Thursday, March 16, 2017

New England Patriots - Holy Crap!

Well, this post is over a month late, but it needs to be here on our blog.

The New England Patriots are World Champions again!!

Patriots vs. Falcons in the 51st edition of the Super Bowl and man...the first half of this contest was not SUPER for the Pats. It was SUPER DUPER for the Falcons though.

We all know what happened, it's there on video as proof.

There were tens of thousands who saw it live, at the stadium; witnesses.

There were hundreds of millions watching in disbelief on television and internet.

But the telling thing is that there were players on both sidelines whispering, hoping, dreading, believing...

 From the Pats' huddle:

"We got Tom Brady",
"He's the greatest, hands down",
"You gotta believe",
"Let's GO!!", 

**Please go and watch any NFL Films production about the game to enjoy the Mic'd up versions of the highlights.

Some were rightfully wary of an offense led by #12. Others were likewise aware of the greatness and history of Brady, especially late in games, but still were confident and liked their chances. From the Falcons' sideline:

"It's Tom Brady though." "I know, I'm never comfortable, but we 'bout to put up 40 something on they ass. They ain't never seen nothing like this."

God, how prophetic by one Falcon and great little bit of confidence by the other Falcon. Tommy's not always gonna pull us through, but this time he did. And, I'm not one to give Tom all of the credit, although he tends to be the face of the team and the focal point of the offense. The entire team sucked the first half to be honest. It continued into and to the end of the third quarter although the defense certainly saved our butts several times after the half. But the first half, our players were out energied and out played and our coaches were out coached and out strategied.


The game is not a 45 minute game. It is not a contest of three quarters. THREE QUARTERS IS NOT A WHOLE!!!

As the mantra goes...60 minutes. Play for 60 minutes...and they did that, plus some.

Here are a couple links to some highlights, more for me to have close by as I watch highlights of this game, the Red Sox 2004 ALCS and World Series and the 2013 World Series as well, frequently!!

Sound FX

NFL Turning Point

Certainly photoshopped for now, but we'll unveil that 2016 championship banner soon!!!
Now, for the mathematicians or sequence analysts...this is a pretty simple one. Taking the Championships and their years that the Patriots have won the Super Bowl, predict the next World Championship...EASY!!!

2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, ????

One final thing...How wicked awesome was it to see Roger Goodell squirm??!! This one's for you Roger "Go-to-hell"!!!
How perfect is this meme!? Talkin' to you Rog!

Go Pats!!
Need this shirt!! Perfect, freakin' clown!
Everybody needs a hero...and every hero needs an arch-enemy...Brady played it cool in public, but Pats fans far and wide disseminated the message to Roger and his clown friends! See this walking ball-sack hear it from Patriots Nation after Super Bowl LI ;) in the links below.

From the fans in the stands -I'm sure the feeling is mutual ;)

Goodell boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Time to breathe?

So, I took as much time away from posting to our blog as I took away from running this past year. I enjoyed neither. I want to run...I want to share our updates with family and friends.

Over the past few months:

Many family members and friends had babies. Congratulations!

We have a new president. I voted for nobody, but I wish him the best.

Aloha Home has filled up and lost tenants month to month. We're getting a good feel for occupancy, "revenue" and outgoing expenses monthly as well. Taxes need to be paid on the land, signage and rental income soon, so that will be another lesson that we learn and deal with on our way to being more comfortable knowing what to expect from our Project. Meaning that we need to know if we are going to be able to handle the loan payments monthly, for the next 8 years ;) Both of us being employed certainly helps. Can we survive if only one of us has a job? Not quite sure about that one yet...but again, we're keeping our eye on things and trying to find some sort of comfort level.

Pae is working hard as usual. She actually flew more than ever the past few months. She is handling it okay physically, but like other flight attendants, all of her friends, she is bothered by muscle/tendon injuries (overusage) and such. She works her way though those, but soldiers on month to month. I wish she could fly less sometimes. I know the day will come when she is ready to fly less or stop flying all together. Must prepare for that day because I want her to be able to stop the second she decides to stop; for her own health and happiness.

Bubble is doing well. He gets a haircut and a bath today during lunch.

