Tuesday, June 22, 2010


One of the things that I was really excited about when I got this job with Savage was the type of people I would be working with. I am a blue collar kid, I love working with my hands and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from manual labor. When I first got back from my mission I loved driving truck for Codale. I could have done work like that for the rest of my life. I loved helping people also. All of these things have carried over with me to Savage.

This job has been a struggle with that. I don’t do anything physical, and most people think I am just a pencil pusher. Today I was driving from one office to the other and I was thinking about how much I missed working with my brother Greg. He has a small piece of land and I loved building on it, bucking hay, feeding animals, and any other small projects we undertook. I go into offices where everyone is working, all the managers are working managers, most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are high school graduates. I love the people I work with. I come to work in slacks, and a dress shirt. So just seeing me walk up everyone can tell I don’t belong, people start whispering and most won’t say hello to me.

I share this because it goes along well with my story for the day. I am driving two and a half hours to my next office. I have been drinking water bottles all morning long and I stop for lunch. First thing I do is go to the bathroom. Then I eat and drink some more water, grab two Gatorades from a gas station, and get back on the road. I should have went to the restroom one more time but I didn’t think about it. So about 5 minutes back on the road I am ready to go again. Except now I am in farmland Kansas. I am getting ready to just pull over when I see some grain silos. I know there is a gas station right by it so I head there. I will top my tank off and use the restroom.

I am at like ¾ tank and so I am just filling up because I feel guilty using the bathroom without giving them any business. So I start the gas and start to realize I really need to go. So I just walk away and go inside. I come out and there is about 6 gallons of gas on the ground underneath my car….Oh shoot….I go out there and there is some old timer filling up his feed truck and he takes one look at me and just shakes his head.

I go inside get a clerk, there was some farmer there having lunch and he came out and helped me. Luckily it was hot today so it just evaporated pretty quickly. I kept trying to help and they were all pretty quick to say oh no we got it. They were all really friendly and just said it would be alright if I just drove off. I was like uhh okay. I am so embarrassed.

Then it hits me, in my mind I fit in to this place but all these people see is some kid in a new car, out of state plates, slacks, and a long sleeve dress shirt. I look like such a city slicker. I enjoyed the strong smell of gas for the next hour.

This is a long post but bear with me for one more point. I was reading a devotional by a BYU professor about our calling in life. He is disproving some of the common misconceptions about our “calling” in life. He was talking about how one of the ideas is that, “When I find my calling, work will be bliss.” Spilling gas is hardly something to get upset about but the earlier topic of working with my hands and being a pencil pusher is what I direct the next though process to.

I know being an accountant is my calling. As crazy as it sounds it is where I am meant to be. This is kind of hard to swallow, because I can’t imagine my life as a suit. Then the speaker said this, “We can’t expect deep meaningfulness from our calling unless we are willing to assume its burdens as well.”

I know being in a suit and tie behind a desk is such a burden. I guess this is me committing to a life time of hard work as an accountant. Chris Ledoux said it best –

Well I know some day farther down the road

I'll come to the edge of the great unknown

There'll stand a black horse riderless

And I wonder if I'm ready for this

So I'll saddle him up and he'll switch his tail

And I'll tip my hat and bid fairwell

And lift my song into the air

That I learned at that dusty fair

"Sit tall in the saddle, Hold your head up high

Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky

And live like you ain't afraid to die

And don't be scared, just enjoy your ride"

Now don't be scared, just enjoy your ride

Monday, June 21, 2010

Long time

So it has been a really long time since I poster. Which is good news. That means I have been in Utah for a while. It is nice and this morning when I caught my flight it felt like an eternity since I last flew, or 5 days, pretty close right?

So today I am in a town called El Dorado, Kansas. Not the city of gold but the accent on the a. They will let you know if you don't pronounce it right. I took off this morning and enjoyed my flights. I got to Denver and was enjoying life. Things were going great, so I am like the fifth person on the plane. I begin to read as everyone is loading and I just get super tired. I decide to take a nap and I just fall asleep in my chair immediately. When I sleep on planes it is like I am not full asleep and so time goes by in regular time. So the plane starts to taxi and I remember it taking off then I remember I am going to wake up and get my drink. So I get up and enjoy the rest of the flight. When I woke up I was like why does my neck hurt so bad and why am I so groggy? The plan lands and I am standing at baggage claim waiting for my luggage. Everyone from my flight is standing around and one guys calls his ride. This is the conversation

Guy: Hey so I just got in sorry about that....Yea I don't know what happened we just got all boarded and sat on the plane on the runway for like 45 minutes....

