Sunday, October 28, 2007

Candian Currency

I want to state in advance that this will probably be a fairly short post. My topic this week is the drastic change in the value of Canadian currency that has taken place over the past few years. Simply put I am not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand the increased currency value was a godsend when we going on vacation to St Lucia a few months ago. On the other hand as my sister always points out to me I know that I don't live in a bubble. As such I realize that the increased Canadian dollar is making life difficult for some other business.

In short I think a good value for the dollar is about 80 cents American. It's cheap enough so that the Americans will buy from us but it is expensive enough so that if I want to cross the border for any reason I am not going to be paying an arm and a leg.

I will end with a funny story. As mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago I recently went on a business trip to Dearborne Michigan for Ford. Before I went I visited a bank to get $20 US. I think it cost me about $20.65 Canadian. When I got back I had ten US left so I thought I might as well get it changed. The Bank gave me 9.65 Canadian. I was shocked and teller and I had a good laugh.

Finally, to my American Readers... How does it taste? Do you like knowing that our funny colored money is worth more than yours. LOL


Next Week... Dealing with fights with significant Other

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding is substantially more stressful than it needs to be. I am just trying to get married not run for president. But honestly the whole thing feels as complicated as a political campaign. The first issue was about booking the church. My fiancee is Catholic and in the interests of maintaining positive relations with my future in laws I agreed to have a catholic ceremony. However, the catholic church insists that you have to have a full year of engagement. Since I proposed in September and we want to get married in August 08, we don't have the year requirement. When my fiancee went to see the priest he told her that he wouldn't perform the ceremony. She explained that the reason we want an august ceremony is because her brother is a teacher and her sister is still in university so they wouldn't be able to come in September or October. In addition we don't want to have a wedding in the cold of winter. He said our situation does not matter and that it has to be a year. He also said that the year engagement would give her time to consider if she really wants to marry a non-catholic. Thankfully I wasn't there for this comment. Otherwise I would have told this piece of shit priest he can go fuck himself!!! He's probably just pissed about not having sex in his whole god dammed repressed life. I mean for gods sake he is unwilling to compromise by a few weeks. It's not like we were trying to have the ceremony in April or something. In fact when i proposed I was thinking that we would have an 11.5 month engagement so that should be enough to satisfy the church. But it was not enough for this asshole!

Luckily, there is another church not to far down the street and they were more willing to deal. They said we could have the ceremony in august. My fiancee still had to bring in proof of her confirmation and baptismal (There is a long story behind this but i will leave it for now). We also have to take some marriage preparation course. He has mentioned that me converting to Catholicism would be a good idea but it is not mandatory. Well, since it is not mandatory I have no interest in converting. If it were mandatory I would place my hand on the bible and I would lie to his face by swearing to be a good catholic for as long as I live. He also said that the latest we can have the ceremony is 2:00 pm Because there is a 5:00pm mass. 2:00pm is at last an hour or 2 earlier than I would liked but I can live with it.

Our next hurdle is in booking the hall for the reception. We called a few places and they are all pretty much booked for the Saturdays in August. However, we did find one place that has a spot for a wedding of our size (120-150 ppl). The place is called Le Parc. Actually my friend and ex-coworker Domenico got married there 2 years ago. He had a very nice ceremony so that's how I knew about the place. I emailed him for information on the place and he gave them a good review. We have a meeting with them on Monday Oct 22 at 7pm. So, if everything goes well I could have the church and reception booked by tomorrow. Now all I have to deal with are the million other things involved in getting married. I am hoping it gets easier from hear but i doubt it.

Next week... Canadian Currency.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall TV

It all Sucks!!!! There is not one good new show!

Next Week... Wedding Planning

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ford Canada

Well for the past few weeks I have been working out at Ford Canada. I guess this is the nature of consulting work. One week your one place the next week you are somewhere else. Basically what happened is that Wunderman has had an employee on site at Ford for a little over a year now. However, in August he gave notice that he was quiting. He is getting married and his future wife lives in Houston Texas and as such he is moving to Texas to be with her. Unfortunately even though he gave plenty of notice Wunderman was unable to find a suitable replacement for him. As such I was sent out there. However, I made sure to establish that i am only there as a band-aide solution and that I will only be there for a finite amount of time. I started about two weeks ago and i agreed to stay there until mid to late november.

There are a couple of reasons I was willing to go.
1) I think it shows that I am a team player and am willing to help.
2) At ford they use a software package from Unica called Affinium for lead management. It is sort of like a Visual GUI interface for a very large database/data warehouse. I figured that I should always try to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new software. Since I did do some work in Siebel when i was at Microsoft. I now have new semi-technical skills that I can add to my resume.
3) Working on site at a client should also help to improve my people skills.

However, there are a couple of reasons that I am unwilling to make this a permanent situation. (The clients at Ford have said many times so far that they would like me to stay permanently)

1) Distance. Ford Canada is located in Oakville. Needless to say that is very far from Scarborough. It's even farther away than when i worked at Microsoft. However, unlike when I was at Microsoft Wunderman is willing to pick up the bill for me to take the 407 highway. This means that I can get to work in just under 1 hr. Which is similar or a little less than the time it took me to get downtown using the Bus and subway. But there is the matter of wear and tear on my car. As of today there are approx. 175km on my car. Needless to say it isn't a new vehicle. Having to drive this much distance everyday is going to take years off the life of my car. I would like to see if I can keep this car for at least another 3-5 years. Now in fairness to Wunderman they are allowing my to expense my mileage at a rate of 44 cents per KM. Which works out to a couple of hundred dollars per week. Which is obviously substantially more than I pay in gas. But it is still not enough to buy a new car if my car dies before it is supposed to.

2) Nature of the work. While learning a new software is good the rest of the work is not always as challenging. Also there are times when I am not as busy. Also, the technical tools at my disposal are not exactly cutting edge. Additionally, I think being on site at the client means that I will have substantially less control over process than I did when I was downtown and was making process design myself.

3) Finally, there is an issue of recognition that I would be concerned about. At Microsoft, Kraft, or any of the other Wunderman Clients there is a team in place. At Ford I am the only guy. Which to me means anything I do would go largely unnoticed by the rest of the company unless it is reported back by the client. Also, being the only person on site means that I would miss out on the day to day events and shake ups of what is going on with the company in general. I don't just mean office gossip, although i do enjoy gossip I can live with out it. I mean management changes and new hires and fires and the reasons behind those decisions.

4) Hours, Ford works from 8-5 as opposed to the 9-5 that i worked at Wunderman. I will be compensated for the additional hours worked when I get back downtown.

For those reasons I am unwilling to stay at ford longer than the end of November.


But there is one great thing that happened. I was actually sent on a training session out in Dearborn Michigan last week. Since I have a lot of family that lives in Detroit I was looking forward to this. While I didn't really get a chance to see most of my family I did get to spend time with my cousin Micheal everyday. As i have mentioned before i think of him as a younger brother so its always good to see him.

Additionally Wunderman put me up in a very nice hotel that was near the Ford office. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency. Which is one of the nicest hotels I have ever been in. And since wunderman was picking up the bill for my food and travel expenses i had a few Lobster dinners. LOL....

Well, that's it for this week.

Next week... Fall TV Review.