Frustrations and Satisfactions

It has been an interesting week, full of satisfaction and frustration, some personal, some professional. But all in all, I think the satisfaction outweighs the frustration.

The week started out with the purchase of a used piano from the Salvation Army for my daughter. That was satisfying since it was something she wanted. She did not want a new piano; she wanted this old “beat up” one from the Salvation Army. I was prepared to buy her a new electromic one – a Yamaha that I found at a reputable online discount club for a reasonable price. But she said, “No, Daddy. I want this one.” And it was a quarter of the cost of the Yamaha, so who am I to argue. So we bought it.

That’s when the frustration came in. The thing weighs about 800 pounds and Salvation Army was not able to deliver it for us. Fortunately, my insurance agent, an ex-truck driver and a big, strong young man, offered to help me move it. except he had some personal stuff come up on the day we were supposed to move it and he did not show up or call me that day. More frustration. But he did call me a couple of days later and we were able, with some minor frustration, get the piano moved to the house.

That’s when the real satisfaction came in. I took a good look at it in the bright light of my living roon and say some stuff that I could not see in the dim lighting of the Salvation Army store. The piano is absolutely beautiful! And it is nearly a hundred years old, an H. P. Nelson upright grand piano – no wonder it weighs so much – made soemtime between 1908 and 1922. Based on the serial number, I am guessing it dates back to about 1914 or 1915. And it sounds absolutely terrific. I took a look inside and there does not appear to be anything seriously wrong with it. It needs tuning, some pads need replaced, but the strings and the hammers appear to be in very good shape. I am not sure what it is worth, but I suspect a lot more than what I paid for it. The real satisfaction is that my little girl is happy.

We finally got our tax stimulus check this past week. That’s what we used to pay for the piano, but it seems the IRS made a processing error on our tax return that deprived us of our refund. We had to write them a letter explaining their error and it will be another two months before our appeal is processed. A major frustration. Why is it than when we mess up on our returns, we get fined or sent to jail, but when they mess up, we get to wait even longer? Something is not right here! I hate dealing with government bureaucrats. A bunch of self-serving hypocrites!

Then, yesterday afternoon was my first meeting of the Ubuntu marketing team, and that was both satisfying and frustrating. The marketing team is a sub-group of the Ubuntu community that is supposed to be responsible for providing marketing support to the entire community, but has not done much recently except talk in circles. The team has no real sense of direction and no real leadership. but that is not uncommon when dealing with large groups of volunteers, which the entire Ubuntu community is.

Everybody has their own opinion and everybody wants to do their own thing. The ideal is all decisions are by consensus, which is nice in principle, but difficult in proactice. Ultimately, there has to be someone, or a small group of someones, who take charge and keep things on track and moving. Leadership in groups like that often falls on those who show commitment and a sense of responsibility, which is sort of what happened yesterday. Out of a group with an official membership of hundreds, only eight showed up for the meeting.

We got as far as setting up the mission, goals and objectives of the team, but when we finally got to the point of discussing leadersip. at the two hour mark. it was decided to defer any decision until next month;s meeting so we could submit several leadership plans to the entire team for discussion. I really don’t expect much to come out of that discussion except more running in circles, but being the new kid on the block, I do not feel it is my place to be pushy at this point. But what should have happened yesterday is the eight of us should have declared ourselves the leadership of the team. After all, there are the same core of team members who are the ones that have been the main contributors to all of the substantive discussions we have had on the team mailing list, the main vehicle for communication for all teams in the community. I seriously doubt there would have been any major obkections from the team.

So the satisfaction there was what we did get accomplished and the frustraion was what we did not get done. We will have another month of discussions that will, more than likely, get us no closer to where we need to be. Hopefully, at the next mwweting we will finally do what is necessary, but I suspect we will end up with another round of discussion. And that will be extremely frustrating.

But the mos rewarding experience of the week happened last night. It will, hopefully, help with the most frustrating part of my life – my inability to do serious research for my articles here. My vision problems, which are, as far as I know, irreversible, have made reading print material like books and scholarly journals very difficult, and free online access to the materials I need is very limited. There are sone good online libraries but you have to purchase a subscription, which has not been possible for me until last night. Thanks to the tax stimulus payment and some good budgeting, I now am able to get a regular subscription to one of those online libraries.

I did my research on these libraries and the one I subscribed to last night has at least some of the books and journals I need in order to properly research my articles. Having access to those materials will be quite satisfying, not only for me personally, as I really have missed doing quality research, but should be satisying for all of you as the quality of my articles reflects that research.. Hopefully, the increased quality of my articles will result im imcreased membership numbers for this site. and that will be the mostsatisfying part of all.

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