At this point I am like what is going on, check my watch sure enough we are an hour late. I have never been so grateful for a nap. Not only did I get an hour nap that I got paid for, but I dodged the frustration of sitting in a cramped plane for an hour on the runway. Life is good. I have never been more grateful for a nap.

So after an epic nap, two good flights and against my GPS' best effort I am safe and sound in El Dorado. This week is going to be a good week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Safety Net

Growing up with 3 older brothers who loved to punish me anytime I said or did something out of the ordinary, I grew up really tough. I learned fast how to not show emotion, showing emotions was like dropping blood in shark infested waters. A feeding frenzy of verbal and physical assaults would follow almost immediately any emotional display. Slowly I developed a very thick skin and short fuse. But hey if it had been any other way I would not have half the funny stories I am saving to roast my brothers with at some huge celebration. Like when Mike wins the Nobel Peace Prize for medicine, the real one not the one they give to presidents, or when Brian invents a new laser beam. Yea that will be a good day.

My thick skin has been great for me, when something bad happens I let it bounce off of my thick skin and then I just forget about it. Great way to deal with any problem...not. I've learned that just because the problem is bouncing away from me right now doesn't mean it won't come back. Mostly I would bounce girl problems off me and come back to them never. So last summer I got dumped and said I am handling this differently. The past year has been good and I have been facing problems but every now and then I realize that I still have that shell up.

I love being tough, that is the key to any good thick shell. No weakness, no mercy, no pain. Sometimes I just start acting tough and I don't realize that my shell is "protecting" me. Tonight it was hard not to have a tough guy image driving this:

Thanks work. I love my job. A lot just came crashing down on me today, maybe the fact I don't really know what I will be doing in the fall? I have no idea. I was thinking about it and was like ohh crap I have to go back to school... yea that isn't ever a good realization. Nor is realizing you don't have any plan when you get back there really for classes, scheduling, work, or living arrangements. Should be an interesting first week of school.

Funny story today though. So I eat every where by myself. I always feel bad taking a table because I waste a couple extra seats but I feel really uncomfortable at the bar because I don't drink and waitresses don't get as big a tip from guys who don't drink so as soon as they see me not ordering alcohol I feel like I put on a sign that says don't serve me well today. Yet I hate waiting and so I sit at the bar everywhere I go to eat. Tonight I walk in to Ruby Tuesdays. I look at the bar and see there are about 5 other guys there with about 15 empty seats. Baseball game is on, so that is a deal sealer. I sit down and order the most expensive non-alcoholic drink. Waitress says okay, it is kinda slow so she gets right to my drink. I look down and look up just to see her measuring out a shot from a glass bottle full of clear liquid. SHOOT! I run my order through my head and watch her for a bit to see if she is making mine or someone else's. I realize it is and say

Me: Is that my drink?

Bartender: Yea...

Me: oh, well that is fine I will pay for just dump it out.

Bartender: K. Looks at me the same way my little brother looks at a razor on Sunday morning.

Me: I don't drink alochol sorry I didn't realize I ordered one with alcohol

Bartender: I just put sugar water in it...

Me: oh.

By now the other six guys at the bar have joined our conversation and I realize then that I practically yelled I don't drink. That moment helped the tough guy shell come down. A whole lot.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where were you when the Blackhawks won?

I didn't blog yesterday, sorry to all my faithful fans. I will catch ya up. I woke up yesterday at 6 am, wierd because it was 4 am and I didn't have any problem getting ready. So I went to work and finished up my audit in Grand Rapids. It was fun, the boss was gone so it was me and the coordinator he told me alot of funny facts about Grand Rapids. He is originally from England and is super nice. The office is in a train yard with a bunch of warehouse all around it. He showed me this one, (that I took a picture of but I can't upload pictures right now...,) that is mafia I guess. He showed me the helicopter landing pad and says every now and then this white helicopter with like a gold shark on the side of it lands there and a bunch of suits get out and go inside for a couple hours then come back out and fly off. Back when the train yard was really busy people would just disappear and end up a few cities away in some box car dead. Funny.

