Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Starting To Breathe

I have a job!

That's one of the reasons I've been a bit AWOL lately.

It's a smallish job and the hours are a bit unhappy but the job is kinda cool and fun!

I didn't want to say anything yet, as I was in training and I wanted to make sure I at least made it out of training before I said, "I have a job!" and then if I didn't make it through training, I'd be all, "Um. Never mind. le sigh."

There's a company called Alpine Access ( and they are sort of a warehouse of customer service reps for Fortune 500 companies. These are customer service reps who work from their own homes. This is a legitimate company that I found while doing job searches. They were interviewed by Newsweek magazine and also featured on's home page in an article about best at-home jobs.

I was originally interviewed for Qwest. The interviewer has you open a bunch of web pages and makes sure you can find things on these pages and navigate the web. I failed. I couldn't find the local weather on I was putting all kinds of variations of local weather into the search engine and it kept giving me articles (damn that bubble boy's parents!!) so I timed out. After I timed out, she, very kindly and gently, showed me that if I had just scrolled halfway down's home page, there's a local news and weather button!! I'm so lame.

She said not to worry, that my test scores were really high (when you first apply, there's a bit of a test to see if you can navigate things online and retain info and stuff) and that she was going to put me back in the pool of candidates and she was sure that another company would want to interview me. The very next day, I got another interview offer for a gaming company. That interview went much better (found the weather right away this time!) and I was hired!

We had about 2 1/2 weeks of training and now my class is in the "nesting phase". We are taking calls but we are rather closely supervised and after this 2 week nesting phase, we are in regular production like everyone else!

My first day went really well. I mean REALLY well! I had lovely customers who were patient and kind and I got stuck here and there but not too bad. Yesterday, my second day, was brutal! I was stuck all day and about 90% of my calls needed to be escalated for one reason or another. But everyone was still fairly nice and even though my call times are atrocious (I don't think I've had a single person that I wasn't on the line with for at least 20 minutes!), I'm working on that and since it's only been 2 days, I'm not that bunged up about it. Also, this company (has an X or two in it but not in any kind of porn way) is not as concerned with call times, they are more concerned with happy customers so that takes some of the pressure off as well.

Yesterday, it was discovered (not just by me) that when a call is escalated, it goes to Manila and if you get a man on the escalation side, they are very unpleasant and even downright mean! Our team leader says that the gaming company is in talks with Alpine to bring Tier 2 back to the states as well (they already brought Tier 1 back - that's the tier I'm on) and so people in T2 are rather on edge as they may be losing their jobs soon. Another female co-worker typed in the chat what I was thinking was that it was also a cultural gap. I mean, they aren't snippy with the guys on T1 and the females on T2 are usually quite kind. Just sayin...

Anyway, I work from 2:30p - 11:00p MST so I see the kids on my 2 10 minute breaks and my 1 30 minute lunch break. I have Thursdays and Sundays off. After 30 days, I can ask for time off but I think I'll keep this schedule as much as I can and see if I can switch a day here or there if I need to for kids' events or a night out with Dave or something.

It's not particularly high pay but it's not peanuts either and it's definitely more then I was making in the past 18 months which is zilch (except for my Stitch Saver sales!). I should at least make the rent money each month! And that means that both Dave and I can breathe a bit easier now. Takes some of the stress off.

Alpine, so far, is an excellent company!! It has opportunities for advancement and all the people I've worked with (particularly our instructor during training) have been kind, impossibly patient, knowledgeable and helpful. Oh, and when I'm taking calls, one of my team leaders.....

is a knitter.

Who could ask for anything more?!

Hello, thank you for calling, my name is Ruth, how can I help you today?, Ruth!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time Out

The Inaugural sweater is in time out. It's banished in it's lovely carrying bag to a corner of my knitting basket. It will probably resume it's normal knitting schedule this weekend but it's been in time out for about two weeks now.

It's completely my fault but I've mucked up the whole thing. Not really, it's just not what I want and not what the pattern called for. I still have only the collar and the sleeves left to finish and this is when I actually read the pattern. See, I've always been told that in America, seed stitch and moss stitch are interchangeable terms. They are not. This American pattern clearly writes out what moss stitch is in the glossary box. I didn't read that and knit the whole thing with seed stitch front panels instead of moss stitch.

Much as I love seed stitch (and I do! lots of people hate it, I really like it!), I picked this pattern to make because I loved the look of the front panels and collar. Which are moss stitch. Moss stitch that is different from seed stitch. The whole time I was knitting it, I kept thinking, "This doesn't quite look right." and then I'd keep going. I blamed the yarn. It's that really dark black/green yarn and I just thought it didn't look right because the yarn was so dark.

And that's the other reason it's in time out. I am becoming less and less enamored of that super black "green" yarn. So it's in time out. And I know when it is finished, I will never wear it.

I'm thinking once it's finished if anyone wants to buy me some Malabrigo Twist in enough yardage (and the color of my choice) so I can make the Inaugural like it's written, I will give them this one. The hem was sewn by my knitting-award-winning-at-the-fair (blue ribbon!) friend, Tina, so that part is perfect! The rest is perfect too, it's just slightly the wrong pattern stitch. It's the 40" bust size. I know Twist is more expensive (yard for yard) then the regular Malabrigo that I used but I figure that's fair as you're getting a ready made sweater! I'll even leave the buttons off so you can pick whatever buttons suits your fancy! (I'm generous like that) I'll post pic's when it's done.

Truthfully, if Tina hadn't already sewn the hem for me, I would've ripped it all out and started over. I'm that irritated with myself over it.

This Inaugural Time-Out put me squarely in the sights of my own cast-on-itis. The flood gates are wide open people! I've started a round Minion (body, one leg and most of the second leg finished), another pair of socks (Skew from, yarn is rolled and I'm just waiting for my brain to remember how to do Judy's Magic Cast-on), and I made the mistake of starting Vivian.

Vivian is like crack cocaine to me! I was right about wanting something more challenging and her supple cables and seed stitch (for real this time) V-shaped areas are like knitting porn. I started on a sleeve and didn't put it down for two days! I'm about 2/3 done with that sleeve but the siren song of startitis called again and I also cast on for...

this Lion Brand blanket pattern called Lenox Square Throw. I bought 11 balls of beautiful cranberry colored worsted weight Encore yarn when I was a new knitter. My Tucson LYS was having one of it's 4 annual sales and I wanted to try my first sweater (Rachel from Melissa Leapman's Hot Knits - I couldn't find a picture to link to). I don't know why I thought I needed 2200 yards of worsted weight to make a sweater but either I didn't have the pattern with me and/or didn't trust my math and wanted to be sure I had enough. I never made that sweater and I'm happy about that as it would've been a mistake to make a sweater that's supposed to be form-fitting and close to the skin in that itchy acrylic! I've always loved the color of this yarn and when I saw that blanket pattern and you just use worsted held double and there's cabling? I knew I'd finally (7 years later) use that acrylic Encore!

Thinking of starting 3 more projects (and using more parentheses), Ruth!