Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27, 2009 - Happy Birthday Barb!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. We're about two hours away from a big birthday celebration for Barb, I hope you have a wonderful day and I can't wait to see you and the rest of the family later this week:)
I have to admit, it was another crazy work week at Aflac with performance appraisals under way and our team still trying to figure out what this whole PIC team transition is all about. Looks like we're going to be physically moving in the next few weeks, so it's a good thing I kept all of my boxes for an excursion to the 2nd floor of our campus. It's always nice to change up the scenery every now and again. This week isn't shaping up too badly either, so it should be a smooth transition into MMC Homecoming weekend and my trip back to Iowa on Thursday afternoon.
So if you haven't heard, apparently Mother Nature is trying to make up for the last two years worth of draught with a ridiculous amount of rain down here in the south. So much that my Monday evening class up at Emory got cancelled because of the intense flooding of the area. Don't worry, they're so kind up there that they rescheduled class just for us:) I'm enjoying it thus far though learning about economics, demand functions of elasticity for baseball teams and being able to apply decision analysis ... very cool!
The week included a great weekend as well with a big Iowa and Green Bay win! We also had a nice SIFE shindig with a Saturday night Murder Mystery Dinner theatre. It was all capped off by a nice dog date with a couple German Sheppards and a Great Dane named Rocco ... Caden had a blast!
This week I was very fortunate to have been asked to head up to the Aflac Cancer Center for Kids up at Emory Hospital for a ribbon cutting event. About twenty of Aflac's executives, including our CEO, went up to tour this amazing facility of which our employees and field members have donated more than $50 million dollars for in the last ten years. Seeing the rooms and hearing the stories of these kids again made me realize why I choose to make the most of every day. If a kid with neuroblastoma or another that has experienced 10 chemo treatments can have a contagious smile on his face for the world to see, who am I to say that I'm having a bad day ... it really puts things into perspective.
Another tragic event helped me understand how precious life is too this week. A member of my team was close to celebrating the birth of her first baby boy at 37 weeks. Unfortunately, after a check-up visit, the doctor could not find the pulse of the baby and after an ultrasound, we learned that baby Anthony would be leaving us before he joined us. I can never imagine going through this, but Alicia is such a strong woman that she knows that while she may not understand why her, she knows that the big guy has a plan for us all. May the love of those friends and family around you help you through the days ahead.
To my friends and family back home, I can't wait to see you and I wish you all a wonderful week. Happy birthday again Barb and best wishes to you Alicia.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20, 2009 - Another day in the neighborhood

Hey there, hi there and hello there. Just another week in the neighborhood and a happy birthday wish to my older cousin Kacie ... lookin' forward to seeing you and grandpa in a couple weeks! Also, a congratulations goes out to our neighbors Andy and Beth on their first newborn son Aiden ... yup, Aiden and Caden are going to be good pals!
Work at the duck was pretty fun this week as we start to figure out our new team structure. We're gearing up for performance appraisal season, so it's going to get a little crazy over the next few weeks I do believe. Wednesday I attended my first state of the company meeting where all the leadership at Aflac gathers to discuss the financial stability of the company and paints a picture for the year to come. Thursday I also had a chance for an all day training course in Precision Leadership. It was great to learn from my peers about their experiences and even tell some personal stories of what was/was not working on the team.
The beginning of the week started off well as I was asked to speak at a local alternate high school by one of my fellow Miss Georgia board members. I used parts of my Prairie High commencement speech to reach out to the students and it went great! I thoroughly enjoy chatting with that age group, even if I only got through to one of them I'll consider it a successful morning:) The Live United Youth Camp is only a month away as well and we're almost done with all of the preparations, I am pretty pumped ... it's going to be a great experience.
O yes, then Jenny and I went on a date ... yeah, a real live date. Mom, you would've been proud, I only used two coupons for the whole date;) We went out to eat and then to a great show at the Springer Opera House, a little Footloose action. It was a great show at the Springer, as always great seats and wonderful acting.
Welp, should be a pretty quick week again this week with lots of work action and school too. A long day up at Emory today helped me realize why I was not a mathematician, who likes regression decision analysis anyways ... yes, I got to draw it out on the big black board:)? Class is going well though, so I guess I'll keep on truckin'.
Don't forget to have a wonderful week ... the countdown is on until I come back home in a couple weeks for the MMC alumni weekend, yahoo!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 2009 - Happy Grandparent's Day:)

Hey there, hi there and a special hello there to all the grandparents out there. Here's to Grandpa Klein, Grandma/Grandpa Seda, Byron, Marjoan and Grandma Park ... you're all amazing and always put a smile on my face. Never will I forget the grandparents that have gone before, thank you for the memories:)
It was a wonderful short week at Aflac, that somehow turned five days of work into four days ... crazy! We were able to meet and greet with the new management in our book club and I really think we've got some great folks taking the lead amidst all this change. We're continuing to drive all of our web service projects and the online social community is just a few weeks away, madness! I had a good bit of one-on-one time with everyone on the team this week which just reiterated my feeling of how awesome of a crew we have. Everyone is clicking well, so I hope we can continue excelling at what we're up to.
Classes up at Emory started up this week as well with Microeconomics on Wednesday night. I have a couple great professors, my econ professor would be a mixture of Steve Gilmour and Roy Pettibone back home. He is a great teacher and super passionate about economics, even when a young guy tried to challenge his supply/demand lesson on the first night ... that was fun while we all watched the prof slam down the poor guy with his words:) My Decision Analysis professor has a pretty dry sense of humor which was hilarious when he point blank told people they were dead wrong, wow! It's a bit different than undergrad in that every single person feels the need to put their 2-15 cents worth in at every moment. I'm trying to sit back, learn and listen for the time being without being that guy, but I'm sure that'll change. I do enjoy being back in the swing of formal education though, even the homework is good to get back into ... I know, I'm different:)
Welp, it was just Caden and I for the last week and a half or so and we've had a blast, but I think we've both missed Jenny a good bit. It's a good thing I'm going to pick her up in a couple hours; I know she had a great time in Hawaii and good times were had with friends and family back home, can't beat 'em.
Well, I should probably go make some welcome home signs or something fancy like that ... or, maybe just go watch some football since I'll be missing some of the Packers game ... go Cheeseheads!
Thanks again grandparents ... I wish you the health and happiness on this Grandparent's Day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 7, 2009 - Happy Labor Day!