My plan was to hurry down to Indiana and audit the junk out of them between Weds and Thurs and catch an early flight out on Friday. Well one of the operations in had a bunch of stuff going on so that threw a wrench in my plan. So I decided to take my time and take the scenic route along Lake Michigan and see some of the small towns. I stopped for lunch and got a delicious waffle is some backwoods town. It was a good trip. I even saw my first white tail deer. It was sad, it looked like a grey hound. I always heard they were the size of dogs but I never believed it until then.

So I get to Indiana, I realize they are on central time when I go to check into my hotel at noon or I thought 1 pm. By now I am ready to just crash. I want to just crawl in any bed and goto sleep so I take whatever room they got and I get some sleep. I slept for about 2 hours. Then I woke up and went out to dinner. Then I came back and fell asleep again for about 5 hours. I woke up at about 11, and just hung out til about 3 AM then I went back to sleep and got up this morning at 6:30. I guess some time last night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. It has been huge out here. Chicago hasn't been a winner since Jordan left. I have heard the announcers call of when they scored the winning goal about 40 times today on the radio. Every DJ and every person is bringing it up. One of the coordinators asked me today if I watched the game and I didn't have the heart to tell her I was sleeping.

So I go to work today, and I tear the audit up. I am moving great and so excited. Like I have talked about, the operations I am auditing right now are really simple because they are hyrbid operations. I was expecting tomorrow to be a hybrid. So I was like wake up, hit up the operation, goto the airport and catch a midday flight out of Chi town. Someone tells me today they aren't hybrid. They are full on Savage terminals. I was like dangit. So I ran by and grabbed the work and have been chewing on it in my hotel room.

When I was grabbing the information on the last office I was talking to the coordinator and I asked her what time she was showing up. She said that they usually get started at 6:45 but because of the parade for the blackhawks tomorrow they are starting at 4 so they can get everything loaded and make it to the parade. Then I realized ohh junk I have to fly out of Chicago tomorrow....are you kidding me.

This is getting long and dry. I will post pictures next time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grand Rapids and Problem Solving.

So I started this blog for a couple reasons:

1) Because companies are always looking online at prospective hires to get a better understanding of them and I wanted to have a good presence.

2) So my Mom would be able to keep tabs on me without us playing phone tag (I just love her and want her to not worry*)

Today was an epic day. So yesterday ended alright. I went and worked out, got some dinner and then went to bed. Life was good. I slept good and woke up and went to work. Have you ever heard the stand up routine by Chris Rock where he talks about how Martin Luther King Boulevard are always the most dangerous streets in any city? Today I worked on Rosa Parks, it was pretty scary, not to mention it was a train yard...I made it out of Detroit alive though.

The audit today flew. Everything was ready, and everything looked good. I hated to do it and tried not to but I gave out a perfect score. Let's hope I don't get any flack for it, it isn't like it is that big of a deal because the way it is structured. Savage has quite a few controls to test and make sure the big expenditures are done right, most of the problems we run into are in relation to those things. The operations I am visiting are hybrid operations, it isn't a joint venture exactly but pretty dang close. So all the really expensive stuff goes through the other guy. Where the only things that really I look at are expense reports, basically gas receipts for manager vehicles and uniform fees, and a credit card with a $2500 limit. Really simple.

So then I drove across the State of Michigan and stopped at the Grand Rapids office. I worked there and had some good laughs, the manager there was really nice and very funny. He gave me a lot of good background on the hybrid operation and how it works exactly because he has been there through quite a few different similar arrangements. Again today everyone I met with this company, some of the nicest and most cordial people ever.

I got to my hotel and relaxed, caught up on some sleep, got a good work out in and had some good food. I got an email from my travel agent regarding my credit card and what was going on with it, they couldn't figure it out and asked me to call my credit card company and get more information. So I call Chase, girls answers the phone.

me: (very nice tone) I called yesterday about a problem and I need more information so I can fix it
girl: yea I don't know what to tell you that isn't a problem, those charges usually drop off as soon as we cancel them, why would you think that is a problem?
me: because you told me it was.
girl: sorry we did
me: sorry I trusted you guys
me: (thinking) don't lose it on this girl
girl: . . . oh . . . sorry you feel that way
me: thank you have a good day

So after the travel agent spent a good amount of time today trying to fix my problem, it really wasn't a problem. Thanks Chase you just wasted my life.

