Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Friday, March 23, 2001
As I alluded to earlier, I am leaving my job. Technically, I am being laid off. I'll be receiving severance pay for 11 weeks. Yesterday, I had a meeting with Human Resources, and I learned about COBRA. I was also encouraged to file for unemployment (no, I don't have a job yet).

Probably the most astounding thing I learned from Human Resources is just how expensive medical insurance is. The insurance for just Jenn and myself is almost $500 per month! With a baby, that tally goes to almost $900 per month. It was an eye-opening sum for me.

I occasionally entertain the notion of working 'for myself' as an independent contractor, but the cost of just health insurance is daunting. While a lot can change, I suspect I'll be a 'regular' corporate guy in my next job.


Thursday, March 22, 2001
When I was a boy, I read Ray Bradbury's "The Long Rain". I can't recall the details of the plot, except for the one overriding presence of rain.

Today reminded me of that story. When I left work yesterday, it was raining. When I went to bad last night (almost 1AM), it was raining. When I got up this morning, it was raining. It was raining to beat the band. It was raining cats and dogs. Right as rain. When it rains it pours. And I was all wet.

Just twelve days ago I was shoveling a big pile of snow as high as my shoulders. That snow has all but disappeared.

The traffic was better with snow. Snow melts gradually. In my morning commute, my normal twelve minute ride was turned into fifty minutes, as I double backed to avoid flash floods, and water logged street corners. I actually saw a tiny car submerged up to the tops of its windows. It was trying to get to the drive-thru of a bank (at Four Corners in Woburn near McDonalds).

Driving to work in my wife's Forester, I listened to Bare Naked Ladies' "Brian Wilson". The opening lyrics: "Drove downtown in the rain...". Indeed.

The rain started tapering off by noon. The forecast called for some snow by midnight.


Sunday, March 18, 2001
Yesterday, I had to renew my driver's license.

My visit to the Watertown Registry of Motor Vehicles was quite efficient. Tucked inside the Watertown Mall, I got on the end of the line with about thirty people ahead of me at 8:25AM. The Watertown registry opened promptly at 8:30AM, and the proceeded to process all of us on line very quickly.

A 'dispatcher' person listened to each of us, and directed us appropriately. It seemed as if she never had to spend more than a few seconds with each person, so the line went very fast.

Of course, I had to wait to someone to process my renewal. This turned out to be fairly pleasant. The waiting room featured a public announcement system whereby they call your ticket (mine was B210). There was no need to keep an eye on the "who's next" board. When it was my turn, I was processed very courteously and efficiently. I was out of there by 9:15AM.

I had read an article a few weeks ago in the Boston Globe about how well the RMV is working these days. Their web site is very useful. According to the article, the RMV updates the site frequently, to keep it current, and their recent ability to handle certain transations over the Web have made actual visits to the RMV more smooth.

It's rare to praise bureaucracy, but in this one encounter, the RMV worked very well.





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