into the details - but clearly, sooner or later, things would have come to a head. So, it is just as well the relationship ended when it did. We are working thru a canvassing / interviewing process for a replacement driver. In the meantime, Decy's brother Dona is helping us out.
Recall one of our maids, Wiwi, is pregnant. She will be leaving for her home town in about a week. We have a temporary (6-9 month) replacement maid. Her name is Wartini (we call her Tini). She's small, quiet, and polite like Wiwi and Sumi. This is good - we don't need strong personalities. We (shall I say, Decy) will need to train Tini (Wiwi is helping too) and it will take some months to really get her up to speed ... but we will manage. Also, to help out, Sumi is taking on a greater role ... and with that comes an increase in salary for her.
Well, need to take care of some things before I leave for work .... so ....
April 01 2007
Ahhhh ..... the joys of Monday mornings? Joys? What Joys?
I talked to most all the family over the weekend using Yahoo Voice at $0.01/minute ... thus, there isn't anything new and newsworthy to write about today .... thus, I am just babbling. So, I will close today's blog and do something productive.
March 28 2007
All's fine in Jakarta ... internet access is very bad today. We are packing our bags and will go to the hotel shortly - thus, there will likely be no emails / blogs until Saturday. In case of emergency, those that need to know .. already have my handphone number.
March 28 2007
Chely was burning some of our favorite latin/angolan music to CDs to give to some DJs at our favorite clubs here in Jakarta. We ran into a bit of a problem as some of the songs were from her iPod and used their proprietary format and was considered "unreadable" .... those podantic iPod folks !!! .... I tried and tried to decode the files with the software that I had ... but to no available. So I got a bright idea about asking Josh, Chris, and Paul which decoder I should use. Just I got ready to type the email I paused .....
Well even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while ... I did a quick internet search ... carefully read some descriptions then downloaded a test version of ImTOO .... man that is some slick decoder ... no more than a couple of clicks and presto-mundo ...three files converted from m4a .... to mp3 .... YAHOOO !!!!!!
... bye ... gotta go see my honey ....
March 27 2007
March 27 2007
Ah the joys of spring break ... whatever that means in Indonesia. I guess the girls are more or less staying busy so far. Good news is that tomorrow (Thurs) we head over to hotel Le Meridian and check in for a couple of days (free vouchers !!!). There is a great lebanese restaurant there ... which we will take the girls to (they've never been there before). Not sure what else the we have planned ... but no doubt we will stay busy somehow.
Speaking of staying busy, this has been a horrible, emotional, long week at the office. After 2 days, I feel beat up ... rode hard / left wet ... and drained. Thankfully I am taking Thursday and Friday off ... to enjoy time with Decy and the girls - that will help.
Received a call from Beni the manager at Club CJs. Our tickets/invitation to the Opera are ready. We will collect them today or Friday. Unfortunately, 2 folks cancelled out on us so for our table of 10 we only have 8 people so far. We are trying to flog the other 2 tickets - if we can't, we are out of pocket $300 .... uuuggghhh.
Here's one for you ... about 2 weeks ago, one of Decy's brothers (Dewa) was riding his motorcycle at night (note: in that part of the city there isn't much street lighting and streets are small). Anyway, in the middle of the road squats an old homeless lady. Dewa doesn't see her and she doesn't move. He hits her with the motorcycle. Police come - seize Dewa's motorcycle and license. Dewa takes the old lady to the hospital and pays for her medical care - minor injuries. Police give Dewa back his motorcycle but not his license - they tell him that he must care for the old lady in his home until she is able to take care of herself again (rhetorical: wonder when the last time she was able to take care of herself?). So, for the last 2 weeks (more or less) Dewa has been caring for the homeless lady - clearly she has no incentive to get better or to leave.
Finally, in desperation, Decy's mother Doortje (and yes, the family is full of "Ds" .... Doortje, Decy, Dolly, Debbie, Dewa, Dona, Dino, etc) takes the bull by the horns and takes the old lady to an old folks home. The OFH won't accept the lady unless she gets medical clearance. They take the old lady to the hospital, they check her out - clearance received. Then the OFH doesn't want to accept the lady because she has no money (duh !!). Finally after careful and persuasive talking Doortje convinces the OFH that they need to take the old lady because the old lady cannot possibly continue staying with Dewa ......... because ............ Dewa is a Christian and it would be impossible for the old lady (a muslim) to worship and live in that house. NEXT STEP - Get Dewa's license back.
