Soy update – Benjamin shows some leg

Ok, so maybe he didn’t show some leg, but Benjamin got an amazing discount on the soy candles. He called It’s A Soy today (yes, that’s actually the name of the business – how bizarre is that) and the $30/table candles we obtained for $20 a table! They even offered to ship them via UPS to us for a flat rate of $15 instead of per-pound. We were able to get all the candles needed sent to us for under $300! That’s my man!

Where did the money come from?

My last paycheck in December was slightly higher than I was expecting. I really didn’t pay that much attention mostly because, due to a variety of reasons, the last paycheck of the year can be higher or lower than the previous 23. Besides, higher is better and I wasn’t complaining.

During the first week of January I was checking to confirm that Benjamin was listed as a beneficiary for some employer-provided benefits. While poking around the HR site I noticed that I had received a base salary adjustment on December 16th and it was titled “Adjustment”. For those of you who don’t work at IBM let me say that this is unusual – most salary adjustments happen in the middle of the year and are clearly labeled with “Promotional Increase” or “Merit Increase”. This end-of-the-year adjustment was just bizzare. After doing my confused-but-happy Engineer’s Dance I made a note to ask my manager about it during our monthly one-on-one meetings and didn’t think more about it.

Fast forward to today.

At the end of the one-on-one with my manager I asked her what the adjustment was for. She said that while she’d love to take credit for it, she had nothing to do with it nor had my previous manager (I had a total of 3 managers last year) mentioned anything about it. She concluded by recommending that I call the Employee Service Center (ESC) to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake and that they wouldn’t want the money back later. At this point I was confused but not particularly worried.

I called the ESC and explained to the helpful service representative what had happened and they forwarded me onto Payroll. I explained to Payroll what had happened and they forwarded me onto HR Solutions. I explained to HR Solutions what happened and was placed on hold for several minutes. After a while the very friendly guy said that the system that would tell him the information is down and that the only thing he was able to discover was that some manager had to have put in the request for the adjustment. He said that he was unable to make outbound calls from the ESC but that he would put a note in my file so that if I wanted to call back tomorrow or later in the week the next person I contacted would know to pick up where he left off. I thanked him and decided to try a more direct approach.

I IM’d my previous manager and asked him if he knew anything about it. He said that he couldn’t take credit for it either although he did know that some of these “adjustments” were made during the December timeframe for members of his team but that “[they were] communicated to management and the adjustments were provided for good reasons”. He reassured me that he guessed it wasn’t a mistake but that “someone may have dropped the ball” in letting me know what was going on.

That brings us up to the here and now. I’m both pleased, pissed, and paranoid all at the same time. I’m pleased that there’s a possibility that the adjustment was intentional. I’m a little pissed that if it was intentional somehow I slipped through the cracks for notification of why I got it. Finally, I’m paranoid that my elation at having been financially “hugged” for my work last year was all just someone fat-fingering the wrong employee number and that not only will my nice little “hug” be taken away but that they’ll want their last two “hugs” back too!

Soy candles suck

For the wedding, the venue we’re using requires us to use soy candles as to not discolor the venue’s thatch ceiling with soot. The problem is that soy candles are harder to come by than regular candles. The old “supply and demand” concept thus tells us that they are more expensive than regular candles. None of this is a particular problem until you add Benjamin into the picture ;)

Continue reading Soy candles suck

The changing of the name

I’m a firm believer that an identity is more than just a name — however a name can reaffirm and support an identity. I also believe that establishing a presence in a medium (be it film, stage, books, newspapers, online) requires creating and maintaining a consistent identity. To this end I have had a web presence at for over 5 years now. The word “kence” originated as a horribly brutalized Cyrillic -> English spelling of my first name, not, as you might suspect, from a forgotten South African currency. The pseudonym has been with me since circa 1996. It is not a perfectly unique label but seldom have I had difficulty obtaining that username at various online sites.

LiveJournal is an exception. When I first created my LJ account for the sole purpose of accessing information in friends’ posts the username Kence was already taken. According to LJ’s policy, names are essentially not permanently transferable so Kence was right out. Since I wasn’t planning on actually posting anything I opted for “gairdeachas”. Gairdeachas is the name of my D&D character which sounds impressive until you learn that it is Welsh for “joy”.

Recently I’ve felt that I’ve needed an outlet for my ramblings and LiveJournal seems like a great place to put them – particularly some ramblings and rants that alas, I don’t feel appropriate for The Gairdeachas account doesn’t seem like the place to put these as I have no strong ties to that identity outside of The Temple of Elemental Evil. To that end I’ve created a new LJ username: cpeel

With some tenacity we can hope to see some activity with the cpeel account. The gairdeachas account will remain desolate minus a forwarding to the new account. From this point forward please use the cpeel account for any LJ references.