Friday, March 9, 2012

Michigan – Ohio

Living near the border, working in Michigan while staying in Ohio, moving between states every day, mostly near the city of Toledo, site of the Toledo war, when Michigan and Ohio fought for the strip of land that is Toledo, finally Ohio winning the battle though Michigan getting more land up North in exchange, winning the contest as these lands contained deposits of copper and iron. We never got to visit downtown, though we could see the tall buildings from Interstate 75 highway, on our way to the Temperance office, seeing an old elegant Gothic Church beside the road, and the heights of several buildings beyond, the fourth largest city in Ohio. Instead I researched about Toledo in Wikipedia, seeing pictures of the city, especially the waterfront beside Maumee River, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Huntington sports center,   seeing the map with Toledo beside the Great Lakes, a city between Chicago and New York, a center of the declining automotive and glass industry, a city beside the lake, though one never gets to see the lake, no trace of water except the small rivers one passes along the way.

Large houses in cozy neighbor hoods, two-story homes in tree lined streets though bare in winter, some empty areas with fields of brown grass and uncovered trees; the vaunted middle class suffering the decay of the automotive industry; one reads in Wikipedia. We left the inn at about 7:30 am after breakfast of ham, scrambled and hard boiled eggs, orange juice, chocolate and yogurt; leaving under dark skies with slight rain, the final day of our project, leaving tomorrow for home at 4:30 am, the plane departing at 7: 30 am for the Carolinas. The morning was spent training the staff, about five people including the warehouse manager, using the Power point presentation, and doing a live demonstration, the participants looking pleased with the new program. Afterwards, downloading the printer software and driver, the installation CD strangely missing from the package, now one needs to order the kit instead of being free months ago. Lunch again at the garish Chinese restaurant, enjoying the same old buffet; Maki rolls, fried chicken wings, sweet and sour soup, chicken balls, pork chop, roast beef, fried rice, ice cream and chocolate cake. Back in the office by 1 pm, installed the printer software and tested the print out (but the cable not working), the local staff will have the cable fixed, replied to emails and said our goodbyes.

In hindsight, the rollout went well after all, the only glitch was the cut connection on the first day, but after the initial stress the rollout went smooth in the next two days; even attending a meeting remotely with the big guys, answering questions and making a point, trying to resolve a gap between our program and the key warehouse system. The major issue was fixed last night, an issue the came about due to the prematurely cut line, another support staff dialing in to resolve the problem, crawling in the warehouse floor, working with the computer and checking cables with the lady administrator.  Feeling good after leaving the office, having dinner at Red Lobster; surf and turf, lobster and steak, salad with blue cheese, Samuel Adams draft beer, appetizer of shrimp and crab dip with mushrooms and cheese, sharing stories with the business leader. This was the first time we did a roll-out without another colleague, who did not come with us to reduce project cost, instead frequently consulting by phone; it was boring at times without him.  Instead, watched the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ in my tablet while working out at the gym; walking the treadmill for an hour, getting a warm shower and watching HBO; finally going to sleep at 11 pm. The next roll out is in California, but I am not going instead my colleague who missed this trip will go, so this is my last deployment project.

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