I am still doing the Principal thing at my school. This last year (my first year as the principal) was rough for me as far as stress goes. Two days in the hospital back in June led to my 7+ month layoff from running. All of these problems coincide with me taking this stressful job ;) I think it will get better as I get more used to it.

I am also working more than ever on the weekends with the race timing company. There is a possibility that they train me as a timer soon. I'm currently doing a "coordinator" job which is mostly planning and executing the race as far as timing points and equipment are concerned. As a timer, the stress level would skyrocket, but it gives me more openings in the future as far as employment opportunities if I prove to be a good timer.

Software vs. Hardware is my big concern though. As a coordinator, I'm a hardware guy. The timers are software and a little bit of programing guys...I'm not proficient in any computer-type language ;) Let's see what happens.

The good thing about the part time job with the timing company is that I get to be around runners and I get to travel a little bit...even though the travel is horrible as far as the toll it takes on the body (no sleep for entire weekends followed by another week of the full time job the next week). I was pretty lucky to already be asked to go do races in Singapore and Laos. Mid-April they are sending me to the Maldives to do a marathon for 4 days. I know it's going to be a lot of work, but I couldn't turn the opportunity down to go to the Maldives and make a month's worth of part time money in one race ;)

A realization...I just spoke of "money" as being a motivation for my weekend work. If I honestly consider it, I can just teach private classes on the weekends and make more cash than by suffering through some of these races...but I don't like the tutoring...the race timing is better I think. Haha.

I hope to spend a little time during summer break (April basically) getting back on here and catching up with the past half year. A lot of the same as usual, but it's good to get it on the blog for "safe keeping". The memory isn't what it used to be you know ;)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Globetrotting? More like Southeast Asia trotting

I've been doing a lot of short distance travel for my part time job with the race timing company. I usually try to take jobs in the vicinity of Bangkok as they allow me to work all night until maybe noon the next day.

Sometimes I do a two day weekend farther away from Bangkok. These are much more difficult because the whole weekend is taken up and I have no time to relax from my full time job. I try to minimize the Saturday/Sunday races.

A month ago I went to Singapore for two days for a triathlon. It was solid work, no sleep, no tourism. It was hard work. I told myself and Pae that I would avoid taking the two day weekend jobs as they really leave me beat for the next week's work.

This week, one of the guys I work with asked me if I wanted to work a half marathon in Luang Prabang, Laos....THREE DAYS!!!

My initial feeling was HELL NO!!!

Eventually, after talking to Pae and looking at our schedules, I decided to commit to the Laos race ;) I figured, if I can work this three days, it leaves me with the option of not working many other weekends ;) I'll meet my part time work "salary" goal in just one weekend.

Let's see how that goes though.

As I work more and work more difficult races, I have the chance to work some of the even bigger events around Southeast Asia. I'd love to go work the Vietnam Mountain Marathon, for example! I know I'd struggle to do well in that one as a runner, so being there with the runners and earning at the same time would be just as good!

There are also other Singapore events, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, etc. I even know of one in the Maldives. You never know!! We'll see. For now, I just want to stay healthy while trying to get my three events per month.

Oh, I'm off to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) in two days as part of an exploratory committee for a student exchange program that we have proposed. I'll be there for three days of meetings and tours of different school campuses.

Who knows, maybe I'll eventually travel to all of the Southeast Asian countries! (Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, +)

Now that I think of it, when it comes to globetrotting...I was just thinking of when Pae used to work for Royal Jordanian Airlines...All of these Middle Eastern countries that are now in turmoil...she flew to them daily! Each of the following she flew to...and I might be leaving some out: Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon. WOW!!!!! I'll skip those!! Vietnam sounds safer!! 

Aloha Home is Finished!

