Okay, now that I'm almost two weeks into my job, I figure it's time to talk a bit about what I actually do now. I work for T-Mobile in their Application Support department, which means that when software breaks, it's my job to fix it, or at least to look at it and figure out why, then report my findings to my superiors. I don't actually write code on the job, but I do wade hip-deep in Oracle, SAP, and real-time production and supply chain issues, so I'm still furthering my job skills.

The curious thing about my office is that there's no HR department in my building. None. Anything human-resources or benefits-related has to go to Atlanta or Seattle to one of the home offices. So, the first day I arrived, I filled out all my paperwork on-site with my team lead as witness, then overnighted it all to Atlanta to the IT HR office. The woman with whom I spoke on the phone said that I should have an employee number by Thursday at
the latest, and that I could start filling out benefits paperwork as soon as one was assigned.

I finally got my employee number on Wednesday. My paperwork literally went missing for four days. They couldn't find the overnight envelope from DHL. Just when it seemed that I would have to redo everything and fax it directly to Seattle, though, they found the originals and spared me the need. It served as a delay, but nothing critical. 

I'm slowly pulling myself up to speed with everything I need to know at my new position, but there's a lot to learn. My team lead suggested that there was a six-month learning curve before I'd be out of the hand-holding stages. Six months. That's a heck of an investment. I don't think I've ever worked at a company that had such a long lead-in before being utterly production-worthy. I'm a little humbled, and a little nervous, but I think I'll do fine.

Most of my days so far have consisted of paperwork, reading documentation, and sitting in on meetings over the phone. I'm the only person in my department in my office; everyone else is down in Georgia. At some point, there'll be a counterpart to my position in Denver, but right now I'm serving both facilities, one remotely. This means most days I never see my boss, and I hear from my team lead on the phone every few hours to see how I'm doing. Mostly how I'm doing is "swamped with paper." I'm sure it will all make more sense once I have logins to the system and I can start actually going through the QA environment, testing things and seeing how they work instead of just reading about how they're supposed to work. For now, I'm sort of just treading mental water.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've worked at a company with an honest, genuine quality assurance environment for testing in three years. Scary.

Even better than the work, though, are the benefits. They covered Jessie. No questions. It was anti-climactic. When the website kicked back my request to have Jessie covered as my wife, I called the internal help desk
expecting to have to kick and scream and make ugly noises at people, but the rep on the other end said, "Oh, yeah, that's not really
bug, but the website's just not coded to handle your situation. Print the form and fax it, then call the benefits rep and explain what's up. Here's her name and number."

All of my righteous indignation melted instantly.

I called the benefits rep, expecting a little more hassle, but then found out that I wasn't the first person at the company to deal with a legally-married same-sex spouse incurred through sex change. Blink. I'm not special! I could cry!

Actually, I am special: I'm the first new hire at the company bringing this problem in from outside. She said "email me—if you're comfortable doing so—an explanation of why she's your wife and not just your girlfriend, and I'll stick it in your file and then when they audit and see it, they'll just ignore it and go away." I did so, and an hour later, she wrote me back saying we were confirmed in the benefits plan under "Employee + Spouse".

I think I'm going to like it here. 

As of today, I'm restarting the Weight Chart. A few days ago, I started a new diet plan. Still doing the low-carb thing; that seems to help, though of course at this point it's nearly impossible to tell what works and what doesn't. However, I remember reading somewhere once that it's better for the metabolism to take in five or six smaller meals a day, rather than three or two larger ones. So, combining A with B, I've been breaking my daily food intake out to five smaller meals scattered throughout the day:

  • Breakfast at 06h30 when I get up, usually eggs and yoghurt.
  • Brunch at 10h00, lunch meat and veggies.
  • Lunch at 13h30, more lunch meat, more veggies.
  • Tea at 17h00, even more lunch meat and possibly a pudding cup or some beets if I feel fancy
  • Supper at 20h30, something I cook at home.

If each mini-meal—I prefer to think of them as "mealettes"—is around 250 calories, then my daily intake is
1250, or about five-eighths what I should be eating to maintain minimum weight.

So goeth the theory, anyway.

So far, it seems to be working. Only time will tell if I can keep this up for long; most people don't eat this way, and I'm scheduled to go out of town for a week on a business trip where food-prep will be dificult. Still, I'm seeing some movement on the scale and my hunger hasn't been an issue, so something's going right.

I want to be thin; now I have to want it enough. 

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