Not much else and no new developments are going on. Need to close.
March 26 2007
Decy terminated Pak Mustofa on Monday - the entire process took about 2.5 hours as she walked him through his recent performance, the issue with "majic" being irreparable, and final compensation. Pak Mustofa asked about his returning to the company as a car pool driver (which is what he was doing before) ... we said that we would not say anything negative to prevent him from doing that but we would not give him a "letter of recommendation". Prior to Mustofa's arrival, several family members came in (as witness and protection) and Decy had Mustofa searched for weapons.
The "protection" issue might seem odd, but it is not. In fact just last week Jakarta had an incident where a dismissed driver and maid were implicated in the kidnapping of a child. And some dismissed drivers have tried to retaliate by damaging or stealing vehicles. Its sad - but its a risk that has to be taken. Hopefully, by treating Mustofa with respect during his employment, and respect during his termination this will not become a bigger issue.
To help close the circle and help the other driver Pak Yono save face ... Decy met with him and gave him a written warning about his involvement in the issue. Such was not necessary (from our perspective) but allows him to save face as he can say he was disciplined too for his role in the matter.
Decy will meet with the remaining domestic help and give them a clear message that "majic will not be tolerated in this house". Also, for any future employment contracts, we are going to add such a clause - for the avoidance of doubt.
Now - to find a new driver.
Also, Wiwi the primary maid/cook will begin maternity leave in about 10 days - maternity leave will last 6-9 months. We think a temporary replacement will show up for an interview this week .... we shall see how that goes ... another transition. urrrggghhh.
Gotta go ... ciao ciao
March 25 2007
At Jakarta International School, this week is "Spring Break". That's a bit odd given that we are in the southern hemisphere, which really means it is either (a) fall, or (b) the dry season. But, guess they didn't want to refer to it as Easter Break ... although they could call it "mid term break". Anyway, the girls are off from school this week.
I was wanting to take most of the week off and go out of town. However, between shifting workloads and recent transportation catastrophe's here in Indonesia, we elected to stay in town. Nevertheless, I am taking off Thursday and Friday. We have (free) vouchers for 4 nights at hotel Le Meridian (2 we won, 2 were part of a "priority club" pkg). So, Decy, the girls and I are going to stay at Le Meridian on Thursday and Friday nights .... relax, eat out together, do something different.
As for this past weekend, I did not hash. Just didn't have the strength in me to go running for 1-1.5 hours especially without someone going with me. Picked up my tux on Saturday, the sizing and cut is perfect. But, its a bit big on me in the waist due to recent weight loss - but it is fine and I will "grow into it" over the next weeks and months.
As to the saga of our driver Mustofa, Decy and I have been in long conversations. We have carefully reviewed his employment contract. It is not clear that we could suspend him without pay ... and common practice is suspension with pay during investigations .... so, he will be paid his base salary for the past 4 days .... but not any overtime he might have earned. Decy and I have talked through all the issues - we have determined that the trust that he broke/lost is irreparable. The emotional trauma he has put Decy through is substantial and not something she will easily get over. If he is willing to use "majic" to manipulate his job situation, then obviously he is not focussing on doing a good (being safe, and providing a quality service).
Pak Mustofa has been asked to be at our house today (Monday) at 9am for a meeting. Decy will have 1 or 2 family members here as witnesses (I'm not much good due to the language barriers). Decy will give Pak Mustofa: (1) his 3 month evaluation (Jan-Mar), (2) a summary of the situation and showing how he violated 3 of the employment requirements - resulting in termination, effective immediately, and (3) a document that states that he has been fully compensated for his work and has no financial claim against us. Decy and Pak Mustofa will sign documents #2 and #3. Document #2 will also have a witness. As you can appreciate - Decy had a lot of work to do pulling together the appropriate documentation.
** not sure how the meeting will go; it will clearly be stressful and emotional. Please pray for Decy.
>>> I need to wrap up so I can go to work in a few minutes.