Life has kept me away from the blog fact, I was talking to a fellow runner the other day and realized that since May 1st, I have run a total of twice...twice in four months!! So busy!
For the past month or so, there have been few updates as to the construction progress of Aloha Home. Apologies. But there is good news ;) During that month or so of blog silence, a lot of the small things were finished up with the rooms. The parking lot was cemented, the covered parking was finished, the furniture, washing machines, and water machine were installed and covered...
We put together a Facebook page for Aloha Home Apartment to help with spreading the word to people who live in the area that Aloha Home has vacancies...basic FB advertising ;)
All I can do at this point is introduce the blog to the completed Aloha Home!
There are many photos that the family took over the past week or so as plants were being planted and the construction workers left the premises. A lot of the photos are taken at night, I like the night photos.
We have been slow to get the rooms rented out, but they are slowly filling up. At the writing of this blog, there are 5 tenants living in Aloha Home. P'Nut and P'Ing are occupying two spaces; the mini-mart and the first room on the first floor.
Let's see if we can get another 5 rooms rented out in the next few weeks! We are not doing too much on that front from Bangkok. The family back home is having to take care of all of the tenants and potential tenants. We may be able to take over for them in five or ten years, haha...Very grateful for their help during the construction and into the "life" of Aloha Home!
We'll let you know more about being "landlords" as we eventually find out for ourselves. We hope that everybody enjoyed seeing (as much as we could provide) the building of Aloha Home from the groundbreaking to the final stages of minor fixes and installations. We certainly enjoyed sharing it. Something you never imagine that you would be involved with...and suddenly you are! Nerve racking and exciting at the same time.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Another issue during my weekly facilities check

I have previously shared a "Facilities" and "Safety" concern that was taken care of with electrical tape. I still laugh at that and it's still exactly like that to this day.

Later in the month, I was doing rounds again and noticed that there was an unguarded ladder leading from the gymnasium up to the roof of the school.

I actually climbed the ladder to check out the roof and it was just full of electric wires and electric boxes. Very dangerous for any fifth or sixth grader whose friends dare them to climb up on the roof.

From this picture, you can see the thick electrical wires that start at the high voltage box and run up to the upper roof and over to the electric poles. Also, there is another ladder up there that goes to the tippy top of the school...super dangerous with no rails or protection from falling.

I reported it to our facilities guys and they told me that normally it would have a guard on it. I vaguely remember having seen one there during last year's sixth grade graduation. I asked them to fix it as soon as possible because that is certainly one place I would have wanted to explore when I was a kid.

The last thing we want is for a kid, or even a teacher who is sneaking up there for a smoke, to slip and fall off of the school or to grab a power line and fry.

I went up later and found that it had been fixed or the guard had been found and reinstalled...well...three of the four bolts at least. I'm really glad that the swimming teacher and the P.E. teacher who do facilities duties are so helpful. I know who to go to to get things done around the school now, especially safety related things.

I could still climb this ladder, but if I tried and got electrocuted, I guess it would be my own fault as it's quite obvious (to me but not sure if it's obvious to a kid) that going up there is not allowed or dangerous.

Maybe I should have the school have signage made prohibiting usage of that ladder...some people have zero common sense.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pictures of our Kindergarten Mother's Day Boards

Happy Mother's Day (Thai Mother's Day)
The 12th of August is the Queen of Thailand's birthday and is also celebrated as the Thai Mother's Day.
 At school, we usually have some type of program in the morning for a few hours to let the mothers come in and have the students dance or sing for them ;) This year, for the younger levels, we (foreign side) expected and planned for and requested seats for 100 mothers. The Thais would only give us 50 chairs and said there were no more. Mothers started appearing from thin air and they brought grandmothers with them and the number easily reached 150 parents...with only 50 chairs provided to us..."all they had"...okay...but suddenly another 50+ chairs started appearing out of thin air ;) Funny how that works.
This year, our Kindergarten and Primary departments were each responsible for preparing a show on two different days; Wednesday and Thursday. Both shows went okay, but with kids, and the ultimate mother, Mother Nature, there will always be surprises.
Crying, wandering off mid-show, standing and staring at the parents' faces in the crowd and just taking forever to get staged and ready to go...Kindergartners are the toughest to see through their program. The Primary kids are much easier.
Most of the kindy kids look a little clueless to be honest ;) But there are a few who know what's going on and really enjoy themselves. You can really see the different levels of awareness in kids in these lower years. It's interesting to watch as they grow.
As for Mother Nature, we were fortunate that there was no rain, but this year it was wind gusts that got us. Our signs, flags, portrait of the queen and pretty much everything that wasn't fastened down fell victim to the wind.
After 8 of us offered these ceremonial "eggs" to the queen (portrait of the queen), I ended up standing behind the "stage" with both music teachers and both swimming teachers holding all of the props so they wouldn't fall on the heads of performers or parents. That was a long hour or two.
The Kindergarten teachers worked pretty hard putting together boards celebrating the occasion. They are super busy with projects at the moment actually. Mother's Day, Open house, ASEAN/Science Day...all of this is on their plates at the moment and they pulled the first of them off nicely.
Here are just some photos from the celebrations at school...I just took pictures of the boards with pictures of the kids and their mothers. Made me think of Mom Betsy as I had to give the welcoming speech for Kindergarten...made me miss Mom and home a little more than I normally do or realize that I do ;)
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