So since then my mind has been on this situation and what has come out of it. I came up with a really good realization. I hate problems, when they happen I try to fix them as fast as possible so they aren't on my plate anymore. I need to take a step back, let the problem hang over my head for a little bit. Then I need to come up with a solution, I need to not try and fix the whole problem in the first instance. Sometimes I see these big problems and I either freak out and do nothing or I freak out and fix it all. When I do nothing that obviously isnt a good solution but when I try and fix it too fast that just causes more problems. My Mission President said, "slow is fast and fast is slow." I have struggled to apply that ever since I have heard it and it always comes back to bite me in the butt.

Here is too better problem solving.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Detroit aka Don't trust Chase

So I haven't been posting any pictures, sorry but yea nothing picture worthy. Today I flew out to Detroit, now if I hadn't pulled an all nighter last night it would have been a fine day. I just love Provo though and was having so much fun down there I couldn't leave until about 3 AM then I ran some errands, so I just figured I'd sleep on the plane. I got to Detroit, super exhausted and just wanted to take a shower and goto bed. Well my first rental car wasn't having anything to do with me I guess so I had to go back in line and get a different one. Not bad right? Yea it wasn't so then I get to my hotel and my card gets declined and I am like what? Run it again and she does and it goes bad again. I think HUH? I just checked online Friday and I still had $3000 til I reached my limit. This obviously was a problem. So I step outside, mostly for courtesy to the other people around me. I must confess I absolutely hate, hate, hate phone customer service, because when I worked in that industry they said, the customer isn't always right and you need to make them work for whatever they want....I was shocked when they told me that. So everytime I call it seems like they answer phone with something like this, Hello my name is Gwen, I don't really care whats going with you and since you are 5000 miles away from me there is nothing you can do about it.

So back to the story, I call Chase, say whats going on? She says well it looks like there are some charges pending on your card, I say ohh those two charges my travel agent tried to make and you guys declined? Then I called you and told you to take them off and you said they were good? Or were they the other charges for the same amount on the same day? She says ohh its the first. To which I say I am in a rental car with no other means of payment and I need a hotel. What can you do for me, (no kidding) . . . umm mr phillips nothing actually . . . What? She tells me I need to call the merchant who made those charges.

So I hang up and call the travel agent for the company, who today is her first day, the lady who was there when the charges were made just got promoted and left the company on Friday. Yea, perfect. So I explain my situation to the newbie. First thing out of her mouth, call your credit card company those will just fall off....umm no they won't or else they would have sometime in the past month. You gotta do something. She says I don't know what to do I have never heard of this. I say well cancel my trip I'll just come home and when you figure it out I'll come back out. She doesn't like that. I didn't either I just wanted her to realize just how serious it was. So she comes up with the idea to call my boss and put it on his corporate card. We do I am in my room relaxing getting ready to go eat then work out. Needless to say I was way frustrated imagining I was going to sleep in a rental car tonight and not get a shower again.

There is nothing that makes me more upset than bad customer service, I am very old fashioned like that. If someone who makes you money is having a hard time you better dang well do anything you can to make their life a little easier. Chase, doesn't see that way I guess. An accounting company came to BYU once and said they have a team of people who just cruise the internet looking for what people are saying about their company and then contacting them. I hope Chase has the same and they contact me, I would love to see something positive about that company.

Funny though, I am fine now. I am grateful that this doesn't put me over the edge like it use to. I know I may sound super bitter and angry right now but I am not. Life is good, and I am glad it all worked out.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pain is spelled L-U-B-B-O-C-K

So today is my little brother's graduation. After working yesterday I realized the operations down here aren't that complicated. I originally scheduled a 7:10 PM departure from Lubbock which would give me plenty of time to drive the 2 hours to Earth, work, and then drive the 1.5 hours to Lubbock. After thinking about it I really wanted to be home for a couple of reasons. So this morning I got up at 4 AM, got ready and left the hotel at 5. I arrive in Earth at 7 and everyone was shocked, I guess the coordinator doesnt come in until 8. So they called her and said get here before this hard A fails us. I would have too. But she came in with wet hair and I had sympathy on her. So I audit and it goes well. I get done and I drive to Lubbock. I get here at about noon.