Hey there, hi there and hello there one and all. Also, hopefully a labor-less Labor Day celebration to you and yours. I have to wish Byron a happy belated birthday and a early happy Grandparents day to all the grandparents out there, you're awesome! A special hello to Grandpa Klein up in Manchester, I hope you know that I'm thinking of you and sending wishes to get well soon:) Lastly will be happy anniversary to mom and dad ... crazy to think it was fifteen years ago in '94 when this all came together!
Work was getting back to normal a bit after a few crazy weeks, then I think all the execs decided it was time to shake things up again. We had a couple great planning sessions for the Customer Service Center and our retention strategy before the news came on Thursday that our leadership would see a big shake-up. Early in the morning I was called into one of our 2nd VPs office to learn that my boss' boss, Mike Thomas, would no longer be in Policy Service with us but rather move back to Support Services. Our team would then merge with another PIC team in Claims to form a super-team, which should be pretty interesting to see how it'll all work out. Our manager wasn't there on Thursday/Friday to break the news to everyone, so it fell on me to let our teams know about the shake up. It was another one of those leadership opportunities to just listen to people and ease tensions, especially during the economic times. My team took it very well and I hope they truly feel as optimistic as I do about the move. The one thing that really does suck is that we are losing Mike. He has been the best boss I've had in my working career here at Aflac and even before that. He's very down to earth and just a real person that pushes you hard to be the best you can be. I know he'll do great over there and hopefully we can hook up again some day, good luck Mike! O yes, and I ended out the week with a great edible surprise from Jenny wishing me luck on the triathlon, thanks schnookums:)
This week also brought an end to our summer kickball season. We finished the regular season in 2nd place and then came into the tournament and lost in the semis. My buddy Eddie's team ended up winning the coveted Michael Jackson first place trophy:) We never expected to be as good as we were, but I tell you we had a blast doing it... bring on the fall league! I even had a 6-ft bunt home run in the last game after I ran over the 1st baseman and a couple errant throws ... one of those that you had to be there to believe!
Sparkle the Springer was also this weekend where a bunch of volunteers from Aflac got together to clean up the state Opera House. It's a beautiful facility that we vacuumed, dusted and spit shined for five hours. It was pretty fun to hang out with some of the volunteers and see the good work that we could put together.
The best part of the week though had to be this weekend suiting up for the Callaway Triathlon that we had been training for over two months. Rick, Steven, Eddie, Rick's dad and I all had our delicious carb-load meal at Cafe Amici the night before to prepare for the significant loss of calories and sweat for the Sunday race:) We headed out around 6am for the feat at the beautiful Callaway Gardens, where Caden was lucky enough to join thanks to a great spectator following we had! After we set up our bikes at the transition station and strapped on our pretty green swim cap, it was off to the start line.
The four boys were in the second wave after the collegiate athletes and Rick's dad (military officer that trains for a living ... so I did not feel bad getting beat by a 40 something, because to be honest, I also got beat by a 60 year old I think:). The gun went off and after getting kicked in the head about 7 times, the breast stroke was in full swing for .6 miles and it only took me about 17.5 minutes, and I didn't even have to hold onto the buoy:) I was the first one out of the water in our little group and then it was on to the bike, and thank goodness for training at Flat Rock park (which in fact is a lie, because it is definitely anything but flat) because I did quite well finishing 16 miles in 57 minutes, about 19.5 mph. Unhappiness took over when my dang iPod cut out after the bike, leaving me musicless for the run, but cheering fans kept me goin'. I took my sweet time into the last run transition for the next 5 miles and finished the race in a dead sprint to pass an old guy that had smoked me the whole race finishing at 2 hours, 8 minutes and some change (final results at - I actually felt much better than I thought I would after the event cheering in the rest of my pals as they crossed the finish line.
About the time I finished, Caden came in for a big sweaty hug and we wished Jenny best of luck on her marathon start (I think Caden was a bit hyper from Sonic's happy hour cherry limeade leftovers pictured above:). Yeah, Jenny ran for 26.2 miles and actually finished the whole thing (wow) with a great time of 4 hours and 50 minutes, ridiculously amazing 11ish minute miles! Way to go honey:)
Labor Day has been great to relax, play with the pooch, mow some lawn and get some rollerblading action in. I hope you all have a great shortened week as I start up on the MBA class action - Wednesday and Friday night, yahoo ... wish me luck;)
Until next week when Jenny returns from Hawaii ... you all have a great week of wondermousness.