That'll ought to do it

One of my responsibilities as the International Principal is to make sure that the school (the actual building, swimming pool, parking lot, etc.) is safe and in good repair. As such, I do a couple walkthroughs every week, usually when I'm looking for someone I need to talk to ;)

Over a month ago, I noticed that there was a hole in the wall in a first grade classroom that had wires hanging out of it. Now this is very dangerous in my book so I reported it to our facilities manager (the swimming teacher, haha). I told him what and where and even gave him several photos I took with my phone. He was surprised and told me that he would get the repair man to come fix it.

I went to the room last week to make sure that it had been taken care of and found what you see in the photo below. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it and of course took a photo. It was a laugh combined with a disapproving sigh, by the way.

If you look closely, it's not just funny that they covered the hole with electrical tape. What do you see?

What I found even funnier than the repair man's flawless taping of the hole, was his backup scotch tape on top of the electrical tape! OMG, that's some doggone redneck crap right there!!

I think I'll go into the room and throw some two-sided tape on there just for good measure! Hell, I think I have some magnetic tape in my drawer as well!!!

I'm not making fun of anybody and don't want anybody to get in trouble for this...actually, it may be seen as the most reasonable solution for some at the school who are required to do things at the cheapest cost possible at times. I haven't asked yet.

Also, usually half of the things I post to the blog, I have already partially shared on Facebook. I think I'll not post this to Facebook as I have too many coworkers on there and it might look bad for our swimming teacher ;) or even me if the problem isn't PROPERLY taken care of before a kid is licking walls and happens across this shock hazard area!! On second thought...I think that electrical tape oughta do the the case of licking that is ;)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Buddhist Ceremony Blessing Aloha Home

We've mentioned the Buddhist ceremony that has to be done when a new structure is completed and before people move in. Usually it's done for actual homes before the family moves in. I'm not sure that it is any different for an apartment complex.
Uncle gave us a Buddha statue as a gift :)
The monks came and gave a blessing with chants and then we fed them and gave them envelopes with money (donations) inside. As Pae and I are the owners, we joined directly in the actual ceremony. It was really tough on the ankles and knees ;)

It was a quick ceremony and after the monks ate and the main monk went to each floor to give each floor blessings by chanting and putting marks on or above the door of a room on each floor. It was cool to be a part of and cool to see. It certainly keeps the monks busy between weddings, home opening ceremonies, funerals and other things like that ;)
Here is another photo of the blessing ceremony. Pae and I, Mom and Dad and most of the family attended with a few other invited guests. No more than 40 people, so it was nice and cozy and laid back, just the way we like things.
After the ceremony, Aloha Home would be ready to be occupied from a religious/superstition standpoint. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we're almost there.

There is still a lot of work to be done before people can start moving in. We have had several people call and ask and also referrals from other apartments in the area that are full. The only thing holding us back now is waiting for the place to be livable. The rush to finish is pushed by the fact that universities start in August and students are just coming back to town and looking for apartments to live at. We're cutting it really close.

In true kid fashion, the girls all went into our "show" room and built a fort out of the boxes that held the refrigerator and television ;) The air conditioner in the room was nice and cool and it seemed to hold up to a bunch of crazy kids! The show room is one that has all of the furniture and electronics already installed. We are waiting for the rooms to be more complete and cleaned before we have the rest of the rooms completed with furniture, etc.
All floors are now officially blessed ;) They make these marks on homes, new offices, new cars, taxis, everything! It's something you will notice often if you are new to Thailand. 
After all of the guests and Monks had left, we went straight back to planning. We had to decide on where to put the eight CCTV cameras for best coverage on the property, how to best block the sun from the mini-mart and which direction to place the smoke hood for the small restaurant on the first floor. I think when we left, we had some ideas but no solid decisions had been made.
The funny thing is that now that we will be heading back to Bangkok, we won't actually be on hand for the first tenant to move in, or even by the time there are a significant number of people living there. The next time we might be able to go there is October possibly and New Years holiday is also possible depending on schedules. What we mainly have to concentrate on is working hard and paying off that loan ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Apartment Update July 15