On the way I called because there were three other flights to Dallas that I wanted to get on. One lady said it would be 694 dollars to get on one flight but she said it wouldn't be anything if I just went to the gate. I don't think she realized I am not a freqeunt flyer with American. So I get to the airport expecting to get on Standby and catch one of these three flights. Only to be told they don't have standby for regular customers anymore. So for the past 6 hours I have sat in this airport, watching three flights leave. In thirty minutes I will board my five hour flight to go home.

If I had known that I would have just piddled around Lubbock in my rental car. Needless to say I am going to be one grumpy passenger today. Did I also mention I am coming down with a cold and my head is killing? Lord beer me strength.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Great Day

Today was a good day, nothing too extraordinary. I woke up and went to work, it went fine and then I finished up and traveled around Amarillo killing time. I met some great people at Savage. I have yet to meet someone I didn't absolutely love and just enjoy chatting with, everyone is really smart and friendly. This is where I worked today.
This is the power plant we supply the coal for.
Texas is the only state that was added to the union by a treaty. They reserved the right to fly their flags the same height as the US flag. The thing is all the flag poles have funny angles on them that make them look like they are a little taller. Or they actually are....

This little feller was in the bathroom waiting to welcome me to Texas.

Texas is great, after work I went to the gift shop at the AQHA museum and hall of fame. I would have gone in but I realized I didn't know enough about horses for it to really make a difference in my life. I loved the gift shop though. They had a tiny little arena off to the side so I think they have little shows there. I went to a nice burger joint for dinner, it was like a texas five guys. I love not having to buy my own food...I would have gone to the Big Texan but everyone in the office said if I didn't want to die I shouldn't eat there. I guess their food actually is really terrible. They say the only reason it is still in business is because it is such a novelty.

I am getting a cold. I have a headache and my nose and throat are burning. I will just leave it at this and goto bed. Things are great.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amarillo by morning ... maybe early evening....

So this morning I left on another adventure. It started well with a quick trip to Ghetto mall that is going through a major face lift right now. They are even getting an In-N-Out, and WVCPD setup a shop in the mall complete with three segways. Despite this incredible effort, I will never allow a loved one to go there without someone packing. If it hadn't been a huge emergency and I wasn't on the way to the airport I would have never set foot in there. Moral of the story: Stay away from Ghetto Mall.

So I was going to check in at home and I didn't have a seat assignment on the flight from Dallas to Amarillo. No biggie half my flights don't have seat assignments but I guess American won't let you check in online. In big bold letters it said please proceed to the nearest American Airlines ticket counter for ticket information. I was like what??? So I goto the airport early expecting a hassle from them. Like I got there two hours (like TSA recommends) early only to be directed to a kiosk where I enter the same information and get my boarding pass. Not to mention SLC airport security lines are actually efficient and so it took me 10 minutes. So I get on the other side of security with 2 hours to kill basically....um....yea.

So the flight to Dalls is uneventful, there were some missionaries on the flight on their way to South America. So I slept like a baby knowing there is now way the plane is crashing. I get to the gate in Dallas and get my seat. Get in the plane, it was pretty small and I kept hitting my head in the aisle. I sit down and we taxi around for 30 minutes. Finally the captain says there are bad thunderstorms so we are trying to find a path around it. We take off, I don't think they found the path around the storms...judging by the turbulence that rocked me to sleep. I just remember praying that I could fall asleep and live through the ride. I have alot of practice with prayers like that after being on road trips with Brain.

I finally land in Amarillo, get my car and a nice upgrade for free since they were out of intermediate cars. My hotel is right by a couple sweet places.
This is where I had dinner at, cute little place too much meat and not enough flavor though.
As I drove down the freeway to the hotel I saw a sign for a building I had to stop at for my brother and nephew. The AQHA international headquarters are located in Amarillo, a block from my hotel this sign was outside. There is a museum that I will try and visit tomorrow after work.

This is a monument dedicated to the first ever registered quarter horse.

Amarillo is fun. I just miss home already. This summer has just begun though that's the rough part.