I made it back home and met up with Pae who had been there taking care of some business for a few days already. I dropped Bubble off at the babysitter then hopped on my Nok Air flight. I got to the airport way early and discovered a food court that I didn't know existed and had some awesome Mango smoothie action...and Burger King ;)
I arrived back home to the Toyota Fortuner waiting for me at arrivals, Pae and family in the SUV. Yay! We drove towards home but had to pick up a bigger and better sign to attach to Aloha Home for advertising. The old one was like 1.5 meters by 2 meters. This one must be 2.5 meters by 3 meters! Pretty huge and only cost 800 baht to have printed!
Eventually we made it to the construction site. I walked around with Pae and Dad and took a few pictures. Today's update will have lots of photos taken from the far end of the building, rarely seen in previous updates ;) This one (above) is from the second floor looking out towards the road. It shows how much cement we've had laid so far for the parking lot. The cement will go all the way to the wall and have a cover to protect about 12 cars and 10 mopeds.
Another photo from the second floor looking towards the temple. This temple is a crematorium. Buddhists burn their dead and this is where that is performed. This might be a little disconcerting to some potential tenants. We had to take this into consideration when deciding to purchase the land and continue with the project. We think it will be fine. Only time will tell though.
Another view from the back of the property. We decided to brighten the Marina (blue) and change the Water Sprite (pastel green) to a brighter color as well. Things are pretty fluid and changing as plans and blueprints become actual touchable, see-able parts of the building.
Another temple view photo. Now that the cement of the parking lot is down and the other part of the land is muddy from the recent rain, all of the construction material is staged at the end here. There are actually workers staying in the lower rooms at the end during the work day as well.
As mentioned above, we got a bigger, better sign for Aloha Home. Here is Pae holding it up as we are about to hang it from the frame of part of the mini-mart.
I do believe that this is also NEVER BEFORE SEEN footage of Aloha Home ;) I was excited to take this photo, although I could have done without the mosquitoes that were feasting on my ankles and knees. See below for a short video that I took of the same.
The place still needs a lot of painting, the paint that is done already is just an initial coat and for us to be able to make final decisions or changes on color.
This looks much better than the smaller one. Placing it at the front of the mini-mart for now lead to a lengthy discussion on how to shade the mini-mart from the afternoon sun. And when I talk about afternoon sun, I'm talking about 40+ degrees Celsius during the summer and super direct sunshine. We're still discussing those options. Another thing that needs to be decided is on a smoke hood for the restaurant that will be there, run by P'Nut, Pae's brother and sister-in-law P'Ying.
Hat to get to bed early as the next day was the Buddhist ceremony to officially bless the place! That post will quickly follow! Looking good so far! Aloha!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Small hiccups are better that big ones

Aloha Home is nearing completion and we have quite honestly been very lucky that P'Pong and P'Neung have worked closely with the family and with us to try to make things go as smoothly as possible. From past experience with Mom's small apartment project, there are lots of things that can go wrong with the construction, planning and even the people building the structure.

We are just now running into some smaller problems that probably stem from a combination of "the fog of war" and "battle fatigue" if you will along with poor customer service.

Let me explain. Fog of war and battle fatigue are perhaps a little over the top, but at the tail end of the construction has been a lot of decision making responsibility for Mom and Dad. They have sometimes talked to us about the decisionns if they were big decisions; color scheme, number and size of washing machines, etc. But some smaller decisions they have handled by themselves. These things are coming fast and hard and multiple things per day that need to be considered and handled.

Some of those things are not just "things" like washing machines, televisions, cable tv installation, wifi installation, curtains, furniture, refrigerators, etc. Along with each of these things comes lots of details and planning (even construction planning).

Washing machines- Size? Load capacity? Turning it into a coin operated machine. How much to charge for each machine? Cemented area where the machines will be located. Will we have a cover to protect them from sun and rain? Will we have a CCTV camera monitoring this area? Wiring electricity to wherever the machines will be placed. (Many of these decisions need to be made before we actually have the machines, but for some, we need to know exactly what machine and it's energy usage, ect. before completing the associated work. Pae has just decided on the washing machines as she is back home helping out for the week.

Televisions- Not only do we need to decide what brand and size to buy (we did) but also how to install. Mount on the wall vs. sit on a table or tv stand. This is where I see a problem but others don't see the problem, so for me, it can slide for now. I'll explain. When we were considering furniture for the apartment, I wanted to have the flatscreen tvs mounted using brackets on the wall. Safer and saves room. After everybody talked about it, a decision was made to buy small tv stands for each room and just have them stand there, unmounted.

Not sure when, but recently the decision was reversed and they decided to mount them on the wall. Problem is that P'Pong, based on our original decision not to mount them, placed the electric outlet near the floor. Now we have mounted televisions with a black cord hanging down to the socket against a white wall background. Had there been a tv stand there, it wouldn't be visible. It's a small thing, but something I noticed and asked about. It is too much work to go back and bash holes into the walls and put in new outlets behind the televisions, so we shall leave it like it is.

Mom and Dad have been running around talking to people about internet and cable options. These aren't as easy either as there are lots of installment requirements, drilling of holes in walls, outlet considerations that need to be made prior to the walls being finished and painted...but we didn't have our decisions made on cable company or internet provider until recently so P'Pong just finished the walls and outlets/sockets and cable access points in each room based on where the tv was supposed to go. I don't think we will have any problem with internet or cable, but the work that went into the decisions required lots of time, travel, phone calls, sales pitches and stress as everything seems to be hitting Mom and Dad and Pae all at the same time and everything is kinda intertwined.

Curtains- A week or so ago, Pae went home for a wedding and was able to choose a color and style of curtains. After she came home, Mom made the order. With the order, of course, would be the curtain maker getting the size of the windows being curtained. I would assume that the curtain maker would either go to the site himself and measure or ask for specific measurements. This didn't happen, or didn't happen as I would expect.

Mom and Dad gave the man the measurements for the window. Window size, if you can imagine, is not the size that a curtain should be. The curtain will be set above the window frame some 10 centimeters and below perhaps 20 centimeters. But, based on the numbers given by Mom, the curtain maker just made the curtains the exact size of the

Twenty rooms worth of curtains are already made. They are the wrong size. We are not sure if they will serve their purpose (privacy, light reduction, insulation of cooled air, etc.) if they barely cover the window. So, now the plan is to just take a look after they install one curtain and rod. If it is indeed ridiculous looking and not going to be fit for purpose, Mom will take them to her apartment and replace the curtains there and we will order new ones. Again, we're half a year into construction and if this is going to be one of our biggest problems, I'll take it!!!

Furniture- Similar to only me worrying about the television cords looking out of place, there is something that Pae thought about that nobody else even considered. Furniture placement seems like it's already sorted out based on the placement of the entry door to the room. This forces the bed to be placed away from the door. The problem arose when Pae envisioned the layout of the rooms and realized that half of the rooms in the apartment would sleep with their feet pointing towards the temple across the street.

It is culturally rude to point the bottoms of your feet at people here in Thailand. Pointing them at a Buddhist statue, spirit house or Temple must be even more taboo!! Mom doesn't see a problem with it as there is a road and two fences constructed between the tenants and the temple. NOt just this, but Dad believes that people should always sleep from east to west or west to east. I'm not sure what that is based on, haha.

Pretty amazing right? Things that I would absolutely never ever consider, mostly based on a difference in culture ;) Interesting and makes me happy that I've been away from my home culture for so long, yet still am learning about the culture here. Ultimately, the tenants will be able to move their furniture around in their rooms to satisfy their personal beliefs.

Refrigerators- Another oversight by the customer (us) and piss-poor customer service. I often tell Pae that I think many people here in part time customer service roles are just at their jobs collecting a paycheck monthly. The less they have to do, the better. And I think it holds true for our refrigerator order. So, after deciding what model of refrigerator we wanted way back when, an order was actually put in. Mom and Dad or P'Pong, whoever ordered the 20 fridges, failed to specify a certain color. Most of the smaller fridges here come in 4 or 5 different colors; beige, white, silver, green, blue, etc.

That's right, we received shipment of the refrigerators and it was just a hodgepodge of assorted colors, with most of them being the least popular (worst selling color) green. Now, I would expect that the sales person would have the responsibility to ask the customer what color they wanted considering they come in different colors and each color would have a different SKU code and model number.

If not at the point of sale, the person filling the order or loading the machines on the delivery truck would need to know which color machines to grab from the warehouse or more than. Zero, nothing. The customer didn't specify what color? Take these ones that nobody buys and deliver them. Horrible customer service, but to be honest, to be expected here (from experience, not being mean).

I must say, again, that most of our small problems are coming near the end when everything is frenzied and happening so fast. I wish I could be there but I can't. I wish we could have been more involved in the daily decisions because I tend to be a stickler for details and perhaps would have caught some of these oversights or asked too many annoying questions as I tend to do ;) Or perhaps I would have also just missed some of these details, you really never know how you will react until you're under all of that pressure.

I'm glad Pae is there right now and can be a part of the decision making process. I appreciate all of the work and time that Mom and Dad have put into the project on our behalf. We'll get it all figured out. I am confident that out of the one million people in the province, Aloha Home will fit the needs up to twenty of them ;)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aloha Home Banner

This wouldn't make a bad "handout" or something to stick on mopeds at the local mal to advertise our open rooms ;)
As the construction is in its final stages on Aloha Home, the family put together a small banner to hang from the building so passersby would know that we are opening in early August. The font and name "Aloha Home" was just put together by someone back home, quickly, so we had no input into that. We are still looking into options for signage that will stick out into the road for people to see and for advertising.

I guess maybe we should have a page on Facebook? Not sure yet.

This banner basically says all of the things that we offer; Monthly rent, free wifi internet and cable t.v., A/C, hot water, fridge, television, full set of furniture, CCTV for security, convenient and safe parking. It also gives contact info and says that we will be opening for business August 1st ;)
The real thing

We'll be there in a week to do the Buddhist ceremony (I think) to officially welcome Aloha Home to the world ;)

Updates forthcoming...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Editing Grammar Exams

I wasn't asked to edit the grammar midterm exams that I was copied on, but after opening a few of them I decided that I should have a more detailed look and pass on some advice to those who created them.

I can't share the exact words of the exam as it is against school policy, but I will give an example of one thing that really bothers me.

There is a section on the grammar midterm (fifth grade level) that is looking for plurals of nouns. There are five nouns given where the student has to write the plural (irregular ones; mouse - mice, foot - feet, for example...). But they are given the correct answers in a "word box" at the top of the section. They have to choose the correct answer and write it on the line next to the noun given. This is fifth grade mind you. **I'm changing it to something totally different than the actual exam even the grammar, but it will be easy to see why I am annoyed ;)

Word Box: baby dog, baby cat, baby rabbit, baby fish, baby elephant, baby tiger
1) What is a newborn dog called?           __________
2) What is a newborn fish called?            __________
3) What is a newborn cat called?            __________
4) What is a newborn rabbit called?        __________
5) What is a newborn elephant called?    __________
6) What is a newborn tiger called?          __________

There is zero challenge in this line of questioning. Note, in the above example I wrote "baby dog" rather than puppy...just imagine that "baby dog" was what we call baby dogs...the point is, with the irregular plural grammar, like mouse/mice...if you can think of four or five more commons ones, it helps o see where I'm coming from ;)...imagine the lack of challenge if there is a word box!!

Had they simply required the student to write "puppy", "kitten" or "cub" with a word box, that is more understandable. But giving them the answers is ridiculous and zero challenge.

I have suggested to change this section, or at least just delete the word box that gives the students a choice of what answers to fill in for each question. Who knows what will be done in the end. It benefits the school if the students do well on their exams. It makes the parents (customers) happy and feel like they are getting value for the tuition they, perhaps they are going for less challenging.

I understand that we are a private school and we need to make the customers happy, but I'm still bothered when the students are seemingly given a free ride.

p.s. I've just had a look at the fourth grade midterm...much better, same material, same grammar, just no word box, more difficult, a better indicator of a student's understanding of the grammar ;)
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